Film Vs Digital Is this Still up for Debate?

As a photographer, I met a lot of people that want to make small talk, often enough about photography. I have been taking photos professionally for about ten years, I started off with long roll CameraZs, used Medium format Mamyias and then moved on to Digital. The names and brand of digital cameras are meaningless, and this is one of the prime reasons that people who love thier Liecas have a hard time dealing with digital photography. Just as a car used to be a Ford or Chevy or Buick, but is now nothing more than a jellybean and many brands go so far as having virtually the same car with a different nameplate on it, cameras are all the same as well.
Oh, a Hasselblad is better than a Sony, but only if you have the money or are shooting for National Geo. A snapshot will still look pretty much the same to the untrained eye, and sometimes, even the trained eye. A good image is a good image, no matter how it was captured.
But just as there are people that love the pure sound of a nice scratchy LP, there are people that think film is better than digital, and will always be better. I often wonder if these people prefer glass plates and view cameras to 35mm? Is a Daguerreotype a better image than a Polaroid? Or is it just a different way to take a photo? And what will these purest do when film is no longer being made? Sure you can still have an oil painting done, but that’s a simple process compared to all the chemicals involved in making a photograph.
Still I hear from people that want to turn back the clock and pretend that 10 Gigapixel cameras are not on the horizon and that they will not be a hundred times better than the finest film ever made. Or that Hasselblad is at the forefront of making state of the art digital cameras- film cameras, not so much anymore.
Film is well on its way to joining 8-Trakcs, Betamax, LPs, and all the other technologies that just aren’t what they used to be.
The fact that Betamax was better than VHS, or LPs are better than CDs is really beside the point, once they stop making them, you don’t have a choice anymore. Ken Rockwell has a pretty serious look at the issue of Film Vs Digital, but he’s living in a dream world if he thinks film has the staying power of oil painting. If film is not dead, as Adrian maintains, it is at least on its death bed.
Everyday people walk into my little studio and say they aren’t going to pay my prices because they have a digital camera at home and can take their own portraits. Others are blatantly open about the fact that are just going to take my images home and scan them, so they just need one of each. Can I buy one wallet? Professionals like to talk about the resolution and grain and enlargement options you get with film, but the average person is not going to cover the side of a bus with their photos. They just want something they can scan and use on a business card or put on their Facebook account, or email to their friends and family. Sure there are still people that put 20x30s over their fireplace and there will always be jobs in Hollywood for headshots and 8×10 glossies. Do these people care if the camera is film or digital? Why should they?
Photoshop has made it easy for anyone to crank out images that look like George Hurrell or Sinclair Bull took them. There are wedding photographers that never take a portrait anymore, it’s all just grab shots. Those are a hell of a lot easier to get right if you can see them the instant you take them. The options with digital make film a joke. So yeah, maybe film is better, for now, but film is the horse and buggy, while digital is the space shuttle.

Jon Herrera

Jon Herrera

Writer, Photographer, Blogger.
Jon Herrera

Latest posts by Jon Herrera (see all)

Writer, Photographer, Blogger.

Posted in film digital, image capture, photography, photoshoot

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