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Thread: Film better tonal range than digital?

  1. #21

    Default maybe not obsolete but extinct

    I would consider my 20D a disposable camera. 10 years from now or maybe 5 years it will not be in the market anymore and people then might not even heard of this model. And since it is a fully electronic camera, with sensitive parts like the processor and CMOS chip, I think the life span will be much shorter than analog. And much much shorter than mechnical camera. So maybe for short term use....well maybe I am wrong. What do you guys think?

  2. #22
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    Kind of pointless after I read a post in DPreview on Pros using what to shoot. If the customer want Digital you have to shoot Digital so you can deliver the goods. Same thing, if you want to shoot Digital and do not want the time to wait for the development of the Film, then shoot Digital.


    Same thing for me, I want to see slides without using the Lupe or being Projected, so I will be shooting Medium Format (6x8) when I can afford. I do not shoot colour negative at all as I do not have access to how the print is going to be like.

  3. #23

    Default You thought, or you sure?

    Quote Originally Posted by loupgarou
    do you mean the number of stops between the whitest white and blackest black? I thought I read that digital (10D etc) is 11 stops.
    I'm not an expert but your definition of exposure latitude being "the whitest white and the blackest black" may not be totally correct. I could be wrong, or I could be misunderstanding you.

    You thought you read 11 stops? Are you sure? Could you have misread?

    My facts came from respectable photography books. More than 1 source I read have written that digital imaging sensors and slide films have about the same latitude. Colour print films have wider latitude -- about twice.

    Actually, I may have made a small mistake/omission -- B&W print film may have even more latitude than colour print film (I'm not bothered to check the books.)

    If you read about motion picture films from Kodak/Fuji websites, you may see that these films have even more latitude than any film still photographers use (I can't remember the exact figure but its over 10 stops).

    Have you noticed how Hollywood movies look so rich in detail, so life-like, and so similar to human vision? That's film -- 35mm format film!

    Have you seen wedding videos with blown-out whites and detail-less blacks? That's digital.

  4. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by don juan
    I would consider my 20D a disposable camera. 10 years from now or maybe 5 years it will not be in the market anymore and people then might not even heard of this model. And since it is a fully electronic camera, with sensitive parts like the processor and CMOS chip, I think the life span will be much shorter than analog. And much much shorter than mechnical camera. So maybe for short term use....well maybe I am wrong. What do you guys think?
    Tat's one of my reason for NOT using a digital camera...I am not a pro and I can't afford to keep upgrading and changing cameras! Of course, I think there are some rich kids out there are able to do that!
    I use a fully mech camera Leica M6 and it is serving me well for over 4 years and still now I am happy wif it!

  5. #25

    Default Laser may be actually better

    Quote Originally Posted by sumball
    If you really want to compare, shoot in slide. btw, did the ppl in the lab do any adj onto your print, eg color adj etc?

    It is unfair to do the comparison in this manner.

    ANyhow, my personal experience tell me that the digital printout give more punchy contrast, sharpness, and color even shot in film and print using digital machine like Fuji Frontier. But, somehow, it does give "fake" color compare to the print from analog machine using lens instead of laser print.

    I like the natural look of my print which were printed using analog machine.
    Hi sumball,

    I'm not an expert so I may be wrong on all this.

    I use Fuji Frontier at my workplace. I personally print more digital images but less film images on the Frontier.

    I agree with you about the increase in contrast when printing! I use Fuji DSLR (I won't say which one) at my workplace and sometimes get moire pattern. On the monitor, it's not very visible (faint) but in the print, it's more obvious. I arrived at the conclusion of increased contrast.

    I also agree with you about the increase in sharpness. To the best of my knowledge, Fuji Frontier does not "print" photos by exposing the paper to light coming through an enlarger lens. It does this by sweeping a very fine line of laser (which varies its colour) over the paper. It appears you already know that but I'm still explaining it for those who may not know.

    I can't explain this well but lenses may not be able to project/focus an edge-to-edge sharp image on the paper (just like camera lenses) hence laser has a clear advantage. Again, I can't explain this well, but laser will "print" a clearer image with less optical degradation/loss.

    I have had film images shot using cheap Yashica lenses that were printed by Fuji Frontier machine and they look like I used Carl Zeiss lenses! I said "wow" to myself with a wide grin!

    If you mean exaggerated sharpness, it could be because the lab operated increased the sharpness setting in the Frontier software. It is possible that some lab operators do it, especially if they serve a smaller local community where most of their customers could be average everyday people who know nuts about photography and shoot tons of blurred images. However, Fuji or the Frontier manual, may have advised them against doing this.

    As for colour, I haven't really noticed anything unusual (but I could be badly visually handicapped). However, it could be possible that lenses suffer from optical shortcomings such as chromatic abberation (usually in tele lenses) hence some colours may not accurately reach the paper. Laser may not suffer such a problem (or not that I know of).

  6. #26

    Default Absolutely correct

    Quote Originally Posted by theITguy
    Kind of pointless after I read a post in DPreview on Pros using what to shoot. If the customer want Digital you have to shoot Digital so you can deliver the goods. Same thing, if you want to shoot Digital and do not want the time to wait for the development of the Film, then shoot Digital.
    Well said and correct.

    The moral of the story is to use the right stuff for the job!

    If the customer wants digital, give him digital. If the customer wants film, give him film.

    Personally, I would advise him on the merits and flaws of both and let him make an informed decision.

  7. #27

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bwfilm4ever
    I have actually converted from digital to film when I saw some of my friends' negatives and slides especially those medium format and large format ones. Now my S2pro will act like my poloraid cam.
    Haha, welcome onboard! I shoot 4x5 large format on a wooden Wista DX, and I use my Canon DSLR largely as a spot meter and also as a far-cheaper-in-long-term substitute for Polaroid back/film (that I used to test exposure before the final exposure on Velvia). The DSLR also act as 1) Backup for images & 2) Snapshot cam.

    And yes, there is nothing to compare with a 4x5 Velvia in terms of details, tonal range and colour. But there is also nothing to compare with the instant-feedback and low recurring cost of digital.

  8. #28

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jemapela
    I'm not an expert but your definition of exposure latitude being "the whitest white and the blackest black" may not be totally correct. I could be wrong, or I could be misunderstanding you.

    You thought you read 11 stops? Are you sure? Could you have misread?


    It's not entirely false.

    The 10D has 12-bit processing. Meaning the whitest white will have a value (2^12)-1 == 4095, the blackest black will have the value (2^0)-1 == 0.

    Thus the values of each pixel range from 0 to 4095.

    However, the camera records the light linearly. Thus, for a scene 1/2 as bright as the whitest white (1 stop difference), the value recorded will be (2^11)-1 == 2047 (about 1/2 the value of the whitest white).

    Again, another scene is 1/4 as bright as the whitest white (2 stop difference), the value recorded will be (2^10)-1 == 1023 (about 1/4 the value of the whitest white).

    The table below shows the values

    Bit - from value to value
    12 - 2048 to 4065
    11 - 1024 to 2047
    10 - 512 to 1023
    ...
    ...
    ...
    5 - 16 to 31
    4 - 8 to 15
    3 - 4 to 7
    2 - 2 to 3
    1 - 0 to 1

    U can see from there that each bit accounts for every stop difference. Therefore, there is theoratically 11 stops.


    HOWEVER, due to noises, this will not be true.
    For example, noises takes up about 3 bits in the 12 bits (depends on type of CMOS/CCD). This means that the lowest 3 bits contain useless information. So useful information is only recorded on bits 4 to 12 (9 bits). Means 9 stops can be recorded.


    That'll be all for now...



    .

  9. #29

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by don juan
    I would consider my 20D a disposable camera. 10 years from now or maybe 5 years it will not be in the market anymore and people then might not even heard of this model. And since it is a fully electronic camera, with sensitive parts like the processor and CMOS chip, I think the life span will be much shorter than analog. And much much shorter than mechnical camera. So maybe for short term use....well maybe I am wrong. What do you guys think?
    You are right that shelf-life of digital product is shorter than analog's. However, I am seeing a trend of film getting sidelined: in a few more years it may be more costly to buy/develop/print film (as demand wanes) and harder to repair old electronic film cameras (as parts are no longer stocked).

    I am also sure that tonal range and resolution of digital will improve and possibly exceed film's (since film technology has evolved and somewhat stagnated). For example, the latest version of Trix-X B/W film is more or less the same stuff we got 50 years ago that still gives the same problem (e.g. increased grains with push). In the case of digital, I have seen rapid resolution jump, decrease of cost, and ever-improving noise control.

    Anyway, times change, and our discussion will soon be forgotten like the Betamax vs. VHS, LP vs. CD debate.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by AReality
    It's not entirely false.
    <chopped>
    U can see from there that each bit accounts for every stop difference. Therefore, there is theoratically 11 stops.
    The 1DsMkII has been rated by Popular Photography of having about 6.85 stops. Read the current one on the news stand.

    As for your reasoning, I'm afraid it is on the wrong assumption. I can have 2 stops of difference in the amount of exposure latitude and still have all 12 bits or 16 bits used up. They measure different things.

  11. #31
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    Try shooting the 20D in RAW then send the converted jpg to print. The 20D's jpg compression and automatic processing is quite intensive. You loose a lot of detail, range of colors when you go jpg.

  12. #32

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Watcher
    As for your reasoning, I'm afraid it is on the wrong assumption. I can have 2 stops of difference in the amount of exposure latitude and still have all 12 bits or 16 bits used up. They measure different things.
    Oh ya...
    U're right... i messed up a bit...

    Mind explaining to us?
    Last edited by AReality; 3rd April 2005 at 04:51 AM.

  13. #33

    Default It's human to err

    Quote Originally Posted by AReality
    Oh ya...
    U're right... i messed up a bit...
    Hi AReality,

    For a brief moment, I was almost convinced that you were right. (Grin)

    Your explanation appeared to be coincide with the 11-stop hearsay. How did you arrive at it? You sound like an electronic engineer.

    And thank Watcher for mentioning the article in this issue of Popular Photography magazine.

    It's amazing that the DSLR has achieved (if really) over 6 stops of latitude. I hope they included some kind of explanation as to how they arrived at that figure?

  14. #34

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Jemapela
    Hi AReality,

    For a brief moment, I was almost convinced that you were right. (Grin)

    Your explanation appeared to be coincide with the 11-stop hearsay.

    Ok, lemme explain it again...

    Taking a 12-bit A/D converter, (values range from 1 to 4096, assume linear encoding)

    Let's say you recorded a pixel and it's at value 4096.

    Then at another pixel, 1/2 the same amount of light was dropped on it. This means that the voltage recorded relative to the 1st pixel location is 1/2 of that (assume linear encoding). After quantisation, you'll get 1/2 of 4096, == 2048.

    Now at another pixel, 1/4 the amount relative to the 1st pixel is dropped on it. The voltage here will be 1/4 the 1st pixel. After quantisation, you'll get 1/4 of 4096, == 1024.

    So compairing the 1st and 3rd pixel, the 3rd pixel is 2 stops under the 1st.


    To sum up, the A/D converter output is linear w.r.t light input.



    Quote Originally Posted by Jemapela
    You sound like an electronic engineer.
    Computer Engineer.


    .

  15. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by obrag
    Haha, welcome onboard! I shoot 4x5 large format on a wooden Wista DX, and I use my Canon DSLR largely as a spot meter and also as a far-cheaper-in-long-term substitute for Polaroid back/film (that I used to test exposure before the final exposure on Velvia). The DSLR also act as 1) Backup for images & 2) Snapshot cam.

    And yes, there is nothing to compare with a 4x5 Velvia in terms of details, tonal range and colour. But there is also nothing to compare with the instant-feedback and low recurring cost of digital.

    Yeah babeeee... i'm in the same boat as u... i've been lugging my toyo 45c around on a trolley even since i saw what a 4x5 velvia could produce. Thinking of getting a graflex field to bring about since the toyo weighs a TON with all the equipment.

    But oh well... my honest opinion is that though digital will eventually catch up with film, it's certainly going to take quite a while before they can get AFFORDABLE backs to fight with a 4x5 chrome. i've seen digi backs (scan backs?) attached to the horseman 4x5s at work (54 mp and above, costing aroudn the price of a 5 room hdb at holland v) and the colour range and detail cannot be compared to a hunble 645 chrome.

    i still love digital for the ease and convenience, and instant feedback u get which can never be compared with.. but for detail and contrast, film/chromes still rule.

  16. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by bwfilm4ever
    I have actually converted from digital to film when I saw some of my friends' negatives and slides especially those medium format and large format ones. Now my S2pro will act like my poloraid cam. I am a newbie to film and I hope can learn something from here.



    WELCOME!!!

  17. #37
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    Quote Originally Posted by don juan
    Yeah digital gives me punchy and more contrast but.. the colours of grass and
    soil is just so lacking in different green shade(just a constant green). I also understand that my negs are scanned by frontier fuji before prints, therefore I expect in slight loss of quality. But heck, the files from digital images are direct input to the machine without any scanning degrading. Yet the result are still not better than film. I am just wondering what the hell did I get the digital 20D which lifespan might not even outlast the cheapest Canon analog SLR camera.

    Like that one la.. digital... as some one once said, it's becoming almost the same as computer tech... by the time u own it, it's outdated liao... the school i sometimes volunteer in, just dumped a large number of 10ds and d100s for less than 1/4th of their original price with some not even reaching a shutter count of 1k. (approx 500 usd for the 10d, and 700 usd for the d100s) And due to the huge deficit in funding within california thanks to bush and arnold, the photojourn & communications faculty's ironically converting back to the usage of film, as i guess it's cheaper with them having their own printing lab on campus, and a collective sponsorship by fuji. (yay!!)

    advice to u is... don't fret over your "loss" over the digital body... it's simply a tool... u want to invest in photography, concentrate on your lenses. Ultimately, you'd want to concentrate not on the technology, but on your technique. which is to me, is the most impt.

    good luck

  18. #38

    Default

    Add on...

    Why the 1Ds mk2 has 6.85 f-stops range, (my assumption, can't find any data from the net)

    Bit - from value to value
    12 - 2048 to 4095
    11 - 1024 to 2047
    10 - 512 to 1023
    9 - 256 to 511
    8 - 128 to 255
    7 - 64 to 127
    6 - 32 to 63
    5 - 16 to 31
    4 - 8 to 15
    3 - 4 to 7
    2 - 2 to 3
    1 - 0 to 1


    Assume bottom 3 levels are noise (useless information). They are truncated during processing, and won't be read.

    Assume levels 4 to 6 are blacks (the human eye cannot differentiate dark areas, they are considered black by us altough the values are different). These 3 bits are grouped into a single group, to contain the very dark areas, areas we can't really differentiate.

    Now only left levels from 7 to 12 which can contain useful information, and also the group mentioned above. Thus, there will be 7 levels (4 to 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12). These top 7 levels represent the whole range that the human eye can differentiate.

    .

  19. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by AReality
    Oh ya...
    U're right... i messed up a bit...

    Mind explaining to us?
    Without going into excessive science, an equivalent analogy is with sound. The amplitude of sound equals the intensity of light (magnitude)/Dynamic range. But when you encode/digitize/A-D conversion, you can choose 8-bits or 16-bits (commonly). You still encode the amplitude/magnitude but the steps (delta) between each possible representation is greater in the case of 8-bits vs 16-bits.

    This is similar to light as well since it is a A-D conversion. The limit is when the circuits "overflow" then you cannot record it.

  20. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by AReality
    [COLOR=Red]Add on...

    Why the 1Ds mk2 has 6.85 f-stops range, (my assumption, can't find any data from the net)
    It is the current issue of Popular Photography (or one of the mags) where they compared (again) film vs digital. This is inline with many anecdotal quotes on the internet by Thom Hogan (check his site), etc on DP Review. As for 11 f stop DR, the medium format digital backs are advertised in their brocheures to be able to record them.


    Quote Originally Posted by AReality

    Bit - from value to value
    12 - 2048 to 4095
    11 - 1024 to 2047
    10 - 512 to 1023
    9 - 256 to 511
    8 - 128 to 255
    7 - 64 to 127
    6 - 32 to 63
    5 - 16 to 31
    4 - 8 to 15
    3 - 4 to 7
    2 - 2 to 3
    1 - 0 to 1


    Assume bottom 3 levels are noise (useless information). They are truncated during processing, and won't be read.

    Assume levels 4 to 6 are blacks (the human eye cannot differentiate dark areas, they are considered black by us altough the values are different). These 3 bits are grouped into a single group, to contain the very dark areas, areas we can't really differentiate.

    Now only left levels from 7 to 12 which can contain useful information, and also the group mentioned above. Thus, there will be 7 levels (4 to 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12). These top 7 levels represent the whole range that the human eye can differentiate.

    .
    In your example then, what can be read in a 16-bit A-D conversion like in a medium format digital back?

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