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aladyforty Feb 11, 2004 4:13 AM

solve an arguement for me please!!!!
 
My girlfriend is resisting going digital. She is very good with an SLR film camera and I would love to see her change over. She believes that one can always pick a digital photo and that they are not as good as film!!!!! My point of view is that it can't be picked with good quality digital photos except maybe that digital always seem more crisp (for want of a better word) to me.

Can anyone here truely pick the difference between a great photo taken by either type of camera???? I intend printing out this page and giving it to her, if I get enough answers that is. Hope to get her into digital and maybe she will come into this century :D

Alan T Feb 11, 2004 6:06 AM

Re: solve an arguement for me please!!!!
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by aladyforty
She believes that one can always pick a digital photo and that they are not as good as film!!!!!

Depends on viewing conditions. On a computer, you'll always see the pixels if you blow it up enough. On paper, you shouldn't blow it up that far.

Quote:

except maybe that digital always seem more crisp
Depends on how much sharpening is applied to the digital image (from camera or filmscanner). I notice that many snapshot digital cameras produce stunning results, but they almost certainly have lots of post-sharpening applied by default, to suit 6x4-ish prints. The same image files may not look so good when blown up a lot, though they could if the right degree of sharpening were to be applied just before printing. This is a point that seems to be missed by many reviewers. On my camera, you may get sharpening applied or not depending on which mode or which 'best shot' you choose. Myself, I always have it switched off, but it means I have to a lot of twiddling.

Quote:

if I get enough answers
Take a look at a thread near here on this very topic with 16 messages in it: http://www.stevesforums.com/phpBB2/v...049&highlight=. There are probably plenty of similar threads to be found.

Essentially, your friend's right *provided* she can think of everything and spend lots and lots of money on trial shots that she won't see until they're processed. That is, you need lots more time and money with film than you do with digital, unless you're a technical and artistic genius.

I got into digital via filmscanning, and I still use my scanner on my family's disposable camera 35mm negs. Your friend could probably get her films processed *and* get a photo CD with ready-made filmscans for little more than the standard processing cost. If she played with the scans on her computer she might discover the delights (and miseries) of digital twiddling.

Nagasaki Feb 11, 2004 6:43 AM

I think it very much depends on the camera and you need to be comparing like with like. A digital compact is going to give you more options than a 35 mm compact, you've got through the lens viewing for a start. Depending on the pixel count you are going to get prints of the digital that are just as good as the 35mm but if you want really big prints or to project the pictures any 35mm camera can do this but only the best (read expensive) digital cameras can do this. I use a 3Mp digital for point and shoot snaps and for what I want from a compact camera the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

I've recently seen the results from digital SLRs Fuji S2 and Nikon D100 and I'm blown away. Until I saw these I though digital was still behind film for quality but these cameras have changed my mind. I still use slide film in my SLR when I want a quality shot but I'd happily replace this with one new generation digital SLRs I just need to save my pennies.

bcoultry Feb 11, 2004 8:46 AM

Quote:

I've recently seen the results from digital SLRs Fuji S2
I've seen this too, and those results are stunning.

Aladyforty: You might mention to your friend that, more and more, professional photographers are shooting digitally. They're dropping like flies. Even the National Geographic photographers.

When it comes to prints, it certainly depends on the quality of the printer. However, digital photos can also be printed as real, old-fashioned photos. I used such a service back before I had a decent printer and, even then when I had a much lower-end camera, there was no way at all of telling a good digital photo from a good film photo.

eric s Feb 11, 2004 9:54 AM

The best digital cameras exceed film in many ways (less grain at the same ISOs, for example) but are behind in some areas (some film still has better contrast, but that is correctable in photoshop. But worst, some film has more dynamic range... but only really expensive Professional grade film like Provia. That is also fixable in photoshop, but by blending two pictures, which is not always possible.)

Unless your GF is extremely serious and buys only the best films (or uses medium or large format), digital can beat it every day.

The proof is in the pudding. Go to this web site:www.naturephotographers.net.

Then go to the gallery here:
http://www.naturephotographers.net/edspicks2002tn.html

I don't think you have to sign up to view those, but you might.

These are the best pictures by week for 2002 (2003's require a separate login, it's kinda dumb.) Each one of those pictures will have the specifications of how they were taken (including what camera and film, or what digital camera.) Pick several and open them up in a window shrunk down so you can only see the picture and not the specs. Have her pick which is film and which is digital. I bet she won't be able to do it.

Some of the best nature photographers contribute to that site, she will be amazed at the quality of work and just how well digital cameras can produce stunning images.

Eric

aladyforty Feb 11, 2004 10:13 AM

Thanks, I will let her see these relpies :D

Nagasaki Feb 11, 2004 10:53 AM

Quote:

Have her pick which is film and which is digital. I bet she won't be able to do it.
Once they're on the web they're all digital. comparing a scanned digital image and a digital camera image is not the same as looking at a print from each or comparing a projected slide with a projected digital image.

The only real comparison is to compare the result in whatever form you expect to use it. If you only use slides then digital probably isn't for you as a digital projector costs more than the camera. If you want prints then it probably depends on the size. I've seen brilliant digital prints up to A4 and I'm sure it's possible to produce great digital prints at larger sizes but I've not seen any example yet.

Marc H Feb 11, 2004 11:09 AM

[quote="bcoultry"]
Quote:


Aladyforty: You might mention to your friend that, more and more, professional photographers are shooting digitally. They're dropping like flies. Even the National Geographic photographers.

No, NG photographers still use analog. There has only been an article about a fighter plane, that was shot digitally as an exception, because the photographer couldnt change film in flight.

Gandalf065 Feb 11, 2004 11:09 AM

I have printed straight out of my camera to 10"X15", and it has been razor sharp. I think that if you get a decent digital camera, around 3 mp, make a couple 8"X10" prints with it. Take the same, or similar pictures with a film camera and again, make 8"X10" prints. Compare them, I think she will be suprised!

bcoultry Feb 11, 2004 11:39 AM

Quote:

No, NG photographers still use analog.
I wasn't clear enough. I was referring to the photographers themselves, not to what they do on assignment for the magazine. I've read several interviews in which they've discussed their entrance into digital.

Gandalf065 Feb 11, 2004 12:43 PM

Actually the "Future of Flight" article in NG's December issue was shot completely digital with a Nikon D2H.

bcoultry Feb 11, 2004 3:15 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Gandalf065
Actually the "Future of Flight" article in NG's December issue was shot completely digital with a Nikon D2H.

You're right. I read that article, too. My brain is rotting.

awikenheiser Feb 11, 2004 3:22 PM

No, NG photographers still use analog. There has only been an article about a fighter plane, that was shot digitally as an exception, because the photographer couldnt change film in flight.[/quote]

NG photographers have used digital on other articles as well. Off the top of my head I know Jim Branderburg's feature on the Boundry Waters of Minnesota was shot totally in digital. I'm sure there are others too. . .

slipe Feb 11, 2004 3:52 PM

You have a lot of theory about pro films and multi-megabuck digital systems. Reducing it to the kind of digital she might get compared to the film quality she is likely getting, and keeping the film completely within the photographic process - comparing only the finished prints:

A decent 5Mp consumer digital camera will give a little more resolution than ASA400 film and a little less resolution than good consumer ASA100. You won’t see the difference in 4 X 6 images or probably even 8 X 10 even though the grain of the 400 ASA film starts to show a little.

The film has more dynamic range than a non-DSLR camera. After you look at a few photos online you can usually spot the shots taken with a DSLR compared to a “prosumer” digital. The DSLR shots have both the highlights well exposed and deep shadow detail – something you can’t do with a prosumer. I always shoot with minimum contrast to get the maximum dynamic range my cameras are capable of and try to bring it up in Photoshop. But the best you can do doesn’t compare to a good DSLR – or film – shot. Again you probably wouldn’t notice that in 4 X 6 prints but it becomes apparent in larger prints.

If she is considering DSLR she won’t see a much if any difference.

I have talked several friends out of switching to digital cameras. They like getting the pictures back and passing them around. I tell them to just get a picture CD with the processing. Photo CDs are better than picture CDs, but the picture CDs are cheap and more than sufficient for e-mail and posting.

I think most people end up with a lot more hard copy pictures with a film camera than they do with digital. And many people get a lot of pleasure from pictures they can hold. You get a few bad shots, but with the dynamic range of consumer film and enhancement in the photo processing machines most film shots are fine. It costs the same per shot to develop and print film as to print digital images. If you figure 30c per bad picture counting film and developing, you can get a lot of bad shots for the price of a digital camera.

Digital shots are ephemeral. I archive my keeper shots to 2 CDs, and store them in separate places in the dark after carefully checking that the burn was good. I suspect that many people are going to find at some future date that they have no photographic memories of their past if they are not very careful about guarding their digital images. I have 30 year old negatives that still scan fine in my film scanner and slides that old that do fine with a little work.

You get better pictures with more dynamic range with a good SLR film camera than you do with a small CCD prosumer digital IMO. I think she is right that she can see the difference – mostly in dynamic range. I can sure tell the difference between prosumer and DSLR shots online. If she is considering DSLR and has a good system for archiving her digital shots she won’t see any difference unless she is using something like Provia film, and even then not much. DSLR can be pricey unless she already has lenses she can use. If she is a dedicated enough photographer that she uses a SLR and can see the difference I wouldn’t push her into a digital unless she is willing to go with a DSLR. Consider a film scanner to digitize the negatives or slides.

bcoultry Feb 11, 2004 4:32 PM

I agree with Slipe about going only with a D-SLR for serious lovers of photography. I also agree with him about the difference in the number of actual prints that show up in film versus digital. To match both the quality and the paper output of film, a person can't get around having to spend a bunch of money. You definitely get what you pay for in both camera and printer.

The one thing I've found when digitizing film is that the quality just doesn't seem to match what I would have had if I'd shot digitally to begin with. Of course, I didn't spend big bucks on my film scanner, so maybe there's where the fault lies.

The biggest pro in my mind to working digitally is the digital darkroom. Anyone who's worked both ways knows what I'm talking about. Smell, claustrophobia, and tedium are several qualities I happily gave up.

slipe Feb 11, 2004 5:50 PM

Quote:

The one thing I've found when digitizing film is that the quality just doesn't seem to match what I would have had if I'd shot digitally to begin with. Of course, I didn't spend big bucks on my film scanner, so maybe there's where the fault lies.
If you are going to get a quality 4000 PPI film scanner with good dynamic range, digital ice and high speed she might as well just go to DSLR, especially if she already has compatible lenses. >$300 film scanners tend to be slow enough to make converting large numbers of negatives a chore. No mater how much you brush and blow dust seems to find its way onto the film, and without digital ice it is a nuisance to clone it out. And inexpensive scanners just don’t give the quality of a good digital camera as pointed out. Quality scanners will give better dynamic range from film than you get with a prosumer digital though.

Quote:

The biggest pro in my mind to working digitally is the digital darkroom. Anyone who's worked both ways knows what I'm talking about. Smell, claustrophobia, and tedium are several qualities I happily gave up.
I converted my darkroom to a nice big laundry room. I’ve been using Photoshop for about 10 years and just converted selected film to digital with a film scanner. Digital cameras are so much more convenient in that respect.

bcoultry Feb 11, 2004 7:53 PM

Quote:

I converted my darkroom to a nice big laundry room.
Me too.

aladyforty Feb 11, 2004 7:56 PM

When talking about the comparrisons between the two formats I was talking up to 10 by 8 prints. I entered a photographic competition last year with photos printed at this size taken with my Canon G3. Both formats were in this competition against each other. I won quite a few sections. After this people came up to me and asked what Film I had used :D for the rich colors. I had edited slightly. This is why I feel I am right in this, most people could not pick it.

PeterP Feb 11, 2004 8:30 PM

Don't you miss the wonderfull smell of Sodium Thiosulfate(hypo) and Glacial Acetic Acid(stop bath) now?
Ummmmm, they smell like victory, oh wait thats jellied petrol.

Quote:

I converted my darkroom to a nice big laundry room.

bcoultry Feb 12, 2004 7:05 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PeterP
Don't you miss the wonderfull smell of Sodium Thiosulfate(hypo) and Glacial Acetic Acid(stop bath) now?
Ummmmm, they smell like victory, oh wait thats jellied petrol.

I'll answer for Slipe as well as myself: NO.

slipe Feb 12, 2004 9:55 AM

Jellied petrol? “I love the smell of jellied petrol in the morning” doesn’t have the same feel to it somehow.

BillDrew Feb 12, 2004 1:52 PM

aladyforty, if you want to lure your friend into digital photography, I'd suggest emphasizing the digital darkroom: a good photo editor. As Slipe and others have noted, she is unlikely to be impressed by the quality of photos straight out of a consumer digicam.

She could go two routes to get her digits into digital photography: buy a consumer digicam and accept the lower quality or have several rolls of film from her SLR put onto a high resolution CD. (The cheap scans are not much better, if any better, than a consumer digicam.) Even simple edits like cropping and rotation are valuable. Digital equivalents of dodging and burning can improve many photos. Selective sharpening and blurring are usefull tools.

Unless she likes working with chemicals, I am sure she will like being able to do her own "darkroom" work at a desk.


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