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Digital vs Film Resolution



 
 
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  #1  
Old September 29th 04, 02:52 PM
Dick
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Default Digital vs Film Resolution

In the early days of digital photography, it was said that something
equivalent to 35mm file was some time out in the future. Are we there
yet? What digital resolution would be equivalent to 35mm film?
  #2  
Old September 29th 04, 03:06 PM
Ken Alverson
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"Dick" LeadWinger wrote in message
...
In the early days of digital photography, it was said that something
equivalent to 35mm file was some time out in the future. Are we there
yet? What digital resolution would be equivalent to 35mm film?


It depends who you ask and how you compare. Film grains can be very small,
but all the grains of film are a specific color (based on their layer in the
film) - shades of color are created by many grains of film clustering
together. In a digital photograph, there are discrete pixels which are
relatively large, but each pixel can take on one of many shades, based on the
amount of light that hits it.

You can test how thin a line each can resolve, but that test is biased toward
film, since you can use a few small grains to represent a line, while a
digital camera might be able to resolve more discrete shades of color in the
same area, but not as fine a detail.

It's kind of like comparing VHS tapes and MPEG compressed video. The nature
of the artifacts you see when you get close and nitpick the image are
different, so you can't really say that one bitrate of MPEG is equivalent to
one recording speed of VHS, because the difference is subjective.

Many people would agree that a 6.x megapixel image with low noise is roughly
equivalent to 400 speed negative film. Both can be blown up to about the same
size before you start to notice flaws without actually looking for them.

Low speed slide film easily beats 6.x megapixel images, I'm not sure if anyone
has compared slide film to the more recent 10+ megapixel cameras.

Ken


  #3  
Old September 29th 04, 03:31 PM
Howard McCollister
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"Dick" LeadWinger wrote in message
...
In the early days of digital photography, it was said that something
equivalent to 35mm file was some time out in the future. Are we there
yet? What digital resolution would be equivalent to 35mm film?


If you're just talking resolution, then yes, 6mp sensors or more will give
you about the resolution of film. There's more to it, though. Noise is an
issue and to minimize noise, smaller sensors such as in the point-and-shoots
won't give you as good a result as a dSLR, even at the same resolution
sensor. The other issue is dynamic range. Current dSLRs will generally give
you about as much dynamic range as slide film, maybe about 6 stops. Dynamic
range will improve, as we see in such high-level sensors such as the Creo
Leaf. That $15,000 sensor will give reported 12 stops of dynmamic range,
equal or better than just about any film. So for dynamic range, which is
important, digital is not quite there yet. Give it a couple of years, or
wait and see what kind of DR the Fujifilm S3 dSLR will give us.

HMc



  #4  
Old September 29th 04, 03:34 PM
TRR
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After the techies resolve this argument I submit the quality of your
printer makes it all moot. Not much has been said here in that regard.

Dick wrote:
In the early days of digital photography, it was said that something
equivalent to 35mm file was some time out in the future. Are we there
yet? What digital resolution would be equivalent to 35mm film?


  #5  
Old September 29th 04, 03:34 PM
TRR
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After the techies resolve this argument I submit the quality of your
printer makes it all moot. Not much has been said here in that regard.

Dick wrote:
In the early days of digital photography, it was said that something
equivalent to 35mm file was some time out in the future. Are we there
yet? What digital resolution would be equivalent to 35mm film?


  #6  
Old September 29th 04, 03:38 PM
jjs
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"Dick" LeadWinger wrote in message
...
In the early days of digital photography, it was said that something
equivalent to 35mm file was some time out in the future. Are we there
yet? What digital resolution would be equivalent to 35mm film?


First, "resolution" in terms of lpp/mm isn't everything. 35mm digital
quality has arrived. Post-processing, in particular a carefully applied USM
is still required to give the same 'accutance' that properly done 35mm has.
Accutance is _not_ striclty concerned with lpp/mm metrics, no matter what
the optical bench racers say.

That said, probably 1% of the digital mavens can make a properly exposed and
printed 35mm picture; that's how difficult it really is and also a measure
of the low expectations of most contemporary photographers. So, a
feature-endowed digital camera will often produce superior results for the
inexperienced, less-expert 35mm photographer.

So spend several thousand dollars on a full-size sensor digicam and be
happy. Or not. For the vast majority of contemporary amateur photographers
(and many so-called "pros"), the errors due to less-than-expert application
of a high-end digital camera would almost certainly be far, far worse for
the same picture in 35mm.

Believe it or don't. One option is to save money by not making pictures and
instead wasting an inordinate amount of time on Usenet arguing over edge
boundaries, noise, "lpp/mm", etc. nonsense instead of making pictures
instead like the rest do.

Oh, and with that $$,$$$$ megapixel camera, you will probably want Photoshop
so budget for that and four more disc drives: two more for your desktop
computer (two extra spindles for source and scratch files) and one for
storage and another for backup. And two GB or RAM.


  #7  
Old September 29th 04, 03:38 PM
jjs
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Default

"Dick" LeadWinger wrote in message
...
In the early days of digital photography, it was said that something
equivalent to 35mm file was some time out in the future. Are we there
yet? What digital resolution would be equivalent to 35mm film?


First, "resolution" in terms of lpp/mm isn't everything. 35mm digital
quality has arrived. Post-processing, in particular a carefully applied USM
is still required to give the same 'accutance' that properly done 35mm has.
Accutance is _not_ striclty concerned with lpp/mm metrics, no matter what
the optical bench racers say.

That said, probably 1% of the digital mavens can make a properly exposed and
printed 35mm picture; that's how difficult it really is and also a measure
of the low expectations of most contemporary photographers. So, a
feature-endowed digital camera will often produce superior results for the
inexperienced, less-expert 35mm photographer.

So spend several thousand dollars on a full-size sensor digicam and be
happy. Or not. For the vast majority of contemporary amateur photographers
(and many so-called "pros"), the errors due to less-than-expert application
of a high-end digital camera would almost certainly be far, far worse for
the same picture in 35mm.

Believe it or don't. One option is to save money by not making pictures and
instead wasting an inordinate amount of time on Usenet arguing over edge
boundaries, noise, "lpp/mm", etc. nonsense instead of making pictures
instead like the rest do.

Oh, and with that $$,$$$$ megapixel camera, you will probably want Photoshop
so budget for that and four more disc drives: two more for your desktop
computer (two extra spindles for source and scratch files) and one for
storage and another for backup. And two GB or RAM.


  #8  
Old September 29th 04, 03:51 PM
jjs
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Default

"TRR" wrote in message
hlink.net...
After the techies resolve this argument I submit the quality of your
printer makes it all moot. Not much has been said here in that regard.


Quality is still a moving target. Printers get better so one can reprint as
the technology moves on. But then, digital camera technology will also move
on.


  #9  
Old September 29th 04, 04:57 PM
Alan Browne
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Dick wrote:

In the early days of digital photography, it was said that something
equivalent to 35mm file was some time out in the future. Are we there
yet? What digital resolution would be equivalent to 35mm film?


There is no one-to-one way to compare. Digital has the unique advantage of
noise only affecting the dynamic, but not the x,y dimension of the image. On
film, noise appears in dynamic as well as x,y. Further, the digital imaging
device is almost perfectly flat. Film rarely is, so the image formed at the
digital imaging plane is free of this minor error as well.

Were a 1:1 comparison made and depending on how you computed it, the equivalence
would occur up in the 15 Mpix / full frame range. However, for most printed
images up to 8x12, 6 Mpix cameras do a marvelous job. Even at twice that size,
if carefully printed, and seen at the appropriate viewing distants, the results
are very acceptable ... and at that point, you're reaching the limits of
acceptable prints from very good 35mm film shots.

As gets pointed out from time to time, looking at digital images (whether from a
DSLR or a scanned neg/pos) leads one to think that the image is not all that
great. Printing a good quality image on even a basic inkjet printer of recent
vintage makes these images shine.

But! You can't project any digital image with the fine detail and impact of a
well done Velvia.

Cheers,
Alan

--
-- rec.photo.equipment.35mm user resource:
-- http://www.aliasimages.com/rpe35mmur.htm
-- e-meil: there's no such thing as a FreeLunch.--
  #10  
Old September 29th 04, 05:07 PM
Marvin Margoshes
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"Dick" LeadWinger wrote in message
...
In the early days of digital photography, it was said that something
equivalent to 35mm file was some time out in the future. Are we there
yet? What digital resolution would be equivalent to 35mm film?


According to Kodak, a digicam with 12 Mp matches the resolution of 35 mm
film. Film resolution is limited by light scattering within the emulsion
layer.


 




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