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DSLRs or Slide Film or Colour Negative Film? ;o)

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Anonymous
June 20, 2005 5:25:53 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

What's the real difference between slide film and negative film? And,
to logically expand the discussion a little further, are there any
tangible advantages to shooting digital rather than either of the film
types?

We can easily reach a conclusion at the very beginning! Despite the
fact that the fruitless but understandable Slide Vs Neg Vs Digital
Sensor debate occasionally raises its head in photo forums, there is in
truth no definitive answer that will convince everybody. It's a
matter of choice with advantages and disadvantages built into all three
options.

Various terms are used to describe the inherent properties of film. The
curious amateur photographer will read about exposure latitude, dynamic
range, tonal range and even scenic range. To simplify this diversity
you only need to understand that slide film and negative film respond
differently to the tonal values in the scene you intend to record. Or,
to put it another way, the range of illumination in the scene, all the
way from the darkest shadows to the brightest highlights, will be
handled differently depending on the choice of film. A film's ability
to capture shadow and highlight detail is known as its dynamic range.
Confusingly, slide film has less tonal range than colour negative film
but more dynamic range. Colour negative film's propensity to hold
very good tonal values accounts for its much wider exposure latitude.

Colour negative film has lower contrast properties than slide film and
will cope very well with highlight and shadow detail, perhaps up to
five stops of light: three overexposed and two underexposed. In real
world amateur photography this means that properly exposed fine-grained
colour negative film will capture very good shadow detail while also
retaining subtle tonal gradations in the brighter areas of the scene
- clouds, for example, or sunlit Caucasian skin tones. So, because
negative film copes so well with highlights, before you take your shots
you should try to make sure you've captured as much detail in the
shadows as possible. Colour negative film, with its fine gradations of
tone, is ideal for scanning because there's a lot of useful
information across the range to work with.

However, when compared to slide film, colour negative film's wide
exposure latitude usually means the recorded image has less sharpness,
contrast and saturation - it clearly has less bite! More than that,
the orange mask built into negative film can present unique problems
with consumer scanners offsetting its effects with varying degrees of
success. As a result, getting the best colour balance may occasionally
take a little effort. In the final analysis, however, scanning
techniques and image-editing software can inject punch and zest into
colour negative images and this in turn means more vibrant, appealing
prints.

Positive (slide) film has more lively contrast and vivid colour than
negative film. It also exhibits smoother tonal blends and remarkably
fine grain. It's unfortunate then that it struggles to hold detail in
the highlights, and very dark shadows can be rendered almost black. In
practice it's all too easy to lose significant highlight tones with
slide film, so before exposure it's best to give preference to
brighter parts of the scene, or compensate for the wide range of
brightness by using graduated filters. The slide photographer can also
use common image-editing techniques that impressively expand the
exposure latitude of any scene by combining two or more scanned images.

Digital sensors share slide film's highlight problems but will get
more from the shadows. Shadow retention will be particularly good if
the exposure is routinely pushed just short of blown and unprocessed
data is captured rather than JPEG. If this isn't possible and the
subject being photographed allows for it, two or more images can be
used to substantially expand the range, as mentioned above. Sensor
pixels, or light receptors, wrestle with bright light because their
response to it is not gradual. Instead they peak quite quickly, totally
losing highlight data. Digital camera manufacturers are working on this
problem but the application of their technological advances has been
less than ideal. It's certainly an irritating problem that makes some
digital exposures quite tricky, like shooting slide film, and it's
likely to be an integral part of DSLR technology for quite some time to
come.

Regardless of how you capture an image, it's worth remembering that
tonal information will always be lost in the print. Various techniques
can be used to expand the information in an image, whether it's on
film or created in a digital camera. The result should be a print with
shadow and highlight detail that better reflects the original
manipulated image. An image that has not been manipulated will produce
a print with less apparent dynamic range. This underscores how
important it is to familiarise yourself with image-editing software and
so make proper use of the digital darkroom. A hi-res JPEG image
converted to a lossless format for editing has more latitude than you
might expect and unprocessed data straight from the camera (RAW) will
allow you even more control when necessary.

_________________
For DSLR/SLR Amateurs & Novices
www.theimageplane.net
Anonymous
June 20, 2005 6:00:23 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Real question, what format film?

8x10 Velvia is very nice.


Hello John

Yes! That would be very nice indeed.

My website context is 35mm film (not particularly clear from the long
quote above!). I'd love to get into medium format for landscape
shots...

Maybe some day.
Anonymous
June 20, 2005 7:31:48 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On 20 Jun 2005 13:25:53 -0700, "Sharp Shooter" <theimageplane@uk2.net>
wrote:

>What's the real difference between slide film and negative film? And,
>to logically expand the discussion a little further, are there any
>tangible advantages to shooting digital rather than either of the film
>types?

Real question, what format film?

8x10 Velvia is very nice.


******************************************************

"I have been a witness, and these pictures are
my testimony. The events I have recorded should
not be forgotten and must not be repeated."

-James Nachtwey-
http://www.jamesnachtwey.com/
Related resources
June 21, 2005 2:03:52 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Sharp Shooter wrote:

>
> My website context is 35mm film (not particularly clear from the long
> quote above!). I'd love to get into medium format for landscape
> shots...
>
> Maybe some day.

Today is the time to do it, have you checked medium format prices on ebay
lately?
--

Stacey
Anonymous
June 21, 2005 5:08:01 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Sharp Shooter" <theimageplane@uk2.net> writes:

> What's the real difference between slide film and negative film? And,
> to logically expand the discussion a little further, are there any
> tangible advantages to shooting digital rather than either of the film
> types?

Big workflow advantages in digital, and you save a fortune in lab and
scanning fees. Oh, and Polaroid film costs, too.

> We can easily reach a conclusion at the very beginning! Despite the
> fact that the fruitless but understandable Slide Vs Neg Vs Digital
> Sensor debate occasionally raises its head in photo forums, there is
> in truth no definitive answer that will convince everybody. It's a
> matter of choice with advantages and disadvantages built into all
> three options.

"Convince everybody" is independent of "correct". An answer could
convince everybody but be wrong, or fail to convince everybody and be
right.
--
David Dyer-Bennet, <mailto:D d-b@dd-b.net>, <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/&gt;
RKBA: <http://noguns-nomoney.com/&gt; <http://www.dd-b.net/carry/&gt;
Pics: <http://dd-b.lighthunters.net/&gt; <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/&gt;
Dragaera/Steven Brust: <http://dragaera.info/&gt;
Anonymous
June 21, 2005 12:50:27 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

"Sharp Shooter" <theimageplane@uk2.net> wrote in message
news:1119299153.784239.30600@z14g2000cwz.googlegroups.com...
> What's the real difference between slide film and negative film? And,
> to logically expand the discussion a little further, are there any
> tangible advantages to shooting digital rather than either of the film
> types?


Thank you for this very nicely done summary of important topics.

Dean
Anonymous
June 21, 2005 1:43:32 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Dimitrios Tzortzakakis wrote:
> I have already paid an arm and a leg in labs with my old SLR.If I were to
> save that money,I would have got a dslr with cruise control...

A lot depends on what you shoot most and your workflow requirements
too. I've never been totally convinced that a DSLR is the best option
for many amateur photographers. It's not always quite as
straightforward as you may be suggesting, although I fully understand
where you're coming from. But individual's needs and preferences
differ, and that's the key here. That's why I'm confident 35mm will
never completely disappear. It will get more expensive though...

While there are significant and impressive advantages with the digital
approach, and I have been very thankful for them in some situations
(rather than shootng film), good DSLRs like the 20D are roughly 3 times
the cost of a similarly specified 35mm SLR and you may have to kiss
your wide-angle prime or zoom good-bye.

Beyond this, writing as an advanced amateur with a lot of experience, I
honestly prefer the final results from scanned negative film and
software manipulation to consumer DSLR images. Really! It's an
intelligent choice, even though I'm fortunate enough to own a DSLR too.
(But I intend to be a 100% DSLR shooter when a few things have been
ironed out in the future.) In the context of 35mm scanning, I prefer
colour negative film.

With my chosen style of photography, the true keepers are *a lot less*
than I care to admit sometimes! At the end of the year, as an amatuer,
a modest number of important images won't actually cost a fortune with
film processing and contact sheets from my pro lab(s). If I get two or
three killer shots from a roll I'm doing very, very well, so I consider
my Dimage 5400 scanner a long-term investment. I can scan with total
control over the image, and the 20 MP fine-grained scans that allow for
detailed editing, after manipulation and grain reduction procedures if
necessary, are ideal for prints up to 18x12, with no interpolation
techniques along the way.

In this context, and in general too, debates about Film Vs DSLR miss
the point, because intelligent individuals make their choice based on
their requirements, preferences, assessment of the final prints and
their inevitable financial restraints.

SLR to film processing to contact sheet to 35mm scanner, and finally to
digital prints work for me and represent the best returns for my
investment. Because of this I believe there are many amateurs who have
needlessly stopped using their very capable SLRs and invested in pricey
DSLRs, who shoot hundreds - even thousands! - of more images each year
than ever before but are *still* left with the modest number of keepers
that may make the DSLR, new wide-angle lens, sensor dust frustrations
and smaller images size hard to justify in the first place.

But here's the thing: what suits me will not suit *the amateur* who's
into a street or documentary/photojournalist style of photography. He
or she would certainly have radically different workflow requirements
and would be able to benefit from DSLRs and loads of memory cards!

IMO, if you're thinking of moving to DSLR, stop and mull the whole
thing over carefully from every possible angle. Don't just consider the
DSLR advantages in isolation - they may not be enough against where you
already are.

For SLR/DSLR Amateurs & Novices:
www.theimageplane.net
Anonymous
June 21, 2005 2:05:02 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

Thanks Dean for the kind comments. Appreciate it!
Anonymous
June 21, 2005 8:27:52 PM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

I have already paid an arm and a leg in labs with my old SLR.If I were to
save that money,I would have got a dslr with cruise control...

--
Tzortzakakis Dimitrios
major in electrical engineering, freelance electrician
FH von Iraklion-Kreta, freiberuflicher Elektriker
dimtzort AT otenet DOT gr
? "David Dyer-Bennet" <dd-b@dd-b.net> ?????? ??? ??????
news:m2fyvcnsxq.fsf@gw.dd-b.net...
> "Sharp Shooter" <theimageplane@uk2.net> writes:
>
> > What's the real difference between slide film and negative film? And,
> > to logically expand the discussion a little further, are there any
> > tangible advantages to shooting digital rather than either of the film
> > types?
>
> Big workflow advantages in digital, and you save a fortune in lab and
> scanning fees. Oh, and Polaroid film costs, too.
>
> > We can easily reach a conclusion at the very beginning! Despite the
> > fact that the fruitless but understandable Slide Vs Neg Vs Digital
> > Sensor debate occasionally raises its head in photo forums, there is
> > in truth no definitive answer that will convince everybody. It's a
> > matter of choice with advantages and disadvantages built into all
> > three options.
>
> "Convince everybody" is independent of "correct". An answer could
> convince everybody but be wrong, or fail to convince everybody and be
> right.
> --
> David Dyer-Bennet, <mailto:D d-b@dd-b.net>, <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/&gt;
> RKBA: <http://noguns-nomoney.com/&gt; <http://www.dd-b.net/carry/&gt;
> Pics: <http://dd-b.lighthunters.net/&gt;
<http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/&gt;
> Dragaera/Steven Brust: <http://dragaera.info/&gt;
Anonymous
June 22, 2005 12:07:46 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

On 21 Jun 2005 09:43:32 -0700, "Sharp Shooter" <theimageplane@uk2.net>
wrote:

>Dimitrios Tzortzakakis wrote:
>> I have already paid an arm and a leg in labs with my old SLR.If I were to
>> save that money,I would have got a dslr with cruise control...
>
>A lot depends on what you shoot most and your workflow requirements
>too. I've never been totally convinced that a DSLR is the best option
>for many amateur photographers. It's not always quite as
>straightforward as you may be suggesting, although I fully understand
>where you're coming from. But individual's needs and preferences
>differ, and that's the key here. That's why I'm confident 35mm will
>never completely disappear. It will get more expensive though...

Neither Tintype nor colloidal have disappeared, so I would say it's
pretty safe to say 35mm will be around for a long time! :-)
>
>While there are significant and impressive advantages with the digital
>approach, and I have been very thankful for them in some situations
>(rather than shootng film), good DSLRs like the 20D are roughly 3 times
>the cost of a similarly specified 35mm SLR and you may have to kiss
>your wide-angle prime or zoom good-bye.

There are several ways to describe costs of digital vs film.
Yes, DSLRs are more expensive to buy that film SLRs.
However, as the number of photos taken rises, the cost of ownership of
the DSLR drops quickly, and shortly crosses that of the film DSLR.
My Digital Rebel/300D's cost of ownership is already far less than
that of my Konica FT-1 Motor (yeah, I know...).
And the buyer will need to understand that problem with the wide angle
thiong,and decide accordingly. Such trade-offs are always present when
comparing technologies that reach the same end goal.
>
>Beyond this, writing as an advanced amateur with a lot of experience, I
>honestly prefer the final results from scanned negative film and
>software manipulation to consumer DSLR images. Really! It's an
>intelligent choice, even though I'm fortunate enough to own a DSLR too.
>(But I intend to be a 100% DSLR shooter when a few things have been
>ironed out in the future.) In the context of 35mm scanning, I prefer
>colour negative film.

There's nothing wrong with that.
Film and digital are different; exact comparisons are impossible.
Personal preferences are what we need to go by.
>
>With my chosen style of photography, the true keepers are *a lot less*
>than I care to admit sometimes! At the end of the year, as an amatuer,
>a modest number of important images won't actually cost a fortune with
>film processing and contact sheets from my pro lab(s). If I get two or
>three killer shots from a roll I'm doing very, very well, so I consider
>my Dimage 5400 scanner a long-term investment. I can scan with total
>control over the image, and the 20 MP fine-grained scans that allow for
>detailed editing, after manipulation and grain reduction procedures if
>necessary, are ideal for prints up to 18x12, with no interpolation
>techniques along the way.
>
>In this context, and in general too, debates about Film Vs DSLR miss
>the point, because intelligent individuals make their choice based on
>their requirements, preferences, assessment of the final prints and
>their inevitable financial restraints.

Exactly!
>
>SLR to film processing to contact sheet to 35mm scanner, and finally to
>digital prints work for me and represent the best returns for my
>investment. Because of this I believe there are many amateurs who have
>needlessly stopped using their very capable SLRs and invested in pricey
>DSLRs, who shoot hundreds - even thousands! - of more images each year
>than ever before but are *still* left with the modest number of keepers
>that may make the DSLR, new wide-angle lens, sensor dust frustrations
>and smaller images size hard to justify in the first place.
>
>But here's the thing: what suits me will not suit *the amateur* who's
>into a street or documentary/photojournalist style of photography. He
>or she would certainly have radically different workflow requirements
>and would be able to benefit from DSLRs and loads of memory cards!
>
>IMO, if you're thinking of moving to DSLR, stop and mull the whole
>thing over carefully from every possible angle. Don't just consider the
>DSLR advantages in isolation - they may not be enough against where you
>already are.

Excellent advice! :-)

>
>For SLR/DSLR Amateurs & Novices:
>www.theimageplane.net

--
Bill Funk
replace "g" with "a"
Anonymous
June 22, 2005 9:44:05 AM

Archived from groups: rec.photo.digital (More info?)

What is the difference between an orange, a banana, and an apple? What do
they have in common?

Although digital seems to turn the film business sour (see Kodak's move out
of B&W paper!), it does not mean that those technologies are not
complementing each other. Like fruits, you may not always want to eat the
same one ;-)

For many serious amateurs and pros, the move to digital is just simply
"forced" upon them.

Gregor
!