I’ve been singing film’s praises for quite awhile, now, and it has its strong suits, for sure, but digital has something that film simply doesn’t: RAW.

This shot was almost completely black when I first opened it, almost. I metered on the window but still had to underexpose some to get a hand-holdable shutter speed. With raw, I was able to pull 3 stops of exposure up with not much issue, with the additional benefit of getting some of the structure in the trees.

digital can see in the dark

With film, I likewise metered on the window, and then underexposed by two stops to get something I could handhold… next time I take a film camera somewhere, I should also take a little tripod… the Gorillapod, at least.

film needs more light or more time

I’ll forgive you if you can’t even make out the window. (Hint: it’s in the same spot as it is in the digital shot.

I’ll likewise forgive you if you find it easier to see the hard water stains than the window.

I had an idea that this would be the case when Mom and I went driving around town to look at the lights, and didn’t even take the film camera along. I didn’t even get any decent pictures of some of the groovy light displays on that drive, but I did get a nice nighttime street shot, anyway, and I probably wouldn’t have been able to get this, handheld, from a (very slowly) moving vehicle with the FG.


It’s still blurry, to be sure, and I could probably drop half a stop of exposure and get something better, but without a tripod, the FG wouldn’t have had a prayer.

Even with some light, it’s hard to get usable hand-held shots with f/3.5 apertures with ISO 160 film, but relatively easy-ish with raw digital files.

trees and mist

Heavy morning fog in the mountains is a beautiful sight… would that I could’ve captured it a bit better than I did: I would’ve preferred the trees to be sharper here, but I couldn’t see clearly enough to focus properly.

I have no idea what I was even shooting with the FG, but I sorta like this picture anyway.

trees and fog and blur

And here we get into another issue with film that you don’t really have (in the same way) with digital: scratches. I think that scratch came from a speck of dirt or something I had on my finger when I finger-squeegeed (poorly) the film before hanging it to dry.

Still better than with the film squeegee… that thing is awful.

And still, I think the film would’ve held its own had I only had a tripod along for the ride, but it honestly didn’t even occur to me to take one along.

So digital wins this one, not that it’s a race, or a contest. Up next: a tie, more or less.

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