E-1 compared to Ektar film

Started Feb 8, 2011 | Discussions thread
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E-1 compared to Ektar film
Feb 8, 2011

There was a time when I was quite content with 35mm film but like anyone, have been digitally spoiled since. As my Olympus days started with an E-300 that replaced it, I thought I'd go a little further back in time and buy an E-1. I sensed I'd missed out on a significant experience, the original Olympus objective and 4/3 innovation and wanted to see how it compared with Kodak Ektar 100 color negative film available today. I was especially interested in DR via what scanner I actually use. Resolution wise, there's not much difference but color (WB auto) was an advantage and realistic with the E-1 since film is a fixed kelvin without lens filters. Because I'd enjoyed 35mm film enough and after seeing these results, I thought getting a second E-1 was well justified and would be a rewarding choice. It has turned out to be great and my most enjoyable digital camera since, more than my E-3 (which means an E-5 may be no tough match either).

Last summer I shot a roll using a Nikon FM3A with similar focal lengths and settings. I scanned the negative film on an Epson V-750 for TIFF and processed the E-1 RAWs so that both went through ACR and would yield good color and tones capability. Because the E-1 WB was more accurate, I worked the film scan to try and match. Very difficult unless this is just my short fall in imaging. I mean I'd gain here but forfeit there so these were the best compromises. Resolution wasn't the objective since they're pretty close anyway and film grain does't improve with pixels. I chose the scans that had maxed the 35 mm film out (under 3000 ppi).

Not that I'm into any technical conclusion here other than assuring myself that the E-1 had as much or more to offer. As for sharpness and detail, the lens makes all the difference so this was about color and values only. Certainly, color flexibility was one thing but I also recovered more from E-1 shadows than I could off the film. They were similar with highlights which left me impressed with the E-1 in order to buy another. Maybe a $50,000 drum scanner might recover more values but for my available tools the E-1 does nicely.

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