Friday, December 02, 2005

Digital reactions

About two weeks ago I wrote an entry about getting a new video card installed on my computer to improve image quality. What should have been a simple installation caused some other problems and took longer than expected. Today that entry had a comment...........

horsedooty said...
did you ever have that trouble with your enlarger? No?...I didn't think so.
Yo soy horsedooty

I don't know who "horsedooty" is but I'm betting this is a photographer who isn't happy about what is happening in is going digital. I never thought it would happen so fast. But the technology has improved, quality has improved and the cost of high quality cameras has dropped per megapixel.

So why are some photographers so unhappy about the changes in photography?

First of all for those who want to continue to use film and print to silver gelatin papers because they feel it fits their vision, it is becoming harder and harder to get their materials. Kodak, Agfa, Ilford.....all have cut back, closed manufacturing facilities and reduced product lines. This is has to be very disheartening.

The cost of going digital is pretty high. It isn't just the cost of the camera. No, no, no. That is the start. You may need additional lenses for the camera because of the frame factor of if you have a full frame sensor you may need the finest glass to take advantage of the sensor. You have to have a pretty up-to-date computer, back up storage, a large good monitor, Photoshop and know how to use it, and then you need a printer that can print the size you want to print. And when you get all this together, then you need to start saving for the next round of technology. The cost of digital is endless. Very different from film where once you had a camera and your darkroom, your costs were in your chemicals and paper. The camera and enlarger lasted and lasted.

Another factor maybe fear of the new technology. It is huge learning curve. How long will it take to be competent?

And then those who have switched keep talking about how they can do this and do that and do it so much easier than they could in the darkroom.

So when one of those "digital photographers" has a digital problem, the "film photographers" just have to take the opportunity to say, "See you wouldn't have those problems if you had stayed in the DARKroom."


Anonymous said...

Interesting commentary > I see your point of expense from a professional's point of view. For a snap shot taker, like myself, digital proves to be cheaper. I have owned three digital cameras to the tune of about 2000.00 in the last 10 years or so. My current camera, a Minolta A1 5.2 megapixel, is now two year old technology and will surely be obsolete in another year or so ;-( But I have shot 15,000 + pictures in that 10 year period. This equates to about 415 36 exposure rolls of film, If I had purchase, processed and printed those 415 rolls of film it would have cost over $6,000.00. Now granted this is a generalization, but I have also been able to play with processing programs, sell a lot of stuff on Ebay with photos, send a quick picture to someone that I needed information from about a problem with my car or water heater or audio equipment etc. etc. etc. The computer gear I would have for other reasons anyway. The bottom line for me, Joe consumer, is that digital cameras are far cheaper, more effective and useful than my expense Nikon F whatever, all the lens and associated gear. Just a different slant from a consumer. I think Hasselblads, Nikons and Leica cameras, lens and associated gear could REALLY run into some dough and there was ALWAYS something else to buy- a faster lens, a wider or more close-up this that and whatever. I will say when I got out of film I received a LOT more money for my used camera gear than selling off my dated digitals. So there is a different take on the subject ;-)
Calypso Juan

BillieS said...

Juan, I don't disagree with anything you say and the reasons you state are why the digital revolution is happening so fast. But there are still art photographers who are so tied to their film process that they don't want to switch.

I still don't think that digital is less expensive than film if you archive your files and if you make prints. But for the average snapshooter, it is better if for no other reason the instant gratification of seeing what you shot the same day without a trip to the one-hour lab. I just hope that they are saving all their files in two places. HD's die at the most unexpected times.

Tommy Williams said...

If you do your archiving right -- and if you do any meaningful printing of your pictures -- fine art digital is no cheaper than film.

But there's another important point for me: if not for digital, I never would have done anything with photography at all.

Digital technology has made "more-than-snapshot" photography available to a huge number of people who would otherwise never have gotten beyond dropping off the occasional roll of film at the drugstore and, for quality, would choose the "Kodak" paper option rather than the generic.

BillieS said...

Tommy, those are good points. And websites like Flickr are examples of the numbers of people who have really embraced digital photography. This doesn't surprise me but what does surprise me is that commercial photography is going, actually has gone digital.