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Copyright © 2002 Carlos Salazar. All rights reserved. | Terms of Use

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

Issue I, vol. 1 July,2002