BetterPhoto Q&A
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Photography Question 
Jack Bowman

How Much to Spend

I want to do some semi serious photography now that I am retired. I am interested in horse racing photography. Is digital the best way to go? Do I have to mortgage my house to afford a decent digital outfit or should I wait for more development on the digital scene?

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12/24/2000 12:43:58 PM

Ian F. Fan   As of yet, digital is not the best way to go, IMO. The quality acheieved by film still surpasses that of the best digital cameras, you also have many more options with film cameras (with SLR's) such as filters, interchangeable lenses, etc. Whereas a SLR digital camera costs thousands ($3000+). The best thing to do right now would be to get a film camera, preferably a SLR with full auto in my opinion. Unless digital makes a huge break through I doubt they will be as competitive as film when comparing picture quality and cost within the next 2+ years. For serious photography, film is the way to go.

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12/26/2000 1:20:08 AM

John A. Lind
BetterPhoto Member Since: 9/27/2001
Ian is right. Your mention of semi-serious photography implies 8x10 (or 8x12) and larger display prints. I think the $3000 is low for the top end digital cameras. The pricing I've seen is still twice that for the top end digitals. Even with them, there is a limit on how many very high resolution images can be stored in-camera compared to rolls of film. These digitals have a place in some newspaper photojournalism, web images, and commercial purposes that do not require the resolution of display prints. Currently, only film can provide this resolution. In addition, film is still the most cost effective method for archival storage of the immense amount of data required for them.

Even if you can achieve the digital resolution required for smaller prints, the problem is also printing them. A normal computer ink-jet or laser printer will not produce archival prints; ones that can be displayed for many years without fading and/or color shifting. The cost of digital printers capable of doing this is very high compared to prints done by a professional lab using optical enlargers.

-- John

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12/30/2000 9:42:49 AM

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