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03-19-2011, 10:03 PM   #1
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resolution between 35mm and k5 digital

I was told that given the high resolution form the k5, in fact the resolution from a picture taken by a K5 is higher than that froma 35mm film. Can the experienced photographers share their insights on this topic. Thanks in advance.

03-19-2011, 10:14 PM   #2
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Can't see much difference here between my scanned 35mm negs and the results from my K-5.

Not an issue basically
03-19-2011, 10:35 PM   #3
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Apples and oranges

Back before I bought into digital, I estimated that I was seeing no benefit scanning my iso 100 E6 stock at anything higher than 12 megapix. Occasionally I saw a benefit with iso50. This was using a Nikon Coolscan 9000 that could scan significantly higher resolution than that. My photos just didn't justify scanning at any resolution higher than that. As a result I decided to wait until SLRs hit 12 meg. Then I realised that the imaging areas were not the same on most cameras anyway and I gave in and bought a K10D. Resolution is not really a sensible comparison given the film will have variable resolving power anyway, depending on how accurately it has been exposed. A sensible comparison to make is between things like dynamic range, colour reproduction, colour consistency and ease of working.
03-19-2011, 11:14 PM   #4
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There are other differences besides the points Matthew raises. One is frame size and depth-of-field (DOF). Our dSLR APS-C sensor frames are about half the area of a full-frame 135mm (135/FF) frame. So, fast lenses on a 135/FF film camera will have thinner DOF than on an APS-C digital camera, an effect that is highly prized by many.

Another issue is spectral sensitivity, especially when dealing with infrared (IR) spectra. B&W and color IR film can capture images that are impossible with an unmodified digital camera. And very slow films with very limited light sensitivity exist, which indeed will have higher resolution than a commercial digital sensor.

For different sensitivity with a film camera, use different film. For different sensitivity with digital, change the camera. In digital, the camera IS the film. Changing it is costly.

Other issues deal not with intrinsic differences between film and digital, but with how they are used. For more resolution, use a larger-format camera. Ancient 120-film 6x9cm folders will kick ass on any digital camera, resolution-wise. Of course, digital is fast and easy to use, and each shot costs nothing; while with film, every shutter snap costs money, so we may tend to be a little more selective about what we shoot. And film is tangible; digital is virtual; preservation of each is different.

Yes, the resolution of your K5 is as good or better than many 35mm film frames. But imagery transcends resolution. As a noted photography professor told me, ART DOES NOT DEPEND ON PIXELS.

03-20-2011, 01:19 AM   #5
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Depends entirely on the size you want to print, for anything up to 13X19 T-Max 100 developed in Rodinal, in an ME super with a FA77mm f/1.8 mounted on it can produce excellent results, though the results from an image from a 16Mp Digital SLR Inkjet printed at 13X19 on high quality paper and using a top of the line printer will be superior to the darkroom image.

35mm colour slide and colour negative films are found to be wanting against digital even against a 12MP DSLR at 13X19.
03-20-2011, 09:09 AM   #6
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It's my understanding that resolution differences between modern emulsions and current generation dSLRs are relatively minor and depend on film choice, lens used, accuracy of exposure, steadiness of the camera, etc.
These things are nearly all variable from shot to shot. Sometimes a negative (or slide!) will look better, sometimes a digital print will.
With this in mind, it's better to choose the medium that fits YOUR workflow and style of shooting. Myself, I like the feel of an oldschool Spottie or KX better than a K-x or K5. You can get fantastic prints from either if you pay attention to the process of shooting, PP, and printing. One thing that I find digital lacks in is B&W. The tonality from a well-exposed Panchromatic B&W negative, scanned at high resolution and with attention to all settings, prints better, assuming the same printer and paper, than a color shot taken on a dSLR and converted to B&W. To my eye, the tones from the film are (generally, again, all this can vary greatly from shot to shot) richer and show more latitude.
To me, there is something special about a well-composed B&W shot with just a touch of grain and a long tonal range. While digital is on quite equal terms with film in the color arena, I find it to be a step behind in B&W.

In conclusion, I believe both formats have advantages and disadvantages. For me a film camera is the way to go, as I shoot mostly B&W and have yet to find another camera that suits me quite like the spottie does. For others, this may not be the case. They might find the K-5 or K-7 absolutely exhilarating to shoot with. It might fit their style of photography better. I respect their decision, and I would hope they would respect mine. Photography is an art, not a science, and there are intangible factors that influence personal choice and preference. Digital and film have different looks, resolution is part of that, but it doesn't tell the whole story, and in my opinion, is no justification for either, because, quite simply, we don't need to and should not have to justify our photographic choices.
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