Week 3 – Film or Digital?

With the passage of time, the technology of this world has been continuously developing, no matter whether the current or future development is acceptable to you or me, we still cannot stop technological innovation.
Therefore, the first point I want to express is that we all human beings cannot organize this trend before judging whether the development of science and technology is beneficial.

From my personal wishes, I prefer film, because today’s world is filled with too many numbers or digital products. In this fast-developing digital age, the medium becomes more and more blurred, and our lives and lives are too much. The most important part is ultimately just the invisible code on the hard drive.

From the perspective of industry development, digitalization is an inevitable trend and a more advanced development direction. With advanced digital technology, the workflow and results of many of our industries have undergone tremendous changes. If we evaluate backward from the results, the development of science and technology has brought about superfluous progress.

Returning to this question, as far as 2020 is concerned, almost all film companies and studios currently adopt a fully digital production process. Of course, there are very few film and television works that use film technology.

Film vs digital among Hollywood movies

The first year in which top-grossing films were shot on digital cameras was 2002, however it wasn’t until 2012 that at least half of the films were shot digitally.

Sci-fi movies are twice as likely to be shot digitally compared to War films.

A Director of Photography and his thoughts were “History films shoot film more because it’s softer and people associate it with a period look now and Romance because film still makes actors look more attractive than digital”.

With film usage and adoption on the rise, we wanted to resurrect the debate of digital photos versus analog photos.  As a film processing lab we obviously have a bias, so not going to say which is better, but just to present the differences and list advantages.

While in Eastern Sierra Nevada we shot two photos, one film and the other digital. Both the digital photo and the film photo were taken with the same settings. The left image was captured on Velvia 50, taken with a Canon EOS 3, a 50mm lens at f/4. The photo on the right was taken with a full frame Canon 6D with 50mm, 100 iso and f/4. Both images are unedited. As you can see, Velvia 50 has very fine grain and has rich vibrant colors straight from the scan compared to the unedited JPEG from the Canon 6D. And yes, you do have the option to edit digital photos but there’s something special about making a beautiful image in-camera on film and not having to spend any time editing!

Also, if you’re looking for a little less saturation, there are other great film choices, like Provia 100 which isn’t as saturated but still has great color and fine grain or you could go with a color negative film which will give you more subtle colors and has a wider range of exposure latitude.

1) Film


There are a few advantages of film photography over digital photography:

  • There can be a lower initial cost for a film camera than for a comparable digital camera. 
  • Film delivers a higher dynamic range, which makes it better at capturing detail in whites and blacks.
  • Film photography is more forgiving of minor focusing issues and exposure problems. 
  • A film camera often has a higher resolution than what is found in most digital cameras.
  • Film photographers with a limited number of exposures available on a roll of the film must think more about their images before shooting them. Digital photographers tend to take pictures first and think later. Depending on your viewpoint, this is either an advantage or a disadvantage.


Some of the disadvantages of film photography are: 

  • Film cameras are usually heavier than similar-sized digital cameras.
  • Film storage takes up a lot of physical space.
  • Purchasing and developing film is a continuing cost.
  • The film must be developed before viewing, so you can end up developing poor photo captures or images taken unintentionally.
  • Unless you have a darkroom, the photographer is dependent on a lab to develop the images.

2) Digital


The advantages of digital cameras and photography include:

  • The resolution of a point-and-shoot camera, which is often 12 to 20 megapixels, is a high enough resolution for large prints.
  • A digital camera is usually lighter in weight than a film camera.
  • Memory cards are tiny so they don’t require much storage space. One memory card can store more images than a dozen rolls of film.
  • The images from a digital camera can be viewed immediately.
  • You can edit your images directly on the camera or on a computer with photo-editing software.
  • You can choose to print only the images you like best.
  • Many cameras offer built-in filters.
  • There is instant gratification with a digital camera. This can be an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on your perspective. 


Some of the disadvantages of digital photography and cameras include:

  • Digital photography usually requires computer skills to manage and edit images.
  • The initial cost for a digital camera is usually higher than for a comparable film camera. 
  • Digital images easily lose detail in whites and blacks.
  • Some digital cameras are difficult to focus.
  • Digital images are less subtle than film images.
  • Digital cameras become obsolete much faster than film cameras.
  • The digital storage can be lost; backups are absolutely necessary.
  • Many digital cameras do a poorer job focusing in low light than film cameras.
  • Digital cameras are bigger consumers of batteries than film cameras. Digital photographers need to keep extra batteries on hand to ensure the camera stays charged. 

Reference: https://j.mp/39B76Gv | https://j.mp/2Vp5NT1 | https://j.mp/3g0lJEA

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