What is the difference between analogue and digital?

Analogue and digital formats are, broadly speaking, both ways of storing information, but the information is contained in very different ways. In analogue technology, waves or signals are stored in their original form (such as vinyl where grooves are etched in order to create sound waves on the disk itself.)

However, in digital technology, waves or signals are converted into numbers and stored as code on a digital device such as a hard drive, memory card or computer. Examples of analogue formats include vinyl, cassettes, and of course film photos. Unlike digital formats they do not need to be translated from code by a computer in order to be understood.

Photo by @cyril_imbert

Let’s take a closer look specifically at the differences in analogue and digital photography:

Film photography captures images by exposing individual frames on a roll of film to light. Film is made of plastic layers containing silver halide crystals that darken when exposed to light, capturing negatives of images. Film can be developed in a darkroom and using liquid chemicals to create the final print of the photo. This print is a piece of analogue media that can be touched and held in the hands.

Digital photography mimics the process of using light to capture images. But it uses an electronic sensor, rather than film. Digital photographs are stored on our devices, and their resolution is measured in megapixels. Each pixel is converted into a string of 1s and 0s that requires a computer to read them and present them to us as something we recognise as a photograph.

We encourage using analogue, for the character, the film grain, tangible quality and emotions it gives you!

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Can’t find an answer to your question? Or do you have some useful advice to add to one of our courses? We want to build the world’s largest analogue learning space, so please send any further requests or information to school@lomography.com and we’ll take a look!

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