My mate is very interested in what the digital transition has cost me (us) in monetary terms (never mind the emotional toll the transition has extracted). I imagine a lot of other people are too. I went over the books since I started shooting digital and came up with some numbers.
The total outlay for the last 9 months: around $27,000.
The biggest outlay has been for cameras, lenses and accessories: $16,000. I’ve spent over $1,000 on CF cards alone. I bought a Canon 20D in December and three lenses in short succession. Six months later I got the Canon 1Ds Mark II body, which alone cost $8000, pre tax.
Computer hardware comes second: $7,100. I got a laptop (Fujitsu Lifebook), a 19" Lacie CRT monitor, a second LCD monitor and a 2 screen video card, calibration hardware, a major upgrade on the desktop (more memory, a 300gb mirrored RAID array and hot-swap bays), and lots and lots of hard drives for back-up. I also added a couple of printers, an Epson 4000 and a Epson 200 (for printing on CD’s).
Feeding that printer is responsible for the bulk of the $1,400 I’ve spend on supplies ($500 alone for a replacement inkset for the 4000), but it also includes blank CDs and DVDs for which I seem to have an insatiable appetite.
Instruction has cost me close to $1,200, not counting travel. I did one out of town workshop (with Barry Haynes), and any local one that came through. Hundreds of dollars has gone for various books (I recommend anything by Bruce Fraser). Education is the one area I expect to spend a lot more on in the next year. It’s never-ending—I seem to only learn how much more I don’t know.
Software upgrades (two Photoshops, and various other necessities—Noise Ninja, Photo Mechanic) have run about $600. Repairs have run about the same—I had a very expensive splash of water on my laptop earlier this year. Sensor cleaning costs me $50-$100 a month.
Remember that I am operating on a professional level, and I am getting by fairly cheaply at that. I know colleagues who have invested 3 or 4 fold what I have. Your mileage may vary, but the switch to digital is not cheap, and the ongoing expenses exceed analog. Plus, all this hardware will be obsolete in a couple of years.