Film vs. Digital
Knowing the Differences…

Electromagnetic SpectrumElectromagnetic Spectrum Visiable lightVisiable light

The Electromagnetic Spectrum

Visible Light

“Capturing” the light…
Light is essential to all photography (except infrared)
Light travels through the lens and onto a light sensitive surface where it is “captured”.


SLR DigitalSLR Digital

Film Camera

Digital Camera

Film Cameras…
• Film has layers:
• • Base (celluloid)
• • Emulsion (silver halide crystals suspended in gelatin)
• • • Red dye
• • • Green dye
• • • Blue dye
• Crystal size determines film speed
• Crystals “clump” when exposed to light
• Unexposed crystals removed during developing


Photographic Films

Digital Cameras…
• Light sensors
• • CCD – Charged Coupled Device
• • CMOS – Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor
• • Foveon X3 – 3 layered sensor
• Digital = 1 or 0 (binary - “on” or “off”)
• Processor in the camera “organizes” the data and places it on the storage device

CCD_sensor_diagramCCD_sensor_diagram CCD
cmoscmos CMOS

Advantages of Digital…
• No film
• No processing time
• No processing cost
• Immediate access to the image (can see the image immediately)
• Shoot under a variety of light without changing film or using filters
• Direct input to your computer (no scanning required)
• Not dependant upon a processing lab

Disadvantages of Digital…
• Possible lower “resolution” not giving the quality achieved with film.
• Battery and storage media dependant
• More expensive than a comparable film camera
• Noise may be introduced into the image
• Can’t use specialized films
• Computer dependant

Neither film nor digital is “better”…they are just different.