One of the joys of looking carefully at the medium of photography is seeing things you didn’t expect. Working on setting up my Pebble Project (see previous post), I was all geared up to compare film and developer combinations, when I noticed this.
Before making my film shots of my pebble studio still life, I made some digital ones to conveniently test the light, composition and exposure. I duly imported the raw file into Lightroom, along with the film scans that are the focus of the exercise. I made a quick print of the FP4+ in LC29 exposure, as a reference shot for the ones that would follow.
Accept that I hadn’t. It was actually a print of the raw file (with ‘auto’ applied in the develop module). So I went back to atone for my error, and printed the FP4+ frame. Wow, what a difference!
The phrase that springs to mind is ‘descriptive power’. This is what the film frame has over the digital one. There is a depth and presence that is simply absent from the digital capture. The grain is clearly present, but adds a striking sense of detail and sharpness (this I should expect of course).
Now, this isn’t quite a fair comparison, because a raw digital capture needs to be nurtured and carefully processed. I am not in the business of claiming that film is ‘better’ than digital (or vice versa, for that matter). They are different media, with different strengths. Yet there is no escaping the special quality that film imparts. Nothing wrong with noticing - and celebrating - that.
Film rocks. (Pebbles - I know. The pun was unintended!)