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Old Mar 31, 2006, 8:00 AM   #1
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Everything is relative, some intellegent guy said a century ago. Of course there is a storage cost for digital images, but you can be selective. When I used film, I was satisfied with one or two keepers from a roll. But because of film anddeveloping cost one had to be restrictive. Who loved winders more than Fuji and Kodak?

With digital I shoot, delete, shoot, delete... Or rather: shoot, shoot shoot, download to hard drive, select, throw away and keep a few keepers...

DVDs and external hard drives are certainly not for free. But neither so are sq meters for the darkroom and cupboards, shelfs, attics to harbour all those paper copies and diapositives that weren't any good but so expensive to develop so it hurt to just throw them away.

Digital is freedom! Once you could afford the equipment, you can take just as many shots as the professional photograpers. And keep just as few...

Kjell
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Old Mar 31, 2006, 9:14 AM   #2
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Up to just recently, itwasn't just storage costs that equated to film. Prices are way down from where they've been, but the last film SLR I owned, a Canon Elan 7, cost me $300 new. Prior to this past week the cheapest DSLR I had owned was the E-1 I bought last October for $999- prior to that it was $1,399 for the 10D I was using back when I shot Canon, so you buy a lot of "film" up front when you invest in a body like that. Just this past week I bought an E-300 refurb from Olympus as a second bodyfor $350 plus shipping, so prices are getting down to near "normal" film SLRprices if one is willing to go the refurb or even used route, but the up front costs on many things tend to even out the digital vs. film debate if you can afford to get all the digital stuff up front with digital vs. the "pay as you go" route with film. Once you buy everything up front, running costs are less since you don't have to print everything in order to see it, and developing and printing costs can start getting a little high when you finally figure out you need to use a good pro lab to get consistent results with film- there's a lot oflow-end labs out there spitting out pretty mediocre quality prints. The biggest cost spiketo me since going the digital route is TIME, but the results and control, to me, have been worth the cost.


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Old Mar 31, 2006, 10:10 AM   #3
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Storage seems to be the new issue with digital, since CD's and DVD's don't have the life they were expected to have. The thinking now is to back up using quality (Not sure what that really means) media every three or four years when using CD or DVD media. Hard drives seem to be more reliable for long term storage, but even they have a fairly short life span compared to film. Digital images are very fragile and there doesn't seem to be a reliable storage solution at the moment, which is a real issue for professional photograhers, and amature photographers that want to keep their images for a life time.

I have slide film from the 60's that looks like new (Kodachrome) and negatives that are like new also, so that is a low cost issue compared to digital. You only need to shoot film once for long term storage, but digital seems need to be backed up on a regular basis. Shutterbug magazine had an editorial a while back calling the present group of digital shooters the "Missing Generation", claiming the digital images everyone (almost everyone) is shooting will be completely gone and there will be no record of all those family photos after the digital media has decayed in 10 to 20 years. Now there is a cost factor to think about!

The cost of equipment is massive in digital, with photographic equipment and computer equipment that needs constant upgrading, unlike film cameras which seem to last forever. I have Spotmatics from the 60's that work like new, along with quite a few Pentax film bodies from a K1000, PZ-1P, LX to MX-S that all work like they did when new. I can guarantee your present digital body will not be functioniing at all even 10 years from now, let alone in 40 years.

I would expect that if you factor in the cost of film, it would be far less than the cost of digital over the long haul, but then there is the hassle factor when you shoot 300 images in a day. You have instant access to digital while film takes at least half a day to deal with and you can not see your results instantly while on a shoot.

I still shoot both film (Pentax 35mm, 67 and 645) and digital, and I feel that digital is more expensive because of all the equipment you need to do it right, but I love the convenience.

I use external Firewire (faster than USB2 in real life) hard drives to back up my images right now, since you can get a 250Gig drive very inexpensively, but TIME WILL TELL if this is a long term solution or not.

Tom
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Old Mar 31, 2006, 11:44 AM   #4
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The difference is that every time you fire off a shot with film, the cash register rings up a cost. Not so with digital images. You only pay for the ones you store. The discards are essentially free.

With film,I am always concerned about whether the shot will be a keeper. With digital I am much more cavalier about pulling the trigger, and for this reason (among others), I really love digital photography.
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Old Mar 31, 2006, 11:57 AM   #5
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I'm with "ennacac" on this issue. I have My pictures backed up Six ways to Sunday, But I still Dont feel Confortable that my Grandchildren will be able to see them.
It is a Royal pain To have to keep Making new backups all the time and Keep copys off Site.
I also have Slides Of Various types From the 70s and they look as good today as they Did When i Shot them.
This Storage issue To me is the true hidden cost of Digital anything.

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Old Mar 31, 2006, 3:01 PM   #6
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ennacac wrote:
Quote:
Shutterbug magazine had an editorial a while back calling the present group of digital shooters the "Missing Generation", claiming the digital images everyone (almost everyone) is shooting will be completely gone and there will be no record of all those family photos after the digital media has decayed in 10 to 20 years. Now there is a cost factor to think about!


Tom
I also saw an article at one time in Popular Photograpy that probably was as good advise as I've seen. If you want to be assure as you can be thatyou'll always have acces to a picture-GET IT PRINTED. Nothing is100%, but it is one additional fail-safe.I admire people who have vaults and drawers and shoeboxes full of Chromes and faithfully kept negatives throughout the years, but I'd be willing to bet for every one person like that, there are many others like my parents, who have books full of images that go back 40-50 years, butno negatives to go with them, so I would argue there are many generations already in some familiesof missing source documents "negatives", and the prints are allthat are left as a reminder those pictures were ever taken. I've been promising my mother for months now that the next time I camehome I'd bring my laptop and scanner and scan tons of polaroids and other, now yellowing colorprints and color correct them because they no longer have the negatives to have them re-printed. As long as people have prints- not inkjet, but traditionally printed images,and store them correctly there's always the chance of being able to reproduce a picture if all your hard drive backups should fail.
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Old Mar 31, 2006, 3:02 PM   #7
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There is no argument here, digital storage is a problem. Film has been around for over 100 years in a format similar to what it is today. Properly stored negatives and slides have proven themselves to have a long lifespan (note I did say PROPERLY stored) while digital storage technologies seem to completely change every few years. The CD-R is one of the longer surviving formats and a fairly reliable storage medium but remember, even if the CDs would last 500 years, what will we play them on in ten years or so. Like the 8-track, the 5.25 floppy disk, the 100MB Zipdisk and so many other formats it will be hard to find the hardware to read our files.

I guess the only choices are to go back to film (let's not get hasty here), or to start an endless cycle of backing up files to whatever new medium comes down the pike. Some early professional DSLRs are now truly obsolete because the software to read the file formats they produced have never been ported to new operating systems. For all you RAW shooters out there take note, a second set of files converted to a more universal lossless format like tiff may be good insurance. Where did I put that MZ-7?

Any other issues we have overlooked?

Ira
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Old Mar 31, 2006, 3:19 PM   #8
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As soon asPhase One makes my RAW converter(Capture One LE)useable with the DNG format, that's probably the format allmy RAW files are headed.
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Old Mar 31, 2006, 4:19 PM   #9
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I never suggested going back to film, although I do still use it on a regular basis. I was just pointing out that CD's and DVD's are not a reliable source of storage for data files.

They work much better for music since music files have a margin for error built in, but that margin is nonexistent for image files. As ricehigh pointed out he already has some CD's that are causing issues.

Tom
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Old Mar 31, 2006, 6:02 PM   #10
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i back up to 2 diff HDDS, to my regular DVDs, and then to Mitsui MAM-A DVD-R Archiving disks. i don't know if they are worth the $3+ they cost but they are ''suppose'' to have a 100 year life. who knows?? i will not be around to see.

roy
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