Why the prints from film feel more 3D then prints from digital.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Victor81, Dec 7, 2003.

  1. Victor81

    Victor81 Guest

    I work at a 1 hour photo store we do both film and digital but after a
    period of observingm the prints from film and digital I found that
    almost all digital prints appeared different from film prints. It's
    not the quality of the prints I talking about it's the feel. the main
    thing that troubles me is why film always appear more 3D like,
    especially in indoor portraits with group of people and objects. I
    mean even the prints from single use cameras can appear more 3D like,
    whereas the digital even with much better detail and sharpness all
    appear very flat.

    for example, looking at prints from film and digital; you can tell
    more about how far objects are from each other then you could with the
    digital prints. epecially with indoors portraits, with film you almost
    can tell that the wall is 2 feet behind the person, but with digital
    you just can't seem to able to differentiate objects 5 feet away the
    person or 10 feet. the defference in film about distance is more
    obivous.

    maybe it's the way we print digitals are different, I hope you guys
    can help me find an answer about this.

    Thanks a lot guys.
     
    Victor81, Dec 7, 2003
    #1
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  2. Victor81

    JPS Guest

    In message <>,
    This has nothing to do with digital vs. film. It has everything to do
    with the size of the recording medium; the size of the film or sensor.
    Most compact digital cameras have tiny sensors and therefore require
    short focal-length lenses to get normal viewing angles. Short
    focal-length lenses will have a deeper area that is in relatively sharp
    focus at the same distance from the subject than longer focal-length
    lenses. This makes it harder to determine depth by quality of focus,
    since almost everything is in focus or very close.
    --
     
    JPS, Dec 7, 2003
    #2
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  3. Victor81

    Larry Lynch Guest

    The difference is probably in the "depth of field"
    inherant in point&shoot digitals, which are probably the
    source for most of your prints.

    A small image sensor coupled with a lens set pretty much
    at infinity for focus removes most "depth of field".
     
    Larry Lynch, Dec 7, 2003
    #3
  4. I have not made this observation, BUT the answer probably has to do with
    the focal length of the lens used to take the picture.
    Most of the film pictures that pass through your shop are probably taken
    with disposable cameras or inexpensive P/S cameras. These cameras
    typically have fixed, SHORT 28-35 mm focal length lenses.
    Whereas the vast majority of digicams have a 3-4X or greater (up to 10X
    optical zoom ) lens. So, many digital pictures may shot at longer focal
    lengths, 75-200+ mm (equivalent) which are noted for the flattening
    effect they give to an image.
    Bob Williams
     
    Robert E. Williams, Dec 7, 2003
    #4
  5. Victor81

    Jim Townsend Guest

    I *just* got some 6x4 photos printed. One set was from my old EOS 850 film SLR
    (using Fuji 200 film) and the other was from my EOS 10D digital SLR. I had
    both cameras out with me and was photographing deer in a park with them. I
    used the same lenses.

    I dug out the film camera specifically to see if there was a difference between
    film and digital. (I'd never compared digi vs film using the same subjects
    under the same light with the same lens before)

    There's no difference.. Yer just seein' things :)
     
    Jim Townsend, Dec 7, 2003
    #5
  6. Victor81

    Ray Murphy Guest

    ----------
    [.....]

    RM: You've already had some good answers I know, but I'll try and
    simplify it.
    A huge percentage of digital photos have an unreal depth of field
    compared to film photos.

    I was looking at one of my digital photos the other day from the back
    yard at home and couldn't figure out what the image was on the shed,
    so went out to have a look. There was nothing there!
    I went back inside and inspected the digital photo more closely and
    found it was a peg on the clothes line which was about 20 feet away
    from the shed.

    As one other poster indicated, you won't see this sort of thing where
    the same lens is used in a digital and film camera.

    Ray
     
    Ray Murphy, Dec 7, 2003
    #6
  7. Victor81

    zbzbzb Guest

    I think what he is seeing is the flat default look from most digicams that if
    not adjusted for contrast they end up looking lifeless and improper sharpening
    of digital images for specific print sizes. Most people do not know how much to
    sharpen or don't even sharpen at all. Combine those two factors from a digital
    image and they look terrible in comparison to film.
     
    zbzbzb, Dec 7, 2003
    #7
  8. Victor81

    MJ Guest

    Probably the same reason why cinema films and the like shown on tv
    have a different look to something like sitcoms recorded on video
    tape.

    MJ
     
    MJ, Dec 7, 2003
    #8
  9. Victor81

    Ubiquitous Guest

    I am fairly sure it is nothing more than the depth of field difference
    between 35mm film and digital cameras. Most P&S digital cameras have a very
    large DOF so almost everything is in focus, therefore it appears flat.

    SLR cameras, both digital and film, have a much more shallow DOF so, in
    portraits for example, the people in the foreground are in focus, whereas
    the background is very blurred, making them stand out in a sort of 3D way.
    You don't perceive 3 dimensions, you just subconciously perceive there to be
    a difference in distance between the foreground and the background.
     
    Ubiquitous, Dec 7, 2003
    #9
  10. Victor81

    Ubiquitous Guest

    It is nothing to do with that at all. It isn't the way the image is
    collected, it is because of the focal length and size of the film/sensor.

    Cinema films shown on tv would look the same in terms of the depth of field,
    which I'm pretty sure is what Victor was referring to.
     
    Ubiquitous, Dec 7, 2003
    #10
  11. (Victor81) wrote in
    I think it's just your imagination.
    I've taken duplicate pictures with film and digital cameras and asked
    people if they could tell which was which. Most people pointed to the
    digital pictures and said "Well those are obviously from film - you can
    tell by how much better they look".

    You see, because these people >imagined< that film should produce better
    pics than digital, they assumed the better pics were from film. But they
    weren't.

    It was just their imaginations.
     
    Tony Whitaker, Dec 7, 2003
    #11
  12. Victor81

    George Kerby Guest

    Damn! You beat me to the punch. There are plugins for digital video editing
    that try to give the film "look" to the more "sterile" electronic video
    images as well.
     
    George Kerby, Dec 7, 2003
    #12
  13. Victor81

    Christian Guest

    I rarely have trouble telling film shots from digital ones. The film ones
    are covered in grain while the digital ones look pristine. Maybe the
    absence of grain is why the digital ones don't look so real to you?
     
    Christian, Dec 8, 2003
    #13
  14. My film prints don't have any visible grain in them<g>. The better modern
    slide films stand up to 8x enlargement quite nicely. Even in the 645 format,
    that's plenty for a 12x16 or 13x19 print.

    Of course, _35mm_ film is a disaster. A complete joke. It's a pity that the
    bar for digital is placed so low.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
     
    David J. Littleboy, Dec 8, 2003
    #14
  15. Victor81

    badaztek Guest

    To me film or digital has their good points and bad points both , most
    digital cameras has no way to actually adjust the photo their mostly
    point and shoot but the higher end ones you can actually adjust just
    about everything on it and if you get a bad picture you can make it go
    away which is sad in a way because sometimes the most interesting
    picture I have seen were ones that mistakes were made and with film you
    have to live with your mistakes but digital it goes away literally with
    a push of a button and it makes me wonder how many well known photos
    would've been deleted if they had digital cameras years ago .
     
    badaztek, Dec 8, 2003
    #15
  16. Victor81

    badaztek Guest

    To me film or digital has their good points and bad points both , most
    digital cameras has no way to actually adjust the photo their mostly
    point and shoot but the higher end ones you can actually adjust just
    about everything on it and if you get a bad picture you can make it go
    away which is sad in a way because sometimes the most interesting
    picture I have seen were ones that mistakes were made and with film you
    have to live with your mistakes but digital it goes away literally with
    a push of a button and it makes me wonder how many well known photos
    would've been deleted if they had digital cameras years ago .
     
    badaztek, Dec 8, 2003
    #16
  17. Victor81

    stacey Guest

    Two words: Sensor size. This "3D" look is why I am waiting for at least a
    full frame 35mm camera and would rather have a Medformat size one. The main
    reason many people who shoot medformat isn't to make "huge prints", but for
    this look which you recognized.
     
    stacey, Dec 8, 2003
    #17
  18. Victor81

    Ubiquitous Guest

    You haven't mentioned which cameras you took the photos with.

    If you used a film SLR and compared the image to a P&S digital, you would be
    able to tell in most shots by the lack of depth of field in the digital
    shot. Maybe the people you asked were looking at the clarity and sharpness
    of the photos rather than the inherent 'qualities' of the photos.

    Some shots are more obvious than others but I assure you there would be a
    big difference in portraits.
     
    Ubiquitous, Dec 8, 2003
    #18
  19. Of course, _35mm_ film is a disaster. A complete joke. It's a pity that
    the
    You make it sound like 35mm files is some wretched, horrible thing. The
    reality is that it's about the best you can do for a camera/lens size &
    weight that's easily carried around. It's that practicality thing. I doubt
    there's any sort of conspiracy afoot to limit resolution of 35mm film...
    it's a mature-enough technology that it's hit a point where further
    improvements aren't likely to hugely noticeable over a short period of time.

    With digital, things are moving very quickly and, with time, full-sized
    (35mm) sensors ought to yield some pretty spectacular results. But still,
    somebody might say that a 4x5 digital format will make the 35mm digital
    "...a disaster. A complete joke." Within a particular context that might
    be correct! But usability is more than the absolute faithfulness of the
    image. You also have to include more mundane practical matters, such as
    size & cost of the equipment.

    I face such questions myself when I take photos on bike rides and at the
    Tour de France. How big a camera is it practical to haul up a 6,000 foot
    climb? With a lightweight bike, ridden at speeds where you're trying to
    keep up with other in-shape cyclists, adding even a few pounds of weight is
    *very* noticeable! So I use an Olympus 5050, giving up interchangeable
    lenses in favor of something that I can put in a small handlebar bag (and
    won't slow me down too much). My brother, on the other hand, could never
    live with such limitations (and doesn't have to, since he doesn't ride with
    a camera)! If he managed to put himself into some of the areas I've been,
    he'd want/have to have a fast, long, image-stabilized (and thus
    ultra-expensive) lens attached to one of his F1s or his new Digital Rebel.

    For me, the 5050 doesn't represent something I'd consider "A complete joke."
    Rather, it's practical for my purposes. I can't haul all that other stuff
    up the hill by bike! And I'm not taking photos for National Geographic.

    --Mike-- Chain Reaction Bicycles
    http://www.ChainReactionBicycles.com
     
    Mike Jacoubowsky, Dec 8, 2003
    #19
  20. It is. A grainy mess. 11x14s from Plus-X 120 are exquitely smooth finely
    detailed things of beauty, but getting a non-grainy 8x10 from 35mm is
    essentially impossible.
    That doesn't make the image quality any better. Everybody shoots ISO 400
    films and claims they like grain. Give me a break.
    time.

    Yes. The best films hold up to an 8x enlargement. So 35mm is already iffy at
    A4.
    Of course, that's my point. Digital sensors are significantly better than
    film _on a per area basis_. So we shouldn't be satisfied with "as good as
    (35mm) film", we should shooting to kick MF's butt as well.

    David J. Littleboy
    Tokyo, Japan
     
    David J. Littleboy, Dec 8, 2003
    #20
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