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35mm Cameras vs. Digital Cameras

by Paul Sanders

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35mm camera

Photographers continue to debate which is better: digital cameras or 35mm cameras. Reliable 35mm camera technology has been around for a while, but digital offers exciting possibilities. There are definite differences in the way both types of cameras work. And depending on the end use of your images and the ease with which you can manipulate your photos, either digital cameras or 35mm cameras may be better for you. Consider your needs when it comes to cameras and photo, along with these comparison points, before deciding.

35mm Cameras and Digital Cameras:

  1. Resolution: Many high-end 35mm SLR cameras use medium or large format film, which have very high resolutions. Also, the finer the film grain, the more pixels you get per image with a 35mm camera. The resolution for digital cameras and digital SLRs is linked to the image sensor, measured in megapixels. Digital SLR cameras have very high megapixel counts, and the difference between them and 35mm SLR cameras is negligible for all but the most professional user.

  2. Sensor size: The digital camera sensor, or CCD, can affect selective focusing and light sensitivity. The CCD is smaller than 35mm film, so it uses less light to capture an image. This means you need a wider aperture to get the same selective-focus control that a 35mm camera has. You may also get more pixel noise with a digital camera that has a smaller sensor. With a digital camera or digital SLR camera, a bigger CCD can alleviate these problems. A 35mm camera or 35 mm SLR uses film to capture light, so the light sensitivity is connected to the film used.

  3. Dynamic range: Professionals debate whether 35mm cameras or digital cameras have a greater dynamic range, the range of luminance. The debate is related to the CCD, which is the part of a digital camera that captures the light and digitally encodes it, and how wide the range of colors it can capture is. Again, the answer to which is better depends on what your end use for the photos will be. For regular snapshots, a regular digital camera is great. If you're taking photos to be blown up into large prints, you may want a high dynamic range from a digital SLR camera or 35mm SLR camera.

  4. Final image display: Depending on the way the final image will be viewed, the difference between 35mm cameras and digital cameras might be big or small. If you'll be viewing your photos on a computer screen or television, even photos on low-resolution digital cameras will still look great.

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