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Old Aug 27, 2020, 10:39 AM   #1
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Default What makes a digital camera's IQ feel most like film?

I have a 35mm camera, 3 dslr bodies with lenses old and new, a few point and shoots, and have tried 3 different iPhones. When comparing image quality, some of these just feel more like the output is closer to film than others. Smoother bokeh, an artistic feeling, fewer artifacts, less pixely. My question is: what aspect of technology is creating this? When making future purchases, what should you look for to get as close to 35mm results as possible?

I've found my 6 mp dslr + an analog, manual focus 50mm 1.4 comes closest, followed by an iPhone XS * on Portrait mode.

My point and shoots, 12mp dslr, 23mp dslr, iPhone 8 Plus all fail. Their IQ just seems too flat and digital, even with my best glass.

The iPhone 5s falls in the middle. happymod
  • The phones are horrifying when pixel-peeping, though. Fine for Instagram, but I'd never make a large print.

Last edited by ilorametis1; Aug 29, 2020 at 3:47 AM.
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Old Aug 27, 2020, 9:53 PM   #2
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What makes a film image appear more natural is that the pixels are random instead of in the rows and columns of a digital image. As such, a digital camera is incapable of producing an image that has the same 'look' as a film image. And no attempt can be made to draw a comparison because scanning a film image reduces it to a digital image with the same 'look' as a digital image.

What's more, film images are captured on film which has its pixels in a random pattern, and that film is used to project the image onto photographic paper with its pixels in a different random pattern, so the resulting 'look' is a random distortion of the original 'look'.

That is not to say that digital images are any better. When a 24MP image is displayed on a 2MP computer display, the original image is downsampled so the original 'look' is distorted. And when a 6MP image is printed on an 8x10 page, it is upsampled to 29MP, again distorting the 'look'.
  • The lens is the thing.
  • 'Full Frame' is the new 'Medium Format'.
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