Point of Separation
This is not another one of those 'Digitial sucks' or 'Film is going to be discontinued' threads. It's just a personal observation of what I think is a trend that started over the last 3-4 months and may continue going forward...
First of all....I am personally not a big fan of digitial cameras but that is simply my own personal opinion (I also don't like ketchup but love mustard).
When the 'digitial-revolution' started and people with often more interest in the gadgets than the final results started highlighting articles about 'Now Digitial finally beats Film in quality!', etc, etc things got ugly for a while.
Film-fans scrambled to come up with arguments promoting the continued use of film (often driven by a fear that film actually one day in the future WOULD be discontinued and change is HARD to accept).
The Digitial-proponents tried to justify that the industry had them pay for the development pixel-by-pixel by pumping out 1+x Meg cameras every 60 days by getting some satisfaction from digitial vs. film comparisons that every-60-days got closer and closer to 35 and MF quality (if scanned on a cheap 100 scanner) and the ability to snap 1,000 photos a day for little or no cost.
It was ugly and facts didn't matter much because the little that was out there was polluted by biased opinions and agendas.
Now I think digitial cameras have a range of poor-to-very-good. Many digitial backs and high-end DSLR's produce final images that rival - and often beats the image quality you can get from a 35mm film based camera.
MF quality is next to 'beat' and it's happening and it will continue to happen.
There are still little 'battles' flaring up but you may have noticed that they have almost vanished from the major boards.
In comes 'the trend':
I believe that the reason for the slow down in the controversy is that we are reaching a "point of separation".
Digitial photography have earned its right next to film cameras and that is the key in this "next to film cameras".
Not instead of or replacing but "next to".
Digital is simply another tool to get to the desired end-result.
With both film and digital camera prices dropping and people going off in two directions:
* Running after the next-60-day digital camera, or
* Going back to film based cameras
there is once again that 'point of separation' occuring.
1) The people that are either professional (PJ's, Wedding photogs, Studio, etc) photographers and have calculated that the digitial workflow adds more to the bottom line - or people that enjoy the ease in how digitial allows for you to create images - and often with amazing quality in the higher-end products,
2) The people that appreciate all the traditional aspects about photography - the feel of their body, the smell of chemicals, the slow and almost meditative picture taking process in MF and LF photography, the joy of seeing your slides on a lighbox or projected, etc.
The same person can ofcourse appreciate both worlds and have cameras from both camp - but even so that person uses them for one of the above stated reasons.
So the controversies are ceasing because the camps are now more well defined. People in camp 1 continues to follow the digitial trend. Trading up that 3MG camera that 60 days ago was uber-class but is now only half as good as the 6MG camera that is selling for 499 at B&H. Their discussions are now amongst themselvs. Not with the 'film people'.
People from camp 2 - the film people - are enjoying amazing oportunities in film cameras. Expanding into MF and LF - areas that had a high premium to get into just a year or two ago but that now can be had for pennies to the dollar. They are not discussing film vs digital anymore. They know who they are and are talking about film, lenses and formats.
The Point of Separation was reached - I think personally - in July-August of this year. Things quited down on the boards. People settled into their camps.
It's not a static existance at all - but the friction is gone.
As Martha Stewart would have said... "It's a good thing".
My favorite RF cameras right now:
Leica III (F), Leica M3 and Contax IIIa