Letter of the Week: The War on Film Continues

I have been in the photo retail business since 1978, and have seen many fads come and go. 110, Disc, APS, were all offered as alternates to 35mm, and after awhile faded. Digital is being pushed as a replacement for 35mm, and most people have been taken in by the immediacy and editing possibilities. (We used to study how to take a picture properly the first time.) You had a beautiful shot of the Grand Canyon recently. The artist shot it about 10 ways, and used his computer to create stunning colo

Dear Editor,

I have been in the photo retail business since 1978, and have seen many fads come and go. 110, Disc, APS, were all offered as alternates to 35mm, and after awhile faded. Digital is being pushed as a replacement for 35mm, and most people have been taken in by the immediacy and editing possibilities. (We used to study how to take a picture properly the first time.) You had a beautiful shot of the Grand Canyon recently. The artist shot it about 10 ways, and used his computer to create stunning colors. Art? Yes, but photography?

However, I have heard MANY people say, "I bought (or was given) this digital camera, but I hate it. I'm going back to film!" They don't like the unreliability, extra worries about white balance, file type, resolution, short flash range, (On a film point-and-shoot camera, unzoomed, flash is good at least 10 feet with ASA 100. You need to go much higher on a digital.), battery life, battery availability, card incompatibility, and weird tonal variation in facial close-ups.

A looming problem for us film users is the diminishing options for developing film. Has Kodak recently promoted their processing (whose quality has dropped), or even their film? It seems like they are trying to kill film, so they can say, "No one uses it anymore" If Fuji is smart, they could take over film developing in the U.S., since they still support film. Are we artistic photographers going to let this slide?

Bill Ross
New York City

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