You might be surprised to discover that the debate over film vs. digital is still raging despite the fact that digital has taken over the market. It is not just raging, some are openly declaring that you should dump your DSLR.
Even if you don’t know anything about photography, this seems like a rather extreme view detached from reality and lived experience. We have all had positive experiences with digital photography. Yet it may be difficult to put into words just how much digital photography has changed our lives.
Film is still out there. And nostalgia is a strong motivator. There are certain aspects of our past that we don’t want to give up, such as bell bottoms, big hair, the Beatles, and that Volkswagen Bus that you know is never going to ride again.

While there will never be another new Beatles album, you can still purchase new film cameras if you really wanted to. But there are reasons why film has been relegated to the same nostalgia market as vinyl. Here are a few:

Digital Enables More Experimentation

Consider all that your digital camera has enabled you to do. The ISO camera setting determines how sensitive to light the sensor is. Because you can adjust that sensitivity on the fly, you can experiment with creative options that were unavailable before digital.
All those digital camera settings can make for a confusing mess at first. But as you learn what each setting does, you realize that a film camera is like a typewriter missing the middle row of keys. Your creative potential increases exponentially when you have the full set. The same thing happens with a proper digital camera. A whole new world of creative possibilities is uncovered.
This is not just a matter of settings. There is also the ease of taking the next shot without the worry of cost. You can take a thousand bad photos for the sake of 10 spectacular photos you would have never gotten with film because you would have never taken so many in the first place.
When the resource is limited, you have to worry about the consequences of pressing the shutter button. But when the resources are practically unlimited, so are the possibilities.

Making Memories is Much Less Expensive

It is true that the initial cost of a digital camera is higher than a film camera. However, it does not take long before the total cost of ownership swings in favor of the digital solution. With a film camera, you have to keep up with the number of shots you have left. If you run out before the event is over, you have to buy another roll of film. You cannot selectively delete a few hundred practice shots.
Film cameras follow a razor and blade business model. The camera is relatively inexpensive. But the film will keep you coming back to the store. Another part of the ecosystem is getting the film developed. Once you get the prints, you have to get them framed. Or you have to put them in envelopes and send them to friends and family.
Digital photos can be easily deleted from digital media to make space and be transferred to a computer. That one storage card can be used again and again. The savings compound over thousands of photos

More People Take Pictures More Often

Time declared that you will never buy a point and shoot camera again. While not technically true, it has proven true enough to hurt camera manufacturers quite badly.
Now that the smartphone is the main (and only) camera for many people, more people are taking more pictures than ever before. Very little of our lives go unphotographed. That is a good thing because photography is empowerment. More people are empowered to save a moment, tell a story, and share an experience.
This is not to say that film photography has no value and no advantages. Like vinyl, film will always have its enthusiasts. The world is big enough to accommodate all kinds of shutterbugs.
When you are making the choice to go film or digital, remember that with digital, you unlock more experimentation. You save money over time. And you are more empowered to immortalize more of your world.
Share To: