Navigation Home Gallery Blog Articles Tools and Reference About Links

Film is digital and digital is analog

Posted 12 January, 2007 in Op-Ed

Think you’re cutting edge and cool because you lead an up-to-the-minute digital lifestyle and shoot digital because film is old? Fuck you! Think you’re more virtuous than the unwashed infidel masses because you shoot film and only listen to music on vinyl? Fuck you, too! Of course if you’re in either of these groups, you’re probably unperturbed by facts anyway, but you both can suck on this:

Film is a binary medium. Either enough photons hit a particular grain of silver halide to alter its charge—after which it will turn into a grain in the developed image—or not. There or not, on or off, 1 or 0, with nothing in between. Film is binary.

Sensors in digital cameras are inherently analog devices. Each sensor site responds to light by producing a continuously variable ("analog") voltage which is then converted to a numeric value by an analog to digital converter.

So use the right tool for the job—whatever that is for you at a given time and task—and shut the fuck up already.




Pingback from a crank’s progress :: links for 2007-01-13

[…] Film is digital and digital is analog shup up and shoot already! (tags: film photography) […]

Pingback from sparkrobot » The Film Clearance

[…] Everyone’s gone digital. I understand this. Me too. Quite an assessment of the state of film vs. digital over at Photon Detector yesterday. […]

Joergen Geerds

I do it all: analog-digital and digital-digital, depending on my mood.

Mike Dougan

I’ve gone from digital to film. Nothing beats 120 film. Dosen’t matter what you shoot it in the quality is so much better than my 5D.


I can’t agree with you more. I personally have a ton of fun mixing the two in the same image/photograph and I wish more people would join me.

Matthew MacCarthy

I invite all of you to deconstruct the “Film is a binary medium” statement. Basically all he is saying that without light film doesn’t work. WOW! That’s brilliant! Did you come up with that all by yourself?

As a professional Cinematographer, my “loyalty” to film is little more than a loyalty to quality. Film records light, and in my case light in motion (which introduces a new dimension of variables), with superior quality. The idea that quality is somehow a subjective idea open for debate is retarted. Personally, I am thrilled that my industry has been saturated by point and shoot digital hacks, becuase it has served to increase the value of work shot on film, especially work shot well. My rate has gone up, and I am more respected by talented Directors who understand and appreciate the value of a Cinematographer who functions within the realm of the absolute highest quality. So please, keep pointing and shooting with your toy cameras, keep making me look good!

Nicolai Morrisson

Um, no. Basically all I’m saying is all I’m saying, which is clearly written above. Maybe you’d care to read and respond to what’s actually there?

The idea that quality is somehow a subjective idea open for debate is retarted. [sic]

Really? What, precisely, is the list of attributes and the unambiguous scale that image quality is evaluated on?

I could make a snarky comment about how most of “our” toy cameras shoot 56×56mm frames for a per-frame area of 3,163 square mm, while your piddly Academy 22×16mm frames have an area of 352mm (and have enlargement factors many times what we do), and who are you to get high and mighty about image quality. But you’re a highly paid Cinematographer With A Capital C, respected by Directors With Capital Ds, so clearly that wouldn’t matter, would it?

But really, I can’t figure out what you’re trying to say here, other than that you seem to have a problem with low-fi still cameras. If you want to talk about it, great, but to do that, you have to actually, you know, talk about it.


**The idea that quality is somehow a subjective idea open for debate is retarted**

the statement above is below retardation.


Add a comment

Comment preview

Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.