View Poll Results: do you like grain ?
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I voted I like grain, not that I think its always desirable just that I don't object to it at normal viewing distances for most subjects.
I was once (believe it or not) one of those people who didn't like 'noise' especially in sky on landscapes and tried everything I could to minimise it.
Then a road to Damascus moment occurred. I went to an exhibition by a local photographer who uses 35mm for landscapes, I noticed that although the sky had quite visible grain it looked well.. natural
Talking to the photographer he made me realise that there is grain in the sky (well the observer), caused by the vitreous fluid in our eyes; we both went out and looked at the sky-yep noisy.
So rather than thinking noise is evil, as long as its random the eye will accept it as normal–to a point.
I'm much more relaxed about it and yet my prints still sell, in fact any digi stuff I shoot I add a little random mono noise too.
Just a personal feeling, not supposed to be a statement of superiority it just works for me.
I voted it depends....It's never been much of an issue for me, if it's there, it's there and if i don't want it to be there, i'll use the appropriate film and processing. I find the deliberate imposition of grain a bit pretentious sometimes.
It depends. I expect to see grain in enlargements from 35mm film. It's part of the process. It's not a matter of liking it or not. I personally don't like to see grain in enlargements from my MF and LF images. That's why I use the larger formats and 100ASA films. MF negs from faster films start to show grain in larger enlargements. I don't find it distracting. Again, it's characteristic of the process.
I consider grain to be equivalent to the stroke of a brush or pen in traditional art.
Use it to convey the feeling you wish to present.
Its a tool like many other techniques available to a photographer.
I don't pull it off often, but I like the "Pointelistic" (sp) effect I get sometime with a high grain negative and psuedo (or not) lith printing.
... Hmmm..., f5.13 @ 1/23 should do it.
Originally Posted by Chazzy
Is grain still a deficiency if a grainy picture is the look I'm going for?
I voted "it depends." For color, I like the fine grained look. I'm not sure why, though. For me, I think the grain interferes with the smoothness of the colors. I'm really not sure how to explain it :/ I guess I just dont like looking at specks of color. I'd rather see continuous color with no "specks." (I have a headache, and that's the best way for me to explain it right now).
For black and white, I like grain. HP5+ and Delta 3200 in Rodinal are my combinations of choice
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Definitely depends for me. For most images I think grain is essential and really contributes, while for others it is a distraction.
For colour photography I usually do not like grain, whereas for b&w I often miss it if it's not there. I am not quite sure why this is so but I suppose it is because I generally push enlargement much more with colour (slides) and just don't care for how c41 grain enlarges. Looks too much like digital colour noise to my eye.
My preferred grain structure is that found in fp4+, hp5+ and the like. I haven't formed a productive relationship with the t grains. I am also somewhat underwhelmed by what the pyros do for grain. I mean, is it there or isn't it??! I need something definitive in my b&w.
It does depend for me as well. As already stated, for landscapes finer grain the better, but for most of my other subjects I don't mind the grain. I shoot almost exclusively MF with Neopan 400 and find the grain very attractive in prints up to 11x14. This works well for me, and also the speed advantage is nice as I handhold most of my work. I like to see some grain in a print, it really makes it sing to me.
I like grain in BW film. It is a part of BW aesthetics for me. However, my experience is rather limited because I have never exposed a negative larger than 6x6 and do not make prints larger than 11x14.
For landscapes, I usually don't like grain. The finer, the better.
But for indoors typically low contrast scenes, for portraiture, I love some visible fine grain.
I agree with aparat, a bit of grain in B&W adds something to the picture.
There are images for which grain is appropriate, and others for which it is not. There are images where grain adds structure, and there are images where it detracts. It's a matter of choosing the right tool for the job.