Digital Photography Has Arrived
Digital camera sales now exceed film cameras in both numbers sold and value. Film sales are likewise declining. Image quality of current 6 Mega- pixel cameras is on a par with film for most purposes. R & D effort is now almost entirely focused on digital and the quality of digital cameras is advancing rapidly.
Even so, film will still be with us for some time to come. There are a lot of film cameras out there and with most only using a few rolls of film a year going digital isn't much of a priority. For anyone serious about photography however, it's quite a different matter. Film is already expensive and will become more so as the market dwindles. More and more, doing anything with images requires tedious scanning to digital with results that tend to be inferior to an original digital image. Tim Rock, a frequent GD contributor, tells me that savings on film and processing have already paid for his new Nikon D 100 camera and Aquatica housing in less than three months.
For underwater photography the advantages of digital are manifold. In addition to saving $1000 to $2000 on film and processing for each dive trip one no longer has the hassle and worry of carrying all that film. Then there is the advantage of being able to shoot hundreds of images without having to get out of the water and take the camera out of its housing to change film after every 36 exposures. The white balancing ability of digital also captures better color underwater, more akin to what we see, than does film. Then too, one is much freer to experiment and try multiple exposures when cost and reloading aren't concerns. Instant results are another big advantage. If you didn't get what you thought you can immediately try again. On top of all this there is no painful scanning to do and the inevitable dust and fibers with which to contend. Finally, backing up a collection of 10,000 images with exact copies is a trivial task.
A further benefit of getting a good digital camera is the ability to use it to make digital dupes of transparencies in a fraction of the time it takes to scan them and the results are actually better than all but the best high end scanners.
Digital has everything going for it, less cost, less hassle, better productivity, better images and more versatility. If you are serious about photography the time has come.