Link: Yet another film vs. digital article (

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R.N. Clark has a very geeky version of the old film versus digital controvery on his web page. His is different in that he actually (horrors!) has hard quantitative data:

I've done digital imaging and image processing in the scientific world since about 1977, so I am very familiar with the technology and its use. I set high standards for myself in all my work and play. Currently I use both film and digital.

From his site:

Here are some of the issues in the Digital vs Film debate:

  • The question really is film versus electronic sensors.
    • Both are analog capture.
    • Electronic sensors: an analog charge gets digitized in the camera.
    • Film can be scanned at high resolution.
  • Image detail requires many megapixels.
    • Until recently, "digital" cameras could not meet film resolution.
    • Digital cameras only meet/exceed film cameras in some restricted areas.
      • E.g. Wildlife action photography.
  • Images have tonality and dynamic range.
    • Both film and electronic sensors are good in this regard.
      • Electronic sensors have a larger dynamic range than film (at least the better sensors do).
    • Electronic sensors have lower image noise.
      • Noise in an image has a big impact on the perception of image quality.
      • The size of the pixels in the electronic sensor are directly related to the signal-to-noise in the image produced by the camera. Larger pixels are better.

My own feeling: Photography is an art. Use whatever tool suits you the best. You don't hear artists endlessly argue about water vs. oil, silk screen vs. litho, concrete vs. bronze. I use digital for my ethnographic fieldwork and film for my documentary photography. Why? Because it pleases me...


This question is starting to be sickingful :)

I'm not so sure if photography is an art, IMHO It's just a handcraft (well sorta nowadays with excellent autoeverything tools) which can produce art or crap.

I vote for both too.

*applauds Karen's comments*

Thank you!

I have seriously lost a friend over this debate--more or less because I find it quicker to use digital for turning out daily prints. I kid you not.

there is no question if pouring a can of paint on the canvass is an art at all? but really is it an art?

i don't have any doubt that photography made by artists is an art and painting made by pseudo artist is NOT!

Photography CAN be art. I don't know what kind of images you are looking at so I can't argue what your definitions of art photography or what makes an artisit, is. Art is a conversation between the viewer, aesthetics, medium and the 'artisit'. Depending on how a photographer uses those middle two devices and in what context, the result on the viewer will vary.
My point? Compare Selgado and Lyon, who are 2 well established photographers who's approach to the medium is very different. One will incorporate sound and written word to accompany the image while the other concentrates on a high level of printing and composition using large format. What do YOU, the viewer think there intent is? To make visual documents that serve as evidence, or to make finely crafted archival prints that hang pressed on a gallery or museum wall.
Does their use of medium and aesthetics make their images transcend the human condition they portray.
Photography if you are looking and thinking and feeling Can be art.

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Karen Nakamura published on May 8, 2005 7:22 PM.

Scams: Avoiding fake photography contests was the previous entry in this blog.

Fieldnotes: My interview fieldkit is the next entry in this blog.

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