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Thread: Is there no such thing as pixels in cameras before digital?

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    Default Is there no such thing as pixels in cameras before digital?

    Is there no such thing as pixels in cameras before digital?

    If so, how do we compare the quality of it with the digital one?

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    Sr. Moderator Taggart's Avatar
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    Digital cameras use sensors to capture an image

    Film camera (usually) use silver halide salts which react to light.

    Image "quality" is a trade off between available light and the number of pixels or grains on the film. The more light you have, the smaller the grain (which means you get more grains per square centimetre) or higher the number pixels per square centimetre can be. This determines the amount of detail that can be captured. As the light levels fall, bigger grains or bigger sensors are need to capture the light so you get less detail.

    Beyond that you get into all sorts of arguments about which one gives an aesthetically better result.
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    Through most of the history of printing photos in newspapers and magazines, they've been made up of rather large dots. Only recently have they been at a quality one no longer sees the dots.

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    Senior Member SanAntone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by atsizat View Post
    Is there no such thing as pixels in cameras before digital?

    If so, how do we compare the quality of it with the digital one?
    Pixels or no pixels does not affect the qualities I look for when deciding if I like a photograph: composition, subject, lighting, color, focus, and gaze.

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    Senior Member philoctetes's Avatar
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    In a way, yes.... a pixel size should correspond to the limit of resolution of the imaging device, e.g, the size of the "blur spot" aka Airy disc.. The latter is determined by things like aperture, f-stop, etc...

    There is also a resolution limit related to the graininess of the film, which is usually worse with slower speed film...

    As I recall, "pixel" was a term that came before CCDs and digital imaging... it was in reference to the imaging resolution, not necessarily with physically discrete detectors...

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    As a boy in the 1950s, I used to develop and print my b/w snaps until I switched to colour, which was too complicated so I would post off my film and have to wait a week for my prints to arrive. What a faff! Digital cameras are miraculous. I remember watching a TV documentary about the opening of Tutankhamen's tomb, with the narrator describing how the treasures were first photographed using large plate glass negatives which, according to him, would capture more detail than a top of the range digital camera. Could this be true?

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Phillips View Post
    As a boy in the 1950s, I used to develop and print my b/w snaps until I switched to colour, which was too complicated so I would post off my film and have to wait a week for my prints to arrive. What a faff! Digital cameras are miraculous. I remember watching a TV documentary about the opening of Tutankhamen's tomb, with the narrator describing how the treasures were first photographed using large plate glass negatives which, according to him, would capture more detail than a top of the range digital camera. Could this be true?
    Black and white photographers still prefer film. It's typically higher quality than digital B&W photos. And as you say, it's much easier to develop in one's own dark room than color.

    I'm old enough to remember Fotomats. Those small drive up booths in random parking lots/car parks. We'd drive up to drop off our film. Then a few days later, drive up to pick up our developed photos.
    Last edited by progmatist; Nov-27-2021 at 23:13.

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    Quote Originally Posted by David Phillips View Post
    As a boy in the 1950s, I used to develop and print my b/w snaps until I switched to colour, which was too complicated so I would post off my film and have to wait a week for my prints to arrive. What a faff! Digital cameras are miraculous. I remember watching a TV documentary about the opening of Tutankhamen's tomb, with the narrator describing how the treasures were first photographed using large plate glass negatives which, according to him, would capture more detail than a top of the range digital camera. Could this be true?
    Most digital cameras are based on a 35mm film camera. Cameras like Hasselblad use 120 film - giving an image size of 56 by 56 mm. That's also why cinema moved onto 70mm film because you get bigger pixels which can be blown up further. Going up to 6inch 0r 150mm gives lots and lots of big pixels and lots and lots of fine detail.
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    Baron Scarpia
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    The number of pixels in the sensor and/or stored images is the most common measure of quality, but doesn't tell the whole story. There is the question of how noisy the pixels are (whether the color in an individual pixel is accurate) and the lens system may not be able to produce an image with resolution matching the pixel density.

    In the days of film photography image quality was typical expressed in the number of lines that could be represented in the image. You would photograph a test pattern and examine the film with a microscope to see how dense a series of parallel lines could get before they were not resolved.

    There were various types of test image, this is an example.



    Images of this type are still used to test lenses.
    Last edited by Baron Scarpia; Nov-30-2021 at 16:39.

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