Wednesday, 27 November 2013

why I love negatives

People may get the wrong idea that I don't like digital cameras, if that was the case I wouldn't be as supportive of and invested in and investigative of digital as I am. Its simply that they have limitations and I'm one who gets sick of "kool-aid" drinkers of hype who ignore reality.

So with that aside, I was just out yesterday with my old friend the OM-1 (and a roll of neg) testing my 28mm lens (after being surprised just how much flare my 21mm has when pointed straight at the sun).

I was wandering around the riverbank in the -4°C day with the intention of seeing how the river is freezing up slowly and testing my OM1 + 28mm f2.8 (200ISO negative) against my GF-1 (set to 200ISO) when I stumbled across this (among others) great scene.

Now, the red rectangle is in there because in my enthusiasm for examining the beauty of it, I took the digital zoomed in too tight, and the red rectangle is the digital framing ... and no I wasn't using a tripod ;-)

When I got home I scanned the film (dropped off at a 1hour developer) and looked at my digitals. The JPG's sucked but as I'd captured RAW I put the ones I liked through dcraw and got this 16bit TIFF from it.

Now its worth re-iterating that the digital is more zoomed in than the digital ... which will help the digital have greater clarity due to lower magnification. So with that said:

Film detail screengrab:

Digital screengrab:

the digital is just so luscious you could suck on it for a week. But the negative isn't so bad as to make you spit it out.

In particular I'm really impressed with the lack of 'grit' and the depth of the shadows details while still holding highlights. That's the reason I dropped the shutter speed to 30th, to get more shadow details.

Now bear in mind
  • that the film shot was handheld at 30th of a sec so higher chances of some shake
  • the digital was a bit higher at 50th of a sec (lower chances of shake and an OIS lens)
  • the film scan is of a much larger area
and I think that its fair to say that the Neg did pretty bloody well. The Nikon LS-4000 made this a peach.

So why am I mucking around with this still?

sure, the "war is over" ... digital won.  I guess noone needs to paint anymore either?

Well the reason for me to fool around with film still (apart from the fact I like some of the look I get with it) is that when I go on a 2 or 3 day excursion in -10°C (or lower) the batteries die on the digital unless I go to extreme lengths to keep them warm. So my plain old mechanical film camera just keeps keeping on.

Not to mention in the contrasty highly reflective lights of winter shots like this one below

are just not possible with digital without resorting to HDRI (and pray there is no wind). I'll leave you with this one from the same spot.

Film too ;-)

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