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Old 03-30-2011, 07:10 PM
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Bo Eder Bo Eder is offline
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Location: Southern California
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Default Re: Decision Time: New Kit or Camera

Originally Posted by toddbishop View Post
How about a used Catalina and an perfectly great though non-sparkly new camera? The Nikon D40 is great, if a little out of date- you should be able to find one used or refurbished for not too much money. If the megapixel count is too scarily low for you, you can read on that same site why that doesn't matter. It's a true DSLR and it's great for travel and it rocks.

If you've got the guts, you can get pro 35mm film rigs for next to nothing. The Nikon N90s was only used to get 90% of the images in National Geographic in the 1990's, and costs less than a hundred bucks for a used body. Black and white film is dirt cheap from Freestyle, and developing it is a fun, easy hobby, and as a kid you should be doing cool stuff like that. It's old and it's film and it's kind of heavy, but it absolutely rocks. Nikon's metering system is virtually foolproof- you won't miss the review option digital gives you. In fact, you won't waste hours of your travel time checking to see if the picture you just took is any good. Drop me a line if you go crazy and decide to go that route, and I can give you more info.

You can also go the dirt cheap artist route and get a plastic Holga for like $20, plus a brick of 120 film for another hundred and get the most incredible pictures of all. And with the money you make exhibiting and selling your Holga prints, you can buy yourself that new drumset and digital rig.
Not to go a little off-topic, and I do admit Ken Rockwell says some good things, but keep in mind this is the internet and he's said some really crazy things as well. As a semi-professional photographer, I went through this whole craze of trying to stick with film, and in the end, I couldn't. Just like I can't go back to listening to records and making cassettes. It's a great exercise in nostalgia, but it's not very practical anymore. I got a chance to hear the great pro photog Joe McNally speak at a seminar not too long ago (he's been there and done that for LIFE, National Geographic, Sports Illustrated) and I'm aware that these conventions are basically ways to promote new equipment, but in reality on the digital vs film debate, my attitude is, "well you could, but why would you want to?" The whole idea is to be able to get the image your mind sees faster and with less hassle. If you're only choice was to use film, this wouldn't be an argument, but film is not your only choice and the computer is basically a standard home appliance now, so why go to the trouble of buying film, shooting it, developing it, and then scanning it so you can get it into the computer?

Even if you do the 35mm route and decide to find a lab to do the developing cheap (like a Sams Club or a Costco) well, it's declined so much that alot of these cheap minilabs don't develop film anymore. That's how you know it's done. We, as photogs have always known that film is cool, but we didn't say it with our wallets, nor is the general public anymore. If that was indeed the case, then minilabs would still exist!

I know a couple of wedding photogs who still shoot exclusively film, but pro labs are not cheap and it still takes days to get them the film that they scan so you can sell prints online from their websites. The whole process has become so anachronistic. No wonder nobody shoots on glass plates anymore. Photography has evolved, just how we make and consume music has evolved.

So the argument isn't really "is digital better than film?", it's "is film good enough to keep going through this process?". For about 90% of the world's public, film isn't. Sad, but true. I loved shooting with my ancient 1980s Hasselblad as much as the next guy who spent $5,000 on one of those things. I also used to love playing PacMan on one of those old console tables at the old pizza parlor too. Both of which never happen anymore :(
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