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Thread: Digital vs. 35mm

  1. #21
    Barracuda
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    It is interesting to read the conversations on the photo forums.. where they go into minute detail on which sensor looks better on this atribute.. which is better on that... truth is, here is where the technology is going:

    1. DSLR sensors are headed towards 20 - 30 meg. Larger than that is not needed because lens cannot be made better. Everything until then is passing technology. As a note, that is around the 120 lines per mm.

    2. JPEG will be replaced with a completely lossless format within 5 years...(thank goodness). File sizes will be around 8 to 10 meg per picture.

    3. Both printing and scanning are already at the level they need to be... the image sensor just needs to catch up, although some dynamic range improvement for scanner will happen.

    Ironically, those lens from the 80's will still be usable in 2010...

    It should also be noted that the reason 35mm stopped improving in the 90's (went backward?) was because all the leading edge technical people went over to work on digital...leaving the old technolgy to fend for itself.

  2. #22
    Grouper
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    Sorry, wrong answer

    "Well the best digitals are now up to around 2,800 lines per inch.. or over 100 per mm. Humm, does not seem to be much difference. "

    Buzz, wrong. I said the best lenses I knew about were at 120+ LPM. That is where the testing house stopped measuring them. I do know of one lens that is better for my cameras. Kinoptic 100mm f2. Perkin-Elmer is reputted to have given up trying to measure the resolution of that lens at 622 LPM - that's around 15,000 LPI - which is a measure that I heard from Kodak years ago about the potential resolution of film.

    The best lenses I have were never actually measured. But those are not the best available for that camera type. I can't afford $2k+ per fixed length lens.

    "As with any technology, there is good and bad... I do a lot of digital printing.. and it is at the 5,700 lines per inch level... and no film is that good. The prints have more than 10 time the life expectacy..."

    BS, see above. Printing more doesn't help if you never had the resolution to begin with. I have been tested by some stores on this. I have them randomly put 1,3,and 5 mp (last time I did this) 8x10 images down for me to examine and I did. I am still able to 100% identify the original resolution from the prints. (I can do the same with film of 100 and 400 too. Old newsie photog store owner tested me, cause he couldn't belive it - until I did it!)

    "It has taken a while, but the next step will easily pass any 35mm film technology...It has taken a while... but film is no longer the top of the heap..."

    That's what they keep claiming, but it hasn't happened yet.

    And in answer to your other statement about the good lens people moving on to digitial - no, what happened was that the lens companies realized that they were not making more money making better lenses, so they stopped trying. The current digital lenses are the same crap being put out in the 80's and 90's for the consumers.

    If you look at the lens reports of the 80's and 90's, they stopped reporting LPM, and went to "fair, good, excellent" and then in the fine print you could find what that equated too.
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  3. #23
    Grand Master Spammer Founding Member
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    I believe mycroft is correct. I shoot film and digital. In fact I have my own color darkroom and can do both printing and developing. The reason I went to that was too many damaged negatives from Walmart and other shops. All it takes is a little TLC when they handle the film, but nope.

    I shoot medium format and also 35mm. IMO you can with a good digital give 35mm a run for it's money but you can't beat a medium format camera if you've got quality lenses. The lens on a film camera or digital can make or break the who package.

    I'll tell you this much, no digital can touch my medium format camera at taking aerial photo's. I think it can for under water, that medium just doesn't lend itself to the same amount of detail, ie the cold lake waters have too much silt and trash floating in it to give a pristine shot like you can get above water.

    I switched from film to digital for under water shots because where I live and dive it is plain easier to get the shots. I'm still FAR from good at under water stuff, it's much harder than above water. But I have got a couple I like.

    PS, I'm not sure how the pro's do the under water shots, but I would shoot a grey card and print that frame out getting it right, then print the others using that as a starting point. The problem with that is if I changed depth much the color balance would change a LOT meaning I'd have to shoot another grey card and that ended up make a 36 exposure roll have less than 36 usable exposures.

    I did use a cheap MMII camera which I've thankfully gotten rid of. I never hated a camera so much as I did that one and when the shutter broke I rejoiced. There are much better film cameras out there.

    Here's what I'd like, a film SLR under water. It would be nice to have.

    PS, it will cost you more to print your own photo's from film than you can get done elsewhere, the chemicals are toxic and don't last long, and you go through paper tweaking things to make them what you want. But, it's fun and you can get great results given time.
    Matthew P. Cummings
    Moberly MO

  4. #24
    Barracuda
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    This is going to be difficult to respond to, unless one has a physic's background... but will try....

    Going from one technology to another usually involves the fact that they are different... better at some things, worse at others.

    When I was a lot younger, I got to hear Ansel Adams talk about how 35 mm camera's were toys... and their users...well it was not as nice (***** ******). For years after that (ok decades) I only shot with large format camera's..and in all honesty... at one level, he had a point.

    Minor White believed that the photographer was far more important than the technology... and they were friends...

    Today, the large format camera is all but dead...mostly because professional's have abandoned it..in large part due the incredible color accuracy provided by first the Fuji and later several others. Resolution, it turned out, was not as important as everyone thought.

    Even the medium format has one foot in the grave...

    Hasselblad H2 Review

    Note: Since then, that company has gone completely digital ....

    H3DII

    If film was so much better, then why did professional's switch? These are people that make their living using a camera.. and they use, whatever will make them money.

    The answer is very little to do with resolution, but to address that issue, consider the following:

    1. A film image is only as good as the combination of lens, camera to hold the film flat and stable, film, development process, print paper and development of that paper. See anything wrong with this? They all will vary...the best anyone was ever able to do, with the best of everything, was to get to just over 100 lines per mm...which is why the evaluations eventually changed to realistic numbers.

    Note: Just the combination of sprocket holes, drive sprocket and edge hold down variation is enough to make really high numbers impossible.

    2. On the issue of lens resolution.. different frequences of light focus at different distances... with film, you could help this a bit by putting the layers of material in the order the frequences bend, but it was only a small help and was more than lost by the light having to travel thru all the different materials.

    3. Using a single frequency of light, or only looking at a single frequency of light, you can get astonishing numbers, meaningless ones, but really high. For a while, companies played that game.. No lens made could focus the entire visual spectrum at levels beyond around 120 lines/mm. Once the physics became obvious, they gave up trying to do more.

    4. With the advent of digital sensors, we gained a tremendous number of advantages, and almost an equal number of problems. We gained - a truly flat surface (which should be curved, but that is another issue), no light having to pass thru things of varying degrees and the ability to have consistent recording. We lost resolution (at least in these early days), several focus advantages and have a new type of dirt issue.

    5. But after you get by the image being captured, we have gained back all that was lost going from black and white to color. The photographer is now back in charge of the whole process...

    Was the net a gain or a loss... well, it is still a changing field, but if you look at the large format creative control... it is a major loss. 35mm... even today it is just a trade off.

    I lot of my professional time is spend on color and human's ability to see images.. technology now exists that easily surpasses it.. perhaps not what you are using.. perhaps not what you have seen, but it is already there.

    Note: By a Color checker DC from GretegMacbeth (now X-rite) and take a picture.. then print the image so that all the colors are correct..I can easily.. no film can...that goes a long way to explain why digital has been so commercially successful.

    I liked vinyl records also... but they were replaced with something different...better in some ways, worse in others...

    I'm sure when Marco Polo showed up with pasta in Italy, there were people that complained it was replacing the old way...

  5. #25
    Grouper
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    I dive with just cyber-shot point and shoot. One day I will go high tech with a digital slr--one day I will get the correct lottery numbers.
    One of my favorite photographers dives one dive film the next dive digital.
    Google "Linda Cline". Visit her web site--very impressive.

  6. #26
    Grand Master Spammer Founding Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Puffer Fish View Post
    Note: By a Color checker DC from GretegMacbeth (now X-rite) and take a picture.. then print the image so that all the colors are correct..I can easily.. no film can...that goes a long way to explain why digital has been so commercially successful.
    I agree with that statement, and as I said it makes a personal color darkroom very expensive because of all the work it takes to come up with good results. The other thing is different brand films do things "artistically", ie some make the colors more vivid than others which compounds trying to take an accurate picture.

    However, film shooters tend to be artistic and in fact choose certain brand films because they behave certain ways. Maybe the colors are not accurate but it is art I suppose.

    Digital IMO is very easy to control what you get and easy to manipulate to achieve it. Film is almost impossible to do the same things with, it is what I'd call art and digital is not. By that I mean it takes talent to do color processing and artistic flair. How many of us can remember the exact shade of gold at sunset in order to print that color using film? Film and things like that really take artistic talent to make it accurately reflect the scene, if that's what you want to do.

    I do know this much, there used to be websites which compared the best digital to the best film camera out there, the film camera had more detail 100% of the time, but if you printed it that detail was usually lost. To see it they scanned the negative and compared digital to digital. I can't recall the site now, but they did prove scientifically that film at the high end was better than the best digital, but they also proved you could not see it in prints and they concluded that digital would replace film because of it.
    Matthew P. Cummings
    Moberly MO

  7. #27
    Grouper
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    Film vs 35mm

    And you have touched upon some of the things I said.

    1. I have been using mostly one brand and mostly one type of film for the last 20+ years. So, I know what it is going to do. Meter? Well, I use it, but do I really need it anymore?

    2. Just as their are audiophiles that can tell you the difference between different high end stereos, I am a imageophile. As I pointed out, there were people that don't belive me, so I demonstrated.

    3. As for an example of what 35mm CAN do, I have an image in my living room. It is a 20 x 30, and was produced by a color lab that is unfortunately no longer with us. Along the 20 in side is a railing that intersects and is maybe 2" out of the 20. On the top of the railing is water, and in the water is a reflection. The print shows a recognizable image in the water reflection. Try that with your digitial SLR!

    4. As for the coments about lenses and how flat the film is. I invoke my camera brand - Alpa and my current choices - my 11si bodies. To the knowledgeable photographer, these are the ones that all other cameras are measured against in this respect. And the lenses for these cameras were made by the who's who of lenses, and Pignon only chose the best lens from each stable for their bodies. Apochromatics (All colors in the same film plane) from such companies as: Kern, Schneider, Angenuix, and Kinoptic.

    5. The lenses I use are from the listed companies, but the bodies and lenses were each and every one a craftsman product. The volumes made were caused by that level of care. An example is my 45-100mm F2.8 lens. Records indicate that only 57 total were made!

    Now maybe I am spoiled because this is the level of gear I am comparing, but this is the top end of 35mm and not what I want to give up. People talk about the Nikonos V lenses and especially the 15mm - those lenses are a step down from my regular stuff. I use the Nkonos V to pretect those other parts from getting flooded, because they can not be replaced.
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  8. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    And you have touched upon some of the things I said.

    1. I have been using mostly one brand and mostly one type of film for the last 20+ years. So, I know what it is going to do. Meter? Well, I use it, but do I really need it anymore?

    2. Just as their are audiophiles that can tell you the difference between different high end stereos, I am a imageophile. As I pointed out, there were people that don't belive me, so I demonstrated.

    3. As for an example of what 35mm CAN do, I have an image in my living room. It is a 20 x 30, and was produced by a color lab that is unfortunately no longer with us. Along the 20 in side is a railing that intersects and is maybe 2" out of the 20. On the top of the railing is water, and in the water is a reflection. The print shows a recognizable image in the water reflection. Try that with your digitial SLR!

    4. As for the coments about lenses and how flat the film is. I invoke my camera brand - Alpa and my current choices - my 11si bodies. To the knowledgeable photographer, these are the ones that all other cameras are measured against in this respect. And the lenses for these cameras were made by the who's who of lenses, and Pignon only chose the best lens from each stable for their bodies. Apochromatics (All colors in the same film plane) from such companies as: Kern, Schneider, Angenuix, and Kinoptic.

    5. The lenses I use are from the listed companies, but the bodies and lenses were each and every one a craftsman product. The volumes made were caused by that level of care. An example is my 45-100mm F2.8 lens. Records indicate that only 57 total were made!

    Now maybe I am spoiled because this is the level of gear I am comparing, but this is the top end of 35mm and not what I want to give up. People talk about the Nikonos V lenses and especially the 15mm - those lenses are a step down from my regular stuff. I use the Nkonos V to pretect those other parts from getting flooded, because they can not be replaced.
    I am very familar with alpi... beautifully made, a work of art, and I hope you cherish it as long as you can... and no product today will compare to that..

    Sadly, much of that art, is just that... art, not science. No lens has every had all of the frequences converge on one plane.. it is a physical impossiblity, and to date no one has been able to violate the laws of physics that requires. That does not mean the lens were not works of art... or that they did their job extremely well.

    Note: Part of this is technology, in that 30 years ago, there existed no technology that could measure that finely... so it was easy, with the tool available,, to view that data to believe they were near perfect. I guess, if you look at film, they were correct.

    You have pointed out one interesting aspect, when you talked about sound. And it comes into play with images. The old vinyl records actually recorded some of the three dimensional sound (they did not do that intentionally, just that the cutting needle could move in three dimensions. They did lots of other things wrong, but that they did right. Digital sound looses that. Vinyl did a lot of other bad things, but on one aspect, in one area, it is still better than digital. Oddly, I think it is sad that it will be lost forever...

    Me, I have never seen a 35mm image in 20 x 30 that I could not tell was 35mm... not because of the lens, but because of the film...compare that same image to the best 4x5 images, and 35mm looks rather bad. And the best, without exception, image I have ever seen was taken with a digital camera... all 232 gigs of it, with resolution hundreds of times that of the best film camera.

  9. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by cummings66 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Puffer Fish View Post
    Note: By a Color checker DC from GretegMacbeth (now X-rite) and take a picture.. then print the image so that all the colors are correct..I can easily.. no film can...that goes a long way to explain why digital has been so commercially successful.
    I agree with that statement, and as I said it makes a personal color darkroom very expensive because of all the work it takes to come up with good results. The other thing is different brand films do things "artistically", ie some make the colors more vivid than others which compounds trying to take an accurate picture.

    However, film shooters tend to be artistic and in fact choose certain brand films because they behave certain ways. Maybe the colors are not accurate but it is art I suppose.

    Digital IMO is very easy to control what you get and easy to manipulate to achieve it. Film is almost impossible to do the same things with, it is what I'd call art and digital is not. By that I mean it takes talent to do color processing and artistic flair. How many of us can remember the exact shade of gold at sunset in order to print that color using film? Film and things like that really take artistic talent to make it accurately reflect the scene, if that's what you want to do.

    I do know this much, there used to be websites which compared the best digital to the best film camera out there, the film camera had more detail 100% of the time, but if you printed it that detail was usually lost. To see it they scanned the negative and compared digital to digital. I can't recall the site now, but they did prove scientifically that film at the high end was better than the best digital, but they also proved you could not see it in prints and they concluded that digital would replace film because of it.
    Matt, you are very correct on that...and they knew, that when digital got to above 16meg, it would be equal to the best film. They don't bother any more, as film is dying.

    Film started with large camera's and gradually got smaller and smaller as technology improved.. down to the 35mm (actually smaller, but it was really silly). The sad part, is the digital started small and has been very costly to make large. As a result, we have lost the wonderful use of swings and tilts, and all the craft that went into it. The concepts of perspective and how it changes the look of things is lost in micro sensor's and tiny little pixel's. I hope (but don't expect) that one day, they do make large sensors to fill that gap.

    But it does not mean that we cannot make the best of what we do have, different though it may be.

  10. #30
    Grand Master Spammer Founding Member
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    The thing about digital is that it's more than the MP count, it's the size of the sensor to boot. There are several factors at work here, including the technology of the sensor. Some do better in low light, others in bright light.
    Matthew P. Cummings
    Moberly MO

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