[rollei_list] Re: age old digital vs film debate...again...was RE: OT Ancient Computers

  • From: Marc James Small <marcsmall@xxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: rollei_list@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2009 12:17:52 -0500

At 11:56 AM 1/14/2009, jon.stanton@xxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
>Marc.  He swapped a couple of contax cameras for a d 200 and lenses
>cost was neglelbe

Well, no. Come over to the Leica Users' Group and learn about the package cost from the digital nuts there.

To the cost of the camera and lenses, you have to add:

New dedicated computer
New software  (Photoshop now costs what, $650?)
High-grade printer
Special inks (about $500 for a set which lasts about a month)
Special paper (the best stuff runs around $8 a sheet)

I'm only interested in doing the very best that can be done. I already own a grand set of Leica and Zeiss Ikon and Rolleiflex gear and a full darkroom set-up, for which I effectively have paid nothing through years of judicious buying and selling. (Example: I picked up a lot which included some Hasselblad 500 stuff and a Rolleiflex 2.8F 12/24 for $50. I took out the darkroom stuff, which I wanted, sold the Hasselblad stuff for $400, had Harry overhaul the 2.8F for $250, and then swapped that for a 2.8GX. So, in the end, my GX cost me nothing. I once paid $5 for a Leica IIIcK and sold it for $2000 a week later.)

I realize that me and thee probably can never see the difference between "good" in photo quality and "best", but I want to know that my pictures are the very best I can produce. To do the same with digital would cost me around $10,000 in new gear and software, plus the need to upgrade every six months or so. As the late, and lamented, Herb Caen would have said, "Fuggadaboutit".

Sure, I have a Rollei digital P&S which I use on occasion. A friend who runs a bookshop in Minnestoa dedicated to nautical works, particularly the works of Patrick O'Brian, sent me an "Aubry/Maturin 2008" bumper sticker and asked me to send him a picture of it on my car. I taped the sticker over my McCain/Palin sticker and took a picture with the Rollei P&S and sent it to him. And then I took the bumper sticker off, carefully, as it will be saleable in four or eight years, and sent John the picture by e-mail. But that was not anything else than documentary work, and digital is sufficient for that.

And I take very few pictures now. If I were a pro doing thousands of shots a day, sure, it would be worth it to invest in high-end digital stuff, and I could write the cost of Photoshop off my taxes. I am just not in that category. I already own what I need and the cost of film and processing and chemistry is quite low: I probably spend less than $250 a year on this.

I birdwatch with Zeiss binoculars or with a Leitz APO-Televid 77. I star-gaze with a Questar. I simply cannot abide junk optics such as cheap Oriental binoculars. (Yes, there are high-end Japanese and Chinese optics, but these cost as much as does the Zeiss or Leica glass.)

When you absolutely, positively, want the very best, stick with film.


Cha robh bàs fir gun ghràs fir!

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