The classic film photography approach meeds the ever-accessible world of digitization in this comparison article.
Believe it or not, film has been making a comeback over the last few years. The hipsters have joined together and set their sight on the “retro” ideas of old Kodak—of darkrooms, enlargers, and vintage cameras.
Admittedly, they’re onto something. The personal handling of a photo causes the image to hold more meaning. The extra effort in tandem with the classic film-look can ooh and ahh pretty much any photo enthusiast.
But then the digital squad comes running in. There’s something to be said for the digital world, from the ability to see what your photo will look like to the entire world of post- processing. Read on to witness two worlds collide as we explore the pros and cons of each distinct style!
Let’s be practical.
As far as practically is concerned, digital photography takes the win. Most professional photographers, from portrait services to the food arena, are expected to generate the highest quality photos in the quickest time.
First, digital cameras allow you to snap thousands of shots in the matter of seconds. Film simply cannot match the volume and speed at which digital photos can be taken.
In addition, your Nikon D810 has a little chip in there that can store thousands of photos at any given moment.
During a job, you need to capture as many photos as you can in order to maximize your chance of capturing the “right” one. The ability to store, replicate, and share digital photos also can’t be matched with film.
On the other hand, countless photographers spend hours meticulously editing each pixel of their digital photos. There’s something to be said for the simplicity of a natural film print. No post- processing, even if you wanted it—just developing from roll to paper.
Cost—the category that makes us hate the things we love.
Depending on the number of photos you take at any given time, the urgency of needing photographs available, and how many photos you need printed, the argument could swing either way.
For those who demand instant physical access to their photos, digital printing will be faster and cheaper. Printing in bulk will also be lighter on the wallets of digital photographers.
The rule of thumb goes as follows: Digital cameras are more expensive upfront, whereas analog setups are cheaper with more considerable development costs.
Supporting film is the simple fact that digital photographers almost constantly upgrade their equipment. Film cameras are also less prone to physical and programming breakage, which will lead to less repair and replacement costs.
Clearly, film enjoys a slight advantage in the wallet game, especially if you print a conservative number of photos. With the restricted volume of shots you can take, you most likely have to watch this number anyway.
Is there a Resolution to this argument?
Both analog and digital photographers want to know that, no matter which format they use, their photos will be sharp and high-resolution. With digital image sensors, resolution is determined by the number of pixels within a given area.
Film does not have pixels; instead, resolution is calculated through angular resolution. Both methods of measurement can be compared for equivalent resolution, which makes this argument a little simpler for us.
Keep in mind that different types of film will produce different resolutions, just as different sensors can produce various resolutions. When comparing equivalent digital and film setups, one method doesn’t clearly outperform the other. When using film, your best chances will come from using a medium or large format unit.
Going against the grain.
Sometimes a photo will contain small sand-like textures, commonly known as digital noise or film grain.
With analog film, grain is the result of small chemical particles that have not received enough light to properly expose. Within the digital realm, noise occurs when the camera’s digital circuitry fires with unwanted signals. The cause could either be excess heat or lack of image data.
Increasing the ISO of a digital camera or selecting high-speed film will exasperate the effects of noise and grain. Both cases are generally unwanted in color photography, but some artists prefer the character it adds, especially in black-and-white styles.
Compared to equivalent film speed, digital cameras do a fantastic job eliminating excess noise. On the other hand, film is often a better choice for capturing long exposure photographs.
Image sensors can overheat in digital cameras, especially during hot days and after prolonged use of imaging circuity. As a result, there will be lots of extra noise. Film, on the other hand, does not have any issues with overheating.
Personal preference counts, too…
Let’s be real, especially for the born-again hipsters among us; analog film is a badass was to capture images. The cameras look awesome, the development process adds sentiment and care, and the colors and textures seem to drip off the paper.
More photos are taken each day than during the entire previous century; developing film provides the image with uniqueness that transcends the digital era.
Digital cameras? Let’s be real—they can outrun film in nearly every competition of practicality. The method is constantly evolving, too, which will lead to endless innovations and improvements.
But who knows. Perhaps film is the dark horse style that will reemerge and destroy pixels for good.