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[filmscanners] Re: film and scanning vs digital photography



Hmmm.  Interesting and quite contrary to my own experience and others.
6 mp DSLR's could not hold a candle to a properly scanned piece of 35mm
film in terms of image quality, detail, resolution and enlarge-ability.
Scanned 35mm film had unambiguously better image quality.  Convenience
and speed were not an issue for me -- ultimate image quality was.  This
is something that has been debated endlessly (and tediously and even
passionately) over the web over the past 4 or 5 years.  (I think the
objective consensus would settle on a 10mp equivalence with 35mm film at
100 ISO, and 8 mp at 400 ISO).

I think it goes to how we talk about these things, the circumstances of
use, and hold we define our terms.   We are often not really talking
about the same thing.  What is "better" and what do you mean by it?
"Better" in what way?  How is the image being used?  I also think the
words that I used above "properly scanned" are important and
significant.  If your scanning of 35mm film results in no more than 1350
dpi worth of information, as posted by someone earlier, pack up your
scanner, sell off your film, and get a 6 mp DSLR.   In my case, I got
still further improvement in image information and detail moving from
4000 dpi to 5400 dpi (and these weren't even drum scans)  From what I
saw in my scans and from DSLR's, it was not until you got to 10 mp that
image quality was really comparable (note, that I usually am shooting at
ISO 100).  I get near grainless 12x16 prints that are full of detail
from the scans, and the 6 or 8 mp DLSR could not do that with the same
quality and detail.  So unless you were shooting a good amount of 35mm
film, switching did not make sense (it didn't for me as I was as the
50%of my usage was with 120 film -- 645 and 6x7).  I didn't gain
anything in the image even with 10mp, and would lose lens functionality,
as well as the lose the ability to use some of my favorite lenses (like
the Zeiss G 21mm Biogon) , and lose the long-developed familiarity with
the handling of my cameras (and all the Contax bodies were intuitive,
logical, and operated pretty much the same way).

As I mentioned in an earlier post, it wasn't until the Canon 5D appear
that switching to digital gave me some tangible benefit in the image.
But it is not without it costs and downsides -- not a day of use goes by
without me wanting to throw the camera against to wall because of its
stupid control layout and interface.  I had a 6mp camera that was IMHO
better than other 6mp cameras at the time (sharper, smoother, more
refined, less digital-looking) in limited, controlled circumstances
(good light and low ISO), the Contax N Digital (and it's functional
limitations were not a big issue for me). But that camera was easily
bested by scanned film images from the Contax N1 and G2, so it was a
supplement rather than a replacement for the film cameras.  .  How I
wish they could just fit the sensor chip from the Canon 5D (or even the
1Ds MkII) into the Contax N Digital -- now that would produce be one
h*ll of a camera.  Well, I guess that is my opinion, borne from my
experience in all this.


James L. Sims wrote:
> I agree with you, Tony, Digital cameras, for all practical purposes, has
> surpassed the quality of 35mm format film and I believe that happened
> with the arrival of the six megapixel camera, a few years ago,
> significant cropping, not withstanding - grain being much more forgiving
> than pixelization

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