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Old May 15, 2003, 9:21 AM   #1
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Default film as digital evolves

I have some photographic experience, still a newbie, and have only a consumber digicam....waiting for for a DSLR that is cheap and great....the new canon has my interest peaked, but the gripes about quality control concern me.....but anyway

Ok...so with each new improvement in these digital SLRs and such, I feel compeled to re-ask the question:
So how does digital compare to film *now*?

A person can buy a great $400 dollar film camera (or less) that can take pictures that are virtually indistinguishable from anything from a pro setup (so long as the glass is equal).

How does, say, the Canon 10D compare to that same $400 Elan? Is there still something about the CCD/CMOS that still can't quite eek out that final bit of film-like quality? Is there a film quality that digital still can't match? Can only the fully profession DSLR meet the level of film? ...and finally, just how hard is it to tell a digital picture (from the 10D) and a good film setup?


The convenience of digital is without debate, but let's talk straight "quality of image" here.
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Old May 15, 2003, 12:21 PM   #2
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I was told 35mm is about the same as 8-10mp, I've never verified this.

I think DSLRs will be less noisy then normal digicams and of course they are more flexible.

Having said all that most of the good pics I see are from normal digicams and seem (on the face of it) capable of producing images which are as good as DSLRs - wait for the backlash.
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Old May 15, 2003, 2:52 PM   #3
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Many people ask that question. Digital is always getting closer... and I feel will truly replace it in the near future (with a situational definition of "near".)

There is a large difference between the DSLR's out there. Generally it isn't fair to compare the Canon 10D or Nikon D100 to the 1Ds. There are many things which the 1Ds can do, which the 10D or D100 can only dream of. For example, the Auto Focus mechanism is much better in the 1Ds than the two cheaper ones I listed. I'm going to talk about the 1Ds and film. Not because I'm an expert about the 1Ds (never used one) but because if the 1Ds can't do it, then probably no other 35mm-DSLR can either. (Wow, now there is a sweeping generalization!)

My understanding is that the largest place where digital cameras fall down is in the ability to represent a wide range of f-stop (light.) Film is more sensitive to a wider gambit of light than digital. The only camera I've read about which might challenge this is the 1Ds. I've read fairly knowledgeable people argue both sides. The 1Ds seems to do a very good job at capturing details and handling different ISO ratings with less noise than the same rated film has with grain.

But it very much depends on the film (and end goal.) Are we talking slides? Negitives? Prints? Who does the prints? If the comparison is between printing a well photoshop'ed image on an Epison 2200 (a good printer, but has some black problems I hear) and something printed in a 1-hour photo lab... digital will fair much better. Go to a pro lab, and the film might win. It's also shot dependent. If a wide range of lighting is needed, then film might win. Of course, I'm talking about pro rated film like Provia... not the stuff you buy at CVS.

A Pro friend of mine has talk about new films coming down the pike which are much more sensitive to light without grain issues. If this happens, then film will be around for awhile yet.
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Old May 15, 2003, 3:58 PM   #4
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Here is a link to a column on this topic...it claims 35mm film can offer resolution closer to 20 million pixels...

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