Getting Film Looks from a CCD Digital Camera

CCD digital cameras produce high resolution photos that are great in terms of quality. And yet, a lot of people complain that digital as an overall medium is inferior to film. Part of it has to do with 35mm film being the undisputed highest standard of photographic mediums for decades, and people are just resistant to the change. Another reason people prefer film over digital is because they think digital looks flat. You can make your CCD digital camera images look just like film by controlling the depth of field.

Depth of Field

The primary difference between film and digital is that with film cameras, the focus range is shorter. Focus does not have abrupt start and end points. Instead, it has an area that is sharp which is where your subject will stand. If you're shooting on a city street, then there might be a lamp post a few feet behind him that is slightly out of focus. Ten feet behind that could be a building that is very blurry. As we look further past the focal point, things become more blurry. Depth of field directs a viewer's attention to the subject while giving depth to a two dimensional image.

In digital cameras, the area that's sharp in focus is very large. That's where the flat look comes from. One trick around this is to move the camera farther away from the subject. Compensate for the distance by using the zoom. This won't look as great as the film depth of field, but it will look better than your normal photos.

Achieving Depth of Field with Lenses

Anyone remember video tapes? They used to be the only way to bring our favorite movies into our home. These movies retained their film look and kept the original depth of field that was captured. So how did we bring film to video? We used a device called a telecine. By applying the same principals of a telecine, we can create film looks on our CCD digital cameras.

A 35mm adapter is needed to do this. It works by serving as a bridge between a 35mm lens and your camera. The 35mm lenses captures the image and the light is projected onto a piece of ground glass between the lens and camera. The camera then captures the image off the ground glass, and you have a digital photo that looks just like film.

35mm adapters cost anywhere from $500 to $1200 on average, and do not include lenses which are more expensive. But on the bright side, you'll never have to buy film stock and pay for it to be developed again.

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