I oftentimes go back and forth with film and the overall dynamic range of it… Realistically I think the even stacked up against the latest digital sensors, black and white film is going to be better at capturing more of the variation of light than digital.
I stumbled across a post from a few years back from Johnny Patience where he is, on the face of it, abusing film.
Here is he overexposing film by a stop or two, then further pushing the film by an additional two or three stops.
Overexposing on a digital sensor would lead to epic loss of information. You would saturate both the sensor sites as well as the analog to digital converters (ADCs) and everything in between. It turns out that, based on Johnny’s research, that even though things are overexposed by at least four stops (sometimes as much as 10 stops!) the film still can record the information without losing it.
Honestly, I’ve run into this personally. When metering for the normal types of shots I take I tend to meter like I would for digital. Then I look at my shadow detail and it’s a grainy mess. Perhaps the real key is that I need to overexpose a bit more and let the dynamic range of the scanner take up some of the slack. Of course, my scanner only has a DR or 3.4… maybe it’s time to upgrade?