Just for giggles I have been casually looking at random camera deals on EBay over the last couple of days. No real direction or intent, just things that struck my fancy at the time and some random searches, etc. I cannot believe what you can buy in film cameras of all shapes and sizes for next to nothing now. I need another camera like I need a hole in the head but I may not be able to pass some of this stuff up if I am on the computer at the right time. Heck I could give this stuff away to needy kids or something and they would be shooting higher quality than most of the digital yo-yo's spending big bucks.
Check some of these out that I was watching a short time ago. You would need to shoot a hell of a lot of film to make up for the cost of a high end digital:
An Olympus OM4 that looks like it was never used - you know the kind of guy who uses a never-ready case kind of owner. These things were totally fantastic cameras and really small and light as well. This one came with a nice lens for $162.50. WTF?
How about a decent condition Nikon FM with a 55mm Micro for $89. Not quite as small or as good cosmetics as the Olympus but still small and light and a true joy to use.
Okay want some real durability, mechanical precision, and something you could kill somebody with and it will still work. How about a gorgeous - fantastically good condition Nikon F2A with a 55mm Micro for $226. These have a special place in my heart and are semi collector items that is why the price double in the last 2 seconds of the auction. But $226?
Want something a bit more modern with a little more panache? How about a brand new looking Contax G2 with the one and only true rangefinder zoom lens on the planet for $664? I had a G2 and every single lens made for it for about a year but decided I liked my Leicas better. These things are great cameras and the lens collection is amazing as well.
Sticking with the Contax - holy shit a brand newish looking Contax RTS with a Zeiss zoom for $100.99.
All of these cameras are amazing and capable of fantastic results. They will probably make better pictures that your current DSLR and are a joy to use, hold, and behold. Add a classic well damped fast prime or so - Olympus, Zeiss, Nikon, or even a Zeiss in Nikon mount and you will be good to go. Hell you can pretend you were a rich professional when only the top notch pros could afford stuff like this. The Leica and Hasselblad stuff goes for bigger numbers but still cheap compared to acquiring it when everyone was shooting film.
Just something to think about. Know some kid that is into photography? - buy him/her one of these with a brick of film and mailers instead of a plastic crappy cam. With decent processing and scanning the results should amaze his/her friends. The really funny thing is this stuff will still be useable even when you would never consider shooting the digicam that you buy this year brand new. Funny stuff.
I swear the very next time somebody asks me for camera advice I am going to find out what they want to make with their images - my answer is going to be.
Web and looking at them on your laptop = cheap digital.
Make prints, books, posters, movies, projection HD quality slide shows - used fantastic film gear.
Here is a secret - If you want good quality and good images you have to spend time on it no matter what the medium. You have to work at it. If you don't want to work at it, then it will not matter and digital will be easier and you can be lazier. If you do want to work at it digital does not a whole lot but save you some wait time before you can see your images.