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Spot the Difference Between Film and Digital Photos


We’re sorry. Last year, we issued a challenge to our readers to see if they could tell the difference between film and digital. Specifically, we asked readers to see if they could tell the difference between Kodak Tri-X and the Leica M10 Monochrom. You can see the challenge here. I rarely read comments, for my own sanity (it’s not uncommon with journalists). And it wasn’t until an email came in that I decided to make an update to the blog post. But it brings up a whole bigger point.

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One of the comments says that at social media sharing sizes, none of this matters. So now, you, the reader, need to be truthful and honest with yourself. Do you really need anything more than that? Where are your photos going? Are you posting them and selling them? Are you just sharing them as your hobby in various photo groups? Are you trying to become the next big thing on Instagram? 

And here’s the thing, I feel most of you won’t be honest with yourself. You’ll want the maximum image quality just because you can have it. The truth about photography is that pixels matter, but they’re not as important as you think if you can work it. The same goes for gear; it’s important, but so is the rest of photography. And sometimes the truth is that the rest of photography is about how you sell a story. 

I’ve been running The Phoblographer for over 12 years. And I’ve never encouraged pixel peeping. I’ve fought vehemently against it as it’s truly useless these days. It’s useless to the point where I think that judging a lens’ sharpness is a moot point. I’ve considered taking it out of our reviews. Instead, what you think is sharpness is sometimes contrast. Want to know the truth? You can make an older lens look like a brand new chart-topper with a little bit of flash or post-production. Lots of photographers may post-process their images, but that doesn’t mean that a lot of us aren’t sick of it too. And that’s why film is so incredible. Film is tailored from the start to deliver a specific look. 

So, in the end, it’s fair to say that, in the battle of film vs digital, it doesn’t really matter anymore. Digital is great. You can do so much with it as a photographer. There are totally times where I’d rather use a digital camera than my film cameras. But at the same time, every time I pick up my Leicas or Fuji Natura, I feel like I’m rekindling love. If my personal job wasn’t to review a ton of cameras, I’d probably own a bunch of film cameras and maybe two Fuji, Canon, or Leica bodies. But most of what I’d shoot would be film. 

Yes, I know this is a photography blog. I’m aware that thousands of passionate photographers come here every day. I’m very sure lots of you love to geek out about this wonderful hobby. But at the same time, we need to remember the bigger picture. With no pun intended, a good image is all about the moment and the content of the photo. It doesn’t have to necessarily do with stupid technicalities like a line cutting someone’s head off. Those are ideals taught to you that you’d never see or care about otherwise. Instead, you’d care about the pure moment of the photograph. And in the end, I think that’s what we should focus on.


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