Digital SLR Cameras Forum

Digital SLRs Forum Discuss digital SLRs, lenses, RAW conversion, or anything else related to digital SLRs. You may also want to see the Nikon, Canon, and Sony camera forums.
Digital Camera Pro Reviews >>
Read and Write Digital SLR Reviews >>
Digital SLR Buyer's Guide >>
Results 1 to 7 of 7
  1. #1
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    1,910

    Question Digital High ISO vs. Film High ISO

    Would you agree that DSLRs in general do much better at high ISO settings than 35mm film?

    I just recently got a D70s, and I'm loving the adjustable ISO settings. I used to shoot mostly TMAX 100 or Tri-X. I was looking at a shot last night that I took at ISO 800 with the D70s, and I think it looks as good as 35mm TMAX100, maybe better. I haven't made any prints yet though, so I'm not sure.

    Does this sound like what others have experienced? I have heard much comparison of noise levels between Nikon and Canon, but nothing about how they compare to film.

    Just curious what others think.

    Thanks,
    Paul

  2. #2
    has-been... another view's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2003
    Location
    Rockford, IL
    Posts
    7,649

    Re: Digital High ISO vs. Film High ISO

    Yes! I've seen ISO1600 files (not prints) from that camera that look very good too. I just got the new issue of Photo Techniques magazine in the mail the other day, and there's an article on handling digital noise. Haven't read it yet but I'm sure it will be excellent as usual.

    My ISO800 jpegs and ISO1600 RAW files from the Fuji S2 are really impressive compared to film. Seems like the higher the ISO, the less exposure latitude - for both film and digital. One thing, under exposure is horrible for noise. Better to overexpose just a bit if using RAW (not to the point of blowing highlights) and adjust down if any question. There are programs out there like Noise Ninja that can almost eliminate what noise is left.

  3. #3
    Poster Formerly Known as Michael Fanelli mwfanelli's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    Perryville, MD
    Posts
    727

    Re: Digital High ISO vs. Film High ISO

    Quote Originally Posted by photophorous
    Would you agree that DSLRs in general do much better at high ISO settings than 35mm film?

    I just recently got a D70s, and I'm loving the adjustable ISO settings. I used to shoot mostly TMAX 100 or Tri-X. I was looking at a shot last night that I took at ISO 800 with the D70s, and I think it looks as good as 35mm TMAX100, maybe better. I haven't made any prints yet though, so I'm not sure.

    Does this sound like what others have experienced? I have heard much comparison of noise levels between Nikon and Canon, but nothing about how they compare to film.

    Just curious what others think.

    Thanks,
    Paul
    Yes, DSLRs really shine at high ISO values. Film 35mm loses it quickly with its large grain, faster with slides, very visible with print film.
    "Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it." --Mark Twain

  4. #4
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    1,910

    Re: Digital High ISO vs. Film High ISO

    Thanks for the comments, guys...kind of a sanity check for me. I'm really looking forward to getting some prints made now.

    Paul

  5. #5
    don't tase me, bro! Asylum Steve's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Location
    Middle Florida
    Posts
    3,667

    Depends...

    Quote Originally Posted by photophorous
    Would you agree that DSLRs in general do much better at high ISO settings than 35mm film?
    Good topic. The problem is that not everyone thinks film grain is bad.

    That includes me. In fact, ironically, film grain is (IMO) still the one thing digtal cannot duplicate that well, and probably the only reason I still shoot high speed bw film on occasion...

    So, this has the potential of becoming philisophical at some point.

    If you embrace the beauty and style of film grain, then high-speed film is the obvious choice. If you don't, you'll be more satisfied with digital.
    "Riding along on a carousel...tryin' to catch up to you..."

    -Steve
    Studio & Lighting - Photography As Art Forum Moderator

    Running the Photo Asylum, Asylum Steve's blogged brain pipes...
    www.stevenpaulhlavac.com
    www.photoasylum.com

  6. #6
    Check out our D300 Pro Review! deckcadet's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Gainesville, Florida, USA
    Posts
    1,189

    Re: Digital High ISO vs. Film High ISO

    In the film world i've only shot Portra 160 and Tri-X 400. I love the way the Tri-x looks.

    I have seen shots at higher speeds and it makes me glad I shoot digital.

    Part of the character of Nikon's noise in some of their cameras is it seems to be more film grain-like as they removed the chroma noise. I find this is a nice texture with my D200 and D2HS (when the d2hs shows noise that is). In fact, I shoot the D200 in black and white mode sometimes at high ISO (usually really high actually) to simulate the look of the tri-X for effect or fun.
    Harrison
    Nikon Forum / Digital SLR Forum Moderator | moderator bio
    Check out our new Nikon D300 Pro Review D3 review coming soon...
    Nikon Samurai #9 | NPS Member
    10 Lenses 5 Bodies 3 Macs 1 Sore Back

  7. #7
    light wait photophorous's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Austin, Texas
    Posts
    1,910

    Re: Depends...

    Quote Originally Posted by Asylum Steve
    Good topic. The problem is that not everyone thinks film grain is bad.

    That includes me. In fact, ironically, film grain is (IMO) still the one thing digtal cannot duplicate that well, and probably the only reason I still shoot high speed bw film on occasion...

    So, this has the potential of becoming philisophical at some point.

    If you embrace the beauty and style of film grain, then high-speed film is the obvious choice. If you don't, you'll be more satisfied with digital.
    Yes, I guess I should clarify my opinion on film grain. As with most things in the world of photography, good and bad are determined by what results your looking for. I will always like the way film looks, B&W in particular. I hope to have a darkroom in my house one day.

    I think for certain types of photos large film grain is perfectly acceptable or even desirable, but for the majority of the shooting I do, I prefer it to be minimized. I like Tri-X a lot, and it has large grain even at 400 ISO. BUT, I wouldn't enlarge 35mm Tri-X above 8x10, and even that is too much for some subject matter. When I pushed Tri-X to 800 (the one time I did it) the results turned out pretty good at 8x10, but not good enough to go further...IMO. So for me, grain size is mostly a limitation when it comes to making big prints. This brings me to another point.

    It's not only about grain. Another thing I noticed about pushing Tri-X to 800 was a lack of tonal range. It was very contrasty. So, aside from the size of the grain, this can be looked at as a negative in some circumstances (most for me). I seem to get a better tonal range from high ISO digital than film. Tonal range is one of those things you can remove, but not add, so more is always better...IMO.

    Paul

Thread Information

Users Browsing this Thread

There are currently 1 users browsing this thread. (0 members and 1 guests)

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •