Of Film and Digital

[originally appeared on my now defunct Multiply page, posted 06/29/2009]

I don’t get why people are blabbing so much about the divide between digital photography, and film photography. While I will not launch myself into orbit with all those schnitz stuff about theory and everything, I will try to keep this simple because it is simple enough for me.

I am a digital photography enthusiast first and foremost. I’ve been shooting with a digital camera for the past six or seven years, starting with our Canon S50. Late last year, I bought a Canon S5IS, primarily out of buyer’s impulse, and partly because I didn’t have enough cash for a dslr. Now, I use the aged but venerable D40 with Nikkor lenses handed down from my father.

But I also do film. Although my film techniques are not as ‘evolved’ as the ones I’ve developed for digital photography, I could safely say that I won’t end up with a black frame – slr or otherwise. As a kid, I’ve been toying with our Nikon EM, all the way till high school when the shutter jammed, stemming from years of non-maintenance.

But there are people out there who go ‘film is in’ or ‘digital is the way to go’. In my opinion, both ARE the ways to go. Let’s face it people. it is still photography. It is still the same ‘drawing with light’ thing. It is still concerned with pointing your camera the right way and clicking away. It’s the same box with a shutter, which is especially true for DSLRs. The only difference is that digital cameras use a sensor to catch light, and analog cameras use old school film.

Film adherents would say things about warmth of the shots, about how more detailed film shots are. Digital hard liners would point to convenience, and the fact that somehow, the clarity of film could be matched by sensor technologies which continually evolve by the model.


I personally prefer using digital photography because of it’s ease and relative simplicity. That doesn’t mean I’ll abandon the EM though. When it gets rolling, I’ll interchange between that, the D40 and the S5IS.

Funny thing is, people don’t see that both ways are good, and thus learning both, or even a little of both would and can affect your techniques.

Good or bad, I don’t know.

They’re all quite funny. The Lomophiles, the Lomohaters. The Anti-dSLRists. You name it, there’s a group that exists, and an opposite group to throw tomatoes on it. I don’t get why people are so against the idea of lomography, or the use of post process stuff like tweaking colors on your PC. The Photoshop stuff, although I actually know nothing about it, is kinda akin to the time when people used to chemically burn stuff on film to produce various stuff, from enhanced contrast to fake UFOs. It’s just a modern way of doing things. Again, the best would be to prefer something, then strike balance on the art by learning some other things from the other side of the realm.

Then there are the trigger happy people who think itchy fingers equals an interest in photography. People are such fun creatures.

The bottom line is, whatever camera we’re holding and whatever we’re shooting at, it’s all good at the end of the day. You upload your work in the middle of the night, or office hours, and hope that people think you came away with good frames.

PS. I originally posted this in response to an issue with a friend of mine, who was also a budding photographer as I was (and still am) back during this time.

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