↑ Leica M3, Undisclosed Lens #1, and Fuji Superia X-tra 1600.
Peter, I may be in the minority here, but I greatly appreciate the digital files over the film work. I do not miss the grain and ‘noise’ in the shadow areas. Being able to ramp my D750 up to 12,800 ISO has been an absolute business saver and I am able to happily use anything up to 6400 without worry. Just my .02!
Hi Dave, I totally understand your preference for digital, especially in these circumstances.
Disagree. These images have a texture, a timelessness, an organic quality that is missing in the sterility of a digital capture. Honestly shooting both would have been preferable, but I always feel my most treasured images tend to be on film. Love these and BTW great job on nailing the focus in such a challenging environment.
Thanks Chris. On a purely technical level, the digital medium wins out, especially in low light. If I had had my Nikon D500 that night, I probably would have used it instead of my M3. But, the D500 is currently being repaired at Nikon.
However, like you, I still prefer the look I get with film… even when it’s noisy like this. Whenever I go back and look at my old images, I prefer the film ones, even the noisy and blotchy ones. Maybe it’s because of it… I don’t know. It’s purely subjective.
Re: the technical challenges, you are correct that many difficulties were encountered here. Even with ISO 1600 film I had to shoot at a shutter speed of 1/60 sec and the images were still underexposed by at least a stop. Hence the resulting noise (from trying to lift the shadows).
I wondered what kind of response you would get with this set. While I generally prefer the film medium, this is one of those times where digital is very handy. Still, I appreciate the look of film and would be happy with these and the challenge associated with capturing them under difficult circumstances, though I might consider converting them to B&W. Great shots as always!
Thanks Will. I knew the light here was going to be atrocious (there’s a red cast on the skin tones from the lighting), so I should have photographed this in B&W. However, I thought my wife would appreciate having the event recorded in colour, hence the choice.
It’s a fascinating, but probably fundamentally unanswerable, question why so many human observers can acknowledge the superiority in many ways of digital imaging, but still genuinely have a distinct preference, a more visceral reaction, to images like these exposed on film.
I, too, find these quite compelling, quite lovely to look at. I make no comment on use decisions, since I’m effectively way too lazy to put in the extra effort to used film. Still I look at these and am tempted to conclude that decision leaves me with the “good enough”, the “sufficient”, not in any aesthetic way with the “superior”.
I wonder if it has something to do with the interaction, the interface, if you will, of our consciousness with the resultant image object. Our consciousness is not digital, maybe somehow it relates better, more fully, with the analogue… the digital tiger is just not as real. Like I said, fundamentally unanswerable, at least by me. 🙂
If you’re at a loss to explain it, than I am doubly so. Without a doubt, when I look at my film files under high magnification they appear inferior to my digital ones. Yet the opposite is true when viewing the image as a whole.
Viewing film files under magnification is sort of like looking at a impressionist painting with your eyeball pressed up against the individual brush strokes and thinking “this is a bad painting”.
Sorry, but I don’t miss film image quality. My personal opinion is that this is nostalgia.
Image content and image quality are interrelated but very different things.
Image quality is only an issue when it detracts from (or far less frequently adds to) content.
Strong image content makes almost all quality issues irrelevant.
All of your images have superior content and convey a strong message. Better image quality (more shadow detail, finer details, less grain, etc) might certainly contribute to each, but film’s image quality limitations detract from none.
Perhaps thats the crux of it – we love ‘the look of film’ when image content is sufficiently strong that quality limitations don’t detract from the message.
Perhaps we rely too heavily on digital’s superior image quality to somehow support the content.
Maybe we’re just slightly more careful / selective about our content with film – and that makes all the difference.
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