Digital vs. Film Photography

Digital vs. Film Photography


Until the recent digital photography revolution, which has really taken hold in the last 5 years, film was king.  And while film photography still has its adherents it’s only really fine art photographers who are still holding on.  It’s fair to say that digital photography has officially usurped the throne.

That is not to say that there are no drawbacks with digital photography.  While, arguably, the losses associated with moving from vinyl and CDs are more obvious (the dynamic range of vinyl is far superior to that of CDs), there is also a qualitative loss going from film to digital.  However, software has become so sophisticated that the shortcomings can be mitigated, and some might say, eliminated.  And even CDs, while they don’t have the depth of sound of vinyl, at least they don’t have scratching and static noises.

Many photographers held fast to film for a long time, waiting for digital to match the quality of film.  Well, all but the fiercest diehards will concede that for most kinds of photography, including wedding photography and commercial photography, digital has not only arrived, but it has surpassed film.

For years now digital has had it over film when it comes to convenience.  With film, you had to process the film and then if you wanted to adjust the images in Photoshop you had to scan the negatives.  With digital you take the pictures, upload them immediately to your computer and start working on them.  For many, that alone is the price of admission.  Some digital wedding photographers, for example, upload the ceremony and park pix onto their laptop for guests to view during the reception.

Another not insignificant drawback to digital concerns the ability to shoot almost unlimited images.  On the surface, this seems like a good thing, and it is.  However, it also means that many new digital photographers shoot their images indiscriminately, as if they think if they keep shooting they’ll get “all the shots” – which not only makes them more obtrusive, but often results in capturing a boatload of images, while somehow managing to miss the magic moments.  Alas, as is often the case, more is not always better.  Those photographers who came from film learned to look for the ‘moments’ and not shoot willy-nilly like there was a gun to their heads.  Of course, they also had to keep in mind that the more they shot, the more rolls of film they used, and the more they had to process.  So, there was a self-limiting mechanism in place, which arguably created a more {focused~attentive} photographer.  So, while digital offers the opportunity to make sure you get the shots, the good photographers still picks their spots.

Regardless, the last couple of years have seen further advances in digital camera technology that are rendering film photography purely niche.  Firstly, the image quality is now on par with film.  Secondly, the low-light abilities of the new higher-end cameras is staggering.  The fastest film is 3200 ISO and it is extremely grainy.  Only photographers specifically wanting this ‘noisy’ look would use this film, though sometimes they had no choice because they were going to be shooting in a low-light situation without flash.  It’s almost unfathomable how good the new digital cameras are in this regard.  Top Nikon and Canon cameras can shoot up to 102,000 ISO.  Ridiculous.  Now, it’s insanely grainy at that setting, but what it means is that you can have highly serviceable images at up to about 12,000 ISO – and that is amazing, especially for photographers who shoot with natural light and often find themselves in low-light situations.  The days of having to sacrifice depth of field or sharpness to get a shot – or just not be able to get the shot at all – are over.

When used properly and to its full potential, digital photography rules.  All hail the new king.


Living Face Photography provides professional Wedding Photographers Toronto,portrait photography, Event Photography, Wedding Photography in Toronto with the lens artistry of Toronto wedding photographers

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