is film still considered digital. would like the scan my own negatives.

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by MichaelBarry, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. MichaelBarry macrumors member

    Apr 14, 2009
    I grew up with digital photography as I am 17 years old and has owned a DSLR for about 2 years now.

    But since I saw some of my dad's old photography and some film photographers on Flickr I bought a SLR and 50/1.8 off eBay. It's not that I dislike digital and don't shoot digital anymore (recently a digital photo of mine got into the Flickr Explore section) but I just love film more because of it's lack of crystal clear perfect detail - it seems to have more character.

    here's my which is still in progress.

    I was wondering if it is still considered digital photography if you scan the negatives in yourself and do some light editing (only colour adjustments, cropping etc in photoshop) and upload them to Flickr?

    what would you recommend when buying a scanner - should i buy a flatbed scanner with adapters or a dedicated 35mm scanner?
  2. spinnerlys Guest


    Sep 7, 2008
    forlod bygningen
  3. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus


    Jan 9, 2004
    Grand Rapids, MI, USA
    I think some of the main relevant questions would be...

    • Do you have use for a flatbed scanner or do you only want to scan photos?
    • How many photographs or negatives will you be scanning per week / month / whatever?
    • What is your balance between spending more money or having your process be quicker?

    I understand liking the lack of perfection in film, but if you're using a razor sharp lens like a 50/1.8, I think you could probably be getting the effects you want out of photoshop post-processing if you half tried. :p
  4. MichaelBarry thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 14, 2009
    I have tried and trust me 95% of the time, I can tell straight away - I don't know how but i just can tell. I've searched around for the best photoshop actions and applied them but they still aren't convincing enough for me.

    as for the questions. I think I'll only be scanning negatives really and i generally shoot about 2 rolls per week and my price limit is about £150? any help?
  5. Westside guy macrumors 603

    Westside guy

    Oct 15, 2003
    The soggy side of the Pacific NW
    Just curious - does it really matter whether it's still considered digital photography or not? :D I'd think you can ask about it here, regardless (if that's why you asked).

    FWIW there are some people that do prefer film. Different films have different characters (Velvia vs. Provia vs. Kodachrome vs. Ektachrome vs. whatever) that people value. There are probably ways to digitally duplicate the look of your preferred film; but unless you've got a compelling reason to do that - e.g. Fuji stops making your preferred film, or the time delay inherent in film photography starts driving you nuts - I'm not certain there's any real point in spending time attempting to mimic it digitally.

    As a side note, I found it interesting how you said you preferred film because of (perhaps) its lack of crystal clear detail. For quite a few years, die-hard film shooters held up digital's supposed lack of resolution as the reason to stick with film - even after that was no longer really true. It's funny to think how this has flipped around - the technical superiority of digital in terms of resolution and dynamic range is actually what's turning you away from digital.
  6. Artful Dodger macrumors 68020

    Artful Dodger

    May 28, 2004
    In a false sense of reality...My Mind!

    I have this models younger sibling and like it very much:
    This might do what you want and for better info check out Canon's website. Hope this helps give you some direction.
    Here is the US site and link
    Just saw where you are from but it should be in your price range. It sells for $199 in the States and your budget covers a touch more so that should work well. Good luck and enjoy :)
  7. toxic macrumors 68000

    Nov 9, 2008
    I don't have any personal experience, but as someone else who has seriously considered going back to film, it doesn't look like it's a simple deal to go from a negative to a digital file. each frame has to be adjusted even when you're just scanning it in, which is time-consuming, and that's after you deal with any dust on the negative.

    I believe a film scanner is better than a flatbed.
  8. Angelo95210 macrumors 6502a


    Jan 7, 2009
    Paris, France
    I like your gallery. I am as well looking for a film scanner so I will follow this thread with attention ;)
  9. carlgo macrumors 68000

    Dec 29, 2006
    Monterey CA
    Funny, I ran my own tests on detailed, colorful subjects (not charts or bricks). I used a Leica 40mm (!) and a Nikon with the renowned 55mm micro lens for the film and had it scanned, 48 mb scans at that.

    I compared these to the same shots from my now-old 6mp D40. Sorry, not that close. Digital simply resolved more details, clearly sharper.

    These results are in line with the 20 Zillion articles I read about this subject. If you get an astoundingly expensive drum scan, then 35 mm is equal.

    But, I did like the film "look" in many ways and they would be similarly sharp up to a huge blowup anyway. Film cameras are cheap, too. I also am learning to use a 4x5 Speed Graphic and I got a vintage 6X9 folding camera. I suspect they will surpass DX digital and may even match FX, for cheaper and with the film look as well.

    And, I have no idea what a 25 mp FX digital camera would do. Can't afford one (that's part of the reason I got the large format film cameras).

    There are places that develop the film and scan it at the same time. If you shot a modest number of photos, having them scanned this way would be better and cheaper. If you shoot a lot, then you could scan your own.

    For 35mm, a dedicated 35mm scanner is required. I read a ton of info on all of this and all the experts seem to agree that flat-bed scanners are ok for the larger formats, but aren't up to the job on 35mm.

    I did see a recent test where very fine B&W film and developer was used and it outdid digital, but I think that is a pretty specialized kind of photography.

    Is it likely that some sort of super-film with astounding characteristics and easy home processing will come out some day and people will be flocking to camera stores begging to buy old film cameras?! Seems that it could happen...
  10. FrankieTDouglas macrumors 65816

    Mar 10, 2005
    At this point, I feel digital photography is just "photography." Film, darkrooms, cyanotypes, etc, all fall under alternative processes.
  11. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    Film photography is analog until you scan an image into a digital file, then it's 'digital' photography. All photography which is digital at one point then becomes analog once again if you print it... analogous to audio: analog-digital-analog.

    If you're displaying a photo here, regardless of how you took the shot, you're now in the realm of 'digital' photography in my opinion.
  12. RHVC59 macrumors 6502


    May 10, 2008
    Eugene, Oregon
    I could not have said it better.
    One of my ongoing museum projects is scanning a collection of news images taken in thee 1950's and working with the photographer to catalog the image captured. Once the negatives or prints hit the scanner, the process becomes digital. Paulu Saari the photographer is continuously amazed at at the details I am able to pull out of the images once the fifty to sixty year old film stock is in my computer. I catalog his images, but once scanned, we work with and use in exhibits only digital images. I have been able to print some of his images at sizes he never even dreamed of as a news photographer back in the day, I have access to a 42" HP plotter. We just have so much more flexibility, and are able gather so much more usable data out of some of his very thin negatives. I often wonder what he could have done with a good digital camera back then...
  13. Macshroomer macrumors 65816


    Dec 6, 2009
    Hi Michael,

    The short answer is, it does not matter, do what you want to do.

    The original, film and how you worked with it to get to this image is not digital, it is film. I presume you shoot film because of the journey it allows you, the lack of digital distraction and the fact you have a photographic object that does not necessarily need a computer to be viewed.

    Let me qualify this a bit as this is the first time I have posted here and did not know that there was even a photography section on a "Mac Rumors" site. I am 42 years old, been shooting with film since age 9, been shooting with digital for 16 years, I have been a full time photographer for over 20 years and no, I do not do weddings, iStock or Flickr. I have had my photographs run on the cover of Time, National Geographic Adventure and had an essay in Life, The Year In Pictures just to touch upon it all.

    When I would get a drum scan of my film, it was photography, not digital photography. If you are tricking out your photos in photoshop that were scanned, then it is really more like digital photography. I just got done doing some scans tonight for a long term project I am going to be working on the entirety of 2010. My workflow is that I get the scans as close to the original slide as possible, I either got it in the field, or I did not get it, no faking it out in photoshop. My scanning workflow is super easy now, but I only do it for publications, not for prints.

    To put this in perspective, I have a great digital workflow, but at this stage in my career and in looking at what the masses are doing, I am getting out of digital. It is not my kind of photography and I get just as good of results if not better in using film. One of the reasons is that I like the medium better, I like not being distracted by a computer screen on the back of a camera and I have something that is lasting. In terms of quality, I get sharper images with a Leica Aspheric lens in front of the right film than I do with digital. Add to that my darkroom only medium and large format prints get up to 10 times the price a digital one does and it is a no brainer for me. So it has all evened out, film is the new / niche thing and digital is just the same old thing at this point.

    I applaud you for using film, being different. Once you make the decision to do something like this, then you can not listen to what others have to say if they are casting doubt about your reasons, why be like them? Why be like every other digital fanatic? Why do one more darn thing on a device that you pay your bills on, read your mail on, play games on, it is really nothing special at this point and when one looks at the photography done in the past 50 years, digital has improved upon it very little if at all…..most of it is terrible, photoshopped nonsense with no long term social value.

    I make a wonderful living in photography, I get to travel, do exciting things like climb and ski, but I am rewarding my self by taking on projects that get me away from digital, away from the computer and back into the real world. And my clients? Dude, they love it, they are SO over the digital hype that walks through their doors on a daily basis. I even sold two of my three digital bodies in the past month. I have a full darkroom, thousands of rolls of film, including rare stocks like Techpan, HIE and one of the largest remaining stashes of Kodachrome 25 that will be all used up by the end of 2010. I have a client who recently paid thousands for a 40 x 40 Ilfochrome from a medium format black and white slide, it is utterly spectacular and went straight from slide to print with no burning or dodging, it is darn fun I tell you.

    Do what YOU want to do, not what the digital hype machine wants you to do. Shoot both if you want, many do. So scan your film and let it be that, film. Even the film images I have recently scanned and published look different than my digital images, so no, it is not digital, it is still film.

    Regardless, enjoy it all and don't buy into the hype, life is too short to be like everyone else.
  14. pdxflint macrumors 68020


    Aug 25, 2006
    Oregon coast
    Very well put, Macshroomer. I used to love walking into the refrigerated room at Pro Photo Supply in Portland to peruse all the various film emulsions which were available for serious photography, marveling at the choices then. And I always loved the darkroom work where multi-tasking and recipes were a lot like being a chef in a well-equipped kitchen, and the excitement to see how it would all turn out never went away, even when you had done it hundreds of times before. The anticipation of seeing an image for the first time, the editing of images directly from film on a light table.. all things that make the process with film unique. And when shooting with film, the need to focus more on the shot, to have a gut feeling about exposure and the film in the camera, to somehow know when you've nailed the shot without ever seeing the image until that magical moment in the darkroom when you can confirm you not only nailed it, but it survived all the processes along the way. All the tiny, nagging doubts about whether you got anything good just vanish in the air, replaced by confidence and yes, even to the jaded mind, amazement. There really is nothing like working in that medium, and it's a rapidly dying art. I can certainly see why clients would value film-based photography much more highly over digital, for just the reasons you mentioned.

    Welcome to our little somewhat hidden corner of the world! :)
  15. Macshroomer macrumors 65816


    Dec 6, 2009
    Thanks, Happy Holidays to you!:)

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