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Who would have thought this is where we would be?
Old 10-18-2017   #1
peterm1
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Who would have thought this is where we would be?

I was just thinking.

Imagine for a moment that it is in the mid 1990's and the digital craze (because that is what it still was as only hard core imaging nerds invested heavily in new digital cameras) is just getting under way. For example I recall visiting Singapore around that time (I forget the exact year but probbaly around 1995) and seeing the latest digital marvel. I think it had around an 800,000 pixel sensor (which was also tiny in size) and probably shot at 100 ISO. Its images were bad with next to no dynamic range and blown highlights all over the place. And it cost well over a thousand bucks. Accustomed to using a Leica M3 I failed to see the value proposition for digital camera and put off buying one till the Nikon D70s came along almost a decade later.

I recall a learned article at the time opining that to equate to the resolution of 35mm film a digital sensor would need about 24 megapixels of resolution. Well now we have it - in consumer cameras. And top end full frame cameras now compete with medium format ones at least in the megapixel stakes.

And not only that, we are routinely doing something I never dreamed of at a time when I was happy to shoot with Ilford XP2 at 400 ISO (usually I shot it at 200 ISO for the finer grain that gave). We are able to shoot at 3200 ISO and upwards - way upwards. Digital cameras can do everything a film camera could do and much much more including video (although I confess I never think to use it, so ingrained are my imaging habits) and then upload the product wirelessly to the internet or a digital device.

And for a week away on holidays instead of buy a dozen rolls of film each with a crummy 24-36 exposures we can buy one or more SD cards and go on holidays for a week or perhaps a month and still come home with plenty of storage space for more images. Which we do not need to pay to have developed or printed.

Not only that, the lenses we have access to, are technical marvels (a comment which also applies to cameras of course - don't even get me started on image stabilization!). I was thinking the other day about all the advances that should make a photographer's life a dream (although we still grumble). Computer aided design of lenses means we can design optics we could only dream of a few years ago. And computer aided manufacturing and robotics means we can build them cheaper and more reliably than ever before. And those new manufacturing technologies mean we can build lenses that have aspherics integrated into cheap consumer lenses - impossible less than 2 decades ago due to cost and complexity. New materials too - modern composites may be unsexy but they allow cheaper equipment with tolerances that were difficult to achieve yesterday. And of course new lens coatings that perform marvels in terms of reducing flare etc. Also who would have imagined a few years back the preponderance of ultra wide angle lenses now available (admittedly mainly for sub full frame sensors) - more often at bizarrely fast speeds of around f1 or less. Or for that matter lens adapters that turn manual focus lenses into autofocus ones or which increase the field of view to emulate full frame camera views on sub full frame sensors - while increasing the apparent f stop and improving image resolution. I would have said this was voodoo stuff till it happened.

New lenses are flooding the market right now - often out of China at bargain basement prices as seen recently with the several brands of 50mm f1.1 lenses most of which get surprisingly good reviews and sell for only a paltry few hundred dollars. In some ways it is reminiscent of the 1960s with all those smaller photographic and optic companies churning out cameras, lenses and accessories. Many of them I have not really heard of or only associated with accessories - 7Artisans, Yongnuo, Samyang etc. All of this so we can throw out the equipment every few years to buy new stuff (well manufacturers have to keep the ball rolling after all) :^)

BTW I should not neglect to mention eBay and the like. Who would have considered in 1995 how this kind of technology would change the world and drive demand? I now routinely buy stuff from China, Japan, Canada, the USA and can get access to stuff that I just could not find in Australia or if I had, would have had to pay double, triple or more. Love it or hate it, if eBay did not exist someone would have to invent it - it is that fundamental to the market these days even if many still buy their main photo equipment through bricks and mortar stores.

I am not up on where this will all go - but I expect in the foreseeable future there will continued change and more innovation even if most of that ends up in devices like digital phone cameras - or flyable drones. But that's another story.

Any thoughts?
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Old 10-18-2017   #2
mich rassena
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Originally Posted by johnwolf View Post
Yeah but... are our photographs any better than they were back then? Or even decades earlier? I know if mine are it has nothing to do with technological advances.

John
I know mine are too. Just having the ability to take thousands of images, at almost no additional cost, has made all the difference. I don't buy into the notion that slow a deliberate photography is necessarily better. A lot can be said for interating rapidly.
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Old 10-18-2017   #3
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And yet I have gone back to film, as I think it looks much better and I enjoy the process.

The consumer digital camera market will be dead in the next decade, so enjoy using your smartphones.

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Old 10-18-2017   #4
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Originally Posted by johnwolf View Post
Yeah but... are our photographs any better than they were back then? Or even decades earlier? I know if mine are it has nothing to do with technological advances.

John


I think your observation is partly correct. Certainly my images are not better chosen or composed. But that is down to me and my own inadequacies. But in other senses I would not agree. In fact I would almost say the opposite - I can no longer blame my tools if my images are duds because the technology is so good. (For better or for worse).

I have noticed for example how sharp many of my images are these days and how blurry many were in film days - even the ones I thought at the time to be sharp. I put this down to better lens design and build, better auto focus / focus tracking etc and the advent of high quality image stabilization which was just not available before.

Not only that, I think my images have benefited from post processing. Back in "the day" I did not have a photo lab. Well now I do - on my PC. So any images I like can be tweaked to optimize them. I just could not do that before.

Another feature of digital is that the marginal cost of the next photo is zero. Unlike film where each image cost about one dollar to buy the film and process it. OK it is true this made me slow down and become more careful when deciding whether and when to press the shutter button. And that is a good thing from the viewpoint of selecting shots. But slowing down is not always an option and now if I am shooting in a dynamic shooting situation I can flick to continuous focus, continuous shooting and be fairly sure I will get at least one usable image. Back then I just about never did this even when I had a camera that allowed it - though many pro shooters did of course because they were being paid to get the shot.

BTW innovations I forgot to mention were the camera integrated software ones that help the shooter - for example, predictive AF for shooting fast moving scenes. Or newer and better matrix metering (still in its infancy in the 1990s). And of course for the ordinary "Joe," things like facial recognition and auto scene recognition all of which help the shooter get the shot. I don't use the latter myself - but maybe I should in some situations.

What I am saying is that the technological limits to photography have been reduced. When my images fail it is my fault. And I have regular failures. But at least I know that is not an equipment issue. And part of that failure is picking the wrong image to shoot or the wrong composition - that's down to me. And in that respect at least I agree with you. Here, in that respect, my images are not better than they were before (my own hardware and software sadly has not changed or got better-only older).
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Old 10-18-2017   #5
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Originally Posted by Huss View Post
And yet I have gone back to film, as I think it looks much better and I enjoy the process.

The consumer digital camera market will be dead in the next decade, so enjoy using your smartphones.


Going back to film is fine if you enjoy it and it suits your photographic style. This is never intended to be a film v digital thread. That is not its purpose. My point is I am flabbergasted at the speed of technological change and how it has brought photography in one way or another (often via smart phones) to billions of people who would never think to own a camera. But since you have raised it, for better or worse, would we have had that technological change with film? I fear not - it just does not lend itself to it.

But as for me, I enjoy post processing as much as I enjoy shooting the image. I regard it as an absolutely integral part of the process of getting an image (which of course is what it is all about - not which technology gets you there). I understand that not everyone feels like this. So for me using digital is natural - it frees me up to do that processing without having to scan an image a process which itself isfraught with problems and limitations. If you do not, that's fine, I have no gripe with that at all.

However I will say that when I finally did buy an digital camera (after years of sticking with film) it was a revelation - I no longer had to worry about the cost of that next image - should I press the shutter button or not so that was very freeing , not that I often blazed away carelessly. I found the ethos of stopping and thinking before shooting too ingrained (except when I had no choice). And the joy I got from developing an image using post processing was mind boggling. I just could not do it before as I had no lab.

So it's a personal choice thing but even hard core advocates of film over digital should be able to recognize the benefits that have come out of the technology for those who chose to go down this route. And even if they did not benefit from those technologies themselves surely they can marvel as I do at the sheer magnitude and pace of change.
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Old 10-18-2017   #6
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I have photo lab, it is in the basement. Just developed two rolls today

But woohoohoo it is. Then our DSLR quits, I already checked, better ones are available for 200$. It wasn't like this then this DSLR was purchased new in 2008. And I almost purchased NiB YN 50 1.4 for 40$, yesterday.

Just one exception. Mic 50 1.1 is great lens. But I'm just holding my 50 Cron ELC. Those are not getting less expensive, but in the opposite.
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Old 10-18-2017   #7
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I was a confirmed Luddite for a very long time. But once I decided to yield to the technology, I discovered I actually like the look of digital photographs. I know that's probably blasphemy to some--it would have been to me 10 years ago as well. When you've spent the better part of three decades becoming comfortable with a process, it's hard to start all over and learn an entirely new process. Yet when I did, I found it very rewarding. In the end, it's not the method but the results that are important.

There's no doubt the technology has helped me to improve my photography. I'm more willing to experiment and take chances. My way of shooting has become looser. My printing has improved significantly. I don't dread spending hours in the dark trying to pull the perfect print and tossing out dozens of sheets of failed attempts. Technology has also offered more exposure to great photography than I had previously been afforded.
I'm not talking about the plethora of photo blogs with almost universally poor examples of photography, I'm referring to the works of past masters and more recent artist-photographers whose images can be researched online. I've learned a lot simply by looking at a lot of what I consider to be good pictures.
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Old 10-18-2017   #8
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I'm pretty much done. I've got a few DSLR's that I love using, 16MP & 20MP sensors, all made in Japan, and a few old film rangefinders. Everything just works, so I can concentrate on taking pictures. My favorite lenses were all made between 1949 and about 1980, either in Japan or Germany.

I have a Nikon 1 system, all made in China, and the quality control just isn't there. Lenses that catastrophically fail in the middle of a shoot, bodies falling apart after only a few years of use. Not worth the headache. Like I said, I'm pretty much done, and I can't see myself buying any of the Nikon bodies now made outside of Japan. And although I do have an EOS DSLR that I do enjoy shooting, and a couple of "L" lenses, I never really got on with the Canon autofocus cameras.

Also, a "new" better, faster, more Mega-Pixel camera isn't going to make me a better photographer, so what's the point.

Just my "old man" 2¢ worth.

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Old 10-18-2017   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dogman View Post
I was a confirmed Luddite for a very long time. But once I decided to yield to the technology, I discovered I actually like the look of digital photographs. I know that's probably blasphemy to some--it would have been to me 10 years ago as well. When you've spent the better part of three decades becoming comfortable with a process, it's hard to start all over and learn an entirely new process. Yet when I did, I found it very rewarding. In the end, it's not the method but the results that are important.

There's no doubt the technology has helped me to improve my photography. I'm more willing to experiment and take chances. My way of shooting has become looser. My printing has improved significantly. I don't dread spending hours in the dark trying to pull the perfect print and tossing out dozens of sheets of failed attempts. Technology has also offered more exposure to great photography than I had previously been afforded.
I'm not talking about the plethora of photo blogs with almost universally poor examples of photography, I'm referring to the works of past masters and more recent artist-photographers whose images can be researched online. I've learned a lot simply by looking at a lot of what I consider to be good pictures.
i like the look of digital better also! tried for years to find film/developer/printing combinations that were clear & sharp.
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Old 10-18-2017   #10
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One falsehood in your analogy that I see, Peter, is that the cost per picture is not next to zero. It can actually be quite large once you consider the price of a computer, image processing software, and storage for your images. Add in the cost of a decent printer, inks, and paper if you decide to display your photos, and Internet connection to send your images to whatever photo sites and forums you select.

Then every so often the camera manufacturers change everything about their systems, and if necessary for work, you are forced to upgrade all your equipment so you don't get left in the dust. Include in this the computer systems too.

Yeah, you can save a lot of money going digital.

Having said that, you won't rot out the pipes with pools of stop bath collecting in the traps, or stink up the place, or stain your fingers a nice deep purple. Or have to start all over on a set of prints when someone opens the door to your temporary darkroom space looking for something. Or have to make a half dozen prints until you are satisfied with the results.

I remember the first time I saw the new Kodak processors in action back in 1973, and wondered how long it would take to get that sort of technology into the hands of photographers everywhere (especially mine).

Right now, it is very hard for me to give up on film. It's a known quantity, and I can expect consistent results with whatever combination of camera/lens/film I am using at the time. But I find myself searching now for a lab that will return my film properly processed and scanned all the time. Which drives me to use the digital camera more often, especially for events where quantity is a good insurance policy on getting the right shot. It's still not the high quality sort of equipment I would like to have, but is a big improvement on what I started with.

It's just that with film, I enjoy the process much more. I have a wider range of camera types and formats to select from, and the film selections are still varied enough to have something for whatever you are trying to achieve.

When the digital cameras can simulate precisely the look from different film types, and look and work more like a film camera, then I'll probably be happy. If I can afford one, that is.

PF
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Old 10-18-2017   #11
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Apart from photography, the big revolution of the digital era has been in science. Last year I took a dataset containing 500,000 images in less than 3 hours. Each image was about 4MP, with the images containing single photon accuracy. As in, I get a value of 1 when a single photon hits that pixel during the exposure. And I can have close to 65000 photons in the neighbouring pixel with no cross talk or missed photons. It revolutionised high resolution X-ray microscopy, along with many forms of high resolution and super resolution optical microscopy.

While there might still be a debate in photography, science has spoken. There used to be a darkroom in every electron microscope facility, now you get digital images at frame rates impossible with film. Imagine the LHC running on film.
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Old 10-18-2017   #12
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" One falsehood in your analogy that I see, Peter, is that the cost per picture is not next to zero. It can actually be quite large once you consider the price of a computer, image processing software, and storage for your images. Add in the cost of a decent printer, inks, and paper if you decide to display your photos, and Internet connection to send your images to whatever photo sites and forums you select"

I see your point and do not entirely disagree with you. But the point I was making is a technical one in economic theory and I probably assumed too much in assuming this was well understood by readers- on reflection there is no reason why it should be understood by anyone except economics nerds like me.

The thing is there is a technical difference between a marginal cost which consists mainly of the variable costs associated with making the next photo and fixed costs which are fixed costs of buying and setting up your gear - camera, computer, software etc. At least some of the costs you mention - cost of a computer, software etc are in the nature of fixed / sunk costs - i.e. you have already spent the money. The important factor with these types of costs is that whether you then go on to make no photos, one photo or a million photos those fixed costs do not really vary much if at all - you have already spent that money after all.

Whereas by their nature marginal costs do in principle vary - they represent any incremental cost for every extra image because they are mainly made up of variable costs - costs like inks and paper etc which you mentioned. But I tend to dismiss these components as I seldom or never print my photos - my photos only exist in the digital domain. The remaining variable costs for me are therefore negligible in the digital world therefore the marginal costs overall are extremely low.

The theory behind this stuff is even more technical than that but the above is close enough to explain what I was getting at. Hence my statement that marginal cost (as defined above) is tiny or next to nothing. Certainly in any event it is less than the marginal cost of taking the next FILM image.
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Old 10-19-2017   #13
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Yeah but... are our photographs any better than they were back then? Or even decades earlier? I know if mine are it has nothing to do with technological advances.

John
No, because you can't fake (or buy) proper framing / composition, creativity, and great content. However, technology is always nice to have in order to get to your vision.
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Old 10-19-2017   #14
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My thoughts are......I disagree with your post's intent 1000%. Resolution does not mean anything at all, the image quality of digital sucks, although I do appreciate the convenience factor. And these new lenses, sharp though they may be, generally have lousy IQ. Why do you think companies are resurrecting old classic lens designs these days? The best lenses I ever owned were from the 30's and 40's, and any photographer can take a $50 SLR/TLR/olde medium format folder from eBay and take shots that will blow away any digital camera made, and probably any that ever will be made, especially in B&W. Just because something is new does not make it better. It has to actually be better. So this is not the rantings of an old geezer stuck in the past, rather it's the clear, unvarnished truth of someone that has a good eye and knows the difference between a good image and an imposter.

Well, actually, I do agree with one thing you said. Who indeed would think we would be where we are today. A time where convenience is more important than quality. That's consumerism for you though. To an artist like myself who only dabbles in photography, this is a sad state of affairs, but there it is. I mentioned this in my pottery class the other day, and to a person, everyone in there (the class is taught in a senior center, so we are all wizened and experienced artisans that have been making art of one kind or another for over half a century each) said they didn't like the look of digital. I'm not a Luddite. I love riding my bike, but also have a modern electric bike. They are both fun to ride. Still, they have been making powered bikes w/ some sort of propulsion for over 150 years, so even the new bike is not really new. It's just quieter and lighter (and the latter is a moot point on a powered bike), and also made in such a way that it is almost impossible to fix myself. Parts have to be replaced as units, almost nothing on the power end can be repaired, while the rest of the bike can be easily fixed by almost any one that is handy tools.

So technology giveth, and it taketh away too. Which is why I have two types of bikes. One to ride anytime I wish, and one to ride as long as it is working and the battery has a charge. Just like a lot of us have new fangled electronic cameras, both film and digital, and a strictly mechanical one when the modern one doesn't work.
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Old 10-19-2017   #15
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So technology giveth, and it taketh away too. Which is why I have two types of bikes. One to ride anytime I wish, and one to ride as long as it is working and the battery has a charge. Just like a lot of us have new fangled electronic cameras, both film and digital, and a strictly mechanical one when the modern one doesn't work.
Do you also have two cars, one that can be used when it is working, and a Fred Flintstone model that you can pedal when the modern one doesn't work. You firing your pottery in a wood stove? Anyone who refers to technology developed in the 1970s as "new fangled" is a Luddite.

By the way, I don't use my film camera when my digital one doesn't work; I use it when I want the film aesthetic for a particular set of images. All my film and digital cameras have been reliable. I had my OM1 CLA'd in 2014 after 40 years as a precaution, and had the battery converted to SR44 so I didn't have to futz with Wein cells. My OM4 had to have the door latch repaired in 2016 after 33 years of faithful service. I also had my father-in-law's Minolta Autocord CLA'd for good measure in 2016, and the focusing mechanism re-greased after 57 years without a problem. I have never had a problem with my digital cameras, though I came late to the game in 2012. The idea that either film or digital cameras are unreliable is a myth.
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Old 10-19-2017   #16
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"It has to actually be better. So this is not the rantings of an old geezer stuck in the past, rather it's the clear, unvarnished truth of someone that has a good eye and knows the difference between a good image and an imposter"

Nah it's definitely old fart cynicism (possibly learned young). I would know it anywhere. :^)
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Old 10-19-2017   #17
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... I mentioned this in my pottery class the other day, and to a person, everyone in there (the class is taught in a senior center, so we are all wizened and experienced artisans that have been making art of one kind or another for over half a century each) said they didn't like the look of digital....
As a photographer who has been making art of frequently questionable quality for almost a half century, I have to point out something. It would depend on the type of photography involved. Putting all photography into a single category based on the process involved is like comparing Vermeer to a commercial house painter because both use paint.

I personally despise the "digital look" that was so prevalent 10-15 years ago and still rears its ugly head today. That look is the heavily photoshopped, overly color saturated, hyper-sharpened, eye searing aesthetic that I wish would just simply go away. Once you discount this crap, there's lots of good photography still being done and much of it is digital.
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Old 10-19-2017   #18
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My photos are better exposed since I went digital. The results I got out of the 300D were so disappointing that I was forced to learn about exposure. I went back to film and now my slides are also better exposed.

Otherwise all my photos are still crap.
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Old 10-19-2017   #19
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Thinking about it more, I only like the fact what over-saturated digital cameras market allows to get older cameras for less price. But I have no thrills about where it is going.
Dog eats dog. OVF is the luxury and rare in small cameras now. It is cheaper to slam EVF into it instead. My old Canon P&S has OVF in it...
I hold newer DSLRs similar to my old ones. They feel cheap due to the plastic and they kind of overloaded with next to useless functions, which are slowing me down.
I didn't liked Canon 5D MKII after 5D. Plastic and overloaded with not always working functions. And fresh Rebels are even worse...
I was disappointed with Olympus menus as well. Have to dig deep the manual, just to switch this damn thing to RAW...
Mine 5D photos are better than mine photos with 5D MKII, BTW.
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Old 10-19-2017   #20
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...I personally despise the "digital look" that was so prevalent 10-15 years ago and still rears its ugly head today. That look is the heavily photoshopped, overly color saturated, hyper-sharpened, eye searing aesthetic that I wish would just simply go away. Once you discount this crap, there's lots of good photography still being done and much of it is digital.
And it was easily sorted out via the menu but no one seemed to bother. The conclusion I'd draw from that worries me a little...

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Old 10-19-2017   #21
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And it was easily sorted out via the menu but no one seemed to bother. The conclusion I'd draw from that worries me a little...
It is not really a question of sorting it out in the menus since photographers made those adjustments intentionally in PS.
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Old 10-19-2017   #22
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It is amazing, although the vast majority of the benefit of these things benefit those at the bottom end of the market.

For example, consider the quality of pictures people were getting out of their 24-exposure disposable cameras in the early-90s. Out of focus crap, largely. Now, the iPhone/whatever-phone can automagically make excellent looking exposures (though not - yet - well-composed photographs). Add to that the fact that the images can be shared with friends instantly (remember all of your friends asking for "doubles" of your prints?), and the access to good quality photography has absolutely changed for the better.

At the very high end, digital photography and all of the wizz-bang stuff that goes with that in 2017 have created new photographic markets where none previously existed. ISO speeds beyond 6400 have allowed for photographs that simply could not have been made years ago with anything near the same (subjective) quality. Similarly, the ability for photojournalists to connect their cameras to WiFi networks and to instantly upload images to their employers has allowed for rapid turnaround that was impossible 25 years ago.

The flip side to this is that actually making photographs with digital cameras is - with very, very few exceptions - insanely complicated. Case in point: I have an iPhone 8 Plus, which produces absolutely lovely image quality. But the photo taking interface - irrespective of app used - is horrific, especially when I want to make any kind of manual changes. All that "Shot on iPhone" stuff is great, but actually making the image is not fun. The clumsiness of accessories such as the DxO One underscores this point. I'm not saying it can't be done; clearly, it can. But just as one can go east by flying west, phones do not (yet) make good image-making instruments.

In this regard, the Leica M10 is the best digital camera in the world. Every single parameter that affects exposure (shutter speed, f/stop, ISO speed) can be adjusted without resorting to a single menu. Similarly, there are no focus modes; just a rangefinder. Shame about the cost.

Fuji has tried to capture this ethos, but are falling back on common foibles: buttons that do more than one thing, cluttered focusing screens, deep menus, etc. The original X100 was probably closest to this vision of being as simple as possible (but no simpler). Since then, almost everything else Fuji have done on the X100 line has been about adding new features, rather than making important features work better (though, to be fair, Fuji have also done a lot of this, as well).

Don't get me started on Sony.

My point here is simply this: we've reached the point where subjective image quality is as good as it needs to be, for all practical purposes. iPhones can make billboard-sized images and shoot magazine covers. AI algorithms allow for passable fake background blur and correct for lens aberrations. Machine learning allows for excellent face recognition. And these things will only get better with time.

But, with very few exceptions (image stabilization, for one), the actual process of making of photographs is not appreciably easier now than it was 25 years ago. In fact, in many ways, it's much worse.
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Old 10-19-2017   #23
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In this regard, the Leica M10 is the best digital camera in the world. Every single parameter that affects exposure (shutter speed, f/stop, ISO speed) can be adjusted without resorting to a single menu. Similarly, there are no focus modes; just a rangefinder. Shame about the cost.

Fuji has tried to capture this ethos, but are falling back on common foibles: buttons that do more than one thing, cluttered focusing screens, deep menus, etc. The original X100 was probably closest to this vision of being as simple as possible (but no simpler). Since then, almost everything else Fuji have done on the X100 line has been about adding new features, rather than making important features work better (though, to be fair, Fuji have also done a lot of this, as well).

But, with very few exceptions (image stabilization, for one), the actual process of making of photographs is not appreciably easier now than it was 25 years ago. In fact, in many ways, it's much worse.
This is silly. Everyone likes to flog how complicated the menus are. There are as simple or as complicated as you want to make them. It's up to you. I shoot digital with a Fuji XE2 and XT2. I set the menu settings when I first got the cameras and have never had a need to go in and make changes to any of the parameters. I just make images. Like the M10, you can set shutter speed, aperture and ISO manually on the XT2 without going into the menus. And it doesn't cost $10,000 with lens.
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Old 10-19-2017   #24
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This is silly.
It really isn't. But thanks for keeping things on the up and up.
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Old 10-19-2017   #25
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Film and digital have different aesthetics. Choose the one that best fits your vision for the series of images you want to make.
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Old 10-19-2017   #26
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It is not really a question of sorting it out in the menus since photographers made those adjustments intentionally in PS.
That's exactly what worries me...

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Old 10-19-2017   #27
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Film and digital have different aesthetics. Choose the one that best fits your vision for the series of images you want to make.
That's just silly.
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Old 10-19-2017   #28
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Sometimes I think of this, and I just saw a couple decades of it really. The little slab of tech that is a phone does things unthought at the turn of the millenium.

I travelled for a few days and borrowed my friend's LX100 which was a very versatile compact as well as being able to record (4K) video, of which I only took a few clips. On travel I'm quite liberal shooting and got about 1000 shots over the 4 days.
Together with it I decided to take the Fuji 6x9 for a more thoughtful shooting approach and aesthetic. In a way it is great to have both options available.
To be honest, the costs of (120) film sometimes make my shooting a bit more restrictive and selective, making me miss some shots and taking others that ain't quite right.
My friend took a quick look at the shots and I just thought that in the last years I'd say my photography has improved. Not because of gear improvements but really due to the sheer shooting I do in digital and on the phone. Seeing and doing constantly.
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Old 10-19-2017   #29
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It's clear Araki is in tune with irrationality. Wouldn't expect anything else! Though, he might benefit from a science lesson or two. And maybe logic.
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Old 10-19-2017   #30
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A couple of quotes from Nobuyoshi Araki...

"Photography is finished. What’s taken with a digital camera is something different than a photograph - it’s something that needs to have a new name.”

-----------------------

“…digital cameras are for stupid people. Pictures taken by a digital camera only show the instant moment. A digital camera copies the presence of reality. What you see is what you get. However, there may be something added to the frame during the process of developing or printing when it comes to gelatin silver print. There could be sentimental feelings in those photographs. This kind of “mysterious secret” goes into the process of using a film camera. It is humane, so it is appropriate for photographic expression. I do not feel the body temperature of the subject in digital image. There is no physicality. A digital camera turns a photographer into a robot, with no feeling."

-----------------------

"I don’t like being shot with a digital camera, especially a really good one. It’s too good, you know? I feel like digital cameras miss what’s most important, emotion and wetness. These things get lost in digital photography. And before you know it, you get used to that. I’m not talking about shades or shadows being lost, or anything like that. But I almost feel as if digital photography takes away the shadow of the person taking the photo. That’s why I don’t use digital cameras."
Nobuyoshi Araki is certainly entitled to his opinion, but just being famous is not enough. It would be helpful if he expressed a rational explanation instead of "mysterious secrets" to support it. He is advocating film photography as religion. As if great prints arise on the third day after being consigned to the bin. For example, how does film or paper developer imbue the image with sentimental feelings? One would think that is the job of the artist.
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Old 10-19-2017   #31
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Nobuyoshi Araki is certainly entitled to his opinion, but just being famous is not enough. It would be helpful if he expressed a rational explanation instead of "mysteriousness secrets" to support it. He is advocating film photography as religion. As if great prints arise on the third day after being consigned to the bin. For example, how does film or paper developer imbue the image with sentimental feelings? One would think that is the job of the artist.
I now take less offence to being called 'silly' when you also imply the same about Araki.

You should publish books and become a world famous photographer like...umm...Araki.

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Old 10-19-2017   #32
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I now take less offence to being called 'silly' when you also imply the same about Araki.

You should publish books and become a world famous photographer like...umm...Araki.
I guess I am not as impressed with world famousness as some.
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Old 10-19-2017   #33
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It has nothing to do with being famous. I have no idea who he is, aside from obviously being a photographer.

I guess there are many things in life which are wonderful but difficult to explain, and you either 'get it' or you don't. Fine wines, Ferraris, vinyl records, film.

I could ask you to explain exactly why your favourite music is so good, note by note, but you wouldn't know where to start. And it doesn't matter anyway. You would still love whatever you love and know it's just right when you see or hear it.
You and I could have a discussion about our favorite music, but I wouldn't say what you preferred is for "stupid people", which is what Araki said about people who use digital cameras in preference to film. Hardly the stuff of "mysterious secrets" or "either you get it or you don't".
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Old 10-19-2017   #34
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Years from now and not too many I suspect we'll all be using electric vehicles. It's progress like it or not and it's changing every facet of our lives. Photography is another victim of this change and for me the secret is not to begrudge it because we don't own the past.
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Old 10-19-2017   #35
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You're right in that digital is amazing.

The problem is that although digital has given so much, it has also taken something fundamental away. There's some intangible thing that's lost when digital equipment is used. A lot of people much more eloquent than myself have described it over the years, but for me it's the fact that digital captures almost exactly what you see, and there's simply nothing interesting about that. And to my eye, the things it does change when it translates the world into a flat image are often detrimental to the photograph.

Thankfully we live in an age where film photography is still possible, and both film and digital are relatively cheap and available.


Yes I buy the argument that digital may take something away but as I say have no problem with people using film if that is what appeals to them so why does it take anything away for those not using it? Except perhaps that it is now more expensive.

In essence though I do not see a need for a film v digital mentality as some others here do. I am a guy who stuck with a Leica M3 instead of say a Nikon D5 right up to the end of the film epoch and for about 10 years beyond. I enjoyed the fact that it is me making the image not the camera and understand fully this impulse. Even now when I use a digital camera I often shoot an M8. All that has changed is the capture and storage medium. And when I do use say, an Olympus OM D EM5 I always shoot in aperture or program mode. No fancy-shmancy shooting modes for me. In a sense I am still what I was back then - a seat of the pants photographer. Just no longer a film photographer. But then again I can never claim to have been someone who developed and printed their own film images so perhaps to some here I never was a "real" photographer.

In starting this thread my purpose was more to marvel at the tremendous technological changes that have occurred so quickly over the past couple of decades. And what I was trying to convey also was a sense of how many different technologies have converged and contributed to that technological change (this is a common feature of technological change incidentally). And it is marvelous. Incredible in fact.

But speaking personally there is no doubt that for me (I repeat for me) digital has enabled me, catalyzed me, even in a way motivated and inspired me to get out there and make images, partly because it is easier to get good images due to all this technology (even when I do the lion's share of the work myself rather than leaving to the camera), partly because it is cheaper but also because it opened new doors for me - such as post processing which I just could not do before. I was a film photographer for perhaps 20 years before I took up digital photography and loved it. But I have moved on - that's life. The kick I get is no longer from nursing a nice old chrome and glass contraption by the fireside like it was my family cat which used to be me (OK it still is to some extent) but now I enjoy creating images more.

For those who want to stick with film photography that's cool. I still have a few film cameras and aspire to do the same occasionally when the mood takes me.

But I am still a little surprised at the vehemence of some people's attitude which is frankly anti digital. But countless millions have voted with their feet and gone to "the dark side" So is the anti-digital feeling because they feel under threat? Someone here made the comment that most of the advances I enumerated have benefited the bottom end of the market. True but only to a point (how many high end very successful working photographers shoot film these days? -Possibly none I would say except for specialist "art" photographers.) But what should be understood is that mass markets have almost always been what has driven photographic technologies. There has never been a time (except perhaps at the very beginning) when this has not been the case for obvious reasons - without the masses the simplest cameras would be prohibitively expensive or we would still be looking at images using camera obscuras involving a pinhole in a window blind projecting a reverse image on the wall behind and sketching it on a piece of paper.

We cant stop the pace of change. Why? Because sales fund research and development, R and D provides new products and the new products and prospective sales of them keeps the the production lines running and the cycle starts again. Basic economics says that when the hurdy-gurdy stops and camera makers stop innovating new products the market dies because the dollars needed to keep the production lines open will dry up. I suppose something of that sort will happen one day (digital technology is pretty much a mature technology and product by now after all) but then something else will come along to take its place then there will be a new cycle of technology.
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Old 10-19-2017   #36
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Years from now and not too many I suspect we'll all be using electric vehicles. It's progress like it or not and it's changing every facet of our lives. Photography is another victim of this change and for me the secret is not to begrudge it because we don't own the past.
Nor the future.

It's an amazing time, I wonder if the folks who were wet-plate users felt the same when dry film took over?

The nexus of computer processing improvements (speed, density, software, price, manufacturing, etc.), Internet access becoming ubiquitous, cell phones becoming the electronic Swiss-Army Knife of today, and sharing everything becoming they way to stretch everyone's 15 minutes of fame.

So many changes in business and economy have helped too. A focus on ever increasing quarterly profits, one of the worlds largest markets middle class population has mushroomed, world-wide logistics prices have dropped (thank you shipping containers) and is well understood.

I love the feel of older products for the first three quarts of the last century (e.g. 1903, Nikon S2 and F2) and equally love more recent products (e.g. iPhone 5, Solid State Disk-Drives, Nikkor 28/2.8 AIs).

Digital photography has allowed me to keep my fingers in the hobby when cash becomes tighter (I've been cycling through doing good to not over the past 13 years). My source for free film, chemistry and paper passed some years back. While I am frustrated with some aspects of iPhone photography, I love the fact that it's always with me. I've got some shots I never would have tried fifteen years ago. Odds are that even with my Ricoh GRDs I would not have it with me, nor pulled it out.

It's going to be a fun ride to see where we go over the next few years. I remember hearing 24MP for a frame of 135 film. I never thought we would be there so quickly. Now we see that it's not just Mega-Pixels, there's so much more involved in Image Quality.

Cosina, Sony, Apple, Nikon, dang it's a fun time to be alive. Now if I can just get my son's to pay for some of their food or move......

B2 (;->
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Old 10-19-2017   #37
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Yes new Corvettes are amazing. So are mid year cars. It is really nice to have both. I figured we are going OT so...
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Enjoy Film, But Digital Doesn't Suck
Old 10-19-2017   #38
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Enjoy Film, But Digital Doesn't Suck

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My thoughts are......I disagree with your post's intent 1000%. Resolution does not mean anything at all, the image quality of digital sucks, although I do appreciate the convenience factor.
If digital "sucks", high-end work would be dominated by film. By high-end, I specifically mean large-budget projects. We can argue endlessly about subjective conclusions. However, money is a practical, objective metric. How much profit can the photographer and creative agency earn? How can they grow their business? Their goal is to make are as much money as they can. Creative talent, originality, and aesthetic excellence are common. Leveraging those talents into financial success is not.

No doubt film is used for a small number of high-budget projects. But digital images dominate the marketplace. Convenience is insignificant to clients who pay for the best. Here's a real-life example of what goes into a high-end project. In the total cost of these projects, digital's convenience advantage is trivial.

Let's assume creative directors and successful high-end photographers are lemmings running down the digital trail. But one brave creative director realizes digital "sucks" and runs in the opposite direction. All they have to do is demonstrate film's inherent superiority to their best clients (those with the deepest pockets). That agency would make a lot of money stealing demanding clients from people using inferior digital imaging. Before long the best agencies and clients would demand film. How come they don't? How come creative directors at agencies aren't making money by switching to film-based projects?


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And these new lenses, sharp though they may be, generally have lousy IQ.
I think you are absolutely wrong. The IQ of modern lenses is far superior.

So we have unresolvable, diametrically opposed, subjective conclusions. Even worse, we don't even know what each of us thinks desirable IQ means. Companies sold inferior lenses decades ago and some companies sell them today. You wrote "Just because something is new does not make it better. It has to actually be better." It is equally likely just because something is old does not make it better.

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Just like a lot of us have new fangled electronic cameras, both film and digital, and a strictly mechanical one when the modern one doesn't work.
I have used digital cameras since the Nikon Coolpix 950. From 2008 - 2016 I used 3 different DSLR systems and a mirrorless system multiple times weekly for interior photography gigs. I had to photograph home exteriors in all types of weather. I shot a few sporting gigs in rain. I hauled all my gear all over the place. It was not treated gently. I did not experience a single camera or lens failure. I admit I did buy a new camera battery every year (even though the old one(s) still worked). However, my mechanical light stands would fall apart and a tripod gear head died. I also killed several rolling gear bags and numerous tripod bags.

Overall, both mechanical and electronic failures are well-modeled by a Gaussian distribution. Somebody has to experience premature failure and others won't ever experience a failure. It's not fun to be unlucky.

A completely different point is: film scans are digital images. After it's digitized does film suck? Why not? It's a digital image. How is a film scanner sensor intrinsically different than a camera sensor? What about film photographers who digitize their film images using a digital camera? And what percentage of film images are printed using wet, analog methods?

I believe excellent work can be done with both analog and digital cameras.

I believe excellent work can be done using a hybrid analog/digital production.

I believe excellent work can be done with old and new lenses.

I believe we should celebrate people can enjoy photography regardless of how they to make their images.
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Old 10-19-2017   #39
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I gotta say, I love reading willie_901 posts.
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Old 10-19-2017   #40
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I am getting better photos now.

I like a sharp print, and I can make large sharp prints now that I could never make in the early 90's. I do like the resolution gain. Direct comparisons are quite clear on resolution.

I can shoot in low light that I couldn't back then. Clearly.

I can get sharp images at low shutter speeds (Nikon VR, Sony anti-shake) that were a complete crap-shoot back then.

Yes, frankly, who would have thought in the 90's we would be here at this point. Photography has always included a technology element. Speeded up with advent of digital. Now, where will we go? iPhone shows some of the way:
- flash that automatically adjusts to indoor vs. outdoor light color
- burst shot, automatically picks the best ones, then you select
- very usable in-camera panorama
- two lenses, image processing to produce artificial bokeh

I predict photography will continue to enjoy exciting tech progress.

I am a happy camper. I do film once in a while.
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