Local Businesses Adapt to Digital Revolution

Bay Camera uses one machine to print both film and digital photos.
Bay Camera uses one machine to print both film and digital photos.

More and more, shutterbugs are turning to digital photography. "Way easier, the cameras, the modernization of the cameras," said Savannahian BK Logan, who uses a digital camera but has professional prints made. "In fact, I traded in a 1977 Canon Pintax, which are old SLR style cameras. You had to actually set the F stop and everything and shutter speed, to one where it does everything automatically. Better quality, fewer mistakes, and it's stupid proof."

Photo finishers like Savannah's Bay Camera Company (912.355.3587) are adjusting to shifting demands. "Particularly the past year, there's been a big increase in the digital input side of our photo finishing business over film," said owner Alex Gilmore. "And actually film has dropped in the last couple years."

In fact, Bay Camera uses a state-of-the-art machine to print both film and digital photos.

Lately, some are asking how long film will remain relevant. Eastman Kodak, a company made famous by film, today announced plans to trim 20 percent of its workforce and concentrate less on traditional film and cameras and more on digital.

Film may never vanish completely, but times are changing. "Obviously, digital, there's a lot of things, and a lot more versatile than film is," said Gilmore. "But people still traditionally use film and some of that is not going away. And right now, it's still the great majority of people still shoot film. Although I think that's changing."

For some, this news is neither bad, nor surprising. "There's something about using an old-style camera that still has a little panache to it," said BK Logan. "But I would think change is inevitable. Like the horse and buggy, it phases out slowly, and it may not phase out completely."

A snapshot of things to come perhaps, but in the meantime, film isn't going anywhere soon.

Reported by: Charles Gray, cgray@wtoc.com