Photography

Nikon F2 vs. Canon PowerShot S95

It always interests me to see how different cameras and lenses and films render the same scene at the same moment. 

You might remember that I recently visited an abandoned, never-finished railroad bridge in Clay County, Indiana. I took this photo of it with my Canon PowerShot S95.

Abandoned abutments to never-built railroad bridge

My Nikon F2 was along, too, so before I moved from that spot I took this shot.

Through the abutments

Wow, what a difference in warmth and detail! I also like how the sky in the F2 shot has the slightest tinge of purple that the S95 shot lacks.

I wish now that I had spent more time shooting those abutment walls with my F2, just to explore those great textures some more.

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In a photograph, what is real?
I explored this question here.

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8 thoughts on “Nikon F2 vs. Canon PowerShot S95

  1. Michael says:

    Call me a heretic, but I actually prefer the 95’s rendition (especially the sky and shadows) but it’s not a fair comparison with such lo-res shots. Was the 95 at max res? The F2 seems underexposed to me. Did you scan it or the lab?

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    • The S95’s image is more true to life; it recorded how I remember the scene. The F2’s image is a lot more interesting in the color and texture it returned.

      The lab scanned those negs. And the S95 is always at max res.

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  2. So subjective to what individuals find pleasing, I think. If Jim had shot Velvia in his film camera, we’d have a different discussion here. Or Ektar 100. Or Portra. Or even if he had a different lab process the film. This I suppose is the romance of shooting film if you choose. As Forest Gump said…”You never know what you’re going to get.”

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    • Oh sure, the possibilities are legion. Different films, different lenses, different processing, different scanning — heck, even your computer monitor vs. mine — all of these things bring different results in the image.

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  3. I do think that the film one shows more detail and range of tones. It probably also has better exposure since some of the highlights are clipped in the digital. The color balance is also better in the film one since the digital has a fairly noticeable blue cast. Although the cast is pretty easy to remove. What I have found a lot with film is that it usually needs less post-processing than digital.

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    • Hunh, I didn’t notice the blue cast in the S95 shot until you pointed it out. I do have to do more post-processing on my digital photos than I ever have to do on film photos from cameras with decent lenses. My S95 usually needs barrel distortion corrected, plus contrast tweaked, at a minimum.

      I do wonder if should spend time setting white balance when I shoot with the S95. I leave it on Auto.

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