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02-13-2007, 06:11 AM   #1
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Digital Cheaper Than Film

Hi everyone. I posted this on the other site, but wanted to post here as well. Hope that isn't against the rules. Anyways, I thought it was interesting, so here it is (again for some).

I was just thinking (always dangerous) that digital has crept by film in another way as of late; actually I am a little surprised that I haven't seen mention made of it elsewhere. Not that it hasn't been mentioned, just that I don't recall seeing it.

Low priced, but decent, SD cards are big items here. If a store is having a sale lately, you can bet they will be advertising a 2gig card for 499nt (about $15usd). These are not no name cards either, typically Ridata or A-Data, which are both a decent enough brand. They are slow though, maybe 60X. Anyways, at this price, the cost of digital is actually cheaper than shooting high end slide film, on a per shot basis, using the highest quality possible. What I mean is that if I shoot RAW (pef), it is cheaper for me to take a frame on my K10D than it is to take the same frame using Provia or Velvia. I am not talking about the fact that I can use the card hundreds of times; it is cheaper if I were to endlessly buy cards and use them only once, then buy again when full.

I could be wrong on the numbers, but I believe the last time I bought a roll of Provia, I paid 160nt for 37 exposures. This works out to 4.32nt/frame. With PEFs from my K10D, I get about 170 (this is a guess, the camera really only counts down DNGs properly) shots. This works out to 2.94/frame, a much lower price. Even shooting the bloated sized DNGs, it is 4.05 per frame, a slight savings. My beloved Tri-X is 85nt/roll, which comes out to 2.30/frame, a slight savings. Of course though, at 4.37nt for Provia, or 2.30nt for Tri-X, I still have to buy chems or pay for processing. B&W developing at home is cheap enough, but not free. Having slides processed was/is expensive for me, it has been a few years though and I don't remember exactly how expensive.

It is quite a head shaker to me that even used disposably, memory card prices give us so much for so little. I can remember when I bought my *istD, this was not the case. I bought the cheapest 512mb card I could and it still cost me 4000nt. Now he cards are four times as big and 1/8th the price. Crazy.

Anyways, this little math on my part isn't meant to stop people from shooting film; it certainly won't stop me. It is just an interesting milestone that we have passed IMO.

02-13-2007, 07:33 AM   #2
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i cant quite imagine why anyone would contemplate useing memory cards "disposably" thow..

i dont print much and to me the cost of "digital" film is free.. i am happy viewing my images fullscreen (16 x 11) on my half decent lcd wide screen monitor..

i like to feel i can print if i wish.. but i rarely actually do it.. i have gotten used to seeing large images.. printing large size in quantity isnt exactly practical..

so in some ways once the hardware is purchased digital photography is "free".. apart from feeling one has to buy a new piece of hardware every few months to keep up with the trends.. he he

trog
02-13-2007, 07:42 AM   #3
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Thanks Darren. I hadn't realized that the prices of SD cards had gotten that low! But I have a whole handful of 1 and 2 gb cards, so I haven't bought any in a while, and of course they are re-usable, which makes everything even cheaper! I think for me, as a neophyte photographer, the primary benefit of digital isn't price, (tho I admit it's nice to be able to shoot and shoot and shoot and not have to worry about film costs) but the fact that I have a full record of each shot. I can look at a photo and with a mouse click, see all the parameters of the shot, what aperture, focal length, (if I'm not using a manual lens) shutter speed, ISO etc. It makes learning a bit easier, because I can immediately see what works and what doesn't. Of course I could write all that stuff down, but that's a pita, distracting me from the actual photography.

NaCl(I have two film bodies and haven't used either in 3 years)H2O +
02-13-2007, 08:34 AM   #4
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"I think for me, as a neophyte photographer"

out of curiosity NaC at what point would u consider yourself to have moved beyond the neophyte stage.. ???

trog

02-13-2007, 08:39 AM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by trog100 Quote
"I think for me, as a neophyte photographer"

out of curiosity NaC at what point would u consider yourself to have moved beyond the neophyte stage.. ???

trog
That's a good question for Saltwater.


I'm a neophyte as well.
My answer would be.

When I can begin to shoot fewer than 100 shots to get one good one.
02-13-2007, 08:47 AM   #6
Ed in GA
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Now, to address the original post.

I did a post on this somewhere a while back. Since Storeage media is reusable, I chose the cost of disposable batteries -vs- the cost of film for my comparison.

Back in the film days, I used Ilford Film, which was quite pricey, and a custom lab for photo processing.

Now, thanks to computers, I can do my own processing and a set of batteries cost about the same as 6 rolls of film without processing.

So, IMHO, digital photography is far less expensive than Film photography.


Ed
02-13-2007, 08:58 AM   #7
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I know people who use memory cards as disposable. A friend just bought 2 more 1G cards yesterday. Every trip she takes gets a new card/s. She then views them on a card reader/ tv viewer on the big screen tv. She prints the ones she wants and saves all on cds. She has 3 years worth of cards. This was expensive in the beginning but now is less than shooting film. Her little Pentax only shoots 1g max cards.
thanks
barondla
02-13-2007, 09:17 AM   #8
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Hi trog, I'd say I have moved beyond the neophyte stage when I can look at a shot, pretty much know automatically how to frame, focus and expose it. Right now I'll look at a shot think to myself "a 6.7 fstop will give me the right DOF" dial in 6.7, check the DOF and find I was wrong and I need an 11 or 5.6 or what ever. Or I'll be doing a perspective shot and think to myself "foreground focus would work best here" but being unsure, take 3 shots with focus on foreground, mid ground and far away, and when opening the files after the shoot find that the mid or far focus shots worked better. I know that all of this kind of thing will come with practice and where I now take 50 or 100 shots, and get maybe 5 or 10 keepers, I'll be able to take 20 shots of the same subjects and get the same five or so keepers. (tho most likely I'll be more critical and what is a "keeper" today will be a "yucko" in the future )At that point I'll consider myself a journeyman amateur rather than a neophyte amateur. I'm lucky in that I'm blessed with a decent eye for shape, form and color, now all I need is the experience of working with the technology. But it takes time and practice practice practice.

NaCl(it's a good thing I like to shoot!)H2O

02-13-2007, 10:34 AM   #9
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"This was expensive in the beginning but now is less than shooting film"

a weird way of looking at things but true.. thinking about it.. if she dosnt have a computer it might make a small amount of sense.. so in essence she keeps the cards as backup as well as the cd..

its still a rather expensive and strange permanent storage method thow.. assuming she takes plenty of picture she must have lots of money tied up in storage over the last three years..

####

no chance of ever considering yourselves as "masters" then guys.. he he

but i think both of u are above the lowest neophyte grade.. or is that divided up in many stages.. how about journeyman neophyte perhaps.. u must be making some progress along the path.. he he

and no matter how well u "see" the perfect frame.. taking a few "free" extras shots will often produce a better end result..

perhaps parts of the masters secret grasshopper is to never think he is clever enough not to have to make 100 attempts at getting his "masterpiece"..

trog
02-13-2007, 10:53 AM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by trog100 Quote
snip
perhaps parts of the masters secret grasshopper is to never think he is clever enough not to have to make 100 attempts at getting his "masterpiece"..

trog
First of all apologies to Darren M for the threadjack

Well true trog, but the master at least pretty much knows what combination of lens, body, light and settings will produce what results. This grasshopper, for one, guesses too much. It's not that I can't get a "masterpiece". I have, on occasion, gotten some highly satisfactory shots. But too much of the time I'm guessing about too much when I push the shutter release. I will eventually get to the point where I'll be able to look around and know what kinds of results I'll get from whatever equipment I'm using at the time. I still may have to take 100 shots to get The Stunner, but maybe 20 or thirty or so will be good or very good, and the rest hopefully won't be "yuckos".

NaCl(it's not the percentage of shots I'm looking for as much as the knowledge of what will occur every time I press the shutter release)H2O

Last edited by NaClH2O; 02-13-2007 at 10:56 AM. Reason: added the apology to Darren
02-13-2007, 11:40 AM   #11
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I wonder if anyone will try a "disposable" memory card/
just for instance, someone makes and sells them for a dollar or two.

sounds illogical but just wondering....

cheers

randy
02-13-2007, 11:45 AM   #12
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My step Daughter shoots with a Kodak P&S which uses an SD card.

At Christmas, Best Buy had 1G SD cards on sales for $14.99 so I bought three of them for her.

She had asked for them as part of her Christmas gifts. When I asked her if she kew she could erase them, she told me that the cards were her permanent record of photos she had taken. I told her that she could copy all of them to a back up CD, but she insists on keeping them on the card.

Go figure.
02-13-2007, 11:54 AM   #13
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going back the the cheap removable storage thing.. what amazes me as well as the price is the size factor.. we can now get the equivalent data on a thing the size of a postage stamp which not that long ago would have taken a pile of floppy disks six feet high..

or to put it another way it would it would take a pile of floppy disks 1.5 miles high to contain the same data as i can store on my computer hardrives..

or a pile of one gig sd cards 5 feet high to store the same data as my PC..

the cost of the sd cards would be 10,000 dollars at ten dollars per 1 gig card..

the cost of the hardrives would be 300 dollars..

shall i play the same trick with the cost of throw away batteries compared to rechargables.. say during the lifetime of the camera..

what we are seeing here is just how wastefull the modern american society has become.. we can aford it.. why not.. who cares.. he he he..

in the UK we not quite so bad.. its never occured to us (yet) to throw away sd cards.. not cos we are morally any better but simply because everything we buy costs twice as much as it does in the US..

food for thought..

trog

Last edited by trog100; 02-13-2007 at 12:00 PM.
02-13-2007, 12:10 PM   #14
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I for one don't throw away SD cards unless they are defective. Like I said, I've got a handful of them, and it's not like they take up a lot of room. I haven't tested it, but I imagine you can fit 9 to 16 SD cards in their little plastic cases in the same volume as a 3.5 inch floppy. I have 4X 2 gig cards and 6X 1 gig cards, that's 14 gig of storage. Even if I had the K10D with it's large files, that's still more pictures than I can take in a day.

NaCl(and a couple of 200gb external hard drives just for photo storage)H2O
02-13-2007, 12:40 PM   #15
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back to the "master" thing NaCH20..

my youngest son as an example.. he has had his k100 just under four months.. he has 10,000 shutter releases on his camera.. on his E20 he esimates 100,000 shutter releases since he has had it..

over the last four years he thinks about 200,000 shutter releases in all.. not trying to take the "masterpiece".. mostly just learning lens/camera abilities.. or in simple terms how to get the best out of his equipment..

is he a "master".. i just ask him this question.. he says he gets a lot more "keeper" than he used to do.. he he he

now is digital cheaper than film.. he says.. what a silly question.. to get where he is now would have cost 65,000 or a $120,000 us dollars in film and printing costs alone..

he is not a pro just a keen amature that likes to think one day he might earn some money from his portfolio..

he knows what the benefits of digital are.. the ability to takes lots of pictures and in so doing learn how to take the odd good one.. without digital none of it would be possible..

trog

Last edited by trog100; 02-13-2007 at 12:46 PM.
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