IMHO digital has matured enough to surpass film from a practical standpoint.
Digital is not always the time saver it is made out to be, on the contrary you often spend far more time working your images than you did before - simply because you can, and because you can do so much nowadays.
Unfortunately only a small percentage of digital users learn the four-five important steps or links in the digital output chain, color profiling, color management, optimizing for web, or print and simply learning how to prepare a digital image. Both when capturing the image and in post processing.
I worked in various labs since 1989 (quit "for real" in 2005 if I remember correctly) and I was brought up with B&W processing (started that prior to 1989), E6 (slide) processing, and C41 (neg) processing. I have worked making slide duplicates, prints from slides, negative duplicates, repro photography, scanning images, negatives and slides as well as operating various printers. I endured (with some teeth grinding) the digital transition, and let me tell you in the beginning digital was crap compared to film. You could hardly work the files and there was very poor latitude in post pro. It was a horror that went on for years. People were convinced digital was perfect and bought a camera with 4MP and a 32MB card (yes, that is MEGA, not GIGA) and set the resolution to the lowest possible AS WELL AS maximum compression rate on Jpeg and could happily fill the card with almost a thousand images on a trip. Looked great on that 1" LCD monitor.
You can imagine the outcries when they ordered prints, small prints, and the digital artefacts were so appaling it looked like LEGO. Then you had to explain to them why they could not even print a small print out of that file. Then they'd say "But, it's digital!" "Can't you just run it in the computer and make it bigger?" Cough.
I worked as a photographer for some years, with Leica, Zeiss, Nikon and Hasselblad, with a brief stint with Mamiya7 and Rollei too. For me the advent of digital made working with photography unbearable for a quality oriented photographer, the customers wanted "a disc" and thought all digital cameras were the same and that anybody could take shots and why isn't it cheaper since you don't have to buy film? Etc etc. I stayed in the photofinishing and printing business for some years though, helping other photographers that were grappling with the new cameras. Progress was slow in the first years I tell ya.
We've come a far way since. Digital is still not perfect, but it is pretty darn good I'd say. I waited until the Canon 5D arrived before letting go of my analog cameras, it was the first "affordable" full frame (24x36mm sensor) digital SLR and still today it is quite a camera. I have moved on since then, to a Sony A900 with some converted Leica and Zeiss lenses, manual focus lenses. Today I prefer smaller cameras and shoot with an oddball camera that accepts Leica M lenses, the Ricoh GXR M mount. Not many have heard of it and most people dismiss the camera based on prejudice, but I can tell you it is one of the best thought out digital cameras ever made. Still waiting on a full frame module for it though...
As for the topic, digital versus film. Digital still can't do all that film does so well. Film has a very nice transition into highlights, it is a gentle roll off where as digital "clips" into the highlights and simply loses all detail. It is the main drawback of digital today and it is very hard to work with files that have clipped highlights.
With (negative) film you "burn in" light on the negative and the more you burn in the denser the negative gets, and you have quite a lot of latitude to work with before it gets oversaturated/overexposed. Digital still can't do this gracefully and you have to expose differently.
Digital has an advantage (at least for the better small cameras with larger sensors) in that you can lift the shadows and bring up detail in them in a way you simply can't do with film. On film, shadows mean that you have not burnt/etched in any information on the negative so when you try to bring out the detail all you get is a murky gray with little to no shadow detail. Digital can often extract a lot of detail from shadows without the expense of losing the highlights. It takes some skill to make it look natural though.
On film (negative) you always err on the plus side (more exposure) if you are not certain.
On digital it is easier in a way, you can watch the histogram and correct exposure and you aim for an exposure where highlights are not blown but "as far right as possible", i.e. weighting it towards the brighter side of the histogram. In very harsh light digital will not be able to capture all steps due to slightly lesser latitude but you can still wring a lot out of it.
Digital is somewhat like Slide film in that sense. With Slide film you had to err on the low side of exposure if you were unsure. Overexposing a slide meant burning out detail and washing out highlights beyond recovery - same as digital. Some people would purposely underexpose slide film slightly to give it a punchier look.
I used to tell slide shooters making the transition to digital to just keep thinking like you are shooting slide film and you'll be just fine.
Digital today (the better ones, that is) has the same latitude as slide film, slightly better even. It is not too far off negative film but still not quite there. As for the highlight roll off Sony has made the best sensors, which have a gentle roll off into highlights and this, together with color accuracy, was the main reason I switched to Sony. With Canon I felt I lost track of nuances and had a hard time recreating them in post processing.
When you are shooting RAW instead of Jpeg (I encourage this for important shots) you have not finalized the processing. You have simply dumped an image in limbo in the camera and you will finalize it after the fact. You don't set white balance on a RAW file in camera, or more correctly, it does not matter if you have set it wrong. You set your White Balance when converting the RAW file and choose and tweak it to the best setting manually. Also, you will have a more gracious exposure latitude. Not MORE latitude really, but you can shift the whole latitude which means that you can actually recover clipped highlight (to a certain degree only though - so don't be sloppy with exposure!) and recover shadow detail. Have you or your camera metered properly you can often do both.
During RAW conversion you set a few parameters, then export the result as a .TIFF or .Jpeg for further processing. A .TIFF has the advantage of not being compressed and is best, but most times a Jpeg will suffice, at max resolution (minimum or no compression).
RAW files look a bit dull and grey compared to Jpegs out of the camera, this is because you need to shift the exposure and set white balance. Also, Jpegs are sharpened in camera and RAW files are (usually, and meant to be) unsharpened and you are suppose to sharpen them to suit the intended purpose, which is either print, or web display. Sharpening is not the same for the two. In general sharpening is applied at the very end of post processing, after all else is done.
If making a print one needs a higher resolution image than for web, so the best thing is to save a copy, shrink it down for web and work the larger file later for printing. If you save a Jpeg on a high compression rate and work with it and save it again with high compression it will look like garbage. For reopened Jpegs you should save them at MAX Jpeg settings (no/minimum compression) so they won't deteriorate. You can't recreate that lost detail by means of upressing them later...
Having worked with medium format film I will still say that a well exposed negative on slow speed negative film is very hard to beat. You can get close but there are limiting factors for resolution in digital cameras that aren't there in "analog" cameras. One of these limiting factors is sensor resolution and the AA filter nearly all digital cameras have to avoid a thing called moiré which basically is "false color" in small repetitive details (like window blinds and fences) that are far away and at the limit of what the lens/sensor can reproduce. As a whole most digital cameras have a smaller "system resolution" than the old analog cameras. Todays advances in noise reduction and sensor technology has helped produce much cleaner digital files at high ISO settings.
An ISO 1600 image from a modern dSLR today looks sooooooo much better than what I could get with a small format (full frame) analog camera at the same ISO film speed. ISO 1600 was GRAINY. A base ISO digital shot looks very clean for the most part with a slightly plasticky feel to open skies that creates an illusion of resolution. It looks clean so it holds up well when enlarged if compared to an analog print. But when comparing details outside of the sky portion the difference is less apparent and can sometimes tilt the scale in favor of analog. For me, I'd say a 12MP full frame digital camera is equal to small format film. There is usually little need for more Megapixels and doubling the pixel count does not double the print size. You need to quadruple the pixel count to do that.
The Sony A900 I had produced superb prints at base ISO and up to ISO 640, and is still one of the better cameras with 24MP. From the 12MP of the Canon 5D to the Sony's 24MP (Or Canon's own excellent camera, the 5D mkII) there is a noticeable difference, but not HUGE. Nikon has not played with that many high MP cameras but have chosen (and I applaud them for that) to make lower MP count cameras with excellent dynamic range (mostly Sony sensors) and remarkable high ISO capabilities. Canon has pushed on with the high MP race to some degree but I am not so into Canon cameras myself.
Phew, it was long since I wrote so much on this forum, but I have been nurturing my photographic pastime lately so I thought I'd chime in.