Please, take me out of this misery...

Discussion in 'Digital Discussion & Q&A' started by galapagos1859, Apr 10, 2012.

  1. galapagos1859
    Offline

    galapagos1859 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0
    It's been almost a year since I got my first DSLR and since then I can't get an answer to a simple question:

    Why does digital look so... digital?

    I have asked this question to many photographers and I've spent hundreds of hours searching the web looking for an answer... but nothing.

    Maybe you, like many others, think that the answer is easy and would reply with one of the options bellow:

    1) "It's not the fact that it's digital. It's just a bad photo."

    2) "Lighting is the secret."

    3) "You need a good camera and, most importantly, good lens."

    4) "You need to master the digital darkroom. The answer is in post processing."

    5) "It's the dynamic range, stupid."

    Well... none of these is false, but they do not close the discussion.
    There's a "quality" in film photography that is not comparable to digital.

    Before anyone thinks that I'm a nostalgic old man... I must say I'm a 28yo guy who has never owned a film camera in his life. But realized since day 1 that the look and feel in photography that made him get his first SLR is not achievable in digital.

    A feel examples (please tell me that you see the diference and understand my frustration)

    Film:
    Scan-6478-003 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!_ | Flickr - Photo Sharing!Untitled | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    Digital (5D mkII):
    Rhea portrait | Flickr - Photo Sharing!Hindu pilgrim in Varanasi | Flickr - Photo Sharing!

    Please, put me out of my misery and enlight me.

    ps: this is my first post here. I registered just to ask this question.
  2. 480sparky
    Offline

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    Messages:
    15,926
    Likes Received:
    5,191
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Iowa
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +5,222 / 0
    Well, even a scanned film image can be post-processed. Unless we know it isn't we can't really address the 'quality' of it. It would be exceedingly easy to take the 'digital' image and make it look like a scanned 60's-era image.
  3. Delphititan
    Offline

    Delphititan New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2010
    Messages:
    10
    Likes Received:
    0
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +0 / 0
    I have been an avid photographer for 35 years. I have used everything from Hasselblad to pinhole cameras. I now use digital cameras. While I do use some very high end glass, I was able to get excellent results from kit lenses.

    You are young. You are stressing too much about this. Let it go. Go out with the gear you have available and have fun. Spend your time with thoughts about what you can do to improve your composition. Play with the many tools and software apps that will test your creativity.

    Life is good. Focus on enjoying its potential.

    If you still have angst about this, reply back and lets discuss how to have more fun with your current gear.

    Dan
  4. galapagos1859
    Offline

    galapagos1859 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0
    Hi, Dan.

    Thanks for your kind reply.

    I understand your point and I really try to make the most of my current gear. But what bothers me is spending so much time in photoshop trying to achieve a 'look'.

    I took this picture in a trip to Paris: http://i.imgur.com/t2r3t.jpg
    I really like it as a whole, but it's too digital. Too flat... no depth...
    (you're seeing the raw file, btw)

    I have spent countless hours post processing it, but I feel like it's never good enough.
    Then I see a simple photo taken with a medium format and I'm stunned by the 'look and feel' of it. This would be a perfect example: http://www.flickr.com/photos/brianadams/7065871047/in/pool-31794144@N00/
    T
    here's nothing special about the photo... but the tones make me wanna cry. =)
    They look so good.

    Why?! Am I going crazy?
  5. Tony S
    Offline

    Tony S New Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2011
    Messages:
    2,094
    Likes Received:
    598
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Eatonville, Washington
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +598 / 0
    Some company just paid a billion dollars for an application to make images look like your first example and other film "looks" ....... :er:


    I guess I don't see the issue, since you can get any "film" look you want with digital with the right post processing and not be able to tell the difference.
  6. 480sparky
    Offline

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    Messages:
    15,926
    Likes Received:
    5,191
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Iowa
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +5,222 / 0
    I drive one of these every day. A couple weeks ago, I was given the opportunity to drive one of these. I just don't understand why they're so different.

    Seriously.... I don't see how you're comparing the two images.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. galapagos1859
    Offline

    galapagos1859 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0
    I can't agree, Tony.

    Instagram is for fun. It's overdone and it doesn't qualify as what I'm describing here.

    Even with serious post processing, in 90% of cases you can tell when it's fake.
  8. galapagos1859
    Offline

    galapagos1859 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0
    Sparky, don't get me wrong. I never meant to compare them as equivaent images.

    I'm asking for you to focus on the quality of tones, depth and colors. Please feel free to add a digital image that you consider a 'Ferrari'. We can go on from there.
  9. 480sparky
    Offline

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    Messages:
    15,926
    Likes Received:
    5,191
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Iowa
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +5,222 / 0
    The only way you can compare two images is for them to be taken with the same lighting, subject, etc. To compare those two images is like comparing apples & spark plugs.
  10. WhiskeyTango
    Offline

    WhiskeyTango New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    286
    Likes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Michigan (Detroit Metro)
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +41 / 0
    I'm in the "you're looking too closely" camp, but between the images you posted, the biggest differences I see are in "grain" and white balance. The film shots are warmer and have more grain/noise than the digital shots.

    Both grain/noise and white balance can be altered in post. If you like warm/grainy images (and many do) there are plenty of tools to achieve the look. Lightroom is one of them. There are numerous others.

    Here's a <3 min edit of one of the digital shots you linked to:
    $tpf_10APR12.jpg
    * Image used for illustration/educational purposes. The original can be found via the OP's link above and is presumed copyright by Yago Veith at yago1.com

    Does this edit address any of your likes/dislikes?
  11. WhiskeyTango
    Offline

    WhiskeyTango New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 2012
    Messages:
    286
    Likes Received:
    41
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Michigan (Detroit Metro)
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +41 / 0
    The images really aren't comparable, as others have pointed out. One is a landscape (sort of) and the other is portraiture (sort of).

    The biggest diff (other than the obvious above) is depth of field. The landscape shot looks to be shot with a very deep depth of field. Everything is in focus. The portraiture shot is fairly shallow depth of field. The subject(s) are in focus, but the background is not.

    DoF is achievable (easily) in both digital and film.
  12. galapagos1859
    Offline

    galapagos1859 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0
    I appreciate your effort, Whiskey. Unfortunately, it's as 'digital' as it was.

    This is my 3 min attempt and I can still see the digital behind the post process:
    http://i.imgur.com/5ekK8.jpg

    =(
  13. galapagos1859
    Offline

    galapagos1859 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0
    Yeah... I totally regret putting those 2 pictures together. It didn't clarify my point...
    But believe me, DoF is not part of the equation =/
  14. 480sparky
    Offline

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    Messages:
    15,926
    Likes Received:
    5,191
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Iowa
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +5,222 / 0
    Perhaps you're seeing the noise cause by ISO 2500.
  15. galapagos1859
    Offline

    galapagos1859 New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 10, 2012
    Messages:
    11
    Likes Received:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +1 / 0
    ok... so I found a side-by-side comparison


    [​IMG]

    Can you guys see it now?
  16. 480sparky
    Offline

    480sparky Chief Free Electron Relocator

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2011
    Messages:
    15,926
    Likes Received:
    5,191
    Trophy Points:
    113
    Location:
    Iowa
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +5,222 / 0
    Very little. And the film look could easily be replicated in post.

    What I'd like to know is the camera that took the film shot.
  17. Tony S
    Offline

    Tony S New Member

    Joined:
    May 23, 2011
    Messages:
    2,094
    Likes Received:
    598
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Eatonville, Washington
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +598 / 0
    I really think you need to spend more time taking pictures and working on your post processing to get the look you are after..... any film type can be replicated in an image editor, there are lots of tutorials out there that even tell you how to make digital images look like specific film types.



    How about trying a digital Velvia...

    http://www.fredmiranda.com/DV/index.html

    And found this program to ge the film look referenced by Derrel in a post late last year... http://www.luminous-landscape.com/techniques/dxo_film_pack.shtml


    Of course your other option is to just shoot film.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 11, 2014
  18. MReid
    Offline

    MReid New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 10, 2011
    Messages:
    649
    Likes Received:
    98
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Boise Id.
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +98 / 0
    Film look, less contrast, less sharp, seems to have more of a 3d (richer, more depth) look.
    From digital: reduce contrast, very slight gaussian blur, add smidge of glow effect or tiny bit of fog, add just a smidge of large grained noise, less black point.
    ....or just click a button on the numerous effects programs designed to look like film

    Yes film does look different.
  19. Mot
    Offline

    Mot New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2011
    Messages:
    208
    Likes Received:
    32
    Trophy Points:
    0
    Location:
    Cumbria, England
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +32 / 0
    It might be fun to test you! If it's so different we should be able to post photos we've taken on either film or processed to look like film and you should be able to tell us which one it is with ease. I'm not disagreeing with you that film has a 'look', I do disagree that it's not possible in post. There are several photographers that I was convinced shot on 120 but found they shot with a 5DII and were skilled processers.

    $FilmorDigital (1 of 1).jpg $Tree.jpg

    How or what were these shot on? They still have the EXIF data so guess before you check, don't ruin it for others! In terms if film I use several brands in several film bodies and lenses, nothing specific. To scan film I usually use a Hasselblad X1, it's a serious-amateur/professional scanner. Digitally I use a 20D and a 5D with several lenses. Everything passes through Lightroom 3 and occasionally Photoshop.
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2012
  20. bhop
    Offline

    bhop Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2007
    Messages:
    2,158
    Likes Received:
    213
    Trophy Points:
    63
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    Gallery:
    Ratings:
    +213 / 0
    I think the issue you're having is caused by a combo of points 4 and 5

Share This Page