The old saying the “skies the limit”, while not really appropriate for most of us on a fixed or low budget, is in fact quite accurate. Its one of the many considerations that have to be weighed when determining the complexity of the workflow you wish to undertake.
Some major costs are of course the obvious ones, Camera, PC & Printer.
Setting aside the cost of cameras which is a separate issue , the first major outlay is going to be what type of PC you are going to use, and what the specification level is likely to be. Part one of this series covers most of this issue and looks at what you might need and I included some suggestions to get you started on a modest to medium level PC.
Apart from your PC the next major outlay may well be a good printer. You may wish to print 6 x 4 style prints partly as a sample or partly because you want to preserve some images in printed form. Going through your photo albums can be a very pleasant past time. Printers can cost less than $100 to several thousand. For my printing needs I settled on the Epson L365 Ecotank. This is a multi function printer that comes in at a mid price point and has since been superseded by L405 model and at $349.00 NZD is the same price I paid for my printer. They give very good colour output and excellent resolution on A4 photo papers. While the cost may seem a little excessive for a home printer, the big gain is that the level of ink purchases is minimal. I’ve printed countless documents and photos and after 2 years still haven’t had to refill any of the ink tanks. Obviously the more photos you print the faster your ink usage will be.
Some other costs that may at first go unnoticed are simpler things like photo-paper. While generic Canon & HP & Epson basic Gloss and Matte papers are generally available from local stationery shops, for better quality print paper you need to look further afield for quality paper suppliers. These more exotic papers can be very expensive on a per page cost so make sure you shop around and get the best value you can.
Other costs such as a good WiFi mouse need to be factor into the budget. I use Logitech’s MX Master Mouse. If like me you do a lot of photo editing you know the value of having a top end mouse. Comfort, speed, functionality and performance are what this mouse is all about. Its every bit as essential as having a quality keyboard to go with it. This would be my number one recommendation for a mouse if you are planning on doing a lot of photo editing on a desktop PC. If you are using a Samsung Note9 or later model phone and are using the DEX system then this mouse is for you as well.
A quality chair is also an important consideration and good quality chairs that are designed for long period use dont come cheap.
Being uncomfortable can severely detract from your editing sessions, not to mention causing posture problems after extended periods of use. Not all chairs are created equally and the more expensive the chair the better its likely to be although there are some modestly priced chairs for under $200 NZD that you could consider.
Apart the items previously mentioned there will always be the odd item that you may purchase along the way to add to the functionality of the Digital Darkroom, from SD cards and USB sticks to additional filters and accessories for the camera, therefore its necessary to identify what you can do without when starting to setup a efficient system and what you feel is absolutely necessary for your particular workflow and output.