Lament

Started Jan 10, 2011 | Discussions thread
Tinu_ch
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Re: Lament
In reply to Rational, Jan 16, 2011

Rational wrote:

I find it amusing how successful the digital camera makers have been in conditioning buyers to expect (and pay big money for) new models every year or two. By contrast, a Nikon F2 or a Leica in years past would be kept and used for a decade or more.

Because back then with new models only the features changed, not the picture quality. And wear and tear was lower because for most people their camera use was limited by the cost of film and processing.

For decades, during the film era, top-notch photographs were taken with relatively simple cameras.

Because there were no "complex" cameras back then.

Slide films' limited exposure latitude was very unforgiving of ineptitude, yet competent photographers did some spectacular work with it.

Most of the time we do not see the slides themselves, but (processed) prints. As a rule, many photographers underexposed their slides and overexposed their negativs. Oh, and pros used up rolls and rolls of slide film for bracketing to get the one picture that got published.

Now that every Tom, Dick and Harry ...

I think that the democratization of a (mostly) harmless technology can't be bad.

...can take photographs that are technically passable (and, if not, fix them with Photoshop after the fact), everyone is clamoring for more features that are rarely used by most users, such as ultra-high ISO, more frames/sec, in-camera HDR, and on and on.

If you were birding like me, better quality with high ISO and high frame rates would be important to you too. Even at family reunions etc. I regularily could make good use of still higher ISO.

There has been an ISO (or ASA) race between film manufacturers over half a century and more. But even in the 1990s I wasn't able to find a 200 ISO slide film pleasing to my eye.

Who is clamouring for in-camera HDR? I read and hear the wish for modifying the (already existing) bracketing automatics to the needs of HDR. And I am sure, if Ansel Adams was still around he would eagerly explore the possibilities of HDR. Well, not in-camera of course.

As for the proof of the pie being in the eating, i.e. photographs that compare with the masterpieces of the film days, it is not clear that they exist.

Well, nature photography has improved a lot in the last decade or two.

News photography too. Many of the iconic reportage pictures of the past are now known to have been staged.

I was recently paging through National Geographic magazines from the '90s. The style has not changed much but the pictures clearly show the technical limitations of analog photography.

Art photography is a different beast, of course. Just do not forget that you are comparing the selected output of 150 years of analog photography (i.e. at least 5 generations of photographers) with 5 years of wide spread digital imaging.

Indeed, I suspect that if a typical owner of an upscale digital camera today were to be given a semi-manual film camera (like a Minolta SRT-101) and a roll of Kodachrome 25 (rest in peace), the results would be abysmally bad.

Yes. But what is your point? That skills of the past can become obsolete?
Could you bake a soufflé in a wood-fired stove without prior instruction?

Hats off to the marketing geniuses employed by digital camera manufacturers for having created and elevated the demand for their pricey products to all time highs.

I guess they are themselves still baffled by the great success of first digital cameras as such and now DSLRs. Canon took the plunge with the EOS 300D not knowing if it was to be a fizzle or a boom. Then they tried to follow the demand and other manufacturers took pains to catch the train.

If something helped create and elevated the demand, it is the peer pressure on WEB 2.0.

Interestingly, there has not been the same success with high priced digital video equipment. Do not tell me the manufacturers didn't try to get it started.

Tinu

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