Digital vs Film Photography – The Pros and Cons

by | Orlando Photography

Last Updated: September 22, 2023

roll of film

Digital photography is the future, as far as many of us are concerned. It’s much easier to take shots and store them, and they’re not limited by film or memory cards.

But what about film photography? Is it obsolete?

What are the benefits of shooting film and which is better, digital or film?

Digital vs. Film: The Pros

1. Speed

There are many reasons to shoot digital, but one reason that stands out is speed. You can get your photos off the memory card in a flash.

Film has a slower speed because it has to be processed at a lab first and then sent back to you.

If you want your photos in a hurry, shoot digital.

But don’t discount other reasons for shooting film – it just takes longer for processing and for you to get the images on the computer.

2. Cost

camera equipment

This is another reason to shoot digital¬†because it’s cheaper to process than film.

It doesn’t matter whether you buy film or use something like Blue-Ray – it’ll still be cheaper to go digital.

3. Image Quality

Another reason to shoot digital is image quality.

You can take pictures through filters and make them look great without worrying about overexposing or underexposing them.

You can also adjust colors and contrast easily in post-processing, rather than using filters on your camera lens, which can be difficult or expensive when starting with film photography.

4. Portability

girl with camera

A major pro for shooting with a digital camera is portability; you can carry it around with you wherever you go, whether it’s in your pocket or on your belt.

You can also carry two cameras simultaneously (although you’ll probably be more comfortable with just one).

Film doesn’t have this advantage unless you use something like a Polaroid iM26 or Fujifilm Instax mini 8 instant film.

You’ll need to carry a whole bag of film and processing chemicals for each shot.

This will add substantial weight to your camera bag, especially if you have a small camera, and will probably slow you down too.

5. Storage

film wide

Some people love their large DSLR cameras and lenses, which they’ve invested in over time and are attached to their cameras permanently.

Others don’t want to invest in these types of gear – they prefer something smaller that they can take out with them instead (or stick in their pocket).

Film gives an advantage here as well because most film cameras aren’t heavy enough to cause problems if you put them in your pocket or purse.

You could leave them in your car if you drive regularly, but it’s easier to keep them in a bag if you won’t be leaving the car for long periods.

Digital vs. Film: The Cons

1. Cost of Processing

pricetag

One thing that people often forget about shooting with film is that it’ll cost money before you even go out to take photos (although processing costs vary widely between film labs).

If you don’t have the money upfront for this, you may spend more money when you shoot with film than if you had shot digitally from the start.

2. Time to Process

The time it takes for processing isn’t as big an issue with digital as with film.

However, if you’re shooting a lot of photos, then this could become an issue if your computer or laptop isn’t fast enough to process them all at once or if it crashes or locks up while you’re working on them all at once.

3. Image Quality After Processing

camera lens

This is another issue that some people worry about when they shoot with film and develop their images themselves.

Will the images look as good after developing as they did when they were taken?

This depends on how good a lab is that you go to; some are better than others at preventing graininess and other issues after development, so do some research before deciding on where to go and how much it’ll cost to process each shot.

4. Image Size after Processing

commercial

With digital photography, there are no restrictions on image size and resolution when you’re shooting photos.

This means that any manufacturer can make cameras with enormous sensors for high-quality images.

With film, most cameras have relatively small sensor sizes – ranging from around 2MP (megapixels) to around 4MP.

This means that the photo files produced by these cameras are large compared to those produced by digital cameras with much larger sensors (which typically have anywhere from 20MP upwards).

The final photo may not be as clear and sharp as desired due to smaller pixels in the camera’s image file.

This problem can be solved by increasing JPEG compression – but this will reduce image quality during post-processing, so it isn’t always ideal either way!

The Verdict: Digital or Film?

photographers shooting

Ultimately, whether you choose digital or film depends on what types of photos you want to take and how much money you want to spend on equipment and chemicals for the type of photography that you want to do.

Whether that’s landscape shots or close-up portraits of friends and family (both are still taking photos today!)

Both methods have advantages over the other, but even though I’m a big advocate of digital photography, I still enjoy shooting film on occasion too!

For more photography information, please visit WanderlustPortraits.com.