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01-14-2013, 05:33 AM   #1
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Film full frame advantage

How much full frame advantage does shooting film has?

or do you think thank advantage is nullified in processing film (development, scanning, low resolution, grains etc).

Just wondering

01-14-2013, 06:00 AM   #2
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Film clearly benefits from using the full 24x36mm format. While there were (still are) some slow B&W films that resolve as much as current sensors do, the popular color and high speed films do introduce a "texture" into enlargements. It is always a challenge with film to compose to minimize cropping in order to get the best quality. (Still true in digital, but not as great an effect.) There were smaller film formats (APS, 35mm half-frame, and even 8 & 16 mm micro cameras), but there was always a significant quality trade off due to the limits of film. In fact, much of pro photography used medium and large format film for smooth quality. (Most advertisements for 35mm cameras were actually shot using medium format!)
Today the quality from a good 24x36 mm "FF" digital approaches "medium format" (60 mm) film, and some think exceeds it. So where you used to use medium format to be considered a pro, now many have switched to FF digital.
01-14-2013, 06:04 AM   #3
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For me, shooting film was all about DoF control and dynamic range, but since I got a K5 (right from its debuts) and experienced its very good DR, I shot maybe 2 rolls of film (and even that was because I had them lying around!).

And now with news of upcoming FF-to-Mirrorless "true" adapters that supposedly condensate a FF image onto an APS-C sensor, DoF control will not be a problem anymore...
01-14-2013, 06:24 AM   #4
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QuoteOriginally posted by yusuf Quote
How much full frame advantage does shooting film has?

or do you think thank advantage is nullified in processing film (development, scanning, low resolution, grains etc).

Just wondering

Obviously half frame format more than doubles 110film, 35mm doubles half frame and medium format more than quadruples 35mm film and so on for full frame 4X5, 8X10, etc.



  1. Film development is standardized and can cause very minor variation if done right.
  2. Scanning has a great influence and varies greatly between scanners.
  3. Film type has a great influence and varies greatly between films.
  4. Grain has a great influence and varies greatly between films.
  5. Optics and apertures have a great influence and can vary greatly from one lens to another.


01-14-2013, 07:29 AM   #5
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Most importantly, what are you trying to shoot?

If you are not sure what you are missing out on by not having "full frame" You are not missing out on anything!

Resolution and colour is all a given now with current sensors. Stop Worrying about "technique" and "quality" they are seemingly more marketing tools then photographic tools

So Full frame has no advantage, Unless of course you are insecure about your images and think have an extra 1" will make all the difference.

....Or perhaps you are trekking around the Amazon and wont be able to charge your battery.. In that case film naturally is the Bees Knees. (do you guys have the expression Bees Knees? Its generally meant in context of good) Are you traveling to where you won't have electricity? Sounds like fun, can I come?
01-14-2013, 07:34 AM   #6
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Are you asking if shooting full frame film has an advantage over cropped digital? Otherwise with film if you use the same emulsion a larger film surface is going to get you finer grain, more resolution and less demand on the scanner if you end up scanning the film. If you are asking full frame film over your K-x then the advantage is you get to enjoy the processes involved in shooting, developing and printing if you like to do those things.

I will often shoot the K-r and my film Pentax together but always for a different purpose or end result, never to see if one is 'bettter' than the other.
01-14-2013, 07:37 AM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by yusuf Quote
How much full frame advantage does shooting film has?

or do you think thank advantage is nullified in processing film (development, scanning, low resolution, grains etc).

Just wondering
If you speak about numbers and scientifical stuff, i would say that a slow B&W film have probably more resolution than current sensors, but as said before it depend on so many parameter ...

If you speak about taste i would say : Film is funnier !

Shooting film is more about the taste of the framework, the limited number of shoot, the fixed iso, film for 24 or 36 frames, the color rendition of film.

For me film is a kind of reverse "geek"-ing

oh, and i love the very compact system it offer with the DA 40, or the cheap but awesome quality it can offer.
01-14-2013, 09:09 AM - 1 Like   #8
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I shoot film because it’s “film” and I like the process. If you are only shooting film because it’s FF and you want to get the feeling of what a future Pentax FF DSLR may look like then that’s a different story.

Most of us in the “Film forum” like the process of shooting film and using old cameras.
We are not just shooting film until a new better Pentax DSLR comes out.

Phil.

01-14-2013, 10:06 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by yusuf Quote
[...]or do you think thank advantage is nullified in processing film (development, scanning, low resolution, grains etc).
Not sure what you mean by resolution exactly, but 6x6 or 6x7 is not too shabby. And I'm not sure I've heard much complaint about the resolution of an 8x10 contact print.

But since I assume you are referring to how APS-C digital compares to 35mm, for me they are very different beasts. I can snap away all day long on digital, whereas film takes much, much more thought when you're on a budget. The shutter release on a film camera sounds more like "ka-ching" than "ka-thunk" to me. But as a result my awareness of composition, light, exposure, etc. go up dramatically when shooting film. Especially medium format, which works out to about a buck a frame.

And some of us like grain. I much prefer a grainy 35mm photo to a noisy digital one.

Not to mention that developing one's own negatives is so, so satisfying. I don't even have a darkroom. Just a film loading bag and a laundry sink.
01-14-2013, 06:17 PM   #10
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If by full frame you mean the extra few degrees you can get from wide angles you maybe surpriused...
many lenses that were mediocre in film era are considered good in digital because the edges are not part of the image anymore.

I think the main advantage of film is to have a very limited number of exposures available, thus slowing you down before shooting
01-15-2013, 06:44 AM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by titrisol Quote
I think the main advantage of film is to have a very limited number of exposures available, thus slowing you down before shooting
Exactly...

And shooting digital just learned me to snap two slightly different pics (if I can) of my subject when using film... A bad pic is always cheaper than a missed opportunity, IMO...
01-15-2013, 02:54 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by dlacouture Quote
Exactly...

And shooting digital just learned me to snap two slightly different pics (if I can) of my subject when using film... A bad pic is always cheaper than a missed opportunity, IMO...
And my wife always shot that way even in the 1970s. Its not a matter of a missed opportunity but rather spending the time and effort visually exploring the subject with your eyes not through the camera lens.


If I was running a two day workshop teaching people how to improve their compostion I would have one day with a card limited to 72 exposures or two rolls of film and the other day with unlimited number of exposures, Would not matter which order the two days would be in there would be lessons learnt from both approaches as you state.

I only have 12 exposures in my MF camera and yet there are very few times I think afterwards I should have taken more pictures. The last time was when I only took two frames of a rapids however I also shot a roll of colour so it is not like I did not get what I wanted just would have liked one more in black and white.
01-15-2013, 09:35 PM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by yusuf Quote
How much full frame advantage does shooting film has?

or do you think thank advantage is nullified in processing film (development, scanning, low resolution, grains etc).

Just wondering
I assume you are talking about 35mm? If so, I would suggest that it has the same advantage it always had as well as the same disadvantages. The small negative has always presented a challenge from the perspective of grain and what is required of the optics. That was balanced nicely by the compact kit, the large number of exposures per roll, and ease of use. The 35mm format was and still is sort of a sweet spot where usability converged with image quality, DOF control, and flexible kit.

Regarding your individual points:
  • Development can be bad, but so can the image processors in a dSLR. The difference is that one lasts the life of the camera. The two are analogous.
  • Scanning...You can get as much quality as you are willing to pay for. In the end, you still may not be able to match a high resolution digital sensor. Best case with my kit is theoretically equal to about 24 megapixels.
  • Grain...It is my understanding that it is supposed to be there, sort of like brush strokes on a painting. That being said, the finest grain films require a microscope to see the actual film grain. In practice, grain (or the interference patterns associated with grain) are usually a part of any film image. Move up to medium format (120 roll film) and grain essentially disappears.
  • Low resolution? The better films coupled with decent optics are capable of some pretty incredible resolution. Again, a high end FF dSLR will do better, assuming, of course that you are talking 35mm. Move up to medium or large format and film holds its own quite nicely from a monetary value perspective.
That last point is the telling one. The part about monetary value perspective. If you want a little larger format, enjoy a flexible, compact, and lightweight kit and like the general film experience, it is pretty have to beat a good 35mm film SLR. This is especially true if you want to keep your monetary investment to a minimum.

There is, of course, the issue that film photography is sort of like a malignant disease. I got back into it with a single roll of 35mm film in a film camera that I had owned since the early 1980s. Within two years I had a dozen cameras (including a large format view camera) and two scanners and had spent enough to buy a used FF dSLR.




Steve
01-15-2013, 09:42 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by titrisol Quote
I think the main advantage of film is to have a very limited number of exposures available, thus slowing you down before shooting
...and also a huge disadvantage. I have been going through my 35mm slide collection and have been struck with how few frames I dedicated to some fairly interesting subjects. Three rolls of film in the pack, eight more days on the trail, no idea what else might be coming up tomorrow...can't risk wasting a shot.

I can honestly say that my K10D did more for my technical and artistic expertise than the decades of film work that preceded its purchase. On the other hand, my film experience facilitated a quick learning curve with the K10D and software post-processing. In the end, there is a happy synergy between the two tools.

At least I am happy with the mix.


Steve
01-16-2013, 10:24 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
IThere is, of course, the issue that film photography is sort of like a malignant disease. I got back into it with a single roll of 35mm film in a film camera that I had owned since the early 1980s. Within two years I had a dozen cameras (including a large format view camera) and two scanners and had spent enough to buy a used FF dSLR.




Steve
You make this sound like it is not a good thing
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