Thursday, August 6, 2009

Butterfly plant comparison



I've been shooting a bit of film recently and doing some comparisons between 35mm film and digital.

One of these photographs was taken with an old Nikon N8008 with an old crummy 35-70 lens. The film was processed at a Walgreen's drug store. I scanned it on an old Epson 3170 scanner.

The other photo was taken with my Nikon D300 with a state of the art 18-200 Nikon VR digital lens.

Both photos were given the same amount of processing: contrast bump and a bit of sharpening.

It really isn't a fair comparison but can you tell which one is digital and which one is film?

28 comments:

Sean said...

Guess: Film lower one.... nice photos regardless though.

Marie said...

I'm not good at doing that. Moreover both are digital on my computer. :-))) Still, I would say the film one is the lower one.

I like the framing of your photos.

Vogon Poet said...

If the first photo is not the digital one I think you have serious problems with your D300.

magiceye said...

1st pic digital and 2nd film?

Nikki Beaumont said...

Well, Jacob. My first thought was that the #1 is digital and the #2 is film. But I don't know. I think that I am basing that decision on the fact that the first one is more focused since the second one is blurry except for that one strand near the center. Dang it, this is harder than I thought it would be. I am changing my vote #1 film and #2 digital. There.

Lois said...

They are both beautiful and I can't tell which is which. But then again, my eyes don't focus too well when I haven't had much sleep. I had the grandkids last night and the baby cried all night! I'll check back later.

Daryl said...

The top is sharper and since you said you scanned a print I am thinking the less sharp is the 35mm/scanned shot

Small City Scenes said...

Nope!! But then who am I to even know what's what? They both look good to me. Both colors look vibrant--so---??? Which is which?

And yes turtles do wear glasses---didn't you notice. MB

Halcyon said...

I can't really tell, but I'm guessing the first is film and the second digital. I have no reasoning for this, just my intuition.

Halcyon said...

PS: This is a very interesting experiment and I'm excited to see the results.

Memphis MOJO said...

Unless this is a trick question (you wouldn't do that, would you?), the top one is the Nikon D300.

BeachILike said...

The purple looks so sharp, beautiful.


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Jarart said...

I'm going to venture a guess that the top one is the film. I don't know why I think that. Hurry up and tell us!!

Leif Hagen said...

Beautiful photo but as you can see, butterflies don't like purple flowers!
Happy weekend!

Jacob said...

Boy, Safe Leif, you're in beeg trouble: You can't see the butterflies? Sheesh!

Tricia said...

Well, goes to show what I know - I was gonna say the opposite of everyone else. Lordy Lordy!

Oh well, they're very pretty flowers, however you shot them

Dan J. said...

Well.... As a D300 owner myself, I am going to say that frame #1 is the digital. They are both very nice but the first one is very sharp which is indicative of the d300 and the 18-200 lens. Plus there would be loss with the scanning process.

If I am wrong..... ya need to send your 300 in for service. :-P

Nice work Jacob.....

Jacob said...

Okay, here's the deal. But remember, this isn't really a fair comparison. Too many variables. Also remember that number 1 is a digital copy of scanned film. A print, rightly done, would make it look much better.

Number 1 photo is 35 mm film.

Number 2 photo is digital.

I must say I've made other comparisons in which the digital came out much better. But it's not fair - you'd have to control all the variables, such as the type of film, how the film was processed (in fresh chemicals or old chemicals), how it was scanned, etc. You should use essentially the same lens on both cameras, etc.

But the point I wanted to make is that you can make beautiful photos with an old film camera. You can take your pictures, leave them with someone who knows only how to punch buttons, and pick up your processed film in an hour. Unfortunately, most of the places that offer to scan your photos to disc do an absolutely horrendous job. You need to find a place with an excellent scanner or do it yourself.

The great majority of photos on our blogs have been from digital cameras - most of mine from the D300. The D300 works wonders and does a great job, allowing me to get photos I probably couldn't get on film.

But, for some things, film may outdo digital...

If you're into photography, here's an article you will find interesting:

http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/why-we-love-film.htm

Buenos Aires Photoblog said...

I would have guessed the first one is the film, too. Damn, too late! (; Digital cameras tend to be less color-stable. IMHO, the second one is less true color. Ergo, this must be digital. But as you said, this is a tough comparison.

m_m said...

Nice flowers:) Great colors:)

JM said...

As I told you before, Jacob, I know nothing about photography and I would have never guessed witch is witch, but I find your experiment very interesting and both shots are lovely!

amatamari© said...

Even for me - who are not expert - I found very interesting this compare the quality of the photographs: thanks!

Karen said...

A day late, as usual, but I thought the first was film. I think the color saturation better but then again I don't think you said which film you used, did you?
I still have my Minolta 35mm, SLR and just can't bear to part with it but haven't used it in a few years.. hmmm perhaps I should go buy some film before they stop making it and play with it a bit.

tapirgal said...

That was interesting, Jacob. I clearly thought the first was digital. In fact, when I looked at the second one, I thought, "What happened here? It looks bad." So, I'm smiling. You had me fooled!

Susie of Arabia said...

What an interesting experiment~ You really proved your point. I'm sad at the prospect of real film going the way of the dinosaur, although I haven't used it myself for several years now. The quality of digital, however, keeps getting better, so I'm guessing we'll all just have to cope nicely.

Rose said...

I did think the first was film...then started reading eveyone else's and thought I must be wrong.

I told my husband I need to get out the old Nikon 8008 and take some film with it. Yep, you really got me wanting to try it.

Jacob said...

Hi Rose - I used an 8008! Always did take fine photos. The thing is, you've got to have someone who knows how to process film. Most of the machines are fine. I just have the film processed locally and then I scan it at home. Bingo, photos on my computer. I've found that the drugstores and other places do a really lousy job of scanning.

I have heard that Costco is the best, however. For my really good photos, landscapes, etc., I will be sending pictures taken on Fuji Velvia 50 slide film to a lab in California. It's relatively inexpensive and fast.

Nikki Beaumont said...

That was fun, Jacob. But, dang it, I can't take any credit for being right since I guessed it both ways.

"Photographers deal in things which are continually vanishing and when they have vanished there is no contrivance on earth which can make them come back again." — Henri Cartier-Bresson