By Sally Bickle
Our initial film-less camera was invent for photographers in the 70's by Kodak engineers. From that time, there has been extensive discussion amongst photographers concerning digital and film cameras.
Some people suppose film and digital photography are opposed to one another. Basically, the two generate comparable effects by very different means. It is similar to contrasting an electric guitar and an accoustic.
Each type holds pros and cons, depending on the operator and desired end. One might be best for a given context, nevertheless the one will never replace the other.
Thoughts and opinions involving photographers are varied as well as strong on all sides of the issue. The data provided on this page is uncomplicated and generic. Camera products have existed enough to produce cutting-edge and classic models so that this information may help any novice.
Each variety will actually take in the picture in an analog method and by identical lenses. Each one can simply preserve the impression in different methods.
Film photography is often much cheaper for your common photographer initially and yet calls for the continual costs of film and development. Digital pics are reasonably inexpensive in the end however digital camera gear is normally more pricey than analog.
Digital cannot record detail when it comes to white and black colors like film cameras are able to. Also, digital cameras did not generate as full resolution photos as a film camera until not many years ago. And even now, only costly, high-quality digital camera models can create comparable quality to a film camera.
Analog film involves a much greater amount of work and competency to create high-quality photos while electronic photographs will be very easily filed or altered. An important reason digital is a bit more widely used currently.
Photo and graphical manipulation are a lot more challenging through film-roll cameras. Analog film is usually therefore utilized in legal contexts considerably more frequently as compared to digital.
To help print the film-roll the photographer must go to an actual 3rd party lab or perhaps chemical lab is usually necessary. It's a significant cost as well as inconvenience to the typical photographer versus electronic digital.
Immediate visualizing as well as touch up is attainable by means of digital. At the same time, memory options and the device's make-up are a great deal more efficient and light-weight. In the case of focus and exposure conditions analog film is never as challenging.
The general consensus among photographers is that analog film cameras are able to produce the very best artwork though requires more talent. The considerably more practical and functional method will probably be digital regarding the typical photographer. Film is considered by traditional photographers as a mix of mechanical and expressive craft as digital may be seen as a standard utility and work medium.
The big debate: digital or film?
The Guardian's head of photography Roger Tooth on instant feedback v Test Match Special • Share0
• Roger Tooth
• The Guardian, Saturday 27 October 2007
Choice. That's what the modern world is all about, isn't it? Blackberry versus Filofax, bike versus car, CD versus vinyl, cassette versus eight-track (that's probably been settled), digital photography versus film.
Of course, it all depends ... If you just want to point and shoot to record what's in front of you - the picture is in focus, it bears some resemblance to the scene as you remember it, and you're not bothered by pixels per yard, dots per hectare and all that other nerdy stuff - then you should go digital.
A reasonably priced digital camera won't break the bank, still works if you forget to put film in it (er, don't forget to charge the rechargeable batteries, though), is kinder to the environment if you keep it for a few years, and crucially, will show you your masterpiece just nano-seconds after you took it. So no more anxious waits while Boots do their best with your efforts (why do they put those annoying stickers on your prints? You meant it to be fuzzy - that's soft focus!). And you can take any number of pictures before you run out of space on your disk, depending on its size, not just 36.
Just don't get involved with home printing, it's tedious, time-consuming and expensive. Yes, the printers are now extremely cheap, but the inks and cartridges are not and you'll be forever running out of that nice photographic paper and end up printing your pictures on the A4 typing paper that you nicked from the office, with less- than-impressive results.
No, stick with Boots, Tesco, your local chemist or an online company that you can send your digital files to. Use your digital camera like your grandparents used their Box Brownie and you will end up with proper photo albums that you can leave to your children. Too many family snaps are being dumped unceremoniously on home computers, never to be seen again.
But perhaps the above doesn't apply to you. You've always been a keen amateur, but digital cameras worry you - appearing complex, endlessly updated, seemingly obsolete after just a few months and expensive to buy in the first place. Well, you've got a point, except that digital cameras have reached the stage where their quality really is the equivalent of film - and for not a huge outlay, either. A camera bought now will be totally adequate for most people's needs for years to come.
Of course, you'll still need to spend time at the computer and money on printing consumables, but then, photography is a pleasurable pastime and producing your own prints is part of the enjoyment. And good photographic software like Photoshop on your computer means that you have far more control over your image than you could ever achieve with film in a darkroom.
So what about film? Well, for most people it would be more about nostalgia (see vinyl, above). But a mechanical film camera is still a marvel of 20th-century ingenuity, as much as the miracle of a 21st-century digital imaging chip. Film cameras have a rugged simplicity as opposed to the glittering complexity of a digital model. They don't rely on electricity, and so long as you are proficient at guessing the exposure you will end up with some sort of image, neatly stored in a cute container that you can throw in the bottom of your bag while you shoot the next film. Film cameras are more likely to work in the heat, the cold and, especially, the wet.
Using film is about going back to the Fox Talbot basics of photography, of getting your hands wet with developer and fixer, and the warm womb of the darkroom. There's nothing to beat working in a darkroom on a summer's afternoon, Test Match Special on the wireless (as in radio, not Wi-Fi). For some, the link between their Nikon F, their enlarger and their black-and-white prints is a very special thing.
Or why not go further back in photographic time - there is a far-eastern manufacturer selling a range of beautifully hand-made mahogany pin-hole cameras. Now who needs digital, or even a lens?
Film vs. Digital: Why do we still debate it?
Film is dead. Well, maybe it’s on life support according to some experts. In April, the British Journal of Photography reported that Fujifilm had plans to drastically increase the retail cost of its film. Most professional film will now be twice the price. That may mean that film photography will become a true niche art form. And if it’s a niche art form, does that mean that digital is professional photographers’ saving grace, or a security blanket for faux artists? Clearly, the debate continues.
A few years ago a friend of mine displayed his latest personal project in Nashville’s largest art museum. As Whitney and I viewed his show, a couple entered the room. They were excited to see a photography exhibit, until the man exclaimed to his girlfriend and everyone else in the room, “That’s the problem with photographers today; they all use digital. Look! You can see how horribly pixelated all these images are! Film is so much better!” He proceeded to storm out of the room after viewing only one print. What he failed to realize was that all of the photographs in the show were captured on film. He was not viewing enlarged pixels but rather the grain that film naturally yields. If he had walked just a bit farther into the exhibit, he would have seen the Holga camera used for the project, which was on display as part of the show. When it comes to art, there have always been heated debates about what makes each medium superior. Film vs. digital; vinyl vs. CD; oil vs. acrylic; electric vs. acoustic. With Fujifilm’s announcement, the the film vs. digital debate reemerged as a popular topic across photography forums and community groups. These debates have always baffled me. As an artist, is your goal to be a unique and creative individual? If so, why would you confine yourself to one medium and expect the rest of the world to do the same? Webster’s Dictionary defines “Medium” as “a means of effecting or conveying something.” When we engage in any of the debates listed above, we are debating the best way to deliver an artist’s vision, idea and message? Sometimes a certain medium will enhance the idea and message. Sometimes the medium has no effect at all and should not be a concern. Before deciding whether film or digital is better (for you), consider the following: 1. Decide what your vision, idea and core message are. This is the most important property of your art. An art piece without any thought or emotion behind it does not connect with any viewer. 2. Learn your craft. If you don’t know how to use your camera and can’t create a great photograph, it doesn’t matter which medium you choose. A bad photograph is a bad photograph, whether it’s captured on film or on a CF card. 3. Familiarize yourself with different media. Don’t just take your friends’ word for it. Learn about the specifications to find out technically which may be better for creating your art. Don’t just rely on scientific reports or community chatter. Take time to experiment with different forms of media and decide which ones are best for you. 4. Decide if it fits your business model. If you’re trying to make money as a photographer, which media work best for your model? Which media make you more efficient and lower your overhead? 5. Don’t think your favorite medium is “the best” medium. The man in the art museum was so convinced that film is better than digital. His conviction blinded him to the art he could have experienced. He was unable to truly appreciate film or discover that he may actually like digital photography better. If the man in the museum truly was a fan of film, he missed out. His closed mind caused him to miss a beautiful film project, one that was created through the eyes of homeless children on a simple plastic camera that kept things basic and pure.
Freelance Photography: Digital vs. Film Case Study
• Melanie Brooks |
• Case Studies
• | February 15th 2012
Last week, the British Journal of Photographyhelped spread the news that Kodak will stop producing digital products as part of their ongoing strategic review? What is Kodak going to do? Refocus on good, old fashioned film. At first, this sounded like brand suicide to me. But then I read on… The news comes as Kodak is undergoing a wide-ranging strategic review of its businesses with the “commitment to drive sustainable profitability through its most valuable business lines.” But Kodak is quick to point out that the move won’t mean the end for Kodak-branded digital cameras. Instead, the firm plans to license its brand to third-party manufacturer – a move that mirrors Polaroid’s action in the years leading to and following its own bankruptcy. —bjp-online Film has a core niche market. There are still photographers out there who use it, and use it religiously. Jonathan Canlas, a popular photographer based in Utah, recently came out with a book titled “Film is Not Dead: A Digital Photographer’s Guide to Shooting Film”. He also leads FIND (Film is Not Dead) workshops across the U.S. (which Kodak helps sponsor). There are about 65 testimonials about the workshop on Canlas’s blog, from photographers all over the place. Some of them are so jazzed about the workshop they’re writing testimonials before they have even attended! Canlas shoots ONLY in film, and his business hasn’t suffered from the trend towards digital photography in the least. In fact, I’d argue his business has grown from sticking to his chosen niche. Stacey Hedman, a New England-based photographer, has been using film again for about a year. She started noticing that the photographers she most admired were using film, and she stared to pull out her family’s old cameras to play around with. In addition of going to film, Hedman and her fellow photographers are using manual light meters and cameras that haven’t been manufactured in over 20 years. “With film I feel more connected to the process—there’s more soul and art behind it,” she says. Hedman suggests two reasons why photographers may prefer film over digital: the richness and creaminess of the photos themselves and the film’s ability to retain highlights. “What I mean by that is that digital may blow out the white in a wedding gown, to where you don’t see any detail at all,” Hedman explains. “With film, you can go really bright, overexposed even, and in the photo you will still see every piece of lace in the dress. Together these things can create an incredible color palate and tangible softness.” Digital photography has created photographers who spend a heck of a lot of time using editing software like Adobe Photoshop to edit and correct for exposure or mistakes. “With film, you need to be more thoughtful and truly understand your situation before clicking the shutter,” Hedman says. “When my film comes back, it’s almost completely “done” editing wise, meaning less time in front of the computer editing thousands of images.” When Hedman uses film, she finds herself taking less photos because she’s being more thoughtful and money conscious—it costs her up to $30 to develop one roll. But the lack of necessity of retouching before sending them to her clients is worth the time spent behind the camera in the first place.
HEDMAN DIDN'T RETOUCH ANYTHING ON THESE FILM PRINTS.
When photographers send their film to a film lab to be processed, they typically scan your negatives immediately for a digital file. “The fact that I shoot film doesn’t mean that my clients can’t still enjoy an online gallery of their images with the ability to post to Facebook or share them on a DVD,” Hedman says. Some of her favorite photo labs on the west coast include Richard Photo Lab, Pro Photo Irvine, and Indie Film Lab. On the east coast she likes Chelsea Photographic in New York City and Old School Photo Lab in New Hampshire, near where she lives. I know a slue of photographers who credit digital cameras with the rise in semi-professional photographers flooding the market—especially the wedding photography market. Just because someone has a nice camera, doesn’t mean they really know how to use it. They may have no idea what an aperture or an f-stop is, or bother to use manual settings on any occasion. “The important thing to remember is that film doesn’t mean digital is bad, and digital doesn’t mean film is bad,” Hedman says. She personally considers her approach to photography to be a hybrid, because she prefers to use digital camera in the evening, or when an editorial client is on deadline. “Each medium truly excels for what it does, and it’s my job to know how and when to use my various tools.” We’d love to hear from you freelance photographers out there about what you think of this “trend” back to film. Which do you prefer to use and why?
Kodak was never going to be the Kodak of digital photography
Don't blame the once-mighty company too much for its decline--it was never meant to dominate photography in the 21st century,
by Harry McCracken
January 20, 2012 9:07 AM PST
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First, an important point: The fact that Eastman Kodak has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy is no reason to begin talking about this iconic American company in the past tense.
Kodak isn't going out of business. In fact, the whole point of chapter 11 is to help an ailing business avoid death and move forward. I'm still hoping that Kodak will find a way to be viable--even successful--for years to come. [pic]
A current Kodak camera, the EasyShare sport.
But will it restore the unique place it held in America's collective consciousness? No, of course not. In 1976, it had 90 percent of the film market and 85 percent of the camera market, according to a Harvard Business School case study cited by Wikipedia. Few companies have every dominated an aspect of everyday life as utterly as Kodak dominated photography--and it did it for decades. When a venerable, successful company flounders as times change, it's tempting to look back for moments in time when one decision, made differently, would have led to a better outcome. It's obvious that the great shift from film photography to digital photography changed everything for Kodak. Given that the company invented the digital camera, one might leap to the conclusion that it foolishly failed to understand what it had wrought, thereby blowing the chance to be the Kodak of digital photography.
Except it's not that simple. Kodak did comprehend that digital photography was going to be huge. It jumped on the digital-camera bandwagon early. It was one of the top-selling brands in the late 1990s and early this century, when consumers first started to replace their 35mm point-and-shoots with digital models. In a market dominated by Canon, Nikon, Sony and other Japanese brands, it was the only U.S. camera company that managed any real success at all. (HP made digital cameras for a time, but exited the business in 2007.)
It's also not as if some other company has emerged as the Kodak of digital. In the company's golden age, consumers used a Kodak camera to take pictures on Kodak film, which they then had processed by a Kodak lab on Kodak paper. Today, no single company has replicated that ecosystem in digital form. There are camera manufacturers, and memory-card manufacturers, and printer companies, and photo-sharing sites--and all of these businesses benefit from healthy competition among multiple major players, rather than the monopolistic position that Kodak once enjoyed. Then there's the fact that there's a second digital-photography revolution underway: Cameraphones are replacing point-and-shoot cameras in consumers' hearts, minds, and pockets. Even if Kodak had ended up the undisputed king of point-and-shoots, it might well be running into serious trouble right now, unless it had somehow managed to invent the cameraphone and dominate that market, too. I'm not saying that there was no way Kodak could have avoided its current precarious state. The Economist has a good story on why FujiFilm, Kodak's longtime arch-rival and near-doppelganger, continues to do quite well in the post-film era. (Executive summary: It's invested in new products and technologies, has diversified smartly, and didn't assume that brilliant marketing and a famous brand would get it where it needed to be.) Kodak's management clearly made more mistakes than Fuji's did, and now the company is paying for them.
If Kodak was as healthy as FujiFilm is today, nobody would be writing premature obituaries for it. It wouldn't, however, feel like the Kodak of old. That's a shame. But it's also part of life. If the technology industry was controlled by the same big companies with the same wildly successful business models forever, very few breakthroughs would happen--and Kodak's fall from grace is a natural outcome of the processes that drive innovation.
Your Argument About How Film is Better Than Digital is Old. Like, Really Old.
“These new ways might be found by men who could abandon their allegiance to traditional pictorial standards—or by the artistically ignorant, who had no old allegiances to break. There have been many of the latter sort. Since its earliest days, photography has been practiced by thousands who shared no common tradition or training, who were disciplined and united by no academy or guild, who considered their medium variously as a science, an art, a trade, or an entertainment, and who were often unaware of each other’s work…Some of these pictures were the product of knowledge and skill and sensibility and invention; many were the product of accident, improvisation, misunderstanding, and empirical experiment. But whether produced by art or by luck, each picture was part of a massive assault on our traditional habits of seeing.” -John Szarkowski, The Photographer’s Eye, 1966. [pic]
John Szarkowksi passed away in 2007 at the age of 81. From 1962 until 1991, he was the Director of Photography at the New York’s Museum of Modern Art. The Photographer’s Eye was originally written for an exhibition at MOMA in 1964 and published in book form in 1966. Reading it, one can’t help but acknowledge the glaring similarities in the ‘digital versus film’ conversation when compared to the the early days of photography when it was lambasted by that generation’s painters. “In 1893 an English writer complained that the new situation had ‘created an army of photographers who run rampant over the globe, photographing objects of all sorts, sizes and shapes, under almost every condition, without ever pausing to ask themselves, is this or that artistic? … There is no pause, why should there be?’” [pic]
‘Film is a more authentic process,’ they say, ‘it’s more deliberate. It takes more forethought and technique. With digital, anyone can be a photographer.’ The critics are right…from their own perspective. Painters initially accused photography of ruining a visual art medium, when it fact, all it really did was expand the gamut of ‘visual art’ far beyond what had previously been imagined. Were there issues in its infant stages? Absolutely. But any awkward kid or teenager eventually has the capacity to grow into a unique and compelling adult – and their awkwardness can contribute to the conversation in new and exciting ways. Photographers shot “…objects of all sorts, sizes and shapes… without ever pausing to ask themselves, is this or that artistic?” Painting was difficult, expensive, and precious, and it recorded what was known to be important. Photography was easy, cheap and ubiquitous” Film photography is difficult. It’s expensive. It’s precious – and not just in the really cute way. Digital photography is easy. It’s (sort of cheap), and it’s definitely ubiquitous. It’s also not going anywhere. And the things you hate (if there are things you hate) are only going to become more numerous. [pic]
It can be daunting. And scary. You may not be as good with digital as you were with film. There are some truly great photographers whose work is honestly not as good since moving to digital. Working in a darkroom – though fundamentally similar – is not Photoshop. Each has its own quirks and skillsets. There will always be a place for film in fine art and hobbyists. There will also be the occasional photographer – like Norman Jean Roy – that is able to shoot film for larger jobs. However, that is no longer the industry standard, and it will only get further away. This is also not to say it is not important to understand the history of the camera all they way back to the camera obscura. Context and history will only make someone a better photographer in the same way that many great photographers are pupils of the Dutch master painters. In a previous article with Joey Lawrence, we talked about how the digital medium has brought more ‘crap’ to sift through because it has simply allowed far more people to ‘take a crack at it.’ But at the higher end, it has elevated the expectations, quality of work and sheer technical ability in ways that were unimaginable 20 years ago. Photography, and more specifically digital photography, is a medium that is still relatively new – as are the things that have been learned from it. Artists have been painting horses for at least thousands of years. It wasn’t until 1878 that – because of photography – we found out that for certain that a horse ran with four feet extended and off the ground. They had been painted differently all this time. And so, photography, although a troublesome and somewhat annoying child, eventually paid back to the medium that (sort of) birthed it. [pic]
“The influence of photography on modern painters (and on modern writers) has been great and inestimable. It is, strangely, easier to forget that photography has also influenced photographers. Not only great pictures by great photographers, but photography—the great undifferentiated, homogeneous whole of it—has been teacher, library, and laboratory for those who have consciously used the camera as artists.” Photography has the ability to complement painting if the painter chooses to embrace the idea. “The trained artist could draw a head or a hand from a dozen perspectives. The photographer discovered that the gestures of a hand were infinitely various, and that the wall of a building in the sun was never twice the same.” The same can be said for digital photography compared with film. Using techniques that have been developed in the last couple decades, one can apply much of that thought to film to get the best of both worlds. I love shooting with film, but I also will take along my digital camera when I do. Do I need it? No. Does it allow me to create better film images? Unquestionably – but only because it is my decision is converge the two. This does, of course, completely depend on the type of photographer you are. Do you like a raw, untouched image? By all means, enjoy the hell out of your film camera. Do you like certain elements of polish that digital gives you, but you love the chemical process of film? Swing both ways. You never know what can happen. [pic]
“The history of photography has been less a journey than a growth. Its movement has not been linear and consecutive but centrifugal. Photography, and our understanding of it, has spread from a center; it has, by infusion, penetrated our consciousness. Like an organism, photography was born whole. It is in our progressive discovery of it that its history lies.”