The Difference Between Digital Cameras and Film Cameras

A single class in photography will help you to take better pictures faster than you thought possible. A few basic pointers like learning how to look your subject in the eye, how to make it a point to choose a proper background, and how to move in closer to your subject can make an immediate difference in the quality of your photos.

Still, this is just the beginning. Once you’re hooked by an artistic impulse to capture life’s transient beauty, you’ll want to learn more about the technical details about how to use a camera.

The next photography class you take will be different. You won’t ask your instructor fundamental questions like “How do I use flash outdoors?” Or ” How do I lock the focus.” Instead, you’ll ask technical questions like, “What’s an F-stop?” Or “How do I determine the flash range?”

At some point in your evolution as a photographer, you’ll ponder the inevitable question: it is better to take pictures with a digital camera or a regular one?  You’ll be curious about the differences in settings and features and try to work out whether one produces a better image than the other.

Since this is a frequently asked question, let’s take a look at the difference between using a digital camera versus using a regular camera to help you decide which you might prefer.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Digital Cameras & Photography


  • A digital camera is lightweight, has a built-in filter, and has a tiny memory card that doesn’t need much storage space. 
  • The memory card is rather amazing because it can store far more images than a dozen rolls of photographic film.
  • The quality of the photographs you can take with a digital camera for large prints is excellent because it’s range of 12 to 20 megapixels provide a high enough resolution.
  • You’ll also enjoy the satisfaction of being able to view your images quickly. And you can even use photo-editing software to improve your images on your camera or on your computer.


  • A digital camera is more expensive to buy, and you need some computer savvy skills to be able to manage and edit your images. Since technology is also advancing at such a rapid rate, digital cameras become obsolete at a faster rate.
  • The camera is an energy hog, consuming far more battery energy than a film camera. For that reason, you’ll need to have plenty of extra batteries with you to make sure that your camera stays charged. 
  • The camera can be difficult to focus, especially when the light is low. 
  • You must be meticulous about doing backups because digital storage can often be lost for one reason or another.
  • One thing you’ll notice is that the images you’ll get are neither as subtle as those captured by a film camera nor as detailed in whites and blacks.

Advantages & Disadvantages of Film Cameras & Photography


  • A film camera costs far less than a digital camera and it has a superior resolution.
  • Since the film also delivers a much higher dynamic range, this means that you can captures more details in whites and blacks. 
  • Photography is a lot more forgiving. You can get away with small focusing issues or with minor exposure problems.


  • A film camera is comparatively heavier than a digital camera of the same size, the film storage takes up quite a bit of space and buying and developing your film is an ongoing cost.
  • After you’ve taken your picture, you have no idea how it turned out, which means you’ll spend money on developing bad photographs. 
  • Unless you happen to have your own darkroom, you must rely on a lab to help you with development.

Which is Better?

As you can see, it’s not easy to decide which is better.

Both digital and film cameras have their respective advantages and disadvantages. While you might become an aficionado of one over the other, it’s just as possible that you decide to work with both mediums.

In the final analysis, you can take great, high-quality images with either type of camera. Your decision on which is better depends on your photographic career, your budget, and your needs.

Written by

Ryan Robinson

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