14 Disadvantages of Digital Photography

Updated on November 23, 2018
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Paul's passion for technology and digital media goes back over thirty years. Born in the UK, he now lives in Florida, USA.

As well as many advantages, digital cameras have brought disadvantages too. Organizing and storing thousands of photographs, for instance, is time-consuming, takes computer skills, and can be overwhelming for many people.
As well as many advantages, digital cameras have brought disadvantages too. Organizing and storing thousands of photographs, for instance, is time-consuming, takes computer skills, and can be overwhelming for many people. | Source

Advances in digital technology have revolutionized cameras and photography in recent years. There have been numerous benefits, but also some downsides.

This article lists the 14 main disadvantages of digital photography below.

14 Cons of Digital Cameras

  1. Photo File Management Difficulties
  2. Computer Skills Required
  3. Too Many Functions
  4. Too Many Photos Taken
  5. Film Photography is More Forgiving
  6. Digital Cameras Use More Battery Power
  7. Digital cameras Can be More Expensive
  8. More Sensitive to Heat, Cold and Moisture
  9. Display Screen Glare
  10. Fiddly Controls
  11. Everybody Thinks They are a Photographer
  12. Nothing Beats the Traditional Film Photo Album
  13. Impermanence
  14. Film Images are Superior

1. Photo File Management Difficulties

Massive amounts of storage space makes it practical to take hundreds, if not thousands of photos. This can lead to issues with organizing and labeling them. Users can end up with unlabeled photos stored in multiple places, for example: downloaded onto different computers, tablets or portable hard drives, kept on memory cards or sticks, or stored online. This makes them difficult to find and easy to lose. The problem is even worse because many users keep backup copies as well as the originals. The entire process can be overwhelming for many.

2. Computer Skills Required

Capturing images with a digital camera may generally be much easier, but doing anything with the photographs afterwards almost always requires some form of computer or technological skills. Whether you are uploading, downloading or transferring photos, organizing, naming, or filing them, editing or printing them out, you will need to be comfortable with the use of computers and smartphone apps.

3. Too Many Functions

The sheer number of functions now available on many digital camera models nowadays is overwhelming for some people. Many ordinary users don't even understand what most of the functions on their camera do, never mind use them. Scrolling through the endless pages of menus can also be confusing and if you click a wrong selection at any point, or move a dial or button by accident, you can end up making changes that you didn't intend, and struggle to rectify them.

Digital photography enables the picture taker to take hundreds or thousands of photos without worrying about using up all of the storage space. Although liberating in many ways, this creates its own set of problems.
Digital photography enables the picture taker to take hundreds or thousands of photos without worrying about using up all of the storage space. Although liberating in many ways, this creates its own set of problems. | Source

4. Too Many Photos Taken

Film cameras have always been limited in the amount of shots that photographers can take, generally 36 photos per roll. This imposes an element of discipline and a degree of thoughtfulness. Digital photography offers few limitations on the number of images captured, meaning that people take far more photos, sometimes without much thought or planning. Alternatively, they take multiple shots of the same person or scene in an effort to capture the "perfect" image.

5. Film Photography is More Forgiving

The clinical sharpness of digital images can be a disadvantage in some instances. When it comes to minor focusing issues and exposure problems, for example, film photography is much more forgiving.

6. Digital Cameras Use More Battery Power

Digital cameras can be very power hungry, resulting in drained batteries. Use of the flash function can be particularly bad for this. This can be annoying, as the camera will die just when you want to use it if you are not careful. To get around this problem you have to always carry spare batteries or spend time making sure that all of them are fully recharged.

7. Expensive and Longevity

A good quality digital camera can be more expensive to buy. On top of that, you need to purchase memory cards etc. Also remember that a film camera can be used for many years, whereas a digital camera will likely become obsolete rather quickly.

8. More Sensitive to Heat, Cold and Moisture

Extremes of heat and cold, as well as condensation and humidity are especially bad for digital cameras. That means that you have to take extra care to protect your camera from extreme temperature and environmental conditions.

9. Display Screen Glare

Although using a display screen rather than a traditional camera viewfinder to take photos often has advantages, there are times when this is not the case. In sunny conditions, for instance, the display screen can become difficult to see due to glare. The best situation, of course, is to have a camera with both a viewfinder and display screen.

10. Fiddly Controls

The compactness of digital cameras combined with multiple functions can mean that the controls are fiddly. It's easy to hit a button or turn a dial slightly. Then there are the multiple menu screens to contend with, should you ever.want to alter a setting. There are downsides to small devices.

Although there are advantages to digital camera being so compact, it can also make the controls fiddly to use for some models.
Although there are advantages to digital camera being so compact, it can also make the controls fiddly to use for some models. | Source

11. Everybody Thinks They are a Photographer

It used to be the case that photography was considered an artistic medium that required skill and experience and most people only took a few pictures on vacation or special occasions. With cameras built into smartphones, photography is now ubiquitous. Our lives are now flooded with images, some of them good, but many inane or low quality. Events like music concerts are ruined by people more intent on preserving the moment than living it.

12. Nothing Beats the Traditional Film Photo Album

For those of us brought up with poring through an old photo album, it's difficult to find quite the same intimate joy, when compered with say, viewing digital images on social media. Photo albums were intimate, tactile, evocative, and the contents better remembered.

13. Impermanence

How many people still have all the digital photos that they've taken? It's so easy to lose them, or have them corrupted by a device malfunctioning. Compare that with traditional photos, where images were kept for many decades. The truth is that digital cameras, storage devices, and technology generally are not built to last, but rather to be replaced after a few years.

14. Film Images are Superior

Okay it is subjective, but some people argue that film images are ascetically better. At the very least, it has to be said that when compared to digital, film images are just plain "different". That's because an image made up of tiny pixels necessarily creates a alternate visual experience to one that comes out of a chemical reaction. It's like comparing driving a car and riding a horse, you can argue that the car is faster and offers more protection from the elements, but there will still be people who simply enjoy the experience of horse riding more than driving.

This article is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge. Content is for informational or entertainment purposes only and does not substitute for personal counsel or professional advice in business, financial, legal, or technical matters.

© 2018 Paul Goodman

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    • taylormichaeljohnson profile image

      Taylor Johnson 

      7 months ago from Chicago, IL

      I agree with what you said, I sometimes feel that we are "too digitalized" especially when it comes to photography.

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