Another way film outdoes digital

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by KarnyDoc, Jun 7, 2011.

  1. KarnyDoc

    KarnyDoc Member

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    I had an experience this past weekend that only served to illustrate why film is better than digital. It has nothing to do with look, mood, etc., that are qualities often used to describe film's superiority over digital.

    Instead, it comes down to something much more practical: batteries.

    Now, while I'm a dyed-in-the-wool film shooter, using my Hasselblad of late, I do have a Nikon Coolpix I bought a couple of years ago for two chief purposes: to photograph items for eBay, and for what I like to call "happysnaps."

    The occasion on Saturday, June 4, was an open house at Turtle Back Zoo in West Orange, NJ. The zoo is part of Essex County's South Mountain recreation area, and it featured tables staffed by various Essex County agencies, who gave out all manner of goodies. At one table, my girlfriend and I each got small personal, battery-powered fans that came with AA batteries (my camera takes the AA size).

    At one point, wanting to photograph one of the big cats, my camera's batteries, low in the first place, died entirely. In a burst of inspiration, I dug out the batteries from one of the fans and put them in. Nothing. Given they were some brand about which I'd never heard, I tossed them, and the dead batteries originally from the camera, into the trash.

    I couldn't help but note the irony: Had I brought my Hassy along, despite my bag's bulk and weight, I still would have been able to take the pictures I wanted! This despite my light meter's battery being dead. (Hey, at least I could've estimated the exposure.)

    Generally speaking, I'm not a big fan of digital, chiefly because of the need for power at every step of the process, from taking the image to viewing it (most consumer-level digital pictures aren't printed). However, I'm no Luddite, either; I realize digital has its place, strengths - and weaknesses.

    It's also important to note that spare batteries are currently not in the budget, so I had no spares on hand, other than the personal-fan ones, which proved to be adequately juiced for the fan, but not for the power requirements of a compact digital camera.

    "Digital is superior to film," say the digital proponents. Pshaw. :smile:

    Dieter Zakas
    Photoless, NJ
     
  2. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    When I go skiing my film cameras work. Everyone else cannot take the digi-snaps because it is too cold for the batteries.

    Digitial has its place: see the last line of my signature.

    Steve ==> He who does not have stinky finger! :sick:
     
  3. Diapositivo

    Diapositivo Member

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    A digital fan would say digital is superior because you cannot remain without film. If you want to shoot analogue, you have to carry film and maybe batteries. If you want to shoot digital, you have to carry batteries and memory cards. You seem to be a little biased toward film :smile:

    (I imagine you disposed of your batteries properly rather than throwing them into the trash)
     
  4. moose10101

    moose10101 Member

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    Must be a pretty tight budget if it can't accommodate a few AA batteries. They're a lot cheaper than film.
     
  5. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    there are plenty of film cameras that take aa or cr123 or "other" batteries ..
    not really sure what the point of this thread is ...
     
  6. michaelbsc

    michaelbsc Member

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    I have heard, completely unsubstantiated by me, that there is growth in the market where electricity is not available. Even if you have batteries for the camera the printer won't work without electricity.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 7, 2011
  7. MaximusM3

    MaximusM3 Member

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    That's right, Master J..my Nikon F6 is just as dead as a brand spanking new D3X, without CR123s...but thank goodness the old M3 keeps on going..and going..and going :smile:
     
  8. anon12345

    anon12345 Member

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    My biggest trouble with film cameras is that they are always running out of film. All my cameras seem to eat film like it's going out of style.
    :wink:
     
  9. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    One advantage of film over digital is when you blow out highlights with a digital camera there's no chance in retrieving detail. If you shoot neg film, there is a chance to get some highlight detail back. I know this site is about analog still photography, but I film maker told me that digital video cameras have less of a dynamic range than film movie cameras. Some film makers would rather shoot film, but budgetary constraints force them to shoot digital video.
     
  10. BrianL

    BrianL Member

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    One answer for the digital shooter is to have a camera that uses AA batteries. I have a Pentax 3.0meg P&S that uses them and is small, not as small as the credit card stuff but fits in the pocket nicely. Optical finder and 3x optical zoom. Easy to use and I keep using rechargable batteries in it. I usually run with a spare set of batteries in my pocket and a carrier film camera that has a mechanical shutter or 1 that also uses AA batteries.
     
  11. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser

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    :smile:
     
  12. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Subscriber

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    Assuming regular AA alkalines, at least in many places in the US, simply throwing them in the trash IS disposing of them properly:

    http://www.duracell.com/en-US/battery-care-disposal.jspx
     
  13. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    In California ALL electrical and electronic waste must go to a recycling facility. That includes all batteries. I have a bag to collect it in and when full I drop it off at a close by recycling depot.

    Ateve
     
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  15. Roger Cole

    Roger Cole Subscriber

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    Well, it varies a lot. No such thing in Georgia (or Tennessee, the only two states I've lived in.)
     
  16. bblhed

    bblhed Member

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    Here is what this comes down to for me,I swear I do make a point in the end. I went to pick up a car and drive it up the East Coast of the US last weekend. I decided that I would travel quick and light and just bring a digital POS that I have an underwater case for rather than my Nikonos V that has a case that just makes carry on size. I figured I could take some snaps and if I dove I could get some snaps as well. If I had taken the Nikonos I could have gotten 36 shots per dive at ISO 100, or 24 at ISO 400. I ended up with 73 digital snaps over the two dives we did that day, I thought that was alright. Later that day we were out having lunch and I pulled out my camera to take a snapshot and the fresh batteries I had put in that morning died.

    I replace the S76 batteries in my Nikonos cameras every other time I replace the batteries in the flash or before a dive trip because dives are expensive and I want my photos of them. I also bring two sets of spare batteries on vacation, but by my formula, one is enough. The replacement interval for the Nikonos cameras works out to be about 12 to 18+ dives at 24 exposures per dive depending on flash use. That's right, more than 5x the photos between battery swaps.

    Now you know why I call it my POS (piece of $^!+) digital camera.

    Dam battery vampires.
     
  17. Athiril

    Athiril Subscriber

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    Don't forget it you accidentally rip your digital camera in half trying to get the film out when you're tired.. it's ruined :tongue:
     
  18. wotalegend

    wotalegend Member

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    I don't think that dependence on batteries is a strong argument for film and against digital. I have several film cameras which are completely dependent on battery power for shutter operation and for film advance, which makes them just as battery-dependent as digital. I always make a practice of carrying at least one spare set of batteries for every piece of equipment I have with me. The one camera I have which is prone to giving me grief is my D1x which is as good as an F5 (for digital, that is) but for its stupid NiMh batteries which only give less than 200 images between charging and even need charging when I am not using the camera. It is getting less and less use these days, so the regular charging routine is becoming more of a nuisance. I just wish that camera manufacturers would have a bit of standardisation of battery type, even within their own brand.
     
  19. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

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    Sure film cameras need batteries too, but I understand the OP's point, digital sucks through batteries much quicker than film cameras. My MF rangefinders both have electronic controlled shutters as well as displays in the viewfinders, but when the batteries die I can't even remember the last time I changed the batteries, which in itself can be a bad thing if you're not prepared! More the reason to have a spare on hand. While when I go shoot with my mom who has a DLSR she is constantly having to charge her battery before shooting, or if spur of the moment, can't get the shot because her battery suddenly dies. I see the advantage!
     
  20. moose10101

    moose10101 Member

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    Maybe mom needs to replace the battery or buy a spare.
     
  21. brian steinberger

    brian steinberger Subscriber

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    She actually just did buy a spare last week... :smile:
     
  22. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    It definitely is if you are shooting in cold weather. As I stated before when I am skiing I have no trouble taking photographs with an all mechanical film camera. Those out there with me cannot get their digital cameras to work because it is too cold for the batteries. Now maybe if they could make a fully mechanical digital camera ... :tongue:
     
  23. jp498

    jp498 Member

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    In the 21st century, there is no excuse for not having your phone and other electronics charged up when you need them. That includes cameras. Battery life for P&S digitals is real bad, but you're choosing to use something small and light and cheap and part of that compromise is battery life.

    Aside from extreme cold or worn out rechargeable batteries DSLRs can go seeming forever on a battery. My various Nikon DSLRs can go 1000+ or so shots assuming (assuming no flash and minimal use of the lcd screen to keep the comparison even). With the battery pack grip, it can go 2000 or more I'm told but I don't take that many on a weekend or outing as I don't want to deal with that many photos on the computer. I'd suspect my old F4s would be good for similar mileage on a set of AA batteries.
     
  24. jeffreyg

    jeffreyg Subscriber

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    On the subject of batteries, I change the batteries in my hand-held lightmeters on my birthday even if they test full with a battery tester and keep the old one for an emergency. I change our smoke detector batteries at the same time. I find that an easy way not to have to remember when I last put fresh batteries in and it seems to prevent corrosion.

    http://www.jeffreyglasser.com/
     
  25. Marvin

    Marvin Member

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    I just went out shooting yesterday at Somerset Place an old southern plantation. Charged D200 battery fully so I was good for the day. Replaced 8AA batteries in the F5 and checked the battery on the Bronica. I also checked the D200 to make sure it was set to large fine jpeg and ISO 200. Made sure I had extra slide film for the F5 and color and B&W film for the Bronica. I think batteries are just part of the planning for a photo outing.
     
  26. KarnyDoc

    KarnyDoc Member

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    Oh, it's very tight. I'm currently working a part-time temp assignment at an area school, and that is winding down because the school year is winding down. My GF, who currently is the only one between us with a full-time job. The place where we're staying, a motel, recently its weekly rate on us, much to our economic dismay. We have little disposable income, of which all goes for food.