I’ve been a subscriber to Popular Photography for four or five years. I didn’t buy my first digital camera until two years ago (a point-and-shoot), but I’ve had a life-long interest in photography and I’ve been using Pop Photo to keep up with the evolution of digital tech.
I still have an analog SLR and three lenses that I love, but I wouldn’t go back to film if you offered me the choice. Between the per-image cost of processing, the film requirement of processing all images instead of tossing the mistakes, and the difficulty (impossibility) of getting good prints at anything less than custom prices, I’m completely sold on digital.
Still, I’m not an early adopter when it comes to tech. I tried that, and it’s just too expensive. I’d love nothing more than to own a DSLR today, but I wouldn’t have said that even two years ago. Why? Because two years ago camera manufacturers were still in a megapixel race, which, like the return of the horsepower race in cars, provides only limited end-user utility. It’s only in the last two years that the DSLR feature set has matured to the point where you can buy a camera now that won’t be obsolete in six months. (Not that there won’t be advances. But the question of image resolution in digital formats has been thoroughly asked and answered. If you want to take good pictures that can be printed to 8×10 or larger, that’s now a given in any DSLR, and true for many point-and-shoots as well.)
In terms of knowledge and information about cameras, my subscription to Popular Photography has been well worth it. As an unexpected bonus, however, I’ve also learned a bit about what’s happening to the analog magazine business in the age of digital information, none of which would come as a surprise to regular readers. (See also my take on PC Magazine. Which, by the way, recently launched a new web site that is much improved in terms of clutter, but even less trustworthy than before in terms of mingling editorial content with advertisements posing as press releases posing as editorial content. Consider yourself warned. Again.)
I don’t remember what I paid for my first Pop Photo subscription, but it was cheap. Twelve issues for pretty much nothing. Or maybe it was two years (24 issues) for pretty much nothing. In any case, when I received my annual renewal reminder last year I was shocked to see that another twelve issues would cost me five dollars. As in $5. As in five hundred pennies. As in: are you kidding me? [ Read more ]