Sunday, 22 August 2010

Digital versus film photography

We all know the convenience of digital photography. It is hard to be a bad photographer with a medium that lets you immediately check whether the picture was good, and retry if necessary; and any flaws in the image can be tweaked subsequently very easily so that the final image is visually appealing and perfect.

Compared with this film photography is slow, and requires skill to get things right, because you can't check the results immediately. Even with good scanners, such as the Nikon Coolscan V, the quality of the scanned image is not a match for digital photographs from the latest generation of cameras.

So is film photography dead? Many of us hope that it isn't but will an ever diminishing market support an industry that is probably no longer profitable? Maybe we shall end up with a handful of film types, mainly B&W and color transparency, and a few labs that provide processing at a high cost. It is a prospect that is depressing but the world inexorably follows Darwinian evolution of the fittest, and the writing on the wall is clear even from a distance.

The digital revolution is a boon for the vendors, as it ensures that they can keep making us buy a new camera every year or two years, by tempting us with new capabilities. It is good that the technology is evolving rapidly, but the worst aspect of this is the continuous churn. The sensible amongst us will renew their equipment only when necessary, and not because they must get the latest and the greatest. But for those of us want to own the best, the best is an ever moving target.

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