A Professional Photographer’s Journey from Film to Digital

Today, we often take digital cameras for granted. We can adjust our ISO, view our images, and focus the lens all with the touch of a button. There are many who struggled to make the change from film to digital, but once they saw the conveniences it provided, most converted. One who did not is professional photographer Donald McCullin. Famous for his wartime photos, McCullin has been shooting film for around 50 years. Only recently was he introduced to the realm of digital, thanks to Canon. This short film shows McCullin as he tries using a digital camera for the first time:

In the end, it’s safe to say the McCullin thinks digital cameras are simply amazing and provide superior flexibility. He comments on the speed and accuracy of the autofocus and the camera’s ability to shoot in low light. With a digital camera, he says he no longer has to worry if there’s enough light to capture an image. This is most likely referring to digital’s ability to use high ISO settings.

Amongst all of his compliments however, there is one thing he points out that he believes to be a downfall to digital: the LCD screen. He says that people look at the screen too often and that it distracts that photographer from the scene at hand. He believes that once you look away from the viewfinder, you lose a bit of control of the preconception of what’s happening in front of you. It seems that he is much more a proponent of patience when photographing.

“It’s a tragedy I’m so old that, you know, that I couldn’t embark on the career I had with this kind of equipment that would have trebled my archival collection of the life’s work. It would have trebled it.”

don mccullin film digital photography black and white

McCullin says it would take him half a day to create this print whereas it could be done with digital in 5 minutes

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