Commercial touts benefits of film cameras over digital cameras

Mayor Mike says: "Looks like the folks at Vivitar are squeezing the last drops of blood out of this withered industry . . . Plus, a free roll of film!"

Digital Photography is Dead! - New Vivitar Film Camera Commercial


  1. Invasive searches, cramped seats, bad food, lost luggage – you don’t have to deal with the hassles of flying anymore because now there’s BOAT! BOAT never leaves the surface of the Earth so there’s no risk of falling tens of thousands of feet to your death! With BOAT you never experience jet lag because you cross time zones the natural way! Get to know your fellow passengers as you sing jaunty sea tunes like “I’m on a BOAT!” and “Sailing!” BOAT comes in hundreds of styles, including eco-friendly models that run on wind power! And BOAT gently rocks you to sleep every night of your months-long voyage!

  2. Well, after explaining to my mother for the 5th time how to use her digital camera, I can see the market for the film cameras. Doesn’t mean it’ll work, but there is a pretty large population of older folks who have a hard time with the digital cameras.

  3. They’ve got a point about most home prints being inferior to what you get from a professional developer, but God help them if the elderly ever find out you can take your digital camera into the local Walgreens just as easily as a roll of film…

  4. Wow. My grandmother LOVES digital photography. Sharing pictures with relatives across the country is half the reason she has a computer.

  5. I have to agree with this ad in many ways. I wonder what it will be like in 10 or 20 years when all the family memories are lost on obsolete computers or media, or destroyed by a failed WD MyBook, or the like. We enjoy our digital photos most when we print out the best of the lot and erase the rest. I encourage everyone who wants to have a family history to share well into the future to do the same. Take the best, print them out via a lab or mail-order service, and put them in a good old-fashioned album.

    My mom used to say the one thing she would grab in the event of a house fire was the family photo albums. I can’t see her lugging a PC out the door to save data…

    P.S. Does anyone want to help fund the development of a hybrid camera? How about one that has a Live View feature, you can take as many pictures as you want (digitally) then commit ‘the keepers’ to film right in the camera? Good idea? Maybe?

    1. Dropbox is a wonderful thing, automatic offsite backup. Then you can grab something else on the way out during a fire.

      1. “Dropbox is a wonderful thing, automatic offsite backup. Then you can grab something else on the way out during a fire.”

        I have physical photos of my great-grandparents. Will Dropbox stay in business for 100 years? Will you remember to give the password to your children, will they remember to give it to their children, etc? (Or will they remember to copy the photos to some new place, or whatever. Same problem.)

        It’s *possible* that your great-grandkids will have those digital files. But it seems very unlikely to me. Too much stuff has to go right. With printed photos, you just have to not lose them or have a fire. Same as all the other physical stuff that you know how to deal with.

        1. I have physical photos of my great-grandparents. Will Dropbox stay in business for 100 years

          Given that Eastman-Kodak didn’t, I doubt it. Can I buy film for my Brownie camera? My Disc camera from 1984? My Polaroid Time-Zero camera? How well did those photos age? The photos my father left behind from 1936 were fragile and already damaged by age, exposure to sunlight and fading chemicals. Even pictures from the 1970s and 1980s had color disappearing. How well are those daguerrotypes holding up?

          This idea that physical prints are somehow invulnerable and timeless…or that the companies who manufactured them are timeless, seems silly to me. And those digital copies CAN be printed out. Over and Over again. And saved to multiple locations. Which is why my father produced three dvds of the family photos and sent one to myself and my siblings. So we could ALL have them.

          1. Given that Eastman-Kodak didn’t, I doubt it.

            The trouble with this line of reasoning is that the survival of Eastman-Kodak (a company that is, at least for the moment, still in business) doesn’t have anything to do with the archival longevity of prints or negatives made using Kodak equipment.

            Sure, you can’t buy 620 film easily anymore. However, your 620 film will not go away if Kodak does. Keep your negatives dry and safe and you’re good for a century or more. Some of the more advanced film technologies, like silver-halide microfilm, are projected to have a 500-year lifespan under reasonable (and this is basic reasonable, not argon capsules in bunkers) storage conditions.

            If Dropbox goes down, you better hope you had a copy somewhere safe, on media that is relatively archival and readable by a usually-proprietary technology that will still be in working order in twenty years. The salesmen where I worked as a media archivist used to love claiming that our digital media was archival in the long term, and a lot of it was. Mind you, twenty years after my first all-digital assignments, some of those clients have nice large collections of perfectly-archival large-diameter magneto-optical discs packed with digital images, but of course, the last manufacturers of the only hardware that can read those discs have long since gone away. The data’s there, but, well, it’s there.

            To retrieve an image from a negative or a piece of microfilm, on the other hand, you need a piece of bent glass and a light. To print an image, you need some basic chemistry, a better piece of bent glass, a light, and a good timer.

            There’s lots of great things about digital imaging. Archival stability and long-term survival just aren’t among the benefits of digital technology right now, and they won’t be until some serious engineering and brainstorming gets done to make that a part of the design spec is “remains accessible as long as the media itself is intact.”

            That’s not the case now, and the digital manufacturers don’t really care. They’re making their money, and the people don’t care and won’t, until families suddenly realize a whole generation has disappeared from the family albums. With film, the fact that the manufacturers also didn’t care was mitigated by the fact that the product they made turned out to be pretty stable.

            For the record, daguerreotype images are holding up quite well, which is why we have clear photographs of Lincoln, the Civil War, and clear, vivid images from way back in the 1830s.

            Film may be dead to most, but every technology has its value…except disc cameras. They were just dumb.

          2. Yep, the only way to know for certain that any technology can survive any period of time is to use a technology that’s already been around that long. That’s why the Long Now Foundation used Bronze Age tech to build their 10,000 year clock.

          3. Yes. You can buy film for your Polaroid camera. Get it from The Impossible Project. Keeping instant photography alive since 2010.

          4. DVDs/CDs created at home have a shelf life of 10 years.

            You can buy film for your polaroid again. there there.

          5. How well did those photos age? The photos my father left behind from 1936 were fragile and already damaged by age, exposure to sunlight and fading chemicals. Even pictures from the 1970s and 1980s had color disappearing. How well are those daguerrotypes holding up?

            The tintypes and daguerrotypes are holding up extremely well, thanks. We have a few dozen on the walls and my children will inherit them, so they can see what their ancestors looked like.

            The very early photographs, such as the one showing my wife’s great-grandmother dressed to the nines and standing with the first cow she ever owned (the family went on to become successful dairy operators) are also holding up well.

            The stuff after World War II, not so well. The giant photo of my grandfather’s battleship & crew, from the 30s, is starting to go also. The tintos from the 1920s are doing slightly better

            Essentially, the older the picture, the better it’s holding up. In real world use, that is. We’ve had these pictures on the wall all my life, and some of them quite a bit longer.

    2. Our home file server has a special hard drive in a removable drive rack. It holds our automated backups. Ideal for photos and scans of difficult-to-replace documents. The idea is we can pull that drive very quickly and escape with it.

    3. I agree completely here.

      My grandpa’s cupboards are filled with vintage 35mm negatives dating back to WWII ffs.. As a media professional I’m intensely paranoid about tech obsolescence (Hi8 anyone?). In fact I plan to print all my best digital photos on film and store em somewhere safe. Digital is cool for post-production and easy sharing but as a storage medium it is really.. how shall I put it? Crap? Yes, that’s it, crap. And what is popular photography all about? Memory retention. I sense a huge blowback in not more than a decade’s time when all the ordinary folks realize their wedding videos are lost, gone, away…

      1. This is a problem with all media. The best method of preservation if you’re that paranoid about losing your pictures is to back up in at least two different media. Hard drives die, files get lost, printed pictures fade, get lost in a box in the basement until destroyed by flood or fire damage, etc. Entropy is inherent in all things. Format-shifting and backup are the best tools we have. Putting your faith in one medium over another is short-sighted, regardless of which medium you choose.

        1. Yeah, but it’s fiddly.. You have to actively work on media preservation. For example, I have a “pro” status on flickr.. that I have to renew constantly.. and, what happens if I die, for example? Will my grand-grand-children ever have the joy of discovering the lost cupboard with all the wonderful photos?

          Film is quite different. Fire and forget. There IS a reason why the young’us are all stoked up about “lomography” while the old codgers, desperate to be hip, are trying hard to do the digital thing.

          I’ve all about lost a substantial number of my early video works due to a simple fact that a) I can’t find the proper deck to read the media and b) the physical medium (in this case, the magnetic tape) is very prone to all kinds of time-induced damage (fungus, fungus, fungi!). You don’t have that kind of trouble with the good old celluloid. It’s a time-tested and nigh-perfected technology going back over a hundred years. The only archiving technologies beating it are stone (yes stone) and acid-free paper.

  6. The message in the commercial is a catch-22.

    What you’re asked to do is to value the opinion of the people in the commercial, who keep insisting that digital cameras are too complicated to use…er, that is, these folks are too stupid to learn how to use a new camera.

    Yeah, I’ll get right on that.

  7. I am pretty sure you can hand your memory card to the guy at the photo counter and get real prints back, without having to think too much.

  8. Pity Vivitar didn’t include a manual to tell Rob & Linda that you need to look through the viewfinder on these old-fangled camera doohickeys. Hey look! Here’s another photo of that kid that was sitting two feet to the right of our granddaughter!

    1. Ah, but Linda is looking at the liveview screen of her camera at 1:28 in the commercial — a digital camera. Look at how happy the whole family is, celebrating the moment with [not the camera being advertised].

      Apparently Vivitar is saving more cost by not hiring any kind of editorial or continuity staff.

  9. P.S. Does anyone want to help fund the development of a hybrid camera? How about one that has a Live View feature, you can take as many pictures as you want (digitally) then commit ‘the keepers’ to film right in the camera? Good idea? Maybe?

    They actually had something very similar to that for a while before digital camera resolution and storage capacity caught up with film. I’m not sure if it let you take as many digital photos as you wanted but it did give you a digital preview of what was captured on film so you could be sure you got the shot you wanted.

  10. P.S. Does anyone want to help fund the development of a hybrid camera? How about one that has a Live View feature, you can take as many pictures as you want (digitally) then commit ‘the keepers’ to film right in the camera? Good idea? Maybe?

    That will be hard to make portable. Laser printers that print on film (e.g. for theater distribution) are pretty bulky affairs and you would need quite a bit of processing power / memory to do this “on the fly”, not to mention a really really expensive piece of equipment.

    It’s much easier to just shoot on film and toss the images you don’t like.

    As for all the naysayers: The great advantage of film is that it’s analog and not digital. Even if you have a very primitive camera like this one, you will most likely still get a usable picture and modern minilabs are quite good in putting out decent prints.

    But yes, as you have pointed out, what will become of all these digital images people take in 10 or 20 years down the road. The irony is that we have never shot more images yet we will most likely lose the ability to access most of them in the near future.

    Just take a look at flickr, the majority of people upload the photos straight, with very descriptive names like DC0001858.jpg or some such, maybe you can get some ideas what it is about if the person has a filled out profile with a real name, but in all likelihood 30 years down the road the internet will be littered with badly indexed images that people will have a hard time figuring out what they represent. At least when you find a Photoalbum in the attic you know who it belonged to and can deduct some information from that.

  11. Dropbox is a wonderful thing, automatic offsite backup. Then you can grab something else on the way out during a fire.

    You know, I was contemplating that, but considering the size of my RAW files this isn’t a very economic thing, both financially and from a bandwith standpoint (I only have 1MBit/s up).

    On a “good day shooting” I could easily return with a few hundred images, even if I cull all the crappy ones I’d still be tying up my upload for extended periods.

    1. An external hard drive with lots of storage capacity is cheap and easy to grab in an emergency. You could always plan ahead and just store it in a bag with other important things to grab in the event of a fire, etc.

      Not to mention laptops are easy to grab in the event of a fire as well.

      My problem with the commercial is that it only works for the old luddites who happen to live near family members. Printing photos and mailing them takes too long and you have to print duplicates if you want to keep one for yourself.

      When your grandkids live on the other side of the country, emailing them or putting them on a website is a lot easier. It’s also easier for the grandkids to filter out if they don’t care that you took pictures of the birthday party of the cousin who you haven’t seen in 15 years.

      1. I went with the external drive as well. Given that 1 TB is about fifty bucks, I don’t see why you wouldn’t. I use mine as a backup for my HDD as well, solving two problems at once.

        I also switched to DWG files instead of the Canon raw as well, mostly because it’s an open format and has a better shot of lasting longer than the proprietary versions (Canon alone is on their second raw format) and allowing people to open it in fifty years.

        It’s been interesting to me that I have been doing more Polaroid work these days as well for some personal work simply because the image takes on a cachet as a singular unique artifact that can’t be copied endlessly. That and Polaroids are really, really fun.

  12. Ok all other issues aside, $10 for two of these things and 2 rolls of film?

    It sounds less to me like someone’s trying to squeeze the last drops out of a dying industry than someone trying to dump 300 palettes of deadstock.

  13. I love that they use the line “Share and enjoy” in the commercial. The marketers at Vivitar will be second in line to be first against the wall when the digital camera revolution comes.

  14. This commercial is just pathetic and deceitful. take a memory card to the drug store, have them print it – just like film! or, email the files, sharing is even easier, and now you have multiple off-site backups! no re-printing fees!

    If someone is too stupid to plug in a memory card, they are probably too stupid to load film properly. getting the little teeth to line up with the holes in the film is a challenge. and with film, thats something you have to do every 12-36 shots, with a good memory card, you only have to worry about it after a few thousand shots.

    it saddens me to see vivitar shooting this low. they used to have great stuff: one of my photo enlargers is a vivitar, and their stand for photographing Polaroids was far better than the one made by polaroid.

    in defence of film: it does give you fantastic results that are still superior to any sub $3000 digital camera. I think the cost of film + developing fees work out about the same as a pro-sumer level DSLR. With digital, its a massive upfront expense, while with film that expense is spread out over time.

    1. The “real” Vivitar went bankrupt a few years ago. The name was picked up by Sakar, a company which imports all sorts of cheap chinese-made electronic junk. (If you’re familiar with cheap junk electronics, you probably have seen Sakar, or at least their “Digital Concepts” brand.)

  15. As a counterpoint to this Vivitar clinging to chemical film video, you MUST watch this hilarious video from a few years ago where a Kodak spokesman announces that after years of resistance the Eastman Kodak company is going to leap into digital photography with a vengence.

  16. Just take a look at flickr, the majority of people upload the photos straight, with very descriptive names like DC0001858.jpg or some such, maybe you can get some ideas what it is about if the person has a filled out profile with a real name, but in all likelihood 30 years down the road the internet will be littered with badly indexed images that people will have a hard time figuring out what they represent

    Just like the boxes of photos at flea markets and antique shops.

    1. Just like the boxes of photos at flea markets and antique shops.

      Sure, but flea market boxes usually don’t move that far away from their point of origin. With digital files you don’t have that benefit.

      Now, with GPS being put in camera that may change, but for now we rely on the uploader to provide any kind of context.

  17. Some points to learn from this:

    1. Ageism is alive and well. The eldsters are stupid, gullible, unteachable and reluctant to change, which makes conning them even easier.

    2. Digital camera makers are not doing their job making it abundantly clear how to get the most of their cameras.

    3. Never talk about the “death” of any technology. There’s still a role for film, vinyl records and turntables, etc. Just read a blog post saying that computer notebooks are “dying” because of the iPad.

    4. Maybe the best insurance for future generations seeing the photos would be archival B&W prints stored carefully. Worth finding a good solution. As someone mentioned, digital formats might change or images lost in the cloud.

    5. You can’t argue with cheap.

  18. Folks, read carefully, it’s a parody ad, not actually put out by Vivitar as an official marketing piece. Read the fine print…

    1. I don’t see any fine print, anywhere. Even on the original link, even in the video itself.

      I call shenanigans, sir.

        1. I’m not sure that was a parody so much as a proof-of-concept or a pitch that didn’t get sold. If you look at the work from the studio responsible they do all kinds of “as seen on TV” commercials that are at least as wacky as this one. Apparently they’re the ones who did all those ads showing Billy Mays screaming at the top of his lungs about Oxi-Clean. The “Snuggie” too.

      1. I stand corrected, Mark, and I think my head just exploded. I’ve now seen everything, we live in a sci-fi novel.

        1. I don’t blame you for thinking it was a parody. It seemed like one, and the description on YouTube was confusing.

      2. Not a parody?

        WHOIS for shows:

           Telebrands Corp.
           79 Two Bridges Road
           Fairfield, New Jersey 07004
           United States
           Registered through:, Inc. (
           Domain Name: VIVITAR35MM.COM
              Created on: 16-Aug-10
              Expires on: 16-Aug-11
              Last Updated on: 16-Aug-10
  19. “And remember the good ol’ days, when half of Grandpa’s snapshots cut people’s heads off because he couldn’t bother to frame the shot through the tiny viewfinder? Well those times are back! Grandpa can once again grin and hold the camera up to the side of his head, having no idea where he’s pointing it! Then sit back and enjoy the nostalgia of getting back a bunch of disappointing prints.”

  20. Obviously, if this is real, it’s just a very clever way for Vivitar to get rid of their old stock to the only market that will still buy it.

    However, as a photographer, I can still find many good reasons to shoot film. Not with a shitty vivitar camera, of course, just in general, not the least of which is image quality. Maybe someday digital will catch up, but not yet, despite what all the tech geeks claim. Perhaps when we stop using pixel-based screens and come up with a better display system, okay. I’m sure it’ll happen some day, but in the meantime, all your wonderfully pixellated and barren-colored digital photos are going to look ridiculous compared to those snapshots your parents took. Let’s not even talk about how much worse people are at taking photos today since they think the camera will do it all for them.

    Obviously, this ad is touting the wrong set of “pros” for film, but that’s why it’s so brilliant! What balls!

  21. > you can take as many pictures as you want (digitally)
    > then commit ‘the keepers’ to film right in the
    > camera? Good idea? Maybe?

    NO. This is not a good idea. This is a dumb idea.

    Hey, how about a car that you can hook some horses to? That way when you run out of gas you can just go grab a couple of horses and keep going! Good idea? Maybe?

  22. I couldn’t agree more with this video. There are lots of benefits to switching to digital photography, but in the process, much is lost. Do not forget this.

    I’m not an old man either. I’m in my mid-20’s. Even I remember my first few years of collage where pictures where taken and shared with friends and I even have many pictures from those days. Nearing the end of college for me, everyone switched to digital camera’s – I never saw or got any of those photos and only a few of them have turned up online. This sucks.

    I miss the physical object. Sure you can print them out (usually at a compromised quality – something that irritates me about all the family photos I get nowadays), but the reality is that printing digital photos is more the exception than the norm.

    My mom used to take lots of photos and had lots of photo albums. Someone bought her a digital camera a few years ago. Now she has almost nothing to show for it.

  23. It’s also about having something tangible in you possession, besides hard drives with digital files.

    We are not at the point where digital integration is seamless with life, so no matter what, you have to sit at a monitor, or look at a screen to look at your pics.

    Yes, you can take your digital camera or memory card to almost any store with a photo department and they will do it all for you. Most people do not do that, so what Vivitar is targeting is those folks, (yes, mostly older) that don’t feel comfortable with digital.

    One more thing, navigation for digital camera menus with their tiny buttons and structured menu layers is also a barrier to some people who just want to take a picture.

    Of course all of this could be completely ported over to what has happened to music. The tangible has melted away to the digital file, and it’s so much better, right?

  24. To remind you of the good versus bad, informercials must also revert to B&W to make sure you’re clear on which is the inferior situation.

  25. Archival of any kind of data is an enormous problem these days: pictures probably being the worst case. For example, I undertook a project a while ago to boil down all of my sound/music collections down to one or two formats from the seven that I had: this lets me get ride of 5 sound-playing boxes.

    The big problem is the constant, swift change in formats for marketing reasons. Ever try and read a MS Word document from even 5 years ago? This is the reason why legal firms stick with WordPerfect: it’s like Latin in that it never changes so you know you’ll be able to read that will in 30 years when Uncle Abner finally kicks off. The constantly increasing number of bits in a word is also a problem. That’s without getting into the hardware changes. I make a fair amount of money rescuing things from SCSI disks. In a few years I’ll make more from an IDE drive rescue service. Just because you ran out the door with the harddrive you pulled from your computer doesn’t mean you’ll be able to access it anywhere else. This is why the US Secret Service archives, the rumour is in argon filled bubbles, every major kind of PC to come out along with versions of its utilities and OS. How else are you going to read those AMSTRAD PC1640 records?

    Then there’s digital rot. Unless you can afford to keep it up and spinning and transferring it (and then testingit) to new drives every 2 years when your harddrives crap out you’re talking about putting in in a cartridge and dumping it on a shelf for a few decades. Even if you still have something to put the cartridge in it’s unlikely the cartridge will still be playable. So your best bet is still paper. This was the official conclusion of a pacemaker company that I dealt with. Every pacemaker comes with a lifetime guarantee and you have to keep the complete manufacturing records of every unit for longer than that in case the estate sues you. Only MO drive cartridges were deemed to have a long enough shelf life but the chances of finding something to play them on in 15 years looked dodgy. So they print everything out on archival, acid-free paper in an easy to OCR font and store the stacks of paper in an abandoned salt mine. Hopefully these will have the same shelf life as the Dead Sea Scrolls.

  26. I just wish my digital camera had the instructions in some sort of easily accesable place in the camera’s functions, or at least put the most used functions in a single top level menu instead of burying them deep in menus. I wanted to make a self timer photo but couldn’t figure it out because every function, no matter how little it is used, is treated equally. I’m not taking fast series of shots, or playing with exposures, or all the other crap they have I just wanted to take a self timer photo!

    1. Wow, that sucks. My point-n-shoot Nikon has a self timer button. And a macro button. And a flash button. I don’t have to do menus for 99% of the stuff I need to shoot. That’s why I bought Nikon.

  27. The definite way to archive your digital images is to make sure they picture some cleavage, and then post in an online forum.

  28. When China starts bombing the west with EMPs, at least I know my vinyl collection and archive of photos will still be intact.

  29. I actually disagree about how formats are constantly changing. *Some* formats are – the ones directly linked to a certain software product, in constant development, certainly will always be.

    But when it comes to standard, generic formats things follow a sort of law of diminishing returns. JPEG is the standard image format for digital photographs, it has been for almost 20 years (a very long time in computer terms), and it will likely be a used format for another 20 years. Because it’s ‘good enough’ for most purposes. You could create more sophisticated compression scheme – but storage space is growing faster than that, so there’s little point. You could add better color depth, etc. But again, it’s still good enough for most purposes. A small incremental change is not enough to warrant abandoning such a ubiquitous standard. (Which isn’t to say other standards exist and will be developed for niche, high-end applications) The situation with the MP3 format is not too different. For raw text, unicode is the only text encoding scheme anyone will ever use for the forseeable future.

    Yes, it’s hard to get an Office 97 (or whatever) document to open properly. But that was hardly unpredictable when it was first saved, either. If you want your data to be archivable, you should be saving it in a standardized format not linked to any particular version of some proprietary software. It’s not like you don’t have to take precautions with non-digital things you want to archive as well.

  30. I would also like to add that, because a lot of the elder generation is trying to covert over to digital, there are really great deals on old SLRs if you look around. You can find old “top of the line” cameras complete with a set of lenses for under 200 dollars.

  31. really, the discussion got sidetracked…

    however, the fun bit about this commercial is that it is seriously out-of-date and out of it basicallly. It appeals to the “simplicity” and availability of the analogue technology while it is the very opposite to what is the case now in 2010. The “film” photography definitely has its merits (fire and forget – you press that button and it’s there, forever! – and no, you can’t photoshop it which is cool if you’re hip, if you know what i mean).

    The video is hillarious because it manages to press all the wrong buttons with a completely wrong audience. The tech it advertises has its merits, no doubt about it, but the pros and cons presented here are all lop-sided. It’s the commercial that is funny, not what it advertises.

  32. I am confused by this… I am guessing parts of America are trapped within time and this is their answer to people not being bothered to learn to use technology! DAMN ALL THESE WIRES!!!!

  33. First off I am glad there were film cameras, otherwise I would have never learned how to shoot on manual or understood different ISO, how F-stop works and all about shutter speed. Once again this is people forgetting their roots. I bet a lot of people have DSLRs on here and have no clue on how to shoot manual. Having a camera like that is like having an expensive car, but only knowing how to use it as far as opening and closing the windows. So sure, laugh all you want about film, it’s old, there are chemicals, you don’t get instant gratification like you do with a DSLR, but you’re cheating yourself.

    To be sure, that is not a DSLR, it’s just a point and shoot. What is wrong with that? If you’re old chances are you’re not going to learn how to use a computer, you’re going to worry about living the last few days of your life, not how to get a DSLR and how to use photoshop. It is much better for them and easiler to go take rolls of film to get processed.

  34. And when they grab you with those metal claws, you can’t break free…because they’re made of metal, and robots are strong.

  35. This has to be a joke.

    Even my 84 year old grandmother, who took over a year to figure out how to read email on her “solitaire machine” loves her digital camera. She has a room filled with old pictures from all her travels but the digital camera is something she embraced and loves to death. No more times of taking that once-in-a-lifetime picture only to find out you blinked.

  36. The problem I have with this is that there ARE some real benefits to using 35mm film, especially if you’re a photographer. Of course, I’m sure the Vivitar is just as much a crappy and dumbed down version of a camera as any “family digital camera”; I mean it’s being marketed to people who don’t know how to use a computer / printer after all.

    But if you’re a beginner at artistic photography, you’re gonna want to get a film camera; the experience it provides and the understanding of aperture, shutter speed, and focus is something you simply cannot replicate with a digital camera, even one designed for artistic photography. You could get a digital camera with all those settings, but for one it would cost you a lot more than a film camera, and for another it would probably include the all-too-tempting automatic adjustments, which are great for old people or children, but which really tend to get in the way of good filmmaking.

    Maybe this sounds like an “everything was better when it was worse” argument, but if you develop your own film, you’ll learn even more; the development process forces you to spend time on each individual print, so you’re probably going to want to take them right in the first place.

    I just… as much as I love computers, you guys, I love my 35mm cameras even more.

    1. I agree, Giuseppe: especially about having a darkroom. Much of the art of photography is done in the dark. IMHO.

    2. But there’s an important argument to be made here. With digital people can skip the time needed to learn how to use the chemical darkroom. Digital darkrooms work just as well and a lot more people can afford to buy a decent computer for working on their photos than renting or having their own darkroom with the proper chemicals and paper.

      This also allow people to experiment and be more creative. With a chemical darkroom, costs of the chemicals used, the cost of print media, the time spent working, etc increases and not everyone would be willing to spend those costs to learn and experiment. And not everyone in the world may have access to all the necessary components.

  37. From the video description:

    Fred Vanore
    Blue Moon Studios

    The latest commercial for the Vivitar Film Camera!
    This video has not been posted as a commercial for the product featured. It was posted by Blue Moon Studios, the company that produced the commercial. This is not an advertisement.

  38. As a 1337 20-something, i find the folly of these oldsters high comedy. Only after youve gotten bored with the hipster-matic app on your Iphone G4 can you really appreciate the subtlety of a film camera. And then it must be a 120 plastic POS you got for $70 at urban outfitters.

    Sure, you dont know where to get the film processed, but who cares? Youve still got your G4.

  39. I was hoping when the voice-over said “or your forced to sit at your computer to see them”, the camera would continue pulling out to reveal the gunmen.

  40. Vivitar is idiotic. This commercial is pathetic.

    Let’s see, do I want to carry around several rolls of 35mm film with each roll only capable of taking 36 or so frames? Do I want to waste my time changing films and risk losing the shot?

    Or how about (in case of some emergency like a fire) running out of my house holding onto stacks of photo albums and bags of film rolls?

    I don’t think so.

    After all, digital memory prices are getting lower and lower, a 32gb SD or CF card can hold several hundred to a few thousand photos. With digital if I don’t like a photo I can quickly delete it off a memory card and not have to wait till its printed to check.

    A few xxxgb or xxtb portable hard drives for backup can be bought for a few hundred dollars, each would store tens of thousands of photos and would weigh under a kilo and be smaller than a photo album. Or if I’m willing to pay for it, I could probably use online mass storage services such as Amazon S3 or another.

    And with digital if I happen to have a bad day and have a memory card full of crap it can be deleted easily. With film I’d have to pay for them to be printed before I realize I had a lousy day.

    Sure film still has it’s aesthetics and a lot of professional photographers still use it, but in many ways it has become outdated if not obsolete. Especially for everyday use by the average person.

  41. As professional photog, I can tell you that there is a certain attraction to this camera. Way less “butt time” than the workflow I’m chained to.

  42. There are prps and cons to digital vs film but this commercial, whether real or a parody, states all the wrong reasons why people should use film.

  43. I haven’t taken a film photo since 2005, but I still like to hold my old Nikon F in my hands and work the controls- it feels so lovely.

    And there’s a brick of Velvia in the freezer.

  44. I happened across the box at my parents’ house with all the photos of me (and my siblings) growing up yesterday. I came across some of my dad’s slides (well… he stored them in my closet) years ago and looked through them all.

    These and other experiences didn’t make me stick to film… I started getting into photography with film (a Canon A-1 that my grandfather didn’t use anymore and gave to me), I took photography courses while in college where I developed and printed film and did slides too (after I already had a DSLR), and I recently got a 1960’s vintage Canon Canonet rangefinder to play with. In short, I love film and the look it gives. I can try to imitate the look with my DSLRs (sometimes quite successfully in my opinion – digital cameras are getting better at this aspect of quality too).

    Heck if it isn’t a huge pain in the ass to work with and pay for film, though… other than for fun and novelty once in a while with my old cameras, I think I’ll stick with digital and be sure to get good prints to store away in a box somewhere so in the future my kids can find them.

  45. Archiving…
    I’ve got about 300 GB of digital photos and video organized by year, month, location and subject matter, not including the 17,000 film images in albums and boxes I digitized from parent’s legacy. Active copies on a Drobo hard drive array. Three archival sets on Taiyo Yuden DVD+R media stored in different buildings.

    Every few years I sample some of the archives. If they start showing read errors (very rare) I re-burn. Concurrently update to alternate technologies as they become available and prove their storage longevity (ZIP disks, CD-R, currently DVD moving to BluRay).

    1. Actually that’s just the problem with digital photography. Not that it’s too hard – it’s that it’s too easy. Because each shot is basically free, you just click and click and click. Suddenly you’ve got gigabytes worth of photos of what used to be just a few photo albums worth. The thing is you have to flip through dozens of crappy shots, or dozens of shots that essentially look exactly the same, to be have the experience of what used to be done off one roll. Back when each time you hit the shutter, that was about $1 of your money, people were much more selective with their shots and it showed when the got the prints back.

      And before the geeks get on my case about their beautifully arranged iPhoto albums, just a reminder, data reductions are work. If you enjoy it great, but I find it tedious to pick a dozen good shots out of 200 photos of gram-ma at thanksgiving.

  46. One thing I like about digital media is that I’m not limited to simple photo albums or scrap book collages. Once you have many thousands of photos, you’d be bored to death going through them all.

    I made a photo-mosaic of my parent’s wedding photo, made from thousands of the photos that chronicled their lives up to that event.

    I took all the family photos, roughly in chronological order, and made a time/space-lapse video of my family history from the late 1800s (daguerrotypes) to the present. Kind of dizzying, but there’s an interesting rhythm as vacation photos are interspersed with day to day events.

    Plus with on-line services you can print photos on all sorts of items.

  47. I’m glad to hear it’s a parody.

    Are you Old and afraid of change? Do you think you shouldn’t have to learn anything anymore?

    Actually it’s just this side of Old Glory Robot insurrance.

  48. TNGMug, this reminds me of a story years ago by a journalist talking about how many news photographers eventually cull old photos when the boxes and boxes of negatives got too cumbersome, something he never did. When Clinton was running for president this journalist thought someone in a photo looked familiar, so he looked through his archive of old photos of when Clinton was Governor and found another picture of Clinton…with Monica Lewinsky.

    The morale of the story, don’t discard, you never know what bit of history you might lose.

    I agree with you that a lot of digital photos are crap. My archives are no different. So I have the best shots flagged for special use. Also, I may take 30 or more images in order to assemble a panoramic image or other artistic manipulations.

    As far as being selective with what one shoots, making it easier doesn’t necessarily make it lower quality. There are several web sites offering excellent advice on producing quality photography, and the rules are mostly the same whether it’s chemical or electronic. Sure, there are differences like grain, dynamic range, and such; both have advantages and quirks that can be exploited in artistic ways.

    When I did film photography I found that the cost, bother and time delay of having to use up a roll of film before seeing which shots turned out made me avoid taking many pictures at all.

    The first rule of taking good pictures is to take pictures.

  49. Wow. Next thing they’re going to tell us that they can print news on paper and deliver right to our doorstep.

  50. Will Dropbox stay in business for 100 years”

    Given that Eastman-Kodak didn’t, I doubt it.

    For the record, Eastman-Kodak is still in business, and has been since 1892, making it 118 years and counting.

  51. A good friend of mine went to China, and she is (by her own admission) a technophobe, so she had a film-based camera while her fellow tourists had digital.

    On a visit to the Great Wall, the temperature that day was particularly low – low enough to prevent the digital cameras from working. My friend was the only one able to take snaps that day, and consequently felt rather superior to her more technologically-minded compatriots.

  52. With separate shipping costs, they ain’t all that cheap. And does the price include processing? (If you can find a place to do it.) I always thought keeping a disposable camera in the car was a good idea in case you needed it to document a fender-bender, for example. Not that I ever did it.

  53. I find it a little bit of a bummer how much the folks on this thread are ready to guffaw at people who still like analog film. I’m a 30 y.o media professional, and I have a totally kick ass digital camera – but for really important events, I still haul out my old ’64 Nikon. The quality of the images still can’t be beat. Unless I buy that new Leica, the ground glass, the satisfying click of the shutter, this stuff won’t be taken away by ease of use. Sorry, geeks.

  54. I can relate to the old people. I’ve had a number of digital cameras and they are each of them a pain in one way or another. I wish the engineers who make these things would try harder to make their products user friendly. I think sometimes they forget that formatting and fiddling with consumer electronics isn’t everyone’s idea of a good time. There has got to be a huge market of potential customers who value a simple interface more than they value the bells and whistles of the latest tech. And that’s not just cameras. How about a tv that takes less than three remotes to operate? Or takes less than a degree in computer science to switch modes? SOURCE HDMI3 AV3?? I mean seriously. Who programs these things?

  55. Looking through my wife’s family albums, one thing I noticed was that all the pictures looked great until they got to about 10 years ago when suddenly they all started to look shit. And they continue to look shit now. Film, in particular 35mm film, has a lot of advantages over typical compact digital cameras and is far from dead. Unless you’re prepared to shell out for a decent DSLR, replacing film with digital still looks like 80s replacing film with video, which frankly just looked cheap with all quality out the window.

  56. For snapshots, digital makes photos far more accessible. For pros, digital gives right-now results, eliminates processing, and allows far more flexibility and repeatability in touchups/alterations.

    For full-nuts image quality, the larger film formats are still king, and are likely to remain so, or at least the cheapest way to achieve that quality, as ultra-high resolution digital backs will have little demand and thus will remain expensive. Film will always be attractive for people who just want to be different -at least as long as there is still film available- and for those techpervs who just love the feel of a well-used Nikon, myself among them.

    Either medium can produce stunning images- if you know what you are doing.

    What the low expense of digital definitely does is encourage average people to take lots of pictures. Lots and lots of pictures. My nephew went to Spain for three weeks and came back with 2000 digital pictures- mostly of his friends, in groups, over and over and over. Oy.

    The archival aspects of digital media were discussed in the book “Silicon Snake Oil”- it’s not the permanence of the specific medium, it’s the availability of the type of devices to interface that medium. You have all your photos on a hard drive, that’s fine- will that drive interface format still be widely available 30 years from now?

  57. I get where they’re coming from. I’ve come across people before who never remove photos from the memory card because they’re afraid they’ll lose the photos. This situation doesn’t necessarily need to be solely the problem of the elderly, either. A friend who’s my same age (early 40s) wanted to replace her broken film P&S with another one and when I took a look around I was shocked to find none. I think if people want to have negatives and mini-lab 4×6 prints, then that’s what they should have. There are still mini-labs everywhere and film is still available at the corner drugstore, so why shouldn’t there be cheap and crappy cameras, too?

    I personally have continued to use film camera, although I’ve been doing digital darkroom for 10 years. Three out of four of my Leica bodies are film and my M3 and M6TTL get just about the same amount of normal usage as my M8. Each has its benefits and disadvantages, but they do all end up in the same place, as files in my Lightroom environment.

  58. I wonder whether this video was simply a demonstration of the studio’s infomercial skills, or if the makers intended to slip in an element of satire.

    In any case, to throw in my 2c about the digital vs analog conversation…

    – I back up all my pictures on multiple external hard drives (redundant copies, off-site back-ups, all that). I keep taking more pictures, and at higher resolution, so I need to buy a new hard drive every year or two, so I never rely on any single hard drive for more than 2 or 3 years. Sure, it takes a little work to maintain my image archive, but unlike the old decaying prints in my parent’s albums, I’ll have the perfect originals forever. And my file system is intuitive enough (folder names start with the date (so they’re all chronological) then the event name) that anyone could look through and get some context.

    – Each of those event-pictures folders has a “best ones” subfolder. Comment 86 is right; After I shoot a bunch of photos, I need some time to trim them down to a small subset to share. I think this approach is worthwhile: I take lots of pictures, I spend time reducing them, I end up with a higher-quality set of images than if I had taken fewer pictures to begin with. And anyone who disagrees, and who would prefer a less work-intensive approach where you just take fewer pictures to begin with, is free to do just that.

    – Maybe my file storage format (USB, FireWire, optical disks, whatever comes next) will be phased out after I die, leaving my descendants with boxes of useless plastic. But what can I do about this? I suppose maybe printing out an album of the best pictures from each year, on archival-quality paper and all that, might not be totally unreasonable. Hmmm. I’m going to consider that.

    – Comment 52 has it exactly backwards in my opinion. I had film point-and-shoots from when I was 11 (1993) until I was 19 (2001), and I never knew why some pictures came out and others didn’t, why some came out blurry or too dark or too bright or captured some details but not others. Every time I just pressed the button and hoped for the best. But then I got a digital point-and-shoot. The instant feedback showed me that blurry/grainy pictures came from the camera struggling with too little light. If I pointed the camera at something bright to trick it into taking a darker picture, and if I held my hands really steady, that helped the problem. Then I read about shutter speed and ISO and I immediately knew exactly what they meant, from the experience of using my digital point-and-shoot. I then got a small digital camera with manual controls, and for learning how to use THAT, the instant feedback of digital was priceless. I taught myself how to manipulate aperture and shutter speed and ISO to capture depth or motion, to compromise in low light between grainyness and blurryness, etc. I can’t imagine how I would have learned those things if I had to use film and had to wait until all the pictures were taken before I could try again and tweak each setting, as opposed to tweaking each setting in response to seeing the picture I took 5 seconds before. I can understand film camera users who never learn how to use manual exposure controls, but digital camera users have no excuse.

    – As for the “Ha ha, old people don’t like new things” aspect of it… Yes, some old people think that new technologies are too complicated to be worth learning (and some people do try to sell things to those old people, and those things seem funny to us. Whatever). And some old people thing that new technologies are worth learning because they make it easier to communicate with loved ones. The trend is towards more of the latter, but only slowly.

  59. Meh! This is just a last ditch attempt to unload their old merchandise. When I worked reverse logistics for Sandisk, they repackaged their lower capacity flash chips, so they could clear out the warehouses for the newer stuff.

  60. My vote is that it’s just a concept demo for the filming company, rather than an actual product advertisement, I was surprised it took 63 comments to finally post the video description =P

    The site Mark links in the “not a parody” reply (#67) also looks fake or like a mock-up site design, given that several of the images are broken, plus the fact it was registered (or renewed) barely a month ago, and only for a year.

    I have emailed the technical contact listed in the WHOIS, to see if the site is actually legit.

  61. Film still has its uses, there are some really interesting film cameras, even 35mm ones, that have no digital equivalent.

    But that POS in the commercial certainly isn’t one of them. The sort of person using that will bring their film to a low quality lab which will scan it with a poorly focused scanner, jpeg compress it, print it and the prints will look like cat vomit. Useless…

    Now, a Hexar AF can give a look that no digital camera, except maybe a 10 grand Leica can. If it goes off to a pro lab the film might outperform that Leica in some ways (dynamic range) and be worse in others (grain, if thats a minus, speed too). Still, there are uses for it.

    Unless film is destined to become a boutique item manufactures need to learn to play up its pluses instead of talking down to their customers.

  62. Anyone else realize that this commercial was actually with a digital camera? Of all the pointless crap out there, this camera might be the pointless-est

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