A set of test images shot at night in Italy, to gauge whether or not a digital camera would be a reasonable replacement for film in the Barcelona Dark series.
The bottom line is probably not. It is very hard to emulate the “glow” around lights that get with film (caused by back-scattering of light from the film base). Shooting with a diffusion filter gets someway towards the look of film, but the fall-off with distance from the light is never quite right – although it is a nice effect in its own right.
Another difference is that the digital images are much cleaner and sharper than the grainy pushed-film images at the same effective ISO setting, but the dynamic range is surprisingly low compared to film. The work-around for this is to not shoot the camera at any ISO above 800, and raise the exposure in post processing. With a suitable luminosity curve, this helps to get a similar highlight roll-off to film.
The COVID lock-downs and airline luggage restrictions are forcing something of a re-think for the film shooting in the foreseeable future. It is becoming harder to travel with film, and harder to shoot enough enough even when not travelling to avoid the chemicals from expiring (in particular mixed XTOL). Digital provides an alternative, although it needs to be treated as its own thing, and I do not think that I can use it to continue series that were already started specifically with film as a medium.