Film vs. Digital: Are We Really Still Discussing This?


Dan Havlik, our photo guy, posted a thought-provoking forum question on PDNPulse, a fairly geeky photoblog. His question is simple: How many professional photographers use film on a regular basis? The responses, needless to say, were vociferous and varied.

I came into photography after the digital revolution. A buddy of mine in Boston called me about a year ago and asked me which camera to buy. I told him the digital Rebel XT, my own camera of choice. He went instead with a cheaper 35mm Rebel. He told me that it would be the “Last film camera he ever bought” and assumed he would use it for a few years and then buy a 100-megapixel DSLR for $59.99 at Target when the prices went down. He took it back to the store a week later and bought a digital Rebel.

Say what you like about the analog “richness” of film and the sense that cameras like the Leica have defined our century. These devices defined our century because those iconic shooters didn’t have digital cameras. While pictures of fleeing Vietnamese children and poor sharecroppers look stunning in black and white on a piece of Kodak paper, these photos are stunning because a professional photographer was in the right place at the right time with a camera that didn’t suck. Give WeeGee of Avedon a Rebel and they’d probably be able to turn in some of the most striking work you’ve ever seen. Kids learning the craft of photography coming up will still be making iconic images in digital, and I think it’s time film went the way of the VHS tape.


Attack of the Luddites [PDNPulse]