...You need film for that

Discussion in 'Film Discussion and Q & A' started by Josh66, Oct 26, 2008.

  1. Josh66

    Josh66 Been spending a lot of time on here!

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    I'm curious, what are some things that just can't be done digitally with today's technology? Things that only film can do. (And do you think digital will ever have the capability?)

    (Hmm... Maybe another good thread would be "...Can't be done on film", things that only a digital sensor can give you.)
    EDIT: I started that thread - "...Can't be done on film".

    I don't want this to turn into a Film vs. Digital thread, so please don't take it there guys. I love and use both film and digital, this is to learn more about the differances between them.

    The first thing that comes to my mind is all night long star trail photos. I don't think there's a digital camera out there that could do a 6 hour + exposure and come away with a usable image (from a single exposure). I think one day we will see digital cameras that can do this (maybe by "strobing" the sensor?), but I don't think we're likely to see it any time soon.

    So, what else is there?
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2008
  2. Overread

    Overread has a hat around here somewhere Staff Member Supporting Member

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    I am not as up on astro photography and long exposures - but I can say one thing.

    Film very much has the advantage of a higher dynamic range than digital currently does - blowouts and undexposed areas are a pain to live with when there is nothing but black/white to work with in the shot. From what I understand the leeway is greater with film so that they get less highlight problems.
     
  3. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    1) Shooting in extremely bright light with high-contrast.
    2) Any enlargement past 11x17--unless your using a $20k medium format digital back, but even those can't compete with 4x5+ film
     
  4. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Things I know of...


    • Film can create long exposures without burned areas or noise
    • Film has a greater dynamic range

    Yes, eventually. Film has been around for decades, it's had lots of time to mature. Digital has been around for about a decade. I'd expect it to become a lot better in 20 years.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2008
  5. Phranquey

    Phranquey TPF Noob!

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    If memory serves, 20 years ago a 1MB hd & 64k RAM was "the poop". Now you can buy an external 1TB hd for a couple hundred bucks. I don't know if Moore's Law applies to cameras as much, but in another 20 years I imagine the sensors are going to reach some pretty good range.

    As far as the OP, I can't think of much where you'd have to use film these days. Even for astro-photography, peruse any astromomy magazine, and it's all digital CCD now. Even all those beautiful Hubble photos are digital. The home shooter would still benefit with film for the "star trails while camping" shots, but I have seen some wonderful time lapse shots using stitched shorter exposures from digital, as well.

    I still enjoy using my film cameras, there is a kind of nostalgia to it, but I find myself using them less and less.
     
    Last edited: Oct 26, 2008
  6. epp_b

    epp_b No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Indeed, but those are bleeding-edge technologies that are well beyond the reach of consumers ;)

    I used to have a great Zenitar film camera before I ever got seriously into photography. Thinking that film was irrelevant, I dumped it on a thrift shop. Now I'm really kicking myself :(

    If I still had it, I'd use it, but I don't think I'm going to buy another film camera.
     
  7. bhop

    bhop No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I need film to use my F100 or rangefinder cameras...

    But seriously.. I think anything that can be done with film can be done with digital these days, at least if you've got the right technology and editing skills.
     
  8. monkeykoder

    monkeykoder TPF Noob!

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    To do any work in a darkroom you pretty much need film... To get the look of a silver print you pretty much need to use film. One thing digital absolutely can't do is be analog I don't know what started the whole everything must be done digitally (not talking cameras alone here) but digital is inherently lossy you lose all that data inbetween 0 and 1 it isn't noticeable to the eye per se but specifically when editing this loss can become very noticeable. I haven't done much with color film and I assume it has this same problem to a degree (because there aren't infinitely many grains on a piece of film).
     
  9. djacobox372

    djacobox372 No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    I've yet to see a digital camera that can shoot at the same resolution as 4x5 film... it's not even close. Digital maxes out at about 30mp, less then 1/4 the detail of a nicely scanned 4x5 negative.

    Of course they do have large-format digital backs, but they only support S-L-O-W shutter speeds.

    Then there's the latitude of film... you can achieve it via digital if you shoot multiple shots and combine into an HDR--but good luck doing that with a bird in flight, or any other non-static shot.

    For me I like the best of both worlds: the detail and latitude of film scanned into digital so I can take full advantage of it via post processing.
     
  10. compur

    compur No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Can't get a silver/gelatin print from a digital printer, or a platinum print or any
    alt process print. You can make the neg digitally but not the print.

    You can fake it digitally and pretend it's real but it won't be. Digital prints
    can be made to look like real photo-chemical prints in the same way that a
    cubic zirconium looks looks a diamond but which would you rather have?

    Right now most people probably won't care if it's a digital/ink print or a
    photo-chemical print but will they always feel that way? I doubt it.

    When new technologies arrive the masses abandon the old and embrace
    the new. Then, as time passes, nostalgia kicks in and the value of the older
    stuff goes up.
     
  11. Battou

    Battou No longer a newbie, moving up!

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    Grain...You simply can't have film grain with Digital....I would not suggest even trying to fake it, It don't work.
     
  12. monkeykoder

    monkeykoder TPF Noob!

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    I'll have to say damned regular grids not producing interesting effects grain is freaking awesome to be able to produce.
     

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