Digital Photography is Just Plain Fun
Digital Darrell Blogs
© Darrell Young  

After reading over my blog Film Costs WAY More than Digital!, I see something more clearly. I might disagree with myself on a couple of points in the article. (Does that improve your mood?)

Indeed, a normal user will probably never recover the extra cost of buying digital in film processing savings, if the camera costs as much as a professional Nikon D2x digital. I was speaking from a commercial standpoint for those of us trying to make money with our cameras.


Today's digital SLR cameras sell for only about twice as much as a regular film body, and will make a beautiful digital image that can be enlarged to at least 13x19 (A3) without quality loss. So the initial cost differential is narrowing. It will only take a year or less to recover the cost of a non-pro digital camera, if any reasonable volume of images are taken.


A normal user will have so much more fun with a digital camera that the cost really doesn't matter (to me anyway). Digital's immediate image review allows one to experiment, play, delete, and do it again, right there in the field, so that the images finally postprocessed, printed, or whatever, are generally superior to hoping that everything "turned out well" when you were shooting film. If cost is so important that one cannot afford the difference between a $300.00 USD or a $600.00 dollar camera body, then I agree that film is surely the way to go.

Very few people, having experienced the delights of digital photography, will choose to shoot film full time. I know that some absolutely do not agree, and that is fine. But, I look at the example of my mother. All the time I was growing up she had a camera in her hands, and was taking pictures of my early life. For the last twenty years, she has taken only a few pictures from time-to-time and sent me a flatbed scan or print. A couple of years ago I bought her a Nikon CoolPix 2500. I started getting LOADS of pictures from her. Several of her friends bought digital, and I started getting pictures in my e-mail from them too. Now, I often get several e-mailed pictures of mom's flowers, dad's growing "junk pile" in the backyard, family, neighbors, friends, food, etc. Her photography has been invigorated. Instead of shooting a few frames a month, she is now shooting a few frames per week, e-mailing some of them, and is printing them with her inkjet. I am so pleased that she is so pleased that I gave her a Nikon CoolPix 5700 the other day. Digital photography did that.

Film costs so much to process that most of us have a big pile of undeveloped rolls somewhere in a box in the house. We like to shoot, but we hate to spend the bucks to process, and hate waiting for the images. Digital changes that. You take the picture, you instantly see the picture. If you really like the picture, you print it yourself, or take it to the super-store for 19 cent prints. But, you only print the ones you like, so it costs less. And, you delete images that are failures. How many of us have a big box full of film-based prints that are not up to our standards, but we won't throw them away because there are people we know in them, or they are only slightly out of focus, etc. We paid good money to process those prints, even though they are not good, so it is even harder to just toss them. With digital, it is easy to be merciless and delete bad images, because WE SEE THEY ARE BAD WHEN WE TOOK THEM. And we just say, hold on, let me take that one again.

I often write with an eye toward commercial use, yet blend in my own artistic "for pleasure" shooting desires. If I were not interested in ever making any money with my camera, but just loved photography, I think I'd be MORE interested in digital, because it simply makes photography more fun. You can share your pictures with friends and family in minutes, instead of waiting around for the film prints to come back. You can e-mail one image to hundreds of friends and family if you'd like, or even to total strangers, and no money (other than a bit of time) changed hands. I agree that digital can take more time in the computer than film. But, since most of us have computers, and like them, is it really that burdensome to size and sharpen your own fun images, and then write an e-mail to send it out to admiring friends?

I absolutely challenge those that shoot ONLY film to beg, borrow, or steal a digital camera from somewhere and go out and shoot for a while. See if what I say is not true. Forget selling pictures. Just go out and have some fun with your camera. Bottom line for amateurs, digital is MORE FUN! We can all wax eloquent about the romantic pleasures of a box of slides, but, a card full of fresh digital images ounce for ounce, weighs less and provides more pleasure.

And, it's healthier for you too! Since I took up digital photography, I've lost ten pounds, and I regrew some hair that had been missing. That proves it, IMHO! (Well, actually, I must admit that the hair that had been missing from my head, started growing in my eyebrows and ears, but digital helped me grow new hair, so that's what matters, right?)

Keep on capturing time...

Copyright © 2005 by Darrell Young, All Rights Reserved