Everyone tries to adapt and go digital. There are those who purchase the newest and the most advanced gadgets each and every time. There are those who love to experiment with the old and the new depending on their requirements. And there are those who would still prefer the analog and are not yet satisfied what the digital age could bring. For Photography, there are a lot of people who are exactly the same as the three types of people mentioned above. Let us look at some of the factors why people have preferences between film and digital photography.
Resolution. Image resolution is defined by how much detail an image has. So the more resolution the more detail an image has. Digital Cameras are usually measured on how much resolution they can produce. These days they can go up to 25 Megapixels, but they are the most expensive ones. The typical compact camera can reach up to 12 Megapixels already. And these pixel counts can only be compared with the 35mm size film. That is how powerful in terms of image detail a film has over digital cameras. What more if you will use higher size of film, especially for larger prints.
Image Quality. For capturing black and white, film is hands down more detailed than in digital. This is because of the single monochrome silver halide layer compared to the digital camera’s feature which only desaturates the RGB created by the sensor. For colored, still film has the advantage as mentioned above dominating the resolution. But, we also have to consider the ISO. Meaning considering the conditions such as lighting, the digital camera can dominate the film because it is easier to set the camera on different ISO where the film should be replaced with another type of ISO film to adjust.
Noise and Exposure. Noise is the interruption which you normally see on TV or videos, but in digital photography you call it noise, while grain in film. Film does not have much noise, while digital tends to have more of it as ISO increases. This is because of the CCD’s sensitivity to light. But digital cameras can capture images in low light better than film. On the other hand, if we will talk about harsh lights and long exposures, film can handle these better as it can deliver more natural captures. Digital however cannot handle these and will become over exposed.
Preview. If you want to preview the possible outcome, film cannot do this. Film uses viewfinder when taking pictures, so if you commit a mistake or your subject did not like it, you cannot redo it, but waste another shot. On a digital camera however has integrated LCD for previews. You can easily delete the pictures that you do not like. For DSLR they have both viewfinder and LCD, but the LCD is basically for previewing as well.
Appearance. If we will compare the physical appearance of the film and digital cameras, you will notice that film can be bulkier than a digital camera. It is heavier actually and the size of it needs to accommodate the film which usually is 35mm. So you can’t expect to get a film camera smaller than that. As for the digital camera, it has ranges in size, weight, and dimension. This is because digital cameras are made based on their features and functionality. It can be the smallest and slimmest that you want like most compact cameras, or the biggest and heaviest for the advanced DSLR. So it will depend on your needs.
Storage. Regarding storage, film is harder to store. You have to think how you will preserve the negatives without diminishing its quality. It will be harder to replicate the printed pictures for duplicates when you lose your negatives, otherwise you will need a restorer for it. Whereas the digital camera’s output is automatically stored in SD cards. Then you can back it up in your computer, cd, or other hard disks without changing its properties and quality. In the long run, film can fade, while digital will never change.
Editing. For post editing, digital is easy to do as there are a lot of photo editors out there made for editing photos. You can edit the pictures as many times as you want as long as you retain the raw file. Just in case you make mistakes, it will be easy to do it all over again. In film however is dependent on during taking pictures. You cannot tweak the picture during printing because most labs use default settings, unless you have your own darkroom and do the editing there.
Output. In printing the pictures, most digital labs accommodate both film and digital pictures. It is very easy to and takes at least 30 minutes or less depending on the lab. You can also do film printing in a darkroom.
Costs. Finally let us compare these two based on costs. They both are cheap and expensive, but it depends on how you look at it. For film, you will have to always spend because the film itself is costly if you need a lot of shots. And if you want to mass send it, you need to do it by post, which also require you paying. If you want to post it in the web, you need to purchase a good quality scanner. But the film camera is a good investment you can use for years, although the accessories might get obsolete. The digital pictures are not required to be printed, so you will not spend a dime. Because of so many social networks and photo sharing sites, it is easy for you to instantly upload your pictures without also spending. The digital camera has a price range depending on what model and type you want. But if we will again compare it with the quality a film can produce and the retention, the digital camera is more expensive.
There you go. We were able to take a hard look on the difference between the film and digital photography. These are all the features which make a person to be a great fan of the digital world, a practical one who mixes it up depending on the requirement, or a person who is very conventional. I am like the person in the middle. So if you will purchase one though, I would recommend to make sure that you will be able to balance the feature vs. the cost.