Wednesday, October 14. 2009
Professional photographer Elizabeth Etienne weighs in on the difference between film and digital:
Here is my explanation plain and simple: Film looks like "film" and digital looks, well... "digital". There is a difference. I use film primarily for several reasons listed below. However, digital is also used in low light situations and as an additional back up during certain shooting situations. If you like the moody tones of the sepia tone black and whites on my website it's because that was shot on "FILM"!
Continue reading "Elizabeth Etienne on Film vs Digital"
The Brothers Wright wring out differences between film and digital on their Twin Lens Life blog, itself a small bibliography on the issue:
So many people have naive misconceptions about film and digital and what they have to offer to photography. Almost every comparison online shows unfair samples of digital captures with full control in RAW, against inferior scans or prints from inferior film stocks. And any editorial publication has a vested interest to sell the product that is lining the pockets of the manufacturers financing their distribution....So we felt obliged to balance the scales, to show a controlled study focusing on the suppressed advantages of analog capture.
Continue reading "Digital vs. Film (The Real Deal) - Nikon D300 vs. Fuji GS645s"
Saturday, September 13. 2008
[D]ynamic range is one of the most misunderstood concepts out there. It's not that people misunderstand what it is in the abstract; rather, it is the practical application to photography that seems to be the hangup.
- Dante Stella
Dynamic Range (DR) is itself a confusing issue and comparisons of DR between film and digital take this confusion to a whole new level. Some very credible references declare the digicam the winner in this regard; others just as firmly stand behind film. So, does film have more DR than digital or not?
This question turns out to be more complicated than it sounds. Any blanket claims that "digital has greater DR than film," or vice-versa, are not useful as they gloss over the many technical differences between film and digital photography. Any responsible comparison must consider:
Continue reading "Real World Test: Kodak Gold 200 vs Nikon D60 Dynamic Range"
Saturday, October 21. 2006
Photographer and essayist Oleg Novikov owns a DSLR but finds film offers a "fundamentally different driving experiences." Here he explains how the explorative experience of shooting leads him to use film for serious work:
What should matter to an artist or someone who at least has artistic aspirations is whether the overall workflow dictated by the medium, film or digital, as well as the character of the final outcome, stimulates his artistic intentions and creativity.
[T]o take full advantage [of digicam files] one has to be quite knowledgeable about colour science and very experienced with RAW converter software, as well as spend a lot of time in front of the computer monitor....With (colour slide) film, on the other hand, one gets perfect colours straight away [because] Fujifilm and Kodak spent decades improving and fine-tuning colour reproduction of their films.
There also are other technical aspects such as archivability and its reliability, dynamic range, capturing long exposures, viewfinder size of DSLRs with APS-sized censors, etc., where film is still very appealing.
Continue reading "Oleg Novikov on the film vs. digital issue"
When professional photographer Henry Butz says today's digital cameras "don't do black and white" he doesn't mean they can't produce b&w images, just that they don't offer the dynamic range of b&w film:
Digital cameras are really coming into their own. Although it would take 11 million pixels to approximate the film size of a 35mm negative, today's 5 and 6 megapixel cameras are very impressive. But, they don't do black and white.
It might surprise some people that B/W film is just as sensitive to color as color film, perhaps even more so. Not only does B/W film capture the visible light spectrum, but it can also capture infrared and ultraviolet light as well. Color digital cameras closely mimic color film technology. Color film has red, green, and blue sensitive layers. Digital cameras have red, green, and blue sensitive CCD's (or other similar device) which reports color with digital values.
Continue reading "Two-dollar roll of film better than $3,000 digital camera"
Thursday, October 5. 2006
Film and digital each has its merits and one or the other is generally better for a given purpose. However, some advocate film OR digital absolutely. Don't trust them! Ken Rockwell helps you navigate the tradeoffs between film and digital imaging at his Film vs. Digital page:
Convenience has always won out over ultimate quality throughout the history of photography....As the years roll on the ultimate quality obtained in each smaller medium drops, while the average results obtained by everyone climbs....In 1940 normal people got fuzzy snaps from their Brownies and flashbulbs while artists got incredible results on 8 x 10" film. Today artists still mess with 4 x 5" cameras and normal people are getting the best photos they ever have on 3 MP digital cameras printed at the local photo lab.
Here is the biggest difference between film and digital. Just as one film looks different from another, digital looks very different from any film. Either you like it or you don't. Film is the result of over 100 years of refinement. Digital is just starting out. Pixel count is just a secondary issue.
Continue reading "Neither film nor digital is better on an absolute basis"
Wednesday, December 28. 2005
In Digital Myths and Realities, professional photographer Darwin Wigget, editor-in-chief of Photo Life magazine, writes:
Read any print or online photography magazine and you’d think that digital photo capture is the ‘second coming’ – that photographic history will now be divided into BD (before digital) and AD (after digital). And that AD is the era of creative enlightenment....Recently, I read this quote from a digital photo guru, “Photographers who continue to shoot with film are committing professional suicide”.
Continue reading "Digital Myths and Realities"
Monday, December 5. 2005
In The Dark Side of Digital Today, professional photographer and writer Dean M. Chriss offers some perspective on the "digital revolution:"
Many would have you believe digital image capture will solve every photographic problem you have ever had, seen, or imagined. There is a fairly good reason for this, and it's called money....Photography magazines certainly won't tell you the shortcomings of the technology being pushed by their advertisers. All of this feeds those who make a bundle offering "digital" classes and workshops. Who could blame them for not publicizing the shortfalls of going digital?
Continue reading "The Dark Side of Digital Today"
Wednesday, November 9. 2005
In this concise buyer's guide, Fazal Majid examines the impact of increasing megapixel capacities on consumer digital cameras. He concludes that more megapixels actually degrade image quality in all but ideal lighting conditions:
The problem is, as most consumers are fixated on megapixels, many camera manufacturers are deliberately cramming too many pixels in too little silicon real estate just to have megapixel ratings that look good on paper.
Continue reading "The megapixel myth - a pixel too far?"
Tuesday, September 13. 2005
Poor Dante Stella. A serious traditional film and darkroom photographer, he keeps going out to buy a digital camera, and keeps coming home empty handed. In this article he tells why:
[I]n many contexts, digital seems to have shifted the burden of post-processing to the photographer. With analog materials, this burden (getting to the proof stage) rested on laboratories, which were expected to be good at outputting. Lab services could be expensed by the media or passed through to the customer with portrait shooting....Digital has pushed this "workflow" back into the lap of the photographer.
Continue reading "Digital? Maybe later."
Monday, August 22. 2005
K B Camera has published Film -vs- Digital: Which is right for me?:
Low Light & Latitude
Continue reading "Film -vs- Digital: Which is right for me?"
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