Is Film photography better than digital? Does it matter?
Not this again!
Yes, I know – this topic is so ridiculous that I decided to write on it! If you’re familiar with my work – you know I prefer using old school technology and cameras – aka photographing on film, on celluloid, on plastic etc! Most of my personal work I create is on film, why?
Does it make it any better than shooting on digital? Before we go any further, the answer is NO!! This debate is ridiculous – Just focus on creating work you want, the medium is only a tool – use it to your advantage! But enough, let’s talk about why I still use film!
- I love using analog cameras – there are so many of them out there – the experience – the feels, the way it makes you slow down. It’s a more immersive experience. Not being to see my images right away is a bonus, you focus on shooting – results will come!
- I love developing film, I truly believe in understanding the entire process before developing a viewpoint! I began developing film in my dinky little washroom in a student house. After developing and seeing those wet negatives hanging to dry – I was amazed, I was hooked. A question I get asked often, you wouldn’t develop client work on your own, Would you? It depends on the amount of time I have. Black and white film, you bet I’m doing it myself! Colour film, it depends – I would much prefer a lab simply because of the scanner they use! I just have my full-fledged darkroom in the works, once the construction is done – I’ll develop it all myself!
- Ability to read/analyze light – photography requires an understanding of light but when it’s film and each push of the button costs money and that helps you focus, meter well, and shoot with intention!
BUT, Couldn’t you do all of the above with digital cameras? The answer is YES, YES you could! So why keep on doing it?
I’ll go back to my second point, its because I like the process, I like the workflow – it makes me feel a lot more involved! From a distance, I can hear someone yell, yeah but if you’re scanning – what’s the point – just shoot digital! Film has inherent characteristics, and especially slide film – don’t get me started! it’s all about the process, preference, and shooting with intention!
NOW, let’s talk digital!!
Technology is growing so fast, image quality is no longer an issue – from your phone to entry-level cameras – it’s easy to achieve technically perfect images aka sharp, clean, properly exposed! For the professionals that want an edge, medium format digital cameras are now more affordable (please don’t comment about the gfx and Hasselblad X1D are not true medium format – not the point here). Despite these advances in technology – why isn’t film a thing of the past? Most technology out there is obsolete as soon as something new comes along!! It’s because Digital has yet to come close to large format film ( here’s I’m talking 4×5,8×10 and larger). A physically larger plane of focus creates images that can’t be replicated by large digital sensors!
In the end, I use both – I love tech regardless of the result and process. It’s not a debate – it’s just a different tool! Use what you’re comfortable with, just create work that you want!
Below are some images I’ve shot on film – mostly personal work!