As you might have noticed, I am a bit special about my tools and techniques when it comes to photography. I want to explain why I use large format cameras and film, since it seems to be so much easier and more convenient to use smaller, lighter, faster cameras (especially digital camera systems)...but I don't think easier is always better.

In short, the whole film / large format (LF) thing is not simply about technical quality (in terms of sharpness and resolution). By now affordable prosumer digital systems can also produce smooth images with high sharpness and resolution - the best medium format digibacks may even surpass classical large format when used properly.

But there are more things about it - let's start with color rendition (or tonality, when referring to B&W). To my eye, film (in fact ANY kind of film) still produces far more pleasant colours than any digital capturing device, even when a lot of digital post-pro voodoo is being applied. This is still true when the film is being scanned (digitalized, and therefore colours are "lost").
Film colours are not more realistic. But they are more lively, beautiful, real. They have got soul. Open your eyes and see for yourself.

In the last year, I have seen many digital B&W results which are really great - period. Clean look, great tonality, fine shadow and highlight details. But to my mind, film still has its advantages here, especially regarding the handling of extreme contrasts (extremely low or high). The tonal rendition, especially when considering large format film, is still unsurpassed. And when we are talking about B&W, we are also talking about darkroom printing. Film and silver gelatin paper is THE way to get fine art B&W work printed.

Technically speaking, large format cameras give you far more control during framing and focusing than any other camera system - something very important to me. The "LF look" is essential for my work. You might try to copycat it in digital post production, but why fake something if you can have the real thing?

So far so, good. I have compared the two "concurring" systems in their direct effects on image quality and look (keep in mind that this is to some degree a question of personal taste) - but that's not all.

The REAL main point is the process/procedure of film-based photography itself: Film requires you to be concentrated in every step of the image formation process - before, during, after the capture (same for negative development and the positive printing process). You need to be focused (haha) all the time. You need to know what you are doing - it is NOT like the old Kodak slogan has it: "You press the button, we do the rest." YOU need to take care of your own business, and get to know every single bit of your equipment and technique. Once you master it, you will be rewarded.
Again, this is especially true for LF photography, since you need to take care of just everything during equipment setup, framing, focusing, exposure measuring, exposure, post-exposure treatment, negative development and so on. There are no camera aids like auto exposure, autofocus and so on, which is GOOD - simply because YOU have to do the work, and you have to know how it influences your image in the end. Finally, from great knowledge comes great power - you will be able to control every aspect of your work.
Of course, on the other hand, you HAVE to control every aspect of your work (there is no option). It IS hard work, sometimes (and I'm not only talking about physical work, like schlepping your heavy camera and tripod). So, you will ask yourself "Is it worth the hassle?" for every single subject you see and every photograph you are about to take. You will be shooting less, but I am sure your results will be better. The number of great photos per year will most likely grow. You will be more proud of your work, and you will gain self-confidence.

Somehow, much of this seems to be (or at least may sound like) a hassle for many people. BUT: Serious photography is not about ostensible convenience. It´s about art, and art needs effort.
In fact, it is plain fun to me. I don't mind if it takes 10 minutes or more to make one single shot. I LOVE working with my expensive, big, beautiful mechanical cameras (not all old or used, by the way - I recently purchased a new Master Technika 3000 from Linhof and spent a fortune, but it was worth every penny). I adore their haptics - the smooth gears, the solid feel, the sound of their leaf shutters. I am proud of their heritage. And since their build quality is simply top class, they will probably serve me for many many years (definitely outlasting every digital camera system). I am starting to love the darkroom process (I am finally able to set up a makeshift darkroom in our apartment), and definitely prefer it over my previous digital post-pro sessions. Film photography is just my way!

So, go buy an LF camera. Preferably new, we need to keep the companies alive. Go buy a pack of sheet film and some film holders. Go out, shoot, and find out for yourself if is it worth the hassle.