9 February, 2006
I went to Paris a few years ago with a $30 35mm Canon that basically had two controls: power on and off, flash on and off. The point was not photograpic excellence, but documentation and it served perfectly. I had the film developed by Ritz-then-Wolf, I think it was basic cheapo 400 film, and some shots were just amazing for their detail. (That trip began my fine tradition of sticking the camera over a dropoff and clicking–got a shot off of the Eiffel tower that way which I LOVE, and later I got this.)
The experience stuck with me when I got my first digital, my Canon A85–I don’t think I ever even got any prints from it. Either I’d heard, seen proof someplace, or just knew that I’d need a lot more digital camera to match even the shots I took on that trip. (Probably all three.) So I used my little digital digitally, for sharing online, and (without really thinking about it) shot things to share and look good on the screen.
Now here I am, with more digital camera. I got my first round of prints delivered today…and I’m disappointed. But why? Is it my shots themselves, or is it the medium? The parsimonious explanation is that it’s my shots, me being new…. But is the flipside of that that film is a more forgiving medium, and if that’s so why am I pushing a boulder uphill with digital when I can be taking better shots with film? (Besides cost….or is that reason enough?)
There’s also that these shots have all kinds of printing errors (the service was snapfish). There’s pink flare on the corner of one and a little scritch in three of four of them that looks for all the world like dust on the negative. WTF is that about?? I’ll be trying a higher-end service soon, maybe it will make a difference, but I’m a bit discouraged at the moment.