Sunday, February 06, 2005

Digital Photography

I've pretty much been scanning all day. Slides old
and new, many dated to the early 90's. You'll see
some results above. But in the meantime a little
mild rant about digital photography.

First, for many types of quality photography, once
you get beyond simple snapshots, digital photography
is far too expensive.

My EOS-3 costs about $850 new, a full frame (for
wide angle, landscape etc) DSLR with similar
capabilities such as the EOS-1Ds goes for about
$5000 on cheatbay. Add computer power, digital
storage to include both cards for the camera and
harddrive space for the computer, add a DVD-writer
and you're quickly approaching $6000. If I (a
film shooter) want to scan my slides or negatives,
to be fair, add the cost of a good film scanner
to the film side of the equation, such as a Minolta
DiMage 5400, about $650. Using film I don't have
the same backup requirements...I have the actual
negative or slide. The $4500 difference will buy
a lot of film and processing.

Second problem is the file manipulation and
arrival to a final "product."

It's time-consuming in a big way. If you want to
get beyond mere snapshots, you need to learn and
then use a photo editing package. If you want to
make decent prints, you need a printer (actually
I think the ink is more expensive), photo paper,
and most of all, you need to understand color
management and profiling....unless of course you
send photos out to be printed. The only way any
of the printing process for digital is cheaper than
film, is if you are a lousy photographer and most
of your shots aren't worth printing, or a lazy
photographer and you never get around to printing
your photos.

All that said, I suspect that in a few years when
the price of a full frame DSLR such as the Canon
1Ds Mark II falls from the current price of about
$8000 to something in the neighborhood of $1500,
I may bite the bullet and make the switch, or do
both, picking what is best for the job at hand.

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