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Author Topic: Digital Cameras Are Crazy !  (Read 7836 times)
jeffreybehr
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« on: January 08, 2003, 10:44:11 AM »
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Sounds pretty tough, Joe. Do you know fotografers who spend very little time taking pics v. playing on these forums? Obviously some of us...perhaps the guys with the long egotistical lists of equipment in their signatures at DPReview are among them...spend not enough time in the field and too much time playing on their computer, but others don't.

I spend a lot of time in the field, but I also enjoy participating in these forums. And don't forget that quantity is no substitute for quality in fotografy.

Don't be so tough on us, Joe.
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AJSJones
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« Reply #1 on: January 08, 2003, 05:51:30 PM »
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If you want to keep up with the leading edge, expect to draw blood on occasions (such as upgrades - boy, was I pissed off when the D60 came out for 2/3 of what I paid for the D30; however, it had no effect on what my D30 could do - and still does!)
Andy
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James Pierce
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« Reply #2 on: January 13, 2003, 02:35:50 AM »
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Interesting discussion (for a change) - usuall the discussion around digital are completely boring.  There are a huge number of gear heads on the web making terrible pictures, and a lot of artists with meager equiptment that they are doing wonderful work with.  If you read artists who make great pictures talk about what they use, it often seems like and after thought.  Moose Peterson, Art Morris, Art Wolfe, George Lepp and John Shaw (just to name a few), not to mention Michael of this site are all great photographer and they talk alot about their gear.  I suspect this is largely because there is a good bit of money to be made talking about, reviewing etc all this stuff... I read all the reviews etc as much as the next guy, but I constalty have to remind my self and look at my favorite images to remeber that some of them were made with very meager cameras, and that what makes great images is time, hardwork and a little vision.  Digital - sure - when it is a bit cheaper - for now I'm still making fine film images, I have one set of problems to deal with (cost and scanning mostly) - but with digital there are others - it is all a ballance.
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Brian R
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« Reply #3 on: January 13, 2003, 04:12:33 PM »
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Sorry, I used my login from another sight to post my last reply. Not thephotogod just Brian R.
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Dan Sroka
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« Reply #4 on: January 20, 2003, 11:54:44 AM »
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True. Which is better: watercolor or oil paint? Neither! You choose your medium, with all its benefits and flaws, and you get creating!

I knew a photographer who would jump up and down on his slides to scratch them up before printing. Cool stuff.
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Ray
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« Reply #5 on: January 21, 2003, 10:52:43 PM »
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> Which is better? An artistic masterpiece with all the defects that film and scanner are heir to, or the same masterpiece with grainless sky, clean skin tones and the general 'luminosity' that are a hallmark of the D30, D60 and 1Ds etc?

well, that rather depends whether the artistic masterpiece is of a kind where those kind of measures of technical quality are relevant to its appreciation. Some are, some aren't.
No! Sorry guys! I don't disagree that there are opportunities where graininess can contribute to the dramatic effect of a presentation, but you've got Photoshop to create such effects, and many, many more effects, with all the plug-ins, that you probably never dreamed of.

Unfortunately, you can't go in the reverse direction. Same with resolution. If the detail's not there, you can't create it. If the detail IS there, you can demolish it, if it suits your artistic purposes. There's a difference. Your arguments are of an aplogist nature to excuse inferior technique. However, I agree there is an art to making the most out of a bad situation. But, when someone does succeed in using an "inferior - for want of a better word" technical situation to great effect, that's to their credit. But don't therefore draw the conclusion that such inadequacy of material should be the norm.
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Jan Brittenson
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« Reply #6 on: January 23, 2003, 06:52:57 PM »
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And Ray is right, the Art-with-a-capital-A discussion can get the same tone. ("You aren't serious unless you can draw parallels between your work and the X movement").
Just wait til you hear from the people who don't think photography is or can be art! Now, THEY are the ones who IMO deserve some hands-on enlightenment!  

 :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:
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Chung
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« Reply #7 on: January 07, 2003, 08:26:50 PM »
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How can you guys keep up? The D60 already discontinued 1 year after release!

The 1DS is already obsolete with the Kodak 14 megapixel model that hasnt even reached the shelves yet !!! In 1 year all the current cameras will be junk compared to whats available !!!!

Where do you guys get all the money to keep up?
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Joe
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« Reply #8 on: January 08, 2003, 06:52:41 AM »
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If all you guys arguing this stuff spent as much time actually taking images as you do arguing about cameras and equipment maybe it wouldnt matter who owns what. Where do you guys find time to actually use your cameras? Do you use your cameras?

One of the complaints about this site and the forums here that others talk about elsewhere is it is populated by the snooty and narcisistic 'Gray Poupon' crowd who overvalue their talent. A lot of fluff rather than any substance. People are more concerned with being seen with a 1DS or D60 or whatever rather than actually using it.

Sorry to vent. Just tired of the arguing and showmanship so prevalent these days from people who have no reason to be so cocky. This is supposed to be about photography not who owns what or why.
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Dan Sroka
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« Reply #9 on: January 08, 2003, 02:10:43 PM »
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Chung: how do I keep up? I don't. This isn't a race, and while I am interested in where the technology is going, I don't care if I am on the cutting edge or not. I have the tools that I need for the work I do.

Joe: Ever watch the movie Wall Street? There's a scene where Gecko's on a beach (is that his name?), talking to Charlie Sheen on a portable phone -- that is the size of a loaf of bread. I love it, because in the scene, Gecko's trying to make Charlie envy his life (and his gadgets), yet today it looks ridiculous. An economics professor once explained how rich people like Gecko are important for consumer electronics -- they are the folks with money to burn that create a market for cutting edge gadgets. The money they spend to buy the latest and greatest is basically funding the electronics companies R&D. Which means, they can release the products cheaper faster.

So don't get too frustrated at people showing off their toys -- it's their bucks that bring the price down for the rest of us in a year or two.
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Ray
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« Reply #10 on: January 08, 2003, 05:41:22 PM »
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Nonsense! Real arguments don't take place over equipment. Any disputes can be easily resolved by carrying out a few tests. That's why equipment discussions are more popular. They're more rational and people can feel secure there's an answer. Does anyone doubt that the Canon 1Ds is currently the best 35mm camera available? Sure, one can have an argument about what is meant by 'best', but that then becomes an argument on semantics rather than equipment.

Often the people with the biggest egos are the artists and those who flock to watch (or hear) their works - the play 'Waiting for Godot' for example which sparked fisticuffs during the interval on it's first performance, or Stravinsky's Rite of Spring which had people belting each other in the aisles.
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Rob
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« Reply #11 on: January 08, 2003, 06:41:43 PM »
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Albert is correct. There are a lot of people who feel somehow using a professional camera will make them professional photographers. It makes things a whole lot easier to have a camera like the 1D or 1DS to work with but a camera does not a photographer make. If ones images are second rate they will continue to be so with or without a 1DS or the most current camera. I am not saying the 1DS isnt the top of the pile right now. I am pointing out some beginner and intermediate photographers will purchase one thinking it will make their results 'professional'. It will do nothing of the sort. It just gives you a better tool to assist you in your creative vision. It will not help you with composition or creating a 'good' photograph. Anyone who doubts this go to the dpreview boards and check out the 1DS samples-the same old "look at my cat" photos taken with the 1DS....the same people who posted the same cat photos using the D30 and D60 before they 'made the jump to pro' by buying the 1DS. Garbage in, garbage out.
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Dan Sroka
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« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2003, 01:06:47 PM »
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I guess there's a time and a place, no? As a lover of technology, I love to see the latest and greatest (heck, I am browsing this site with the beta version of Apple's hot new browser). I am more than happy to grab a beer with a friend and talk about the latest MP3 player, or whatever.

I guess I just get tired when the discussions get so adament. The "if you don't spend as much as I do, you can't be as serious as I am" tone. Think of filmmaking: what if people insisted that because high-tech is available, all serious filmmakers should use it? They'd be laughed at. There is room George Lucas and his high tech, and for Kevin Smith and his low tech. And Ray is right, the Art-with-a-capital-A discussion can get the same tone. ("You aren't serious unless you can draw parallels between your work and the X movement").

I suppose a balance would be nice. Not conversations about what is "the best", but conversations about how to better use this new power, if you have it, and why someone might need it. (Compare the CGI Gollum with Jar Jar Binks -- a good and a bad use of technological power!) Not everyone needs a 1DS. Heck, not everyone needs a digital camera. But some people do -- I'd like to hear why.

Dan
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Bob Stevenson
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« Reply #13 on: January 12, 2003, 05:54:59 AM »
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So Ansel Adams used gear that is now 'primative and obsolete', well I certainly did'nt know that, I thought he used an 8x10 and I DO know he used a Hasselblad with a selection of lenses.  Thats a camera that gives better image quality than a Canon 1DS (yes, that good!!)
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James Pierce
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« Reply #14 on: January 13, 2003, 02:39:39 AM »
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Ansel Adams used film and lenses that would be considered throw away items today.  Grainy film and uncoated optics etc... Yes he used a hasselblad at the end of his life, but not for most of his shooting life.
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thephotogod
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« Reply #15 on: January 13, 2003, 04:06:59 PM »
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Wow, what a topic. I've been a "professional" Photographer for 19 years, and now I manage a Digital studio. The equipment is top of the line (Leaf Volare) and I maintain all the computers and software. Whan I go on vacation or out for a weekend of shooting, I take my Canon AE1  Program (Film Camera 1983) or a 4x5 field camera. Do I prefer Film to Digital? No! nor do I prefer Digital to Film. They both take me where I want to go. I come to these forams to increase my knowledge base, the same as  several others I visit. I may just buy a digital camera for home use to, but not to best anyone, just because it will take me where I want to go.
  I don't think there are to many people on these forams who just buy equipment to have the best. But they do come here to tell us what they have, the same as all of us do when we buy a new car. Lighten up a little.

Brian R.
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Ray
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« Reply #16 on: January 13, 2003, 08:13:57 PM »
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It's amazing how often one hears the adage, with lots of variants, to the effect that the mere possession of the latest technological developments in cameras does not make one a better photographer, does not facilitate the taking of more interesting photos, more meaningful photos, more esthetically pleasing photos, photos with greater 'artistic' merit and so on.

I would suggest that anyone who knows anything about photography, knows this to be broadly true. The only people who might be fooled into equating the sophistication of the equipment with the talent of the photographer are likely to be the non-photographic general public.

On many occasions in crowded or touristy places, with my D60 and telephoto zoom dangling around my neck, I've been approached by complete strangers curious as to what magazine I might be working for. Sometimes I'm confused with a local photographic celebrity whose images, it almost seems, are on every postcard and calendar. Lately, the conversation tends to focus on -"Is that the camera that costs as much as a car?" - a reference to the 1Ds.

The facts is, whilst I'm very much aware that having a D60 in my hands does not make me a more artisitically sensitive and insightful person, I sure enjoy the activity of taking photos more. And that's what counts for me as an amateur.

But are the photos any 'better'? Undoubtedly! Which is better? An artistic masterpiece with all the defects that film and scanner are heir to, or the same masterpiece with grainless sky, clean skin tones and the general 'luminosity' that are a hallmark of the D30, D60 and 1Ds etc?
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Hank
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« Reply #17 on: January 20, 2003, 02:18:23 PM »
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Now we are really onto something!

The best photo I have experienced (yes, experienced rather than "seen") was a 30"x40" print of a scene taken in winter and at night on a crab fishing boat in the Bering Sea. The photographer shot with 35mm, intentionally using the old Scotch 1000 ISO print film for its horrendous grain.

Framed and hung at the end of a long hallway, the viewer first encounters the photo at a distance and can just make out the brightly yellow-lit crew struggling in blowing snow, amid crashing waves on a wildly tilting deck. As you walk down the hall the photo melts into an indecipherable wash of golf ball-sized grain an out-of-focus elements. On a small label below the photo, the photographer says something to the effect that "You have just experienced life on the Bering Sea- Best viewed from a distance but a blur of fear, exhaustion and cold when you are there."

I don't care a whit about the photographer's camera, and in fact didn't ask. I am delighted with the experience of his photo and the vision he brought to me.

Hank
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Hank
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« Reply #18 on: January 21, 2003, 01:53:37 PM »
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The photographer had everything to do with where the photo was hung, and in fact planned it before the shoot based on his experience with grainy films and night photography on fishing boats. He is a good photographer in the first place, but goes one step beyond in thinking about how the viewers will encounter and interact with the final product. I relish that opportunity to have more say in how our work is presented.

I wasn't aware of the kid's video camera, but would love to find one. I used Polapan extensively in the days before digital for short-turnaround projects when we couldn't wait a week for film to be processed and returned to remote locations, as well as for pure fun and "mood". I too mourn it's passing. I don't recall the names, but Polaroid also made a color version which was useful and fun for its narrow color palette (You could create the "faded" Kodachrome" of old slides very easily) and a "blue" high contrast negative film intended for photographing documents. The latter stuff was really wild to play with when you pointed it at something other than paper. Haven't used any of it in years, so I don't know if any is available today. Since many of the needs for the film are met digitally today, it's not surprising that they discontinued it.

As much as I have become dependent on digital, I have a growing urge to get back into my "wet" darkroom. It's an extensive setup, but all the chemicals will have to be replaced because I haven't been through the door in over a year. A friend mistakenly processed some TX400 in Dektol, "ruining" the film for its intended use on the one hand, but producing some oddly ghostly yet high contrast images on the other. I see some real potential for "dreamscapes."

Obviously I believe photography should be fun, but because of the tools involved it's easy to get SERIOUS and forget the fun. Alternative processes, whatever the medium, are a great way to rediscover the fun.

Hank
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Hank
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« Reply #19 on: January 22, 2003, 12:01:19 AM »
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"If the detail's not there, you can't create it. If the detail IS there, you can demolish it, if it suits your artistic purposes. There's a difference. Your arguments are of an aplogist nature to excuse inferior technique. However, I agree there is an art to making the most out of a bad situation.....But don't therefore draw the conclusion that such inadequacy of material should be the norm."

I guess I don't understand where that comes from. I certainly don't feel that inadequate materials should be the norm, and I don't read that into any of the other posts on this thread. I also make no apologies for alternative methods or regard them as inferior methods. If they do the best job of fulfilling the photographer's goal or vision, they are superior rather than inferior.

I'll let others speak for themselves on this, but I agree with you that lots of affects can be created after the fact in Photoshop, and in fact I use them when they suite my needs. However, in the same vein many can also be created directly using film or digital camera controls creatively. My point is that equipment, materials and processes should be judged in terms of how well they fulfill a photographer's intentions for a photo.

When detail is not important in a painting, painters do not use fine brushes then smear the results with knives or large brushes. They go right to the tools that do the best job for them. If I don't want detail in a photo and in fact other methods meet my needs directly, I won't shoot for fine detail then go into Photoshop to "demolish" it.

I don't see a problem here.

Hank
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