Dixons have decided to stop stocking 35mm cameras in their high street stores (they will continue to sell them in airport duty free shops). I guess its inevitable that film cameras will become a specialist item with the proliferation of digital cameras.
I took up photography as a hobby two years ago, buying myself a cheap but so far reliable Sigma SLR SA7 camera with a couple of lenses. I then did a Black & White development course in the Gallery of Photography in Temple Bar.
There was something remarkable about processing your own negatives, setting up an enlarger, exposing the paper, putting it into the developer bath and seeing the photograph appear on the paper. Its much more satisfying than hitting print on your computer and watching the Ink Jet spit out a photo.
I have to admit I take most of my day-to-day spur of the moment photos with my small digital camera. Its a lot easier to carry around than the SLR and takes good photos for a compact camera. I cant justify to myself the idea of spending a thousand quid on a digital SLR. At least with a 35mm camera to get better pictures you can use better film, your not stuck with a 6.2 mega-pixel CCD.
There is a lot of debate in photography magazines about which is better film or digital. Top end professional digital SLRs today can take photos that are just as good as high quality film but to me there is something more magic and sentimental about film. I look on it this way, it's like music, you may own a CD of your favorite band that you can listen to how you like, when you like, where you like, but will that stop you going across the city to see them play live in a stadium where things are not as convenient and the lead singer wont pause while you go for another beer but the atmosphere is a lot better? Digital has the convenience, but film has the atmosphere. Hopefully it will never die out completely.