Note: www.cdegroot.com is in rebuild. Please accept my apologies for broken links, missing stuff, etcetera - more
  Home

Executive Summary: make the switch.

Should you move to digital?

I will not throw lots of technical arguments around here. 20x30cm prints from my digital camera look better than what my Yashica kit with prime lenses ever produced, and I'm quite sure I can print at twice the size without noticeable loss of quality (I'll have some hi-res scans here later on to prove the point). Therefore, as I don't see a quality disadvantage (but that, as always, is a matter of personal judgement), I will talk about the advantages here.

First and foremost, there are no film costs and you can skip printing for most of your images - which makes experimentation essentially for free ('just' your time), and in my book the way to learning photography is to a large extent doing it - trying new things out, experimenting, etcetera. You'll become a better photographer faster with a digital camera.

When shooting, you have immediate feedback on composition and exposure (with a full histogram, comparable to hours of fooling around with a densitometer in your darkroom!) and if your camera can zoom in on displayed pictures, you will also be able to evaluate sharpness and depth-of-field a bit. So leaving the subject and discovering later that exposure was not optimal is something of the past. Furthermore, apart from one-time expenses in storage, bracketing and variations in settings are for free, so there's no reason not to shoot 20 or 30 images of a single subject with different apertures, exposures, and lens distance settings. All in all, chances are much better you will arrive home with that optimal 'negative' necessary for a really nice print.

Your "darkroom" operates in full daylight and chances are that you have most of the equipment already. You can 'develop' negatives (by means of RAW conversion) as often as you like with different parameter settings, you can do B&W in a completely new way (you don't need to put that red filter in front of the lens if Photoshop can do that based on a color image just as effectively), you don't need to touch all these chemicals, etcetera. I remember the days I fumbled around in the darkness with some nostalgia, but I am not itching to go back. Furthermore, the only variable cost you have is CD or DVD blanks for backup and paper for printing - and usually paper is reserved for a single final print, not for test strips, test prints, etcetera.

You don't need to collect lists of reprint orders for that birthday party - just throw all the pictures, full-sized, on the web and let people do their own printing or print ordering. You don't need to have your own photo quality printer, even - until now, I'm completely happy with the on-line service of Fuji Digital Imaging and I can pick up the prints next day in the 1 hour shop in my town.


 
Copyright (C)2000-2011 Cees de Groot -- All rights reserved.