Digital

Digital has improved at an incredible rate – 36Mp in the lastest DSLRs. To say that 35mm film beats top end digital kit is now wrong in my opinion (medium format is another matter). If you have the cash to spend, there is now no reason to use 35mm film unless you like it’s ‘different’ look, or you really like the equipment over digital kit.

Mist and Woodland – Canon 60D

Whether many people need 24 or 36Mp, or whether their lenses, expecially kit lenses, are capable of resolving that much information is debatable. For me, 18MP is fine, and the scanner actually exceeds this for film, so I won’t be spending money upgrading just yet.

Village Morning – Canon 60D

The advantages of digital everyone knows – take as many shots as you like (it’s free!), instant feedback on the LCD, sophisticated exposure and focus mechanisms, endless customisable setup and quality results at what I would consider astronomical ISO values. Shooting in ‘raw’ also allows significant correction to be made after the shoot though it’s only worth the time and effort on an exceptional shot.

Moving Dancers – Canon 60D

The disadvantages – well up front costs are high £1000 plus for a mid entry DSLR and non kit lens, there’s the constant temptation of ‘upgrades’, and expanding the DSLR kit is rather expensive too. Those built-in lens AF mechanisms and micro processors don’t come cheap.

Another disadvantage – and this is a very personal view – is that it’s too ‘easy’. Perverse I know, but I just get used to the DSLR doing so much it becomes an expensive ‘point and shoot’ machine. It tempts me to laziness in other words, and a spell on the Olympus OM1n soon gets me out of it.

Winter Road- Olympus EPL3

Digital has brought quality and convenience to photography, and if you shoot a lot, the up front cost per shot becomes very low. It’s now hard to imagine photography without digital. The trick to using it is to stop the camera doing everything and making the photographer too lazy, in my case at least.

Spooky Playground – Canon 60D

One way to do this is to use manual focus lenses (cheap) on a digital body. On a crop frame DSLR the focal length of a manual focus lens is longer than that for full frame 35mm, but the maximum apertures are significantly better. An example might be a 1980’s manual focus 50mm f1.4 will effectively be somewhere round an 80mm lens which is good for portraits, but that lovely manual focus wide-angle 17mm lens is now a lowly 27mm lens – not so good.

Update August 2015. Well this was written a long time ago! The 60D is still in occasional use, but the main camera for commercial use is a Sony A7R – not quite what I predicted! Zuiko prime lenses now make up my lens range, 18mm to 85mm with the 60D and Canon 70-300mm providing for the few times I need a telephoto. The stills stock photography market seems to have subsided across the board, and I now make more from video projects than stills – again completely unexpected! I still use a film in my OM2N’s though the A7R has finally made it’s use for ‘fun only’.

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11 thoughts on “Digital

    • Thanks for pointing that out – these were sized too small when the blog was initially set up and I’ve been meaning to resize them to be a bit bigger. I can’t post the full size images unfortunately on the advice of the agency they’re with.

  1. May be digital is more pragmatic and hence less romantic. Nevertheless, I prefer to be romantic with and through my images than through my cameras… For me its no matter which is the lens and/or camera that has been used. Images are far more away than that…

    • I agree Carles – the camera doesn’t matter that much, the photographer’s vision does – the image is the important thing!

      Maybe it’s just film makes it easier because I that’s what I learned with.

      Thanks for the comment

    • Thanks Photobooth – ‘Winter Road’ was taken in one of my favourite locations in Dorset on the Wessex Ridgway, where the road drops straight down into Okeford Fitzpaine (we’ve got some fantastic village names here!). A really lovely spot.

    • Thanks! Yes that was more or less how it appeared, but a very slight green texture layer was applied which really lifted it. That was one of the best photo days I’ve had.

    • It’s pretty good – but you’ve got to be quick! I’m working on 2x1hr video timelapses at the moment and the morning sequences are quite critical. A promising morning has turned to – well insert appropriate word here – in no time at all. The occasional ‘perfect’ day makes up for it though!

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