I’ve posted previously about revisiting subjects and locations, but sometimes it’s worse than that. Since I often head out with more than one camera there’s a good chance I’ll take two or more shots of a subject from the same viewpoint, but using different cameras. These shots obviously end up looking very similar, with the variation typically coming only from the format and lens. Sometimes I think I’m a little click happy with the shutter button but I do think it’s useful to look at the different results and compare them.
The first wasn’t taken in exactly the same spot, and was on a different day, but the light and scene are close enough. This deserved a post of its own as soon as I scanned it, so you’ve probably seen it already. Shot with the Bronica S2A and 50mm using Efke infrared film and an R72 filter.
The second was shot with the Canon 20D and wide-angle zoom at 10mm and is the result of combining seven different exposures. The third, and last for now, was shot on Ilford HP5+, again with the S2A and 50mm, immediately before or after (I forget which) the second example.
So what does this comparison show? Each of these images conveys a different mood to me. The infrared has an ethereal feel because of the glowing foliage – even the grass in the shade is bright. The HP5 has a darker mood, whereas the digital colour really has a bright almost spring-time mood despite the beginnings of autumn visible in the turning leaves, helped by the extra width letting in a glimpse of clear blue sky. The widest angle has a more expansive feel because of the empty space on the right, while the square format of the others produced a more intimate impression, with perhaps more balance to the composition.
An interesting technical point is that because the second and third were taken from the same spot, you can see proof that perspective depends solely on the position of the observer relative to the subject and is not dependent on focal length or similar property of the camera system. You could crop the colour image and come up with the same shot as the mono version taken with a very different lens.
There are also comments to be made about noise and grain, sharpness, distortion, dynamic range, etc., but these specific relative merits of film versus digital can wait for now.
I have some as yet undeveloped rolls of colour film taken with the S2A in the same place. When I get those developed and scanned, it will be another set of comparisons to make. I’m looking forward to it.