The CNET Lounge forum

General discussion

Should camera manufacturers abandon film (and please explain)?

by Marc Bennett CNET staff/forum admin / July 11, 2006 4:28 AM PDT

Should camera manufacturers abandon film (and please explain)?

Definitely! Film is dead.
Maybe, but film still has its place.
Probably not. There are many uses for film cameras.
Absolutely not! Film is superior to digital.
I don't really care if film stays or not.

Post a reply
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Should camera manufacturers abandon film (and please explain)?
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Should camera manufacturers abandon film (and please explain)?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.
Collapse -
Flim Camera are more superior to Digital Camera

my comments are simple. No doubt the flim camera develops the photos on a standard 3r size but when the photo is blown up to a larger size you will never spot the pixels.

when the same is applied to a digital camera the size of the photo depends on the resolution selected. if a lover resolution is selected, when blown up to a bigger size, the pixels begin to show up.

Collapse -
give me a break
by dmillam / July 11, 2006 12:19 PM PDT

So take your photos at a higher resolution. Taken at the highest resolution your camera is capable of, your prints should be better than what you can get from blowing up an original print (unless you're going to great lengths).

Collapse -
Film wil be around for a long time.
by WHlanteigne / July 11, 2006 1:25 PM PDT
In reply to: give me a break

There are several film emulsions with grain so fine that the limiting factor in resolution is the optical quality of the lens, not the film. To obtain equal levels of resolution would require at least a 35 megapixel sensor (and equally performing optics), and that's not happening soon, or cheap. I shoot mostly B&W anyway, and digital is still lacking something in that respect.

Collapse -
I disagree
by NOkiAH / July 11, 2006 1:44 PM PDT

First of all, film is just as susceptible to resolution as digital cameras are, though it is governed by film speed and film size, as opposed to megapixels. Albeit the average 35mm film is as high a resolution as many semi-professional digital cameras, film has it's own pixel, which is called film grain. If you blow up film picture, you will of course not spot any pixels, they don't exist, but you will spot the grain of the film, which is just as unpleasant as spotting the pixels.

It also depends highly on the speed of the film. with an ISO (also called film speed) 100 film, you can blow up to a much larger size without seeing the grain, than with a film with an ISO of 1600. you blow up a 1600 ISO 35mm negative to an 8x10, and you'll see grain, but for the average 6mp digital camera picture, you can easily blow it up to an 8x10, without seeing the pixels. You'd also see this kind of noise by raising the ISO in a digital camera, so once again, there are many variables.

All of these factors contribute significantly to the "resolution" of pictures, be it from a film or a digital camera. Not to be disrespectful, though your "comments are simple", they address an issue which cannot be addressed that simply. Indeed, film can easily have a higher resolution than a digital camera, again depending on it's film speed. If you were to take a picture at a normal film speed, say 200 or 400 with an 8x10 view camera.... there would be no consumer digital camera that could possibly match the resolution of that picture. Although view cameras are expensive, an average one is $4500 (US) (
their resolution surpasses comparably priced digital cameras many times.

So the answer to the main subject of the post, is... film will have its uses for years to come, though someday it will be come defunct, as image sensors become more and more advance, requiring less power, and therefore generating less noise. Sigma cameras utilize Foveon's X3 chip, which has each color registered on a different layer of the sensor. This allows the sensor's pixels to be larger, and they therefore need less power, and generate less noise. Perhaps this will the be the future of high-quality digital imaging. We'll just have to wait and see.

Collapse -
Your bio says it all
by gbear1970 / July 11, 2006 4:44 PM PDT
In reply to: I disagree

I don't know where you got the idea that you had to spend that kind of money to get a film camera to allow you blow film pictures up to 8x10. I have been using film for over 50 years, digital camera a little over six, photo editing about 10 years. I think you if had as much experience with the 35mm at a resonable price you might reconsider. Don't get me wrong. I love my digital. I love to play around with photo editing but when I want to do some serious photography (vs. taking pictures), I go back to film. The digital has a long way to go to match film capabilities and be within the price range of the general public. BTW - got my interest in photography from my grandfather who was a professional with his own studio. I can produce with my film camera better results in lighting, color, balance, etc than can be done with my digital plus the almost always needed photo editing.

Collapse -
i agree, though you misunderstand
by NOkiAH / July 12, 2006 1:59 AM PDT
In reply to: Your bio says it all

i know that you can easily get good 8x10 prints from a 35mm camera, i wasn't saying that you needed to spend 4500 to get a good film camera, i was saying that if you were to spend money on an 8x10 view camera (wasn't talking bout the print), there would be no digital that could surpass it. I love both formats, and though i don't think you can possibly get as creative with film as you can with digital, there's nothing in the world like standing in the darkroom waiting for your exposure to be complete and developing it yourself. One of the main reasons though that i love my 20d, is that if you're having trouble getting the shot at a decent shutter speed at 200 ISO, all you have to do is up it to 400 or 800 with the push of a button. Impossible in film without multiple bodies or changing films mid-roll.

Check out that Foveon X3 though, used in sigma cameras, it allows information to be captured at every point on the sensor, much higher quality.

Good talking to you and by the way, didn't think i said much in my bio....

Collapse -
by gbear1970 / July 12, 2006 5:26 AM PDT

No, you just mentioned that you loved digital photography and photo editing. And I admit to being one of those nuts who will spend an hour setting my camera up to catch a bird coming it to feed its young. I enjoy the process. I enjoyed taking night shots with different apertures, shutter speeds, etc - just to see what the results will be. But... you have an excellent point about the film speed! And at family gatherings I DO love the convenience of checking immediately to see the shot and retaking it if I didn't. Definitely more cost effective than taking 6 pics of the same thing to make sure you got one good one. And I have had a chance yet but I definitely intend to look into the camera you suggested. If my camera were a computer, I would have upgraded several years ago. Sounds like it is time to look into digital cameras. Thanks for a recommendation. I have by the far the most elaborate camera of my friends (tells you where they are!) so I didn't know where to go. I like to hear from someone who has used the product.

Collapse -
future of film in photography
by azcarl / July 12, 2006 7:15 AM PDT
In reply to: I disagree

digital photography is certainly more convenient and easy to use than conventional film photography. each of us will have to decide our own preferences based on what we want from our photos, and how much effort we are willing to expend.

the question of curtailing production of photographic film will be one decided by the marketplace. if there remains a demand then someone will fill it. otherwise film will go the way of buggy whips, slide rules, and the such, as it should be.

respectfully, Carl G.

Collapse -
Not any more
by rtsphoto / July 11, 2006 3:36 PM PDT

Jpeg point and shoots maybe but take a picture in raw with a 10 mp or larger camera and film is blow out of the water. Try 40 x 60" and no pixels showing up, why would you bother with a lower resolution unless for email.

Collapse -
re Film v. Digital
by Kakez.b $ / July 11, 2006 6:43 PM PDT

I have a digital camera (6 mega pixels) which cost

Collapse -
All you have to do is look at Kodachrome
by dmspartans / July 11, 2006 11:31 PM PDT

or the Velvia films to see the difference. Consumer usage may vanish, but professional use will keep it alive.

Collapse -
Are They ? Maybe !!!
by JGR1 / July 12, 2006 4:34 AM PDT

I use a Canon 350D with Tamron 28-300 f5.6 zoom lens.
My main interest is Military aircraft and having taken over 1000 images of Aircraft during FOUR DAYS a week ago I have to say that I could not have taken the shots I took with a film SLR.
The cost of film alone would prohibit such useage never mind processing cost or chemicals if I did my own processing.
Of the 100+ images less than 10% have been deleted.
OK I expect I will end up with a couple of hundred pictures saved but they will include examples I would have missed without using Multishot taking 3 images a second as the fast jet approaches.
OK so I may look biased but a good friend of mine who has been taking wedding photos comercially for the past 15 years has just sold his Miranda / Hassleblad half plate systems and converted 100% to Digital. The results are just as good. His customers are pleased with the results and can get the images on CD / DVD for a fraction of the cost before he used digital. The processing house he used charged nearly

Collapse -
by bobh2000 / July 12, 2006 6:55 AM PDT

After 6 megs, a digital camera is superior to film quality and dye sublimation printer have no pixels to begin with. Digital technology exists that allows huge prints with no pixel's the size of the printer that is the difficulty.

Film enlargement is strictly limited. Film speed, available light and focus quality, among other things, limit the size of a film enlargement. As with huge digital prints and huge printers, you need a very high quality, very large enlarger to make large prints of any quality.

Digital images can be enlarged far beyond the limits of film for the same reason music recorded in 1940 can be digitally reproduced and sound like it was recorded yesterday.

Film has had it's day. Remember when they had movies with no sound? People thought they would be around forever too.

Collapse -
by Ralphdb / July 11, 2006 11:17 AM PDT

Film is old news no longer need you can buy a simple digital camera for almost what a couple throwaways cost.. When I take pictures with my Digital I can take 300 pics and throw away the ones that are not perfect.. you can do anything with a digital that you can a film camera. Quit wasting silver on Film..

Collapse -
Digital is kept out of the dark!
by adamharte / July 11, 2006 11:27 AM PDT

Film will never die because the joy of developing your own photos in a darkroom are too great.

With a film camera your are also forced to think about the shots you are taking. You think more carfully about composition, light direction, shadow, negitive/positive space, and the subject. You do this because you do not want to waste precious film. Not like digital, were they just snap away and 99% of the shot are CRAP. No thought is put in at the time, because there is no presure to make each shot count. They think photoshop will save them.

Digital is fine for most personal cameras, but when it comes to professionals, film helps alot.

Collapse -
out of the darkk
by gbear1970 / July 11, 2006 3:52 PM PDT

Thank you for writing that. I have made three posts trying to say exactly what you just said! Does this make sense? They are talking about taking pictures. You are talking about photography. I think there is a difference! Sort of paint by numbers (photo editing) and an original oil painting (composing, adjusting light, exposure, developing time, film speed, etc.)

Collapse -
Film will always have a place
by mediadiva / July 24, 2006 5:23 AM PDT

As an early adopter and a person who loves my digital darkroom, I have to agree nontheless with everything you said. Film photography forces better photographs, in the taking at least.

But aside from all the pointless resolution discussion abounding here, film will always have a place for people concerned with the CRAFT. Just as artists like to create hand-pulled lithographs, serigraphs, daguerrotypes or any other traditional method, because of the distinct, authentic "feel" it gives their work. All these are rendered technically obsolete, but they still have an appeal.

Consider the resurgence of vinyl - inconceivable when CD technology was in it's first bloom.

Collapse -
Film is superior

Digital is subject to loss from crashes, accidential deletion, alteration, etc.
I prefer paper records because:
1) I have lost data from crashes
2) Have been unable to transfer all photos as I changed systems.
3) Accidently deleted files
4) As technology advances, yesterday's digital photos may not be compatible with new OS and software.
5) I have had online records altered by a financial institution. My only proof was my paper statements which they don't like sending!
6) The best back up for photos are paper prints and negatives stored in a safe, climate controlled, fireproof location.

Collapse -
I don't care as long as it's cheap

Every really good camera I ever had cost a lot of money and I lost it, except for my Olympus digital model that my gfriend took and gave to her son.

For under $10 (maybe under $5) I can buy a 1-time use camera. If I lose the camera, I don't lose a tear. This is my favorite kind of camera.

I don't care whether it's digital or film as long as it takes 24 pictures at a time and costs less than $5.

Collapse -
Film rocks my socks
by bsue22 / July 11, 2006 11:48 AM PDT

A full frame digital camera such as the Canon 5d costs over 2k. Most of us simply cannot afford such an item. My K2 rebel however does full frame and it was 200 dollars. When the time comes that all digital slrs are full frame and the price is a lot less than it is now.. then maybe it'll be time to abandon film. But as of right now that would be absurd. Plus.. I still see better quality with film over digital.. not much of quality difference but there is some.

Collapse -
Should camera manufacturers abandon film (and please explain
by heb113 / July 11, 2006 11:52 AM PDT

My primary response is to keep film around.
However, since they no longer even make ISO 25, or 64, it's almost a moot point, as those were the really excellent film speeds for doing natural imagery with an older camera. Everything else is for high-speed action photography, or standard, home and family photos.
What ever happened to the low speed films anyway? If a nature photographer wanted to make large, or poster sized images, they were forced to shoot with a 2-1/4", or 5" format camera, or with low speed films for the 35mm, SLR.
Then, I recently learned that even the better digital SLR's can't do multiple exposures like the old, manual cameras did in days of yore. Of course, I'm told that's all possible with the software programs such as Adobe's photoshop, and elements.
However, since accountants are telling business how, and what to do, it probably isn't up to us anymore anyway.
However, if they are listening, bring back ISO's 25, and 64. I miss being able to shoot nature in my way.
And for the new digital camera makers, set them up for 25, and 64 'film' speeds.
You already have large-sized media storage cards, so I know that space is not the issue.

Collapse -
The future is here and it's digital...
by MrLatin / July 11, 2006 12:40 PM PDT

With the advent of higher resolution cameras digital now rivals film. No longer is the darkroom the place for the master... the place is now software like Photoshop and the computer. As much people that are used to cameras want film to remain, ( as we did with vinyl records ), the truth is film has been replaced... Film is way expensive compared to memeory which is reusable over and over... the price of computers has come down and if you don't own one.. you can go to the local store and have the pictures printed from your digital media... Why fight what is already here ? Of course the embedded base of film cameras and the people that will want to appear as if they don't go with the crowd will keep film around for a few years.. Too bad Kodak!!! ( by the way Kodak has some awesome digital cameras for the lay person... I bought one for my daughter and she takes it everywhere and loves it!)

Collapse -
The future just took 3 steps back then!
by gbear1970 / July 11, 2006 2:33 PM PDT

I have used digital for the last 6 years and last week I got out my old film camera.
1. I can get speical effects with film settings
2. I can shoot in the dark with film
3. I can not get pictures of comets, lunar eclipses, star trails, with digital. It will not allow me to control the shutter
4. By the time digital flashes, my wildlife has moved.
5. I can blow up my film pix much larger than my highest resolution digital.
6. Being a good photo editor with top-notch software does not make me a photograhper, it makes me a photo editor. BIG DIFFERENCE!

7. I like both. They have different uses. A truly fine film shot that is scanned in and edited can really be awesome and fun to play with. It just depends on what is important to you. Sometimes I want serious photography, then I use film. When I want a quick pix and some fun on the computer, I go digital.

Collapse -
you need a better digital camera and take 3 steps forward
by rtsphoto / July 11, 2006 3:30 PM PDT

I can get special effects with my digital camera, I can shoot in the dark, I can get pictures of comets, lunar eclipses etc. I can control the shutter f-stop and iso, I have virtually no shutter lag so i can catch anything, I can blow up my pics to 20x30 without problems 35mm has to be dead on for that. It sounds as if your stuck with a point and shoot. Don't think for a second that i would give up my film camera but digital has surpassed film at least at the 35mm format.
It is not warm though like the differance between a CD and an old vinyl record.

Collapse -
3 Steps forward
by gbear1970 / July 11, 2006 3:43 PM PDT

Wow! I am impressed. Really. I knew that a few improvements had been made since I got my camera but either you are way out of my league in price or they have made bigger advances than I thought. Believe me, I love the convience of a digital. My camera equipment sometimes took up more room than my luggage on a trip. If you don't mind, what type camera do you have and about what price range are we talking about? A ballpark figure will do. Thanks! You have me all excited now!

Collapse -
ballpark figure
by NOkiAH / July 12, 2006 3:01 AM PDT
In reply to: 3 Steps forward

you can get a digital rebel XT, an 8 megapixel camera for around $800, and a 75-300 (non image stabilized) zoom for around another $200. These are average prices, you might be able to find them cheaper.

Digital can indeed capture wildlife, though i am still learning, here are some basic shots i took using my digital. Though they aren't the best, it shows that digital really does have potential. (low res files for the web, my camera has much higher output)


Collapse -
by gbear1970 / July 12, 2006 5:36 AM PDT
In reply to: ballpark figure

Just saw you pix! They are great. I am really impressed. I had no idea you could get that with a digital. Well, there goes my savings! Happy Very nice work. Thanks for sharing.

Collapse -
Nice pics!
by JEfromCanada / July 12, 2006 6:02 AM PDT
In reply to: ballpark figure

I'm still reading through all responses before I post my comments, but I had to respond to those pics. They are beautiful.

Collapse -
not a good camera
by NOkiAH / July 12, 2006 2:33 AM PDT

with any digital slr, and most of the more advance point and shoots you can easily control shuter speed, with my canon 20d and my 70-300 IS, i can get up to 30 sec exposures, or longer using bulb. As for your problem with capturing wildlife with digital, again, that is a problem with your camera, not with digital cameras as a whole. The price is high, but i definitely recommend my setup, the 20d with the 70-300, it's allowed me to capture some truly amazing shots... all digital. In regards to your photo editing complaint, look at Ansel Adams. He was a master of editing photos after he took them. The medium with which he did so is different than we use, but if one of the greatest photographers of all time edited his photos, i don't feel ashamed editing mine.

Collapse -
by gbear1970 / July 12, 2006 10:21 AM PDT
In reply to: not a good camera

I am not the one who mentioned Ansel Adams but I do love his work. However, as to his photo editing, what could he do bsides control the amount of time in the developing fluid and crop? That is the extent of my experience in a darkroom. I just played around with developing my own for a couple of years - very crude set up so I am curious.

Popular Forums
Computer Help 49,613 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,349 discussions
Laptops 19,436 discussions
Security 30,426 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,308 discussions
Windows 10 360 discussions
Phones 15,802 discussions
Windows 7 7,351 discussions
Networking & Wireless 14,641 discussions


Free trip to the Grand Prix

Don't miss your chance to win a trip to the Formula 1 Grand Prix in Monaco for you and a plus-one.