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Author Topic: I've tried MF digital and MF film still rules.  (Read 12406 times)
Bobtrips
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« Reply #20 on: April 25, 2009, 03:44:58 PM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Why is it that the moment somebody articulates a liking for something, the instant reaction from some quarters is to try and knock that personīs position into the sand?


Rob C

Rob,  please go back over this thread and show me where anyone tried to knock "that person's position into the sand" when it came to the issue of personal preference.






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MarkL
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« Reply #21 on: April 25, 2009, 05:56:49 PM »
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That is a great picture! Clearly MF film works very well for you  

I have shot portraits with MF film and 12 shots on a roll of 120 was killing me. I need a good af system and be able to shoot a good amount of frames - I just don't have the skill with portraits. The depth of field issue isn't a problem for me, f/1.4 with 35mm is more than narrow enough!

I do miss working with film though and still shoot it occasionally.
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barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #22 on: April 25, 2009, 08:04:50 PM »
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Very interesting thread.

I really really like the shot, it's spot on, and a fine one, great stuff. A few points that I will take up.
I have a load of respect for photographers such as Joseph Holmes, excellent photographer..and I enjoy looking at his work. If he feels digital MF is the way to go for his work, then I won't argue with that. We all make choices..it's personal taste.
Neither will I deny I am a bit of a film fan myself, I have started to move over to film for some types of work (landscape/people etc), still use digital for some tasks, in particular digital is a very good tool for low light high ISO work. I am looking into a MF film system, for now I am mostly 35mm based.

Lots of folks say you can photoshop the film look, add the grain (I agree no grain mono portraits don't look right to me). But the reality of using film and digital (and I won't deny I am not using top end bodies), is that I "prefer" the look of film, colour and b&w. The OP is right about highlights, neg film does a fantastic job in this area, it clings onto them very well, while your digital will blow out a lot sooner. I am more an Ilford shooter myself, and I did once try to get the HP5 look in pp, but it's simply easier to shoot the real stuff! You can add the grain..spend ages messing about in post processing..meantime you have it there and ready to go with film. I find my pp workload greatly reduced using film..once you get a grasp of the scanning side of things, it's much easier and faster to get results that are good.

Skintones, again..I have a hard time getting the results I like with digital, pick a decent film..and you have a job to not get them nice!
Exposure, as said the highlight range is excellent, if I want fire and forget tough conditions, I load a roll of FP4 and it's near bulletproof, over or underexposed. People band about these DxO DR numbers..but shoot some of that and discover how it almost renders spot metering ineffective, really..the latitude is that good on it. I'll believe the DR of digital is great when I don't blow highlights out very often..it's ok at times, not so good for difficult contrasty conditions
The look, is completely different with film to digital, colour and mono. Scanned film printed does not look like digital, not at all. That is why people scan film too, though few would disagree for b&w wet printing is the way to go. Film just looks nicer to my eyes, colour and mono.

In closing, to me..people should simply use what they like. But I greatly enjoy film, and I have now gone to a 70% film 30% digital ratio roughly..a year ago it was 95% digital. After only a few rolls of film, and some work on getting up to speed with scanning.and having the concern about non instant feedback, I have overcome that, and dare I say..even get a kick out of having to wait a bit, like xmas for every roll ;-)

Digital is the equivalent of an electric shave, handy..convenient..and decent enough in many cases. Film is a wet shave..ultimately more satisfying in the final result ;-)



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kirktuck
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« Reply #23 on: April 25, 2009, 08:22:59 PM »
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Thank you.  You perfectly put in to words what I was trying to say.  All but the most obdurate have started to come around and understand that most small format (35 and less) is like shooting "good enough" not for the look and feel you'd really want to have.




Quote from: barryfitzgerald
Very interesting thread.

I really really like the shot, it's spot on, and a fine one, great stuff. A few points that I will take up.
I have a load of respect for photographers such as Joseph Holmes, excellent photographer..and I enjoy looking at his work. If he feels digital MF is the way to go for his work, then I won't argue with that. We all make choices..it's personal taste.
Neither will I deny I am a bit of a film fan myself, I have started to move over to film for some types of work (landscape/people etc), still use digital for some tasks, in particular digital is a very good tool for low light high ISO work. I am looking into a MF film system, for now I am mostly 35mm based.

Lots of folks say you can photoshop the film look, add the grain (I agree no grain mono portraits don't look right to me). But the reality of using film and digital (and I won't deny I am not using top end bodies), is that I "prefer" the look of film, colour and b&w. The OP is right about highlights, neg film does a fantastic job in this area, it clings onto them very well, while your digital will blow out a lot sooner. I am more an Ilford shooter myself, and I did once try to get the HP5 look in pp, but it's simply easier to shoot the real stuff! You can add the grain..spend ages messing about in post processing..meantime you have it there and ready to go with film. I find my pp workload greatly reduced using film..once you get a grasp of the scanning side of things, it's much easier and faster to get results that are good.

Skintones, again..I have a hard time getting the results I like with digital, pick a decent film..and you have a job to not get them nice!
Exposure, as said the highlight range is excellent, if I want fire and forget tough conditions, I load a roll of FP4 and it's near bulletproof, over or underexposed. People band about these DxO DR numbers..but shoot some of that and discover how it almost renders spot metering ineffective, really..the latitude is that good on it. I'll believe the DR of digital is great when I don't blow highlights out very often..it's ok at times, not so good for difficult contrasty conditions
The look, is completely different with film to digital, colour and mono. Scanned film printed does not look like digital, not at all. That is why people scan film too, though few would disagree for b&w wet printing is the way to go. Film just looks nicer to my eyes, colour and mono.

In closing, to me..people should simply use what they like. But I greatly enjoy film, and I have now gone to a 70% film 30% digital ratio roughly..a year ago it was 95% digital. After only a few rolls of film, and some work on getting up to speed with scanning.and having the concern about non instant feedback, I have overcome that, and dare I say..even get a kick out of having to wait a bit, like xmas for every roll ;-)

Digital is the equivalent of an electric shave, handy..convenient..and decent enough in many cases. Film is a wet shave..ultimately more satisfying in the final result ;-)
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Plekto
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« Reply #24 on: April 26, 2009, 02:15:19 AM »
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Quote from: barryfitzgerald
Exposure, as said the highlight range is excellent, if I want fire and forget tough conditions, I load a roll of FP4 and it's near bulletproof, over or underexposed.

I used to like the Kodak stuff back when they still made the slower speeds, but have moved to mostly Ilford as well, having discovered why slide film is so much better than print. It used to be a closer game, but slides are the way to go now with with the advent of DLabs and a move away from optical enlargement., no question about it.  And a 120 slide projector is a glorious thing - like hi-def vs TV.  Always stuns the crowd who's usually expecting some funky old slide show.(and you can use the same HDTV projection screen - bonus!)   Technically I still do like Kodak's look a bit more than Ilford, but slow speed Kodak b/w 120 slide film is unobtanium any more and I don't like shooting ancient stock if I can help it.

The Pan F Plus is superb.  I shoot mostly scenery and static shots, so ISO50 is a godsend to me.  It's basically like black and white Velvia - just stunning results every time.  Provided that you have the light, of course.  

Thankfully, though, black and white seems to be one niche area where they'll make film forever, if only because it's still required for so many other industries as well(x-rays, silkscreen/printing, microfilm, and so on)  Color film, well, if Fuji drops the ball, it's going to be a rough ride.

As for color digital vs color film, like I said, both are a mixed bag with many pros and cons.  But black and white is a clear win for film.  At least for now...

http://www.mega-vision.com/products/Mono/Mono.htm
This, though, is superior to black and white film.  Too bad getting one new or used is nearly impossible.(and the price is crushing, to be honest)   Maybe Sigma/Foveon will make a "X1" monochrome sensor some day?   Heh.
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TimG
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« Reply #25 on: April 26, 2009, 02:42:19 AM »
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Kirk, I'm part of that younger generation you address in your article.  I started with digital.  I was amazed at all the things I could do in Photoshop.  I liked the idea of RAW and being able to develop my own color palettes.  But over time, digital lost its luster.  I think it started when one of the older generation (now my mentor) took me under his wing and showed me 6x7 transparencies shot with a Mamiya 7.  I think it took a week for the bruises, caused by my jaw dropping to the floor, to heal.

Needless to say, I've never been the same.  I shoot medium format film for all of my commercial and personal work, and couldn't be happier.

Thanks for posting your work.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2009, 02:53:44 AM by TimG » Logged
kirktuck
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« Reply #26 on: April 26, 2009, 09:47:50 AM »
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Tim,

You made my argument and you made my day.  I'll shoot with my D700 and massage the files and have a print done.  Then I'll shoot a nice MF chrome, do a quick, straightforward scan and have a print done.  It almost makes me cry when I see how much better the film product looks and I remember just how much cash I've thrown down a rabbit hole with digital.   I could have paid for a life time of film and processing, and had a better look and nicer cameras....

Thanks, Kirk



Quote from: TimG
Kirk, I'm part of that younger generation you address in your article.  I started with digital.  I was amazed at all the things I could do in Photoshop.  I liked the idea of RAW and being able to develop my own color palettes.  But over time, digital lost its luster.  I think it started when one of the older generation (now my mentor) took me under his wing and showed me 6x7 transparencies shot with a Mamiya 7.  I think it took a week for the bruises, caused by my jaw dropping to the floor, to heal.

Needless to say, I've never been the same.  I shoot medium format film for all of my commercial and personal work, and couldn't be happier.

Thanks for posting your work.
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TimG
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« Reply #27 on: April 26, 2009, 10:37:53 AM »
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What makes me want to cry is thinking back how I bought into all the marketing hype surrounding digital at the time, which was still in its infancy.

Hell, I went to an Apple Store event where one of the more active posters to this forum stated a Canon 10D surpassed film.  Like a dope, I believed him, as I'm sure many others who were in attendance at the event did, which is fine.  It's common knowledge he, for all practical purposes, "abandoned" photography for the consulting/speaking/writing circuit a long time ago.  Well, maybe a 10D beats crappy consumer grade film, but years later, I'm pretty sure a 6MP dSLR can't touch a Velvia 50 slide scanned at 4000dpi, and know without a doubt, any monochrome conversion from that camera sure as hell doesn't hold up against TMax or TriX scanned at 4000dpi.

I'd like to think today's crop of 35mm dSLRs can beat consumer grade 35mm film, and come close to, if not match (beat?) pro grade film, but every time my close friend and colleague brings me a roll of TMax she shot with her Leica M6, I continue to have my doubts. Your comment on comparing your D700 files to film confirms my suspicions.  That's part of the reason I haven't invested in a new digital body yet.

It's funny.  I was asked to speak at an event recently, and the first thing the sponsor told me was, "we had a hard time finding pro landscape photographers who were shooting 35mm digital; most were shooting medium format (didn't specify film or digital).  In my mind, I thought (sarcastically), "gee I wonder why?"

Ahh, I guess this just proves wisdom comes with age.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2009, 10:39:38 AM by TimG » Logged
Plekto
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« Reply #28 on: April 27, 2009, 01:04:38 AM »
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Quote from: TimG
I'm pretty sure a 6MP dSLR can't touch a Velvia 50 slide scanned at 4000dpi, and know without a doubt, any monochrome conversion from that camera sure as hell doesn't hold up against TMax or TriX scanned at 4000dpi.

120 (6x7)film scanned at even paltry 2000dpi, which is easily below the limit/where grain takes over for Pan X(or Velvia even) is a ~26MP result.  And no moires, either.  2400dpi nets 37MP.

2.362 X 2000DPI = ~4700
2.756 X 2000DPI = ~5500
26MP.  Budget scanner and a film back.

2.362 X 2400DPI = ~5600
2.756 X 2400DPI = ~6600
37MP. Better modern scanner.

Film is really really hard to beat when we're talking about large formats.  You mentioned 4000DPI and you don't need to even exceed 2400dpi to match even the better DBs.

4X5 at even 2000dpi , btw, is 80MP(8000*10000 physical dots).  Truly large formats and even a half-baked scanner setup easily can crush a DB.  For now, at least.  I think digital will surpass film in maybe 10-20 years.  But for now, film still has its place.  And, yes, as TimG mentioned, though they all profess to love tech and digital, a LOT of people still shoot film for scenery and weddings and the like.  My sister's wedding was digital for color but film for the b/w shots.  Guess which ones I requested copies of?  (I honestly love the timeless look of b/w for weddings, especially)
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #29 on: April 27, 2009, 02:45:26 AM »
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Quote from: Plekto
120 (6x7)film scanned at even paltry 2000dpi, which is easily below the limit/where grain takes over for Pan X(or Velvia even) is a ~26MP result.  And no moires, either.  2400dpi nets 37MP.

2.362 X 2000DPI = ~4700
2.756 X 2000DPI = ~5500
26MP.  Budget scanner and a film back.

2.362 X 2400DPI = ~5600
2.756 X 2400DPI = ~6600
37MP. Better modern scanner.

Film is really really hard to beat when we're talking about large formats.  You mentioned 4000DPI and you don't need to even exceed 2400dpi to match even the better DBs.

4X5 at even 2000dpi , btw, is 80MP(8000*10000 physical dots).  Truly large formats and even a half-baked scanner setup easily can crush a DB.  For now, at least.  I think digital will surpass film in maybe 10-20 years.  But for now, film still has its place.  And, yes, as TimG mentioned, though they all profess to love tech and digital, a LOT of people still shoot film for scenery and weddings and the like.  My sister's wedding was digital for color but film for the b/w shots.  Guess which ones I requested copies of?  (I honestly love the timeless look of b/w for weddings, especially)

The numbers are fake. You can have a completely out of focus image and scan it at 8000DPI on a drum scanner for 100 megapixels. But it still won't beat a digital p&s for detail. Unless you are comparing resolved detail you cannot compare, especially using the extremely worn and false argument of 'I can scan to X megapixels'. There is no difference whatsoever between scanning at a resolution far above the actual detail present in the image - and uprezzing a digital image to match the amount of 'megapixels'.

I've been stitching for a certain project, getting 30+ megapixel files in the 6X12 format. Went out yesterday, did the shooting in less time that it took to set up and focus my old MPP 4X5 and 6X12 back, got home, while sitting at the computer spent a bit over an hour and had the final images and that's after running the stitching program, doing all the PS dodging and burning and applying the sharpening. Compare that to the faff of dealing with film developing and scanning, the spotting and dealing with the grain, the multiple passes, etc. Oh and I'm getting far better images because I'm not having to stop down to levels where the diffraction kills any resolution benefit of the larger format, I have zero grain even when using iso 800 and I'm not having to deal with the subject movement inherent with using slower film and very small apertures. My point is that I'm getting more detail and sharpness from 34 megapixel stitched files than 6X12 film stopped down to f64-128 (for sufficient DOF) with all the resulting diffraction, grain and subject movement eventhough the scan of the film is technically double or triple the megapixels!
« Last Edit: April 27, 2009, 02:48:51 AM by pom » Logged

TimG
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« Reply #30 on: April 27, 2009, 07:59:38 AM »
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Quote from: pom
The numbers are fake. You can have a completely out of focus image and scan it at 8000DPI on a drum scanner for 100 megapixels. But it still won't beat a digital p&s for detail.

Glad to know we're comparing apples to oranges.
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barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #31 on: April 27, 2009, 08:45:06 AM »
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I wonder why we end up boiling things down to resolution all the time? Seems kind of odd really, when so many photographers are going for "that look"
I suspect it's simply easier for testers to compare this, but there are so many variables, it's near impossible, different developers, optical v scanning, variations between emulsions are huge.

35mm satisfied most for enlargement quality (I am very satisfied with 18" x 12" and somewhat higher), it was a compromise format, but better than the ill fated disc and 110/APS film. Those who wanted to make "big" prints went MF and some to LF. But the look is there whatever you do. You pick what you want, to suit the work you wish to do.

Frankly I couldn't give a damn what resolution film v digital is, they look completely different. Which is exactly what I am after.
I have started to wonder if we are all running down a tedious road, looking and pixel peeping. Talking about "image quality" is fine, but making quality images is far more satisfying. Use whatever medium you want to..





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Rob C
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« Reply #32 on: April 27, 2009, 08:47:22 AM »
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Quote from: Bobtrips
Rob,  please go back over this thread and show me where anyone tried to knock "that person's position into the sand" when it came to the issue of personal preference.



I might answer this best in photographic terms: have another retrospective look yourself and then, this time, consider the tonality and not the acutance if you want to understand my feeling.

Rob C
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usathyan
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« Reply #33 on: April 27, 2009, 10:07:23 AM »
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This is turning out to be an yet another Record vs CD-ROM thingie...

The new kids on the block will not care much...and pretty soon Film will be forgotten. Left to the photophiles to worry/cherish about...

Remember the Laser Disk?
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Umesh Bhatt
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« Reply #34 on: April 27, 2009, 10:11:25 AM »
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Kirk,

Thanks for posting.

Wonderful image, film and the knowledge base required to use it well are no longer perused by many photographers. I am very happy to still have and use my Fuji GX680, it is one camera that I love above all others. That of course is my choice, and I make it when I can, but the reality of working for a living as a photographer dictates otherwise.

Pretty brave of you to make this post here, kudos to you!

Ciao,
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Bobtrips
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« Reply #35 on: April 27, 2009, 10:42:42 AM »
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Quote from: barryfitzgerald
I wonder why we end up boiling things down to resolution all the time? Seems kind of odd really, when so many photographers are going for "that look"
I suspect it's simply easier for testers to compare this, but there are so many variables, it's near impossible, different developers, optical v scanning, variations between emulsions are huge.

35mm satisfied most for enlargement quality (I am very satisfied with 18" x 12" and somewhat higher), it was a compromise format, but better than the ill fated disc and 110/APS film. Those who wanted to make "big" prints went MF and some to LF. But the look is there whatever you do. You pick what you want, to suit the work you wish to do.

Frankly I couldn't give a damn what resolution film v digital is, they look completely different. Which is exactly what I am after.
I have started to wonder if we are all running down a tedious road, looking and pixel peeping. Talking about "image quality" is fine, but making quality images is far more satisfying. Use whatever medium you want to..

I think Barry nicely sums things up here.  It's time to let the "resolution thing" go.  We can get as much resolution as we wish from either film or digital.  We've passed the point where film held an advantage.  How one obtains the ability to print fine detail at the desired size is now an issue of personal choice with some limitations presented by subject matter.  (Hard to stitch frames of moving subjects, for example.)  

The decision to shoot film or digital is really about convenience, cost (remember, neither is the least expensive in all conditions), "love of gear", and finally subjective taste.  


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Bobtrips
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« Reply #36 on: April 27, 2009, 10:48:33 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
Bob - "Rob, please go back over this thread and show me where anyone tried to knock "that person's position into the sand" when it came to the issue of personal preference."

I might answer this best in photographic terms: have another retrospective look yourself and then, this time, consider the tonality and not the acutance if you want to understand my feeling.

Rob C

Ah, you wish me to use my interpretative loupe and peek for your message.  I think I can do that.

Here's what you're saying, I believe -

"After reading Bob's request, I reread the thread's posts and found that I had gone off half-cocked.  But I can't bring myself to admit that, so I'll post some obtuse stuff and hope to weasel out...."

Did I get it right?


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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #37 on: April 27, 2009, 11:08:18 AM »
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If someone brings resolution into the argument then I think it's fair to show that they are wrong. I never suggested that resolution was the be all and end all of photography, but when someone argues the superiority of film based on the amount of megapixels then they are asking for it...
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filmcapture
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« Reply #38 on: April 27, 2009, 12:10:42 PM »
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Quote from: kirktuck
Tim,

You made my argument and you made my day.  I'll shoot with my D700 and massage the files and have a print done.  Then I'll shoot a nice MF chrome, do a quick, straightforward scan and have a print done.  It almost makes me cry when I see how much better the film product looks and I remember just how much cash I've thrown down a rabbit hole with digital.   I could have paid for a life time of film and processing, and had a better look and nicer cameras....

Thanks, Kirk

While I am still a shooter committed to film, I also started to shoot MF digital. Your 35mm D700 is not MF digital, comparing its files with MF slides is unfair. Pick up a Phase One high-end MF digital back, you'll see big differences ...
« Last Edit: April 27, 2009, 12:13:37 PM by filmcapture » Logged
barryfitzgerald
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« Reply #39 on: April 27, 2009, 01:44:55 PM »
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Another point worth bringing up again, from the blog is the highlight range on film

My biggest grumble digital wise is the limited ability to cope with difficult lighting situations, and blowing out (worse with channels blowing and hues going all over the place) Now it might have got a bit better over the years, a bit that is. Fuji have put some effort in here too. But we are a long way off of that expose for shadows, smooth roll off into the highlights we get on good colour and b&w neg film. The stuff is great for this type of work. Frankly I got sick to death of digital in this respect, don't even start me off on the compacts either..really poor most of them for DR.

This is a crucial element to film photography for some, and added with the very pleasing rendition for skin tones(again colour film and mono look very different to digital), this is one reason for me, I feel film is a superior medium for these types of shots. I would add, that tonal transitions are far more subtle on film too, this is the other factor.

Digital is great for low light high ISO work, and creeping around in dim conditions, no question about that. But I leave the DSLR's in the bag for people shots, and I like the look on landscape film too, very much more appealing to my eye.

There was an interesting article on the online photographer

http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/t...pectations.html

My comments on this are, I will believe the DxO numbers when I start seeing images that don't blow out! Hit google with "blown out highlights or overexposed" and you can see what I mean. People are asking for more DR, as the highlight range isn't really very good on digital. And don't tell me I need to spend thousands to get there either!

I would also say I think the tonal element is down to mostly bayer sensors, and interpolating data, multi layered film does not have this, I think when we get to 3 layer sensors and really good DR, I might (might that is) have less reason to run to film. We are not there yet..
But I suspect digital will always be different looking to film, and that is yet another point..using a different (less popular medium) is another way to leave your own mark ;-)


Last point, you can use both mediums and enjoy them..it's not always a question of one or the other.
« Last Edit: April 27, 2009, 01:48:14 PM by barryfitzgerald » Logged
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