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Old 03-26-2019   #81
shawn
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olifaunt View Post
This is all speculation:

I think bad scanning complicates things. The Capitol film picture posted here seems like a bad scan so it is not helpful. At that size you really shouldn't see any visible grain in a good scan of hp5-400 film, which I assume it is. My normally exposed and developed trix-400 doesn't show grain viewed at that size; I have to magnify it to see grain.

One big difference with digital I find is that, for example, in negative film there is always detail in whites. By this I mean very slight tonality variation even in "blown-out" areas. If you magnify a good scan you can see it not as grain itself as such, but rather as slightly larger textures comprised of slight variations in grain density, which gives slight tone variation at a larger scale than the grain. One doesn't usually pick up these variations consciously (it might just look like even white) but it jumps out to me when it is lacking, as in blown areas of digital photos, or even non-blown smooth areas.

If I look carefully with my eye at the clearest blue sky, for example, my brain might smooth it over (nothing to see here folks) but if I pay attention to what my eye actually sees, is not even, there are slight local random tonal variations. Some of it may well be small variations in moisture and air density. Some of these variations are probably real effects of local variation in optical properties of the air - this is after all why stars flicker at night and the best telescopes have to be put in space or very high elevations. But part of it is also noise in the visual system (look at a white screen background and at least I see a slight dancing blotchiness of superimposed visual noise). Digital smoothing usually gets rid of this, but why doesn't the eye add natural-looking visual noise for smoothed areas in digital pictures? I think the eye does add this noise, but the visual noise is too large a scale to look natural for a screen-sized picture, so a photo of the sky looks too smooth. Turning off noise reduction in digital will often help a little for this problem.
As far as the grain in the capital building why would the scanning make it that much more prevalent? I haven't noticed big differences in grain between my scanners though I haven't really gone looking for that either. I find bigger differences in grain based on developing than scanning. Or it could be processing of the scan... sharpening making it stand out.

As far as tonal variations in white areas I think that is a couple of things. First, obviously film handles highlights very differently than digital if you overexpose. If you clip digital it is gone. Second, tonal curves are pretty different between the two. There are processing options that can change the look of a non-clipped digital file in the highlights by changing the tonal curve or adding contrast to the highlights.

Lastly, I think digital files just tend to be brighter than film overall which changes the proportions a little. Underexpose digital a little and leave more highlight room and files tend to look more 'organic.' One of the things the Acros mode in Fuji's seem to do is meter a little differently and leave more room in the highlights. Likewise shooting a Fuji in forced DR400 mode has a tone curve that seems a little closer to film.

Shawn
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Old 03-26-2019   #82
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Originally Posted by Ronald M View Post
Any bozo can make digi photos and they can be acceptable. A decent darkroom mono print is an acquired skill mastered by only a few.
So goes the myth.
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Old 03-26-2019   #83
Bruno Gracia
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I like these guys doing digital b&w:

https://www.instagram.com/johanwindle/

https://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]


And I'm trying to find one I found few months back using Fuji cameras, just amazing.
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Old 03-27-2019   #84
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Quote:
Originally Posted by giganova View Post
I went around the corner to the Capitol and took nearly-identical shots: digital vs film!

One with the Fuji X-T3 and one with a Minox 35 on HP-5. Very light touch in Photoshop for both, no cropping. I shot with the Fuji in color (Provia profile) and converted it to b&w in Photoshop, then another one with the in-camera monochrome profile (Acros profile). The differences are very subtle, so I post the one with the Acros profile here.

Judge for yourself:

Fuji X-T3:

Minox 35 on HP-5:
The first picture (the digital) is also better composed -- much better, actually, with the vertical element happening on the righthand vetical third. The film "version" is framed slightly too far to the left, which disrupts the balance of the entire image. i also prefer the first image for that reason, but not because it is digital. I do not particularly like grainy film images (especially "landscapes"!!!).
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Old 03-27-2019   #85
retinax
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Quote:
Originally Posted by olifaunt View Post
This is all speculation:

I think bad scanning complicates things. The Capitol film picture posted here seems like a bad scan so it is not helpful. At that size you really shouldn't see any visible grain in a good scan of hp5-400 film, which I assume it is. My normally exposed and developed trix 400 or portra 400 don't show grain viewed at that size.
Yes, that's grain aliasing. Happens when the scanner doesn't resolve the grain, but it does throw densities of individual pixels off. Then it's often compounded by sharpening. I wonder why people try to make a point with film scans that don't show what the negative holds at all. What I've been trying to say is: If the aim is making an image like this, with a lot of essentially digital artifacts, that's easy to make from a digital capture as well.

Quote:
Originally Posted by olifaunt View Post
One big difference with digital I find is that, for example, in negative film there is always detail present in whites and you can see it in a good scan as slight tonality variation even in "blown-out" areas. If you magnify a good scan you can usually see some grain even in the whitest whites (meaning they are not "blown" as in digital), but I am not talking about this grain itself but rather slight variations on a larger scale in the grain density, which gives slight tonal variation. One doesn't usually pick up these variations consciously (it might just look like even white) but I tend to notice when it is not there, most obviously in blown areas of digital photos, but also in other smoothed areas of many digital photos. Not all digital photos...
True, I also much prefer that. But I don't see why it couldn't be faked in digital. Don't some plugins use actual images of grain as an overlay nowadays? Adjusting for how grain should look in dark/bright parts of the image shouldn't be too hard? Getting this grain pattern on paper in the darkroom consistently is hard work, too, especially when there are highlights if different densities on the negative.
Quote:
Originally Posted by olifaunt View Post
Even the clearest blue sky, for example, is not smooth in real life - there are slight random local tonal variations. Some of it is the actual sky - after all, stars flicker at night because of constant random fluctuations in optical properties of air - and some is randomness in the visual system. I think film either reproduces this or has very slight random variations in texture that looks like this. Most digital photos I see have this NR-ed out of existence.
Here on this planet the sky is definitely very very continuous in color when/where devoid of clouds, and I don't see why digital wouldn't capture it if it were otherwise. But film grain/dye clouds does look nice on a sky. If it is actually resolved, like on a good scan or a sharp wet print.
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Old 03-27-2019   #86
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sorry for answering this late..
yes large format is equally unnatural and overdetailed.. when i talked about film i thought about 35mm -and i dont wear glasses nor recent eye testing suggested i need them... maybe its just my brain that simplify picture that comes into it so i see film as more close to my mental picture-who knows... i just know i never saw good black and white from digital-never ever-always weird plastic look and just dull grays and digital way of dealing with nuances, plus too sharp detail... maybe its that disbalance between superior detail and inferior shades of grey (because its not continuous as analog but simply digital 0 and 1) is what makes it unnatural. film is not better but more balanced-like some golden average in all aspects...
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Originally Posted by retinax View Post
Hmm motion picture aside, if you can see less detail in nature than in digital images in web resolution on a computer screen, you might need (new) glasses. Or are we talking about oversharpened detail that throws itself at the viewer? That's not inherent in the medium. It's a given that w.r.t. detail smaller digital formats look more like typical medium format film. Do larger film formats look equally unnatural for you? In any case, getting rid of detail is easy. Lens selection, digital blurring and fake grain in pp... I have little experience with simulating grain, but matching the grain aliasing from medium resolution film scans like in this thread is easy. These seem to be separate points from Olifaunt's who said it's not about the grain, though. And he talked about skies, so not about detail either.
I'm not sure why I as a film user find myself challenging arguments against digital here, I guess I want to hear the right arguments for film (and that the look can't be replicated digitally is't it IMHO), vagueness goes against my grain (ha!), as does when people don't fully explore the possibilities of the medium before judging it. Hope I'm not driving this thread further toward the dreaded film-vs-digital-debate.
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Old 03-27-2019   #87
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I think this thread should now be moved to the "film vs digital" area rather than Photography General Interest.

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The Sky Is Difficult
Old 03-28-2019   #88
willie_901
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The Sky Is Difficult

Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
...

Here on this planet the sky is definitely very very continuous in color when/where devoid of clouds, and I don't see why digital wouldn't capture it if it were otherwise. But film grain/dye clouds does look nice on a sky. If it is actually resolved, like on a good scan or a sharp wet print.
Skies are interesting subjects. They can be heterogeneous even when clouds aren't visible to the eye. In digital photography skies cause confusion.

In digital images the brightest, clearest sky will render with photon noise even at low ISO settings with perfect exposure. I have read comments from new digital camera owners where they suspected their camera was defective since they saw noise when pixel peeping a bright sky. One of the most common errors in digital photography is to unintentionally clip the blue channel when a bright sky is in the scene. At low levels this will result in a color cast. If there is insufficient bit resolution, then there will be color banding artifacts. Color banding is caused by excessive JPEG compression. Contour banding occurs when 8 bit rendering results in color quantization which creates false tonality differences. Coincidently, photon noise dithers color quantization errors which reduces banding.

There is no fundamental reason digital images can't render aesthetically excellent sky regions.

Film has issues with skies as well. Film grain always produces spatial uncertainties. Low grain film produces the least amount of spatial uncertainty, but it is never zero. Any aspect of film production, development, or printing that results in density fluctuations greater than 1% will resulting perceived luminance banding. There is no fundamental reason film images can't render aesthetically excellent sky regions.
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Old 03-28-2019   #89
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Originally Posted by willie_901 View Post
In digital images the brightest, clearest sky will render with photon noise even at low ISO settings with perfect exposure.
Would that be because for the green and red pixels, it's a low light situation?
Otherwise yes, sky issues are common but not that hard to avoid.

Quote:
Originally Posted by willie_901 View Post
There is no fundamental reason digital images can't render aesthetically excellent sky regions. [...]
There is no fundamental reason film images can't render aesthetically excellent sky regions.

Exactly.
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Old 03-28-2019   #90
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I have many digital and film cameras. Leica M, and Pro Nikons. F2 Nikons and M6 are fun and my skill comes out in the darkroom. Digital is nice for color and cookbook mono.

Any bozo can make digi photos and they can be acceptable. A decent darkroom mono print is an acquired skill mastered by only a few.
Couldn't disagree more!! I've got prints from the darkroom and from inkjets up on my walls both are equally beautiful.... Total myth
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Old 03-28-2019   #91
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decent darkroom mono print is an acquired skill mastered by only a few.
Isn’t that statement also true when making the photograph?

My coach and mentor could make beautiful, artistic and saleable photographs no matter what tools he used.

It’s not the tools but it’s the person using them that’s most important.
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Old 03-29-2019   #92
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retinax View Post
Would that be because for the green and red pixels, it's a low light situation?
Yes. Blue clips first.

Bright cloud regions can clip too. Pure white means equal amount of R, G and B. But if those regions are bright and white, low-level clipping with CMOS sensors is harmless (clipped regions render as white!). As overexposure increases, CCD sensors will exhibit blooming artifacts well before CMOS sensors.
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