Please note that this is an audio transcription. Grammer and punctuation will not be perfect.
Hi there everyone and welcome to the Photography Podcast on Photography.ca.‚ My name is Marko.‚ We are coming to you from Montreal, Quebec, Canada, and today is October 12, 2006.‚ For today’s show, this is going to be really an opinion piece.‚ I am going to give you my opinion on one of the most common emails I get and that email is, “Which is better, traditional photography or digital photography?”‚ I am going to give you my opinion.‚ I am going to give it to you straight up.‚ I am going to give it to you not like the neutral Canadian that so many people think we are.‚ I am going to give you my honest opinion on it and I am going to get into it now.
The question that comes to me directly is, “Is digital photography better than traditional photography?” and my answer flat out is no.‚ Digital photography is not better than traditional photography, period.‚ So, then the question comes, “Should you switch to digital photography?”‚ My answer on that one is yes probably you should unless you are a fine art photographer.‚ If you are a fine art photographer and you love the process, you love working in the dark, you love printing your own pictures especially, you love the dark room, you love the red light, you love the smell of fixer, well then, do not switch, then stay traditional, then get into you dark room and work your magic.‚ In that case, it is really about the process.‚ It is really about the craft.‚ It is really about printing by hand and you know what, in that case, there is nothing like the magic of shining that light through the enlarger on to the paper, you take that paper, you run it through the liquids and the image starts to magically appear.‚ It is magic.‚ It is magic.‚ You know what it is going to look like.‚ You know when you are getting a good print.‚ You run it through the rest of the liquids.‚ You take it outside and see the result.‚ It is pure magic.‚ It is pure craft.‚ You know what, in that respect, digital photography can never touch traditional photography.‚ There is more of a journey from the silver located on the film to the end result.‚ It is not so quick.‚ It is not so easy.‚ It is harder.‚ It is more like your baby, your child, your masterpiece and in that respect, again, traditional wins.‚ You cannot compare.‚ Traditional wins.
I would also like to suggest that just from a business perspective, if someone is trying to sell their prints and it is taking them hours and hours and hours to make 10 selective prints, I would suggest to you that if that is all that they are doing, that those prints are going to be worth more.‚ This is just my opinion again, but it took them longer to make those prints.‚ Maybe those prints are numbered, but they did not have to press a button, they worked like crazy to get each print.‚ I guess the argument can be made that, yes, you are also working in front of your computer.‚ It takes time.‚ I agree that, yes, it takes time, but once you have your masterpiece print, once you have color corrected it and Photoshop it to the nth degree, you can make as many copies as you want and those copies can be beautiful.‚ Do not get me wrong, I have made beautiful prints.‚ I love to see beautiful prints.‚ At the end of the day, a beautiful print is a beautiful print, but there is just something more magical when you did it actually by hand in the dark room.‚ That is just my opinion.‚ Feel free to tell me I am wrong.
Okay, but what if then you are a professional photographer or a serious amateur photographer?‚ You might be into fine art, but not necessarily.‚ You are more into capturing the feel, you are more into taking souvenir photos, you are more into doing a job with the photos, making money from the photos, well then, my best suggestion is go digital.‚ Digital is just so much easier in that respect.‚ With digital, you could take as much time as you want.‚ You could take as many shots as you want plus one of the most, most desirable aspects of digital photography is the fact that you can see the results right away, which makes it a superb learning tool.‚ Let us say you are taking a picture of a White man in a white suit on a white wall, well, your camera is designed to render that picture, to render that scene as a medium tone.‚ It averages out the scene.‚ So, your camera more likely than not, is going to give you a grayish result.‚ It is not going to give you that white result.‚ When you see that image after you have taken it, right away you see that it is grayish and that just makes it a great learning tool. ‚You take a shot, you do not like what you see and then you wonder why it did not turn out properly.‚ There is nothing like the instant feedback of digital in that regard.‚ If you are a pro already and you know what you are doing, well then, you just capture the scene.‚ You have got it on your card or whatever media you recorded it on.‚ You can manipulate it, you can send it wherever it needs to go and it is done, it is a done deal.‚ If you are lucky enough to have someone working for you, you just give them the card and let them deal with it.‚ It is just so much easier in that respect.‚ Is it faster?‚ Is it always faster?‚ Well, is it faster?‚ The answer is sometimes yes, sometimes no.‚ Okay, I am hedging.‚ I am hedging.‚ I am not giving you the clear answer.‚ Let us say you are a wedding photographer and you are still shooting traditionally, you are shooting on film, well, after the end of the day, you take your shots, you give them to the lab and it is done.‚ There is nothing you need to do.‚ You get that proofs.‚ If you are a digital wedding photographer, well then, that is definitely not the end of it because you have all these different scenes shot under different lights and then you have to balance them all.‚ Hopefully, you are not going to be printing yourself.‚ You are still going to give them to the lab, but you have to balance them somewhat before you give them to the lab.‚ It is not done.‚ There is still work to be done.‚ So, in that respect, in terms of speed, it really depends on what you are using, what job you are doing and where you are going with it, then sometimes, yes, it is faster and sometimes not.‚ Surely if you are a fine art photographer and you are shooting in black and white or color and you are printing them yourself, then there is no way it is going to be faster, but in that case again, it is more about the journey than about efficiency.
I guess another reason why you would want to switch is, unfortunately, the sad truth is film is on its way out.‚ Traditional photography, unfortunately, is on its way out.‚ It is still going to be around for a couple of years, but more and more film manufacturers are stopping to make their classic films.‚ There are plenty of good examples.‚ I do not want to start getting all weepy, but there are loads of films that are not being produced anymore and that number is just going to diminish and diminish as digital takes hold of the minds of people.‚ It is sad to say that even though for some applications, traditional photography is better.‚ When you are talking about low light situations, the newer cameras, the newer Nikons, the newer Canons, they do not necessarily handle low light all that well.‚ You get all kinds of noise in your picture when you do not want it.‚ It is harder to deal with.‚ Low light in traditional photography is better, but on a whole, if the film stock is on its way out and everybody is changing, you kind of have to go with the times unless you are that fine art photographer again.‚ Beta was better than VHS.‚ There is a strong argument that Ogg Vorbis is better then MP3, but MP3 is everywhere now and VHS, okay, we cannot deal with VHS, but you could not be one of the few people that like Beta, that stuck with Beta‚¦‚ Oh, my God.‚ Am I showing my age now?‚ The point being is traditional is on its way out, so you really should not be spending money on traditional cameras unless you are just like learning.‚ You can buy an inexpensive camera, you are learning photography, but for the big bucks, when you are really ready to spend money on gear, I guess I would recommend going digital.
All right, so the next question goes, “Okay, Marko, you are recommending that most people go digital.‚ Which digital camera should I get?”‚ Ah, this one is clear.‚ This one is definitely clear.‚ You want to get a digital SLR.‚ You do not want to get a point and shoot.‚ You want to get an SLR, something where you can adjust the focus, you can adjust the aperture, you can change lenses, you can adjust the shutter.‚ These cameras are just far more versatile.‚ You can do whatever you need with them.‚ My recommendation is do not go all out at first.‚ Buy a cheaper one.‚ Get a used one, go to a camera shop, go on eBay.‚ Get a used one first until you know what you are doing.‚ Do not spend the big bucks yet.‚ Good digital cameras on a prosumer level, they can cost you $1500, $2000, or more when you start adding good lenses and flashes.‚ Do not spend that money at the beginning.‚ Get something much cheaper.‚ Get something used at the beginning, learn with it and then your next camera, that is when you can spend the bucks if you are still into it.‚ So many people buy cameras with all the bells and whistles and they are not into it, they still do not know if they like it, they still do not know if they need it.‚ So, why spend the cash at that point?‚ Just buy what you need.‚ Buy something not too expensive and grow after that.‚ You can still sell that camera as well or use it as a backup.
So, I guess that covers it.‚ I guess I just wanted to basically respond to the e-mails that I keep getting, “Which is better, traditional or digital?”‚ Put it to bed once and for all.‚ I guess this is just in terms of my opinion.‚ It is not the official answer.‚ It is not gospel.‚ I do not even know if I am right, but it is my opinion and I am entitled to it, darn it.‚ That is it for today’s show.‚ As usual, please we love it if you will leave some comments.‚ That would be so much appreciated.‚ This time, we have our own dedicated blogs, so you could leave the comments on the blog.‚ The link is at Photography.ca and it is my pleasure as always to get comments on anything on this show or other shows or if you have any ideas for future shows as well.‚ So, thanks for listening everyone.‚ We will see you again in approximately two weeks.‚ My name is Marko.‚ We hope you enjoyed the show and happy shooting.‚ Bye everyone.