Leica M3 was in production from 1954-1966. Thats a whopping 12 years of production. While this looks like a digressing point from the caption, its not, its in fact the heart of the point i am trying to make.
My thoughts here are solely as a hobbyist and those passionate about photography without client’s pressure. Perhaps you are a professional and have tight budget clients and rapid wedding bookings, that my friend, is where Digital photography shines.
If you are new to photography, i would also suggest that you stick with Digital photography first, until you are familiar with aperture, shutter speed and iso control, then film would be a great area to venture to.
Anyway, just read on for leisure sake, lets see some how some mad logic that passes thru my mind sounds like.
The cost of developing film cost me RM 12 (usd 4) for 36 images in a local shop. In some dedicated shops it might goes up to RM 18 (USD 6). Better service, better pay, acceptable notion in business.
Assuming : 1 Roll every week
Thats 52 rolls a year. And assuming the cost of “Scanning” those cost RM26 (USD 9) , in total we have spent : (26+12) * 52 = RM 1976 (USD 658) a year for development.
Lets assume i use Fuji Superia 200, RM 12 per roll (USD 4), 52 weeks, a year would be : RM 624 (USD 208).
Yearly cost : RM 1976 + 624 = RM 2600 (USD 866).
You would have shot : 1,872 images.
If you buy your own scanner, say, Canoscan 9000f : RM 1000 (usd 300), you could eliminate scanning, that brings down the yearly cost to :
RM 1248 (USD 416). . Imho the scanner’s 9600 dpi is good enough for almost anything except wall size and billboard prints and exceeds almost any regular labs in town.
If you plan to buy ANY flatbed scanner that is not dedicated, scrap it. Read here why
Today’s FullFrame Digital camera cost around RM 6000 (USD 2000) for the cheapest lot. Lets be honest with ourselves, how many digital cameras did we buy in the last 4 years? If you are not into photography, maybe nothing much, but if you are an avid shooter and constantly improving yourself and your gears, i would say 2 is a conservative figure.
In 4 years, Assuming that i use the Leica M6 film camera,
1. My cost would be USD 416 * 4 = USD 1664 and my 2 LR44 batteries will last around 8 years, so no changes there.
2. The Digital upgrade will cost you easily USD 4000 if you upgraded twice. This is not inclusive of your upgrade required in your computer to handle ur ever growing raw files and resolution, extra batteries, memory cards format and softwares.
At this point you might be wondering, what if i trade in my gears! surely my cost would be lower. Have you considered what your digital camera is worth after 2 years time? As manufacturers religiously churns out new version before any major exhibition, whats new today gets old very fast and it shows in the price drop. Options abounds even if your camera model happens to be the “hot items”.
Now, check out the prices on M3, M6,M7 or say Nikon Titan F2 film camera. Don’t be surprised that the price remains holds very well and some like the Nikon Titan F2…actually is better than buying the best stocks.
Leica M3 was produced from 1954-1966. 12 years.
Film does not offer higher quality or cleaner images. Digital is the new king. But, if you enjoy shooting and thinking more about your shots, taking your skills to the next level and get the hell out of editing photos 90% of the time, there is nothing like shooting film for a break.
Take the blue pill and forget whatever i wrote here, resume reading your gear reviews, zoom out of that pixel peeping mode and go back to the digital circle. Take the red pill, and your race ends here, just grab a few rolls of Kodak Porta 160.
** Maybe one day we might have a digital camera with no LCD back and a preconfigured limit setter of say 36,72,108 maximum shots and a 50mm 0.95 lens. Sounds silly and stupid but that is one camera i will surely buy.