Film Vs Digital (not the usual question)

Started Sep 4, 2013 | Discussions thread
CharlesB58 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,976
Flawed premise

You cannot relate film to digital in the way the OP implies. You are starting with a markedly different way in which the image is produced (analog vs digital) as well as a difference in how the image ends up being rendered in its final form of presentation.

Technically, film is not "post processed". At the time of a digital capture, you have a displayable image stored which simply requires connection to some sort of display. With film you have a latent image that in fact does not really exist until chemical processing is applied. That processing can take identical images taken on identical film stock and create vastly different images just in producing the negative or transparency. So many variables: film type (and even the production batch) which chemicals are used, tempurature, time, agitation frequency and method, even chemicals present in the water, can affect the negative or slide.

THEN you get into what would be considered post processing as you work on the print (if that is the final display format). In that regard a whole new set of variables from the type and grade of paper, chemicals(time, temp and agitation again) and type of enlarger are all factors even before things like burning and dodging come into play.

Throughout it all you are dealing with an analog, organic process that involves factors that don't necessarily come into play with digital (such as film grain vs noise) unless using editing features intended to emulate film.

It's not unlike live horns compared to the horn setting on a synthesizer. An experienced musician can hear the subtle difference even if the average person can't.
If, in my lifetime, I will have produced just one image that makes a real difference in the life of another, I will have achieved my highest goal as a photographer.

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