Due to new advancements in photography technology, the term analogue camera has gained more popularity since the beginning of the 21st century to differentiate itself from the digital camera.
In this tried and tested method of photographing, a chemical recording medium is necessary. This medium can be negative film, slides, or photographic plates. When light hits the light-sensitive surface of the film, a chemical reaction causes the photograph to receive its colour. It’s possible to view and duplicate the image only after it has first been developed. Subsequent photo editing or optimisation is therefore only possible with laborious retouching done in a photo lab.
When the exposure of the recording medium through the optical system of the camera occurs, the image information is only in physical and analogue-measurable signals. Only when the chemical reaction takes place on the recording medium is this image information fixed and “saved.” With the help of a second chemical process in the photo lab, a photo can be produced on special paper, which is also possible to duplicate.
Analogue techniques in other areas also find fewer and fewer applications nowadays due to their susceptibility to flaws in the quality of the information stored. For example, audio cassettes with their sensitive magnetic tape (that can produce unpleasant noises when not handled properly) have quickly been replaced by CD’s and USB sticks.
An analogue camera does, however, still have some advantages over its digital counterpart. For example, analogue cameras are much less susceptible to dust. Image sensors in digital cameras, on the other hand, require laborious and expensive cleaning if they come into contact with dust and other contaminants, or the entire camera might have to be replaced. Furthermore, the film used in analogue cameras is more forgiving with incorrect exposures.
Leica and Voigtländer are two of the very few brands worldwide that still manufacture analogue cameras today. Digital photography dominates the market share and has pushed down sales figures of analogue cameras to a low albeit stable level. There’s also still a niche market for both the film necessary for analogue photography as well as its development. Many professional photographers and artists continue to use the classic techniques of analogue photography as well as develop their own photos. Analogue instant cameras are also sometimes used to give the image a bit more of a special effect.