April 7, 2022

Comparing film and digital: Mom

I had lunch with my parents recently and took a few photos with both my film and digital cameras. I shot about the same number of photos with each camera, with close to the same number of keepers”. Which do I prefer?

Here I’m showing one of each, digital and film, of my favorite from the visit.

Film: Leica MP (HP5 Plus)Film: Leica MP (HP5 Plus)

Digital: Leica M10-R (B&W conversion in Silver Efex)Digital: Leica M10-R (B&W conversion in Silver Efex)

I prefer the film image. I manipulated the digital shot in Silver Efex Pro and added a bit of grain to try and get the look I like, but I still prefer the film image.

The difference might be partially due to using the 50mm Summilux on the MP. It’s my favorite lens. The digital shot was with the 35mm Summilux. Also a great lens, but lacks that certain something” of the 50.

I don’t think the lens difference explains it, though. A large part of what makes me prefer film photos is just knowing they’re film photos. That means something to me, and influences how I respond to an image. One could probably use a decent HP5 preset on that image in Lightroom and I wouldn’t be able to tell it from a film photo in a blind test, but I don’t view my images that way. I know how they were made, and it matters.

Additionally, I can make beautiful silver gelatin prints of the film photo in my darkroom. That’s important, too.

I’ll probably always shoot both film and digital, but more often than not I prefer the results I get from film.


Film Photography


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