The instant gratification of digital lures and delights me. Viewing an image within seconds of having pushed the shutter release still thrills me--"ooh, ooh, let's see!!" These days, images flash around the world as they are happening; we see our world evolving as it's happening. No more waiting for film processing-just load and send anywhere in the world. Wondering whether your pictures of your great-aunt Betsy's 100th birthday party came out or having the lab ruin the pictures from your amazing vacation is also a thing of the past.
But will it last? Film has a certain durability that, so far, digital hasn't proven as technology constantly outgrows itself. Yesterday's technological breakthrough becomes today's relic-quickly discarded as technology moves on. While we can still create stunning prints from 100 year old negatives, I'm not so sure about digital images from even 10 years ago.
Looking at my own images, I sigh, knowing that by scanning in my slides and negatives from even 20 years ago, I can have better quality images than the ones I shot just 5 years ago on a new 7MP digital camera. Of course, today's hand-held cameras go up to 39MP, which would certainly outrank a scanned 35mm slide or negative (if you have an extra $40K burning a hole through your pocket.)
Another thing I consider is the electronic components of digital photography. When I first started learning photography, I bought myself a completely manual film camera (ok, so film was the only thing available back then...) that worked without batteries. That camera worked no matter what-as long as I pushed the button, the shutter clicked. I even dropped it a few times and never had a problem with it.
These days, my teachers tell us to be ready for something, anything, to go wrong- and have backups. Batteries die, flashes don't work, cameras drop (and break); but for anyone shooting digitally, I'd say backing up your files ranks at the top. I've heard stories of students losing all their work because their computer or hard drive crashed. Ouch. It would be like having all your negatives go up in flames-you can never get those back.
Of course, digital has its benefits (as I mentioned before- one of my favorites is the instant gratification!!) It also affords one so much flexibility in manipulating the images that it becomes fascinating to play with an image and create all sorts of effects without ever distorting the original. Using traditional film and processing, this would not be possible (for example, in cross-processing, you can never go back and re-process.)
Digital capture also freed many people to experiment in what types of shots they are taking without having to worry about the cost of processing. I mean, how amazing that someone can take hundreds of pictures without worrying about the processing cost? This serves as a double edged sword though, because along those lines, potentially less thought is given to what is being photographed, with the idea that "i'll just delete what I don't like." Photography, at its core, is about seeing and communicating that through the medium, not just clicking away; that prohibitive cost of processing also made the photographer think a bit more about what images he/she recorded.
So, both have their advantages. I'm certainly not about to give up my digital camera because the technology has not yet surpassed film. But I'm not getting rid of my film cameras either.
P.S....I've turned on word verification because it seems spam is picking up a bit (and I don't need no stinkin' spam!!)