The advantages of film from the standpoint of weight and bulk have been discussed in connection with aerial cameras. Were there no other considerations film would unquestionably be the most appropriate medium for aerial photography. There is, however, the question of ease of handling, to be treated in a subsequent chapter, and the question whether the purely photographic characteristics of film are satisfactory. Can the same speed, contrast, and color sensitiveness be obtained on film as on glass? Is the picture so obtained as permanent or reliable as the plate image?
It must be confessed that up to the present emulsions on film have not proved the equal of those on glass. It has been found by emulsion manufacturers that the same emulsion flowed on film and on glass gives better quality on the glass. Emulsions specially prepared for film fall somewhat short of the best plate emulsions. It has also been found harder to color-sensitize film, and to insure good keeping quality in the color sensitized product.
In addition to the question of photographic quality there arises the matter of shrinkage and distortion. These are negligible with plates, but are a more or less unknown quantity in film. Irregular shrinkages of as much as two per cent. are found on experiment. This defect, of course, would be an obstacle only in exact mapping work.