Film vs Digital – instant feedback

I recently blogged about some of the disadvantages of digital SLR photography.

Now for some of the advantages.

The thing I find hardest to get right when I take photos is getting the correct exposure.

I have always let the camera take care of it, with (predictably) very mixed results.

Of course, one of the great things about digital is that instant feedback of seeing your photo on the little screen.

The first photo I took in New Zealand was of some rolling hills with blue sky and white clouds in the background.

I set up the shot, checked everything was as I wanted it and fired the shutter.

I waited for the screen to display the image and immediately realised the exposure was wrong. The sky was completely overexposed, I had lost my clouds and it was now completely white.

So I deleted it and this time exposed for the sky (by zooming in on just the sky then looking the exposure on that), then took it again.

That was more like it. The hills were a little darker but the overall effect was much closer to what had first attracted me to the scene.

Film camera 0, Digital Camera 1.

This pattern repeated itself through the holiday, until I was able to predict reasonably well how a scene would turn out and I could then expose correctly for it in advance.

I also found that rather than zoom in on the sky and lock the exposure it was easier to just adjust the exposure compensation down by 2/3 of a stop or so (important to set it back after each photo session though!).

It’s also very useful when taking photos in difficult light situations, like sunsets. You can just experiment until you get it just right, then delete all the tests.

The instant feedback you get is also useful for checking that random things like fences and crisp packets didn’t creep into the corner of your shot.

More next time on some of the other advantages of digital over film.

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