Suddenly ... Deleted

Yesterday I went to the Ohio Camera Swap show. My purpose for going was to get an auto focus camera with lenses; a fairly good one. $600.00 later, I walked away with one that washes, dries, and irons my clothes and it does it quickly. Seriously, I am inept when it comes to focusing a camera. This one handles this job and does it correctly every time. I bought this camera with the stipulation (to my self) that I would unload all of my old camera equipment (the manual stuff) I seldom, if ever used.

Nikon N90s

Well, today I did take all of my old out-of-date vintage gear to the show. I am very surprised at what I was able to get for this stuff…$350.00. I still have the Russian Zenit 35mm camera. No one wanted it, not even for free. Maybe I will take it with me when I go to China and give it to someone there. (LOL)

After that, I returned home and called a photographer friend to tell her of my new gadget filled auto everything camera with a programmable “CPU” (computer). Her first question was, “What did you pay for it?” I told her and her response was, “You got the thing so cheaply because everyone is going digital.” After I hung up, I realized she was right. It is only a matter of time when film will go the way of so many other things. Oh well, the lenses I got will work on the new digital camera bodies. Also, it is a matter of time before some company makes retrofit digital adapters* to fit all of the expensive cameras that are being cherished by the pros.

In my lifetime I have seen many things just sort of disappear, and…thankfully so. Radios & TVs with vacuum tubes, magnetic tape recordings, propeller airliners, printing presses, movie projectors in the classroom, and yes, I was here when scratchy records (vinyl disks) suddenly gave way to the quiet Digital Compact Disk or CD. Now within the next few years, photographic film, both movie and still, will go the way of vinyl. There will be high-definition video flat screen TVs in movie theaters that will be fully automated with movies being downloaded from the Internet.

This camera show is one of the last that will only have film cameras. The next show will allow both digital and film cameras. The reason is, this was the first show that someone had brought digital cameras to sell. Their booth was inundated with professional photogs trying the new equipment and being impressed.

Kodak DCS Pro 14n

The conservative Nikon Company recognizes this trend and is in the process of designing new cameras with interchangeable lenses and other components for the professional. Also, Kodak has released a 14,000,000-pixel camera that nearly rivals the highest resolution 35mm film.

Yes, digital is instant. There is no developing, no darkroom equipment, no dangerous chemicals, and no film expense. A DVD will soon cost 55 cents and will hold a thousand high-definition pictures, the ones you will want to keep, that is.

It’s inevitable; in three to five years, there will no longer be film sold in stores. The current racks of Kodak and Fuji film will be replaced by batteries of varying shapes and sizes for power hungry digital cameras, DVD ROM blanks, memory cards, printer photo paper and ink cartridges.

Like vinyl, there will be those eccentric diehards who will hold on to the past. And like vinyl, there will be specialty shops on the Internet for film.

The 35mm (135) film format has been used since 1935. Most of the pictures we see everyday in the magazines, newspapers, and in books were taken with this type of film. Many memories were made from images indelibly imprinted on these thin strips of transparent acetate. Hundreds of trillions of moments in time were frozen in pictures. I have ten thousand pictures on this kind of film. Now, digital photography will inevitably become the next medium.

The thing that scares me about digital is the ‘Delete’ key. What we find as not good enough may someday be very important. In film, most at least kept the negatives. In digital, why bother keeping stuff that is junk? It takes up memory space and the index finger will easily get rid of our booboos.

Nikon D1

At this camera show was someone’s estate with all of the darkroom equipment, film development stuff, cameras and lenses of all sorts, slide projectors, slides, pictures and negatives from and since the 1940s. In my romantic thinking, I harkened back to a simpler time when all of this stuff gave someone their purpose and joy. Then I had another feeling when I observed a person taking pictures with the Nikon D1 digital camera. This feeling came when I watched then deleting the pictures they just took.

That feeling I had: I suddenly felt…deleted.

Steve Sunday June 8th Y2K+3

*Note. Kodak is now making large format plug-in 16-megapixel digital DCS adapters to fit the backs of Hasselblads really expensive photography equipment.