Digital Camera vs. Film – Pros and Cons
by Brandon Layne
Consumers have been pretty receptive to the lower priced “point and shoot” models (some 5 million digital cameras were sold in the U.S. during the Christmas 2005 holiday season), but there are still some holdouts.
Great strides have been made in digital technology over the past few years, but more sophisticated digital cameras have only recently come down in price enough to attract the “serious amateur” market. In the past, the price of high-end digital camera equipment was more suited to the professional who could turn that investment into an income source.
Even traditional film buffs are slowly coming around to the benefits of digital photography. Among the holdouts, the chief problem seems to be confusion. There are so many choices, with a broad range of options, and just as many price ranges.
It’s cheaper not to make a decision, than to make a mistake.
They get lost in the terminology, and have reservations about the quality of digital photos and about the reliability of the digital cameras. With the whirlwind of innovation flooding our lives everyday, itâ€™s become really difficult to keep up.
Technology advances, prices come down, and a deal today may be obsolete tomorrow. At least that’s what worries many potential digital camera owners.
So let’s look at five of the most common questions about digital camera photography to shed some light on the matter, for those who are hesitant about this new technology, or who have dismissed it as a mere fad.
- 1. Do digital cameras produce quality photos?
- Digital photos can be displayed at very high resolutions, and could easily surpass conventional photographs, but many have seen poorer quality images. Early color printers could be used to print color photos from digital cameras, but the quality just wasn’t there. Blurry images on low-grade computer monitors or on the small LCD screens of the cameras themselves, do nothing to increase your confidence.
But view the high resolution images available from today’s digital cameras on a capable monitor or after being printed on one of the newer photo quality printers (using photo quality paper) and you’ll see the crystal clear quality of what is available today.
- 2. How durable are digital camera photos?
- Digital camera photos are not stored on film. They’re stored on electronic memory devices that actually require much less care than negative film.
As long as reasonable care is taken of the particular storage device, there shouldn’t be any problems with protecting images caught on a digital camera, and you can easily make copies of the digital image files on your computer or even burn them to a CD – an option that isn’t available with film.
- 3. Are digital camera photos more expensive to process?
- Not anymore. First, you can eliminate any poor images before printing and only pay for those that you print. With “easy share” technology and photo quality printers now available, it is both affordable and convenient to print digital camera photos.
You can even do the task yourself, in the comfort of your own home – without buying expensive development chemicals that are required for film processing! Or, you can send your images electronically to a professional processor, and receive professionally produced photos back in the mail in just a few days.
- 4. Can I get different effects with a digital camera?
- That depends on the digital camera. High end models have built-in features that allow different kinds of effects. But even if your digital camera doesn’t have these advanced features, you can always manipulate the photographs on your desktop computer, using any image editing software.
- 5. Are zooming features comparable?
- Here digital cameras actually have a distinct advantage over film cameras. While cheaper digital cameras may only have digital zoom (which is really just a form of in-camera enlargement that results in a lower resolution original image), high end models are available with both digital and optical zooming.
When shopping for your digital camera, give priority to the optical zoom capability and buy the highest power optical zoom that fits within your budget. Digital zoom is a nice extra, but the effects can easily be replicated during the “processing” of the image on your computer, prior to printing the images.
As a “serious amateur”, Brandon Layne uses both film and digital photography primarily for fast action and nature shots, and publishes tips and techniques for digital photography on the web. Read his tips on digital photography and learn to shoot better photos with your digital camera.