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Author Topic: is the declining prevalence of the print lowering standards?  (Read 5338 times)
John R Smith
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« Reply #20 on: March 20, 2012, 03:24:21 PM »
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Besides, using your yardstick (i.e., forum activity) would mean that medium format is the most prevalent today. Or that stamper and I are the most influential photographers of our times (judging by our forum activity) Grin

Slobodan, I knew you were going to spot the flaw in my argument . . . curses  Wink

John
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kencameron
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« Reply #21 on: March 20, 2012, 04:26:53 PM »
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While I'll agree the low end printing business has dramatically declined...
And also maybe consolidated around fewer, larger businesses that provide economies of scale. My 83 year old mother lives on the other side of the world and dislikes digital displays, so I like to send her prints - mostly of her great-grandchildren, but also the odd landscape to remind her what the "bottom" end of the world is like.  I do this by uploading to one of a number of UK sites, choosing from a long list of size and quality options, and paying what seems to me a very reasonable price, (especially taking into account the frequent discounts, coupons etc, and the current strength of the Australian dollar). She gets the prints in the post next day or the day after.
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DeanChriss
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« Reply #22 on: March 20, 2012, 07:47:42 PM »
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I think it will be a very long time, if ever, before electronic displays can equal a printed image:

1. The resolution of  electronic displays is terrible when compared with the resolution of a print on nearly any sort of good paper. Apple has just narrowed the gap with its Retina display. I don't know when displays of that type will be large and economical, but it's bound to happen eventually.

2. Surface gloss is fixed in an electronic display but varies according to the paper used for each individual print.

3. When you get right down to it the surface of a print is three dimensional. Papers come textured in various ways and to various extents, and those textures have varying effects depending on the angle at which the print is viewed, ambient lighting, etc.. Electronic displays so far are only flat and smooth.

4. Electronic displays generally emit light and printed images reflect light. Kindleís black & white display comes to mind as an exception. This is like the difference between prints and slides in the old days, and itís practically impossible to simulate a reflective display with a transmissive one. Reflective color displays are probably possible, but whether there's enough demand to make them a reality remains to be seen.

Photographers and print makers are concerned about all this stuff because things like paper white point, texture, and gloss all affect the printed image in subtle ways and they want it to be "just right". Unfortunately I think that the market for prints will not support subtleties so none of the above matters. A large portion of the buying public is fairly to completely oblivious to the subtleties of a print. For many the advantages and "cool factor" of having an electronic gadget on the wall, on which they can change the image to suit their mood, would outweigh any of these deficiencies. For that reason alone I think printed images will become obsolete for most people sooner than one might think. On the other hand I think it will take a long time for printed images to vanish because some people (read "not the masses") will continue to want them. An analogy would be people who still make, and people who still collect, silver gelatin prints.

How depressing!
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- Dean
jeremypayne
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« Reply #23 on: March 20, 2012, 07:52:37 PM »
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I've looked at lots of things I shot on film and printed at 8x10 in the darkroom and decided that if I had seen the pixel level detail back then that I can see now, I would have chucked the negative.

Maybe it's just me, but using 100% pixel views of my digital images on monitors has made me even more conscious of critical focus and camera shake/mirror slap.

My standards were forced upwards, not down.
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natas
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« Reply #24 on: March 20, 2012, 09:40:32 PM »
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Print for the general public is pretty much dying off. Most people don't bother getting there own pictures printed unless it is something really special to them. However for people who want pictures of there families or art for the house the print is far from gone and I don't expect it to go away anytime soon...unless someone makes something with 0 glare, good color reproduction and battery capable that will last a very long time soon.

A few years ago those little digital picture frames were very popular. Many people bought them and ended up trashing them because they look like crap and are a pita. A print is simple to hang anywhere and decorate with. I know my wife would never allow one of those tacky digital frames in our house.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #25 on: March 20, 2012, 11:10:52 PM »
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Hi,

Yes, that is my impression, too.

Best regards
Erik


Maybe it's just me, but using 100% pixel views of my digital images on monitors has made me even more conscious of critical focus and camera shake/mirror slap.

My standards were forced upwards, not down.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #26 on: March 20, 2012, 11:26:33 PM »
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Hi,

Yes and no, IMHO. Display technology is pretty much driven by motion picture technology. Home theatre is driving the technology, in my view. In moving media we are stuck at 1920x1080 and displays are not getting better than that, right now. We may have 4K and even 8K around the corner, but I guess it is much about media. As long as we don't have 4K media we are going to see less of 4K presentation.

On the other hand, I would say that resolution is virtually free. Making large panels is costly but the pixels themselves are quite cheap. We may have new technologies around the corner that make large flat panels attractive. In my view screens are attractive for presentation, but less for decoration and let's not forget they consume electric power. I have 11 prints on the wall of my living room, with panels using 100W each that would consume about 1.1 kW electricity and produce as much heat. Well, the heat is nice in the winter.

And yes, I love prints.

Best regards
Erik


I think it will be a very long time, if ever, before electronic displays can equal a printed image:

1. The resolution of  electronic displays is terrible when compared with the resolution of a print on nearly any sort of good paper. Apple has just narrowed the gap with its Retina display. I don't know when displays of that type will be large and economical, but it's bound to happen eventually.

2. Surface gloss is fixed in an electronic display but varies according to the paper used for each individual print.

3. When you get right down to it the surface of a print is three dimensional. Papers come textured in various ways and to various extents, and those textures have varying effects depending on the angle at which the print is viewed, ambient lighting, etc.. Electronic displays so far are only flat and smooth.

4. Electronic displays generally emit light and printed images reflect light. Kindleís black & white display comes to mind as an exception. This is like the difference between prints and slides in the old days, and itís practically impossible to simulate a reflective display with a transmissive one. Reflective color displays are probably possible, but whether there's enough demand to make them a reality remains to be seen.

Photographers and print makers are concerned about all this stuff because things like paper white point, texture, and gloss all affect the printed image in subtle ways and they want it to be "just right". Unfortunately I think that the market for prints will not support subtleties so none of the above matters. A large portion of the buying public is fairly to completely oblivious to the subtleties of a print. For many the advantages and "cool factor" of having an electronic gadget on the wall, on which they can change the image to suit their mood, would outweigh any of these deficiencies. For that reason alone I think printed images will become obsolete for most people sooner than one might think. On the other hand I think it will take a long time for printed images to vanish because some people (read "not the masses") will continue to want them. An analogy would be people who still make, and people who still collect, silver gelatin prints.

How depressing!
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Schewe
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« Reply #27 on: March 20, 2012, 11:35:56 PM »
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Yes and no, IMHO. Display technology is pretty much driven by motion picture technology.

Actually, not the movies, it's all about TVs...when digital projection came to local movie theaters, they were dragged kicking and screaming to HD (it costs a lot to put in 2K cinema projectors).

The real deciding line has been HD cable and 730/1080 LCD TVs.

Once you've seen HD, it's really, REALLY hard to go back to SD...(standard Def).

iPad HD is a move in the right direction, but it's still a tiny display (albeit at high resolution).

Yes, "new media" is exploding...no print is not dead.
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robgo2
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« Reply #28 on: March 21, 2012, 11:06:04 AM »
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A great sage once said:  It's difficult to make predictions, especially about the future.  Nevertheless, it is possible to observe trends, and one trend that is quite obvious is that digital technology has resulted in most casual photographers abandoning prints almost entirely in favor of cell phone in internet displays. At the same time, digital technology has made super high quality printing readily accesible to more serious photographers who still derive pleasure from creating and viewing fine prints.  No doubt, some of the latter group will eventually drift towards electronic displays, especially as the latter get progressively better.  So, I see a future in which both modes of display coexist, but with prints attracting a ever-shrinking audience.  I have yet to see the newest iPad display, but if it is as good as advertised, I may revise my opinion about the staying power of prints.
 
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David Sutton
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« Reply #29 on: March 21, 2012, 02:03:31 PM »
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Interesting blog over at TOP pointing out that photographic printing in general is on the rise, in fact it's a growth industry.
http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/blog_index.html/the_online_photographer/blog_index.html
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fike
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« Reply #30 on: March 21, 2012, 02:42:04 PM »
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I've looked at lots of things I shot on film and printed at 8x10 in the darkroom and decided that if I had seen the pixel level detail back then that I can see now, I would have chucked the negative.

Maybe it's just me, but using 100% pixel views of my digital images on monitors has made me even more conscious of critical focus and camera shake/mirror slap.

My standards were forced upwards, not down.

+1

I am heartened by the new iPad's increased resolution.  I have been worried that the pointless excursion into 3D TVs would distract from higher resolution displays that could really bring high-resolution digital work alive.

When I first started doing very large panoramic prints, I debated about whether to even display them on the web.  When you take something meant for a 2'x5' display (print) and shrink it down to 2" x 5" it loses something...a lot of something.  It is a different medium.  Different compositions work small as opposed to large.  Different subjects work small as opposed to large. 

I tend to agree that for common everyday family photos, quality has stagnated, but consumption has skyrocketed with facebook and flickr and stuff.  Things are changing...not all for better or all for worse...just changing.
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Fike, Trailpixie, or Marc Shaffer
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #31 on: March 21, 2012, 02:49:19 PM »
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Interesting blog over at TOP pointing out that photographic printing in general is on the rise, in fact it's a growth industry.
http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/blog_index.html/the_online_photographer/blog_index.html

The missing part in that post is some supporting evidence, other than Ctain's casual observation. I am not saying it is not true, just that I would like to see some evidence. And one more general observation: everything grows right until it starts declining.
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Slobodan

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« Reply #32 on: March 21, 2012, 03:14:37 PM »
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... And one more general observation: everything grows right until it starts declining.

Not all curves are bell curves with one increase and one decrease. Sometimes things go through more than one cycle of growth and contraction. If this were the case, we would have declared tablets dead after Microsoft's original failed push into the space. 
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Fike, Trailpixie, or Marc Shaffer
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robgo2
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« Reply #33 on: March 21, 2012, 04:30:29 PM »
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Interesting blog over at TOP pointing out that photographic printing in general is on the rise, in fact it's a growth industry.
http://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/blog_index.html/the_online_photographer/blog_index.html

I just saw that piece by Ctein.  So, it turns out that the entire premise of this thread is based on a false assumption, i.e. that the prevalence of printing is declining.

Rob
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #34 on: March 21, 2012, 04:37:26 PM »
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I just saw that piece by Ctein.  So, it turns out that the entire premise of this thread is based on a false assumption, i.e. that the prevalence of printing is declining.

Rob

Again, only if you take Ctain's unsupported by evidence, casual observations as factual.

EDIT: Ctain states: "... products like calendars, greeting and personal note cards (those are really big growth items)...". You can throw in coffee cups and mouse pads, but these are not the products this thread is talking about: high quality, meticulously prepared, fine-art, pigment-on-paper prints that cost $200 - $300 to print and frame. Those "big growth" items are mostly offset prints, rather low in quality compared to the type of prints we are talking about.
« Last Edit: March 21, 2012, 04:48:00 PM by Slobodan Blagojevic » Logged

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Wayne Fox
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« Reply #35 on: March 21, 2012, 05:08:18 PM »
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The missing part in that post is some supporting evidence, other than Ctain's casual observation. I am not saying it is not true, just that I would like to see some evidence. And one more general observation: everything grows right until it starts declining.
well, as I mentioned, my printing services from my store are up 200%, both fine art inkjet as well as silver halide based.  Sort of anecdotal yes, but I know a few others seeing some good growth as well.

This could be explained somewhat by market fragmentation, as I know a little bit of this is coming from a large lab here in town and some of our hardware customers have found we offer equal quality and prices, and we're more convenient.  We have others that have been using Costco and Sam's club and have found about the same thing- we're not much more but deliver more consistent and higher quality output.  But that certainly isn't big enough to explain all of the growth - we see it as the fastest growing segment of the 5 major lines (equipment, printing, framing, education, travel).
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David Sutton
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« Reply #36 on: March 21, 2012, 05:17:58 PM »
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This thread is probably based on quite a few false assumptions. Photographs even in the 1860's were being composited to tell a story, and in the 1890's folks were complaining about excessive retouching. The end of good photography was in sight.
The advent of digital printing, and the democratisation of photography in general, has seen a renaissance in printing. The ability to use an inkjet printer to make negatives for contact printing has meant a revival of antique processes. Inkjet prints now last longer than ever before and it is no accident that they command prices unheard of in the past. The low cost of colour printers compared to a darkroom setup has meant people with even modest means can make high quality prints at home.
Looking at the number of exhibitions, and photos sales through the web, I see no evidence anywhere that prints are in decline. Quite the opposite. It's just the traditional outlets and businesses have gone and a new world is upon us.

Edit: it was the democratisation of image editing and printing I was thinking of. I guess Kodak took care of bring photography in general to us all
« Last Edit: March 21, 2012, 06:00:01 PM by David Sutton » Logged

FMueller
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« Reply #37 on: March 22, 2012, 09:57:43 PM »
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Print is dead...

... just does not know it yet. Just like film, newspapers, books, CDs, etc. It will be the domain of the few, esoteric, collectors, rich, eccentric, nostalgic... 

Hey! I'm all of those, well, except for the rich part....
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