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Thread: Learning using film or digital

  1. #21


    Quote Originally Posted by sweat100
    Have been owning a prosumer digital camera for quite some time. Wanted to move up to the SLR level, thinking of film or digital. Now I am facing this 2 sided argument which i need people for advice which is true and which is not.

    1. After using the digital camera, it seems that I start to develop this "shutter-happy" syndrome. So u take many many shots and select 1 of your choice you like. It makes photography like a "guessing" game. Jus take many and u will get one picture that is of ur idea choice.
    So my question is... inorder to get a better composed shot, do i use film? Cos in that way i will be more consciencious with what i shoot. Then i will think twice and frame nicely before releasing the shutter. Will this improve my "eye" to photography as i have only 36 frames to play with. In this way, will the ratio of good shots to bad shots be better?

    2. Conversely, I may also face the problem of being to merticulous, I may tend to think that i dont have many frames to shoot when i am using film so I only be very sure when i shoot. Will the moments which i actually wanted to capture escape from me? And also will the cost of developing dampen my passion to photography, if i keep getting negative results with film? Ultimately, the film SLR will just be another white elephant in the dry box?

    Really considering a film SLR or a DSLR. Dont know which is a better choice to further improve on my photographic skills.

    Hope those film users and digital users can comment about these 2 statements and shed some light of which idea is better. Can contribute more ideas too!
    Hi, have you shot film SLR before? What is your expectation from shooting film?

    DSLR has become a mainstream in the market and it makes shooting digital cheaper and also makes learning curve smoother. For SLR, you have to wait for the film to develope to see the result and not forgetting the recurrence charge from buying films and processing fees.

    I am not going to mention further on the advantage or disadvantages of SLR or DSLR cos I think you know too.

    But if you really want to improve on your photography skill, you dun need film to do that.

    Just switch off the LCD review as if you are shooting film (easy talk then action). Learn the relation of Av and Tv, ISO and apply them under different situation. This way you will build on your confident level in photography. The key word here is CONFIDENT.

    If you throw in a DSLR without any LCD review to any DSLR user (ok not everyone, no offence please), chances are they will be at a lost. They will feel insecure and lack confident about the output. So end of the day are tbey learning anything? Digital gives instant feedback which is good for learning but to learn it the proper way is a different story. In my opinion instant feedback is a double edge sword. It may help you to improve your photography skill but it may cause you to learn nothing at all.

    For film, you cannot view the output instantly. You are on your own now. Shooting in film is a different mentality, the limited number of frame and cost of film makes you think harder before you press the shutter release button. Your mind will think more on the setting, composition and the style. and mind you.. waiting for the film to develope and print is a different feeling.

    So it is up to you to decide. If you are really serious into photography, get the fundamantal rights. build up your confident and along the way your skill will improve, it doesn't matter you use film or digital because the fundamental are the same. And if you lack confident, neither film nor digital will helps you. How to improve your confident? Get the basic right!
    Last edited by jimtong; 30th June 2005 at 01:24 AM.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2005


    Quote Originally Posted by student
    I took the film SLR, metered the scene with the spotmeter, and fired ONE shot. I KNOW my exposure will be spot on (or almost spot on).

    However, when I used the DSLR, even with the spotmeter, I found that my exposure was all over the places. I attribute this to my inexperience with the way digital sensors capture light. Whatever it was , my exposures were a problem. I had to keep looking at the LCD/histogram to see if the images were reasonable.
    I think this is a common experience. It highlights how bad human vision is for quantifying light - what looks "spot on" or "almost spot on" to the eye can still vary by large factors. Quantifying exposure (i.e. digitizing the images) merely exposes (no pun intended) this.

    I'm sure that if you'll measure your negatives with a densitometer instead of gauging them by eye, you'll find similar "all over the place" variations.

  3. #23


    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf
    I'm sure that if you'll measure your negatives with a densitometer instead of gauging them by eye, you'll find similar "all over the place" variations.
    I do not need to measure my negatives with a densitometer. Densitometers measure pure tones. Real life images are not made of pure tones. I am making photographs, not conducting scientific tests.

    I had my negatives evaluated by no less than John Sexton, printer for Ansel Adams, and advisor for the Ansel Adams gallery. And they were rated, "very good!"

    The problem is with the medium and my familiarity or lack of familiarity with the digital sensor and how it works. It requires another way of seeing, which I think in the end expand my repertoire of photography vision.

  4. #24


    Learning with film - slower. have to develop.

    Learning with DSLR or even your digi cam:- faster. Just upload to computer to view settings

    The creative part.... eh... I think both medium have it's own uniqueness. Some like the colour that film gives.. (although not the real life colour)

    Some like the digital part to edit it to what their 'creative eye' sees.

    Find your prefer method, Some like film more cost no need to use computer to edit! Just shoot or even like to develop traditional B/W...

    In the end, what I'm saying is let you know the 2 sides and not to TELL you which way to go, you decide.

    Happy shooting.

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