Aug 9, 2005

Change of focus

Source: Guardian News Blog

So Dixons are not going to sell 35mm film cameras any more, writes Guardian picture editor Roger Tooth. Most people want a shiny new 21st century digital camera.

National newspaper photographers have been using digital cameras for years – managements found the cost savings of making darkroom technicians redundant easily outweighed the huge expense of buying the first usable digital equipment.

The first cameras the Guardian bought were around £11,000 each. The latest model being bought by the paper is still a not inconsiderable £4,500, but the quality is as good as – if not better than – film, and the images are instantly available.

However, for the average person and their holiday/wedding/family snaps, the 35mm film has always seemed the cheapest and most convenient solution. It was never foolproof, as most people have found when prints have been returned from being developed with “overexposed” or “out of focus” stickers on them. But you could hand round your snaps, showing your friends and family your latest exploits.

The problem those who bought the first amateur digital cameras were faced with was how they were going to show their photographs to others. Long nights were probably spent with Photoshop and unsatisfactory home laser printers, producing a few horrid prints on typing paper.

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