Call me old fashioned, but it’s taken me a long time to understand the appeal of digital cameras. My clunky old SLR has been a trusty friend for years now. When I pull out rolls of 35m film I get the strangest looks; small children watch in fascination as though I’m a living museum exhibit. Taking pictures in to chemists for developing prompts sympathetic sighs from well-meaning counter assistants and, often leaves me feeling like I’m from another planet.
I know where I am with my camera. More than this, there’s such anticipation when I go to collect prints that I always feel like a small child at Christmas. Some pictures are so much better than I ever could have hoped for. Admittedly, a few magic moments have been lost due to camera shake or using the wrong shutter speed, but that’s something that you get used to.
I swore, faithfully, that I would never give up my ‘real’ camera. There’s no delay when I click the button to take a picture, I point and shoot at a person in a moment – not a tenth of a second behind them. More than this, each photo is preserved, I can’t delete at the push of a button.
However, over the past year, there has been a slow but steady shift in my perception. The rise and rise of a certain social networking site has led to an expectation that every party, and every occasion will be snapped. You can be almost certain of being ‘tagged’ in a barrage of photos the very next day. The whole nation has gone trigger-happy. As someone without a digital camera I’m increasingly left feeling rather vulnerable – there’s rarely a chance to see the pictures before they’ve gone public, and no opportunity to take equally incriminating, flattering or, down right funny pictures of friends to maintain some sense of balance.
Quietly, and discreetly, I’ve been borrowing friends’ cheap digital cameras and have to admit that they really are pretty easy to use. Secretly, I’m a bit envious that they can take countless random shots without any concerns about cost of film and developing. I could take pictures and scan them in to a computer, but by the time I’ve finished a roll of film, taken it for processing and scanned pictures in, the moment seems to have passed.
So, I’ve given in. Not to say that I will ever forsake my trusty SLR, but I’ve finally ordered a digital camera. After a few hours tracking down the best deal online I’ve found something that actually looks like a ‘proper’ camera rather than a matchbox with a video screen. No one will ever know the difference.
I have to admit that I can’t wait for the opportunity to take pictures without restraint. Also, I’m looking forward to the next social event where, finally, I can point and click away and redress the balance of less than flattering pictures on friends profile pages. Not my sole reason for ‘going digital’, but it will certainly be satisfying.