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UER Forum > UE Photo Critiques > Is this article still true? Film vs digital (Viewed 1018 times)
Deuterium 


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Is this article still true? Film vs digital
< on 11/6/2015 5:32 AM >
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I don't even recall the term HDR back when film dominated.

http://120studio.com/dynamic-range.htm I'm so tired of constantly having clipped highlights and crappy shadow details. Maybe I should give film a try again.




sirpsychosexy 


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Re: Is this article still true? Film vs digital
< Reply # 1 on 11/6/2015 10:24 AM >
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While it's true that film naturally does have much more dynamic range than a digital sensor, the first thing I thought when I read this was 'does this guy even know about RAW'? While I absolutely LOVE the huge dynamic range of film, he sounded to me more like an old hag with a -back in the days everything was better- syndrome without even knowing to operate his digital camera. Then near the end of the article there's an update about underexposing with RAW:

Yes, you can underexpose everything by a couple stops and then "bring it up" in Photoshop or some other software. Problem is, for that to work really well, you have to shoot in RAW mode, which eats up memory cards fast, and also requires proprietary (expensive) software to handle the files.


Ah see, here everything starts making sense. If you still shoot in jpeg in stead of raw today you're missing out big time. The camera does the post-processing by fancying up the contrast, sharpness, tone and saturation a bit according to some sliders you may or may not have adjusted. Then the images are compressed (saving memory) and all unused data is lost forever. While it does a pretty good job for our moms photographing flowers in a field, it's not going to be good for us serious photographers.

If you want quality and a good dynamic range, shoot RAW, period. It keeps all the data without compression so you have something to work with. The 'eats memory cards fast' isn't an argument anymore as huge memory cards are dirt cheap nowadays. The expensive software argument also doesn't have to apply, depending if you're a honest citizen or not Then what I do to even further increase the dynamic range is blending several exposures together in Photoshop (not automated HDR!), there's a good tutorial at the pinned threads here.

Worse, even if you use RAW or 48-bit TIFF, the end result still doesn't quite have the nice tones that a film picture would have had from the start.

While I love the nostalgic tones of film, the tone of a digital photo with the right white balance is way more close to reality.

In conclusion, yes, film naturally has a loooot more dynamic range than digital, but nowadays a digital shot can be post-processed to have the same or even more digital range.



[last edit 11/6/2015 10:27 AM by sirpsychosexy - edited 1 times]

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Re: Is this article still true? Film vs digital
< Reply # 2 on 11/6/2015 1:24 PM >
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Has this guy ever heard of bracketing? I'm just sayin'...

[Edit: The following was added the more I thought about it}

"If you want quality and a good dynamic range, shoot RAW, period. It keeps all the data without compression so you have something to work with."

Couldnt agree more. I was shooting in both JPG and Raw but didnt have the software to modify the RAW files until recently. The difference is literally night and day. Now I shoot in nothing but RAW, do an initial process when it pulls up in Photoshop, then go to work cleaning things up there. I know some people who do ALL of their editing in with the RAW editor in Photoshop and they get amazing results.

"The 'eats memory cards fast' isn't an argument anymore as huge memory cards are dirt cheap nowadays. The expensive software argument also doesn't have to apply, depending if you're a honest citizen or not"

I both agree and disagree with the cheap memory card argument. It depends on what you are doing with the camera and what your definition of "cheap" is. My Nikon shoots 10fps (a function I have NEVER used for Urbex). I have found that when I have done "action" shots the limiting factor has been the memory card not being able to keep up, so my camera slows down after a few seconds while the card processes. High speed memory cards can cost you upwards of over $100. Not terribly expensive but more than I want/need to spend. In general however a 32Gb card will run you about $25 at a drug store. Shooting in RAW, and using a high end D750 I can get about 500 pictures on a disc - more than enough for most days. My camera also has an extra memory card slot which rolls over any pics I take when the primary card is full so this is pretty much a moot argument.

As far as the software goes, again I agree. I actually pay for Photoshop and Lightroom (it was a bundle) and its $10 a month. Compared to the cost of film and film development, this is cheap by any standard. There are tons of photo editing programs out there that are free or "can be free" <wink> that do a good job as well.

The primary drawback to shooting film (as I see it) is that with film you take a shot and thats it. Typically you have 36 frames per roll, and you have to make every shot count. With digital I can shoot as much as I want, screw up as much as I want and delete it on the spot. There is no preview with film so if you are trying to get the settings just so, you have no idea what the photo is going to look like until you develop it.

As far as quality and "dynamic range", thats up in the air. I've seen amazing photos from a cheap disposable camera as well as iphones. The one advantage that a digital does have over conventional film is that while you can bracket with both, its a helluva lot easier (and cheaper)to do it with a digital than with film. If overexposure is your concern on digital then bracket - it makes all the difference in the world and most digital cameras today make it incredibly easy to do (I'm an idiot and I figured out how to do it by trial and error in 2 hours - including processing).

In summary - I agree that this Luddite couldnt be more wrong about digital and I think honestly that his "experiment" was purposely rigged to further his arguments.



[last edit 11/6/2015 2:37 PM by Peptic Ulcer - edited 1 times]

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blackhawk 

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Re: Is this article still true? Film vs digital
< Reply # 3 on 11/6/2015 3:51 PM >
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Digital sensors exceed the dynamic range of film about a decade ago. Old news. From cams dynamic range check it's specs in RAW shooting mode.
I always shot RAW. Up to 3 f/stops exposure and WB correction are possible. You still need to set the exposure correctly...




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UER Forum > UE Photo Critiques > Is this article still true? Film vs digital (Viewed 1018 times)


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