Thursday, 28 June 2012


Our journalist who wrote the 'Photo Time' article had so much more to say! He wrote this little bit about digital photography and traditional film photography, the darkroom and camera lenses.. So give it a read - it's pretty interesting! Over to Francois Joubert:

Digital versus Film
All modern day cameras are digital cameras, but if you go back ten years, digital was only starting to take over from the film cameras. If you go even further back, you will find that film was the king of photography for over 100 years!

What is film? Film is the stuff that the camera uses to create the picture on, much like the canvas on which you paint a painting. Like canvas, film can only be used for one picture and that is why you had to constantly buy it. On the surface of the film there is a very fine layer of chemicals that react to light and it is these chemicals that create the picture.
Digital works very differently, the digital sensor acts as the film in a digital camera, but the picture can be removed from the sensor and is then saved on the memory card. A sensor acts more like a blackboard then: where you can constantly draw pictures on it and erase them to draw new ones. The reason why digital took so long to overtake film is because the technology to make the quality of a digital camera better than the quality of a film camera was very hard to manufacture.

There are still people today that prefer to use film rather than digital cameras, because the quality of film is so spectacular! The problem with film is that after you take the picture you still have to do a lot of chemical processes on the film before you can actually look at your picture, where with digital cameras you can see your picture immediately. You also have to buy film to take pictures, where with digital it is all free except for the memory card used to store the photos on.

The darkroom
The darkroom is exactly what the name says it is, it is a dark room. The darkroom is a room that is used to perform chemical processes on film so that the picture can be seen. These processes are called 'developing the film'. After you've developed the film, you can see the picture on the film itself, but if you want a picture, you have to print the film on a piece of paper by using a certain machine, depending on the type of film you used. The reason you have to do all these things in the darkroom is because the film still has the chemicals on it that reacts to light and you have to do the developing in very low to no light conditions. Even some of the paper used for printing is sensitive to certain types of light. 'Black and white' paper can safely be used in red light as seen in movies, but colour paper cannot be used in any type of light. Developing photos in a darkroom takes a lot of effort and even more patience, and is one of the leading reasons that film is not used so widely today.

Did you know the first cameras did not have lenses? They were only boxes with a small hole in one side and a piece of film on the opposite side. So simple! A lens makes a camera much more versatile though, as well as the quality of the image a whole lot better. Today, you get a wide variety of lenses. Some lenses are specifically made to take photos of small things really close up, like a magnifying glass, while other lenses can zoom very far and others can take a single picture of a very wide area from close by.

There are two parts of a camera: the lens and the body. The body is the part with all the knobs and dials, and where the digital sensor or film is located. Most everyday cameras you can buy have the lens built into the body of the camera, but on the more professional cameras, the lenses can be removed and interchanged with one another. A very common saying in photography is: “A camera is only as good as its lens”, so no matter how good your camera is, if you have a low quality lens, your pictures will be low quality as well.

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