Film Vs Digital (not the usual question)

Started Sep 4, 2013 | Discussions thread
Gerry Winterbourne Forum Pro • Posts: 13,743
Re: Film Vs Digital (not the usual question)

cmc1 wrote:

Personal opinion (I'll state that first before keyboard gangsters attack)

The problem is that you've formed this opinion on the basis of total ignorance about half of what you're writing about. I've numbered your paragraphs to show the order you wrote them and then altered the order to clarify the answers.

3 I would be interested to know what widely used techniques were used for processing and what are their modern equivalents?

In fact, virtually every effect produced in digital PP is also done on film. The techniques were, of course, completely different but the results were the same. Look at a lot of the things in Photoshop and they have names that seem a bit odd - that's because the names make sense in a darkroom and the same name has been carried into digital processing.

4 Also, wouldn't it be good if there were modern software that limited digital post processing to the same level as film?

First answer: it already exists. As I said, all the extreme things you dislike about digital are all possible in the darkroom, so your "limitation" wouldn't really limit anything.

Second answer (to the point you thought you were making): this translates directly to "wouldn't it be a good thing if no one was allowed to do things I don't like. This is, of course, arrogant nonsense.

1 I feel at lot of images posted on-line now are over processed

True, but so what?

and not a true reflection of the camera users true skills, abilities or passion for photography.

Well, they probably are a true reflection of the skills etc of the photographer who created them.

2 I am not from the analogue era myself but I know a few people who were trained using film and appear to be far better photographers for it.

I've italicised "appear" because that's what it is - an appearance. Some people trained on film and some of them are good; some are bad. More have learned on digital and some of them are good; some are bad.

Most of the people who learned on film are older and tend not to use the more popular image sites, so there's a natural tendency for the mass of poor digital work to predominate. But that has nothing to do with the relative merits of film and digital.

It's great to see "straight out the camera, no PP" on posted images,

Why? Because you like the words or because you like the images?

As it happens, it's typically harder to get good results straight out of camera using digital than it is with film. Film, by its nature, has a lot of latitude in the highlight tones: this means that if you expose for the mid-tones - so that the overall tonality of the image looks right - it doesn't matter much if the highlights are technically overexposed.

Digital, on the other hand, has its latitude in the shadows: overexpose highlights and they clip, which usually looks pretty nasty. This means it's harder to get decent mid-tones without spoiling highlights.

As long as the light is reasonably uniform and/or you don't have any very bright highlights this doesn't create a problem for digital so there are lots of situations where the OOC shot can - if all the other important things such as subject and composition are right - be great. But get into higher-contrast lighting and digital suffers before film does, which is why the chances of something great OOC are slightly less.

So liking "straight out the camera, no PP" means either that the shots you happen to like were taken in easy light; or that you don't understand how digital photography works. The fact is that a large number of digital photos are taken in difficult light but carefully processed to look natural, but because they do look natural you don't realise that they've been processed.

But can we all agree on the fact that HDR shots SUCK?

No, because many of them don't. It's exactly the point I just made: a large number of digital photos are taken in difficult light ; the more difficult (contrasty) the light the harder, often to needing several different exposures to cover it: which is what HDR means. But when carefully processed in HDR to look natural, simply because they do look natural you don't realise that they've been processed.

I would like to see HDR banned from all serious photography sites along with Instagram type filters.

Well, I'd like to see people banned who want to dictate how I - or anyone else - should process and/or display our photos. No doubt we will be equally disappointed.

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First camera 1953, first Pentax 1985, first DSLR 2006

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