I’ve recently purchased a few old 35mm cameras and because I’ve started to write a post about them I took one to work today with the intention of shooting some pictures for the post. I walked into work as well to maximise my photo opportunities and during the walk I started thinking about the advantages of Digital Photography over film photography.
It was about 7:00 am when I set out on the 50 minute walk and I took a Pentax MZ-5 with me fitted with a Sigma 28-80mm f/3.5 – 5.6 Macro Zoom loaded with a new reel of 200ASA color negative film.
About 20 yards down the road I realised the first huge advantage of digital photography – you can adjust the ISO. I was framing a shot looking down the road, and at f/3.5 the shutter speed was 1/8sec. If I was faced with that situation using my K5, I would have set the iso to 1600 and reset the shutter to 1/64 and bingo – shot taken. In fact, on the K5 you can easily set 3200 with very little noticeable noise so that gives you about 4 stops extra shooting range.
The next thing I noticed was about 30 minutes later, when it was light enough to try a shot. With the camera held tightly against a lamp post I took a shot of an interesting decorative effect in the brickwork of a large building in London Road in Stevenage. Without another thought I moved the camera in front of me and looked at the back of the film door – no preview !
No preview, of course, means no Live View. Now I’m not actually a big user of Live View, but I can see some times when it’s useful, like shooting from above a crowd when something interesting is going on and you can’t get to the front.
These occurrences are obvious but I’d forgotten what it is like to use a camera with film (it’s been 20 years I guess). When I had the incident with the slow shutter speed this morning I was going to write a piece entitled – ‘The disadvantages of film photography’, but of course that’s not an accurate title. Film photography was the first technology to allow us to record images; digital is another technology. It’s more accurate to say the digital has advantages rather than film has disadvantages.
I did take some more shots at lunchtime and when I get them developed I will link them to this post, and the post I write about the cameras themselves.