What is better for long term travelling, digital or 35mm?

Travel Forums Travel Photography What is better for long term travelling, digital or 35mm?

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1. Posted by italy_07 (Budding Member 22 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

I have a Canon AE-1 Auto and I am debating weather to but good lenses and accesories for that or to buy a good digital camera. I will be doing some long term travelling in a year or so and want to know what would be better to have. I know digital is more compact, but it seems like 35mm take better pictures. It's expensive though to devolop all the film i'll have. What to do.

2. Posted by jwhitten (Inactive 8 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

I have done quite a bit of traveling with both and I prefer the Digital. My D80 takes pictures that are every bit as good as my FE2 ever did. I can store over 300 raw files or over 500 jpg fine format on a 4 gig card. That one card takes up a lot less space then the film rolls I would need for that many exposures. I actually carry 4 cards - each 4 gigs and always shoot in raw mode.

With a digital camera it is very easy to view photos the same day you take them - the same hour or minute you take them even. I can spot mistakes that may be happening immediately and correct them. My Nikon D80 (and Canon cameras) offers excellent histogram analysis of photos so I can be sure that I am getting good exposures.

A lot of people today make a big deal of the read/write speed of cards, but even a slow card is faster than winding film cameras with your thumb and if you happened to have a fast motor drive on your film camera, any advantage you gained would be lost in time spent reloading film.

And if you are visiting a place that has extreme hot or extreme cold, you will alost certainly fare better digitally. Film is very sensitive to extreme temps - ever try to photograph with frozen film?

Digital cameras offer far more settings, better auto focusing, faster camera to print times, better storage, ability to share photos with the whole world in just minutes.

Ok, I'll stop now. In summary, go digital. :)


3. Posted by marlis (Travel Guru 1167 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

go for a good one,it pays off,because you dont need the many films,easier to carry the cards and you can controll the result,delet if you dont like it.

4. Posted by Makini (Full Member 80 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

If you're really into your photography - I have to vote for 35mm. Nothing (even though previous statements about the easier aspects of digital photography are true) can ever get close to the feeling and quality of a film-based system.

Yet I've gone digital myself (with a Nikon D80), and I love it - because of the easy handling and because of how much cheaper it is. It enables me to take soooo much more pictures, and you get rid of the tedious developing time. Yet, if I had the money, I'd buy a Nikon F6 and take all my photos in old-school 35mm style. That's what pro's still do.

But - for you, going on a long trip, go digital. Spend your money well on a camera you see fit for your photography, and see to it you bring one or two really good lenses. It's sad, but the easy handling and non-existing developing time of the digital era - is here to replace 35mm systems. You'll probably find it much, much easier.

Just my two cents ;)

5. Posted by mikescott (Budding Member 23 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Although I love my 35mm, if I'm travelling I'd take a digital with a big memory card (or two). Saves money, time developing photos and space...

6. Posted by kirk1978 (Budding Member 12 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Digital for sure.
and i would even suggest keep a digital point and shoot handy along with a DSLR.
in case u wanna visit a bar or something, the DSLR makes me looks like a dork .... lol

7. Posted by ManicDave (Budding Member 6 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!


The quality of professional slide film (I use Fuji Provia) is unsurpassed.

This is not true once you get to 19.2 Megapixels and above.

Slide also enlarges and prints up to A2 size without pixelating.

I used a Canon slide scanner which takes 6 at a go and results in 100MB files (if you want the quality).

I carried 40 rolls of 35mm film in 5foot PVC canisters attached to my backpack. This was necessary to keep the film from melting in the African Sun.

The pictures were outstanding.

Used slide projectors are cheap and mounting your slides and doing slide shows for friends and family is both rewarding and romantic.

The cost of developing (professionaly) and mounting yourself, is less than conventional negatives.

The lab can also scan to digital at time of processing for a nominal fee.

There is much debate about the style of each format:

One tends to get into the habit of snapping away with a digital, afterall you can delete the shots you don't like and space is now cheap.
The problem with this is that most people don't take the time to get their composure right and simply snap snap snap!
With a film camera each shot costs, and unless you're working for a magazine or have too much money, you take more time preparing.
The problem with that is that you miss those once in a lifetime shots that a digital or autofocus point and shoot would have captured!

Even seasoned professional admit to getting lazy and snapping away, the result being hundreds of average shots instead of several award winners!

The drawbacks:

Your kit is heavy (I took 3 bodies and 4 lenses) - it all weighed 15kg,
Slide film demands bracketing (taking several shots with different apertures and shutter speeds) and
You need a tripod with anything over 80mm zoom (no image stabilising on my classic Olympus OM10).

I met a Danish guy on my travels who was almost done with his 2-year RTW trip, and he carried 2 digital cameras.
He only used 512MB cards, as he was also carrying a portable battery operated CD Burner, with which he saved each XD card and then posted the CD home.

He gave me an Olympus Mju Digital Camera that takes phenomenal pictures. Try to get your hands on the 4MP or 5MP model (eBay), the quality of the lense is said to be better than even the latest higher spec triple the price cameras.

For my RTW trip (52 countries in a year), I'm only taking 2 digital cameras - a compact point and shoot, and a DSLR (probably a Panasonic 6MB)

So if you have the space, both options are good.

8. Posted by Noseclump (Respected Member 302 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

are you looking for quality or quantity?

with digital (you get good picture, etc), but you can take loads of images. with film, you may have to lug around film and all that, but it has a look that digital can't reproduce.

just little things....:)

9. Posted by soupatrvlr (Respected Member 386 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

something else to think about...when you go digital...if you travel with an ipod, 30g or higher, you can use it as a hardrive to store your photos. This way you can travel with only one large memory card, preferably 1g or higher, and then transfer you pics as you go along.

10. Posted by kombizz (Full Member 1416 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

If you are looking for a good quality then for sure go for 35mm film camera.
Do not forget although DSLR is easy to handle but has their own problems such as if the CF is full then how could you transfer your images to another meduim? and the dust business on it's CCD or CMOS during changing the lense.
But then DSLR has few advantages such as you can view your images, delete or save them. Their CF or SD does not get fogged thru going high X-ray machine as film does.