by Damian McGillicuddy Published 01/02/2001
You'll no doubt remember that in the first part of my story after many "trips round the block" we had come in a very round about way to the conclusion that the "evil" known as digital technowledgy may not have been as scary and fierce as one may have thought at first. Infact we were on the verge of embracing the demon!
In theory a digital workflow should be a liberating factor for photographers, it seems to have many benefits. Greater control, the whole imaging process would be "In house", more consistent print runs (even if reorders didn't come for many months), extended shooting opportunities (Christmas shooting dead lines need not finish in November) and turn round times could be slashed if necessary.
Now take into account the reduction in waste and a potential saving in costs dependant on volume, extreme flexibility and ultimate control and you can see that the argument can be quite convincing.
But.... (Funny, there is always a but) the down side is, its an expensive "do" to get wrong. I know and had read of people who had made considerable (read as tens of thousands) investments to get into the world of digital. Although the majority of them, when quizzed (read as interrogated), generally said words to the effect of "we are making the lease payments comfortably" but would not admit if the investment was realising a profit. This was a definite no, no for us. As a small outfit we couldn't really afford to make a mistake. I would say that that made me fiscally responsible, my lovely wife however would probably say I'm tight!!!
So as per usual before making any purchasing decision there was a great deal of research needed....
It became apparent quickly that trawling the net, reading glossy brochures and talking to salesmen wasn't giving me a "rounded view". I also found that computer magazines and indeed photo mags were next to useless. They didn't necessarily cover the equipment I was interested in and always seemed to lean on the "high brow" or real "budget" end.
I began to ask myself was setting up basically a low budget but credible system possible. In its favour though was the fact that the cost of "digital" seemed to drop every day more so if a new bit of kit superseded the old.
This is when I had my first "Digital revelation", let me hear you cry "Hallelujah"!!! Not surprisingly it hit me like the preverbal "Bolt from the blue". It had occurred to me that I'd never get into digital because the pace of its own advancement was ever increasing. I didn't want to buy something that would be outdated (and therefore naff) within the month of purchase. All the magazines were urging the readership strongly to become "digital pioneers", for it was only with that investment that the manufactures of the equipment could further "push the envelope" . My personal feeling was "Sod that for a game of soldiers", my hard earned was going to be nobodies guinea pig!
Hang on I hear you cry, what of the "bolt"? Well I'll tell you and it was indeed quite profound. If I tailored the equipment we bought to do a specific job at a specific quality within our budget that was great. Just because something hit the shops next week at half the price with twice the power it did not mean our gear was obsolete. Remember it was still doing the job we bought it for at the quality we needed for the money AND THAT WOULD NEVER CHANGE.
The ex Chairman of marketing for the M.P.A. Had finally "shrugged off" the veil of power persuasion that the manufactures marketers had placed over their own products to entice and fill us all with desire to own. Of course the latest thing is always nice to have but in a round about way what I'm saying is that the older technology would still be giving us the quality we desired for the price we are prepared to spend and therefore was far from being obsolete.
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