Digital brought me into photography, and even after I switched to film, I used a digital scanner to process the negatives. I’m still using the scanner for internet purposes, but I’m now doing darkroom prints.
Photography is an artistic medium (or at least it can be used as one). And in this sense, technology’s benefits are subjective, given that people still use their hands, vocal chords, paint brushes, chisels, charcoal pencils, pianos, electric guitars and other antiquated technology to produce art just as compelling and creative as anything produced by today’s latest technological advancements.
As for ‘user experience’ of cameras and simple tactility, nothing new gives me more pleasure than my M2, and the black and white prints I’m creating satisfy my objectives and expectations perfectly. And I’m not arguing digital/film as much as present and past.
My lens from 1958 is more than capable, and even my lens from 1934 is sharp enough when stopped down, meaning that even when certain aspect of image quality are objectively measurable (irrespective of digital or film), its actual significance will vary greatly among people, particularly in terms of sufficiency.
But yes, we are living in a great time, not because technology has elevated the level of aesthetics, but because it gives us all broader choice. If technology were to completely lay waste to preceding artistic mediums, then no, it wouldn’t be a blessing.
RFF, the best joint to get your fill of rangefinder bashing!