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Irene Rudnyk On Film vs Digital | Good Points & Questionable Considerations

By Kishore Sawh on May 3rd 2018

Irene Rudnyk has certainly made a name for herself over the past few years, and puts out the kind of images and tutorials that have really secured a loyal audience. We need more like this. As she continues to deliver, she has spoken a bit more about shooting film, and this current video aims to compare film as a medium compared to digital in a very practical sense, aimed at those starting out.

There’s a good amount to take in here, and for those who have danced around film as a matter of intimidation, this should be the kind of video that gets you excited again, while reducing anxiety over the cost and perceived difficulty in shooting film. Those are, after all, the general mental barriers of entry into the foray. Irene shows how little a good film camera can cost, and highlights that developing film (black and white) really isn’t that daunting.

This is the kind of thing we want to encourage, however, there are a few points that warrant a bit of clarifying in regards to film shooting, such as the need to use a dedicated light meter, not paying as close attention to colours, and the notion that shooting film requires stopping your aperture down.

As per her notion that she doesn’t pay much attention to colors when shooting black and white, if you were to speak to those who do it a lot, like myself, they’ll generally disagree with that. It takes a good understanding of how certain colours are represented in grayscale to get the shot to look just how you want, so a black and white shooter is going to be just as cognizant of the colour palette in an image.

But above that she mentions that she hardly ever shoots wide open when shooting film due to getting a blurry and soft image with almost no texture in the skin. That where she will shoot digital at f1.2 she’ll shoot film at f/2.8 There’s a decent amount that could be said here, though, all under the umbrella of ‘it depends’.

First and foremost, while digital sharpness has far surpassed that of film, to some degree the sharpness, and granularity of a film will depend on the stock choice. Despite what VSCO and LLF may lead someone to think, a film look isn’t necessarily a grainy one. If you’ve any doubt just look at magazines or prints of proper film shooters and often there will be a very clean image.

And for the matter of soft and blurry images and stopping a lens down, it’s important to note here that she is not comparing apples to apples. Her digital Canon 5D Mark 3 is a full frame camera, and the Mamiya 645 she’s using is a proper medium format, using film that significantly outsizes the sensor in the Canon. That is sure to affect the appearance of DOF within the contextual framing, which may explain her need to stop down. As per sharpness though, that could again be anything from the film stock to the lens choice, and not a function of aperture.

Gear

If she had used something like a Nikon F6 (still supported and sold), not only would she have a built-in light meter, rendering a dedicated one not necessarily necessary, but also settings could be mirrored to that of the 5D3, without a need to stop down.

If your’e interested in shooting film, check out the article below:

Shoot Expired Color Negative Film With Confidence

About

A photographer and writer based in Miami, he can often be found at dog parks, and airports in London and Toronto. He is also a tremendous fan of flossing and the happiest guy around when the company’s good.

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Mircea Blanaru

    I am also enjoying to shoot with film and the digital. Thank God I can do that…

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