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How they compare

So why bother film? If you compare digital and 35mm of the same subject the most obvious thing to note is that the digital image: it is sharper, the colours are truer, it took less time to compose and take (as I took perhaps 5 or 6 shots to get it right), it was cheaper (i.e. free), and took far less time to process and tidy up in Photoshop.

Both images below were taken from the roof of the MNAC Museum in Barcelona.

Minolta 35mm


Sony SLT

A part from the difference in focal length (50mm top, 28mm below) there’s not much to call it, and on that basis you have to give the award to digital.

So again, why bother? Well I think it’s the surprises you get from the film shots that didn’t come out as you expected. Here are a couple of more extreme examples of celluloid oddities that you would ignore as failures on the preview window (though you’d never of pressed the shutter in the first place you saw that down the view finder):

Dark Tay


Leith Dock

To be fair, the latter was more to do with very battered, 30-year-old negatives but not something you’d try to fake in Photoshop.

As mentioned in a previous post, it’s the process that’s fun, and the final output just feels more crafted and hand done, more honest, even. I’m still trying to work it out really, but the point of all of this is just to have fun, and learn something along the way. To this final point I do wonder if my last outing with a camera (to Loch Ardinning) saw me using the digital a little more thoughtfully than normal. Maybe.

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For Comparison

So here are DSLR (actually SLT but let’s just stick with what we understand) versus 35mm (both via Photoshop):




It should be noted that the Minolta was on a tripod, the Sony hand held , a few inches above this. The Sony is focused on the leaves rather than the pineapple surface – not sure why I did that and regret it now. Also not the had a 24-200 zoom lens, set to 42mm f/5.6, the Minolta with a 50mm prime at f/1.7

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Liking the hit rate

I was up until 2am last night working through the new film shots: rescan and tidy up in Photoshop. Overall I was very pleased with the results (see the gallery Mono December 2016 35mm), i.e good contrast and the right exposure. In terms of a hit rate, from 36 images 21 of them were certainly satisfactory for my standards. 

So lessons I can take from this? Take more time thinking and composing the shot, even if digital images are free. The other thing I liked was the more natural feel you get from a 50mm lens, ie. on barrelling (wide angle’s effect), or weird background forshortening (zoom’s effect). I think a 50mm prime lens will be my next DSLR treat in the new year. 

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Getting it out there

So I’ve set up the blog, added content and am enjoying writing about what I’ve been up to with the camera, but other than the benefits of reflection, sharing the stuff with the outside world seems a better proposition. This is what the internet is for, right? 

If I get any feedback on my work, generate some discussion, or if I can offer up any tips or advice (not that I much to give so good luck with that one), then mission accomplished. 

This isn’t my day job, it’s just something I like doing so very happy to share my interests with anyone who stumbles along. 

Anyway, to start to get 404i.com more visible I’ve started the tweet: @404i is the one to follow.

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The results are in – Minolta’s mono developed

Excited today – I finished my first roll of black and white film from the Minolta (about 3 months to get through it all) – developed at Jessops – and came straight home and scanned all 36. 

So there were images, and most of them were in focus, had a reasonable looking exposure and some were even quite good (or rather, not bad). However there was an issue with the scanner in so far as it needs to be dusted ever few images or so (I’d just run the entire roll, uncut, through the machine). I also need to be more careful with the settings to get the levels right when scanning. So no harm done, I just need to re-scan the better shots. 

Pineapple and dust

As can be seen, perfectly good image but needs re-scanning after a bit of a clean up. Note that the above hasn’t been touched by Photoshop or anything else, so pretty happy to get this one straight out of the camera. (I have a similar shot I did with the DSLR at the same time, so will compare in a later post). 

Overall then, not unhappy at all, I just need to get used to working with different, new equipment. 

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New scanner fun

Christmas has finally come and my present is Jumbl 22Mb film scanner. I’ve not used up the film in the Minolta yet so I dug out an old film from 1984 (or there about) and scanned a few in – see the 35mm section (Old Photos 1984). The results are better than the flat bed scanner (and much quicker to process) but the resolution not amazing, but I think will be good enough. 



St Mary’s Cathedral, Edinburgh

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