I got my camera in January, 2004. At the time, Wyatt had just finished his first semester in graduate school. We were trying to get through school sans student loans. I was making $9.50/hour, and Wyatt made $7.00/hour at a 10 hour/week gig on campus. We were living in, what we now call with a delirious affection, “the Meth Lab apartment,” because there was a meth lab directly across our 35 foot wide street from us (we woke up one morning to the whole street shut down and men in HASMAT bubble suits walking around like a scene from E.T.)–the apartment was small, old, dirty, and, as you can tell, in a “great” part of town. Our favorite day of the week was Tuesday because it was “fifty cent night” at the dollar movie theater. Financially life was -ahem- simple.
One night I came home and announced to Wyatt that I wanted to get a new camera, and that it would be released in January, and that it would cost $1000.00, almost a full months wages, and two months rent. Wyatt never batted an eye.
I had done significant research about “digital cameras” – a still relatively new era of technology. The camera I settled on, after almost a full year of research, would be top of the line. It had been announced at a photography trade show in October, to be released the following January. We had three months to save up.
The day the camera was released on the market, Wyatt and I climbed in the car and headed down to the local Best Buy. To my hearts distress, another woman came in wanting the same camera, at the same time as us. The store only had one in stock. The salesperson said which ever of us went without, could come back the next day. He would order one in from another store, and give it to us with a $70 discount. Wyatt talked me into waiting another 24 hours. I did not want to wait.
Now, four years later, my camera is almost antiquated in terms of technology. Luckily it still takes good pictures. I estimate (based on my camera’s counter system) that I have taken 36,889 pictures over the past four years of ownership. If I had taken those same pictures with a film camera, they would have cost $3,576.18* just in film alone. Then there is the additional cost of development–which I won’t calculate, because while printing film costs money, so does having a computer and photoshop to edit the digital files. I truley feel that my camera has been one of our greatest family investments, second only to the real estate we’ve purchased. Not only has it saved us money in the long run, but it also has enabled me to continue pursuing my talents and interests in photography AND, most importantly, capture the moments that have made up our lives for the past years.
Now, it has been four years since Wyatt and I climbed into the Jeep and made a purchase that made us both catch our breath. My camera is getting old. I have a couple dead pixels, and the flash doesn’t reload quite as quickly as it used to. It’s time retire it to “backup” position.
Yesterday I bought a Canon 5D, and a new 24-70mm f/2.8L IS USM lens. It was another purchase that made me catch my breath. But Wyatt never batted an eye.
*Based on FujiFilm Superia 100 ISO 35mm film, listed on Amazon.com at $3.49/36 exposure roll.