A shoot out of sorts and a call for more

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Scott W, Jun 28, 2005.

  1. Scott W

    Scott W Guest

    Ok as shoot outs go this one is pretty lame, I am hoping that others
    might post what they have done as well.
    Last summer a fiend of mine bought a film scanner, a Nikon Coolscan V I
    believe. We both wanted to see how his 35mm Nikon would do against my
    Sony F828. When I was in town we went out to take some photos for
    comparison. So here comes part of the lame part, I don't remember
    what film he was using, it was something that he thought would do well
    beyond that I don't know (other then it was print film). At the time
    of this test I did not have a good raw converter for the Sony so I was
    shooting in jpg mode.

    These are the two photos that we got.
    http://www.sewcon.com/photos/Sony F828.jpg

    In the end we both agreed that there was not much to choose between the
    two. We did 8.5 x 11 prints of each and we both thought the print from
    the Sony was just a bit sharper looking, but it was so close as to not
    really matter.

    I now own a 20D which is much sharper then the F828, as well as having
    a lot more dynamic range. I would like to repeat this test with he the
    next time I am in town, but I don't think my friend will have a lot
    of enthusiasm for it as he has pretty much quit shooting film

    So what is the point in this post? People in these groups seem to want
    to argue with words but rarely will show their photos. Spirited debate
    is good, but when it breaks down into flame wars it stops being

    I am sure that someone will say that my example of a 35mm film scan is
    poor, if so I would hope that you would post one that you believe is
    better. I would hope that we might be able to some meaningful
    comparisons between different hardware. This goes beyond digital vs
    film, this includes lenses, scanners, print vs slide film, Fuji film vs
    Kodak, and dare we say it maybe even Sigma vs. Canon. I would also
    love to see a comparison between a number of stitched photos and a 4 x
    5 view camera, one of the questions being how well can the software
    match the effects of the tilt shift lens.

    Ideally we could get people together to shoot the same scenes at the
    same time so we could get a good comparison between, cameras, lenses,
    film, scanners etc. If you are going to tell me how much better your
    lens is then mine I would hope you would be willing to share a photo as
    well as your words.

    If anyone is visiting the Big Island of Hawaii in the future and shoots
    35mm film I would be more then happy to get together and shoot a bunch
    of photos together so we could compare how each camera does.

    Gear is not all there is to photography and it may not be the most
    important part, style and a good eye are important. But there is a
    wide range of styles and it will be futile to try and do any meaningful
    comparisons of style.

    Scott W, Jun 28, 2005
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  2. Scott W

    Mr. Mark Guest

    In the end we both agreed that there was not much to choose between the
    I would have sharpened the 35mm scan before printing. On screen there is
    some digital noise in the 828 image, but not bad.
    Mr. Mark, Jun 28, 2005
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  3. Do you keep your fiends separated from your other pets?
    William Graham, Jun 28, 2005
  4. Good question...

    Ken Nadvornick, Jun 28, 2005
  5. Scott W

    Joseph Kewfi Guest

    In the end we both agreed that there was not much to choose between the
    I have no idea what people like you are trying to prove with ridiculous
    nonsense such as this. It seems that you're trying to justify the expense to
    yourself by "proving" digital has some kind of advantage over film apart
    from convenience. I personally use film, I've been using it for years and it
    has improved much over the last 15 years, therefore I see no reason to stop
    using it, film does what I need it to do and then some, the quality
    satisfies me and I'd don't find the format inconvenient in terms of cost or
    availability of processing/printing, so what is my incentive to ditch film
    in favour of electronic photography, there is no incentive. If your happy
    with film use it, if film doesn't do it for you use electronic capture, but
    please stop with these ridiculous outdated pseudo-comparisons.
    Joseph Kewfi, Jun 28, 2005
  6. Scott W

    Scott W Guest

    If you are happy shooting film I think that is great, and I would not
    try to talk you out of using it. But then you are simply saying that
    film suits you fine and that if others want to shoot in a diffent media
    that is fine with you.

    It is natural that many of us would be interested the old with the new.
    Part of this is just curiosity and part of it is to see if we have
    missed something with one or the other media. I have a very large
    vested interest in film as I have a lot of both slides and negatives in
    film. I don't mind showing what I am getting, in either film or
    digital, and asking what others are getting.

    This is an interesting time in photography, we are seeing the first
    large change in many years and it is natural to ask the question how is
    the new technology stacking up?

    I am also very interested to know how much more there might be in my
    film shoots that I am not getting.
    As an example I did this scan on my scanner, a Minolta, this is a crop
    scanned at 2820 dpi.
    http://www.sewcon.com/photos/50 iso film 1401.jpg
    I then shipped the slide to a friend with a better scanner, a Nikon,
    this is what he got, scanned at 4000 dpi.

    The negative clearly has pickup a lot of dirt, all the black specks,
    but it is also clear that there was in fact detail in the slide then
    was my scanner was picking up.

    Saying that there is no point in comparing digital to film is like
    saying there is no point in comparing two films. Or comparing slides
    to negatives. It might not matter to you but it does to others. And
    it is not just a matter of "is film better then digital" but also
    what digital do you need to be as good as film. My wife shot film for
    years, scanning the negatives was a pain in the ass so I wanted to have
    her go digital but I did not want to lose anything that she was use to,
    either in the quality of the photos or in the feel of the camera, for
    us this meant a 20D. Discussions on this and other news groups
    comparing film to digital help in choosing the 20D.

    So no, I don't believe that on going comparisons between digital and
    film cameras is pointless. What I do think if pointless is
    discussions where people are unwilling to show what they are getting
    for photos.

    Scott W, Jun 28, 2005
  7. Scott W

    Matt Clara Guest

    I've a better idea. Make an 8 x 10 print from the negative (not from a scan
    of the negative), and an 8 x 10 print from the jpeg, and compare those.
    Matt Clara, Jun 30, 2005
  8. Scott W

    Owamanga Guest

    Although I can see where you are coming from, this isn't fair at all.

    The digital image will be significantly superior to the film one for
    any of the following reasons:

    * Levels & curves can be applied to the digital image.
    * Sharpening can be applied to the digital image.
    * Color correction can be applied to the digital image.
    * Visual imperfections or distractions can be removed from the digital
    * The digital 8x10 will be printed using digital laser wet-print,
    technology and the negative based enlargement will likely be optical.

    It comes down to custom digital darkroom improvements vs dumb
    automated enlargement. Not fair.

    One could argue that you should disallow any digital adjustments for
    the comparison, but then it becomes a fruitless exercise, because
    anybody who cares about their pictures *will* do digital darkroom
    adjustments to ensure the print looks great.

    I think the OP's approach is best: scan the neg and then let them
    follow the same digital darkroom and printing path. The coolscan +
    35mm Nikon costs around the same $$ as a 20D, so the 'capture'
    device/system are roughly on par with each other.
    Owamanga, Jun 30, 2005
  9. Scott W

    Matt Clara Guest

    Ok, take the negative to a pro lab and ask them to work it up as best they
    can. I didn't explicitly say take it to walmart for an enlargement (or
    insert the dumb automaton center of your choice).

    Also, even if the capture systems are roughly on par with eachother, there's
    the inherent degredation of making a copy of the negative via scanning which
    is not there in the direct digital capture of the digi camera.
    Matt Clara, Jul 2, 2005
  10. Scott W

    Scott W Guest

    Taking the negative to a pro lab would not have served the purpose of
    the test. The test was not to see if the best that film could do would
    be better or worse then the best that digital could do. The test was
    to how my camera and my work flow compared to his film camera/scanner
    and his work flow.

    As I said this test was a bit lame, and was only really meant for the
    two of us to see how we were doing against each other with what we had.
    He was using a good SLR, some Nikon and a prime lens, this was against
    my rather large range zoom lens.

    People will argue for days, make that years about whether a given
    digital camera is better or worse then a given film camera. And yet we
    have very few shoot outs, why is this? I can't believe we have been
    the only two to go out and do this. It is sort about bragging about
    how your car is faster then the next guys car, but never racing to see
    which one is really faster.

    Scott W, Jul 2, 2005
  11. Scott W

    Walt Hanks Guest

    In the darkroom I can dodge and burn.

    Can't "sharpen" per se in the darkroom, but I can increase contrast which
    increases perceived sharpness. In my opinion, sharpening tools are a poor
    substitute for skill with the camera anyway.

    And in any competent color lab.

    Just where do you think the term "airbrush" came from?

    So what? We see optically, not digitally. To be perceived, your digital
    image started out as an optical image in the lens, was converted to a
    digital image in either the camera or the scanner, then converted back to
    optical by the eyes of the person viewing it.

    While darkroom skills may have deteriorated in the past 10 years, there are
    still some of us who remember how. And, I might add, it takes no more time
    to do these corrections in a darkroom than it does to do them in a computer.
    Post-processing takes time either way.

    So, yes, unless you have equally skilled technicians producing both prints,
    the suggested comparison is bogus. But skilled darkroom technicians can
    still be found. With skill, both methods can produce superb results.

    Walt Hanks, Jul 2, 2005
  12. Scott W

    Scott W Guest

    I both agree and disagree with what you have said here. I agree that
    both methods can produce superb results. But to say that the
    comparison is bogus unless the prints are made by a skilled darkroom
    technician is not all true. It matter a great deal as to how much work
    and or cost it takes to get to the final print. Even among those that
    shoot film the trend if heavily into scanning am making prints from the
    digital file. There are a few people who claim that scanned film can
    not match the quality of optical print, but I don't know one of these
    people who have taken the time to make prints from the same negative
    both way.

    Every last person I know who have compared optical printing to digital
    has come away believing that the digital printing gives way better
    results. Note that you can print both on to the same photographic

    I find test between real people photographing with their normal
    workflow, using their normal film is the most useful test. It tells us
    what people are really getting, and to me that is the interesting

    For myself I know this, my 35mm photo can not match the quality of my
    digital photos from my F828. My friend who has a better scanner and
    uses a prime lens can almost match the quality of my F828, so close as
    to not matter. My 20D can take far better photos then my F828 so I am
    assuming that with it I could beat anything my friend could do with
    film. But this is just two people I would love to see other
    comparison where people go out and shoot the same photo.

    Some people claim that they are not interesting in comparing 35mm film
    to digital, that they like their film camera so why do they care how it
    would compare to a digital camera, but I have to notice that these very
    same people will turn right around and say that for quality work you
    need to use film

    Scott W, Jul 2, 2005
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