[rollei_list] Re: OT Ancient Computers (was Re: Re: Rollei -Singapore) now analogue versus digital

  • From: Frank Dernie <Frank.Dernie@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: rollei_list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2009 20:21:38 +0000

Carlos,

I have been taking pictures since I was 11, in 1961. For most of that time I have had my own darkroom. I am quite aware of what one can do with film, and obviously better technicians that I can get better results than I. However the dynamic range of readily available digital sensors exceeds that of colour films now. The non linear S shape to the characteristic curve of films does allow more detail to be seen in either highlights or shadows if so manipulated. Similar manipulations are possible on digital files if desired. There is a potential for Moire effects when there is detail in a scene and resolution in the lens high enough to exceed the resolution of the sensor. Anti-aliasing filters are the normal way to avoid this effect, in electronics too. In the case of photography there are sensors which exceed the resolution of all but a few of the most specialised lenses available for the camera. The anti-aliasing filter is probably not necessary in those cases since the function is carried out by the lens. My Leica M8 does not have an anti aliasing filter and I have yet to be unable to deal with any unfortunate artefacts due to this. Quite the opposite in fact, I get better results from it than I do from my theoretically superior Canon EOS 1Ds mk2, thought that is probably the better lenses.

Sharpening can certainly be overdone, but it is not commonly the case, and I certainly would advise not to over-sharpen :-)

On digital one eventually gets to individual pixels, like on film one eventually gets to individual grains. There is a difference but just a question of how you deal with it, this difference between film and digital is not IMHO significant.

The only area where I have found digital a bit more difficult than film is in focussing. My M8 is so much sharper than my M6 with Kodachrome that any small focussing errors, either due to myself or the dreaded focus shift on stopping down, are much more troublesome than were revealed by the somewhat more forgiving softness (and perhaps variations in flatness???) of film.

best regards,
Frank


On 12 Jan, 2009, at 19:55, Carlos Manuel Freaza wrote:

Frank, I really can't imagine the way you use your film cameras to obtain those conclusions.

Films have personality; DSLRs don't. While many DSLRs let you dial in higher or lower saturation and contrast, those crude adjustments can't compare to the richness of film, whether Velvia's crisp, saturated look or the delicate tonal shoulder of Tri-X. (Black-and- white is a particular challenge for digital, especially in-camera.) Film can be manipulated to soak up even more of a scene's tonal extremes. You can rein in highlights by "pulling," or shortening, the development of b&w film. You compensate for this by adding exposure when shooting, improving shadow detail. You can overexpose color negative film by as much as four stops to increase shadow detail and reduce contrast, without damaging highlight nuances.

Some super-duper digital backs claim to match or exceed the range captured by film. If you can afford them, go for it -- and bring along your laptop.

You can sharpen a digital image in software. And with most DSLRs you must, because images are considerably softened by anti-aliasing filters that keep their sensors from recording jagged edges and moiré patterns. Yet if you overdo your sharpening, the image can take on a distractingly "crispy" appearance. The sharpness you get from film is more natural looking.

(Some parts above were taken from a Pop Photo article by Russell Hart)

Digital is very practical to use for a lot of situations and well balanced images look very nice in the monitor screens, but most of them don't show the detail richness and tones subtleties you can obtain from a neg or slide for prints, magazines, projection, books etc. and I'm talking about a 35mm format.

Carlos






--- El lun 12-ene-09, Frank Dernie <Frank.Dernie@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> escribió:

If you shoot large format that can be true. For medium
format or what used to be called "miniature
format" when I started photography this is not true.
The only film parameter which has the potential be better
than digital is -perhaps- resolution, but only very slow
black and white films in ideal exposure conditions.
In all other respects digital is superior - in my
experience.
My Rolleiflex 6008i is not capable of producing colour
pictures to match those from several of my digital cameras.
35mm has been behind for years.
I am not aware of -anybody- with in depth experience of
both who would agree with you.
Perhaps I am going to get the first convincing information
as a result of this email!
best regards,
Frank

I am comparing Velvia, Provia, Kodachrome in Canon, Leica,
Rollei and Mamiya film cameras (up to 6x7cm) with digital
from Leica M8, Canon EOS 1Ds mk2 and Nikon D3. Most recently
I have been trying a Nikon D3x but have not formed any
conclusions yet since I have not shot with it enough.




On 12 Jan, 2009, at 16:13, Carlos Manuel Freaza wrote:

--- El lun 12-ene-09, Frank Dernie
<Frank.Dernie@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx> escribió:

In all practical ways digital has exceeded the
capability
of film for some time. Certainly if there is an
effect which
one wishes to achieve, using a vintage LF lens for
example,
film may have to be the choice but that does not
make film
better, just an appropriate choice in some
circumstances.

Film is the best choice when you need the highest
image quality.-

Carlos



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