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The death of 35mm film (again!)

A short tale.

I was at a press party the other night, and working the room taking snaps of the attendees was a professional photographer. In his hands was a rather splendid looking Nikon D1x digital camera. Naturally curiosity got the better of me – even though I’m a Ferret and not a cat – and I asked him what he thought of his toy. His words should send a chill down the 35mm film camera industry. “I love it, haven’t used a roll of film since September.”

Apparently the Nikon can cope with just about everything he needs, and produces results which for his purposes are indistinguishable to film. OK, so the kit he was using must have cost over �8000.00 when you added in extra battery packs and the three 1GB Compact Flash drives he was toting, but even so this appears to be an astonishing reflection of just how fast things have changed in the past few years. Mind you he did also indicate that the next generation of digicams were probably going to be the ones that set the seal on the whole discussion, rather than these current models.

He spent the night hammering away at his task (the drives hold 400 shots each) and told me before I left that he often takes around 800 shots at a time when he does events. In fact the only thing he complained about was that occasionally – ‘around 10% of the time’ – the camera fails to cope with excessive white balance contrast on faces or light coloured clothes and he has to re-take the shot after checking the LCD screen.

Apart from that it appears that this is one fellow that will not be returning to film stock any time soon. For further reading on the subject, here’s an informed article comparing a Canon D30 digicam (now superseded by the D60 note) with a scanned film alternative.

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