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Digital vs. Film Photography

May 21, 2008
Before digital technology solely photographic film was used for picture taking. While digital cameras have enabled a speedier process and a lot more room for error, the quality of a professional film photograph can not be matched for the price. Hence, there are advantages and disadvantages of digital photography.

Although the price and convenience of digital photography has resulted in digital cameras outselling film cameras since 2002, we will never see film cameras become completely unavailable. Photographic film and equipment will continue to be an option for enthusiasts. Picture taking is an art form for many who would not think of going digital. They will use time and money to convert their end product to digital in order to share their photos. Much like digital users use time and money getting good prints of their photos!

Digital photography offers many advantages over Film photography;

 Pictures are available for instant review. Additional pictures can be taken instantly in the event of a problem.
 There are virtually no costs to capturing and sharing photos via email and storing on a computer without printing.
 Photos can be copied from one digital medium to the next without loss of quality.
 Ability to print photos at home using consumer grade paper or email photos to be printed professionally.
 Ability to capture hundreds of photos rather than changing film after 24 to 36 shots.
 Increasingly common anti-shake functionality. This allows for sharper handheld photos rather than using a tripod.
 A smaller sensor format which allows for smaller lenses, wider zoom lenses and greater depth of field.
 Ability to change ISO speed settings in the middle of shooting. In film photography the ISO speed is loaded so you must change film to change speeds.
 Ability to convert the same photo from color to black and white, sepia, etc.
 Stored digitally therefore there is no risk of fading or losing photo quality over time.
 Ability to manipulate photos using computer software.

Disadvantages of Digital photography as compared to Film photography;

 Dependence on spare batteries or access to an outlet. Film cameras do use batteries but they tend to be smaller and not drained as quickly.

 Most digital sensors have less dynamic range than color print film.

 High ISO image noise manifests as multicolored speckles in digital images in contrast to the less objectionable grain of high ISO film. This speckling can be removed by noise reduction computer software however, the removal can cause a loss of fine detail.

 When highlights burn out they burn to white without details. If any broad area is over exposed the image looks very poor. This effect is similar on cheap pocket cameras. Film cameras retain a level of detail as they burn to white. This mimics our eye much better than digital. This is digitals greatest downfall.

Thus the comparison leads to a choice on an individual basis only. The user needs and skill level and the advantages and disadvantages to both types of photography need to be analyzed in order to choose the better method. If you were to try and purchase a digital camera that matched a film camera feature for feature it would easily be double the price even taking into consideration the savings on film. However, the convenience that digital photography offers may outweigh quality of each individual picture for some persons.

Digital technology has enabled a speedier process and a lot more room for error. However, the quality of a professional film photograph can not be matched for the price. Review of the advantages and disadvantages will help each user choose the better camera for their needs.
About the Author
I have an extensive background in Finance and Fiscal Procedure. I also have a web business where I offer Educational Computer Software and Games. I am very interested in the product itself as well as the subject matter that it involves. Kids Learning Tools Please visit us at The Software Spot!
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