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Monday, June 17, 2013

Why I am switching to digital cameras as my primary option

I have owned a high end DSLR now for about a month and it has totally changed my outlook on my photography.  I have always been a film guy and perhaps there will always be a part of me that remains that way, but there are several reason I feel that digital is a better choice for me.  Please note that my inventory of cameras is quite diverse so I do have some idea of what I am talking about here.  I own quite a few film cameras.  I own the Mamiya RB 67 Pro, Kiev 88, Contax 167MT, Yashica FX-3 Super 2000 and the Canon EOS 1N.  All good cameras that produce some good photographs when coupled with the right glass.  Below are the reasons for switching to digital as my primary medium.

Cost
Professional film costs about $5 to $6 a roll to purchase in rolls of 36.  Typically on a shoot I will use somewhere between 2 to 3 rolls minium.  To process this film in today's marked has a cost of about $8 a roll.  So a typical shoot will cost me in the neighborhood of $40.00.  If I go on about 10 shoots a year, that is $400.00. Wow, when I began to look at it that way I soon realized that film was expensive.  With the extra savings, I could buy a good mid-range lens and maybe a really nice lens from KEH.

Quality
Overall my quality "per roll" for lack of a better way to say it, is up with digital.  Because I have instant feedback on my LCD, I know that my exposure is pretty much right on track.  I can't rely completely on the LCD but it gets me really close.  Note that film can actually produce a different image that can be very pleasing compared to digital, but I have found that this "look" is not often needed.

Piece of Mind
Many times I would go out in the field and say to myself "I hope I got a good shot."  With digital there is no guessing or hoping the light is captured the way I am seeing it.  To me this is a great load off my mind.  Finally,  because film, especially color,  needs to be sent out to a lab for processing you run the risk of the film being lost or heat damaged in transport.  

Modern Conveniences
With digital, I have a myriad of choices when it comes to actually pressing the shutter.  First, my camera has the ability to write to two SD cards simultaneously providing me with a backup of every shot I take.  Secondly, I can tether my camera to a computer for studio preview.  This can be done with polaroid backs on my Mamiya RB but the backs are expensive and now we have added another film to the cost equation. 

Will I stop Shooting Film
No, I will continue to shoot film until the stop making it, but my choice to use film in all situations has completely changed.  For day to day shooting I will use my DSLR, but for specialty images I will use film.  For example, film will still be used for IR shooting and fine art black and white.

 

 

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