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September 23, 2008



Coop, what film are you shooting?

Randy Rager

I started with digital, amassing a list you wouldn't believe. And purchasing for family members a quite respectable list, seperately.

Then my assistant (I supervise a 1 Hour Photo lab for a large chain) kept bringing in film shot through an old Canon AE1 that exceeded my best efforts with digital bodies costing several times as much.

So I dug up my wife's old Olympus OM88 and put a few rolls through it. Not bad, but what an annoying camera to work with!

Meanwhile, Ken Rockwell was extolling the virtue of film over digital. He's still doing that, as a matter of fact.

So based on the recommendation on his website, I picked up an old N80 body and a 28-80 lens, and put some film through it.

Holy Crap!

For outdoor work, the Nikon combination loaded with the right film (slide film, preferably Velvia, or Fuji Reala 100, if you know you won't be able to get E-6 processing) captures more detail and better color than my Canon 20D, which cost me 5 times as much for the body alone, never mind lenses and accessories.

So I picked up a Fuji GA645, a medium format autofocus autoexposure fixed lens point and shoot. Sounds odd to say all that after the words "medium format", doesn't it?

I also picked up an Epson V700 and an aftermarket medium format film holder from betterscanning.com, so I'd have something to scan the end result.

Total expenditure for camera, scanner and holder was around $1200. Bear that in mind for what I'm about to say.

2400dpi scans from 645 film give 20.5 megapixels. An 11x14 print (the closest aspect ratio) is actually a downsize of the scan.

4800dpi scans of course give 82(!) megapixel scans.

You can't even buy an 82 megapixel medium format back yet, and even when you finally can, it most likely won't have true three color information at every pixel, the way film does. Due to the nature of the Bayer sensor, two thirds of the color data at every pixel is interpolated from the surrounding pixels.

It will certainly cost you more than $1200, and you haven't even purchased a camera body (never mind lenses!) yet.

So yes, I'm a bit of a film snob for anything outdoors.

But I still use my Nikon D40 - 18-200VR - SB400 - DEMB flash diffuser setup for family events indoors. Digital just works better in low light.


I've been shooting with Kodak Tri X 400.


Too bad you can't hear "Dark Side of the Moon" played on my turntable. BTW, I am still using my Minolta SLR 35 mm camera.

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