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Thread: The Film Look...

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    Senior Member Hosermage's Avatar
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    The Film Look...

    Hi, a genuine question from someone of the digital age. For the past year or so, I've read and browsed endless threads and images from various forums, and there seems to be a large group of people who seemed mildly obsessed on comparing digital files to film and process their digital files to achieve certain film look, especially BW. Why?

    There are many photographers whom I've come to admire, and I can definitely recognize their signatures in the look of their photos, but I don't think it's because their PP replicate certain film type. Or, is it? I've also seen many, many film scans online and I can't say that I'm enamored with any specific film look. In a way, I wish I can have a clear goal of a "look" when I start PP, so I can tell when I'm done! As it is now, I just experiment with a lot of different things, go back and forth, until I'm somewhat satisfied or decides to give up. Am I just subconsciously looking for a certain film look? Do you process an image until it's exactly perfect, or just good enough to stop?

    During several conversations on the Monochrom, I see that people would start with some SEP film profiles, but eventually many have concluded that instead of trying to mimic a certain BW film look, the MM can really start a new standard for digital BW look. Got me thinking... if we fast forward time by a few generations to a reality where most people don't even know what "Tri-X" is, what look will people chase after?

    I apologize in advance for this newbie type of question, just really looking for different point of views.
    David Young
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    Re: The Film Look...

    Nostalgia. I assess that to be the number one factor in wanting the film look.

    I don't know which is "better" per se between film and digital. I think it's all very subjective to the person. I prefer digital but I was drawn to the digital M cameras because they strike a good balance between the sharp resolution of digital and the organic warmth of film.

    The film cameras I've owned in the past were cheap 35mm or 110 film cameras my parents bought me and my sister. My film of "choice" was the cheap stuff from the local drug store growing up (usually Kodak Gold 100/200/400.) Of course my parents were the ones buying it for the whole family and neither were pro photographers so it was good enough for me at the time. Comparing that to the M9 it's not even close... The M9 beats the crap out of a $40 camera shooting film but there are other variables of course - namely lens character.
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    Re: The Film Look...

    I shoot mainly color, and I do like the look of some films. With digital cameras, I make my own profile that is kind of a hybrid between a film and digital look, simply in that I adjust the color pallet and tone curve a bit to be similar to films that I like, but I do think it still looks like my images come from a modern, digital camera. Film and digital are two different mediums, and I don't expect them to look the same.

    On a nerdy note, one could argue that film is actually digital, since film grain is on/off, and silicon is analog until a/d conversion in-camera. So, we should probably be talking about film vs. silicon.
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    Re: The Film Look...

    Although I sometimes (especially in the past) tried to emulate the look of some of my digital files to certain film emulsions, especially B&W...what I found myself doing most often was to make sure my prints didn't resmble or look digital, but make them soft and a bit smooth and then to emulate the look as though the image was derived from film and printed as such. Not so much a specific type of film...but to look as though the whole prcess up till the finished print took place prior to the conventional photograhic digital era.

    Dave (D&A)

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    Re: The Film Look...

    Lest we not forget the ENDLESS discussions of films, under exposure, over exposure, developers, methods employed, whether to agitate, whether to stand, how to get the developer into the pot in as short a time as possible and whether it actually matters, rotary processors, Jobo's, Patersons, Thermometer accuracy, under-development, over-development, temperature, humidity, hypo, pyro, cross-processing, filter types and strengths on the lens, filter types and strengths on colour processors, film testing, developer testing, acutance .......

    Personally I'd welcome a good robust discussion on particular films, what makes them pleasing and how to best mimic that in digital.

    There might be a lot more discussion today, but I don't think it is as deep. Unfortunately in the digital era we still haven't made it past sharpness and the myth of blowing highlights. Which discussion forums actually go into depth on micro contrast of B&W images, edge contrast and follow through with real working examples. Photo.net used to be like that before it was overtaken by the herd.

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    Re: The Film Look...

    David, There is a simple, practical solution that would satisfy your curiosity (I agree with wentbackwards that none of the forum discussions will get you anywhere).

    Pick up a cheap film camera (even a Bessa) and shoot a few rolls. Keep a little notebook to record the aperture/distance/shutter speeds for each frame (can be done easily, I speak from my experience). Check the results after developing the film rolls. You are in for a delightful surprise.

    FWIW, if you want some film, PM me, I will send you a few.
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    Re: The Film Look...

    So rant over, talk about some film.

    RVP/RDP is very fine grained. I estimated a good 21MP image could be had from a 35mm camera handheld and then the dye patches were being magnified and sharpness was being lost as it's pretty hard to achieve over 80 lp/mm. Personally my watershed MP from a 35mm camera is 21MP for that reason, it's the practical limit without going to great pains. Erwin Puts has ample evidence that image stabilisation really works, so perhaps higher is reasonable with that feature nowadays.

    This was taken in very harsh conditions and is a tiny crop of the 35mm frame. Of course the colours are amazing, but so are the deep deep blacks. Of course a scan does not do it justice.

    This image is RDP and again the rich deep blacks along with the accentuated tonality in the shadows just does not show through on the monitor.

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    Re: The Film Look...

    I seem to lose my highlights when scanning, but this is TX400. It's pretty harsh and gritty. I think the thing that makes this image is a textural quality in the mid-to-high tones that I find really hard to produce with digital. All attempts seem to end up with that HDR look.
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    Re: The Film Look...

    Finally, in case anyone is actually interested in my ramblings, this image has taken me nearly two years to get it this far.


    Prior to 2010 (I think!?!?!?) Velvia had very odd reciprocity failure behaviour where it initially went to magenta and then swung back the other way to green. This is the best attempt I've made so far at replicating that effect. It still lacks the luminosity I want to achieve and to my eyes looks 'obviously digital'... Hmm or maybe not, but I'd love to here from others if this is faithful to the old Velvia look, perhaps it's not a subtle.
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    Re: The Film Look...

    Guess the film:




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    Re: The Film Look...

    to the op's question, why process digital files to look like film, I think the reason is that film is "something" and digital is "nothing". Meaning that there is no real baseline for digital, or at least what comes out of the camera rarely has any feeling or interpretation, whereas when you look at a contact sheet or print there is an interpretation of reality. It is real feeling but it is not reality.

    This is just my opinion, but the experience of coming home and looking at contacts compared to the experience of coming home and looking at lightroom is completely different. When I look at film there is the secondary reaction to reality- ie, first I had the reaction to take the photograph and now another reaction to what I see on paper or in the loupe. I think this double editing is really a hallmark of "photography" proper and something that is different in digital.

    As soon as I look at a file on the computer my only reaction is what do I do to make it what I think I want. Which is not the same reaction as looking at a photograph, where my reaction is do I want "this"?

    There is only so much you can do with analogue photography at least in my process of it, of course you can scan and edit and retouch, but that is a secondary response at least for me. With digital it is a primary response. And then the question, well what do you do? We all get the images into the editor and start to "fix" them, which is a funny thing to say, we are "changing" them not "fixing" in the chemical sense.

    I guess that is my nugget: in photography you "fix" an image, you arrest it, whereas in digital you "fix" by altering it.

    When people talk about processing files to look more like film I think yes it is nostalgic, but also it is this trying to make something that is "fixed" or defined in the way that film defined the image.

    I always believe limits are necessary in art and digital has few. This is its opportunity and a problem simultaneously.
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    Re: The Film Look...

    I am process agnostic. There really is nothing called the "film look" just as there is no such thing as the "digital look." (I think the term comes from the film/digital wars as a way to be condescending toward digital.) That is not to say that film processes do not have a signature, but when taking all the processes and formats together, you are not going to find an answer. Having shot film for most of my life and running a darkroom for that time as well, I can recognize film processes. I also recognize that digital images can blend in there as well. Certainly, digital can imitate a look from a film camera as at some point photography is photography and it will look like itself.

    Still, I am also a believer if you want something to look like a certain process, then shot in that process.

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    Re: The Film Look...

    What I (used to) like about film is that the color has been refined for over a hundred years. Digital is relatively new and sometimes I feel it is still lacking in some areas, even though great advances have been made in the last 3-4 years. Also there were many choices of film with different looks that you could use in one camera body, while now we are almost stuck with the characteristics of the sensor and CFA and the demosaicing algorithms of our raw converter of choice. In a way, it is why I love the rendering of the CCD in the M9 because it is the closest I have used that gives me a look reminiscent of low speed slide film.
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    Re: The Film Look...

    Thanks for all the replies!

    I think maybe until I have logged enough hours(or years?) to develop a "look" that's for me, profiles (film based or not) can be a good anchor or starting point to reach a general accepted aesthetics, then tweak from there. I'm not sure if that's kind of cheating or I will be better off not doing it this way, but at least it could bring some consistencies? I have begun looking deeper into some of the filters I often use in LR and making some small tweaks in them, so maybe within this year I can have a few filters (at least 1 color and 1 BW) to serve as my starting points.

    Vivek, you have no idea how many times I've come close to snatching up a M6, M7, Holga, or even a TLR! I think shooting with film is a thirst that I will eventually have to quench, for no reason other than to simply experience it
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    Re: The Film Look...

    Film look: infinite depth. A loupe reveals a symphony of tonesand textures. Extremely refined.

    Digital look: plastic screen probably made from recycled supermarket plastic bags. Synthetic. Extremely unrefined.
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    Re: The Film Look...

    Nostalgia? Art? "Medium" (real or not) of choice? Then there's all the little technical differences...

    Especially in this day and age where "everyone's a photographer" - why not? Find your own preference or signature.

    Or, just do whatever makes you happy - because you can.

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    Re: The Film Look...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hosermage View Post

    Vivek, you have no idea how many times I've come close to snatching up a M6, M7, Holga, or even a TLR! I think shooting with film is a thirst that I will eventually have to quench, for no reason other than to simply experience it
    David, That is all over the place! Stick with an M6.
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    Re: The Film Look...

    Quote Originally Posted by NB23 View Post
    Film look: infinite depth. A loupe reveals a symphony of tonesand textures. Extremely refined.

    Digital look: plastic screen probably made from recycled supermarket plastic bags. Synthetic. Extremely unrefined.
    NB23, that was your first post that I like

    Just kidding
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    Re: The Film Look...

    Hosermag, get an M6. I have a spare one but I am not sure I would sell it.

    Wentbackward, outstanding shot of the lovely chica. Looks like something that an R 80/1.4 would give you on a decent digital body.

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    Re: The Film Look...

    David,

    For me it's not about the look of film but rather the work flow. I greatly enjoy processing and printing there's just something about it, the smell, the feel, the overall experience of releasing your captured imaged onto the page as you see it.

    Right now i use an M9 because i do not have time for anything other than a digital work flow and even that is pushing it some days.

    But one day i will snag up a user film M and get back in the dark room... a great experience, i hope you decide to take that journey. BTW i like your site, i check it fairly often to see what your up to and how your journey is going

    -Jon

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    Re: The Film Look...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hosermage View Post
    . . . . . I think shooting with film is a thirst that I will eventually have to quench, for no reason other than to simply experience it

    Go pick up a film camera, Leica, Rollieflex, Mamiya, Nikon, Fuji, Voigtlander, Holga, Hasselblad, Zeiss, Pentax, Contax, Bronica ..... or whatever, you can find them in a wide price range. Lots of folks contribute to the Analog thread.

    Leica Analog: http://www.getdpi.com/forum/analog-c...m-film-57.html

    Other then Leica Analog: http://www.getdpi.com/forum/analog-c...eica-m-67.html

    I have been using a MP and M6TTL for 35mm along with a Rollieflex TLR and a Mamiya 7II for medium format.


    For the past year or so I have been using film cameras a lot more then the digital, about 80/20, and at some point I most likely will make the switch back where the digital gear will get the greater use. For now just having more fun with the film . . . . .


    . . . . . go quench your thirst!

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    Re: The Film Look...

    For me some parts of the "film" look are:
    1) grain...and yes I believe it looks better than noise from digital sensors
    2) sometimes some vignetting
    3) certain looks of certain films

    Maybe film does not allways look neutral and realistic, but I believe it has been tweaked over many years to peoples taste.

    In the digital world I am surprised how often we see discussions about 1/3 f-stop more or less DR or noise at 6400 ISO, and how seldom we read about skin color for example.

    Besides the "film look" there is also something I call a "digital look". A good digital image doesnt have it, but a bad digital images can have it. Typical factors of digital look are IMO:
    -If a very contrasty scene is rendered with detail in shaddows and highlights (a bad HDR-image)
    -oversharpened images
    -images with skin colors which look like the blood is gone
    -oversaturated images
    -images with too much noise reduction (some cameras do even have too much noise reduction in raw IMO)
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    Re: The Film Look...

    Quote Originally Posted by Hosermage View Post
    Thanks for all the replies!

    I think maybe until I have logged enough hours(or years?) to develop a "look" that's for me, profiles (film based or not) can be a good anchor or starting point to reach a general accepted aesthetics, then tweak from there. I'm not sure if that's kind of cheating or I will be better off not doing it this way, but at least it could bring some consistencies? I have begun looking deeper into some of the filters I often use in LR and making some small tweaks in them, so maybe within this year I can have a few filters (at least 1 color and 1 BW) to serve as my starting points.

    Vivek, you have no idea how many times I've come close to snatching up a M6, M7, Holga, or even a TLR! I think shooting with film is a thirst that I will eventually have to quench, for no reason other than to simply experience it
    I agree and I go back and forth on pickup an MP or M7 a few times a year since I've owned my M9.
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    Re: The Film Look...

    Quote Originally Posted by MikalWGrass View Post
    Hosermag, get an M6. I have a spare one but I am not sure I would sell it.

    Wentbackward, outstanding shot of the lovely chica. Looks like something that an R 80/1.4 would give you on a decent digital body.
    Thanks Mikal ... might surprise, it was a Nikon F75 with a 50/1.4, shot on Velvia 50 IIRC. Actually I was using a D3 and not having a lot of fun with the colours. I picked up that F75 off a lady here for about US$40 including a lens and she gave me a free roll of film. I sold all my digital stuff and went back to film for about 2 years before getting an M8.

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    Re: The Film Look...

    Once I realised what I was missing were the rich continuous tones of film, the experience loaded into each roll and not sharpness. I also ended up shooting 4x5 and some really incredible MF gear (Mamiya 7II, RZ67, Isolette), all of which I have kept.

    I'm not saying film is better, but if you shoot some film and deeply analyse the results, you'll improve your photography. There's so much knowledge of what is aesthetically pleasing in rolls of good quality film.

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    Re: The Film Look...

    David,

    I started "on" film and then transitioned to digital. I recently felt the need to experience film again. So I purchased an M6 and shot some Portra 400, but mostly Tri-X 400. In my eyes, there is no camera with the same ergonomics and feel as the M6 (simply amazing, even when compared to an M8 or M9) and no digital camera that can provide an equal soulful rendering. (I know: film is film, and digital is digital.) For me, it was primarily an experiment, though. I just recently sold the M6, primarily because I don't live anywhere near a suitable developing facility and have such limited trust in USPS (for sending film and receiving negatives).





    Quote Originally Posted by Hosermage View Post
    Thanks for all the replies!

    Vivek, you have no idea how many times I've come close to snatching up a M6, M7, Holga, or even a TLR! I think shooting with film is a thirst that I will eventually have to quench, for no reason other than to simply experience it

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    Re: The Film Look...

    I think one of the biggest disadvantages in digital is that it allows shooters too much flexibility, so many don't know where to start, and, when left to their own devices, many shooters overdo it. Different film stocks have a bit of a built-in look, which makes things easier. I don't process my own digital images to look just like film, but I'd bet that I could post a bunch of film shots and digital shots processed to look like film, and I could trick many people as to which is which. Of course, don't ask me to do it, because I feel to lazy to do such a thing, so take that with a grain of salt.

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    Re: The Film Look...

    Quote Originally Posted by douglasf13 View Post
    I think one of the biggest disadvantages in digital is that it allows shooters too much flexibility...
    LOL. You have never run a color darkroom. While I agree there are lots of folks that don't use the tools well, that was also the case with a chemical darkroom--I have seen my share of horrible darkroom work (the limited flexibility did not seem to slow people down). But give me the flexibility over color that I can have digitally. While color optical prints do have a really nice look, it is a major pain if you really want to control the process.

    Actually, you could put good color digital work next to good color film work and telling them apart would simply be guess work. No need to try to match the "look."
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    Re: The Film Look...

    Quote Originally Posted by NB23 View Post
    Film look: infinite depth. A loupe reveals a symphony of tonesand textures. Extremely refined.

    Digital look: plastic screen probably made from recycled supermarket plastic bags. Synthetic. Extremely unrefined.
    For the longest time, audiophiles would make the same basic argument and would note similar discriptive differences between a analogue recording played on on turntable and a digitial recording on a CD. Of course as film can be scanned, so to were some analogue recording digitized, with mixed results. Over time, refinement of digitally recorded music (as well as analogue to digital)...so to will there be an evolution and refinement of the digitally captured image and subsequentlly it's output. To what degree is often in the eye of the beholder.

    Dave (D&A)
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    Re: The Film Look...

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    LOL. You have never run a color darkroom. While I agree there are lots of folks that don't use the tools well, that was also the case with a chemical darkroom--I have seen my share of horrible darkroom work (the limited flexibility did not seem to slow people down). But give me the flexibility over color that I can have digitally. While color optical prints do have a really nice look, it is a major pain if you really want to control the process.

    Actually, you could put good color digital work next to good color film work and telling them apart would simply be guess work. No need to try to match the "look."
    When it comes to color darkroom work, I'll take the digital process anytime, save for maybe cibichrome. Conventional wet darkroom color printing was a nightmare in terms of the time invested and I vowed long ago to never do it again. In contrast, B&W in the wet darkroom is simply one of life's pleasures.

    Dave (D&A)
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    Re: The Film Look...

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    LOL. You have never run a color darkroom. While I agree there are lots of folks that don't use the tools well, that was also the case with a chemical darkroom--I have seen my share of horrible darkroom work (the limited flexibility did not seem to slow people down). But give me the flexibility over color that I can have digitally. While color optical prints do have a really nice look, it is a major pain if you really want to control the process.

    Actually, you could put good color digital work next to good color film work and telling them apart would simply be guess work. No need to try to match the "look."
    Oh, don't get me wrong. I agree about horrible darkroom work, but I think some take whatever their color film processor gives them, and then call that part of the "look" of film, or whatever. I certainly enjoy the control of digital, myself.

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    Re: The Film Look...

    Quote Originally Posted by D&A View Post
    For the longest time, audiophiles would make the same basic argument and would note similar discriptive differences between a analogue recording played on on turntable and a digitial recording on a CD. Of course as film can be scanned, so to were some analogue recording digitized, with mixed results. Over time, refinement of digitally recorded music (as well as analogue to digital)...so to will there be an evolution and refinement of the digitally captured image and subsequentlly it's output. To what degree is often in the eye of the beholder.

    Dave (D&A)
    As I mentioned above, the funny thing is that film is actually a digital recording medium, since film grain is on/off. Oddly, I probably still prefer analog recordings on both record and CD, but I do like silicon for color photography, at this point.

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    Re: The Film Look...

    One thing I have found is that using vintage lenses on digital cameras is a good compromise

    the 2 shots I posted were with a 1964 summicron 50 and a 1958 Elmar 90 , I find modern glass too clinical
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    Subscriber Member Jorgen Udvang's Avatar
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    Re: The Film Look...

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Still, I am also a believer if you want something to look like a certain process, then shot in that process.
    That's it in a nutshell
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    Re: The Film Look...

    I don't process for any specific look (consciously) but I tend to end up choosing Agfa APX 100 as my preferred film profile in SEP2 most of the time. It may well be because that was the film I used a lot in the analog era (since it - plus Fomapan and Orwo NP22 -were the most widely available films in my country when I was younger.

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    Re: The Film Look...

    Those conversations can be very useful, if they approach the subject from a different media POV... or, can be very dangerous (to photography as an art), if they end up to compare the incomparable... In my view, the difference between film and digital, ends up to two things... 1. DR presentation, where film has a narrower linear part and more HL and LL "compression", 2. Grain... which is much more present in film and can be used creatively or annoyingly... Never the less, a photographer is an artist... and artists, do act under visualization of the outcome (the print in our case) which is the artists decisive factor... I have however observed, that MFDBs lye in between film and digital DR presentation and this, along with the fact that MF film has less grain, makes the difference in MF photography quite more narrow than it is with DSLRs and the respective 35mm SLRs....

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    Re: The Film Look...

    Quote Originally Posted by Vivek View Post
    David, That is all over the place! Stick with an M6.
    Or better yet an M3 + rigid summicron (the spelling checker on this site is a major irritant - it tries to make it sum micron).

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    Re: The Film Look...

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Campbell View Post
    Or better yet an M3 + rigid summicron (the spelling checker on this site is a major irritant - it tries to make it sum micron).
    Hey, might as well go all the way and go for the summicron collapsible.

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    Re: The Film Look...

    Happened to post one of each of a similar subject not long ago at the start of this thread: http://www.getdpi.com/forum/sunset-b...s-digital.html
    -bob

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    Re: The Film Look...

    Interesting I assumed the bottom was film and turned out I was right. There was a bit of grain but both images are pleasing (and not just there's a half naked woman on a piece of furniture.)
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    Re: The Film Look...

    Quote Originally Posted by HiredArm View Post
    Interesting I assumed the bottom was film and turned out I was right. There was a bit of grain but both images are pleasing (and not just there's a half naked woman on a piece of furniture.)
    I suppose I could have added a bit of simulated grain to the digital version, but there really was no attempt to force the digital image to look like the film.
    -bob

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    Re: The Film Look...

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    I suppose I could have added a bit of simulated grain to the digital version, but there really was no attempt to force the digital image to look like the film.
    -bob
    True you could have and I think the point is that which is "better" is a very subjective answer. Some prefer film and some prefer digital much in the same way that someone mention some people prefer analog sound over digital. I prefer to work with digital because it's easier for me to do that. I can appreciate a good film image the same way I can appreciate a great digital image. Sometimes it really is the content and not the medium.
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    Re: The Film Look...

    Meh, I'm to lazy to process B&W film anymore ... and while I loved the prints from film you really had to follow the whole analog process from soup to enlarger to trays to really see the full shimmering beauty of a process that benefitted from over 100 years of silver based science and aesthetic developments. Scanning is okay, but not a real substitute IMO (and this is from a photographer that owned and used a Imacon 949 scanner).

    I do appreciate that programs like Nik Silver Effects Pro allow me to wander around different types of B&W film responses from a digital file until I like what I see. Not that it replaces film's look and feel from random silver clumps verse the regimentation of all those little pixel soldiers lined up shoulder-to-shoulder ... but it gives me some base-line of aesthetic judgement formed during 40 years of slaving away in the dark-room ... which was more fun as a hobby than when I had to print 50 wedding enlargements for a slip-in album ... or duplicate a print 10 years after I had done the original.

    I'm just a digital guy that thinks film in it's full analog process was wonderful and will never be duplicated ... a fact brought home every day in my home that is filled with master works from the film age. I think I should sell those images off so I do not have to be painfully reminded what my laziness has resulted in

    -Marc

    (I should note that the Leica MM has made that pain go away to a great degree ... shooting a nice ISO 5000 file was only a dream in my film days).

  44. #44
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    Re: The Film Look...

    It is interesting that after all the advances in digital cameras, one of the things that stands out is that B&W film (especially medium format or larger) cannot be duplicated by digital.

    Take any quality medium format camera (their really cheap these days) and a well researched film/developer/paper process, and you have a superb print.

    I am familiar with a friend's Leica MM results and while it shows promise, a TLR Rollie, FP4 and fibre paper, easily gives prints of equal or better quality.

    Colour work is a different scenario, but in my experience Film is still the B&W reference standard.

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    Re: The Film Look...

    Quote Originally Posted by Seascape View Post
    It is interesting that after all the advances in digital cameras, one of the things that stands out is that B&W film (especially medium format or larger) cannot be duplicated by digital.

    Take any quality medium format camera (their really cheap these days) and a well researched film/developer/paper process, and you have a superb print.

    I am familiar with a friend's Leica MM results and while it shows promise, a TLR Rollie, FP4 and fibre paper, easily gives prints of equal or better quality.

    Colour work is a different scenario, but in my experience Film is still the B&W reference standard.
    I don't think there ever was a matter of duplication... film is film and digital is still a (comparatively) very new technology, we shouldn't forget that in digital we still shoot with B&W sensors for color... this is among the things that is going to change in the future... I personally don't see why you see the problem of presentation in B&W only... it surely is the same for both color or B&W, there is wider linear part in both and HL & LL compression is narrower with both... Surely there is an advantage with MF film, grain is less obvious and the lenses are superb providing more resolution, but those that have moved to MF digital can clearly see that MFDBs are closer to film in their presentation and those who can shoot (still only) images in multishot modes (i.e. in true color) can assure you that there is no comparable quality to much it... Hopefully, someday (in the near future) this extreme quality will pass to single shot shooting and digital DR will be able to duplicate film behavior... in cinema too..! We have to admit though, that those among us that are experienced with film, they are nostalgic about it either if they still shoot it, or if they (for practical reasons) shoot only digital. OTOH, IMO, B&W or color photography doesn't exist at all... IMO, there is only photography and the photographer (like any other artist) has to abandon any unnecessary info that can distract the recipient from communicating with his work... I do agree that most of photography should be in B&W, but this is due to the subjects, it's not relevant to the media per se!

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    Re: The Film Look...

    I think it's a difficult comparison to sort out simply because there are apples, pears and oranges. For me, especially with B&W film, there were choices to be made with regard to ASA, exposure, developer, etc. But the real magic happened with tongs and a tray. Silver-based prints (and the process of making them) will always make my heart beat faster. Shooting film today, then scanning it and making a jpeg for onscreen viewing (the pears and oranges part) can't quite duplicate that wonderful, hands-on experience of yesteryear.

    Having said that, there's no way I'm shooting film and building a darkroom.

    Tim
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    Re: The Film Look...

    I have several silver prints that I use to compare and honestly, other than the surface which is a sure tipoff, I see almost no quality difference when viewed at a reasonable distance. Close-in film is less sharp and depending on magnification, the grain becomes a factor.
    I have done several tests over the years and once I passed a 12 Mpx file then digital 35mm format compares favorably to medium format 100 speed film. Maybe it is a "silver ear" phenomenon and I don't have one, but I can't objectively see it or measure it.
    Personally I LIKE to shoot film, sometimes for the nostalgic reasons, sometimes especially when shooting female subjects, an orange filter and a bit of grain plus the diffusion that occurs with film hides a lot of skin imperfections.
    All bets are off, however, when the digital file is pushed around too much.

    -bob

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    Re: The Film Look...

    I've no doubt that you're right Bob. A lot of my joy for silver is mixed up with nostalgia and the honeyed glow of personal memory. I recently made a timber frame building from trees on the property. The trees were sawn into timbers using a portable bandsaw. I also have an old barn that's built from timbers that were hand-hewn. Both are wonderful in their own right and the "modern" ones might even be better—they're certainly more uniform. But, well, there's something about those beams that were shaped by hand. Silly, I know.

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    Re: The Film Look...

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    I think it's a difficult comparison to sort out simply because there are apples, pears and oranges. For me, especially with B&W film, there were choices to be made with regard to ASA, exposure, developer, etc. But the real magic happened with tongs and a tray. Silver-based prints (and the process of making them) will always make my heart beat faster. Shooting film today, then scanning it and making a jpeg for onscreen viewing (the pears and oranges part) can't quite duplicate that wonderful, hands-on experience of yesteryear.

    Having said that, there's no way I'm shooting film and building a darkroom.

    Tim
    Have you ever tried Fuji S5 pro for B&W Tim? ...I found this to be the best digital DSLR for B&W, it must be the less linear part it bares and the film like compression on HLs and LLs... If it only had a larger sensor... and more natural colors when used in color... great grain at 400-800 Iso too! I would have never change that if it was FF! It saves the darkroom.

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: The Film Look...

    I have not tried the Fuji but thanks for the tip. I'm currently in a "love the one you're with" phase and have imposed a purchase ban on myself. Way too many temptations.

    Cheers!
    Tim

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