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Thread: (black & white) digital vs film

  1. #21

    Default Re: (black & white) digital vs film

    Quote Originally Posted by student
    The reason is this:

    let us say that you are taking a picture of person with a shirt of red and green strips. When you desaturate from color to BW, the green and red will look very similar, rather uninteresting. When I use films, I will accept this limitation and work around it. But when you take in color and then convert using the channels, you can chose to lighten or darken red or green, so the shirt can have more interesting tones.
    If I understand you correctly, you mean you can choose to lighten or darken each individual color channel independently? Thats really awesome. Its time for me to change my mindset. I need to go into digital or be left behind.

  2. #22

    Default Re: (black & white) digital vs film

    You might want to borrow Paul Caponigro's PS book from the library. There is a chapter there on BW conversions and on PS for the photographer. Student's method of converting to BW is similar to his.

    Apart from controlling the curve of each channel, you can also adjust the opacity of each channel, affording you the ultimate in fine-tuning.

  3. #23

    Default Re: (black & white) digital vs film

    Quote Originally Posted by pipefish
    You might want to borrow Paul Caponigro's PS book from the library. There is a chapter there on BW conversions and on PS for the photographer. Student's method of converting to BW is similar to his.

    Apart from controlling the curve of each channel, you can also adjust the opacity of each channel, affording you the ultimate in fine-tuning.
    In short, with DSLR and ps skills, it allows me the possibility of making every shots a perfect shot. A perfect shot that's only limited by composure and framing skills. Amazing.
    Last edited by CMOS; 29th September 2005 at 04:58 PM.

  4. #24

    Default Re: (black & white) digital vs film

    Quote Originally Posted by CMOS
    If I understand you correctly, you mean you can choose to lighten or darken each individual color channel independently? Thats really awesome. Its time for me to change my mindset. I need to go into digital or be left behind.
    No , you won't be "left behind" if you do not go the digital route! It is different that's all.

    In any process, it is knowing the pluses and minuses to make the best use of the process. Some of the greatest BW images are made withthe simplest of equipment.

    Pipefish mentioned Paul Caponigro. Actually Paul John (or is it John Paul) Caponigro. In any case the one mentioned by pipefish is the son of the great Paul Caponigro whom many consider a genius. The father is a pure traditional BW photographer. The son is a digital guru. Let me tell you something. NOTHING the son had produced can come close to the father's work. I will not want to spend time learning from the son. But I wil gladly sit at the foot of the father to earn from him. Unfortunately he does not teach anymore!

    This is my opinion. I have seen the best of digital BW prints, and also the best of traditional silver prints (I have not talked about the platinum process yet!). While the digital prints are good, my reading is that they still do not have the sensuous tactile feeling of a silver print.

    The local photographer, Ken Seet, spent years in the darkroom. He has now moved completely to the digital medium. Well you may say, if it is good enough for ken, it is good enough for me. But do not forget that Ken's skills were forged in the darkroom. And this is the experience of teachers who see the works of photographers who came from the wet darkroom and the works of the pure digital photographer. They are just very different.

  5. #25

    Default Re: (black & white) digital vs film

    Quote Originally Posted by CMOS
    In short, with DSLR and ps skills, it allows me the possibility of making every shots a perfect shot. A perfect shot that's only limited by composure and framing skills. Amazing.
    That statement is completely wrong! See my commens earlier.

  6. #26
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    Default Re: (black & white) digital vs film

    Why don't you download some hi res shots off the net and apply the PS methods discussed in this thread and see if you like the results? No cost method of getting acquainted with the digital workflow.

    The b/w DSLR Student mentioned is the Kodak DCS 760m. A good writeup can be found HERE. A pretty interesting read about a groundbreaking camera which never took off.

  7. #27
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    Default Re: (black & white) digital vs film

    ha ha ha .. reminds me of the debate many years back when vinyl records are confronted by Compact Discs (CDs)

    Analog vs digital.
    Here its chemical vs digital.

    When photography first came about back then, the same debate also took place if photography is better or paintings were better. Would a b&w photograph of Monalisa be better than the painting itself?

    There will also a group that will say this and another will say that. It doesn't really matter.
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  8. #28
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    Default Re: (black & white) digital vs film

    Quote Originally Posted by razor
    ha ha ha .. reminds me of the debate many years back when vinyl records are confronted by Compact Discs (CDs)

    Analog vs digital.
    Here its chemical vs digital.

    When photography first came about back then, the same debate also took place if photography is better or paintings were better. Would a b&w photograph of Monalisa be better than the painting itself?

    There will also a group that will say this and another will say that. It doesn't really matter.
    Was there a point you were trying to make because I don't quite see it. So far it's been a pretty interesting exchange of ideas on the many different approaches to b/w digital photography and nothing like how you seem to characterize the discussion to be.

  9. #29
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    Default Re: (black & white) digital vs film

    Quote Originally Posted by Terence
    Was there a point you were trying to make because I don't quite see it. So far it's been a pretty interesting exchange of ideas on the many different approaches to b/w digital photography and nothing like how you seem to characterize the discussion to be.
    Not really a point, I am just reminicising of the parallels of the past music format changes to the current photography world now. Like many, I ended up having both vinly records and cds and now, in photography, having film cameras and digital cameras.

    Last edited by razor; 29th September 2005 at 05:53 PM.
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  10. #30

    Default Re: (black & white) digital vs film

    Quote Originally Posted by Terence
    Was there a point you were trying to make because I don't quite see it. So far it's been a pretty interesting exchange of ideas on the many different approaches to b/w digital photography and nothing like how you seem to characterize the discussion to be.
    Thank you Terence.

    In a moment I will be leaving for Europe for a meeting. I will be bringing my 4x5 camera with Fuji Acros and also my Olympus E1.

    This discussion is not about digital versus analogue. It begun with some questions by CMOS which I answered as directly as possible. But I felt that CMOS had some concepts that were incorrect, and hence gave my opinions.

    My comments before I log off.

    1 Digital and analogue can both give very good prints. How good the prints are will dependent on the skills of the photographer. It is NOT this or that!

    2 The images made by digital and analogue will always be different. This is inevitable because the medium used to print the images are just very different.

    3 MY OPINION, and this is VERY PERSONAL, I feel that I have yet to see a digital print that have the tactile sensuous nature of a well crafted silver print. If someone wants to disagree with me, it is OK. But I would like to ask if the person had seen a really good black & white print before his eyes? Not some inferior representation on the monitor?

    4 I had read comments from well known photographers and photography teachers (One that immediately come to mind is Arnold Newman who gave an interview reported in Photograhy monthly - I bought that issue for for that interview!). What they said is this. A photographer whi went to digital from traditional have cultivated a way of assessing tones and values. And when they engage the digital medium, they could quickly transfer that knowhow to the digital files. The neotype who starts with a digital process never have that experience. One of the problem with PS is that one always do corrections with no end. With the traditonal prints, the photographer had to make choices, and stop sometime. Because he cannot go on making dozens of corrections. Hence he learnt to judge prints.

    I do not for a moment say that the digitl type cannot learn to see tones. But somethings are best learnt the hard way!

  11. #31

    Default Re: (black & white) digital vs film

    Quote Originally Posted by student

    3 MY OPINION, and this is VERY PERSONAL, I feel that I have yet to see a digital print that have the tactile sensuous nature of a well crafted silver print. If someone wants to disagree with me, it is OK. But I would like to ask if the person had seen a really good black & white print before his eyes? Not some inferior representation on the monitor?
    I feel student has hit the nail on the head here. Before one can begin to make any meaningful comparisons, even just to satisfsy oneself in making choices for oneself, and not as a matter of proving this or that to anyone, one needs a reference point.

    A good B&W fibre print, especially one that has been toned, has unique properties that are unobtainable digitally, or through C41 B&W. Without seeing good examples of it, and many people have not, comparisons and discussions are not very useful.

  12. #32

    Default Re: (black & white) digital vs film

    A big part of why I love the analog process is because of the tactile qualities of a fibre print (Surface texture/paper weight/etc). And like what Student or LKSC said, you need to see a properly printed and toned fibre print before you can compare a digital print with an analog print.

    Where can you find good BW prints in Singapore? Short of asking student to show you his prints, you can go to the National Library at Bras Brasah! Go to the 8th floor (Arts). They have a few books published by Nazareli Press that have real silver prints mounted on the cloth binding. They are small, but will give you an idea of the real deal, plus they were printed by the photographers themselves! I can show you mine too, but they're arty Holga prints, and may not be convincing enough!

  13. #33
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    Default Re: (black & white) digital vs film

    Quote Originally Posted by CMOS
    In short, with DSLR and ps skills, it allows me the possibility of making every shots a perfect shot. A perfect shot that's only limited by composure and framing skills. Amazing.
    wow... if ever Adobe comes out with a version of Photoshop dat can make a bad shot to a great shot, let me know? i'll be the first in line to buy.

    digital or film, nothing changes except the medium. one records in Ones and Zeroes. the other via light-sensitive silver iodide crystal. u still use a light proof box, with a lens on one end and a recording media on the other. u still look thru the viewfinder, u still compose the same way. light and shadows still behave in the same way (tho the way its being recorded is different). the rule of thirds still work the same way...etc.. etc...

    PS is a tool - a digital darkroom, so to speak. it doesn't make a bad pic to a good pic. so, why get so hung up over such technicalities? if u are unsure whether digital is the way for u, stick with film. if u want a taste of digital, get ur negatives drum-scanned and play with it using PS. best of both worlds.
    If Life worked on auto mode then manual mode for photography would have never existed. ― Deeksha Mittal

  14. #34

    Default Re: (black & white) digital vs film

    i wanna thank you all for the discussions. I benefited at lot more (information) than what i was initially looking for.

    I guess I did not phrase my question correctly and hence so much confusion in here. I am new here and I found out that ppl here are very helpful and knowledgeable in photography but at the same time I also realised that a simple question was way over analysed.

    I know DSLR color print can be as good as those from the film and so my original intention was to find out what about b&w quality when comparing to film print? (just like comparing them in color).

    Reason was if I were to spend so much for a DSLR, will it produce an acceptable b&w photo as good as those taken by film camera? I thought there is a clear cut answer where everyone else in here (except me)already knew.

    If I were to find out earlier that DSLR actually cannot take b&w photo directly from the camera (without conversion), then I wouldn't have started this thread at the first place. It all started when I saw my from Canon G1 which has the BW on the dial knob and so I assumed that DSLR also use the same method to take b&w photo. Silly me.

    Anyway, I want to thank everyone here who has contributed so much in this discussion. I really appreciate that.

  15. #35

    Default Re: (black & white) digital vs film

    Quote Originally Posted by CMOS
    In short, with DSLR and ps skills, it allows me the possibility of making every shots a perfect shot. A perfect shot that's only limited by composure and framing skills. Amazing.
    Quote Originally Posted by nightwolf75
    wow... if ever Adobe comes out with a version of Photoshop dat can make a bad shot to a great shot, let me know? i'll be the first in line to buy.
    Quote Originally Posted by nightwolf75
    PS is a tool - a digital darkroom, so to speak. it doesn't make a bad pic to a good pic. so, why get so hung up over such technicalities?.
    I seriously believe you have misunderstood me. I didn't mean that a ps can turn a bad shot into a great shot. If you read my post again, i said "it allows me the possibility of making every shots a perfect shot". What I was trying to say here was that ps can correct color balance, sharpness and etc but the framing and composure of the shot can no longer be corrected.

    For example you can still use ps to sharpen the subject's eyes (if they appeared a bit blur and hence satisfy yourself as a perfect shot) but if you frame the shot without the subject's leg even ps cannot help if later you want to include his leg into the photo.

    Put it this way. When I say "perfect shot" I actually means perfect as to my own standard because you should know by now that in photography world there is no such thing as so called a "perfect shot" to everyone. So long its a perfect shot to you and to your client.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightwolf75
    digital or film, nothing changes except the medium. one records in Ones and Zeroes. the other via light-sensitive silver iodide crystal. u still use a light proof box, with a lens on one end and a recording media on the other. u still look thru the viewfinder, u still compose the same way. light and shadows still behave in the same way (tho the way its being recorded is different). the rule of thirds still work the same way...etc.. etc...
    Frankly I never expect someone here to tell me how film and sensor works but thanks anyway. I started this hobby more than 10 years ago (although I have not ventured into digital) and I know how the film and camera works to a certain extent. And btw this paragraph has no direct link to my question.

    Quote Originally Posted by nightwolf75
    if u are unsure whether digital is the way for u, stick with film. if u want a taste of digital, get ur negatives drum-scanned and play with it using PS. best of both worlds.
    My question was about b&w using DSLR. That's all. I can make the rest of the decision myself whether or not should I stick with film but thanks anyway.
    Last edited by CMOS; 29th September 2005 at 10:04 PM.

  16. #36

    Default Re: (black & white) digital vs film

    heya, I guess it's a matter of objective. surely B&W in digital is possible of being on par with digital. but there's just still some slight variations each.

    but look @ it, if ya're doing B&W in e darkroom and ya're enjoying it. why not just carry on? but if ya're finding it a chore. then it prolly isn't for ya. and that meaning ya don't really mind what ya output can become. isn't it?
    or shall we say that ya're thinking of doing commercial work, of coz analog prolly isn't a good way to kick start unless ya know ya're @ e right zone with e right support for e right market.

    it's simple a matter of objective.
    hobbyist or commercially?

    I'm enjoying e darkroom process, though sometime it can get pretty tiring & nto to mention fustrating. but I still hunger after e possiblities of e output that never fails to amaze me (but still there's e gremlins in e darkroom myth once in a while)

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