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Film vs Digital(113 posts) (45 voices)
I love shooting Ilford 1600 and 3200 with a Leica. You just can't reproduce the same tonal range with digital B&W. I use this setup for street shooting.
I use digital for anything else.
Love them both!
I keep my film Nikon SLR
Selling it wouldn't give me more than ~USD 200 or so.
Although I rarely use it I keep it just in case.
I have lot of slides that I would like to scan, but a scanner with Pro quality is too expensive in my country (and maybe even impossible to buy directly, I'd need to import it). And sending the slides for scanning is very expensive too, so I also keep all the negatives and slides in a box...
A pitty, I have some very good photographs that I would like to digitize, process in Photoshop and print in large size at a digital printing company. That process would give me MUCH more accuracy on the final result (according to what I want) than sending for film printing (that usually gave me just "similar" results to the original negative or slide film). Accuracy on film printing is a problem here, and more expensive than digital professional printing (for big sizes)
- One (there are lot more) of the advantages of digital photography over film: you can shoot 20 or more frames and choose the best one, with almost no cost, and see results almost INMEDIATELY after you shot it.
...I used to take lot of care when shooting on film, because every shoot was expensive (at least to me), and that concerned me everytime, everywhere. I can't imagine having only 36 exposures to shoot now!!
On digital I don't need to worry as much as on film. And that is very, very handy, useful and give lot of peace of mind and sometimes MUCH more freedom on results too, cause I try weird shoots that I never dare to do on film (I discard some of those shoots, but also get really good ones that I keep).
DIGITAL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Every time, so quick and easy
I forgot to mention:
I have to admit that B&W film shooting, and then processing it (with also the delay that it requires) by ourselves has a magic that Digital photography doesn't have
It's something magic...
Color film is pretty much complicated and sensitive to deviations in temperature when processing, so not likely to be done by the photographer. In that case Digital has all the benefits (and advantages I mentioned before)
I have to agree
There is a quality about film, which isn't re-produced in digital. Regardless of ADR (Active D-Lighting)
Film seems to kill digital for long exposures, in my opinion.
^^^If you can handle reciprocity failure correctly.
Each format, film/digital, DX/FX/Medium/Large, has their strengths and weaknesses. Photography is an art not a science. Painters didn't all switch to acrylics from oils when they were invented. Guitarists don't all play electrics over acoustics.
That said I shoot digital, but I'm a n00b. And I plan on getting into large format 4x5 very soon, eyeing a few crown graphics, probably going to shoot ilford FP4 since my girlfriend shoots film and she knows how to develop the stuff so she can probably show me how to do it myself.
(that's what she said)
Fuji Provia 100f slide film, Kodak Portra 160NC for portraits, Portra 160VC for landscapes or candids, Kodak Tmax 100 black and white.
I love to shoot 120 film in my Mamiya medium format camera, and I don't plan on abandoning it any time soon. I generally only pull out that camera in good light and weather.
gravity84, "Hi yo!" - In response to your "That's what she said"...
Anyway, I love shooting film because you stop and think when shooting film. Most people, including myself, sometimes just click away no matter what the settings are.
Also with film, you get results very different than digital. Yes, there is photoshop, but that's kinda cheating :) Negative film is way more forgiving.
I just really enjoy shooting film.
Film is nice.
But it's to complex for me, just sold my darkroom equipments.
Now I'm really fine with D40X and D2Hs.
The days of film for the mass market are definitely over.
Although having used film (colour, b/w, colour slides) until 2002 I don't look back as with the current generation of 12 to 15 MP middle-of-the-road DSLRs digital has surpassed film and has many advantages like selectable ISO from frame to frame, hundreds of frames to be stored on one single card vs. the typical 36 frames on film, RAW possibilities, instant control and... and... and...
And it definitely is no fun to scan old films and slides.
Let's look at the pros and cons. Everyone is free to add to the lists:
If you don't like the colours, change the type of film you use - no fiddling with settings
Film can be scanned under controlled conditions which migh give better results than under normal climatic conditions.
Film possibly gives better 'resolution'.
No need to 'upgrade' camera to get better results, just change film.
Film deteriorates with age.
Environmental hazard of discarded negatives.
Instant 'replay' of results
Might not have the same resolution vs. film
Environmental hazard of disposing of camera and short life time of camera (new technology)
Maybe Admin can put up a pros and cons page on this one. Would be interesting ...
Digital also poses an environmental hazard during production, not just disposal.
I would say that film grain is also more pleasing to the eye than digital noise, to me at least.
Tony, "Instant 'replay' of results" is the only advantage of digital for you? Also, "just change the film" to get different colors is hardly an advantage of film. I have far more control over colors in a digital negative than I ever did with film. Not to mention that the need to buy film at all is a disadvantage of film cameras.
At the moment, I think film has a clear advantage in terms of image quality and resolution, but only if you get the shot right to begin with, and it's not enough of an advantage that I give a damn, considering the other advantages that digital has over film. I don't think there's anything at all wrong with film photography, but as long as I live I will never go back to it because:
With Digital, I can instantly see the results and reshoot until I am 100% certain that I have the picture I want. Possibly more importantly, I can instantly show the shots to a client before a shoot is over.
In addition to instantly seeing the images themselves, I can instantly look at info like metadata and histograms to further evaluate a shot.
There's no danger of accidentally exposing your compact flash card to the light and ruining your photos. Even if I accidentally erase or format the card, I can recover the photos pretty easily with a recovery program.
The monetary cost of "processing" or "developing" digital is zero, for all intents and purposes.
There is no processing time necessary for digital photos, unless you want to do so to improve your photos further.
Since flash cards are both cheap and re-usable, the cost of "film" approaches zero, for all intents and purposes, which I means I can afford to take as many photos as I want without worrying about how much it's going to cost me.
I can fit tens of thousands of images in essentially no physical space instead of filling binders and file cabinets and boxes which take over entire rooms in my house.
I can organize my digital photos in extremely flexible ways that allow me to keyword and caption and search and find photos instantly no matter where they're stored on my hard drive instead of coming up with a complex and limiting indexing system for my prints and negatives.
The keywording and captions can be part of the digital image files themselves, so there's no danger of losing track of a photo in my indexing system. Even if I email a photo to someone else, the keywords and caption go with it, unless I choose otherwise.
If I process my digital photos badly, I can re-process them with no loss of quality.
I can make endless exact copies of my photos and distribute them as widely as I want at zero cost to myself.
I can back-up my digital photos and easily keep them in multiple locations to guard against loss. Some cameras even allow you simultaneously make images on 2 separate CF cards while you're shooting.
I can deliver a digital photo instantly to any spot on the globe via email or FTP, with no need to take the time, effort, or money it would cost to deliver a physical print or negative via mail or by carrying it physically.
I can tether my digital camera and shoot directly into my computer.
I'm more likely to take a photo with a digital camera than with a film camera, where I have to worry about too many of the above variables, so I end up with more and better photos.
Digital technology improves at a much faster rate than film technology.
Thanks to the instant feedback, you can learn about photography faster from digital than with film, where you've got to remember/write-down all of the conditions and settings you used in order to figure out the effects of various changes. I remember my boyfriend experimenting with a film camera years ago, trying to learn the effect of aperture on depth of field. By the time he got the pictures back from the lab, he couldn't remember what apertures he'd used anyway. EXIF data in digital photos contains that info automatically.
Developing film uses toxic chemicals.
Making prints from film requires specialized and expensive equipment which serves no other purpose, unlike a computer which can be used for all sorts of useful things.
Lastly, at least for me, digital is better because film doesn't fit in my D200.
I'll stop there.
I'd never shoot film again even though I know it is more quality. digital is certainly not bad.
@Davidtoc : Nice set of reasons. but most of it is argued for one in the absence of the other. Digital is here to stay but many of your arguments against film(not all) can be discounted if you scan the negatives. I have just started using film again after 8 years of using DSLRs. I am using film now as an additional medium. I agree that DSLR allows you to learn and grow as a photographer much faster than film would. But I have reached a stage where I am keen to take advantage of the positives that film provides. I wont be giving up on my DSLRs that for sure but Its really nice to see what comes out of a roll of film. I take both my film and my DSLR when I go shooting. I find that I use the DSLR as my main camera. and when I find a scene where a photograph taken with film could have the advantage I use my film camera. Usually I would take a few shots with the DSLR to confirm the settings before I use the film camera. In this way I get the best of both worlds. Another advantage of using film at this point in time is I get to use gear that was way above my budget because film gear is so cheap on the secondhand markets these days. This will probably only last a few more years.. I hope to get a few more bits in the next few months.
Oh one more thing.. The cost of Film is much cheaper than a D3x.. I will probably stop using film when I can get a DSLR for the price of a D90 with a d3x sensor in it. Wont be too long now I think .. maybe 3 years? ;-)
The fact that I could change ISO on the fly without finishing off the roll first is a great convenience for digital.
The reason I liked film was the developing and printing part. Someone early on alluded to the time spent in the darkroom as advantage. Printing film in a darkroom has certain feeling that editing an image on computer can't come close to in comparison. ... but that just might be me and a few others. As a hobby, film has some advantages, however, as a profession digital seems more practical and profitable in terms of time spent producing a product like a wedding album.
joePosted 6 years ago #
Hi, sorry for bringing this old thread but I need to know something for my college photography project. I'm trying to combine DSLR and Film photographs. But to make it interesting, I want to use each of the format's only characteristics. What I mean is that I want to use photographs that only film can produce and what DSLR can only produce. So, my question would be simply what can film camera make that DSLR can't? Since I'm very noob to film I need your help.. I wish I can experiment with it but I have no time due to other Final Exams.
So, my question would be simply what can film camera make that DSLR can't?
Depending on what limitations you do or do not place on digital, the answer is "nothing". Especially if one plays fair and compares best in class digital sensors to like-sized pieces of color film.
Film has a lot of characteristics that any single frame as captured with current DSLRs can not replicate, but within the context of the entire film workflow and the entire digital workflow, there is no characteristic that I am aware of which can not be replicated.
One of the easier ones to replicate would be the shouldering off of the exposure/density curve of film. http://www.sprawls.org/ppmi2/FILMCON/#The%20Characteristic%20Curve
One can replicate this with multiple digital shots as DSLRs are still lacking a bit in the objective measures of dynamic range.
EDIT: thought of a possibly easy one, but still what I would consider cheating.
Abuse the Bayer matrix of your digital camera with a tri-color series of straight lines just above the AA frequency of your camera. Using a macro lens would make the math much easier.
Shoot the same test target with film.
Repeat one octave up and one down in line spacing.
If I'm thinking about this right you should totally through the demosaic routines for a loop, especially if you can keep the lines at 0 or 90 degrees to the sensor.
I draged and draged out the purchase of a digital camera, sticking to my Konica Autoreflexes for over 30 years. Loved the work in the darkroom. Finally got a D700 and three lenses to start with (14-24, 50/1.4, 70-300VR). Never touched the Konicas since. The D700 is such a good machine, it was worth the wait. I miss the vinegary smell of the lab chemicals, but the post-work on the computer is fun, too, and more compatible with a glass of wine.
I always liked low-light photography. The percentage of keepers is so much better with useable ISO6400 on the D700, compared to my film days. Also: I never did colour in my darkroom. For me, colour at night is a whole new dimension.
So, my question would be simply what can film camera make that DSLR can't?
When you are talking about straight-out-of-the-camera shots, then my first bet would be star trails. I can't really speak for high-end cameras like the Dx series, but lower ones will suffer a purple hue starting from the corners originating from sensor overheating. On my old D40x this started at around 5 minutes or even less. I know that a D3x can handle a 40 minute exposure but I don't know how it would handle a 6-7 hour or even a longer one (with an external power source that is). Of course you can remedy this with interval shooting but this doesn't produce a single image.
Another one would perhaps be (correct me if I'm wrong) shooting straight into the sun. With a digital sensor you will get a light bleed (sun becomes a blob) while this does not occur on film (the sun remains round).
Can't think of anything else at the moment.
Long exposure noise reduction should cancel out the amp noise on start trails, but we'll get back to the other thing about star trails which film excels at in a moment.
I didn't think about bleed issues - that's a good one.
Back to star trails. It is exactly that which I was thinking of when I brought up the soft shoulders of film (reciprocity failure) vs. the linear response of digital. One can take advantage of the shoulder to allow the foreground (earth) to slowly saturate with star light without blowing out while the stars themselves take (relatively) forever to expose. The upper shoulder of the curve acts as a natural dynamic range compressor which can have quite a dramatic effect with long-exposure night shots.
I like the look of both for example, but film can be very costly. I spent hundreds of dollars for example this past summer on proper prints with different sizes and even did a few drum scans. I like the grain in certain black and white shots. I also love digital phototgraphy and still shoot it for most of my shots.
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