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06-05-2011, 03:45 AM   #46
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Asaru, I'm nodding in agreement to your post.

QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
Your post of this "film" picture raises a reasonable question I think:

Haven't you, in fact and by necessity, posted a digital picture? If you posted this picture to illustrate what film can do and digital can not do using a digital format (a JPG) haven't you contradicted yourself?

Or perhaps I just misunderstand your intent in posting the pic?
The original is a film source, digital is the medium by which I'm 'printing' it. In this case, yes, it is digital, but a digital reproduction of a FILM reality, rather than an 'original' extract of the external world.

Had the initial capture been on digital, then the image I posted would be equally so a digital reproduction, a 'print', of the original capture.

06-05-2011, 06:23 AM   #47
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
Asaru, I'm nodding in agreement to your post.



The original is a film source, digital is the medium by which I'm 'printing' it. In this case, yes, it is digital, but a digital reproduction of a FILM reality, rather than an 'original' extract of the external world.

Had the initial capture been on digital, then the image I posted would be equally so a digital reproduction, a 'print', of the original capture.
OK. I guess I misunderstood.
I thought that film people were hanging on to the use of film because they thought that film possessed unique innate differences and advantages , visually, that could not be expressed fully or well through a digital medium.

My misunderstanding.
06-05-2011, 07:20 AM   #48
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
OK. I guess I misunderstood.
I thought that film people were hanging on to the use of film because they thought that film possessed unique innate differences and advantages , visually, that could not be expressed fully or well through a digital medium.

My misunderstanding.
Actually I would fall into that camp. There are some films that can create an image that can’t be replicated in digital and scanning those images will also never fully capture the original film image. Kodachrome and most b&w films fall into that camp.

However the main reason I will never shoot digital is the computer part of the process. I only scan a small percentage of my film and that’s only so I can post the images online. I loath scanning or any form of PP s/w, it’s not even remotely fun for me and has nothing to do with why I got into photography over 35 years ago.

Phil.
06-05-2011, 09:25 AM   #49
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
OK. I guess I misunderstood.
I thought that film people were hanging on to the use of film because they thought that film possessed unique innate differences and advantages , visually, that could not be expressed fully or well through a digital medium.

My misunderstanding.
I think the light may well be coming on.

Regarding misunderstanding, I would say that you are misunderstanding a lot. I work in both media and know the difference, as much as my artist mother understood the difference between oils and acrylic. Jussi (Nesster) hits the nail on the head.
Digital expression is not the same as digital capture
However, you were very up front in your initial comment. You are not a film shooter and ignorance is a good excuse for misunderstanding. You have my indulgence.


Steve

06-05-2011, 09:44 AM   #50
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I guess it ultimately comes down to how long my fridge/freezer holds out and my caffenol supply.
06-05-2011, 10:02 AM   #51
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
You are not a film shooter and ignorance is a good excuse for misunderstanding. You have my indulgence.
You are assuming too much.

I'm 72 years old now. I started back in the 1950,s. I shot primarily with a Nikon S2 rangefinder, a Practica SLR and my main camera was a Rolleiflex TLR.

In addition I had my own darkroom for many years, possibly longer than many on this forum as well as helping my brother in law in his professional darkroom doing color work.

So well it's true that I am a digital shooter it's presumptuous to assume this choice is based on ignorance of the advantages and/or disadvantages of film.

Different strokes for different folks.

Last edited by wildman; 06-05-2011 at 10:10 AM.
06-05-2011, 10:20 AM   #52
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QuoteOriginally posted by asaru Quote
That's a very pedantic and artiste way of putting it, quite unnecessarily and unpleasantly so. Indeed we can analyze art definitions until the cows go our once again following the pigs having flown.

The thing is, however, that digital special effects retain a particular edge of unreality -- the normal human eye under natural light just responds to photo-stimuli differently -- that successive generations of ever more naturalistic films never even tried to achieve.
QuoteOriginally posted by asaru Quote
Aristophanes, I see what you are saying. Unprocessed digital photography "straight off the sensor" may well be more naturalistic in color rendition than various kinds of film. And you are absolutely right about B&W. That is a very fair comment because my previous point was all about color response.

I agree that digital can be "too real". It is too real because the human eye is much less perfect than a high-quality lens. Film's imperfections therefore compensate.

Going back to Nesster's point about hipness and subjectivity... I agree, but actually I think I want to take it further. I am convinced that every decade has a particular color palette associated with it. Not merely in photography, but in real life. Even the colors of the sky in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s were a little different from today's. I can think of various reasons why this should be so:

* solar radiation is not entirely constant, either in origin or the way it gets to the surface through the interplanetary space and the atmosphere;

* perhaps we perceive colors not just as an absolute and even spectrum, but with certain frequencies more powerfully seen. Fashion may train us to see certain colors more strongly, just as speakers of a language have very real difficulties distinguishing sounds which are not native to them -- like the Japanese troubles with "l" and 'r". Since fashion changes with time, so too may human color response.

* even more mystically, perhaps the mood of society, which evolves over time, or our own state of mind, affects our color response.

I think this may explain some of the endless arguments about whether film or digital is more "real", or which kind of film produces the most "naturalistic" image.

What I said above is far removed from Nesster's post 41, but it feeds off it. Look at the photo he attached and decide for yourself how "real" it is.

Thanks for the very interesting points, guys. As you can see they've evolved my opinion somewhat.
I don't think "real" and photography have ever been clinically associated save for marketing campaigns. I am completely separating content from the medium. Digital's advantages are convenience, manipulation, and cost (eventually). Film's is a sense of analog handicraft. One can create any analog photo in digital reproduction, but not vice versa. This may give analog photos a certain authenticity. I have a Fuji Instax. I cannot get more authentic and real than that one-off capture, limited by the lens, the medium, some chemistry, and my eye for the content.
06-05-2011, 10:28 AM   #53
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^Of course.

Unfortunately, in our world there is no difference between life and marketing. If you are the subject of the photo, life and marketing are the background blur.

06-05-2011, 10:30 AM   #54
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
You are assuming too much.

I'm 72 years old now. I started back in the 1950,s. I shot primarily with a Nikon S2 rangefinder, a Practica SLR and my main camera was a Rolleiflex TLR.

In addition I had my own darkroom for many years, possibly longer than many on this forum as well as helping my brother in law in his professional darkroom doing color work.

So well it's true that I am a digital shooter it's presumptuous to assume this choice is based on ignorance of the advantages and/or disadvantages of film.

Different strokes for different folks.
Maybe you are assuming to much as well. Many of us in this discussion started out on film. I currently shoot predominantly digital. However, I still like film and shoot 35, 6x7, 6x6, and even a little 110 and 127. As a matter of fact, I started out on 110 in the late 70s.
06-05-2011, 11:39 AM   #55
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
I'm 72 years old now. I started back in the 1950,s. I shot primarily with a Nikon S2 rangefinder, a Practica SLR and my main camera was a Rolleiflex TLR.

In addition I had my own darkroom for many years, possibly longer than many on this forum as well as helping my brother in law in his professional darkroom doing color work.

So well it's true that I am a digital shooter it's presumptuous to assume this choice is based on ignorance of the advantages and/or disadvantages of film.

Different strokes for different folks.
That does explain a lot - for while nearly 2 decades younger than you, I well remember the limitations, malfunctions, and plain pain in the ass aspects of film, when film was the only avenue.

For me, these negatives are more excusable now - but I would agree with you that really good digital gear is much more reliable in capture - plus you can check your work immediately. There's stuff digital does and allows that with film is a royal PITA and requires a lot of trial and error.

This is why I do not believe film is any 'better' or 'closer to reality' than digital, it simply is different, and for me at least having digital available - and getting out of the enlarging business - makes film a nice choice. As grumpy as we get with scans

To be honest, there are other reasons why I'm shooting film mainly these days: low cost gear that I get to try, stuff I'd never have thought to try 30 years ago.
06-05-2011, 12:25 PM   #56
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I shoot digital for work.

I shoot a mixture of film and digital for fun. I mainly shoot film because (a) I spend too much time in front of the computer screen already and (b) I find using older film cameras fun. Talking of which, I must take my 'new' ESII out for a test run...
06-05-2011, 01:52 PM   #57
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Absent from the discussion is another reason for shooting film. Because that is what older mechanical cameras shoot.

For many people, the more automagic their camera the better. For them, focusing and metering your own scene just gets in the way or is not good for action. But oddly I find the joy and challenge in photography when I have to do all these things. The ultimate non-chimping camera. It doesn't matter if I make a mistake because it's for fun.

When I shoot my digital, it's not as rewarding when I get a good shot because it's too easy. IMHO no matter how much your digital costs, it's a point-n-shoot camera. Same could be said for fully automatic film I guess less the chimping part. But digital is good for the money shot and when I have to do pictures for other people.

Last edited by tuco; 06-05-2011 at 02:53 PM.
06-05-2011, 05:29 PM   #58
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Film offers surprises and uncertainty. Digital has to build those in through artifice as many iPhone apps can attest. Those annoying lomographers are onto something. Trial and error for film is a lifetime of filters and emulsions. Digital is a dial tweaked and RAW play plus Photoshop, often measured in hours. Or let Instagram do it.

In proper hands digital should never disappoint. Film is so much less perfect that it now offers relief through nostalgia. Film may survive precisely because it is the medium of patience. The shot may be a microsecond in execution, but one must wait for the results (even with my Fuji Instax). Digital is anti-patience. Not a bad thing, but different. More than most realize.
06-05-2011, 07:01 PM   #59
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QuoteOriginally posted by Nesster Quote
That does explain a lot - for while nearly 2
decades younger than you, I well remember the limitations, malfunctions,
and plain pain in the ass aspects of film, when film was the only
avenue.
When I used the term "misunderstood" I simply meant that I had chosen to
understand the purpose of your post in a way that you had not intended.
"Misunderstood" does not necessarly imply a lack of understanding but
rather, in this case, simply an incorrect choice.

When I said :

"I thought that film people were hanging on to the use of film because
they thought that film possessed unique innate differences and
advantages , visually, that could not be expressed fully or well through
a digital medium."...

...I realize now that I was giving my answer to "why film?" if I was a
film shooter. I'm very image centered so when someone says "film is
better " I just assumed by "better" they meant some visual quality that
film has that digital does not nor cannot have.

Perhaps this clears up the misunderstanding about "misunderstood"!

Last edited by wildman; 06-06-2011 at 03:51 AM.
06-05-2011, 08:18 PM   #60
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QuoteOriginally posted by wildman Quote
Perhaps this clears up the misunderstanding about "misunderstood"!
Indeed it does! Sorry about the curt tone of my previous post. There are a few film users on this forum that are exclusively so, but for the most part, most of us use both film and digital and a good many of us have a long history in the wet darkroom as well. (I started back in the late 1960s and still have my enlarger and printing kit, though they have not been used in a LONG time.) I think that it is safe to say that very few of us would make the blanket statement that film is uniformly "better". Give me my K10D any day over my film cameras for macro work. Give me my film cameras any day for black & white landscapes and architectural stuff. For street either will do, though I find my film rangefinders more able to the task. For sports the K10D wins again.

The key to this switching back and forth is the scanner. Without it, I would not be shooting film at all. The scanner coupled with image software is strictly analogous to the enlarger and wet technique and offers many of the same challenges. Limited dynamic range of the final viewing medium being the most obvious. So, why film as the capture medium? Three answers come quickly to mind when considering b&w work: 1) Dynamic range on the capture medium, 2) tonality, and 3) flexibility in image characteristics provided by film/developer combinations. I have tried, but have yet to do a monochrome conversion from my K10D that even comes close to what I can accomplish with any of the films currently in my 'frig. Up the ante to 4x5 and it would cost me many tens of thousands of dollars to get the same quality with digital.

What about color? That is a tough question. I get good results with both 35mm film and the dSLR.

If I want medium format or larger, the answer is dictated by economics. A film kit is much less expensive than the least expensive MF digital camera. For me that means a 4x5 view camera with roll film holder. A comparable digital setup with movements? Ha! Ha! Ha!


Steve


BTW...I have had some success emulating the more unusual color films in a digital capture, though grain is almost impossible to duplicate. Faux Ferrania 1, Faux Ferrania 2

Last edited by stevebrot; 06-05-2011 at 08:40 PM.
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