Monday, February 09, 2009

Film vs. Digital

Why does it have to be one vs. the other?
I shoot both film and digital. They are both different and give different looks, that is why I shoot both.

Digital sees light differently than film does. The algorithms used by a digital sensing device that define how it reacts to light exposure are programmed in both hardware and software and that is that. The camera will always see the same light the same. The camera digitally processes the light. The camera IS the film. The memory card is the device the data is first stored on. Even a RAW file is just a capture of the data stream off the sensor, like a latent image on film. Everything else is post processing. With digital film is NOT free, you pay for it when you buy the camera and buy more when you replace the camera in 24-48 month cycles.

With analog you can vary the latent image depending on the film stock you use. It is like a digital camera with 36 sensors a roll. When you change film type you change the camera. The camera can see the same light differently depending on the film in the camera. The film chemically reacts to light and thus captures its own latent image. The post processing here is the developer, the temperature, etc. and all the other variables that can be used and applied to convert that latent image.

Thirty year-old film cameras can take pictures indistinguishable from new ones because you can put the latest film stock in them, and yes they still are coming out with new films. You cannot put new sensors in old digital cameras.

Last night I developed five rolls of film and I will continue to shoot film because I like the way film looks. I have a hybrid workflow. I am scanning the film today. I do my digital post processing in Photoshop CS4.

Meanwhile, I also shoot digital. Because I am still using a D2Hs that I bought just over two years ago, and have not upgraded to a D700/D3 a friend, who shoots with a D1X said that he and I are, "bottom feeders."

For $3,000 to $6,000 I can buy a lot of Provia. It looks great, even in my old Nikon F. That camera is 40-years-old and still going strong! Oh, I bought it used for $80.

Did you know digital sensors have a life, a number of exposures they are good for? Some experts say digital sensors are good for between 5,000 and 10,000 exposures. Maybe, 280-300 rolls of film worth. Maybe you will be lucky and get double that? Of course by the time you hit that wall it will not be economical to fix the camera.

Newer models will be out...

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