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Monday, 22 July 2019


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I'm surprised to discover that, with 36 years of film and 16 of digital, I'm almost precisely in the dead center of that graph. I would have thought I was in the upper ranges of years of film use, but this reveals that the TOP readership skews a lot older than I realized.

Oh my, your readers are quite old and have been pursuing photography for a long time. I would be somewhere down towards the bottom, but I hadn't thought about it. If I count my early highschool years I might have as much as 5 years using film and 16 years of digital, and I'm 76 years old. I had a big gap when I didn't pursue photography.
Your chart adds to my pondering on why do I read your blog and why do I make pictures and blog?

I really appreciate a good infographic. Thanks Sarge!

Someone well-known for infographics and design is Nigel Holmes, and he always wears blue clothing. In the "stupid questions" department during a university presentation, I asked him which blue Pantone color he prefers for his clothing.

However the question did not go over well, and it confirmed my suspicion that indeed, stupid questions are possible.

30 vs 20 with some reservations:
First camera, when I was about 7, was a Kodak Hawkeye, shooting 127 square roll film, excluded from this count. First “serious” camera was a Voigtländer Vito C, bought when I was 12 in 1969, followed by a Minolta srT101 in ‘70. Stayed with film (and Minolta), with a decade or so of child-rearing, non-serious photography before getting a 2MP
Kodak digital in ‘99. Haven’t looked back since after using the Dimage A1, 7D and now a happy Fuji X shooter.

Ok, for the good of humanity:
Film 39
Digital 15

My post must not have been clear... I am right in the middle of the pack with film years, not zero. I just had zero "serious" film years. All pretty much snapshots and store development. So we only have three total outliers.

Interesting survey and diagram. However, the "competition" is a bit biased to older people on both axis. I wonder how it would look if you enter age or birthdate into the equation?

BTW my numbers are 39 filmyears (33 before digital and 6 in parallell) and 17 digital. I give my input to the extended diagram plot with giving my age as 59. Years.

Damn, that’s some experienced readers!! I thought I was a veteran with 45 combined years, but I’m only in the middle!
(I guess that many have an overlap though, I did not.)

I was curious how the results would be expressed. The graph was excellent. BTW, I think you forgot about Johnston.

42 years film
19 years digital

Did nine years full time with film. Been digital full time (with the occasional roll of film still) for the last 15 years.

38 film
18 digital

I shot film casually in high school, but after an ill-fated trip abroad where my advance winder sprocket started slipping on my dad's old Pentax Spotmatic II and I lost 6 irreplaceable rolls of film, I dropped film quickly in favour of a digital bridge camera. Only started shooting digital ILC in 2013, but picked up film again in 2015.

So I would be 15 years digital, and 8 years film.

Clearly, I occupy a very rarefied demographic about TOP readers, if the scatter plot is any indication!

My film versus digital numbers are: 45 film, 15 digital.

Mike Giovinazzo

33-12. Had a darkroom from '85 to '94 but then I moved house and had to give it up. I switched to transparency and colour neg film until I bought an EOS 5D in 2007.

I wouldn't go back to film now, I prefer the freedom of digital.

Film vs. Digital: 34/17

Film - 1968 - 2002 (Canon FT-QL, Leica M4, Leica M6) = 34 years

Digital - 2002 - present (a Canon digital point and shoot [ can't remember model, but carried it in shirt pocket like I now do my iPhone, so I experienced early the pleasure of constant availability], Canon 20D, iPhone 6, Canon 5D Mark III) = 17 years

Total = 41 wonderful, happy years of playing with these "toys," now looking back with amazement at the journey, and excited for it to continue.

Thank you for the opportunity for retrospection.

I shot film for 46 years and digital for 13.

Time to figure out and report film vs. digital: 1st camera ~1965 (Argus C3 from my grandfather); last "normal"/regular use of film in approximately December 2002 (with some Instamatics, 110 cameras, an Olympus P&S travel camera, several Minolta X700s, after a Nikkormat [stolen in 1980] and a Minolta XGM). I also had a semester of shooting film (X700) and digital in 2015, which I'm not counting. So, film = 2002-1965, or ~37 years. First digital camera (2mb Canon P&S) in 2001, followed by Canon 20D, 7D, and 7D Mk II. So, 2019-2001, or ~19 years shooting digital.

I should point out that my outlier status in digital photography actually includes many years of electronic analog photography, and hybrid stuff like analog video still cameras that I would use a frame grabber to digitize.
Mr favorite was a setup where I used a b&w video camera and three color filters controlled by a model airplane servo to make digital images.
I didn’t get a stand-alone digital camera until 1995, and a horrid little thing it was too.

Oh silly me, just did the math and the chart reflects when I got a digital camera in 96 (.35 megapixels!) not the experiments in the late 70s.

Talk about feeling old...

36+/17 film to digital. Started with a slr in 1966 and bought my first digital camera, a Canon D60, in 2002. Despite it not being the fastest of cameras and not have much of a buffer and photographing wildlife, within a month I was using it solely, with my EOS 3s sitting idly around, forlorn but still loved, ready to go if I needed a rapid frame rate. A few more months and I was giving away bricks of film to friends, rapid frame rate be damned.

As a print maker, a key to making the conversion solely to digital was writing on the wall in 2002 which foretold high quality digital print making at reasonable enough cost for a dedicated photographer to own.

And I wrote the plus sign to my 36 years of film because I actually started with a Kodak Brownie 620 film camera at 7 or 8. Had the film processed and print made through the local drug store. Count that and my film years would total 46-47.

I'll get in on this. My dad brought a Yashica rangefinder home from Vietnam in 1967 which I destroyed on a winter ascent in Yosemite in the early 70's. Last film camera was the fantastic Nikon F100 which I was activity shooting desert landscapes until 2006. First digital pt/sht around 2002 followed by a Nikon D200 in 2007, on-wards till the present shooting a Nikon D600 on occasion, but loving my Fuji XT-2.
So maybe 30 years of serious film photography followed by 12 years and counting for digital.

42 film on a serious basis, and still shooting it
15 digital

A public thank you to Sarge!

I have never really given up on film completely and have recently been shooting more film. My totals are 42 years with film and 21 years digital. I have never thought about it before but I guess that is half and half. I am truly surprised by those numbers.


8 film
16 digital

In 1968, my father helped me buy a lovely little Miranda Sensomat, and I consider it to be my first serious camera. Prior to that camera, I had a Kowaflex that used 127 film. It jammed when we were visiting the 1964 NY World's fair. I purchased my first serious digital camera in 2008. Therefore I have 40 years of film and 11 years of digital.

Gotta play! I developed my first roll in the school darkroom when I was 12 (in 1961) and have some rolls to develop right now. I started with digital in 2002 with a Canon p&s, and kept upgrading from there. So my numbers are 58 film, and 17 digital.

13 years of digital, 2 years of film (110 and disposables, if that counts).

Hoping to be in time for the scatter plot:

film -- 1955 - 2012 67 years, but with my own darkroom, 1966 - 1986, scanning and converting to digital, 2010 - 2016 20 years +6

digital -- 1996 to present 23 years.

49 years, mostly film, I have a DSLR......around here somewhere. I drag it out every long once in a while.... to use as an exposure meter.

Okay, just for the record...61 Film / 16 Digital.
First film camera Kodak Brownie 1954, main camera Canon F1 / F1n, Hasselblad from 2000 on, still have, rarely used these days.
First digital Canon G series now Sony A7 with all my FD lenses. Like Mike still have fridge full of exposed film... awaiting? Darkroom makeshift, converted stairwell 1973 to purpose built 1994 to 2012 (sold house). Looks like I'm in good company...

I started film photography in 1966 with a Minolta SR1 and ended with an Olympus OM 4 in 1966 when I got an Olympus E-300. So 40 years film and 13 years digital.

Film 35
Digital 15

Around the turn of the millennium while sticking with film I used to say that with a Nikon LS4000 scanner at 4000dpi I had a 24Mp digital image, bigger than anything digital at that stage so I didn't need no fancy digital camera.

But around 2004 I bought a Minolta A2, 8Mp and for the time, pretty good images. I was hooked, and I was tired of scanning film at about 6 minutes per frame. Plus the substantial cost of film and processing.

I have an Olympus OM D EM1, a Pentax K-5, a Fuji S100fs, a Sony RX10 and a Panasonic FZ1000. I'm happy with digital, thanks. It's hard to beat the thrill of seeing instant results too.

20 years film
14 yr digital
Pretty much a clean break once I switched in 2005. Now I like film cameras to look at and hold but not use! :-)

Film 18 years, digital on and off 7 I think.

Started with film in 2001 although "more seriously" in 2005 when I started developing my film myself. First digital camera bought in 8 years ago, but I haven't always had one. Film is exclusively B&W (colour film became too expensive for my taste), digital is colour.

50 film / 16 digital

I bought my first film camera as a young man in 1969, so fifty years this fall for film, although there was a hiatus for the early digital excitement in the early 2000s.

Lightroom tells me that my first digital images are from July 2003.

While I still shoot digital (Fuji X) when it makes sense, I am seriously back to film--medium and large format. I love the look, and the process is just more fun.

About 20-11. Or 31-11 since I still shoot film in as well as digital. It tok me a while to get started with digital. I was waiting and waiting for a digital Contax.

Film 0
Digital 5
Before my photo years I thought Asahi Pentax and Nikon were real cameras. I thought Canon was only in the copier business.
My age is 68.

My opinion is that the difference between film and digital is rather irrelevant.
A more important differentiator is between people who operate a camera, knowing versus not knowing the what, how and why of the relation between ISO, f number and shutterspeed.

Groetjes, Gerard

34 and 19

Film, call it 38 years (effectively stopped after 2005)

Digital, 18 years.

40 film/18 digital

I'm still running a darkroom for pt/pd printing from digital negatives, and like the results far better than any black and white inkjet print I've seen. I shot film for the good stuff until about 2009 when a digital camera finally beat my best film results. For my shooting and printing methods there's no good reason to go back to film.

Hi Mike,
Just a quick update. Here's the scatterplot of 257 TOP readers' respective film and digital years. These are the readers who commented to your original post and this one, as of today.

The blue dots represent unique film and digital years pairing (coordinates). The red dots represent "coordinates" common to two readers, the yellow dots, three.

The chart is only 472px wide which is sufficient for dots without labels. Obviously, once labelled with readers'names, it will be a squeeze even at 800px wide. But I'll find a way :)

44 and 18.

13 and 19: 13 years with film (1987–2000), 19 with digital (2000–2019).

Like Joe Holmes above, and no doubt others, I'm amused to discover how much in the middle of this diagram I fall. TOP is a very deep well.

55 years film
14 years digital.

My first camera was a Kodak instamatic 500 in 1964. Digital has essentially ended and I am back to 99% film.

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