Are You Film, Digital, or Both?

Earlier this month, I wrote a post on the film blog about the different types of film photographers and ran a poll asking the readers to categorize themselves. It was no surprise that we had zero “film haters” chime in ;).

I want to take a step back, look at the question in a broader sense, and open it up to a wider audience (you guys). I’m fascinated by the film vs digital thing, and I see a lot of people doing both (but that could just be the crowd that I associate with). So what I want to learn here, is what percentage of the Epic Edits readers shoot film, digital, or both.


For those who know me even a little bit, you know that “I Do Both!” Give it a few years and I might get rid of my digital stuff though… j/k, calm down.

I’ve been noticing a renewed interest in film photography over the last year or two, but I’m wondering if it’s just me or if it’s really happening. What do you guys think? Are people coming back to it? Or am I delusional?

Also, don’t forget to check the results from the last poll: How often do you shoot? Looks like we have a pretty good mix of votes.

17 thoughts on “Are You Film, Digital, or Both?

  1. Brian Auer Post author

    @adam – I’m obviously not asking the question in a literal sense. But I am curious about the mediums being used by other photographers. There are differences between film and digital, and there are certainly differences between the cultures associated with the mediums. Would you not agree?

  2. Eric W

    My gut tells me that there’s a little bit of a resurgence of interest in film. I haven’t touched it since ’99, but am thinking of giving B&W a shot again. Most higher-end amateurs that I hang with are in the same boat. It’s not just nostalgia – I think there’s a bit of DIY that they dig (think old war photogs developing shots in toilets – can’t do *that* in digital!). I think there’s also a bit of an attitude that digital photos are all PS’d, whereas film is more honest.

    Me, I just want to experience the old ways. But I’m curious like that.

  3. adam

    @Brian Auer – I understood, and was just kidding. I’ve taken up photography as a hobby, and have learnt on digital (nothing like knowing straight away for learning). But I’ve also been shooting film ‘for fun’. There’s something nice about chemistry vs electronics, and that thrill of the unknown (I’ve only had one roll developed so far, and it was streaked all through with exciting orange light leaks).
    I also find that people get a little excited about the novelty of being the subject of a film photograph.

  4. melissa

    I started out on digital in autumn 2008, but for the last couple of months I’ve been shooting just film… I really love film but I do miss having that instant feedback, so once I get a new camera, I’ll probably be shooting both. I’ll probably just use film for b&w work though, as it’s so much better than what digital can do, even with the latest copy of photoshop

  5. jeremy

    I’ve never owned a digital camera, I’ve used film since the 70s and not felt the need to change.

    Thanks to digital, I’ve been able to buy cameras I’d never have been able to afford.

    @ K.P, I love that DIY story. Currently I’m fixing a Rolleiflex 2.8A which looks like it was hit with a claw hammer. I have sorted out the shutter and focus problems, all I need now is a ground glass screen. Any ideas anyone?

  6. K. Praslowicz

    @jeremy If you want to keep the DIY theme going, I’ve seen a few articles about grinding your own Ground Glass in the past.

    If the budget allows it, Maxwell Screens are very awesome. My 124G is fitted with one. The difference is mammoth compared to other TLRs I’ve held.

  7. Jess

    I use both, but find myself shooting more film and less digital as time goes on.

    And it’s not just you … People are coming back to it. I think it will be great if we can get to a point where both media are equally respected for artistic purposes … As an artist and photographer, I love having choices.

  8. Ted Byrne

    There is no room left in the world for film. It is obsolete, and recidivist. There is nothing left to discover in that mine… the vein has been exhausted. Nothing glimmers there anymore… and… and…

    Okay… I vented. It’s therapeutic to rant after getting so much criticism in the early years of digital from filmsters who were virulent in their reaction to my conversion to sensors over silver. But… but… I gotta admit that modern optics/electronics have changed the nature of our holy grail.

    Film was a hunt for the compromise that maximized contrast/sharpness/tonal range… largely in a monochrome world (since color processing was both expensive and unforgiving). Now the challenge is so different. With free color, and optics that start with images I can shave with… all carrying a RAW tonal range that we’d only accomplish in studio perfect conditions back in the film daze…. Now the challenge is exploring with so few technical limitations.

    That’s both new and an enormous burden. We cannot hide behind technique now. Cannot substitute high craft for an artistic talent.

    In an odd way… the apparent ease with which the digital artist creates a technically flawless photograph has raised the bar way beyond what a typical film photographer was ever asked to leap.

    Which is why I’ve left film behind (after forty plus years in a wet darkroom). I like this new mine shaft.. and the way the vein glimmers. Everything we do in here is for the first time… How many artists in history have ever had that kind of opportunity, eh?

  9. corina

    Ever since getting my canon XS, I haven’t picked up the old EOS Rebel film SLR camera. I thought I would, but haven’t, even though I have 2 or 3 rolls of film waiting to be used. Rarely did I use the creative/manual option on the film SLR, but always use manual or another creative option on the DSLR. I might go back to film (to use up the film and) to see just how much i’ve really learned.

  10. v

    i went back to film but i use it sparingly, because i do have to pay to get it developed. when i need a full frame camera, instead of my 4/3 camera, i use film. mostly for landscapes. beats spending 2,000 for a full frame digital. 🙂

  11. Mattias Wirf

    I use both, but most digital since it’s so expensive and hard to find places to develop the film here, specially if it 120mm black and white or something like that. So manual lenses on digital is my main thing.

  12. Tim A.

    I do both. More film these days than digital actually but mostly because it’s “new” to me. Not new in that I never shot film. But I finally got around to developing my own B&W and got 2 very nicely priced medium format cameras. There’s just something about using a waist level finder and looking through ground glass at the world that’s just…refreshing. Of course, I don’t have a darkroom so the film I develop then gets viewed and scanned digitally and from there, many times, I will do quite a bit of digital post processing on them. But in the end, the physical nature of film is quite a nice change of pace for me. Of course, for real gigs I still use my trusty Canons. 🙂

  13. Bryan Agoncillo

    I am 100% digital, I have invested a lot of my cameras & this business… I have experienced using a file camera before but it was so outside of my comfort zone that I had to give it to my backup photographer to use….

    Lightroom is where I do most of my image processing.

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