Digital photography vs. film photography: which do you prefer?

Discussion in 'Photography' started by donkeypoodle, Dec 8, 2005.

  1. donkeypoodle

    b.ingraham Guest

    I expect that the "true" darkroom experience will soon be a thing of
    the past. The equipment is indeed available, but the films and papers
    are becoming increasingly limited in variety and availability. The
    original Zone VI fibre-based paper is no longer available (at least it
    wasn't when I last tried to buy some), and I never found a better
    paper. It seems doubtful than any of the wonderful B&W films of only a
    decade ago will be available in another decade. This doesn't mean that
    darkrooms will die. There are people who still hand-set type, and stomp
    on grapes to make wine, and hunt with bows and arrows, and read books
    made of paper! Some artisans will continue to spend time in the dark,
    perhaps exposing images on homemade negatives with pinhole cameras, and
    produce photographs for the ages.

    b.ingraham, Dec 9, 2005
    1. Advertisements

  2. donkeypoodle

    Allan Wind Guest

    Great photo! Do you think the bird crap is the murder weapon? :)
    But x mL of ink which cost an arm and a leg :) Couldn't resist on
    those two, Bob.

    Allan Wind, Dec 9, 2005
    1. Advertisements

  3. donkeypoodle

    b.ingraham Guest

    That is already happening on a regular basis. I don't know much about
    the longevity of the various digital images once they are printed, but
    I know of some people (including myself!) who have lost digital images
    through failure to make back-ups. A lack of understanding about digital
    procedures contributes to this, of course; I suspect that as time goes
    along, permanency of digital images will improve.

    It's worth remembering that analogue photos are not always permanent.
    There's a gap in our son's childhood when some bright light in the
    photo industry changed color chemistry; all of our photos from about a
    three year period faded to light orange and had to be discarded. I
    managed to copy a number of them in B&W, fortunately. Badly processed
    film and prints will deteriorate, and virtually all "regular" color
    prints are prone to fading. Take a look at the average wedding photo
    from 15 or 20 years ago, especially if it's been displayed in ordinary
    room light.

    Regardless of the process used to create a photograph, it may soon be
    useless if the subject is not identified. My wife's family had to
    discard several hundred photographs from her grandmother's estate
    because not one of them identified the people in them. I myself have a
    thick stack of family negatives, and I don't have a clue who most of
    the people are.

    b.ingraham, Dec 9, 2005
  4. donkeypoodle

    Scott W Guest

    The trend is moving towards printing digital photos on photographic
    paper. I do almost all my prints now at Costco, which like most places
    uses photographic paper. They are cheap and fast and the prints won't

    With the billions of photos taken each year I think a few might survive
    a 100 years. For historical purposes digital photos can work much
    better then film, because just about every digital photo has a date
    stamp on it.

    I don't think many people will just throw out their parents hard drive
    when they die. When my father in law passed away we went through his
    computer with great care to be sure we had all the important files

    Scott W, Dec 9, 2005
  5. Per :
    Somebody, somewhere made the observation that to a historian 100 years from now
    there's going to be this sudden gap in photographic artifacts as people stopped
    getting 35mm prints/slides made and went to digital where all their photos
    mostly go "poof" when they die - either because the PC/hard drives got thrown
    out or because the inkjet prints just faded away.
    (PeteCresswell), Dec 9, 2005
  6. donkeypoodle

    mOSaiC Guest

    Shoot with whatever the hell makes you happy, right? I have a Rebel Ti and a
    Rebel 350D. They both have their pros and cons. I think the 350D is over
    sensitive to light and that's why a lot of my outdoor sunny pictures are
    overexposed. I just photograped a wedding and the 350D was perfect because
    of the preview ability. Just have FUN with whatever you use. And take great
    mOSaiC, Dec 10, 2005
  7. donkeypoodle

    Lloyd Erlick Guest

    December 10, 2005, from Lloyd Erlick,


    Well, I've been a no-one for years!

    Lloyd Erlick Portraits, Toronto.
    voice: 416-686-0326
    Lloyd Erlick, Dec 10, 2005
  8. donkeypoodle

    The One Guest

    What I meant was to get a printed digital photo to be the same quality as a
    developed film photo, the camera would need to be around 20 megapixels.
    The One, Dec 10, 2005
  9. donkeypoodle

    The One Guest

    Film may be better in some aspects but dont use a high speed film no no.
    The One, Dec 10, 2005
  10. donkeypoodle

    Scott W Guest

    And why do you believe this to be ture?

    Scott W, Dec 10, 2005
  11. donkeypoodle

    nermal Guest

    I didn't know that.
    I knew that my darkroom smelled of hypo for some strange reason!
    nermal, Dec 10, 2005
  12. donkeypoodle

    dj_nme Guest

    That sort of blanket staement is simply not true.
    It depends on how big you want your prints to be.
    A normal postcard print at 6"x4" at 300ppi needs 2.1mp if no cropping is
    done or at 200ppi a 6"x9" print.
    Unless you are going to (do something silly, like) try and use a
    magnifying glass to examine the print.
    dj_nme, Dec 11, 2005
  13. Speak for yourself -- the *absolutely best* photograph that I ever
    took with either my brother's Canon Rebel film camera or with my
    Nikon F80 (film) camera doesn't come remotely close to the level
    of technical quality of an *average* image that I take with my
    Nikon D70.

    30" x 20" enlargements of the absolutely best film images show
    a grain that is much more noticeable than the hundreth-of-an-inch
    pixels that I get when enlarging a 3000 x 2000 image to 30" x 20"
    (provided an adequate processing/interpolation procedure)

    With the current state of technology, it's a non-contest -- see for more details
    (no pun intended -- you'll understand when you follow the link)

    Carlos Moreno, Dec 14, 2005
  14. I still shoot film. I think digital camera are getting pretty good but one
    has to spend a pretty big chunk of change to get into equipment that can
    compare with high end film cameras.

    I hear all the time that digital is cheaper. There is a friend of mine in
    the local photo club who told me I should "convert" to digital as it is
    cheaper. I asked her how much her Nikon DX2 12+mp camera cost w/ the lenses
    she had. Her answer was over 6 grand. (she did have some good glass).

    She also added that she planned on trading and upgrading as the technology
    improved. I think that would be nearly ever year if I understand technology.

    Now if I bought a camera like her's with plans on keeping it for a long time
    (ten year if the damn thing lasted that long), I could shoot a huge amount of
    film and develop it too.

    Now as a hobbiest photographer who sell photos but not really for a living
    but more on the side (I work Union construction which pays better), I really
    have fun with older cameras. I shoot old canon (not real old) A1's F1's
    AE1's and an AT1 all of these are right on the money and still take really
    good shots (which is more up to the glass and film than the camera.)

    I have entered into these holy wars before (film vs digital), I think I will
    not enter again. I could really not give a rats a$$ anyway so long as I get
    left alone.

    Canon F1 via, Dec 14, 2005
  15. donkeypoodle


    Then you are using the wrong films and/or your improper "photomat"
    processing or perhaps are having trouble getting a proper exposure. I defy
    an 8MP camera to compete with medium or large format film cameras. Now, I
    am not by any means anti digital, but don't bullshit a bullshitter... Fine
    grain, "Pro" color 35mm slide film exposed/processed properly and scanned
    with a quality film scanner will produce outstanding images....

    But still I drool over the higher end digitals, 12MP+
    DBLEXPOSURE, Dec 14, 2005
  16. donkeypoodle

    Scott W Guest

    I did not see him say an 8MP camera would compete with medium format.
    In the link he give it was a 12.4MP camera that was looking like it
    gave a MF cmaera a run for its money. This does not surpise me since
    they are taking a 6 x 6 MF farme and cropping it to match the 2:3 ratio
    from the D2X, sort of like making a 645 camera out of the 6 x 6. and
    I do believe the D2X will look pretty good compared to a 645.

    Scott W, Dec 14, 2005
  17. donkeypoodle

    Scott W Guest

    Digital can be cheaper but it depends on how you like to shoot. I
    shoot a lot of photos in a year, much more now that I am shooting
    digital then when I was using film. I like having all these photos, to
    me they have real value. Digital has allowed me to shoot the way I
    always wanted to but could not afford do to with film. But if you
    don't shot a lot of photos and have not interest in shooting a lot of
    photos then film will likely be cheaper.

    But for me it was not just the cost of the film and processing, it was
    also the time to took to scan the film. For me I get much better
    photos using digital then I ever did with film. There are those who
    will say I did not use film right, maybe yes maybe no, does not really
    matter to me, digital gives me what I want.

    If people are happy shooting film then I'm all for them shooting

    Scott W, Dec 14, 2005
  18. donkeypoodle

    m Ransley Guest

    Of couse a P&S or 35mm digital cant compare to large format, but my sony
    W5 does to my A1 with aspherical lenses and K64. Plus its alot more fun
    and does 10 times more. now I watch TV photos
    m Ransley, Dec 14, 2005
  19. Who's talking about medium or large format? Those, I'm not familiar
    with, so I wouldn't dare state a comparison (and have no problem
    believing a statement about the technical superiority of those).

    The previous poster stated that 35mm scanned are far-and-above
    *technically* superior (emphasis is mine), which in my experience
    could not be more the opposite.

    As for me not using the right technique... Well, I don't mean to
    sound immodest, and although I'm definitely *far* from a skilled
    professional photographer, in a lot more than one occasion, the
    technicians in the photo lab have drooled over some of the pictures
    I've taken, so I would dare to estimate that my technical skills
    with a 35mm camera are at least around the average for a serious

    The thing is, an enlargement of some of my best pictures taken
    with either ISO-100 Kodak Gold or ISO-200 Kodak Royal Gold to
    30" by 20" does show the grain, at approximately 1mm or perhaps
    half a millimeter -- an enlargement of my 6MP Nikon D70 gives
    me a 0.25mm pixel; that seems technically superior on that
    front. Unless the previous poster was concentrated exclusively
    on the color accuracy... But then, I'd be surprised to learn
    that my eyes are so bad at judging color, since I don't find
    the images from a Nikon D70 to be at any disadvantage with
    respect to the ones I used to take with 35mm on my Nikon F80
    with Kodak Royal Gold or later the HD...
    I'm not!!!!
    Outstanding, yes... Far-and-above superior to a 6MP DSLR camera
    such as the Nikon D70 or equivalent-quality camera? Doubtful...

    BTW, are you talking about slide film, ISO-64, 50, or perhaps 25?
    In that case, then yes, I'd have to concede that I have no experience
    on that front, so I'd be willing to give it the benefit of the
    That makes two......thousands of us :)

    Carlos Moreno, Dec 14, 2005
  20. The ironic thing about this argument is, *thanks to digital*, a
    historian 10000 years from now could look at a photograph taken
    today, and see *exactly* the same photograph that we're looking
    at (on a photon-by-photon basis, so to speak).

    In terms of longevity, it's so ironic that people try to defend
    film photography using that argument, which can not be a more
    definitive and unambiguous argument in favor of digital photography.

    You know, a friend of mine's house had a fire burn down his house;
    he lost, without any hope for recovery, *all* of his photos from
    before that moment... With digital, he could have had dozens of
    backup copies (in his brother's computer, friends' computers, on
    his online server backup, CD-R or DVD-R, etc.), and each of those
    copies would have been *exactly identical* to the original (as
    in, impossible to distinguish); I think that's more than can be
    said about film photography...

    Yes, I can hear you say: how realistic is that for an average
    person? Well... How realistic would be storing your negatives
    in a fire-safe, burglary-safe, flooding-safe, earthquake-safe
    place, with controlled temperature and humidity to avoid

    That's the thing -- film photos give me that feeling of relying
    on all eggs in one basket; they're so fragile, just the one
    copy of the negative gone, and that's it! You can make copies,
    yes, but there's deterioration on a per-copy basis, which does
    not happen with digital.

    Carlos Moreno, Dec 15, 2005
    1. Advertisements

Ask a Question

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.