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Digital vs film: which is better?
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periwinkle



Joined: 08 Feb 2003

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 4:25 pm    Post subject: Digital vs film: which is better? Reply with quote

Indytrucks has some really nice shots. Jinju, too.

Lots of shots of Angkor Wat!! I'm impressed that CLG got up at dawn to get some shots!

Too bad I haven't progressesd yet to digital cameras. I've got my trusty Nikon F2, circa 1972 or so. Maybe the contest will motivate me to get with the times....
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indytrucks



Joined: 09 Apr 2003
Location: The Shelf

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 6:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

periwinkle wrote:
Too bad I haven't progressesd yet to digital cameras. I've got my trusty Nikon F2, circa 1972 or so. Maybe the contest will motivate me to get with the times....


Blasphemy! Film has soul. It is organic, living, breathing, not a cluster of electronically generated pixels. Keep using that F2 ... a fine piece of equipment.
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jinju



Joined: 22 Jan 2006

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 6:26 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Film like a sensor is simply a surface for catching light. thats all. Any soul assigned to it is simply nostalgia. Film has no soul, neither does a sensor. What has soul is the image captured on it. Well sometimes it does and sometimes it doesnt, more often the latter than the former.
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rocklee



Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

indytrucks wrote:
periwinkle wrote:
Too bad I haven't progressesd yet to digital cameras. I've got my trusty Nikon F2, circa 1972 or so. Maybe the contest will motivate me to get with the times....


Blasphemy! Film has soul. It is organic, living, breathing, not a cluster of electronically generated pixels. Keep using that F2 ... a fine piece of equipment.


I agree with that. I haven't seen a digital photo that impresses quite like films do.
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indytrucks



Joined: 09 Apr 2003
Location: The Shelf

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 7:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I don't want to get into a film v dig debate. It's pointless. Having said that, here's a brilliantly-written post from a Flickr group I belong to which sums up my feelings about film, digital and Flickr itself to a T, more poignantly and articulately than I ever could.

Quote:
I've been thinking a lot about the idea of getting a single image right. Totally and completely right.
Not just in the taking of it, but also in getting the film exactly and expertly developed with the right blend of chemicals, temp and timing. After that, printing it in a way that it cannot be printed any better.
Ever see that Irving Penn book with all of his test strips and chemistry notes? Something like that. Something where it takes you months or years to get it the way you want it.

Of course, if you're going to invest that kind of time, it had better be a worthwhile image to start with, not only technically, but in being an image that is truly great.

The risk, of course, is that you'll be one of those crazy old guys with a 10x12 view camera who only shoots a single apple in a bowl, over and over, or that painter in Balzac's "Le chef-d'oeuvre inconnu" who keeps repainting and repainting his masterpiece until there's nothing left but a single, perfect foot, down in the corner.

So say that you're extremely talented, dedicated and incredibly lucky and you manage to make such an image without losing your sanity—what then? You scan it and upload it and it probably won't crack the top 100 in Interestingness.

That's because people in general have no taste.

The whole digital experience is better suited to Flickr than film will ever be. Compared to a gallery wall with a dozen master prints, Flickr is a bullet train through the louvre, tripping on acid.

Photography is changing. Moreso than with the introduction of roll film, color film, the Kodak brownie, the Leica, the Polaroid or anything else that came along and changed the rules of the game.

When photography came along, people naturally compared it to painting and lithography and for a while it was mired in trying to mimic painting in composition and subject. Eventually it freed itself and became an art form unto itself.

Digital will eventually forget about film and stop trying to look like it.

You'll have a 50 megapixel phonecam with built-in nightvision HDR and photoshop actions that are downloaded like ringtones. The moment you push the button, it will instantly blast the image directly to your 5,000 closest friends' retinas and upload it to Flickr where it will be the #1 mostest interestingness photo for 1/500th of a second, like all of the others.

This is the twenty-first century. Here in the future, everything eventually approaches the spiraling black-hole singularity that is television. Television is how we know this decline, of course and for now defines it, but it didn't start with the first clang of Chuck Barris' gong, nor with a stadium full of Romans munching peanuts while lions ate Christians, it probably started when cavemen first sat transfixed by a flame in the darkness.

Is there any hope?
No.
There's no way of winning this game, if you care what people think or say about your photos. If you give a shit at all, you've already lost. What people want is a constant stream of super-saturated flowerbug macros flickr'ing by as the sit on their ever-widening asses munching peanuts, saying "woo... pretty..." every time they see orange and blue smeared across the screen.

We're the ones who are in the wrong here, the luddites, the odd ones, the ones who won't move forward. The ones who refuse to play the unwinnable game.
If we had any sense at all, we'd grab our phonecams and head to the flower garden and forget about trying to make images that matter for more than a moment. We lug around "antique" cameras and rolls of film that we will soon have to procure much the same way some people used to get their drugs, all to shoot a mere dozen photos per day, only to spend hours in dark rooms, sweating and breathing in toxic chemicals, staining our fingers and clothes, all to make images that nobody really understands.

If I could do what I want to do with a digital camera, I would. In a heartbeat. I can't, though. I need to slog through all of this, not because the digital cameras don't have enough megapixels or because the new zoom lenses don't have the same bokeh as the old glass, but because it's the only way I know to get what's in my mind and heart down onto a piece of paper.

Of course, if you do it really really well, the payoff is worth it—you achieve immortality and in my book, immortality beats interestingness by a long shot.
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jinju



Joined: 22 Jan 2006

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 7:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

indytrucks wrote:
I don't want to get into a film v dig debate. It's pointless. Having said that, here's a brilliantly-written post from a Flickr group I belong to which sums up my feelings about film, digital and Flickr itself to a T, more poignantly and articulately than I ever could.



Well, theres always something written on flickr. Recently one of henri cartier-Bresson's photos was "Deleted" from a group on flickr called "Delete me!" They trashed it.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrerabelo/70458366

read it yourself. 90% of whats written on flickr is b.s anyway.

You highlited the interesting part for me

Quote:
The whole digital experience is better suited to Flickr than film will ever be. Compared to a gallery wall with a dozen master prints, Flickr is a bullet train through the louvre, tripping on acid.


I agree in part but what I disagree with is the point of his diatribe. Its basically the same old argument: If its on film its art but because its digital, its crap. Dude, film like digital is a technology. Thats all it is. Thats all it ever was. Thats all it ever will be. There is just as much garbage on film as there is on digital. Actually, more accurately, theres just as little brilliance on film as there is on digital. The medium doesnt matter, what matters is the image. What will make an image good is not the film but the photographer's creativity, eye, vision. A good film photographer will shoot good digital photos. A good digital photog will shoot good film images. It will take some time to learn the other medium but in the end, the photog not the technology will create good images. End of story.

The guy who wrote it is simply a closed minded fool. Thats all. Even if he shoots brilliant photos, he is a closed minded fool who before he even gives something new and different a chance, he totally dismisses it. I dont particularly like closed minded fools. Their problem is that they are stuck in a particular way of shooting, and blindly consider it better.

Photography is about one thing: the image.

But yes, flickr is good and bad. Its good for storing photos, I like the layout of it. Its bad because its populated by a bunch of holiday snappers who shoot their cats, dogs and friends and who then proceed to trash an iconic image out of nothing but ignorance and stupidity. The bad thing about flickr is having to share space with such retards. But the closed minded elitists arent much better.
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crazylemongirl



Joined: 23 Mar 2003
Location: almost there...

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 7:53 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sure people were writing the same thing about film when it was first introduced as it was killing off painting
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rocklee



Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 7:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

indytrucks wrote:
I don't want to get into a film v dig debate. It's pointless. Having said that, here's a brilliantly-written post from a Flickr group I belong to which sums up my feelings about film, digital and Flickr itself to a T, more poignantly and articulately than I ever could.

Quote:
I've been thinking a lot about the idea of getting a single image right. Totally and completely right.
Not just in the taking of it, but also in getting the film exactly and expertly developed with the right blend of chemicals, temp and timing. After that, printing it in a way that it cannot be printed any better.
Ever see that Irving Penn book with all of his test strips and chemistry notes? Something like that. Something where it takes you months or years to get it the way you want it.

Of course, if you're going to invest that kind of time, it had better be a worthwhile image to start with, not only technically, but in being an image that is truly great.

The risk, of course, is that you'll be one of those crazy old guys with a 10x12 view camera who only shoots a single apple in a bowl, over and over, or that painter in Balzac's "Le chef-d'oeuvre inconnu" who keeps repainting and repainting his masterpiece until there's nothing left but a single, perfect foot, down in the corner.

So say that you're extremely talented, dedicated and incredibly lucky and you manage to make such an image without losing your sanity—what then? You scan it and upload it and it probably won't crack the top 100 in Interestingness.

That's because people in general have no taste.

The whole digital experience is better suited to Flickr than film will ever be. Compared to a gallery wall with a dozen master prints, Flickr is a bullet train through the louvre, tripping on acid.

Photography is changing. Moreso than with the introduction of roll film, color film, the Kodak brownie, the Leica, the Polaroid or anything else that came along and changed the rules of the game.

When photography came along, people naturally compared it to painting and lithography and for a while it was mired in trying to mimic painting in composition and subject. Eventually it freed itself and became an art form unto itself.

Digital will eventually forget about film and stop trying to look like it.

You'll have a 50 megapixel phonecam with built-in nightvision HDR and photoshop actions that are downloaded like ringtones. The moment you push the button, it will instantly blast the image directly to your 5,000 closest friends' retinas and upload it to Flickr where it will be the #1 mostest interestingness photo for 1/500th of a second, like all of the others.

This is the twenty-first century. Here in the future, everything eventually approaches the spiraling black-hole singularity that is television. Television is how we know this decline, of course and for now defines it, but it didn't start with the first clang of Chuck Barris' gong, nor with a stadium full of Romans munching peanuts while lions ate Christians, it probably started when cavemen first sat transfixed by a flame in the darkness.

Is there any hope?
No.
There's no way of winning this game, if you care what people think or say about your photos. If you give a *beep* at all, you've already lost. What people want is a constant stream of super-saturated flowerbug macros flickr'ing by as the sit on their ever-widening asses munching peanuts, saying "woo... pretty..." every time they see orange and blue smeared across the screen.

We're the ones who are in the wrong here, the luddites, the odd ones, the ones who won't move forward. The ones who refuse to play the unwinnable game.
If we had any sense at all, we'd grab our phonecams and head to the flower garden and forget about trying to make images that matter for more than a moment. We lug around "antique" cameras and rolls of film that we will soon have to procure much the same way some people used to get their drugs, all to shoot a mere dozen photos per day, only to spend hours in dark rooms, sweating and breathing in toxic chemicals, staining our fingers and clothes, all to make images that nobody really understands.

If I could do what I want to do with a digital camera, I would. In a heartbeat. I can't, though. I need to slog through all of this, not because the digital cameras don't have enough megapixels or because the new zoom lenses don't have the same bokeh as the old glass, but because it's the only way I know to get what's in my mind and heart down onto a piece of paper.

Of course, if you do it really really well, the payoff is worth it—you achieve immortality and in my book, immortality beats interestingness by a long shot.


That is a great article. There is so much going into taking film pictures, you have to be dedicated to a T.

PS. This is not to say that digital photographers are worst, at the end of the day it is the moment that decides the moments captured on paper.
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rocklee



Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 8:00 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

crazylemongirl wrote:
I'm sure people were writing the same thing about film when it was first introduced as it was killing off painting


Hey! nothing can top a beautiful painting!!!

Mona Lisa on canvas versus A4 print paper, no contest Smile
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The King of Kwangju



Joined: 10 Feb 2003
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 8:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

indytrucks wrote:
I don't want to get into a film v dig debate. It's pointless. Having said that, here's a brilliantly-written post from a Flickr group I belong to which sums up my feelings about film, digital and Flickr itself to a T, more poignantly and articulately than I ever could.

Wow, that post was pretentious. Also, he's wrong about many things.

"Here in the future, everything eventually approaches the spiraling black-hole singularity that is television."

Sorry, I'm just not buying it.
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rocklee



Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think we should stop before this thread becomes a film vs digital thread.
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The King of Kwangju



Joined: 10 Feb 2003
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 8:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, ok: film is better.

Carry on.
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indytrucks



Joined: 09 Apr 2003
Location: The Shelf

PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2006 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

rocklee wrote:
I think we should stop before this thread becomes a film vs digital thread.


Precisely. Because ...

Quote:
Wow, that post was pretentious. Also, he's wrong about many things.


This is what happens when people start in on film v dig. The dig shooters whine about elitist snobbery, the film users whine about how dig doesn't capture the same 'essence' of photography as film.

Look, I'm not saying that one group is better than the other. I agree with Jinju ... the key is the image itself.

I will say that in terms of image quality, I've found that film is better, for me. That's only my opinion. I think it'll still be a few years before dig can come close to reproducing the colour, detail, sharpness and grain (or lack thereof) of a high-quality slide film.
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The King of Kwangju



Joined: 10 Feb 2003
Location: New York City

PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 5:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I reread that post you quoted, Indy, and that guy is actually right about some things. I think the post is out of context of a larger discussion, but he's talking about a few things at once.

The web is a low-resolution medium. There's no getting around it. That's science.

In that light, digital makes the most sense.

If you're shooting for web or print for money, print is all right but digital is faster, easier, and cheaper.

The amazing thing about it is that technology has democratized photography - it's now easier and cheaper to do. And many are doing it.

There is still a call for the high-end stuff he is talking about, and still an audience that is going to galleries to look at photography. That hasn't changed.

But the rest of it has, and is changing rapidly. He's obviously a little threatened by that, and he should be, if photography is his livlihood. He better spend less time on flickr moaning about it and get cracking.
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rocklee



Joined: 04 Oct 2005
Location: Seoul

PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2006 5:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I think a lot of people share that guy's sentiments, simply because the market has become saturated with newer generation photographers and to the common eye, one can't always tell the difference between photos taken manually or digitally.

I like Indytrucks' photos because they seem to have a lot of depth to them. I think my photos look more "artificial" compared to his.
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