daniel [at] framesmedia.com
“Scanners always get better. Film shot today will be scanned better tomorrow. I first wrote this page two years ago and made the scan in 2003 on a Microtek 1800f scanner, the best $1,500 scanner of 2003. In 2005 I got a $500 EPSON 4990 scanner and made a much better scan from the same piece of now two-year-old film.
Digital is always stuck in whatever quality you shot it. Digital or video has nothing to rescan. What you got it is all you’re every going to get. This is why Hollywood shoots movies, and even the better TV series, on film. 10 or 50 years from now they can still get better and better images by rescanning them. Go watch the latest DVD of The Wizard of Oz shot on film in 1939. They simply went to the vault and rescanned the film with modern technology.”
- Ken Rockwell, from this article
Ken can be Ken at times, but he makes a great point here.
Aside from the subjective opinions we have of film images and working with film (the look, soulful, the mindset etc.), this is a strong technical reason on why film is an unmatched medium for image capture.
For the record, I am not a film vs digital zealot. I learned the basics of photography on digital. Both are tools. Both are different mediums. I use ‘em both, at the moment.
Given an option, however, I’d favor film; without a doubt.
Digital, to me, is too clean and perfect. I’d rather prefer the organic look of film. While I like the freedom to shoot in high ISO’s with digital, film has life, in my very personal opinion.
Film is going to be a huge part of my life.
The way I see it, why do people write poems instead of prose? Because poetry imposes an additional structure of some kind on the words, a rhyme scheme, a meter, a syllable count. Paradoxically, by limiting the ways the writer can express himself, new things come out of the composition as the poet exploits that structure.
Film does something similar. Every type of film, paper, processing etc. imposes additional limits and structure on the photograph and the photographer exploits that structure and limits in the form of color palette, grain, resolution, etc to say something.
You can make a synthesizer that sounds just like a violin. You can make one that sounds almost exactly like a violin but has small tweaks to make it even “better,” yet people will still line up to watch a violinist rub horsehair over catgut strings stretched over a piece of wood, because the musician exploits that structure and limitation to say something.
I think I see the allure of the “toy camera” in this way too. I am not a devotee of toy cameras myself, but when one uses a very flawed camera, that imposes light leaks or blurring you can use these limitations to say something. For me, toy cameras are too limiting, but I guess I see the point.