|"Why Are You Still Using Film?"
I have a better question.
Why are YOU Still Using Digital?
was surfing around and found an article called "Why are YOU Still using
Film?". Fortunately, the article allowed real replies instead of
the canned "good riddance" comments you see in most of these "film is dead" pieces.
The article, of course, got hammered in the comments section.
It would appear that readers saw past the "horse and buggy" analogies.
The commenters noted that the blogger used someone else's Flickr photo
of a Canonet. I was thinking "This blogger was supposed to be a
photog. Wouldn't he have his own picture of a camera??"
Couldn't he have just, like, instantly
made one with a DSLR?
Look here: I was able to take my
own camera photo, and that was with a camera made in 1983. I
typed up the developing order on my Smith Corona, jumped in horse-drawn
buggy, and rolled on down to the Pony Express stop with my film
Okay, actually I just sent it out to the film lab and went and
did something else until the pictures were ready. Easy.
Then I scanned the negative on an Epson V500. (The blur is
because I used ultra-shallow depth of field-- f/1.7 -- but you knew
Anyway, why am I still using film? Five good reasons (and that's not even counting TMax 400 or Tri-X).
[Pick Any] Five of the Best Reasons to Switch to Film...
Financially speaking, if you're using digital, you're not saving as
much money as you think. You're using a highly complex electronic
device that can quit at any moment. The sensor can develop a
nasty line through the middle without warning (ask me how I know), or
it can just wink out on you and refuse to take pictures at all.
Each year's best digital cameras go obsolete in just a few years.
And just to make sure you're not stranded at a wedding without a
camera, you end up having to buy another digital back. You did
prepare like that, right? So much
for savings. Oh, and forget "medium format digital"; it's twenty grand.
2.) Film doesn't need
to get any better. I can use it right now instead of waiting
around for years until digital works out the bugs. Film has
incredible richness and depth that doesn't need to improve. My
half-frame camera made by inebriated Soviet workers in 1974 still takes
better pictures than a digital camera designed by robots and cranked
out by Skynet in 2011.
longevity of the images. No digital image is going to last longer
than human civilization, especially not when they can't even make CD's
guaranteed to last two decades. I have CD's from the year 2000
that are unreadable already. (Actually, I have CD's from last
year that are unreadable already.) As for print longevity... go
ahead and print your digital images at your local superstore, then see
how long those last. They use inkjet-quality inks.
Somehow I don't think those are going to last for a hundred
Which brings me to my next reason
photos have no "original". It makes it harder to prove who really
made a photo, especially if you post full-size pictures to the
Internet. Being virtual, digital pictures can also
evaporate along with your hard drive. If you're using Flickr to
store them, you trade one problem for another. Now you have the
nuisance of bloggers and link spammers using your pictures for their "switch to digital" articles, often without your
permission. Digital picture or not, it's tragic to see a beautiful photo of a film camera
being misused for yet another "who needs film" article.
And finally, we can't forget reason #5 why I still use film.
5.) Camera versus Log!
I really wanted to say the digicam companies didn't know about the image
quality problem, but after listening to Kodak's former CMO in a 2010
interview, it's hard to say that anymore:
"[film has] such a better image quality than [a] digital
just never touch it... do you think we're ultimately going to be forced
to relinquish image quality based on sheer economics?"
This quote isn't from an idle
spectator. It's from the very same executive who made it his
mission to push Kodak away from film. The good news is that Kodak
out with Ektar in 120 and
4x5. Great film, and it shows there's still
hope for Kodak. I'm also rather excited about the new
Portra 400. It gives "that look", and it does really well pushed
to 3200. They make it in 4x5, too. There really is still good in the world.
Former Kodak CMO: "Yeah,
without a question ... you'll put up with it
.... years ago I helped a company create [a color process] for a
commercial printer... the quality
wasn't quite up to offset class, but, I said it was 'business color',
so let's sell it as 'business color'. And someone said, well why
would you sell it as 'business color', and I said because 'sh***y
color' doesn't work as well..."
So anyway, that comment by the former CMO brings me to add a reason #6 to use film:
If digital camera makers are that cynical, I'll spend my money on film
instead. It's the technology I prefer anyway.
Ah, why not, let's go for seven:
7.) Slide film!
Or how about reason #8...
8.) Cheap medium format!
Once we get into 120 and 220 film, digital can no longer claim the
resolution advantage. Large format is even more
impressive. Buy yourself a TLR, a Kiev, a Hasselblad, or even a Lubitel, and find out what photography is really about!
Come to think of it, here's good reason #9...
9.) Digital suffers from "Leaky Sky Syndome".
Digital camera sensors cannot deal very well with bright lights, such
as sky. The glow from the sky leaks into other areas of the
picture, giving it a nasty, artificial appearance. This ugly
digital artifact cannot be retouched out. The better DSLRs
minimize this, but they're expensive!
We could keep going, but that ought to do it for now.
And one more time: if you get joy from digital photography, then
by all means continue doing it. No real artist would ever tell
you to stop using the medium that makes you comfortable.
I use and enjoy digital cameras
sometimes; it's just that I think future generations should have
the opportunity to use film at an affordable price. Toward that
end, someone needs to counter the continual stream of "give up, will
ya" articles that keep emanating from the digicam industry (and their
apparent friends in the media).
If you use digital, hang on to it and keep enjoying it... but why not try some film, too? That way, everyone wins.
I hope you've enjoyed this article.
Thanks for visiting!
o.t o .1 2 0 s t u d i o.. c o,m
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