Film Vs Digital (not the usual question)

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Dennis
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Re: Film Vs Digital (not the usual question)
In reply to jrtrent, 10 months ago

jrtrent wrote:

TheDman wrote:

Dennis wrote:

cmc1 wrote:

It's great to see "straight out the camera, no PP" on posted images

Not for me; I translate that as "not the best I could do, but I was too lazy to bother with it".

Exactly. Or "I don't know the first thing about post-processing so I will make it sound like I chose not to do it". Sort of like portrait photographers who proudly exclaim that they use "only natural light, not harsh studio light", because they don't have a clue about lighting.

Well, if we're re-translating other people's statements, yours and Dennis's read likes "anyone who doesn't agree with me or do things the way I do is not only lazy and/or incompetent, but also a liar." Is it really so hard to accept that not everyone likes to do things the same way?

Of course people like to do things differently.  And some of them like to do things in lazier ways than others.  I shoot my portraits in natural light. And yes, it's because I have no clue about lighting and am too lazy to bother.  I'm good with that.  If a photographer has better things to do with his time than post process his photos individually, then I can hardly blame him !  I'll readily admit that far better photographers than me shoot jpeg only, never mind the working pros whose time is money.  But they don't typically post "straight out of the camera, no PP" disclaimers on their images.

My post was a reaction to the flawed notion that "straight out of camera, no PP" is somehow more noble; something to look for.  Unless you're specifically looking to see how a camera's jpeg engine works, I see no specific merit in it.  When I read it, I always wonder why the photographer felt the need to mention it (I don't say how I post processed a photo when I post it); it's nothing to brag about and it usually feels apologetic to me.  Along the same lines as "just a quick snap, but wanted to share" or "didn't have a tripod with me".

So, to summarize: I have no issue whatsoever with people shooting jpeg only; I'm lazy about lots of things, including some aspects of photography.  I do question the intent of posting such a comment with their photos (it reads like a disclaimer to me).  But I'll drop that.  I primarily reject the wisdom of anyone ascribing a false sense of purity to SOOC photos.

- Dennis

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Erik Magnuson
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processing vs. post-processing
In reply to ultimitsu, 10 months ago

ultimitsu wrote:

PP standard for Post processing. no pp simply means no processing was done post image coming out of camera. it doesnt mean there was no processing.

The difference is when the processing decisions are made.  With OOC JPEG, transparency film, and Polaroid film almost all of the decisions must be fixed before you press the shutter button.   The "must" is also important to some: it's possible to pre-visualize an image will need extensive post (ala A. Adams) and shoot to optimize the capture with those steps in mind.  What the anti-PP people really don't like is the ability to make additional creative decisions after examining the capture data, i.e. if you did not see it at capture time, you must go back and reshoot.

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Erik Magnuson
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Don't know much photography history if you think film was limited...
In reply to cmc1, 10 months ago

cmc1 wrote:

Also, wouldn't it be good if there were modern software that limited digital post processing to the same level as film?

Feel free to limit yourself to what you did with film.  I'll limit myself to what I know can/has been done with film which is essentially no limit at all.

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DenWil
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Re: Film Vs Digital (not the usual question)
In reply to cmc1, 10 months ago

cmc1 wrote:

Personal opinion (I'll state that first before keyboard gangsters attack)

I feel at lot of images posted on-line now are over processed and not a true reflection of the Camera users true skills, abilities or passion for photography.

I am not from the analogue era myself but I know a few people who were trained using film and appear to be far better photographers for it.

I would be interested to know what widely used techniques were used for processing and what are their modern equivalents?

The most common  for me is spotting an  enlargement  with matching toned inks  and now spotting  scans using the clone tool.  A little less obvious is that my B&W negatives have always been  a bit contrasty to balance the cold head enlarger and graded dbl weight paper.  The scanner with its cold light source  seems to mimic that balancing act for a better scan.

Also, wouldn't it be good if there were modern software that limited digital post processing to the same level as film?

I do not see how that is really possible.  They are two completely different processes. Instead of shooting to match the parameters required by the film and the standardized E-6 processing  for  optimum results (creating color transparencies) a digital shooter can create any parameters he likes and then tinker with them endlessly. My scanned images appear   virtually the  same as the positives on the light box and are in fact in need of only  slight adjustments  to account for the screen presentation. That is just the way I choose to work.

It's great to see "straight out the camera, no PP" on posted images

While I tend to abhor HDR, sitcom lighting and much of the heavy handed shadow pulling that goes on  I see a great deal of sensor based work that is quite lovely.  If it takes a bit of  PP to achieve that then so be it.

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GodSpeaks
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Re: Film Vs Digital (not the usual question)
In reply to cmc1, 10 months ago

cmc1 wrote:

It's great to see "straight out the camera, no PP" on posted images

No such thing.  In camera jpgs are processed in camera based on the camera settings.  So called 'untouched' raws are still processed according to the raw converter settings.

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TheDman
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Re: Film Vs Digital (not the usual question)
In reply to jrtrent, 10 months ago

jrtrent wrote:

TheDman wrote:

Dennis wrote:

cmc1 wrote:

It's great to see "straight out the camera, no PP" on posted images

Not for me; I translate that as "not the best I could do, but I was too lazy to bother with it".

Exactly. Or "I don't know the first thing about post-processing so I will make it sound like I chose not to do it". Sort of like portrait photographers who proudly exclaim that they use "only natural light, not harsh studio light", because they don't have a clue about lighting.

Well, if we're re-translating other people's statements, yours and Dennis's read likes "anyone who doesn't agree with me or do things the way I do is not only lazy and/or incompetent, but also a liar." Is it really so hard to accept that not everyone likes to do things the same way?

You're missing the point, which is anyone who thinks photos out of the camera are unprocessed are betraying their ignorance, as are people who think studio lighting is harsh. Both are statements covering for the speaker's lack of knowledge of the subject.

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Gerry Winterbourne
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Re: Film Vs Digital (not the usual question)
In reply to cmc1, 10 months ago

cmc1 wrote:

Personal opinion (I'll state that first before keyboard gangsters attack)

The problem is that you've formed this opinion on the basis of total ignorance about half of what you're writing about. I've numbered your paragraphs to show the order you wrote them and then altered the order to clarify the answers.

3 I would be interested to know what widely used techniques were used for processing and what are their modern equivalents?

In fact, virtually every effect produced in digital PP is also done on film. The techniques were, of course, completely different but the results were the same. Look at a lot of the things in Photoshop and they have names that seem a bit odd - that's because the names make sense in a darkroom and the same name has been carried into digital processing.

4 Also, wouldn't it be good if there were modern software that limited digital post processing to the same level as film?

First answer: it already exists. As I said, all the extreme things you dislike about digital are all possible in the darkroom, so your "limitation" wouldn't really limit anything.

Second answer (to the point you thought you were making): this translates directly to "wouldn't it be a good thing if no one was allowed to do things I don't like. This is, of course, arrogant nonsense.

1 I feel at lot of images posted on-line now are over processed

True, but so what?

and not a true reflection of the camera users true skills, abilities or passion for photography.

Well, they probably are a true reflection of the skills etc of the photographer who created them.

2 I am not from the analogue era myself but I know a few people who were trained using film and appear to be far better photographers for it.

I've italicised "appear" because that's what it is - an appearance. Some people trained on film and some of them are good; some are bad. More have learned on digital and some of them are good; some are bad.

Most of the people who learned on film are older and tend not to use the more popular image sites, so there's a natural tendency for the mass of poor digital work to predominate. But that has nothing to do with the relative merits of film and digital.

It's great to see "straight out the camera, no PP" on posted images,

Why? Because you like the words or because you like the images?

As it happens, it's typically harder to get good results straight out of camera using digital than it is with film. Film, by its nature, has a lot of latitude in the highlight tones: this means that if you expose for the mid-tones - so that the overall tonality of the image looks right - it doesn't matter much if the highlights are technically overexposed.

Digital, on the other hand, has its latitude in the shadows: overexpose highlights and they clip, which usually looks pretty nasty. This means it's harder to get decent mid-tones without spoiling highlights.

As long as the light is reasonably uniform and/or you don't have any very bright highlights this doesn't create a problem for digital so there are lots of situations where the OOC shot can - if all the other important things such as subject and composition are right - be great. But get into higher-contrast lighting and digital suffers before film does, which is why the chances of something great OOC are slightly less.

So liking "straight out the camera, no PP" means either that the shots you happen to like were taken in easy light; or that you don't understand how digital photography works. The fact is that a large number of digital photos are taken in difficult light but carefully processed to look natural, but because they do look natural you don't realise that they've been processed.

But can we all agree on the fact that HDR shots SUCK?

No, because many of them don't. It's exactly the point I just made: a large number of digital photos are taken in difficult light ; the more difficult (contrasty) the light the harder, often to needing several different exposures to cover it: which is what HDR means. But when carefully processed in HDR to look natural, simply because they do look natural you don't realise that they've been processed.

I would like to see HDR banned from all serious photography sites along with Instagram type filters.

Well, I'd like to see people banned who want to dictate how I - or anyone else - should process and/or display our photos. No doubt we will be equally disappointed.

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Erik Magnuson
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In reply to Gerry Winterbourne, 10 months ago

Gerry Winterbourne wrote:

3 I would be interested to know what widely used techniques were used for processing and what are their modern equivalents?

In fact, virtually every effect produced in digital PP is also done on film.

Thinking about it, liquify is one of the few that really wasn't done on film.  You could argue that manipulated Polaroids -- where you pushed the emulsion around while it was developing -- was somewhat similar but the useful effects are quite different.  Extensive airbrushing was used to do body morphing but that's drawing new image not pushing the existing image bits around.

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Roger Krueger
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Restraint not restraints
In reply to cmc1, 10 months ago

All film did was make silly excess more difficult. Tastelessness had to find different outlets.

Use all the tools you have. But make them serve the image.

When the image is merely a platform to show off your chops you've failed.

Keith Richards vs. Yngwie Malmstein.

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Leonard Migliore
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In reply to cmc1, 10 months ago

cmc1 wrote:

OK. I'll consider myself educated. thanks for the schooling.

But can we all agree on the fact that HDR shots SUCK? (rapid arrow cursor over like button and click)

I would like to see HDR banned from all serious photography sites along with instagram type filters

Yeah. And I want it enforced with jack-booted storm troopers. Give us reality or nothing.

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Ron Poelman
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Re: can we all agree on the fact ?
In reply to cmc1, 10 months ago

cmc1 wrote:

OK. I'll consider myself educated. thanks for the schooling.

But can we all agree on the fact that HDR shots SUCK? (rapid arrow cursor over like button and click)

I would like to see HDR banned from all serious photography sites along with instagram type filters

No.
It's called photography, not rubber stamping.
HDR has it's place, some get it right, some don't.
It's also a fashion, which will come and which will go.

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CharlesB58
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Flawed premise
In reply to cmc1, 10 months ago

You cannot relate film to digital in the way the OP implies. You are starting with a markedly different way in which the image is produced (analog vs digital) as well as a difference in how the image ends up being rendered in its final form of presentation.

Technically, film is not "post processed". At the time of a digital capture, you have a displayable image stored which simply requires connection to some sort of display. With film you have a latent image that in fact does not really exist until chemical processing is applied. That processing can take identical images taken on identical film stock and create vastly different images just in producing the negative or transparency. So many variables: film type (and even the production batch) which chemicals are used, tempurature, time, agitation frequency and method, even chemicals present in the water, can affect the negative or slide.

THEN you get into what would be considered post processing as you work on the print (if that is the final display format). In that regard a whole new set of variables from the type and grade of paper, chemicals(time, temp and agitation again) and type of enlarger are all factors even before things like burning and dodging come into play.

Throughout it all you are dealing with an analog, organic process that involves factors that don't necessarily come into play with digital (such as film grain vs noise) unless using editing features intended to emulate film.

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ragmanjin
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Re: Film Vs Digital (not the usual question)
In reply to D Cox, 10 months ago

I think the whole overprocessing fad might just be the result of under-exaggerating cameras compared to the average photo in the film days. Sounds weird, but hear me out.

A lot of digital filters these days in Photoshop or Instagram or whatever try to replicate different types of colour films (not all, but many). Back then, having a ridiculously saturated, contrasty look was totally fine for certain brand or line of film. These days, cameras get a bad rep in reviews and magazines when the colour accuracy of their sensor is even a tiny little bit off. I think that's the biggest difference between the two media in the context you're talking about: If you want a certain look with digital but don't want to do any post-processing, every photo is going to look the same, totally colour-accurate and within the parameters of your specific camera's specific sensor and jpg oven. In the film days, if you were going for a certain look you could just buy a roll of Superia rather than your usual Portra, no extra work necessary.

A couple examples:

With Superia, this is what you start with. Zero post-processing. For film, that's totally OK, but if you want this look with a digital camera, you'll have to find the filter that probably exists somewhere on instagram or camerabag or something.

This is Portra, again scanned straight in and unprocessed. Even when what you're taking a picture of is weirder, the colours are more balanced, more natural looking. Yet softer than we'd allow from our digital cameras if this is what they gave us all the time.

This is your starting point with digital, a Canon point and shoot (my wife's SX40) shot in jpg and unprocessed at all. The colours are real, not exaggerated or even special. It's a good starting point, and works for snapshots of my avocado-loving family, but if you want something similar to the look of the other two, post-processing is pretty much the only way.

All that said, you can do a little post-processing with out it looking insane or surreal. This one was shot jpg, too, but with just a touch of vibrance added and a shadow or two lifted slightly:

Just enough to make it "pop" a little more than that last photo. This is from a Canon P&S jpg as well

Post-processing really has been used for as long as film has, and even more doors have opened up with the digital darkroom via film scanners. But it does seem a little ironic that people are using post now to get looks they would have gotten by shooting with whatever type of film.

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bosjohn
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Re: why oh why?
In reply to tko, 10 months ago

tko wrote:

Why do people thinking pointing the camera and pushing the button on a fully automatic device involves some great deal of skill, while post processing doesn't? Isn't it the other way around?

I suspect the reason so many complain about post is that it isn't easy to do well, and they feel left out . . . I'm really curious about the number of post processing critics that have a high level of computer skills. It probably took me years to feel comfortable with Photoshop, and learn how to "see."

I think your only part right here. Those of us who had darkrooms and did the proccess understand that making the image involved making an exposure and proccessing the negative to achieve pre determined at times resaults.  Photography never ended with pushing the button. Even making poloroids was open to pridictale minipulation between exposure and development times and tempertures.

Photography is not a singl act its process and all the steps along the way from the idea to the finished print or presentation file are important parts of that process.

many amateur photographers at the apex of the film days shot only color and left an intergal and important part of that process to someone else to carry out, so there was a disconnect between what they saw and captured and what came back from the color lab. This carries over into digital where the expectation is they will push the button and someone else either with firm ware or what ever will do the porcessing. Its kinda like buying chicken at the super market all cut up and shrink wrapped and having no understanding of the proccess  of raising and slaughtering chickens so you can eat.

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Glen Barrington
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(n/t) It's 2 different medium's with superficial similarities. . .
In reply to CharlesB58, 10 months ago
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Glen Barrington
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I'm beginning to wonder. . .
In reply to cmc1, 10 months ago

If you've ever thought about the artistic process.

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Ed Rizk
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Re: Film Vs Digital (not the usual question)
In reply to cmc1, 10 months ago

cmc1 wrote:

OK. I'll consider myself educated. thanks for the schooling.

But can we all agree on the fact that HDR shots SUCK? (rapid arrow cursor over like button and click)

There must be something we can ALL agree on!

I would like to see HDR banned from all serious photography sites along with instagram type filters

If you succeed, I'll find a way to get my HDRs onto your site.  I'll become a hacker in my retirement and make everybody look at HDRs.

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ultimitsu
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Re: Film Vs Digital (not the usual question)
In reply to Ed Rizk, 10 months ago

Ed Rizk wrote:

If you succeed, I'll find a way to get my HDRs onto your site. I'll become a hacker in my retirement and make everybody look at HDRs.

First image was good, would have been perfect if the level and angle was right.

Second image is very good. a tab too much saturation on the sky.

Image 3-6 were just hurting my eyes.

My apologies in advance.

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Ed Rizk
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Re: Film Vs Digital (not the usual question)
In reply to ultimitsu, 10 months ago

ultimitsu wrote:

Ed Rizk wrote:

If you succeed, I'll find a way to get my HDRs onto your site. I'll become a hacker in my retirement and make everybody look at HDRs.

First image was good, would have been perfect if the level and angle was right.

Second image is very good. a tab too much saturation on the sky.

Image 3-6 were just hurting my eyes.

My apologies in advance.

Thanks for the compliments.  From my unscientific observation, more non-photographers than photographers like the surreal pics.

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Josh152
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Re: Film Vs Digital (not the usual question)
In reply to Gerry Winterbourne, 10 months ago

Gerry Winterbourne wrote:

cmc1 wrote:

Personal opinion (I'll state that first before keyboard gangsters attack)

The problem is that you've formed this opinion on the basis of total ignorance about half of what you're writing about. I've numbered your paragraphs to show the order you wrote them and then altered the order to clarify the answers.

3 I would be interested to know what widely used techniques were used for processing and what are their modern equivalents?

In fact, virtually every effect produced in digital PP is also done on film. The techniques were, of course, completely different but the results were the same. Look at a lot of the things in Photoshop and they have names that seem a bit odd - that's because the names make sense in a darkroom and the same name has been carried into digital processing.

4 Also, wouldn't it be good if there were modern software that limited digital post processing to the same level as film?

First answer: it already exists. As I said, all the extreme things you dislike about digital are all possible in the darkroom, so your "limitation" wouldn't really limit anything.

Second answer (to the point you thought you were making): this translates directly to "wouldn't it be a good thing if no one was allowed to do things I don't like. This is, of course, arrogant nonsense.

1 I feel at lot of images posted on-line now are over processed

True, but so what?

and not a true reflection of the camera users true skills, abilities or passion for photography.

Well, they probably are a true reflection of the skills etc of the photographer who created them.

2 I am not from the analogue era myself but I know a few people who were trained using film and appear to be far better photographers for it.

I've italicised "appear" because that's what it is - an appearance. Some people trained on film and some of them are good; some are bad. More have learned on digital and some of them are good; some are bad.

Most of the people who learned on film are older and tend not to use the more popular image sites, so there's a natural tendency for the mass of poor digital work to predominate. But that has nothing to do with the relative merits of film and digital.

It's great to see "straight out the camera, no PP" on posted images,

Why? Because you like the words or because you like the images?

As it happens, it's typically harder to get good results straight out of camera using digital than it is with film. Film, by its nature, has a lot of latitude in the highlight tones: this means that if you expose for the mid-tones - so that the overall tonality of the image looks right - it doesn't matter much if the highlights are technically overexposed.

Digital, on the other hand, has its latitude in the shadows: overexpose highlights and they clip, which usually looks pretty nasty. This means it's harder to get decent mid-tones without spoiling highlights.

As long as the light is reasonably uniform and/or you don't have any very bright highlights this doesn't create a problem for digital so there are lots of situations where the OOC shot can - if all the other important things such as subject and composition are right - be great. But get into higher-contrast lighting and digital suffers before film does, which is why the chances of something great OOC are slightly less.

So liking "straight out the camera, no PP" means either that the shots you happen to like were taken in easy light; or that you don't understand how digital photography works. The fact is that a large number of digital photos are taken in difficult light but carefully processed to look natural, but because they do look natural you don't realise that they've been processed.

But can we all agree on the fact that HDR shots SUCK?

No, because many of them don't. It's exactly the point I just made: a large number of digital photos are taken in difficult light ; the more difficult (contrasty) the light the harder, often to needing several different exposures to cover it: which is what HDR means. But when carefully processed in HDR to look natural, simply because they do look natural you don't realise that they've been processed.

I would like to see HDR banned from all serious photography sites along with Instagram type filters.

Well, I'd like to see people banned who want to dictate how I - or anyone else - should process and/or display our photos. No doubt we will be equally disappointed.

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+1  This is probably the best response in this thread!

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