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(disclosure: I shoot film essentially exclusively. I think it's pretty awesome.)

I think the whole "Digital vs. Film" question is a canard. Or possibly a red herring. Or even a dead horse. Certainly some sort of animal metaphor is appropriate.

In the decade this debate has been going on, I have never seen a decent answer to the question that didn't boil down to "each has pros and cons, it boils down to what you like more."

In the community sense, my experience on film forums and groups gives me the strong feeling that if there's an obviously hostile film/digital atmosphere, there won't ever be a significant group of knowledgeable film users, and I feel that would be significant loss.

I suppose it's a double-edge question: which of the existing questions do people feel have merit?

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I think some of the questions asked have merit. For example, there was one question asked about "What kind of photography is still better done with film cameras?" While film and digital, when given apples to apples comparisons (i.e. 35mm film vs. full-frame digital), are very comparable these days...there are areas where film still has a lead, such as large format.

Another legitimate question was "Is it possible to make infrared photography with digital cameras?" I would not classify that as a "holy-war" type question...it is a legitimate question that has specific, factual answers. I think it should be allowed.

I think the subjective, war-starting kind of questions are along the lines of "Film versus digital." That question, as well as "Nikon vs. Canon" and any other subjective direct comparison type questions are just begging for a flame war. They should be watched carefully and closed, perhaps on principal, but certainly if they get out of hand.

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  • That's interesting: Your first example is actually the kind of thread that's a bit on the wrong end of the scale for me, because I think the idea of "having a lead" is flawed to begin with. I think this shows in the answers a bit too: pretty subjective, true in only fairly narrow, technical senses (like mine about pinhole), or 'not even wrong' (i.e., just misinformed or off-base, even though they're friendly and well-meant).
    – ex-ms
    Jul 25 '10 at 20:55
  • @Smillie: If we take the large-format (i.e. 4x5) film argument as an example...would you disagree that film has a distinct advantage, or lead, over digital in that area? I think that medium and large format is an area where film has a distinct lead, not only in the format size, but in cost as well. Even if I have to spend money on film development materials and a darkroom for 4x5, I'll still spend considerably less (over a period of years even) than the $60,000 it would take to buy a Hasselblad H4D-60 digital medium format camera. I still don't have a large format with the H4D.
    – jrista
    Jul 27 '10 at 5:03
  • Also regarding the first example...you noted that the cases were true only in narrow, technical senses. The question explicitly asked which kinds of photography were still better done with film cameras. That kind of dictates that the answers will deal with those "narrow" cases where film still does have a lead over digital. The question is not asking why film is better than digital in all cases...it is explicitly asking for the narrow cases.
    – jrista
    Jul 27 '10 at 5:06
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Just vote down or mark for closing what you find unacceptable. There probably won't be any additional measures taken, as this site is, after all, defined by community.

I think the discussions have been reasonable and not too hot.

Disclosure: I shoot some film too and have asked some of the film-related questions.

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  • I'm a little concerned about voting down in the normal SO mode as an effective option, mostly because (at least in my experience) if it shows up prominently, most film users – and definitely the best ones – just won't even bother with the community in the first place; e.g., given the high quality of information on APUG, why come here & deal with that? So fewer people to vote it down. I'd love to be wrong, obviously, which is why I'm trying to encourage it higher on people's radar.
    – ex-ms
    Jul 25 '10 at 20:45
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Frankly, at a quick glance, all of those questions seem fine, and there isn't any hostility.

I believe this is a situation that does not require a proactive response. If hostility or holy wars start to arise, let's deal with it then. But there are plenty of legitimate questions about the differences between the two, and lots of flow between the two technologies. IMO this should be welcomed, not shunned because it might in theory cause tension.

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