Film vs. Digital SLR

Discussion in 'Photography Equipment & Products' started by SanctuS, Jul 26, 2007.

  1. SanctuS

    SanctuS TPF Noob!

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    I know this is an old topic that gets thrown around alot, but I just wanted to ask the question myself.
    I own a Canon T2 film SLR, and I really like using it. I am just starting out and it is my first SLR. There are 2 things keeping me from getting a digital SLR.

    1) The prices of digital SLR's are alot higher then film SLR's.

    2) I have been told that the quality of the print made from film is whole lot better then one made from a digital camera, even a high MP one.

    I guess my question is more along the lines if reason #2 is fact or fiction, and if I should be concerned about the quality of the print. Or at what megapixel does the difference become unnoticeable.
     
  2. Ihaveaquestion

    Ihaveaquestion TPF Noob!

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    The money saved and the convenience is well worth the high cost of a DSLR. You will no doubt shoot more if the money of processing isn't a factor. High grain B&W prints aren't as good in black and white digital in my opinion. Due to the digital grain factor.

    You should rent one for a weekend and see if its worth the switch for you.
     
  3. Yeah, I saw a calculation somewhere that the price between Film and Digital cameras is leveled by a year's worth of film and development costs.

    Talking about print quality is true at very large sizes, in very particular disciplines. Even most photographers can't tell the source difference - esp. those who declare one to be superior over the other.

    I consider myself and advanced hobbyist (meaning I know a good amount, and use none of it to make a living) and I have yet to explore the outer reaches of digital's limits.

    Image quality is a little bit like young guys sitting around a gas station and discussing the pros and cons of certain cars. Even the ones who can afford a certain high-end car only reach the performance envelope by mistake - most will never really know how fast it can really corner, where the traction point is, and all that geeky stuff.

    After 25 years, I am not using film anymore. I tried again just a year ago, but it's not for me. I don't like being limited by the amounts of shots per roll, I don't like being locked into a film speed, I don't like having to go a few days later to get it developed, I don't like having to go back to get pick up the film and/or the prints, and then I don't have a darkroom, so I STILL need scans if I'm going to crop, or dodge & burn.

    But I wouldn't want to shoot big majestic landscapes using a digital camera, either. For my street photography and portrait work, it's much better.

    Take a look: Flatline's Photoblog
     
  4. setiawan4gus

    setiawan4gus TPF Noob!

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    yes, I agree with "Ihaveaquestion". You should try each camera, then you will find which is suit for your need.. :)
     
  5. cosmonaut

    cosmonaut No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Flatline hit the nail on the head. My skills really improved when I went digital. Some subjects I hit now I can take up to 40 to 50 pictures with out the worry of wasting film. But I still shoot B&W film. DSLRs just can't create good B&W IMO. I have seen DSLRs as low as $350.00.
    Cosmo
     
  6. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    True! Unfortunately. But if you shoot really alot, you at least don't have to buy all the pro grade film, and you do not buy the chemicals or pay the lab for developing.

    On the other hand, for digital, you should not underestimate the additional costs of computer hardware and storage you might need, in particular if you shoot RAW and want to do the processing yourself.

    Fiction... and I must say I shoot 35mm film (colour, mainly slide) and 35mm digital.

    But of course it depends on how you define quality.

    Resolution (which is not determined by the MP alone) on today's dSLRs ist just as good and in some cases much better than on pro grade film.

    Some people might argue that for really large magnification prints film grain looks more pleasing to the eye than digital pixels and colour noise.
    But then again, if you upscale your digital image and play a bit with various algorithms you might get a similar effect to the grain.

    Dynamic range is a bit more problematic with digital cameras, you lose the highlights more easily.
     
  7. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    First of all getting a couple of good shots out of 40-50 doesn't mean your skills are better but I'll get away from that. As far as your digital B+W statement you need to ask theese guys http://www.bandwmag.com/ if B+W digital is inferior. I think they are the preeminent magazone of fine art B+W photography and they recently (2 yeards ago) had a whole issue dedicated to them finally accepting digital as a medium for high quality B+W. If you see bad B+W from digital don't blame the camer blame the photographer and their skills. Now, to answer the general question I agree with the rest that a quality problem with digital compared to film is a fallacy some digital is bad and some film is bad again, it goes back to the shooter. Really you need to make this decision for yourself but remember where all the newest advances in photographic technology are it is not new film emulsions it is all digital.
     
  8. skieur

    skieur TPF Noob!

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    Colour is better on print film and film provides greater range from bright to dark without losing details. There is no shutter lag on film cameras and many of them have a quieter shutter than DSLRs. It is easier to get a sharp handheld shot at a lower shutterspeed with a film camera than it is with a digital camera. A lab study on 8 by 10 enlargements indicated that to match the resolution of Kodak Gold print film on a 35mm SLR with a good lens, an approximately 8 megapixel digital camera was required. Problems such as vignetting due to filters, barrel distortion, light fall off etc. are more prominent in digital cameras than in film SLRs.

    All that being said, with postprocessing, the right software and work arounds, as well as a great eye to recognize what needs to be done, with a digital camera you can get pretty close to film camera image quality. There are also of course conveniences in working with digital that cannot be matched by film.

    skieur
     
  9. newrmdmike

    newrmdmike TPF Noob!

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    color is better from film?!?!?!! in what terms?

    not accuracy.

    skieur your making blanket statements.

    a leica m8 can have a lower shutterspeed with a wideangle lens than my f5 with a 200mm lens.
    or prolly with the same length lens for that matter.
     
  10. Alex_B

    Alex_B No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Different film has different colours, just as in the digital world sensor data can be translated into colour in different ways. Some ways are more pleasing, others less, just as with film.

    And as for the final print, here it depends on the technique used for printing. High quality colour printing from digital images is possible ... not with every desktop printer, but in principle it is.

    true.

    no shutter lag on my film cameras, and none on my digital either. The only lag which i might get with both film and digital is when AF is used.

    Cannot see any reason for that, and it totally contradicts my experience.
    My two most used cameras, one film and one digital, are used with the same set of lenses and they both behave in the same way regarding handheld shooting.

    From my experience this makes sense ... if you do not go via the scanner and implement a digital step in the film workflow as some people do.

    More then 12 megapixels give clearly a better resolution then fine grain pro film in any case... assuming the same size of the medium (sensor and film).

    Partially true.
    - The stronger vignetting is not the vignetting from filters though, but it comes from the light hitting parts of the sensor at a somewhat more pronounced angle ... sensors with their microlenses are more sensitive to this incident angle than film is. So it is more what you call light fall-off. It is very easy to correct though when developing the digital negatives.
    - distortion, be it barrel or cushion, is identical on film and sensor. Just more cheap/bad lenses are used on digital cameras than on film cameras.

    I seem to remember there are tricks and workarounds for film as well to make the print look the way you want ...
     
  11. JIP

    JIP No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I think this is a moot point since a good percentage of even the lower-end DSLRs and most P+S cameras are 8mp+ and DLSRs are 10mp+. This is still the same antiquated thinking.
     
  12. newrmdmike

    newrmdmike TPF Noob!

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    . . . dan burkholder can print amazing stuff digitally, he can print a 4x6 out of a 400x600 image that you would be impressed with.

    as for shutter lag . . . is that really a factor? its such a small time is it a facto, i can't split an image faster than 250milliseconds so i wouldn't worry about it.

    shutterlag is a big issue with p&s, or at least older ones. not so much with slr's
     

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