According to retailers and enthusiastic consumers, “Digital is better!” Personally I don’t buy into that load of dung. After looking at the problem I’ve come to the conclusion that the trusty old 35 mm is better than its digital counterpart for personal applications such as snapshots.

When I travel I can find film easier than what ever electronic medium is required for digital image storage. Second with a manual 35 mm camera I do not need any batteries to operate, try using a digital camera without a battery. Then there is the problem of media integrity, film negatives and prints will outlast digital media and ink jet or laser prints. Lastly there is the acquisition and operational costs, a decent 35 mm pocket camera or used professional 35 mm camera is cheaper to buy and operate than the newest digital camera with all the bells and whistles which depreciates instantly and is obsolete within a year.

As far as the drawbacks of using an analog camera, they mostly revolve around a timely distribution of snapshots. As for the instant gratification problem, well “Time” is governed by laws of physics, and will continue to be a major problem because of the energy considerations. As for the distribution problem, a scanner and photoshop solve those problems quite readily.

UPDATE 2006 it’s been seven years since I wrote anything about cameras. Since I just bought an ultra-compact 6.0 million effective pixels 28mm equivalent wide angle figure I should make an addendum.

Digital is now fast enough (no shutter lag), good enough (image quality for 6 million pixels I find acceptable), cheap enough and darn convenient (500 images plus on a 2Gb card, with a battery that lasts a few hundred shots), but I'm still keeping my Nikon F3, Xpan, etc., cause digital still can’t match the quality of slide film and still can’t do timed exposures in the backcountry...

Nikon F3HP

UK Spring 1999

Uzbek Peace Corps Holiday

London Y2K Mayday

Cuba Bike Trip Y2K

My new shell - Iceland 2001

Burning Man 2001

Burning Man 2002

Burning Man 2003

Baja Caves 2004


Burning Man 2005

Burning Man 2007