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Film vs Digital Discussions about the relative advantages and disadvantages of Film vs Digital are important as they can help us understand our choices as photographers. Each medium has strengths and weaknesses which can best be used in a given circumstance. While this makes for an interesting and useful discussion, DO NOT attack others who disagree with you. Forum rules are explained in the RFF FAQ linked at the top of each page.

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I like film.
Old 09-21-2019   #1
silverhalidedreamer
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I like film.

Hello. I am a bit reluctant to share this, for fear of being perceived as a pixel peeping gear head...but... I still, today, in 2019 find most digital photography lacking. This, is of course with respect to my own work, mind you. I am not saying either film or digital is superior. Some of my most appreciated images were generated digitally, without the use of film. I find myself wishing I had created the images with film, because to me, film always looks better.


I post this because I am thinking about buying another digital camera. I have owned and used many, for more than 8 years, and I always find something lacking with even full frame digital capture.


The only digital cameras I actually liked were made by Fuji. But even black and white images I have made with a Fuji X100, though pleasing to me, look digital. I prefer black and white images I have made with 35mm film, and scanned on a cheap Epson flatbed.


Clearly, there is something I see that others do not, or I have some sort of subconcious bias against digital cameras. I got tired of buying film, but digital seems largely like a waste of time, and money to me.



Thoughts on this, if any, are welcome.
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Old 09-21-2019   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverhalidedreamer View Post
...I find myself wishing I had created the images with film, because to me, film always looks better... I prefer black and white images I have made with 35mm film, and scanned on a cheap Epson flatbed...
If you prefer scanned film, shoot film and scan it.
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Old 09-21-2019   #3
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I wasn't asking for permission. I meant to solicit thoughts regarding my perception.
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Old 09-21-2019   #4
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10 characters.
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Old 09-22-2019   #5
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It appears I have mistaken the "give an asshole the chance to make a snarky remark" sub-forum for the "film vs. digital" sub-forum.


My apologies. I will take my inquiries elsewhere.
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Old 09-22-2019   #6
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I'm the same way. I was digital for years. Then for a while I would take digital and film pictures on the same expedition. I used to look at the digital pictures first because they were immediately available, but then as soon as I got to see the film pictures, even those taken with a cheap P&S, I would lose interest in the digital pictures and they would fall completely by the wayside, folder forgotten. So now I very seldom even bother taking out my digital camera at all; if I take two cameras with me it will be a film rangefinder and a film P&S.
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Old 09-22-2019   #7
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Originally Posted by silverhalidedreamer View Post
I wasn't asking for permission. I meant to solicit thoughts regarding my perception.
Random people on the internet are not going to convince you digital looks better.
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Old 09-22-2019   #8
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I also find most digital photography lacking. But it's because most of the stuff I see is on websites catering to conceptual post-modern bulldroppings purported to be art or the equivalent of the (snore) family slide show of Yellowstone National Park vacations.
However, good photos are good photos and, although they are usually buried among the big steaming piles of crap, they still exist in both film and digital formats.
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Old 09-23-2019   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ptpdprinter View Post
Random people on the internet are not going to convince you digital looks better.

But, random ...people... will contribute to threads they find inappropriate and/or superfluous...or too difficult to grasp. Funny how that works.



Now....there must be an ignore button round here somewhere...
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Old 09-23-2019   #10
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Originally Posted by Dogman View Post
I also find most digital photography lacking. But it's because most of the stuff I see is on websites catering to conceptual post-modern bulldroppings purported to be art or the equivalent of the (snore) family slide show of Yellowstone National Park vacations.
However, good photos are good photos and, although they are usually buried among the big steaming piles of crap, they still exist in both film and digital formats.



I agree... to a degree. There is much film based photography that is crap as well. All other things remaining the same, I find traditional black and white photography more attractive to the eye, generally speaking.



I was wondering if a significant number of people agree.
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Old 09-23-2019   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olifaunt View Post
I'm the same way. I was digital for years. Then for a while I would take digital and film pictures on the same expedition. I used to look at the digital pictures first because they were immediately available, but then as soon as I got to see the film pictures, even those taken with a cheap P&S, I would lose interest in the digital pictures and they would fall completely by the wayside, folder forgotten. So now I very seldom even bother taking out my digital camera at all; if I take two cameras with me it will be a film rangefinder and a film P&S.



Very much how I feel.
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Old 09-23-2019   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverhalidedreamer View Post
... All other things remaining the same, I find traditional black and white photography more attractive to the eye, generally speaking.



I was wondering if a significant number of people agree.
On RFF you'll probably get a significant number of people to agree with you. After all, it is now home turf for mostly vintage camera collectors and lovers of all types of film products.
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Old 09-23-2019   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogman View Post
[...]
However, good photos are good photos and, although they are usually buried among the big steaming piles of crap, they still exist in both film and digital formats.
This!
Why does the medium matter so much to some? Did the (photographic) world end, when Kodachrome processing ended? When negatives were scanned? When they "photoshopped" Trotzki out of all official images? I don't think so.

doc.

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Old 09-24-2019   #14
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Originally Posted by doc68 View Post
This!
Why does the medium matter so much to some? Did the (photographic) world end, when Kodachrome processing ended? When negatives were scanned? When they "photoshopped" Trotzki out of all official images? I don't think so.

doc.

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Why are some hell bent on changing the very essence of the discussion to something else? If you wish to rant about mediums not mattering, start a new thread.


You exemplify why I generally dont participate in forum discussions. Seems that for every pertinent response, there are two from the asshole gallery. I meant peanut gallery. Not really.


As for the medium not mattering, I am an artist; I draw and paint as well as making photographs. Medium does matter. There are things one can do with oils, for example, that can be immitated quite well with acrylics, but not duplicated exactly. So, sir, frankly speaking....


You do not know what you are talking about (assuming you are not deliberately trying to be annoying).
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Old 09-24-2019   #15
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I like film too!
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Old 09-24-2019   #16
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I work in other media as well, and I stand with silverhalidedreamer. The medium very much does matter. I used film from the 1960s until 2004; now I'm having a little film renaissance at the moment, with new (to me) cameras and emulsions.

I may not agree entirely with the original post, but agree that digital can be rather too smooth and hence bland. Well into the second decade of digital, I have a new appreciation for the "flaws' and "limitations" of film, in its inherent textures and narrower latitude, and have found that this forces me into closer consideration of form and tone. It's been paradoxically broadening.

Most of all, I don't find anything in what the O/P has said to get overwrought about. We are ostensibly people who are interested in a form of art, and art may make use of any and all materials without becoming an occasion for partisan drama. Internet forums, alas, seems somehow, in their provision of sheltered anonymity to engender, in some, the swift adoption of a virtual persona free in their use of hostile and defensive histrionics in ways and degrees that civil and mature people would never do in person.

Very few in the real world would ever be as blunt and plain rude as I routinely see people do on the 'Net. What does that get them? What irrelevant personal axe is being ground? Are they unaware of how they appear, or is an ugly appearance the whole point?
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Old 09-24-2019   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogman View Post
'...and, although they are usually buried among the big steaming piles of crap, they still exist in both film and digital formats.'
I've spent fifty years taking big steaming piles of crap, but they mean something to me, and I can only get better at it. Occasionally, after ten, twenty, thirty years, there is a demand for a photograph of a certain thing and 'voila'! I can oblige! Not crap now, eh?

When I say 'demand' I mean someone on a forum or local history site asks if there's a photo of such-and-such, or a family member shouts up about so-and-so.

I still shoot and develop film as well as digital and I thoroughly enjoy it. Digital is a fantastic resource and is like carrying a photocopier in your pocket but - and I couldn't put my finger on it for a while - I don't get anywhere near the same sense of achievement from shooting digital as I do film. Ijust think film is fun, and I have done since I started wasting film aged about ten.

And I derive great pleasure in walking out with my Baldixes or Pentax MX (and, hopefully, my 1938 Zeiss Ikon Nettar just purchased), as those with classic cars enjoy taking them out for a run of a Sunday.

If you enjoy it, just do it!
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Old 09-24-2019   #18
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I love not having to worry about charging batteries.

I love having a full frame camera in a tiny form factor (e.g., 35mm P&S cameras smaller and lighter than most digital APS-C cameras. Swing a clamshell Olympus around, leave it in a hot car, drop it, etc., and nothing happens to it).

I almost never run into any problem with exposure of negative film. Extremely forgiving. Highlights are never blown out. The chemistry just seems to record so much more information to play with than the (APS-C) digital cameras I have had experience with.

I love the texture of film grain. Digital B&W images tend to look oily to me (especially skin and sky) unless grain is added.

Digital color is difficult for me personally to get right.

I scan too, but wet prints are so beautiful, once you have seen this you can't unsee it.
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Old 09-24-2019   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by silverhalidedreamer View Post
Why are some hell bent on changing the very essence of the discussion to something else? If you wish to rant about mediums not mattering, start a new thread.
That wasn't me, but actually Dogman.
I wanted to emphasize, that I thought he may have a point there.
I personally continue to produce big piles of crap - both digitally and on film. I hope that a few of my picks turn out to be pearls, not turds though...

Quote:
As for the medium not mattering, I am an artist; I draw and paint as well as making photographs. Medium does matter.
I guess we're coming closer to the core here.
In my first life as a musician, it's tube amps vs solid state. And while the consumer of the completed product will hardly be able to tell, it matters very much to me as the artist. Especially so during the process of creation.

There may be some similarities. A good product is a good product, where the medium hardly matters to the 'consumer'.

You can produce great work by means of either, and also great piles of crap.

Quote:
You do not know what you are talking about (assuming you are not deliberately trying to be annoying).
Maybe both. ;-)
(...or maybe I wanted to encourage discussion, instead of just repeating one's predisposition...)

I like film. I like digital too. I like photography.
And I like images that move me.

Thanks, doc.
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Last edited by doc68 : 09-25-2019 at 06:23. Reason: Clean up formatting.
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Old 09-25-2019   #20
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Wink

I guess we're coming closer to the core here.
In my first life as a musician, it's tube amps vs solid state. And while the consumer of the completed product will hardly be able to tell, it matters very much to me as the artist. Especially so during the process of creation.

There may be some similarities. A good product is a good product, where the medium hardly matters to the 'consumer'.

You can produce great work by means of either, and also great piles of crap.



Maybe both. ;-)
(...or maybe I wanted to encourage discussion, instead of just repeating one's predisposition...)

I like film. I like digital too. I like photography.
And I like images that move me.

Thanks, doc.[/quote]




Not to be contrary (truly), but I just bought an old table top radio/cassette player ($5.99!) that apparently has tubes. It blows my Grundig out of the water. And I STILL say compact discs sound "tinny" compared with vinyl. Seriously. And I am a mere listener, unfortunately bereft of any musical talent whatsoever.


An your point about stimulating discussion is well taken. It works.


Problem is, I seem to be the only one who notices the difference with respect to fim/digital.
Other photographers might be interested, but not the slobbering masses, so to speak.


That said, I am essentially wondering if it makes any sense at all to please oneself alone (sounds like masturbation, figuratively and literally); photographers don't buy my work. I shot my first (and last) wedding for a friend years ago.


I used three cameras: a Fuji gw690, a Hasselblad 500 cm and 80 Planar, and a 2. something megapixel Olympus digicam. They were unable to tell the difference among images made with the three choices.

Pissed me off. Especially paying for processing the Portra 160.
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Old 09-28-2019   #21
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The world has changed and most people view images on small screens. Most images are published right after capture, so film isn't coming back. Film should be wet throughout the journey to print. This is something that I haven't done for years. Scanned film is digital. Short of building myself a darkroom, viewing E-6 film on a lightbox, or projected, is probably the closest I'll get to true film. When visiting galleries with traditional analog prints, the results can be stunning. The all digital, or digital collaboration can also be impressive. I love the National Geographic Gallery in Las Vegas.
That said, I still have my low power 300B tube amplifier and tube pre-amp and high end turntable and the end result is wonderful, but it doesn't negate the wonderful sound from top end high bit solid state sound.

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