Modern Photography/Film processing
Comparison to digitalEdit
It is the person behind the lens who takes a good photo, not the camera. Regardless of your choice, the best gear or a certain capture method will not produce any good pictures if it was not for the artistic capabilities of the photographer. The following considerations guides your artistic choice for or against a certain capture method for individual situations.
The most obvious difference is the mere workflow in taking pictures and processing them, but also before you even start.
- Since about the 2010s digital cameras are regularly equipped with a small LCD giving you the opportunity to review a (scaled-down) picture right after it has been taken. Using film, however, you cannot assess the exposure’s quality. Maybe you have underexposed or overexposed the shot. Maybe a person you photographed blinked right in that moment.
- Some photographers actually appreciate this fact, because you have to carefully think about the photo, instead of doing an iterative, “amateurish” trial and error approach.
- Other photographers see themselves stymied by the fact of not having any immediate feedback. This may be due to a lack of experience, because you can produce pictures with either capture method just as fast.
- Frequently external factors like the situation, the setting, or the photographed subject will dictate your choice. If you think you are producing too many rejects, too few “good” pictures with your digital camera, you might benefit to artificially slow down your workflow by switching to an analog camera, maybe even just for a while, you know.
Some people like to justify their choice with technical facts. While it is important to know technical limitations, in most circumstances it makes no difference.
- When you use film, you start off with a “fresh sensor” over and over again. A digital camera, on the other hand, has a sensor built-in and while using it it heats up, thus altering its characteristics. When advancing the film a dust particle may be gone for the next exposure, but a dust particle on a digital sensor stays there affecting all pictures you take. Cleaning a digital sensor needs careful caution.
- Photographic film displays a loss of effective sensitivity at long exposure times (about longer than one second) and super short exposure times (when you have to use a special high-speed camera).
- Copying analog materials always entails a loss of information, whereas digital materials can be copied without any loss in information. Although this difference is hardly noticeable, technically it is measurable.
- As of the 2020s it has not yet been determined that digital media can be stored indefinitely. By the 21st century it was already pretty difficult to read digital media produced just 50 years earlier, if not impossible. Data formats change, hardware breaks down, or simply the magnetic polarization of bits decayed too much in quality. Modern photographic film, on the other hand, can be stored for at least hundreds of years. It is pretty much guaranteed that humans will be able to project light through it in the far future.
- Regular consumer PCs became powerful enough to allow everyone to retouch their photos. In consequence, digital photos are considered to be easier to manipulate. While it is also possible to manipulate analog pictures the general public may consider non-digital works more “truthful”.
- Just emotionally it can make a difference to you whether you can (and have to) physically touch your photos.
Types of filmEdit
- Below 35mm
- Medium- and large- format
- Grain size and sensitivity