Five Problems With Digital Photography

Or, The Dark Side Of Digital Photography

Digital photography is the future, if not already the present of photography.

Of that, there is no doubt. However, there are some potential problems in digital photography that are often swept under the rug by the digital photo zealots.

This is not meant to be any kind of discouragement to anyone still considering going into digital photography.

I myself have not used a roll of film for any use in over two years. There is a good chance I may never use a roll of film again. It is important to be aware that there those out there that are always doom and gloom and just cannot accept the change. Do not listen to them.

If you know the potential problems with digital photography, you can better deal with them.

Some problems are being addressed by manufacturers and are being researched, these problems will eventually be fixed and digital photography my eventually outdo film in these cases. Other problems are unique to the way people currently look at digital photography and digital cameras. This type of problem will only be solved by individuals changing themselves.

Alright, ready for the 5 top problems with digital photos?

First, digital cameras do not have the dynamic range that the negative film you used to use, had.

What is dynamic range? Simply put, dynamic range is the difference between the brightest white with detail and the darkest black with detail. You are more likely to find heavy shadows or burnt out highlights. A digital photo at the beach could easily give you problems with a dark subject or an overly bright sky or sand. Digital photos with flash often have a washed out highlight on faces.

Is this terrible? It is not too bad. Many pros think of digital photography like shooting slide film which has a similar dynamic range. This is one of the problems that I am sure digital cameras will improve to the point it beats film.

Second, digital photos were presented as photo quality long before many would agree they were truly equal to film.

While a 2 megapixel camera will make great 4×6 photos, nearly anyone with decent eyesight can tell the difference between a good 35mm photo and a 2 megapixel camera at 8×10 size. Not only the lack of resolution will show but color transitions will also show some problems. A three or four megapixel camera will be much harder to see a difference but film would still provide a better picture.
Who would buy a 2 megapixel camera nowadays, you think? Well, people do buy them, but that is not the real point. I just recently heard a commercial exaggerating the ability of 4 megapixel cameras. Digital cameras now do provide film quality in detail and color gradation at the six megapixel range. Of course if you thought your Kodak Disc camera took great photos, go ahead and buy a two megapixel camera. If you are really trying to economize, you may be happy with a 5 megapixel camera but I would discourage anyone from purchasing anything with a resolution less that 5 megapixels.

Third, often digital photos are presented as more easy to fix than they really are.

There is the idea, that since it is digital, a bad photo can be fixed up in Photoshop later. Bad photography, fixed in Photoshop, is still bad photography. Movies and television often show computer fixes that just are not really possible or are very expensive and time consuming. Often, people see this science fiction and think it can be done, when the opposite is actually true. The JPEG format that most cameras save images in, does not allow corrections to be made to the file without a loss of quality occurring. Whenever you make changes to a digital file, at least a small bit of information is lost. The larger the changes made, the more information that is lost. Small changes may not make as much of a difference.
Combined with the lower dynamic range, many professionals have had to start being much more careful with exposure than they were with negative film.

There are two more problems with digital photography covered on page two.

Page Two of The Dark Side Of Digital Photography


About James Thoenes

James has spent most of his life involved in photography. He is now dedicated to producing portraits that his clients will treasure for the rest of their lives.