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[filmscanners] Re: film and scanning vs digital photography



I am going to raise a different issue regarding the film versus digital
issue for consideration.  It has little to do with image quality, but
instead environmental quality.

For years Kodak and others told us that photographic materials
manufacturing processes, photo chemicals and lab film and paper
processing had little impact on water quality and pollution of water.
We were told that silver was captured and recycled and that other
chemicals either were reclaimed or biodegradable.

We pretty much accepted this as fact.  But Sweden and other countries
which monitor water quality with considerable frequency have been
reporting changes as digital imagery has taken over for film and print
imaging, that indicates what were told wasn't true at all.

Levels of silver salts (which are quite toxic) and many other
photographic industry related components have successively lessened
considerably from water supplies.  Analysis has concluded these came
directly from the manufacture and moreso processing of photographic
materials, and as silver halide based image production have lowered so
have these toxic pollutants.

The other side of this coin is that film cameras used to be "updated" by
a couple bucks worth of the newest roll of film on the market.  A
digital camera pretty much is frozen in time, and may face rapid
obsolescence.  However, the evolution in digital is rapidly reaching the
point where the current technology is more than adequate for most people
until that camera fails to work.

If nothing else, as wonderful as film may be, or may have been, I'm not
sure we can afford the cost to the environment for any extra value it
might provide.  In the majority of cases, digital meets or exceeds the
needs of most photographic reproduction.

So, on environmental grounds, I am not sad to see film being replaced
with electronic methods, and non-silver image production.  It won't be
the first method to become obsolete due to its health (planetary of
otherwise) related risks.  And considering many photographers also have
a strong environmental ethic, I would imagine even without considering
the many other advantages to digital image recording, this alone could
sway consideration of one to the other.

I used to shot hundreds of rolls of film a month, I haven't shot more
than 2 in the last couple of years, and once the film in the fridge is
used up, I don't foresee buying any more.

Daguerreotype used mercury with chlorine and bromine vapors all of which
are toxic and polluting.  Very few mourn its passing, and so it should
be with the silver photographic processes.  Nice, but unnecessary and
harmful.

Art

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