07 February 2014

Film and digital differences still exist

I somehow persuaded myself to get a new camera after passing a certain age recently… better than a sports car I suppose. As usual when I have a new camera, it’s a digital SLR and it always makes me nostalgic for my film cameras. So, while I am in this mood I thought I’d bring up some of the differences between the formats that still exist, and might always exist between them. 

Conservation: Film is still the best way to conserve images. For one thing, a negative can be  reprinted and even scanned at different sizes and into different formats. It does degrade over time but so does digital and digital is less reliable over the long term for conservation. Digital files are pretty much in the highest quality they ever can be when you make them and it’s very hard to get them into a new, especially larger format without losing a noticeably in quality. 

Practicality: This is where digital shines. With one flash card you can take 100s if not 1000s of photos and they are all available to look at instantly. Processing film takes a room, chemicals and lots of expensive equipment. Not mention money. Once you have a a computer and a software for image processing (Photoshop is an example but there are more and more alternatives out there now) you are almost without limits as to how you can manipulate the photos and even make as many versions of it until you are happy with the results. many of the techniques in Photoshop are from ones used in dark rooms over the last century or so it’s just easier to accomplish now. 

The longevity of cameras: Film beats digital hands down in this respect. My old medium format from 100 years ago still works fine and can take awesome photos. Digital, is different, there is the every changing technologies, formats and the limit to the camera’s sensor lifespan. I also find digital cameras to be more expensive overall, something I don’t understand since they don’t last as long. 

Quality of image: This is a personal choice in many respects but I still find film a higher quality image and I think technically the amount of information in a digital image is still a long away off from the information you can contain on film, in most cases. I have yet to get images I like as much in digital that I got from my medium format camera. To be fair I don’t have medium format digital camera, nor the 10 000$ it would take to buy one. 

This conversation is pretty useless nowadays: While I might pine away for film, the fact of the matter is film is pretty much dead and even now is only used in a shrinking specialty market. Digital is not going away and the quickness and convenience of it doesn’t make it a bad thing at all. I do wonder and hope that eventually digital will catch up in the areas it it currently weaker in. 


T' said...

I don't think digital is going anywhere either. That being said, negatives I took in high school are still fine, and that was 30 years or so ago. NONE of the computer equipment from that long ago still exists or is relevant in any way. As for resolution, I don't think it's far off for digital, really. They keep upping the pixels and they keep getting cheaper. I bet, too that more photos by far are being taken now than ever before in history. So, in short, yes. :"D

Behemoth media said...

The changing tech is why I am trying to print up all my digital drawings now. The giclee prints will last up to 150 years they say. I will print my better photos as well. There is an alternate way to get higher quality where they stack the red, green and blue pixels instead of putting them next to each other, one camera model like that as produced by since all the big companies are married to the cmos sensors, they rejected it even though it was a lot cheaper with much higher resolution. It's Betamax and VHS all over again!

T' said...

Oh, that's the last thing we need! We lost that fight with Blu-ray. Boo hiss. How expensive are Giclee prints? I've heard nothing but good things about them, and the ones I've seen have been really nice.

Behemoth media said...

Blu-ray still hasn't caught on that much and everyone is going much lower quality digital for the tablets etc. The prices are too high for no good reason which I think is their big mistake. Gliclees are so much less than i ever imagined! At least where I do them and the quality is amazing.


I usually for the flat watercolour paper and it has never been a disappointment.