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Thread: Digital vs Film (re-anact)

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    Default Digital vs Film (re-anact)

    Some guy just wanna have fun comparing digital versus film.
    In fact, he had so much fun that he decided to rope in National Geographic....

    Link to dpreview post

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    again? sigh been reading it since the cp950 came out...
    Film vs Digital...
    well take it this way, if there's even a "versus" it means that each has their winning advantages. why versus? shd be suitability to purposes.
    Last edited by denizenx; 17th February 2002 at 05:05 PM.
    "I'm... dreaming... of a wide... angle~
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    That's what I mean about clients being difficult as being the main reason not to jump over. Hats off to National Geographic, and I know several sports agencies (for example Empics) who steadfastly stick to film because of the better quality. Well, different people differ in opinion unfortunately. To say that a D1x shot is only capable of a quarter page is just illustrative of Mr McGeehan's stand. A quarter page in Nat. Geo is about 4x6". That's a resolution of 500dpi. I don't think anyone here can argue that this is well beyond human perception, or for that matter magazine repro. But his practical reasons of power supply are very valid.

    On the other hand, there are equally renown magazines like Sports Illustrated that are happy to run D1x images full spread. Anyone who tells you a D1x can't even fill an A4 page is just sticking to standards that are not required. The difference between the two if any between the two mediums at that size is negligible, if at all, that you would surely need a side by side comparison to set them apart. How many people scrutinise magazine pictures? And if you used a magnifying glass to see the full 500dpi (which won't exist) you'd sooner see the colour halftoning patterns...

    I really rate National Geographic as a magazine, and I don't really care if they use film or digital to get their pictures as long as they do. Nor do I have an issue with Mr McGeehan. Unfortunately there are many people who, mistakenly or not, think the same way about digital and as I expressed in another thread, are the main object to going fully digital. And why I own 35mm, MF and LF film systems as well.

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    Default Re: Digital vs Film (re-anact)

    Originally posted by Shadus
    Some guy just wanna have fun comparing digital versus film.
    In fact, he had so much fun that he decided to rope in National Geographic....

    Link to dpreview post
    someone help me out here....is it really true Nat Geo only use slides for their magazine reproduction?

    did Jodi Cobb, in photographing the geishas in their dress room use slides? Or did Sam Abell use slides for his Australia cattle ranch shoot? David Alan Harvey in Spain uses slides too? somehow i don't think so! David Doubilet uses slides underwater? (this one i'm really not sure of the format used....negs or slides?)

    with all due respect to NatGeo, i think the only reason why they stick to film is because of their photographers - they are major celebrities in their own right, with firm personal beliefs, and are allowed their choice of equipment, which i'm sure the picture editors wouldn't argue with.

    These pple get wat they want, when they want it, to accomplish their mission. These pple dicate the choice of equipment used, NOT some desk bound research guy concerned about magazine reproduction quality!

    pple like Sam Abell, David Alan Harvey especially, are Leica users. Getting them to use a conventional SLR is tough enough, let alone use a digital camera The amount of change required of them to change format is enormous, and their preferences exert a lot of influence over wat gets used.

    it's difficult for NatGeo to switch to digital - only cos of their high profile photographers. In newspapers, photojournalists have less say over their choice of equipment. They use watever is given to them. I would venture to say, operations and workflow are more efficient at news agencies than National Geographic.

    do i at least make some sense?
    David Teo
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    wow. Finally some excellent feedback!
    Thks guys!

    Can extract one more opinion from both of you? What do you guys think of the dynamic range of your D-SLR? Or do you particularly take this into account whenever you're shooting?

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    You can get the dynamic range of digital SLRs quite easily from review sites such as dpreview.com. Personally, I know what my camera can or cannot capture. At the low ISOs digital SLRs are very good, with performance decreasing towards the higher ISO sensitivities. While it does lag behind film, particularly negs and B&W negs, the difference in real world terms is for me not a factor, as the scenes that do exceed CCD but not film are rare.

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    Default Re: Re: Digital vs Film (re-anact)

    Originally posted by Red Dawn


    someone help me out here....is it really true Nat Geo only use slides for their magazine reproduction?

    did Jodi Cobb, in photographing the geishas in their dress room use slides? Or did Sam Abell use slides for his Australia cattle ranch shoot? David Alan Harvey in Spain uses slides too? somehow i don't think so! David Doubilet uses slides underwater? (this one i'm really not sure of the format used....negs or slides?)

    with all due respect to NatGeo, i think the only reason why they stick to film is because of their photographers - they are major celebrities in their own right, with firm personal beliefs, and are allowed their choice of equipment, which i'm sure the picture editors wouldn't argue with.

    These pple get wat they want, when they want it, to accomplish their mission. These pple dicate the choice of equipment used, NOT some desk bound research guy concerned about magazine reproduction quality!

    pple like Sam Abell, David Alan Harvey especially, are Leica users. Getting them to use a conventional SLR is tough enough, let alone use a digital camera The amount of change required of them to change format is enormous, and their preferences exert a lot of influence over wat gets used.

    it's difficult for NatGeo to switch to digital - only cos of their high profile photographers. In newspapers, photojournalists have less say over their choice of equipment. They use watever is given to them. I would venture to say, operations and workflow are more efficient at news agencies than National Geographic.

    do i at least make some sense?
    Doubilet uses slides. I think. The larger prints of his works got some grain. As are the others. Look at the big prints in the Top 100 book. Anyway, why do you not think slides are usable in such situations? It's no different from shooting digital.

    The digital vs film debate is pointless. There just isn't a good way to fairly compare them, each got its merits. And if it gets the job done, who cares?

    Regards
    CK

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    Sin
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    Default Re: Re: Digital vs Film (re-anact)

    Originally posted by Red Dawn


    it's difficult for NatGeo to switch to digital - only cos of their high profile photographers. In newspapers, photojournalists have less say over their choice of equipment. They use watever is given to them. I would venture to say, operations and workflow are more efficient at news agencies than National Geographic.

    I wouldn't venture to say whether operations or workflows are more efficient based on choice of equipment. Do bear in mind that the quality of newsprint are vastly different from glossy magazines.

    I probably wouldn't declare outright that the concerns over quality at Nat Geo is irrelevant either. Compared to regular magazines, one will notice that Nat Geo is printed at a higher quality in terms of paper and print quality. I can't really compare Sports Illustrated since I don't really read it, but comparing the print quality between Nat Geo and say, Outdoor photographer, one should be able to discern a difference between the two magazine's quality.

    Differences in reproduction quality in different medium requires different resolution. For example, a newsprint needs much less than regular magazines, magazines needs less than some books, whereas artbooks will need much more over a regular glossy.

    Don't really know what quality Nat Geo is printed at, but I surmise that it should be rather high. True that most of use do not scrutinise the pictures in Nat Geo, but there are those who have gotten used to the high quality over the mag's long history. So I wouldn't call a desire to continue production quality as just personal bias. With the status that it has today, is it really just another magazine?

    Thanks

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    to expand the newspaper point, our ST is actually prone to using scaled up pix grabbed from the net...
    "I'm... dreaming... of a wide... angle~
    Just like the ones I used to know~"

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    Default Re: Re: Re: Digital vs Film (re-anact)

    Originally posted by Sin


    I wouldn't venture to say whether operations or workflows are more efficient based on choice of equipment. Do bear in mind that the quality of newsprint are vastly different from glossy magazines.
    read my previous point carefully. i said operations and workflow are more efficient at news agencies - this has nothing to do with whether quality of newsprint are better or worse.

    ok...i admit made a somewat irrelevant point in this issue of reproduction quality of film vs digital ;P

    Still, while we're on this workflow issue, i have something to say. Images are transmitted direct back to base, and syndication of content is vastly streamlined because each image contains IPTC information (at least, in the REAL pro news agencies like AP), which enables sorting, searching and easy archiving of images. These images are not only produced in the papers; they will probably be reused in magazines, books, websites etc.....

    remember Sep 11th 2001 - images shot by news photographers appear not only in newspapers, but also in current affairs magazines, photo books, books commemorating the event etc etc...........

    did the quality of the photos suffer in those magazines and books because there were digital? did not those images appear as full page / double page spreads? or is NatGeo setting some self inflicted high standards for magazine reproduction?


    Compared to regular magazines, one will notice that Nat Geo is printed at a higher quality in terms of paper and print quality. [rest of comment snipped]
    i basically agree with u that different mediums require a different quality of input files.

    Now the qn is, does a 60 to 80 meg file scanned from a negative / slide necessarily contain MORE detail and GREATER sharpness than a file from a 6 megapixel digital SLR? it does not, in digital prints using Fuji Frontier machines, nor does it outperform in conventional prints.

    now i'm not an expert in magazine printing processes, but if at 10 x 15 a digital fine art print is cleaner than a print scanned from slides / negs, than i would hazard a guess that it should look better too in magazine prints printed on the same high quality paper NatGeo uses.

    i'll be happy to be corrected, since i am no expert in the publishing industry.
    David Teo
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    Originally posted by denizenx
    to expand the newspaper point, our ST is actually prone to using scaled up pix grabbed from the net...
    this point is irrelevant. If ST doesn't care about reproduction quality (and i'm not saying they don't - i don't want to generalise), it doesn't mean all news agencies don't value reproduction quality.

    in the book the Associated Press's Guide to Photojournalism, it was acknowledged that the rate of adoption of digital technology is slowed not so much by the fear of readers rejecting the quality of the images, but by the issue of news agencies trying to maintain the high quality standards that they have set for themselves.

    the perception that photojournalists and picture editors don't care about image quality is wrong. Ask Jed. He's a photojournalist of sorts
    David Teo
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    Originally posted by Shadus
    wow. Finally some excellent feedback!
    Thks guys!

    Can extract one more opinion from both of you? What do you guys think of the dynamic range of your D-SLR? Or do you particularly take this into account whenever you're shooting?
    sorry Shadus, i kinda forgot to reply this one.

    i have to admit i never actively think about the dynamic range of my DSLR when shooting. i don't consciously worry about it, cos i try to worry more about shooting in good light - and that means avoiding obviously problematic situations like strong backlighting (unless i want sihouette effects), high contrast situations (unless i'm aiming for a contrasty scene).

    i do know, that my camera is not so forgiving for overexposure, just like slides. I try my best not to overblow highlights in important areas (certain highlights u can blow - how much detail do u want in a shining street lamp?).

    the D30 has EXCELLENT shadow detail retention capability, and i make full use of that. By exposing for important highlights, i can bring up the shadow areas in photoshop later. And before anybody cries foul, this has been done in black and white processing for eons. The same processing options are now offered in the digital darkroom, and i don't see why i shouldn't make full use of that.

    thus, i feel that i never have to worry about the fact that my DSLR has a lower dynamic range than say, negatives or black and white film. in fact, i feel i have more resultant dynamic range than film, when u factor in techniques and tricks like shooting in RAW, double exposures, post processing etc etc..............

    so, no i don't worry about dynamic range.

    (as an aside, I do worry, however, about Canon's implementation of ETTL in the D30 - that flash can severely overblow the white dress of the bride in wedding shoots if the preflash locks onto the black suit of the groom - a constant worry for me whenever i shoot weddings.......)
    David Teo
    View my work and blog at http://www.5stonesphoto.com/blog

  13. #13

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    See, guys, if you shoot planning to eventually use the image in black and white, you don't have to worry about dynamic range. In fact. most of the time I severely increase the contrast and slash the dynamic range to achieve the effect I like.

  14. #14
    Sin
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    Default Re: Digital vs Film (re-anact)

    Originally posted by Red Dawn


    read my previous point carefully. i said operations and workflow are more efficient at news agencies - this has nothing to do with whether quality of newsprint are better or worse.

    ok...i admit made a somewat irrelevant point in this issue of reproduction quality of film vs digital ;P

    did the quality of the photos suffer in those magazines and books because there were digital? did not those images appear as full page / double page spreads? or is NatGeo setting some self inflicted high standards for magazine reproduction?

    Now the qn is, does a 60 to 80 meg file scanned from a negative / slide necessarily contain MORE detail and GREATER sharpness than a file from a 6 megapixel digital SLR? it does not, in digital prints using Fuji Frontier machines, nor does it outperform in conventional prints.
    I'm not the one to argue for quality of Digital vs Film. Heck, if I can afford a digital SLR, I'll go for one too. So yeah, if the quality of digital is superior, all the better for us.

    My ONE and ONLY point in the post was to point out that Nat Geo is not necessarily less efficient using just the choice of equipment as a basis of comparison. Choice of equipment and adoption of technology is not the only factor to efficiency. If the process for a company has worked for them and continues to do so, who is to say which is better?

    Certain considerations were left out in the argument, which if presented, might give the reader a more informed view of why a certain publication chooses one method/process/workflow from another. For example, magazines work with a longer deadline compared to the daily deadline of the newspaper, so the work process of a newspaper might not be necessary or better for them. (the speed of digital certainly beats film)

    Also, there are also publications that go beyond the basic CMYK in printing. I don't know if Nat Geo is one of them. But in certain cases when faithful reproduction or special requirement is needed, additional colors are used apart from the basic four in the printing process to bring out a wider range of colors. This might not be relevant, but I have read previously that CMYK seperation is unable to reproduce certain colors correctly. (Again, am not making any statement about whether digital is good enough to capture all colours. They may very well be able to, but unless rigorously tested and color balanced, no one can know for certain. Whereas for some photographers who has used the films for sometime, they know which gives the best approximation to reality, ceteris parabus (sp). So might it not be more "efficient" for the editor and photographer to use what he knows? )

    There are definitely many other more factors to consider, which I won't ever have thought of. Am sure some of the pros here, like Jed, can bring out much more.

    Just want to clarify that I'm not debating whether film or digital is better. But we should refrain from making guesses seem like fact by making statements based on assumptions (even if those assumptions are pretty logical or close to reality)

    My only aim was to ensure that we are not led into the blanket fallacy that technology adoption equals efficiency. What taste good for one man might not be palatable to aother.

    And in closing, give me a D1x anytime!

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    Default Re: Re: Digital vs Film (re-anact)

    Originally posted by Sin

    My only aim was to ensure that we are not led into the blanket fallacy that technology adoption equals efficiency. What taste good for one man might not be palatable to aother.
    okay.....very reasonable. point taken!
    David Teo
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    Sigh. Yes, agencies and newspapers use IPTC information. It's got to the stage where I can almost go to sleep and input IPTC information... it's quite frightening when I think that I'm better off inputing my own information at pitchside and continuing to shoot when necessary, as opposed to getting some new guy to tech for me...
    Yes newspapers do give a consideration to image quality. But their prime consideration is not image technical quality, but the visual content of the picture. And I believe they've got this one spot on. Both as a PJ and as a photographer.

    Agencies have to cater for different uses as well. Such as magazines, etc. So they do bear quality in mind wherever possible. As mentioned, certain sports agencies such as Empics, whether erroneously or not, stick to film in the quest for quality.

    BTW, Shadus, check out the silhouette shot in the Newcastle Races thread. That was untweaked, and there is detail in the shadow, in a situation which is probably as wide as you're likely to encounter in normal shooting.

    As for Sin's post, I'll get to it once I get hold of a copy of Nat Geo and can scrutinise it.

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