Film costs WAY more than digital!
Digital Darrell Blogs
© Darrell Young  

Bold words, huh? Did you arrive ready to flame? Am I too bold? Read the following and you tell me...

If I bought a new 35mm film camera and shot nothing but Provia® slides for 200,000 frames. (Rated shutter life of most pro cameras) I would spend, at 33 cents USD per frame, about $66,000 USD, plus the $2,000 USD for the camera. So shooting film and using slides will cost me:

$68,000 USD

To shoot the same number of images with my Nikon D2x digital (out to the same 200,000 frames) will cost me:

$6,000.00 (camera cost + sufficient digital memory cards)

BUT...this very morning, my wife was saying to me, "Darrell, why are you still handling that film camera with a gleam of delight in your eyes?" She wants me to sell it to offset the cost of my new Nikon D2x digital camera. I told her I would, IF she would sell her new digital camera. So, my Nikon F5 film camera is still with me, and feels great in my hand. But, the cost is sooooo high in shooting film, and I just love my new D2x.

Can you read into this the happy and sad feelings I truly have. Sometimes, I may seem gleeful that film costs so much, and that digital is on the rise (I am Digital Darrell after all, and a legend in my own mind), but I also miss the old days of getting a pack of slides back from the lab and laying them out on the light table.

As humans, we want to move on to new things, but keep our old things in place for comfort. Can I not keep my old film camera buddies, while stocking up on the new digital delights? Of course I can, since film is still available.

Since there are new films still being released, it seems that the world still wants film. But, how long can it last before our older film SLRs start wearing out. If no one is making film SLRs anymore, what then? Are we to be dragged into the digital age kicking and screaming and clutching our worn out film bodies? Seems so, for some of us. For others, it can't happen too soon!

It occurs to me that we are living in a rather unique time. We can shoot film AND digital at will. How much longer will this last? A while, I think! I was just reading an ad for a cool new digital back for medium format cameras that can take a 15 year old body and turn it into an up-to-date digital wonder. Too bad that 35mm SLRs don't support that.

There was once a company called SiliconFilm, back in 2000, that presented an insert shaped like a 35mm film canister, and the film "leader" contained a CCD. You could drop it into any 35mm film camera and have an instant digital camera. The best of both worlds! But, The company died when they couldn't develop batteries that would support enough shooting time in such a small place as a 35mm film canister sized contraption. And there was some discussion about excessive EM emissions from the insert device. Could someone make one in 2005, a full five years after the original was proposed? We'll see. They seem to still be trying to get this thing off the ground.

In any case, we photographers can choose from the best of both worlds. We can take the "payment plan" approach and shoot film with our 35mm cameras, with their lower initial costs and cellulose pleasures. Or, we can spend some bucks now on a digital camera, have the best digital images around, and shoot for a long time at lower operating costs. (I must admit, it can take more time to deal with digital images in the computer, but I'll never admit it)

Here I am, a camera lover, a photographer, and I am swinging back and forth on a rope that leads me to two philosophies. I can't seem to stay on one for long, before the other looks very inviting, and I swing back. I think I read somewhere that this is called psychosis, or a form of insanity. I guess they are right. I have a terrible psychosis called NAS. "Nikon Acquisition Syndrome" is present with me always. My spouse asks me why I am looking at Nikon FM film cameras on eBay. What do I tell her? Why should I have to tell her anything? She too is a Nikon user with a digital D70 of her own. Each of my kids (5) has a nice bag full of Nikon goodies too.

But, I digress...

As I read over this article, I am trying to figure out what it all means. What is this about? What is happening? I have an inkling...I am a middle-aged guy with my eye on a 600mm Nikkor lens. This must be a MID-LIFE CRISIS (a gasp...sound of breaking glass...two screams).

So, here I sit, a middle-aged guy, with a sweet wife, five kids, and bunches of Nikons. And the problem is...I WANT MORE MORE MORE. They don't make enough Nikons. And the ones they make don't wear out fast enough to not be sold on eBay and entice me to buy them.

Why in the world do I need yet another Nikon EM? Well, they are small, and hold 25 megapixel Provia slides, and do almost everything for me. Why then another Nikon FE? Well, back in 1986 I bought one new and it smelled so nice coming out of its box. Why another Nikon F4s? Because ... well... because my last one fell into a Smoky Mountain stream with me and even though it was underwater for several seconds, it still kept on shooting until I sold it later for some ghastly reason. Do I need a new film camera...heck no! Do I want one....Oh lordy yes! But WHY? I just bought a Nikon D2x digital. Why do I need a new 35mm filmer?

Can anyone help me? I don't know what to do. I want all the cameras. Do YOU want all the cameras too? Am I alone? Hello...

Keep on capturing time...

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Copyright © 2005 by Darrell Young, All Rights Reserved