Digital vs Film Photography – What is the difference?

Digital vs Film Photography

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What is the difference?

Digital vs Film Photography – What is the difference?

Digital vs Film Photography

If you talk with multiple photographers, you will notice some of them enjoy digital photography, others are a huge fan of film. The truth is that both of them are great, but they do have their own special features and benefits. At the end of the day, both allow us to take great pictures, yet they do so in their own style. That’s what really sets it apart and the benefits can indeed be among some of the best all the time.


When it comes to film photography, you are using a film sensitive to light that’s placed behind the lens. What happens here is that whenever the photo is taken, the camera shutter gets open for a short amount of time, then light hits the film. What happens here is that the result gets printed on the film. If you want to take a new photo, then the film has to be rolled, so you have a clean, fresh film placed behind your lens.

In the case of a digital camera, you have a CCD or fixed electronic sensor. What this means is that the sensor gets build from small sensitive sensors. Whenever the shutter opens, the light hits that sensor and then every pixel will receive its value. The idea here is that you are combining everything and putting it all in a photo. As you can see, film photography focuses on the use of a hardware, physical medium, whereas for digital photography it’s all digitalised.

Storage Medium

The reason why some people prefer digital photography is the fact that storage space is very affordable and you don’t have to replace storage at all when you take digital photos. You just transfer them to another medium and you are good to go. However, in the case of film you do need new film when the current one is finished. That means it can be quite expensive to take film photos, just because you do need a new film all the time. 

Plus, film rolls are limited to their capacity. For a digital camera, you can have 1tb storage cards that store thousands of photos. That’s not the case with regular photography. Film photography usually has a specific amount of space that you can work with. If the film roll holds 36 photos, then it will only hold 36 photos. 

If you need to change a new film roll, that takes time, and you do need to change it in specialised environments to avoid film damage. That’s the reason why many professional journalists just carry a few cameras with them and avoid carrying rolls, they just switch between cameras. 

Shooting Angles

Digital cameras have a very good shooting angle, mainly because you have a digital screen where you can see everything. That gives you a much better way of understanding how the end result will look. For a film camera, this is harder because you need to go through the viewfinder and ensure that the shot is perfect. The shooting angles for a film camera are very challenging, and that’s why you want to address this with the utmost care and attention. 

Photo Correction

Film photography can’t really be modified that much. In case you have to make some changes there, most like the photos are scanned, and then they are printed. But this can be a long, tedious and also rather costly process. With a digital camera, you have the image already digitised, so you just have to use any editing software and you are good to go. This is a great opportunity because not only does it give you amazing results, but the value is impressive this way. You have a lot more control over the image and how you edit it, which is why many digital images end up with lots of corrections and adjustments or improvements.

The Quality-related Myth

A lot of people think that film photography is widely known for delivering better quality. That was the case for quite some time, but nowadays thanks to the ever-evolving technology in the DSLR cameras, you have a tremendous quality which is usually much better when compared to film. 

Granted, some people prefer the versatility of film photography because they are accustomed to it. You get that traditional, old school feel with photos that can fit numerous projects. But these days, the truth is that digital photography has pretty much surpassed film photography when it comes to technology. You still find people that appreciate either one or the other, and that’s fine. In the end, both of them are ok, and you will be pretty happy with the results and benefits. That’s the thing to keep in mind, and in the end it’s that thing that gives you the best potential.

Then we also have to think about longevity. In the case of digital photography, more often than not you will notice that the quality always stays the same. So it’s pretty much a guarantee that if you store it on a digital card and take care of the card, the digital image will always look the same.

In the case of film photography, things are a bit more problematic. The way you store it has a direct impact on its overall durability. Printed film photos and also their negatives can deteriorate in the long run, and you have to address that as much as possible. It can be rather difficult in the beginning, but in general digital photos are much easier to manage.

Digital result - Leica M10P
Film result - Fujifilm Velvia 100
Digital result - PIXII Camera
Film result - Fujifilm Velvia 100


As you can see, digital photography and film photography have their own pros and cons. At the end of the day, the quality of both are great, so it’s more of a matter of what medium you like the most. Both of them are great, but you will find some people that prefer one over the other. What we do recommend is to try out both and see which one is the more comfortable option. In the end, you will be very happy with the results and experience since you choose the option you like the most!

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Photography Techniques and Skills

Are you new to this photography world? If you are about to your photography journey or finding the right place to take a step further in photography techniques. Check out my videos!

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