Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Is film going away?

Film manufacturers have been discontinuing films since the early 1900s as new films replace them. For instance, in 2010 Kodak Ektar 100 became available in 4x5" and 8x10" sheets.

Radio became popular in the 1920s, and people knew that newspapers would deminish. TV became popular in the 1950s, and everyone thought movie theatres would disappear. Same goes for CDs which were supposed to kill LPs in the, yet we still have newly released LPs. The Internet was supposed to override the telephone in the 2000s, with Skype, yet we still have people buying new phones. History proves that every time a new, cheaper medium, like digital cameras, is invented that the older mediums survive. Even though older media may no longer be as popular as before, they remain commercially viable.

There was a lot of whining because Kodak stopped making Kodachrome in Super-8, in which case people will have to content themselves with Ektachrome and black-and-white which Kodak is still making in Super-8, and you can still buy Tri-X, in Super-8 cartridges right here, at Amazon.

Kodachrome is gone because pros dumped it to upgrade to Fuji around 1990. You can get all the Velvia and better Fuji films you want in Super 8. I don’t know anyone who shoots 8mm, yet you can order it  from Amazon. Therefore I wouldn't worry about 35mm or other formats of still photography going away any time soon.

Digital and film are completely different media, just as oils differ from water-colour. So, begs the question digital vs film, a question which has been debated since the 20th century when digital cameras were invented. Both digital and film photography have advantages and drawbacks. Digital cameras have a variable relationship between resolution and megapixel count and the sensors are generally arranged in a rectangular grid pattern, making images susceptible to artifacts, film is not affected by this because of the random orientation of grains. Estimates of a photograph's resolution taken with a 35 mm film camera vary, a 36 mm x 24 mm frame of ISO 100-speed film has first been estimated to contain the equivalent of 20 million pixels.

Artists and non-artists waste their time comparing specs like resolution and bit depth when they really should just stand back and look at the images.