Beginning Photography – Digital SLR vs Manual SLR

film versus digital SLR

One of the never-ending debates for any photography student is behind what style of camera one should use. There are a number of photographers that live and die behind the use of the classic film-run single-lens reflex camera (SLR). On the other side of the fence are the champions of digital media who go where technology takes them and praise the use of digital single-lens reflex cameras (DSLRs).

Those who defend the traditional film SLR camera will call into focus the methodical process that comes with shooting photos with film but the development of the photos, as well as the fact that you have to learn how to use them in photography school. Film cameras can be considered relatively cost effective; great news for photography students.

Film photography requires a better understanding of  technique as well: light, exposure, aperture size, etc. Taking time to make sure a shot is perfect in every way possible before taking the photo. This leads to higher quality and essentially more valuable shots.

Developing film photos adds another step to the process that can be considered tedious but fun, and helps the photographer really experiment with their photos.

DSLR defenders herald the speed and convenience of the digital medium. When a photographer works with a DSLR, they are able to instantly view the photo taken on a digital display. There is no development process and their photos can be placed on a hard-drive and uploaded to any interface within minutes. On the cost side, prices are inevitably higher due to the amazing technology in these cameras.

DSLR photographers find the automation of film photography to be the logical next step for the field. Unsure about focusing your camera? It does it for you.  Want to know how your shot turned out?  Just check playback on the LCD screen. Space is also no longer a worry because digital photographers can place thousands of photos onto a small memory stick. You can experiment with your photos without worry of waste.

In the end, it truly comes down to personal preference. Some film photographers say that there is a certain charm to the look of a photo taken with film that digital photographs can never match. Digital photographers say that the lengthy process of film photography is cumbersome in a (mostly) digital age.

If you find yourself having fun over the debate over the work put into film photography that some find appealing or the quick feedback that comes with digital photography, you are definitely a photographer with a passion for the art.  Photography students should definitely experience both areas and probably will when working towards a degree in photography.

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