Digital and Film

Discussion in 'Beyond the Basics' started by thebeginning, Jan 14, 2005.

  1. thebeginning

    thebeginning TPF Noob!

    Jan 10, 2005
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    I've heard good things about both. I've heard that when a digital picture is taken, it loses some color info and all sorts of quality that can easily be captured with film. Film is awesome, but digital seems so much and theres alot of advantages. I'm thinking about getting a new camera once i get the money, and now im not so sure if i should go digital or not.
  2. Big Mike

    Big Mike I am Big, I am Mike Staff Member Supporting Member

    Dec 16, 2003
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    It seems that most film shooters that moved on to digital still use film sometimes. As you said, they each have their advantages.

    As for the quality of digital vs film...that's a tough one to call. Digital technology is constantly changing. Resolution is catching up to that of 35mm film, color and exposure latitude are behind but getting closer all the time.

    Film cameras are affordable but taking digital shots is free.

    Go with what excites you the most. Being excited about photography goes a lot farther than they type of tools you use.
  3. Mumfandc

    Mumfandc TPF Noob!

    Jan 3, 2005
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    New York City, Chelsea
    Well, you can get a Canon Rebel 2000 film camera for like $50 on Ebay these days (I bought one when it first came out...around $300). The lens that comes bundled w/the kit is a piece of garbage though...the Canon 50mm/1.8(?) prime lens is probably the SHARPEST and cheapest lens you can get, and has a lot of praise. It's not a zoom lens, but from a technical standpoint, zoom lenses aren't as good (sharpness/resolution) as prime (non-zoom) lenses. Plus, it's good to begin shooting at a "fixed" focal length, like the 50mm norm lens.

    As for digital vs. film...I've recently went back to shooting film mostly. I just got a new rangefinder 35mm film camera, and the sharpness and contrast of my photos, seem SUPERIOR to my 5.0 MP digital camera which I thought was sharp enough. But of course, sharpness and high resolution aren't necessarily the criterion to whatever makes a picture "good", if u know what I mean.

    Here's something I've copied off another website about film vs. digital:
    "As we've reported in the past and have deduced from our own tests, a tripod mounted, high end SLR with a superb lens and ISO 100 color print film can capture the equivalent of a 40 megapixel sensor. That's an order of magnitude more than a 3.3 or even 4MP sensor..." - Popular Photography, March 2001, page 55.

    AFIPs Peer Reviewed Science Paper (see table)
    35mm fast film (ISO 400 and up) = 22.11 megapixel equiv.
    35mm medium speed film (ISO 100 to 200) = 54 megapixel equiv.
    35mm slow speed film (circa ISO 25-80) = 124.76 megapixel equiv.
  4. Contra|Brett|

    Contra|Brett| TPF Noob!

    Dec 25, 2004
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    (I realize that most people who read this will already know alot of what i say, but for that one or two people...)

    the age old question (if you can call it age old)

    Film is very hard to compare to digital in terms of resolution. Film's resolution varies based on the ISO of the film you are using. The grain of the film becomes visible (in prints, not on the film) when you start making enlargements when you move to film with a higher ISO. Likewise, if you increase the ISO equivilent on a digital camers, you will see more noise in the photo.

    Film has a much better dynamic range than a ccd. The main reson for this is that film has high sensitivity and low sensitivty layers for RGB, all the previous ccd's have had only large photosites (the digital equivilent to grain) which are only sensitive to bright colors, this makes some thigs very hard for digital cameras to pick up, such as contrasting white on white. The first camera that has been able to approach that on digital is the fujifilm s3 pro.

    Lenses are another concern of some digital photographers. The lenses of digital SLR's have more to deal with than thier film counterparts. For one, ccd's are much more reflective than the emulsion side of film. This can potential cause problems with light reflecting off the ccd then to the lense then back to the film. Another problem with ccd's is that they like light to enter them at near 90 degree angles, film is much more forgiving in that regard. This is why there are digital lenses, they counter the problems mentioned here. The rear lense element in digital lenses sits much closer to the ccd than thier film counterparts so they can have the light enter the ccd at closer to a 90 degree angle, and counter the ccd reflection problem.

    CCD's are not the same size as film, many are aps-c sized so they have what is called a magnification factor when using lenses. Lenses are rated in focal lengths for 35mm film so you have to factor in the magnification factor of the lenses when determining the actual focal length. A common magnification factor is 1.5 therefore:

    a 50mm lense becomes a 75mm lense
    a 300mm lense becomes a 450mm lense and so forth.

    if you buy a digital slr you should ask about the magnification factor so you can get the actual focal length of the lenses you have.

    canon is making a line of digital lenses but i don't know if they are out yet.
    nikon has thier DX line of lenses that are for thier digital slr's
    both these lines of lenses can fill an entire 35mm fram, so they will work on film slr's as well, the opposite is true too, film lenses work on digital slrs( as long as they use the same mount and are compatable....)

    So far there are two pro digital slr's that have a magnification factor of 1

    One of the kodaks (i forgot which one)
    and the Canon EOS 1D (not the mark II)

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