I have an ignorant question for which I will apologize in advance: Other than the joy of working with film and film processing, is there a technical reason to use that medium instead of digital? I ask because I still have a very good Nikon F3, my ancient SRT-101, and an equipped black and white darkroom.
Film and digital are different mediums. Each can do things the other can't, and each has
a different look. Also, the nature of the market for photography equipment has changed.
How much for for a 8 x 10" sheet of film? $5. How much for an 8 x 10" image sensor?
No such thing. For an 8 x 10" sensor array, get a bid from Lockheed Martin.
How do you shoot IR with a film camera? Load a roll of IR film and screw an IR-pass filter onto
front of the lens. How do you shoot IR with a digital camera? If it's one of the few models that
can be converted, you pay someone to replace the filter on the sensor. Henceforth, it will be no
good for taking regular photos.
How long does it take to load a different film into your 35 mm camera? A couple minutes. How long
does it take to load a different sensor into your digital camera? You can't.
How much for a B&W Film? $7-12 roll. How much for a digital camera with a monochrome sensor?
Only one such digital camera for phography is made: the Leica M9 Monochrome. $8000
All other digital B&W is decolorized color. A color image sensor requires three photocells with colored
filters (Color Filter Array -- CFA) to make one color pixel, and so has approximately one-third the resolution,
three times the noise, and reduced dynamic range vs. a true monochrome sensor (which is why monochrome
is popular in outdoor security cameras).
How do you get rid of grain? Use a slower, fine grain film and a fine grain developer. How do you get rid
of noise in a digital sensor? Chill the sensor to near absolute zero (0° K = −459.67° F) with liquid helium
(boils at 4° K = −452.2 °F).
Digital can do everything that film can do--but it will cost you $1 million for the camera and cryogenic
BTW, the highest resolution image capture known is also the very first commercially successful process:
Daguerreotype, introduced by Louis Dageuerre in 1839. Daguerreotypes are fragile and cannot be
copied, and are difficult to scan --- but the resolution is phenomenal. A modern example (remember
this is just a digital scan--the original is far higher resolution):
"Sawmill Creek" by John Hurlock, 2002http://www.moderndags.com/Sawmill%20Creek%2005_04_02%20copy.jpg
"Progress" means improved profits and marketability, not necessarily improved images. The consumer
wants small, cheap and automated, so that's what gets made. Back when most cameras were bought by
professionals, it was a different story.
Your Minolta SRT-101 and Nikon F3 are all metal--not plastic. They will still be working long after
every digital camera in existence today has bit the dust. And if anything does go wrong with them
(e.g, the light seals on the door), it can be fixed.
Board-level repairs of mutli-layer surface-mount printed-circuit boards is so difficult that it rarely
is attempted. Digital = disposable.