Part 4 - The Digital Advantage
One of the most obvious advantages of digital over film photography is that the running costs are much cheaper. While buying films and paying processing costs was a costly experience, photography with digital cameras is much more economical. Memory cards
replace the use of film, and once the card is full, images can be deleted and it can be used over and over again.
Film cameras did not have the capabilities to record video clips, whereas nearly all compact cameras do now have that option. SLR cameras tend not to offer video. Additionally, the ability to preview images means just the pictures required can be printed. When digital cameras first came onto the scene in the late 1990s they were expensive and many people were reluctant to switch from film, but prices have since dropped dramatically, with decent cameras becoming available from as little as £80.
Example of a recent digital camera, which are constantly being improved and updated in both in quality and style.
Once images have been stored on the memory card they can then be printed at a photo booth, printed by use of a home printer or stored on a PC. Uploading images to a computer hard drive is also much easier now, with USB leads and card readers
replacing the need for time-consuming scanning from film, and from there they can be uploaded to a website, online photo album or attached and sent by email. Photo albums can also be created online and there is an increasing popularity of photo-sharing sites such as Flickr, Bebo and Photobucket. Many of these sites offer a printing service whereby images can be selected for printing and delivered to your home address. A recent development in digital photography is the development of digital photo frames, which read information from the memory card and are capable of displaying a number of images in a type of slideshow sequence. For information on the latest frames on the market, please see our buyer's guide.
The most important advantage of the digital camera is that pictures can be viewed on the LCD screen within seconds of being taken, meaning unwanted pictures can be deleted and a replacement taken if necessary. With film cameras the photographer wouldn't know exactly how the shot turned out until they collected them from the developers. Getting the shot right is much easier with digital cameras because of functions such as histogram readings and LCD playback.
Memory cards come in various memory sizes and formats.
Another great advantage for photographers is that a variety of ISO speeds can be used, and set for each individual picture, whereas film had only one ISO setting for a whole set of pictures that may have required different sensitivity.
While the advantages of digital photography certainly outweigh the disadvantages, there are some drawbacks. Firstly, print film has a much wider tonal range (shades of brightness from black to white) than digital so in scenes with great contrast, digital can struggle to get all the picture detail. Also, certain pro films were designed for particular results - Fujifilm Velvia for example has unrivalled colour saturation. However, once the film has been scanned, much of that advantage is lost.