Despite having all but forsaken using a 35mm SLR in favor of medium format and format, I recently took my Olympus OM-1 on a trip to Bushwick. I had my newish Nikon D700 with me and didn’t want to commit to all-digital for the trip, so I popped a roll of Kodak Ektar 100 into the OM-1. During my outing, I took a few shots of the same thing with the Olympus and the D700. I was astounded at the difference in the two cameras. The Olympus paired with Kodak Ektar rendered everything with a richness and texture that the Nikon D700 just smoothed over. The D700 shots were too cool-toned and the aging building facades looked smooth and slick rather than worn and beaten by time. I posted an example on Flickr of the same shot side by side with Ektar and digital and it’s beyond obvious which is better for this particular shot. Overall, film simply renders things like buildings, storefronts, and street art in a much more true-to-life manner. The D700 files are just too polished, too perfect. Lesson learned. The D700 is unmatched in shooting events and low light, while film is better for everything else.
Last week I had uploaded a few of my normal type shots to Flickr using the D700 despite thinking they looked a little flat. I thought it was just me being too used to the way a film shot looks. Then as I was showing Kate the comparison shot (linked to above) she was like, “Yeah, those D700 shots don’t look very good.” She didn’t think they were up to my usual standards and hoped that I wouldn’t be using the D700 for shooting my everyday stuff. What looked obvious to me was just obvious. Film simply looks better for the type of things I like to shoot.
Here are a handful of OM-1, Kodak Ektar shots from the trip.