Monday, March 19, 2012

Is this the Best Time for Photographers?

: the art or process of producing images by the action of radiant energy and especially light on a sensitive surface (as film or a CCD chip) 
~ Definition of Photography from Merriam-Webster 
I suppose it is not the best style to start with a definition, however I think it points to why this is a good time to be into photography.  If our craft is one of capturing images using mostly visible light on a sensitive surface, our options today are greater than they likely ever have been.   Especially if you are cost conscious with your photography these seem like good times.  Film cameras are still cheap and digital has been out long enough that there are some good deals to be had on good cameras that have been passed up for the latest and greatest. And as far as good times go I am talking mostly about being able to use a lot of different cameras and formats while not spending a lot of money.  If you can only live with the best equipment as defined by being the most expensive, than these times are pretty much the same as they always have been. 

One thing that has been amazing to me is how cheaply good film cameras and equipment can be had for these days. Like a lot of people I got away from film for a few years and when I returned it was almost like people were giving film cameras away.  Today it is possible to get a wide variety of film camera's in different formats for the price of a single entry level DSLR.  In fact I believe one could put together a nice film camera collection for that price and have some money left over.  

I do wonder why with so many affordable ways to capture light that most people seem to be stuck in the digital mode.  For me it is exciting to try out a camera that is new to me or a new film to see if there will be a look that I haven't seen before.  I would think that the curiosity that creative people are supposed to have would eventually inspire more photographers to explore other options.  Although if someone has never been exposed to film with the way digital is so heavily promoted it may be difficult to realize that there are other options.  Well, enough with ruminating about why others are doing what they do.  While I do like both film and digital I find myself getting a little defensive about film.  I believe that is because digital is likely to stick around while film could go away if not enough people continue to appreciate it.  And I think it would be a shame to lose that creative option. Still if that happens it won't be today. And today with the warm weather in most places, at least in the US, it is a great day for taking pictures.

I couldn't make a post without at least one picture.  The one below was taken with an Agfa Plenax PB20.  The Plenax was an inexpensive folding camera from the 1930's.  I think this one came in a box with some other stuff.  I had never looked at it much until this weekend when I discovered that it is a pretty nice camera.  I plan to write more about it soon. 


  1. I currently shoot mostly with my Canon PowerShot S95. I really like this camera and enjoy it very much. It can do an awful lot, but I wish it were more versatile when shooting close up. I believe a DSLR would give me that versatility. I've priced the things and have ultimately decided that given how relatively seldom I move in close, when my S95 doesn't cut it I will instead get a roll of film out of the fridge and load it into one of my *seven* film SLRs and get shooting. The only downside to that is that my local Costco got out of the 1-hour developing business, and so I'm back to mail order to get the film processed, and that takes a week or more. I guess I've become impatient in the digital age.

    1. Jim, when I first started doing film I chafed at having to wait for the film. Now that I am used to it I actually find the wait adds a little enjoyment to the process.

  2. This is the best of both worlds. Film and it's stuff, and digital. It's a win win.