How to Choose Between Digital and Film Photography

In today’s high-tech world, most people choose digital photography over film. Why would anyone consider using an old analogue camera? While it is true that digital cameras are the industry standard for just about every sort of photography — from fine art to advertising — there are a few good reasons why some photographers still prefer film.


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Which Format is Better?

This is a topic of much debate among photographers. Some people claim that analogue cameras can’t compete with digital cameras. However, it’s important to remember that nalogue cameras were producing billboard quality images decades before digital cameras were invented.a Just as with digital equipment, the quality of film imagery depends on the quality of the equipment.

Advantages of Digital and Film for Beginners

As a budding photographer, how do you decide which format to try? It may seem like digital is the way to go because you can take hundreds of photos without wasting countless rolls of film. You also have instant feedback with the digital display, making it easy to pick and choose the best shots as you take them. On the other hand, film is not without its own educational advantages. Since you will usually be limited to 24 or 36 exposures on a roll of film, it forces you to really think about each shot before you take it.

Up Front and Long Term Costs

Cost is another issue that sways photographers in one direction or the other. A digital camera, some good lenses, editing software and all the other accessories you will need can cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, even if you purchase used equipment. Professional grade analogue cameras, lenses and accessories usually cost far less. However, digital camera equipment is a one-time investment. With analogue equipment, you will always be spending on new rolls of film, processing costs or even darkroom equipment if you choose to do your own developing.

Differences in Style

When it comes to fine art photography, many people love the unique look and feel of film. With a variety of color tones and grain textures, it’s easy to pick films that add mood or depth to your images. Film also gives you the chance to experiment with unique art styles, such as lomography. On the digital side of things, photographers enjoy tweaking their images to perfection with photo editing software. Digital photography also comes with possibilities such as HDR photography or selective coloring.

In the end, the debate about film and digital photography is much like painters arguing that oil paints are better than watercolors. There is no superior medium — there are only different ways to approach the art form. If you are serious about photography in general, you should try both. Even though digital cameras are the popular option, experience with film will broaden your artistic horizons.

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