Do You Really Need Digital?

Answering this question could save you a lot of money

Digital cameras are sleek and shiny, and offer many conveniences that you cannot get with film. Many people decide that they want a digital camera.

Take a moment and think about it. If you are firmly set in the world of film, and have been using your point and shoot camera comfortably now for 10 years, a digital camera may not be the right choice for you. It could be more trouble than it's worth.

This page will introduce you to the pros and cons of owning a digital camera. You may be aware of many of them. Some may surprise you.

The Pros of Digital Cameras

Instant Feedback

This is the best feature of a digital camera. Right after you take a photograph with a digital camera, you can see the photo you just took displayed. No more worrying if you got the shot or not, no more portraits of people with their eyes closed. Take the shot and see. If you don't like what you see, take another.

No Film

Digital cameras store photographs digitally, using removable cards. You can purchase a single photo storage card that will allow you to take about 360 photographs. That's 15 rolls of film, if a roll is 24 photos! Most of these cards are about the size of a postage stamp or a stick of gum. What would you rather carry with you on your next vacation? A stick of gum, or 15 rolls of film?

No Prints

You never have to print a single photo you take with your digital camera. This is good news for people like me, whose idea of storing old photographs is putting them all into an old shoebox. Store all the photos you take on your computer and only print the ones you really like. You'll never have to bay for badly exposed photos again.


Have you ever missed the opportunity to take a great photograph because you did not want to waste your film? With digital cameras this is not a problem. You are free to take as many photos as you want. If you take a ton of photographs that you don't like, you can just delete them.


Many digital cameras are designed to be extremely portable. Since they don't need space to accommodate film, they can be very compact and lightweight. In fact, there are some cameras that are not much bigger than your average credit card (they are thicker, but not by much).

Easy Sharing

Digital cameras are a great way to share photographs with friends and family who do not live nearby. Photographs taken by digital cameras are stored in a file format recognized by most computers. It is easy to send them to people anywhere in the world. It helps if you have a fast Internet connection or a CD burner.

Drawbacks to Digital Cameras


Digital cameras are small computers that take photographs. Even the fairly simple ones come with many buttons, menus, options and settings. Camera manufacturers like to boast that their camera has more features than their competitor's. More features means controls that you will have to learn.

Home Computer

In order to leverage the power of your camera, you must have a home computer. The idea behind digital photography is that you can take thousands of photographs, review them on your computer first and then decide what you want to print. If you are printing all of you digital photos because you don't have a computer, then you are not saving anything by having a digital camera. Stick with film.

Computing Power

If you do have a home computer, how powerful is it? Photographs created by digital cameras create large computer files. If you have a small hard drive, you will fill it up in an instant. A slow computer can make the process of viewing photos frustrating. Take stock of your computer before you get a new camera and make sure that it is up to the task.

Fast Internet Connection

The easiest way to share your photos with others is to upload them to the Internet. There are several web sites that allow you to upload photos and then order prints. If you have a dialup modem connection to the Internet, trying to upload digital photos will be a slow and time-consuming process.


A cheap digital camera costs about $200, while a basic compact film camera costs $150. If you want a digital camera with additional features, it can run up to $700. Digital cameras store photographs on small removable cards. Each one of these cards costs anywhere from $50 to $100 depending upon capacity. You can use them over and over again for years, but you still have to pay the initial cost.

Battery Life

Some digital cameras use standard AA batteries, while others use rechargeable batteries that are just for that model camera. Digital cameras are notorious battery hogs. If you own a film camera now, you may have had to change the batteries once in 5 years. Digital camera batteries will be drained in a week if you take lots of photos. Rechargeable batteries are a necessity.

Find Out More

If you've come this far and you're still set on the idea of buying a digital camera, then read on. There is a lot more to learn.

What type of photographer are you?