Since posting the original article 12 Reasons Photographers Choose to Shoot Film over Digital an intense amount of vitriol has been directed towards it, which is not surprising considering how divisive the dichotomy can be.
It’s mostly been by people who can’t read properly and are therefore already at a disadvantage, however to be completely fair we’re going to flip things on their head and take a look at reasons why a photographer would choose to shoot digital instead of film.
1. Because deep down, quality doesn’t really matter to us.
When you can use the magnification tool up to 400% and still not see individual pixels in your image then who is really going to care? If you don’t know the difference between Adobe RGB and sRGb colour spaces then the customer definitely won’t notice the blocked out blacks in a digital print. Therefore fobbing off over processed, slightly soft images will still bring in the cash – which is all a digital photographer really cares about (according to some comments).
If that doesn’t work, you can always do an inkjet print on canvas and call it art. I hear the trailer folk love that sort of thing these days.
2. I’ve got a Bottomless Pot of Money
Sure, digital cameras are incredibly expensive compared to their film counterparts, but they’ve got that CCD sensor in them, which must take up the bulk of the raw materials used. A great deal about the joy of photography is spending vast quantities of money on ‘L’ glass and the latest body to top the Dxomark charts.
Let’s not forget that it costs 99 pence to have Tesco develop your roll of film, so you’d only get to shoot 2000 rolls of 36 exposures (that’s 72,000 images) before it started getting more expensive to shoot digital.
3. I Enjoy Riding on the Escalator of Commercialism
The only reason most people own a Canon 5d mark iii is because Canon haven’t released a mark iv yet. There’s few things more appealing about the camera tech industry than reading the rumour mill of the slight improvements to the grip on last year’s model and how it’s going to revolutionise your photography practise.
The fact MegaPixel is almost a perfect anagram of ManHood speaks volumes.
4. Because of the Nikon vs Canon debate
Unlike discussing the merits between film and digital, a dialogue between fauxtographers about which brand is better out of the two titans Nikon and Canon is not pretentious at all.
Sony makes both their sensors anyway.
5. The World’s Best Contemporary Photographers all use Digital.
Apart from Andreas Gursky, Cindy Sherman, Jeff Wall, Martin Parr, Elliot Erwitt, Steve McCurry, Don McCullin, David LaChapelle, Peter Lik, David Bailey, Nan Goldin, Sally Mann, Robert Frank, John Rankin, Jurgen Teller, the Bechers, Chuck Close, etc etc etc, who all still shoot film at the very least on occasion there’s a lot of
iPhone camera pro-digital photographer food bloggers on Instagram who are ace.
And of course my mate at the camera club takes lovely photographs of butterflies on his D80.
6. I very much Enjoy Sifting through 6000 Wedding Photographs
Let us be immeasurably glad that wedding photographers are now expected to shoot from a Pinterest list of 125 different subjects. Be glad that gone are the days a Twin Lens Reflex Rollei and 5 rolls of 120 were enough. Digital photographers tend to love sitting down at the end of a 16 hour shoot to plough through 280 different jpegs of the mother in law’s face looking for the perfect shot.
As long as none of the memory cards have corrupted that is.
7. Because Someone said so on the Internet
Instead of reading an article in full, it’s easier to skip to the Facebook comments section and look for the comment with most likes. This person’s opinion should be treated as fact, and from that you can discern that film is in fact a pointless medium.
8. Because you can’t buy Film Anymore.
Apart from Boots, Asda, Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s , Amazon, eBay, 7dayshop, and practically everywhere else on the planet, everyone knows you can’t buy film any more – and that makes it difficult to shoot film.
9. I’m Afraid of the Dark
Most digital photographers are terrified of walking into a room without a computer screen, let alone no lights or windows at all. The photographer’s darkroom, with its shades of red, monstrous enlarging machines and glow in the dark knobs is the stuff of nightmares.
10. Getting it Right in Camera is just too Difficult
With the advent of Photoshop, the need for getting the photograph right in camera is far less important. The mating cry of a digital photographer “I can fix it in Photoshop afterwards” can often be heard during street photography meet ups or World Press Photo Award ceremonies.
11. I Don’t have that sort of Patience.
When you’ve got a client list consisting of three snotty children, two alsatians, a pimple covered graduate, and that man who wants just his tattooed bicep on canvas, waiting around is not an option. Rattling off a memory card full of images and importing them into Lightroom to do nothing but sit and stare at a colour corrected $500 screen for the next 12 hours is much easier than a photo lab and home enlargements.
12. Instant Gratification
Surprise is overrated. If your camera hasn’t got an LCD screen on the back of it then it’s practically impossible to take a photo. Humans have already evolved so now our eyes are too big to look through a camera’s viewfinder if you’re unlucky enough to have one.
If you didn’t capture the decisive moment on the first frame, then hopefully you will have on one of the 600 others. If not, you can always fix it in Photoshop.
All images used with permission. Here is the original article.
Brief factual note (always best to get your facts right when expressing opinions people are going to disagree with!) – Sony make some Nikon sensors; Canon make all Canon DSLR sensors and have done pretty much right from the off. Cheers!
Hi Steve, thank you for raising the point. I’ve not corrected it per se as it’s just a small quip, and instead linked to the rumour mill (which is probably wrong). Thank you.
Hmm, I was shooting two pro-packs of 220 (10 rolls) of VPS back in the days when I was doing weddings over 20 years ago, but then I was double shooting most things to make sure no one was blinking and I was usually stuck doing long receptions afterwards. When I was younger and more confident (read that as brash), I did get by with the aforementioned pro-pack of 120 😉
Having been a digital shooter now for 11 years, and a devotee of Sigma cameras since they are like film, I’ve decided to dust off my trusty Mamiya C-3330 TLRs and shoot film again except this time it will scanned. It should be interesting to see what can be done with a 12K x 12K pixel frame and a nice fine grain film that has a real heel and toe. Now if I can just find out what the equivalent of VPS III is now.
Good luck Robert, sounds like a nice idea.
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Wonderfully funny, thank you. I enjoyed the last one too.
For your information, and before the ManfrottocarbonfibreCanikon’L’seriesnonsense brigade lynch me, I shoot both Film and Digital and I know which I prefer. (Clue. It begins with F)
Hey Sam, I know you hate digital photography so much, but most of this tripe you wrote is blatant lies, nonsense, and elitism. I quit film photography years ago largely due to the growing snobbery and elitism that most film-only photographers like yourself exhibited.
Glad you enjoyed the article. Ironically is was in response to the ‘nonsense and elitism’ that was directed at the blog after 12 Reasons Photographers Choose to Shoot Film Instead of Digital‘ post.
FWIW, I don’t hate any type of photographic medium. Film, chemical, digital etc. I use them all.
But you DID belittle and denigrate digital photography using your own personal opinions. After all, one of the tags read “why is film better”.
P.S. You also tagged this article as “fauxtography”, as if digital photography isn’t really photography at all.
Great blog – I get it and appreciate the truth 🙂
I shoot both Film and Digital, both are tools, both are different and both have their uses.
Keep up the god work!
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It’s sad that you have to degrade and make fun of digital photography just so you can justify shooting only film.
I think you’re missing the point of irony and dry wit. Digital or film are just tools to an end which is image content. Each method has it’s strengths and weaknesses, and neither is the be-all of artistic expression. I have 50+ years of wet darkroom work behind me but I’m not wedded to process. I’ll use whichever is most beneficial to the work I’m doing. Digital lends itself to exploration of technique somewhat more due to the zero cost of image making beyond the initial outlay. The only flaw in that is the encouragement of sloppy technique and the fallacious attitude that it can all be fixed in Photoshop. Beyond that the article is amusingly on target albeit tongue in cheek. No one’s ox is really being gored. As Sgt. Hulks said in “Stripes”, “Lighten up, Francis.” 🙂
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Thanks for the comment 🙂
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