Digital Cameras vs. Film Cameras- the debate goes on

Kevin Rockwell

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One of the biggest debates in the photography world is whether digital cameras are better or film cameras better? The answer to this question cannot be answered in a simple yes or no. There are several issues which need to be considered while answering this question.

To make things simple and without getting too technical, the major benefits of using a digital camera is that it is cheap and fast. There is no cost involved in clicking digital photographs as compared to film cameras. Also, you can preview the pictures before choosing to print them; hence there is little/no wastage of snaps involved.

However, for traditional users, a digital camera is not such an easy gadget to use. One does not only need to learn how to use a digital camera but he/she also needs to gain mastery over the computer. This can get to be a little difficult for those who are computer-averse.

As far as image quality is concerned, there are four major factors – picture resolution, presence of noise/grain in cameras, dynamic range and the color quality of the image.

Resolution, in photography language, means the sharpness and the visibility of the image. In this area, the film camera definitely wins since nearly a 6 mega pixel camera is needed to match a 35mm film camera.

Noise/grain refers to the amount of grains which appears in cameras. Digital cameras are extremely sophisticated in this aspect in comparison to film cameras and the level of noise/grain appearance is much lower.

The dynamic range is one of the main weaknesses of a digital camera. The range of a digital camera largely gets affected in contrasting light and normally occurs in the form of white highlights in the image. But some of the latest digital technologies are trying to eliminate this problem in digital photography.

Color quality in digital photographs is much, much better than those images which are taken from film cameras. The pictures are much sharper, brighter, and more vivid and tend to have a three-dimensional quality – which is very difficult to obtain in prints from film cameras.

Thus, overall, both the digital and the film camera have their own advantages and disadvantages. It depends on the user and his personal preferences to choose one over the other.

If you are an average, computer-friendly individual who uses the camera for taking pictures of your family, then a digital camera is recommended due to its lower price and greater convenience.

However, if you are an avid photographer, then it is best that you master both technologies. Since, as the future unfolds, it will be necessary for all to know how to use a digital camera with expertise.

Kevin Rockwell worked as a network TV cameraman for 20 years shooting news and sports. Now a devoted fan of digital photography and video he works to gather information, tips and news for digital camera users. Oh and he loves to shoot pictures of his kids playing sports.


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