Home Page -> Commentary -> 14 May 2000 (I Like SLR Film Cameras)

Comment of the Fortnight
14 May 2000

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

I Like SLR Film Cameras

Last night I went to a kickboxing event at the San Jose Events Center, and I took both my Olympus C-200Z digital camera and my Pentax ZX-M film camera. I hadn't used the film camera in a long time, and I had forgotten some of its advantages.

Of course, there are some disadvantages:

Of course, the ideal would be a camera whose front contains the standard film optics and whose back contains the digital electronics. The Nikon D-1 has done exactly this, but it's expensive; on the close order of US$10,000. [Another approach would be to put the digital electronics into a package that would fit into the space occupied by your film canister; one company has had such a product in the vaporware stages for the past couple of years, so I wouldn't hold my breath in that area.]

Why hasn't anyone come out with such a package at a cheaper price? Because of what's driving the market. The vast majority of cameras is sold to the casual user. They want the convenience. That's why you see fixed-focus disposables, which are more than adequate for taking pictures of your family in front of the Lincoln Memorial. Even a fairly simple camera like the Pentax, which I should think has appeal mostly to an advanced amateur, would confuse the average picture taker. Well, if you can sell ten thousand point-and-shoot cameras for each Pentax, and you want to open up the digital market, the decision isn't very difficult, is it?

So, until the day when someone comes out with my dream camera at my dream price, I'll continue to use the digital camera for most of my work, but I'll keep the film camera for those occasions when nothing else will do.

Let me know what you think.

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