The sky is not falling ...

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by dayton_p._strickland|1, Jan 23, 2004.

  1. Thought you all might find this article interesting:

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/photo/essays/vanRiper/i
    ndex.htm

    After reviewing my work from last year (my first full year of SLR
    digital) for the annual journalism contests, I'm personally starting
    to wonder if I spent too much time in the learning curve with
    digital or "chimping" and not enough time working the subject
    matter.
     
  2. Try this without the space in index, or go to Camera Works on the
    Washington Post website and look for the VanRiper article.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/photo/index.html
     
  3. m_.

    m_.

    very true and interesting article to read, indeed. Thanks.
     
  4. LINK. Thanks for this link, Dayton. Nice to have a little reassurance about film sometimes. I like his point about the volume of images one can acquire with digital. Do we control the images or do they control us?
     
  5. Kind of echos the reasons that I have not "gone" digital. I freakin' hate working on the computer.
     
  6. The point is this: There is plenty of room at the photographic table for both film and digital technologies – and there always will be.
    this is complete bullshyt. i do many commercial assignments and nobody ever asks for film anymore. digital is that assumed medium these days, and if you dont shoot it you dont get work.
     
  7. Maybe so, but not everyone does commercial work.
     
  8. i was commenting about the article..not personal work...unless ur personal work is weddings, in which case ud be completely nuts
     
  9. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Kind of echos the reasons that I have not "gone" digital. I freakin' hate working on the computer.
    Most people don't do their own developing and printing with film, and they don't have to with digital. Labs are doing digital just like film now.
    So unless you're doing all your own darkroom work, that comment is irrelevant.
     
  10. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Another goofy thing...the article quotes Kodak about China, saying people have yet to buy their first film camera. That's like talking five years ago about how most people in China have yet to buy their first home phone. Nobody bought them, they just bought cellular. In the "Third World," people are skipping the technologies they never bought. Kodak is just wearing blinders.

    In Vietnam, every lab I saw advertised "digital," people bring their cards or cameras and they got prints. Vietnam is a lot poorer than China, but except for the dudes that took your photo at the scenic locations, everyone with a camera had digital.
     
  11. "digital is that assumed medium these days, and if you dont
    shoot it you dont get work."- their loss, not mine.

    Tom
     
  12. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I still shoot mostly film, by the way, but I'm not going to wear blinders and pretend things are going to stay the same. Especially the stuff about China in the article. It's obvious van Riper hasn't been over there when he parrots Kodak's goofball pronouncements.
     
  13. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    "digital is that assumed medium these days, and if you dont shoot it you dont get work."

    ah, nope.
     
  14. Jeff

    I wonder if all the labs you saw in Vietnam advertising digital did film developing as well - I think we have to assume so, and are you sure everyone/most was using digital.

    Without further proof it would just seem to be that the facilities exist for digital use, but by the same token most could still be using film - who really knows?

    Regards

    Bruno
     
  15. I don't know what the tastes of a single person signify (probably very little), but China was mentioned in the article and above. A digitally pointing-and-shooting Chinese friend of mine temporarily in Britain asked me to bring back from Japan -- where they're much cheaper -- a P&S film camera (a "µ" something or other). "I've already got a digital camera," she told me. "Now I want a film camera." Which I got for her, and which I believe she is now contentedly pointing and shooting with in China.
     
  16. "The point is this: There is plenty of room at the photographic table for both film and
    digital technologies – and there always will be".

    "this is complete bullshyt. i do many commercial assignments and nobody ever asks
    for film anymore. digital is that assumed medium these days, and if you dont shoot it
    you dont get work".

    Grant, this may be true for commodity commercial work, but it isn't true as a blanket
    statement. Our ad agency receives thousands of photographic solicitations for
    commercial applications each year, a majority of which are still film based. There are
    NYC based commercial photographers still shooting exclusively film, and they're busy.
    I know, I tried to get them on a few jobs. We select the photographer for their talent
    not what type gear they use. Same reasoning for a large number of agency Art
    Directors I know.

    That said, we have also had our share of budget sensitive jobs due to the economy,
    and some incredibly tight time lines. In those cases digital is preferred to eliminate
    film, processing and drum scanning costs, or to make an impossible deadline. Those
    are usually for fast close publications (like retail), or where quantity dictates
    economies (like catalog work). For smaller accounts with tiny budgets we often look to
    digital, but for our national accounts we leave it up to the photographer.

    And this doesn't take into account any of the "stock" images which mostly originate
    on film.
     
  17. The quote from the article that most rang true with me was, "Film has more latitude, pure and simple."

    I've been using digital SLR's for about two years and I've virtually stopped using colour transparency film. But negative film, especially black and white negative film, is a different matter. The Canon 1Ds that I now use delivers about five stops of latitude, and most digital SLR's are similar. The Portra family, or most B&W in a PPK developer, gives eight or nine stops. Apart from overcast days, or in a studio, that's a difference that really shows itself in the final print.

    I'm puzzled why many wedding photographers are switching to digital when they previously preferred negative stock for the greater latitude. I guess they find the workflow and film cost benefits overwhelming, but it's still odd in the context of the previous orthodoxy.
     
  18. "I'm puzzled why many wedding photographers are switching to digital when they previously preferred negative stock for the greater latitude."

    'Cause they finally found out no one ever cares about the detail in dark suit or tux as long as the bride and her dress look good?
     
  19. All I can say is that I'd rather slave away at photoshop for a week rather than spot and
    etch prints for an hour.

    That is all.
     
  20. Gary, the latitude issue may be true in higher digital ISOs. But If you shoot 100 or
    200, and error in favor of the highlights letting the darks go... then recovering
    shadow detail in post work is an easier task then you might believe. Previously, I used
    Fred Miranda's Shadow Recovery action plug in for PhotoShop, now it's a built in
    image adjustment in PS CS. I get full tones in the bride's dress and detail in the tuxes.

    I once had a flash not fire for a critical shot. When downloaded in PS it was almost a
    pure black frame. I merely hit Auto levels as an experiment, and BAM there was the
    image. A bit of noise in the darks, but that was easily fixed. The camera was a Nikon
    D1x set at ISO 100. The shot had to be at least 4 stops underexposed.

    I think the digital latitude problem lies mostly in the area of overexposure. Get detail
    in the lights, and the image will be fine.
     
  21. I often read on photo.net that almost all wedding photographers have gone digital by now.
    I can assure you that that is not the case in the Netherlands, and probably more European countries. Most photographers don't give any proofs to the couple, but design an album theirselves (or just give the negatives on the lower end of the market).
    My local lab even advices not to work in digital when you are doing weddings, even if they do a lot of digital in other fields.
    Wim
     
  22. Ah, another digital vs film article. Same old, same old conent.
    I guess that's to be expected as there is nothing new to say on the subject.

    Godfrey
     
  23. Actually, I find this a pro film, pro digital article. Each has its own uses.
     
  24. 1) The demand--or lack thereof--for film and hence its future, lies in the hands of amateurs, not pros, whose photography makes up only a minor % of the total.

    2) The *vast* majority of amateurs do not appreciate the esthetic differences between film and digital, but they do appreciate the lack of needing to buy, keep and carry film--more in fact than the ability to avoid processing time and costs because most of them take their cards to a minilab just as they did film--as well as the flexibility in end-use. Many snappers today prefer to scroll their images on a monitor as opposed to rifling through a stack of 4x6's, and the ability to e-mail pix to their friends and relations without needing to have negs scanned to CD.

    3)The vast majority of amateur snappers who account for the lion's share of film usage are like putty in the hands of today's sophisticated marketing techniques. And those marketers have one mission written in boldface across their contracts: KILL FILM SELL DIGITAL.

    4)As others here have finally awakened and realized, the "third world" will not be the savior of film, it is quickly and gladly embracing digital.

    5)It will be the *first world* countries that save film, because that's where people are with the money to pay what it will cost. It will have to be made up in sporadic batches (like Leicas are produced), deep-frozen, and sold mailorder. It will not be available on local shelves except perhaps in major metro areas or where a lot of arsty photogs hang out. And it will be very expensive.

    6)This forum probably represents the most conservative film-loving bunch you'll find (after all we're enamored with a camera that the manufacturer refuses to develop a digital back for)and most everyone here has at least one digital camera and many have left the Leica fold and still others I suspect are shooting mainly digital but don't admit it on the forum. Film may not be dead but it's already been beaten into submission everywhere in the world.
     
  25. Marc, this may not be the forum to pursue this, but I'd welcome a second opinion on exposure metering with a digital SLR.

    I try and push the histogram as far to the right as possible without burning out critical highlights, it's a tightrope walk where half a stop can make all the difference. I've tried bracketing, spot averaging with the Canon FEL button, fill flash, and simply putting my faith in evaluative metering. Apart from waiting for ten seconds after each shot to compensate from the histogram, no one strategy has been even close to infallible.

    In the context of a wedding, which I guess outside of the formal shots can be a fairly fast moving affair, how do you set exposure?
     
  26. All right, who are you and what have you done with Jay? You're right on, IMX. The little SD100 gets used, the M6 gets carried around.
     
  27. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    I wonder if all the labs you saw in Vietnam advertising digital did film developing as well - I think we have to assume so, and are you sure everyone/most was using digital.
    They did do film also. However, I thought it was interesting that they usually had a couple of people working full-time at computers with images. I'm not sure why as the equipment was modern and automated.
    Without further proof it would just seem to be that the facilities exist for digital use, but by the same token most could still be using film - who really knows?
    I have no statistics, but most people there don't own cameras yet. The locals I saw using cameras did have, as I said, digital cameras. I saw a lot of photography because I was there during Christmas and the locals seem to enjoy photographing each other in front of the decorations. The foreigners were mixed - Japanese visitors always seemed to have digital (usually Sony) and the rest used anything. Someone in Hanoi did stop me, a Frenchman, when he saw the Mamiya, he was using a Leica.
    I went in a lot of shops because I ran out of black and white film and had trouble finding more. The two names associated with photography there, from what I saw, are Sony and Fuji. I would guess that this is similar in much of Asia. Fuji is the only film supplier, but also seems to supply the digital processing equipment.
     
  28. marcs right about the detail in digital images. its amazing really how much detail is in the darker areas of a digital image that photoshop can reveal....expose for the highlights, and search for the shadows...<p>
    <p>
    as for people shooting film, yea, of course its still done, given that the deadlines are not so rigid. but its becoming a less desired medium for reasons of economy and time.
    <p>
    nowadays, its almost impossible to find a publication that at some point or another is not on a computer. using a digital cam eliminates a step of scanning in images, which saves time and money. businesses are getting hip to this new and kool crazy idea of a direct digital image.... :D
     
  29. <<However, I thought it was interesting that they usually had a couple of people working full-time at computers with images. I'm not sure why as the equipment was modern and automated.>>

    Probably because they could afford to with $0.50/hr labor.
     
  30. Well, I suspect that everyone's right here, up to a point. Jessops just opened a new shop in Cirencester (which is a small town in the largely rural area of south Gloucestershire) not long before Christmas. They put in a Frontier (or something rather similar). As Jessops are pretty well known for anticipating the market in the UK, I imagine that this suggests they reckon they'll get the five years use out of the machine which I understand is what it needs to make a profit.
     
  31. My one dentist went digital about somewhere between 1994 to 1996; and my dentist on the other side of the country went digital last fall in 2003. Sometimes it is just a return on investment problem. The "2003 digital dentist" has a smaller practice; and it was harder for him to justify the "all digital" Xray device until last year. The first dentist does alot of work for the big name stars; and has a huge office; and could justify the changeover alot sooner. Both are great dentists; the film versus digital was a pure economic one.
     
  32. The first dentist was a beta site; and had some digital problems/abventures at first.
     
  33. Gary, you are right, this probably isn't the place for that discussion.

    Short version: For weddings (as opposed to my personal work) I almost (not always)
    use flash with a Luimiquest soft diffuser. I set the camera on Manual if in low light and
    AV outdoors. The 550EX is set to High Speed ETTL always (yes, I know it sucks juice,
    but I don't have to fiddle with it when shooting). I usually compensate the flash by
    experience (down for closer shots, up for distant shots).

    As Grant also mentioned there is an amazing ability to pull up shadows in PS, so I
    expose for the highlights when necessary (i.e. the bride's dress usually controls that
    aspect as a dominate highlight area) The RAW files are almost always underexposed a
    bit, but are easily lifted in the Adobe RAW developer that's now included in PS CS.
    There are so many slider controls in PS CS RAW that it's pretty hard to screw up a
    digital shot as long as the dress isn't completely blown out.
     
  34. While I do not disagree with any of the main points of the article, the very fact that it was written is a sign that film is, indeed, dying. I mean.. it's like hey, look... a film user.
     
  35. <<Both are great dentists; the film versus digital was a pure economic one.>>

    That may have been true for the one who held off, but the fact is that the imagery from digital dental radiographs are in a different universe better than analog x-ray. I'm not talking the difference between Velvia and Provia 400F, I'm talking Velvia vs Fuji 1600 pushed to EI 64,000!
     

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