Monday, 12 January 2009

Film vs. Digital Redux

Just in case there is anyone out there who doesn't believe digital surpassed 35mm film quality some time ago, take a look at this clip from Channel 5's The Gadget Show where they compare truly enormous prints from a 12MP D700 and 35mm film-based F5.

Hopefully this makes it clear why we already have quite enough pixels in our cameras. The latest breed of 20MP+ DSLRs have essentially relegated all film, except perhaps for 5"x4" view cameras, to the dustbin.

So, the next time you are worrying about which camera to buy, don't obsess over megapixels and other more sbscure aspects of image quality. Get the one that feels right in your hands and works with the lenses you want to use. Then just get out there and shoot.

Thanks to The Online Photographer for the link.


  1. that blow-up doesn't mention what equipment was used to blow up the negative and file. it's not a direct comparison. and resolution isn't the only definition of 'quality.' the word 'quality' itself can take on many different meanings in relation to the intention of what's being discussed much the same way that the effectiveness of digital or film formats to fulfill a goal is determined by that goal and cannot be quantified as a mere generalization.

    but i agree about shooting what feels comfortable in your hands.


  3. I find all too often that people who are in love with film are in love with the 'retro' nature of film, not with photographs. Carrying a film camera is a statement for them.

    Those who love the photographs they can produce jumped ship to digital the moment it became competitive with and surpassed film.

  4. I agree with the first comment. Define quality. It seems so simple to dumb it down to a debate on resolution, and the digital crowd loves to do just that because it doesn't understand any better.

  5. They are both great. Digital is quick and has no additional cost/click. I can take thousands and keep dozens. Film however offers me control on exposure that I cannot get with digital by exploiting things like reciprocity failure and development control. I shoot 4x5" only though and with a scan the resolution still far exceeds digital.