PO Box 15336, Savannah GA 31416
Photography by Dale Reagan
US Photographer based in Coastal Georgia - Savannah, Tybee Island and nearby SC Low Country - HHI
digital Single Lens Reflex cameras are quickly replacing SLR film cameras. IMO main factors that are causing this are:
convenience - you see instant results, you can print in minutes (perhaps not a commercial quality print, but certainly convenient), you can take your files to a commercial printer if desired - in short you have many options now that before were out of your control/reach (unless you had your own lab)
quality - once your camera gets above 4 mega-pixels you have an impressive amount of image quality and print sizes for an out-of-the-camera image
they are everywhere! - prices continue to fall while the technologies advance - in short you are getting more and better features with each new dSLR that makes it to market
[Note that dSLR cameras typically use inter-changeable lenses instead of being totally self-contained (i.e. one, fixed lens.)]
In general, any dSLR (or totally automatic digital camera, i.e. non-dSLR) camera from four (4) to eight (8) mega-pixels will meet consumer needs. You can step up to the entry level ~10 mega-pixel cameras and probably get way more features than you will ever use. Note that, generally speaking you will get higher-quality images from cameras with more mega-pixels. Also note that the number of mega-pixels is not the sole factor that limits image quality; the combination of lens quality, image software quality, in-camera software, in-camera image sensor all affect image quality. Look for sample 'real images' to develop a dSLR image quality assessment. At this time (December 2007), most entry level dSLR cameras for the consumer market are under $1000; when you move beyond this price entry point then you are in the upper level of consumer product range (which is actually border-line professional.) Professional dSLR camera bodies are typically several thousand dollars (just for the body!) BTW - I have recently read a number of online comments where professional photographers are opting for the entry level dSLR cameras as their backup system. Some example Nikon camera models and prices (December 2007) are listed below - note that mega-pixels (MP) and prices are approximate and prices may or may not include lenses or other 'kit' items..
Example Consumer dSLR: Nikon D80 (10 mega-pixel) - price: ~$800
Example High-end/entry pro-level dSLR: Nikon D200 (10 mega-pixel) - price ~$1400
Example High-endd/entry pro-level dSLR: Nikon D300 (12 mega-pixel) - price ~$2000
Example Professional dSLR: Nikon D2xS (12 mega-pixel) - price ~$5100
What's the other news?
- my experience - digital photography is more expensive (gear wise) than film photography; Quality lens prices are high for both types of camera bodies.
- If you do your own prints then your computer becomes your photo-lab which requires special software, perhaps more expensive printers, inks and papers; you also need to consider training (classes and/or books.) Or course you can still trek to your local camera store or the corner drugstore (prints from digital files are comparable to prints from film)
- Film cameras are based on film technologies which don't seem to morph at the rate of digital sensor technology - IOW digital = fast-rate-of-change which may require you to invest yet more resources into the latest software and gear (when new film came out you just tried it with the old gear - hmmm, $10 for film or $2000 for the new camera body plus $300 to upgrade your software every year????)
- Prints from traditional film processes are proven - they last; prints from inkjet/digital processes simply have not had the time to reach a 'proven' state (although print longevity testing is indicating that we should see a similar 'life' for digital prints
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Photography by Dale Reagan, PO Box 15336, Savannah GA 31416 | (912) 920-9299 | Savannah Map