# Thread: Difference in output of digital vs film

1. ## Difference in output of digital vs film

I understand that most labs print negatives on their machines by actually scaning in the negs at 300dpi before printing (eg fuji frontier). which means the end result is essentially limited by the 300dpi scanning. so I was thinking, doesn't that mean film's resolution is meaningless? we know film has a higher resolution than digital files but if both are printed by the same machine at 300dpi, then does that mean film loses its advantage? so disregarding things like noise and all, a standard consumer camera with sufficient pixels to produce 300dpi at the required photo size would still give a pic of the same resolution as a film SLR? Or is there something I"m missing here?

2. May I know where you got the information of the 300dpi thingy? There is not that I heard of, apart from the 4 base and 16 base scanning. Ok, some maths here:

Film is 36mm x 24mm = ~~ 36mm/25.4" x 24/25.4"
(note that 1" = 2.54cm = 25.4mm)

Hence film is 1.417" x 0.9448", meaning the picture output scanned is like less than 600pixels on both sides....... Your information is totally wrong from my understanding given the calculations.....

Anyway, in digital photography we use Pixels Per Inch (PPI) than Dots Per Inch (DPI). It is all about pixels, not dots as in printers.

3. Originally Posted by hoppinghippo
I understand that most labs print negatives on their machines by actually scaning in the negs at 300dpi before printing (eg fuji frontier). which means the end result is essentially limited by the 300dpi scanning. so I was thinking, doesn't that mean film's resolution is meaningless? we know film has a higher resolution than digital files but if both are printed by the same machine at 300dpi, then does that mean film loses its advantage? so disregarding things like noise and all, a standard consumer camera with sufficient pixels to produce 300dpi at the required photo size would still give a pic of the same resolution as a film SLR? Or is there something I"m missing here?
it prints at 300dpi not scans at 300dpi...

4. The only difference I know of is the quality of the prints. Digital prints are not as good as film prints currently, you can see the difference by comparing. One look can tells the difference in quality, until today I still loves the prints out from film SLR.

5. Too many people are confused over the dpi issue.
dpi = dots per inch. Images have no inherent dpi as they are made of pixels. So it's actually pixels per inch (ppi). But this value has no meaning if print size is not specified. So there's no such thing as a "72 dpi image" when you don't specify dimensions.

To answer your question, the Frontier scans the film to get an output resolution of 300dpi. Which means the Frontier will produce a file of 3600 x 2400 from a 35mm negative if you want a 8x12" print.

Anyway, a well shot digital can still match film prints in terms of quality, colour, saturation, sharpness, etc. And that's even if it's a relatively low resolution image (e.g. 3mp, 2mp etc). The lab makes all the difference. Over sharpened digital files will always look digital.

Regards
CK

6. It get more confusing as some image formats store the "dpi" atribute along with the file. Do note that this is simply an attribute like file name, date and time that can be changed without affecting the image.

7. Originally Posted by KNIGHT ONG
The only difference I know of is the quality of the prints. Digital prints are not as good as film prints currently, you can see the difference by comparing. One look can tells the difference in quality, until today I still loves the prints out from film SLR.
I agree with you about the hardcopies from the film SLR. Btw are u using dslr or slr?

8. Originally Posted by jeff49er
I agree with you about the hardcopies from the film SLR. Btw are u using dslr or slr?
OT: Isn't DSLR a SLR just that it's digital?

Regards
CK

9. Originally Posted by ckiang
Too many people are confused over the dpi issue.
dpi = dots per inch. Images have no inherent dpi as they are made of pixels. So it's actually pixels per inch (ppi). But this value has no meaning if print size is not specified. So there's no such thing as a "72 dpi image" when you don't specify dimensions.

To answer your question, the Frontier scans the film to get an output resolution of 300dpi. Which means the Frontier will produce a file of 3600 x 2400 from a 35mm negative if you want a 8x12" print.

Anyway, a well shot digital can still match film prints in terms of quality, colour, saturation, sharpness, etc. And that's even if it's a relatively low resolution image (e.g. 3mp, 2mp etc). The lab makes all the difference. Over sharpened digital files will always look digital.

Regards
CK
Thanx for clarifying the dpi thing, so I presume the plus pt about film is even if you print beyond 8R size you can still get good resolution which digicams can't provide? but won't it still go back to the original prob, which is you're at the mercy of the frontier scanner? ie. it limits the actual quality of your print? and also the fact still remains, if you have a say 5 MP consumer digicam, and you print at 8R, resolution wise the film has NO advantage over the digicam? since when the film is scanned to provide a print of 300dpi, the 5MP file would also have the same resolution?

Side note tho, are BW prints also printed in the same way (when you send it in to the labs to be printed on BW paper) ie scanned digitally then printed?

10. Originally Posted by hoppinghippo
Thanx for clarifying the dpi thing, so I presume the plus pt about film is even if you print beyond 8R size you can still get good resolution which digicams can't provide? but won't it still go back to the original prob, which is you're at the mercy of the frontier scanner? ie. it limits the actual quality of your print? and also the fact still remains, if you have a say 5 MP consumer digicam, and you print at 8R, resolution wise the film has NO advantage over the digicam? since when the film is scanned to provide a print of 300dpi, the 5MP file would also have the same resolution?

Side note tho, are BW prints also printed in the same way (when you send it in to the labs to be printed on BW paper) ie scanned digitally then printed?
In theory, film has a much higher resolution than most 35mm-style digital cameras, but much of the resolution is lost in the grain. The good thing is that you can scan at whatever resolution you want and you are not stuck with 1 single resolution. But beyond a certain limit, you will no longer be able to get more quality out of your scans simply by increasing scan resolution.

Because digital has no inherent grain, you can often print up to sizes much bigger than you can with film. So a good 3 megapixel file from say, the old Canon D30 can already print a nice 10 x 15". I have also printed 8x10 from my very old Coolpix 950 (2mp), a number of other forummers has also done that.

The Frontier has a very, very good scanner, much better IMO than consumer scanners though the resolution is lower. So even with a relatively low res scan, it can still produce very good prints. Actually it does not limit your print quality, coz once you go beyond 300dpi (in print) your eyes can no longer notice the difference. Which means that, while you can probably tell the diff between a 6mp and 3mp when printed to 8x12, the same 2 files printed at 4x6" will probably show little or no difference.

Anyway, the 8x12" @ 300dpi scan which yields a 3600x2400 pixel image is not 5mp but 8.64mp. But if your 5mp (or even lower) image is of sufficient quality, you will be able to yield a very good print despite the lower resolution. Which is what I said above.

Finally, yes, B&W prints will be made via the "scan then print" method if you send to a regular lab. But often, B&W prints made this way are far inferior to B&W prints made the traditional way.

Regards
CK

11. depends on what u are comparing....if u can tell a 4r or even 5r from film vs digital, in the absence of extraneous factors, i think u have super eyes :P

Originally Posted by KNIGHT ONG
The only difference I know of is the quality of the prints. Digital prints are not as good as film prints currently, you can see the difference by comparing. One look can tells the difference in quality, until today I still loves the prints out from film SLR.

12. wah piang... that shatters my idealistic view that film still beats digital any day when it came to 8R and above. well maybe, just maybe film still beats digital cuz the grains are more random (tho digital also has this function now I think, like CMOS) and hence appear more natural.

Ckiang, you sure about the BW? you know those "postcard" kind of prints on BW paper? also scan and print? then why must they send to the big labs to do? isn't it a simple thing of scanning and printing like colour negs too? or is it cuz of the BW paper used so the standard machines aren't compatible?

out of curiosity, is there any place which prints colour negs the coventional good old fashioned way with enlarger and all?

a side note tho: since the fuji frontier prints at 300dpi, so its pointless to buy a very good home film scanner, just get any old one which gives good colours and all but only enuff resolution for 300 dpi prints?

13. Originally Posted by hoppinghippo
wah piang... that shatters my idealistic view that film still beats digital any day when it came to 8R and above. well maybe, just maybe film still beats digital cuz the grains are more random (tho digital also has this function now I think, like CMOS) and hence appear more natural.
Well, we have come a long way.

Originally Posted by hoppinghippo
Ckiang, you sure about the BW? you know those "postcard" kind of prints on BW paper? also scan and print? then why must they send to the big labs to do? isn't it a simple thing of scanning and printing like colour negs too? or is it cuz of the BW paper used so the standard machines aren't compatible?
Yup, at least my regular lab does it that way. It is indeed printed the same way as colour negs. Many labs does it the same way too as far as I know. Maybe they send them out to do it in the "traditional" way?

Originally Posted by hoppinghippo
out of curiosity, is there any place which prints colour negs the coventional good old fashioned way with enlarger and all?
Yes, I am sure there are. But I do not know where. Not sure if they are using enlargers, but most likely labs will use a non-digital printer to do those. Internally in the machine, it's still like the traditional way of using enlarger, developing tanks, etc.

Originally Posted by hoppinghippo
a side note tho: since the fuji frontier prints at 300dpi, so its pointless to buy a very good home film scanner, just get any old one which gives good colours and all but only enuff resolution for 300 dpi prints?
Not true. Remember that it PRINTS at 300dpi. Scanning at 300dpi and printing at 300dpi are two different things. Scanning a slide at 300dpi will not yield a file suitable for printing 8x12" at 300dpi.

Like theITGuy says, a slide/neg scanned at 300dpi will yield a file no bigger than 600pixels widest. When you print this at 300dpi, you end up with a print as small as the neg/slide. If you make it print 4R or larger, it'll look horrid.

To yield a file that can be printed at 8x12" 300dpi (3600x2400 pixels), your film will need to be scanned at a resolution of 3600/1.41 =~ 2553 dpi.

Scanning is also not so straightforward. There are other factors like dynamic range of the scan, scan quality etc, and the better, higher res ones will always be better.

Regards
CK

14. just to add on, scanning ur negative at 300dpi means u can only print a negative-sized print at 300dpi on the frontier....much like good for a contact print size only.

Originally Posted by ckiang
Well, we have come a long way.

Yup, at least my regular lab does it that way. It is indeed printed the same way as colour negs. Many labs does it the same way too as far as I know. Maybe they send them out to do it in the "traditional" way?

Yes, I am sure there are. But I do not know where. Not sure if they are using enlargers, but most likely labs will use a non-digital printer to do those. Internally in the machine, it's still like the traditional way of using enlarger, developing tanks, etc.

Not true. Remember that it PRINTS at 300dpi. Scanning at 300dpi and printing at 300dpi are two different things. Scanning a slide at 300dpi will not yield a file suitable for printing 8x12" at 300dpi.

Like theITGuy says, a slide/neg scanned at 300dpi will yield a file no bigger than 600pixels widest. When you print this at 300dpi, you end up with a print as small as the neg/slide. If you make it print 4R or larger, it'll look horrid.

To yield a file that can be printed at 8x12" 300dpi (3600x2400 pixels), your film will need to be scanned at a resolution of 3600/1.41 =~ 2553 dpi.

Scanning is also not so straightforward. There are other factors like dynamic range of the scan, scan quality etc, and the better, higher res ones will always be better.

Regards
CK

15. ## scanning difference

Originally Posted by theITguy
the 4 base and 16 base scanning
Any Difference between these 2 modes of scanning film besides the resolution?
Do the labs charge different fees for the different modes of scanning?

16. Originally Posted by emollientcolt
Any Difference between these 2 modes of scanning film besides the resolution?
Do the labs charge different fees for the different modes of scanning?
4-Base is roughly 1800x1200, 16-Base is roughly 3072 x 2048 (if I recall correctly. Exact figures may be off slightly).

16-base will be more expensive of coz.

Regards
CK

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