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Author Topic: Do You See What I See?  (Read 62159 times)
jjj
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« Reply #60 on: June 08, 2009, 07:50:11 PM »
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Quote from: dalethorn
Judging by your bigotry toward Akron Ohio and your use of extreme profanity, I'd say you have a serious mental illness. I'm sorry that I can't help you with that, but there are people who can.
Oh dear. Pot, Kettle.....
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« Reply #61 on: June 08, 2009, 07:55:49 PM »
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Quote from: LightCapture
There's a reason the world's great photographers learned on film
err... the fact that there wasn't any digital cameras available until recently may have had an awful lot to do with it.   I learned on film BTW, so I must be better than those poor newbies who get immediate feedback, that can be acted upon and automatic recording of settings to learn from  when looking at shots later.
« Last Edit: June 08, 2009, 07:56:22 PM by jjj » Logged

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« Reply #62 on: June 08, 2009, 07:58:35 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
I think you're overlooking one of the huge advantages digital has over film for learning and figuring out what works: EXIF. With digital I can evaluate my shots, compare them to each other, and take note of how exposure and other settings affected the outcome.

I have to wonder how many students learning with film will actually go through the painstaking process of manually recording all the exposure settings for each and every shot so that they can use that information to evaluate the developed film/prints. That just sounds way too tedious (not to mention error-prone) to me.
Not to mention getting in the way of actually taking photographs.

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« Reply #63 on: June 08, 2009, 08:06:37 PM »
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Quote from: LightCapture
I can only say that your experience with film and mine were quite different. When shooting color, I almost always shoot chrome for two simple reasons: I have greater control over the final output, and I know I'll have to cull anyway and it thus almost always ends up being cheaper than film. In particularly difficult lighting situations, I'll bracket incrementally from small to large (f/stop or ss or both) so that I always have a relatively good idea of what I've shot on any give frame. As for B&W, which is my favorite medium to shoot with, I try to do as little as possible in the dark room when I do my own processing. But even when I do dodge and burn or alter the chemical times, that's about all I'd do, which is a darn sight less than what you can do with photo software these days. And seeing a proof sheet with a loupe is more than enough for me to catch where "highlights had blown out and shadows were blocked." And dark room work is called an art form because it takes skill, knowledge, and time to learn how to do well. But with today's software, anyone can move their cursor up or down any number of gradients to tweak a shot to their heart's content without knowing the first thing about photography. And furthermore, digital technology hasn't figured out how to render b&w well enough to even get close to comparing to film. Show me two images of a scene, one shot with professional film and the other with the most expensive digital camera, and I or anyone else experienced in b&w photography will be able to distinguish between them in a country minute.
I loved the darkroom, but after getting my first computer in 1994 and PS 3.5 [IIRC] I never went in the darkroom again, my DeVere is gathering dust in a friend's warehouse. I've also seen stunning B+W prints, that have never been anywhere near a smelly darkroom and the control you have compared to waving a bit of card on a wire makes for greater creativity and control.
BTW, it takes as much skill to use PS well as it does the traditional darkroom, though I acknowledge that my darkroom abilitiess underpin my computer skills.
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Rob C
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« Reply #64 on: June 09, 2009, 09:29:29 AM »
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Quote from: jjj
I loved the darkroom, but after getting my first computer in 1994 and PS 3.5 [IIRC] I never went in the darkroom again, my DeVere is gathering dust in a friend's warehouse. I've also seen stunning B+W prints, that have never been anywhere near a smelly darkroom and the control you have compared to waving a bit of card on a wire makes for greater creativity and control.
BTW, it takes as much skill to use PS well as it does the traditional darkroom, though I acknowledge that my darkroom abilitiess underpin my computer skills.


My Durst was donated to a local school; my black/whites from a HewPak B 9180 are lovely to behold when in a crystal sleeve, but not so wonderful when Hahne Photo Rag is seen naked. In the wet, I hated matt and only used WSG single grades - never liked Multigrade and only used it after leaving the UK, but as the water shortages were too severe here I couldnīt force myself to abuse the supply, even if horrid plastic papers used minimal wash... Now, if HP could only make pigment inks that worked on glossy surfaces, it would be heaven on Earth.

But, like your experience, my own is that a wet background provides the eye to judge what should be possible. Frankly, I wonder sometimes what those unaquainted with wet printing use as their yardstick of what can be done. How do they know how it could look? What I miss most about wet b/w printing is the ease with which you could do broad shading  of something like a sky tone, for example. It all takes so long in PS, though to make up for that, thereīs no argument but that the tiny areas of local control are beyond what Iīd have ever thought of trying in the trad manner.

As I have mentioned before, I think the best part of digital (for me) lies post capture. The magic is in the printing possibilities.

Rob C
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Rob C
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« Reply #65 on: June 09, 2009, 09:46:05 AM »
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Quote from: jjj
Not to mention getting in the way of actually taking photographs.



jjj, youīre reciting my problems with digital capture where ETTR competes/conflicts with the Matrix meter. If that doesnīt get in the way of actually taking photographs, my personal experience of the situation, then what in blazes does? There is something retrograde about having to chimp where a simple Minolta or Weston would have been accurate first pop, regardless of colours! And in places with sunshine, all a rear screen is any good for is making out the vaguest of histograms. My D200, along with all the rest of them, allows you to crop in and in and ever further in to check focus: how can you do that when you are blinded by the available light and using a cloth to cover your bonce means waiting minutes for your poor old eyes to adjust and then supreme irony, all you getīs a bloody jpeg! And you have already set the camera to avoid any sharpening... useful, non?

I wonder how it works out in a studio with flash; using film and my Minolta Flash lll it was simple. If exposure with digi now also depends on the colours present in the shot and nothing to do with aiming for a white, no wonder they need to work tied! As I have said often - to the level of boring anyone who reads - I honestly believe that digi started life as a solution looking for a problem, was adopted by some makers, and ended up as their suicide mission. I think if you look around at the photo cemetery you have to conclude I have a point! And, I also think that its popularity within the profession has been driven by clients, not by photographers, who, by and large, did quite well with their tools prior to the change!

Rob C
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LightCapture
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« Reply #66 on: June 09, 2009, 12:49:30 PM »
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Quote from: jjj
err... the fact that there wasn't any digital cameras available until recently may have had an awful lot to do with it.   I learned on film BTW, so I must be better than those poor newbies who get immediate feedback, that can be acted upon and automatic recording of settings to learn from  when looking at shots later.

jjj, indeed, the fact that there weren't digital cameras until recently does have a lot to do with why virtually all great photographers learned on film. But this is a perfect example of a necessity that's become a virtue. Before word-processing grammar and spell-check software came along, there was a much higher proportion of good writers and spellers for the simple reason that you actually had to learn about grammar rather than rely on a computer to correct your mistakes. I should know, I'm a college English professor. The general quality of writing and basic grammar skills has taken a nose-dive in the last 10-20 years, and it's shameful. Ask any English teacher, and you'll hear the same thing. Likewise, the digital age of photography dumbs down the process of photography because it affords way too many "helps," and human nature is such that if you give us the chance to take shortcuts, we almost always will. It's called the Path of Least Resistance. Turns out, the easier a skill becomes through technology, the worse we become at it. Look at what's happened to the music industry. Now any tart with blond hair and a smile can land a recording contract as long as she's "managed" correctly.

And why do you and all your cohorts insist on constantly using the exception to prove the rule? Yes, the newbies can get immediate feedback and can act upon that and mull over the recorded settings when they look at their shots later. But honestly, how many SLR users do you think actually do that? You don't need a weatherman to know the way the wind blows there. And as far as that goes, I have no idea if you're better than the newbies because you learned on film, but the chances are good that it's true simply because film allowed you fewer parameters to screw up. If you were going to stay in photography with any reasonable chance of success and enjoyment, you had to learn about lighting and composition, etc. Now you don't need to know the first thing about it, since you have a practically infinite number of ways to correct the damage after the shot has been taken by simply sliding a guide up and down a scale.
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« Reply #67 on: June 09, 2009, 04:13:11 PM »
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When I read about the degradation of photography caused by the coming of digital, I hark back (figuratively) to the late 1800s when George Eastman came out with: "You push the button. We do the rest." At that point photography branched. Atget was still doing his thing in Paris, and Stieglitz was still doing his in New York, but an awful lot of the people in the world started pushing that button and producing the kind of result we've been denigrating in this thread. As Yogi said, "If you come to a fork in the road, take it," and that's what everyone in photography did. There may be more bad photography today than ever before, but as near as I can tell, there's also more good photography. I suspect the proportion hasn't changed all that much since George came up with his little box.

Which leads me to a related point: I keep seeing remarks about what the "pros" do. Seems to me that when we mention "pros" we need to specify what kind of "pros" we're talking about. I have a couple of friends who are wedding photographers. They're "pros" because they make their living shooting pictures of events such as weddings. But asking one of them questions about photography as an artform is like asking a house painter questions about painting pictures on a canvas. These guys are very good at what they do, but they can't afford to do art photography. It doesn't pay. Most fine art photography (if there is such a thing) is done by amateurs -- in the original (French) meaning of the word. Of course there also are people like Elliott Erwitt who, after he finished his "professional" work on assignment, would pick up his M4 and take a busman's holiday shooting what he felt like shooting -- and producing what I consider fine art.
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« Reply #68 on: June 09, 2009, 06:27:08 PM »
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Quote from: RSL
When I read about the degradation of photography caused by the coming of digital, I hark back (figuratively) to the late 1800s when George Eastman came out with: "You push the button. We do the rest." At that point photography branched. Atget was still doing his thing in Paris, and Stieglitz was still doing his in New York, but an awful lot of the people in the world started pushing that button and producing the kind of result we've been denigrating in this thread. As Yogi said, "If you come to a fork in the road, take it," and that's what everyone in photography did. There may be more bad photography today than ever before, but as near as I can tell, there's also more good photography. I suspect the proportion hasn't changed all that much since George came up with his little box.

Which leads me to a related point: I keep seeing remarks about what the "pros" do. Seems to me that when we mention "pros" we need to specify what kind of "pros" we're talking about. I have a couple of friends who are wedding photographers. They're "pros" because they make their living shooting pictures of events such as weddings. But asking one of them questions about photography as an artform is like asking a house painter questions about painting pictures on a canvas. These guys are very good at what they do, but they can't afford to do art photography. It doesn't pay. Most fine art photography (if there is such a thing) is done by amateurs -- in the original (French) meaning of the word. Of course there also are people like Elliott Erwitt who, after he finished his "professional" work on assignment, would pick up his M4 and take a busman's holiday shooting what he felt like shooting -- and producing what I consider fine art.

The invention of the Kodak camera (and the Brownie at the turn of the century, which made photography available to the masses) had as little to do with advancing the art of photography as the invention of the digital camera has. That's precisely my point. Just because more people are able to do something (which, in the case of snapshooting, is perfectly fine ~ the more the merrier) doesn't mean, however, that it (photography) is being done any better. On the contrary, the basic law of returns says that if making a process easier is what allows more untrained people to do something, then it stands to reason that the easier something becomes, the larger the propensity for prosaic outcomes. Throughout most of the last century, those who understood photography as a medium of artistic expression -- with its unique ability to capture a moment in time -- were close enough to the actual process of capturing an image (understanding that the fewer things between your eyes and the image, the closer you are) that they could actually claim to understand the vagaries of light capture and the importance of composition, etc., which is precisely what has traditionally been understood to make up the basic elements of "photography." To wit: the Leica 1, introduced in 1925, utilizes the same technology to capture a b&w image as does my Contax N1. The process has not changed, and I'll go to the darkroom with the same essential materials as my great grandfather would have. In other words, we've been working with the same tools and using the same techniques for close to 100 years, and as a result, the focus (pun intended) could be on the art form of capturing an image (as traditionally understood) and less so on the incidentals of this or that particular medium.

Which gets me to your second point. Aside from the fact that wedding photographers are a real lousy control group for understanding what is meant by the artistry involved in photography (I've known too many hacks particularly in the last few years who thought they could get into the business because they'd purchased an expensive digital camera), you inexplicably make a connection between them and "art photography" and "fine art photography" to prove the point (I think) that professional photographers are as removed from the artistry of photography as professional house painters are from Botticelli. Well, kind of... but since professional photogs ostensibly use the same medium (read "canvas") as any fine art photographer does, so the comparison sort of breaks down right out of the gates. After all, we're not talking about a difference between clapboards and calf skins, are we?

But the larger point is that the artistry traditionally involved in "amateur" or "enthusiast" photography has very little do with "art" or "fine art" photography to begin with. The point, seems to me, of all the photography books written and classes offered in the pre-digital age were about the same essential three ingredients: 1. developing an eye to see the world (and an image) in a way one hadn't seen it before; 2. understanding the relationship between shutter speed and aperture; and 3. knowing your equipment (which was largely about lenses and film types). But this has been exactly reversed, and all the rage now is about the equipment -- and even then, you don't really need to know much about it beyond the "Quick Start" guides and tutorials you read on dpreview.com or get from your local Target salesperson -- and conversation about developing an eye and the techniques of composition have all but been drowned out (note my earlier post about this site). I encourage you once again to look at the latest Photography magazine and compare how many articles are devoted to the manipulation of software and how many are devoted to developing photographic skills. Why have great photography magazines like DoubleTake and Aperture gone by the wayside? Because they were devoted to the art of photography. Alas, now even claiming that there is such a thing runs the risk of sounding elitist.

<sigh>
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« Reply #69 on: June 09, 2009, 08:35:17 PM »
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Light, Maybe my ability to read accurately has broken down, but as near as I can tell, your response agreed almost precisely with what I said in that post and in many others. I've said over and over again that I can't see that equipment has anything to do with the quality of the work good photographers do. Again: From HCB: "Photographing is nothing. Looking is everything." Another (I don't remember the exact quote, but this is close enough): When asked to teach photography, Elliott Erwitt said, "What is there to teach?" Meaning: good photography is based on your ability to see. You can learn about your equipment by RTFI (an Air Force acronym for "read the instructions."

Yes, I agree, house painters and art painters paint on different materials.
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« Reply #70 on: June 09, 2009, 08:59:43 PM »
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Rob, plenty of folks get by just fine with ETTR and digital. Maybe you shouldn't rely on matrix metering though, if you really want to ETTR. Most decent DSLR's have a TTL spot-meter, and there are ways to load custom white balances to give you a accurate representation of the actual exposure for each color channel.

But you know what, if you really miss using your hand-held meter, there's no reason you can't use it with digital. They still work the same way. You'll have to watch your highlights in high-contrast scenes, since an incident meter only tells you where mid-tones should be and not where the highlights will end up. But that would be true with film as well (especially in the case of slide film which, has even less dynamic range than digital).

I actually bought a high-end Sekonic spot/incident meter, because so many experienced photographers swore that was the only way to really take control of exposure. I don't use it all that often though, because I've found it's faster to use the camera's spot meter - and just as accurate (more so in some cases).
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« Reply #71 on: June 10, 2009, 02:20:55 AM »
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Quote from: LightCapture
jjj, indeed, the fact that there weren't digital cameras until recently does have a lot to do with why virtually all great photographers learned on film. But this is a perfect example of a necessity that's become a virtue. Before word-processing grammar and spell-check software came along, there was a much higher proportion of good writers and spellers for the simple reason that you actually had to learn about grammar rather than rely on a computer to correct your mistakes. I should know, I'm a college English professor. The general quality of writing and basic grammar skills has taken a nose-dive in the last 10-20 years, and it's shameful. Ask any English teacher, and you'll hear the same thing.
And that issue occurred before computers became the norm, so I would blame the education system not the technology for that particular problem. Also in the UK you will hear academics complain about the poor standard of English,Maths etc amongst the current student intake, but then as the the qualifying Exams have become easier and you no longer have just the academic elite going to University, that is to be expected. It used to be the top 3-5% went to Uni, now they are trying to get 25% of people into higher education. So unless  everyone suddenly got smarter, student standards had to take a serious nosedive.
BTW  I was never formally taught any grammar as far as I recall and it never caused me any problems. I also believe the grammar centric teaching of foreign languages is a major reason why people struggle to learn them at school, despite the fact that learning to speak languages is a natural aptitude we all have.
You may be an English professor, but it seems your ability at statistical analysis and causuality is as bad as the English of the students you teach.  


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Likewise, the digital age of photography dumbs down the process of photography because it affords way too many "helps," and human nature is such that if you give us the chance to take shortcuts, we almost always will. It's called the Path of Least Resistance. Turns out, the easier a skill becomes through technology, the worse we become at it. Look at what's happened to the music industry. Now any tart with blond hair and a smile can land a recording contract as long as she's "managed" correctly.
How to sound like an old fogey in one short sentence. You only get a music career if you have the tunes to sell. Just like it's always been. Besides pretty, but talentless faces have always been a part of the music industry. Milli Vanilli are probably the most famous example of that.

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And why do you and all your cohorts insist on constantly using the exception to prove the rule? Yes, the newbies can get immediate feedback and can act upon that and mull over the recorded settings when they look at their shots later. But honestly, how many SLR users do you think actually do that?
Most people chimp their images and if it hasn't worked they take another shot, whether they have the nous to work out why is another matter. The percentage that use cameras and have actual talent won't have changed. And will not.


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You don't need a weatherman to know the way the wind blows there. And as far as that goes, I have no idea if you're better than the newbies because you learned on film, but the chances are good that it's true simply because film allowed you fewer parameters to screw up. If you were going to stay in photography with any reasonable chance of success and enjoyment, you had to learn about lighting and composition, etc.
And you still do. Duh! Plus įa change.

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Now you don't need to know the first thing about it, since you have a practically infinite number of ways to correct the damage after the shot has been taken by simply sliding a guide up and down a scale.
More very naive nonsense, there is no slider for better composition and using the computer is no different from spending time in the darkroom, dodging and burning prints. Except it's a lotless smelly
 And I'd wager that you do not or are not very good at post processing images using software, as every time I hear this silly argument it's from someone who cannot or will not use PS/Lightroom etc. I've taught people how to use  cameras both digital and film, yet teaching film was actually much easier as it was much less complicated in so many ways. You 'simply' exposed correctly,dropped it off at lab and got great looking images. Now you have to know about computers, colour spaces, colour management, RAW processing and a whole host of other techy crap to get an image to look nice. Most film, particularly slide looked good straight back from the lab and to anyone you showed it to. Now you have to have some serious technical expertise to just to get that very basic part right and you have to hope other people's monitors are calibrated correctly, so the images look good to them too .
« Last Edit: June 10, 2009, 02:22:47 AM by jjj » Logged

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« Reply #72 on: June 10, 2009, 03:02:05 AM »
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Quote from: Rob C
I have avoided writing here because I feel that there is a difference of minds polarizing into a position where whatever is said by one side is instantly refuted by the other as if a matter of principle.

Okay, since Iīm here, what do I find?

Remember Iīm retired after a long career as a photographer. By definition, all of that was spent with film, both b/w and colour tran and neg, with much experience of printing from all, including trannies. Thatīs my point of departure.

Since I retired I have shot very little film and, were it not for digital, might well have given up photography altogether. However, I have come to the conclusion that the best part of digital lies in the printing of film originals, and that Kodachrome has magically turned into as close to being a perfect colour/b and w material as ever existed. I am repeatedly informed that you canīt scan Kodachrome: surprising, to say the least; most everything I have printed has started as big K! Can only CanoScan scan K?
You cannot use ICE or what ever it is called with Kodachrome, not that you cannot scan Kodakchrome. You get weird artifacting if you use auoto dust removal with Chrome.

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So what do I get out of my digital camera? So far, and it might only be limited by opportunity, a few b/w landscapes that I like - some skies that seem to be quite nice for grafting onto existing film shots and some pleasing (to me) shots of paint. I have not shot any people in a serious way and canīt say that I have been impressed with the casual shots that I have made. There seems to be something phoney-looking about skin.
Digital skin texture - yeuch. Making skin look nice is much harder with digital. I use PS to emulate film feel.

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How has it affected my technique? Very seriuosly. With film, there was never a time I guessed exposure: I always hand metered. Now, with film, faced with tricky outdoor lighting, Iīd probably be quite unsure about how to use my meter. I have become so damn dependent on the histogram that it has destroyed the confidence I had with a meter and film. In other words, itīs right where an earlier posted said it was: you become stuck on what the camera says or MIGHT be saying. Take the case of incident light metering with transparency. You took a reading which told you exactly where you could go to avoid getting clear film, the other colours/tones falling into place behind that highlight point.

Is the histogram the same? The hell it is. I cite my paint pics as an example. If one has a lot of white in it, then the histogram tells me one thing as I try to ETTR. In the same light, if I were to paint over that white with another colour already in the picture, why should that force a different setting on the digital camera, as it would? With transparency film in the same light, the same exposure would be correct in both cases.  Digital is an improvement? It takes me a darn sight longer to expose correctly than film ever did. The digital cameraīs metering system is defeated by the ETTR ethic. I follow ETTR because I think it might be correct, but with film I KNEW that the meter called the answer correctly. Looking at the meter reading in the camera, it goes all over the place when trying to use ETTR - it becomes as good as useless. And I used to think that Nikonīs Matrix was really accurate when all I did with the camera was street scenes or other open, general shots with all the tones and colour in the world. I suppose that thatīs what the camera metering systems are designed to handle: "average" scenes.
The short answer is -  use a handheld meter/camerameter/eye and learn your sensor characteristics, just like you learned a particular film character and expose appropriately, it's just the same, but slightly different. If you catch my drift.  

The problem with using the histogram on back of camera is that it's for the camera generated JPEG, not the RAW file where you would use ETTR. If you meter  like with film, then your in camera jpegs should look just fine. ETTR is for getting the max info out of file. It is not the 'correct' exposure as such,anymore than there was a 'correct' exposure for film. Colour Negative was [apparently] better if overexposed a tad and slide was nicer slightly underexposed - for my taste anyway.


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So, I think that digital photography (capture) has created a far more complicated and awkward way of doing things; I think that many of the wonder toys that are being introduced into MF digital are, in reality, nothing more than efforts to compensate for failures that film did not have. It has become a new wild west with the biggest and strongest running the others right out of town. The population didnīt do very well out of that scenario then, I doubt today will show a different result.

So, in my own case, and this is all it is, I find it a very mixed bag of pretty expensive tricks. When I wanted to shoot some slides, I didnīt need to buy a computer to do it! Nor to store them nor edit them. But then, perhaps thatīs where some find the photographic pleasure today, as in the other posterīs reference to photo magazines. It ainīt about the pics so much, more about the talking about the pics and the tools used to make them, perhaps?

Rob C
Camera mags have always been full of ads for gear [it's how they pay the bills] and camera clubs and now forums too are where people like to talk about kit. But as I said above, digital may be more immediate, bit it's not easier/simpler. Everything is way more techy than it used to be.

« Last Edit: June 10, 2009, 03:04:39 AM by jjj » Logged

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« Reply #73 on: June 10, 2009, 03:53:49 AM »
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Quote from: LightCapture
If "there's never been a better time for a discussion of photographic composition," then why have virtually all photo magazines become nothing more than a glorified advertisement for the latest gadget?
They always have been. With very few exceptions.

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And if that doesn't convince you--and it should--then take a look at this site. Under  "Raw & Post Processing, Printing" there are currently about 10,000 topic posts with 75,000 replies; under "Equipment & Techniques" there are 16,000 topic posts with about 143,000 replies; but under "The Art of Photography" there are only 1700 topic posts with 13,300 replies, of which approximately 3,600 replies are in the "Coffee Corner" which is committed to any topic under the sun including things that have nothing to do with photography. In other words, on the very site where you would expect a lot of "discussion of photographic composition," less than 5% of topic posts and replies are actually committed to that discussion. You do the math.
A little bit of thought explains the math. It's easier to ask/talk about/get info on technical aspects than it is to talk about vagaries like composition and it it art as that side of things is so subjective and lacking in actual facts. Plus once you  solve the techy stuff [and there's an awful lot with digital], like how does my camera work, then you can simply take photos. Besides some of the most popular threads in the equipment section are the ones with photos in.  
You can teach anyone how to use a camera, you cannot teach how or when to take a photograph,that's something, you either have or you don't have.


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The Sigma SD14 is the canary in the coal mine. It's been panned from one reviewer to the next. Why? Because of its output and image quality? On the contrary. Pretty much every reviewer, including those who have panned it, recognize that it takes better pictures than just about any digital camera out there. It's panned because it doesn't have all these ridiculous little "helps" that the most advanced SLR's are apparently supposed to have. Fact is, the SD14 is for serious photographers who don't want/need any of those silly add-ons. Virtually every photographer I know who uses one puts it on Manual/RAW and never looks back. Can the same be said for any other camera out there? I don't think so.
I have a Canon and use it on manual/raw like most serious photographers do, regardless of camera brand/sensor.
Plus a good sensor is simply not enough. The same sensor is in the DP1, yet it is such a crap camera to use you are very likely to miss the shot,
as the camera is so slow and difficult to use. I would have bought one in a flash if that hadn't been the case. The new version is apparently less awful.
Camera ergonomics/features are extremely important and not a trivial thing at all. If say you need a high sync speed to get the exposure settings you need/prefer to use with flash and your camera doesn't have it, then you are compromised/limited by your camera and it may be of limited use to you no matter how good anything else may be.
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« Reply #74 on: June 10, 2009, 04:21:06 AM »
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jjj, youīre reciting my problems with digital capture where ETTR competes/conflicts with the Matrix meter. If that doesnīt get in the way of actually taking photographs, my personal experience of the situation, then what in blazes does?
Never found it an issue or any different to a handheld meter in that sense.

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I wonder how it works out in a studio with flash; using film and my Minolta Flash lll it was simple. If exposure with digi now also depends on the colours present in the shot and nothing to do with aiming for a white, no wonder they need to work tied! As I have said often - to the level of boring anyone who reads - I honestly believe that digi started life as a solution looking for a problem, was adopted by some makers, and ended up as their suicide mission. I think if you look around at the photo cemetery you have to conclude I have a point!
If talking about MF, many died as for most people DSLRs were good enough and more affordable. MF film cameras were affordable by most people. MF digital backs were certainly not and also the manufacturing skills needed went from mechanical to cutting edge electronics. So no surprises at the demise of established names when there is a major change in the business paradigm - only to be expected.

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And, I also think that its popularity within the profession has been driven by clients, not by photographers, who, by and large, did quite well with their tools prior to the change!
The only time I've had a client express a preference for how I shoot wanted me to use film. I showed him comparisons of both and he admitted digital was quite good. I shot with both and only the digital was used.  Most photographers chose digital as instant feedback is very, very, very useful for pros and much better than Polaroid for so many reasons. Not to mention no unbelievably tedious and crappy scanning involved. I used a computer for ten years before I shot digitally and  I work better and more capably with digital than I did with film. A major chunk of work I've done over last few years, would not have been very practical with film - working for long periods in rural locations with no E6 labs to hand.  Not to mention some work becomes waaaaay cheaper if not using film. Even accounting for all the other costs, like hard drives, cameras etc. On the other hand if working very remotely with no power sources, then film is better and lighter. Though I do not miss arguing with airport staff about not X-raying my [often high ISO] film.
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dalethorn
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« Reply #75 on: June 10, 2009, 09:10:23 AM »
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Oh dear. Pot, Kettle.....

Gosh, I had you on ignore for so long I forgot what a piece of crap you were. Too bad they deleted your clown postings - really embarrassing for LLVJ to have 1,000-plus people read those. I understand the admins here like you. Crap really gets around.
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Rob C
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« Reply #76 on: June 10, 2009, 10:44:17 AM »
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But you know what, if you really miss using your hand-held meter, there's no reason you can't use it with digital. They still work the same way. You'll have to watch your highlights in high-contrast scenes, since an incident meter only tells you where mid-tones should be and not where the highlights will end up. But that would be true with film as well (especially in the case of slide film which, has even less dynamic range than digital).

I actually bought a high-end Sekonic spot/incident meter, because so many experienced photographers swore that was the only way to really take control of exposure. I don't use it all that often though, because I've found it's faster to use the camera's spot meter - and just as accurate (more so in some cases).



Jeff

I donīt follow your line of thought about incident light metering. It was mainly useful with colour transparency because it tied exposure very accurately to the HIGHLIGHT end of the subject, not the mid-tones at all: it gave a reading designed to make white (in the subject matter) just this side of clear film, and everything else fell into line behind that.

Reflected light metering, on the other hand, was designed to measure what would represent a mid-grey. In other words, if you reflected-light measured a black, it would tell you to expose at a setting that would render that black a mid-grey, and ditto if you measured white by reflected light. Thatīs also the problem using a spot meter. Being just a reflected light meter with about a 1 degree angle, you have to know exactly which tone to measure that you want to reproduce as the ideal mid-tone, which could mean a mid-blue tone, a mid-red tone, a mid-anything tone. Using a spot meter can be quite tricky just because it does depend on your ability to know what exactly constitutes a mid-tone. For example, if you spot read a human face (Caucasian) then you should open up a little bit to increase the exposure because otherwise, the skin will be reproduced much darker than you intend. If, instead of a face, there is something in the shot that is white, read that with the spot meter and open up about one-and-a-half stops and you will be pretty bang-on with your exposure. I am speaking about FILM here!

I used to have a Nikon F4s which had a so-called spot; well, it was far too wide an acceptance angle to be one, but it was still pretty useful and I could get it to work if I found myself somewhere where I couldnīt take an incident light reading in the same lighting as was the subject. When I first got my D200 I thought Iīd try the spot metering in that, but it didnīt work in the same way and I gave up on it pretty quickly. I found the Matrix pretty good, but even then, there were times when a few minor highlights would lose all detail.

To continue this chat and bringing in some of jjjīs points, yes, there are very accurate answers to metering with digi capture, but all I think I was trying to say is that it is a much longer route to getting to the same place. Using the Minolta (or any incident light meter for that matter) and tranny film, once you measured the basic level it was suited to all shots in that same lighting and you didnīt have to re-meter because the subject colour might have been altered, which is exactly what I have discovered I DO have to do with my painting shots. I repeat, yes, it can be done very well on digi capture but it takes longer and requires a lot more attention to subject matter from an exposure point of view, not any advantage in my book.

But, had I never used film, Iīm sure Iīd be wondering where the problem lies, if not just in the photographerīs head.

Rob C
« Last Edit: June 10, 2009, 10:47:08 AM by Rob C » Logged

LightCapture
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« Reply #77 on: June 10, 2009, 11:49:30 AM »
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And that issue occurred before computers became the norm, so I would blame the education system not the technology for that particular problem. Also in the UK you will hear academics complain about the poor standard of English,Maths etc amongst the current student intake, but then as the the qualifying Exams have become easier and you no longer have just the academic elite going to University, that is to be expected. It used to be the top 3-5% went to Uni, now they are trying to get 25% of people into higher education. So unless  everyone suddenly got smarter, student standards had to take a serious nosedive.
BTW  I was never formally taught any grammar as far as I recall and it never caused me any problems. I also believe the grammar centric teaching of foreign languages is a major reason why people struggle to learn them at school, despite the fact that learning to speak languages is a natural aptitude we all have.
You may be an English professor, but it seems your ability at statistical analysis and causuality is as bad as the English of the students you teach.  

Ahh, well, if you can't win on logic, use ad hominem. I'll stick to the points of the debate myself. The precipitous decline in writing standards and grammar that I'm referring to is actually a post-computer phenomenon. It's been documented ad nauseum. Check it out for yourself. As for the UK qualifying exams, I'm grateful you use an argument to prove my point. Easier qualifying exams leads to poorer standards in English. Precisely. And all I've said about digital SLR photography is that the more you lower the barrier to entry, the lower the overall output will invariably be. Any fool can go into a camera store today, turn a camera to the "On" position, take off the lens cap, and start firing away with virtually zero risk of bad exposure. That's called lowering the bar. Try doing that with a K-1000 or an M3. As for your never having been taught grammar in school not causing you any problems, I simply defer to your last sentence above: the word is "causality," not "causuality." I'm surprised your spell-checker didn't catch that. I refer you to the Dunning-Kruger effect, which you can access here: http://www.englishrules.com/archives/2007/...idol-effect.php. Fun little article, actually, that brings in the whole notion of grammar, too.

 How to sound like an old fogey in one short sentence. You only get a music career if you have the tunes to sell. Just like it's always been. Besides pretty, but talentless faces have always been a part of the music industry. Milli Vanilli are probably the most famous example of that.

Is that why the entertainment biz here in Hollywood has been all a-twitter about how shows like American Idol have changed the music landscape to the point that managing someone is now more crucial that any actual talent they may have? Yes, of course this sort of thing has happened since the beginning, but not at the rate it's happening now.

Most people chimp their images and if it hasn't worked they take another shot, whether they have the nous to work out why is another matter. The percentage that use cameras and have actual talent won't have changed. And will not.

"Whether they have the nous to work out why" is exactly the point. And the percentage of people who use cameras has skyrocketed. Clearly you're not denying that, are you? As for talent, who knows what the percentage is.

 And you still do. Duh! Plus įa change.

Actually, you don't. Hence my point below.

More very naive nonsense, there is no slider for better composition and using the computer is no different from spending time in the darkroom, dodging and burning prints. Except it's a lotless smelly
 And I'd wager that you do not or are not very good at post processing images using software, as every time I hear this silly argument it's from someone who cannot or will not use PS/Lightroom etc. I've taught people how to use  cameras both digital and film, yet teaching film was actually much easier as it was much less complicated in so many ways. You 'simply' exposed correctly,dropped it off at lab and got great looking images. Now you have to know about computers, colour spaces, colour management, RAW processing and a whole host of other techy crap to get an image to look nice. Most film, particularly slide looked good straight back from the lab and to anyone you showed it to. Now you have to have some serious technical expertise to just to get that very basic part right and you have to hope other people's monitors are calibrated correctly, so the images look good to them too .

Let me take your last point first. If a slide looked good straight back from the lab to anyone you showed it to, why on earth would someone prefer to need "some serious technical expertise to just get that very basic part right and...hope that other people's monitors are calibrated correctly." Sounds exhausting.

As for your other points: I never said there was a slider for composition. But there are sliders for everything else. And no problem there, if you're simply interested in doctoring your images up after the fact. Which takes me to the final (and very telling) statement of yours:
"Now you have to know about computers, colour spaces, colour management, RAW processing and a whole host of other techy crap to get an image to look nice." I couldn't have said it better myself. It's obvious that your definition of "To get an image to look nice" means what you do after you take the shot and is mainly preoccupied with things like color representation. In traditional photography, however, getting an image to look nice involved things like proper composition, lighting, and framing... in other words, what you did before the shot was taken, not after. It's called "the decisive moment." Which was the original point of this post.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2009, 02:16:03 PM by LightCapture » Logged

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« Reply #78 on: June 10, 2009, 03:31:20 PM »
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I donīt follow your line of thought about incident light metering. It was mainly useful with colour transparency because it tied exposure very accurately to the HIGHLIGHT end of the subject, not the mid-tones at all: it gave a reading designed to make white (in the subject matter) just this side of clear film, and everything else fell into line behind that.
An incident meter measures the light falling on the scene, and will render midtones as midtones, exposing the scene pretty much as the eye sees it. But that's no guarantee that your highlights won't be over-exposed; it depends on the contrast range of the scene (eg how bright are the whites). In a studio where you have control over the lighting ratios (and hence contrast), this might seem like a moot point. But for outdoor nature/landscape photography it's very much an issue, and is why most photographers tend to favor spot metering for high-contrast scenes.


Quote
To continue this chat and bringing in some of jjjīs points, yes, there are very accurate answers to metering with digi capture, but all I think I was trying to say is that it is a much longer route to getting to the same place. Using the Minolta (or any incident light meter for that matter) and tranny film, once you measured the basic level it was suited to all shots in that same lighting and you didnīt have to re-meter because the subject colour might have been altered, which is exactly what I have discovered I DO have to do with my painting shots.
All I was trying to say is that it doesn't have to be complicated. There's nothing inherent in digital capture that requires different colors to be exposed differently. You could just as easily take an incident reading and use that to shoot digital. In fact digital would be a little more forgiving than chromes, because of the greater dynamic range.

 You wouldn't be exposing to the right, but ETTR is not a requisite for digital capture; all ETTR really does is give you cleaner shadows, but depending on what you're shooting it may not be worth the extra hassle. And if you're going to use ETTR, you probably shouldn't use matrix metering and definitely should not use Auto White Balance. The matrix meter may choose different exposures based on your composition and the color balance of the scene, which is what makes it unpredictable. And AWB will mis-represent the true exposure of each channel in the camera's histogram.
 
 My suggestion, if you don't want to bother with the nitty gritty technical stuff, just ditch ETTR and go back to your old way of metering. It should work just fine.
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Rob C
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« Reply #79 on: June 10, 2009, 05:00:38 PM »
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Quote from: JeffKohn
An incident meter measures the light falling on the scene, and will render midtones as midtones, exposing the scene pretty much as the eye sees it. But that's no guarantee that your highlights won't be over-exposed; it depends on the contrast range of the scene (eg how bright are the whites).


Jeff

Iīm sorry, I canīt agree with your definition of how an incident light meter works. It bases its reading on reproducing brightest white just safe of a burn-out. Thatīs why you us it: it NEVER allows you to over-expose white, the brightest highlight. If you set the camera as it says. At least, thatīs how it has worked for the years between ī55 and now! For me. Of course mid-tones will be correctly exposed, simply because they follow along in the band of levels below that top white, not because they are whatīs being measured by the incident light meter. Why else would one use it instead of a reflected light meter, or, in fact, why would anyone use a reflected light meter instead if both tried for the same mid-tone goal? Two types to achieve one goal woud be pointless.

Transparency material is totally dependent on saving the highlight presented by a brightest white. That doesnīt mean that shooting into sunlight reflections on the sea, for example will follow the rule, because they are not white, they are more or less the same as shooting into the sun and if you try to save them, will remain overexposed for many stops beyond what the rest of the scene can handle.

Iīm happy to have you think otherwise, but thatīs up to you. I think I have shot enough transparency material in my career to know how it and measuring exposure for it goes. That it used to be common practice to underexpose transparency material intended for reproduction in print by a small degree was not to make the tranny look better, which it did not, it was to give the repro house a chance to hold detail more easily; but you still had to know what correct exposure was to get there, and the incident meter told you that. Iīm not about to follow a new religion now!

Your later points regarding digital exposure setting are more or less the same observations as I made regarding my own problems doing that - it seems only in the definition of how an incident light meter functions that we differ, and that might not even mean we would use one differently, we just seem to have a different interpretation of what itīs doing. But as I think I mentioned, in a shot where I have used white paint in a picture along with other colours/tones, using an incident light meter was exactly right and agreed with the ETTR system of measuring. Only when there was no white did the metering problems begin, as one could expect, there being no subject white highlights to occur naturally at the right end of the histogram. Hence the trouble with that rule - forcing more exposure than would have been required to cover the same tones if white had been present too. Maybe itīs the ETTR rule thatīs not so damn hot after all!

In a way, I wonder if this isnīt the result/penalty of reading too darn much about digi exposure theory: one gets to be offered too many routes to the same place. In the end, if we have to consult that damn rear screen, perhaps the blinking highlight thing is as good a measure as any. Not that it makes using these screens in daylight any better nor does it avoid the need to consult them rather than have blind faith in the hand-held meter which, sadly, is where we came in, and why I think digital capture a lot less user-friendly that film, especially transparency!

Iīm exhausted- off to bed.

Rob C
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