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Old Nov 22, 2002, 9:25 AM   #1
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Default A Standard for Film vs Digital

This is something I was thinking about for awhile now.
For the new first time buyers of digital cameras.
Can a compairason be made in picture quality; resolution, clearity, etc. using the OLD film types vs digital?
For an example:
640X480 = Disk film (remember these?) Not good pictures!
1024X768 = 110 Kodak Instamatic film?, Etc.
I never owned any of the cameras that had used these films, but for people that had these film cameras and wanted to go digital, they could get an idea based on a chart or a compairason.
Guess what I am trying to say is, if you have a 1mp camera is that like what film format is it equal to?
So if they had a 35mm camera, is that like a 3 or 4 mp camera?
This of course would interest the older generation more as these folks may have started out with these cameras years ago and want to go digital and may want a baseline to start with.
Bill


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Old Nov 22, 2002, 11:16 AM   #2
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actually when you refer to a 35mm camera you must also refer to what film you currently are using in it. the resolving power of certain films is still beyond that of any digital camera today at the equivelent format.
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Old Nov 23, 2002, 1:53 AM   #3
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You have an interesting idea, Bill. There is one point to keep in mind. The cameras that used film formats such as disks and cartridges were usually very simple. There were some exceptions in the Seventies, such as the Pentax and Minolta 110 SLRs. But current digital compacts, even the cheapest, are quite sophisticated. It's really not possible to compare film to digital in this way without accounting for the cameras. It's easy to compare a Canon 35mm EOS and Provia with a Canon D60, but not so easy to compare a disk negative, which was intended to produce snapshot prints, to a 480x640 digicam, which was intended to produce uploadable website images.
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Old Nov 23, 2002, 2:18 AM   #4
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Bill, digicams lack the resolution of 35mm slr's, as is noticeable in nature landscape shots. But for general photography, especially shots of family members, digital is the hands down winner! Remember when you wanted to 'crop' a film image, you had to take it to a photo lab and hope they would give you the result you wanted. Digital imaging lets you modify the image immediately using software, and this is such a big plus! I was born in the early 50's and always appreciated an slr image in the 80's and 90's, but digital is the only way to go now, unless you're shooting landscapes...Blessings, Johnny
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Old Nov 23, 2002, 7:22 AM   #5
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I would offer this camera as base camera that new folks should start with:

2mp, 3X optical zoom, and uses aa batteries. Also I would add a 64mb meida card. The cost should be around $200.
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Old Nov 23, 2002, 3:48 PM   #6
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Thanks guys, What I was trying to refer to is the "film" not the cameras that use them.
So using "disk" film in the best camera you could buy for that film vs' lets say an Aiptek Pencam VGA Trio 640X480 (which I have).
If you were to crop both the same, which is better?
I don't own a disk camera, if I did I could make the test myself, I would scan the photo, etc.
What I do to test out each digital camera I own is photograph a street sign about 200 to 300 feet away, crop the sign and see if I can read it, so far my Sanyo 1024X768 is very poor in that respect.
I hope when I get the 2mp camera I can have better results.
I like to do landscapes, mountains, etc.
Bill :lol:
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Old Nov 23, 2002, 5:27 PM   #7
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Quote:
[the resolving power of certain films is still beyond that of any digital camera today at the equivalent format.
Not really true - at least from a usability perspective without qualification. The resolving power of a BetterLight, for example, is greater than that of medium format scanned on a drum scanner at highest usable resolution. Of course it takes 5 minutes to capture an image with this camera which makes it only usable for stills - but the resolving power is incredible.

The resolving power of a Canon EOS 1Ds is greater than any 35mm color film by a considerable margin. Perhaps the film itself may have the "potential" to equate to a higher bayer interpolated resolution than 11 megapixels, but any potential is lost to grain long before it can be realized. Practical tests show that for nearly every purpose, a professional six megapixel bayer interpolated sensor equates to 35mm color film and exceeds 35mm color film in enlargement potential for the vast majority of work.

The problem with trying to make these comparisons is that what "can be" and what "is" are often not in good alignment. The average user will do better and get better results from a Canon D60 than from an equivalent 35mm film camera. But trying to equate by digital resolution (pixel count) alone to a film counterpart is probably not going to produce very useful information.

An example it this - which takes better images, a Canon D30 at 3.2 megapixels or a Sony DSC-F707/F717 at 5 megapixels? Without a doubt, the Canon produces by far better prints in "most" cases. When can the Sony win? When photographing a tiny, highly detailed subject at a distance. A good example of this is to shoot 5 or six camera lenses with the white text denoting lens details visible. Enlarge to 8x10 or 11x14 and try to read the text. The additional resolution of the Sony properly defines the boundaries of fine detail in the text and makes it legible while the D30 just doesn't have sufficient pixel count to do the task.

Now, turn it around and use both for a properly exposed and well lit head and shoulders portrait. Use bicubic step interpolation or Genuine Fractals and create a file size suitable for printing at 60 inches and print both. No contest. The Sony image is so noisy that it's a mass of artifacts while the D30 makes a beautiful print. Try it for yourself - I have.

So it's not all that easy to simply assign an equivalency by pixel count because there are too many variables both in film and in digital sensor quality and suitability to task..

Best regards,

Lin
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Old Nov 23, 2002, 6:31 PM   #8
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lin- we've been here before and i am starting to see the light but please add another few MP for me- and they will next round. just as one person said 5-6MP was enough they tack on a few more. and why did they find it necessary to do if that was enough. just refine the process. i agree that the Ds is an impressive piece of digital science. but in doing what they have the have introduced a few little issues at the wide end. i know that eventually they'll clean it up. but still $.

and then whats going on at the Nikon skunkworks. this spring will probably tell.

the DCS 14n is no slouch as long as you don't speed shoot. and the ERI-JPG concept is looking pretty slick.

i agree with you 100% with your last line.
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Old Nov 23, 2002, 6:47 PM   #9
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Yes, it's one of those things which likely won't go away until there is only one choice :-)

The important thing is to use what works for your task at hand. Though I replaced 35mm color work with 6 megapixel digital back in '95, I sometimes need and use 35mm color film for subjects amenable to moire. I still use medium format film for fine detail work, but am looking forward to seeing prices drop on medium format digital backs. I would probably buy one even at the current prices, but I don't need the super resolution often enough to make it a practical solution. On the other hand, the Kodak DCS-14n looks pretty promising at about 14 megapixels. Will have to wait until samples are available to analyze, but the 1Ds has proven to be a suitable replacement for much medium format work where tight crops and huge enlargements are not needed. With nearly a 3 megapixel boost from the 14n, it's going to warrant a long look at $4999.....

Best regards,

Lin
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