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View Full Version : Has Fake Digital Black and White Gotten Better Than Tradional?


NickTrop
08-18-2010, 12:02
I dunno, Davey...

Fuji F20
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs275.snc4/40097_1432747935946_1150326236_31037262_8232382_n. jpg"]http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs275.snc4/40097_1432747935946_1150326236_31037262_8232382_n. jpg

Fuji F20
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs275.snc4/40097_1432747975947_1150326236_31037263_6638899_n. jpg

Fuji F20
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs375.snc4/45859_1432747695940_1150326236_31037258_3360686_n. jpg

Nikon D5000/35f1.8DX
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs225.snc4/38576_1416273044084_1150326236_30992403_4741905_n. jpg

Nikon D5000/35f1.8DX
http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc4/hs205.snc4/38576_1416273204088_1150326236_30992407_8297457_n. jpg

-doomed-
08-18-2010, 12:06
What is Tradional?
A new editing software similar to the developer rodinal?

mfogiel
08-18-2010, 12:08
Rolleiflex F, Planar 75/3.5, TXP, DD-X

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4093/4852671973_0ac631fed6_b.jpg

So, now you have a reference shot.

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 12:11
Good - thank you, mfogiel. Yeah - I can absolutely see a difference in MF even on the web. But I gotta tell ya, small format? I'm hard pressed... even with the photos I take with the 6.3 megapixel 1/1/7" sensor on the little F20.

Ranchu
08-18-2010, 12:13
No way around less DR, makes the tonality very linear. Slides are a more appropriate goal than black and white film, IMO.

niels christopher
08-18-2010, 12:14
Though I'am one of those digital "fakers" (I would'nt call it "fake", anyways), I consider "real" b/w filmshots to be more beautiful than digital captures. This might be caused by the natural grain & the higher dynamic range of film, I think.

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 12:16
Though I'am one of those digital "fakers" (I would'nt call it "fake", anyways), I consider "real" b/w filmshots to be more beautiful than digital captures. This might be caused by the natural grain & the higher dynamic range of film, I think.

I used to agree with you, but I'm not seeing it of late in small format... I'm just not.

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 12:20
On DR - not all subject matter/settings requires use all the available stops. Also, like sharpness, it's a bit overrated, perhaps? I can see Ansel Adams wanting to squeeze every stop of DR for his landscapes - but people shots/street stuff? Have you seen HCB's stuff? Did those photos have great DR?

Disaster_Area
08-18-2010, 12:23
I don't think one or the other is "better", they're just different... sometimes a project lends itself to the look of film, sometimes digital... I don't think there has to be a taking of sides.. it's apples and different apples... someone asks you for an apple and any apple will do... but sometimes you really want a Granny Smith rather than a Red Delicious :)

Spider67
08-18-2010, 12:26
If I take film I don't have to tweak around on my computer to make the pics BW

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 12:30
If I take film I don't have to tweak around on my computer to make the pics BW

Mmmmmmmmmm - I can "black and white" something in two seconds digitally. Are you really saying that this is more difficult (or more "fun" - somehow) than loading film into a Jobo, pouring in chemicals, rotating/agitating, fixing, stopping, washing, pouring in that other stuff, drying, and scanning?

Disaster_Area
08-18-2010, 12:40
I'll second that... I have about 4 rolls in my fridge that have been waiting for development for weeks now because I haven't had time and/or been in the mood lately to soup and scan

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 12:42
I don't think one or the other is "better", they're just different... sometimes a project lends itself to the look of film, sometimes digital... I don't think there has to be a taking of sides.. it's apples and different apples... someone asks you for an apple and any apple will do... but sometimes you really want a Granny Smith rather than a Red Delicious :)

I would have agreed with you at one time. Now I think b&w is b&w. In fact, emulation sw increases your understanding - if anything. The differences among stocks of the same speed are fairly subtle.

joeyjoe
08-18-2010, 12:44
to the OP - what film were you using in your F20? I think if you want smooth and grainless images, then yeah - it's probably about the same. If you want grain and texture - no, digital "fakes" haven't caught up yet.

Ranchu
08-18-2010, 12:50
On DR - not all subject matter/settings requires use all the available stops. Also, like sharpness, it's a bit overrated, perhaps? I can see Ansel Adams wanting to squeeze every stop of DR for his landscapes - but people shots/street stuff? Have you seen HCB's stuff? Did those photos have great DR?

YMMV.

I'm willing to pay for, process and scan film to get the DR. Convenience and resolution, the only advantages of digital, are further down on my list of wants.

The HCB pic that I remember the most, so I guess my favorite, is a picture taken of the backs of 4 (?) people sitting on the grass with a shoreline and a small boat in front of them. It had a soft tonality.

This one, edit. Though I think I saw a less cropped, better printed version?

http://www.americansuburbx.com/2009/09/theory-henri-cartier-bressons-last.html

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 12:52
to the OP - what film were you using in your F20? I think if you want smooth and grainless images, then yeah - it's probably about the same. If you want grain and texture - no, digital "fakes" haven't caught up yet.

Why is it that photogs will tout the "smooth nearly imperceptible grain structure" - implying they want grain minimized. Then turn around and tout the beauty of grain?

I never use fake grain. Pointless.

Nikon Bob
08-18-2010, 12:53
Most people would be hard pressed to see any difference between the two types of B&W images today. I can't so I use digital, if you can use film but neither are fake, just different.

Bob

Jamie Pillers
08-18-2010, 12:56
GEEZ... don't let Danny Lyon see this!

mfogiel
08-18-2010, 12:57
OK, so this is a 35mm Tri X in D76

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3059/2778324654_f34e6f20f0_b.jpg

bigeye
08-18-2010, 12:58
Better? Let's just say it puts the "Black" and "White" back in B&W.

In web comparisons it might seem close, but most of the film scanners introduce some of the same problems that PP does to digital B&W. The actual prints are better. mfogiel's shots are likely even better on paper.

- Charlie

WalterM
08-18-2010, 13:00
subjectivity.

Converting digitally to b&w feels fake to me. A masterfully printed photograph takes the cake any day, but each to his own. Whatever moves one to take pretty pictures.

hipsterdufus
08-18-2010, 13:02
Whip 'em out, everybody... You know what I'm talking about.

I'm going to say what has become my standard response to these type of threads: "Shoot what you like until it's broken or unavailable. Then shoot something else that you like. Repeat as necessary."

RayPA
08-18-2010, 13:04
to the OP - what film were you using in your F20? I think if you want smooth and grainless images, then yeah - it's probably about the same. If you want grain and texture - no, digital "fakes" haven't caught up yet.

Agree 100% adding: For photos where the shadows are opened up, such as sunlit photos on the beach, then yes, the two 'black and whites" are comparable (aside from the icky plasticky look of digital skin tones). But in any situation where digital "grain" (noise) is competing against film grain, film looks better.


/

Ezzie
08-18-2010, 13:06
Admittedly not the latest in digital sensor technology, my R-D1 falls short of TMX film with respects to dynamic range. I also think tonality is better when i comes to TMX. I say this because the R-D1 comes along as my proofing tool when shooting film on my DIY 4x5/6x12 P+S, and I can make direct comparisons.

Compare these two:
R-D1:

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/photopost/data/8119/EPSN3846_rff.jpg

TMX (6x12 effective neg size)

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4051/4706926370_7609a97428_b.jpg

Both taken at the same time. The settings from the R-D1 transfered to the P+S. Note the highlights and shadows especially

PKR
08-18-2010, 13:31
Nick; I must say, I enjoy your "attitude".

I work with both Film and Digital capture. My film is scanned these days. The two media have a very different look and "both are good tools" for a pro or amateur photographer. My question is.. (and I know I may be disturbing the "digital religious" here..) If digital is SO much better than film.. why does anyone want it to look like film? I don't get it..what's the deal?

BTW I shoot color Raw and keep everything in color until I drag the color out after making any adjustments .. for both Raw capture and film scans.

And.. Fuji S5 with dual sensor adobe Raw out makes great b+w files (Raw color + PS processing = b+w out.. shot to be converted to b+w by plan).. it's not film. It's digital. The bandwidth is better than most digital, but not as good as any popular b+w film. It has it's own look.. why is this bad? If you want film.. shoot film.

filmfan
08-18-2010, 13:32
Those first shots are grossly digital.

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 13:34
Those first shots are grossly digital.

What if I told you they were film - and you were the first person to take the bait?

johannielscom
08-18-2010, 13:41
Admittedly not the latest in digital sensor technology, my R-D1 falls short of TMX film with respects to dynamic range. I also think tonality is better when i comes to TMX. I say this because the R-D1 comes along as my proofing tool when shooting film on my DIY 4x5/6x12 P+S, and I can make direct comparisons.

Compare these two:
R-D1:

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/photopost/data/8119/EPSN3846_rff.jpg

TMX (6x12 effective neg size)

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4051/4706926370_7609a97428_b.jpg

Both taken at the same time. The settings from the R-D1 transfered to the P+S. Note the highlights and shadows especially

I'm sorry for making your little Epson weep, but I like the TMX far more.

No digital in my bag anymore.

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 13:45
Nick; I must say, I enjoy your "attitude".

I work with both Film and Digital capture. My film is scanned these days. The two media have a very different look and "both are good tools" for a pro or amateur photographer. My question is.. (and I know I may be disturbing the "digital religious" here..) If digital is SO much better than film.. why does anyone want it to look like film? I don't get it..what's the deal?

Thank you. Actually - I like both. I come from the "traditional" (spelled right this time) side, made many of the same "pro film" arguments in the past - passionately so... But in looking at some digitals and comparing them with film - I dunno. I don't see that much difference. It's certainly easier.

As for having them look like film... My take might be a bit different than most. I think that Kodak, Fuji, Ilford - etc. went through a lot of trial and error not to mention R&D to get a "look" for their films that are suitable for certain subjects. We are also - even on a subconscious level, used to these looks over the years. So, if I'm shooting a color environmental portrait, I might dial in one of the low contrast Portras. A colorful landscape - Velvia.

So -the "film look" is a shortcut. The film producers have done all the work for me... I use various film looks to quickly get a look that I think works best - rather than wonking around in Photoshop... At the end of the day, these film brands - Velvia, Tri-X, Portra (whatever) and just input parameters that can be emulated digitally. (Shriek!!! Sacrilege!!! I know, I know...)

The beauty/real practical benefit of this is:

1. I can try different types of film stocks after the fact and use what I think works best... even cross process.
2. I can shoot color in low light and set white balance and not get a color cast or lose stops due to having to use a color correction filter.

Was the real reason that so many photographers/enthusiasts chose to shoot black and white was for reason #2, - a constraint rather than a purely aesthetic choice? Again - realize I'm talking strictly small format here... The differences are obvious beyond small format.

Roger Hicks
08-18-2010, 13:48
Some digi B+W is very good - but it's rarely the same as film, and even then, you have to ask what sort of film, and how it was exposed, processed and printed. The overlap - where you can't tell how it was done - is undoubtedly growing, but there are still many pictures that all; but scream 'DIGITAL' or 'WET PRINTED FILM'.

Of course, straining any pictures through a monitor, or a scanner for that matter, makes it harder to distinguish the unique and sometimes subtle 'look' of any medium.

Cheers,

R.

filmfan
08-18-2010, 13:49
What if I told you they were film - and you were the first person to take the bait?

Whether they are or are not digital, they look like digital. They have blown highlights and are super contrasty. Sorry.
Edit: they also show the clay-like skin look that digital usually produces.

gliderbee
08-18-2010, 13:54
Whether they are or are not digital, they look like digital. They have blown highlights and are super contrasty. Sorry.
Edit: they also show the clay-like skin look that digital usually produces.

But AREN'T they digital ? You're looking at them at your monitor, so they are scanned, hence digital ...

Is it possible at all to judge the merits of film when it is scanned ?

Doesn't the scanning process have the same limitations (or even more) than a digital camera ?

BTW, I do like those first pictures .... I can understand the OP's question.

Stefan.

sirius
08-18-2010, 13:55
Hi,

I'm not interested so much in the film/digital debate...There is not much point to it anymore. Digital is fantastic and becoming the look of modern times. Film cameras, lenses, and film itself all produce results that look like old pictures to my eyes. Say you took a picture of man in a suit with a digital and with film...To generalize, the film one would look 10 years older or more to me.

I use film still, as well as digital. I have to say, I find the way that my black and white film draws with light and renders subjects to be different than digital. I find it really beautiful. I like the thingness of holding film and handling the workflow, though it is certainly less convenient to a professional digital one...Specifically, I like working with my Leica for many reasons and I can't afford the digital one right now. Long live film!

I hope you find this perspective useful.

Ian

ferider
08-18-2010, 13:59
Doesn't the scanning process have the same limitations (or even more) than a digital camera ?

Maybe not when using a 14 or 16 bit scanner, but when you end up with an 8bit jpg as posted here, there are the same limitations, and all depends what histogram mods, white balance, etc. you applied when shooting/scanning. The overall dynamic range is exactly this, 8bit.

Nick, photo #3 looks really strange. Looks like digital "Leica glow" :) What happened ?

PKR
08-18-2010, 14:00
The most obvious "visual" difference for me is the grain look vs. the "smoothing algorithm" found in most (all I know of) digital processors. It's an obvious difference that any of us who are visual folks can see easily. That being said, they are just different. At times I don't like the smoothing effect.. but then I have the choice to shoot film or live with it. I also like the wet darkroom, but they are no longer within the law here (for pros ..with a business license, okay for students and amateurs) locally. The inspectors are here all the time..

sirius
08-18-2010, 14:00
filmfan, the modern dslr's have better resolution and dynamic range than film. I's a fact now, but that doesn't account for how they get used.

Digital is wonderful! Especially in area of lowlight photography. Our eyes don't see with grain after all. I know that most of the people who come to RFF are using film by the very nature of rangefinder cameras...but I'm not arguing which is better...there is really no standard to say that one is better than the other anymore.

They produce different results in different ways, hence they are equal in terms of tools. Use them for their unique properties and ways of working for artistic expression.

Ranchu
08-18-2010, 14:01
So -the "film look" is a shortcut. The film producers have done all the work for me... I use various film looks to quickly get a look that I think works best - rather than wonking around in Photoshop... At the end of the day, these film brands - Velvia, Tri-X, Portra (whatever) and just input parameters that can be emulated digitally. (Shriek!!! Sacrilege!!! I know, I know...)

The beauty/real practical benefit of this is:

1. I can try different types of film stocks after the fact and use what I think works best... even cross process.
2. I can shoot color in low light and set white balance and not get a color cast or lose stops due to having to use a color correction filter.

I think you're overstating this quite a bit. I've tried Exposure and all it does is add contrast (I don't want that) with different curves and casts/saturation with photo filter/huesat, and different grains. If it gives you what you're looking for rock on, it's good software, but it's not 'the same' as film, imo.

-doomed-
08-18-2010, 14:01
Nick,
I don't personally find one better than the other. I think digital makes for clean smooth images. I like that black and white film has it's own charms that people like.
It appears you like to analyze peoples responses for your amusement and to kill some time and posit your theories.
If nothing else these posts give some sort of mild entertainment value when a bunch of people take the film vs. digital taste test.

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 14:07
Whether they are or are not digital, they look like digital. They have blown highlights and are super contrasty. Sorry.
Edit: they also show the clay-like skin look that digital usually produces.

Your slightly hostile reaction is evidence that your perception of these samples is psychological and a placebo-ish effect on your part. Your devotion has affected your perception. It's okay... not judging. We all do this (though I've done this mostly with women I've dated, who looked better "at the time" and then thought "what was I thinking..." later on... as opposed to imaging technology choices...) If these prints came off your enlarger, you'd be happy with them. (I would be...) You would have gone through many dollars worth of expensive wasted paper to get there. You are looking for blown highlights and you are looking for "plastic-y skin tones" - and finding them, which is usually a function of over-aggressive noise reduction which wasn't used on these photos. If these photos were shot on film you wouldn't be looking for blown highlights and the skin tones would be smooth. You also would probably embarrass yourself if I spread out a bunch of prints - some digital, some traditional, and asked you to sort them out.

Again - not judging. We all do this when we're committed to an idea, technology, methodology that has been or is in the process of being supplanted by something new. What if I thought a lot of film prints look "muddy" and dull and grainy? I would find muddiness and dullnes and grain in all film prints. That's what I would be setting out to find in every photo that I thought was shot on film if I was trying to "make a case". I would be incapable of objectivity and instead be defending my choice of methodology or ideology - or both.

surfnsnow
08-18-2010, 14:08
gliderbee raises a good point. I think you have to consider what the end product is. Are you shooting film and scanning to post images on RFF and Flickr - or are you making actual prints? B&W prints from digital look quite a bit different that traditional B&W prints from a negative. But as others have pointed out, different is not necessarily better or worse - just different.

Ranchu
08-18-2010, 14:14
Your slightly hostile reaction is evidence that your perception of these samples is psychological and a placebo-ish effect on your part. Your devotion has affected your perception. It's okay... not judging. We all do this (though I've done this mostly with women I've dated, who looked better "at the time" and then thought "what was I thinking..." later on... as opposed to imaging technology choices...) If these prints came off your enlarger, you'd be happy with them. (I would be...) You would have gone through many dollars worth of expensive wasted paper to get there. You are looking for blown highlights and you are looking for "plastic-y skin tones" - and finding them, which are usually a function of over-aggressive noise reduction which wasn't used on these photos. If these photos were shot on film you wouldn't be looking for blown highlights and the skin tones would be smooth. You also would probably embarrass yourself if I spread out a bunch of prints - some digital, some traditional, and asked you to sort them out.

Again - not judging. We all do this when we're committed to an idea, technology, methodology that has been or is in the process of being supplanted by something new.

Nonsense, they look digital. Hard shadows, hard highlights, and flat midtones. Do you forget that you're talking to people who have worked hard on their photography, and made this determination to their satisfaction?

Yours is the only wishful thinking going on here. Do you think anyone would shoot film if digital could do what film does well as well as it does it?

I certainly would, but it doesn't, as you see.

PKR
08-18-2010, 14:14
Nick,
I don't personally find one better than the other. I think digital makes for clean smooth images. I like that black and white film has it's own charms that people like.
It appears you like to analyze peoples responses for your amusement and to kill some time and posit your theories.
If nothing else these posts give some sort of mild entertainment value when a bunch of people take the film vs. digital taste test.

I think this is of value or I wouldn't have taken the time to respond. Many of us are delivering files or prints to people who pay serious money for our work. A while back during a digital shoot, I went to use the head. The AD was in the stall on his cell phone talking to some one about a French Fashion Photographer who was shooting 8 x 10 film. This kid had never seen 8 x10 film. He thought it was amazing and worth the $6K/day for this guy. I would ask anyone here to compare a Creo scan of a properly exposed 8 x 10 chrome to any "camera generated" digital capture.. If you haven't seen this kind of thing you are in for a big smile.

-doomed-
08-18-2010, 14:19
Your slightly hostile reaction is evidence that your perception of these samples is psychological and a placebo-ish effect on your part. Your devotion has affected your perception. It's okay... not judging. We all do this (though I've done this mostly with women I've dated, who looked better "at the time" and then thought "what was I thinking..." later on... as opposed to imaging technology choices...) If these prints came off your enlarger, you'd be happy with them. (I would be...) You would have gone through many dollars worth of expensive wasted paper to get there. You are looking for blown highlights and you are looking for "plastic-y skin tones" - and finding them, which is usually a function of over-aggressive noise reduction which wasn't used on these photos. If these photos were shot on film you wouldn't be looking for blown highlights and the skin tones would be smooth. You also would probably embarrass yourself if I spread out a bunch of prints - some digital, some traditional, and asked you to sort them out.

Again - not judging. We all do this when we're committed to an idea, technology, methodology that has been or is in the process of being supplanted by something new. What if I thought a lot of film prints look "muddy" and dull and grainy? I would find muddiness and dullnes and grain in all film prints. That's what I would be setting out to find in every photo that I thought was shot on film if I was trying to "make a case". I would be incapable of objectivity and instead be defending my choice of methodology or ideology - or both.

You keep saying , I'm not judging as though you aren't convinced .
Reading your comments , you are judging which is totally fine and part of being human. In this case I am judging because I am reading your strange psychoanalysis of forum readers.

You should have called it the NickTrop film v. Digital taste test.
subhead: Bet you cant tell which is which and the test is rigged , or is it?

This theme persists in most of your posts.

I am judging here .


I think this is of value or I wouldn't have taken the time to respond. Many of us are delivering files or prints to people who pay serious money for our work. A while back during a digital shoot, I went to use the head. The AD was in the stall on his cell phone talking to some one about a French Fashion Photographer who was shooting 8 x 10 film. This kid had never seen 8 x10 film. He thought it was amazing and worth the $6K/day for this guy. I would ask anyone here to compare a Creo scan of a properly exposed 8 x 10 chrome to any "camera generated" digital capture.. If you haven't seen this kind of thing you are in for a big smile.

In your example were talking about making money and larger format, which based upon Nick's other posts contained within is not the issue at hand.

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 14:29
@Doomed/PKR - I specifically stated that digital black and white is not nearly as good as medium or large format film. God no. I am referring specifically to small format here.

Silva Lining
08-18-2010, 14:29
I don't know where I stand on the B&W film versus B&W digital debate, All I know is :

Using my Hasselblad and Fuji GW690III shoot almost exclusively B&W. (some Velvia)
Using my M6 I shoot almost exclusively B&W.
Using my 5D2 I shoot almost exclusively colour.

I'm quite happy to develop C41 and E6 myself, so its not just about the souping - I think it is an unconscious prejudice on my part....In fact I've been thinking that for a while, which is why I bought some Ektar for the Fuji and 'Blad last week.

Also when shooting digital I usually shoot colour as I think 'I can 'make' this B&W later if I want..'

As to quality, for sure, I've taken shots with my 5D2 that, when converted to B&W are superior (In a variety of different ways) to 35mm B&W film shots I have taken with my M6, but also vice versa. I'd agree that sometimes its also very difficult to tell the difference, and at other times there is a gulf.....

...and just to add to my own happy confusion, some of my favourite shots are ones I have taken in Colour with a Hasselblad 120/4 Makro Planar on the front of my 5D2 :-)

PKR
08-18-2010, 14:30
Doomed.. am I missing something? I told a quick story about a non 35mm format.. would it help if I said it was shot on a custom Linhof 8x10 with an attached range finder.. so critical..

-doomed-
08-18-2010, 14:32
Doomed.. am I missing something? I told a quick story about a non 35mm format.. would it help if I said it was shot on a custom Linhof 8x10 with an attached range finder.. so critical..
Yes you are missing something ,
Nick also clarified what I had restated in similar terms . Digital black and white and 35mm. Not medium or Large format or rangefinder specific.

@Doomed/PKR - I specifically stated that digital black and white is not nearly as good as medium or large format film. God no. I am referring specifically to small format here.
Nick I hadn't missed your point about it being small format. PKR has clearly missed that point.

PKR
08-18-2010, 14:33
@Doomed/PKR - I specifically stated that digital black and white is not nearly as good as medium or large format film. God no. I am referring specifically to small format here.

Geeze.. It was just a comment.. How about a Sinar with a P25 back.. Phase files will convert to b+w too

p.

-doomed-
08-18-2010, 14:37
Geeze.. It was just a comment.. How about a Sinar with a P25 back.. Phase files will convert to b+w too

p.


The whole thread is another go at small format digital vs small format film.
One of Nick's weird psycho analytical threads.

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 14:37
Incidentally, Doomed... FWIW - the first three posts were taken with a used 6 megapixel digicam that has a tiny 1/1/7" sensor that cost $70, shipped. That doesn't buy a Leica lens cap. Why do I mention this? Because had these photos been taken with a certain camera with a red dot, that placebo effect would kick in (for some, not saying you...) and folks would be raving about the creamy skin tones and "glow".

In fact, I might just sign up to a Leica forum somewhere and post these for fun. Say they were taken with my new MP...

PKR
08-18-2010, 14:39
Yes you are missing something ,
Nick also clarified what I had restated in similar terms . Digital black and white and 35mm. Not medium or Large format or rangefinder specific.


Nick I hadn't missed your point about it being small format. PKR has clearly missed that point.

A phase P25 (or 40) is 6 x4.5.. so compare to 6 x 4.5 film. The newer back is 40 MP.. it still has the same digital artifacts as does Nikon D3x or Canon .. and film still looks like film. What's the problem?

-doomed-
08-18-2010, 14:47
Incidentally, Doomed... FWIW - the first three posts were taken with a used 6 megapixel digicam that has a tiny 1/1/7" sensor that cost $70, shipped. That doesn't buy a Leica lens cap. Why do I mention this? Because had these photos been taken with a certain camera with a red dot, that placebo effect would kick in (for some, not saying you...) and folks would be raving about the creamy skin tones and "glow".

In fact, I might just sign up to a Leica forum somewhere and post these for fun. Say they were taken with my new MP...


If thats what gets you by man ....
I don't own Leica glass , but my CV glass does the same thing as most of the Leica glass for hundreds and even thousands less. I shoot with my M4-P and film because I like rangefinders. I also use digital and dont spend all this time worrying which is better than the other -- I've got better things to do with my than obsess over what looks better or the placebo effect.
I like photography, I don't care what it's produced with. If the content sucks who cares how great or smooth and clear a photo is. A bad sharp photo will always be bad ,where a great somewhat out of focus and grainy photo will always be great.

Why psycho analyze forum readers ?
I'm sure you are probably a well educated and intriguing person outside of this need to figure people out.

A phase P25 (or 40) is 6 x4.5.. so compare to 6 x 4.5 film. The newer back is 40 MP.. it still has the same digital artifacts as does Nikon D3x or Canon .. and film still looks like film. What's the problem?
Were not talking about 645 which seems to be med. format.
The thread is specifically small format.

I agree that film still looks like film, no argument there.

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 14:47
Here ya go... Which one is film? Which one is digital? Or are they both film? or are they both digital? Betchya can't tell. And even if you can, does it matter?

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v2095/249/23/1150326236/n1150326236_30088843_377.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v1941/249/23/1150326236/n1150326236_30058651_9071.jpg

Ranchu
08-18-2010, 14:48
Incidentally, Doomed... FWIW - the first three posts were taken with a used 6 megapixel digicam that has a tiny 1/1/7" sensor that cost $70, shipped. That doesn't buy a Leica lens cap. Why do I mention this? Because had these photos been taken with a certain camera with a red dot, that placebo effect would kick in (for some, not saying you...) and folks would be raving about the creamy skin tones and "glow".

Keep hoping.

Ranchu
08-18-2010, 14:49
Here ya go... Which one is film? Which one is digital? Or are they both film? or are they both digital? Betchya can't tell. And even if you can, does it matter?

Both film.

-doomed-
08-18-2010, 14:52
Nick,

I don't care what you shot them with.

Perhaps you really are a talented MSpainter and they aren't even photos just artfully crafted MS paint files.

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 14:53
- Oops, give away. Maybe the first photo isn't such a good choice. Isn't that a blown highlight in the background there on the right side of the fence near the street? See it? - before and after the tree? - Or is this the film one and I'm playin' witchya? Nah, can't be cuz the highlight is blown? Is it? Or are they both film? Or are they both digital?

dan denmark
08-18-2010, 14:55
digital makes you lazy but it is faster, to be sure. is it a fait accompli or just acceptance of a new standard of mediocrity? painters once (still?) scoffed at photography as an art form; do we go backwards and scoff and declare digital the same or see it as a new (?) turn in media expression and image reproduction, idea transmission and art? digital does make new art and has all but eliminated the editing room floor and cut and paste work ethic. it is just different and hasn't quite got the reso right yet. but it will, no doubt. when someone can develop pixels in random worm shapes then we're done, i reckon.

-dd

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 14:56
Nick,

I don't care what you shot them with.

Perhaps you really are a talented MSpainter and they aren't even photos just artfully crafted MS paint files.

:eek: Wah!!! What a COP OUT!!! What a wuss! LOL. C'mon sir - you of oh so trained eyeballs that you can zero in on a pic and (snap) tell the plastic-y look of those nasty inferior digital black and whites vs. film black and white... Put up or shut up. :P

At least one person had the testical fortitute to guess thus far.

-doomed-
08-18-2010, 14:56
I'm going to say they are MS paint files that you arranged bit by bit to end up with photoesque bitmap files that you then saved as JPG's just to screw with us all.

-doomed-
08-18-2010, 14:58
For the record I never said I could spot the difference that easily.
But I feel my MS paint theory is totally plausible given the circumstances here. There is no cop out here.

PKR
08-18-2010, 15:01
I think this is of value or I wouldn't have taken the time to respond. Many of us are delivering files or prints to people who pay serious money for our work. A while back during a digital shoot, I went to use the head. The AD was in the stall on his cell phone talking to some one about a French Fashion Photographer who was shooting 8 x 10 film. This kid had never seen 8 x10 film. He thought it was amazing and worth the $6K/day for this guy. I would ask anyone here to compare a Creo scan of a properly exposed 8 x 10 chrome to any "camera generated" digital capture.. If you haven't seen this kind of thing you are in for a big smile.

My main point here was that this 8x10 was new (to this kid) and "and a new vehicle" for this young AD who had only worked in digital. It wasn't a retro thing, it was a "new look" for him. And a trip to France to boot. Much of this imagery is "fashionable". Why can't things just be different? If they were the same, your vision would be limited to just one look.. like one kind of film. Isn't it better to have access to another media type, if you want one? I like Chinese food, but I like French cooking too.. maybe it's a gear-head thing I don't understand..

-doomed-
08-18-2010, 15:04
My main point here was that this 8x10 was new (to this kid) and "and a new vehicle" for this young AD who had only worked in digital. It wasn't a retro thing, it was a "new look" for him. And a trip to France to boot. Much of this imagery is "fashionable". Why can't things just be different? If they were the same, your vision would be limited to just one look.. like one kind of film. Isn't it better to have access to another media type, if you want one? I like Chinese food, but I like French cooking too.. maybe it's a gear-head thing I don't understand..
I like film, 8x10 negs are amazing to see in person.

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 15:05
Both film.

Thanks for taking the time to guess, albeit incorrectly. First one is film... Taken with a FSU body and a Leica Summar lens (both since sold) using Ekfa 25 developed in Rodinal. The second was taken with a 2 megapixel Panasonic Lumix FZ1 point and shoot and (I think) its in-camera black and white mode.

Geez... how come nobody ventured to guess???? Hmmmmmmmmmmm.

Ranchu
08-18-2010, 15:05
At least one person had the testical fortitute to guess thus far.

Wasn't a guess. That's my point.

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 15:06
For the record I never said I could spot the difference that easily.

LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wha?!?! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Sorry, no offense...

-doomed-
08-18-2010, 15:06
Because it doesn't actually matter.

Ranchu
08-18-2010, 15:07
The second was taken with a 2 megapixel Panasonic Lumix FZ1 point and shoot and (I think) its in-camera black and white mode.


I don't believe you.

-doomed-
08-18-2010, 15:08
LOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wha?!?! HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA! Sorry, no offense...
Point out where I said I could.
I never tried to, because on this tiny screen my netbook has everything begins to look about the same.

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 15:12
Now - the first was shot with a coveted Leica Summar lens, in good light, with super high accutence developer with super slow "razor sharp" film at an optimal aperture - blah, blah, blah... (And, yes, I'm 1/2-way decent at developing and printing...) The second was shot with a lowly outdated 2 megapixel point-n-shoot in its inferior black and white mode. - though it also has a "Leica" lens cranked out by a Panasonic factory in Japan somewhere. Now, tell me about plastic-y skin tones and noise, and "mid-tones" and toe....

You guys can't even tell the difference... LOL! Frauds. (said with a smile...)

Exposed ;)

-doomed-
08-18-2010, 15:17
Now - the first was shot with a coveted Leica Summar lens, in good light, with super high accutence developer with super slow "razor sharp" film at an optimal aperture - blah, blah, blah... (And, yes, I'm 1/2-way decent at developing and printing...) The second was shot with a lowly outdated 2 megapixel point-n-shoot in its inferior black and white mode. - though it also has a "Leica" lens cranked out by a Panasonic factory in Japan somewhere. Now, tell me about plastic-y skin tones and noise, and "mid-tones" and toe....

You guys can't even tell the difference... LOL! Frauds. (said with a smile...)

Exposed ;)


Possibly,
But 72 dpi on a small screen all end up looking about the same.
On a technicality these are all digital since the negs are scanned and then displayed on a screen.

Nick,
Since I'm not particularly into taking the internet serious , thanks for giving me a few minutes of useless escapism.

These still look like artfully crafted MS paint Bitmaps

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 15:18
Nonsense, they look digital. Hard shadows, hard highlights, and flat midtones. Do you forget that you're talking to people who have worked hard on their photography, and made this determination to their satisfaction?

LOL!!!!!!!!! Mr. "Both Film" You wouldn't know which one is film or which one is digital unless I told you in advance. You can't even tell the distinctive look of a most distinctive Leica lens shot on slow 25 ISO film developed in Rodinal - about a "filmy" as it gets from a two megapixel digicam from 2004 and its in-camera black and white mode. - which is exactly why I chose both these photos...

Here's a rag to wipe the egg off your face. But I appreciate that you had the balls to venture a guess...

-doomed-
08-18-2010, 15:20
LOL!!!!!!!!! Mr. "Both Film" You wouldn't know which one is film or which one is digital unless I told you in advance. You can't even tell the distinctive look of a most distinctive Leica lens shot on slow film developed in Rodinal - about a "filmy" as it gets from a two megapixel digicam.

Here's a rag to wipe the egg off your face. But I appreciate that you had the balls to venture a guess...

Does it really require balls to guess, its not as though we are playing Russian roulette here.

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 15:23
I don't believe you.

Yep - a Panasonic Lumix FZ1 point and shoot from 2004 - 2 megapixels. I'm pretty sure this was in-camera black and white, as I don't think I had a proper photo editor at the time but it might have been PS'd. Doesn't matter.

Ranchu
08-18-2010, 15:23
LOL!!!!!!!!! Mr. "Both Film" You wouldn't know which one is film or which one is digital unless I told you in advance. You can't even tell the distinctive look of a most distinctive Leica lens shot on slow film developed in Rodinal - about a "filmy" as it gets from a two megapixel digicam.

Here's a rag to wipe the egg off your face. But I appreciate that you had the balls to venture a guess...

Thanks for the rag if I'm wrong, but I still don't believe you, and I'll stand by my assessment of the original pics. Thing is, Nick, you can do this "My digi is as good as film!" routine all you like, but it's just not.

Keep hopin, though.

:cool:

PKR
08-18-2010, 15:26
Here ya go... Which one is film? Which one is digital? Or are they both film? or are they both digital? Betchya can't tell. And even if you can, does it matter?

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v2095/249/23/1150326236/n1150326236_30088843_377.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v1941/249/23/1150326236/n1150326236_30058651_9071.jpg

It's hard to tell on this laptop monitor..but..the kid on the porch digital, water fountain film..Just a guess. I was impressed with the quality of the b+w of the fountain on this old toshiba LT monitor.. nice work whatever the media!

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 15:30
Thanks, PKR. But (see previous posts) the first was shot with a Leica Summar using Ekfa 25 developed in Rodinal. So the kid on the porch is film. The second - the kid at the water fountain is digital - shot with a 2004, 2 megapixel Panasonic Lumix FZ1 point and shoot using its (I'm almost certain) in-camera black and white mode.

sirius
08-18-2010, 15:36
I suggest a duel...they meet at dawn...thirty paces...film vs. digital...spin and shoot...

Keith
08-18-2010, 15:37
Whether they are or are not digital, they look like digital. They have blown highlights and are super contrasty. Sorry.
Edit: they also show the clay-like skin look that digital usually produces.


Well ... that's a step up from the 'plastic looking' label that seems to haunt digital! :p

Incidentally I can take a raw file from my D700 and produce a black and white conversion that pleases me perfectly and the only thing missing will be film grain. That's no biggy for me because I actually prefer medium format for this specific reason ... the image is not (generally) being dominated by the grain.

Some people seem to treat grain as some sort of photographic badge of honour and produce high key images with grain in totally innapropriate amounts IMO.

PKR
08-18-2010, 15:39
Thanks, PKR. But (see previous posts) the first was shot with a Leica Summar using Ekfa 25 developed in Rodinal. So the kid on the porch is film. The second - the kid at the water fountain is digital - shot with a 2004, 2 megapixel Panasonic Lumix FZ1 point and shoot using its (I'm almost certain) in-camera black and white mode.

Really nice work on the digital image. I don't know if you do this for a living but you have a talent with PS .. better than my work. i send stuff to a PS pro for anything "serious". Really very good!!

p.

Ranchu
08-18-2010, 15:50
Really nice work on the digital image. I don't know if you do this for a living but you have a talent with PS .. better than my work. i send stuff to a PS pro for anything "serious". Really very good!!

p.

I like your style, PKR.

:D

Steve M.
08-18-2010, 15:57
I've never seen one of these threads that didn't sound a bit like it was coming from the pulpit, but web images on a monitor? How does that relate to the print? I have had no luck printing digital images that were converted to B&W, and even the film images I've scanned and ink jet printed are a far second to a proper enlarger print. I don't like digital B&W. Compared to film it looks pretty bad (printed). Especially when you get to medium format.

johannielscom
08-18-2010, 16:00
Here ya go... Which one is film? Which one is digital? Or are they both film? or are they both digital? Betchya can't tell. And even if you can, does it matter?

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v2095/249/23/1150326236/n1150326236_30088843_377.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v1941/249/23/1150326236/n1150326236_30058651_9071.jpg

Sorry, won't play.

I'm not that interested in shooting stuff like this myself.

When it comes to the stuff Ezzie posted (which I like a lot!), I'd take the TMX over the Epson RF.

And: I just like shooting old-school gear with nice film, developer&fixer and the whole shabang. No plastic digital cam is gonna beat that. Ever.

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3358/3204961832_f30a029b57_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/buzzardkid/3204961832/)
A boy and his dog (http://www.flickr.com/photos/buzzardkid/3204961832/) by buzzardkid (http://www.flickr.com/people/buzzardkid/), on Flickr

Leica M3, Summar 50/2.0 @ 4.0, Tmax400. And it's so much nicer in print.

CK Dexter Haven
08-18-2010, 16:24
Can we try this again? But, with downloadable 300dpi files. Something at the size/resolution that one might print. A 3" wide web image is a good way to disguise a lot of things.

PKR
08-18-2010, 16:26
I like your style, PKR.

:D

Well as Elvis says, Thank you.. thankyouverymuch..
p

wgerrard
08-18-2010, 16:30
...web images on a monitor? How does that relate to the print?

I've said as much elsewhere, but no one I know cares about prints. They deal with information, with art, on the web. (Get used to it.) They'd rather look at 1000 ordinary images on Flickr than one outstanding print.

I'm not asserting that prints are not, at this time, the best way to bring out the most in an image. But, I am saying that fewer and fewer people care about that. It isn't a matter of which approach produces the measurably better image. It's a matter of how people want to deal with images.

BTW, the whole thing about people posting images and arguing that film and prints are better -- and doing it on a freakin' web site -- is more than a bit ironic.

More BTW: I can't tell the difference between any of the pix that Nick posted. They all work for me.

PKR
08-18-2010, 16:30
I've never seen one of these threads that didn't sound a bit like it was coming from the pulpit, but web images on a monitor? How does that relate to the print? I have had no luck printing digital images that were converted to B&W, and even the film images I've scanned and ink jet printed are a far second to a proper enlarger print. I don't like digital B&W. Compared to film it looks pretty bad (printed). Especially when you get to medium format.


It's been my experience, that it's just as hard to adjust a file for a good print as it is to (and even harder, cuz you don't know the monitor if it not in front of you) adjust for public (web) viewing. They are completely different and to do it correctly you need to know your craft and it helps if you have a bit of talent and taste.

John Robertson
08-18-2010, 16:32
perhaps on a monitor but not as a print properly mounted and framed!!

btgc
08-18-2010, 16:33
Had some funny minutes going through this thread...it's valid if we consider technical picture as measure of process. I also would struggle to guess what is what. Doesn't matters. Problem are those old cameras with old lenses, providing instant release and few, easy to set controls. They make me using film. For me most of digital cameras just don't have right appeal and right ergonomics. Also, wirling 5sec. per minute is another way to have my own time, it's not worse than watching 3D movie about flying worms or refreshing windguru.com to know that proper weather is coming.

ederek
08-18-2010, 16:37
Thanks for this thread, it is helpful. Plenty of entertainment as well ;)

For the record, I shoot both digital and film (though more digital than film), rangefinder and slr. I like to shoot film, but can't really "afford to" (:eek:) all the time. Last night I picked up my first roll of medium format - 12 frames with a Hassy 500cm & 80mm zeiss.

I'm not particularly interested in "the debate", but in understanding the aesthetics elements of images, for both types.

filmfan - Comments like "grossly digital" are useless in understanding 'why' an image is deemed better or more aesthetically pleasing, or in 'what way'. Your followup with "blown highlights", "super contrasty" and "clay-like skin" are a bit more helpful. I understand you may not care about being helpful, just sharing from my perspective as a fellow community member.

mfogiel - thanks for the 'reference image'. Still learning what to refer to, but it's interesting that there was clear consensus to your statement and it wasn't disputed, noted. Enjoy your posts and would appreciate more input on how to critically view an image.

I read most of these film / digital threads to better understand the aesthetic elements we aspire to in our images (composition and subject completely aside), such as:
* Dynamic Range
- keeping highlights
- providing shadow detail
- tonality
- flat mid-tones

* Resolution (not rated as so important)
- film: format and emulsion properties (lens to some extent)
- digital: megapixels
- sharpness

* Contrast
- curves

* Processing
- film processing chemicals & technique
- photoshop & other tools & technique

* Digitization
- scanned film, and at what bit-level
- digital capture: raw vs. in-camera BW

* Display method
- 8-bit web image
- wet print
- digital print (various)

* Authenticity
- film = real
- digital = fake

* Artifacts
- film grain
- digital noise

I understand there are other major factors such as up-front and ongoing costs with both film and digital, differing levels of convenience, the form factor and size of our tools, the view through the finder, focusing ability, etc. etc. etc.

RFF is an important schoolground for me, so thanks everyone. :)

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 17:13
Really nice work on the digital image. I don't know if you do this for a living but you have a talent with PS .. better than my work. i send stuff to a PS pro for anything "serious". Really very good!!
p.

Thanks, again. I taught Photoshop (years ago) in addition to After Effects, Adobe Premier, Quark, In Design, Dreamweaver, Adobe Director, and Flash. I'm not all that talented a PS'er imo. I have my preferred method/workflow which I call the "NickTrop Method"(tm) - it works for me and it's fast. Actually - I don't remember if the 2nd photo was PS'ed or done in-camera. It's an old photo - 2005'er so?

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 17:34
Well ... that's a step up from the 'plastic looking' label that seems to haunt digital! :p

Incidentally I can take a raw file from my D700 and produce a black and white conversion that pleases me perfectly and the only thing missing will be film grain. That's no biggy for me because I actually prefer medium format for this specific reason ... the image is not (generally) being dominated by the grain.

Some people seem to treat grain as some sort of photographic badge of honour and produce high key images with grain in totally innapropriate amounts IMO.

Agree in full. Spot on. My point exactly... Small format 35mm? Meh - digital is as good or nearly as good, looks about the same, and it's easier and it's more flexible. Medium format and large format black and whites? That's another matter entirely. And I completely agree with you about grain too - another reason to shoot larger formats. I started developing and printing 6X6 negs first, then moved to 35mm. I was shocked, initially, at the level of grain 35mm had - even lower speed films, compared to the big negs. I don't "miss the grain" with digital black and white. It's noise and I have no emotional attachment to it nor do I think it "adds". About all you can say is it's not as "noisy" as digital noise. However, digital noise you can manage to a greater extent than grain. The only thing grain adds to a photo is a sense of nostalgia...

NickTrop
08-18-2010, 17:43
OK, so this is a 35mm Tri X in D76

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3059/2778324654_f34e6f20f0_b.jpg

Oh - and by the way, great shot. Forgot to mention...

mfunnell
08-18-2010, 18:03
As always, Nick's latest enthusiasm is entertaining if nothing else. I don't really have an investment in any part of his or others' arguments:

I shoot both film and digital.

When I'm at home and in a position to develop my own (an all too rare occurrence of late) I develop my B&W negatives, scan them, then produce inkjet pints. I'm not set up to wet print and am unlikely to do that.

I have found that for me my results are better printing from scans of B&W film (or even colour film with B&W conversion after the scan) than converting from digital originals. This is almost certainly due to limitations of my own technique in Photoshop. I did a fair bit of work trying to improve my PS results - with some success but not enough that I persisted. Why work that hard when I could get superior results (almost) straight off the scanner?

My results are generally the opposite with colour - too much work to get colour scans "right" compared with working from digital originals.

Because of this I usually (but don't always) use digital for colour and almost exclusevly use film for black and white? Why? Laziness, convenience and (most likely) limitations of my own technique(s) in Photoshop. Perhaps I'll work on the latter if I find the time and the inclination. Until then I quite like using my film cameras anyway and they give me results I prefer with B&W film, digitally printed. That's enough excuse for me.

...Mike

Pico
08-18-2010, 18:09
Who can tell? Your images are put to a digital medium - our monitors.

But to answer - I have not seen digital prints that have the same character as silver prints.

Suck it up. Learn up.

Keith
08-18-2010, 18:20
When the dynamic range of sensors improves, and it surely will, the argument's over in many ways!

Then what will we fight about? :D

aad
08-18-2010, 18:27
I was going to "pull a Nick" and put up some pix-but I think I'll just say that grayscale converted Reala or Provia looks just about like those digital shots, even off a drugstore scan that was made while I had a cup o' coffee.

If you don't like grain/texture, then best not shoot 35mm traditional B&W.

-doomed-
08-18-2010, 18:51
When the dynamic range of sensors improves, and it surely will, the argument's over in many ways!

Then what will we fight about? :D
Nicks sweet MSpaint skills.

filmfan
08-18-2010, 19:18
Your slightly hostile reaction is evidence that your perception of these samples is psychological and a placebo-ish effect on your part. Your devotion has affected your perception. It's okay... not judging. We all do this (though I've done this mostly with women I've dated, who looked better "at the time" and then thought "what was I thinking..." later on... as opposed to imaging technology choices...) If these prints came off your enlarger, you'd be happy with them. (I would be...) You would have gone through many dollars worth of expensive wasted paper to get there. You are looking for blown highlights and you are looking for "plastic-y skin tones" - and finding them, which is usually a function of over-aggressive noise reduction which wasn't used on these photos. If these photos were shot on film you wouldn't be looking for blown highlights and the skin tones would be smooth. You also would probably embarrass yourself if I spread out a bunch of prints - some digital, some traditional, and asked you to sort them out.

Again - not judging. We all do this when we're committed to an idea, technology, methodology that has been or is in the process of being supplanted by something new. What if I thought a lot of film prints look "muddy" and dull and grainy? I would find muddiness and dullnes and grain in all film prints. That's what I would be setting out to find in every photo that I thought was shot on film if I was trying to "make a case". I would be incapable of objectivity and instead be defending my choice of methodology or ideology - or both.

It's too bad that you are simply incorrect. They photos do look digital. Plain and simple-- whether due to their original medium of capture or due to post-processing.
I have a lot of experience testing placebos in my psych lab, so what you hoped to prove to me was actually very old stuff that I learned back in freshman year of college. Sorry (again). Maybe go back to school? Your argument actually reminds me of a lot of young philosophy students who do their first night's reading assignment and believe they can convince anyone of anything, even when the evidence is right in front of them illustrating the opposite. I am not judging either, we all make mistakes.

Edit: I believe you are taking my user-name into account more than you should. Although I am a fan of film, I also shoot digital.

-doomed-
08-18-2010, 19:26
There are too many variables to make this test entirely valid.

Chris101
08-18-2010, 20:27
Fake digital B&W looks like BW400CN to me.

PKR
08-18-2010, 20:38
When the dynamic range of sensors improves, and it surely will, the argument's over in many ways!

Then what will we fight about? :D


Remember, a sensor is a linear device. Film is a logarithmic device. There is a huge difference in native bandwidth between the two. Fuji used a split sensor to try to cover part of the range (I have an S5). It works, but there is a long way to go. Foveon has the best chance in my opinion. Do the math.. it's a very tough problem. When you devote real estate to bandwidth, you give up resolution. And if you think about it. A 12MP sensor (RGGB) is really a 4 MP sensor. Fun stuff.

Keith
08-18-2010, 20:45
Math was never my strong point ... I'll have to take your word! :p

PKR
08-18-2010, 20:51
Math was never my strong point ... I'll have to take your word! :p

Bed time reading

http://www.foveon.com/article.php?a=74

If you want more search for Bryce Bayer + filter follow all the links.

PKR
08-18-2010, 21:30
Are the links to images from your show?

Keith
08-18-2010, 21:34
I think the word 'fake' in this thread title is a little provocative ... it attracts the bashers like flies to honey! :p

PKR
08-18-2010, 21:53
I think the word 'fake' in this thread title is a little provocative ... it attracts the bashers like flies to honey! :p

Look at all the hits this thread got today.. Ol' Nick has a mind like a steel trap..

gliderbee
08-18-2010, 22:45
Thanks, PKR. But (see previous posts) the first was shot with a Leica Summar using Ekfa 25 developed in Rodinal. So the kid on the porch is film. The second - the kid at the water fountain is digital - shot with a 2004, 2 megapixel Panasonic Lumix FZ1 point and shoot using its (I'm almost certain) in-camera black and white mode.

I would have guessed both film, not because of a quality difference I can see (see my previous post here), but because of the shallow DOF. How did you obtain that with a small P&S ?

Stefan.

mfogiel
08-18-2010, 23:12
Coming back on topic. I have decided to shoot film only, after I have decided I wanted to shoot only B&W. The main reason is the tonality, especially of the highlights. If you are not of the same opinion, there is nothing wrong with this, in fact there are many "looks" that people might want to obtain even in B&W. Digital, on the high end, gives better resolution, especially at higher ISO values, and if my main style would be to shoot Tri X pushed to EI 3200 , I would probably shoot digital too:

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/218/485272580_63cdc045df_b.jpg

This was shot with a Nikon d40 at ISO 1600, and I do not think it would be any better looking if shot on film.
On the other hand, lower ontrast subjects in need of good highlight separation benefit from use of film:
http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2604/3706560446_2abbfda3eb_b.jpg

and the same is true when a very wide dynamic range is being called for:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3489/3696320529_986265e4ea_b.jpg

Moreover, some subjects simply can benefit from the presence of grain to appear more natural:

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4117/4860059105_e917b4733c_b.jpg

Finally, film can deliver more specific and different results than digital, simply because there are still many varieties of it, not to mention different developers. With digital the options are more limited.

aizan
08-18-2010, 23:17
Here ya go... Which one is film? Which one is digital? Or are they both film? or are they both digital? Betchya can't tell. And even if you can, does it matter?

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v2095/249/23/1150326236/n1150326236_30088843_377.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v1941/249/23/1150326236/n1150326236_30058651_9071.jpg

first one is film, second one is digital.

did i win? what's the prize?

Chriscrawfordphoto
08-18-2010, 23:20
Fake digital B&W looks like BW400CN to me.

BW400CN gives excellent results once you understand its characteristics.

http://www.chriscrawfordphoto.com/fine_art/portfolio/abandoned/images/pics/neighbors-pier.jpg
120 size BW400CN (Mamiya 645 with 45mm lens)

http://www.chriscrawfordphoto.com/fine_art/portfolio/santafe-snapshots/images/pics/plaza-7-14-06-num3.jpg
35mm BW400CN (Olympus OM-4T and 35mm f2 Zuiko)

Digital BW can be excellent too.

http://www.chriscrawfordphoto.com/fine_art/portfolio/abandoned/images/pics/tax-sign.jpg
Kodak DCS 14n and 50mm f1.4 AF-Nikkor

http://www.chriscrawfordphoto.com/fine_art/portfolio/abandoned/images/pics/monroeville-flag1-bw.jpg
Kodak DCS 14n and 50mm f1.4 AF-Nikkor

http://www.chriscrawfordphoto.com/fine_art/portfolio/new-mexico/images/pics/cerrillos-hotel.jpg
Kodak DCS 14n. I forget the lens, but probably the 50mm f1.4 AF-Nikkor

Chriscrawfordphoto
08-18-2010, 23:23
http://www.chriscrawfordphoto.com/fine_art/portfolio/new-mexico/images/pics/what-not-shop2.jpg

Another 'fake' black & white from the Kodak 14n. 24mm f2.8 AF-Nikkor lens

ampguy
08-18-2010, 23:24
Is this film or digital?

http://matsumura.smugmug.com/photos/396784505_QgjBp-L.jpg

back alley
08-18-2010, 23:29
yes!




.

Chriscrawfordphoto
08-18-2010, 23:31
Ted, I can't honestly tell. Most people would say it looks like film, because ofthe tonality, but a person who knew what they were doing could take a digital color image and make that quality of BW from it. I've also seen plenty of scanned film that looks crappy, with flat lifeless tonality (which most people claim is the hallmark of digital BW) because the photographer didn't know how to work with scans. My point in saying that and in showing the photos I showed in my posts above, is that in the hands of a capable worker either film or digital came give equally impressive results. I'm guessing your motive was the same in posting the photo and will guess its digital, so you can gloat that it isn't film once the fanatics declare that digital sucks and can't possibly have given that image. Am I right? :D

ampguy
08-18-2010, 23:39
It's Reala 100 C41 taken in a Hexar AF, developed in the bathroom with D76, then scanned on a $39 scanner to greyscale.

I understand what you're saying, but showing a digital b/w that looks like film is too easy. I don't even use photoshop, but I have picasa, which has a film grain button that you can press multiple times, and get a tri-x grainy photo from almost anything.

I'm sure the tri-x/film folks will find the last part hard to believe, so I would urge them to try Picasa and the film grain effect for themselves.

I'm don't think either medium is "better" but there are times when you find yourself in the dark without 1600/3200 film, but with digital, you can still get great (b/w) images with say an RD1 or M8, or even the F30 p&s, in my experience.

Ted, I can't honestly tell. Most people would say it looks like film, because ofthe tonality, but a person who knew what they were doing could take a digital color image and make that quality of BW from it. I've also seen plenty of scanned film that looks crappy, with flat lifeless tonality (which most people claim is the hallmark of digital BW) because the photographer didn't know how to work with scans. My point in saying that and in showing the photos I showed in my posts above, is that in the hands of a capable worker either film or digital came give equally impressive results. I'm guessing your motive was the same in posting the photo and will guess its digital, so you can gloat that it isn't film once the fanatics declare that digital sucks and can't possibly have given that image. Am I right? :D

Chriscrawfordphoto
08-18-2010, 23:45
It's Reala 100 C41 taken in a Hexar AF, developed in the bathroom with D76, then scanned on a $39 scanner to greyscale.

I understand what you're saying, but showing a digital b/w that looks like film is too easy. I don't even use photoshop, but I have picasa, which has a film grain button that you can press multiple times, and get a tri-x grainy photo from almost anything.

I'm sure the tri-x/film folks will find the last part hard to believe, so I would urge them to try Picasa and the film grain effect for themselves.

I'm don't think either medium is "better" but there are times when you find yourself in the dark without 1600/3200 film, but with digital, you can still get great (b/w) images with say an RD1 or M8, or even the F30 p&s, in my experience.

Ohh, ok. I have found that scanned color film has a lot of the same look when converted to BW that digital camera pics do, except, of course, the grain. I think a lot of what people don't like is not the look of digital, its the look of color converted poorly to BW by people who don't do it with enough contrast. Your shot looks great.

Here's one of my color neg to BW conversions.

http://www.chriscrawfordphoto.com/fine_art/portfolio/new-mexico/images/pics/ortiz-mountains3.jpg
Mamiya 645, 150mm f3.5 lens, Fuji 160NC film expired about a year!

Michael Markey
08-18-2010, 23:56
I think Chris C has summed it up...depends often as not on the skill of the photographer.
I use film but preferred the second in the original post.
I still tend to dislike a lot of digital colour which is too vivid for my taste.
Not always though.
Perhaps our eyes are adjusting over time or perhaps it has something to do with this...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cognitive_dissonance :)

lacavol
08-19-2010, 00:30
I will go for the picture, composition everytime and not care. But there is no black on an LCD screen, just like there is no wihite on a CRT. LCD's are getting better but my Kindle does better with B&W.

craygc
08-19-2010, 02:23
Is this film or digital?

http://matsumura.smugmug.com/photos/396784505_QgjBp-L.jpg


I think its a dead one of these... :rolleyes:

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3574/3290181268_e251eca6db.jpg

Pherdinand
08-19-2010, 02:44
"fake", "better", "traditional"
3 very weird, ambiguous terms in one title.
good luck with it :P

bigeye
08-19-2010, 03:26
- Oops, give away. Maybe the first photo isn't such a good choice. Isn't that a blown highlight in the background there on the right side of the fence near the street? See it? - before and after the tree? - Or is this the film one and I'm playin' witchya? Nah, can't be cuz the highlight is blown? Is it? Or are they both film? Or are they both digital?

A good digital exposure can look better than an bad, scanned film exposure?

Not very convincing.

dcsang
08-19-2010, 03:49
Has Fake Digital Black and White Gotten Better Than Tradional?

No, not yet.


Dave

David R Munson
08-19-2010, 03:53
I'll jump in with a small mix of shots - both digital and film-based b&w. Personally I like both and can't wait to have a new digital body on hand so I have that tool back in my arsenal. Oh, and I'm not telling which shots are which, though you can follow the links to flickr...

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4069/4524802020_4f719b3869_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/4524802020/)
Untitled (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/4524802020/) by David R Munson (http://www.flickr.com/people/davidrmunson/), on Flickr

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/34/71653575_bdbc90c11c_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/71653575/)
Val/Crowd (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/71653575/) by David R Munson (http://www.flickr.com/people/davidrmunson/), on Flickr


http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4010/4550447363_25851ec286_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/4550447363/)
Untitled (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/4550447363/) by David R Munson (http://www.flickr.com/people/davidrmunson/), on Flickr

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3035/2711224198_7510fa8e52_z.jpg?zz=1 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/2711224198/)
Untitled (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/2711224198/) by David R Munson (http://www.flickr.com/people/davidrmunson/), on Flickr

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3498/3190240154_085e2766b4_z.jpg?zz=1 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/3190240154/)
Untitled (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/3190240154/) by David R Munson (http://www.flickr.com/people/davidrmunson/), on Flickr

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3452/3748742247_35bcd4818a_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/3748742247/)
Untitled (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/3748742247/) by David R Munson (http://www.flickr.com/people/davidrmunson/), on Flickr

skibeerr
08-19-2010, 03:59
The difference can be seen better on print rather than on screen.

David R Munson
08-19-2010, 04:01
Do you mean difference as in quality or difference as in "hey that looks like a digital capture?" Either way, kind of depends on the prints in question. Really good digital prints can be just as gorgeous as really good silver prints, IMO.

gavinlg
08-19-2010, 04:13
Digital can make fantastic B&W photos.

Here's a member of our forum's blog:
http://nielschristopher.blogspot.com/

As far as I know all the pictures on it are taken with a nikon d700.

Stuart John
08-19-2010, 04:25
Here is a B&W image that I like alot. But what is it film or digital.

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/rffgallery/gallery/3357/U3357I1271277440.SEQ.0.jpg

And another what about this one.

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/rffgallery/gallery/3357/U3357I1271664162.SEQ.0.jpg

rdeleskie
08-19-2010, 05:45
If you are shooting with a digital camera, purposely seeking out and composing images that will work in black and white, and are aware of the qualities of your sensor and working with them, then I see no reason why you cannot produce beautiful b&w pictures. Same goes with shooting colour film, intending to convert it to grayscale afterwards.

The only "fake" black and white pictures to me are banal shots made in colour, which are then converted to grayscale with the intent of artificially adding drama or interest.

I primarily shoot black and white film, and colour digital (although I do shoot some Portra, Velvia, etc.). I find that colour generally takes some mucking around with to get a pleasing image, regardless of how it was originally captured, and I find that digital gives me plenty of flexibility.

When I shoot black and white, my goal is to do as little digital post-production as possible. A very slight boost or reduction in contrast, perhaps some work on the highlights or shadows to compensate for a hasty or less-than-optimal exposure on my part. But really, I'd rather leave it alone.

However, the main reason I shoot black and white film is for the lens. I find the characteristics of the Summicron DR 50, the 90/4 Elmar and my 1934 Summar are most readily apparent in b&w. The only option for truly replicating these qualities in digital appears to be the M9 right now.

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/rffgallery/gallery/31545/U31545I1282222145.SEQ.0.jpg

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/rffgallery/gallery/31545/U31545I1282222143.SEQ.0.jpg

http://www.rangefinderforum.com/rffgallery/gallery/31545/U31545I1276140264.SEQ.0.jpg

Brian Sweeney
08-19-2010, 05:49
Just felt like putting in an image from a monochrome Digital camera.

http://www.ziforums.com/picture.php?albumid=206&pictureid=2024

I can do color with it. But I need to put a filter wheel in front of the lens and take 3 separate images, and combine in Photoshop. Not worth the effort.

mathomas
08-19-2010, 06:00
Here ya go... Which one is film? Which one is digital? Or are they both film? or are they both digital? Betchya can't tell. And even if you can, does it matter?

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v2095/249/23/1150326236/n1150326236_30088843_377.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v1941/249/23/1150326236/n1150326236_30058651_9071.jpg

Interesting discussion here.

I know you've "exposed" which is which. I did pick the first as film (a "gestalt" reaction -- it just "looks like" my film results). The second I suspected was digital. So, I had it right in this case, but it could be pure statistics.

One thing I noted with interest, is you say you used Efke 25 in the porch photo. Interesting to me, because I've been shooting a lot of Efke 100. I wonder if my eyes have adjusted to that "look" (if there's a family resemblance).

Not claiming any special skills -- I'd expect to get it wrong 40-50% of the time. I shoot both digital and film happily. Photos on my zenfolio site are both digital and film scans.

Todd.Hanz
08-19-2010, 06:18
Here ya go... Which one is film? Which one is digital? Or are they both film? or are they both digital? Betchya can't tell. And even if you can, does it matter?

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v2095/249/23/1150326236/n1150326236_30088843_377.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v1941/249/23/1150326236/n1150326236_30058651_9071.jpg

Seriously!!!

I just read through this whole thread, every single post and not one person mentions the drying water marks on the top image( lower left corner, across the boys shirt). A dead give away it's film... or is it the "water mark" filter in photoshop, hmmmmmm.

Todd

Todd.Hanz
08-19-2010, 06:24
BTW, I've had success producing good digital black and white prints (as far as I'm concerned), the trick is pleasing your own pallette, screw what everyone else likes ;)

http://sanctamonius.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/mo-ii.jpg

http://sanctamonius.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/haley.jpg

http://sanctamonius.files.wordpress.com/2010/07/tessa1.jpg

Todd

NickTrop
08-19-2010, 06:49
Seriously!!!

I just read through this whole thread, every single post and not one person mentions the drying water marks on the top image( lower left corner, across the boys shirt). A dead give away it's film... or is it the "water mark" filter in photoshop, hmmmmmm.

Todd

LOL - wasn't someone (forget who) tauting their "keen trained eye"? Hell - I developed/printed/scanned this frame and didn't notice! But you bring up a good point....

- between issues with scratched negs, fogged film, issues loading the film, drying marks, dust on the neg, over/underdevelopment, bromide streaks, and getting the right exposure printing - paper after paper after paper????

Let's just say wet printing is verrrrry unforgiving with lots of opportuniy for error. - especially for amatuers like me.

Now, I know there will be those who jump in and say "...this stuff never happens to me. Blah, blah, blah." - to which I will reply "Yeah, roight Neg gets screwed up for some reason - mysterious (as is the case sometimes) or otherwise... that's it, you're screwed.

To the contrary - digital is way more flexible compared to wet process and far, far, far less prone to problems getting a decent print that frankly plague the wet process. Results are far more predictable (wet process is pretty unpredictable) with precise control. Doesn't spoilage rates factor into the quality equation/debate? Doesn't this have a direct impact on the end product? Of course it does!

jsrockit
08-19-2010, 07:00
A good image, is a good image... technical stuff? No one but us gearheads care.

Range Loser
08-19-2010, 07:03
Years ago when I used to use film/darkroom, I resorted to getting film shop processed just to get cleaner negs, then I covered them with crap while printing them!
I agree that digital is so much more convenient than film ever was, and to my eye, just as pleasing.
Also, why has no-one commented that the RD1 vs Film post is comparing a tiny sensor with 5"x4"? Seems a bit of a mis-match doesn't it?

FrankS
08-19-2010, 07:07
Well, 6 pages of responses. I should have saved you all the bother by responding sooner.

"Has Fake Digital Black and White Gotten Better Than Tradional?"

No, they are just different.

Can we just use that as the standard answer to the tiresome film vs digital debate from now on, please?

ampguy
08-19-2010, 07:15
looks like you used a filter for the sky?

Sometimes I like digital b/w, here's a M8 b/w capture @ ISO 160:

http://matsumura.smugmug.com/photos/975161628_5C3DF-L.jpg

and here's the same image with film grain added:

http://matsumura.smugmug.com/photos/975161520_GWDiG-L.jpg

Ohh, ok. I have found that scanned color film has a lot of the same look when converted to BW that digital camera pics do, except, of course, the grain. I think a lot of what people don't like is not the look of digital, its the look of color converted poorly to BW by people who don't do it with enough contrast. Your shot looks great.

Here's one of my color neg to BW conversions.

http://www.chriscrawfordphoto.com/fine_art/portfolio/new-mexico/images/pics/ortiz-mountains3.jpg
Mamiya 645, 150mm f3.5 lens, Fuji 160NC film expired about a year!

skibeerr
08-19-2010, 07:20
Do you mean difference as in quality or difference as in "hey that looks like a digital capture?" Either way, kind of depends on the prints in question. Really good digital prints can be just as gorgeous as really good silver prints, IMO.


As Frank said they are different :D

I just don't like ink jet prints be it from digital or scanned film, lambda is a different thing.

Chriscrawfordphoto
08-19-2010, 07:47
looks like you used a filter for the sky?

Sometimes I like digital b/w, here's a M8 b/w capture @ ISO 160:

http://matsumura.smugmug.com/photos/975161628_5C3DF-L.jpg

and here's the same image with film grain added:

http://matsumura.smugmug.com/photos/975161520_GWDiG-L.jpg

That's a beautiful landscape. The one with grain added does look like 35mm film, but I think I like the no-grain one better, it looks like medium format to me. I didn't use a filter on the lens, but when I converted the photo to BW, I adjusted the color channels to simulate use of a red filter on BW film and I also burned in the sky in Photoshop.

Ezzie
08-19-2010, 07:54
..... I didn't use a filter on the lens, but when I converted the photo to BW, I adjusted the color channels to simulate use of a red filter on BW film and I also burned in the sky in Photoshop.

Rather like I did with this one, red/orange filter simulation. R-D1 w/28 Ultron
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4139/4886117957_e4ff874883_b.jpg

Chriscrawfordphoto
08-19-2010, 08:16
Rather like I did with this one, red/orange filter simulation. R-D1 w/28 Ultron
http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4139/4886117957_e4ff874883_b.jpg

Yeah! That is one nice thing about shooting digital. No filters to mess with and you can change your mind about the filtration several times till it looks right with only a single shot.

NickTrop
08-19-2010, 08:44
A good digital exposure can look better than an bad, scanned film exposure?

Not very convincing.

But you're missing the point, me thinks. "Quality" has two prongs - if you will. On the one hand there's the overally quality of the product. Leica cameras are said to have high quality. However, a process that is prone to defect has "quality" issues. The wet process process has a very high incidence of process errors and anomalies that digital does not have. I "live with" the water marks or a scratch on the neg. I have no other choice. (Or I used those silly retouch markers...) This is not the case with digital.

RayPA
08-19-2010, 08:45
fuel to the fire... I decided digital finally gives the look I like - you really can't tell the difference with a good scan / good print - at my current gallery show, nobody asked if any of the images were digital or film...

doesn't matter anymore

Then why use the fake filed-out negative carrier frame for a digital image?




/

jsrockit
08-19-2010, 09:29
But you're missing the point, me thinks. "Quality" has two prongs - if you will. On the one hand there's the overally quality of the product. Leica cameras are said to have high quality. However, a process that is prone to defect has "quality" issues. The wet process process has a very high incidence of process errors and anomalies that digital does not have. I "live with" the water marks or a scratch on the neg. I have no other choice. (Or I used those silly retouch markers...) This is not the case with digital.

I'm a digital user these days, but I never had an issue with dirty negatives at all... and as long as you follow a few simple directions, processing film is virtually fool proof as well. With film, it is generally user error to blame if something goes wrong. On the flip side, I've had SD Cards die on me...when I did nothing wrong. Not to mention, sensors get dirty as well.

CK Dexter Haven
08-19-2010, 09:46
I think this:
One can make digital look like B+W film. But, the more important questions are:

1. Can you simulate a 'film look' that you like? There are a lot of film shots shown in this thread that i would NOT want to emulate. Everyone does it differently, and there's a certain amount of grain and a certain kind of tonality that each person prefers. I've been working on a sim that's closer to Rodinal+Tri-X (Ellen von Unwerth, Ralph Gibson, etc.), where there ARE blown highlights and filled in shadows.

I also like a sort of 'half' Lith look, where it's not necessary to end up with the dynamic range people accuse digital of not having.

2. After the image has been 'worked on,' can you look upon it with satisfaction, and not think that you cheated or faked it? That is my chief issue at the moment. It's getting better, though, as my memory is not so good, and if i leave a picture alone for a while, i can sometimes forget what i used to make it. But, if i do remember (or check), i hate that i think of a simulation as a fake. I have a prejudice against digital, even though i love the immediate feedback.

I also think many people process images 'incorrectly.' At least, i used to. I would take a digital image, make corrections and adjustments, and THEN apply a film grain simulator. But, if it had been a scan, the grain would be baked in and would also be subjected to all the processing. So, now i start with a very flat RAW image, apply grain, and then work on it. The grain seems much more integrated. I also use multiple layers of different grain. What happens is that the out of focus areas react differently than in focus areas. Areas that get different amounts of light react differently.... It's not a quick and easy process, but it gets me closer to 'authentic.'

NickTrop
08-19-2010, 09:48
I'm a digital user these days, but I never had an issue with dirty negatives at all... and as long as you follow a few simple directions, processing film is virtually fool proof as well. With film, it is generally user error to blame if something goes wrong. On the flip side, I've had SD Cards die on me...when I did nothing wrong. Not to mention, sensors get dirty as well.


Mmmmmm - I dunno. Totally YMMV. I think saying it's fool-proof is an overstatement, however. While the vast majority of my negs came out fine (Realistically? 90-95%), I've had the occassional issue with scratchs, dust, bromide streaks (Diafine), uneven development... etc. And one instance where I got no negs - not sure what happened that time. Printing is a whole 'nother matter. - I recall going through a lot of paper to get things right - and paper is pretty pricey.

This is why I didn't do 35mm prints all that often... Medium format there is a real discernable/obvious difference, and fewer negatives and fewer rolls makes printing more managable to me.

The quality difference - if any exists at all, and I might argue digital might even be better to my eye (again - this thread poses this as a question) makes digital black and white far more practical in small format. Again - medium and large format is not what I'm talking about here.

NickTrop
08-19-2010, 10:02
I'm a digital user these days, but I never had an issue with dirty negatives at all... and as long as you follow a few simple directions, processing film is virtually fool proof as well. With film, it is generally user error to blame if something goes wrong. On the flip side, I've had SD Cards die on me...when I did nothing wrong. Not to mention, sensors get dirty as well.


Mmmmmm - I dunno. Totally YMMV. I think saying it's fool-proof is an overstatement, however. While the vast majority of my negs came out fine (Realistically? 90-95%), I've had the occassional issue with scratchs, dust, bromide streaks (Diafine), uneven development... etc. And one instance where I got no negs - not sure what happened that time. Printing is a whole 'nother matter. - I recall going through a lot of paper to get things right - and paper is pretty pricey.

This is why I didn't do 35mm prints all that often... Medium format there is a real discernable/obvious difference, and fewer negatives and fewer rolls makes printing more managable to me.

The quality difference - if any exists at all, and I might argue digital might even be better to my eye (again - this thread poses this as a question) makes digital black and white far more practical in small format. Again - medium and large format is not what I'm talking about here.

- And for scanning? You're ending up with a digital file anyway. Do you really see that much of a quality difference for all this effort - processing your negs, then scanning? Most DIY'ers don't have all that high quality of scanner - flatbed usually. And the best those do is "acceptable". I don't see this being worth the effort when results are compared to a decent PS'd black and white.

The only rationalizion is - and it's valid, is you simply like the traditional techniques... You like the skill and the craft of doing it this way. But it make little to no practical sense and there is no aesthetic value-added for traditional wet processing small format negatives, especially if you wind up scanning them.

mathomas
08-19-2010, 10:09
I'll jump in with a small mix of shots - both digital and film-based b&w. Personally I like both and can't wait to have a new digital body on hand so I have that tool back in my arsenal. Oh, and I'm not telling which shots are which, though you can follow the links to flickr...

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4069/4524802020_4f719b3869_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/4524802020/)
Untitled (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/4524802020/) by David R Munson (http://www.flickr.com/people/davidrmunson/), on Flickr

http://farm1.static.flickr.com/34/71653575_bdbc90c11c_o.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/71653575/)
Val/Crowd (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/71653575/) by David R Munson (http://www.flickr.com/people/davidrmunson/), on Flickr


http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4010/4550447363_25851ec286_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/4550447363/)
Untitled (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/4550447363/) by David R Munson (http://www.flickr.com/people/davidrmunson/), on Flickr

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3035/2711224198_7510fa8e52_z.jpg?zz=1 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/2711224198/)
Untitled (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/2711224198/) by David R Munson (http://www.flickr.com/people/davidrmunson/), on Flickr

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3498/3190240154_085e2766b4_z.jpg?zz=1 (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/3190240154/)
Untitled (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/3190240154/) by David R Munson (http://www.flickr.com/people/davidrmunson/), on Flickr

http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3452/3748742247_35bcd4818a_z.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/3748742247/)
Untitled (http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidrmunson/3748742247/) by David R Munson (http://www.flickr.com/people/davidrmunson/), on Flickr

Proving my point about my own skills (or lack thereof) at guessing the technology, I correctly identified the digital ones as digital, but also misidentified a couple of film shots as digital (though I guessed they could possibly be MF film). I wonder if any of us, given a large enough sample size, could do better than chance?

Might be interesting to build a "hot or not" style web site to gather statistics on this topic.

Ranchu
08-19-2010, 11:19
The only rationalizion is - and it's valid, is you simply like the traditional techniques... You like the skill and the craft of doing it this way. But it make little to no practical sense and there is no aesthetic value-added for traditional wet processing small format negatives, especially if you wind up scanning them.

This is not true, you're simply trying to dismiss the aesthetic superiority of film as habit on the part of people who prefer it. You choose your compromises, I'll choose mine.

The very first time I used a real scanner, the Coolscan, I brought it over to my Dad's to scan some of his old negs. The first one, a bw pic of an abandoned old truck, popped up and my jaw dropped. The tonality was perfect, pic sharp as hell. His photo looked great.

That never happens to me with digital, the first thought when I see the pic is - what do I have to do to make this look better?

That says it all for me.

Ranchu
08-19-2010, 11:42
LOL - wasn't someone (forget who) tauting their "keen trained eye"?

Perhaps you're referring to me. I admit I can't tell with a lot of these later pics people have posted, but just because you can make a digital pic look like some iteration of a film pic, that doesn't make film and digital the same. There is no substitute for enough DR to cover the scene. If your camera has enough, no problems. If it doesn't, which happens a lot, film is better.

Tegla
08-19-2010, 19:05
Here ya go... Which one is film? Which one is digital? Or are they both film? or are they both digital? Betchya can't tell. And even if you can, does it matter?

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v2095/249/23/1150326236/n1150326236_30088843_377.jpg

http://sphotos.ak.fbcdn.net/photos-ak-snc1/v1941/249/23/1150326236/n1150326236_30058651_9071.jpg

I have never seen so entertaining thread about A/D. What i see here are not real photographs, these are just visual representation of a binary code 1010101. It i not a photo!!!!!!!!!!! You are not showing good examples. You need to show photos, not visual of binary code :)

I'm tired of that digital/film blah, blah....
Go out and shoot some nice pics, if you don't like film, who cares...

PKR
08-19-2010, 19:09
[quote=NickTrop;1394268]I dunno, Davey...

Nick.. 3,000+ hits in 2 days.. do you think it will go to 10?

p.

TareqPhoto
08-22-2010, 16:59
I never see one film shot on the net, because all of them turned into digital once they scanned and posted on the net, so where is the film then?

Kidding, i don't care about all this thread because simply i and many there shooting with both, so why think about "film or digital" debate?!!!

Shoot with whatever and enjoy, this is the fun!

Pico
08-22-2010, 17:07
Has Fake Digital Black and White Gotten Better Than Tradional?
I dunno, Davey...

Fuji F20

Of course you do not know. Forgetting the silly innuendo regarding "fake", then what you presented were digital images. Do you print silver-gelatin? Answer it for yourself. What you posted are blown-out, poor-range images with a little blast-all fill flash in a couple. If that's what you like, then the answer is that digital is good enough if you believe those images are good enough.

NickTrop
08-22-2010, 17:10
For the record, I never:

1. Said I hated film
2. Intended for this to be a FvD debate thread...

Again, I asked the question - has fake digital black and white gotten so good, that it doesn't make sense to use real black and white film? Are youse into photography - or "photography through pain"? - harder =/= better, necessarily. My answer is - yes, I think it has, and there are definite advantages to doing it this way... It makes sense to fake it w SW for small format (35mm) but there is a huge leap in larger formats, so medium and large format by all means film (like you have a choice, anyways...)

I will be posting some digital street photography with my newly discovered killer street photography tool - the cheap fuji F20 (look for another "controversial" post on this - sure to upset the purists, on how this cheap soccermom silver point and shoot blows away all rangefinders including Leicas with expensive lenses as a street photography tool, if one is willing to put aside biases and practice new shooting techniques and styles... You will see more "keeper" street photos taken in 20 minutes today [literally] than one might acquire in an entire day's worth of shooting with a film camera or Leica... This is if you really want to shoot stuff - not fondle or admire equiment...) on this thread later this week after I add fake black and white to it.

Pico
08-22-2010, 17:25
We cannot answer your question for you.

B&W film is as 'fake' as B&W digital, which actually means there is no issue as 'fake', except perhaps to you.

charjohncarter
08-22-2010, 17:28
I don't think digital conversions are there yet.

cmogi10
08-22-2010, 18:12
Oh can I share some?

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4122/4916211645_b6039381ba_b.jpg


http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4135/4886969761_9b1e0c184f_b.jpg


http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4098/4887518288_2d978a70f6_b.jpg


http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4134/4850794955_7ec2821b1d_b.jpg

NickTrop
08-22-2010, 18:15
I don't think digital conversions are there yet.

They're there if you're willing to live without grain. The grain, actually, will fool 99.999% of people including photographers if they don't know in advance that it's fake... If they know it's fake in advance, they're scoff and say it doesn't look real. C'mon - apart from grain film, film emulation would be easy to program in PS.
Realistic grain sim would be difficult, me thinks but I turn grain options off. Adding grain to digital black and white is silly.

raid
08-22-2010, 18:18
I expect that an experienced printer will get the edge with B&W negatives, but this is just my feeling and I could be wrong. Images taken with Ilford XP2 and Kodak C-41 show up very nicely in scans. Simil;ar to my feelings regarding CV lenses, having C-41 B&W film is far better than not having such an option.

NickTrop
08-22-2010, 18:22
I expect that an experienced printer will get the edge with B&W negatives, but this is just my feeling and I could be wrong. Images taken with Ilford XP2 and Kodak C-41 show up very nicely in scans.

Yes - I can agree with this. But the rest of us? They do - actually love those films. And I'm glad you brought this up. Remember when XP2 and C-41 weren't real black and white films? They don't look the same - blah, blah, blah. Same argument from the purists now applied to digital. Guess what? I like the look of the C41 stuff - especially the Kodak on color paper. It's nice. Who would argue now that that's not "real" black and white? Same trend with digital black and white...

charjohncarter
08-22-2010, 19:02
They're there if you're willing to live without grain. The grain, actually, will fool 99.999% of people including photographers if they don't know in advance that it's fake... If they know it's fake in advance, they're scoff and say it doesn't look real. C'mon - apart from grain film, film emulation would be easy to program in PS.
Realistic grain sim would be difficult, me thinks but I turn grain options off. Adding grain to digital black and white is silly.

That's not the only thing. Try linear curve, blown highlights and blocked shadows in the same photo (outdoors), even as hard as I've tried I can't repeat the color sensitivities of films with digital. I bet I've tied harder than you to do it, and I don't really think I seen anything in this thread that changes my mind. But more power to you if you can produce something that you like, then I'm happy for you, I just couldn't come close.

rdeleskie
08-22-2010, 20:23
Perhaps I am missing the point, but I don't understand the relevance of "efficiency" and "practicality" when it comes to this debate. Were I a professional, earning my living from my photography, then yes, it would make perfect sense to work in a practical and efficient way. Time is money.

As an amateur, practicality is not a priority for me. Pleasure is. As far as efficiency goes, I can scan and adjust a good negative in about the same amount of time it takes me to photoshop a colour digital image into acceptable (to me) black and white picture.

At this stage in my development, my enjoyment comes from seeing how the decisions I made when I took the photograph (composition, aperture, shutter speed, filtration, lens choice, film stock, etc.) translate into a (nearly) final image. I suppose I could re-create this experience in digital by consciously planning to add a black and white treatment in Photoshop (etc.) while I am shooting. However, that seems to add an extra layer of abstraction, and since the final results are so close as we have seen in this thread, the extra steps involved don't seem worth the trouble.

But finally, the over-riding issue for me are the lenses. I cannot afford a M9, and so have no way to shoot a Summicron 50/2 DR and have it function as a 50mm in digital. If I had a M9, then the option to shoot digital colour for b&w would be a much more appealing prospect.

Chris101
08-23-2010, 00:15
Sure, for small sized prints and web images, digital B&W is great. For 11x14 and larger, it's hard to match the look of a good double weight, fiber based, enlarger print. I do bothe - digital printing on an epson 7800 priinter, and darkroom printing with componon lenses and ilford paper. They both look really good. I like the darkroom prints better.

While I can print a pure digital picture on the epson, I need to start with a film negative to print on the enlarger. (I have messed with 'digital negatives'. - 1) it is limited to contact printing, and 2) the resolution of the print is severly limited. This may improve in the future.)

So to get the very best prints I can, film is required. To get acceptable prints, fdbw is good enough.

M4cr0s
08-23-2010, 01:05
I used to scoff at digital b&w conversions for a long time. Then I read Michael Freemans "The Complete Guide to Black & White Digital Photography" and got a good idea of what I could do to make my own conversions look like I wanted by manipulating the color channels just like using filters in front of b&w film (not just generic one-click conversions). As time has passed and I've experimented I more and more start to enjoy making them and to see what images will work this way. Results can be quite acceptable.

At now I'm at the stage where I consider it a substantial tool in the box, and especially valuable when shooting b&w film is unrealistic if I don't want to process it myself. I'd still have to get it scanned and well, then I don't see the point. I'm too young and too far gone to ever become a darkroom person. It's an interesting and fascinating technology and in one way I envy you guys that grew up with it and learned it properly. Sad perhaps as I'm sure I'd enjoy it, yet you make your own cup 'o tea.

Now, small-resolution Internet-versions are one thing, printing digital B&W is another thing - it can be a royal PITA. Thought I'd add this because it haven't been mentioned. The (cheap) printers I've used have all either put a green or purple hue to the images (not an issue with color prints), which requires experimenting and corrections to avoid. This is a general issue with digital B&W printing widely documented on the Internetz, not a deal breaker, but something one ought to be aware of before venturing into this field. I hear the latest generations of the Epsons have got really good at B&W prints, gotta get me one of those some day.

Here's one of my own (pathetic) digi b&w attempts. Late night in Northern Norway, the blown out portion of the image just above the horizon is in fact the midnight sun.
http://www.mindovermadness.org/lyngen_bw.jpg

icebear
08-23-2010, 01:23
http://www.mindovermadness.org/lyngen_bw.jpg

Hello Sindre,

I like that shot. It must have been quite stunning looking at that scenery. Great capture of the moment. And btw I don't give a %§$ if it's digital or film in the first place.

Chris101
08-23-2010, 01:31
Sindre, if you think correcting digital B&W color casting is a PITA, try it colorblind! It'll drive you nuts. Fortunately the higher end printers do not make the grayscale from mixing CMYK inks but have a number of different black/gray density inks.

This makes it bearable. The new 2880, 3880 and 7880 series are especially nice. Beware the 1900, which is a decent color 13 inch wide printer, but it does NOT support the photo-black inks.

M4cr0s
08-23-2010, 01:52
Hello Sindre,

I like that shot. It must have been quite stunning looking at that scenery. Great capture of the moment. And btw I don't give a %§$ if it's digital or film in the first place.

The light of the Arctic summer night is something you have to see, feel and experience for yourself to understand it. There's a somber, melancholic and quiet yet spectacular quality to it. I grew up there and now living in the relative south I miss the northern summers terribly. Hated the winters though ;)

Edit: Here's some snaps (http://www.mindovermadness.org/picture_s/places-and-views/lyngen-northern-norway-juli-2009/) from the same area as the posted photo.

Mac

M4cr0s
08-23-2010, 01:57
Sindre, if you think correcting digital B&W color casting is a PITA, try it colorblind! It'll drive you nuts. Fortunately the higher end printers do not make the grayscale from mixing CMYK inks but have a number of different black/gray density inks.

This makes it bearable. The new 2880, 3880 and 7880 series are especially nice. Beware the 1900, which is a decent color 13 inch wide printer, but it does NOT support the photo-black inks.

I cannot even begin to fathom the quirks and difficulties colorblindness would add to this process, you are my hero for even trying! :D

One of the higher end Epsons will surely find it's way to my desk, printing A3 in both color and BW is a wet dream. Regular A4 is just a tad to small for a really impressive wall-hanger. Now I just need to get a few more lenses first... ;)

Mac

NickTrop
08-23-2010, 03:09
...printing digital B&W is another thing - it can be a royal PITA. Thought I'd add this because it haven't been mentioned. The (cheap) printers I've used have all either put a green or purple hue to the images (not an issue with color prints), which requires experimenting and corrections to avoid. This is a general issue with digital B&W printing widely documented on the Internetz, not a deal breaker, but something one ought to be aware of before venturing into this field. I hear the latest generations of the Epsons have got really good at B&W prints, gotta get me one of those some day.

Here's one of my own (pathetic) digi b&w attempts. Late night in Northern Norway, the blown out portion of the image just above the horizon is in fact the midnight sun.
http://www.mindovermadness.org/lyngen_bw.jpg

Beautiful picture - not "pathetic" at all. Yes - you're correct. Printing can be a pain. I've not had luck with the Epsons (clogs, jams, not reading 3rd party ink carts) I've had a little better luck with the HP printer I had until it started banding. I hate inkjet technology overall.

dfoo
08-23-2010, 04:51
filmfan, the modern dslr's have better resolution and dynamic range than film. I's a fact now, but that doesn't account for how they get used.
...

TMAX has about an 18 stop DR. No digital camera has anything close to that.

dfoo
08-23-2010, 05:06
BTW, how can I reasonably print the digi files on my enlarger? :) I have a good digi printer with real black and white ink sets, and anyone who thinks that the prints from that are as good as the ones that I get from my enlarger needs their eyes examined. They are different and, to me, not in a good way.

jsrockit
08-23-2010, 05:14
TMAX has about an 18 stop DR. No digital camera has anything close to that.

Oh well...

mfogiel
08-23-2010, 05:18
I doubt any film has an 18 stop DR, and if there is one that gets close, this must be Tri X. To come back to Nick's point though, I came back to photography after nearly a 30 years absence, and I bought into digital. When I could not get B&W images that were satisfying me, initially I thought it had to do with the lenses ( I was using Nikon glass), so I bought Zeiss ZF lenses. One day, I made a portrait of my daughter with the same lens in the same setting, one on digital, and one on film. Even though the film shot had some grain and looked less sharp, the difference in the tonality was shocking. The print from digital image was just lacking the "sparkle", it looked as if somebody immersed it into dirty water. If you tried to compensate for this by increasing the contrast, you would lose the detail in the highlights and shadows. In other words, there are not enough gradations of gray available in a digital image, to make it look as good as a film one, unless the tone range is heavily compressed from the beginning. This is why I still find it obvious, that digital B&W cannot compete with film, nonetheless it has many other advantages, and nonetheless it is getting slowly a little better wich each new generation of cameras. If you are a fan of Daido Moriyama style high contrast images, a digital P&S can be a perfect substitute, but if you want to obtain normal tonality, then film is still king, even in 35mm.

NickTrop
08-23-2010, 05:58
Polaroid Sprintscan 120 scanner 3.9d Depends on the film being scanned.
Tmax 400 film (0.58 CI) 3.4d 19.5 stops
Tmax 100 film (0.58 CI) 3.0d 17 stops
Tri-X 35mm film (0.58 CI) 2.4d 13.5 stops
Kodak DCS Pro 14n digital 69dB 11.5 stops
Fuji Finepix S3 digital camera -- 10 stops (estimated)
Tri-X 35mm film (0.75 CI) 2.4d 10.5 stops
Nikon D2x digital camera -- 9.5 stops (measured)
Typical LCD display 500:1 9 stops
Kodachrome 25, 64, 200 (1.4 gamma) 3.7d 8 stops
Ektachrome 100 (1.4 gamma) 3.4d 7.5 stops
Human eye (no iris change) 150:1 7 stops
http://www.dantestella.com/technical/dynamic.html

1. If everybody is so "DR" happy - why isn't everyone shooting TMAX? Few here - it seems do.

2. Why does anyone shoot slide?

3. The Fuji and the Tri-X are close.

And that's my point. It's close enough to tri-x not to matter for "street photography". Nobody looked at most of HCB's stuff and ooh'd and ahhh'd at the dynamic range. The Nikon D5000 gives about 9 stops of DR with "Active D Lighting" enabled:
http://www.dpreview.com/reviews/nikond5000/page18.asp I figure my little Fuji 7-8 stops - like slide. Scala perhaps? And not all subject matter requires that many stops of DR!

Chriscrawfordphoto
08-23-2010, 05:58
BTW, how can I reasonably print the digi files on my enlarger? :) I have a good digi printer with real black and white ink sets, and anyone who thinks that the prints from that are as good as the ones that I get from my enlarger needs their eyes examined. They are different and, to me, not in a good way.

Mine look fine, and I have perfect vision. My experience is that most people who make statements like yours simply do not have the skills to edit photos on the computer, and instead of admitting that they don't have the knowledge (and working to acquire it), they simply bash that which they do not understand. It took me a lot of practice and a couple years time to get that good in Photoshop where my prints on the computer approached my darkroom prints, and more time still before I got where I am now where my digital editing of scanned negs exceeds my darkroom print quality.

I cannot count the number of times I've shut some zealot up by asking him to tell me which of a matched pair of prints was printed on the computer and which in the darkroom. They ALWAYS pick the inkjet print as the 'darkroom print' because it looks better. Always.

Ezzie
08-23-2010, 06:43
.......
Tmax 400 film (0.58 CI) 3.4d 19.5 stops
Tmax 100 film (0.58 CI) 3.0d 17 stops
.......
1. If everybody is so "DR" happy - why isn't everyone shooting TMAX? Few here - it seems do.

......!

My example earlier was shot with TMAX, mostly guesswork, but also quite a lot of research into which film would retain highlight and shadow details best, when I started with film again. I use both TMY (400) and TMX (100)

NickTrop
08-23-2010, 06:54
It took me a lot of practice and a couple years time to get that good in Photoshop where my prints on the computer approached my darkroom prints, and more time still before I got where I am now where my digital editing of scanned negs exceeds my darkroom print quality.

I cannot count the number of times I've shut some zealot up by asking him to tell me which of a matched pair of prints was printed on the computer and which in the darkroom. They ALWAYS pick the inkjet print as the 'darkroom print' because it looks better. Always.

Yep... I've done both. Both look good. Digital prints look sharper/cleaner and less prone to "mistakes" like dust on the negs etc. "A little" better tonality - perhaps, with wet prints. Both have their frustrations - with wet prints it's timing the exposure to get it perfect and going through sheet after sheet. None of that with inkjet - exposure is not an issue, but keeping the printers up and running has been the issue for me.

md2008
08-23-2010, 08:02
Just for fun a few months ago, I decided to see if, in my hands with my set of equipment, and for my purposes, film and digital output could be made similar for the average photo I might take. I liked the look of film but loved the convenience and cost of digital. Again, this was just for fun and to see if I could get my digital output to look like the films I liked to use, including the grain - I’m not out to debate the DR and merits of one medium over another as these “tests” were not meant to do that. What I did was carry around my D700 and M6 and take a shot side by side with the same focal length and exposure - Nikon 50mm f/1.4D vs 50mm f/2 Summicron. Films were Portra 400NC and Arista Premium 400. Output with Capture NX2/ACDsee.

Again, this exercise was just for fun so please take it as it is (I know there are way too many variables to make this a technically useful test, you can't tell anything on the computer screen etc.). In the end, I found that I could get pretty close to the look I liked on film and as I set up a batch process for each film type I liked, it took just a few seconds to go from RAW to “film” ouput. However, as I’m a mere hobbyist doing photography for fun, I found I actually missed the film process as others have mentioned, and the film equipment... except this week, I’m tired of processing film so digital it is. Until next week when I miss my film equipment...

Digital
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s8/v9/p592835230-4.jpg

Arista 400
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v13/p552058659-4.jpg

Digital
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v15/p888836210-4.jpg

Portra 400NC
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v14/p625779181-4.jpg

Digital
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v15/p820840314-4.jpg

Arista 400
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s8/v12/p1014340109-4.jpg

Digital
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s10/v18/p722498706-4.jpg

Arista 400
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s10/v16/p1050299652-4.jpg

dfoo
08-23-2010, 10:22
Mine look fine, and I have perfect vision. My experience is that most people who make statements like yours simply do not have the skills to edit photos on the computer, and instead of admitting that they don't have the knowledge (and working to acquire it), they simply bash that which they do not understand...

Fine. Let me restate: I cannot get prints from my inkjet using a real black and white inkset and good paper that are as good as the ones as I get in the darkroom. They simply do not look as good.

ampguy
08-23-2010, 10:38
Just curious, have you tried an Epson R380 with only original Epson inks that come with it?

Fine. Let me restate: I cannot get prints from my inkjet using a real black and white inkset and good paper that are as good as the ones as I get in the darkroom. They simply do not look as good.

ampguy
08-23-2010, 10:40
Our grey tabby looks very similar to yours, a bit light blacks on the front paws, but similar face.



http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s10/v18/p722498706-4.jpg

http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s10/v16/p1050299652-4.jpg

dfoo
08-23-2010, 12:07
Just curious, have you tried an Epson R380 with only original Epson inks that come with it?

Currently I've been using an Epson 1400 with the UT14 inkset. In the past I've printed with the color inksets and have never gotten a satisfactory B&W print (they all had color casts of one variety or another).

Ranchu
08-23-2010, 12:25
Creatures with two legs, and creatures that can fly. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Venn_diagram Not a difficult concept.

dfoo
08-23-2010, 12:27
Seems to me that inkjet is pretty expensive too... The B&W inksets are not that expensive, but the paper... Epson Ultra Premium Photo Paper Luster is .83 a sheet (8.5x11). Kentmere FB 8x10 is .63 a sheet. God forbid if you use the Epson cartridges...

drewbarb
08-23-2010, 12:35
"Has Fake Digital Black and White Gotten Better Than Tradional?"

Ha. What a load.

It ain't about better- they are different. Digital has gotten much better than it was- but both are just a means to an end; which one to use is more about which one you are better and more comfortable with.

Which is better? Coming from a guy who is more comfortable with film, I'd say pursuing this question is a fool's errand, and beside the point.

ampguy
08-23-2010, 12:59
The R380 has no color casts. It's one awesome giclee!

Currently I've been using an Epson 1400 with the UT14 inkset. In the past I've printed with the color inksets and have never gotten a satisfactory B&W print (they all had color casts of one variety or another).

NickTrop
08-23-2010, 13:10
Not a fools errand...

Digital advantages...

- How long does it take you to develop rolls and rolls of film?
- How long does it take you to make contact prints and select those for enlargement?
- How long does it take you to make an acceptable wet print?
- How long does it take you to scan?
- How many rolls do you have that are left undeveloped in rolls? Does adding to these rolls prohibit you from shooting more?
- Does the ever-increasing cost of the consumables - film, paper, chemicals, prohibit/constrain you from shooting as much as you'd like?

Given the minor quality differences - now with the latest prosumer cameras and the fact that bodies have fallen in price, I say digital now has the advantage for this reason - it has caught up in quality to be "close enough for government work" in small format and is a far more efficient workflow that allows you to shoot more free of contraints that would result in your shooting less.

Traditional - medium and large format (where dynamic range, tonality matter more)
Digital - small format "street photography". (where subject matter and being "prolific" matters more)

dfoo
08-23-2010, 13:13
> Does the ever-increasing cost of the consumables - film, paper, chemicals, prohibit/constrain you from shooting as much as you'd like?

As I said I don't think inkjet is that cheap when compared with traditional. Digital cameras certainly are not. M8 is around $2k. I can buy an film M for less than $1k, and the extra 1k buys a whole lotta B&W film.

NickTrop
08-23-2010, 13:18
> Does the ever-increasing cost of the consumables - film, paper, chemicals, prohibit/constrain you from shooting as much as you'd like?

As I said I don't think inkjet is that cheap when compared with traditional. Digital cameras certainly are not. M8 is around $2k. I can buy an film M for less than $1k, and the extra 1k buys a whole lotta B&W film.

Oh please, you don't need an "M8" to shoot. That's not the cost of a typical digital camera...

mathomas
08-23-2010, 13:28
...

Digital
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s8/v9/p592835230-4.jpg

Arista 400
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v13/p552058659-4.jpg

Digital
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v15/p888836210-4.jpg

Portra 400NC
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v14/p625779181-4.jpg

Digital
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v15/p820840314-4.jpg

Arista 400
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s8/v12/p1014340109-4.jpg

Digital
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s10/v18/p722498706-4.jpg

Arista 400
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s10/v16/p1050299652-4.jpg


Cool! Enjoyed the comparisons. I've never gone to the trouble. I think the usual claims regarding each medium kind of play out here as expected. Looks like the shadows are a bit more defined in the film shots, but details can be a bit better on digital.

I shoot both, and love both for the qualities they offer.

dfoo
08-23-2010, 13:37
Oh please, you don't need an "M8" to shoot. That's not the cost of a typical digital camera...

I do if I want to use my Leica lenses (at anything close to their focal length).

NickTrop
08-23-2010, 13:44
Cool! Enjoyed the comparisons. I shoot both, and love both for the qualities they offer.

- Nice picture
- Differences are negligible

You could have flipped both - lied essentially, and nobody would challenge you.

aniMal
08-23-2010, 14:01
Wouldn´t know about BW really, I started doing color mostly more than 10 years ago.

On the other hand, I still do some BW conversions, from diverse sources as a small Canon point and shoot, scanned colour film - and digital files from my M8 or others. As far as I can see, a conversion where I choose the weighting of the channels comes out just as fine - and often better - than what I used to get in the darkroom. The only caveat, is that I was never very good in the darkroom - and never very interested. I did get very, very accurate on developing negatives though, but the content of the image was always my prime concern, not the form.

I guess the real difference lies in how much weight you give the technical parts of it - and I am sure that someone who really knows PS can get almost anything out of a high quality digital file. The same goes for analog, but perhaps more work would be involved?

I don´t really care myself - I just go on using digital and film alike, often doing both simultaneously. Like this September, we are hitting the road for France and Portugal - and I will bring digital kit + a Sinar 4x5.

The single thing that digital has changed for me, is really that I have gotten into MF and LF filmwise... I never really cared too much about the smooth look of MF, but then I got an M8! I really, really enjoy the files I get - and it has become my new standard. Even the Sony 900 with Zeiss glass has a hard time beating the M8 files I get with just CV glass. So, filmwise I feel MF and 4x5 matches my digital stuff better.

Perhaps I should get more into BW with the Sinar, I am sure that would give some results that would be hard to beat with most digital gear... Especially when it comes to DR. On the other hand, with scenes that do not move, there is HDR as a possibility! Horrible, horrible stuff to traditionalists and purists - but hey, it can give wonderful files if applied correctly!

Ted Witcher
08-23-2010, 14:35
Digital
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s8/v9/p592835230-4.jpg

Arista 400
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v13/p552058659-4.jpg

Digital
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v15/p888836210-4.jpg

Portra 400NC
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v14/p625779181-4.jpg

Digital
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v15/p820840314-4.jpg

Arista 400
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s8/v12/p1014340109-4.jpg

Digital
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s10/v18/p722498706-4.jpg

Arista 400
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s10/v16/p1050299652-4.jpg

Good work. These are all, for all practical purposes, nearly identical (at least at web resolution).

drewbarb
08-23-2010, 14:38
Not a fools errand...

Digital advantages...

- How long does it take you to develop rolls and rolls of film?
- How long does it take you to make contact prints and select those for enlargement?
- How long does it take you to make an acceptable wet print?
- How long does it take you to scan?
- How many rolls do you have that are left undeveloped in rolls? Does adding to these rolls prohibit you from shooting more?
- Does the ever-increasing cost of the consumables - film, paper, chemicals, prohibit/constrain you from shooting as much as you'd like?

Given the minor quality differences - now with the latest prosumer cameras and the fact that bodies have fallen in price, I say digital now has the advantage for this reason - it has caught up in quality to be "close enough for government work" in small format and is a far more efficient workflow that allows you to shoot more free of contraints that would result in your shooting less.

Traditional - medium and large format (where dynamic range, tonality matter more)
Digital - small format "street photography". (where subject matter and being "prolific" matters more)

The problem here is that you've utterly missed all the reasons that matter to me: 1) I, like many others, am more proficient with film than with digital. 2) I prefer wet prints for their unique character- as in, with digital, once a file and printer are sufficiently tweaked, one push of a button will give an identical machine made print every time. OTOH- Each hand-made wet print is unique. 3) I ENJOY processing film and printing in the darkroom; whereas I find digital photography just more work at the computer- and I'm not interested at all in hours of comparisons between printers, papers, inks and profiles. I'd rather be out shooting, or in the dark making prints. I spend enough time in front of a computer.

If all you care about is the print on the wall, either one will get you there- and we have seen digital can be really be excellent these days. For me, a better question is- which one do you prefer? Ergo- for me, the question is... well... beside the point. I know full well that there are plenty of folks on either side of this 'debate', as there should be. Just trying to remind the discussion that there are other points to consider in this conversation.

Andrea-dsi
08-23-2010, 14:47
Fine. Let me restate: I cannot get prints from my inkjet using a real black and white inkset and good paper that are as good as the ones as I get in the darkroom. They simply do not look as good.

You don't have to use your inkjet printer. There are now labs that can make real black and white gelatin silver prints on Ilford Galerie paper DIRECTLY from digital files. Yup its a dream come true. The lab I have used (along with Larry Fink, and a lot of other famous photogs) is www.digitalsilverimaging.com

ashrafazlan
08-23-2010, 14:49
As an owner of an M8, M6, D700, Sigma DP1 and GRD..I can honestly say that the differences are small at best. The only thing that is apparent at first glance is tonality, and even then you can get digital files to look almost the same with some curve tweaks and slider changes on the color mixer.

What makes me enjoy film though, is not entirely because of IQ (I mean come on, the D700 pretty much smokes anything when it comes to high iso) but rather the entire process of shooting, developing and scanning (ok maybe not scanning :P) film. Some hate it and find it tedious, and it certainly isn't cost effective for pro's..but for those who have the time or simply enjoy putting up with the workflow, there's simply nothing like it :)

dfoo
08-23-2010, 14:50
Yes, you can also get heads that attach to your own enlarger to print B&W; except it is super expensive. Its also possible to use a hybrid approach and print on a transparency which is then contact printed on traditional paper.

jwc57
08-23-2010, 21:18
I've found some skin tones do not translate well from digital color to D-B&W...spray on tans in particular, but some dark natural tans also. Film still has that beat. I also don't believe that D-B&W has or will get any better for some photographers...because they don't have enough experience in traditional black & white. Too many professionals in my area think desaturate is all there is to it. These are the folks who rarely shot film except for a P&S, graduated to a digital P&S, then bought a DSLR and decided they could sell their "work".

I stopped film altogether a couple of years ago, but I've been going back to film recently. I have to admit, there was a moment of doubt about four weeks ago. I received some of my D-B&W prints from a lab and I"ll admit, I did a fine job on them. If I hadn't take them myself, I wouldn't have believed the photos began with digital.

But, I want to continue with film, it's just in my blood.

J. Borger
08-24-2010, 03:27
If Digital B&W comes close to real B&W i just wonder why prints from B&W film look always better than prints from the M8/ M9 when looking in LFI Magazine??

Is it in the repro process producing the magazine??

tensai
08-24-2010, 04:28
I have to say these look really really good. Like others mentioned these are very much alike (although they don't have to be of course, and I'm sure there are scenarios where one or the other does better).

Was there a lot of editing involved? I've been using the D700 with NX2 occasionally but don't get close to a film look unless I go into photoshop. Would love to hear some essential points or steps if you remember them..


Just for fun a few months ago, I decided to see if, in my hands with my set of equipment, and for my purposes, film and digital output could be made similar for the average photo I might take. I liked the look of film but loved the convenience and cost of digital. Again, this was just for fun and to see if I could get my digital output to look like the films I liked to use, including the grain - I’m not out to debate the DR and merits of one medium over another as these “tests” were not meant to do that. What I did was carry around my D700 and M6 and take a shot side by side with the same focal length and exposure - Nikon 50mm f/1.4D vs 50mm f/2 Summicron. Films were Portra 400NC and Arista Premium 400. Output with Capture NX2/ACDsee.

Again, this exercise was just for fun so please take it as it is (I know there are way too many variables to make this a technically useful test, you can't tell anything on the computer screen etc.). In the end, I found that I could get pretty close to the look I liked on film and as I set up a batch process for each film type I liked, it took just a few seconds to go from RAW to “film” ouput. However, as I’m a mere hobbyist doing photography for fun, I found I actually missed the film process as others have mentioned, and the film equipment... except this week, I’m tired of processing film so digital it is. Until next week when I miss my film equipment...

Digital
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s8/v9/p592835230-4.jpg

Arista 400
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v13/p552058659-4.jpg

Digital
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v15/p888836210-4.jpg

Portra 400NC
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v14/p625779181-4.jpg

Digital
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s9/v15/p820840314-4.jpg

Arista 400
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s8/v12/p1014340109-4.jpg

Digital
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s10/v18/p722498706-4.jpg

Arista 400
http://slee.zenfolio.com/img/s10/v16/p1050299652-4.jpg

Santtu Määttänen
08-24-2010, 05:33
I like to keep my digital black and whites simple, get the exposure right, adjust contrast (curves), decide which color filter to use and then turn it into black and white. I'm no expert and my work needs some developing for sure but for now I'm rather pleased with the results. Oh and I don't use any noise reduction when photos end up in B&W, on the contrary most times I up the ISO a bit to get some "digital grain" to speak, since for my eyes it looks sharper in the prints (not on screen though).

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4078/4923286488_837e21061c.jpg

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4115/4922693515_db19b6257d.jpg
http://www.rangefinderforum.com/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=78909&d=1274087809

bigeye
08-24-2010, 06:54
I'm shallow and buy labels.

I've been buying lenses that are labelled "Distagon" on them for the same price as ones that say "Coolpix".

I have noticed the ones that say Distagon seem to take better pictures.

.

NickTrop
08-24-2010, 07:47
I like to keep my digital black and whites simple, get the exposure right, adjust contrast (curves), decide which color filter to use and then turn it into black and white. I'm no expert and my work needs some developing for sure but for now I'm rather pleased with the results. Oh and I don't use any noise reduction when photos end up in B&W, on the contrary most times I up the ISO a bit to get some "digital grain" to speak, since for my eyes it looks sharper in the prints (not on screen though).



A great example of my point. Great pictures... And you would have fooled me if you said these were Tri-X, it has nothing to do with screen resolution, and they would look essentially the same if they were printed. Those who are intellectually dishonest would say they look "plastic-y", "noisy" and have "blown highlights" if they knew these were digital in advance.

Another advantage? I can get 5X7 digital black and whites for $0.25 a pop at Winkflash ($0.08 6X4's) - which I'm sure are fine for small(ish) prints of small format black and white... To hell with injets. I bypass the whole shoot, develop, scan thing and upload straight to this service. (Haven't used yet, but samples I've seen are more than satisfactory).

I think some folks confuse styles of photography - "street" or "rangefinder"-style photograhy - candid, prolific, do your best technically - but subject matter matters more, and speed matters a lot. Small cameras - the faster the better. More important than shooting with "Biogons". Prolific = $$$$. Quick and economical for this - which is why digital has "come of age" (only recently, imo). For film? Now looking at cheap point-n-shooters. Yep.

HCB would have shot with an autofocus point-n-shoot or a digital camera (probably a digital) today, I bet. Leicas were the best he could do at the time. Remember - he was about "moments" not tonality. He'd be an autofocus shooter.

Again - medium format and above is an entirely different matter. Techincal - portraits, still lifes, landscapes...

dfoo
08-24-2010, 07:57
Another advantage? I can get 5X7 digital black and whites for $0.25 a pop at Winkflash ($0.08 6X4's) - which I'm sure are fine for small(ish) prints of small format black and white... To hell with injets. I bypass the whole shoot, develop, scan thing and upload straight to this service. (Haven't used yet, but samples I've seen are more than satisfactory).

I've gotten so called B&W 6x4 and 5x7's from costco and other fuji frontier outlets and they look terrible. Among other things they have color casts.

Paul Roark
08-24-2010, 08:26
I've gotten so called B&W 6x4 and 5x7's from costco and other fuji frontier outlets and they look terrible. Among other things they have color casts.

One simply cannot make good B&W prints from materials designed for color -- which is where the huge market is that all sellers cater to. Although I designed many B&W inksets for MIS Associates (for free), these inksets usually had some color pigments in them to offset the warmth of the carbon pigments. Due to the problems I ran into whenever color is in the print, I now use and strongly recommend 100% carbon pigment printing as the best solution for B&W output in the digital age. Shutterbug reviewed one of these approaches at
http://www.shutterbug.net/equipmentreviews/scanners_printers/0208winkjet/


This inkset is in fade testing at Aardenburg Imaging -- http://www.aardenburg-imaging.com/ -- and has turned in the best ever results. Aardenburg is, in my view, the best third party, independent fade testing outfit there is. While the OEM B&W prints do fairly well in these tests, the rate of fade + color shift, as measured by delta-e, for the 100% carbon inkset is about half that of the OEM approaches. So, it's not a small margin.

In addition to almost no fade or tone shift, the 100% carbon prints have no metamerism and are the cheapest to make.

Achieving neutral, matte B&W with this approach is easy. Epson's new Hot Press Natural prints almost dead neutral with the "3-MK" approach.

So, for me, "real" B&W has little to do with the image capture technology, but with respect to output, 100% carbon is the real thing.

Paul
www.PaulRoark.com (http://www.PaulRoark.com)
http://www.paulroark.com/BW-Info/

bwcolor
08-24-2010, 08:27
I would like to comment, but I haven't a leg to stand on. I shoot film and then scan. Not much analog in that chain. I'm doing digital the hard way.

bigeye
08-24-2010, 08:39
NickTrop, you're trying to say that P&S cams have good enough B&W quality for PJ and streetshooting?

ederek
08-24-2010, 08:56
^^ Paul, your website and info about carbon inks has been very helpful, thank you.

One thing I took away from this and other recent threads regarding film and digital, was to focus more on the final print. I don't have a darkroom, but do have an Epson 3800, putting it to heavy use over the past couple weeks (mix of 5x7, 8x10, A3, and 17x22).

Last night I printed this at various sizes up to 17x22, and just fell in love with the smooth tones, especially on matte paper.
http://ederek.smugmug.com/photos/980906166_GVv48-L.jpg

Nick - do you really think a little P&S digital is "good enough" for prints of this size? Or just for web images such as shared in this thread? Guess I'll have to take some snaps with the LX3 and play a bit..

dfoo
08-24-2010, 09:02
One simply cannot make good B&W prints from materials designed for color -- which is where the huge market is that all sellers cater to. ...

If you read earlier in this thread I described how I use UT14 and an Epson 1400. I get good prints from that setup, but nowhere near as good as I get in my darkroom (something which others, such as Chris, objected too). I also think that the prints are not that cheap compared with darkroom prints. When I consider the overall picture (quality, price and convenience) for inkjet for FILM isn't a very good solution.

Santtu Määttänen
08-24-2010, 10:30
A great example of my point. Great pictures... And you would have fooled me if you said these were Tri-X, it has nothing to do with screen resolution, and they would look essentially the same if they were printed. Those who are intellectually dishonest would say they look "plastic-y", "noisy" and have "blown highlights" if they knew these were digital in advance.

Thanks for your kind words and I have to agree. You can't imagine how many times people have mistaken my prints from digital camera as wet prints (including photographers who deal a lot in darkroom). I'm not saying that the quality is identical or that you couldn't achieve amazing results in darkroom, I just ain't that good in darkroom but I have learned at least somewhat on how to work on Lightroom / Photoshop. With out direct comparision and behind the glass framing it's really difficult to tell the differences.

Another advantage? I can get 5X7 digital black and whites for $0.25 a pop at Winkflash ($0.08 6X4's) - which I'm sure are fine for small(ish) prints of small format black and white... To hell with injets. I bypass the whole shoot, develop, scan thing and upload straight to this service. (Haven't used yet, but samples I've seen are more than satisfactory).

Easiest way to me to get prints is from Agfa D-Lab2 and when done on some good paper the quality is more then satisfactory, besides the 30x45cm pictures are large enough most times :) When not, then I turn to pro labs and get my prints in ready to hang condition (aluminium back and acrylic glass, high quality paper in between).

I also shoot film, mainly medium format but I run a roll of 135 every now and then (mostly through my Nikons or Olympus 35RC which is always loaded and with me but gets a full roll of shooting every month or so). With large format I understand the difference between it and digital, easily, since there are no real digital backs at least in any sort of affordable range, even to a pro (not talking about scan backs). With medium format, reason to use film is money and equipment, digital backs are expensive and they don't do one for my Yashica-Mat for example :)

But to the point of this discussion, digital B&W in my eyes is there already. Is there a difference, in print for sure (talking about wet printing), in web usage.. nah it's all about post processing and the skill involved (and the interest to make your digital look exactly like film). And even in prints the difference is very small if prints are professionally made.

Santtu Määttänen
08-24-2010, 10:35
Last night I printed this at various sizes up to 17x22, and just fell in love with the smooth tones, especially on matte paper.
http://ederek.smugmug.com/photos/980906166_GVv48-L.jpg



Amazing shot and I love the tonality, smooth and creamy. And I bet the print is amazing. I printed a 50cmx50cm digital print from this photo below, altho the original file came from a scanner (Imagon X1) and Yashica-Mat Kodak BW400CN combo. But still the digital print is amazing. Could I have taken it with a digital camera, for sure, did I, no I didn't not at this time at least..

http://gallery.photo.net/photo/5864075-lg.jpg

IK13
08-24-2010, 10:44
I didn't read the whole thread, but you do realize that you actually have a B&W sensor with a bayer filter in front of it. I think I've seen someplace that was actually taking the AA filter for even better B&W pictures (and it will be even better if the RAW processing software has a "native" way of handling B&W)...

Gazzah
08-24-2010, 10:54
There was a discussion on another site some time back on the benifits of a dedicated B&W digital camera. The experts all agreed that the resolution would increase dramatically due to the absence of the bayer layer, that the AA filter could be reduced conciderably and (for reasons I dont understand) the DR would also be a lot better.
Given all these there was a vote for who would buy such a camera, about 2% said they would buy it - about 40% asked why would anyone these days shoot in B&W... guess they were the digkids never even seen film!
I would jump at the camera if it was full frame and had all those advantages!

In the meantime I use my GRD1 and D1H for B&W... if Im in a digital frame of mind.

Gary H

NickTrop
08-24-2010, 10:56
NickTrop, you're trying to say that P&S cams have good enough B&W quality for PJ and streetshooting?

Essentially, yes. Same is true for prints. 35mm is small format. Street photography is not about sharpness, tonality, and these technical aspects - it seems to me, are often overemphasized. Rangefinder-syle is documentarian in nature - just get the friggin' shot. F5.6 and be there, I think used to be the motto. And it's about composition. The other stuff - tonality, hyper-sharpness, dynamic range is more important in studio stuff, landscape photography - large/medium format stuff.

Digital point and shoot let you shoot nearly unlimited, the cameras are smaller - truly pocketable, some now they do a decent job at higher ISOs, they auto focus, have built-in flash and (importantly) have collapsible lenses so they can be taken anywhere. Battery life has improved dramatically... These are better tools now for this type of photography. The utility that these tools bring to the table are more important for this style of photography than "how sharp the lens is" or "this gives you 1.5 more stops of dynamic range". I wouldn't use a digital point and shoot as a studio camera, though.

If your goal is to be a street shooter, you would realize this, ditch your Leica, and get an $80 used Fuji Finepix F20. Leica and other RFs were the best for this style of photography from 1950 until fairly recently.

The fastest technology (shriek - autofocus!) and most discreet and smallest cameras (shriek! p-n-s for film! shriek! widdle digitals cameras!) that let you fire off shot after shot after shot that autofocus are best suited for this purpose - modern technology achieves this better than something that, essentially, hasn't changed since the 50's.

Also - black and white, fake or otherwise, is overused, especially indoors. Was this initially used because color films were too slow and blechy looking when pushed and filters cut the speed and had color cast - so black and white was the only option "back then"? Now we can set the white balance, shoot at ISO 800-1000 (whatever) and get color photos, no cast, no stop-reducing filters, no blech-y ness. Those constraints imposed by film are now gone. Why persist imposing such constraints? If a scene "looks better" in black and white we can make such aesthetic decisions after the fact. Similarly, we can choose to reduce saturation and contrast if color overpowers the subject.

What are RF's good for now? General purpose film cameras. Shooting old school - for fun. Fondling, collecting... All good, valid reasons. Nothing wrong with this. They are charming - digitals are not. But tools shouldn't be chosen based on how "charming" they are.

NickTrop
08-24-2010, 11:01
I've gotten so called B&W 6x4 and 5x7's from costco and other fuji frontier outlets and they look terrible. Among other things they have color casts.

Disagree - and I'm sure they're fine:

* Black and White: Winkflash avoided making our black and white photo too yellow like some other services. The photo felt like a true black and white image and didn’t favor one color of the spectrum over the other, but the picture did seem a little dark. Take a look at our comparative shots from Winkflash.
http://digital-photo-printing-review.toptenreviews.com/winkflash-review.html

The link has a comparison between the digital file submitted and the returned print. They're differences but it looks good to my eye. $0.08 for a 6X4, $.25 for 5X7. Looking forward to getting my first prints back. I;m sure they'll be fine.

Gazzah
08-24-2010, 11:01
What are RF's good for now? General purpose film cameras. Shooting old school - for fun. Fondling, collecting... All good, valid reasons. Nothing wrong with this. They are charming - digitals are not. But tools shouldn't be chosen based on how "charming" they are.

I would disagree with this - the tool used has a major effect on the outcome - if it feels good to the user then they will probably take better images.
I do a lot of woodturning and use tools that are 20 years old because they are "charming" rather than some of the modern versions that I also own.

dfoo
08-24-2010, 11:11
Disagree - and I'm sure they're fine

Whilst I haven't seen the images, I suspect you have very low standards.

ederek
08-24-2010, 11:28
Santtu Määttänen - thank you for the kind comment. That is a beautiful image you shared.

Essentially, yes. Same is true for prints. 35mm is small format. Street photography is not about sharpness, tonality, and these technical aspects - it seems to me, are often overemphasized. Rangefinder-syle is documentarian in nature - just get the friggin' shot. F5.6 and be there, I think used to be the motto. And it's about composition. The other stuff - tonality, hyper-sharpness, dynamic range is more important in studio stuff, landscape photography - large/medium format stuff.

...

If your goal is to be a street shooter, you would realize this, ditch your Leica, and get an $80 used Fuji Finepix F20. Leica and other RFs were the best for this style of photography from 1950 until fairly recently.

The fastest technology (shriek - autofocus!) and most discreet and smallest cameras (shriek! p-n-s for film! shriek! widdle digitals cameras!) that let you fire off shot after shot after shot that autofocus are best suited for this purpose - modern technology achieves this better than something that, essentially, hasn't changed since the 50's.

...

What are RF's good for now? General purpose film cameras. Shooting old school - for fun. Fondling, collecting... All good, valid reasons. Nothing wrong with this. They are charming - digitals are not. But tools shouldn't be chosen based on how "charming" they are.

NickTrop - maybe if you want GOOD images, but not for GREAT images.

And I disagree about autofocus - ridiculous delays - unless you press the shutter halfway first to pre-focus... oh wait, pre-focusing, isn't that a particular *strength* of the charming rangefinder? :rolleyes:

"Rangefinder-syle is documentarian in nature" - hmmm, then why limit your level of documentation?? :confused:

Here's an example set of 2 street shots I posted earlier today in the street thread, taken 10 feet apart (firing off shot after shot). Digital rangefinder, ISO 800, F8 or so, 1/250 of a sec, 35mm Biogon.

http://ederek.smugmug.com/photos/977261260_dsuiE-L.jpg

and then this gentleman, shot at exactly 2:22:14 pm in the afternoon (I set my rangefinder's time to gov atomic clock):
http://ederek.smugmug.com/photos/977261810_PbHpx-X2.jpg.

To the point of documentation... When reviewing the above photo on the computer at 1:1, I could read his watchface, and it read exactly 2:22. So, I learned that this person keeps his watch synchronized quite accurately to NIST time standards, a tidbit I found insightful.

Also, these two shots were taken without breaking stride, while walking with a group of 1/2 dozen friends.

This isn't about defending a system I've invested heavily in, both monetarily and with respect to practicing until it's starting to become second nature.

I've used a P&S and gotten some great street shots, including an entire trip to China.

But I don't aspire to just be good, when there are better options.. My elementary photographic skills limit me enough, no need for the tool to be another burden.

NickTrop
08-24-2010, 11:50
Whilst I haven't seen the images, I suspect you have very low standards.

I cited a source that provided a physical example in addition to an (arguably) professional opinion that said they look like "true black and white". I haven't used this service yet, and the proof is in the puddin'. However, they use Fuji Frontier printers (a bit better than a $200 inkjet) Fuji Crystal Archive paper, and anecdotally, as cited in the review "avoided making our black and white photo too yellow like some other services. The photo felt like a true black and white image and didn’t favor one color of the spectrum over the other, but the picture did seem a little dark". Based on this I expect they'll be acceptable. - we'll see. At $0.08 a pop, it's certainly worth trying. But, then again, I don't go in to this with any biases.

Your accusation that I have "low standards" is as typically silly as it is baseless.

sara
08-24-2010, 11:53
Nah, I'll stick to my black and white film thanks.

NickTrop
08-24-2010, 12:05
Santtu Määttänen - thank you for the kind comment. That is a beautiful image you shared. NickTrop - maybe if you want GOOD images, but not for GREAT images.

http://www.worldsfamousphotos.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/henri-cartier-bresson.jpg

Is this not a great image? Does the fact it is a great image have anything to do with the equipment used? - Did it have anything to do with dynamic range, tonality, or sharpness? Most of use can't/don't walk around shooting dozens of rolls of film like HCB with a film camera, daily. - 100's of rolls, presumably, a week. This shot exists because HCB was skilled (of course) but also a prolific shooter. Prolific-ness - the ability to shoot a lot, which is a requirement for street photography, in addition to a camera that is discreet, and small enough to always be with you (pocketable) are simply way more important than "tonality", "sharpness", "noise", "grain", blah, blah, blah... all the stuff that's overemphasised here, for this kind of photography. The image in terms of these other factors only has to be "good enough". Digital cameras are, therefore much better tools for this kind of photograph. I have a camera - in the palm of my hand, that can fire off multiple shots per second, that has a flash, can even shoot macro, and that I can accurately focus without raising the camera to my eye and not have to worry about DoF, and I can shoot 100's of shots continuously w/o having to change rolls.

- Can't do that with any film Leica.

And - no, I'm not dissing rangefinders. - at all.

Finder
08-24-2010, 12:14
Digital cameras are, therefore much better tools for this kind of photograph. [...]

- Can't do that with any film Leica.

The irony is you are using an image from a film Leica to make your point.

NickTrop
08-24-2010, 12:16
The irony is you are using an image from a film Leica to make your point.

I guess it would have to be, since digitals didn't exist. - it's even a (shriek) Leica! You're - of course, missing the point. Nobody looks at this famous photo and oh's and ah's about its "tonality", "sharpness", or "dynamic range". They might for an Ansel Adams landscape, however. It's a great picture because of right place/right time - with a camera, cocked and ready to go. Technically, it's "acceptable".

Digital point and shooters inherently afford far more "right time/right place - cocked and ready to go"-ability than any film camera for this kind of photography. Their image quality is as good as it needs to be - certainly they're capable of producing an image as technically acceptable as the one above.

Finder
08-24-2010, 12:24
I guess it would have to be, since digitals didn't exist. - it's even a (shriek) Leica! You're - of course, missing the point. Nobody looks at this famous photo and oh's and ah's about its "tonality", "sharpness", or "dynamic range". They might for an Ansel Adams landscape, however. It's a great picture because of right place/right time - with a camera, cocked and ready to go. Technically, it's "acceptable".

Digital point and shooters inherently afford far more "right time/right place - cocked and ready to go"-ability than any film camera for this kind of photography with acceptable image quality.

Nick, I agree it is not the equipment, but you cannot have it both ways. You can't say X camera is better at something and then argue the equipment is not the point.

NickTrop
08-24-2010, 12:35
You're misstating my argument. Here's how/why:

Camera A "is better" at the things that are more important (that is, is a better tool) because it excels at the important components of that particular type of photography. Those components being:

1 Absolute discreetness
2. Complete portability
3. Ability to fire off many shots per second
4. Ability to shoot prolifically (100's of images) with minimal pauses
5. Ability to shoot under any condition

This wasn't the case until relatively recently when their performance above 200 ISO defeated them for this purpose, indoors (see criteria #5). That's not the case now.

In these critical areas, digital point-n-shoot cameras have it all over any other type of camera for "street photography" - including pricey Leicas. (A Leica with a Cron, however, with win the MTF contest - which nobody cares about.)

I never said "equipment doesn't matter". In fact, it absolutely matters. I'm saying tonality, dynamic range, sharpness, noise, grain - blah, blah, blah doesn't matter for this kind of photography. It just needs to be "good enough". If "tonality", "sharpness", and "dynamic range" are your thing - shoot landscapes with ultra large format, poke around with a light meter and spend days camping out somewhere to get "the best light" to optimize this stuff - or at minimum medium format where you're limited to a paultry 12 frames or whatever (but you have great dynamic range, sharpness, and tonality). I have my little Fuji on me now. It's on me, realistically, 50% of the time - ready to shoot. That's not the case with any non-professional photographer - to have a camera with them most of their waking life, ready to shoot 100's of exposures if need be. If I wanted to I can fire off 200 pictures right here, right now - or any time I want. No film camera has this practical capability. Period. I never did this with any other camera I owned. I couldn't have done this with the "ultracompact" Konica Auto S3, a GSN, Iskra, my SLRs, certainly not my MF SLR - etc., etc., etc... I took more "street shots" in a 1/2 hour this weekend that I would have sometimes in a day with a RF, shot about 100 pictures and would have had to develop - or have developed 4-5 rolls of film and/or had prints made or scanned them - etc.

Nothing wrong with RF's - have 'em, owned a bunch of them, but if you're serious about "street photography" then you have to come to grips with the fact that these are no longer the best tool for this purpose. Rangefinders and traditional black and white development are great toys for adults - trying different developers, trying out different lenses - etc. experimenting like geeky kids do with chemistry sets. That's cool - nothing wrong with some geeky fun. But they're simply not the optimal tool for which they were initially purposed.

An expounded version of this post will get its own thread... Look for Rangefinders (and traditional film black and white development) - tools or toys? I say "toys".

ElectroWNED
08-24-2010, 12:42
http://i35.tinypic.com/qqocok.jpg
- converted (XA + CVS color film... CS3 B&W filter + auto levels/contrast)

http://i33.tinypic.com/210ghhc.png
- XA + Ilford XP2... auto level/contrast

http://i35.tinypic.com/26233w3.jpg - 7MP digital point and shoot... CS3 B&W filter

:rolleyes:

lewis44
08-24-2010, 12:49
Shot this recently. G1, 45 Planar and BW400CN. Scanned and then adjusted in Photoshop and a final tweak using Nik Silver Efex Pro.
I guess I did a little bit of everything, but like the results.

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4101/4915292516_b20af35ea0_b.jpg (http://www.flickr.com/photos/7352673@N07/4915292516/)

ederek
08-24-2010, 12:54
http://www.worldsfamousphotos.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/henri-cartier-bresson.jpg

Is this not a great image? Does the fact it is a great image have anything to do with the equipment used? - Did it have anything to do with dynamic range, tonality, or sharpness?

Absolutely it is a great image. Not to bring in superlatives, but could it have been even better?? :rolleyes:

Most of use can't/don't walk around shooting dozens of rolls of film like HCB with a film camera, daily. - 100's of rolls, presumably, a week. This shot exists because HCB was skilled (of course) but also a prolific shooter. Prolific-ness - the ability to shoot a lot, which is a requirement for street photography, in addition to a camera that is discreet, and small enough to always be with you (pocketable) are simply way more important than "tonality", "sharpness", "noise", "grain", blah, blah, blah... all the stuff that's overemphasised here, for this kind of photography.

True, I can't afford to shoot film that prolifically. Nor do I have the time. Didn't have the energy to develop my backlog, so dropped off 17 rolls of film last week, but that's not the norm (not to Cosco, but to a skilled B&W processor / printer in the area).

BUT, I have carried my digital-M every day since acquiring it 4 months ago, averaging 167 shots or 4 1/2 rolls / day. Pocketable is nice, but not a requirement to always have with you. For the 1st month or two I also carried an LX3 (for macro's, benefit of flash, etc.), but it got so little use I've stopped and only carry the digital rangefinder.

The image in terms of these other factors only has to be "good enough". Digital cameras are, therefore much better tools for this kind of photograph. I have a camera - in the palm of my hand, that can fire off multiple shots per second, that has a flash, can even shoot macro, and that I can accurately focus without raising the camera to my eye and not have to worry about DoF, and I can shoot 100's of shots continuously w/o having to change rolls.

A digital rangefinder can do all of that (except don't bother with flash, but it's still an option). The resolution of a 100% crop is as good as a macro in many cases. It can be scale focused (perhaps faster than a P&S).

Why make it EITHER/OR when you can have BOTH? :confused:

The Cyclist reaching the Appalachian Gap summit I posted earlier today isn't a great image - there is the reflection of the car's front defroster vents (shot through the windshield).

I can get pretty good shots through the window of the train:
http://ederek.smugmug.com/photos/977247829_3v9Q2-L.jpg

Then, a few days later, going over the same bridge, it was absolutely pouring out, just dumping :eek::
http://ederek.smugmug.com/photos/960691084_stDtm-L.jpg

That prompted me to get off the train, and because I had my camera with me, was able to catch a situation in which the rainwater had fallen so quickly, the drain here had turned into a fountain:
http://ederek.smugmug.com/photos/960691120_pmtb4-L.jpg

- Can't do that with any film Leica.

And - no, I'm not dissing rangefinders. - at all.

I don't think you are, but you are putting digital P&S as a better solution than a digital rangefinder, and in my experience, this is not the case. ;)

Michael Markey
08-24-2010, 12:55
Digital point and shooters inherently afford far more "right time/right place - cocked and ready to go"-ability than any film camera for this kind of photography. Their image quality is as good as it needs to be - certainly they're capable of producing an image as technically acceptable as the one above.

I`d have to agree with this.
When I came back to photography I bought a Pany point and shoot and used it in this very manner.
I didn`t like the shutter lag and if the conditions weren`t perfect it was soon out of its comfort zone.
I bought a couple of M bodies and rarely use it now.
Picture quality is a separate issue and a much more contentious one.
But if you want a descrete camera and are an advocate of multiple shots it seems to me that a PS is ideal.
Leica seem to think so.
They compare the XI in their adverts with the Barnick Leica .

dfoo
08-24-2010, 13:02
...
Your accusation that I have "low standards" is as typically silly as it is baseless.

Disagree - and I'm sure they're fine:

You are sure what is fine? The fuji frontier black and white prints that I received? I've never seen a print from a frontier that looks like a real black and white print.

dfoo
08-24-2010, 13:07
http://www.worldsfamousphotos.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/henri-cartier-bresson.jpg

Is this not a great image? ...

Actually, that image is interesting precisely because it isn't a good representative of the original image. Look at the compression artifacts and such. A real print of the actual image is better in every single respect (just like an inkjet vs frontier vs real black and white silver print).

NickTrop
08-24-2010, 13:07
I`d have to agree with this.
When I came back to photography I bought a Pany point and shoot and used it in this very manner...But if you want a descrete camera and are an advocate of multiple shots it seems to me that a PS is ideal.
Leica seem to think so.
They compare the XI in their adverts with the Barnick Leica.

Now there's a concession (by Leica) if ever there was one.

NickTrop
08-24-2010, 13:08
Actually, that image is interesting precisely because it isn't a good representative of the original image. Look at the compression artifacts and such. A real print of the actual image is better in every single respect (just like an inkjet vs frontier vs real black and white silver print).

Some look "at" (or is it "for") "compression artifacts". Others look just at the picture.

NickTrop
08-24-2010, 13:10
You are sure what is fine? The fuji frontier black and white prints that I received? I've never seen a print from a frontier that looks like a real black and white print.

As I said, we'll see. The article seems to think so, rates them the best in terms of true black and white. Again - look at the sample of the digital file and the scanned print and read the text. The example looks okay to me. I'm willing to throw $10 or so to the wind to give them a shot based on this.

But - then again, I'm looking at the picture as a whole, not zero-ing in on things like "compression artifacts". I hope I never look at photos that way - no offense.

dfoo
08-24-2010, 13:12
The example looks very bad to me. Firstly, it looks nothing like the original image that was submitted, secondly it is very contrasty and the shadows and highlights seem to me all wiped out.

mfogiel
08-24-2010, 13:16
The 17 or 19 stops of DR of Tmax is actually quite irrelevant. Tmax films have a particularly linear response to exposure, so if you overexpose by 3 stops and underdevelop heavily in a very compensating development, you could claim to get even 20 stops of DR, but this in practice would be quite useless, because this DR would not be translatable on photographic paper or scan, and the result would be tonally completely lifeless. I even read that one guy shot a solar eclipse this way with APX 100, and he claims to have obtained a DR oof 27 stops. In real life Tri X will excel at delivering the widest DR with satisfactory tonality, however again, I have the Fuji S3 Pro, and I can assure you that the difference between a Tri X shot and a Fuji shot is VERY substantial in favour of Tri X, so the presumed 11.5 stops for Tri X against 10 stops for Fuji do not tell the truth.
I think this discussion is leading to the only possible conclusion: that everybody should find their own level of what they are happy with quality wise, and concentrate on shooting... In B&W photography I will stick with film till digital will overtake it, but I am not going to go back to vinyl records and turntables, although I think the sound could be superior, and listening to CD's leaves me in peace of mind...

NickTrop
08-24-2010, 13:24
The example looks very bad to me. Firstly, it looks nothing like the original image that was submitted, secondly it is very contrasty and the shadows and highlights seem to me all wiped out.

Please don't tell me you look at this particular photo and are concerned with "shadow detail" and "highlights". Wow. This photo would work on a postage stamp. It would work in monochrome.

NickTrop
08-24-2010, 13:30
I don't think you are, but you are putting digital P&S as a better solution than a digital rangefinder, and in my experience, this is not the case. ;)

Great pics! - As for digital RFs? Don't see the point, not a fan. But that's a topic for another day.

NickTrop
08-24-2010, 13:37
I have the Fuji S3 Pro, and I can assure you that the difference between a Tri X shot and a Fuji shot is VERY substantial in favour of Tri X, so the presumed 11.5 stops for Tri X against 10 stops for Fuji do not tell the truth.

How/Why? Stops of DR are stops of DR, aren't they? And unlike the TMAX example you've cited, it's not an issue of "translateability".

Finder
08-24-2010, 13:42
You're misstating my argument. Here's how/why:

Camera A "is better" at the things that are more important (that is, is a better tool) because it excels at the important components of that particular type of photography. Those components being:

1 Absolute discreetness
2. Complete portability
3. Ability to fire off many shots per second
4. Ability to shoot prolifically (100's of images) with minimal pauses
5. Ability to shoot under any condition



My best documentary work comes from equipment that breaks every one of your points. I have compact cameras with me quite often, but my best work does not come from them. It is not the equipment, it is the operator. Your argument is flawed.

dfoo
08-24-2010, 14:30
Please don't tell me you look at this particular photo and are concerned with "shadow detail" and "highlights". Wow. This photo would work on a postage stamp. It would work in monochrome.

If you think that print is a good duplicate of the submitted image I don't know what to say. As I said previously, I suspect you don't have very high standards.

NickTrop
08-24-2010, 15:10
@Finder: because your "best documentary work" breaks every one of these points does not make my argument "flawed". To the contrary, it makes your argument against my argument flawed. That is, your argument against my argument is logically fallacious - specifically, you're arguing ad verecundiam.

@dfoo: Oh - I have "high standards". It's just that my "high standards" are in regard to things that matter. It seems to me that your "high standards" pertain to the inconsequential and trivial. It is not me who "lacks standards" it is you who are misguided on the "wheres" and "to whats" said high standards should apply. Sad, actually.

Brian Sweeney
08-25-2010, 05:48
As per the OP's wishes, I am closing this thread.