For me it was about being good enough. I started moving into digital because I had problems with the wet darkroom. The chemicals were not kind on my respiratory systems and so on. Digital printing came as a rescue. That meant scanning, and scanning was no fun. Michael Reichmann made a test back in 2003, comparing the Canon 1Ds with the Pentax 67 and Velvia: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/shootout.shtml
. Michael used an Imacon scanner but he also went to drum scanning and his findings still held. He found that the 1Ds surpassed the Pentax 67 in image quality. I made similar tests with my Sony Alpha 900 and had similar results.
Film based photography is very different from digital photography:
- Digital photography is linear, until we manipulate it.
- In most cases digital images have very little noise, compared with film.
- Digital images are limited in resolution by sensor pixels, we have aliasing and moiré, although small pixels and OLP filtering helps. Anyway at certain magnification a digital image falls apart.
- Analog photography is very nonlinear. Film has curves built in. In the printing process the paper also has curves built in.
- Analog photography has grain.
- Analog photography can use larger formats. We still don't have a full size 6x6 sensor or a full size 6x7 sensor, except scanning backs.
The discussion tends to be polarised, because analogue digital photography often has different aims. Both can be used to achieve excellent results and both can produce garbage.
I still feel that there is something special about projected Velvia 67.
I stopped worrying about film/digital when I got my first digital SLR, Canon EOS-1D. In theory those 4.7 MPix were much less resolution than with slide film (100 ASA Astia or Provia mostly), so I did some testing. Using the same zoom lens and framing it turned out that there was just as much detail in the digital image as there was in the slide (60 MB professional scan). Good enough for me, and cameras have getting only better all the time like 3 times the resolution and twice as many stops of dynamic range with amazing low light capabilities: me not complain.