Film vs Digital 2001 edition two


Previously I looked for the point at which digital image capture exceeded film for the average snap shot Film vs Digital the battle of 2001.  This time around I’ve chosen two different cameras available in 2001 both higher quality and with zoom lenses.

The two cameras are the 4.1 Mpixel Canon G2 with its 1/1.8″ CCD sensor and 34-102mm (35mm equivalent)  f2.0 – F8.0 lens against films Canon Sure Shot Classic 120 and its 7 element super Spectra coated f4.5 -f10.9 lens using Kodak Ektar 100.  I shot the Canon G2 set at 100 ISO through out.

The Sure Shot Classic 120 was released in 1999 and the Canon G2 came out in 2001 but seeing as film cameras age far more gracefully than digital cameras I think it’s a pretty good comparison, besides there were not many more film cameras being developed at that point.

Looking at the images as the same size side by side it is immediately apparent that for web-based or small prints up to 5×7 there is little difference between them although the Ektar turns out to be less grainy.  I think it would be more evenly matched if I had used a lower grade film like Fuji Superia.

FilmvsDigital_Canon_004 FilmvsDigital_Canon_005

It’s only when you look at printing larger sizes that it become apparent that film has the clear advantage.


Another thing that isn’t readily apparent is the fact that I had to slightly adjust the exposure a lot with the Canon G2 to prevent it from clipping the highlights something I couldn’t do with the film camera but was completely unnecessary anyway.   All through this film has the advantage in dynamic range.  The example bellow is without any compensation in a very high contrast situation.


As for colour the digital camera rendered them more naturally.




In 2001 even at about 3 times the cost digital point and shoot cameras did not yet exceed film cameras of the same type and I havent even touched on the issue of speed of operation where the G2 is about as fast taking a picture as the Classic 120 is rewinding a roll of film.  That’s an exaggeration but from the time you turn the G2 on till you can take a picture is nearly 6 seconds plus about 2.5 to zoom plus 1 second to focus so you better plan ahead in the past.

I will post a gallery of images from the two cameras in a future post maybe mixing them up between the two cameras.

3 Responses to “Film vs Digital 2001 edition two”

  • Canon fodder (image gallery) | Wallace Koopmans Artlog Says:

    […] either the Canon G2 or the Canon Sure Shot Classic 120.  I compared the two cameras outputs in Digital vs Film 2001 edition.  I cropped the film images to match the aspect ratio of the digital cameras 1.333x 1 to make […]

  • Nikhil Ramkarran Says:

    This is an interesting academic exercise. At the time I saw computers as a symbol of the future and although I can’t remember clearly my thought process, it would not have mattered to me back then that film was still superior, and the cameras functioned better. Digital was the way to go. Of course, I could have done better than the crappy Sony fixed focal length/fixed focus digital I ended up with 🙂

  • Wallace Says:

    And you would have been right digital was and is the way to go but film use is still a valid choice. I think that in our rush to adopt new technology we might have jumped the start on digital. The mear fact that it took nearly 10 seconds from power up to taking a picture with what was one of the best digital cameras available seems ridiculous now.

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