Going Digital or Sticking to Film?
The evolution of digital technology is blazing new avenues of creativity
for many industries. For the field of photography, the digital camera has
arrived, bringing with it new advances in digital imaging. Every time I glance
at a new catalog or on-line camera chop, the resolution barrier is being lifted
while processing power and speed increases. As I learn more about the tools
of this brave new craft - digital photography, I become more convinced that
digital is the way to go.
One of the benefits for going digital is, of course, you don’t have to pay for
film development. In addition, you have a short time-to-publish interval. In
addition, if you chose to develop your own photos, you free up something of
great value - time.
Digital camera technology is starting to simulate many traditional SLR characteristics.
Take for example the Canon EOS - D60, which has 6-mega-pixel resolution and
interchanging lens capability has features such as Shutter Priority mode,
bracketing, and AF/MF option. For the serious amateur or beginning professional
photographer, this camera and others like Nikon’s D-100 are gaining ground
in becoming the standard tool for capturing those unique moments.
The down side to taking the digital route would be the initial cost. Good
digital cameras start at about $1,600. In addition, the learning curve to
learn the technical aspects of the digital medium is a little steep if you
are not a techno-head.
So still want to get one? There are two categories of digital cameras: “Point
and Shoot” (P&S) and SLR’s. In the P&S category, there are high-end
models and, of course, low-end models. Depending on what your needs are and
what you intend to shoot, either type can fill your fancy. If you are just
taking pictures at Disneyland with the kids and not serious about photography,
I recommend a low-end digital P&S camera. Save your money. All you need
is a resolution of 2 mega-pixels to get a good image. Unless you plan to make
11X14 prints, going anything above 3 mega-pixel resolutions is too much. See
picture resolution guide.
Digital P&S cameras can vary in price from $100 to $1000. If you routinely
get up at five a.m. to take pictures, try considering an SLR type digital camera.
Cannon has several models as well as Fujifilm, Olympus, and Minolta to name
some others. These cameras will range from $1,500 to $6,000.The Canon EOS -
D60 comes at a price of about $1,200 to $1,600 for the body and kit. Keep in
mind that some SLR digital cameras have built in lenses, thus limiting the flexibility
given when having interchanging lens capability.
However, some of fixed-lens cameras, like the Olympus’ E-Series, come at
a lower cost then a low-end professional SLR and have pretty solid lens systems..
However, when I pick up my 35mm, a special feeling tickles my philosophy
on photography - that sticking to the fundamentals is still vital to honing
in your skills. Effectively managing the conditions of light requires a thorough
understanding of its mechanics. Setting the correct aperture stop, shutter
speed, choosing the right lens for the event and understanding how film behaves
are all factors that can yield or ruin a good shot. After all, what is photography
but painting with light. A painter who does not instinctively manage the characteristics
of the paintbrushes and of the oils or the acrylics he/she uses can rarely
be found in any of the art history books. Likewise, a good photographer needs
to understand the medium with which he or she works in. However, digital photography
does not necessarily exclude the lessons of working with traditional film,
rather this new digital medium can only enhance the photographer's abilities
in producing everlasting images.
Points of Interest
I, vol. 1 July,2002