Digital vs. Film

Does everyone use a digital camera these days for documenting trips and posting to the internet? Or are there still some film buffs. If so, what sort of film is generally used (slide? prints?) and how do you get them posted (scanner?)


Still with the film
and totally elcheapo, I discovered the fugi 800spd throwaway camera to be a fantastic takealong on cycling or paddling trips. I get crisp clear shots 95% of the time. Yes…it takes me forever to use up the 35 shot cameras so folks may get to see shots I took last spring…next spring but the flip side for me is…

IF I dump or get caught in a rainstorm cycling the only thing I’ve lost are a few shots and a $4.97 camera (and…if I want to upgrade to the $9.00 one I get a waterproof 400spd…)

btw…much as I hate wallyworld, they only charge me $5. to do a 35 shot development.

I use a scanner.

Totally old school.

My dad was a professional photographer for many years, so there’s a certain reluctance I have in giving up film totally. But, digital is great for having immediate feedback & having your paddling pics that night. Being that I have 5 film cameras, it takes me a while to finish a roll in any of them.

For on the water, I recently went digital & have to say I see the advantages — smaller camera (Pentax Optio WP), no waiting, better zoom. I’ll still bring a film camera on big paddles, but I can see myself slowly heading towards using the digital most of the time.


Don’t count on film being around forever.

I sold my film cameras and have gone totally digital. I take 50 to 100 photos a week now. With film I couldn’t afford to do that.

Lighter to carry, a lot lighter, in fact my sister has a digital slr and the body feels like a toy it’s so light. Cheaper, especially once you factor in film. Less worry, I’m able to play more and thus learn more about photography if I’m not counting frames. If a shot sucks, I trash it. I’ll take the same shot several times adjusting aperture, shutter, ISO; and I can keep the best ones. Video. My Kodak has 30 minutes continuous video with sound, considered an entry level model.

There will always be a place for film. Well not always. It’s not going away anytime soon. It will get more expensive and processing will end up in boutique shops. With digital I can send and order prints online from anywhere in the world with internet. When my card fills up, 500 shots, there are dozens of shops with workstations to dump the card on a CD for less than $10.

Rechargable batteries, make the switch. It’s my little crusade. I bet you have a dozen batteries or more in use at any given time. Swap 'em out with rechargables. You’ll save money and never have to run to the store. In many cases they’re better than disposables. On my recent trip to Greece we had Energizer rechargables for 350+ photots, Duracel For Electronics And Digital Cameras lasted a whopping 50 shots.

Size and cost
In my youth I had a higher-end Minolta SLR flim camera and a selection of lenses. Took great pictures - when I had the camera with me. The problem was the thing was heavy, and big, and I had a backpack full of accessories and other lenses. It was a pain to carry around for “casual” use.

Later I got a nice, small 35mm compact Olympus. It took good pictures. It fit in my pocket, so it was no problem to take it along most anywhere. I’m lazy and cheap however, so I’d be very selective about the shots I took, and then take a long time to get the film developed.

Now with a digital I have a pocket size camera that costs nothing per picture (beyond batteries) and I don’t need to take the film somewhere. So now I take lots more shots, download and I’m good to go. If some shots are crapy, just delete them with no guilt.

If you want to be an “artiste” film is still chic, although digital is rapidly gaining. If you want pictures, go digital.

I finally throwed away 10 rolls of film
that I bought in pervious millenium.

Do you want my film camera? Maxxum 9000 top of the line in 1988?

I don’t even know where my film camera is anymore. Love being able to shoot 50 shots, and only print 5 or 6. Love how you can turn a good shot into a great shot with easy photo editing. Love how you can email them anywhere immediately. I’ll never go back.

Both, with different goals
Small, water-resistant digital point-and-shoot (Optio 43WR) for grab shots on the water, or any other situation where lightness and/or small size and/or immediate availability is most important.

Rugged-duty film SLRs (Nikon F3, N90s) for when I can afford to take more time, can use a tripod, need full manual controls, want better optics and better image resolution, need to take lots of photos without going through lots of batteries, etc etc. I mostly shoot color slide film but also shoot B&W negative film which I process myself. I doubt you will see the latter go away anytime soon, because almost everybody who uses it processes their own B&W film.

I scan my developed film on a dedicated film scanner with 4000 dpi resolution. This gives me a much higher-resolution digital file than obtainable from any digital SLR. It also gives me an analog archive (the slides or negatives themselves) PLUS a digital archive (digital scans stored on archival-grade CDs).

If I were going to a remote, undeveloped area for a long trip (e.g., New Guinea, Siberia) and needed the utmost reliability, I would bring my ancient Minolta 35mm rangefinder that loses only exposure metering function if the batteries die. I can estimate the exposure myself if the batteries croak. This type of camera provides use of the full range of shutter speeds and aperture controls without needing battery power. This is an advantage no digital camera can match.

Film Still Works…
We have both - a Canon G2 digital, and assorted 35mm cameras. The G2 gets used a lot more than the film cameras for everything but use on the water, or in foul weather. Several years ago, my daughters and I got my wife a 35mm Pentax Optio WR33 for Christmas, and that’s the only camera we use with the canoes and kayaks. Takes very nice pix, lovely colour, crisp focus - real good general knockaround camera. Our 35 mm Nikkormats and the Konica SLRs haven’t seen much use at all use since the G2 and the WR33 arrived - in fact, we’ve pulled the batteries to avoid corrosion problems…

The 35mm shots are scanned on a flatbed, which can be a nuisance, and we do lose the immediate gratification of digital, but we know the Pentax can take a real dunking and keep right on functioning.

Now if anyone who’s upgraded was selling their Pentax 33WR or 43 WR digital for a reasonable price, well then…

digital to slow
between shots ,film can still be rapid fired for that fast moving wildlife shot or action shot. i have a minolta 7xi and a digital sony dsc-p10, 5 megpix. film can still be enlarged to a 20x30 poster size and be very clear not with a 5meg digital. this summer i took a cross country trip on my motorcycle 12,000 miles ,and used the film camera ,936 photos taken.alot were taken as i’m driving my bike,can’t stop for every photo,never get anywhere. the digital can not focus fast enough or recover fast enough for the next shot. film camera battery lasted the whole trip “new battery $6 bucks”. the sony battery can never hold up to that,100 photos it needs a recharge for at least an hour. can’t do that on the road or a 10 plus day kayak trip,and at $50 bucks plus for an extra battery to give me only another 100 photos.

Technology too fast
Transfer speeds are approaching instantaneous. I can take a burst of continuous photos, keeping the most recent four shots.

Digital is still in the snapshot phase. Not for long.

Been using 'em since the 1980’s when Ni-Cd batteries & chargers became cost effective. People thought I was some weird hippie type back then, but the new rechargeables are superior to any non-rechargeable nowadays, and they last 6 - 8 years if you use them a lot.

Just about everything I have for portable electronics uses rechargeables.


Reluctant to give up film,…
…, but I must admit I haven’t actually shot any film pictures since I got my digital camera early last spring. That’s mostly because I haven’t shot the sort of pictures where the best possible quality is important. A couple people have already pointed out that digital photogagraphy still has a really long way to go before it matches the resolution of a good-quality, slow speed film. However, for most kinds of shooting that most people do, you’d never know the difference, so digital makes more sense. For film, I shoot Kodachrome slides (ISO 64), which has unmatched grain for a color film (it also has the longest storage life once the photos have been developed), but it also doesn’t have much exposure latitude. To make things worse, my film scanner (a pretty good-quality model) greatly exaggerates the lack of exposure latitude, so only evenly-lit photos can be made into top-quality digital pictures. My digital camera has much greater exposure latitude, and unlike film, color fidelity remains true no matter what the light level. It’s also handy to be able to instantly change the color balance to match any common type of lighting. I can even shoot a nearly dark scene with the digital at night and all the colors come out looking nearly as good as if it had been shot in the daytime (that’s just amazing). For the average person, I’d say go digital, but film still has its place.

I am considering a SLR digital for wildlife shots. Something I can put tele lens on for longer reach/ better shots. Tired of taking film in and not getting longer shots to turn out well. Anyone own a Rebel SLR digital?

I use digital almost exclusively now, but I’ll never sell my film cameras.

I was disapointed with the digital format until I bought my Nikon D70, now I get digital images in basically the same manner as my film cameras. I still have my coolpix too, but the lag irritates me for most shots.

I have a slide scanner which produces wonderful digital images as well.

Generally I shoot digital now, I love the ability to view the shot seconds after it was taken, and delete it if need be. With (2) 512 cards I never run out of “film”.

If you’re a perfectionist, then digital can get expensive when you “must have” a camera that shoots RAW images, a great printer, great editing software, a computor that will handle photoshop quickly, and a monitor that will give you a true rendering of the image.

New Digital SLR’s
Shoot 4 frames per second for 10 shots, shutter lag is 55 millisecond, home editing software is phenomenal. batteries last for 500 shots, you can edit and delete on the run and with a 1 meg card a camera can hold the equivelent of 30 rolls of film or more. I sold all my film equipment 5 years ago. No need for it but I understand why some are reluctant to give it up.

Wildlife shots
As a wildlife artist, I need something that will get me good telephoto shots under all lighting conditions. I’m not looking for absolute perfection and marketable photos, but good quality stuff that I can use as reference for my paintings. I own several Nikon film SLRs, and since I owned several Nikon compatible lenses as well, I stuck with Nikon when I decided to go digital. I have a D100. One of the nicest things I’ve found about it is that you can set it to the equivalent of up to 1600 ISO and get good shots in very low light, even with a lens that isn’t all that fast. There will be quite a bit of noise on the low light end of the spectrum, but perfectly suitable for my purposes. I actually get a LOT of use from a Sigma 50-500 zoom lens with a 2x doubler, and can even use two stacked doublers on that lens, which gives me the equivalent of a 2000 telephoto. In good lighting, I can actually handhold that setup and get decent enough photos with the 1600 ISO setting. And I can get okay photos with it in fairly low light with a tripod. That is one of the advantages of the digital SLR that I didn’t realize until I owned it. The convenience for my purposes of shooting it and being able to use it as soon as I get home is the other huge advantage for me.


– Last Updated: Nov-25-05 3:11 PM EST –

...even "les artistes"...!

Our friend Harvey is a Photgrapher. I shoot my 4 MP Fuji S5100 like crazy, people think I'm a photographer, and I get some good shots. Maybe I'm a 'photographer' -but Harvey? He's "A Photographer".

Boy, is he EVER...

Changed out his film, his darkroom, his photo lab, and his chemicals for digital setups 6-7 years ago. He had a 3 MP, then a 5 MP, and now has a 13MP Canon.

I don't know about his big gun, but his 5 MP produced absolutely stunning, virtually indistinguishable-from-film images when blown to 12 X 18. Careful examination by experienced pros might tell the difference, but for the 99-44/100ths% of the rest of us, they were the same -gorgeous color, precise B&W -fantastic fotos...

I think the pixel density on the 13MP approaches the chemical density of a 35mm -so the results will be very, very, very close.

Now again, however, is the startup cost diff...

Now, here's the rub: you can get a pretty fair 35mm filmcam with lots of features for about $250-$300.

Harve's cost $5K...

Uses a shoe for a big, adjustable intensity and separable flash, has a big rechargable power source (he swaps out 2, maybe three), the big gun can take movies, and can take rapid fire series of shots -don't know how many, but it's just like a power winder on a filmcam, and the whole thing's pretty easy to handle.

I think he told me he runs a 2GB card with it. I do recall that he shoots at 20, maybe 25 MB/pic he takes, so the quality is first rate. Printing on a good printer at home, he produces fine 8X10s and 12X18s cheaper than he could have them developed commercially -as noted, he's since disposed of his considerably-equipped darkroom when he went digital.

And he's invested in USB 2.0 and/or fire wire 300GB hard drives he can gang on his Apple with a simple plug & play connection to hold his files.

Perhaps the purest of the purists will continue with film, but seeing that Harvey's got a $7500 outfit that just a few years back went for $30K, I've got to believe that Moore's Law, still apparently going pretty strong, will aptly demonstrate that digital is not only here to stay, it will probably relegate filmcams to the status of interesting eccentricities in a decade or so.

I just wish they'd figure out a way to digitally recapitulate the underwater disposable filmcams I use on the water -and stick a short tele on them - something like 3-5X is more than enough -and sell them for around $50.

I'd snatch one up so I go digital -while actually moving (not resting carefully, taking my good cam out of a Pelican or Otter, shooting, then reversing the process all over again) and shoot digitally while I


-Frank in Miami

Both, for now
About 3 years ago, I got my first digital camera, a point-n-shoot that fits in my pockets. I took it biking, kayaking, partying. I knew after the first trip that digital will some day will replace film! The benefits are obvious…

But not for me just yet. The p-n-s just didn’t have adequate control nor the optics/pixels to compare with films yet. So, I carried my bulky film camera on longer trips and store them in day-hatch for easy accessability. I’ve got some really nice shots with films that I wouldn’t have been able to with the point-n-shoot.

I dunk that little digital wonder while trying to retrieve a float-away paddle. So I was on the market for a water-proof camera. When I came upon the Pentax WP43, the search was over. And the new camera was so good my film camera was not touched for months!

But I still held on to my film camera. I had, over the years, accumulated tele-photo and wide-angle lens that are not matched by the zooms on the Pantex. So, if I’m expecting challenging shooting situations (night scence, strange mixed lighting etc.), I pull out the film camera!

Until the price of the digital SLR drop to the point of comparable to the film SLR of similar quality, I’ll continue to use my film camera. But it’s really reserved for special use now. That “some day” that digital will replace film is coming up fast…