Silver-based photography is based on light striking sensitive silver-halide crystals suspended on a film. Through use of chemical ‘developers’ the differences in light intensity form negative images which can then be processed into paper pictures by using silver-imbedded paper. Approximately 5,000 color photographs can be taken using one ounce of silver.
Because of the growth of digital photography, the use of silver-based imaging by consumers has been steadily dropping for almost a decade. Although many had predicted that consumers would turn digital images into paper – using silver halide products – many picture- takers either keep their images in digital form or use low-cost, ink-jet printers.
Nonetheless, because of its extreme accuracy and cost effectiveness, silver-halide films are still chosen for some applications. For example, medical X-Ray technicians, especially those in developing countries, often prefer silver-based pictures because of their low cost and high accuracy. In addition, many motion picture makers still prefer silver- halide film over digital, because of its low cost, excellent resolution and true color properties.
Source: The Silver Institute