Digital Vs Film – Which is Cheaper?
Simple huh.. Obviously it’s Digital.
Post over….. Or is it?
So you’re starting off in photography and you have no camera, you’re eying up that entry level DSLR that will cost you £500, in the box you get a fancy DSLR and a kit lens, you spend another £20 or so on a memory card and you’re good to go.
Let’s assume you’re using the free bundled software, shooting Jpeg and you’ve already got a bit of hard drive space and a computer with a good enough spec to run your software. (Big assumption, but still)
So, that’s £520 and you’re good to go, you’re shooting cheap right? It’s costing you “nothing”?!
But what about if you didn’t buy that DSLR, but instead you decided to shoot film?
Pretty much everyone has got a film camera they can get access to, Parents, Grandparents, a friend, all of which are free. Look on eBay and you can get hold of an SLR for £40–£50 for something that’s going to give you what you want.
So that’s £40 you’ve just spent and potentially and hopefully got yourself a free 50mm lens bundled in.. Bonus! A similar prime would have cost you around £100 on your DSLR… but that’s by the by.
So now we’re still £480 better off, ahh but you need film. So let’s say film is going to cost you on average £10 per 32 exposures. That’s £5 for the film and £5 to develop at your local “camera” shop.
I make that 48 rolls of film, or to be precise 1536 photo’s.
Now let’s not forget that’s photo’s printed on 6×4 – so let’s say that you’ve taken the same amount of photo’s on your DSLR and get them all printed… at about 27p per photo that’s £414.72. So we’ll factor that on to your Film camera and you’ve bought yourself an extra 1312 photos.
So, for the exact same amount of money spent you get…
1536 photos from your DSLR and
2848 from your film.
From your film camera you’re getting more time behind the lens, a better latitude in terms of exposure and arguably a better understanding of your camera. You’re also getting a far better and much faster lens than the kit lens, again you go and buy a 50mm prime for your DSLR and you’ve just bagged yourself another 320 photos on your film total.
So at about 8mb per high res Jpeg photo you’ve just clocked up 12,288mb or about 12GB
That’s fine, that’s not bad at all, but let’s say by now you’re shooting RAW… you ought to be, I’m surprised you left it this long…
So now you’re at roughly 20mb files – your 1536 photo’s is now 30,720mb or about 30GB
Now you need to buy an external hard drive… best to make that 2 because surely you want to back up your photos… let’s say you spend £150 on 2.
All the time, here’s what’s going on with your film…
remember it’s £10 per 32 exposures. You’ve now shot 3072 photos and decided it’s time to buy 2 new hard drives to continue your growth… So that’s a total cost of £1599.44 (you’re still lab printing by the way).
You’ve got a DSLR, kit lens, a 50mm prime, 2 hard drives, 3072 photos and are pretty much setup now with space for a while.
With your film, you’ve got an SLR, a 50mm prime and about 4960 photos. (Breakdown below)
DSLR = £500
Hard Drives = £150
Memory card = £20
Prime lens = £100
Cost of prints = 3072 x 0.27p = £829.44
Total = £1599.44
Total = £1599.44
– SLR = £40 / = £1559.44
£1559.44 divide by £10 = 155 rolls of processed film = 4960 photos.
Now obviously this assumes that you are printing all your digital prints because this is a like for like scenario, if not (and this is more than likely) then it makes sense to go digital.
Also note 4960 photo’s equals around 95 photo’s a week. You probably wouldn’t shoot that on film if you’re just starting off, so again you’re cost of film shooting is more spread out. Perfect for those on a budget.
Put it another way, if you budget £40 a month for photography here’s what happens…
Month 1 – you buy and get your SLR through the post
Month 2– you’ve ordered 4 rolls of film – 128 photos
Month 3 – repeat the above…
Month 12 – Wow a whole year has passed, you’ve taken 1408 photos AND they’re all printed out
Oh, if you hadn’t bought the film camera you’ve also have just saved up enough for that entry level DSLR
Month 13 – now you can start shooting with that DSLR because you can get yourself a memory card.
Pretty crazy hey?
Ok, Ok, so you could buy a 2nd hand DSLR for around £200 (maybe less), still that’s 5 months into your film shooting “career”
and time behind the lens is far more important right?!
Go digital, it obviously makes sense in the world we live in… but remember, it’s not free.
“Nothing’s for free”
This post isn’t based on facts. It’s merely an eye opener.