Digital/Analogue Comparisons

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Steve Hodgson, Oct 21, 2006.

  1. I was hunting around to see if there are any credible articles
    reviewing the state of play of analogue vs. digital photography for
    various levels of equipment. I didn't find anything and wondered if
    anyone knows of such articles.

    I was hoping to see how image qualities vary with the various types of
    equipment from budget compacts, through DSLR and upwards.
    --
    Cheers,

    Steve

    The reply-to email address is a spam trap.
    Email steve 'at' shodgson 'dot' org 'dot' uk
    Steve Hodgson, Oct 21, 2006
    #1
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  2. "Steve Hodgson" <> wrote:
    >I was hunting around to see if there are any credible articles reviewing
    >the state of play of analogue vs. digital photography for various levels of
    >equipment. I didn't find anything and wondered if anyone knows of such
    >articles.
    >
    > I was hoping to see how image qualities vary with the various types of
    > equipment from budget compacts, through DSLR and upwards.


    http://www.ales.litomisky.com/shootout/analogversusdigitalshootout.htm

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Oct 21, 2006
    #2
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  3. David J. Littleboy wrote:
    > "Steve Hodgson" <> wrote:
    >> I was hunting around to see if there are any credible articles
    >> reviewing the state of play of analogue vs. digital photography for
    >> various levels of equipment. I didn't find anything and wondered if
    >> anyone knows of such articles.
    >>
    >> I was hoping to see how image qualities vary with the various types
    >> of equipment from budget compacts, through DSLR and upwards.

    >
    > http://www.ales.litomisky.com/shootout/analogversusdigitalshootout.htm
    >
    > David J. Littleboy
    > Tokyo, Japan


    That's an interesting comparison, David.

    One area which isn't addressed there, though, is the non-SLR digital
    camera. With typical film, you could not have got good results from the
    miniature sensor size seen in many digital cameras today. OK, there was
    Minox etc., but hardly mainstream.

    The compacts of today offer enough quality for many people and allow
    prints up to, say, 10 x 8 inches. Are they, perhaps, similar quality to
    the "35 mm film camera" used in the article's comparison?

    David
    David J Taylor, Oct 21, 2006
    #3
  4. Steve Hodgson

    Paul Rubin Guest

    Paul Rubin, Oct 21, 2006
    #4
  5. Steve Hodgson

    Marvin Guest

    Steve Hodgson wrote:
    > I was hunting around to see if there are any credible articles reviewing
    > the state of play of analogue vs. digital photography for various levels
    > of equipment. I didn't find anything and wondered if anyone knows of
    > such articles.
    >
    > I was hoping to see how image qualities vary with the various types of
    > equipment from budget compacts, through DSLR and upwards.


    A lot has been written, but many of the differences are
    subjective. So there are many opinions, and many arguments.
    Marvin, Oct 21, 2006
    #5
  6. Steve Hodgson

    timeOday Guest

    David J Taylor wrote:
    > David J. Littleboy wrote:
    >
    >>"Steve Hodgson" <> wrote:
    >>
    >>>I was hunting around to see if there are any credible articles
    >>>reviewing the state of play of analogue vs. digital photography for
    >>>various levels of equipment. I didn't find anything and wondered if
    >>>anyone knows of such articles.
    >>>
    >>>I was hoping to see how image qualities vary with the various types
    >>>of equipment from budget compacts, through DSLR and upwards.

    >>
    >>http://www.ales.litomisky.com/shootout/analogversusdigitalshootout.htm
    >>
    >>David J. Littleboy
    >>Tokyo, Japan

    >
    >
    > That's an interesting comparison, David.
    >
    > One area which isn't addressed there, though, is the non-SLR digital
    > camera. With typical film, you could not have got good results from the
    > miniature sensor size seen in many digital cameras today. OK, there was
    > Minox etc., but hardly mainstream.
    >
    > The compacts of today offer enough quality for many people and allow
    > prints up to, say, 10 x 8 inches. Are they, perhaps, similar quality to
    > the "35 mm film camera" used in the article's comparison?
    >
    > David
    >
    >


    Whoah, I can't believe the digital camera blew away 6x6 cm medium format.

    And that's using an exotic drum scanner running $50-$100 *per frame*
    <http://www.colorfolio.com/pricing/drum_scan_pricing.htm>
    <http://www.westcoastimaging.com/wci/page/services/scan/wciscans.htm>

    I share your curiosity about how a pocket digital would perform. My
    guess is the compact would do quite well if ample light were available.
    I think DSLRs' main advantage is in low light situations.

    Here are some shots you can compare between the 5d used in the above
    test and the Canon D700 IS (picked at random, not my camera). The 5D
    clearly captures more detail, but I think the D700 would still blow away
    35mm film in the test above.

    <http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canoneos5d/page26.asp>
    <http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/canonsd700is/page5.asp>
    timeOday, Oct 21, 2006
    #6
  7. "Paul Rubin" <http://> wrote:
    > "David J. Littleboy" <> writes:
    >> http://www.ales.litomisky.com/shootout/analogversusdigitalshootout.htm

    >
    > Pretty interesting. I'd like to see a comparison between a 5D and
    > a 35mm camera using super fine grained black and white film sometime.


    At least for scanning, "super fine grained black and white film" doesn't do
    a lot better than the better color negative films (Fuji's latest ISO 160
    films are rather amazing in terms of the tightness (and
    non-objectionableness) of the grain pattern, even when scanned). I've shot
    some Tech Pan and TMX100 in 645 and 6x7, and TMX100 in 6x7 is a tad better
    than the 5D.

    If you read the tech sheets and shoot bar charts, the "super fine grained
    black and white films" seem pretty cool, but when you shoot real images and
    put the images under a microscope or in a scanner, the enthusiasm cools. Or
    at least that's what happened here.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Oct 21, 2006
    #7
  8. Steve Hodgson

    Paul Rubin Guest

    "David J. Littleboy" <> writes:
    > If you read the tech sheets and shoot bar charts, the "super fine grained
    > black and white films" seem pretty cool, but when you shoot real images and
    > put the images under a microscope or in a scanner, the enthusiasm cools. Or
    > at least that's what happened here.


    Well, they must make and use those films for a reason. Think of all
    the microfilm and microfiche at the library, for example. Can a 5D
    do anything like that, or do we still need scanners?
    Paul Rubin, Oct 21, 2006
    #8
  9. On 2006-10-21 17:03:46 +0100, "David J. Littleboy" <> said:

    >
    > "Steve Hodgson" <> wrote:
    >> I was hunting around to see if there are any credible articles
    >> reviewing the state of play of analogue vs. digital photography for
    >> various levels of equipment. I didn't find anything and wondered if
    >> anyone knows of such articles.
    >>
    >> I was hoping to see how image qualities vary with the various types of
    >> equipment from budget compacts, through DSLR and upwards.

    >
    > http://www.ales.litomisky.com/shootout/analogversusdigitalshootout.htm


    Thanks for that link - fascinating stuff. I was really impressed at the
    differences in the cropped images.

    On my first pass through the pictures I still favoured the output from
    two film cameras but in the end decided this was the warmth added by
    the Velvio film. I reckon that is they were shot on something cooler I
    would have been less biased.
    --
    Cheers,

    Steve

    The reply-to email address is a spam trap.
    Email steve 'at' shodgson 'dot' org 'dot' uk
    Steve Hodgson, Oct 21, 2006
    #9
  10. "Paul Rubin" <http://> wrote:
    > "David J. Littleboy" <> writes:
    >> If you read the tech sheets and shoot bar charts, the "super fine grained
    >> black and white films" seem pretty cool, but when you shoot real images
    >> and
    >> put the images under a microscope or in a scanner, the enthusiasm cools.
    >> Or
    >> at least that's what happened here.

    >
    > Well, they must make and use those films for a reason.


    Most of the high-res and/or ultra-fine grained films have been discontinued.
    Tech Pan, Ektar, Konica Impressa 50, Panatomic X. All gone.

    > Think of all the microfilm and microfiche at the library, for example.


    Microfilm is high contast; some, with careful development can persuaded to
    be somewhat useful for pictorial photography (Tech Pan, Gigabit), but it's
    very slow, has odd spectral response, and requires that you develop it
    yourself. (I'd be interested in trying Gigabit film in my Mamiya 7, but I
    don't think it is made in 120. Sigh.)

    >Can a 5D
    > do anything like that, or do we still need scanners?


    Well, there's this minor problem that there aren't any affordable 35mm
    scanners in production that can really do better than the 5D, whatever the
    properties of the film. Bart claims the Minolta 5400 more than edges out the
    4000 ppi Nikons, but it's out of production. Roger claims drum scanning at
    high res squeezes more out of the film, but those services are pricey.

    TMX100, Fuji Pro160S, Provia 100F in 6x7 or 6x9 will edge out the 5D, and
    almost any film in 4x5 will trounce it (as long as you don't stop down to
    f/45 or smaller<g>).

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Oct 22, 2006
    #10
  11. Steve Hodgson

    Paul Rubin Guest

    "David J. Littleboy" <> writes:
    > > Think of all the microfilm and microfiche at the library, for example.

    >
    > Microfilm is high contast; some, with careful development can persuaded to
    > be somewhat useful for pictorial photography (Tech Pan, Gigabit),


    But microfilm developed normally has traditionally been used for copy
    work (i.e. non-pictorial photography) and must have been useful for
    that purpose. Is this an area where 35mm film still beats the 5D?

    > >Can a 5D do anything like that, or do we still need scanners?

    >
    > Well, there's this minor problem that there aren't any affordable 35mm
    > scanners in production that can really do better than the 5D,


    Sorry, I meant document scanners, not 35mm film scanners.
    Paul Rubin, Oct 22, 2006
    #11
  12. "Paul Rubin" <http://> wrote:
    > "David J. Littleboy" <> writes:
    >> > Think of all the microfilm and microfiche at the library, for example.

    >>
    >> Microfilm is high contast; some, with careful development can persuaded
    >> to
    >> be somewhat useful for pictorial photography (Tech Pan, Gigabit),

    >
    > But microfilm developed normally has traditionally been used for copy
    > work (i.e. non-pictorial photography) and must have been useful for
    > that purpose. Is this an area where 35mm film still beats the 5D?


    Ah. I completely missed what you were getting at. I don't know, but I'd be
    surprised if the 5D was anywhere close. Film does very well for extreme high
    contrast, and even better if you don't mind noise. For most copy work, all
    you care is that you can read it, not how ugly it is.

    >> >Can a 5D do anything like that, or do we still need scanners?

    >>
    >> Well, there's this minor problem that there aren't any affordable 35mm
    >> scanners in production that can really do better than the 5D,

    >
    > Sorry, I meant document scanners, not 35mm film scanners.


    No; I'm the one who missed the point. You mean someone might want to do
    something with a camera other than imitate Ansel Adams? Unthinkable<g>.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Oct 22, 2006
    #12
  13. Steve Hodgson wrote:
    > I was hunting around to see if there are any credible articles
    > reviewing the state of play of analogue vs. digital photography for
    > various levels of equipment. I didn't find anything and wondered if
    > anyone knows of such articles.
    >
    > I was hoping to see how image qualities vary with the various types of
    > equipment from budget compacts, through DSLR and upwards.
    > --
    > Cheers,
    >
    > Steve
    >
    > The reply-to email address is a spam trap.
    > Email steve 'at' shodgson 'dot' org 'dot' uk


    By analog, do you mean strictly film? There have been a number of
    methods of electronic photography that were analog, not digital. Most
    were military but I believe a few made it briefly to the consumer
    market. One type was an offshoot of video camcorders, another was
    essentially a "fax" machine". There were also the electronic "IR
    cameras" which were originally military, but became professional
    equipment for various industrial uses like checking printed circuit
    boards and such, or checking insulation on buildings.
    Don Stauffer in Minnesota, Oct 22, 2006
    #13
  14. Steve Hodgson

    ASAAR Guest

    On Mon, 23 Oct 2006 00:45:34 +0900, David J. Littleboy wrote:

    >> Sorry, I meant document scanners, not 35mm film scanners.

    >
    > No; I'm the one who missed the point. You mean someone might want to do
    > something with a camera other than imitate Ansel Adams? Unthinkable<g>.


    Are you sure about that? Wouldn't you be able to say that
    document reproduction is taking advantage of zone principles to
    deliver an insanely extreme subset of the possible tonal range? :)
    ASAAR, Oct 22, 2006
    #14
  15. Steve Hodgson

    Paul Rubin Guest

    "David J. Littleboy" <> writes:
    > > But microfilm developed normally has traditionally been used for copy
    > > work (i.e. non-pictorial photography) and must have been useful for
    > > that purpose. Is this an area where 35mm film still beats the 5D?

    >
    > Ah. I completely missed what you were getting at. I don't know, but I'd be
    > surprised if the 5D was anywhere close. Film does very well for extreme high
    > contrast, and even better if you don't mind noise. For most copy work, all
    > you care is that you can read it, not how ugly it is.


    I find I can get readable results quite easily even with a low res
    pocket digicam. But they're miles away from what I can do with a
    scanner. A full frame DSLR should be able to do much better than the
    digicam but still has limitations. One obvious limitation is
    chromatic aberration in the lens. With black-and-white microfilm I
    expect they deal with chromatic aberration by simply taking the
    picture with monochromatic light (e.g. that green fluorescent light
    that photocopy machines use). Another limitation might be caused by
    the AA filter. And of course there is the sensor resolution.
    Finally, mirror and shutter vibration might be an issue. I can feel
    my Bogen 3021 tripod vibrate when I fire an SLR shutter on top of it,
    but a seriously heavy copy stand might do a better job of damping
    this.

    Noise might not be a problem assuming you control the illumination and
    can crank it up bright and use long exposures if necessary.
    Paul Rubin, Oct 22, 2006
    #15
  16. Steve Hodgson

    Peter Guest

    Paul Rubin wrote:
    > "David J. Littleboy" <> writes:
    > > > But microfilm developed normally has traditionally been used for copy
    > > > work (i.e. non-pictorial photography) and must have been useful for
    > > > that purpose. Is this an area where 35mm film still beats the 5D?

    > >
    > > Ah. I completely missed what you were getting at. I don't know, but I'd be
    > > surprised if the 5D was anywhere close. Film does very well for extreme high
    > > contrast, and even better if you don't mind noise. For most copy work, all
    > > you care is that you can read it, not how ugly it is.

    >
    > I find I can get readable results quite easily even with a low res
    > pocket digicam. But they're miles away from what I can do with a
    > scanner. A full frame DSLR should be able to do much better than the
    > digicam but still has limitations.


    I think the 5D has around 2900 pixels frame height. That should make
    a photograph of a 24 inch high newspaper reasonably readable, but not
    quite what you'd want (121 pixeks per inch of original).

    > One obvious limitation is
    > chromatic aberration in the lens.


    Either digital cameras are doing something funny, or the pictures
    showing
    this effect are taken with lenses with rather a lot of lateral colour.
    If it is a lens problem, it can be solved by using the right lens.

    > With black-and-white microfilm I
    > expect they deal with chromatic aberration by simply taking the
    > picture with monochromatic light (e.g. that green fluorescent light
    > that photocopy machines use).


    Traditionally 3200K tungsten light was used. I suspect some is
    done with electronic flash nowadays. Document microfilms are
    panchromatic and sometimes have extended red sensitivity.
    Contrast filters are sometimes used to compensate for yellowed
    or stained documents. Monochromatic light would not be a good
    idea for recording different coloured inks.

    Colour microfilm (such as Ilfochrome Micrographic) is always used
    with 3200K lighting.

    > Noise might not be a problem assuming you control the illumination and
    > can crank it up bright and use long exposures if necessary.


    You would normally want to increase contrast quite a bit.
    Modern B&W document microfilm is pretty fast largely
    because it is developed to a high conrast. Is suspect that the
    right post exposure processing would allow very short
    exposures with a DSLR.

    Peter.
    --
    Peter, Oct 22, 2006
    #16
  17. "Paul Rubin" <http://> wrote:
    > "David J. Littleboy" <> writes:
    >> > But microfilm developed normally has traditionally been used for copy
    >> > work (i.e. non-pictorial photography) and must have been useful for
    >> > that purpose. Is this an area where 35mm film still beats the 5D?

    >>
    >> Ah. I completely missed what you were getting at. I don't know, but I'd
    >> be
    >> surprised if the 5D was anywhere close. Film does very well for extreme
    >> high
    >> contrast, and even better if you don't mind noise. For most copy work,
    >> all
    >> you care is that you can read it, not how ugly it is.

    >
    > I find I can get readable results quite easily even with a low res
    > pocket digicam. But they're miles away from what I can do with a
    > scanner. A full frame DSLR should be able to do much better than the
    > digicam but still has limitations. One obvious limitation is
    > chromatic aberration in the lens. With black-and-white microfilm I
    > expect they deal with chromatic aberration by simply taking the
    > picture with monochromatic light (e.g. that green fluorescent light
    > that photocopy machines use).


    Copy work is a different world from pictorial photography.

    http://www.cacreeks.com/films.htm

    Note that there are several films that resolve 200 lp/mm or more*. That's
    (24 x 2 x 200) x (36 x 2 x 200) pixels. I.e. 138MP. For high contrast
    targets, you'll get quite close to that. (You'll need a lens that's
    diffraction limited at f/5.6, though. But that's possible for longer focal
    lengths.)

    In pictorial photography, 24x36mm of film is nowhere close to 12MP.

    *: My understanding is that Tech Pan (320 lp/mm) is quite typical of
    microfilms, so the 200 lp/mm estimate is a reasonable ballpark for real
    world performance.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
    David J. Littleboy, Oct 23, 2006
    #17
  18. > http://www.ales.litomisky.com/shootout/analogversusdigitalshootout.htm

    Interesting indeed.

    I wonder if scanning a high-quality print from 35mm slides give a
    better result than scanning the negative.

    I know (I think) that a poster-size image from a 35mm slide will be
    much better than a poster-size image from a 12MPix camera, and I think
    that a poster-size image from ordinary ISO200 print film will be
    better than its digital equivalent.

    I'm in the process now of deciding if I want to go completely digital,
    and one of my questions is how 20x30 prints (and perhaps larger) will
    look.

    Does anyone know of a site that shows scanned versions of digital and
    analog prints?

    -Joel
    Dr. Joel M. Hoffman, Oct 23, 2006
    #18
  19. On Mon, 23 Oct 2006 12:44:51 GMT, (Dr. Joel M. Hoffman)
    wrote:


    >Does anyone know of a site that shows scanned versions of digital and
    >analog prints?



    www.terrapinphoto.com/jmdavis


    .... about 2/3 of the way to the bottom, see the section (table)
    titled "Scanned Film vs. Scanned Optical Print."

    FWIW, I've had no problems making large (16x24") prints
    from Canon 10D captures, and that's nearly an antique by now.


    rafe b
    www.terrapinphoto.com
    Raphael Bustin, Oct 23, 2006
    #19
  20. (Dr. Joel M. Hoffman) wrote:
    >> http://www.ales.litomisky.com/shootout/analogversusdigitalshootout.htm

    >
    >Interesting indeed.
    >
    >I wonder if scanning a high-quality print from 35mm slides give a
    >better result than scanning the negative.
    >
    >I know (I think) that a poster-size image from a 35mm slide will be
    >much better than a poster-size image from a 12MPix camera, and I think
    >that a poster-size image from ordinary ISO200 print film will be
    >better than its digital equivalent.
    >
    >I'm in the process now of deciding if I want to go completely digital,
    >and one of my questions is how 20x30 prints (and perhaps larger) will
    >look.
    >
    >Does anyone know of a site that shows scanned versions of digital and
    >analog prints?


    Each conversion loses definition and adds noise to an image.
    Printing a slide and scanning the print is a two step process
    that is almost bound to be less effective than scanning the
    slide.

    To make 20x30 prints from a digitial camera, you can pretty much
    calculate the pixels needed depending on the quality wanted by
    using these figures:

    QUALITY DPI PIXELS

    Excellent 300 20 * 300 * 30 * 300 = 54MP

    Very Good 200 20 * 200 * 30 * 200 = 24MP

    Good 150 20 * 150 * 30 * 150 = 14MP

    Poor 100 20 * 100 * 30 * 100 = 6MP

    Barely Usable 72 20 * 72 * 30 * 72 = 3MP


    Typically the top of the line DSLRs get 12-16MP, so you can make
    acceptable prints at 20x30, but they won't be as tack sharp as
    prints made from Medium Format (film or digital).

    --
    Floyd L. Davidson <http://www.apaflo.com/floyd_davidson>
    Ukpeagvik (Barrow, Alaska)
    Floyd L. Davidson, Oct 23, 2006
    #20
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