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Thread: The dynamic range of film

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    Senior Member Chris Giles's Avatar
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    The dynamic range of film

    I was always told that film is better than digital because of more dynamic range and that you can push and pull film several stops each way.

    But, it's occured to me that this is pushing and pulling only takes place during development. Once scanned you can't do much more with it.

    Is this correct?

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    Re: The dynamic range of film

    Once scanned it's just a digital image. But during the scanning process, you can tweak the software to scan at different settings to recover highlight or bring up the shadows.

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    Senior Member Chris Giles's Avatar
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    Re: The dynamic range of film

    Cool, thanks for that.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: The dynamic range of film

    If you scan negative film (color and B/W) as a positive, resulting in a negative image, the possibilities are limitless.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Re: The dynamic range of film

    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Giles View Post
    I was always told that film is better than digital because of more dynamic range and that you can push and pull film several stops each way.

    But, it's occured to me that this is pushing and pulling only takes place during development. Once scanned you can't do much more with it.

    Is this correct?
    Basically you control range during shooting , then while processing film. Then you can do multiple exposure scan into DNG and then do traditional raw conversion.. A bit long way but you getting wider range indeed.

  6. #6
    richard.L
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    Re: The dynamic range of film

    Film was used to photograph nuclear blasts 40 years before digital was available. Those shots showed the blast core along with the destruction in the shadows.
    Film's range is adjusted by development, both type of developer and process method.

    Certainly multiple pass/ scan can gain more of what is in film. This is necessitated because the digital system didn't catch all elements present in just the single run.

    What one man has done, another can do. What is done with one system, can be done with another; maybe not as easily. Maybe not as efficiently.

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    Senior Member edwardkaraa's Avatar
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    Re: The dynamic range of film

    Multiple passes are absolutely not necessary with negative film if scanned as positive. They can be very useful with slide film though in order to get some shadow detail.
    M262 ZM 25/2.8 35/1.4 50/2 85/2

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    Senior Member Chris Giles's Avatar
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    Re: The dynamic range of film

    Quote Originally Posted by SergeiR View Post
    Basically you control range during shooting , then while processing film. Then you can do multiple exposure scan into DNG and then do traditional raw conversion.. A bit long way but you getting wider range indeed.
    I actually tried to figure this out but couldn't find out how to do it. In fact I was told by a couple that it wasn't possible.
    I'd love to know how to scan each channel and combine it into a RAW file.

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