35mm SLR image compared to a sub 35mm DSLR image

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by [email protected], Jun 20, 2005.

  1. How do you compare digital to film? Do you make a negative from a digital
    file and then print it or do you scan a negative and compare it to a digital

    Sadly there is no way to fairly compare the two other than with final
    prints, each produced in the most favourable way for the medium it
    represents. Certainly comparisons made for the Internet are biased. This one
    is biased towards digital because I converted a continuous tone negative to
    a digital file. Something that cannot produce the very best final print

    To produce a fantastic print, 24"x36" from a 35mm colour negative is not an
    easy task. Certainly not one which can be achieved by scanning the film and
    just expecting it will enlarge to anywhere near the size a digital file

    Not long ago I carried out some experiments with film to see what I could
    achieve, given that my digital enlargement algorithm can blow up a digital
    file to proportions not previously considered practical from a sub 35mm size
    source. What do you think?

    I point out now that by using a relatively complicate technique, I can
    produce a quite good print with minimal grain and fairly well defined detail
    from a 35mm film but this is not something the average photographer could
    do. The results in these examples are what an average photographer can
    expect with available gear.

    [email protected], Jun 20, 2005
    1. Advertisements

  2. Ryadia@home

    birdman Guest

    Film processed at K-mart versus what?
    Anything coming off a digital camera sensor goes through more computer
    processing than Nasa had at its command for the Apollo moon shot. What you
    describe as minimal manipulation of the digital image is a very complex,
    computer intensive process.
    To my jaundiced eye what you are showing in your sectional enlargements,
    which likely would not be visible in a print, is the typical digital
    artifact: no apparent grain but no real detail either. This is thought to be
    "better" than film by most, therefore whether it is or not hardly matters.
    birdman, Jun 20, 2005
    1. Advertisements

  3. An utterly worthless comparison. Waste of time!
    uraniumcommittee, Jun 20, 2005
  4. Ryadia@home

    HvdV Guest

    [email protected] wrote:
    Care to explain what it is you did?

    -- Hans
    HvdV, Jun 20, 2005
  5. Ryadia@home

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Good afternoon Douglas,

    I did make a few "negatives" from digital files, and then used them to make
    contact prints. That was from what I learned years ago from Dan Burkholder.
    However, at the time the method was only useful for B/W contact prints. I now
    know a method to apply the same ideas to colour prints, specifically carbro
    prints, but the costs and difficulties are quite high. The results are beyond
    most other method results, except larger large format contact prints. The
    contact negative is created (output) using an imagesetter that gives a dithered
    pattern at 2400 dpi. There is a minor amount of diffusion due to the thickness
    of the negative, though this keeps any dots from appearing in the final print,
    making it continuous tone just like an enlarged B/W print.

    I find that unless it is B/W film, I get better results from using
    transparencies. That includes scanning and printing. Colour negative films are
    the big sellers, and much more popular, though I rarely ever use them.

    I did a comparison of sorts, mostly launched by a few inquiries, and the
    printed images you sent to me. Those comments are at:


    Two articles there. Both are relevant to this discussion, and to each other.
    I agree. Without final prints, there is a bias to screen display, a situation
    in which problems scanning film become more apparent.
    Agreed, getting the best involves some skill. However, few people print that
    large often. Those that do often seek out the services of a professional. The
    few that do this on their own on a regular basis either own imaging businesses,
    or have many thousands of dollars, and hundreds of hours, in getting high
    quality results. There are also good commercial businesses that do this, and
    there are many not so good businesses.
    I think four years of marriage seems to have put some lines in her face. Other
    than that, I would guess the original negative must have been from a disposable
    camera, since it is the worst one I have ever seen. I have never personally
    scanned anything on film that ever looked that bad, including some really old
    Kodak ISO 1000 negative film.
    We all know that just buying some particular gear is no guarantee of quality.
    Even really expensive gear requires some skill, experience, and effort to
    produce technically good images. Beyond that, the more important issue in most
    photos is the compelling nature of the content.

    To answer your original question, I should point out that my articles generated
    some questions. When really pushed on the matter, considering equal printing
    methods, my feeling is that the most difference on a print (just resolution)
    would be maybe a 1 or 2 lp/mm advantage to the best techniques used with film.
    However, I still see a colour advantage to film, though that is largely not an
    issue in portrait photography for most photographers.

    Convenience is more of a reason for some people to go all direct digital
    imaging. The choice of film can be a creative choice, something that might mean
    more than technical issues.


    Gordon Moat
    A G Studio
    Gordon Moat, Jun 20, 2005
  6. I recently re-purchased some film cameras I had earlier sold in the (false)
    belief my photography would be "better" with digital. I can now quantify
    that by saying my 'event' photography is more profitable with digital but
    certainly the images I took up to the time I changed to digital are nice to
    look at and artistically more appealing than any I have talked since.

    At a recent exhibition I held, I sold mainly prints from my film images. The
    comments heard from some people seem to suggest that digital is too vivid,
    too artificially sharp and does not record faithful colours. I still plan to
    use digital for weddings and events but there is most definitely still a
    place in my business for film.

    [email protected], Jun 20, 2005
  7. Ryadia@home

    Jester Guest

    Jester, Jun 20, 2005
  8. [email protected] wrote:
    That's a function of how those particular images were processed and
    subsequently perceived, not a condemnation of digital as its own domain.
    Not that getting properly saturated, sharpened and color-balanced images
    is a piece of cake, but it's not entirely difficult, either.

    I still plan to
    And well there should be given your type of business.
    John McWilliams, Jun 21, 2005
  9. Ryadia@home

    doug Guest

    I agree that de-noising the image is possible however I did not apply
    any processing other than to scan the film to either image.

    If I were to make a 8x10, continious tone, chemical print from the film
    and then scan taht print, I could interpolate it without the horrible
    noise/grain produced during a scan of the negative and therefore, come
    close to equaling the images.

    The point of this exercise was not to demonstrate a technique for
    enlarging and printing negatives without chemicals but to show how
    imbalanced and biased attempting to compare the two mediums has become.

    Douglas on a different PC.
    doug, Jun 21, 2005
  10. Ryadia@home

    Gordon Moat Guest

    Something funny about the "film look", but people do tend to notice sometimes.
    One very prominent professional photographer was just interviewed about his
    decision to return to using film cameras:


    Nice article. Of course, he also still uses direct digital cameras. The World
    Press Photo annual saw more film based entries this year than the previous
    year, though direct digital was by far the dominant form.
    Gordon Moat, Jun 21, 2005
  11. Ryadia@home

    Jester Guest

    doug napisa³(a):
    I did it because I wonder WHAT was under this noise.

    Jester, Jun 21, 2005
  12. Yes, Some might get the shits with you posting their images but I think your
    purpose was valid. I have a good, sharp print of that original film image at
    4"x6" and no doubt it will go higher but I don't have orders for them so I
    won't continue with it.

    The singular best technique to make a large print from a 35mm image is the
    firstly make a small, sharp print on matt or gloss paper with a continious
    tone printer (not dye-sub) and scan that on a flat bed scanner. Even an
    8"x11" print. Using the scanned file to interpolate up to the size you seek.
    Very good (where excellent is the best) quality can be achieved.

    [email protected], Jun 21, 2005
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.