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Film vs. Digital

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I have never really shot with an M8, M8.2 or M9

 

Most people who are still shooting only with film in a Leica are in a similar position.

 

Why do you ask?

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I have shot with M8, M8.2 and now M9.

 

I have been using film in an MP and now M7 for about 5 months or so.

 

I prefer shooting film but I keep and use my M9 regularly.

 

To answer your question, the reasons I prefer shooting film are:

 

Real world issues - no particular order

 

1) Out of focus rendering is more beautiful, especially with fabulous lenses like the 50 lux.

 

2) Using telephoto lenses focussing is much easier and forgiving than using the M9.

 

3) Guaranteed backup stability!

 

4) Ability to scan an image many times if necessary to take the final result in whatever direction I wish. Contrary to what I have read I find that the latitude of exposure in film is unmatched by the M9. I notice this most when I have made an error and under or overexposed, or wish to pick up detail in the photo.

 

5) The ability to try lots of different films is exciting.

 

In my head issues - no particular order

 

1) Not having the facilty to chimp makes me think.

 

2) Not having the facility to blast off shots like a machine gun makes me think.

 

3) Not having the facility to quickly change ISO or film type makes me think.

 

4) When I get negatives or slides back, and then begin to scan them and carefully craft the results I find an attachment to the shots that is just not there with digital. This is irrational but real.

 

The only thing that M9 does that makes me gasp is sharpness - if you want tack sharpness then it's got to be a perfectly focussed M9 shot. The rest of the time I prefer film.

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Actually - to expand on point 4 in above - when I recover detail and push the exposure on an underexposed M9 shot the result always looks un-natural and false. When I scan an underexposed negative the higher contrast and saturation caused by the underexposure just looks beautiful.

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Film results look better, by my standards and taste.

 

Being able to see the result in 1.5 seconds has no value for me.

 

The pin sharpness from digital images is not very important to me. The organic look that comes from the film I use is far more important to me. If my pictures are being judged by their sharpness, I have failed. If the "feel" that film exudes did not help create a brief bond between my viewer and my picture, I would move to digital. So far film has been loyal to my goals.

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Hi Everyone,

 

What is this about having to use an M9 to get "tack sharpness"? So much so that it takes your breath away?

 

Erwin Puts's recent tests show clearly that photos taken with the M7 with fine grain film are clearly much sharper than those obtained with an M9. This is hardly surprising since the M9 has only 18.5 megapixels, whereas film can provide the equivalent 50 to 60 megapixels.

 

Where is this often repeated assumption that digital is sharper now than film coming from? Firstly, it is coming from people who have spent a lot of money on their digital cameras so they can be up to date and want to justifly their purchases. Secondly, it is coming from people who use home scanners. These scanners fail to capture a great deal of information that is on the film, and thus make it appear that digital is sharper.

 

If you want "tack sharp" pictures, then shoot fine grain slide film and project your slides on to a big screen. No digital camera avaliable yet from Leica can come close to the the quality you will see.

 

Cheers!

David

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First, the prints. A black and white silver print is a beautiful object.

 

Second, the look of film.

 

Third, the ability to use different films with different characteristics, from Tri-X to Efke KB 25 to Kodachrome (at least for a few more months). There are a lot of beautiful films out there. I find that sometimes a specific film can be a spur to creativity for me.

 

-Laura

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Erwin Puts's recent tests show clearly that photos taken with the M7 with fine grain film are clearly much sharper than those obtained with an M9.

 

To achieve this result, Puts threw away at least 2/3 of the M9's image data. My DMR (10 MP) photos are sharper than my K25 photos ever were, using the same lenses.

 

it is coming from people who use home scanners.

 

The K25 slides were scanned on a drum scanner.

Edited by wildlightphoto

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Shooting film is the only way I can shoot a fm3a, f6, MP, M3, M6, contax T and minolta tc-1.

For me, the only advantages of film are those intrinsic to the film camera.

I have am M8.

I am expecting an M9.

I may not buy any more film.

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I push regularly BW film to speeds, the M8.2 files simply look bad (banding, blown highlights).

Even with heavily pushed film bright lights like street lamps still look beautiful.

 

There is no digital M with 0.85 finder - shooting my M7 with x0.85 with a 50 mm is so much more enjoyable, than with the M8.2, while the 50 is so much more naturally looking at 50mm without the crop.

 

I mostly have the M8.2 with a fast lens and the M7 with ISO3200 BW film with a wider fast lens in the bag. I find film and digital really nicely complement each other - both with different strengths and downfalls.

 

I do for example love, how detailed and sharp M8.2 files come out without having to wait for film drying over night - come bag home, stick card in computer, develop, print - I love that!

 

I do love though, the many different films and looks one can explore with a film body, which does have something over tweaking a setting in some software ;-)

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For me, it was mainly for the romance.

The sense of connectedness with a tradition -- even though I am nowhere near the level of those past masters, using the same tools as they did takes me at least one tiny step closer.

 

The analogue experience in an automated, digitalised world (and not just in photography) is like a respite from the frenetic pace we're now forced to live in, that I choose to step out of it as much as I can... I no longer have a Facebook account, for example. Also, once you get to that slower pace you can better appreciate what life is all about and has to offer. I am a modern day ascetic, I suppose.

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The analogue experience in an automated, digitalised world (and not just in photography) is like a respite from the frenetic pace we're now forced to live in, that I choose to step out of it as much as I can...

 

Analogue photography, to me, is "slow photography" and a welcome break from the on-line world of seeing everything happen in real time; a bit like the "slow food" movement. Although I am very happy with my M8 and a couple of plastic DSLRs, it gives me great pleasure to work with my Hasselblad 500C from time to time.

 

One thing I have observed, is that the proportion of "keepers" is much higher in analogue mode that with digital. I thnk this has to do with the fact that a roll of 120 film only holds 12 frames and that you tend to think twice before pressing the shutter.

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Film vs digital? Brussels sprouts vs spinach. Some like one, some like the other. I don't think it makes any sense to try and find absolute merit in either.

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1) Analogue photography, to me, is "slow photography" and a welcome break from the on-line world of seeing everything happen in real time; a bit like the "slow food" movement. Although I am very happy with my M8 and a couple of plastic DSLRs, it gives me great pleasure to work with my Hasselblad 500C from time to time.

 

2) One thing I have observed, is that the proportion of "keepers" is much higher in analogue mode that with digital. I thnk this has to do with the fact that a roll of 120 film only holds 12 frames and that you tend to think twice before pressing the shutter.

 

1) This can be a factor me too I thought of... but indeed isn't an absolute... sometimes (just in these days, for instance) happens to me to use my M8 without seeing at once at the LCD... quietly looking at it do delete some frame when at home... and of course deciding to make the "darkroom" work when I'll have time and will: that is not so different from film times and rythms.

2) True : the percentage of thrown away frames is higher, not surprisingly, but not disturbing; two years ago I made my last (till now...) 120 film with my Super Ikonta 6 x 9 : the consciousness of having 8 shots only was an impending thought all day long...

 

A person passionate and accustomed to film-darkroom workflow can surely feel nostalgic of such moments (control on development, the moment of first sight to negs, the choice of paper...) but this is a matter of taste , not an "advantage" : of course, a people like above, if unexperienced on digital workflow, will make much better prints from film... but this is only tecnique.

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For me the benefit is shooting film. Just that. I prefer film over digital.

 

I use digital if I need quick results and/or don't need the 'film' quality which I prefer personally.

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Because my MPs still work perfectly, and will probably do so longer than me.

 

I measure pictures by their content, not pixels.

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Film vs digital? Brussels sprouts vs spinach. Some like one, some like the other. I don't think it makes any sense to try and find absolute merit in either.

 

I agree, I know where my sympathies lie and am not anticipating any change in that. They are different mediums with their own nuances, followers and champions. Any debate is really pointless and serves only to confirm one's own opinion.

 

Regards

Charles

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