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May 04 2014

Film versus digital

By Mark Beresford | Comments 6

I’ve been using my digital camera as a light meter to get the exposure settings right before taking photos with my Yashica TLR camera. This means that I have some identical photos in digital and film, and they make an interesting comparison.

Here’s the roof of the Singapore cloud dome in digital:

And here it is in medium format film:

Obviously, the medium format photo is much taller creating the feeling that you can walk into the picture. My initial reaction was that I liked the lighter more open look of the digital version better. But then when I look at the depth of the color and texture of the film version, I’ve come to prefer the film. I can see the detail of the joint welds in the film version and it somehow has the nostalgic feel of a color photo in an old library book. Film has a wider dynamic range than digital which means that it captures more tones. I added some contrast to the digital photo in Lightroom, but it still doesn’t match the depth of tone in the film version. The film version also captures much more resolution than the film camera because the sensor (the film) is so much bigger than the sensor in the digital camera.

Digital is very accurate and clinical, but film has soul.

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