- Part 1: Background
- Part 2: How Many Photos Have I Taken?
- Part 3: What Cameras Have I Used?
- Part 4: How Much Disk Space Do My Photos Take?
- Part 5: How Have the Megapixels of Pictures Changed Over Time?
- Part 6: Conclusion
How Many Photos Have I Taken?
The first thing I was interested in knowing was how many photos I take every year. We got the first camera because we wanted to easily take pictures of our first born, and you know how parents can be with photos. But what was shocking to me is that, while I certainly thought I took tons of photos, we’re taking way, way more photos now. Compared to film, the number of digital photos we took were an order of magnitude more. But as you can see in the chart below, the number of photos taken in the last few years dwarfs the number of photos taken when the kids were babies.
Trying to think about why this may be, I think there are two factors.
First, consider how many I took in 2001… 286. If I were still using film, I would be surprised if I took anywhere close to, say, 90. (Keep in mind, my wife still took a lot of photos with film cameras during this time). That would have been three rolls of film, and I just wouldn’t have done it – I would have forgotten to buy more film, and thus not taken some photos, and then forgot again, and then remembered after developing the last roll and realizing I don’t want to spend that much money again, etc. So, even though I was using digital photography, my behavior was built around taking film pictures. I know I looked at the number of photos I took back then and thought it was kind of a ridiculous number – it felt like I had a camera glued to my hand. But it is nothing like now. The world has changed.
Secondly, as much fun and easy as digital photography was, it isn’t like there was unlimited storage. CompactFlash (CF) cards were expensive, and it isn’t like we had tons of hard drive space just laying around. Scanning the interwebs, I found a history of hard drive prices, and found a 6GB drive was available in 1999 for $290, or roughly $0.048 per MB. This was for a bulky 3.5” “bare” drive. You couldn’t use it externally – you would have to have opened up a desktop case and installed it, so you may not even have had anyplace to put it. At the time of this writing, you can get a 1TB USB3 based portable drive from Western Digital for about $70, or roughly $0.00007 per MB. This newer drive I can throw in a backback and lug around with me, plugging it in if my memory card on my camera (or phone) ever got full.
But those memory cards never do get full. The PowerShot S100 had an 8MB CF card in it. My DSLR has a 64GB SD card in it. While I couldn’t find the CF card’s price in 2000, if I do a little extrapolation from available data, I’m going to guess that the 8MB CF card cost me about $50 in 2000, or $6.25 per MB. The 64GB SD card cost a $22, or $0.0003 per MB. Looking at 2000 with these eyes, then, memory was “free” when compared to film, but not nearly as free as it is now.
To explore this a bit further, I opened up one of the photos from back then, a 108KB photo. That’s roughly 11% of a MB, so the photo “cost” 69 cents to store in 2000. A photo I took on the Nikon D5200 at the end of 2014 was 13.3MB, which “cost” $0.0039 in 2014, or 0.39 cents. No wonder I’m taking more photos now, right?
(Go back to part 1)