Saturday, July 27, 2013

I Just Can't help It!

Canon EOS Elan-7, EF 28-105 Zoom, Kodak Gold 200, Epson V500 Straight From Scan

I mean... I can't help doing crazy comparisons. When you hear the phrase "the equipment doesn't matter" sometimes I just have to respond with an "oh, really?"

Canon EOS Rebel T3i, EF 28-105 Zoom, 400 ISO JPG Straight From Camera

I just had a wonderful two days away touring the South Shore of Nova Scotia with my wife Kathy and sister Beth, and of course with six cameras on board - make that seven counting the Samsung Smartphone. We packed a lot of sightseeing into two days, but there was occasionally time to kill, waiting for the girls to finish browsing the Gift Shops, so I was able to get in a wild and experimental mood. This is the most familiar scene there is for us Maritime Canadians - the Lighthouse at Peggy's Cove, with some sunlight just breaking through the fog. I should summarize the conditions here - same idiot with a camera (me), same lens, vantage point - exactly the same, same lens setting at 28mm (widest), time was approximately 5 minutes apart. The difference was a film SLR, the Elan-7 which I scored for $20 with a lens, versus a Digital Rebel T3i, for which I traded down an equivalent of $400 without a lens. The DSLR crop factor of 1.6X (when compared with the full frame 35mm film size) is obvious here, making the 28mm into a real 45mm.

As for which is a better quality picture, with no post processing of any kind, I'll let you be the judge, but really, I'm beginning to wonder why I bother with Digital Cameras at all! Here is another pair...

Canon EOS Elan-7, EF 28-105 Zoom, Kodak Gold 200, Epson V500 Straight From Scan

Canon EOS Rebel T3i, EF 28-105 Zoom, 400 ISO JPG Straight From Camera

I should mention, in both of these comparisons, the photos are 3000x2000 Pixels at 100 Pixels Per Inch.

In all fairness, I ought to mention that with a film camera, there is probably no reasonable way to pull off a shot like this without a Tri-Pod:

Canon EOS Rebel T3i, EF 28-105 Zoom, 6400 ISO JPG f3.5, 1/60 Sec, -1 EV

This one wasn't too difficult, as the old school building was lit with floodlights, but this gives a good sense of the extended capabilities of DSLR's at ISO 6400 when compared to colour film which is commonly available at only 400 ISO, or 800 ISO via special order. This is 4 Stops difference (400 compared with 6400) so I would've had to set my shutter speed at around 1/4 sec. to get this same shot with the same lens - impossible without a Tri-Pod. I should've tried the Elan-7 on a Tri-Pod, but this was a night-time walking tour of the Town of Lunenburg - not exactly something for which you'd carry a bunch of gear around. But I am doing the math as I write this - I could have used my Yashica Lynx-14 with it's super fast f1.4 lens, with 800 ISO film, and have gotten this shot with a still reasonable 1/30 Sec. shutter, hand-held! And of course it would've looked better too.

Sorry for all the techno-babel here. I imagine that most who are right into it will know what I'm talking about, but for those who might not - the time to get into 35mm Film Photography has never been better. The local classifieds are full of amazingly great Canon EOS film cameras that use the same lenses as the EOS DSLR's for $20, or if you look around and stick to your guns, you can get a great Rangefinder for $40. You can also get some really good film point n' shoots for $5.00 or less at yard sales and Goodwill stores.

Finally, a couple of more - this time, the Elan-7 had a cheap plastic EF28-90 on it - the lens that it came with:

Canon EOS Elan-7, EF 28-90 Zoom, Kodak Gold 200, Epson V500 Straight From Scan

Canon EOS Rebel T3i, EF 28-105 Zoom, 400 ISO JPG Straight From Camera

In this case, the Rebel T3i definitely has the most natural colour, which might be a product of the crappy lens I was using on the Elan-7. Still, the film camera is showing a lot more detail, and a better micro-contrast, which puts a more natural separation of elements in the picture.

I will conclude by saying that film and digital equipment are like night and day, and therefore the equipment you choose to use makes a huge difference in your photography, in spite of what the experts might tell you. I can also say that these days, film can get you into very serious photography for very little money. Imagine - cameras that once cost almost $1000 are now $20! And although you can get your film processing store to do the scans for you, you'll save a lot of money if you buy your own scanner - such as the Epson V500, for $130 on sale.

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