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digital cameras... and the death of film...

surfing again, I started somewhere, read about the death of film*, found this one interesting where they have this lovely picture it makes me want to travel, and ended here looking at more lovely pics.

I think there should be a different name for this kind of 'surfing', surfing with no prupose, but surfing the internet and following a theme, 'theme surfing' pehaps. most of the time i check my most favourite sites, or simple start at bloglines, but each site/page i go to is a fresh start at point a, where it only occassionally spurs 'theme surfing', but if I'm lucky, I find something that can start the theme going.

* regarding the death of film, advocates of film say that film will last 100s of years, although in my opinion, this is most likely if you end up a famous photographer, make some books etc... (rant mode on...)

A JPEG, ironically scanned from FilmI read somewhere^, they were saying "Will JPEGs be around in 10 years?" / "Will people be able to open JPEGs?" - what a stupid thing to say, the Internet is COVERED in JPEGS (and if they suddently do "the Internet II", they'll make it possible for you to still access to old internet), JPEGs have been around since 1994, 12 years, and every single digital camera supports JPEGs, they are an industry standard!, why would digital camera manufacturers suddenly decide to give up on JPEGs, and do something else, and why would everybody suddenly decide to not open or view jpegs? Yes computers are relatively new - 29 years since the Apple II for example - which is 138 years younger than film photography was invented - but why would the way computers work suddently change into something that can't recognise everything computers have done before them? Think of the millions of businesses that rely on excel documents, will they one day be unable to read them? I highly doubt it, to suggest that one day, they'll suddently never be able to read all their financial documents is just daft! Whenever there is a dramatic / drastic change in a business change control comes into effect, a migration plan is put into place and all documents and data are transferred over to the new system (for example if an business goes from DOS, to Windows 3.1 or goes from Lotus to Office).

It would be the same with JPEGs, if there is a need to move them over to a new system - the new system would need to have an import utility or wizard, otherwise people wouldn't move to the new system. It's the same with Apple's move to OS X, they wrote an emulator so that ALL the old software could be run on the new OS, it's the same with their move to Intel instead of PowerPC chips, they've written software so that everything works the same as it always did, they're not suddenly telling people, oh sorry, all you data is worthless, you need to start again... all this talk of digital being less safe than film is rediculous. Yes it's very easy to delete a folder on a computer, lose a load of photos, hence it's very important to keep backups of photos, likewise it's very easy to lose a film, or lose a set of photos forever. HOWEVER - if you delete your photos from your computer, they should automatically go into your 'Recycle Bin', if you end up emptying your recycle bin, then there are other ways of getting the data back, even if it appears as though they've gone forever! Even if you format your hard drive as NTFS when it was originally FAT32!

Then there's also the ability to create numerous copies of all your photos VERY cheaply, for example, you could cheaply burn a CD of your photos, then burn a 2nd backup on DVD, then burn a 3rd backup on an external Hard Drive, then copy a 4th backup onto the Internet, then a 5th backup onto another internet server in New Zealand, then buy a backup drive and a fireproof safe and put a 6th backup on tape in there, maybe copy a 7th backup onto a second computer, maybe get someone to do the 8th back to internet for you - and film, can you backup your negatives? No. You can make numerous PRINTs of your negatives, BUT each print is a copy of the original source (the negative), with every copy you make of a digital file, you're copying the original negative, you could copy 1000 exact copies of the original digital file. (...rant mode almost off ...phew, that ended up being much longer than I expected)

Whilst I don't think film is dead, I do think that people justify staying with film for the strangest reasons (hence my rant above), if you like film, if that's what works for you, then good! stay with it, stay with film because you like it, because you like the images you can produce with it, because you like the inherint filmyness to it, you like being able to choose Velvia one week, and Kodachrome another. If you don't like digital, so be it, that's fine, you don't like computers, that's fine, but you don't need to try and make up silly stuff about cameras/computers/files changing every 10 years - yes things on computers / digital cameras do change very rapidly, but it doesn't mean you have to as well! There's much more provision on a computer to keep numerous copies of photos than there is with film, and it's generally easier (easy option 1: external usb hard drive, take to mates house for storage), and generally cheaper (cheap easy option 2: burn some 20pence CDs, take to mates for storage). You also don't need to have arguments about whether film / digital is better than the other! They are different!

Millions of people still use Windows 98 from 1998, millions still use the 6 year old Windows 2000, lots of people still happily use a 6 year old 2 megapixel digital camera that takes JPEG images and AA batteries, just because an 8 or 10 megapixel wonder camera is out, and Windows Vista is out, and the new Pentium Dual core chips are out doesn't mean you have to change to the new system every year! Stick with what works for you, don't feel pressure to change, unless you actually want to!

Cat like foot, compact digital camera taken with me everywhereDigital Photography may be something you are putting off - but in my opinion - the benefits and long term running costs FAR outway the expense and pitfalls of film photography (buy camera, buy film, use film, take film to shop, hand in film, travel home, wait, travel to shop, get photos, look at 2 black photo because your camera was faulty, cry.) But if you like film, as I said above, that's fine, but if you never give digital a try, I think that would be a real shame, personally I LOVE it and WISH I had started sooner, I take MORE photos as a result (and as a result capture more moments, such as the cat picture above) and enjoy photography MORE with digital, I happily pass around the digital camera, not worrying about people wasting shots, and I'm able to enjoy other people's photography more, because people are regularly posting their images online!

PS - Here's some very bad advice - he suggests putting all your photos on a CD, then deleting every other copy of the images you had!! Has he not heard the saying "putting all your eggs in once basket"? Doesn't he realise that you can easily lose one CD, you can easily scratch a CD, or the CD can fail if it's a cheap CD, hence why I'm suggesting numerous backups above. This person agrees.

Here's some good advice suggesting numerous, multiple backups in numerous locations. Here's some more on the subject to do with how long film/prints last compared to digital...

Funny take on Film vs Digital: here.

^ I really wish I could find where I read this.

Comments

Phil said…
Oh, and just a note: I read that at this stage we're not entirely sure, but it's possible that CD-Rs and that may not actually hold their data accurately for more than 10 years or so. Apparently CD-RWs are better at it (although, obviously somebody can wipe one of those for you). So in an ideal world we ought to keep multiple copies, and should probably reburn copies every 5 years or so. Using DVD-Rs, you could probably reburn a large collection quite easily.
Joshua said…
Yep I've heard various things about CDs, but apparently you can get archival quality CDs that should last 100 years. That's why numerous different types of backup would be the best - removable USB HD, etc, although CDs/DVDs aren't as automated as tape/HD backups which makes it awkward.
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