Digital vs. Traditional Photography

Perhaps the best example of how advancing technology played a role in photography is the transition of developing photos in the dark room to digital photography. Depending on the type of camera used in traditional photography, people would have to load film onto a spool and develop it, then make larger prints on photo paper. Or if it was a camera like a pinhole, they would simply place the photo paper in the developer to watch image appear.

 However, the development of digital photography has made the entire process a lot easier and the development time a lot shorter. All of the photographs are stored on a memory card which can be loaded onto your computer or at a store photo printer. “Digital cameras can do some things that traditional cameras cannot, such as sharing photos over the Internet, viewing them on your TV, and the image quality of digital photography is improving almost as rapidly as fast as prices are dropping.” 1

Digital cameras have shutters and lenses like a traditional camera but rather than record images on light-sensitive film, they record their images into a light-sensitive semiconductor known as a charge-coupled device, or CCD. [1] Light passes through red, blue, and green filters to produce color images. Another technological advancement is that unlike film, memory is reusable and therefore several photos can be captured on the card and nothing has to be replaced before taking the next photo. Photos can be easily duplicated and manipulated electronically as well.

Digital photography does not replace the actual process and interest in watching your photograph develop right in front of you.  But this technological advancement has generated a greater interest in photography and some people actually work with traditional photography as well.  

Many people believe that one of the downfalls of digital photography is their archival quality – they fade rather quickly.[2] Technological advancements are continually being made but they still can’t stand against the long lasting image of a traditional print. The argument for this point is that since digital images are so easily accessible, they can be reprinted at any time off your computer.

[1] O’Malley, Chris. “The Digital Option: Cameras for the Communication Age.” Popular Science, 1996: 90-91.

[2] Suess, Bernhard J. Digital vs. Traditional Photography. (accessed April 23, 2010).


4 responses to “Digital vs. Traditional Photography

  1. I agree digital photography is a lot easier than going into a darkroom and developing film. Its only expected for people to try to find a downfall to the digital technology so they can only improve the process.

  2. I agree that digital photography has, in a way, taken away from the over all meaning of photography to the people. Digital photography takes away from the effort that people put into the process in comparisson to the traditional form of photography. Because of this distancing from the effort required in development people become less likely to keep their work for a long period of time due to the ease of digital photography.

  3. I love traditional photography! Digital photography, yes, is easier but I feel that it loses something in the easy. When you are working in the darkroom I feel a real connection with my image but when I am photoshopping a digital image I lose the connection. I wish more people still did traditional photography.

  4. I agree. Digital photography takes away the effort of traditional photography. People don’t understand how hard it used to be just to get one perfect print.

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