Should I replace my 35mm film camera with Nikon D5100 16 megapixel DSLR?

As technology advances, those of us who have utilized older technologies are left questioning whether we continue using our tools until it becomes obsolete or replace it. Here, I compare the quality of two images from my film SLR camera and one provided by Nikon from their D5100 DSLR.

Nikon N75 single lens reflex film camera
35mm color slide film (aka color positive)
After browsing the new 16 megapixel Nikon D5100 DSLR online, I took a random slide and scanned it in at 4800 dpi (dots per inch). A color slide is about 1.3 by 0.8 inches, so scanning it at 4800dpi would give me a little more than 16 megapixels. Of course, I do a little post-processing like color correction and level adjustment on the digitized image without actually changing or adding anything to the composition or subject.

Nikon N75 35mm color slide digitized at 16mp

Nikon N75 35mm color slide digitized at 16mp

This particular one was scanned in at 33 megapixel, but being properly exposed, has a very good resolution when downsampled to 16 mp.

35mm color slide film scanned in at 33 megapixels

35mm color slide film scanned in at 33 megapixels

vs.

Nikon D5100 digital single lens reflex camera
Sample provided by Nikon at
http://chsvimg.nikon.com/lineup/dslr/d5100/img/sample/img_05_l.jpg

Nikon D5100 DSLR 16MP sample provided by Nikon

Nikon D5100 DSLR 16MP sample provided by Nikon

Side by side comparison

Notice how grainy the scanned slide film is. I think it was FujiFilm. If I had to estimate the equivalent megapixel, I’d give the slide film about 10-12 megapixels. Compared to the digitally shot mutt’s hair, the slide looks grainy and that was apparent even before slight sharpening.

Judging strictly by pixel level quality, maybe it’s time to get a new toy. That, and color slide film probably is hard to come by these days. It would be more cost efficient to be storing images on flash memory or digitally. There are, of course, pros and cons to replacing your camera.

And when film is properly exposed, it can have even better resolution.

Pros
-Digital cameras give you instant gratification, for those that have an LCD screen.
-Digital cameras can store exponentially more images on even smaller media, not clunky rolls of plastic film.
-Digital cameras are getting smaller and easier to use.
-Digitized film or prints details are sufficient for web images that won’t be scrutinized at the pixel level

Cons
-Price!!!
-Older lens might not be compatible
-Technology gets replaced quickly; might be tempted to spend with the trends
-High resolution images take up a lot of memory for storage and processing; If you are just now getting a DSLR, you might have to invest in a new power crunching computer. That’s going to cost even more money.
-Price!!!

I’ll most likely get a DSLR, but not right away. A simple point-and-shoot is sufficient for posting Internet images for now. But if you’re deciding whether or not you need to replace your analog camera, think in terms of practicality. Does it make shooting photos easier? Are you trying to save money right now? Will it improve your career or hobby?

Here is a digitized black and white 35mm negative:

The Fishing Spot - Black and White 35mm

The Fishing Spot - Black and White 35mm

It seems black and white 35mm negative film has better resolution than color positive film.

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