Digital and Film: drive-by shooting

On the way up to Arkansas, I had all cameras at the ready… I often forgot about one or the other, and I almost always forgot about the iPhone, bit I did get a few similar frames from all three…

With the iPhone, I shot mostly with Hipstamatic, as is my custom of late. Ends up, it was fortunate, as this particular frame has color that’s eerily similar to what I got out of the Porta, initially.

One through-the-windshield highway shot is pretty much like another, and I don’t have much to say about these, so I’ll just post them.

First, the D7000:

And now the FG:

I didn’t even see the whateveritis smeared down the highway there… Apologies for the horrorshow, but with that, we can be thankful that once again, I had great difficulty getting the color close with the FG. In a couple of earlier versions of this one, I made that dead thing look like something out of a 1970s slasher flick. With others I went more 1980s, and this one looks more graphic novel…

With color film photography, color is largely dependent on the film stock, so I expect the color issues I found are due to my own ignorance with film stocks and their intended subjects. Come to think of it, with digital, color is largely dependent on how the manufacturer tuned the software. Nikon color is different from Canon color is different from Fuji color is different from Sony color is different from Olympus color is different from Panasonic color, and within brands, each camera model is slightly different.

What’s really interesting is how close the film shot is to the Hipstamatic version, or how close they were before I spent 10 minutes with C1P’s Color Editor…

The Hipsta shot is the most obviously inaccurate one, but it’s supposed to be. The D7000 is quite simply too warm, and the film is too blue, but also too fluorescent, too hot somehow.


Shooting out the side window is another story, and here’s where film excels. Where the digital looks like a smear, like something sorta extruded, the film looks smoother.

I don’t really know… maybe the phone wins this round: the baked-in character from Hipstamatic make it easy. With digital and (digital scans of) film, there’s loads of virtually required post work. We didn’t have that back in the (good? bad?) old days of really existing one hour minilabs: we took what the lab gave us, and if their chemicals were off that day, or if the lab tech was tired, you might get some wacky colors, but mostly, you got prints that were close to what the film manufacturers intended.

With digital, all that has moved to us, to our computers and software, our time and skill level, and it’s pretty much required if you’re shooting raw. Of course, if you shoot jpeg, you get what the camera manufacturer wanted you to get, and more power to you.

Up next: some things that digital definitely excels at.

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