This is Philip Storry's Typepad Profile.
Join Typepad and start following Philip Storry's activity
Join Now!
Already a member? Sign In
Philip Storry
Recent Activity
Digital has a higher initial cost, but is cheaper at scale. That is to say that for digital to work, you need a more expensive camera/camera body, you need a computer for post-processing, you may need a printer (but can outsource that bit if you like). Even buying second hand, to get something decent you're probably looking at a four figure outlay for the camera/computer combination. By contrast, the minimum outlay for film is a roll of film and a film camera body. You can do that for under a hundred bucks. We're talking two orders of magnitude cheaper. However, film doesn't scale well. Each frame used has a fixed cost associated with it, and then there's storage. That one roll of film is easy to store. Ten rolls is fine. One hundred rolls? Less fine. A lifetime of film? Owch. At some point, you have to start buying furniture just for storing film, and we're not even talking about the opportunity cost of losing that space to the film & any prints. By contrast, digital scales well. Yes, you might need a lot of storage - but storage is cheap. A 1Tb hard disk can store one heck of a lot of photos - the equivalent physical space and furniture required for film doesn't bear thinking about! Digital is also inherently more flexible. Which, of course, means costs. Specifically, you may end up paying for processing software, additional storage, and perhaps cloud backup services. Now, it's true that these are expenses, but they're optional. The default state of both film and digital is that there are no backups, and that processing is minimal. If you choose to go beyond that default state, you're accepting the costs that come along with it. Oh, and many people already have a computer. I included that in my original costs, but for most it's actually a sunk cost that they won't even consider. There is one more important thing to add - the addictive convenience of digital. I suspect that in a practical sense, most people will end up paying a lot more for their digital photography than they ever would for film, simply because it allows them to create the photos they always wanted with a lot less hassle. The fixed costs, delays for development and so forth mean that people used their film cameras less - digital makes "spray and pray" a perfectly viable tactic for the less dedicated photographer. That convenience, for reasons which mystify me, tends to put people onto the "body upgrade treadmill" and then suddenly it all becomes a lot more expensive than film ever was... ;-)
Toggle Commented Nov 20, 2017 on Film vs. Digital at The Online Photographer
I've got to be honest - I kind of agree with the kids. I'm in my late 30's. I grew up with film. I liked taking photos. But I hated the waiting. Those poor kids didn't even cover my main gripe with film - that you have to use all 24/36 shots before you get them developed (or you're wasting money). That was what I really hated - you buy a roll of film, you take a few photos you really want to see, and you now not only have a wait but you have to take more photos. Precious photos, that cost money. I like taking more photos, so shouldn't mind - but the fact that film imposes it upon me can feel crushingly onerous. It creates a curious obligation to take more photos, simply in order to see the first fruits of the film. If you're on a budget, it's awful. Oh, and that obligation to take more photos? Well, remember old albums and film? Organising it all was impractical, to say the least. A professional photographer uses whole rolls for one shoot, but a hobbyist might have multiple events & subjects on one roll of film. Finding photos a couple of years after you've taken them becomes a burden, too... Digital photography gave us so many more options there, all more usable and effective than the days of film. (And all optional, too.) I got back into photography because it went digital. Being able to take just one photo, or 100 photos - and have them all available the moment I got home - was the main reason I came back. What I didn't expect when I came back to photography is that these days, I find myself taking more photos with my phone. Not photos that matter - not what I'd call my "photography for expressing myself". But my phone has freed up my camera to do the photography I want to do, rather than the casual photography I feel socially compelled to do. And it's also become a great tool for photos that I want to take to be used in reviews/discussions on the internet, because auto-upload features mean the photos are on Flickr/Google Photos/Facebook/$YourPoison within seconds of me taking them. That handling of the transfer process for less important photos leaves me more time for the important ones. I couldn't go back to film. Not permanently. Maybe as a brief experiment, but not permanently. The convenience of digital is insidiously attractive...
The most I ever shot was ~900 shots in one day. For those of a geeky inclincation, it was with an Olympus E-3. I had five 2Gb memory cards, and two sets of batteries (using the battery grip, so four batteries in all). I was impressed at how long the batteries lasted, especially as I was occasionally using Live View for some awkward shots. The vast bulk of the photos were taken over five or six hours at Battersea Power Station, which is on the south bank of London's Thames. For those unlucky enough to not know it, I should explain that it's an iconic industrial building for Londoners. After closure in the late 60's, it sat unused and various failed development schemes served it incredibly badly - leaving it roofless and slowly decaying. One of the more recent (but still ultimately unsuccessful) attempts at redeveloping the site hosted an open day as a way to get positive publicity, and to try to get public support for their plans. The weather was glorious, the building was even more glorious, and I arrived early and took the opportunity to get as many shots as I could. A few thousand other people took a similar liberty, if I recall correctly - it was a very popular open day! Towards the end of the day, with batteries low and a few tens of shots left on my last card, I then headed out to a local Flickr "All night shoot" meeting. (Someone I'd chatted with during the day had mentioned it, and I figured why not?) That finally filled my last memory card, leaving me with no choice but to stop taking photos. But I think that the Flickr meet took less than 50 shots of my output that day - I'd have to go to my archives and check. Now that I recall all of this, I think I had to sign something saying that the company doing the redevelopment had some rights to my photos. I never did get around to processing them, partly due to that. But if I'm honest it was more down to the sheer volume than any worries about rights. That development company went bankrupt, which means nobody is likely to pursue me over rights anymore (I hope!). So I should probably get out my patent pending Motivational Posterior Kicker (Mark II), and use it on myself. It would be nice to finally get around to doing something with those 800+ photos I took of that magnificent building. At least one of them should be halfway decent, even by my low standards. ;-)
Philip Storry is now following The Typepad Team
Nov 8, 2014