Why Film? - Divine Reflections Photography Blog

Why Film?

Several people have asked me when I'm going to switch to digital. The answer: not anytime soon, mostly because of cost. Here are a few of the common arguments from moving to digital along with my comments about them:

  1. Cost savings - Digital is cheaper than film because you don't have to pay for film, processing, and proofing.

    While film and processing go away, many other costs replace them. If I were to go digital tomorrow, I would immediately have to buy a new computer, a copy of Photoshop, a high end digital camera body, and memory cards. To get the quality equipment to match what I can do with film, I would have to spend close to $10,000. I can buy a lot of film and processing with that money! It is also important to consider post-processing time. Every image that comes out of a digital camera has to be color-corrected and have other processing done on it. With film, I simply take it to the lab and get prints a few days later. They take care of the color correction and other processing headaches.

  2. Higher image quality than 35mm - The lack of grain and huge files from high-end cameras exceed the quality of images made with 35mm film. Some people even believe that image quality is as good as or better than that of medium format film.

    I've always been a fan of quality. I have been impressed with the digital images that I've seen. As far as resolution and lack of grain go, digital definitely has the advantage. Sometimes, though, digital images look almost fake. I actually like the look of film better in a lot of cases -- grain isn't always a bad thing. Also, a lot of my work, especially my fine art work, is done in larger formats than 35mm. Digital can't touch that yet. I'm more inclined to buy a large format view camera than a digital system at this point.

  3. Instant image preview - The ability to review images as they are created aids in learning and allows photographers to avoid expensive mistakes.

    This would be one of the strongest arguments to get me to switch to digital. There are many photo techniques that I would like to learn, and the instant feedback would be invaluable in the education process.

The bottom line? Given an unlimited budget and the time to learn digital image processing, I would probably buy a new computer and a high end digital system. Unfortunately, I don't have those luxuries, so I'm going to stick with my 35mm and medium format film systems for a while. I'll be saving for a 5x7 view camera as well.

Posted by Greg on June 7, 2005 at 11:10PM.

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