Disadvantages of Digital Photography

FIGURE 3-3 A low resolution shot of a flower arrangement (left) shows how much of the detail and subtlety can be lost from shooting an image that does not have the same number of megapixels as the one on the right.

Some of the advantages of digital photography can also be considered disadvantages. The technology itself is a small disadvantage when it comes to investing in image storage, although memory cards can be used over and over again, and it is now possible to purchase one gigabyte memory cards for around $15. However, although the memory cards used for storing images in digital cameras are moderately inexpensive, they can still malfunction occasionally. Film might be of questionable quality at times, but it is widely available and relatively cheap. Most of the kinks have been worked out in today's digital cameras, but the cheaper models can have these drawbacks:

  • Less through-the-lens creativity. While digital images can be endlessly manipulated with imaging software, the lenses on the low-end point-and-shoots can be limiting. Unless you can afford the higher-end point-and-shoots or professional digital setups with interchangeable lenses, or your camera can be fitted with auxiliary lenses, you're limited to the capabilities of the lens on your camera. However, this is true of film cameras, too.

  • Poor image quality on enlargements with low-end cameras. Most digital cameras these days produce images that are as good as those achieved with film. In fact, you probably won't see any difference between digital and film images unless you enlarge them to 8” × 10”; then the difference can be noticeable on digital cameras of less than two megapixels.

  • Shutter lag. Digital cameras have to analyze the scene before they record an image. This can cause a delay between the time the shutter button is pressed and the instant the picture is taken, which sometimes means you miss the height of action. This issue is rapidly becoming a nonissue as the technology improves; much depends on the make and model chosen. Casio's Exilim EX-S500 claims to have a shutter lag of only 0.008 of a second. The latest generation of processors in cameras are noticeably faster and allow the camera to do its job faster, minimizing shutter lag.

  • Cost. The technology necessary to get good pictures is still a bit more expensive than using film-based cameras. The upside is you can see image quality before making prints.

  • Print quality. It takes a special printer and special paper to make quality digital prints. However, they will be of the same quality as photographic prints. Prints made on industry leaders such as Epson color printers are of archival quality and will last as long as traditional photographic prints. Those ordered commercially are of excellent quality also.

  • Other print problems. When you shoot with film, technical mistakes such as bad color balance and poor exposure can be corrected in the lab. Digital imaging puts that responsibility back on the shoulders of the photographer. The result is that can you spend quite a bit of your time fixing pictures so they print properly. This is the digital equivalent of the home darkroom.

  • The truth is that there have been several generations of digital cameras, and most manufacturers have worked out their initial bugs and done a great deal to enhance digital technology.

    1. Home
    2. Photography
    3. The Digital Revolution
    4. Disadvantages of Digital Photography
    Visit other About.com sites: