short schrift

22 August 2015 -- click here for earlier articles

timer

 

How much does time matter? Well, obviously, a lot when you're developing film. But does digital photography save that much time as compared with silver halide?

An interesting question. A lot depends on what you want, and on how much you do yourself. If you're content with what your mobile 'phone captures, and show everyone the pictures on the miserable little screen on the front, then yes, it saves a vast amount of time. Whether anyone wants to see your pictures is another matter, but then, 'twas ever thus.

Suppose you're serious, though. You take pictures with a real camera; you take the film to a lab, or if they're digital, you download them to your computer; you look through them. Depending on where you live, it often takes about as much time to drop your film off at a lab, and then pick it up again, as it does to process it, so that's a zero-sum game. Downloading is probably quite a bit quicker. Scanning film is a LOT slower. But now we come to post-production...

Because you can do so much more on screen, and undo it, and re-do it, and because you don't have to spend money on expensive paper as you work towards the perfect print, it seems quite likely to me that a good digital print probably takes at least as long as a good silver halide print – except perhaps with black and white, where you'll never get quite the same result anyway. In that sense, unless you're happy with a different (though not necessarily inferior) digital print, it takes forever.