Digital vs. Film Photography – A Brief Cost Comparison

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Sometimes it’s fun to try to justify decisions you’ve made and things you’ve done. This is one of those. I hope it hits home with some of you.

A woman that works in my office loves nature and nature photography. Because of our common interest she and I talk about photography from time to time. What’s a little different about her approach to photography is that she shoots with film exclusively and doesn’t own a DSLR. She wants to buy a DSLR but doesn’t think she can afford it right now.

This got me to thinking about the costs of photography and I decided to write this article comparing the costs between film and digital photography. It isn’t intended to cover every cost but just enough to provide a comparison.

To go digital the first big expense she would have to face is the cost of the DSLR camera and new lenses. While it’s a significant capital outlay, it’s a crossover cost and similar for either format so I didn’t include this cost in the comparison.

MiNe-HD1A_100-6133H

When you take a photo it is stored someplace, either on the light sensitive film or on a memory storage device and a comparison of film and memory seemed like a good place to start. My camera, a Canon 7D, uses Compact Flash and when shooting in RAW my 16GB Sandisk Extreme 60 MB/s UDMA card will store 640 25MB images. I can fill the card, download the images and format the card to use it again. If I do this three times I will have 1,920 images and will still have the card to use again. Depending on where you purchase the card, the cost is roughly $92. At 1,920 images that figures out to be just under $0.05 per image and each time I use the card again, the per-image cost goes down.

DSC_2436.JPG

My co-worker uses Ektar 100 36 exposure 35mm color film. The cost per roll is 4.49 and processing (not including printing) is about $6.50, depending on where you have it processed. That is $0.305 per image and is a fixed cost whether you take 1 roll or 1,000 rolls. Fifty-four rolls of film would produce 1,944 images with a total cost of approximately $594.00. Last year I took about 6,000 images and if I were using film I would have spent close to $2,000 on film and processing for the same number of images. Depending on how many images she takes in a year, it wouldn’t take her very long to pay for a new DSLR with what she would be saving on film.

I gave her this information and she quickly pointed out that she would have to buy all that special software like Photoshop. That’s true to a point. Once I’ve taken the photos with my DSLR I can download the images to my computer using the software that was included with my camera when I purchased it. I can’t do anything with it but I have the image. This is the same as the film image you have after processing except with film you have a negative. If I want to make any modifications to the image it requires some sort of photo manipulation software. I could use Corel, iPhoto or some other economic photo manipulation software. I could, but I don’t.

The cost of the software isn’t inexpensive but there isn’t much I can’t do with an image. I have the following programs that can be purchased on Amazon at the indicated cost:
Photoshop CS5 – $689
Lightroom 3 – $244
Nik Software Complete Collection – $500

All this comes to a shocking total of $1,432.71 and I still want to get Photomatix for HDR work. Fortunately, because of discounts and special offers I didn’t pay that much for the software but it was still a big number.

The obvious argument is you can have a lot of photos printed for $1,500 and the cost of all this expensive software makes digital photography at least as expensive as film.

I think this argument is incorrect for a couple of reasons. First, the software cost is a one time cost (not counting upgrades) and with every image the per-image cost is reduced. With the cost of film and developing the cost of printing is the same for every image printed and the per-image cost isn’t affected. Second, if you just have the images printed and no other processing done with the images you still have a straight out of camera (SOOC) image which isn’t any different than you would have if you printed one of your digital images on your desktop ink jet printer without any software manipulation.

Beseler 23C Enlarger

I view all this software the same as I would a darkroom if I was still involved with film photography. Determining the cost of a darkroom isn’t as easy as adding the price of software but the largest single expenditure is easy to find. If I built a darkroom I would want the Beseler 23CIII-XL Dichroic (Color) Enlarger. A new one at B&H Photo costs $1,224.95. Then you would have to buy all the trays, tanks, reels, clips, tongs, etc., none of which are expensive but when you add them all together it would be a few hundred dollars. There are less expensive enlargers on the market, especially if black & white is all you want to do, and you can find used enlargers for less than the cost of a new one. However, if you want the same capability in a dark room as you have with digital processing you kind of have to go all out.

You also have to have a dark room and most houses don’t come equipped with them. I know that some people set up temporarily in a bathroom or a closet but I can think of two major problems with that approach. I don’t want to set up and take down every time I want to develop photos and my wife would veto any attempt to use a closet or a bathroom and I don’t blame her. That means you would have to figure in the cost of building a dark room as well.

My conclusion is that as expensive as digital photography can be and as heart palpitating as the cost of some equipment and software is, in the end it’s still less expensive than film photography approached at the same level. Now I feel so much better about the money I’m spending on this wonderful endeavor called photography.

As a footnote, for those looking to shoot holes in my logic, I didn’t include the cost of a computer because I’ve had home computers for longer than digital photography has been widely available.

Photo Credits:

Compact Flash Card by MiNe (sfmine79) on Creative Commons
Kodak Ektar 100 Film by lonnie127 on Creative Commons
Beseler Enlarger by Nesster on Creative Commons

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  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Gavin

    A couple of years back I did a wedding shoot with Picasa, just to see if it could be done. It was fine, and while I might prefer Photoshop for most things, it isn’t actually necessary.nnAlso no mention of Gimp, which is a free and open source competitor to Photoshop that is more than good enough to get you going for free. Free, in this case, does not equal any reduction in quality, and things like context-aware delete actually popped up in a Gimp plug-in before photoshop.

  • Anne Bo

    Ther are plenty of completely free photo editing and management suites around. Picasa for one. Another great advantage of digtal work is virtuallly instant photo sharing over the net if you want it.

  • C James

    “Digital encourages taking lots and lots of shot most of which were never really worth taking in the first place.”  Is that necessarily a bad thing? Wasting shots is a waste of time yes, but digital also allows people to experiment risk free and because the results are instant they can improve quickly and keep trying in their own homes and back-yards. For better or worse, digital photography has made a lot of people into fairly competent photographers, compared to the film days where it took a lot of time, money and a real commitment to get good results- now it’s fairly easy and every man and his dog has a digital rebel, so image making and documenting is becoming more and more ingrained into our culture, as opposed to just the select few who possess the god given power to combine technical know-how with an artistic eye. Cameras are so advanced now that all the technical aspect of photography is taken care of automatically, the user is free to concentrate solely on content. Already this has a knock on effect of forcing professional photographers to step up- as a couple planning a wedding might well decide to ask their competent uncle bobby to take the photos rather than spend the $$$ on a pro, especially in these harsh economic times…

  • Johnny

    Ignoring the initial investment cost already makes this article irrelevant. You’re talking about a woman who already shoots with film, she has made her investment already. Switching to digital would be a large expense, and one that will be repeated every few years as digital cameras are susceptible to the same upgrade cycles as computers and other consumer electronics. Don’t think so? Ask long-time DSLR owners how many times they upgraded.

    Even for a newcomer to photography could buy a top-notch film SLR for a fraction of the thousands of dollars an equivalent level DSLR would cost. And film lens format change a lot less often than digital ones, possibly saving you from additional upgrade woes.Another bad comparison is to assume that one would shoot as much film as they would digitally. Anyone who’s shot both knows that you shoot much less with film. Film has the disadvantage of not knowing for sure that you’ve got the shot, but that’s less important as you improve in your skills. Film makes you get better in judging exposure and composition, your confidence improves, and you spend no time staring at the back of the camera while photograph opportunities pass you by. Also, your ‘great shot’ ratio is much better with film. How many of those 6,000 photos were keepers?Digital is not cheaper. It is more convenient. The question is, how much are you willing to pay for convenience?I do appreciate the effort in pricing a darkroom and software. You need one or the other to edit.

  • Inno Photo

    Your friend shoots nature and landscape, in this area, there’s nothing quite like a Velvia or Provia in the DSLR arsenal. Cost wise, digital is cheaper, given. However, film shooters rarely consider cost as an issue but the aesthetics of film, no more no less.

    There is a reason, Leica has not gone bankrupt including Fujifilm. Kodak deserted film and bankruptcy followed!

  • Blackcap

    “To go digital the first big expense she would have to face is the cost of the DSLR camera and new lenses. While it’s a significant capital outlay, it’s a crossover cost and similar for either format so I didn’t include this cost in the comparison.”

    And with that, this cost analysis loses all credibility, since you’re ignoring both the fact that a new digital camera costs significantly more than a used film camera, and that the digital camera will depreciate much faster than the film camera.

    The analysis also ignores that image-editing software also depreciates rapidly (upgrade your PC, it comes with a new version of the operating system, and suddenly the version of Photoshop you bought six years ago must be upgraded, too).

    Ultimately, digital and film are very different, and it is difficult to do a straight-across comparison. Costs end up depending on many personal particulars. And ultimately, cost isn’t always the most significant thing, anyhow, since the two technologies are different enough that for certain subject matter, one can end up being significantly better than the other, and sometimes it’s worth paying more for quality.

  • S Nanton

    Well I think I should weigh in, I weighed the costs since I am saving for a Leica .the M9 vs MP. Now I know what you are thinking, why break the bank? Becase I want something small for my type of photography and most DSLRs ffeel like toys (which I doubt a digital camera can last 20 years) I didn’t want to upgrade much so I figured the upfront Leica tax is worth it. I however am deciding to go with the MP because of the build, size, the fact that film won’t go away for a while. I did learn with digital however with the LCD taped so I won’t see it and thus focused on the technical learning. I can’t wait til I get the MP in my hand. Like Steve Huff said said he wants a lifetime camera that is new. Why is his lifetime camera not digital, well I am sure he knows about digital rot. Maybe he knows about planned obsolescence. After a while your different RAW file types won’t be supported, and if one thing on your camera’s motherboard goes bust that is the camera’s death nil.

  • S Nanton

    Well I think I should weigh in, I weighed the costs since I am saving for a Leica .the M9 vs MP. Now I know what you are thinking, why break the bank? Becase I want something small for my type of photography and most DSLRs ffeel like toys (which I doubt a digital camera can last 20 years) I didn’t want to upgrade much so I figured the upfront Leica tax is worth it. I however am deciding to go with the MP because of the build, size, the fact that film won’t go away for a while. I did learn with digital however with the LCD taped so I won’t see it and thus focused on the technical learning. I can’t wait til I get the MP in my hand. Like Steve Huff said said he wants a lifetime camera that is new. Why is his lifetime camera not digital, well I am sure he knows about digital rot. Maybe he knows about planned obsolescence. After a while your different RAW file types won’t be supported, and if one thing on your camera’s motherboard goes bust that is the camera’s death nil.