Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Film Highlight Rendition

Sunset Velvia
For many people, color is more important than sharpness. Velvia might have a lower contrast range and exposure latitude than negative film and maybe even good digital cameras. But film's highlight capabilities are still unbeaten. Look at the sky, the clouds and the sun are naturally rendered. There is no color cast (hue) from bright to very bright areas and no blown-out highlights. If you click at the image above, you see the 4000dpi scan scaled down to 10%. It was shot with a 150mm f/4 lens focussed at 65 meters at f/16 and 1/4s (EV10) on Velvia 50 film. I pointed the light meter to the sky and added 2 stops, so the sky appears bright and the sea appears not too dark. This exposure was just right, I also made a shot at EV9 but it was slightly to bright.
I love the section underneath the sun where the sea looks like magma or lava:
Sunset crop shot with velvia
Digital cameras tend to clip highlights which results in strange color casts, usually making skin appear orange or yellow and this bright orange and yellow sky appear white and greenish. I have tried to simulate the digital image. The following image shows a 200% simulated digital image with a mouse over comparison to the 50% analog image.

The digital image is of course not as sharp but also has clipped highlights but is brighter in the shadows. The sun is completely white and has greenish surroundings. The image from the film appears to have lower contrast but looks much more natural.

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