Stockholm Express (2 of 2): Crystals and Pixels

Skogskyrkogården Hill
Nikon F100, Ilford FP4 PLUS
Tranquil Pathway
31mm @ 1/1250, F/2.8, ISO 100

I grew up in the golden era of analog photography, the days when film technology and equipment had reached its apex. During this period, some renowned photographers in exotic places around the globe used legendary film stocks like Kodachrome and Kodak Plus X to capture amazing moments in time. These exotic scenes stared out at me (quite literally) from the pages of my beloved National Geographic magazine, and inspired a photography passion that eventually became my profession.

Kronor Bridge (Film)
Nikon F100, Kodak Portra 160, ISO 100
Kronor Bridge (Digital)
50mm @ 1/200, f/2, ISO 100
I fondly remember the eager anticipation that accompanied my visits to the lab to pick up developed rolls of 35mm film and prints, but I certainly don’t miss the processing fees. That’s why I was immediately on board with the digital photography revolution, and its democratization of a medium that had once been the exclusive realm of professionals and wealthy amateurs. I have wholeheartedly embraced each successive wave of advancement in digital photography, eagerly awaiting new cameras featuring the latest low-light sensors, enhanced memory buffers and upgraded lens offerings.

P.A. & Co (Film)
85mm, Nikon F100, Ilford FP4 Plus, ISO 125
P.A. & Co (Digital)
85mm @ 1/60, f/2, ISO 100
I genuinely credit the advent of digital photography with the rise in overall quality of photography being produced in the past decade, and look forward to the seeing what continuing innovations will do to transform the medium in the coming years. That said, I’ve been pining for film of late. Call it nostalgia, or maybe regret, but with every film stock discontinuation and factory closure, I have felt like a small part of my childhood is disappearing.

Stockholm City Hall (Film)
140mm, Nikon F100, Ilford FP4 Plus, ISO 125
Stockholm City Hall (Digital)
140mm @ 1/800, f/5.6, ISO 100
When Kodak cancelled Ektachrome in 2012 and then Fuji stopped making Provia 400X in 2013, I was devastated. It was as though I’d lost two old friends. After the latter cancellation I resolved to shoot more film while the remaining stocks I enjoy using are still available. On several of my past trips abroad, I brought along a heavy medium format camera and lenses in addition to my already stout professional digital kit, and was able to capture some truly stunning imagery. However, on my most recent adventure, weight was an issue because I was carrying my gear with me for long periods, and thus I needed a lighter-weight film solution.

Gamla Stan Alley (Film)
70mm, Nikon F100, Ilford Delta 400 Pro, ISO 400
Gamla Stan Alley (Digital)
5-frame HDR @ 50mm, f/4.5, ISO 100
As a result, I dug my old 35mm Nikon F100 out of storage, replaced the batteries and threw it into my kit. Thanks to the legendary backwards compatibility of Nikon lenses, the F100 can use all the same glass, and even many of the same accessories as my newest DSLRs. While I was in Stockholm, I tried to shoot several scenes in both film and digital so I could compare the results. Though some of the comparison shots in this post are different focal lengths, the scenes are similar enough understand the difference between the formats. I scanned the film shots at 5035 x 3339 pixels (before cropping), which is slightly smaller than the full-resolution digital shots, but still big enough to make a decent comparison about the “look” of the shot.

Östermalm Vista (Film)
Nikon F100, Ilford Delta 400 Pro, ISO 400
Östermalm Vista (Digital)
5-frame HDR @ 85mm, f/5, ISO 400
I was impressed with the film shots I captured in Stockholm, and pleased with the more than acceptable resolving power of the 135 format compared to the much larger 120 format I sometimes use. Enjoy the shots of Stockholm, and be sure to check out the full post about about my recent visit.

Storkyrkobrinken (Film)
14mm, Nikon F100, Kodak Portra 160, ISO 100
Storkyrkobrinken (Digital)
24mm @ 1/500, f/5.6, ISO 100
Check out all the high-resolution shots from my trip to Sweden in my album on Flickr.

2 Comments

  1. Thank you for your very interesting articles regarding film!
    As for the current comparison, most of film shots here look much more 3D-dimentional than digital shots. The most part of digital shots in this post look flat. However, the best image here (to my test) is a digital one, the second image with a tree and clouds. It’s just gorgeous! It’s a pity you didn’t shoot this image on a slide film or colour negative film. By the way, what digital equipment did you use? D750 with 24-70/2.8G and 70-200/2.8G?

  2. Thank you for your very interesting articles regarding film!
    As for the current comparison, most of film shots here look much more 3D-dimentional than digital shots. The most part of digital shots in this post look flat. However, the best image here (to my taste) is a digital one, the second image with a tree and clouds. It’s just gorgeous! It’s a pity you didn’t shoot this image on a slide film or colour negative film. By the way, what digital equipment did you use? D750 with 24-70/2.8G and 70-200/2.8G?

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