Going Digital

by PF Bentley/PFPIX.com

I bought the Canon EOS D-30 in late December just before my January trip to Washington, DC to cover Capitol Hill and President Clinton's last days in office. I found that shooting digital for such high stress and deadline sensitive jobs certainly has many advantages.

First, and most important to me, was being in charge of the quality control. Having spent many hours learning the intricacies of the equipment, I was able to do the "darkroom" work, burning and dodging, as I thought necessary. The images that ultimately appeared in Time and Newsweek magazines looked the way I wanted them to.

Second, I was free of those early deadline and shipping requirements that happen when you use film. For me, the prospect of no more wondering if the courier got the packet that I had to leave in some obscure location or worrying if FedEx actually picked up is worth it all. Now, I can shoot right up to 7PM on Saturday night and transmit the photos by 8PM.

I imagine that the magazines will come to appreciate the cost saving to them - no film to buy and process and no shipping or special courier bills. Photo editors also won't have to deal with 300 rolls of negatives, contacts and slides cluttering up their offices. And for the photographers, no more issues with "returns".

The only drawback to shooting digital is that it seems that I have NO time to myself anymore. I know that some photographers prefer to edit as they go, but I don't want to be looking down at the LCD viewer and miss the best image of the day. So I do all the processing, editing, organizing and Photoshop in my "downtime", but to me, once again, it's worth it.

Finally let me say that the D-30 is an excellent camera for the time being until a Professional model is released sometime later this year from Canon. The camera has some faults (as Canon acknowledges) for anyone like me dealing in low light (ASA800 & 1600) most of the time. Slow AF, slow shutter release time, etc. I wish the AF sensors would light up when in focus like other EOS models. I also would love a full-frame CMOS sensor so our lenses are the true focal length. A 38mm F1.4 just isn't the same as a 24MM F1.4 and using the 14mm 2.8 as a wide angle (it's a 22mm on the D-30) is too slow an aperture for moving targets in low light. Oh, yeah - one more thing - how about a black and white mode so all your pixels are going to the tonal grayscale?

To their credit, Dave Metz and Chuck Westfall of Canon have been listening to us D-30 users and respond back in record time. I only hope our imput finds it's way to Japan. The digital revolution in photography is just beginning. I'm looking forward to what the next few years have in store for us.

PF Bentley