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Old Aug 25, 2002, 1:59 PM   #21
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So what?

I am just being practical. If I need very high resolution, obviously I would use film.


On the other matters .. OF CORSE it is a matter of taste. I do nto like carrying a large bulky camera.

But, I really would like to see an objective test, wouldn't you?

Lynn posted one such test that was interesting and gotr mixed ansers.
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Old Aug 25, 2002, 2:20 PM   #22
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Naw, unless you're a technophobe, there is enough evidence already. Lin's test was very instructive, but mainly convinced me that any 5MP or better camera will give you a terrific image, quite good enough for a framed 8x10; maybe even an 11/14. If it's technical perfection one is after, film probably is the way to go.

There is nothing wrong with being so incredibly interested in technical advantages that most of us can't even see or that the lab will obliterate with sloppy processing. But it's a totally different level of discussion.

I prefer the DSLR for it's handling characteristics, not that it necessarily gives me a better image than a 5700. I hated my C4040, and I hate my CP4500 in spite of very good image quality. They handle like toys regardless of image quality. I did love the E-20, and I'm sorry I traded it when I bought the D-60 and CP4500.
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Old Aug 25, 2002, 3:37 PM   #23
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We are on the same ground here. There are times, using a cp5700, that I try to put myself under a focusing cloth behind my calumet!

For me the ideal would be a small dSLR, like the old Olympus OM series. I would like an interchangeable back so that changes in technology do not obsolteter the rest of ther camera.

OTOH, I am intrigues about new form factors possibel with digital. E.g. something like a Rollei would interest me or perhaps something totally new!
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Old Aug 25, 2002, 5:22 PM   #24
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Lin,

Saying it is so does not make it so.

My use of "toy" may reqquire that reservation too. I think I have treid to list sitautions where a dSLR is more useful than other choices ... if I were a studio photogrpaher on limited budget, doing high trhoughput w/o max quality requitements or a photojournalist "doing" news ocnferences, the choice would be obvious.

I say "toy" for the serious but not wealthy photgrapher not willing t replace a 2000 camera body as soon as the full frame dSLRs show up.

Otherwsie:

1. There is simply no way a digital camera can be superior to a film camera. Film has more pixel density.

The only way this COULD be true is if the dynamic range of the chip was better than that of the film. This is possible for color transparency since these films saturate easily. However, B&W film has a signal to noise ratio sufficient for at elast 15 zones, I do nto believe any chip is better.

2. This stuff about it being better NOT to use the full frame of a modern lens is flat earthism. If it were true, then all yu need to dow ith any 35mm film camera, is crop yur images ... given the greater pixel count there will be no contest.

3. There are teo places where you may be right:

a. interchangebale lenses are always better than zooms!

b. I am not convinced that the small chip will not have greater diffraction errors than the larger chips. This may be exactly what we saw in your test.

Otherwise, the only advantages of the big, heavy dSLRs would be decisins by the manufactuere to use better electronics.
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Old Aug 25, 2002, 8:13 PM   #25
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Quote:
1. There is simply no way a digital camera can be superior to a film camera. Film has more pixel density.
Photographic superiority is about much more than "pixel density". You can theorize about this until the cows come home, but practical working experience with both media reveals the flaws in your reasoning.

I care only about results. Results of using six megapixel digital professionally for seven years has taught me that it's not only equal to 35mm color film and transparency, it's superior. Prints are cleaner and sharper, and digital reveals much better shadow detail than scanned transparency or scanned negative. With amenable subject materials I can make enlargements equal to medium format color film - something impossible with 35mm platform color negative or transparency.

Black and white is another issue and film is still the preferred medium - but few professional photographers make their living with black and white. I shoot 10,000 color images professionally for every single black and white. With the exception of subjects amenable to moire, six megapixel digital has completely replaced 35mm color film for all our work since late 1995.

Quote:
2. This stuff about it being better NOT to use the full frame of a modern lens is flat earthism. If it were true, then all yu need to dow ith any 35mm film camera, is crop yur images ... given the greater pixel count there will be no contest.
Wrong again. You can enlarge six megapixel digital images far beyond the limits imposed by grain with 35mm color film or transparency. Film doesn't have "pixels" per se, film has silver crystals of varying dimensions. Enlargements of 35mm color film, even the finest grain, of over 16x20 are severely compromised by increasing grain which ruins the aesthetics. This problem doesn't exist for professional digital at six megapixels or even greater resolution. Low noise coupled with exacting interpolation algorithms permit enlargement to degrees impossible with 35mm color film. No, six megapixel resolution will not allow reproducing extremely fine detail beyond about 16x20, and neither will 35mm color film. But when the subject material is amenable (head and shoulders portraits, etc.) to interpolation - meaning sufficient pixels were alloted to properly define boundaries of necessary detail - there are few serious limits to the amount of enlargement possible.

Noted celebrity photographer Vincent Versache routinely makes 8x10's (not inches - FOOT) eight by ten foot crisp prints from digital captures of even less than six megapixels. If you have ever attended a PMA show, you would find it hard to miss them. They are crisp, clean and can be viewed from even the 30 inch focus distance of old timers like you and me without our glasses!

A digital print made with Genuine Fractals interpolation of over 60 feet hung in Times Square a couple years ago and it was made with a 3.34 megapixel digital camera.

If you are interested, I'll point you to a New York photographer who routinely makes beautiful portrait prints from his D30 (3 megapixels) of over 70 inches with crisp detail. You don't get this kind of results - you CAN'T get this kind of results with a 35mm color film camera.

Theoretical arguments about pixel density and film resolution equivalencies are fun to discuss, but practical experience quickly reveals that regardless of what the math says - reality is that six megapixel professional digital is a suitable replacement for 35mm color film for the professional. Believe me, after earning a living at trade this for over 40 years, if I could get better results with 35mm color film, I would still be using it on a daily basis. I would never have spent nearly $30,000 on a six megapixel digital camera in 1995 if it hadn't proved to be more useful and cost effective than 35mm color film. My first digital camera paid for itself in less than a year.

As one with a masters in physics, I love optical theory and the various arguments about film versus digital; but as a working photographer I know what works best for me under nearly all circumstances. Since 1995 I can count the number of jobs on one hand which required 35mm color film.

Best regards,

Lin
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Old Aug 25, 2002, 10:13 PM   #26
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I am happy for you.


I wonder, do you ever digitize your 35mm film?
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Old Aug 25, 2002, 10:38 PM   #27
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Quote:
I wonder, do you ever digitize your 35mm film?
Yes, rarely do I have a 35mm color film negative or transparency which doesn't require or at least which could be improved with some tweaking. It's much easier to scan and process it in the digital darkroom before printing than to dodge, burn, airbrush and otherwise process it in the film darkroom. Years ago it took many hours of work to correct even minor problems, but with a good high quality scan - either drum or high resolution flatbed, the process is much easier to accomplish. We still use a good deal of medium format color film for some fine art prints, especially those which eventually go for litho or reproduction prints at 1:1.

I have no reservations whatsoever about using film when it's the superior medium, but for what we formerly did in 35mm color platform, the vast majority is now captured digitally. In those cases I mentioned earlier where patterns (some pottery, fabrics, etc.) are likely to cause moire, it's much easier to avoid it by using film than to attempt to "fix" it post capture. In those cases we definitely dust off the film cameras and do what's necessary.

Best regards,

Lin
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Old Aug 25, 2002, 10:56 PM   #28
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I wonder ..

your commenrs before about 35mm digi being better than 35 mm film, is this because you need to digitze the film?

What happens if you FIRST digitize the film ... obviously with a high quality film scanner, then work with it? Which is better now?
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Old Aug 26, 2002, 7:00 AM   #29
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Steves : always enjoy your posts,
Lin : pretty heavy stuff on your 2nd last post

if I may join in to point 1 of my priorities :
1. digital is eternal (as long as U keep copying onto longer-lasting media)
2. battery life on DigiCams need improvement, especially on some mdls !
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Old Aug 26, 2002, 7:33 AM   #30
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We usually do it exactly that way when we use film.

At print sizes to 11x14 there are few relevant differences, except that the process of scanning takes that additional step and time and subjects the image to an additional level of degredation, albeit a slight one with a quality scanner.

The advantage of six megapixel digital is that one goes directly from the capture to the darkroom in a much easier workflow with equivalent results. For some artistic photos, grain can be advantageous and in that respect and in those cases film is the preferred medium. Much of my work concerns capturing fine art for various purposes. Some for archival purposes, some for reproduction, and often to be sent to a prospective client who may reside on the other side of the continent or even the world and is interested in a particular and usually quite expensive piece of art. It may be a painting (watercolor or oil), jewelry, pottery, sculpture, casting, and frequently antiquities.

The client needs to know as closely as humanly possible the detail, color, texture, etc., of the art. After processing and color matching, images are sent electronically as well as by snail mail - so processing time is important as is absolute accuracy in color. Absolute perfection is not possible in color matching either with film or digital, but getting as close a possible with a print is the goal since the client may be spending what would amount to a couple years income or more for many of us on a single purchase.

Would the results be any better with 35mm color film or transparency? We've not found it to be the case - and that's why the move to digital years ago. New advances in scanning backs for medium format replacement have made major gains into this venue for studio work of still subjects. Because of portability issues, we are still a few years away from replacing the bulk of medium format work with digital, but the gap is closing rapidly.

There is a difference between film and digital prints. It's difficult to put into words and as to deciding which is "superior" - it's a very subjective call. Some prefer digital prints and some prefer film prints. Perhaps preference may have more to do with experience and one's comfort levels with the familiar than with anything else. I find pro digital to be better on the shadow detail end and poorer on the highlight end of the spectrum of dynamic range. Perhaps that will change with some of the products on the horizon (Foveon's approach, etc.) but I think the majority of my peers who have tried pro-digital would never go back to 35mm color film for the vast majority of their work.

Best regards,

Lin

[Edited on 8-26-2002 by Lin Evans]
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