What do you think is the biggest advantage digital has over film?

AlwaysOnAuto

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I like shooting old lenses, or I did until my eyes started playing games on me and I started missing focus too often to be enjoyable. Anyways, I was just thinking about how much fun it is to shoot digitally vs with film, not that I shot that much with it but I digress.
Every time I pull one of my old camera's out of the cabinet and start fooling with it, I get to thinking, wow, this was really pretty state of the art in its day. Then I look at my current cameras and think about how much more versatile they are compared to the old cameras. I'm thinking ability to change ISO on a whim (ever do that?), meter to get the exposure just so, change lenses to an entirely different make, see where I'm going with this?

To me, the biggest advantage from a technical standpoint is the ability to change ISO. In the old days you had to 'push' ASA 100 to 200 or was it 400 to 200? I really don't remember now. I do know it usually meant changing the film which in turn usually meant finishing the roll unless you were uber talented and could use half a roll, rewind it into the canister leaving just the leader out so you could reuse the rest of it later. Ever do that? I read about it but that's as far as I got with it.
Now, just turn the dial, flip the switch, press the button. Man we've got it made today, don't we?
Thanks for letting me ramble. Comment if you'd like, or not.

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MWhite

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There are so many advantages, I'm not quite sure where to start. I'm acutely aware of this of late because preparatory to renovating my office I'm scanning my old slides to clear them out. And I have years of them. I know slides are very challenging to scan, but years ago I invested in a really good scanner and I am going to scan them. So there! But, OMG, it takes a long time. Then, there were the camera failures. I know this can happen to digital, but on one ill-fated trip to Corsica I happily fired away - something like 10-12 rolls. When I got home and had them processed, all of the exposures were black. Complete shutter failure. On other occasions (different camera) the shutter just acted up and ruined some of them. But, you never know until they are processed. With digital you know when it happens. Even if things are going well with your film camera, you have to really monitor exposures to get it right (subject reflectivity, etc. - B/W is easier in this regard) and there is no feedback until long after the photo is taken. ISO can't be changed until the film is changed. High ISO film often looks like a gravel beach. Digital images are in many ways very ephemeral and subject to corruption, but multiple exact copies can be easily made. Copies of film are always slightly degraded. And color in film shifts or fades. Ask anyone who has used Agfachrome - such great skin tones which years later become transparent. Where film really impresses me, however, is the longevity of well-processed B/W prints. Years later, the image is still there. Digital shooters - note to self! - really ought to print more if we expect to see these images in the future. There, now I've vented and can get back to scanning!
 

AlwaysOnAuto

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Yeah, I kind of forgot about the 'instant gratification' aspect of digital.
I can still remember borrowing my neighbors SR-T 102 camera to go shoot the Times Grand Prix at Riverside Raceway. Got back, sent the film in to be turned into pictures and waited. The disappointment of getting a strip of black film back because I didn't load the film correctly was profound. I had fallen in love with that camera and had blown the chance to get some really cool shots.
Live and learn as they say.
I will say, I never made that mistake again though.

Now if I can just make sure the batteries are charged before I go out....
 

bdbits

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Pushing was for example setting ISO 400 on the camera for film rated for ISO 200. This was usually either because of poor lighting conditions, or to give the images a grainier look. It was also possible to do the inverse and "pull" a roll of film, since it is really just how much shorter/longer you developed the film. I am not sure I ever saw for myself where someone did that intentionally.

For me at least, changing any/all settings at any time is huge versus the old film days. And previewing changes in real time - one reason I went mirrorless. Not to mention I'll take any decent RAW developer over darkroom work any day.
 

davect01

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I like shooting old lenses, or I did until my eyes started playing games on me and I started missing focus too often to be enjoyable. Anyways, I was just thinking about how much fun it is to shoot digitally vs with film, not that I shot that much with it but I digress.
Every time I pull one of my old camera's out of the cabinet and start fooling with it, I get to thinking, wow, this was really pretty state of the art in its day. Then I look at my current cameras and think about how much more versatile they are compared to the old cameras. I'm thinking ability to change ISO on a whim (ever do that?), meter to get the exposure just so, change lenses to an entirely different make, see where I'm going with this?

To me, the biggest advantage from a technical standpoint is the ability to change ISO. In the old days you had to 'push' ASA 100 to 200 or was it 400 to 200? I really don't remember now. I do know it usually meant changing the film which in turn usually meant finishing the roll unless you were uber talented and could use half a roll, rewind it into the canister leaving just the leader out so you could reuse the rest of it later. Ever do that? I read about it but that's as far as I got with it.
Now, just turn the dial, flip the switch, press the button. Man we've got it made today, don't we?
Thanks for letting me ramble. Comment if you'd like, or not.

View attachment 110131View attachment 110132
One of the biggest things is being able to know if you got the shot or need to retake it.

It is heartbreaking to take a shot, have it developed and then it is junk.
 
Last edited:

DaveC

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For most of my life I shot film, but went digital very early (when 3 megapixels was considered state of the art). I swapped to digital primarily to be able to share photo's of my then young daughter's with my wife's side of the family. My SLR had bit the dust, and it seemed like the way of the future. The first thing I noticed was that all of a sudden I would pull the camera out and take a shot that with film I would not have considered trying. After all it didn't really cost anything to try for that "impossible" shot, and if it worked out you knew instantly. The other quickly apparent benefit was the savings on processing costs. When they were toddlers nearly every shot of the girls had to be printed multiple times, to keep both sets of Grandparents, and several aunts and uncles happy. Even though that first point and shoot cost me more than I could buy an A6400 for these days, I still calculate it saved me more than it cost within 18 months.
 

davect01

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Yeah, I kind of forgot about the 'instant gratification' aspect of digital.
I can still remember borrowing my neighbors SR-T 102 camera to go shoot the Times Grand Prix at Riverside Raceway. Got back, sent the film in to be turned into pictures and waited. The disappointment of getting a strip of black film back because I didn't load the film correctly was profound. I had fallen in love with that camera and had blown the chance to get some really cool shots.
Live and learn as they say.
I will say, I never made that mistake again though.

Now if I can just make sure the batteries are charged before I go out....
My Mom tells the story of a photographer who shot her Cousin's wedding only to discover half the wedding the film was not loaded properly
 

Thad E Ginathom

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My first trip to India resulted in three blank films. I have no idea why I decided to borrow a friend's camera instead of bringing my own OM1n. But lack of familiarity meant film loaded wrong. Oh well, I said, "Now I just have to go back!" and did, regularly, until I ended up living here.

Here's another thing: I think I took three or four rolls with me. I might have come back with 144 photos taken over two weeks. Now I go to a two-hour concert and take over a hundred pictures. This is a double-edged sword of digital. It is easy to take far, far too many pictures, and, with the cameras we are using today, a much smaller percentage will be complete rubbish. That should be an advantage, but it isn't. Too many to look through, too many to edit, too many to pick just a few best from. I suppose one could call this an embarrassment of riches!

Sometimes I try to remember those rolls of 36, and try to limit myself to around 50 pics of one event. It makes for more discipline and thought per shot. Well, that's my theory!
 

Richard Crowe

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There are numerous advantages of digital over film and I simply cannot think of any situation in which film has an advantage over digital...
1. Virtually free shooting after purchase of hardware
2. Instant gratification
3. Exposure info linked to images
4. Ability to change ISO at will
5. Ability to process and edit images without darkroom equipment and space
6. Ability to share images online
7. Far better AF such as Eye-AF of Sony
8. Generally smaller form factor as in Sony APSC format or Micro 4/3 format
and many, many more...
 

WNG

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Too numerous to list.
But can be summed up by saying film photography equipment and process was the limiting factor. Digital photography makes the photographer the limiting factor.
 

Richard Crowe

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Here is another advantage - storage of the images...

My computer hard drive plus backups are far more effective in saving images than were shoe boxes or photo albums...

I have far-far more images available that I shot digitally than those I previously shot on film.

I was a motion picture cameraman in Vietnam. I wish that I had a small digital camera to carry along with my motion picture gear to document my 26 months in-country...
 

Ziggy99

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It radically democratised photography.
It enabled mobile phone shooting and so made image capture and image sharing available to everyone.
And so helped expose tyranny, racisim and other injustices.
 

davect01

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Here is another advantage - storage of the images...

My computer hard drive plus backups are far more effective in saving images than were shoe boxes or photo albums...

I have far-far more images available that I shot digitally than those I previously shot on film.

I was a motion picture cameraman in Vietnam. I wish that I had a small digital camera to carry along with my motion picture gear to document my 26 months in-country...
With that comes the ability to share. We have many family that live away from us and the ability to instantaneously share what is going in in our lives and to see what is happening in theirs is wonderful.

In the 1980's my Aunt and her family was stationed in Germany. My mother was only able to call once a month due to the expense of international calling. Previously they had lived 20 minutes away and we were quute close. I and my cousins spent a lot of time togeather and I have fond memories.

Occasionally we would swap pictures and this was a treat. However they were stationed there for ten years and we as children never got to interact except for a few trips back and forth.

Now the complaint can be made that too much is shared and this is a valid concern but we live in an era when keeping up to date and connected to distant friends snd family is unprecedented.
 

Ziggy99

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Yes, and a lot of digital storage is effectively ephemeral.

My parents' photographic legacy - and it included 8mm film - lasted beyond their death. My images are hidden behind a password and I doubt they'll survive my death.

Sorting my parents' legacy after their death wasn't such a big job. Mine, if the password is found in my 'death file', will be huge.

A few years ago I went through and scanned all my hard copy, including slides, and saved the stuff I thought relevant to my kids sending it to them in a large zip file.
 

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