There are both advantages and disadvantages when using a film or digital camera. In most cases digital is a wonderful advancement for all us image makers. The benefits: no film to buy, no film to process and no risk that a roll will be damaged.

Let me tell you – when I owned and operated Film Company, my photo lab in Mill Valley, one of the worst days I ever had in retail came when our film processor ate eight rolls of customer film. It happened first thing in the morning and made for a very long day as I had to greet each customer and give them the news. It was brutal for them since so many once in a lifetime moments were lost.

But back to the benefits of digital. Since you only print what you want, way fewer toxic chemicals are used for film processing. You also get instantaneous feedback and results when you snap a picture. You can see right away if you got it right, and if not, you can usually just take it again. Lastly, there’s is virtually no cost for film development, you can shoot thousands of photos and only spend a little energy.

This being said, with the move to digital we did lose some quality and lower our shot success rate. High Dynamic Range is one area where we see this. Dynamic range is the ability to capture detail in the dark colors or shadowy areas of your photo, while at the same time capturing the details in the highlight areas or light colors of image. In this respect, film was superior to digital in being able to achieve this. It took decades of research and development to put High Dynamic Range in film.

An increasing number of cameras have a fix for this problem.  HDR mode, High Dynamic, and iA High Dynamic are some of the names manufactures use to describe this feature. Over time sensor technology will evolve with continued research and development and it will equal and even pass film. Make sure to look for cameras that have some type of HDR mode. If you want to know more or have any questions you contact me here.