Friday, April 22, 2011

Digital Crossroads

I am at a point in my life where I am thinking about my gear.

Not that gear ... my camera and lenses!!!

The switch to digital has been an ordeal since the beginning. After buying a new instant digital camera ten years ago, I packed up the old Minolta XG-1 that had served me for many, many difficult years (treeplanting, travel across the country many times, different jobs) and after twenty years still worked very well. It was out of convenience that I switched, and out of laziness, I admit, and at first the quality of pics didn't matter.

When my nephew expressed an interest in becoming a photographer, at 15 years old, I decided (with great pains) to give the old Minolta to him for a Christmas present. I loaded it with a roll of 200, dropped it into a camera bag, added a whole pile of film and other accessories, and gave it to him. I figured I could start him on the way to learning what it really is to manually take pictures. That way, the digitals, the complex ones that are now the bread-and-butter of professional photographers, would be a piece of cake for him.

Two weeks later I found out that he broke it.

I was devastated. I offered to trade it back for a gift of equal value, or to get it to a camera repair shop, but I think to this day it is sitting in a closet somewhere. *sigh* Months later, when I found a Minolta X-370 in Value Village for $14, I had to buy it. Since then, with some adjustments and cleanings, I have been taking a huge pile of pictures and posting them on flickr and Panoramio.

Photos on Panoramio
Photos on Flickr

The problem is not in the camera now, it's in the developing. I knew a couple of years ago that the writing was on the wall for physical film. It came when Kodak shut down their main film production facility just south of the border. Since then, we've lost our Japan Camera Center out of the local mall, and Blacks is getting out of the physical film processing as well. Wal-Mart, whom I'm loathe to support, still does, but only in colour. I've stopped using black and white film now, because there is now nowhere to take it. Will it be a thing of the past? Who knows. I'm looking for a good digital now, with interchangeable lenses, but it's just not the same.

I think I see a dark room in my future....

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