Cult Cameras – The Yashica T4 Super D (Part 2: Film vs. Digital)

In Part 1, we introduced you to the cult camera that is the Yashica T4, made famous by Terry Richardson. And as discussed before, Film is Dead. In terms of the economics, the way we consume photography has changed to the point where 35mm film is relegated to a niche for hobbyists, purists, and hipsters. Film will never see the mainstream light of day again. But, when the automobile took over for the horses, we still loved our steeds. Today, we still love film. Instagram, Facebook, and the native iPhone Camera app all have “filters” to emulate the film look. Is it just nostalgia? Or is there something missing from digital?

Digital Sterility vs. Film Texture

Do you remember the Super 8? The film movie cameras, not the motel chain. It was slightly before my time, but I certainly recognize it when I see it. If you take a look at the Lexus commercial below, it captures the feeling of “film” very well.

Film has a texture to it, or as Patrick Bateman might say, “the tasteful thickness of it“. It is a feeling that digital doesn’t have. Digital is clean, precise, and sterile. The way our Bayesian sensors interpolate color and light is just fundamentally different from photo reactive emulsions on acetate. Neither one is “better” than the other. You can make the same argument against film, that it cannot reproduce the “grainless” look of digital. The two mediums are just “different.”

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