The Difference Between Black and White Digital and Film Explained | Leicaphilia

For those of us practiced in traditional silver halide photography, it’s obvious that b&w images (are there really any other kind?) made with film are different than digital b&w. Run your RAW files through any b&w film emulation program you desire and, at bottom, they come out looking different than a native black and white negative. It’s true: silver halide film is capable of certain aesthetic qualities that digital capture simply cannot match. It may be subtle at times, but it’s there, and unlike what some think, It’s not just film grain or lack thereof that constitutes the difference. It has to do with the differing ways film and digital sensors react to the same given amount of light. Digital sensors are linear. The actual output voltage from each cell of a digital sensor is directly proportional to the amount of light that strikes it during the exposure. As such, you can use three light sources and what you get will be the exact sum of the three. You can then subtract one of them and be left with the exact sum of the remaining two. Etc Etc………


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