Thursday, 9 July 2009

Digital Vs Film

With our first poll about to close in 19 hours its time to look digital versus film.
The Effort: Undoubtedly one of the biggest benefits of digital is there are no rolls of film to take down to the lab or process in the darkroom. And for dark room users the wait for negatives to dry, then make proof sheets, print and........ Our most expensive digital photograph was the first one we took! The cost per image has been drastically reduced and allows us to experiment and improve our photographic techniques quicker with the meta data supplied. This ease ways strongly for digital but.....

The Delete Button: Are some of us pressing it too early while still on camera or on the computer? Photography is part of history recording and we no longer end up with those shoe boxes of negatives under our bed and even more worrying is that many don’t understand JPEG lossy compression.

Seeing Before Clicking & Reviewing Afterwards: We can now exactly see the composition and take the time to compose our shots with digital – yes we could do that to some extent beforehand but its heaps easier with digital. After we’ve pressed that shutter button we can instantly review the image and information through the histogram and then reshoot to perfect our composition and exposure (means less to do in your photo editing software and more time shooting).

ISO Before You Go: Now this is one of the best things with digital for me. I can change the ISO from one image to the next and not have to load another roll of film or lose the photographs before I change the ISO ratting on the camera for film. Plus on higher end cameras we are now getting a much higher rating ISO then offered on film. On the negative, many digital cameras over 400 ISO in low light produce far too much noise – an improvement I think we’ll see in the not so far distance future driven by consumer demand.

Let’s All Share: Digital has made the sharing of images so much easier and quicker – someone across the other side of the world can view an image you have uploaded almost immediately. Yes you can scan images and do the same so this is not just a benefit of digital cameras but rather the technology. But hey, let’s be honest, scanning is just another job to do in our every busy life.

Keeping It For Ever: Do you archive your digital files or are you someone who has the last 6 months of shooting sitting on the card in the camera? This is still a new technology and I have had hard drive, CD, DVD, memory stick and card failures. Back up devices such as hard drives are cheap – do it and make that digital shoe box! It’s smaller than a garage which is what it would take to store those digital images on film and don’t forget if you can, to enter keywords, it makes it so much easier to search for an image.

So what’s Best? They both have their advantages and disadvantages and we have not sold off our film cameras and do not intend too. What we want from digital is the equivalent of what we got from transparency (slide) film and I believe that is sooner rather than later.

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