Camera Help 35mm or Digital?

Mar 17th, 2007, 06:33 AM
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Camera Help 35mm or Digital?

Fodorites - I need your help! I have a very nice 35mm Nikon camera which I took to London & Madrid a few years ago and took incredible pictures. I also have a digital camera, but it is quite large and I am not as technically advanced as I should be. I plan to take many, many, pictures of our 16 days in Northern Italy. The question is: deal with all the rolls of film....or deal with memory sticks and wonder if my pictures will turn out as good as the "old fashion way"? Thoughts?
RRT25 is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 06:39 AM
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Hi RR,

Unless you are a professional photographer looking for special effects that you can only do with transparencies or other types of film, I suggest that you donate your Nikon to charity (If they will take it).

What is your digital?

ira is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 06:54 AM
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I know how you may feel about the film camera being relegated to the junk heap but digital is the way to go nowadays when say you want to take 5 or 600 photos on a trip and not worry about the processing, etc and have instant gratification. However I will admit on trips with my family, one of the daughters sticks to her film camera and does give us some wonderful scrapbooked albums, whereas I sit at the computer and enjoy a lengthy slideshow so each has it's merits. And with just a couple of memory cards, 1 or 2 gigibyte, you will have loads of space. And if you use it on AUTOMATIC you should come up with many beautiful pictures with little or no effort. In fact I was a professional photograp[her for over 50 years and now marvel at these digital cameras where you do NOT have to focus, do NOT have to worry about film speed, aperature, depth of field, etc, just point and shoot. I think it is quite difficult to come up with a poor photo nowadays. So give your digital a chance, you will be pleasantly surprised. And if you have much zoom, say 10 or 12, hopefully you have a camera with the IS or image stabilization. And of course rechargeable batteries and you will be all set. However I do admit to bringing two digital cameras with me as one usually seems to malfunction at a bad time and I have the second to fall back on. Have a great trip. Halfpint
halfpint is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 07:14 AM
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Digital certainly may be the way for the OP to go, but I certainly wouldn't follow Ira's advice about dumping the Nikon.
HowardR is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 07:34 AM
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Another vote for not dumping the Nikon. I have five of them, which are not digital, and I love them all.

Some of the digital Nikons accept some of my lens, so this is another reason to not dump good gear.

I use two of the coolpix Nikons for most daily photographing but the F2 is still used from time to time.

blackduff is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 07:45 AM
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It depends on what you plan on doing with the pictures when you are done. I LOVE photo albums. When I finally make the leap to digital it will still be with the intent of printing what I like and putting them in a photo album. I have a Nikon N80 and love it. I bought a Nikon D70 and was unimpressed with the printed photos. Now I do have to admit I didn't have long to spend with the D70 because the return policy was only 10 days so I'm sure with some tweaking with the white balance and some other things I could have improved the printed pics. For me I just hate the way digital prints show skin tones. They always have a bit of a blue tint to them...or something like that. I can always look at a photo and immediately tell if it's from a digital. I'm not sure if this is because the 10 friends I have with digital cameras ALL don't know how to use them or what.

Some day I'll make the digital switch...just not yet.
Wekiva is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 08:09 AM
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There's a good plus about the digital cameras-you can use "Raw" digital infomation. I only understand a bit about Raw but I know I need a camera which can provide this source of info.

I like to play with the images with Photoshop and the Raw would be a new toy to play.

I love my Nikons but I am a high-tech junkie.

blackduff is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 08:12 AM
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I used digital and SLR film on my last trip, about 1,500 images from each.

The digital point and shoot is certainly more convenient and compact. Images can be downloaded to my computer PDQ and sent to friends. Using Google Picassa2 makes organizing a snap.

But I still prefer my Olympus OM-2. I only have the film processed. No prints saves $$$. Then I review the negs on a lightbox and scan the negatives of the ones I like.

It is a pity (for me) that Olympus abandoned their SLR bayonet mounting when they went digital. I have some excellent lenses that I will be buried with.

hopscotch is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 08:27 AM
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I still have my 30 yr old Minolta 101 that has taken excellent pictures over many now needs an overhaul, but I can't seem to part with it and keep planning to take it in for servicing. The big disadvantage IMO is its size & weight, you have to be able to see the little prisms to focus, and I take five pictures that look the same to make sure I get the right shot. That's where hopschotch's suggestion really makes sense.

I love our's a Canon Power Shot G3. The beauty is that you can take tons of photos, and then review them and keep only the best ones. I don't hesitate to take similar photos over and over because I know I can trash the ones I don't like.

I too have much to learn about my digital, even though I've had it for several years. The manual is huge, but there are some things worth reading to optimize and fine tune your images. Take the manual on the plane and read it!
Deb15July is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 08:32 AM
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I vote for taking the digital. I also have a nice 35mm SLR camera with extra lenses and filters, etc. that I find quite reliable. However, carrying all of that around with rolls of film and extra batteries really takes an entire bag of its own and, to me, becomes way too encumbersome during trips. Honestly, during long trips, I end up leaving it behind on some days because I get tired of it. Then I regret not getting the photos that I wanted.

Hoping that I would get to go to Europe this year, I purchased a Kodak EasyShare P880 (digital) several months ago. It was affordable and is fairly lightweight. It has the same look and feel of the SLR. It has a 24-140mm wide-angle zoom lens with a high resolution 8-megapixel imager for very large, professional-quality prints. And it has settings for museums, night scenery, action, etc. I believe you can also set it to manual, but I haven't practiced much with that yet.

Since I love landscape and interior portraits, the wide-angle was very important to me. It takes beautiful pictures with amazing colors. I prefer colorful pictures and with my 35mm SLR, I was only able to get those colors by specially ordering Agfa film.

SD cards eliminate the need to purchase film (at a cost of about $4/roll) and the cost of developing every picture you take (and we all know that we trash/hide about 2/3rds of those developed pictures). The developing is cheaply done at about $7/roll, but for important trip pictures usually done more expensively.

The SD cards are virtually weightless and take up little room. I recently purchased 5 SD cards off of eBay at 1 GB each - the SanDisk Ultra II (faster writing speeds) for about $15.00 each. With each holding approximately 292 images of 8 mega-pixel size, I can carry around 1460 high quality images taking up little space or weight - that's equivalent to 40 rolls of 36 exposure film.

I also really like the cost savings.
40 rolls of film (I had something like 30 rolls of film from a trip to Russia, so 40 rolls for a long trip to Europe is certainly a possibility):
purchase for $160.00 plus shipping
develop cheaply for $280.00 plus tax
total $440.00

5 SD cards:
purchase for about $85 inc. shipping
Leaves $355 for me to develop only the pictures I love - and I can choose to print different photos in different sizes, get doubles and triples of only certain photos, etc. Plus, when I get home, I can unload the SD cards and reuse on my next trip.

I also like that my digital camera automatically turns off if I don't use it for a certain amount of time, while my SLR drains tons of batteries because I am forgetful (more to buy and carry around). My digital lithium battery lasts for quite a while, but I purchased an extra lithium battery for emergencies for, I believe, less than $15 on eBay. I just have to carry those along with a fairly small charger and can reuse them for years.

I also like that before I leave a place, I know whether I got the pictures I wanted by looking back through my shots. Plus, with the advantage of a delete button, I can take numerous pictures without worrying about the developing cost or running out of film. So, my 1460 pictures are all pictures that I initially like (based on the camera screen). I probably delete at least 3 pictures for each one that I keep. When using film, I couldn't help but always worry about taking numerous pictures because of the cost and running low on film. Having that worry caused me to miss out on taking many shots. With that worry completely eliminated (if I start to run low on SD card space, I'll stop at an internet cafe and unload a card), I can now be more creative with my pictures, and, rather than writing down a list of what I am taking pictures of to remind me when I get home, I can take pictures of signs and menus, etc. before I start to shoot the scenery. My pictures then tell more of a story rather than being random shots of places I don't remember the names of.

Also, with the SLR, I was always anxious to get home and get my pictures developed to see what I ended up with (sometimes disappointed / sometimes not), but I don't have that anxiety with the digital because I have already looked through my shots with the camera screen and can come home and pop the SD card into my computer and immediately see the full-screen versions (I can even stop in an internet cafe before I get home to do the same thing). From there, I organize, can make some adjustments to the photos, and can decide how many and which sizes I want to print and which I want to upload to to an online photo album.

This camera was fairly easy to learn to use. With any camera, if you just practice quite a bit before you go, you should be fine.
mrkindallas is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 08:40 AM
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I highly recommend developing your digital prints before returning home. Anything stored on electronic media is living on borrowed time.

I also recommend developing film to negatives in preference to passing it through an X-ray machine during the boarding process. In order to finesse the question of radiation on the outbound leg, I buy my film when I arrive at the destination.
Robespierre is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 09:16 AM
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It really depends on what digital you have. If it is a DSLR take it, if it is a P&S with more than 5MP and a good optical zoom, take it. If you have enough memory cards or download capacity take it. If you are completely happy using it take it.
If not take your trusty Nikon.
hetismij is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 09:59 AM
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My first thought is go with what you are more comfortable with.

We took over 600 photos on our last trip to Italy. One of the luxuries of a digital is taking a number of pictures of the same view etc without thinking about all the film, particularly inside some churches and museums that ban flash. We had enough memory cards with us, but we also brought several cds to story photos. We stopped several times during our stay at an internet place and for a few euros downloaded our pictures onto the cds. That way if anything happened to the memory cards, we still had copies of our photos. The other option is a small flash drive in place of the cds.
BarbaraJ is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 11:54 AM
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I take both a digital and a standard (35mm). Before this wasn't much of an inconvenience because my digital was a Nikon Coolpix, which is about two-thirds the size of a pack of cigarettes. Now that my digital is a D70S (an SLR), there is more to haul around.

I shoot like crazy with the digital (I have plenty of memory) and reserve the film camera for the "special shots," which I also shoot with the digital. When compared directly, the slide film always produces a better quality image than the digital version, but some of the digital images are quite nice.
smueller is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 12:39 PM
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Enjoy Northern Italy AND your digital camera.
GBC is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 12:55 PM
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To the OP - what cameras do you have now? There are good digital cameras and there are bad ones. There are bulky ones and there are very tiny ones.

And are you asking about whether to buy a different digital? Or are just deciding between the two you already have? If the latter, then just bring what will give you what you want! If your film camera gives you better prints, then bring the film one.


As for the other stuff people are saying, there are just too many variables among all kinds of cameras.

But once I switched to digital, there's really no going back. First, event though initial cost of digital is higher, once you've made the investment on hardware, the rest is free until you print. I took more pictures during a 2 week trip with digital than a 3 month one with film, because I can't afford to shoot 200 rolls to films. Film and development/printing cost is high.

Second, you can review the results instantly. I won't have to wait till I've gone home before I realize there's camera shake in a picture I need. I can reshoot right away.

Third, I can switch ISO in seconds. Walk inside a church, I can shoot at 800, walk outside and 100. With film, if you want the best shots, you need more than one camera body or have to change film mid-roll. Tedious, risky and time consuming. Or I have to compromise and shoot 400 film.

Fourth, to me it's way easier to handle the files of 10,000 digital photos (I use Apple's Aperture) than 10,000 film frames.

But I agree that if one doesn't want to shoot RAW and/or do post-processing work on the computer after a shoot, results from digital may be iffy. Film is a very established technology and at least the negative ones have wide dynamic ranage. As a result most labs can give you decent prints even exposure isn't right on. But if you don't know how to adjust stuff on your computer, when you print without further processing, you can get some pretty bad results.

For those with this problem, one may want to try a better lab like where they have professions check your files before printing. They cost 29 cents a print (about double most consumer service), but the prints are really stunning.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 01:16 PM
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I kept my beloved Nikon F3 SLR for quite a long time after going digital, but upon realizing I would never use it again, sold it to a second-hand camera dealer. The advantages of digital are far too many for me to ever go back to film. I started with a Nikon p&s, graduated to a D70, and finally succumbed to temptatation and bought a D200.

What is your digital camera? You say it is quite large, so perhaps it is a DSLR. If so, it will do just about anything a film camera will do, and more. Trouble is, DSLRs have so many settings, it takes a while to learn them, so if you opt for the digital you need to practice using it before the trip. Don't be afraid to experiment - after all it costs nothing to take digital photographs. Once you learn all the wonderful things it will do, you will be as sold on digital as I am. Of course you can leave it set on "auto" if you wish, and it will probably give you perfectly adequate results.
Heimdall is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 01:32 PM
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>I certainly wouldn't follow Ira's advice about dumping the Nikon.<

I have a Canon AE1 SLR with a 50 mm and a 210 zoom, flash, some filters.

Anybody give $250 for the lot?

My Canon S3 IS zooms from 28 to about 350 mm, and is less than 1/3 the weight.

At current prices, it cost less than 1/3 the SLR setup.
ira is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 02:06 PM
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All we know is that the OP has:

- 35mm Nikon. Since it's small, it's probably a compact, not SLR.

- Large digital camera. Large meaning what? Hey, I had a large 1MP digital camera that ate batteries like there's no tomorrow and take 5-6 seconds to start up. And no, I wouldn't take that one to Europe.

We just need to find out what he has before the discussion can go forward.
rkkwan is offline  
Mar 17th, 2007, 04:14 PM
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If you have knowledge of iso speeds, shutter speeds and aperture settings, then rkkwan's point about switching between iso speeds to maintain your shutter speed or aperture value as required, is probably the biggest bonus of owning a digital camera. I used to shoot transparencies and after switching to digital, I wouldn't turn back with the exception of shooting a wedding, as some of those professional print films are really nice. The cost of the film, avoiding scan equipment at airports and attractions, the extra luggage space for film , and the cost of processing for me is just not worth it.
Please let us know which camera you have and someone can advise of it capability and quality!
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