Digital or Analog- not what you think.

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by stevewillard, Jun 11, 2004.

  1. This is not what you think. It is about an observation I had from visiting a Thomas
    Mangelsen gallery.

    Upon talking with a sales clerk I found out all his 35mm is subject to a part-analog-part-
    digital process for all enlargements. The clerk made it very clear that digital was
    employed for only enlargement purposes, and that no digital manipulation was done to
    alter the image. I suspect the slides were scanned and printed using a lightjet. Upon close
    inspection the images appeared extremely soft, but the color fidelity was not bad.

    She also noted that all his 6x17cm panoramic images were done strictly using an analog
    process, that is, an enlarger and Cibrichrome processing. The images were very sharp, and
    the color fidelity was somewhat better than the 35mm images. However, the 35mm stuff
    had better detail in the shadows. There were large black areas in the panoramic images.

    My question to you is twofold:

    First, why did the clerk make such a big deal about noting 35mm images were not digital

    And second, why did Thomas not use the same digital solution for his panoramic images
    that he used for his 35mm images? Clearly, he has the horse power to do it, yet he chose
    an analog solution.
  2. Could it be that he uses the process that produces prints that best representing what he wanted to produce? We don't always have to understant how or why one gets to the end of the road that they travel, only enjoy the result.
  3. Replacing the century old word "film" with analog is abit goofy. It at best is unclear; maybe created by marketing types; who,peddle hype and confusion. ALL digital recording on disc drives is analog at the recording heads. ALL high speed digital has a rise and fall time; and an analog waveform. Digital is a subset of analog; in electrical.

    In some print engines; the term "digital" means that the image is stored for reprinting later; and "analog' means the digital file is just printed; and not stored.

    The word "analog" seems to take on new meaning(s) each year; in the photo and printing business.

    Long ago electronic capture was analog; and not digital.

    When a person uses the term "analog"; which of the many cute BS new term(s) do they mean?

    Worry about the final results; and not how they were reached.

    If one shoots film; then scans the negatives; and prints with inkjet; is it what analog or digital?

    Saying "scanned Fuji 800 print film and printed with an XZTY inkjet" gives a person a flow of the process.

    Making "modifcations" in a pure "film negative to print" process has been done for decades; I am not sure why folks are shy of the powerfull photoshop; which is well over a decade old.

    Is dodging and burning of prints a sin too?

    Regards to all; just spent WAY too much time messing with some printer settups; (to save time ?:))
  4. 1. Because a lot of people have a lot of thoughts (which I'm not getting into) about the use of "digital" anywhere near photographic "art"

    The Mountain Light gallery is very clear on this too. They even have prints up made by different processes to show why they use a lightjet, and even have some slide dupes on a lightbox to look at. Some people just have a hard time accepting that you can do a digital print without doing photoshop "enhancement" at the same time. These people tend to sneer down their long wooden noses at "digital" but they often have the money to buy big prints, so the clerk tried to be very clear about this.

    2. Maybe he didn't have the same facilities? 60x170mm is quite a bit harder to deal with than 36x24 (or whatever it is) Or equally likely, he felt that he wanted to do the "limited run" for his big prints. It's hard to convince people that they are buying a limited edition print when it was printed digitally. Each and every cibachrome takes time to make, but a lightjet print, no matter how high quality, can be banged off as fast as the printer can turn. :)
  5. I think Karl is right on the money. While a Lightjet is a great piece of technology, it produces copies. An Ilfochrome, while arguably inferior, is one of a kind. It's custom printed via human hand and while similar, no two will ever be exactly alike. This can make a big difference to fickle art buyers, which Tom caters to; he makes a healthy sum doing so, smart man.
  6. Analog at the head of your hard drive????? Now that's a stretch. You can't really claim it is analog just because an electronic signal has a rise and fall time or a rate of rise or anything of the sort. The reason is that the rise time or whatever is not an "analog" to anything. The reason that audio recording on tape or vinyl records was analog was because the frequency of the groove or the amplitude of magentic flux on the tape was at the same freqeuncy or same ratio of amplitude to the original sound. The rate of rise and fall of the electronic signal at the head of your hard drive has no such relationship to the information that is being recorded, in is not analagous to anything.
  7. Dave, to put it gently, you don't understand what you're talking about. Look at some PRML reads off a disk or the power spectral density of a bitstream with a good eye pattern. I'm curious to see what your reaction would be to CCK modulation, where the transmitted and received signal is indistinguishable from noise.

    Kelly's point, which you're missing, is the format of the information captured by a camera is only weakly coupled to the obtains in a print. Different cameras and processes are tools for different ends, the choice of which more often than not has little to do with what other people feel is optimal.
  8. This has been a very positive, focussed thread on a controversial subject. Congrats to all.

    I'll also throw in my 2 bits about CCD and CMOS imager transistor cells being analog devices. The amount of charge built up in the cell is directly analogous to the quantity of photons striking it. Early CCD/CMOS camcorder chips ('80's era) read off the cells while keeping the signal entirely in the analog domain. Modern chips often A/D the signal as its read off, within-die. So, digital cameras, at their heart, are analog devices.

    Conversely, silver ions in a film emulsion are excited by photons in a quantized fashion.

    Like some of you on this thread, I feel the "A" and "D" words are more marketting terms, used to segregate products into classifications useful to stratifying product lines. In other words, its salesmanship BS.

    As was better stated by others, one's 'workflow' is often a hybrid of multiple technologies, hence not easy to categorize.
  9. Okay, two more cents' worth (I've got two cents, what the heck?).

    I first encountered the terms "analog" and "digital" in the music field. The difference there is very clear, even to one such as I, who is not electronically inclined: analog is the continuous recording such as occurs on recording tape, and extracted from a tape or a vinyl record; digital takes those signals and translates them into a computer code made up of "digits", or numbers -- which is what computers do stuff with.

    I can see how "digital" migrated over into the photography world. Pictures get translated into computer code -- numbers. Technically, this means no more continuous tone such as one finds in a regular photograph, but the difference in result does become academic as technology marches on.

    Also being involved in the graphics/printing trade, I remember in the early '80s when a) halftone reproduction improved vastly; and b) seeing samples, from a trade show, of 8x10 Ektachromes generated by a computer at Kodak.

    Anyway, looks like a problem of nomenclature. "Digital" makes sense to me, "analog" does not, when applied to photography. But English *is* a very flexible language that accommodates all kinds of new stuff and does so very well. I'll bet that "analog" will stick as a description of "conventional" photography, no matter how little or well we like it.
  10. Boy, it would be nice if we stuck to the questions. If some of you are concerned with my
    choice of words, please forgive me. I do believe it is clear what I am talking about.

  11. Very simple Stephen, from the point of view of a gallery owner/operator, sales are what is important. As one gallery owner told me, the moment you tell a customer it is a digital print, the selling becomes harder. By telling you up front and getting you used to the "digital" idea, they are overcoming any objections you might bring up at the time of shelling out the money.

    Obviously by by able to say the prints from larger negatives are purely analog, they are overcoming the possible bias against digital right from the start. These are nothing but selling techniques.....which is the business of galleries.

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