In the past there simply was not a choice except to use film. All that was available were film cameras and you learned to develop your own film or took to a lab for processing. Now there is a choice and many people wonder which is better, digital or film. Here are some of the pros and cons of these technologies.
The Pros of Digital
Digital cameras are great for most people. They offer instant access to the pictures you have taken. Similar to an old Polaroid, you can see instantly if you need to retake or change the composition of the photograph you just made. Also, you can easily download the digital images to a computer and print just the ones you want.
You can shoot thousands of pictures for virtually no cost giving you instant feedback on the skills you learn, shortening the time it takes to become an accomplished photographer.
It is easy to store your digital images, enhance and edit them, and print them at home using your computer. All of those images can be stored on a few CDs or a hard drive and are easily recalled. Compare that to a shoe box full of prints in a closet somewhere.
The Cons of Digital
There are many negatives (pun intended) to digital photography too. Digital images are easy to lose. A digital camera is significantly more expensive than a comparable digital camera. They may not be seen because like most of us you will download them to your computer and never do anything more with them. You have to backup you hard drive regularly or risk losing hundreds of valuable pictures. Many people think digital prints look and feel different than prints made from film. It can be expensive to print digital photographs at home because you need expensive photo-quality paper and color printer cartridges. Digital images cannot be enlarged as much as an image captured on film.
The Pros of Film
Even though many professional photographers prefer film over digital. Some people prefer to use a film camera so it forces them to develop there pictures immediately. Instead of leaving your photographs on disk you have to have your film pictures printed. Then you will always have them available to look at. Images captured on film can be enlarged to a bigger print than a digital image can be.
The Cons of Film
Film cameras are becoming less popular as time passes, but they are less expensive than a digital camera with the same features.
With film you have to have all the pictures on the roll printed, you don’t have the option of printing just the images you like and culling out the bad ones. Having a roll of film processed and printed is much more expensive than the 25 cents per picture you would pay to print from a memory card. There is also the time it takes to wait for the film to be processed, often as long as a week unless you are willing to pay a premium for a one-hour lab.
As you consider film over digital you come to see that one isn’t really any better than the other. The choice is more about personal tastes and how the final images are to be used. When it’s time to buy a new camera take the time to look at both digital and film and decide which is best for your uses. In the past I owned a 35mm SLR film camera. Now I prefer digital for the immediate feedback while I’m shooting to make exposure corrections or compose the shot differently, and the ability to edit and print just the pictures I want instead of a developing a whole roll of film.