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Digital Versus Film Photography - What do you think?

This is a discussion on Digital Versus Film Photography - What do you think? within the Digital photography forums, part of the Photography & Fine art photography category; Digital Versus Film Photography - What do you think?...

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    sharyrafitari is offline Junior Member
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    Default Digital Versus Film Photography - What do you think?

    Digital Versus Film Photography - What do you think?


    Last edited by Marko; 02-09-2008 at 11:08 AM.

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    Very interesting post.

    I think many photographers seem to be 'forcing' themselves to go digital because this is where the future lies....even though for SOME applications digital cannot touch film for the quality to price ratio. For instance, let's say you are a wedding photographer and your client gets a 16x20 inch or larger print as part of their package. So far, I have not seen a digital print of that size that beats a conventional print when both shots were taken with a 35mm camera. I would be willing to bet though that there IS such a digital camera and that camera costs WAY more (3-4+ times) than a professional 35mm film camera.

    I have heard that Hasselblad (medium format) does have a digital back that is supposed to be amazing - but the cost for that back is astronomical and the price per print (especially a custom print) is more than a conventional print as well.

    On the other hand - if you keep the enlargements small (up to 8x10) I have seen prints where I could not tell if they were conventional or digital. The only aspect there is the hassle and time to get the digital prints. Well exposed conventional negs are dropped off at the lab and finito. Digital prints are usually tweaked (time=money) before you drop them off at the lab or else results aren't as good...or they custom print each one ($$$)

    If we are talking fine art - then darkroom work or Photoshop work seems similar to me in terms of both time and expense.

    So I guess there is no easy answer. It really depends on what you are shooting, the SIZE of the reproductions that you intend to make and the budget of the client or the employer. Certainly if money is no object then why not go digital. But for most people that is not realistic when it comes to the price/quality ratio.

    Personally I shoot almost exclusively film - but like so many of us I am looking into when to make the switch for certain types of work.

    Hope that helps and I'd love to hear what others have to say on this issue.

    Marko

    BTW Shary, I took a look at your site and there are some cool images. The handcoloured birds http://www.sharyphoto.ca/handcolour/1.html are beautiful!

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    ohsi is offline Junior Member
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    Default I'm prefer film but...

    The grainy mood of the film is so deeep in emotions so unique... but I have to admit that the process of digital photography is so easy.

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    Joshua Hakin is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by sharyrafitari
    In particular, shades of black and white negative absolutely cannot be reproduced by the best digital camera and printers currently available (believe me I know this from experience). Even 35mm black and white is very hard to beat by digital.

    Hmm... I would have agreed with you at one time but not now.
    If you shoot digital in jpeg mode you are absolutely right.
    You need to shoot RAW and know how to process it properly, the same as you need to know how to process bw film to get the best out of it.
    I just upgraded to the new K10D from Pentax and I am blown away but its "film-like qualities" and tonal range. I am able to get the look I always got from Tmax100
    I posted some samples here on this forum a few weeks ago.
    Hard to tell in the web versions just how much detail and tonal quality is there.
    BUT one thing I still do with all my digital images is use Film Grain in photoshop. I usually use a setting of Grain=1/Highlight=0/Intensity=0
    I add this grain BEFORE I do any contrast adjustments.
    Adding grain along with the proper processing of RAW images does an incredible job.

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    Times have changed so quickly, you're right. Now labs that print the pro stuff are all going digital as well. The whole process has changed, and it's changed my opinion. Recently I purchased a digital camera and I'm amazed by the sharpness and quality. For most applications now I shoot digital.

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    tegan is offline Senior Member
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    Default digital vs film

    My first post, but I use both film and digital extensively.

    Film handles colour better than digital, as in more colours, better saturation, and less contrast. Somewhat surprisingly Kodak Gold in Popular Photography tested out as the best print film with more resolution than all digital cameras. On the negative(pun) side, colour slide film does not often print out with a quality close to digital.

    Digital cameras have the advantage of instant pre and_or post preview, a lot more in-camera control and considerable postprocessing options. Among the disadvantages are shutter lag, flare and noticeable lens defficiencies such as barrel distortion, the need for a tripod or steadier hand as well as the requirement for considerable skill in postprocessing.

    You cannot really talk about which is better because they are quite a bit different. You cannot even talk about which is easier to use, because they require different skills.

    Once I discover the size and space restrictions on individual photos on this site, I will post some.

    Tegan

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    Joshua Hakin is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tegan
    Among the disadvantages are shutter lag, flare and noticeable lens defficiencies such as barrel distortion, the need for a tripod or steadier hand
    ??????????????????????????????
    You are really gonna have to explain this one!


    P.S.- shutter lag.... only on digi point-n-shoots

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    tegan is offline Senior Member
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    Default Digital vs film

    Shutter lag tends to be longer on the point and shoots, but it is also present on the EVFs or Super Zooms and much less noticeable but still present even on many DSLRs. As to flare, with film cameras a lens hood was suggested but often ignored with no problems for almost all shots. With digital I have seen lens flare on even professional work when the photographer did not have a hood on the end. As to barrel distortion, shooting with a film camera and a 28mm wide angle lens very seldom has led to distortion of the sides of buildings for example. Shooting with the same lens on a digital camera has produced some interesting leans on the buildings. Viewing architectural work of others shooting digital and wide angle has shown the same kind of distortion and greater than that with film.

    Tegan

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    tegan is offline Senior Member
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    Default tripod

    Quote Originally Posted by Joshua Hakin
    ??????????????????????????????
    You are really gonna have to explain this one!


    P.S.- shutter lag.... only on digi point-n-shoots
    Covered the others but forgot that one. I can only talk about personal experience but I did one shot with a film camera handheld from the top of a building on a catwalk at one eighth of a second handheld. From slide, it blew up to a 16 by 20 print with excellent quality. On the other hand, in digital, I have had some handheld soft shots at one sixtieth of a second.

    Tegan

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    Joshua Hakin is offline Junior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by tegan
    With digital I have seen lens flare on even professional work when the photographer did not have a hood on the end. As to barrel distortion, shooting with a film camera and a 28mm wide angle lens very seldom has led to distortion of the sides of buildings for example. Shooting with the same lens on a digital camera has produced some interesting leans on the buildings.
    Tegan
    I still don't see how a lens optical quality could possibly barrel more on digital than film. If a 28mm produces barreling on a digital that same lens will barrel exactly the same amount on a film body. The optical structure of a lens does not alter when you put it on a digital body. Flare is the same thing... if a lens produces flare it will do so no matter whether there's a sensor behind or film.
    And how is digital more susceptible to "non-steady hands" than film?

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