The old digital versus film debate is dead. Or, at least it should be. Digital has won. There is no doubt that as we move forward digital photography will be the dominant game in town. However, this does not mean that film is dead. Just because we've acquiesced to the dominance of digital photography does not automatically mean that there is no place for film. There is, very much so. Here are just a couple of reasons why you should go out and buy a roll of 35mm Tri-X today, right now!
You should shoot film because you can. This will not always be the case. Although I believe film stock will be widely available for many years yet, it is increasingly becoming more and more difficult to find a lab. Photo labs are evaporating before our very eyes. In Montreal, Canada, the “New York” of the north, there is but one actual commercial lab still processing true black and white film. That's worrisome. So, shoot it while you can. Get that “analogue” experience so that you can reminisce to your grandchildren about film photography.
The next reason is analogue camera prices. There has never been a better time to buy a film camera. The market is flooded with them, as people are running to digital, and this is driving prices down – way down. Mint Hasselblad 500C's have recently been seen for well below a thousand dollars. Imagine, one of the best cameras ever made for that price. The same thing can be said for Leica and their M series cameras. The M6 was once upon a time only for the most elite photographers – today pretty much anyone can get their hands on one. So do it.
The third reason to shoot film may be the most important one. Shooting film slows you down and forces you to think before you fire the shutter. When you pay, literally, for every shot you take you will quickly learn to work more carefully. This is a cruel skill to develop in this all-things-digital age. So many of the photographs out there today today lack a certain degree of quality and much of this can be traced back to the lack of thought process behind its composition and subject matter. If you can learn to shoot well on film you will be a much better photographer when you move to digital. Is this the only way to learn the skills associated with great photography. No, absolutely not, of course. But, shooting film does work, so why not?
Do not get trapped in the film versus digital debate. Do not feel as though you have to chose a side, you do not. Shoot both and enjoy the benefits that each has to offer. There has never been a better time to have a film camera in one hand and a digital one in the other. And, it will not last forever. So go out now and make some negatives – believe me, it will be nothing but positive.