“It will be decades before Digital Photography reaches the quality needed to replace film.” Oh yeah? Only a few years after that prediction was made, digital photographic technology had reached a quality, resolution and affordability sufficient to make film all but extinct.
The convenience, the cost, the ease of use coupled with huge technical advances in converting photons into pixels have combined to make digital photography popular among top pros, advanced amateurs and novices alike. As early as 2006, 82% of a group of photographers surveyed said they had tuned to digital photography.
Digital photographic equipment is just as sophisticated and expensive as film equipment ever was. The results are obviously of a high enough standard to be used in any professional application. And the technology continues to advance at great speed.
There are many advantages to digital photography. The ease of transferring photos to a computer and then post-processing them in programs such as Photoshop; the fact that you can take a photo and see the results on an LCD screen immediately; the fact that you can, from one photo to the next, vary the ISO from 50 to 3200; the fact that you can take 1,000 digital photos on a reusable card and not have to pay for the processing; the fact that you can take stills and video with the same camera without needing any other equipment; all these things and many more combine to make digital photography so popular.
In a period of about 10 years, the entire photography world has done a major shift from all film photography, with digital being a sort of distant hope of being able to get results, to a photography world dominated almost exclusively by digital photography.
Some dyed-in-the-wool film photographers claim that there is a difference in quality still, favoring film over digital photography. And it may be true. Film photography is an analog process so the gradations in tone could perhaps be smoother than those created by the digital photography process. But obviously the differences are not sufficient to outweigh the many advantages of digital photography in the eyes of most of the photographers shooting today.
In the end, of course, it is an individual and personal choice whether to use film or digital photography or both. If you are a long term film photography aficionado, you might consider renting or borrowing some good digital equipment and trying the medium out for yourself. Likewise, if you never knew film but started straight in with a digital camera, you might get hold of a good film camera and shoot a couple of rolls of 35mm or medium format transparency film and see what you think.
You might end up liking both media for different reasons. They do produce different results and both have their applications. But one thing is for sure, digital photography is going to continue to increase in popularity and advance in technology and who knows what the limit is.
David © Phillips is a professional writer and photographer living in Seattle, WA. You can find out more about him and his work at www.dcpcom.com
The photograph(s) in this article are © David C Phillips, All Rights Reserved.