Sunday, October 23, 2011


This certainly violates my rule: included photos are less than 2 days old before upload.

However, even though these were shot over 10 years ago, the digital files are only 2 days old. When I traveled to East Africa in 2000 I was using a APS SLR (I think I bought one of only a dozen or so ever sold). By APS I mean APS film, that attempt by Kodak and Fuji to bridge the gab between film and the coming digital revolution. Some readers will recognize APS-C as a sensor size in todays mid-sized digital cameras... the APS designation was taken from the film format.

For a long time I considered getting some of the APS negatives professionally scanned and a Groupon for ScanCafe was what got me to actually get it done. I had doubts that the quality would be very good by todays standards, and actually most of the photos in retrospect were pretty much of the snap-shot variety, but there were a few images that had possibilities.

The photos suffered from high contrast and most days in Africa did not offer very good light (perhaps the time of year or the fact that most of our drives were in the middle of the day). It also reminds me of the great benefits of digital... the ability to take lots of pictures and not worry about film and processing costs, the better dynamic range (at least when compared to APS), the lack of film grain (but with digital you have noise which seems easier to deal with these days)m the ease and extensive options for editing.

By the way, if you are interested in seeing more of the shots from my Africa trip click here.


  1. I too owned, in fact, still do own an APS SLR, a Canon EOS IX. It sits on a shelf right next to my two Pentax auto110 SLRs. In their time, I used both cameras extensively.

    Unless you were making APS pictures using slide film, I would have to disagree with your notion that digital has "better dynamic range (at least when compared to APS)". My experience with APS color negative film belies that assertion and, with the possible exception of some ultra-expensive medium format digital backs, I am not aware of any digital sensor which matches or exceeds the dynamic range of color negative film.

    IMO, color negative film is still the best of all possible color capture worlds.

  2. Another owner of a Canon EOS IX? Mark, I thought you were not fond of Canon?

    I agree that in principle color negative should have very good dynamic range but for whatever reason that was not my experience. Perhaps it was the film (Kodacolor 200 mostly), the processing (again EK) or the quality of scanning (but the original prints were contrasty too). ScanCafe provided high res JPEGs (although I asked for TIFFs) and each file is around 15MB. Of course file size is not the only measure of quality. I was able to coax improvements with digital processing, but I guess I was expecting more. I think the images in my select group are OK but I would expect I could do better with even a modest digital camera... but maybe not.