As I've been working on my current project, I've been thinking a lot about the tools I'm using and the results I have been getting from them. In brief, I have not been happy. I've been using a 35mm DSLR camera and LOVE getting the instant feedback that only a digital camera can give me. Plus, they are high resolution, the color is great, but.... most of the images just don't cut it. Why? Because all photographic equipment and media has a unique "footprint". This footprint is created by a number of factors, including, but not limited to the camera format, the lens used, the aperture used, and whether the camera is uses digital or film for recording the image. In my experience, images shot on film look different than ones shot digitally. I am not talking about resolution or sharpness or even color/grayscale quality here. I am talking about things like the richness and spatial depth that a film image inevitably seems to have that digital doesn't. (At least the images that I take reflect this!)
Don't get me wrong- I would "mortgage a kidney" (as one fellow photographer put it) for a medium format digital camera with a square sensor that rendered an image like my film cameras do. But that camera doesn't exist right now. I realize that I am placing myself in the middle of the film vs. digital debate here, and that many readers will completely disagree with me. But I have no time for that debate- for me it's not an issue of whether film or digital is better. The issue is: What equipment will yield the kind of visual results I want? For now, the answer for me is to use a medium format film camera and scan the resulting negative so that I can print it digitally.