Friday, 24 September 2010

Unit 205 D1 Photo Imaging Equipment - Film V Digital

Film V Digital - advantages and disavantages

Today Film has come to a ponit where it has become almost completely obsolete, the manufacture and development of film is almost none existant in real terms and those remaining have increase costs as the decline reduces demand. More and more people are switching over to digital as digital cameras, including hih end cameras reduce in cost. However, film had some advantages over digital photography that are perhaps not completely understood. I will try to explain the differences between film and digital photography.

With digital, we are used to thinking of digital images in terms of the number of pixels that they are in dimensions. For instance, a particular image that I produce for projected images at my local Camera Club would be 1024 x 765 pixels (the maximum size our projector can handle). This is because digital photography works by having specific color values for each of the pixels in a large shape. Note, however, that, at the end of the day, a digital picture is made of a collection of  pixels, each of which is square and made of exactly one color.

Film does not have pixellation, instead, the image includes shapes that copy the way in which the light hit the negative film. In other words, film is capable of including curves, a digital image will be a series of steps, blocks approximating a curve, while a photographic image allows for true curves. I'm not saying that a film image has higher resolution than a digital image; basically, the concept of pixellation doesn't apply. think fluid chemicals rather than regular building blocks, a mozaic almost.

Image Production
One of the interesting things about film is that the final picture is actually the result of two separate photochemical processes. First, the light affects the negative, imprinting an image. Then, the light is shone on the film paper, causing the final image. This has the odd effect that there are actually two places where film production can go wrong, there can be a problem with the original production on the negative, or the paper itself may age or decompose
This is an important issue for film restoration. When people restorer pictures they do not have access to a negative of the film or image, the image that they produce is the copy of a copy of a copy. However, when you have access to the original negatives, they will be able to produce a much higher quality restoration, as the negatives have the image of which the picture is only a picture. In other words a negative is the original data.

Digital photography, can go wrong  too again in two places. First, it can go wrong in the actual creation of the digital file, being corupeted. And the image will only ever have as high resolution as that original file, though it can ultimately be reduced. Secondly, it can go wrong in the printing of the file. Most people take high quality digital photographs and then print them off using a lower quality printer. As a result, the image quality is handicapped It's like getting a racing car and putting a mini engine in it you will never get the true potential out of it..

I will try to sumarise.... no tech babble the plain truth  bullet pointed!

  • Digital has lower noise or grain
  • Digital has better colour acuracy
  • Digital handles shadows better
  • Film handles highlights better
  • Film has better exposure and dynamic range
  • Film cameras are cheaper and less complicated
  • Digital image quatity and cost of capture are limited to the memory card capacity
  • Film is getting more expensive to develop and buy 

Basically it swings and round abouts everyone has their own opinion the debate will continue on .....

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