The camera itself was not that expensive. But all the stuff you needed to go with it added up quick. Especially the lenses. They could cost up to $2500 each or more, depending on their quality and you would need at least 3 different ones. It’s funny, but those lenses are not so expensive these days, but that same camera sells used for 2 or 3 times what I paid for it. I really had no problem letting it go, as I knew it was going to a good home to someone who would use it. And it helped me buy my next camera.
I am sorry to hear about your other photographer friend passing away. Sorry as well, to hear too that digital killed his business. It happened to a lot of photographers, especially older ones who didn’t feel they could adapt. And there were a few too who decided to stick with film, convinced they could still make a go of it. As an artist, maybe, but not in the commercial world. I remember the day I sat staring my computer and fiddling around with a very old version of Photoshop and thinking if I don’t get on board with this, in 5 years I will be out of business and I was too young for that. I embarked on a massive make over all of my business and went completely digital. It was expensive upfront but over time it was the cost effective thing to do. I shot my last film for a client in 2004 and closed my darkroom in 2006 and never looked back. I still love my film work, but don’t miss the analog process. These days I scan my old film when I want to bring it to life. I still have several rolls of film and boxes of photo paper in fridge I think I may use one day. But I doubt it. At the moment I am seriously thinking of donating it to high school photo program. There is one school doing some pretty cool stuff in the dark room still, and I suspect they would be thrilled to have the ancient photo material.