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digital vs film - what's the concensus?

Discussion in 'Photography Forums' started by dood, Dec 5, 2004.

  1. dood

    dood
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    Having recently bought a new compact digicam and a dSLR, I decided to go through my old photography magazines. I read an artlicle in a 2001 Practical Photographer stating that finally dSLR was available at "affordable" prices to the consumer market. They were talking about the EOS D30 at 2200 pounds (3 megapixel camera). What made it a "bargain" was that the equivalent Nikon went for nearly double that price.

    I showed the article to my wife to justify my very cheap purchases in 2004. She asked me what the current consensus is on quality of digital vs film cameras. I didn't know the answer but went into technospeak about how digital cameras vary greatly and film cameras can get totally differnet images based on the type of film used, processing parameters etc.

    She saw right through my ignorance and said that if you ask people if they think CD is better than LP, at least 90 % would agree and a few nerds would insist that LP is better. This would be based on the fact that most people would appreciate the crackle and pop - less sound of CD. I then said that using that analogy, I guess most people would say that digital is better than film as most people get dust and hair etc on negatives.

    So what is the concensus?
     
  2. Blu Ray

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    I think most people prefer digital over film (& CD over LP) for the convenience factors/ease of use. Same applies to DVD over VHS. People like the fact that they can 'see' the picture immediately after taking it, and then delete it and retake it if it's crap.
     
  3. Garrett

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    :nono:

    :lesson: Nerds not always the case some LP neither have crackle or pop and people believe the LP has tonal qualities the CD does not have.

    With Digital vs Film I feel digital is a lot better medium than films since I can go out this morning and shoot 200 shots and if I only get 1 good one out of them it has cost me nothing only the power the recharge the camera battery.

    The two areas where film is better is the ability to be blown up a lot larger than digital and the speed of capturing a shoot.

    The reason I have gone over to the digital format is I took some pictures with my Canon AE1 and my cousin to some very similar shots with his digital camera and his were a lot sharper. As the film was on it use buy it could have been that but I have load of pictures I other wise would not have taken if I still were on film.

    What’s more my old camera with zoom weighed a ton and was only 50mm to 210mm my Olympus is light and is 38mm to 380mm optical.
     
  4. seany

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    Digital is vastly more workable medium then film. Sports photographers and the paparazzi all use digital now as they help meet deadlines. Digital means they get them on to a lap top and get them to the agency quicker then the next guy , and a hell of a lot faster then film. So it's not just amateurs using them

    My dslr can take 5 shots per second continuously up to 23 shots until it slows. That's around 20 shots in 4 seconds.

    You can afford to make mistakes with digital which the guys have pointed already.


    If you have a studio and a darkroom, and that’s where you work from then i guess that’s another argument. But for many people, digital has opened up a whole new world for them.


    Can only be a good thing
     
  5. wilber

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    I've been taking "Serious" photographs for well over a decade now and had my own dark room built. I use this facility very rarely now since 35mm film is no longer capable of noticably better image quality than a dslr - most 35mm film can't take an enlargement beyond A3 without beginning to degrade. Medium Format film still gets my vote for quality but is a real pain - My Bronica is as convenient to use as a house brick & processing / printing takes hours so I only use it now for some studio work, but this is becoming rarer all the time.

    Economic argument. A good Dslr, and a good printer can be had for £700 - the price of 100 films & processing. £1100 gets you to the ability to produce A3 prints, £3000 puts you in a dreamland of A2 professional / archival quality prints.

    Environmental argument - Film manufacture and processing is a nasty business so the switch to digital is a definite plus for the environment.

    Down side - your gadget will be as obsolete as a D30 within a year & you will start to crave the new model
     
  6. allengn

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    However this can also be an upside. If you don't crave the 'latest and greatest' you can get some absolute bargains. I brought a Fuji S602 last year for around £200. (These were around £400+ when they were the current model). This was advertised as a 'factory reconditioned' unit, but has been absolutely superb, and the picture quality, even at lower resolutions of 1 and 3 Megapixels is awesome.
     
  7. SanPedro

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    All the professional photographers I use for design and advertising work went digital several years ago.

    The quality now is outstanding and the practical arguments have killed film in my area of business. Our scanner is virtually redundant and is only used for scanning non film based material.

    I would agree on there being some real bargains to be had out there. I got a Minolta Dimage 7i for £300 in absolute mint condition. Current model is over £700 and there is not a huge difference in technical specs.

    There are some 'Art' photographers out there who prefer the control they have over the image that film gives them - mainly in the processing and printing of images. A good friend of mine who has been a photographer over 30 years cannot get the same results from digital as from film - but this is mainly due to the fact he doesn't know Photoshop well enough yet and still prefers dodging and burning his prints in the dark room.

    For Joe Public though (me included) I think there is no contest. Digital rules.

    Chris
     
  8. HotblackDesiato

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    I shot film for 20 years and only moved to digital a few months back. I much prefer the immediacy of digital, and am learning a lot just from being able to correct errors on the fly. I've also never been a great note taker, thru sheer laziness, and now wish i had... Exif having taught me the error of my ways. Photoshop has been a pretty steep learning curve but now that i'm finally getting up to speed i'm really enjoying the flexibility this brings.

    Economics wise unless you keep your PC up to date i think this should be factored into the argument. My old P3 800 kept me perfectly happy until i started running 50meg tiffs thru it. :-(

    Obsolescence... i expect to upgrade every couple of product cycles, say 3 years, which is about the same as i've averaged for film bodies in the last ten years.
     
  9. SanPedro

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    the upgrade issue is a definite cost factor, although one that is less of an issue. When I 1st started out on a Mac the cost of a half decent Mac was over £7k - and this was in 1989!!!.

    Unless you do a lot with layered images then the current crop of Macs and PC are more than adequate and would last a keen amateur more than 3 years easily.

    Cameras though, are a differnt matter IMO as they are still on a dramatic development cycle price and performance wise.

    Chris
     

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