Why film is better than digital

Started Jun 6, 2011 | Discussions thread
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Henrick Shyu
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Why film is better than digital
Jun 6, 2011

I just wanted to share a revelation I had with you all.

Recently I sold my Sony a850 fullframe DSLR and replaced it with a Minolta Maxxum 7 film camera. Why? Simple. Because nobody likes digital photos. I would go so far as to say people hate it.

Everyone knows how easy digital is. You get unlimited free shots, and you can photoshop even the worst photo into something amazing. You can't impress anyone with digital, period. Photography is an art, and it is only impressive when others can share in and witness the skill and miracle of capturing a difficult moment.

The difference between film and digital is the difference between watching a live performance, and a pre-recorded show. There is a reason why people will pay hundreds of dollars to see a play or concert but only a few dollars for a movie. It is the difference between a beautiful girl and one who has had plastic surgery. The key difference is the human component.

All the latest DSLRs are attempting to imitate film. Even Sigma's SD1 states it uses the "APS-C X3 direct image sensor to capture exceptionally rich and detailed images that have a film-like quality". But the problem here is, once we know it is an imitation and not the real thing, it is worthless. I see lots of good photos nowadays that if taken on film, would be considered masterpieces. But because they were shot on digital, they're worthless. It is a pity seeing so many great photographers go digital and churning out a swath of digital trash. Seriously, who cares how good the shot is if it doesn't take any skill to take it.

Also, people hate it when you post-process photos because adjusting sliders in front of a monitor is not part of photography. Nobody thinks it is, and therefore it shouldn't be. You can argue that Ansel Adams spent hours in the darkroom, but that is not justification because people would be less impressed with his work if they knew that. It is much more impressive if you shot a sunset using Fuji Velvia and had no control over the final colors, than if you upped the saturation 50% later on in photoshop. The photographer must NOT be part of the post-processing step because as I said, photography is only impressive when others feel as if they are sharing with you in the miracle of capturing a beautiful moment, not fabricating one in photoshop.

Moreover, don't you notice how people despise it when you take photos of them with a DSLR? It is because they know the shot costs you nothing so you are just taking advantage of them. Even more, they resent you because you invested in an expensive DSLR which they do not have. Use film, and when they know its costing you money per shot, they'll be much more cooperative and maybe even flattered.

Is digital technically superior to film? Yes it is, in every way. Just like how someone with plastic surgery has better looks than one who has not. But nobody cares about the girl with the plastic nose. You can argue how much better digital is, but it doesn't matter when people just don't like it, emotionally.

Digital photography is good for some applications, like science, architecture, or real-estate. Or if you're a really bad photographer and are just learning, digital is good for training. But pros should embrace photography as an art, and take on the challenge of shooting in a medium where mistakes are not tolerated and post-processing not accepted. Because without art, photography is nothing.

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