I received a Hasselblad 500c medium format film camera recently and thought I would do a comparison test by shooting with both my digital camera and my film camera on a recent portrait session of the handsome and badass drummer Aaron Brooks. Here are the results. Both of these images are straight out of the camera without any adjustments (other than converting the color file to BnW). No retouching, no level or contrast adjustments. Just raw shots.
In the shots below, the first shot on the right is the DIGITAL image, and the second shot on the left is the FILM image. Right out of the camera, FILM has a much richer look and greater contrast whereas the DIGITAL shot is very flat. Of course, it’s very easy to do a quick level adjustment in photoshop and get it looking closer to film. The FILM shot also has more dimension with the subject which CANNOT be created in photoshop.
Here is a version of the same shots where I made some simple adjustments in photoshop to the DIGITAL image to give it greater contrast and a more “film” look.
Although this adjustment was done in under a minute, by looking at the two images side-by-side, I still see the FILM image as having more “depth”. The grain is nice and it just looks less sharp, aka digital. I probably took 30 DIGITAL shots of Aaron, and yet only two FILM shots, both of which I like very much.
Being that I work primarily in the fashion & music industry where most of my clients want the images from the shoot edited and retouched within days, this can make shooting film obsolete for most jobs. To get this particular film role processed (and scanned in via my assistant’s drum scanner) it took about two weeks. A photographer’s work is much about speed these days. It’s a shame as I really enjoyed those old film days, and the natural quality of the look straight out of the camera.
The Final image chosen for usage below. FILM or DIGITAL?
Share some of your side-by-side Film vs Digital comparisons on my blog. Send me an email and I might feature your work here too.