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  #1  
Old 11-06-2005, 09:58 AM
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Digital vs. Film question

Any camera enthusiasts here? I have a question.

What is the equivalent in megapixels to a 35mm shooting ISO 64?
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Old 11-06-2005, 01:00 PM
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Probably close to 8 to 10 megapixels. Consumer level film scanners can pull up to 10 megapixels of information (~4000 x 2800) off a 35mm frame, but compared to digital, film has a lot of grain (aka noise), so not all of those megapixels may be useful. A smaller high quality digital image can look equally as good as a noisier film image.

The previous generation 6mp digital SLR's were pretty close to 35mm in terms of practical comparisons, the new ones in the 8 to 12mp range are probably equivalent or superior.

What's the application?
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Old 11-06-2005, 01:55 PM
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Film sensitivity to light is completely different from digitial sensitivity.

With film, the image is made by photochemical reactions. They have a characteristic spectrum of sensitivity to light and curve abruptly away from that sensitive region. Photochemicals are indiscrete--they are sensitive to light from spectra other than the one to which they are most sensitive. One factor that affects resolution is the grain size of the emulsion chemicals. Another is the type of chemicals used for different portions of the light spectrum. Yet another is the depth or thickness of the emulsion and also, how the layers of emulsion are arranged on the film. Finally, processing is extremely important for high quality photographs. Automatic processors are great for average pictures. It takes an artistic flair to bring the best out of emulsion film processing.

With digital, you're dealing with very discrete responses to light by the electronic photosensitive elements. They do not respond with curves but with very discrete, nearly binary responses to a given source. As I understand it, you'll have an RGB arrangement of receptors packed densely into a chip and then many chips assembled in an array. Factors that affect resolution are the spectra over which the photosensor is sensitive, density of the sensors on the chip, and the number of chips on the array.

Comparing emulsion photography with digital photography is an interesting problem. The battle has clearly been won by digital. But it is at a cost. There is an awful lot of information in film that just isn't present in digital images. But that information is not important to the vast majority of photographers. (I still prefer emulsion for aerial imagery, for example. The reasons have to do with stereoscopic acquisition, resolution (spectral and geometric) and price. The main advantages of digital aerial imagery are that the images are easier to view monoscopically in a computer and you have greater frame-to-frame and roll-to-roll fidelity with digital.)

Finally, lenses are an extremely important part of the equation for both film and digital. The more you want to get out of a picture, the more money you're are inevitably going to spend on quality lenses.

I have been using a Nikon digital lately that I really, really like. It's over $1,000 (unless you already have compatible lenses). But it is lense-compatible with a huge array of professional photo lenses originally designed for their SLR's. Also extremely important to me is that the bus speed is very fast and it has a large cache memory. If you take lots of pictures, look at the D series for some excellent choices.

Useful info
http://www.geog.ucsb.edu/~jeff/115a/lectures/films_and_filters.html
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Old 11-06-2005, 02:03 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuan
a 35mm shooting ISO 64?

"Kodachrome, give us those nice bright colors, give us the green of summer, makes you think all the world's a sunny day, oh yeah . . ."

I really miss Kodachrome 25 and those prepaid Kodak processing mailers from the PX.
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Old 11-06-2005, 05:43 PM
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So I can't theoretically count the number of dots on a 35mm print and figure out whether or not it's equivalent to 640x480 or 1024x768?

I want to purchase a medium format camera. Something that can give me higher resolution than a 35mm SLR. I was wondering if I could just get an 8.1 megapixel camera and be done with.

I've recently discovered that I'd like to take landscape and maybe some nature photography. Basically my SLR is old, the shutter needs cleaning, and there's something wrong with the battery contact. My digital camera stinks and I think I'm done with the bloody thing eating batteries. Plus I don't want to become one of the Jones' by buying a Nikon D70 or a Canon Digital Rebel.
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Old 11-06-2005, 05:45 PM
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Holy cow..I didn't know that ASA 64 even existed. I always use 400 at the very least. Anything lower and I have to be outside on a sunny to take photos.

useless post.
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Old 11-06-2005, 05:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuan
So I can't theoretically count the number of dots on a 35mm print and figure out whether or not it's equivalent to 640x480 or 1024x768?

I want to purchase a medium format camera. Something that can give me higher resolution than a 35mm SLR. I was wondering if I could just get an 8.1 megapixel camera and be done with.

I've recently discovered that I'd like to take landscape and maybe some nature photography. Basically my SLR is old, the shutter needs cleaning, and there's something wrong with the battery contact. My digital camera stinks and I think I'm done with the bloody thing eating batteries. Plus I don't want to become one of the Jones' by buying a Nikon D70 or a Canon Digital Rebel.
Yeah you can count dots. But to get the dots you need a scanner. The number of dots is therefore determined by the scanner.

There is a point of diminishing returns. For my work it is about 12-18 microns (depending on characteristics of the film). If you scan below that you're increasing magnification without increasing resolution.

There are a thousand microns/mm, 25.4 mm per inch.

So you get 2,000 dpi from high quality emulsion film. The film I use is 9x9 inch frames. So for scanning, that takes about 300 megs/frame, RGB TIFF. My film archive has about 700 rolls of film with about 100 frames per roll. That's about 2 X10^10 megs. And more rolls in every year. Gotta spare hard drive?

Digital aerial photography is not as information-rich. So a single frame of 9x9 equivalent is about 160 megs.
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  #8  
Old 11-06-2005, 06:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Glinko
Holy cow..I didn't know that ASA 64 even existed. I always use 400 at the very least. Anything lower and I have to be outside on a sunny to take photos.

useless post.
Kodachrome had excellent reproduction characteristics. You could blow it up a whole lot more than Ektachrome.
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Old 11-06-2005, 06:04 PM
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Aye, the larger silver particles in 400 film limit the amount of enlargement you can do. I've shot with 3200 a few times...might as well forget it.
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  #10  
Old 11-06-2005, 06:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Glinko
Aye, the larger silver particles in 400 film limit the amount of enlargement you can do. I've shot with 3200 a few times...might as well forget it.
When you have a need for speed, go digital. If fine detail and lots of color contrasting capability are what you want, go film.
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Old 11-06-2005, 06:12 PM
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I like the color saturation of Fuji Velvia ISO 50 for outdoor scenics. Some people think it gets overdone with Velvia 50 but I like it. For indoor with low light and where I am not allowed a flash unit I have had fairly good luck with Fuji Superia ISO 1600. I also like the line of Agfa films. I guess I'm a dinosaur when it comes to photography because I use film exclusively. I just can't retire the old Canon 620 and the Zeiss Icarex. I'm in love with Carl Zeiss lenses.
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  #12  
Old 11-06-2005, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by J. R. B.
I like the color saturation of Fuji Velvia ISO 50 for outdoor scenics. Some people think it gets overdone with Velvia 50 but I like it. For indoor with low light and where I am not allowed a flash unit I have had fairly good luck with Fuji Superia ISO 1600. I also like the line of Agfa films. I guess I'm a dinosaur when it comes to photography because I use film exclusively. I just can't retire the old Canon 620 and the Zeiss Icarex. I'm in love with Carl Zeiss lenses.
Move over, buddy. We're on the same boat.

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  #13  
Old 11-06-2005, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Botnst
Move over, buddy. We're on the same boat.

Bot
Are you boarding with a Canon or a Zeiss? We have room for Leicas too.
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  #14  
Old 11-06-2005, 08:57 PM
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Originally Posted by J. R. B.
Are you boarding with a Canon or a Zeiss? We have room for Leicas too.
Canon EOS-1
Pentax ME F (my favorite of the two. Replaced my old 1970 Yashica, RIP).
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  #15  
Old 11-07-2005, 12:23 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kuan
I want to purchase a medium format camera. Something that can give me higher resolution than a 35mm SLR. I was wondering if I could just get an 8.1 megapixel camera and be done with.

I've recently discovered that I'd like to take landscape and maybe some nature photography. Basically my SLR is old, the shutter needs cleaning, and there's something wrong with the battery contact. My digital camera stinks and I think I'm done with the bloody thing eating batteries. Plus I don't want to become one of the Jones' by buying a Nikon D70 or a Canon Digital Rebel.
This is a whole different ballgame than either 35mm or digital. Medium format can give you some really nice images, far beyond 35mm, but be prepared to invest more time and money (in some cases, significantly more) in the process of making and publishing your pictures. If you want to try out this film format, a good way to start is to find a used twin lens reflex and run a couple of rolls through it. Good ones can be found on "that auction site" for between $75 and $150, although many of them will probably need an overhaul before they will give you consistent results.

Look for a Yashicamat, a Minolta Autocord, a Rolleicord, or a Ricoh Diacord/Ricohmatic. The Rolleiflexes are waaay pricey, and the Seagulls are crap.

If you don't want to invest that much time in all of this, the new Canon 5d gets you 12 megapixels and a full-frame sensor, which means you can go reeeally wide for those landscapes.
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