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Thread: film vs digital

  1. #1
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    Default film vs digital

    Ok First of all, I'm not trying to start a flame war or debate. I'm seeking advice and share my experience. I shoot some of film and digital, but I started (or restarted) photography with digital, and then tried going back to film (slides) for my u/w photography. When I shoot film, I shoot with slides usually velvia or provia and I shoot with an EOS 5 on land, or a Nikonos V underwater. The Nikonos lens I have (15mm) is supposed to be top-of-the-line for U/W photography.

    But when I compare my film and digital photos, the digital photos tend to be sharper, but the colours are not as saturated. I have a minolta dual scan III and have tried scanning some of my slides, both macro and wide, shot with the Nikonos V, the digital ones (underwater) are shot with a 10D and 100mm macro F2.8 lens. Admittedly the 100mm is a difficult lens to beat, but I thought that I would get sharper better, more saturated photos with via the film/scanning process. It turns out that my digital photos are sharper. I blow some up to A2 and A1 size (printed at Grafitti in Adelphi) and they are superb. I've printed some pictures from the slides, 8R size from Ruby, (they scan the slides and prints the scans) and they are all right, but not as good as those shot with the 10D. This conforms with my own attempts to scan the slides on my minolta scanner.

    Can anyone suggest a way to get better results (scanned as well as blown up) from film? Be it taking the photos to a different developer, changing the settings on my scanner, or perhaps changing the technique I am using when I shoot film? I don't have a loupe, but I have a small hand-held viewer that you hold up to the light. The slides look pretty sharp when I look through it, but when scanned, the sharpness seems to be lacking, even after applying USM.

  2. #2
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    Default

    - If this is your personal experience, is there any reason to continue with film? i believe you can get saturated photos from digital with some tweaking.

    - i don't know how proficient you are with the scanner, but have you checked:
    1. that the slides are really flat? Curved negatives/slides are hopeless.
    2. manual-focus the scanner? Sometimes the AF might be off. Try bracketing.
    3. no dust/fungus on your film scanner lens? How old is it?
    4. turn of any noise/grain reducers? These reduce detail a bit.
    5. there is no vibration source on the table when you scan? Eg fan, computer (w fan), printers printing, etc.

    - Can try bringing one of your sharper slides to be commercially scanned and confirm once for all if it's your scanning technique, or if the slide was not all that sharp to begin with.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ST1100
    - If this is your personal experience, is there any reason to continue with film? i believe you can get saturated photos from digital with some tweaking.

    - i don't know how proficient you are with the scanner, but have you checked:
    1. that the slides are really flat? Curved negatives/slides are hopeless.
    2. manual-focus the scanner? Sometimes the AF might be off. Try bracketing.
    3. no dust/fungus on your film scanner lens? How old is it?
    4. turn of any noise/grain reducers? These reduce detail a bit.
    5. there is no vibration source on the table when you scan? Eg fan, computer (w fan), printers printing, etc.

    - Can try bringing one of your sharper slides to be commercially scanned and confirm once for all if it's your scanning technique, or if the slide was not all that sharp to begin with.
    Thanks for the scanning tips. I'm more or less a scanning newbie, and trying to learn about it. The slides are mounted, so they should be flat. The scanner is about 1+ year old (I think, it's second hand, need to check receipt) so I hope the scanner lens has no fungus on it. I need to become more proficient in scanning technique, but I would have thought that if I take the photos to a professional developer, they would be able to get the scanning optimal (or close).

    I can think of 2 reasons for continuing to try for film. 1 is that the colours come out much more vivid on the film. The digital pictures can't match the colours on the film, even though they are sharper. Secondly is that wide angle's are more difficult to get on digital (esp with the 1.6x cropping), and underwater, you really want to be as close to your subject as possible. If your subject is such that you need to back away, the 15mm lens on the nikonos will be better than anything I can get with my 10D. When I go to sangalaki next year, I hope to come across some mantas which will put my lens to good use.

  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by toasty
    Thanks for the scanning tips. I'm more or less a scanning newbie, and trying to learn about it. The slides are mounted, so they should be flat.
    Mounted slides tend to end up more curved because of the mounting. But if that is the case, the slide should look sharper at one pt. e.g(center vs periphery)

    Normally I try not to mount slides before scanning simply because its easier to scan a strip than to individually load mounted slides if your scanner doesn't have a magazine.


    The scanner is about 1+ year old (I think, it's second hand, need to check receipt) so I hope the scanner lens has no fungus on it. I need to become more proficient in scanning technique, but I would have thought that if I take the photos to a professional developer, they would be able to get the scanning optimal (or close).
    Older scanners can get dusty inside which can reduce contrast and perception of sharpness. With the DS3 you should be getting something like a 11MP file of sorts, try more aggressive sharpening routines. You won't be able to match the cleanliness of digital, but sharpness should be close when optimal.

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