Black and White: Why film is different to digital processing
For those of us practiced in traditional silver halide photography, it’s obvious that b&w images (are there really any other kind?) made with film are different than digital b&w. Run your RAW files through any b&w film emulation program you desire and, at bottom, they come out looking different than a native black and white negative. It’s true: silver halide film is capable of certain aesthetic qualities that digital capture simply cannot match. It may be subtle at times, but it’s there, and unlike what some think, It’s not just film grain or lack thereof that constitutes the difference. - Leicaphilia
After spending most of my working life with film I was converted to digital in the early days and didn’t give film another thought until a couple of years ago. I then noticed more and more people carrying around film cameras and seemingly coping well with all the hassles of processing that digital had promised to free us from. Why, I wondered.
At the same time I began to take an interest in Leica film cameras. I had never had one in the old days but had tried almost every other manufacturer. Leica caught my attention, thanks to my interest in Leica digital, and before long I was wandering the streets with a film camera in my hands. I love black and white, for starters, and isn’t an old Leica the first full-frame Monochrom?
Despite all this, I haven’t given much constructive thought to the differences between real film and emulated film processed in Lightroom, Silver Efex Pro or similar. Leicaphilia has gone to a great deal of trouble explaining precisely that: Why digital monochrome images are different to the real McCoy.