Just got back my first roll of colour slide film since 30 years or so. And maybe you remember that I took some photos on both film and digital, to compare them later? Well here’s one of them:
Well it’s easy to tell which is which, since I showed one of these already, and I also said how I did it – from the same distance, with almost the same focal length and the same settings (f=5,6), so it’s pretty obvious that the first one here is the “full frame” 35mm film, and the second the 4:3 digital one.
The colour “signature” is obviously different. The “lab scans” I’ve got this time were way off in both saturation and contrast, so I re-”scanned” that film photo using the E-PL1 and the 50mm macro lens. I did a correct white balance beforehand, so what you see must be the Agfa film colours in the first, and Olympus/Panasonic (sensor) colours in the second photo. At least now I have a 9MP scan instead of a 1,5MP one, and both the colours and the saturation are much nicer already – dunno which target or profile they’ve used in that lab, but it had nothing to do with reality. Which shows that when you want it done correctly, you have to do it yourself, as they say.
I’m no professional – if I were, then I would go on and make profiles for both light/film and light/sensor combinations and get them pretty close. With using the same crop and after correcting the focal length differences (45mm vs. 50mm), it would be hard to tell which is which, as long as you don’t pixel-peep at 100%.
Yes; you do see film grain, even with an ISO 100 film like this one – but it is very very fine and unobtrusive, and I’m pretty sure that if you would print both crops in 30x40cm after further proofing and colour and size correction and hang them next to each other, then again you probably couldn’t tell them apart.
What I don’t have is a comparison shot which includes human skin, so it’s difficult to choose one over the other for this one. But what it does show in my opinion is that no, film isn’t dead yet. It’s only much more work and effort from the setup to the result. I still find it worthwhile to play around with film from time to time; it’s still a good teacher.
Would love to see some Fuji Astia film against an Astia setting in one of their X-series cameras (which seem to be photographers’ tools anyway; very nice and ‘old-school’).
Thanks for viewing and reading.