What's So Great About a Digital Camera?

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh

What's so great about a digital camera? I let that question hang as an excuse to stay with my film camera for three years now. In reality, I was too cheap to invest in a new camera. Yet, when my work and my love for snapping pictures made me re-evaluate the investment I learned that digital cameras can actually save you money.

Film

Film isn't cheap, and anyone who's snapped their way through twenty rolls of film while on vacation knows that. My best bargain was $1.75 per roll if I used a coupon. (However, I did find that offers on eBay often can snag rolls for $1 a piece if you're lucky.) On the average vacation, I bring home twenty rolls of film. (I'm clearly not the average vacationer.) That's a minimal of $35 in film costs alone. If I use fifty rolls of film a year, by investing in a digital camera I will save $88.

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Processing

Film processing is another heavy investment when you're bringing home twenty rolls of film. I never pay for the one-hour developing; it's too expensive. Sending it out through our local wholesale club costs $3.50. Yet, that brings a bill of $70 for my twenty roll trip. Film processing isn't avoided by digital cameras, however; most people prefer to have real prints. The idea of printing at home is convenient, but with an average cost of $2 per 8x10 print, it's not the cheapest option.

I did find two savings in digital processing. One is that by seeing the pictures before I process them, I can decide to print only those which I love. With a digital camera I know which pictures are worth saving. In reality, out of the 480 pictures on my twenty rolls of film, only 260 are really great. The other savings I found are that digital prints are sometimes cheaper than film prints. With pharmacies advertising sales of $.09 a print, I can't process film for that price. The low end price of a digital print fall at $.012 while the low end price of a film print figures to be $.015. That saves $14.40 if I develop all 480 pictures.

Instant Gratification

Okay, let's be realistic for a moment. I love to save pennies wherever I can, but I also love seeing my pictures the minute I return from a trip. At what point is this instant satisfaction and ability to share pictures on the internet worth the cost of the camera? You know in a second if you caught Tommy blowing out his birthday candles, and you can see if Grandpa blinked during the family portrait.

The Camera

I'll be honest; digital cameras aren't cheap. In fact, they're twice as expensive as film cameras. However, the savings in film alone may justify your camera in a few years depending on your model. For some people, the film cameras will always be their choice of preservation; yet, for film wasters like me I can save money in the long run by going digital.

May 16, 20080 found this helpful

The nice thing about digital cameras also is that you can have your files printed by a print house, but you can have them print only the files that you want. You don't need to print every file.

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May 17, 20080 found this helpful

Also, if you have a digital camera, it can pay for itself. You can send photos to websites like Thriftyfun.com, enter their photo contest, and maybe win cash.

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May 17, 20080 found this helpful

I got one only last year, and it does save me money. I don't have that annoying gas using trip to drop off and pick up prints. I've used it to record tricky set building projects, and then just erased the pictures after I took them to the hardware store. And no more ruined photos you have to pay for, I just erase the bad ones.

It was a pain to learn how to use. It pays to have a teenager help. londa

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May 18, 20080 found this helpful

Hi:

I hesitated buying a digial camera a few years ago until our Daughter gave me some good reasons. First, it would take my almost a year to finish a roll of 24 exposes when we visited our family once a year. It seemed like such a waste. She explained that I could delete the photos I did not like, download them on the comuter and send them copies. What a saving of money, time, etc.

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May 18, 20080 found this helpful

Another thing I like is that you can crop the pictures so you can center things or get rid of tourists on the edge of your family picture.

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May 20, 20080 found this helpful

You can also use your digital photos, cropped or not, to make your own wall art.

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May 22, 20080 found this helpful

Also, you don't have to wait for a whole roll of film to be used up, with a digital you can take one or two shots, and then go develop them.

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May 27, 20080 found this helpful

For a quick hardcopy, print on regular paper-- let it hang in front of you for a couple of days, then decide if you really want a photo-print. Most picture managing software will let you print index prints, too, so you can compare versions of the same shot. You can also crop and fiddle, then save, to see which you like best...

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June 14, 20080 found this helpful

I will never go back to ordinary cameras. I spent 5 months travelling around the world, and lost approximately two rolls of film that I paid for to be developed on 'crap' photos that I threw out. With digital cameras, you can edit out the ones you don't want, with no wasted money. Download to your computer, edit them as you wish, then email them to friends and family. I love them!

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June 13, 20090 found this helpful

Wouldn't be without mine. It's wonderful for all the reasons stated but it's also so easy to transfer your photos to cd and then view them on your TV. I spent a lot of time, when I retired, scanning old photos, saving them to the computer and also putting them on cd for the family. It took a long time but was worth it. No need for all that work now, though!

Some of the new cameras can take videos as well. My sister-in-law got an Olympus that does that for a very good price here. It was on special offer.

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June 13, 20090 found this helpful

I also save more money because I no longer have to print a second set to mail to grandparents. They receive a copy as soon as I post them for free.

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June 13, 20090 found this helpful

We got a digital camera five years ago so it is aged in electronic years. We were going to Manhattan for a few days and didn't want to shy about taking pictures while there and in passing by family in PA, Atlantic City, NJ and Gettysburg, PA on the trip. Knowing it was going to be a lot of pictures taken we got not only the camera, but also 4 extra memory cards for it. At the end of the trip we had over 400 pictures. After uploading in Kodak program (it was Kodak camera) it was easy to edit and pick what to print and put 200 of the best in an album. Then all the pictures were burned to a CD for safe keeping so the pictures in the program could be deleted.

I already had Picasa program also and since it was easy to load into that program that is where I actually did the editing and printing. We had a good HP printer, but two Dec's ago we invested into a Kodak printer. It is a great printer for printing text and photos. The ink cartridges are very easy to change and cost a lot less. We have found that the Kodak paper gives you a better print from off brand papers. The customer support was great for the printer when we had a minor problem and they not only sent me the part to change (which was very easy to do) we were give free also a five pack of photo paper, black ink cartridge and color cartridge. And it was fast - received all that in three days from the day we did live chat with with customer support. I use the camera (old as it is) and printer a lot and have saved a lot of money. We never used customer support for the camera for there has never been a problem with it.

A few months ago invested in new rechargeable batteries and recharger for the five years we used them was about the max (thought that was long time for them to last). And the charger we had may have been good, but couldn't find new batteries of that brand any longer - they must be like all electronics and upgrades in them force old ones off the shelves. In case you are wondering you don't have to have a Kodak camera to use the printer and it is supposed to be compatible with a lot of PC's.

We have a mini-camcorder from Sony that takes videos and photos and have printed prints from the video stills and photos too. Don't know how we lived without digital camera for we love the instant viewing and printing photos. We were so thrilled with ours that my friends jumped in and got one too. If you don't want to invest in one without "test driving" one see if you can borrow someone's for a day and check it out. You'll love it!

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