Digital Vs Film
Written 8 years ago by Mark Evans
Ask anyone from the ‘Old School’ of photography and they’ll tell you without any hesitation that film is the only way to go, ask anyone born in the 80’s, and the answer is unequivocally slanted towards digital. So who’s right and should you go digital?Ã‚ I don’t think anyone’s ever going to be right, its a matter of horses for courses… and when you were born.
In this digital age the number of film users seem be few and far between,Ã‚ compared to the vast numbers embracing the digital revolution. But dig a little deeper and you’ll find surprising numbers unwilling to give up and jump on the digital bandwagon. Being a film user, and landscape photographer myself, I don’t think anything will ever replace the colour rendition and quirks of Fuji Velvia 50.Ã‚ You can replace it with a Fuji digital camera with the ‘Velvia’ mode, but it will never be the same.Ã‚ And its not just about Velvia. Slide films in general have a limited exposure latitude, and there’s nothing more satisfying than nailing a shot and getting your exposure bang on.Ã‚ Not to mention viewing your slides on a light table, nothing compares to it.Ã‚ Ã‚ The colours pop out at you and the depth of the images are amazing, producing almost a 3D effect (through a loupe), and for that alone, I will continue to shoot slides for a long time yet.
Although I must admit, being on film does have its downfalls; for one, Digital is a lot cheaper in the long run.Ã‚ Buying films and getting them processed can be expensive if you shoot often, and for an enthusiast, the cost can be a bit prohibitive. Where as digital you can shoot all day, if you don’t run out of space,Ã‚ download them to your computer at the end of the day, and it hasn’t cost you much more than the 3 coffees you had while out shooting! There’s also work flow to be taken into account.Ã‚ Getting film onto your computer can be an arduous process; scanning and tweaking can eat a lot of time, whereas digital has the advantage of already being in an editable form.Ã‚ However, it isn’t all about money and convenience, as strange as it may sound, if I went to digital, I would really miss getting my films back from the lab!Ã‚ There’s just something childishly exciting about opening the box that has your processed films in, and getting a glimpse of what may or may not be some of the best pictures you’ve ever taken.Ã‚ Of course, sometimes it ends in bitter disappointment, but other times it is like Christmas all over again!
With Film having all these cons, and Digital with virtually none, you would think the choice is aÃ‚ no-brainer. But whether you take up digital or not may depend entirely on your career or the type of photography you do. A lot of portrait photographers still love the rendition of Kodak tri-x black and white films and the look is what sells a lot of pictures.Ã‚ Getting this particular ‘look’ on digital may take hours of Photoshop work, whereas shooting the film and processing in a certain way could be far more cost effective.
Then there’s Panoramic photography.Ã‚ Being a niche market, there just doesn’t seem to be any Digital Panoramic cameras that fit the bill, or any that have significant advantages over medium format cameras like the legendary Fuji GX-617 or Linhof 617 Technorama.Ã‚ When it comes to professional panoramic images, digital stitching just doesn’t cut it, and a lot of panoramic photographers would much rather ‘see’ in panoramic through their viewfinder and take what they’ve visualized, there and then, rather than shooting a few images and digitally stitching later on. Not to mention quality; quite a few medium format users would argue that the quality of a drum scanned medium format transparency would rival that of the best digital camera today.
Of course Digital will be the clear cut choice for many, in a whole host of applications, but there will be occasions where Film will shine through.Ã‚ Whether or not you go digital will ultimately depend on what you want to do with your photography and probably your budget; there are so many film cameras being junked for digitals these days, that a whole film system can be had for a song on Ebay. So go and buy one, film’s not dead… yet.
What have you got? Film, Digital, or Both?