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Film V Digital photography - would you Adam 'n' Eve it?

Discussion in 'Weekly Poll' started by Damien_Demolder, Apr 18, 2007.

  1. Damien_Demolder

    Damien_Demolder Well-Known Member

    The votes have been counted and the results are in - and they are quite surprising. A small drum roll follows

    In answer to the question 'What gives the best quality results?'

    49% of voters said that film is best for quality

    37% said that digital cameras surpass the quality produced by silver

    And only 14% thought that the best thing to do is to shoot on film and then scan the result.

    I'm surprised on two counts - I thought the digital hardcore would have hacked into the site to vote ten times each, and I thought that shooting on film and scanning was the best of both worlds rather than a compromise between them.

    What have you all got to say for yourselves now?

    damien demoder.
  2. Woolliscroft

    Woolliscroft Well-Known Member

    I missed that poll, but I would have had great trouble answering it. A lot depends on which film/format/lens combination and which digit/lens/firmware combination we are talking about (and, come to that, which scanner), so it is not really possible to generalise.
  3. Fen

    Fen Well-Known Member

    You promised me you wouldn't mention it on the forums!

    Look, just because you were in court with your own case...
  4. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    With my analytical hat on, I'd just wonder whether all those that voted had relevant experience of each medium or whether it was prejudiced by what they know most about. Even so, a lot of people changing from film to digital are still learning and I can understand why they might consider film to give better results (usually because somebody else did the film D&P for them).

    So, the results don't show what gives the best quality results, merely the opinion of amateur photographers based on their limited experience. Run the poll again in 5 years time and I'm sure the answer will be significantly different.

    As for using film and scanning, it is a compromise because it introduces an extra step into the process to go from film into the digital world. A direct Cibachrome print from a transparency would, in 95% of cases, be far superior to an image scanned on typical amateur equipment with typical amateur expertise and printed by inkjet. It is easier to get better results from a film-to-film and digital-to-digital workflow than a film-to-digital workflow for most users. This, of course, assume that the transparency was well-exposed and did not need and post-shot adjustments made to it.

    If I look back at work I did in the darkroom 10 years ago (both colour and B&W), I'd say that I have technically superior output now by shooting with a digital camera and adopting a complete digital workflow. So, the survey just reflects the opinion of the average amateur photographer without reference to their experience of either technique. An interesting result but flawed nonetheless. [You can tell that I'm a scientist by training. ;) ]
  5. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    I only voted the once for film, even if it did show up on the different computers I log in from....honest guv ;)
  6. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    I personally reckon even the most hardcore digital user would grudgingly admit that film STILL has the edge when it comes to ultimate image quality and the poll I think reflects this. As to scanning not being more popular, well this didn't really surprise me either as it's a bit of a "specialist" activity anyhow and introducing an extra "element" into the picture making formula I think inevitably leads to a potential quality loss.

  7. Fen

    Fen Well-Known Member

    This is Amateur Photographer :D
  8. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't. Over the past few weeks, I've been having a major sort-out and have unearthed many prints from my darkroom days that I was pretty pleased with at the time and they did well for me in the camera club. Comparing them to what I can do with digital now, they've just become bin fodder.
  9. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    Would this apply to even Medium/LF stuff though David? Surely film still has an edge in this area?

  10. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    True, but the statment "49% of voters said that film is best for quality" should really be written as "49% of amateur photographers who voted said that, in their opinion, film is best for quality". The first reads like a statement of fact, the second reflects what actually happened with this poll.
  11. bagpuss

    bagpuss Well-Known Member

    Yay!!!!!!!!!!!!!! :D :D :D :D :D

    **does happy dance**

  12. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    Both quotes from you, David, in this thread.

    My limited experience is with slides mainly - even more limited with prints. I'd agree with your statement about prints but slides from digital really don't cut the mustard (yet). For the avoidance of doubt I'm talking about bits of film produced from digital files when I speak about 'digital slides'.

    Because 90% (or more) of my output is in slide film I would answer with that bias.

  13. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    Let's compare like with like. I am comparing the results of a 35mm film SLR with an equivalent digital SLR. If you want to compare medium and large format then you'd really have to start looking at MF and large format digital backs. I have seen the output from the Sinar digital back and it is truly knock-out quality.
  14. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    I'm not sure what you are getting at here... :D
  15. bagpuss

    bagpuss Well-Known Member

    On that argument surely we'd have to only compare full frame dSLRs and 35mm SLRs then?
  16. BigWill

    BigWill Gorgeous oversensitive Nikon-loving cream puff

    A valid point David but as this was an "amateur" photographer poll I think it was trying to discover what the average "amateur" thought produced the best quality and I think you'd agree that medium and large format digital cameras are "generally" very much the preserve of the professional market whereas you couldn't really say that of FILM medium and large format?

  17. daft_biker

    daft_biker Action Man!

    David, am I right in thinking your printing skills in all mediums is likely to have improved over the years? I would expect your prints to be better now than when you had less experience.

    My prints from pro film printed on Fuji crystal archive paper by a decent lab knock spots off everything I've ever seen come off any home printer. (I really don't like inkjets BTW)
  18. Per

    Per Well-Known Member

    A very interesting result indeed - thanks Damien.

    I voted 'film' myself and expected to be in the minority, but perhaps we've all (David included) made too many assumptions about digital take-up based on the sheer amount of advertising, digital product and volume of 'help' queries in forums like this.

    Perhaps there are a lot of quiet(ish) and happy film users out there!

    I judged my answer on what people who've seen my prints say - and big prints from colour neg win. I'm trying to scan for 'best of both worlds' but the computer time is time I don't have, and the complexities of different sharpening techniques alone is bewildering. I'm not yet happy with results from the computer, so 'film' it is, for now.
  19. MickLL

    MickLL Well-Known Member

    A poor attempt at humour because there seemed -to me at least - a slight inconsistency.

    I may have altered the post given time but I'm supposed to be 'helping' SWMBO and couldn't spare the time :).

    I'll signal attempted jokes in future because I'm not too good at them - just as I was not too good in the darkroom!

  20. Lounge Lizard

    Lounge Lizard Well-Known Member

    You can do if you so wish.

    Maybe also compare all cropped sensor dSLR cameras with APS cameras as well. That might be going a bit too far and could be considered as splitting hairs. I'd be happy to compare digital compacts with APS film compacts even though they have a major film format/sensor size disparity and compare film SLRs to APS-C size sensor dSLRs. My classification seems to rely more on market sector/use rather than film format/sensor size.

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