Film is finally dead… Or is it?… Many are convinced that we have finally completed our conversion from film over to digital. But then again, some purist disagree, citing that only with emulsion can you realistically achieve the ultimate quality of photographic images. So which is it? Has film finally given way to digital? Has the digital pressure become too great to ignore completely?
The way I see it, there’s a little truth in both situations. While it’s true that working professionals are moving towards digital workflow, but not many are giving up completely on film either. Let’s take a look at the advances that digital has made over these years. The evolution of digital image input has taken around ten years, and that’s excluding the early years of developmental working prototypes that camera manufacturers had been ever pushing into the real world for testing.
The Rise And Rise Of Digital Photography
Not so long ago, the image resolution alone was the accepted measuring yard-stick to compare image quality against film. But we have came to a stage where even consumer point-and-shoot cameras have more than double the image resolution of professional digital cameras of yesteryear. So what is the accepted measuring yard-stick now? Do we still measure how “good” a camera is by the pixel count alone? Or have the pixel count reached its maturity, and there won’t be anymore new cameras released with ever increasing pixel count?
If pixel count alone isn’t the factor to make photographers switch over to the digital camp, then what is the attraction with digital cameras that’s making more and more people switch over? Well, one can’t judge the digital camera alone as the factor for the recent migration of photographers over to the digital camp. It has to do with much more than just that. It’s the whole works… The digital imaging workflow.
The Worthy Successor
While digital images aren’t “better” in quality than conventional film images, its workflow is definitely very much “faster” than film. The running cost is also negligible as well. And with the ever dropping prices of digital cameras and memory cards, even the initial high cost of procurement of hardware has become affordable too. And in the business world, where Time Is Money, you can’t really ignore the obvious advantages that digital workflow offers.
But then again, the question still persist – Is film really dead?…
Let’s take a look at history —
35mm film threatened the demise of medium and large format films… And they’re still around. No doubt, in even reducing numbers, but it’s still available for purchase, and film processing services are still being offered.
Colour film threatened the demise of black and white film… And they’re still around. And the irony is that there are now even C-41 emulsion for black and white film too.
Photography threatened the demise of hand painting in general… And today we still see acrylics, oils, water colours, and even charcoal sketches too.
So Is Film Really Dead?
And the conclusion?… Well, my guess is that film will hang around a little longer than most would expect. I probably won’t see it’s demise within my lifetime. So I’m hanging on to my film cameras, bringing them out for blank firings every now and then.
What about you?… Do you think film is dead?