I won’t comment on the digital/film debate other thanks to data recovery, I’ve yet to lose a single photo.
It is an amazing time to live in photographically. For me, that means affordable and light tripods, digital cameras that leave little to be desired image wise, a bounty of high-end film cameras for cheap, and film itself on the rebound. High quality, archival inkjet prints, and plenty of labs that do them. Ilford is doing BW C-prints from digital, so best of both worlds.
On the digital side, even though I’m not in the market for anything new, I’m amazed at what’s out there and how many makes are now (or back to being) major players. I worked at a dealer over a decade ago, and a Canon/Nikon were really the only mainstream options for small format — Minolta was on its last legs, Olympus was pretty heavily in point-and-shoots and still figuring out Four Thirds, and Pentax didn’t really seem to have a road map to the future. There’s a lot more out there, be it DSLR or mirrorless.
Going back even further, I’ve been flipping through old issues of PopPhoto and the like from the early 90s and getting an idea of just how cumbersome digital photography (or digital anything—remember WebTV and PalmOS?) were.
As someone trying to make it as a working photographer, the internet and social media, even though there’s a lot of crap to cut through, make it so much easier. It takes about 30 seconds to apply for an exhibition online or deliver work to clients over Dropbox. My mother, a painter, was telling me about how convoluted getting work reproduced on transparency, sending it out, and hoping they might just remember to send it back, was. Meanwhile, I’ve had shows at galleries across the country that do printing onsite for me.
Great time to be a photographer, whether that’s film or digital.