5 Reasons to Shoot Film -- Popular Photograghy Article

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by Summer Wind, Dec 27, 2006.

  1. 4 problems with that test. firstly, Kodak Gold 200 is pretty universally
    recognised among film shooters as a pretty low-end film. The only people
    who use Gold 200 are people who pick up film in supermarkets. Do the
    test with Reala and the results would very likely be very different.
    Secondly, there is no indication that the film has reached it's maximum
    exposure in the highlights. Most colour neg films will happily go to +2
    stops of overexposure and give a very printable image. The only way to
    properly test is to keep ramping up exposure until highlights just get
    lost. It is a fact of life that colour neg has more headroom for
    overexposure, while (most) digital has more room for under-exposure.
    Thirdly, what is being compared here is NOT the image captured by the
    film, but a digital scan of the film. Different scanning would likely
    show a different result - i'm sure it still wouldn't show the film
    better than the digital, but very likely could show the film better than
    it has in this test. I've got slides that have clearly visible highlight
    and shadow details when projected, but as yet I haven't managed to get
    that detail into a scan - I've used frontiers, Epson scanners, and a
    Nikon scanner.
    Finally, he has compared a 1Dmk2 - one of the most expensive digital
    cameras on the market (excluding digital backs etc), to Kodak Gold 200,
    pretty much the cheapest film on the market. I wonder how a 400D, with
    it's much smaller sensels would compare. How can you take a top-line
    digital camera, compare it against bottom-line film, and say that this
    conclusively proves digital is better than film? All it proves is that
    THAT digital camera is better than that film. Having bought a 3 pack of
    Gold 200 some time back because it was all I could get, and throwing the
    other 2 rolls in the bin once I saw the result of the 1st roll, I could
    have told him that digital is better than that film, without having to
    do tests.
    While not a DSLR, my S2IS is what was a high-end compact at the time it
    was new. I have shots taken seconds apart on slide and the digital - the
    digital has lost highlights, and ramping up the shadows shows disgusting
    noise. The scan of the slide has kept the highlights and ramping up the
    shadows shows disgusting noise but still with better shadow detail than
    the S2IS image. Project the slide and it's even better. You can't use a
    side by side comparison of one digital camera and one neg film to say
    that ALL digital is better than film. Some digitals are, a lot aren't.
    Graham Fountain, Dec 29, 2006
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  2. I cannot imagine that M8 buyers just buy the M8 because they happen
    to have a few lenses. And then there is the 1.3x crop as well.

    The stories are usually about the magical qualities of the Leica glass,
    or the unique aspects of using a rangefinder.
    I think that the digital back for the Leica R also lacks an AA filter.
    And people do unexpectedly end up with aliasing problems.
    Philip Homburg, Dec 29, 2006
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  3. Summer Wind

    Scott W Guest

    Well for what is is worth I also find I am getting more range from my
    digitals then when I was shooting film. As for slides I have never
    seen anything more then about 5 stops of range from slides, are you
    saying you are getting more range then this, if so what film? It is
    pretty easy to look at the transfer curves for slide film and see just
    how limited it really is.

    What I have found is that shooting with either negatives or digital I
    normally have more then enough range, shooting with slides will often
    be enough range as long as I don't try any dodging or burning and I
    nailed the exposure.

    Scott W, Dec 29, 2006
  4. Summer Wind

    Scott W Guest

    Oh I am not saying that there won't be aliasing problems, but right now
    they are minor compared to some of the other problems.

    The aliasing problems will not hit all that often but when they do they
    can be a real problem. If you are simple taking photos to enjoy no big
    deal because not that many photos will get hit by it. But if you are
    doing something like shooting wedding with an M8, where there are some
    images that you have to have come out right, then you might have a
    problem. I can't just see it where the photographer has to approve
    the clothes that everyone will be wearing, to avoid those nasty
    patterns that can cause so much grief.

    Scott W, Dec 29, 2006
  5. I recently read a story where a photographer normally used a digital
    module R in a studio with a flash that was way too powerful. As a
    result he usually stopped down far enough that diffraction avoided
    most aliasing. Imagine his surprise when he did a shoot in a different
    studio with a proper flash...
    Philip Homburg, Dec 29, 2006
  6. Summer Wind

    Peter Irwin Guest

    It is certainly possible, but you would have to be a very
    bad guesser or have an automatic diaphragm which was stuck
    wide open.
    I don't know what is wrong with Roger's test, but it contradicts
    the manufacturers' data sheets which tend to show a range
    of 11 stops or more for negative film and it is also impossible
    to square with the success of box cameras and disposable cameras
    using a single exposure for a wide range of conditions.

    You can stick 400 or 800 speed negative film in a camera,
    leave the settings at 1/125s f/11 and then shoot everything
    from a beach in bright sunlight to a day with light grey skies
    or a clear day in the shade. This is done every day by millions of
    people with disposable cameras.

    Peter Irwin, Dec 29, 2006
  7. It's varied greatly over the past few years. In Florida, I
    unfortunately shot more weddings than wildlife, but those were paid for
    by the clients. Right now it's probably about 30 rolls or so.

    Depends on the subject matter. I think my average is roughly 75%.

    Since I never felt any need whatsoever to endlessly shoot my dogs,
    I think I'll stick with computing the cost in regards to the keepers that
    I can market, rather than how much I could waste by shooting what you

    But funny, you seem to have missed the prime question right smack
    in the middle of all this. How much have you spent, Bret? Put your mouth
    where your money is.

    Or if you would prefer, I'll tell you what I've seen from every
    digital shooter I've had any experience with (and that includes right
    here on this group).

    Let's start with about $1400 for the camera body, since practically
    nobody waits for the price to come down (least of all you). Now, add in
    memory, batteries, and sundries for the camera alone - new bags and
    hardcases and stuff like that, not including lenses. Figure anywhere from
    $200 to $800.

    Now add the upgrades to the computer system to handle the images -
    internal or external harddrive(s), CD or DVD burners, card readers, or
    sometimes just a whole new computer, which might be a laptop so you can
    unload while traveling. $200 up to about $2500.

    Kit lens? Need an ultra-wide to reach wide-angle? $150 to $700,
    more for the "good glass" that of course is needed for the magnificent
    detail that digital gives you. But we'll leave it there.

    So, let's see, going digital can cost you anywheres from $1950 to
    $5400 for those free photos.

    And we haven't touched on inkjet printing, time spent in front of
    the computer, editing software, and that real biggie, HOLY SHIT THERE'S A

    That's called calculating actual cost-effectiveness. Now we can all
    see why you shoot a couple hundred thousand images - it might bring the
    cost down enough for you to feel good about it.

    Just don't ask anyone else the value of the shots...

    Well, let's see here - I own three film scanners, one of which I'm
    pretty sure I purchased before you got your 1V, I can rip your ass clean
    off in photo editing, I teach software usage on a regular basis, and I've
    worked for the past 15 years or so as unofficial IT and tech support in
    every position I've held, including network and database admin. So yeah,
    that's me, the luddite. Got it in one, you sharp cookie, you.

    Bitter? Nah, that's what's called "annoyed," specifically at
    watching the newsgroup degenerate into loudmouthed masturbation instead
    of useful posts from people who have actually tried something.

    So why are you so defensive about digital?

    Hmm, haven't heard anyone tell me my pics sucked in a long time.
    Come to think of it, it was the last person I spanked on the newsgroup
    when they were talking out of their ass. Think there's a pattern?

    If I call you "Glenn," trust me, that's just a slip. Nothing meant
    by it.


    - Al.
    Al Denelsbeck, Dec 29, 2006
  8. Summer Wind

    Scott W Guest

    You are missing one very important part of the cost equation, the time
    it takes to scan the film. Call it what 5 minutes / image and call it
    30 rolls of 36 exposure? So we are looking at something like 90 hours
    of scanning. Now I don't know how much you value your time but 90
    hours is worth a fair bit to me and I can buy a lot of gear for that.

    Scott W, Dec 29, 2006
  9. Summer Wind

    TheDave© Guest

    This is just me, but since I shoot both (digital more often, though) I
    can say that I tend to get sloppy and lazy with digital. For example,
    I bracket "just because" knowing that it can easily be tossed, and so

    With film, I am much more careful and thoughtful about what I'm doing,
    not only in terms of the process and the settings but also in terms of
    the subject matter... and the results show it.

    That being said, I love the instant feedback, and histograms and such,
    that digital offers. On the flip side again, film does seem to be more
    fun and challenging, IMHO.
    This is exactly why I can't get excited about the cost arguments
    anymore. It seems like it doesn't really matter. For the most part,
    you're spending money on different stuff, but you're still spending
    TheDave©, Dec 29, 2006
  10. Summer Wind

    Scott W Guest

    Gee I was taught to bracket over 35 years ago, those people that did
    not bracket in tricky light were the lazy ones. And when we were all
    doing optical prints you really wanted to get the negative right since
    there was no saving it with Photoshop. I would say if digital has
    gotten you to bracket more you have pickup up a good habit.
    And this is the part I harp on people about, what seems like the grab
    shots now will likely have the most value to you in 20 to 30 years.
    When you become selective about your subject matter what are you
    selecting out that you might have wished later you had captured?

    Scott W, Dec 29, 2006
  11. Summer Wind

    Colin_D Guest

    Learn to read, Chris. Your claim of my terror is directly contradictory
    to my last para. above. I can use film as well as anyone, as well as
    high-end film slr cameras, all the way from a Spotmatic to my erstwhile
    EOS 10 - the second best Canon when it came out, plus a handful of
    lenses. As for harassing film users, I have *never* started a thread of
    this nature. I have retaliated against statements made by people like
    yourself who jump into threads when they see an opportunity to take a
    unwarranted swipe at the digital fraternity.
    The pathological bit is more applicable to your grabbing at any straws
    you think you can attack digital users with.
    Jesus. Are you off your meds again?
    As I have said more than once, a Luddite is *not* one who uses film or
    chooses to use film. It's a free country, more or less, at least mine
    is. {:)

    Definition: A (film) Luddite is one who *attacks* digital users; who
    issues claims that digital photography cannot compare with film for
    dynamic range, image quality, etc.; who denigrates and makes snide and
    disparaging remarks to and about digital users, who dreams up fanciful
    reasons why digital is all bad and film is all good, who badmouths
    perfectly good images offered for viewing by digital photographers, and
    so on.

    Funny, that about sums you up there, Chris.
    Perfectly reasonable. There has to be a good side somewhere.
    Moan, I don't. Retaliate, I do. And as far as offensive posts go, you
    are the champion at this time. There are number of posters who have
    taken you to task about this, and you know it.

    Now, that last phrase is low, even for you. It shows the depth of your
    antagonism, because you are unable to adequately sustain your position
    in this discussion.

    A decent person would apologize for a remark like that, probably made in
    the heat of the moment. But an apology from you, I won't hold my breath.

    Colin D.
    Colin_D, Dec 30, 2006
  12. Summer Wind

    Colin_D Guest

    I didn't say that. But I agree with most of what he says, because I
    think the same way, largely.

    Colin D.
    Colin_D, Dec 30, 2006
  13. Summer Wind

    Annika1980 Guest

    You're either the greatest photographer in the world or else your
    standards aren't very high.
    We've seen your pics so that mystery has been solved.


    To tell you the truth, I don't know and I don't wanna know.
    Photography is a hobby for me, not a business, so I don't look at it
    that way. I still shoot the occasional roll of slide film, but if I did
    this professionally I would never shoot film.

    I'm spending much less than I was shooting film, even after all the
    costs have been figured in. My 1V cost more than my 20D, about $2K if I
    recall correctly. So I'm sure you'll want to add that to my film
    When I switched to digital I calculated that it would pay for itself in
    only a year or two with the savings from what I was spending on film
    processing. After that period, shooting digital was essentially free.
    I used my Totally Digital D60 for longer than that before getting the
    20D. I got my 20D on 9/17/04 so I've used it for over two years now as
    Looks like it's about time for another upgrade.

    As for the other costs you mentioned, all my lenses work on both my
    DSLRs and my 1V so that's a wash. And I've had computers a lot longer
    than I've been shooting pics so that really isn't an issue either. I
    was using Photoshop even back when I was a film shooter so you can't
    just lay that cost on digital. My camera bag was purchased for my 1V
    .... yet another film cost. Same goes for my printers which I would
    have used even if I'd stuck with film.

    I've also bought two film scanners ... heck, I could've bought a 30D
    for what those babies cost. Not to mention the hours spent scanning.

    My point is that most of the stuff I own now I'd have bought for either
    film or digital. The only thing you can really compare are the intial
    costs of the bodies / memory cards / batteries / and processing costs.
    I can buy a new digital body every 2-3 years and still come out ahead
    on what I was spending on film + processing.

    Yeah, and I'd kick your ass in golf so what's your point? You've just
    proven you're an old film luddite. You are entrenched in it. As for
    ripping my ass off in photo editing, let's see some examples.
    Otherwise, you're just all hat and no cattle.
    Annika1980, Dec 30, 2006
  14. Heh heh. I'll agree with that, but not on exactly what the
    problems are! (Whatever, lets not lose sight of the fact that
    my point actually is that film does *not* have 11 f/stops of
    dynamic range, and that it is not better in that respect than
    current digital sensor technology. But, film is not
    significantly worse either.)
    That is not a valid criticism. The charts show one example.
    Roger Clark gives a (huge) variety of data on a number of
    topics, and as should be clear from the discussion he provided
    those results can be interpolated for other films and other
    digital cameras. It was not meant to be an all inclusive study
    of film and digital dynamic range issues.

    If you believe that another film would give more dynamic range,
    please provide comparisons between the manufacturer's data that
    demonstrate it. (I don't know that there is or not, but doubt
    that you'll find more than 1 f/stop difference in any typically
    used film.)
    Look at the charts. The top end is *flat* for all three.
    I cannot see that as valid either! No matter how you want to go
    about measuring the film density, it will amount to exactly the
    same thing as scanning it digitally.
    Since the common method of printing today is via digital
    scanning, I'm not sure that your point is valid. But if we
    accept that it is, how much difference do you think it makes?

    And what are you seeing as "clearly visible" detail? The human
    vision system can see right through a lot of "noise". We also
    often tend to see noise as detail...

    I'm not sure what is appropriate.
    I don't think your criticism of the film chosen is valid. If it
    is, you can demonstrate that other films have higher dynamic

    Use of the Canon 1d Mark II has no significance at all.
    Comparative values are available from several sources to
    indicated differences between various digital cameras. This URL
    has a list that Roger Clark put together (see Table 3).

    Well, I wouldn't say that one can't draw some wrong conclusions
    from the web page that I originally cited, not so much because
    anything Roger Clark did or said was wrong, but just that he
    didn't explain everything possible, and perhaps did leave out a
    couple of important points.

    One is that while the digital camera may be getting what is
    measured at 10 or 11 f/stops of dynamic range, it simply is
    *not* usable! The figures used for film appear to actually be
    something close to the usable range. That isn't really a fair

    The highlights are compared fairly. But in the shadows the
    listed dynamic range has a lower end chosen according to when
    the noise becomes excessive, and it does show up on the chart
    in the same way it would on a print, so the numbers are valid.

    But the digital data goes right down to where it is being
    expressed with too few bits to be useful. The eye can detect
    four levels within an f/stop range (i.e., posterization), and
    therefore the low end of the useful dynamic range is generally
    considered the f/stop that has 8 levels, which with a 12 bit
    linear format means that data from the camera *cannot* have a
    useful dynamic range greater than 9 f/stops.

    And 9 f/stops also assumes precisely correct exposure to put the
    highlights right at maximum values. In practice, it is probably
    unlikely that most exposures have more than 8 f/stops of dynamic

    And of course it is also true that (as you are hinting at in
    regard to the use of Kodak Gold 200) Roger Clark even mentions
    in the article that if equal care is given to exposure and
    processing of film it is likely to get a bit over 8 f/stops,
    which might be missed because he doesn't exactly highlight that

    Whatever, obviously I do not think film will provide anything
    like 11 f/stops of useful dynamic range, but I don't think that
    digital cameras do either. A good digital image is probably
    just about equal to a good film image. Both can be less than
    optimal too...
    Floyd L. Davidson, Dec 30, 2006
  15. He used the "useful" dynamic range for film, cutting off the low
    end at the point where noise becomes excessive. He does discuss
    that too, though perhaps the signficance isn't obvious.
    But you won't get an 11 f/stop dynamic range...
    Floyd L. Davidson, Dec 30, 2006
  16. Summer Wind

    Summer Wind Guest

    Ah, so Annika is now the spokeswoman for digi-cam users..
    Why do you post in a film newsgroup?

    Summer Wind, Dec 30, 2006
  17. Summer Wind

    Summer Wind Guest

    I don't scan every frame on a roll and I doubt many film photographers do.
    I have my print film one-hour processed and scanned to CD at a cost of about
    $5.00 per roll with no prints. If I want to print a 4X6 of a particular
    image on my Epson R1800, the scan on the CD will usually do, although I
    typically don't make prints that small. I only scan the frames I want to
    print larger than 4X6. I have the same "print only the images you want"
    advantage of digital capture. The lab CD scans are fine for e-mailing and

    Summer Wind, Dec 30, 2006
  18. Summer Wind

    TheDave© Guest

    I bracket with film sometimes, also, just not as much. I wasn't trying
    to imply that bracketing was a bad habit, not at all. It's extremely
    useful, and actually a good habit to have as a safety net, so to speak.
    I was using that as an example that I tend to think about what I'm
    doing less when shooting digital than I do when shooting film, and
    bracketing even more, as a result of that because it's essentially free.

    Regardless of why, I do believe that thinking about what you're doing
    does in fact make one a "better" photographer.
    I can't disagree with that. Many of my best shots have been
    afterthoughts or last minute "add-ons" either to finish off a roll of
    film or at the end of a shoot.
    TheDave©, Dec 30, 2006
  19. I have shot backlit sceneries on 400 ASA-color negative film, with a
    multicoated lens, the exposure set on the shadows (and an unreliable
    shutter in my Pentacon Six), against the sun and could still see the
    halo around the sun in the raw scan of the presumably overexposed
    negative. The long dynamic range of negative film is however reduced
    during printing to enhance visual contrast. Most color negative films
    will reach density saturation only at about 3 logs (= 1/1000 residual
    transmittance) above minimum, which isn't however shown on most data
    sheets. With a gradation of ~ 0,7, this corresponds to > 4 logs of
    exposure range and ~ 14 f-stops, of which at least 10 may be usable.
    Dr. Heinz Anderle, Dec 30, 2006
  20. Summer Wind

    Colin_D Guest

    Here we go yet again, for the umpteenth time. I've lost count of the
    times I've had to point this out to new posters, as I believe you are.

    This group *is not* a film group.

    This group is rec.photo.equipment.35mm

    That means, a recreational group concerned with photographic *equipment*
    allied to 35mm cameras. Digital cameras are allied to 35mm cameras, an
    evolutionary development of compacts and slrs to use digital means of
    image capture, as an alternative to film. Digital cameras utilize
    bodies developed from 35mm bodies, and digital cameras use the same
    lenses as film cameras.

    Nowhere does the title, or the charter, refer to film only.

    Further, since images are the logical - and only - output of both film
    and digital cameras, they are included in legitimate on-topic subjects
    for discussion and viewing. Since this is not a binary group, images
    must be shown via a link, and practically everybody who shows images
    does this.

    Annika is by far the most prolific in posting images for the group's
    entertainment. Some are not so good, some are good, and some are just
    excellent - but they are all interesting (except to some film Luddites
    who cannot stand to look at a digital image). {:)

    Colin D.
    Colin_D, Dec 30, 2006
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