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Author Topic: Digital Cameras Are Crazy !  (Read 8318 times)
Alan
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« Reply #20 on: January 20, 2003, 08:16:32 AM »
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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.
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Ray
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« Reply #21 on: January 22, 2003, 08:00:23 PM »
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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.
I always saw the wet darkroom as an obstacle to my pursuit of photography. Not much fun, I thought, spending a good portion of one's life in a dark room exposed to potentially harmful chemicals. It was the possibilities and potential of the digital darkroom that got me interested in photography in the first instance, so forgive me if I seem a bit unappreciative of the nostalgia and fun of the wet darkroom.

But I agree, one should explore and use whatever technique or process captivates one's imagination or inspires one or seems fun. I guess I don't have the patience to mess around with pinhole cameras, for example, but I recently bought a Nikon 4300 P&S camera as a present and chose this particular model because it supposedly had a choice of F stops as large as F13.4 (which in 35mm terms would be equivalent to about F64) and looked forward to borrowing the camera to experiment with a few 'pinhole camera type' shots - perhaps not quite the same depth of field, but no doubt sharper. Turned out these large F stops were not real F stops but filters to compensate for a limited top shutter speed of 1/1000th - which was disappointing.

Since acquiring a D60, I've been unable to interest myself in shooting film. The whole process just seems so unbelievably cumbersome and slow. Can't say I'm feeling much nostalgia about the loss of that process.

But each to his own! Whatever turns you on!
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Dan Sroka
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« Reply #22 on: January 23, 2003, 12:34:44 PM »
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Dude, you don't like the chemical smell? :: Mmmmmmmm....! We had a darkroom in the basement when I was a kid, so man that smell brings back memories. But, yeah, I never had the patience for darkroom work either. (Which is why I got my Apple II.)

Pinhole and patience - yeah, the only reason I do it is I have a polaroid pinhole setup, so it is relatively painless. But a friend of mine turned his 35mm into a pinhole by poking a hole in the lens cap. I want to try this with my D100 -- the fun of pinhole but with the benefit of digital! Yowza!

Dan
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Dan Sroka
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« Reply #23 on: January 24, 2003, 11:31:21 AM »
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That argument makes me chuckle. To paraphrase Frank Zappa, anything you name "art", is art.
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Dan Sroka
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« Reply #24 on: January 25, 2003, 01:36:54 PM »
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Ray, I saw a website on this pinhole idea once... I'll have to dig around for it. I think what you found is a common problem. If I remember right, the two ways to fix it were to (a) buy a precisely machined pinhole, and ( use an extension tube to pull the hole father from the sensor. One of these days, when I have a little time I may play a little more.

Dan
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jeffreybehr
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« Reply #25 on: January 07, 2003, 09:35:33 PM »
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Some corrections:
1. The D60 MAY be out of production, but those shooting it are still creating great pics.
2. The 1Ds will NEVER be made obsolete by a mid-level, slow-shooting, unsealed-Nikon-bodied high-megapixel Kodak camera.
3. When and if Canon replaces the 1Ds with something better, some of us will switch and some of us won't. Those of us like me, for whom the 1Ds is our first professional-quality camera, probably will skip a generation because we too are still taking fabulous pics with our 1Ds.

'We' get our money from the same place that Porsche and Mercedes and Jaguar and $500K-home owners do, wherever that is. I saved mine during a great 35-year career as a salaried accountant and manager and still retired at age 54! Where did you get yours?
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Albert
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« Reply #26 on: January 08, 2003, 03:59:07 PM »
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I have to chime in here as well. I aggree there is too much arguing about equipment. Why this is a subject of argument I dont know but it seems like some people are more into gadgetry than photography. To each his own. If thats what one gets out of photography then more power to them.

Are there some people who like to show off the latest gadgets? Are there people whos ego is stroked by saying they own the best equipment and not by taking the best images? yes but thats human nature. There are people like this in any undertaking where the equipment is expensive. Does it make someone a better photographer because they have a professional body instead of a D60 or D30? No. If they take mediocre pictures with a D60 they will still take mediocre pictures with a 1DS. Too many people equate someone having the best equipment to being the best photographer. There are a lot of people who spend the money on the best equipment just because they can afford it. Whether they can utilize it to its full extent is another story.

So please stop arguing about the 1DS or D60 or lenses etc. Deal with what you have and use it well. Who cares what someone else is using.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #27 on: January 12, 2003, 02:37:18 AM »
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ftp://mail.gbgcorp.com/Download/Photo/
This link will take you to some 1/3 size JPEGs of some panoramic photos I created using a Kodak DC4800 3.1 MP digital P&S. Each image is a composite of 8-10 individual shots blended together to produce the final image. Is the DC4800 state of the art? No. Compared to the 1Ds it is a piece of crap. However, even though it has some significant limitations, I have used it (and Photoshop) to create images that most people would be proud to display on their wall.

Bottom line: get the best equipment you can afford, and then learn to use it to the fullest. Ansel Adams used equipment that would be considered primitive and obsolete by today's standards, but he was able to capture his artistic vision with it and create many memorable and beautiful images. Most people never use the equipment they have to the fullest extent possible.
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Dan Sroka
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« Reply #28 on: January 13, 2003, 11:10:23 AM »
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This desire for better-and-better equipment seems to come from an expectation that the goal of photography is to render reality perfectly. As an art photographer, I don't buy that. All photography is interpretation -- taking an infinitely complex subject (reality) and rendering it with imperfect tools (lenses, sensors, etc.). The challenge and craft is not in how perfect the result is (how little is lost), but how good the result is with respect to the tools used (how much is added).
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Hank
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« Reply #29 on: January 13, 2003, 10:30:23 PM »
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I can't resist sharing my reactions to this and other similar discussions. They have spurred me to two insights and actions:

1. I'm archiving them for my 3-year old granddaughter's entainment when she turns 21. By then, when digital's fate has long since been decided, the issues debated so hotly will be of great entertainment for her and her friends. Heck, such material ought to be great fodder for a college term paper whether she majors in art, sociology, anthropology or engineering. I sure wish a similar archive existed to record the introduction of color film, which "doomed" black and white film so many years ago. Do you think there would be points in common?

2. As much as digital photography is dependent upon computers, so is it subject to the foibles of that evolving technology. "Newer and better" versions emerge faster than the marketing departments can pucker their lips to the heraldic trumpets. Just as I do with computers, I will skip several generations before "upgrading" my digital camera. Heck, I did the same thing when buying film cameras in the gloomy past, as did most everyone else I know, so why should I behave any differently toward emerging digital models?

Time will most certainly cure all <digital> evils. Prices go down as features go up, even if the newest models cost arms and legs. I was near panic when I paid $2700 for my D30 a couple of years ago, but what is it worth today? For that matter what will $2700 buy today, in terms of features? The D30 doesn't take any worse pictures than it did new, unless there is some kind of sensor deterioration we don't know about yet. My expectations for a digital camera have simply gone up faster than my budget. No, I will not pay the current asking price for a D1s, but rest assured that the USED price of a D1s will have a lot to do with the price-per-feature of its successor. At that time I will make the decision between an antiquated D1s and its sibbling, but for the time being I am content to endure the social embarassment and sensor envy I am experiencing with my puny D30.

Hank
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willie408
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« Reply #30 on: January 17, 2003, 01:17:11 AM »
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You guys just think you got it tough with gearheads and equipment upgrades - when I was young and even stupider I spent 25 years racing SCCA sports cars when there was no money in it; just a hobby.  I finally got into Lotus single seaters (Lotus 18, 20, 22).  We were buying a new car every season (maybe $10-15 thou today equiv) -.  I finally went Formula Vee to cut the cost - and then gave it up.  The guy who sold me my Vee drove a Lotus 40 (200 mph, 400+ hp $25,000 in that day's money) - and the Lotus 40s killed exactly half of the Americans who bought them.  (No, not my friend)...and I have seen through the eyes of a girlfriend a hobby that makes that one look cheap - which is high level cross country horse competition.  So everything is relative, after all.  willie408.
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Dan Sroka
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« Reply #31 on: January 21, 2003, 11:38:04 AM »
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Hank, I wonder if the photographer had a part in the staging of the print. Sounds like an awesome job!

Did you ever hear of this? Fisher-Price long ago made a kid's version of a video camera. It used audio tapes and a plastic lens to capture these grainy black and white movies. Well, I guess this toy became an underground artistic hit -- professionals were snapping them up, since they gave them this wonderful dreamy video effect they couldn't get anywhere else.

Last year, I also experimented with Polaroid's 35mm Polapan film. It was designed to help business people make quick slides for presentations. The film shoots these high-contrast, grainy images, that you process yourself in this little mini-lab. Awesome. I picked up a processor for $10 on ebay, and started to play. I absolutely LOVED the graininess of these images! Unfortunately, Polaroid discontinued the film last summer.  Sad  The phootgrapher Mike Meyer has a mini-site up about this film. Click here.
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Dan Sroka
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« Reply #32 on: January 22, 2003, 12:44:59 PM »
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Ray, you are right, technically, but let me explain my perspective on this type of "inferior" work.

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Your arguments are of an aplogist nature to excuse inferior technique.

Good heavens, no. These arguments are acknowledging the artistic power of "inferior" techniques. I don't think anyone would say that clean, noise-free images are not important and useful, and shouln't be the norm. However, sometimes you can tap into some real artistic power by ignoring the best methods, and retreating to more basic materials. This is not "making the best out of a bad situatuion". It is using the techniques and processes to try to tap into some new alternatives.

You could use Photoshop to do all that, but that isn't the point. Artistic expression comes not only from the final result, but from the process it took to get there. Sometimes, I need to play in the mud to get inspiration. Sometimes, using that pinhole camera with it's "inferior" technology opens me up to visual possibilities I didn't see before. Sure, I could recreate the "pinhole effect" in Photoshop... but how do you learn what is really possible and what is impossible unless you do it by hand.

Now, Photoshop as a tool can also lead me to new visual possibilities -- it does every day (and believe me, I've been a power user since it first came out). But it is not the only way. Each tool and each process leads me to different awareness - and different results.

All that said, this is just how it works for me. I would never make a claim that "unless you start with the old tools, you will never really learn". I think that is hogwash. It's just that I have found that for me, at times, inferior techniques yield some suprisingly superior results.

Dan
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Ray
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« Reply #33 on: January 24, 2003, 06:26:39 PM »
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Dansroka,
I tried the idea of a hole in the lens cap to get a pinhole camera effect - although I didn't spoil a good lens cap. Used a piece of aluminium cooking foil fixed around the lens with a rubber band. Alas! The image circle is far too small to be of any use that I can think of.

The old argument of whether photography is an art or a craft is unresolvable. The confusion is in the question. We're so used to categorising and labeling things that we (some folks, anyway) assume that everything must be either 'this' or 'that'. In fact, both art and craft are involved in the making of - I would say any and every - photograph.

There are some very successful photographers, I believe, although I can't think off-hand of the names of any, who would assert that photography is no more than a craft. I take this to be an expression of humility and a show of deference to great painters.
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