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Thread: G1 vs 35mm Film

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    G1 vs 35mm Film

    Hi

    I know that most people here will already be converts towards digital, but none the less I thought I'm mention that I recently compared my G1 with a 9-18mm Olympus to 35mm Sensia with a Olympus 21mm f3.5 lens (at around f5.6)

    I was surprised to find that the G1 actually outperformed the slide film in all ways. The last time I made such a comparison I was using a 10D and a 20D and film edged ahead.

    My blog post is here for those who may be interested.

    There is also some references to another article where I compared to Neg film ... but for now I'm totally comfortable with my choice of G1 as it has put to bed my concerns that a 35mm camera with a wide lens such as the 21 may do better than the G1 does (cramming all that detail into about 1/4 the area).

    :-)

  2. #2
    ChrisJ
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    Re: G1 vs 35mm Film

    Quote Originally Posted by pellicle View Post

    I was surprised to find that the G1 actually outperformed the slide film in all ways. The last time I made such a comparison I was using a 10D and a 20D and film edged ahead.

    :-)
    I'm not surprised that you got the results you did, If you print big as I do you'll find that digital will beat 35mm film every time. By big I mean big 5ft X 4ft or larger, with film at this magnification grain has obliterated all fine detail with digital and a good start image with careful post processing you can keep it all have no grain and smooth tones.

    I never had much success with scanning negatives, it is the obvious way to go for someone who had been shooting film for a few decades to go digital, but my results were always disappointing and as soon as Pentax brought out the *istD I was first in the queue. I remember in the darkroom inter negatives when required (Unsharp mask for example) soon lost quality, a scanner is making a copy, with a digital camera you're working on the original.

    If people are interested I'll share the technique I use for printing large pictures with the minimum of interpolation in Photoshop.

    Chris

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    Re: G1 vs 35mm Film

    Gents,

    In all respect I think you must be kidding yourself. The G1 has a tiny sensor compared to 35mm film. Looking at the film scan at above link it looks horribly blirry.

    Here is my test of 6x7 to 22MP medium format digital - http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/...hreaded&start=

    Since then I use 28MP Leaf Aptus digital back for digital, still 6x7 and also 4x5, both Velvia 50 and Provia 100. Digital in no way beats film. It is different for different purposes and for different rendering.

    In my link, one comment towards end was "The film scans have a real wonderful quality to them. While looking at these last 100% crops, I find that I'm really drawn to them and the ZD images that looked so great before look lifeless in comparison."

    Now, you compare the tiny G1 sensor to 35mm slide film? If captured and scanned to good quality I expect the slide to excel. As far as cost and time of digital to film, as a serious amateur I find that film was both cheaper and time saving, with digital the gear cost lots more and force you to upgrade, with head stuck in computer as being the lab. And... because film is still beautiful I shoot both!

    Above said, I prefer digital back for portraits. For landscapes I am not yet convinced, much due to digital capturing light linear which also with a very high DR of medium format back makes much impossible to render landscapes at golden hours and with sparkling light with same brilliance as Velvia 50 slides. Also at waterfalls under dark canopies Velvia 50 excels in its way of absorbing colors that you even find difficult to detect with eye on the location. For snaps, the M8 is great, yet enables quality images.

    Film and digital are simply different medias with different pros and cons, while the world appears blindly sold on digital these days, and to upgrade, upgrade, upgrade... And yes, there are tons of comparisons of of the two which do not show film to the qualities that film do have. Simply not proper shot to compare, not proper scanned. Film is still beautiful... and when a lab and quality scan is available, utter simple.

    Regards
    Anders
    Last edited by Anders_HK; 9th October 2009 at 18:16.

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    Re: G1 vs 35mm Film

    duplicate

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    retnull
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    Re: G1 vs 35mm Film

    Quote Originally Posted by ChrisJ View Post
    If people are interested I'll share the technique I use for printing large pictures with the minimum of interpolation in Photoshop.

    Chris
    I, for one, would be interested in your technique -- thanks

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    Re: G1 vs 35mm Film

    My evaluation runs like this...

    - I sold my 35mm system gear in 2002 when I bought my first 5Mpixel camera with a good lens. I knew I'd never use it again.

    - I sold my medium format system gear in 2004, a year after I bought my Canon 10D ... I was getting results with the 10D so much better than I expected, I hadn't touched the Hasselblads in a year.

    - The G1 returns nicer work than the Canon 10D. By a good bit.

    I still enjoy shooting an occasional roll of film with Contax Tix, Rollei 35S, Olympus Pen EE and Pentax 645. But I don't do it for the "quality", I do it for the sake of using cameras that I still enjoy.

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    Senior Member RichA's Avatar
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    Re: G1 vs 35mm Film

    Quote Originally Posted by Anders_HK View Post
    Gents,

    In all respect I think you must be kidding yourself. The G1 has a tiny sensor compared to 35mm film. Looking at the film scan at above link it looks horribly blirry.

    Regards
    Anders
    35mm 100 ISO colour negative film can only just match 6-7 meg digital camera when it comes to resolution. A 12 meg camera is way beyond it. In addition, if the scan is good, it will show grain in all film images where 100-200 ISO digital images show virtually no noise. 35mm film does have some interesting attributes, but digital passed it a long time ago.

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: G1 vs 35mm Film

    Hi

    Quote Originally Posted by Anders_HK View Post
    In all respect I think you must be kidding yourself. The G1 has a tiny sensor compared to 35mm film. Looking at the film scan at above link it looks horribly blirry.
    the unsharpened one does indeed ... it lead me to question my technique. However the sharpened version holds great parallel. However you should consider that the feature size in the film was greatly pushed with a 21mm lens used to capture such tiny leaves so far away ...


    Here is my test of 6x7 to 22MP medium format digital - http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/...hreaded&start=
    well, that's another league to my comparison.

    Simply not proper shot to compare, not proper scanned. Film is still beautiful... and when a lab and quality scan is available, utter simple.
    well, I am quite willing to post you the film for you to do a scan. However I will answer that I belive that I have acceptable scanning skills, if you follow up on this link you can compare my other efforts with my 10D. In that I paid for a professional bureau to provide the film scans. You will note that the difference between the drum scan and the LS-4000 scan is not high.

    Finally with respect to my motivations I started with the perspective that 35mm would hold the edge with these wider angles. Perhaps the issue with the 'blur' is down to the lens (the Olympus 21mm f3.5 lens).

    I will be searching and examining my results further, but it is looking like unless I want to print stuff myself on my enlarger (haven't touched it in around 5 years) and I want some control over my printing, then digital yeilds a better process for me. Having scanned some of my 35mm from when I was living in Japan I have been wondering again about my trend towards digital. My motivation has been to find what works best ... period.

    When I was photographing in Japan I used 35mm and 4x5 for my work. I rescanned this recently


    and was amazed at the details that could be found down in the trees and shops in the lower right. I have a lot of money invested in film gear, so my motivation is not not to be deceiving myself.

    I have now sold off all my 35mm gear of worth, but will be keeping my 4x5 for now
    Last edited by pellicle; 9th October 2009 at 23:16.

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: G1 vs 35mm Film

    Dear Anders

    Since I didn't have any details on that image above I thought I'd supply some more:

    For instance this image


    click for larger


    shows details such as this:


    click for larger


    but not without sharpening carefully ... clearly I can't test that location again as I'm not there any more but which is why I chose the location I did for the blog test ... heaps of dynamic range, plenty of fine small details, straight lines and sharp edges. Better in some ways than any test charts.

    As much as there is good detail in 35mm I am confident that I'm seeing at least that in my G1 ... so I'm comfortable to put the 35mm down permanently (well aside from the HIE I still use).

    As I know that my technique is quite repeatable these days so I'm confident that my findings of the G1 are valid, however if you are interested in a reasoned discussion on the topic I am quite happy to post you the strip of film for your scans to demonstrate if you can yeild better than my scan (you did see this at the bottom showing post processed 35mm Film vs G1 upscaled to 5500pixels {rather than native 4000} didn't you?)


    click for larger

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: G1 vs 35mm Film

    Dear Anders

    I forgot one part
    Quote Originally Posted by Anders_HK View Post
    And... because film is still beautiful I shoot both!
    I agree with you 100% ... I still use 120 roll and 4x5 sheets. Lovely stuff and the 4x5 gives me a focus control in wide angle which I could not get with any smaller formats (35mm or 4/3)

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    Re: G1 vs 35mm Film

    Hi,

    It is besides the point to argue, but reality is reality. For me that means I am unable to give up film for the specific reasons I posted above. Those are my reasons, because digital is not superior, only a different media. Both digital and film have strengths and weaknesses. I have given up 35mm film though, because it is too small of a format.

    However resolution is far from the only parameter to base a comparison and nor some shots at broad daylight when there is only limited DR etc. To be frank, I was blinded by what forums wrote of the "illusion" of Nikon D200 being superior to 35mm film when that camera was out years back. I found it to be nonsense. Nor can I see why a tiny G1 should be superior to film??? It seems in this forum some with M8s went for the G1 but was disappointed. My M8 does not measure up to my old 35mm film scans on DiMage SE 5400, they are simply different medias with different strengths.

    Albeit, any camera can be used to make photos, if used within its limitations. Chase Jarvis used his iPhone to make art ; http://www.chasejarvis.com/#s=0&mi=2...0&p=5&a=0&at=0


    Regarding following qoute;-

    Quote Originally Posted by pellicle View Post
    You will note that the difference between the drum scan and the LS-4000 scan is not high.
    A proper made drumscan is superior to LS-4000. No compare. How could it be???

    Regards
    Anders

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    Senior Member pellicle's Avatar
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    Re: G1 vs 35mm Film

    Hi

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    I still enjoy shooting an occasional roll of film with Contax Tix, Rollei 35S, Olympus Pen EE and Pentax 645. But I don't do it for the "quality", I do it for the sake of using cameras that I still enjoy.
    LOL ... I think I know what you mean, sort of like I enjoy a nice cigar from time to time ;-)

    The use of the gear being nice to enjoy from time to time. I still contact print in my darkroom because I enjoy doing something which does not involve using my computer. Not that I don't like the worthfulness of a computer, its just that I enjoy change for its own sake sometimes too. Despite being able to print this electronically I sent a bit of Ilford postcard of this around last year to my friends.




    but I digress too far from the 4/3 now ... pardon me
    Last edited by pellicle; 10th October 2009 at 01:14. Reason: blatant spelling issue

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    Super Duper
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    Re: G1 vs 35mm Film

    Quote Originally Posted by pellicle View Post
    ...



    but I digress too far from the 4/3 now ... pardon me
    Eh ... 4/3, 4x5 ... two bit error. ];-)
    Lovely shot. A contact print would look nice.

    I don't have any wet lab printing equipment left, gave it all away, so everything I shoot in film is now scanned and printed electronically. It retains its charm. :-)

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    Re: G1 vs 35mm Film

    Don't shortchange the 35mm with half-*** scans. Get a 35mm scanned on a Hasselblad/Imacon 848 or an Aztek drum scanner by an experienced scanning technician and then compare. The technique with the 35mm camera in the blog posting looks a little sloppy as that slide looks blurred.

    Now if you're comparing what you can do with the equipment you have right now (which is obviously what you're doing) vs. what you can do with the G1 that's different, but don't blame the shortcomings on the 35mm film format.

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    Re: G1 vs 35mm Film

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeremy View Post
    Don't shortchange the 35mm with half-*** scans.
    I shouldn't have phrased it that way because your scans aren't bad, they just don't pull everything out of the 35mm negative. It was supposed to be lighthearted, but in retrospect I sound like a douchebag, I apologize.

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    Re: G1 vs 35mm Film

    as much as I hate to say it, that Ken Rockwell guy did get some things right .....

    One of his articles mentions a company that will process/scan you film for something like $12 per roll. If you shoot slides, wait and have the scanning done, 35mm is very close to what you can get from high end digital.
    http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/2008-09-new-2h.htm

    I have done something with a local company here in Houston, and that's pretty true.

    It's way more time consuming and can be more costly depending on what you want the numbers to prove.

    Where I find digital falls down is in black and white when working with high contrast subjects. 120 and 4X5 film well scanned just looks better to me. Often times, it is actually less sharp than what I can get from digital, in some kinds of photography, it's not about the clean sharp look, it's about how the light is captured.

    Dave

  17. #17
    ChrisJ
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    Re: G1 vs 35mm Film

    Quote Originally Posted by retnull View Post
    I, for one, would be interested in your technique -- thanks
    Just for you retnull

    First a few proviso's.

    Shoot Raw this will not work fully for 8bit Jpegs you need to be working in 16bit mode from a Raw file.

    Your picture has to be close to perfect, no burn't out highlights, no blacks with no detail (unless the subject has black with no detail bits), it has to be in focus. Were making the picture a whole lot bigger and any faults will be magnified out of proportion, things you wouldn't notice in an A4 will stick out like a sore thumb when printed 5ft across.

    Here's how

    Open PS and select File>New

    In the dialogue box select Inches as the units (you'll see why later) and enter the size you want, for example we'll have 5ft X 4ft.

    Enter the width and height values depending on the aspect ratio (portrait or landscape).

    Here's the cunning bit, using a formula of 1m of file size to 1 Inch of canvas on the longest side alter the Resolution till the the file size is as close as you can get, but not less than, in this case to 60Mb. Here's a screengrab;-



    Notice the bit depth of the canvas is 8bit and colour space is RGB this is the format that most external printers will want, this canvas is setting the output parameters.

    Most people will throw up their arms at the low resolution of 86 PPI, but we are talking Pixels Per Inch here, not DPI which is the printer resolution, the two are related but not the same thing. This technique matches the printers matrix of dots on the paper to the files matrix of pixels, 1M per Inch is assuming a 300dpi on the printer.

    Press OK

    Now we have our canvas we have to put our picture on it the quick way is to use Bridge, highlight the image in Bridge and go to File>Place>In Photoshop.

    This will plonk your image in the centre of the canvas with the Transform Tool bounding box around it. Hold down Shift (to maintain aspect ratio) and drag the corner 'anchor points' until you pic fills the canvas. At this time you can crop the image to fit if the aspect ratio is different, just drag beyond the canvas bounds. Press Enter.

    Now is the time to apply any sharpening curves and levels etc, as PS will have opened it as a Smart Object.

    When your happy Flatten the image. This is when the change in resolution is applied and PS will interpolate to fill the canvas, but using just enough and no more.

    Double clicking the Zoom Tool (Magnifying Glass) will make the image 100% (actual pixels) then press and hold the Space Bar to get the Hand Tool and you can left click and drag around your image to see the result, what your looking at are the pixels as they will appear when this file is laid down by the printer.

    There are limits even to this technique and as I said at the beginning Jpegs tend to get 'pulled to pieces'. You can't print a mural from a mobile phone, but you can probably print bigger than you think.

    Chris
    Last edited by ChrisJ; 12th October 2009 at 12:35. Reason: correction

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