Why do people still shoot with film cameras when digital is a better tool!


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Jan 2, 2004
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I was having a conversation with a friend and he ask me why people still shoot with film when you can go digital. I wasn't able to argue in favor of film since I couldn't see what film offered that digital didn't. I personal have a digital camera but I've taken a black and white photography class where I used a film camera and and developed the film by hand. The film camera was cumbersome to use and to maintain. Everytime I took a picture I was worried about the image that would come out unlike my digital camera where every image can be previewed. When i look at a film camera I see something that limiting your art. Why do people still use tools that are out of date what do they have to gain do the film camera do they take a picture of how something realy is rather then what a digital camera does alter it. Film scanners are avaible to convert pictures to digital which realy puzzles me why they even use a film camera. In any case no camera can capture a ture image of how you see.
 

Jed

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#2
Hi there Shadowstrife.

No doubt you intend well, but this is one of those questions that always provokes a lot of passionate discussion that can sometimes get out of hand. Film has its loyal base of followers just like digital has its own fan base. The choice ultimately lies with the photographer and the medium they are comfortable with using. It's like Vinyl and CDs, automatic or manual transmissions, or dare I say it, manual and automatic cameras.

If ultimately someone feels more comfortable using film in their camera then that's their choice and if that gives them the most satisfaction from their photography then all power to them.
 

Kit

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#3
Why do people still drive manual cars? Don't you think a machine that needs both hands and feet to operate at the same time in 2004 screams obsolete? Yet people say its more fun to drive a manual car. You won't fall asleep behind the wheels, blah, blah, blah....... In contrary, I have dozen reasons why auto cars are my preferred choice. Both get you from A to B. The choice of equipment is yours and others enjoy the same amount of freedom to choose whatever they want to use. Stop worrying about other what other people uses and start using yours. Photography is a lot more than "digital is better than film".
 

Stereobox

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Dec 21, 2003
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#4
i tend to agree with JED on this. ultimately, it's the photographer himself/herself who limit his/her own art, not the equipment or image capture medium. choice of film, digital or both lies with the photographer, which ever works or is comfortable for him/her...no right or wrong there. for some, there is certainly no problem with not checking a LCD screen after taking each shot. just ask those who have been shooting medium format all these years. conversely, there are 'techies-cum-photograhers' out there who are actively and equally passionate about the latest digital photo technology as they are about taking photographs. for me personally, the magic about film is that i can pick up a vintage film camera from, say, the 60s and still use it to take pictures, provided it is well maintained, of course. i would think twice about picking up a 'retro' digicam though :bsmilie:
 

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Hi Shadowstrife,

I have the same sentiments as JED. I think it is very difficult to judge which is better. If digital is better than film, the camera manufacturer will be on the losing end. So instead of choosing which is better, the manufacturer make the best of both worlds. They, the manufacturers let you choose which you are comfortable with.

Whether a digicam or a film camera is better, it all lies on the hand of the person behind the camera. There is limitation in all the tools or things in the world we use. If there is a "Perfect Camera" like manufacturers from Nikons, Minoltas, Canons, Sonys and etc, they would need not invent and market new cameras anymore. :cool:

A camera, let it be digicam or film works in the same principal. A light passes through a hole (which is your lens), in a box (which is your camera) and records images (which is your CCD, CMOS or film). The advantages and disadvantages to a digicams and films are limitless. :sweat:

Professionals, semi pros, newbies and amatuers will have to decide themselves which is more comfortable for them as JED mention. If you think it's a hassle and afraid the images might not turn out when using film, by all means go with digital or vice versa. ;)

In the end of the day, it is the manufacturers that is laughing all the way to the bank as they have the best of both worlds. :cool:
 

sebastiansong

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#6
its the users choice anyway. Just like there are audiophiles who swear by tube amps and those who don. Its your own preference. As for digital and photoshop being better, there are masters in film who are masters in darkroom as well and have mastered exposure just by looking at the environment they are in. Automation is bringing know how to the masses and its convenient but it can fail too. Its an interesting question I have asked when I first picked up photography. Even though I am using exclusively digital now, I wont mind switching over to film (medium format especially) eventually.
 

clive

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#8
i dont have the cash for EOS 1D..so i use EOS 1n :)
 

Parchiao

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#9
Maybe if we take cost into account, and the film format into discussion, the benefits of film will become a little more obvious.
 

zekai

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#10
Basically, film still produce much more vibrant color and contast... (pro film)

Digital still has not been able to bridge the gap yet... ( i think it is a matter of time but new tech is expensive)

So it depend on what you shoot.

Just some simple product shot, you are better off with a Digital camera, you just need the details of the product shown clearly. Simplify the workflow.

Maybe you are shooting Landscape and you want the lush vibrant color... (diff people use diff terms to express what they want)
Film can produce better result.
 

FOOXX

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#11
sebastiansong said:
I wont mind switching over to film (medium format especially) eventually.
hehehehehe ..... wat r u waiting for ..... ?? .....

do it now ..... !!! .....

:blah: :bsmilie:

:D
 

spider

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#12
hi,
depend on usage really...
example: my frez use to visit tibet, nepal once a year and he use a Canon EOS and 1 digital, however, he drop the digital eventually. Why ? reason: battery issues and quality of digital vs slide.

another colleauge use to have expensive Nikon gear but now use consumer digital extensively. reason: His photography objects are mostly his baby or family event.

for me, i stick to my film while my wife use digital. reason: i like my F80 fast shutter which my wife digital can not capture, AND, i can not afford an digital SLR (which i try so many years to justify one, but after serious calculation of ROI, i still can not persuade myself :)
 

Winston

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#13
For digital SLR, the sensor or CCD is fixed and cannot be changed.
After a while, it gets boring.....

for film SLR, you get to experiment with different negatives and slides, Kodak, Fuji, Konica, Ilford......consumers ones like Superia or professional ones like NPS, NPC...etc

Different film types, quality.....etc

I use a DSLR too but has since gotten hold of a FM2 and started experimenting with the wonderful world of film and slides. :)
 

#15
Shadowstrife said:
Everytime I took a picture I was worried about the image that would come out unlike my digital camera where every image can be previewed. When i look at a film camera I see something that limiting your art.
Not a personal attack here. But if u have to worry about every image you take with a film camera unlike ur digicam where u can preview, then dun u think u have to rethink about ur photographic skills?

It's just my views, no flaming pls.
 

ivor

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#16
:thumbsup:

Freed said:
Not a personal attack here. But if u have to worry about every image you take with a film camera unlike ur digicam where u can preview, then dun u think u have to rethink about ur photographic skills?

It's just my views, no flaming pls.
 

AJ23

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#17
Just my views too, if one got to post-view every single shot taken on a DC or DSLR, then it's not about photographic skills, it's about the basics and fundamentals of photography, or the lack of it. ;)

IMO, the lack of preview or postview on the film cameras is not the limiting factor, just look at the 100 years of photography without such features. :)

Again, no flaming pls, just MO.
 

djork

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#18
to me, i feel digital is more flexible than to take compared to film camera.. i can take more pics yet it's easier to distribute the pics. no need to develop, save more money. but i prefer the feel of my manual camera, the construction of it, and the feel of manually focus the lens.
 

StreetShooter

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#19
I have a 10D, a G3 and an Ixus S400.

But nowadays I shoot mainly B&W film with my Olympus mju II and Pentax 928 (P&S with 28-90 mm zoom). Alternatively I use EOS 300 with a Tamron 28-200 zoom lens. I use the 10D to "scan" negatives into digital format.

Why?

Well, it's not image quality. I get much nicer quality with the 10D.

Basically it's the fact that an mju II is very small and light (135 grams) and can be carried around everywhere. It starts up in less than one second, and focuses a lot faster than a digicam. I can take the camera out, turn it on, shoot and keep the camera back in the bag faster than it takes any digicam to "boot up". That includes the 10D, by the way. If I need to, I can push to ISO 6400 and still get a useable image.

Here's what I said about film in an older thread:

Although I'm a great fan of digital (and can list the many advantages), I'm also beginning to discover the benefits of film.

1. Shooting with care. Each shot is psychologically PRECIOUS. You don't shoot rubbish, you think before you shoot (usually resulting in a better shot), and there's so much less editing to do at the end of a roll. Sure, you could do that with digital, but will you?

2. High ISO. Although I have yet to develop my first roll of Ilford Delta 3200 (still exposing this one frame at a time), I believe you can't get the same low-grain equivalent digitally at the moment (maybe in a coupla years). And this can easily be pushed to ISO 6400. That's why the so-called night shots on CS are all of buildings, not people. Buildings don't move. I'm interested in taking pictures of people at night, in low-light conditions.

3. Size, weight and cost. Film cameras are usually smaller and lighter than their digital equivalents, when comparing similar picture quality. I don't expect to get the same image quality from a digicam the size of my Olympus mju II, which I got for $140 brand new. Even my film SLR, the EOS 50, is much lighter than the D30 (and a heck of a lot cheaper).

4. Speed of operation. There's almost negligible start-up time with a film camera, as oppposed to what you find in digicams. Just flick a switch (sometimes this is not even necessary) and shoot immediately. You won't believe how many shots I have missed waiting for my digital camera to wake up, even from standby mode.

5. Batteries. Try taking a trip to a place where you can't recharge batteries, and see how a manual film camera is superior to the best dead digital camera.

6. Artistic cred. Somehow film users get more boasting rights than a digicam user, don't you think?
 

sequitur

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Apr 17, 2003
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#20
StreetShooter said:
I have a 10D, a G3 and an Ixus S400.

But nowadays I shoot mainly B&W film with my Olympus mju II and Pentax 928 (P&S with 28-90 mm zoom). Alternatively I use EOS 300 with a Tamron 28-200 zoom lens. I use the 10D to "scan" negatives into digital format.

Why?

Well, it's not image quality. I get much nicer quality with the 10D.

Basically it's the fact that an mju II is very small and light (135 grams) and can be carried around everywhere. It starts up in less than one second, and focuses a lot faster than a digicam. I can take the camera out, turn it on, shoot and keep the camera back in the bag faster than it takes any digicam to "boot up". That includes the 10D, by the way. If I need to, I can push to ISO 6400 and still get a useable image.

Here's what I said about film in an older thread:

Although I'm a great fan of digital (and can list the many advantages), I'm also beginning to discover the benefits of film.

1. Shooting with care. Each shot is psychologically PRECIOUS. You don't shoot rubbish, you think before you shoot (usually resulting in a better shot), and there's so much less editing to do at the end of a roll. Sure, you could do that with digital, but will you?

2. High ISO. Although I have yet to develop my first roll of Ilford Delta 3200 (still exposing this one frame at a time), I believe you can't get the same low-grain equivalent digitally at the moment (maybe in a coupla years). And this can easily be pushed to ISO 6400. That's why the so-called night shots on CS are all of buildings, not people. Buildings don't move. I'm interested in taking pictures of people at night, in low-light conditions.

3. Size, weight and cost. Film cameras are usually smaller and lighter than their digital equivalents, when comparing similar picture quality. I don't expect to get the same image quality from a digicam the size of my Olympus mju II, which I got for $140 brand new. Even my film SLR, the EOS 50, is much lighter than the D30 (and a heck of a lot cheaper).

4. Speed of operation. There's almost negligible start-up time with a film camera, as oppposed to what you find in digicams. Just flick a switch (sometimes this is not even necessary) and shoot immediately. You won't believe how many shots I have missed waiting for my digital camera to wake up, even from standby mode.

5. Batteries. Try taking a trip to a place where you can't recharge batteries, and see how a manual film camera is superior to the best dead digital camera.

6. Artistic cred. Somehow film users get more boasting rights than a digicam user, don't you think?
uh huh
well said

even i'm considering loading a p&s camera with tri-x

but image quality matters to me (though i may be shooting rubbish)
so
-_-
 

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