Film vs. Digital reminds me of the Tube vs. Solid State debate in audio circles

Discussion in 'Photography' started by richardsfault, Jul 23, 2004.

  1. Could the difference between film and digital not only be megapixels
    but the "look" in a vauge sense?

    If any of you are guitar players, you know that it is widely believed
    that tubes are superior in guitar amplifiers. They may not be as good
    as solid state based on hard measurments, but they may be better
    sounding or more pleasing to the ear, with that advantage very likely
    resulting from a technical inferiority, i.e., "good" distrortion.

    Does anyone see an analogy where film might in some cases have a more
    pleasing look?

    Some people claim that there's a woman to blame, but I think it's all...

    Richard's fault!

    Visit the Sounds of the cul-de-sac at
    richardsfault, Jul 23, 2004
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  2. richardsfault

    D.R. Guest

    I am a tube amp man, considering converting back to solid state. Been through
    the Line6 gear that supposed to sound like tube but didn't. Then bought a tube
    amp (Laney LC50-II), and love it. But considering going back to SS for
    convenience sake. I mean the Tech21 Trademark 60 is just too much temptation.
    Any other SS amp, sounds like butt though. ;-) Although it doesn't sound exactly
    like tube, you can good awesome tone without the hassles of having to crank the
    amp loud, replacing tubes, warm up, warm down, and basic babysitting the amp,
    and etc. Just plug in and play. Can DI into a PA or PC and it sounds the same as
    mic'ed. Like my tube amp I reckon I won't use effects (just guitar -> cable ->
    amp) with this amp.

    Listen to the mp3's that a guitar -> cable -amp:

    Convenience is the same I guess with digital photography. Some say film is
    better, but digital is less hassle, is fast and convenient. Digital quality vs
    Film?. Hmmm.... I see stuff that looks way better with film, but I also see
    stuff that looks way better because its digital. I still am gonna wait a few
    years (perhaps) to see what happens with digital technology before shelling out
    US$1000 or more on a dSLR. Knowing my luck, the moment I buy a D70 something
    else will come out far better and maybe cheaper. Just like I am waiting until ha
    rd-disk dvd tv recorders drop in price and increase in HD space. My Coolpix is
    for convenience, and my F80 for film.
    D.R., Jul 24, 2004
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  3. richardsfault

    Thomas Guest

    Could the difference between film and digital not only be megapixels
    Vimyl vs CD.... think its to do with the Analogue Digital thing. A record
    has an infinite tonal range, whereas a CD only has a limited number of
    (jumps) if you see what I mean.
    Thomas, Jul 24, 2004
  4. richardsfault

    D.R. Guest

    Exactly. A high quality vinyl, on a high quality turntable, through a high
    quality amp, to high quality speakers. Beats a CD into the said amp and
    speakers. But a CD is convenient and sounds excellent to the non-audiophiles.
    D.R., Jul 24, 2004
  5. Of course, vinyl has a 14K rolloff and is packed with euphonic
    distortion, although that euphonic ditortion might be pleasing, it's
    still ditortion and still lacks accuracy.

    grant kinsley, Jul 24, 2004
  6. *snip*

    I think digital cameras are so much more forgiving to skin tones than film
    and also seem to bring out the ambient lit backgrounds when using flash.

    I think there will always be a place for chemistry based photography just as
    there is for tube amps.

    But my photography has improved leaps and bounds with a digital camera as I
    never have to worry about the cost of shooting.

    At one time kodak owned 75% of the worlds silver mines....I wonder what
    they're going to do in the next 5 years!
    Steve Franklin, Jul 24, 2004
  7. I still am gonna wait a few
    Everyone has a pain point.

    The fact is that digital cameras are still on a steep growth curve so you
    should only buy what you can afford to knowing full well that in a couple
    years there will be something much better available for less money.

    Some of the other things digital brings to the table are adjustable ISO.
    That D70 can actually automatically adjust the ISO for a give manual setting
    or can float along with the shutter speed or aperture or both. Having ISO
    100,200,320,400,500,640,800.1200,1600 at your fingertips is really nice.

    With a film camera you are committed to the ISO of the film in your camera.
    Once you get used to being able to adjust the ISO up and down at your
    convenience it is hard to stay committed to a single ISO setting.

    The first shot I set to ISO 500 f8 and the shutter automatically selected
    1/640. I used ISO 200-800 that day to keep the DOF I wanted and the shutter
    speed I needed.

    This collage is made from ISO 200, 10 to 30 second exposures at f8. With
    digital I was able to look at the histograms after each shot and see if I
    had the exposure right.
    Mark Kovalcson, Jul 24, 2004
  8. richardsfault

    D.R. Guest

    One of the things that I am waiting for is to see if in the next year or two
    that there will be consumer dSLRs that I can use my lenses on without losing a %
    of my wide angle and will have 3:2 images.
    Yup very handy. Are the higher ISO's extremely grainy?
    Wow. Great pic. I really like this.

    That's a pretty cool feature.
    D.R., Jul 24, 2004
  9. richardsfault

    Thomas Guest

    Exactly. A high quality vinyl, on a high quality turntable, through a
    I think you've hit the nail on head here..
    Digital will become the main format now but there will always be a place for
    Just depends on what you want.
    I have just bought a D70 but I'm using film for anything important because
    that is what I know.
    Give me a few months and I'm sure far more will be shot on digital as I will
    have got the hang of it by then.
    But I am going to miss the smell of a darkroom and the look of 20x35 hand
    made B+W prints


    Thomas, Jul 24, 2004
  10. One of the things that I am waiting for is to see if in the next year or
    Me too. I had a Canon 1Ds to play with for a very short period of time and
    it was great, but it is out of my price range too, at about $6500-$7000.
    The 11Mp images were fantastic.
    If they are exposed right they are pretty good. For many shots you can use
    Neat Image to clean up the grain.

    I've taken some ISO 800's that look pretty good. The Canon 1D mkII will
    take reasonably clean ISO 1600 shots, but it is a $4500 camera body.
    Thanks. That is nearly a 100% crop as I didn't have a lens with enough
    reach to do that justice.
    The other great thing is how quickly you can learn when you see immediately
    what your results are. The histograms are great. There are other features
    that are really nice too.
    Mark Kovalcson, Jul 24, 2004
  11. richardsfault

    Mike Kohary Guest

    I'm a guitar player. Tube and solid state sound dramatically different, and
    that's usually the sticking point rather than any claims of superiority due
    to convenience or whatever. Instead, film vs digital reminds me more of LP
    vs CD, where one technology is a definite advancement in the state of the
    art and provides tangible improvement in the technical quality of the work,
    even if it doesn't always achieve artifacts considered "pleasing" inherent
    in the analog technology.

    Solid state will never push tubes out of general use, because each has good
    and valid uses (now, digital sound modeling and emulation might push them
    both out eventually). CDs, in contrast, almost completely replaced LPs, and
    I think digital cameras will eventually do the same to film.

    Mike Kohary, Jul 24, 2004
  12. Exactly. Digital will NEARLY replace film very shortly, but there will be a
    small niche market and the costs of dealing with film will start to climb
    further pushing people to digital.

    Nikon Film camera sales are down DRAMATICALLY!

    Year end March 2002 1.3 Million film cameras
    Year end March 2003 600,000 film cameras
    Year end March 2004 50,000 film cameras.

    That last number should hit a nerve.

    Meanwhile they are ramping up production of the D70 from 70,000 /month to
    90,000 /month.

    So that will be over 1 million D70's a year and they sell far more Coolpix
    cameras than they do D-SLR's.

    Nikon is also only the 5th largest supplier of digital cameras.
    Mark Kovalcson, Jul 24, 2004
  13. I'll take my Mesa Boogie over a Line 6 any day. :)
    Randall Ainsworth, Jul 24, 2004
  14. richardsfault

    Thomas Guest

    I'll take my Mesa Boogie over a Line 6 any day. :)

    My Laney 7 sounds OK if you kick it hard enough.
    Thomas, Jul 24, 2004
  15. richardsfault

    Mike Kohary Guest

    So would I, actually. ;)

    Mike Kohary, Jul 24, 2004
  16. I was without my N80 for 4 months (repair depot FUBAR); I was "forced" to
    use my wife's D100. I feared that I was being lured to the Digital Side
    ("Use the monitor, Luke!"). Thankfully, the store where I bought the camera
    (side-note: Internet = good deals, local = good service) replaced my
    2-year-old camera with a brand-new camera. Taking shots with my N80 (mwah,
    mwah, never leave me again), that old dread/thrill came back. No instant
    reshoot that digital brings (the "crack" of photography) but that eager
    anticipation of getting back your prints from 1-Hour is Us. I guess I will
    claim dual citizenship in the lands digital and chemical.

    My accuracy with the D100 -- right exposure, WB, etc -- would be 100% with a
    better LCD display. It's close due to the cheating you do
    (dislike/delete/shoot until you get it right).
    Larry CdeBaca, Jul 24, 2004
  17. Without the instant gratification I wouldn't even bother.

    Now if I had grown accustomed to waiting and learned how to meter by hand
    etc.. etc.. to get the shot right, I might be willing to wait. I just don't
    see the point.
    Mark Kovalcson, Jul 24, 2004
  18. richardsfault

    D.R. Guest

    My Laney LC50 sounds great cranked, but its still no Mesa. :-(

    If Line6 made cameras, they'd be Sigma's. ;-)
    D.R., Jul 25, 2004
  19. richardsfault

    DJ Guest


    You make an interesting comparison.

    Tube amplifiers get their disinctive "mellow" sound because when over-driven
    they limit (saturate) softly. They also have an assymetrical non-linearity
    (distortion) which tends to generate 2nd order harmonics which are audibly
    benign. Transistor amps OTOH, have very abrupt saturation and generate odd order
    harmonics, which are much harsher on the ear.

    Film has a similar soft saturation characteristic, often referred to as an
    S-curve. Digital is much more abrupt. There's no equivalent to even/odd order
    distortion in imaging (I think!)

    So, yes, there is an analogy (hmm ... pun not intended but serendipitous) tubes
    vs transistors and film vs digital imaging.
    DJ, Jul 25, 2004
  20. I can't stand that Line 6 stuff. You gotta have tubes...even if it's
    something like a Sovtek...still better than running your guitar through
    Randall Ainsworth, Jul 25, 2004
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