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Digital or Film

Digital or Film Format

The final choice of which format the photographs are taken on is usually dictated by the client's needs, although the decision is usually made after the client and photographer discuss the uses to which the photographs are to be put.

The photographic objectives of the shoot and how the images are going to be used afterwards determine the most appropriate format. In most circumstances, nowadays, professional digital format will be preferred by most aerial photographers. This is because the quality achievable with the latest professional cameras is now considered better than 35 mm film and at least as good as medium- format sized film. Also, the convenience of using digital, with the benefits of instant feedback of the shots to check composition and exposure and the flexibility of taking RAW images etc, usually makes digital the format of choice for most professional photographers.

There are certain situations, however, where professional (ie larger than 35 mm) film formats may have some advantages over certain digital formats. For instance, if the end uses of the images are very large exhibition panels or large roadside posters, medium or larger film formats are considered by some photographers to still possibly have the edge on quality when extreme enlargements are needed.

However, 'digital backs' of certain professional cameras now have extremely high resolution sensors that they can now match or better many film formats, and these sensor are improving constantly. With regard to long term storage of images, some authorities who are involved with archiving images for posterity are currently uncertain about the long-term retrieval of digital images when the technology the image is recorded on today may not available in the future.

This is a reducing concern as formats and technology are becoming more standardised because of this problem, but never-the-less, this issue is still debated in some circles.

For the vast majority of uses nowadays, however, digital is the format of professional choice.

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