Film vs. Digital
Two experts tackle the debate about which workflow is more efficient for photographers: digital or film? Jeff Kent, senior editor of Professional Photographer and PHOTO Electronic Imaging magazines, says film is here to stay, while Mike Micoulis, owner of Digital M Productions, a full service photographic studio specializing in digital imagery for the Internet, catalog and print advertising industries, touts digital cameras.
In a digital world, film still has its merits
By Jeff Kent
For several years now, digital advocates have painted film photography as an archaic tradition practiced by fine artists and quirky hobbyists who love spending their days in a dark room full of pungent chemicals. While the organic feel, rich colors and artistic grain of film do find favor with fine art photographers, film photography also has a number of practical benefits that make it a viable medium in more mainstream applications.
There is no doubt that digital photography is on the rise. Indeed, in the imaging industry, digital is no longer a revolution, but the norm. So, with the tide clearly turning the way of the digital file, why should photographers even bother with film? Perhaps the most common and most important argument is that film simply produces better, truer color than any digital camera currently in mass production. Says Bill Bachmann, an internationally recognized photographer with three books and more than 800 magazine covers to his credit, "I like the colors of film much better than anything I've seen in digital. Through a lot of tests, I've seen nothing in a digital file that has the warmth of Fujichrome Velvia film. Right now, with the existing technology, I wouldn't trade it."
But beyond subjective color analysis—which varies with each photographer—the prognosticators of digital dominance are still a bit premature in delivering eulogies for film photography. Despite the rapid growth of the digital camera market, film cameras are outselling their digital counterparts by a wide margin. According to Photo Marketing Association International (PMAI) (www.pmai.org) forecasts, nearly twice as many film cameras as digital cameras will be sold in 2002. And just as digital technology continues to improve, so too does the technology involved in new film and developing materials. Films are sharper and richer than ever, and they carry a variety speeds and characteristics unmatched in the digital format.