You are here: Equipment > Digital or Film?

Digital or Film?

The decision to choose a digital camera or film camera should in part be based on what you are going to use the photographs for. If you are only taking pictures for a Website or to make an adoption poster, a digital camera might suffice. However, if you are taking photographs for newspapers or marketing materials, a traditional film camera gives the convenience of making many prints cheaply.

I've tried several consumer grade digital cameras and decided against using them for two main reasons:

  1. Shutter lag - Most consumer digital cameras still have a small but noticeable shutter lag (the time from when you push the button until the time when the photograph is actually taken). An animal's expression literally changes by the second and any perceptible shutter lag can mean a missed opportunity.
  2. File save times - We use our photographs for papers, posters, and in our own portfolio so we are after the highest possible resolution. Most consumer digital cameras also take a considerable amount of time to save a high resolution photograph to their media. As I've mentioned before, expressions change quickly and I would hate to miss a great look because I was waiting for the camera to save my last photograph.

If you can afford one of the professional grade digital cameras then these reservations may no longer be an issue. However, not being wealthy, I haven't had the luxury of trying one of the latest 5 megapixel cameras so I can't comment on them. When their price comes down (read way down) I might give them a try. By then, the resolution will most likely have increased dramatically.

For now, I'm quite happy doing the majority of my animal photography with 35mm film. It's cheap and there is a wide selection of film available for just about any situation. The resolution and color is outstanding for the price and 11 x 14 prints from even 400 speed film are exceptional. If I need a photograph in digital form, I can either have my lab save the photographs on a CD or scan them into my computer with my flat bed scanner. Right now, film gives me the best of both worlds, a high-quality medium from which to make great prints, and a format that can be easily scanned to place on posters and Websites.

<- Back