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ditto1958 07-20-2005 11:05 PM

Are you happy with digital?
I considered posting in a similar thread here, "Is film dead?," but then I decided that, no, that wouldn't cover it. The fact is, happy or not, most of us already have made the switch to digital. My question is, are you happy about it? Do you ever want to go back to film? Or, do you still shoot film sometimes, too?

I personally was not thrilled about it. However, during the past year I saw the writing on the wall while poring over ebay listings: "selling all my OM gear, am going digital. Check out my other listings..." During the past, oh, probably two years, there has been a literal stampede to digital. I decided that it wouldn't be long before film was relegated to pretty much the same place as vinyl records, typewriters, and VHS tapes.

To be sure, there are some clear advantages to digital. Instant results, no more need to buy film, do your own processing, etc.

All the same, it seems sad, though, (and expensive) to essentially cast aside a vast amount of perfectly good film gear and start buying all new digital stuff. Did I mention expensive? I just spent $1000 to get an E-300 dual lens kit. Not to mention, a CF card, Photoshop Elements, plus I'll soon be needing a new printer.... Do you realize that for that amount of cash I could buy on ebay a really nice OM-2n film camera, a nice OM-1n for backup, a flash, a winder, and a drawer full of nice Zuiko lenses across the range of focal lengths, a bag to carry the stuff in , and then still have a pretty fair amount of cash left over to buy a bunch of film and get it processed?

Perhaps what really bothers me is that when the switch began to build mometum, digital was not really by any stretch of the imagination a mature, well-developed technology. It really wasn't until this year that "affordable" (sub-$1000) DLSR's became common. When I look at the digital camera my wife bought for over $300 3 years ago, it's really a piece of junk. Why were people in such a hurry to abandon a mature and highly developed, affordable technology and to embrace instead one that was much more expensive, and, at least a couple of years ago inferior to film? At least when we switched from vinyl to CD's, CD's were arguably better than records right from the word go. The same could be said for DVD's vs. VHS.

Digital is the reality. I will keep my film cameras, and I will continue to use them sometimes. But I won't be surprised if it's not long before I can't go in my neighborhood supermarket and pick up a roll of 35mm film, and I can't any longer drop it off at my nearby pharmacy's one hour mini-lab for processing. My new E-300 can do things I could never do with my film cameras. During the next couple of years prices of digital will drop, and the quality will continue to improve to the point where it far outdistances film.

Oikku 07-21-2005 02:40 AM

Re: Are you happy with digital?
I got my first digital camera at 1999 and I had waited for prizes to come down for a couple of years before that. At 2003 I sold my last film bodies (S801 and F5) and now I shoot digital only. I have two bodies at the moment, Nikon D100 and D2x. I let the D2h go when I bought D2x. Also I think that bodies come and go but good lenses is the thing that is worth of investing.

To me Digitally has increased the amounth of sold prints about 500% ... It is so much easier to show customers the results and very often they buy more if you can show the results immediatelly and can show them what one can do with the pics. Also in dog shooting controlling white and black is so much easier + one gets really sharp pics where you can see every hair... that was really difficult if not impossible with film. Also the fact that with good post processing you can fix mistakes and improve the results in general makes digital the only choise for me at the moment.

Expencies is another thing and I have found out that it is an endless story like everything with computers... If I had saved the money I have used since my first computer at 1988 I would be a millionair by now :-)... Every time one updates something, hardware or software, it brings along another need to update and the same goes with digital cameras. I donīt dare to think what it has cost to me during the years! But on the other hand, if one just waits and waits that the prizes come down then there is never the right moment to jump in... and what comes to post processing, it is also a very interesting but timetaking and again expensive area to learn. One just have to start one day and thatīs it. I have thought that what a heck, there are no pockets in that suite one wears six feet under...

Digitally yours, Oikku

photosbymorgan2 07-21-2005 09:09 AM

Re: Are you happy with digital?
I have been very happy with digital. I have not sold off my film cameras but instead put them on the shelf with my antique cameras. As someone else said, people love to see the results right then and there and it helps in selling the photos. I also like that I can shoot as much as I want without the worry of processing film. I know that the initial cost is a bit expensive but over the years I have shot many photos and if I had had to process film and pay for film I would have spent more than I have on my equipment.

M. Worthington 07-21-2005 10:09 AM

Re: Are you happy with digital?
Let me put it this way: I would not be doing photography today if it were not for Digital. I simply cannot abide film and the attendant hassle.

Having said that, I agree that it's too costly. I think it's absurd that we are paying 4,000 dollars or more for pro-level bodies when the film counterparts are selling at less than half the price. Yes, if you take into consideration the cost savings by not having to develop film, you might be coming out ahead. But that's forgetting the additional expenses that go with Digital: you're a printer, accessories, endless streams of things you need to buy.

I have largely stopped printing my own digital photographs, however, because the expensive printing was too great. And I also find that online printing shops are doing a better job these days. Good post.

d2creative 07-21-2005 11:21 AM

Re: Are you happy with digital?
Extremely. 8)

twkong2003 07-22-2005 01:04 AM

Re: Are you happy with digital?
Well, lets put it this way. I have been shooting more pictices within the last 6 months that I have goten my 20D that the last 10 years I have been shooting with film. Digital help me to be more creative and advanturous without having to worry about bad pictures, time lost and wasted $ in film & proccessing cost. Now I can just take up my 20D and experiment with different shooting techniques, angles or whatever settings without hesitation. I LOVE digital!


PhotoJoe 07-22-2005 09:59 AM

Re: Are you happy with digital?
I would NEVER go back, maybe. I have to admit, I pulled out the old 4x5 the other day for grins. NOTHING I have touches the 4x5 chrome. Then I put it away again and picked up my digital for my customer. I'm going to ramble here, so bear with me.

I shoot more images with digital giving me a better chance of that brilliant (Sellable) print. My biggest competition in the Senior category is the contract photographer in town. He used to shoot 120 and split the 12 frames between 2 students. He now shoot a 20d, but has kept with the "6 shots only" theory. I can't tell you how many customers I get that he sent my way. Well, he may not know it, but when the customers come to me because they are not happy with his 6 shots, he sent them! I know there is more to it. We have different styles, etc, but with only 6 shots, the odds are lower that he get's that brilliant shot.

No more proofs. In this age of scanners, wal-mart, kinkos, etc, proofs will put you out of business. "Copyright" is a foreign language to alot of people. I don't do proofs....EVER! I do a projection system. We invite the customers to our home (where we work out of) and project the images. We make coffee, popcorn, whatever, and make them feel at home and as friends. We then do side by side comparisons and narrow down the choices to the best, and get the order right there. Orders from proofs take much longer and tend to be much smaller from my experience.

No more sending the film to the lab. It always made me nervous to send film from a wedding to a lab. Yes, I have insurance and a bulletproof contract, but I never want to make the phone call to the bride: "Hi, newleywed bride? How was your honeymoon? Are you sitting down, I have some bad news......" I never had to make that call, but there aint no backup to film. At a wedding, though we don't do many, we download all cards to a laptop AND an external hard drive. First thing when we get home I make a DVD backup of all original files. Back when we had to send discs to the lab, if one get's lost, so what? We just lost 2 days. I'll send another disc. Now, we just upload to the lab. If it's corrupt in the transfer, so what. We just lost 2 hours!

BTW - I use Alfa Color in Los Angeles. They just implimented the ROES ordering system. It ROCKS!

Now, cost. I've learned a couple of hard lessons. I started digital with the Minolta RD175. Talk about a lousy file! It made 3200 iso film look CLEAN! But at the time, I was a staff photographer for a food company and they gave me a nice budget, and I like toys. In 2000, I got laid off and went freelance. Still do a ton of food for that company, though, and thought I needed the cutting edge digital, on my newly self-employed budget. I bought a Sinar 23 with all the gadgets. OOOPS. I got a good deal at $27,500. Yes, that's a big oops. I sold that camera almost 3 years ago, and paid it off last year. My new way of thinking is if it will pay for itself in a year, I'll buy it. I want a 1DsII BAD, but I don't do enough 30 x 40's yet to justify it. I do more 20x24's, so the 8mp is what I will buy. If I know I have a 30x40 coming, I'll rent the body. My pre-shoot consultation will tell me what size we're shooting for. I currently only have a 10d, but am looking at upgrading. I think I've decided on the 1DII, but want to hear the alleged announcement. At $4000, I can justify that camera. After the alleged announcement, maybe the 1DII will drop, making it a wise business decision. I think it's wise to stay 1 generation old, unless you make so much money at this that you need to spend $8,000 PER body. I don't yet. Maybe the 1Ds is a good call. It was a GREAT camera 2 years ago, is it trash now....considering the price of them?

Ok, I think I'm done. Thanks for letting me ramble. And yes, I love digital.

Antonio 07-23-2005 05:13 AM

Re: Are you happy with digital?
I'm lovin' it! :D

Mr. Pickles 07-23-2005 12:39 PM

Re: Are you happy with digital?
That is a better question than "Is film dead?"

I really like the digital world. But, I think it brings in more people that just shoot pictures and think they are really good. Everybody posts pics and they think they are Ansel Adams. Heck, I might be one of them :D

I am not sure if it is cheaper than film. It costs a lot of money to get a good DLSR and some memory, and you spend money on software, and a bigger/badder computer, and then you have to upload, and tweak or crop, and all that takes time. I think someone said time was money, but nobody pays me to play with the vast majority of my photos. Those that would, would just as soon give you 29 cents for a print...

PhotoJoe 07-23-2005 04:43 PM

Re: Are you happy with digital?
Amen, Mr Pickles. I spend more time in front of the computer now than behind a camera. Then, my clients wonder why I charge $25 for a 5x7. When I grow to the point where I can hire a staffer, it will be a good photoshopper. I'd rather spend my "not behind the camera" time in marketing and sales.

Film made me a better photographer because I knew I had to go slow and make sure it was right. Also, in my commercial work, I could mark up my polaroids and each sheet of film. Those days are gone. I'm still scratching my head wondering why I spend thousands of dollars on digital which makes me more efficient, therefore, less days of work (I shoot a lot of food) and eliminates my profits on film. Oh that's right, because if I don't, they will find someone else who will.

Ok, with all that said, I still love the digital and would never go back.

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