Film is dead!

For a few years now camera manufacturers have released numerous digital still cameras that have replaced traditional film bodies. From point and shoot to large format professional systems there is now an affordable camera to cover all situations.
With advances in image control, manipulation, storage and transmission, it seems digital cameras are now far superior to the film cameras they replaced. Print production has now all but gone digital both injket and offset has become fully reliant on digital capture.
There are some labs that continue to use photochemical methods of print production due to the huge investment in those systems. I would suggest that high end inkjet quality is now on the verge of wiping out that industry due to the image quality and print longevity on an ever increasing array of print materials. Even color laser quality has improved and is now used for rough proofs.
I no longer consider photography to be digital or traditional, it is what it is. Traditional could be egg white on paper or bitumen on glass. If you are learning still photography it is now by nature, digital.
It seems now that with the introduction of the RED digital cinema camera, Hollywood is about to see the demise of 35 or 70mm film as a standard. Extreme high definition of the 4K files from the RED camera will become the standard as hardware is cheap and editing systems more reliable and affordable.
The RED ONE camera platform can shoot all formats currently except standard definition video. Good riddance to interlaced SD analogue I say. What this means is that all TV studios, live news, feature production, telemovies, drama, sitcom, independent and major release cinema can all be shot on this unique non video digital cinema camera. Perhaps even the word “Video” will disappear to be replaced by something else more fitting.
Just as the term ” desktop publishing” disappeared as all publishing is desktop, non linear digital video and film editing will become one; editing.
With the emergence of competition for main stream television in the form of full HD online content and now Apple TV’s 720p Podcast standard, the RED camera will allow independent content to flourish as a high quality alternative to “Free to air” or Cable broadcast.

As a PhotoGeek I now pronounce chemical emulsion film and print technology, in all it’s forms, DEAD.


  1. Phillip, I see and believe in what you are saying, though I think there is still one big problem though. Without neg’s or positives as physical results of ‘analog’ photography, what is to become of the vast amounts of digital output, whether it be stuck on dvd’s or hard drives, when technology marches on without it.
    In one hundred years time, how much of it will be compatible or in any condition to be accessed by the technology of the future?

  2. Thanks for your comments Justin.

    The same thing that happens to all obsolete technology, it becomes obsolete.
    If there is a reason to preserve images and the financial capacity to do so then it will happen.
    I don’t see too many people printing from half plate glass negs but it is possible. I see heaps of people paying to have VHS tapes converted to DVD.
    If a good print of a digital image is made it will survive as well as many other works of art.
    Besides, with digital files it will be software that does any conversion for future use not some purpose built hardware like a machine that reprints nitro cellulose film to more stable formats.
    All media, photographic, video, film, audio, and all data in any office or government department is archived as digital. I don’t think that one day all that data will suddenly become unreadable.
    I see that happening now as people move photographic libraries to larger SATA drives from IDE. Some put film images via scanners into an “Aperture” database files. As internet connections speed up, task of housing and archiving all that data can be achieved by online services. What ever the digital feed is that re-enters from that storage facility, it will be a pure version of what went in, not corrupted by chemical degradation or climate change.

    All in all the concerns you have should not encourage educators to use film as a means of teaching photographic process. For one thing we are running short of the water we need for more important concerns.

  3. I have to aggree Phillip. I suppose I was coming from a more consumer point of view. I expect professional output to be archived in a manner that will allow access into the future no matter how technology changes, I’m sure as you are that photography will change with it. From the point of view of consumers, digital has allowed a vast increase in the number of photographs taken, though many go un-printed, residing in hard drives or cd’s, and of course consumers are known to be a bit lazy with backing-up from time to time, not having a ‘work flow’ allows the images to go missing and unseen. As we know, much of our social history is sourced from the general population, so will the digital photos taken by ‘Joe Blogs’, some printed, many not, be around for viewing in the future?
    Cheer’s, thanks for the site PhotoGeeks.

  4. Film, it seems, still has a pulse. From a hobbyist perspective there is still a band of absolute geeks (like me?) who are ga-ga over film and film processing. It will be a sad day when film is no longer available … now, where’s that 5D?? Melissa …..!!!

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