Film Vs Digital (not the usual question)

Started Sep 4, 2013 | Discussions thread
CharlesB58 Veteran Member • Posts: 8,974
Re: Film Vs Digital (not the usual question)

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

I feel at lot of images posted on-line now are over processed and not a true reflection of the Camera users true skills, abilities or passion for photography.

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

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

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

First let me say that one reason why somebfilm era photographers may be better as a result of it is simple economics. If I fill up an 8gb cf card it only costs a negligable amount of electricity to edit and process the hundreds photos.

When I was first learning photography 35 years ago shooting and processing a roll of Tri-X ran me less than $3 dollars if I used my own darkroom. I shot mostly K64 for color. With processing that worked out to about $10 a roll of 36 exposures. I had to make each shot count. When your budget only allows for 7 rolls of Tri-X & 3 rolls of K64 for a vacation, you learn to expose and compose very critically. As it is, I am still dumbfounded by people who say the took 2500 photos during a 2 hour trip to the zoo and claim only a couple dozen keepers.

As for film methods and digital "equivalents": I used a agitation schedule with Tri-X that was intended to increase edge sharpness of the grain. It made the grain a little more noticeable but also boosted tje microcontrast so the overall apparent sharpness of the photo increased. This would relate to using high pass sharpen filter in digital.

B&W papers came in various contrast grades as as well as some tweaking done depending on the chemicals used. This would equate more or less to curves adjustment in digital.

As mentioned, many of the adjustments, actions, filters and plug ins are based on film darkroom techniques. We even have plug ins which emulate film. However, these will never truly emulate film for several reasons.

They are simply altering digital data to emulate an analog process.

Unless a negative or transparency is produced and printed using wet darkroom process, the result of modern ink jet, laser or dye sub printing is still a digital process in which a pigment is applied to the surface of a paper, (ok so dye sub not so much) rather than an emulsion. A well done wet process print has a depth and "organic feel" that modern printer process can't quite match.

I'm not saying that wet process is inherently better. But it does look different if you compare it side by side with digital.

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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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