Black & White: Film or digital?
What to choose when shooting black and white? Digital or film?
Let me preface this by saying that not only did I spend two years in photo school stuck in the darkroom back in the seventies but when I graduated I spent thousands of hours, yes that is THOUSANDs of hours working in a color and black and white darkroom while trying to establish myself as a photographer.
I am NOT tied to any sense of nostalgia because after hand processing thousands of black and white prints it was the final image that was important not the craft of black and white developing and printing.
In my short foray into the world of black and white after a thirty year absence I can say without hesitation that if I never ever saw another enlarger and wet darkroom I wouldn’t miss them one little bit.
It’s simple for me. The results are far superior today to what I would achieve in the darkroom. No contest hands down to my way of seeing the black and white wet darkroom is relegated to the same place that a ’57 Chevy is today. It’s fun to drive but if I want to do any serious driving I am going to drive a vehicle today that is better at everything than the old ’57 was.
From reading the opinions of those who are enamored with the old fashioned way of thinking it seems to me that they probably grew up shooting digital and for them the wet darkroom is a novelty. Those that I have read praising digital over the old way seem to be like me, people who grew up with film and for them and me there is no sense of the good old days.
In the good old days we were always looking for better films and better papers to get the tones that we were after. With a good knowledge of Photoshop and a decent printer I can easily come up with better prints than when I was shooting with my wooden sheet film cameras. Those old or rather new versions of old cameras were good at what they did but they in no way offer me the creative freedom that a good DSLR does today.
If you like to drive old cars, wash your clothes on a scrub board and cook your meals over an open fire and read by candle light then film cameras are probably for you. LOL Me? I’d rather throw something into the microwave and then watch a movie on a big screen HDTV. To each their own, I guess. 😉