Film vs. Digital

Several months ago I acquired a Bronica ETRS Medium Format film body and a cheap lens (birthday gift from my girlfriend – she knows what I like!). Since then, I’ve pulled it out from time to time to play with it, mostly shooting expired B&W film and just goofing around.

A couple of months ago, however, I was shooting in Del Mar, CA for Folio Design, and found a pretty nice photo happening in the kitchen. I was shooting tethered, and I could see that the shots I was capturing on my 5D were pretty darned good.

“We’re taking a coffee break,” I announced, and while my clients went off in search of something to eat, I put the Bronny on the tripod, quickly re-calculated the exposure for the film I happened to have loaded, and made a fast polaroid. When I pulled the polaroid, I knew I had something good! I fired off three fast brackets, and then we had to get back to the “real” shoot, as the light was changing fast.

It wasn’t until very recently that I got around to getting high-res scans done on that roll of film (which was Kodak Porta 160NC) – and I have to say, I’m impressed. It’s more contrasty than the digital version, and way more grainy, but overall it looks pretty darned good!  Here are the two versions, digital and film:

Digital capture with Canon5D, 12.1 megapixels, Canon 17-40L lens

Film capture; Kodak Porta 160NC, Bronica 120, Seiko 50mm f/2.8 lens


6 responses to “Film vs. Digital

  1. Do you still have the pola? You should scan it and post that, too!

  2. Nice Scott, use some Velvia next time, I think it will blow your socks off.

  3. I’ve dabbled a little in this as well (warning: blatant blog promotion!):

    In some ways, I like your film version better. Digital is so sensitive to color casts where most film seems more forgiving. The image shot on film has no blue cast on the island from the daylight and the refrigerators are silver, not greenish like in the digital image. The image as a whole is warmer overall but I kind of like that.

  4. I agree with Aaron, I much prefer the film, especially in the more life like color renderings of the flowers (especially compare the sunflower’s color). As for grain, are you sure that’s not a function of the scanner?

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