Jump to content

Favorite Digital Camera for Film Lovers?


bags27
 Share

Recommended Posts

Advertisement (gone after registration)

Two years ago, I essentially gave up digital and returned to film and the darkroom. Loving it; no regrets.

But anticipating having to send off my Mamiya 7 for a CLA, I decided to do a little digital again. M10 has not been very satisfying. I just snagged a Sigma DP2-Merrill off ebay and wow. All its "notorious" constraints and challenges remind me of film and of course the image quality is astonishing. And it's supersmall.

What digital cameras appeal most to other mainly film photographers?

Edited by bags27
Link to post
Share on other sites

Well I can't qualify as a mainly film photographer but I prefer the aesthetic of film to digital and enjoy its imposed constraints and challenges. The Fujifilm X-Pro3 lets you pick a film simulation, tweak it to preference, shoot in jpeg only then close the back and stay away from chimping. You can also store 7 film stocks in C1-C7 and they give pleasing results. Digital grain and some negative clarity goes a long way.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm more a digital photographer dabbling in film. I'm doing so much stuff for other people, mainly with the SL2-S and Sigma fp, that I have dipped my toe back in the film water for light relief, both Leica M and large format. My CL remains my digital of choice for casual family, social and travel to please just myself - light, small, capable, simple, versatile. I have never pursued the highest levels of reprographics (detail, sharpness, colour perfection) for its own sake - responding to the image content and composition is everything as far as I'm concerned, so it doesn't worry me that the CL is not at the bleeding edge of digital imagery, as long as it keeps out of my way - which it does.

Link to post
Share on other sites

These past couple of years I've done mostly film but I'm still happy with my M9 and of course it has the non negligable advantage of sharing lenses with my MP.

I also use a Fuji XPro-2 (also has an M mount adapter) for some photography (catwalk mainly) but not so much anymore.

I was toying with the idea of getting a Hasselblad 907x but tbh right now I'd be much more excited to go back to my panoramic film roots and get my hands on a Shen Hao 6x17 :)

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

3 minutes ago, Doug A said:

An easy choice - my iPhone X. It's always with me, and I often use it as my light meter for shooting film.

I used to use the light meter app, too, but I'd usually forget to turn it off, and it drains the battery as if I had the phone's camera on. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Advertisement (gone after registration)

5 hours ago, bags27 said:

 

What digital cameras appeal most to other mainly film photographers?

I’ve been on a lengthy pursuit of trying to find a digital camera that gave me an output that pleased me as much as film (which for me would mean a B&W darkroom print, or a drum scan of either E6 or B&W).

I’ve used M analogue, Mamiya 7, Hasselblad 501cm, and 5x4 over the years.

The M240 certainly didn’t get me the look I wanted (and bolting on a M 50 APO, hoping for improvement over my Mandler 50mm Summicron v5, made it worse for me). The SL2 and SL 50 APO was smoother in colour gradation, but still too much acuity for me. 

So I got a Fuji GFX100S after selling my SL2. I think the medium format sensor is smoother in rendering and with deeper colour tonality than the 35mm full frame, and all combined that has helped remind me much more of film.

Other than that, to my eyes, the images off the  Monochroms can feel like they’re less processed and have very smooth tonal depth (due to less interpolation from the absence of the Bayer filter?), so I think the images can look more “natural” - and so they can remind me of film. Highlights in bright sun is a problem there still, but in shade I think the Monochroms are compelling.

Btw I also once owned the DP2 Merrill - I ultimately ditched it because of the RAW processing software, but the colour depth there really is wonderful. In addition to the colours (the DP Merrill images almost pop out of a computer screen like E6 on a light table), perhaps it’s due to lack of Bayer interpolation that helps give the look that I like?

But anyhow, in summary, it’s the smoother and deeper tonality look off digital medium format that generally appeals most to me as someone whose heart is with film in terms of look, but wanted the convenience of digital too. Whilst I have the GFX100S, I was also impressed by the less digital look when I used a Hasselblad X1D etc.

Link to post
Share on other sites

4 minutes ago, Jon Warwick said:

I’ve been on a lengthy pursuit of trying to find a digital camera that gave me an output that pleased me as much as film (which for me would mean a B&W darkroom print, or a drum scan of either E6 or B&W).

I’ve used M analogue, Mamiya 7, Hasselblad 501cm, and 5x4 over the years.

The M240 certainly didn’t get me the look I wanted (and bolting on a M 50 APO, hoping for improvement over my Mandler 50mm Summicron v5, made it worse for me). The SL2 and SL 50 APO was smoother in colour gradation, but still too much acuity for me. 

So I got a Fuji GFX100S after selling my SL2. I think the medium format sensor is smoother in rendering and with deeper colour tonality than the 35mm full frame, and all combined that has helped remind me much more of film.

Other than that, to my eyes, the images off the  Monochroms can feel like they’re less processed and have very smooth tonal depth (due to less interpolation from the absence of the Bayer filter?), so I think the images can look more “natural” - and so they can remind me of film. Highlights in bright sun is a problem there still, but in shade I think the Monochroms are compelling.

Btw I also once owned the DP2 Merrill - I ultimately ditched it because of the RAW processing software, but the colour depth there really is wonderful. In addition to the colours (the DP Merrill images almost pop out of a computer screen like E6 on a light table), perhaps it’s due to lack of Bayer interpolation that helps give the look that I like?

But anyhow, in summary, it’s the smoother and deeper tonality look off digital medium format that generally appeals most to me as someone whose heart is with film in terms of look, but wanted the convenience of digital too. Whilst I have the GFX100S, I was also impressed by the less digital look when I used a Hasselblad X1D etc.

I agree that the Hasselblad renders wonderfully, as does the Leica S. Both have their own challenges, as of course do Foveon cameras.

I have the GFX-R, which I used mainly for scanning MF negatives (it can be got quite inexpensively, now that it's been discontinued). I've thought about moving either to the Panasonic S1R (also now discontinued) or the GFX100S, which would give a tremendous amount of information, especially with pixel-shifting (how much of that information is useful is another matter). I just don't know whether pixel-shifting will make that much difference.

I guess if I had to choose one and only one digital camera for everything, it'd be the Hasselblad. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

6 minutes ago, bags27 said:

I agree that the Hasselblad renders wonderfully, as does the Leica S. Both have their own challenges, as of course do Foveon cameras.

I have the GFX-R, which I used mainly for scanning MF negatives (it can be got quite inexpensively, now that it's been discontinued). I've thought about moving either to the Panasonic S1R (also now discontinued) or the GFX100S, which would give a tremendous amount of information, especially with pixel-shifting (how much of that information is useful is another matter). I just don't know whether pixel-shifting will make that much difference.

I guess if I had to choose one and only one digital camera for everything, it'd be the Hasselblad. 

I certainly think the pixel shift on the GFX100S can make a difference in very fine detail, mainly by eliminating the digital artefacts from the interpolation that owes from the Bayer filter. It’s that cleanliness of pixel shift images (no false colour, no moire) that I think adds to the apparent resolution, noting of course it’s still the same megapixels underlying the sensor. For the right subject matter (ie, completely static), it’s incredible …the file opens up as a 78”  wide print at 300dpi!!

For something like a hugely detailed landscape when there is no movement …..something like the view from Le Brevent across to Mont Blanc on completely still day …I expect the pixel shift will be incredible to eliminate any false colour or moire that could occur from the very distant rocks and tiny pine trees in the otherwise vast mountain landscape.

That said, the 100mp sensor is already great as a starting point!.

In my personal opinion, the pixel shift on the GFX100S isn’t as user friendly compared to the S1R or SL2, however, the latter cameras having a mode that can help offset movement of the subject, and also the S1R and SL2 create a single RAW file “in camera” that is super convenient compared to dragging in all the Fuji Raws into a PC a for processing. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

I have a Canon 5D (classic or Mk1) which I use with R lenses. It's quite basic as digital cameras go and whilst image quality is excellent, you know if you raise the ISO above 400 you're going to get grainy images, so it's a lot like using my R3 in that sense. I mostly keep it at IS0 100 or 200. Also as the LCD is small and low res I tend not to chimp very much.

Link to post
Share on other sites

For the last four years I have mostly shot film, but after experimenting with comparing my DP1 Foveon with the output of slide film in my R8 I decided to experiment with an SD Quattro for colour. Then I decided I loved the black and white output as much as the colour and now I'd say it handles 95% of all my photographic output. There are some similarities with using slide film (exposing for highlight detail) but its flaws - low iso, dreadful AF, poor SA mount lens availability and hideous battery life are very much individual to the camera. I wouldn't swap it for anything now except for low light work, street photography and medium format, but even the latter I suspect would suffer in comparison with a Quattro H, which I think would be next.

I've come to the conclusion that if I wanted a very compact digital camera I'd get a better phone!

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

6 hours ago, Charles Morgan said:

For the last four years I have mostly shot film, but after experimenting with comparing my DP1 Foveon with the output of slide film in my R8 I decided to experiment with an SD Quattro for colour. Then I decided I loved the black and white output as much as the colour and now I'd say it handles 95% of all my photographic output. There are some similarities with using slide film (exposing for highlight detail) but its flaws - low iso, dreadful AF, poor SA mount lens availability and hideous battery life are very much individual to the camera. I wouldn't swap it for anything now except for low light work, street photography and medium format, but even the latter I suspect would suffer in comparison with a Quattro H, which I think would be next.

I've come to the conclusion that if I wanted a very compact digital camera I'd get a better phone!

 

I, too, have been tempted by the Quattro H. I'm resisting buying SA lenses, however, because of my fantasy that an L mount FF Foveon will appear in the next 18 months.

Walking around with the DP2 Merrill for just the past 3 days, I've seen the world differently. Even the least photogenic scene now has great potential. And, like you, while I love Sigma's "color science," I convert almost all photos to B&W (I do it in Photoshop). The amount of information the 80+ mps 16-bit TIFFs contains is incredible, and allows for, not only an enormous range in tonality, but the kinds of harmonies of form that B&W MF film renders. Well, at least sort of.

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

It's an odd question to me, at least. I use digital the way I fill in an online form when there is no option to fill and use a favourite fountain pen with Waterman purple ink. Ignoring my phone and iPad, I have two digital cameras qua cameras. The original Olympus OM-D E-M5, used with a 100-300 zoom (200-600 in FF terms) for incidental wildlife, of which I am surprised to see so much from my windows since I had to quit work. I do have a lot of Nikon F lenses for the F6, so it made sense on selling the Flextight X1 to back up my Nikon 9000 with a D850 for scanning negatives if the 9000 dies. It might get used a bit for similar jobs with the 200-500 when we move to the new house, as there are otters in our lake.

The Digilux 2, M8, M8.2, M9 and original Monochrom are long gone, as are a number of PanaLeica P&S cameras. I'll pretend that I miss them if you like.😉

Link to post
Share on other sites

30 minutes ago, chrism said:

It's an odd question to me, at least. I use digital the way I fill in an online form when there is no option to fill and use a favourite fountain pen with Waterman purple ink. Ignoring my phone and iPad, I have two digital cameras qua cameras. The original Olympus OM-D E-M5, used with a 100-300 zoom (200-600 in FF terms) for incidental wildlife, of which I am surprised to see so much from my windows since I had to quit work. I do have a lot of Nikon F lenses for the F6, so it made sense on selling the Flextight X1 to back up my Nikon 9000 with a D850 for scanning negatives if the 9000 dies. It might get used a bit for similar jobs with the 200-500 when we move to the new house, as there are otters in our lake.

The Digilux 2, M8, M8.2, M9 and original Monochrom are long gone, as are a number of PanaLeica P&S cameras. I'll pretend that I miss them if you like.😉

Chris--while I have 3 digital cameras, I didn't think about any of them as "active". It's only when I got the DP2-Merrill as a whim (#4 digital) that I thought "wow"! This is worth packing. In fact, I haven't traveled abroad with film in what seems like forever and don't know whether I'm inclined to do that. Probably take the M10, though I'd love to sell it, as it's still worth a lot.

But the biggest "loss" I feel is what you alluded to: birding and other such uses of a tele. I'm not wild (pun alert!) about what I see from the Sigma 150-600 L mount. But it would be so easy to use with my CL. I wish the L mount had something as good as the Nikon 200-500....

Good luck with the move!

Link to post
Share on other sites

9 hours ago, bags27 said:

Chris--while I have 3 digital cameras, I didn't think about any of them as "active". It's only when I got the DP2-Merrill as a whim (#4 digital) that I thought "wow"! This is worth packing. In fact, I haven't traveled abroad with film in what seems like forever and don't know whether I'm inclined to do that. Probably take the M10, though I'd love to sell it, as it's still worth a lot.

A friend of mine, an absolute film fanatic, was very worried about taking film on holiday because of the new scanners. He decided to pack his DP1 Merrill and get film processed locally while away. Such was the output of the DP1 that he preferred that all holiday. 

I'm ambivalent about Sigma achieving an L Mount Foveon camera. I should welcome the arrival, but actually I'm not sure I particularly want to go down yet another system rabbit hole, with everything to be bought new. When I tot up what I've spent on the SD Quattro with 30mm f1.4 Art, 17-70mm f2.8-4 and the 10-20mm f3.5 I've still had change out of £1000. At my time of life buying depreciating digital assets has little appeal, and I suspect the temptation to buy Leica L glass would be overwhelming (and heavy).

Link to post
Share on other sites

11 hours ago, Charles Morgan said:

A friend of mine, an absolute film fanatic, was very worried about taking film on holiday because of the new scanners. He decided to pack his DP1 Merrill and get film processed locally while away. Such was the output of the DP1 that he preferred that all holiday. 

I'm ambivalent about Sigma achieving an L Mount Foveon camera. I should welcome the arrival, but actually I'm not sure I particularly want to go down yet another system rabbit hole, with everything to be bought new. When I tot up what I've spent on the SD Quattro with 30mm f1.4 Art, 17-70mm f2.8-4 and the 10-20mm f3.5 I've still had change out of £1000. At my time of life buying depreciating digital assets has little appeal, and I suspect the temptation to buy Leica L glass would be overwhelming (and heavy).

I can well understand the reluctance. I can't imagine I'd buy any Leica L lenses at this point. I've been holding on to 2 TL lenses, thinking they might work in cropped mode.....

Link to post
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

I sold a superb M6 and with the proceeds cycled through a Sony RX1R, X100F and a M262-MD. All had good aspects, but flaws in my opinion. The M262 was possibly the biggest surprise because I thought it would be “the one”. Unfortunately the fat body after a film m felt like too much of a compromise.

so… I also purchased a Ricoh GR with the ASP-C sized sensor straight after the M6 sale. It was a revelation. I had had the film GRs in the past but the lens quality, speed and ergonomics of the digital GR was addictive. It was also inconspicuous and didn’t need gaffa tape to be stealthy. I would recommend the GR for any one that just wants to enjoy shooting and likes, or is willing to try, a 28mm FOV.
 

I have a x100v for sale on eBay at present, same size as my M2, but it doesn’t inspire me to shoot like the M2 or GR.

Link to post
Share on other sites

My Fujifilm X100F is fixed to aperture priority at F:2, OVF and film simulation: Acros with yellow filter - and then I let the camera decide the rest.

I works and gives a better experience than with any other digital camera I have owned - probably because of the optical viewfinder, but I honestly don't enjoy it as much as when I shoot film. 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...