Digital or film camera

Travel Forums Travel Photography Digital or film camera

  • 1
  • 2
Last Post
11. Posted by hello (Budding Member 4 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

i've opted for the digital option for my 7 month trip...

Got quite an impressive camera to do the job which has its advantages and disadvantages. I'll be able to take many more photos that would ever be possible with a standard film camera. Down side is that all these photos have to be downloaded onto CD and sent home. Then is also the added danger of losing your memory stick or the CDs never reaching home.

I'm considering getting an ipod for my travels and I hear that you can use them to store photos on. Then again, carrying something like an Ipod around could make me more of a target to theft. Tough decision....

12. Posted by Blythe (Budding Member 16 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Just read the opinions on this thread and have decided to get myself a digital camera. I'm going to New Zealand in March next year, via Hong Kong.. Should I buy a camera in the UK before I leave or try to get one in Hong Kong, where I think it may be cheaper??
Also, would a camera costing about £80 be ok, or should I invest more to get a better model??

13. Posted by barge (Full Member 54 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

it seems that in the argument of digital vs 35 mm film camera, that digital wins 9 times out of 10.

So why is it that all the specialist camera shops I've been to have told me to stick with film..? They have all told me battery life and photo storage is a massive problem.

Think I will opt for the digital camera as being a fairly dreadful photographer I want the flexibility to delete all those that include my fingers.. especially with memory cards being so cheap now.

I've been looking at the Canon A85. Does anyone have any experience with this camera?

Also in terms of burning CDs, does anyone have any opinion for the ease of doing so in India and Nepal?


14. Posted by redastra01 (Budding Member 5 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

I am going to South America with my digital camera for four months.
I have decided to take a portable CD burner, the make is Apacer and it has slots for 7 different types of memory card in it. Put the memory card in, press a button and it writes straight to CD for you.
Cd's are 700Mb and about 15p each so a cheap and easy storage solution.

15. Posted by Q' (Travel Guru 1987 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!


I'm a photographer and engineer by training. I'm in the process of planning a photo trip across Canada and have travelled throughout asia, europe and north america. I also go camping and canoeing. I own and use 4 cameras. 2 film 2 digital. These include a digital P&S, digital SLR, film P&S, film SLR. So I've pretty well covered everything by experience. My portfolio:

Having covered my qualifications. :-) Let me point out one important fact. A "good" camera does not give you "good" pictures. You can put a finger in front or miss the focus using a film camera just as easily as a digital camera. There is a difference between digital and film technologies (in things like dynamic range, sensitivity, colour saturation, resolution, workflow, etc.) and good reasons why I've kept both types. If you don't know what all of that means, then don't worry about it, just keep in mind what I wrote several sentences ago.

Some practical advice:
1) Pick a camera (film or digital) with features you know how to use and can access quickly. You don't have time to read the manual or scroll through many menus. You're too busy travelling. You don't have time to change this menu or that setting, or find the manual. Get something you can learn to use almost by instinct.

2) Pick a camera that you can carry for hours and hours. Some shots are once in a lifetime occurances. Set the camera on full auto, keep it in your pocket ready to go and keep your eyes out for "the moment". When you see it SHOOT !!

3) Go into the store and feel the camera. Is anything loose or flimsy ? I fixed this girl's camera in the Vatican once. What would she have done otherwise ? Your camera will get banged up. You don't care, you are there to see, smell, feel, taste,...not to baby your camera. Get something that will take the punishment.

4) Get something that uses AA batteries. If your battery dies, you can get replacements almost anywhere on the planet.

5) In terms of media, you have the same problem with either film or digital. With film, you have to carry around extra film or spend time buying it. With digital you have to spend time burning the photos or carry extra stuff to store the images. Weight is weight, time is time. I've read all kinds of arguments back and forth. My opinion is, it's all missing the forest for the trees.

To address the original questions:
- film can be scanned at the processors for reasonable prices at good resolution and quality. If you develop the film on the road, ask them not to cut up the negatives to make it easier to feed into the scanner later.

- as for fingers in the lens, STOP DOING IT !!

- learn to brace the camera against something or your elbows against your body when you shoot if you have shaky hands.

- take the film out of the pastic bottles and keep it in a big ziplock bag in a cool dry place (like in your luggage).

- get a camera that uses AA batteries.


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

Very useful thread this is!
I'm going to sulawesi, indonesia in a couple of months, to do an internship there for 5 months. After this I will go to Maleisia for a month, and in the fall to South-America for 6 weeks. I want to buy a digital camera befor I leave.
Unless cameras are more likely to be cheaper on sulawesi? Can anyone comment on that?
Furthermore: How good are the options for burning cd's in these area's (internetcafe's) or will it be a better idea to upload the pictures to e.g. Or will it take to long?


17. Posted by tea (Budding Member 16 posts) 14y Star this if you like it!

Great topic, you're always gunna have the traditionalists like myself going for something film like, and your gunna have the new breed of photographers telling you otherwise.

Im a professional Portrait photographer down here in the South of England. And I work for Jessops, the photographic retailer. If you walked into our shop, all my colleagues would say "buy film, buy film!". If you talked to me, I'd listen to what you really want.

Let me clear some stuff up...

Why do the pro's say "stick with film?"
Enlargements. In a nut shell, that's all. If you have a 3 megapixeled digital camera with a good lens, and a standard 35mm compact camera, took exactly the same photo, of exactly the same thing, ran it through the same printer, and printed in 6 x 4 size, you could not tell the difference. If however, you took your digital camera, and compact camera, took the same picture again, and printed it A4 size, with your digital camera, you would clearly tell the difference. The digital print would be pixilated. And as pro's... we like awesome shots, awesomely large. For the average traveller, a 3 / 4 megapixel camera is all you really need. (3mp would take you printing wise up to about A4, 4mp would take you just above).

Do pixels matter?
Yeah, if your printing big. Again, you can have an 11mega pixeled camera, and a 3 megapixeled camera, print 6 x 4 and not notice the difference. A common misconception. If you don't blow up (not literally... pictures I mean) all that often, then a three meg is fine. A lot of people will walk into the shop I work at and say "I want a 6 megapixelled camera because it will do wonderful 6 x 4 prints." WRONG. It's major overkill.

Okay, so what advantages does film have over digital??
Believe it or not, there are a few. With film cameras, you can store your images for ever, on negatives. Virtually indestrcutable, they can be tampered with, made into digital files, scanned into PC's, and there's so many more options, OPEN TO THE PRO'S. Black and white Ilford film, 120 rolls, HP4, FP4... these mean nothing to anyone in the digital era. But to me, they mean sexual black and white photos. You havent seen a true black and white until you've seen one produced on HP5. Yes, you can do it digital, but as a "pro", you can deffinately tell the difference. Pro's will also tell you to go for film for one other reason: The Click. With digital SLR's, when you've taken a photo, the shutter sound is bliss. Thats when you know your a photographer. You know your a photographer if you find the clunk of your shutter a turn on. Haha... Im so sad. Talking of shutter, on SLR camera, obviously you can get different lenses, meaning more options are open as far as telephoto and wideangel are concerned. Onto colour: with a film colour, you get "TruColour". Because the exposure of the film is all chemical, what your looking at through the viewfinder, is what you'll get on your images. With digital, the colours are different. Nikon gives very cold colour as do Praktica, Fuji, and Pentax and Sony. Canon gives as neutral colours as you'll ever get off of digital, and Olympus and Casio generally produce warmer, creamy images. As another point of interest, once your prints are printed, if theyre from negative, they'll last up to 300 years. With digital printing, it's normally only about 100. (Only about one hundred she says... point being, they'll still last longer than you will, but not long enough for your great great great grand kids to see.) Okay, so digital can be stored on CD's. But Im terrible with them. They scratch so easily. Okay, neg's scratch too, but they can be patched and fixed. Film can be printed uber huge too, to any size up to about A0 size, where as a small £90 camera, you can just about get nice 6 x 4's out of them. Film also is cheaper to start up. Processing here for digital and film work out roughly the same, I can't speak for any other country obviously...

And the advatages of Digital over Film?
Obviously. Unwanted images can be deleated on the spot. Something much smaller than a film can hold more images, which cannot neccissarily be blown up uber huge. Man, I should run a website. In fact... *ponders*... once I'm done here, I'm off to make a webpage. Yes. Anyway! More so with Digital, it's made photography much more accessible to the masses. The "Digital Darkroom" as its now called, is installed on most home computers, where fools like me with Dev tanks and Dark tents in her bedroom, feel ancient. They're often smaller in physical size, but use more battery. And obviously, no more squinting through the viewfinder. The digital Evolution has brought photography to a new level.

So whats good for me?
If you go to Dixons, they'll tell you a great big expensive sony camera that does the washing up three times a week. If you go to Curries, they'll try to get you to buy a Fuji Finepix A330. Don't bother. If you go to a specialist, they will yell you a film camera. It's not their fault. They try to tell you whats good for you, when really, theyre telling you whats good for them. Yes, with film, there are more options open to the pros. The ones that take photography seriously. The ones that want to flex their different lenses, and look like a pro. The ones that want to play around with the more manual features, and get more indepth results (notice I said "indepth" instead of better... as in... with some digital cameras you can set the shutter speed between 100 and 400. With a film SLR, you can set it between 60 and 1,600. REALISTICALLY, the average traveller, would never use anything above or below the shutter speed on the digital. With the SLR, you are talking about exactly that, something for every single proffessional photogrpaher thats ever existed. So they need to accomidate everyone).

Coming from a camera saleswoman, take my advice: If you want a camera, for general travelling, that you'll get good results from,go for a three megapixeled digital camera. Even some of the mid ranged ones (like the Canon Powershot A85) has some form of manual override, but not as indepth as a film SLR. You can still play around with your photography, but not to the extent of a film camera.

None of that statement was including Photoshop by the way. once a digital image has been captured, even on Photoshop CS, you CANNOT then change your film / shutter speed. ¬_¬.

And people, that is the truth behind camera sales people. :D

  • 1
  • 2