Photography, Production

Using film and a scanner or shoot digital?

The other day, when I was scanning old negatives with a new Canoscan 9000F MK II and SilverFast 8 for my piece on SilverFast’s Multi-Exposure, I kept thinking about the reasons any photographer should want to keep using film and a scanner to digitise his or her images instead of using a digital camera. That made me contemplate some of the disadvantages and benefits of scanning film and those of image sensors…

You can’t deny a digital camera being better at producing immediate “satisfaction” — you shoot, and a millisecond later the image appears on the camera’s LCD screen. That’s a major appeal of digital photography and one of the reasons why photo journalists turned to digital cameras as early as 20 years ago, when digital cameras had 2 megapixel sensors and the noise in low light conditions was unbearable.

Comp of 2 images, one with and the other without Multi-Exposure

Two scans of the same photo of which one has been made with SilverFast Multi-Exposure on, the other with Multi-Exposure turned off. Note how the one with Multi-Exposure ON looks more detailed and is more colour accurate. Clicking the image will open it at full size in a new window.

The current digital technology, however, is capable of competing with even the best negative or positive film technology. Except for instant gratification, you now have the ability to shoot at resolutions that weren’t possible with film of the same size. And yet, we still see some photographers preferring film over digital.

So which are the benefits of film over digital?

If you have suggestions for other characteristics or you think I missed out on some in the table, then please add your ideas to the comments below. If they are on topic and not a duplicate of what’s already in the table, I’ll add them.

This entry was posted in: Photography, Production


J.D. – Copywriter – Tech. Writer – Editor at Visuals Producer – Contributor at Photoshop User, Studio Daily – Sub-editor at RedShark News