It was time to evolve…


Some of the films I have loved (Click for larger…)

I have nothing against film. I like film. I’ve been using it since I started photographing around 1990, when I appropriated my mom’s Pentax-mount Ricoh just before our trip to Yellowstone. (After getting my first real job I bought into the Nikon system and have never looked back.) My large format camera uses film, since I don’t have $6,500 to $22,000 to buy a digital scanning back. (It cracks me up when people ask me whether I use digital with it.)

But now I’m done using film for my small-format, day-to-day photography.

On our last few trips (to the Midwest, to DC, and to London) I’ve borrowed Lisa’s digital point-and-shoot camera a lot. I’ve also used it for almost all of my headstone photographs, too. Along the way — while I was still using my much loved Nikon F3-HP and FM-10N cameras — I started to notice two things:

  1. Film and developing are growing more and more expensive. Recently I spent $8 for a roll of film and $10 to get it developed. A bit pricey when you consider that a few years ago it cost less than $10 for both combined. For a while it also took about a week to get it back once I dropped it off.
  2. The whole workflow from exposure to publishing takes forever. (Expose. Wait to fill up the roll. Take the roll for developing. Wait. Take the film home. Wait until I have time to scan. Spend time to make the scanned image look like the film.) My film SLR camera does so many more tricks than the family point-and-shoot, but I found myself wanting to use an inferior camera so that I could get them on the web or in print faster.

Finally, after years of waiting for cameras in the middle of the price range to catch up with film, I bought myself a digital SLR. I feel a twinge of dishonesty when I refer to my camera as “mid-range;” it is by far the most expensive piece of photographic equipment I have ever bought. (And I’m not happy with the fact that, as digital technology improves, it’s necessary to buy a new camera to take advantage of it, rather than just buying a new kind of film. Oh well.)

Price notwithstanding, I am so very happy with it. Those Nikon engineers make wonderful cameras that are a joy to use.

But I have reservations. I’ve had hard drives crash and lost files, but I had the originals; so I just lost time. With my new camera, there’s no slide, no negative, no artifact. I’m working on this problem that many have solved so many different ways.

In the meantime, I promise pictures.

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