Film black and white vs digital black and white

kevinfoto

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Is there a difference between black and white film vs digital black and white? Please explain.
 

MTVision

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Are you asking what's the difference between shooting with b/w film vs. shooting with your digital camera set to b/w mode?
 

Sw1tchFX

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Not even close.
 

katerolla

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Film 1
Digital 0

I miss true B&W but I don't have a dark room any more, digital dosen't come close to film
 

Cruzingoose

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You just can't say "film=good, digi=bad".To answer Kevin's question, I would personally say that film has a texture, a feeling of a moment of life captured, on a see-it, touch-it medium that has the potential to last a hundred years, and yet to be able to re-animated at a moments notice on paper for all to share.

Digi to me is harsh and unforgiving, limited to the pixel resolution of the captured image and computer technology available to reproduce a working image. With the digital half life of 1 year or so, (my opinion), The digital images stored on optical disk is likely to be lost in 4 or 5 years. Hard disk storage may be ok for 10 years, IF the computer that houses it stays operational.

Digi images are most likely to be never shared or archived on paper. Acording to the Smithsonian, we as a people have lost about 20 years of hard history due to digi. And not just images, but written matter also. Not many people write letters anymore, and most of those are computer printed. Very little handwriting and certainly no penmanship. Pardon me PenPersonShip.....;)
 

unpopular

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I think the biggest issue with digital is that there is no consensus on the best method to meter, expose and process. Everyone seems to be all over the place and what little technique there is is vague and imprecise.
 
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kevinfoto

kevinfoto

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I like film black and white so much better. They say if u want to work in the industry you have to shoot digital. But there is nothing like black and white film.
 

bazooka

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You just can't say "film=good, digi=bad".To answer Kevin's question, I would personally say that film has a texture, a feeling of a moment of life captured, on a see-it, touch-it medium that has the potential to last a hundred years, and yet to be able to re-animated at a moments notice on paper for all to share.

Digi to me is harsh and unforgiving, limited to the pixel resolution of the captured image and computer technology available to reproduce a working image. With the digital half life of 1 year or so, (my opinion), The digital images stored on optical disk is likely to be lost in 4 or 5 years. Hard disk storage may be ok for 10 years, IF the computer that houses it stays operational.

Digi images are most likely to be never shared or archived on paper. Acording to the Smithsonian, we as a people have lost about 20 years of hard history due to digi. And not just images, but written matter also. Not many people write letters anymore, and most of those are computer printed. Very little handwriting and certainly no penmanship. Pardon me PenPersonShip.....;)

I have to strongly disagree that digital has a half life of 1 year. If one backs up their work both onsite and offsite (I'm sure most digital professional artists do this), the lifespan is indefinite. Moreover, nothing changes in the file, whereas with film, it certainly degrades over time. And yes, digital images are certainly printed. Many people don't even consider it to be a photograph or a final work until it is printed. For the casual point-and-shooter or typical in-business-out-of-business portrait photographer? Sure, but I'm talking about true professional photographers that take their work seriously (which is reflected in pricing).
 

sparks017

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The quality of B+W in film is outstanding compared to digital. Film is great in a sense is that you work with the photo with your hands and the creation of a true film photo is a sense of completion. As someone says with digital the photo really does not seem complete until it is printed.
 

unpopular

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The only advantage I truly see with b/w film is the ability to adjust hilights after exposure. With digital, your latitude is pretty fixed - it's like having slide film with 6-8 stops of useable dynamic range - which is probably close to b/w film without taking into account adjustments in development time. All other issues, including highlight handling, can be addressed through exposure, processing and greyscale conversion.

But - I don't mean to understate how much of a disadvantage this is. Adjusting highlight density is an enormous advantage to b/w film.
 

ann

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What is interesting (at least for me) the best way to archive digital files is on film, done all the time.

If film has been properly processed it will last over 100 years.
 

unpopular

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Tests show that under normal conditions a CDR will last 10-20 years, which isn't good though the data which it contains can be transferred nondestructively (unlike film).

I wonder how long a CDR will last if properly archived? What about media archived and permanently stored to a hard drive? Certainly if I turned off my computer today and came back to it 10 years later, it would boot just as I had left it. What about in 100 years?
 

analog.universe

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With redundant hard drives the data life is indefinite. Any IT professional that depends on data storage uses a RAID. (redundant array of independent disks) Identical copies of the data are stored on several drives using a device that makes the process transparent to the user. When a drive fails, which it inevitably will, you switch it for a working one, and the data is copied back from the drive that's still running. Depending on how paranoid you are you can keep as many copies as you want, all hardware managed, so you don't have to remember to back up.

For _really_ long term storage, there's always digital tape. It doesn't depend on the thing running the whole time it's stored, but it's much more expensive, hardware and media.
 

unpopular

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I agree that hard drives are far better than film for long term storage. A curator could easily run backups of important files periodically.

I suppose the only real risk to hard over the very long term, into antiquity, is the seals breaking. But I would imagine under archival conditions this could easily be comparable to the longevity of film.
 

unpopular

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... I wonder if 100 years we'll still be watching "All your base are belong to us"
 

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