Interesting Comparison Film v Digital

Started 10 months ago | Discussions thread
Michael Firstlight Veteran Member • Posts: 3,484
Re: Definitely do try film, it really isn't that hard.

absquatulate wrote:

Michael Firstlight wrote:

I would prefer people don't explore or use film, and even less so, do their own film developing and do their own (wet) darkroom printing. Please don' try this at home - you'll be frustrated and miserable, trust me.

I couldn't disagree more, I develop black and white and C-41 at home, using basic techniques and modern developing kits and I love it. Its easy with a little practice and the results are excellent. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to shoot film. I mastered it with no tuition whatsoever, just a determination to teach myself and an open mind. Did I makes some mistakes? sure, but that's how you learn, it really isn't the dark art some people like to portray.

Why? I enjoy that the analog craft remain a exclusive skill and niche for the few of us that remain and have mastered it over many decades (myself approaching near 50 years in the darkroom). There are real reasons why we still do it – even for us old "gray beards" began using high-end DSLRs in the '90's, long before quite a few here were born or members of DPR. If you want to do a REAL comparison, then compare digital print output to analog (wet darkroom) final prints. Any other comparison is only comparing an all-digital train to a partial (hybrid) digital train. I love my Epson 7880 prints from my D800, but put my wet fiber darkroom prints, done right, compared side-by-side? Now THAT’s a comparison!

Of course digital is better in a very long list of respects - no one argues the wonders and incredible flexibility and speed of digital - something I discovered with my first digital camera and H/P inkjet printer back in the 90's that caused me to pack away my wet darkroom gear and film cameras for over a decade, but if you really want to know why a few of us added film, film processing, and wet silver B&W and RA4 wet darkroom printing back into our active repertoire, then you'll just have to do it yourself - the whole process, to find out, and master the whole process like we have. I don't recommend it for all but the hardiest and most adventurous.

Don't do film and darkroom - it sucks, and you'll be miserable.


Having a Darkroom and the time just isn't practical for many of us, much as I'd love to do it. I scan my negatives, I get great results and the results still look like film. Scanning is not the same process as taking a digital photograph, yes it digitises the negative, but the results will still look like film. Does it look like a wet fibre print? obviously not, but it still has that film look, the essence of film. Unfortunately, in the film world, there does exist a kind of snobbery around wet printing, and yes, we'd all do it if we could, but what people like me do is the next best thing and we're keeping film alive, so people who enjoy film should be content we're doing that.

I fear you are correct as I am seeing literally hundreds of the younger generation giving film a go - even regional community darkrooms popping up and new film stocks are emerging monthly. Analog community sites like Photrio ( are booming with thousands of analog users  - I guess it's not go to remain such an exclusive niche.



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