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:
- 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.
- 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.