While few knowledgeable photographers say film is obsolete, for many who have taken the leap into digital imaging, there's no going back. The advantages of going digital are enormous, though there are some pitfalls. So, before taking the plunge, first take a look at why many still prefer film: Film is available.
You can't always pop into a store and pick up a memory card for your fancy new digital camera, but it's rare that you can't find a roll of film within a block of any shopping area.Greater detail is possible on film for less money.
To capture the same detail found in a 35mm negative produced in the cheapest film camera, you might need to buy a top-of-the-line digital SLR.Film is easy to store.
You can stick your film envelops in the proverbial shoebox. Negatives and slides are a very efficient storage medium, packing a lot of data in a small space.Film cameras are cheaper.
One-use film cameras are nearly as cheap as the film, itself. The amount of information stored on a 35mm negative created with a $100 point-and-shoot camera is essentially the same as what you get out of a $3500 model.A mechanical camera doesn't require batteries to operate.
If you want to go wilderness backpacking, either plan to take along a solar panel to recharge batteries or get yourself a mechanical camera that uses film.Film can be scanned into a computer.
If you want to manipulate images with a computer, scanning film is relatively easy to do.
Now let's see why so many are shooting digital:Sending a photo of the kids to grandma is fast and easy with a digital camera and e-mail.
If you shoot with a digital camera, you don't have to scan anything. In fact, many cameras come with software that makes e-mailing a photo a simple point-and-click operation.Once you invest in a digital camera, memory, etc., capturing an image is essentially free.
The cost of going digital can look too high until you factor in the money you save on film and processing.Instant feedback of digital means you get better faster.
Most digital cameras have LCD screens that allow you to check your photos as you go. Particularly for beginning photographers, being able to quickly learn from your mistakes is a huge advantage.Making exact duplicates of your original digital photos is possible, thus you can store originals in multiple locations for safekeeping.
Unless you make it a habit of shooting an extra exposure of everything, with film you have only one set of originals, so it's impossible to store exact duplicates in another location.Many digital cameras allow you to change ISO (as in "film speed") at any time.
Rather than having to carry several cameras with fast and slow films loaded, you can change the speed setting on your digital camera as lighting conditions change.Digital photographers can avoid printing all but the very best images they capture
It's difficult to avoid printing bad photos when you shoot film. Typically the whole roll is printed, not just the good photos. With digital, you can review all of your photos either on the camera's LCD screen or on a computer. If you print only the very best photos, you can actually save money over film-based photography.
Of course, like everything else in life, digital photography has a downside:Electronics can fail without warning.
Manual film cameras still have one key edge-they're very reliable. Any electronic device can, without warning, stop working. This is why professionals who have chosen to go digital will always have either another digital camera or a film camera as a backup. Or both.All but the best digital cameras suffer from shutter lag.
Digital cameras are not always ready to take a photograph. To prepare to make an exposure, you must partially press the shutter release button to get the camera ready. Even then, the cheaper models may have a significant shutter lag between the time your finger presses the release button and when the exposure is actually made.Storing digital photos can present unique challenges now and in the future.
When you go digital, gone are the days of tossing your photos and negatives into a shoebox that can be easily rummaged through. Organizing, sorting, and writing your best files to CDs or DVDs is a highly recommended habit to develop. Creating thumbnail catalogs of those discs is a good idea, too. As for that future challenge, keep in mind that the day may come when devices capable of reading CDs and DVDs will be hard to find, so it may be necessary at some point to migrate all of your image files to a new storage medium.Batteries. Batteries. Batteries.
Early digital cameras were notorious battery hogs. While they have gotten better, as with any electronic device, plan to have fresh batteries on hand. Keep in mind that digital cameras that have unique battery requirements can be a problem when traveling. Last but not least, printing your own photos can be costly. The better inkjet printers that make prints that won't fade quickly can be costly, and inkjet consumables on a per print basis can be higher than prices through online services like Snapfish.com.
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