Originally Posted by RobertV
No, if I want speed and quality I go for the Digital SLR. If I want to immerse myself in the act of photography I go for the MF and the LF cameras. Two mind sets requiring two different tools. Just the way I work.
Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI
So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004
When buying equipment, it is not necessarily an either/or proposition. Let's look at some instances, assuming the worst case:
Originally Posted by mamiya7
1. Medium format. Many systems will work with a film or a digital back. Shoot film for your own work and (later) digital for commercial, if the client demands. The cost of the pure film part is minimal--a few film backs, when compared to the total cost of the dual use system. (Of course, right now the digital backs are very expensive. But they should come down later.)
2. 35 mm. The trend is toward full frame digital sensors, ones with the sensor the same size as a 35 mm film frame. The film body may become obsolete in the future, but the lenses, filters, lens hoods etc. will all work on digital. The major companies like Nikon, Canon and Leica, have a history of making their new cameras compatible with their existing equipment. You may not be able to use all the features of the future digital super camera, but if history is our guide, you should be able to use older film equipment on the new bodies. Camera companies have been making mass market 35 mm cameras for over 50 years. I don't think they will completely abandon the 35 mm format any time soon.
3. 4x5. Digital sensors are getting bigger and cheaper. I don't think it will be too long before there will be a full 4x5 digital back which is affordable for most studios. (It might take quite awhile for individuals to afford.) There are too many commercial and architecture shooters who need the movements of a view camera. The 35 mm size view cameras don't seem to be catching on, but who knows in the future. Many of the MF digital backs are adaptable to 4x5 cameras. The camera, lenses, dark cloth, tripod, etc. work with film now and should work with digital in the future.
4. Darkroom. This is the one area where individuals can really make a difference with home made emulsions, hand coated papers, small batch commercial emulsions, etc. Look at the work of Ron on this web site. Digital negatives may replace silver, but you still have to print the digital negative on something. (Right now many alternative printers are using ink jet negatives for their work, regardless of capture on film or digital.)
I think the post above about being western focused is on point. It will be quite a while before the rest of the world catches up. New films are coming out of China and the old Soviet Block countries. There will be a market for film for quite awhile. We will probably have fewer choices, and it will become more expensive, but some will be available.
Of course, you could always follow my path. My interest in photography was rekindled by digital. But, I quickly learned I don't enjoy digital as much as analogue. I don't enjoy doing photography on a computer, primarily because I work several hours a day on a computer. It is too much like work. I went back to film and my man cave/darkroom. Each year my photography goes farther back in time, so that now I am firmly set in the 19th century--wet and dry plates, albumen, platinum and gum prints, salt prints, cyanotypes, etc. As long as the raw chemicals, water color paper and glass are available, I'll be able to make my photographs. I suppose I could even make my own paper, if digital were to replace watercolors, but I don't even want to think about that.
I think that's the same for a lot of us. It certainly is for me. I bought a Nikon D100 in 2003 and quickly realised I didn't like all of the computer time involved so I started buying film cameras and building a darkroom.
Originally Posted by Allen Friday
is that a real photograph. oh well never mind
The end result is not always the end.Sometimes the journey is the subject.
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I lived in Central Asia for two years, and people there tend to use their mobile phones or digital point and shoots just as in the west. The mobile phone is a very wide spread technology even in poor countries, and many phones come with cameras.
Originally Posted by steelneck
Yes of course, they will also have a faster transition to digital than we had, since the technology is developed. That phone with camera can many times actually be the first camera they have ever owned. Look at it this way, here in the west every photographer is digital now, the film camera is a sidekick for long time photographers in a way. In asia they have not come this far yet, they have a much higher percentage of film shooters among middle aged people. Part of it is of course due to a lower standards of living and that the society is not nearly as computerized. Digital cameras become, shall we say a bit strange for serious work without "the digital darkroom", even if that is possible too.
Originally Posted by Erik Petersson
I can only imagine if i lived in a situation without computers, shure i would make snapshots with the cellphone if i had one, but i would not even consider a digital camera for serious work without a computer. Remember that it is a change in progress over there, not as here where the process is over for all that counts. Regarding cameras we could say that we have already entered the post-digital era, that the digital revolution is over. That revolution is far from over in most parts of asia, it has just begun.