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Article: The Real Resolution of Film vs. Digital

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In this article, the author makes the claim that "A digital camera would have to be 156 megapixels to give you the same kind of detail as 35mm film." 

 

That may be true from a technical point based solely on counting line pairs; in my experience,  it does not seem to translate in terms of printed image quality.

 

Thoughts?

 

http://istillshootfilm.org/post/114131916747/the-real-resolution-of-film-vs-digital?utm_content=buffer55d85&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

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It didn't take very long in the scheme of things for the early debate of 'when will digital equal film?' to be superseded by the question of 'why use film?' and them to the current discussion of 'aesthetic quality' between film and digital. As such the article is from another age and the film/digital debate should be about the emotive and aesthetic qualities of using one over the other, the resolution thing is for photographic cavemen to prod with a stick before hopefully declaring it dead.

 

Steve

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I never understood this debate, not even in 2004.

 

People photograpging a newspaper and then trying to read the news.

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 the film/digital debate should be about the emotive and aesthetic qualities of using one over the other,

 

Steve

 

Exactly, I shoot both because they look different, it doesn't matter which is "better".

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Is 150 line pairs the same as 300 lines? In which case, the 78 megapicels drops to 1/4 or about 20megapixel. Which is backed up by real world evidence. Kodachrome 25 was better than my 16megapixel Panasonic but not as good as a 25 megapixel camera.

 

 

Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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In this article, the author makes the claim that "A digital camera would have to be 156 megapixels to give you the same kind of detail as 35mm film."

 

That may be true from a technical point based solely on counting line pairs; in my experience,  it does not seem to translate in terms of printed image quality.

 

Thoughts?

 

http://istillshootfilm.org/post/114131916747/the-real-resolution-of-film-vs-digital?utm_content=buffer55d85&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

It does not translate in terms of printed quality because it is not true.  That's a bunch of horse manure, and it's being piled on thick and heavy.  Experience told us otherwise long ago.

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As a long time and "only film" user, I cared less about the differences in resolution (claimed or real) and more about WHY I photographed people, things, or landscapes, and more about what I was going to do with the end product.  

 

For me, using transparencies largely meant that when I pressed the shutter release, my "post processing" was done, and, like digital, all that was left was culling out the misfits and keeping the good ones. 

 

Other film users will have differing workflows and end results (B&W, obviously), but I believe we we're in  the same boat on the WHY we press the shutter release, although what happens afterwards depends on the film being used.. 

 

Just the thoughts of a tottering old fool, whose been pressing that shutter release for a very long time.

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Exactly, I shoot both because they look different, it doesn't matter which is "better".

 

so true

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Exactly, I shoot both because they look different, it doesn't matter which is "better".

 

Agreed.

 

There's many different versions of "better."  Which one do people refer to when they say "film (or digital) is better?"

 

They are different, that's all; each has a place at the photographic banquet table IMHO.

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35mm digital has surpassed 35mm slide film in general for quite a few years now. I still scan a few of my Fujichrome 50 slides every week and look at them next to 5D Mk III RAW files (ISO 160) every day. They are different, but I prefer the look of digital files now. 5DSR files are even better. And there is no comparing work flow...  

Edited by a911s

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I don't no about resolution differences, but I think film is much better quality than digital. Digital seems so cold to me. I tried digital for quite a number of years but was never satisfied with the results. Went back to film and am glad I did.

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I deeply believe that any of my good street images wouldn't be good if they were digital.

 

Digital is uninspiring to the point that if I don't use film I simply will not shoot anything.

 

Film's resolution? It's the least important point.

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I use both interchangeably, and while there certainly may be differences, I don't generally really prefer the results of one over the other. I'm personally disappointed that none of the proposed digital solutions for my older film cameras never materialized, as I really like using them....some have been with me for over 50 years.

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The better that digital cameras get, the more their pix (pix is for digits, while pics is for analogs) look "digital"... As they comtinue to develop ("develop" heh heh) I suspect their differences will continue to diverge, and the different "aesthetic" of each will become increasingly distinct.

 

It's not a"ludites creed" as has been attributed to me by some nasty member on another thread ;-). Rather it's along the lines of the different aesthetic that's been noted above. And the preference for the different approach or. Work flow" that goes with it.

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I thought this topic was over 10 years ago and pretty much useless in these days. With size being equal (full frame digital vs 35mm) the resolution of a digital camera is superior than film. I think this was proved in several occasions and I think everyone who is still using both medium in an unbiased fashion can easily find out by looking at his/her images. I still use and enjoy a 4x5 and its resolution is only marginal superior, if E6 and a drum scanner are used, to my Leica S even if the surface of the film is almost 10 times larger than the size of the sensor. A print would prove it. 

 

The point is ... who cares about resolution in such comparison !  Why resolution should be the point of benchmark in comparing film to digital? 

 

The true of the matter is that most of us who still use film, either exclusively or often alongside digital, do use film because we like the look which is different than digital. We may also use film because as matter of fact a view camera/field camera offers movements that no digital system can offer. Or because we like the experience of shooting a 4x5 or because we enjoy shooting with a collectible camera (raise your hands if you use your 1954 M3 because of resolution... be honest.. isn't a matter of enjoying the experience... or the look of the print that is really the driver?). 

 

I don't even think that is right to talk about "quality" being superior for film or digital. It's all a matter of aesthetics ...and you may like it or not. For anyone of you who is fortunate to own a Leitz Thambar 90 from the 30s', think about it... it's a soft lens for portraits that technically would degrade the quality of a picture and results in a low resolution image, yet the aesthetics of the pictures are magic and can be beautiful to your eyes. Resolution and "quality" are not always the right metrics to judge a picture. 

 

Regardless, does it matter which kind of brush Raffaello used for a painting? ... the final result ... the aesthetics of the print is the only thing that matter ... 

 

Happy shooting everyone ... digital, E6, C41, pinholes, 4x5, MDF, full frame.. go and just "make" good printed photographs and hang them on your wall... Cheers.

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To quote from the article: "It captures way more detail than any digital camera can, but this detail cannot be conceived in any measure that can be easily compared with digital. When we zoom into a quality shot taken with film and digital both, we can see the differences clearly; with film you get the finer details of textures that digital will smooth into oblivion while maintaining sharp edges to make us think the image is still sharp."

 

Clearly the author hasn't actually tried a real world comparison when the fine detail is actually essential for a specific purpose. The 'finer detail' commented on simply doesn't exist. I know because I've used both film and digital in situations where fine detail is used to identify the subject and film isn't anywhere near as effective as digital. What still astonishes me is that the 'same old' gets regurgitated when its actually so simple to compare and appreciate film and digital images. Ad at the end of the day I still own film cameras as well as digital because resolution isn't everything by a long way. Sadly this sort of misinformation will no doubt resurface again numerous times.

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I've shot plenty of 35mm and MF film, up to 6x9cm, which is as large as MF goes except for niche panaramic formats, and makes 35mm look like a joke side by side.

 

As far as I can see from real world results, on things with lots of fine details like eyelashes, rather than scientific testing with line pairs, digitial resolves the same amount of detail as a piece of mid-low ISO (100-200) film at least 2x the size. Ie i can pull as much detail out of a 35mm digital sensor as out of a MF piece of film, even one of the larger MF formats. Digital dumps all over equivalent sized film in real-world use in terms of resolved detail.

 

Yes you can scan the film in at crazy resolutions, but when you look at it up close all you really have is a very sharp scan of film grain.

 

I would guess (having shot neither) that a high end medium format back would resolve similarly to 4x5 sheet film, and with 8x10 film still having the edge over anything digital outside of NASA, but it's 8x10 bloomin inches!

Edited by ralphh

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I've shot plenty of 35mm and MF film, up to 6x9cm, which is as large as MF goes except for niche panaramic formats, and makes 35mm look like a joke side by side.

 

As far as I can see from real world results, on things with lots of fine details like eyelashes, rather than scientific testing with line pairs, digitial resolves the same amount of detail as a piece of mid-low ISO (100-200) film at least 2x the size. Ie i can pull as much detail out of a 35mm digital sensor as out of a MF piece of film, even one of the larger MF formats. Digital dumps all over equivalent sized film in real-world use in terms of resolved detail.

 

Yes you can scan the film in at crazy resolutions, but when you look at it up close all you really have is a very sharp scan of film grain.

 

I would guess (having shot neither) that a high end medium format back would resolve similarly to 4x5 sheet film, and with 8x10 film still having the edge over anything digital outside of NASA, but it's 8x10 bloomin inches!

 

In my experience shooting both 4x5 and medium digital with the Leica S, the two are pretty much comparable and depending on a number of factors 4x5 may still have a hedge. I would think that a larger sensor medium format digital system of 60-100MP would out-resolve a 4x5 slide scanned with a good drum scanner. I can't opine on 8x10 since I don't have one, though considering that a film sheet has an area 25 times larger than a medium format digital sensor I would expect 8x10 to still have a better resolution. Personally, I'd love shooting with a 8x10 for the contact printing rather than the resolution, 4x5 is good enough for printing 60x60 inches

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