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Photography Question 
Heather Lynn King
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/22/2005
 

Digital vs. Film...is there an argument anymore?


I doing a research paper, and am wondering what the arguments are for fil vs. digital...is there even an arguement anymore, or has digital simply surpassed film. Aside for zoom lenses and in low light situations, are there any other reasons why film would be better than digital? I have heard many of the reasons why digital is as good and now better than film in reslution, but I am curiouse as to the reasons why one would not give up film. Tell me what makes film more favorable? Any feedback is apprediated, and if you could leave your name and/or other citation info, that would be great! Thanks for your help!


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2/21/2006 9:54:27 AM

 
Heather Lynn King
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/22/2005
  OOOps, I should have proof-read! Sorry guys!


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2/21/2006 9:57:04 AM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  There's different applications for both, where one might be more prevelant than the other. Most of the charts you'll find is that digital is catching up and slightly surpassing the best of films in 35mm format. Application-wise digital could possibly be better in areas such as weddings or events where you can fire, fire, fire without the worries of changing film and missing moments. In places with quick grossly changing lights (runway & concerts) you have your LCD to preview your images and make sure you're not screwing it up. Now on applications where you can slow down and get the best resolution possible, maybe film is a better area, especially with larger formats. I don't think Canon's 16.7MP camera could out-do the resolution of Fuji Velvia in 120 or 4x5 format but then that's comparing apples to oranges (digital[35mm] to large film). There are medium/large format digital backs but I personally know nothing about them or how they work. I do believe the highest of 35mm digital SLR's can compare or surpass 35mm film but it takes lots of $$$ digital-wise to compare. If I were to compare/contrast the Canon 1Ds Mk II (canon's top camera) with the Canon AE-1 loaded with Velvia 50 and equivelent lenses I'd say (according to the tests I've seen on the 'net) that 1Ds is equal or better. But here's the downside: the camera alone is going to run you about $7200 and the lens (135mm f/2) is about $900. You can grab a Canon AE-1 for about $100 off ebay and a FD 135mm f/2 for about $200 so there's about a $7800 difference but then throw in more variables. The AE-1 is completely manual, no autofocus, no gadgets, or custom functions, etc. So there's just soo many variables in all the equations that you can't really justify saying one is better. Maybe in exact situations but in general, they both have their advantages/disadvantages. And another thing to remember is that you can't simply say "film vs. digital" because there's so many different "types" of digital and so many formats of film. I mean I could sit here and say that film is better because digital can't compare to a print off an 11x14 ULF Velvia shot, but then again the photog probably took 1/2 an hour to an hour to setup the shot perfectly while the digital shooter is already on his way. I'm hoping that you're seeing all the variables I'm trying to illustrate. I'm not trying to make myself out to be a pro or to have tested all of the latest greates equipment but I myself have just recently realized that photography is capturing a moment in time, film and digital are just different ways of doing it. One thing that digital shooters have to remember is that digital hasn't always been around and all the greatest photogs did use film so there's nothing wrong with shooting film. One the contrary one thing film shooters have to realize is that digital is coming around, and it is getting better and starting to compare at the 35mm level (again I can't vouch for MF digital backs). So all in all I think the answer to your question is is yes, there is arguement but one thing we all must remember (myself included) is all the factors of both worlds. Hope this helps.

Justin

P.S. Hope this clears things up on my POV for the last film/digital arguement where I really ticked people off. Hope we can come to terms.


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2/21/2006 10:56:45 AM

 
Damian P. Gadal
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/22/2002
  Nope.

Film = horse and buggy

Digital = Automobile


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2/21/2006 10:57:06 AM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  I forgot to answer your other statement as to why I think film is better. I personally like film because I love being in the darkroom and I love seeing those silver hallide prints (or however the chemical process works). They seem to just have that nack to them, just something about them that I like better. But that's just me and my opinion. To add some irony, my favorite photographer Michael Tarasoff that I'm always raving about uses a 20D in some of my favorite B&W shots by him...go figure. So to answer, I personally feel B&W shots in wet-darkroom look better. IMHO.

Justin.


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2/21/2006 11:02:56 AM

 
Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  Damian, no offense, but I think Justin's comments might be a little more useful than yours in a research paper.

You made some great points, Justin.

Chris


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2/21/2006 11:05:20 AM

 
Justin G.
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/13/2004
  better than my last suicide schpeal? lol. lately i've been trying to be more open minded. i've been actually wanting to save up for a 20D for my hardcore film self! well now with the 30D i'll probably change to that. 2nd generation always better. :-)


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2/21/2006 11:08:50 AM

 
Damian P. Gadal
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/22/2002
  You're right:

Here's some info on the digital camera...

It's like the CD replacing the LP - the result is the same, the medium for delivery changes. Just as digital downloads of muisc are replacing the CD...

hth


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2/21/2006 11:11:32 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   "Film = horse and buggy

Digital = Automobile"

If you want to take your lady for a romantic ride along the waterfront, what will you choose - the horse and buggy or the Chevy?

Sorry but I just had to ask that.


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2/21/2006 11:59:45 AM

 
Kerry L. Walker   Digital advantages:

1. Immediate feedback - No, looking at the screen on the back of a camera is not the same as looking at the picture on a computer screen but it gives you a lot more info than looking at the back of a film camera. lol

2. Speed - you can get your final product a lot quicker.

3. Cheaper to shoot once you have paid the initial extra expense for the camera, cards, faster computer, better monitor, etc.

4. White balance - don't have to change films or use filters to accomodate different types of lighting. (OK, you digital guys really have a big advantage over me here.)

5. Can change the ISO without having to change film. (OK, I'm jealous.)

Film advantages:

1. Resolution, at least when you compare the resolution of MF film to 35MM digital. I realize this is not really a fair comparision but you can get your hands on a nice MF setup a lot cheaper than the better digital cameras.

2. B&W - B&W film beats B&W in digital - hands down. I think eventually digital will compete in this area.

3. Latitude - at least in regard to print film. The latitude of digital is closer to slide film than print film - very narrow. This is the main reason I like to shoot weddings with film. It is a lot easier to get details in the black tux without blowing out the whites in the gown. Don't mean it can't be done in digital but it is harder.

4. Tonal range - Digital can't yet compete with film in this area.

5. Less computer time - don't really have to have a computer at all.

6. Personal reason - I am comfortable with film. It is like an old friend. OK, I realize this reason is of no use in your research paper but I had to throw it in.

The fact that digital files can be more easily manipulated is of no concern since you can easily get a digital film from film with a good scanner.


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2/21/2006 12:29:19 PM

 
Kerry L. Walker   BTW, there will always be an arguement, if for no other reason than that is is fun to argue!


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2/21/2006 12:32:39 PM

 
Damian P. Gadal
BetterPhoto Member Since: 4/22/2002
  romantic ride = time away from the computer. Tough choice.


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2/21/2006 12:41:23 PM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  I see everyone talking about the LCD screen on the back of the camera, but nobody mentioned how it can lie to ya. If you set the resolution on the screen wrong, you may see a perfect picture until you get it home and try to print it. My wife has a ball with my Maxxum D. Every time she uses it, I have to reset everything to get the shots I want. I think I'll keep using film on the important things. My digital is still a very expensive toy. I've got a lot to learn before I start using it to get reimbursed for my hobby.


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2/21/2006 1:35:01 PM

 

BetterPhoto Member
  Another thing. My kids even like horses.


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2/21/2006 1:36:00 PM

 
Tom R. Walker
BetterPhoto Member Since: 1/7/2006
  I still don't think digital surpases 35mm in an actual darkroom, most comparisons are of a digital print against a scanned and digitally printed neg, which loses the advantage of film and brings it down to the digital level.
Now that I've really irritated about 200 people, I'll leave you with one fact. A 35 mm negative contains as much information as a 55 megapixel sensor, but a scanner can't read it all.


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2/21/2006 9:57:39 PM

 
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