I think Thom was right, again...

Started Mar 26, 2013 | Discussions thread
Wellington100 Forum Pro • Posts: 11,744
Re: I think Thom was right, again...

photoreddi wrote:


Some time ago Thom Hogan posted that digital might not actually be cheaper than film, because you end up buying new bodies so often. I'm starting to agree with him, even though I shoot far more digital shots than film.

Here it is 2013 and I just bought yet another Nikon. This year it's a D800e.

In late 2005 I bought a D70s.

In early 2007 I bought a D200.

In late 2007 I bought a D300.

In late 2010 I bought a D700.

Hmm. 5 cameras in 8 years. And they've been significant upgrades, in at least some ways. Enough to basically have me stop using the previous generation, except I did use D200 and D300 at the same time.

Which makes me wonder, what is Nikon going to have 2-3 years down the road that is going to obsolete my D800e?

(Or perhaps complement it. I could see buying a D800es, which simply gives me 8fps and some small autofocus improvement.)

In contrast, I bought an N90s in 1995 and used it until 2005. All I had to upgrade was the film I used.

Yes, but what if to be able to use the newer, better film, you also had to upgrade the camera? You and other N90s owners might have upgraded to a newer model in 1998. For image quality alone I would take my D300 over any 35mm film camera and I think that many D90/D300/D700 owners would agree. But many owners of discontinued DSLRs have or will upgrade to newer models because there are significant image quality improvements (higher resolution, lower noise at higher ISO, higher speed, better features, etc.)? I like the way digital embeds EXIF data in the image files. The N90s could save some exposure data for many rolls of film but to access it you needed to upload it to a Sharp Wizard. Ugh.

Anyone that is satisfied with their older DSLRs has no need to upgrade, yet many do anyway. So be honest, now that you have a D800 (and it's the "e" model no less), how often would you set it aside and take your D70s or D200 out for a day's shooting, assuming you still have either of them? I still have my D70s but it's used only slightly more often than I now use my old Palm Pilot, the same one that I got rid of years before I bought the D70s.

Thom may be right about the total cost per year being higher for digital cameras vs film cameras, but there's another way to look at it. I'm sure that I'm not the only one that found that the cost per photo was much higher for film cameras than for digital because there were several reasons why I shot such a smaller number of film photos per year than I shot digitally per month. There are a number of pros and advanced amateurs here that regularly wear out their shutters at 400k to 500k actuations. That amounts to somewhere between 12,000 and 20,000 rolls of film. Film and processing costs from a drugstore for this amount of photos would probably come to somewhere between $100,000 and $200,000. Pros and advanced amateurs would be more likely to use a custom lab so the cost rises. This makes DSLRs seem like the bargain of the century.

Good point, and then there are the indirect benefits such as the ability to share images at no extra cost, the convenience of storing images digitally rather than investing in expensive archive systems, the ability to view images at any size at no extra cost, the savings in  not having to track and store negatives and slides, etc etc

Its also not essential to shoot with a D800 if you are a hobbyist and just want to have some fun, my 90 quid Fuji F300 compact is a lot of fun as well and makes photography a virtually free hobby for those on a budget. I have stopped shooting my D40 and S5 DSLR's because I enjoy this little camera so much though I am hankering for a quality landscape setup. I have a D600 with the 28-300 in mind. This is the sort of stuff I like to shoot:

 Wellington100's gear list:Wellington100's gear list
Ricoh GR Fujifilm FinePix S5 Pro Panasonic Lumix DMC-GM1 Fujifilm X-T1 Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX85 +15 more
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