Film Cameras versus Digital Camera Photography

By: Muna wa Wanjiru

My introduction to digital photography was probably a bit more dramatic than most people's. To get the full picture - so to speak - let's travel back in time to the salad days of my life as a fledgling photographer: six years ago!
Although digital photography was available even then, they had as yet to come into their own, or rather into my hands. Naturally enough, this meant that I was still lugging around my film SLR - that's single lens reflex to all those out there who're sitting around scratching their heads.

Anyway, along with my trusty camera, which I had spent a fortune to get by the way, I was also lugging around everything else that I needed along with it. Spare lenses, extra film, batteries, filters, basically the whole works. Having said that, even though I'm now almost fully digital through and through I still do carry most of the same things. The only thing that's radically different in digital photography is the lack of film rolls.

I now don't carry with me rolls and rolls of film, and I don't need to wait eternally to reload the camera either. Instead I have learned to do a quick change of my memory cards even under the direst of weather circumstances.
Speaking of dire weather conditions it was on one of these days that I was introduced to digital photography.

The one great thing about digital photography though, was that I get to see the pictures I take immediately I take them. The small viewfinder that accompanies just about all new digital cameras is perfect for determining in an instant whether you need a reshoot or not. Of course the screen is generally too small to see too much detail but it works for the most part.

And if you really want to go high tech and see right then and there whether your photograph came out okay, all you need is a laptop computer. With digital photography your shooting abilities will increase manfold as you now also have the ability to store more shots as well. All you need to do is to transfer the pictures to the laptop and you have a newly emptied memory card just waiting to be filled.

If you're somewhere in the middle of deepest Antarctica or somewhere equally cold of course, then you won't want to spend time fiddling with all these gadgets and might only want to get back to blessed warmth. But digital photography as option is always open for you to take if you want to take the time and effort to empty out your memory cards while you're out in the field shooting away.

For my part I prefer to have the laptop with me only on certain trips that I take. Like the ones where transportation and storage are easy and where I don't have to lug the silly thing along with me everywhere I go, along with my digital photography equipment! You might of course feel differently about that, but as I like to say, each to his own. First things first though, you need to decide whether you like digital photography or not.

For many a professional photographer, the difference between choosing digital photography cameras over film cameras, is somewhat akin to the preference of manual transmission over automatic transmission cars for the professional driver. Although to a very great degree digital photography and manual photography are both the same, and they both yield almost identical results, in the end when push comes to shove, the manual car will always give them more power and control when they need it most.

And that's why you'll still see quite a lot of professional photographers hugging their old film SLR's to their chest, refusing to part with it. It has nothing whatsoever to do with the inability to change and adapt as much as it is the knowledge that film cameras - for the moment at least - will yield far better results when push comes to shove.

For the beginning photographer though, digital photography is as good a way as any to go, and if you're mainly an enthusiastic amateur, you'll get along fine with your digital camera. It's when you start going up in the stakes that you have to make a decision whether you want to upgrade with digital photography all the way, or whether you want to go for the film camera.

Then again, before we end this article, I just have to point out that technology is advancing in quantum leaps and bounds, and that there's a huge possibility that you will see more and more people abandoning their film cameras for the power of digital photography.

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