beginner's question on digital vs film SLRs

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by michael, Apr 24, 2006.

  1. michael

    michael Guest

    I'm planning to take some photography classes in the fall at my local
    community college and i've been having trouble deciding whether to
    start with a film or digital SLR camera. the only real appeal i see
    with digital is that any mistakes i make while learning won't cost me
    in film. a friend has offered to sell me his old film camera with all
    the lenses for $200. it's in excellent condition (unfortunately i
    forget the brand) and it sounds like a good deal judging by the lens
    prices i've researched. however, it is an older camera (from the 80's).
    i don't know how relevant dates are with film cameras, though i'm sure
    there have been some advances in 20 years. i do want to learn film
    photography, though mainly because the idea of developing my own photos
    holds some personal appeal.

    anyway - any suggestions?

    thanks
    michael
     
    michael, Apr 24, 2006
    #1
    1. Advertising

  2. michael wrote:
    > I'm planning to take some photography classes in the fall at my local
    > community college and i've been having trouble deciding whether to
    > start with a film or digital SLR camera. the only real appeal i see
    > with digital is that any mistakes i make while learning won't cost me
    > in film. a friend has offered to sell me his old film camera with all
    > the lenses for $200. it's in excellent condition (unfortunately i
    > forget the brand) and it sounds like a good deal judging by the lens
    > prices i've researched. however, it is an older camera (from the
    > 80's). i don't know how relevant dates are with film cameras, though
    > i'm sure there have been some advances in 20 years. i do want to
    > learn film photography, though mainly because the idea of developing
    > my own photos holds some personal appeal.
    >
    > anyway - any suggestions?
    >
    > thanks
    > michael


    You would be better asking that question of the people who teach the
    syllabus at the community college.

    You are going to look silly if the course is film-camera-based and you
    arrive with your digital SLR and Photoshop software.

    My grand-daughter is currently in the 3rd year of a 4-year degree course in
    photography at a well-known British University. So far they have not even
    mentioned digital photography.

    Dennis.
     
    Dennis Pogson, Apr 24, 2006
    #2
    1. Advertising

  3. michael

    cjcampbell Guest

    michael wrote:
    > I'm planning to take some photography classes in the fall at my local
    > community college and i've been having trouble deciding whether to
    > start with a film or digital SLR camera. the only real appeal i see
    > with digital is that any mistakes i make while learning won't cost me
    > in film. a friend has offered to sell me his old film camera with all
    > the lenses for $200. it's in excellent condition (unfortunately i
    > forget the brand) and it sounds like a good deal judging by the lens
    > prices i've researched. however, it is an older camera (from the 80's).
    > i don't know how relevant dates are with film cameras, though i'm sure
    > there have been some advances in 20 years. i do want to learn film
    > photography, though mainly because the idea of developing my own photos
    > holds some personal appeal.


    Perhaps the lenses will fit on a DSLR, so buying it for the lenses
    alone might be a good deal. Besides, the price difference between that
    outfit and a new DSLR would probably buy a lot of film.

    That said, it is much easier to learn photography with a digital
    camera. You have instant feedback. You can take literally thousands of
    pictures and experiment with all kinds of settings and see instantly
    what the effects are. There is no doubt that the digital camera is
    perhaps the greatest advance in teaching photography ever.

    I can sympathize with your desire to develop your own photos. There is
    something about it where even the process is an expression of art. It
    is not only the picture, the final product, but the way it is done that
    is part of the whole picture. Your feelings about a film picture that
    you processed yourself will inevitably be much different than your
    feelings about a digital photo.

    But that does not mean that making a digital picture is less artistic.
    It is only that the experience must necessarily be different, just as
    the painter of oil experiences his art differently than the artist who
    works with chalk. One chooses the paths which his art must follow and
    we can only regret that life is too short to be able to experience all
    of these paths.

    The digital artist also derives great satisfaction from his work, from
    choosing the original subject and arranging the lighting to editing the
    picture and printing it. There are some, of course, who think that the
    gear is more important than the message. For them, the brush is more
    important than the painting, or the camera is more important than the
    picture. Such people can barely be called artists. In photography, such
    pseudo-artists invariably use Canon cameras. There are genuine artists
    who use Canon cameras, of course, but they never talk about why they
    think the Canon is superior to any other brand, or if they do, it is
    only in the context of the needs of a particular picture. Many artists,
    however, will not use Canon for the same reason that a cowboy will
    refuse to wear cowboy boots. The cowboy does not want to be mistaken
    for a truck driver and the artist does not want to be mistaken for a
    gearhead.

    But aside from that, one can in a very short time acquire with a
    digital camera the experience that once required many years of hard
    work. I suggest going with digital, then if you still want to use film
    after you have learned to make a decent picture, get a film camera.
     
    cjcampbell, Apr 24, 2006
    #3
  4. michael

    nowater Guest

    "Dennis Pogson" <> wrote...
    > michael wrote:
    > > I'm planning to take some photography classes in the fall at my

    local
    > > community college and i've been having trouble deciding whether to
    > > start with a film or digital SLR camera. the only real appeal i

    see
    > > with digital is that any mistakes i make while learning won't cost

    me
    > > in film. a friend has offered to sell me his old film camera with

    all
    > > the lenses for $200. it's in excellent condition (unfortunately i
    > > forget the brand) and it sounds like a good deal judging by the

    lens
    > > prices i've researched. however, it is an older camera (from the
    > > 80's). i don't know how relevant dates are with film cameras,

    though
    > > i'm sure there have been some advances in 20 years. i do want to
    > > learn film photography, though mainly because the idea of

    developing
    > > my own photos holds some personal appeal.
    > >
    > > anyway - any suggestions?
    > >
    > > thanks
    > > michael

    >
    > You would be better asking that question of the people who teach the
    > syllabus at the community college.
    > You are going to look silly if the course is film-camera-based and

    you
    > arrive with your digital SLR and Photoshop software.


    Excellent suggestion. I cannot speak for the present day, but not long
    ago it was not unusual for the teaching staff to recommend a fully
    manual SLR film camera. The Pentax K1000 was a favourite. They don't
    want to spend half their time teaching you how to use your complex
    digital camera, or figuring out what you did wrong with its dials and
    menus that ruined all your photos. Also, with a full manual camera
    they know your exposure is the result of your knowledge, not the
    camera's, and the use of focus and depth of field is deliberate, not
    automated.

    > My grand-daughter is currently in the 3rd year of a 4-year degree

    course in
    > photography at a well-known British University. So far they have not

    even
    > mentioned digital photography.


    Is this course run by photography historians, or by practitioners??
     
    nowater, Apr 24, 2006
    #4
  5. michael wrote:
    > I'm planning to take some photography classes in the fall at my local
    > community college and i've been having trouble deciding whether to
    > start with a film or digital SLR camera. the only real appeal i see
    > with digital is that any mistakes i make while learning won't cost me
    > in film. a friend has offered to sell me his old film camera with all
    > the lenses for $200. it's in excellent condition (unfortunately i
    > forget the brand) and it sounds like a good deal judging by the lens
    > prices i've researched. however, it is an older camera (from the
    > 80's). i don't know how relevant dates are with film cameras, though
    > i'm sure there have been some advances in 20 years. i do want to
    > learn film photography, though mainly because the idea of developing
    > my own photos holds some personal appeal.
    >
    > anyway - any suggestions?
    >
    > thanks
    > michael


    Dennis had some very good advice. You need to start by asking what
    equipment the course will require. More and more the answer is going to be
    digital, but I have little doubt that there are still many courses that will
    require film. They may also have requirements about what cameras and lens
    are required.

    Given a choice, today I would recommend a current model digital SLR.
    (there is a good chance the lens that were offered as part of the deal for
    the film camera might be useful). The reason I suggest digital is because
    they will likely be the tool of the future and more important they will
    encourage you to try different approaches so you can learn by trying
    different things and get quick cheap feedback. With film cameras there is a
    greater delay in seeing results and there is an added cost that would limit
    the experience for most of us.

    --
    Joseph Meehan

    Dia duit
     
    Joseph Meehan, Apr 24, 2006
    #5
  6. michael

    Xiaoding Guest

    "Is this course run by photography historians, or by practitioners?? "

    Ha! Good one.

    Britain is decades, if not centuries, behind the curve when it comes to
    anything computerized. Have they started using those fancy new "roll
    film" cameras yet?
     
    Xiaoding, Apr 24, 2006
    #6
  7. michael

    J. Clarke Guest

    Xiaoding wrote:

    > "Is this course run by photography historians, or by practitioners?? "
    >
    > Ha! Good one.
    >
    > Britain is decades, if not centuries, behind the curve when it comes to
    > anything computerized.


    This is due to the difficulty involved in making inexpensive small fast
    computers that drip oil.

    > Have they started using those fancy new "roll
    > film" cameras yet?


    --
    --John
    to email, dial "usenet" and validate
    (was jclarke at eye bee em dot net)
     
    J. Clarke, Apr 24, 2006
    #7
  8. michael

    Bolshoy Huy Guest

    reminds me of colleges that teach Cobol, UNIX, AS/400, SQL; while
    others teach VB.net, C#, Java, etc.
    which ones would you go for?
    do you want to support legacy systems or move into the future?
    face it, film is dead. move on.
     
    Bolshoy Huy, Apr 24, 2006
    #8
  9. "michael" <> wrote in message
    news:...

    > I'm planning to take some photography classes in the fall at my local
    > community college and i've been having trouble deciding whether to
    > start with a film or digital SLR camera. the only real appeal i see
    > with digital is that any mistakes i make while learning won't cost me
    > in film.


    The real advantage of digital is that you get to see the results
    immediately, with almost no effort. If your goal is to learn how to take
    pictures, I think that advantage is overwhelming.
     
    Andrew Koenig, Apr 24, 2006
    #9
  10. michael

    John Fryatt Guest

    Xiaoding wrote:
    > "Is this course run by photography historians, or by practitioners?? "
    >
    > Ha! Good one.
    >
    > Britain is decades, if not centuries, behind the curve when it comes to
    > anything computerized. Have they started using those fancy new "roll
    > film" cameras yet?


    Film? Baaaahh!! Glass plates are far better than that new-fangled
    stuff. ;-)

    Oh yes - can we lose the generalisation about people just because of
    one Uni course?

    John
     
    John Fryatt, Apr 24, 2006
    #10
  11. "michael" <> writes:

    > I'm planning to take some photography classes in the fall at my local
    > community college and i've been having trouble deciding whether to
    > start with a film or digital SLR camera. the only real appeal i see
    > with digital is that any mistakes i make while learning won't cost me
    > in film. a friend has offered to sell me his old film camera with all
    > the lenses for $200. it's in excellent condition (unfortunately i
    > forget the brand) and it sounds like a good deal judging by the lens
    > prices i've researched. however, it is an older camera (from the 80's).
    > i don't know how relevant dates are with film cameras, though i'm sure
    > there have been some advances in 20 years. i do want to learn film
    > photography, though mainly because the idea of developing my own photos
    > holds some personal appeal.
    >
    > anyway - any suggestions?


    The fast feedback of a digital should be tremendously valuable for
    learning. You can try something and see nearly instantly whether it
    *worked* or not. Although, for some personality types I guess this
    could lead to a lack of discipline, which wouldn't be wonderful.

    All the camera use things, focus and exposure and such, work the same,
    so learning that first and adding the darkroom part later lets you
    separate the two chunks of learning, so they don't interfere with each
    other.

    On the other hand, digital bodies are expensive, both because they're
    new, and because they have all that electronics in them.
    --
    David Dyer-Bennet, <mailto:>, <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/>
    RKBA: <http://www.dd-b.net/carry/>
    Pics: <http://dd-b.lighthunters.net/> <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/>
    Dragaera/Steven Brust: <http://dragaera.info/>
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, Apr 24, 2006
    #11
  12. "Dennis Pogson" <> writes:

    > My grand-daughter is currently in the 3rd year of a 4-year degree course in
    > photography at a well-known British University. So far they have not even
    > mentioned digital photography.


    Well, if she wants to work in the field when she gets out, they'd
    better get around to it soon.
    --
    David Dyer-Bennet, <mailto:>, <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/>
    RKBA: <http://www.dd-b.net/carry/>
    Pics: <http://dd-b.lighthunters.net/> <http://www.dd-b.net/dd-b/SnapshotAlbum/>
    Dragaera/Steven Brust: <http://dragaera.info/>
     
    David Dyer-Bennet, Apr 24, 2006
    #12
  13. David Dyer-Bennet wrote:
    []
    > On the other hand, digital bodies are expensive, both because they're
    > new, and because they have all that electronics in them.


    ... and because the market will stand the higher prices?

    David
     
    David J Taylor, Apr 24, 2006
    #13
  14. michael

    Dan Guest

    David J Taylor wrote:
    > .. and because the market will stand the higher prices?


    Hehehe, I was thinking the same thing. ... and because customers can be
    exploited until they known better. Then new tech will come up and the
    circle of profit will begin again.
     
    Dan, Apr 24, 2006
    #14
  15. michael

    Guest

    J. Clarke wrote:
    > Xiaoding wrote:
    >
    > > "Is this course run by photography historians, or by practitioners?? "
    > >
    > > Ha! Good one.
    > >
    > > Britain is decades, if not centuries, behind the curve when it comes to
    > > anything computerized.

    >
    > This is due to the difficulty involved in making inexpensive small fast
    > computers that drip oil.


    LOL! Good one!
     
    , Apr 24, 2006
    #15
  16. michael

    Bryan Olson Guest

    Dan wrote:
    >
    > David J Taylor wrote:
    >
    >> .. and because the market will stand the higher prices?

    >
    >
    > Hehehe, I was thinking the same thing. ... and because customers can be
    > exploited until they known better. Then new tech will come up and the
    > circle of profit will begin again.


    So did Kodak, Minolta and Contax exit the digital SLR business
    because they felt too guilty about their huge profits?


    --
    --Bryan
     
    Bryan Olson, Apr 24, 2006
    #16
  17. michael

    Randy Howard Guest

    J. Clarke wrote
    (in article <>):

    > Xiaoding wrote:
    >
    >> "Is this course run by photography historians, or by practitioners?? "
    >>
    >> Ha! Good one.
    >>
    >> Britain is decades, if not centuries, behind the curve when it comes to
    >> anything computerized.

    >
    > This is due to the difficulty involved in making inexpensive small fast
    > computers that drip oil.


    ROTFLMAO

    That has to be a sig candidate.



    --
    Randy Howard (2reply remove FOOBAR)
    "The power of accurate observation is called cynicism by those
    who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw
     
    Randy Howard, Apr 24, 2006
    #17
  18. michael

    Randy Howard Guest

    David Dyer-Bennet wrote
    (in article <-b.net>):

    > "Dennis Pogson" <> writes:
    >
    >> My grand-daughter is currently in the 3rd year of a 4-year degree course in
    >> photography at a well-known British University. So far they have not even
    >> mentioned digital photography.

    >
    > Well, if she wants to work in the field when she gets out, they'd
    > better get around to it soon.


    Are you implying that if you truly understand lighting,
    composition, DOF, exposure and film processing that using a
    digital SLR will cause you problems? Think how much better
    digital pictures would be overall if those behind the camera had
    that knowledge, instead of entrusting it to the firmware.


    --
    Randy Howard (2reply remove FOOBAR)
    "The power of accurate observation is called cynicism by those
    who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw
     
    Randy Howard, Apr 24, 2006
    #18
  19. michael

    Randy Howard Guest

    Joseph Meehan wrote
    (in article <YS23g.6838$>):

    > Dennis had some very good advice. You need to start by asking what
    > equipment the course will require. More and more the answer is going to be
    > digital, but I have little doubt that there are still many courses that will
    > require film. They may also have requirements about what cameras and lens
    > are required.


    As a result of this thread, I checked several local universities
    and community colleges that teach photography. In each case,
    the first semester was called something like "darkroom
    techniques" and involved shooting and learning to develop black
    and white photos and film.

    They usually start off black and white, which is a good thing,
    and teach the basics first, worrying about color much later in
    the program.

    Of course, if you buy a (very cheap today) film body from a
    maker that also has digital cameras, any glass that you buy will
    often work on both. For example, you could pick up something as
    simple as an old N80 (I know, I know) for a few film-based
    courses then move up to something like a D70s or D200 when
    switching to digital. There are equivalents from other vendors,
    but I don't keep track of model numbers.


    --
    Randy Howard (2reply remove FOOBAR)
    "The power of accurate observation is called cynicism by those
    who have not got it." - George Bernard Shaw
     
    Randy Howard, Apr 24, 2006
    #19
  20. "Bolshoy Huy" <> writes:
    >reminds me of colleges that teach Cobol, UNIX, AS/400, SQL; while
    >others teach VB.net, C#, Java, etc.
    >which ones would you go for?


    Actually, I'd pick one that taught algorithms, operating systems,
    AI, graphics, databases, numerical analysis, computational geometry,
    discrete math, statistics, and other stuff that makes up a computer
    science education. The computer language (if any) used for each course
    doesn't matter very much. At the end, you're supposed to understand
    computer systems and how to build software for them, not just learn the
    current programming languages.

    >do you want to support legacy systems or move into the future?


    Mostly, I think he want to learn photography, and film and digital
    photography have more in common than they are different, at least at the
    point of taking the picture.

    Dave
     
    Dave Martindale, Apr 24, 2006
    #20
    1. Advertising

Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?

It takes just 2 minutes to sign up (and it's free!). Just click the sign up button to choose a username and then you can ask your own questions on the forum.
Similar Threads
  1. Larry R Harrison Jr

    Best Digital SLRs--Canon Leaving Nikon in Dust?

    Larry R Harrison Jr, Jul 31, 2003, in forum: Digital Photography
    Replies:
    61
    Views:
    1,365
    Chris Hoopes
    Aug 11, 2003
  2. Eolake Stobblehouse

    Question about Nikon digital SLRs, Eolake Stobblehouse

    Eolake Stobblehouse, Sep 7, 2003, in forum: Digital Photography
    Replies:
    1
    Views:
    668
    Eolake Stobblehouse
    Sep 7, 2003
  3. Luis ORTEGA

    are non digital lenses better for digital slrs?

    Luis ORTEGA, May 23, 2004, in forum: Digital Photography
    Replies:
    6
    Views:
    586
    Old Nick
    May 25, 2004
  4. Mr.Happy

    why do film SLRs cost more than DSLRs?

    Mr.Happy, Aug 10, 2005, in forum: Digital Photography
    Replies:
    17
    Views:
    716
    Mr.Happy
    Aug 12, 2005
  5. 223rem

    Optical difference between film SLRs and DSLRs?

    223rem, Nov 17, 2005, in forum: Digital Photography
    Replies:
    24
    Views:
    1,184
    Father Kodak
    Dec 20, 2005
Loading...

Share This Page