Digital photography and special effects, but some prefer to use film

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I recently spoke to a young man who I found was very interested in photography (he didn't know about my own special effects photography) and after telling myself that this was his main hobby I was intrigued and very much surprised. when he stated that he would far prefer to use film over digital imaging. Though it is so difficult and expensive to buy movies these days. I mistakenly assumed he was referring to black and white photography, but soon realized he was buying color film.


All new cameras, including cell phones, are digital. There are also few small laboratories that process color films, and processing at home is possible but not easy. Still, he told me that there are groups of photographers like him who prefer to use film and their number is growing.


I've looked on the internet and there is indeed a lot of discussion about the pros or cons of using film versus digital film.


The majority claim that because of the need to be far more selective (taking far fewer photos because of the high cost), the use of film has trained them to be far better photographers.


Another claim was that good digital cameras are expensive and need to be replaced every four or five years because they are updated so frequently. However, buying a used film camera is cheaper, lasts a lifetime, and holds its value, even though film cameras are far bulkier and heavier.


After all, old transparencies and negatives can and always will be easily viewed, but who knows, as digital technology is changing so rapidly, whether it will be possible to display digital images in the future.


I was amazed to learn this because of the incredible possibilities of digital photography that there are now. Not only do the cameras make it easier to control the image and exposure in so many ways that were much more complicated with film before. It is beneficial to see the digital result immediately. But even after you have taken it with the help of software, the options now available for editing digital photos are just fantastic!


This made me wonder why I had preferred color reversal film (for my own creative transparencies) to negative film in the 1960s, before anyone had computers. I enjoyed the large projected image the most, far more than a print, although there was no way to alter the image once it was captured, but I used it for my own "special effects". However, it was frustrating to have to wait at least a week to see the transparencies.


I preferred transparencies to negatives because, as an amateur, I found it very difficult to master color printing. That's why I have always relied on professional converting laboratories to make my prints.


My 'special effects' pictures were imaginative (nothing like the usual photos) and I soon found that knowing how to get the color balance I really wanted when they were making prints from my negatives was almost impossible. The advantage of transparencies was that I could easily tell them to adjust the color balance of the visible transparency.


My favorite film was the Kodak 'Kodachrome 25', which unfortunately is no longer available. The transparencies were so much more vivid than any prints, so I focused on what I could do with Kodachrome. By always using this film, I quickly learned the best way to control it, even with my own "special effects".


Nowadays, I'm more excited about the digital option than film. However, with my self-invented technique of “painting with light”, in which projected images are photographed, I can achieve some effects that would be extremely difficult to achieve with digital software.


My own view has always been that the most important aspect of photography is the resulting image, the composition, the quality and the choice of subject. Not the issues of technology or the brand of camera, lens or film used, etc. It's just the resulting image that really matters; however it was created!


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