A survey of more than 9,000 professional photographers in the U.S. shows that film continues to have an avid following, with 75 percent of photographers saying they will continue to use film, even as some embrace digital imaging technology. The results of the U.S. survey, conducted by Eastman Kodak, mirror the results of a similar survey the company recently conducted in Europe, where more than two-thirds of professional photographers surveyed plan to continue using film.
According to the U.S. survey results, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of professional photographers prefer the results of film to those of digital for certain applications including:
- Film’s superiority in capturing more information on medium and large format films (48 percent);
- Creating a traditional photographic look (48 percent);
- Capturing shadow and highlighting details (45 percent);
- The wide exposure latitude of film (42 percent); and
- Archival storage (38 percent).
“I find film invaluable because the details and look of the photographs are crucial in re-telling the events playing out in front of me,” said Pep Bonet, international award winning photojournalist and a founding member of NOOR, a new photo agency committed to documenting social issues worldwide. “I do very little research or preparation prior to travelling to location. Instead, I arrive, I observe and ultimately, I trust that my camera and my film will capture the story at hand. The stories may be stunning, disturbing or inspiring. But above all, they are real. There’s nothing like film to capture those realities, particularly Tri-X black-and-white film.”
Many of the survey respondents share Bonet’s passion for black-and-white photography and film. Although professional photographers acknowledge that digital cameras offer certain benefits, they said that film better captures certain images, particularly black-and-white photos. The majority (90 percent) of photographers produce black-and-white images, with 47 percent saying black-and-white photography allows them to create a certain look and feel and differentiate themselves. More than half of them (57 percent) prefer using film to achieve this desired effect.
“First and foremost, photographers are artists, supported by the science of the tools that help them do their job,” said Mary Jane Hellyar, President, Film Products Group and Senior Vice President, Eastman Kodak Company. “This survey indicates that film remains an important tool on which professional photographers rely to effectively create their work, so providing choice is of utmost importance. It’s an ‘and’ world where digital and film co-exist and complement each other.”
Kodak strives to provide this choice through ongoing innovation in its film offering. This year alone, Kodak introduced five new versions of its Kodak Professional Portra Films, which have received a strong response from the industry. The new Portra film family, comprising 160VC, 160NC, 400VC, 400NC and 800, helps professional photographers create stunning images with finer grain, spectacular skin tones, and improved scanning performance for greater enlargement capability.
In the past year, Kodak has received four industry awards for its Portra films, including the American Photo Editor’s Choice award, just released last month. Each year, American Photo creates its list of the industry’s best new products and this year, named Portra in its Imaging Essentials category. Other awards include:
Technical Image Press Association (TIPA) – Best Film in Europe 2007: The award, voted for by TIPA members, recognizes the fine grain, excellent resolving power and superb colour precision offered to professional photographers by Kodak’s four colour negative professional films: Portra160VC, 160NC, 400VC and 400NC.
Professional Photographer’s 2007 Hot One Award - Colour Negative Films: The Professional Photographer Hot One Awards, chosen by a panel of 15 practising professional photographers, honour the photography industry’s best new products for professional application.
Studio Photography - 2006 Readers’ Choice Awards: Readers and web site visitors of Studio Photography gave Portra Film top honours in the 2006 Studio Photography Readers Choice Awards. In the first-ever survey, readers overwhelmingly voted for Portra as their favourite film.