Expert maternity, boudoir & dog photographer in NYC

Is film better than digital?

Posted by on Aug 27, 2008 |

I chose to switch from film to digital for two reasons, a) because I saw that the technology gave photographers the ability to produce an image with the personality and characteristics of film, and b) the physical prints are now rated to last just as long.

Some photographers say that people switch to digital to save money. This couldn’t be farther from reality. And the photographers who say this are either a) afraid of new technology, or b) unable to afford the enormous costs.

The very sad truth is that great digital photography costs a fortune.

Not only do you need to spend a lot on cameras, but you spend a fortune on all the peripherals.

You need to transfer digital images from the camera to a big, fast computer that only lasts two years. You need to store images in multiple redundancy because of high probabilities of failure. You need to buy software to work on images. And lastly, you need to take lots of classes to keep up with the constantly changing things the new software can do.

All of these components cost money and all of them have very short life spans.

Can you get the same quality digital print versus a silver print?
The short answer is it depends.

A film purist will make a print directly from a negative. There’s no “quality” debate; you get a great quality print that lasts a long time when you print like this, especially if you’re an expert at burning and dodging and you rinse forever.

However, today’s “film” photographers are often scanning their negatives. This effectively throws them back to par with the digital photographers because all of a sudden, the “quality” now depends on what equipment they’re using and how good they are at using it.

The reason I say “it depends” is because what we’re able to do with digital technology allows us to mimic the characteristics we love in film. Photoshop gives us the ability to impart a particular film’s personality into a digital image and high quality pigmented ink jet inks combined with acid-free papers are rated to last hundreds of years.

Second, today’s digital world has introduced infinite creative opportunities for artists. When you take a great digital picture, you’ve just begun the creative process with zero boundaries limiting what you can create in terms of color, texture, mood, emotion and look and feel.

If creativity is important to you and you have a creative photographer, this should open a number of really exciting opportunities.

But what about the print quality?
This is a really important question.

I don’t create any ink jet prints for clients; I send everything to a professional photography lab that has been tested and vetted by me to meet reputation-dependent client expectations.

I deal with some of the most demanding clients out there; clients with lots of expertise (magazines), clients with lots of contacts (wealthy New Yorkers) and clients who know photographic quality (fine artists themselves).