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How long before digital overtakes 35mm?

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This topic is locked.
Reason: This topic was started an awful long time ago and has generated a lot of discussion. Many good points have been raised, but I feel we can now draw things to a close, so have locked this topic. Will.
Will  131788 forum posts United Kingdom
23 Jun 2003 - 7:24 AM

As this topic is moving away from healthy discussion into personal attacks, I'd like to remind everyone that we're here to discuss photography. We're not here to insult one another...

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23 Jun 2003 - 7:24 AM

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stan walker
23 Jun 2003 - 7:48 AM

Hi Will
I do not know what it is, I always seem to attract the sarcastic ones like I was answering a question on not having to use a darkroom. Back comes the sarcasm "Do you have a light in your changing bag". Then another, talking about elimination of red eye,back comes the sarcasm "Fit a miners lamp". Is this all these people do, read thru the posts to see where they can give a clever answer.

Big Bri
Big Bri  1315605 forum posts United Kingdom
23 Jun 2003 - 8:24 AM

Stan, your argument about print longevity is not valid, since I do all my digital printing on a digital minilab - exactly the same machine you will get your "traditional" photos printed on at many labs these days. I wonder how many of the anti-digital group realise their precious "traditional" prints are done via a digital process.

stan walker
23 Jun 2003 - 9:05 AM

You say your prints are done on a digital minilab. The proof is, hang them on the wall for a few months and look at them again. I agree if you put them in an album, looking at them a couple of times,they will last longer. i do not get my prints on a minilab, I do them myself, as do many traditional photographers.

Ray Willmott
23 Jun 2003 - 9:19 AM

Haveing read some of the arguments put forward by both camps and participated myself I am reminded of what really we as photographers are about. In the words of the artist David Stanley - ' no image is complete until it reacts with the viewer. It is this reaction that determins if an image has been successful, it's the emotion generated and not the method of production that is most important. Picture editors are using digital images as well as traditional trannies and they know what they want, high quality but they want images that have impact regardless of their method of production. I think a lot of people have lost the plot.

Carabosse e2 Member 1139544 forum postsCarabosse vcard England269 Constructive Critique Points
23 Jun 2003 - 10:06 AM

Up to August of last year I had never even considered using digital because I believed the quality to be not up to the standard of film. However, I was swayed by "the proof of the pudding", upon seeing what could be done with digital cameras. That removed the blinkers from my eyes.

I agree with Ray Willmott that some people seem to have lost the plot and are getting unnecessarily worked up about the fact that the means of producing the image is changing.

As for how long prints last, well if the image is in digital form frankly who cares? Unlike a negative which is subject to deterioration with dust and scratches etc, if an image is in digital form it can be printed out again in 5, 10, 20, 100 or 200 years time and will be just as good as the original.

All prints deteriorate to some extent if displayed. That said I have some prints which have been on display for 15-20 years and I haven't noticed any deterioration (but they are not in direct sunlight).

edz2001  11513 forum posts
23 Jun 2003 - 10:29 AM

Well, this is always a hot topic, so I'll poke my nose in at risk of getting it shot off!

I actually started learning photography a while ago with digital and recently got myself a 35mm SLR. So far I've been using both just as much.

I think it really comes down to what parts of photography you enjoy. I've started developing some of my own film at home; it takes much longer, it smells, I sit in a dark little room and I can only do black and white, but I love it! Perhaps if photography was my profession I would be more inclined towards digital as its cost effective in the long run and a fast turnaround. But for a hobby, its a great way for me to pass the time.

Im sure digital will eventually take the majority of the market; most people will want something that makes the process quicker and easier, but there will always be something about doing things the long and hard way that really makes you feel like youve earned it.

Anyway, it would be a boring world if we all did everything the same way!


Big Bri
Big Bri  1315605 forum posts United Kingdom
23 Jun 2003 - 10:40 AM

Stan, if you think your prints will last longer because you have done them yourself, you are wrong. The digital minilab uses the same chemicals and paper as a traditional lab, and the prints will last for as long. I have many prints on my wall and none have faded.

Pressman  1388 forum posts
23 Jun 2003 - 11:37 AM

It seems to me this thread has now developed into a generation gap - pity!

Big Bri
Big Bri  1315605 forum posts United Kingdom
23 Jun 2003 - 12:05 PM

I think you'll find that many digital photographers have spent many years using film, so they can approach the argument from both sides, but I would warrant that most of those arguing the benefits of film have not had the equivalent experience with digital. This is my own view, and if you know different, please feel free to contradict me.

However, I do know how good a digital print can be, and I can not be swayed by people just telling me my prints are going to fade.

Big Bri
Big Bri  1315605 forum posts United Kingdom
23 Jun 2003 - 12:06 PM

Oh, and it's nice to see Barry Beckham back.

macroman  1115312 forum posts England
23 Jun 2003 - 12:09 PM

Does it have to be an either or situation?There is room for both media in photography, it's a case of using each one to the best advantage, and all this arguement about which is best is totally irrelevant. Most trad photographers I know have feet in both camps

I have been into photography for longer than I care to remember, and have always produced my own B&W prints I've not really gone into colour processing (always had trade).

I have recently started digital with a 3.2 Mp camera and am failrly impressed by the quality of the images.

I will still continue with film but it will be mainly for B&W unless I have asituation where I need to have big colour enlargements.

The digi will be used for colour, as digital colour work is easier than darkroom work, and also as a general camera to carry around for those odd times when I see a pic but don't have a camera handy, because the Minolta is too bulky.

My one reservation with digital at the moment is the restriction placed on enlarging parts of the image and the resulting loss of definition.
Unless you win the lottery and can afford a 15 Mp camera ;o)

I think that at the moment cost is the main restriction with DI, I have seen some excellent 10x8's from a sigle use use camera which would be hard to beat with a digi costing 10 times as much.

Final comment why are the electronic artists so keen to write off film? Every time you open a magazine or visit a Website some 'expert' is spouting off about the end of film and the future is digital etc, but if you make one single negative comment about DI the heavens open and you are deluged with accusations of being a Luddite, head in sand, smelly chemicals etc.

I made a quite justified comment at a camera club, about the poor colour tones of some DI prints and the lack of tonal quality in many B&W prints.
I was immediately accused of being anti DI. These are the same people who will quite happily criticise other members wet prints.

DI workers all seem to wear rose tinted spectacles. and rarely admit that there are any limitations with the medium.


Don't take on so Stan, it was only meant as a bit of fun, not all of us 'oldies' are ready for the scrap heap.

Big Bri
Big Bri  1315605 forum posts United Kingdom
23 Jun 2003 - 12:22 PM

I don't believe it !!


I have to say I disagree about DI workers - I know and admit the limitations. My job revolves around digital imaging and I have a couple of digital cameras myself, but I also have 6 film cameras, and when I went to Hamburg this weekend, I only took film.

As far as "wet" printing is concerned, there are MANY photographers who can not find the space to print at home, so they have to rely on expensive pro labs or automated machine prints. One advantage of digital is that you CAN print at home, without a darkroom and all those chemicals to get that "handprinted" look. This is surely a "good thing" (tm) ???


This topic is locked.
Reason: This topic was started an awful long time ago and has generated a lot of discussion. Many good points have been raised, but I feel we can now draw things to a close, so have locked this topic. Will.