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Author Topic: A Matter of Character  (Read 38072 times)
Rob C
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« Reply #100 on: April 21, 2013, 10:35:29 AM »
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"So yeah, digital cameras don't have it and never can - at least, not to an older generation."

So is that part of the issue of character. What we started with defines what character is, for us, in a camera. Or something like that anyway. And does that then change the way we use the camera?

Dave S




I think so - it's much like people: we tend to be towards the characteristics within the people we grew up to know, and find the ways of the young strange - at the kindest - and I think that's the way it ever was, hence the thing about lack of understanding between very separate generations. In music, for example, I withdrew completely from the contemporary thing with the advent of UK punk. I could enjoy some Blondie, but none of the Sex Pistols, Stranglers, etc. etc. that my son used to love. I just couldn't listen: there seemed, to my ears, to be an absence of melody, story, and even a good beat. Perhaps Motown saw the end of listenable. As for dancing - going up and down on a missing-but-imaginary pogo stick isn't any kind of excitement - you don't even need a partner. Perhaps that's key: looking at punks, they must have had little chance of finding one they'd really want, only female (possibly) versions of the same thing as themselves.

Rob C
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RSL
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« Reply #101 on: April 21, 2013, 10:48:17 AM »
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So yeah, digital cameras don't have it and never can - at least, not to an older generation.

Come on, Rob. I doubt there are many, if any, on here from an older generation than the one I come from. I've shot with with everything from a "folding" Kodak that used 220 film, my granddad's 5 x 7 view with glass plates (he even had some flash powder and a flash plate), a Kodak Pony, a Speed Graphic, a 4 x 5 something or other view, an Ikoflex, a Rolliflex, a Canon 7, several Leicas, etc., etc., etc., and others I can't even remember. All of them had character -- many of them had bad character. But nothing I've ever held in my hands could come close to the incredible capabilities built into my three current digitals -- not even in the ballpark.

So what gives a camera "character?" Funkiness? Seems most of the cameras mentioned here as having character are antiques. I suspect that a lot of the "character" folks remember in their antique cameras is actually the character they had as young dogs when they were shooting those cameras. Yep. I have a lingering fondness for whatever it was I was shooting in high school. I can sort of remember the feel of the camera in my hand. But the main reason I can remember is that I was shooting girls, and that was an age at which shooting girls definitely was an activity loaded with "character," character that reflected onto and impregnated (perhaps a questionable term in this context) the tools involved.

Let's face it, when you hold a camera that can shoot 36 mp at ISO 6400 with less noise than you had when you pushed Tri-X to ASA 800, THAT's a camera with CHARACTER!
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David S
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« Reply #102 on: April 21, 2013, 11:33:01 AM »
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"Let's face it, when you hold a camera that can shoot 36 mp at ISO 6400 with less noise than you had when you pushed Tri-X to ASA 800, THAT's a camera with CHARACTER!"

Is that character or technical capability. Maybe they are always linked but I do not relate to capability as character. Because if that is how we define character, then it really isn't the camera but the photograph it produces that has the character.

Dave S

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RSL
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« Reply #103 on: April 21, 2013, 12:28:48 PM »
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Hey, David, YOU GOT IT! Superb visual art has character, but much like the woman in Kipling's "Betrothed," equipment is only equipment, but a good exposure is a print.
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KLaban
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« Reply #104 on: April 21, 2013, 12:44:15 PM »
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So yeah, digital cameras don't have it and never can - at least, not to an older generation.

Whoa there, that's one hell of a generalisation.

There are enough folk here, including the author of this article and the OP of this thread, who can testify that digital cameras can and do have character by the spade full.
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pegelli
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« Reply #105 on: April 21, 2013, 02:40:06 PM »
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Whoa there, that's one hell of a generalisation.
+1

Character is (1) a very personal opinion and (2) highly judgemental
How about this: the smell of fixer and stop bath was very characteristic, but did it have character?

Still a nice debate  Smiley
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pieter, aka pegelli
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« Reply #106 on: April 21, 2013, 04:06:58 PM »
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Is the equipment only equipment?  This is precisely the topic of discussion. If the equipment is “only” equipment, in that case no camera has character.
I agree that many of the cameras mentioned here reflect the nostalgia of those who have owned them, but we must not confuse the character with the charm of the old style.
Many cameras have imposed their own character as they appeared and not just now for a kind of myth.
The Olympus OM1 showed character already in the seventies and since it had a real character, that character is still present today, although it cannot compete in performance with today's digital cameras.
The character of the image is one thing, the character of the camera is another thing.
One might think that this story of the character is just smoke, but if we think that an object can have character, then there is no doubt that in the history of photography many cameras distinguish themselves for their character, but none of these is digital.
The advent of digital technology has put the words "the end" to an era: not the era  to produce stunning images full of character, but to produce cameras with character.
(and speaking of pictures, we might ask whether an image printed on RC paper can have character).
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Rob C
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« Reply #107 on: April 21, 2013, 04:42:37 PM »
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I think I'm either out on a float of my own, or haven't understood the concept I thought I was commenting upon: cameras with character.

I'm just back here at the machine having seen the show about Norman Parkinson. It's late, I'm tired, but I can tell you that I saw character again tonight: Hasselblad 500 Series. How I would love to be back in the day, looking into that divine machine and seeing things happen that never happened outside of it. I could say the same about the F, F2,  but what happened there were different dimensions of charm. The square allowed (for me) the development of the finely tuned shape and the Niks had the captured instant. Sometimes, you got both on both. Sometimes.

The ability today to shoot in available darkness doesn't give a camera character: it gives it one dimension of technical superiority. Not the same thing at all. But I neither want nor feel there's any sense in pushing my belief on others: all I can do is say how I feel about things. Should that appear to be sweeping statement, too broad a brush, then that's fine by me. It's how I see it - I don't pretend to speak for anyone else.

Anyway, if I ever manage to sell up and return to the UK, I think I shall abandon digital altogether and return to the fold of the Swedish Square. There, it would be practicable, here not.

Rob C
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RSL
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« Reply #108 on: April 21, 2013, 04:43:08 PM »
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I think that if you believe a camera body has "character" you probably should check in at Nikonians, where people appear to have bought Nikon D800's to test them rather than to make pictures with them. They carefully calibrate autofocus for each of their lenses, making adjustments of a millimeter or two -- an adjustment that changes in a zoom lens as you zoom.

I do think that a violin has character. But each violin is different and has a different voice -- which is why a Stradivarius will cost you more than two million bucks. There's no other voice with that character. The same thing isn't true of cameras. One Nikon D4 will make the same pictures as another Nikon D4. On the other hand, one 24-70 won't necessarily give you exactly the same result as another 24-70. So I believe a lens might be said to have character.
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Rob C
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« Reply #109 on: April 21, 2013, 04:52:24 PM »
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I think that if you believe a camera body has "character" you probably should check in at Nikonians, where people appear to have bought Nikon D800's to test them rather than to make pictures with them. They carefully calibrate autofocus for each of their lenses, making adjustments of a millimeter or two -- an adjustment that changes in a zoom lens as you zoom.

I do think that a violin has character. But each violin is different and has a different voice -- which is why a Stradivarius will cost you more than two million bucks. There's no other voice with that character. The same thing isn't true of cameras. One Nikon D4 will make the same pictures as another Nikon D4. On the other hand, one 24-70 won't necessarily give you exactly the same result as another 24-70. So I believe a lens might be said to have character.

Quite so; and I guess any 500 series or F or F2 would be the same. That only confirms their character as models of camera. I certainly wouldn't say the FM or FM2 had character: they were tinny and the only reason I had them was for higher flash synch. when I had to have that. The character of the camera is in how it feels; that of a lens in how it draws.

Buenas noches!

Rob C
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Wayland
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« Reply #110 on: April 21, 2013, 05:20:42 PM »
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I started with a Russian brick called a Zenith B, I'm not sure it had character but it had attitude.

I loved my old Canon A1 more than my Pentax MX or my Nikon FE.

I had a little Ricoh 500 something that I enjoyed using.

My Broni ETR-S never really had character or any of the Hassleblads I used.

My Cambo was just industrial but the MPP had something about it.

The Canon DSLRs are like plastic handled axes, work well but nothing you could love.

When my G10 broke down I bought a Fuji X10 to replace it as a pocket notepad. I liked the look of it and went against all the online grumbling.

I have to say it's put a lot of the fun back into photography for me. It's a long way from being my best camera but using it puts a smile on my face.
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Wayland.
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« Reply #111 on: April 21, 2013, 05:55:02 PM »
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hassy superwide c
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Hmm1000
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« Reply #112 on: April 21, 2013, 06:12:46 PM »
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Yashica FR (oddly better than a Contax RTS, which looked so much better - and both benefitted from the Zeis lenses)
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Ray
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« Reply #113 on: April 21, 2013, 07:06:32 PM »
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I remember some years ago participating in a forum devoted to Canon cameras, where I had some lengthy discussions on certain technical matters.

One characteristic of some of these Canon devotees, which quite surprised me, was their total fascination with their own equipment. I recall one thread, which continued for several pages, where members would post images of their cameras and lenses, page after page.

Not only that, they would even post images of the boxes their equipment came in. For such people, I guess cameras not only have character, they are like lovable pieces of jewelry.

I was surprised because I've always viewed cameras as rather inadequate tools with less character than a lump of black coal. I buy a new one only when it offers an innovative and useful feature and/or better technical performance at an affordable price and convenient weight.

In the days of film, the major, innovative features which inspired me to buy a new camera were (1) the introduction of through-the-lens metering as in the Pentax Spotmatic. (2) the introduction of autofocussing, as in the Minolta Maxxum 7000, and (3) the introduction of lens image stabilization, as in the Canon 100-400 IS.

In the digital age, the major innovative features that have inspired me to buy a new camera have been the substantial increases in sensor resolution, tonal range, dynamic range and high-ISO performance, coupled with the bonus benefits of LiveView, AF fine tuning, fast frame rates, auto-exposure bracketing and video capability etc.

I look forward to the next major development which might be a change in the Bayer type CFA. I've always been a bit concerned about the concept of having color filters in front of the sensor which, on average, discard about half the total amount of light impinging upon the sensor. It doesn't seem a particularly efficient method or organizing things, considering that photography is all about light.
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Josiah Davidson
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« Reply #114 on: April 21, 2013, 10:47:58 PM »
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Hey Kip,
You have surely identified a camera with CHARACTER. The new fixed-lens Merrill series cameras are oozing with character. Not by any means a do-all or do-anything camera, but instead a camera with a clear purpose and on a mission. It doesn't adapt to you, but rather you to it. If you accept it for what it is and learn to work within its character, it rewards you in spades!
I enthusiastically vote for your nomination.
Dave
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Rob C
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« Reply #115 on: April 22, 2013, 02:50:46 AM »
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I started with a Russian brick called a Zenith B, I'm not sure it had character but it had attitude.

I loved my old Canon A1 more than my Pentax MX or my Nikon FE.

I had a little Ricoh 500 something that I enjoyed using.

My Broni ETR-S never really had character or any of the Hassleblads I used.

My Cambo was just industrial but the MPP had something about it.The Canon DSLRs are like plastic handled axes, work well but nothing you could love.

When my G10 broke down I bought a Fuji X10 to replace it as a pocket notepad. I liked the look of it and went against all the online grumbling.

I have to say it's put a lot of the fun back into photography for me. It's a long way from being my best camera but using it puts a smile on my face.



They sure did: avoirdupois!

Rob C
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KLaban
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« Reply #116 on: April 22, 2013, 09:22:29 AM »
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So yeah, digital cameras don't have it and never can - at least, not to an older generation.

But I neither want nor feel there's any sense in pushing my belief on others: all I can do is say how I feel about things. Should that appear to be sweeping statement, too broad a brush, then that's fine by me. It's how I see it - I don't pretend to speak for anyone else.

But, Rob, thats exactly what you did!

 Wink
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Rob C
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« Reply #117 on: April 22, 2013, 11:14:44 AM »
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But, Rob, thats exactly what you did!

 Wink


Only from my own perspective though; which automatically turns it into opinion, of course.

;-)

Rob C
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Wayland
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« Reply #118 on: April 22, 2013, 12:07:22 PM »
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They sure did: avoirdupois!

Rob C


  You're not kidding, it's certainly a lump to carry around.
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Wayland.
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Rob C
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« Reply #119 on: April 22, 2013, 01:08:30 PM »
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  You're not kidding, it's certainly a lump to carry around.

Did you ever come across an English photographer called Rob Talbot? He had some success with picture books, one of which I bought, English Landscapes,SBN 0297 83475 4, and then (he) vanished off the radar - at least, I can't find him.

Looking at a lot of television documentaries about Britain, I conclude that the ideal way to enjoy it is by air on a good summer's day. Those endlessly repeated journeys by Portillo on his railway rides illustrate this well: from ground level there's not always a heap to see, but from the air, even an ordinary old railroad track has glamour!

Rob C
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