20 years later: Why are digital cameras still emulating instant film?

Started Jul 6, 2012 | Discussions thread
DigVis
Forum MemberPosts: 97
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Re: Because that's what most people want
In reply to Erik Magnuson, Jul 6, 2012

Thank you for your comments.

Erik Magnuson wrote:

DigVis wrote:

You are limited to a few predefined development profiles, and have to chose an exposure that fits the selected profile.

Before digital, most people had no control over development. They bought whatever film was cheapest and got whatever processing the local lab gave them. OK, let's ignore the majority: if you every shot slide film, then you pretty much only had a few fixed profiles to choose from and you had to choose an exposure to fit that profile.

But for the last 10 years, the majority has not shot film.

Only a very small percentage of camera users ever set foot in a darkroom where they could control development.

Of course. But the digital technology means that development control could be available at the press of a button. A camera could hypothetically have a few adjustments (such as brightness, contrast) available during what is now image review/playback.

And a small percentage now use raw.

Is that percentage still small for the higher end cameras?

The RAW format still feels like an afterthought. While it allows proper separation of exposure from development, the camera does its best to be unhelpful. The automatic exposure functions still assume a particular development profile and incorrectly try to solve the exposure problem.

Back to the film analogy: a film has a recommended ISO exposureprocessing. If you want to expose/process differently, the camera meter or automation will not know that unless you tell it to by using a different EI or just ignoring the meter. Raw digital is exactly the same.

But my point is that RAW digital doesn't have to be.

Frankly, they do what they do because that's what most people want and the handful of others know how to do it w/o automation.

I don't think that is what most people want. I agree that it most likely is what most people believe they want though.

If you want optimized ETTR, what the heck are you doing using the camera in automatic mode? You should be using spot metering and a modified zone system and then none of that stuff you complain about will matter.

Why should I apply a convoluted process to do something that the camera has the full information to do automatically for me? What is wrong with automation in such a case? Also, I'm genuinely ignorant how to use spot metering to assert a perfect ETTR exposure? Is spot metering supposed to give a nominal 18 % grey on the metered point? What does 18 % grey mean when shooting RAW? Should I then apply +2.3 EC to bring that to 89 %. What happens if the brightest area is a deep red sky, or a deep blue target rather than a white one? Should I decrease the EC, and by what amount? 1.7 EV? All of this could be perfectly evaluated by the camera automatically for me in just a few milliseconds.

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