To fight back or not to fight back?

Discussion in 'Leica and Rangefinders' started by simonpg, Jul 18, 2005.

  1. It struck me the other day while reading a thread on the seemingly
    never ending debate about digi versus film: why do none of the film
    companies or film camera makers "fight back".

    Now, I'm not suggesting that they try swimming up stream, but it
    seems that they have just rolled over without any attempt to position
    the sensible and indisputable differences / advantages of film
    photography.

    The most sensible debate concludes "different horses for different
    courses". Certain types of shooting; types of post process use etc
    arguably get superior results from film than most digital imaging
    available today. Both consumer shooters and professional users can
    achieve superior results with film.

    So, why is it that dual media (digi and film) equipment and media
    makers don't seem to use that in their marketing and positioning. Why
    just roll over? Why not show an image made with Velvia and the same
    image made with an 8mp sensor providing a clear argument?

    Of course there is and has been an massive appetite for digi cameras
    of all types and users get great benefits in many uses - but not all
    uses benefit from digital imaging. Yet there is no evidence of fight
    back such as "when digital imaging becomes a blur and the finest
    natural details are best produced on film - our film delivers....."!

    These fora are littered with such commentary and the obvious
    conclusion is that each media has its strengths. So why not sell
    film's strengths?

    Hasselblad seems to have at least adopted the positioning statement
    that it is a dual media company. But Leica just tries to defend the M
    cameras in statements about its own quality or that there will be a
    digi M soon or that it now has the DMR. It never seems to make well
    thought out positioning/marketing statements in its promotional
    material so always seems to be in technology catch up mode.

    I just wondered if others think the same?
     
  2. That's why Leica's goin to the dogs.

    Regarding 'defending film's strength':

    Nikon just released the F6. It may not answer your question directly, but is all I can say.
     
  3. Why assume that "film camera makers" have some idealogical interest in preserving film?
    With few exceptions, most also sell digital cameras, which are among the "hottest"
    consumer products on the market today. Companies are in it for money. Leica, for
    example, isn't rolling over but rather, trying to survive in a changing world.

    Regarding the advantages of film, I suspect that these appeal to a very small segment of
    the market, not enough to justify an ad campaign like the one you proposed. Just my
    opinion.
     
  4. But it is all about different use!

    Last saturday I shot at one of our first open air parties this year. Although it was a bit cold I knew I'll shoot with focal lengths from 17 to 300 mm and that I'll get some hundred pictures on that evening.
    Different lighing on a stage, two dancefloors and the space around the pool, groupshots in crowded areas and isolated people in the middle of the pool.
    Of cause I took the dSLR for it!
     
  5. Simon, I think a majority of people just want to "take a picture" and see it (most don't bother to print it) - and digital let them do that in the quickest and "easiest". Also the majority of people will not see the "Leica" glow too. :) Best for Leica to position themselves as "For those who care about their photos ... consider Leica" - Forget the film/digital duo branding as many people still see "film" as somewhat outdated (ie. inferior/slow). Having said that, It would be suicidal for Leica to compete in the mass market against the likes of Nikon/Canon.
     
  6. Hmm...

    "Leica -- for when it matters"
     
  7. Today the consumer electronic companies are the shepherds. You either join their flocks or die. Leica, Agfa, etc, are dying. Who cares? Just keep using whatever you like using until the bitter end. ;*)
     
  8. Isn't that more than a tad better than "Your point of view"?
     
  9. Poor quality consumer processing killed consumer interest in film. They think they can make better prints on some home printers. Some can, but most can`t.

    Then there is the issue of processing costs. If you don`t like it, don`t print it.

    Camera companies can make a new model digi every 6 months and sell it. A lady in a local store was absolutely HOT to trade her 6 pixel in for soon to be released 7 or 8 something or other. I just smiled.

    What nobody realizes is the time involved in decent home printing. Now you have to get a file to Fuji store some way or other. Ritz does have a nice file transfer program so I scan my negs, and send them to Ritz for proofing. When enough work has been accumulated, I open the darkroom which nobody has space for anymore.
     
  10. Digital is perfect when you only get one keeper every 50 shots. I gave a digicam to Tim, my 5 year old, for Christmas - he shot 189 pics on the first day! Several days later, he asked me when his prints would be ready. I explained that we would just print his best shots, which he accepted. Lucky me - who wants 47 pics of the Christmas tree.

    Several months ago, Tim asked for a real camera like Dad's camera. I told him that a Contax IIIa and Zeiss glass was not in the budget. But I did find him a nice little Olympus Trip 35 zone focus camera. He loves it! And we discussed how he only uses it for the photos that really matter, when he wants to take his time and really compose his shots.

    So, sometimes digital is best for experimentation. But when Tim is serious, he pulls out his film camera.

    Robert
     
  11. But your question shows a lack of appreciation and porportion in light of obvious history. The fact is, 35mm film isn't nearly as good as 120 film, in it's various final dimensions, and there is also an obvious and clear advantage to LF quality. The simple answer has already been staring at us ever since 35mm cameras came on the scene: Convenience!
     
  12. Only one way to get the market back interested in film as a long term proposition. Convince tens of millions of people to dump their digital cameras permanently and buy back into film and film based cameras again.

    Even at the slightly more 'elevated' level of consumer DSLRs, Canon and Nikon were producing 80,000 + units per month, each, for the last year (2004/5 figures. Maybe even more now.) for the D70 and EOS300D/350D models. Over a year that is roughly 2 million new DSLR users. Add on the pro-sumer models like the 20D and the pro DSLR models and all the DSLRs sold by other companies (Olympus, Minolta, Pentax etc) and that is an awful lot of new SLRs. How is any company going to be convinced to make a case for film against trends like that? The Nikon D70 is the biggest selling Nikon SLR ever. It has only been around just over a year. That is only the market for keen amateur SLR users, a niche.

    If people here want Leica to somehow force back this 'tide' then I think that is a fantasy.
     
  13. When Leica are shifting 80,000 + units a month of anything they make (whether digital or film based) then they will have enough clout to influence the overall market, maybe.

    Digital has already left 35mm behind in absolute image quality so the quality argument will not work on anyone who has used both media to their respective limits.
     
  14. There is a market, but no offerings for a

    1) manual focus
    2) rangefinder
    3) mass market (inexpensive)(CV value proposition)

    and optionally

    4) interchangeable lens
    5) modular back (allows future chip and image processing upgrade)

    digital camera.

    But Leica won't be the one offering it (too stoopid to think clearly). Bye bye Leica.

    This camera will arrive when N,C,P,KM have completely saturated the market with DSLRs and digicams and have to pursue the long tail*.

    * Search in google. By the 90s, they were. That's why you saw the Contax T2, Hexar AF, Hexar RF, Contax G, CV and the FM3a appearing on the market. Then digital appeared and they were saved.
     
  15. If you are a company that makes film cameras and digital cameras, you can't say things like: "Film, for when it matters." Because then you've told everyone to just ignore all your digital models. Does a car manufacturer put down its own $20K car when it advertises its $45K car? No. Most ads treat them as separate and distinct lines. Just what the film and digital camera companies do. Move on, take some photos.
     
  16. Take a major 'film' company like Kodak. They determined that they made most of their money from making prints for consumers.
    The 'professional' market was never large enough to support a major corporation and so everything rested on the shoulders of the casual snapshooter with a cheap point and shoot taking 'snaps' on their holidays.

    It became obvious that with digital's marketing push to the consumer market, that the technology was making inroads and eroding the photo industry's revenue base. Kodak discovered, also, that consumers with digital point and shoot cameras took far MORE shots than consumers with film point and shoot cameras. What they needed was to find a way to convince the new digital user NOT to print at home but to bring their 'digital film' to a Kodak kisok to make thier prints. This would shield the user from the 'complexities' of needing to use a computer...AND they could charge just as much per print as they used to with traditional film technology. The users weren't saving any money..in fact...because they took MORE shots they were also printing MORE and they were getting enlargements made...something that rarely if ever happened with their film shots.

    There was real $$$$ to be made printing digital shots and, it was natural that the corporation (who have an obligation to their stockholders to make money and NOT to support a specific technology) have followed the cash and have made every effort to exploit the digital printing market.

    What I find amazing is that despite the obvious fact that digital printmaking now has the revenue generating potential to support a major corporation like Kodak that people still persist in the claim that digital is 'free'. Where is the money coming from if it isn't from the digital users? Also, there must be a lot MORE money coming in from digital than there is from film which is why there is a shift from traditional processing and print making to digital 'processing' and print making. The product is the same...an image on a piece of paper...but there is money being made and it MUST be coming from the digital users...so how could it be 'free'? They are paying...and paying big time...but they just don't know how much because they are enamoured with their new toys.

    Guess what will happen to the market when Apple releases their iPod digital camera?
     
  17. I suppose there was similar hand-wringing in the 70's during the transition from slide-rules
    to electronic calculators...
     
  18. Actually, Brad, there was a certain beauty to slide-rules, and I kept mine. They require, and lead you to, an understanding of maths that calculators simply bypass. I think there's a quite a good parallel there. Slide-rules aren't better, and in many ways they're bloomin' awkward and limited, but they aren't useless. I had to use mine just the other evening when I couldn't find a calculator.
     
  19. To Robert Budding - I like your thinking. I presented both my kids with digital P&S units in recent months. My son, an aspiring artist on too many levels, likes to use his to shoot stills of his clay figures, which in turn he views while scrolling them as quickly as possible on the back of the digicam - this is his "animation studio", and he is utterly in love it.
    I can't afford to feed him 100' of film a month. And why in the hell should I slow him down because of my poverty? Kid's got ADD as it is, let him rock and roll at warp speed is my thinking.
    As for the various other remarks here:
    a) Not everybody wants to be "master printer" or "photographer par excellence". Not many of us are all that concerned with, ahem, the Leica glow. I can get that with my $20 Franka Rolfix 6x9 with the coatings rubbed off.
    b) Film, contact prints in the sun on paper, asphalt plates, CMOS chips - who cares how it gets done provided it gets done? To the person who made the comment about film capturing all of nature's details... what a load of tripe that one wheelbarreled into the thread. I could argue it further, but it's pointless to argue with anybody afflicted with such a livid case of myopia.
    Pick yer poisons and start framing compositions. If you got deep pockets, buy yer Leicas til the cows come home and keep yer dear Leica alive and kicking into the future. Otherwise, don't be surprised when companies go tits up due to lack of income - nobody promised anybody an enternity in business. Your wanting it to stay alive doesn't have much to do with it. Dollars and cents.
    For the record, I shoot film and digital as I see fit, or as my limited budget can manage. I struggle with film and digital - there are shots where I had only the Fuji S5000 on me and I curse every saint in sight for not having my Yashica Lynx 5000 loaded with home-rolled Tri X! And so it goes. We keep after it.
    I've been shooting less than 2 yrs now, and I am hungry to experience/learn as much as I can as quickly as possible. It burns me to see such pointless discussions as this one.
    And finally, in pointed manner of answering Simon's question:
    But Leica just tries to defend the M cameras in statements about its own quality or that there will be a digi M soon or that it now has the DMR. It never seems to make well thought out positioning/marketing statements in its promotional material so always seems to be in technology catch up mode.
    Greed, Simon. Greed and lack of concern. Companies fall victim... hard to look at them as victims... companies find their ruin in the selfishness of company directors, every day, every week, every month, forever it seems. Like the heavy drinkers who somehow feel surprise at the diagnosis of liver damage, it never ceases to amaze me.
     
  20. The last time I looked at American Cinematographer magazine Kodak was running these drop-dead gorgeous two-page ads for film. The jist of these advertisements was that film is best (vs HD video) for film makers. So, I'm a little surprised that Kodak hasn't done something similar with (at least) the pro market. Dunno. On the other foot, I'm surprised Kodak hasn't come out hot-n-heavy in the CF card market. Seems like a natural. Does anybody know what Kodak is doing?
     
  21. "Does anybody know what Kodak is doing?"

    --Looks to me like they are marketing digital products and getting out of film. EPP100 now costs $15.00 a roll. K25 is gone. Kodachrome is going altogether. Kodak paper is gone/going. I think they want out.
     
  22. And if so, good on 'em. Somebody there finally woke up and said: "Hey man, we're in deep shee-it here. Time to dump the tea overboard and start rowing."<p>
    Maybe they will survive intact. Other film sources exist - I shoot Fuji, Efke, etc., whatever I can get my hands on. It's not the end of it all.
     
  23. Big market players bet on the future, not the past. If today you're still using 35mm film, you're probably just taking pics of your grandkids. That's okay, but even you will soon catch up. No, don't tell me you refused indoor plumbing too.
     
  24. Unfortunately, to the extent that the majority of people who use cameras (both digital and
    traditional) never get beyond viewing the results of their efforts and those of others in
    venues other than emails/print media/desktop printers - who in other words aren't
    generally familiar with the experience of viewing well crafted photographs in a gallery
    setting - nor are they familiar enough with "the process" to have a true appreciation of the
    potential that film offers over digital, not just in terms of absolute image quality, but in
    the more subjective qualities facilitated by the "older media" in its arguably more visceral
    (wet darkroom) approach - digital wins.

    To be sure, I have seen some very lovely, well crafted, and thoughtful digitally captured
    and digitally printed photographs, but until I can have a "digital experience" similar to that
    which I have while viewing, live and up close, original works by those like Adams, Bullock,
    Weston, Caponigro (the elder!), etc. (dinosaurs? I think not!), I'm not removing any
    darkroom plumbing. And until I can have a "digital experience" similar to that which I
    have while photographing with my Leicas, my Rolleiflex, or my view cameras, these will
    remain also.

    Case in point: I photograph in Ethiopia every year for a foundation - using two Leicas and
    one Canon digital. Try as I might, I cannot duplicate the feel, in the actual imagery, of the
    Leica photos. But the digital photos serve their (foundation website) purpose. The Leica
    photos go well beyond this, but their relative lack of convenience (in getting them to the
    "end use" stage) means that they don't go onto the website, but instead onto gallery walls,
    where I will argue they are much more effective and impactful, although much less widely
    seen.

    So for me, so far, the strength of digital is that it "serves a purpose," but I'm not holding
    out for any digital epiphanies.

    But back to "unfortunately." In the arena of electronic/print media/advertising/commerce,
    digital is so much more convienient, efficient, and cost effective than film - and thus large
    companies like Kodak are virtually not only forced into this market, but are also forced to
    divest themselves of efforts to further evolve "traditional" technologies in order to stay
    competitive - which is truly unfortunate because I, for one, don't believe that traditional
    technology has yet matured.

    The other "unfortunate" is that we have an up and coming generation of photographers
    who will never become familiar enough with "tradition" to fully evaluate for themselves
    which of these media best serves what purpose. But having said this, I think there is still
    hope - in that those of us old enough to be "steeped in tradition" can take responsible
    roles in passing these traditions along to the new generation of photographers.

    For over twenty years I've been teaching photography workshops to the Dartmouth college
    communtiy, and to this day these remain film camera/wet darkroom based. To this day
    also, even with the majority of my students also owning and using digital cameras, these
    students prefer their film cameras. Why? Its because nothing matches the excitement and
    depth of experience offered by traditional cameras and wet darkrooms. The magic of the
    image popping out before ones eyes in a tray of chemistry simply cannot be duplicated by
    an inkjet printer - nor can the feeling of empowerment and "ownership" of the artistic
    process be so deeply felt, and in such a visceral, holistic manner, by using anything other
    than traditional materials. And don't just ask me about this - ask the over fifteen hundred
    students I've taught since the advent of digital technology. And believe me, while by
    reading this others may conclude that I'm merely indoctrinating my students - nothing can
    be further from the truth.

    My conclusion? That we need to truly embrace both digital and traditional technologies
    for what they TRULY offer each one of us - whatever this embrace entails in terms of time,
    cost, and relative convenience - industry "trends" be dammed!
     
  25. I wonder how many of us would go digital today if we did not already have the investment in film stuff?
     
  26. We travel a great deal, and between visiting photogenic locations and my habit of stopping in at camera stores wherever I go (kid in the toy shop syndrome I guess), in the past couple of years I haven't been to any place on 4 continents (wasn't in India) where I've seen more than one or two people at each stop using film cameras, or talked to a shop owner who didn't say something like he hadn't sold a film camera "in months". Thousands of people with outstretched arms squinting at LCD screens, and a few serious photogs with DSLRs, plus here and there somone with an older SLR shooting film. Of all my family, friends, and acquaintances, including some serious amateur photographers, I'm the only one still shooting film. My pro buddies of course "went digital" several years ago and most are already on their 3rd and a couple, their 4th generation DSLR. Anyone else had a different experience? Even if every member of every internet photo forum was a confirmed exclusively-film user (which they're not), it'd still be a tiny drop in the bucket. I don't see where film vs digital arguments based on the technical quality of the end result have any chance to stand up, if only because with each one there are so many variables between capture and end product, and also because a great majority of film-captured images these days are digitized along the way. What I personally feel is the only rationale for film continuing to exist as a profitable commodity for even a small "niche" market, is that many artists tend to want to be different from what everyone else is doing. There have always been art photographers who work with arcane printing techniques, some who coat emulsion on glass plates, and so on. So while the rest of the world "goes digital", there will always be some photographers who will want to shoot film and/or wet process prints just because so few people are doing it. Between them and the tiny batches of photographers who are either uncomfortable with the digital workflow, or fans or collectors of certain brands of film cameras, perhaps there will be enough demand to keep at least one company operating in the black. Will it be a subsidiary of a former film giant ("Kodak Classic" or "Fujifilm Vintage") or an independent manufacturer ("Ed's Emulsion Emporium"), that I think is the only thing still up in the air.
     
  27. SCL

    SCL

    It seems I remember conjecturing similar arguments moving from a DOS operating system to Windows - "who needs it". Turned out the consumer wanted it, in a big way. Evolution took time to get it right. Yes, I still use DOS on an HP palmtop from the early 90's because it fits my needs perfectly, XP for most other stuff. Yes, I still use my Leica RFs and SLRs. I also use a lot of digital gear. Film and camera manufacturers see the mass consumer market clearly headed toward digital, some still see a niche market in film. I honestly like both...as long as there continue to be advances in each field and product/repair/replacement availability. It irks me that I can't always use my treasured "old" Leica gear with digital enhancements...but perhaps in the future Leica, Siliconfilm, or somebody will get it right. In the meantime I keep shooting and enjoying the fruits of evolution.
     
  28. Actually, Brad, there was a certain beauty to slide-rules, and I kept mine. They require, and lead you to, an understanding of maths that calculators simply bypass.
    Yes, that was the logic usually touted by slides-rule proponents fearing the calculator takeover in the early '70s. And you hear the same thing today - digital imaging makes you lazy and decouples you from the photographic process. Funny how people when threatened with change come up with all sorts of bogus nonsense.
     
  29. You might consider that there are a few companies that still provide film cameras, Nikon,
    Canon, Pentax and Minolta all still have film cameras. NIkon just released a new pro-level
    one, the F6.

    Cosina seems to be betting on film lasting and have several rangefinder models in their
    Voigtlander line, as well as they have manufactured a rangefinder model for Roelli, and are
    currently manufacturing the soon to be released Zeiss Ikon rangefinder and some of the
    Zeiss lenses. Cosina also make several SLR's, and also manufacture entry level SLR's for
    Nikon and perhaps another brand. Their only venture into digital at this point is making
    the body for the Epson RD-1. If anyone is committed to film, it would have to be Cosina.
     
  30. I take strong exception to the above comment, to the effect that "artists still like to use the
    old materials because they like to be different." OK, there might be a few of these, but to
    practitioners with Dektol in their veins its not a question of doing it "just to be different."
     
  31. "Try as I might, I cannot duplicate the feel, in the actual imagery, of the Leica photos. But
    the digital photos serve their (foundation website) purpose. The Leica photos go well
    beyond this"

    This might be the case for you, but there's plenty of evidence to suggest that
    photographers working at the highest level don't feel this gulf when switching from Leicas
    to other cameras, whether film or digital. If you look at a photographer like Gilles Peress
    he made all of the images in his book Telex Persan on Leicas, all of the images in The
    Silence with Canon EOS. They're equally fine books, and it would be foolish to suggest that
    his choice of camera any real significance to the quality of either.
     
  32. my wife and I are on our sailboat in Desolation Sound, British Columbia. this morning we are heading up towards the Queen Charlotte Islands, and my GPS/chartplotter yields my exact position and an accurate waypoint to our destination. I also have paper charts that I use to double check, and much like a photographic print on a beautiful paper, I love the tactile feel, the texture, and the art behind chart-making. I know spherical-trigonometry, the law-of-tangents, scalar-triple products, and am good with a sextant. however, freeing me from the arcanum and arduous tasks (and highly error prone) of plotting my position, I can concentrate on sailing and other beautiful aspects of what we are doing.

    using a GPS also gives me a deep appreciation for those that have sailed before me with Logarithm tables and the inherent uncertainties. I have to think there are many a sailor, now resting on the bottom of the sea, that would have wholly embraced the new technologies.

    yes, I know ... what happens when my battery fails? the anti-digital mantra. with five GPS's on board I like my odds, not to mention having two sextants.

    cheers ...
     
  33. Ok John, I'll take your word for it, cause I've just got plain old blood in mine : ) I do know a lot of arty photogs and they're always looking for obscure ways to do it, that will let them "express their individuality", and set their work apart. And I know some of them for whom every little step, from choosing the film, camera type, and souping the film, choosing the developer, enlarging, paper type, etc etc etc is all an intergral part of the "creative experience". A few others think that using a computer is "cheating", that some programmer is the one supplanting a portion of the talent the artist lacks, and some of them just like being apart from the herd. I've never actually seen published actual price/demand numbers for the profitability of film production, so I'm not in a position to say whether the demand from eccentric artists and curmudgeony diehards can keep film alive or not. All I can say is that I believe they're film's only hope.
     
  34. "digital imaging makes you lazy and decouples you from the photographic process"

    I don't know about digital making someone "lazy". However, from my perspective (and this is just my personal opinion), film photography is more challenging and thus, at least for some of us, the results are more rewarding. I believe it is more challenging to coax a fine print from a negative than it is from photoshop. Certainly both processes require knowledge and skill. However in such things as dodging and burning, just to give one example, in photoshop the areas you are working on can be isolated more easily; and, more importantly, on the computer screen you can see how each adjustment affects the image while you are working on it. In a wet darkroom there is much more time-consuming trial and error. Wet printing kicks my ass many times. It is challenging. But when I manage to get a good print it is all the more rewarding.

    If the "photographic process" means, in the broad sense, simply capturing an image then there is no difference between digital and film photography. But the process required in each represent different subjective mind-sets, IMO. But one is neither better nor worse than the other. Digital is good for some things... film is good for other things.

    IMO, the subject is entirely too subjective for completely rational discussion. It's like trying to explain why someone gets a kick taking a 50 mile bike ride to look at beautiful scenery when hopping in a car and driving is much more convenient and efficient. Some people like taking long bike rides... some people wouldn't ride a bike around the corner.

    As for the original query: Why don't film photography sellers fight back? It's all about profits, not aesthetics. I suspect that they do not wish to confuse the buying public with mixed messages. How, for example, could Leica tout film photography when they are about to embark on a digital plan? Now, as for Ilford and Fuji, I think their advertising could (and should) focus more on the strengths of film photography... and actually draw distinctions between film and digital.
     
  35. The only real way to fight back is probably for someone to build a desktop film processor that does c41 and e6 with replaceable cartridges.

    And it should cost <600 dollars and not poison you...
     
  36. And it has to be as easy to use as a film scanner (roller transport?)
     
  37. Sounds like a plan, Bart. How's that project coming along?
     
  38. Funny...I've never noticed any successful pros getting worked up over this whole "film vs. digital" debate. Only non-photographers with lots of money sunk into film cameras seem to do all the hand-wringing.
     
  39. Douglas has hit the nail on the head.
     
  40. It's where the other end of the nail is that's the problem with this forum lately.
     
  41. Doris - point well taken. Of course there are many examples of top-flight photographers
    who do stunning and inspiring work with digital. But I think most of these are
    photographers who've at least gotten their feet wet in "traditional" photography, at least to
    the extent that allows them to fully evaluate the newer media in terms of its own "best
    use" relative to who they are as practitioners. My fear is that the up and coming
    generation of photographers won't allow traditional materials this same chance - that
    they'll be so swayed by the hype of digital that they won't look beyond this, and if this
    indeed becomes the case, then everybody loses.
     
  42. My opinion: there is nothing to fight about, really. If you like film buy film, if you like digital buy digital. Unfortunately when people start talking about film becoming extinct people get upset. That is highly unlikely so don't you think we should all relax? As a Leica Lover, I will continue to feed mine with film. But, if digital would be best for some of my projects I would not hesitate to use it. Why do humans need to turn any issue into WAR? Check out the incredible cooperation of other species as in The March of the Penguins...a really moving film (take your hankies) about how cooperation increased the chance of species survival. Don't fight back, celebrate that you have more choices.
     
  43. that they'll be so swayed by the hype of digital that they won't look beyond this, and if this indeed becomes the case, then everybody loses.
    Heh, no bias here... And just who is going to lose, anyway?
     
  44. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    .I've never noticed any successful pros getting worked up over this whole "film vs. digital" debate. Only non-photographers with lots of money sunk into film cameras seem to do all the hand-wringing.
    Right. As usual, Mr. K makes the most important point, although I confess to having skimmed most of the silly arguments above.
    There are much more important "battles" for photographers, such as the declining rates for publication in newspapers and magazines and the increasing difficulty of getting an offical media pass in San Francisco.
     
  45. I don't understand all this outpouring of care towards upcoming generations of
    photographers not having worked in the darkroom or having employed "traditional
    materials." I suspect there a lot of insecure people who are afraid that what they once
    considered their special domain, making prints (in the darkroom using traditional materials)
    is now opened up to more people via digital. Why do you care what other people do if they're
    getting great results. Or maybe it's just not fair...

    It's vision at capture and postprocessing, whether analog or digital, that matters - not the
    technology employed in making prints.
     
  46. CE, that was my point...
     
  47. "Only non-photographers with lots of money sunk into film cameras seem to do all the hand-wringing."

    Reminds me of a Sean Hannity diatribe...

    FYI, I have heard several film photographers (who sell their work)beginning to complain about the decreasing selection of b&w photographic papers. Forte' is now gone and Agfa, I understand, is not far behind. The concern among film shooters about the decreasing availability of materials is legitimate. I would venture to say that the "hand-wringing" people are actual shooters who are affected by the changing dynamics of the photgraphy industry rather than "non-photographers". Although my belief is that film photography products will be available long after I'm gone, but perhaps with a diminished selection, the angst of film shooters is entirely natural and understandable.

    However, I wholeheartedly agree that in the real world you don't hear professional photographers debating film versus digital. (In fact I've made the exact same observation here before.) But this is the internet where people say stupid things...
     
  48. I like film.
     
  49. Some genius wrote: ".I've never noticed any successful pros getting worked up over this whole "film vs. digital" debate. Only non-photographers with lots of money sunk into film cameras seem to do all the hand-wringing.

    Right. As usual, Mr. K makes the most important point, although I confess to having skimmed most of the silly arguments above.

    There are much more important "battles" for photographers, such as the declining rates for publication in newspapers and magazines and the increasing difficulty of getting an offical media pass in San Francisco."

    Well, I'm a "successful pro" if you count that as someone who has been doing it for 37 years, fifteen doing fashion in NY, now has a portrait studio with in-house film lab and digital workflow, four full-time shooters and six assistants doing weddings, corporate and product shoots. Nobody I call a colleague (or a competitor) "debates" film vs. digital. We all have had to accept it because many clients have been brainwashed by the hype (put out by the manufacturers) into thinking that if a pro isn't shooting digital he's a has-been. At first blush, yeah, it looks like we save a ton of money on film and darkroom. But in reality, we have had to hire experienced Photoshop operators (not so commonplace yet, so they practically name their own ticket) to handle the digital post-processing, and although we charge a premium for digital, we're just about breaking even with film/darkroom. We've had to practically give away gear that could've worked another 4-5 years, and paid six to ten times as much for digital gear that does nothing better. We will not "catch even" on film and processing cost for at least two years. So while "successful pros" might not debate film vs. digital, we're not all jumping for joy over digital either.

    Maybe in this little dog and pony show you define a "successful pro" as someone who roams the streets with a $900 dSLR looking to capture a few magic shots and become the next Garry Winogrand, and for that individual maybe the price they pay for shots or getting a permit to shoot in San Fran is a big worry. But the majority of "successful pros" are guys like me, who've got to pay for 3 $30,000 digital backs, eight Canon 1DS-II's and a quarter million in scanning, computing, archiving and printing equipment plus backups, the staff to run it, and training for them every time a new version or an upgrade comes along. All because the camera manufacturers have convinced John Q. Public that digital is "in" and film is "out". All of you wisecrackers should consider yourselves lucky that you have the luxury of debating film vs digital.
     
  50. Peter, thanks for the great post. It's refreshing to read a post from someone with your knowledge and experience.

    Cheers,

    Dennis
     
  51. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Maybe in this little dog and pony show you define a "successful pro" as someone who roams the streets with a $900 dSLR looking to capture a few magic shots
    Maybe you should consider not making assumptions about people you don't know, it really looks stupid. I shoot sports professionally. I use two dSLRs to shoot and I have my photos out by 3AM after an evening shoot (boxing matches.)
    Given that you signed up today under a fake name, I find it very odd that you make these comments about people you don't know. Given that people laud someone who signed up today under a fake name, I find it funny.
     
  52. "Maybe you should consider not making assumptions about people you don't know, it really looks stupid."

    You mean like the comment that "only non-photographers with lots of money invested in film cameras" are doing the hand-wringing about the diminishing film market? I agree... that comment was stupid and it looks even more stupid by agreeing with it. Sorry...

    "Given that people laud someone who signed up today under a fake name, I find it funny."

    LOL... No, I find your comments even funnier. You sound like the "Joe Wilson is a liar" crowd. LOL..
     
  53. LOL... No, I find your comments even funnier.
    No, what's really funny is: It's refreshing to read a post from someone with your knowledge and experience.
    Hook, line and sinker. And lets not forget, LOL... ;>)
     
  54. What day is it today?
     
  55. Oh, I understand... if someone has an opposing view that you feel threatens you in some way then that person is a liar. I got it...

    Have fun debating yourself... you obviously have me confused with someone who gives a hoot about this nonsense. LOL...

    Nighty-night.
     
  56. Eric - about getting out in to the night and shooting: Spot on remark.
    Other than that, my final two cents, something lifted from a reply of mine to a recent e-mail exchange:
    Enjoyed both images - and who cares what they were taken on, right? I've been out and about with my Fujifilm S5000 recently - image attached. Image is as image does, and how it gets made, in the end, matters little.
    Those of you who are, indeed, photographers, you will find a way, and that way will make little difference in the end. Art is the message received from the kiss, not the kiss itself.
    The rest of you... well...
     
  57. "Art is the message received from the kiss, not the kiss itself."

    ...and photography should not be a hyper-competitive contact sport as it is played by some on internet forums.
     
  58. Dennis - gospel truth. In the end, we will most every one of us die unknown. Shut up and shoot, that's my point. Find a way.
     
  59. CE: Agreed... I just didn't know what a worthless, shallow, non-photographer I and others like me were (and how brilliantly talented some others believe they are) until I came here. Time for a break, I think...

    Night all...
     
  60. The strangest thing is how some essentially digital shooters feel compelled to come here, nether shooting with Leicas nor for the most part even "Leica style", and taunt people seeking information and exchanging ideas. It kind of reminds me of Jr. High at times, the "boys will be boys" syndrome. Whoops, showing my age again. They call it "middle school" now!
     
  61. Al, just what in the hell is Leica-style? I mean, really?
     
  62. Al, are the photos on your website "leica style?"
     
  63. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    The strangest thing is how some essentially digital shooters feel compelled to come...
    Nah, the strangest thing is how a totally bogus account can be set up and used to attack people who actually know what they're doing with a camera but people like you don't seem to care about these ridiculous attacks.
     
  64. Take heart. If all participants were in the same place (and properly padded up, I'd hope), they might actually be hitting one another -:)
    00CvNE-24738384.jpg
     
  65. Brad, it's good to have you back! We all missed you, and Eric ~ was being overworked so he no doubt is also a happy camper now.

    As for your question, I suppose some are, some aren't, but my web site doesn't say "Al's Leica Photographs". I was under the impression that the Leica Forum had something to do with Leicas over and above bashing Leica users. Maybe I was wrong.

    All the photos on my still unfinished web site are either Leica shots or shots with my Bessa L, as well as all the photos on my portfolios on photo.net. The older stuff was shot on assignments for various publications and companies. The 15mm stuff, with one exception, was just for fun. The exception more than paid for the camera and lens. I've done my share of product shots and interiors with 4x5 using all the swings and tilts, and weddings with Rolleiflex and Hasselblad. I long ago learned that jeans are great to wear on some shoots and a conservative business suit will get you into places jeans won't. As my mother used to say "You'll catch more flies with honey than you will with vinigar".
     
  66. Who's bashing leica users? You're saying if anyone takes the slightest exception to what's
    posted here, they're a leica basher? OK then, "Peter Yankin" is the pro he says he is. And I
    was Avedon's mentor - really.

    With respect to "digital shooters" posting here, that's been covered and supported by Tony
    many times in the past - why do you keep bringing it up? This isn't *your* forum.

    You are just looking for a world where no one disagrees with you...
     
  67. You should be more interested in continuosly improving your skills as a photographer (if indeed you care about photography), rather than embarking in a pointless and moot discussion.

    The end product, i.e. the image, is what matters, not the medium where light is captured to form it.
     
  68. Douglas K wrote <<Funny...I've never noticed any successful pros getting worked up over this whole "film vs. digital" debate. Only non-photographers with lots of money sunk into film cameras seem to do all the hand-wringing.>>

    Of course. What's wrong with that? You imply that amateurs with limited funds are somehow inferior. Being a professional - turning something you enjoy into work - isn't always such a smart thing to do. Pros have different pressures on them. Amateurs with money invested in film equipment that still works brilliantly do not want to be left up a gum tree by a manufacturing band-wagon.

    But I don't think it's a question of fighting. The best way to safeguard the availability of film and paper is to use it.
     
  69. The same genius wrote: "Maybe you should consider not making assumptions about people you don't know, it really looks stupid. I shoot sports professionally. I use two dSLRs to shoot and I have my photos out by 3AM after an evening shoot (boxing matches.)

    Given that you signed up today under a fake name, I find it very odd that you make these comments about people you don't know. Given that people laud someone who signed up today under a fake name, I find it funny."

    1. You stated that for you the biggest issues were what the media is paying for images, and getting a media permit to shoot in San Francisco. That suggested to me that you are a freelancer working alone. Hardly representative of the majority of "professional" photographers in the USA or the world. Was I wrong? Yet you speak, completely off base I might add, for the majority of professionals.

    2. Excuse me? Signed up yesterday? I've lurked for more than a year, signed up on the 16th, 2 days before this thread was born. Fake name???!!! I won't even grace that bit of insanity with an answer.

    In light of the comments and behavior that are tolerated here, it's no wonder why people with something valuable to offer (like Marc Williams for just one example, who actually uses a Leica in addition to digital)and are willing to share what they know, don't stay on this forum.

    Pete
     
  70. Well, I'm a "successful pro" if you count that as someone who has been doing it for 37 years, fifteen doing fashion in NY, now has a portrait studio with in-house film lab and digital workflow, four full-time shooters and six assistants doing weddings, corporate and product shoots.
    Fake name???!!!

    OK. Let's see some images.
     
  71. ...and then there are Texas Instrument systems engineers who didn't even develop an interest in photography until 2001, according to published articles, sitting around here like they know everything about the history AND the future of photography.
     
  72. Well, at least the ban on political discussions has held pretty well. :)
     
  73. Actually, the Leica Forum is sometimes like walking inadvertantly into an Andy Kaufmann routine. I never know what's real or not.

    I think that's part of the appeal...
     
  74. I'm glad that my wife also dislikes digital photography, so I am under no pressure to leave my film based photography with non-autofocus manual cameras.
     
  75. "I never know what's real or not."

    That's the magic of it...

    BTW, Todd Enfminger, the actor who usually plays the role of the character, Al Kaplan, was sick with an intestinal virus and the part was played by Todd's understudy, Sean Delucci. We wish to congratulate Sean for the great job he did filling in and to wish Todd a speedy recovery. Get well soon, Todd!
     
  76. "I never know what's real or not."

    Life is a reflection of the impurities of Paradise, Dennis.
     
  77. "Life is a reflection of the impurities of Paradise, Dennis."

    Well that certainly explains digital photography, Allen. ;>)
     
  78. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    My Johnny Cash t-shirt sums up my sentiments very nicely...

    [​IMG]
     
  79. Well, okay.........
    00CvtQ-24748184.jpg
     
  80. honest......
    00CvtW-24748284.jpg
     
  81. Former World Light Heavyweight Boxing Champion, Willie Pastrano (http://www.ibhof.com/pastrano.htm), ready to fight back for Leica... ;>)
    00CvuV-24748584.jpg
     
  82. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    you can't post url's like that Super Dude.

    http://www.ibhof.com/pastrano.htm
     
  83. For fight fans...

    http://www.ibhof.com/pastrano.htm
     
  84. "you can't post url's like that Super Dude."

    I'm proud that I'm not a computer geek... ;>)
     
  85. EricM

    EricM Planet Eric

    you spend enough time on one. are you sure?
     
  86. Well it seems that the cat was thrown among the pigeons - maybe my pain management wasn't very effective when I posted the thread.

    However, I'm always intrigued by those who feel that they have to come out and slag off at those who prefer to stick with film. The personalisation of comments often resorts to suggesting that there is some intelectual deficiency in those who continue / prefer to use more traditional image capture.

    For those who suggested my thread indicated a negative and unrealistic attitude towards digi imaging, I suggest that you re-read my thread. My point was that of course "different courses for different horses" applies in this age of dual media imaging. We are indeed better off with 2 alternatives available.

    For me there is little benefit in digital capture, but much benefit in digital post-processing. The benfits of digital capture to "snap shooters", sports journos etc etc are obvious.

    But my point was that those companies most adversely affected did nothing to position their film offerings - camera makers and film manufacturers alike. They did and still do nothing to position the concept of "different horses for different courses".

    As one respondent indicated companies like Leica that push traditional film equipment and use positioning statements like "when quality matters" to attract lovers of hand-made instruments, could / should have gone further and not have just ignored the film to digital shift. They are too product centric.

    Anyway I'm regularly flattered (if not amazed) by family and friends who look at my prints and say things like: "Wow.... wish my camera could do that" only to go on about their newly acquired overpriced digi all singing and dancing camera. Their printed images (of course at the lower consumer equipment end) regularly have poor colour balance; weak image definition; low sharpness and details that disappear into fluffy blur. They feel sick when I show prints with lovely colour tones; superb subject sharpness and well resolved detail edge to edge. They feel even sicker when I show them my old and often forgotten Olympus XAII, which took those shots.

    But as some respondents said this is the age where consumerism and a seemingly endless thirst for gadgets has crept into the photographic industry and has begun to swallow it up. Gone are the days when a quality SLR or rangefinder was a camera for life unless a compelling feature was developed in a new model some 25 years later.

    Now new entrants have taken up snap-shot photography because the gadgets are "so cool"; fire away without the need to worry about film and processing costs and can just print their best images. But consumer lust for the "latest and greatest" hides the real cost of their photography - savings on film and processing are quickly eaten up by the costs of obsolescence as well as the higher equipment costs.

    I was a bit intigued by the fact that so few respondents commented on film manufacturers' failure to better position their products and concentrated their responces on camera manufacturers.

    Film makers' promotional marketing still concentrates on competing with other film makers' products and ignores their biggest competitors - digital imaging. One respondent sensibly pointed out that while Fuji and Kodak have their own digital products to promote, they should still push their legacy products more effectively in their own right.

    My thread was not a discussion about the merits of film versus digital, but moreover how manufacturers with a higher dependence upon the film market are ineffective competitors.

    Enjoy whatever you use and take more photos.
     
  87. "newly acquired overpriced digi all singing and dancing camera.Their printed images (of
    course at the lower consumer equipment end) regularly have
    poor colour balance; weak image definition; low sharpness and details that disappear into
    fluffy blur"

    You can see all of those shortcomings (and more) on many of the images posted here
    and produced with the most expensive of Leica lenses - so I think it would be fair to
    conclude that it's the user rather than the medium that makes the biggest difference.
     
  88. It's always going to be the user more than anything. What I find strange is the number of colleges that still require a photography course or two for students in numerous fields, and still teach photography as a film based subject with the requirement that the students shoot and process their own B&W film. Aren't educational institutions supposed to be cutting edge? Nearby Florida International University has the darkrooms open and available 24/7. They stay busy.

    Getting back to the origins of this thread, yes, it is a bit strange that some major players like Kodak are giving up the market so easily, but if the market is there there will be companies offering supplies. There was a time when people moaned and carried on about major American producers of pro level cameras and optics abandoning the market to the Japanese. Remember names like Wollensack, Graflex, Bell & Howell, Bausch & Lomb, Busch, Kodak? We still have cameras and lenses available.
     
  89. Al, I certainly agree with your observation about education. I suppose that today students would get some benefit from simultaneous exposure to film and digital imaging since the choice remains available; but even film users benefit from learning about digital imaging just as those studying accounting today need to learn about IT. The other critical elements in photography such as light etc remain common to both.

    Just as in rudimentary math, if you don't really understand the basic components, relying upon a calculator can lead to horrible mistakes since you don't fully understand the process that brings about the final result.

    I was interested in your comment about "giving up to the Japanese" and the brands that disappeared. You must have seen a great deal accross the decades of greatest change (I arrived in this world after most of that) especially as a professional user of imaging tools.

    However I am lucky to recall in my childhood the family Bell & Howell 16mm movie projector and camera my dad had. Today we have many many hours of beautiful film images of our young lives on 16mm film to enjoy on a big screen (very necessary when you're one of 10) or now on DVD.

    Digital imaging technology has added to our enjoyment of these. It must have been an enormous benefit to your access to so many years of shooting, which we members of photo.net now get to see in an instant.
     
  90. It seems to me digital is actually forcing more folks into the 'darkroom', into actually making the prints and starting to concern themselves with the finished product. Previously it was the professional in their darkroom or the local photostore lab that magically created the finished product.

    So while digital vs. film may be a debate over quality of finished product (and that debate has raged between people and their favorite cameras/film/paper for decades), I expect the future will show greater demand for higher-quality products. Japan Inc. is mass-making 6/8/10mp cameras because the general public wants better quality and is demanding a better camera than the 3mp point-and-shoot they bought 2 years ago (and likely few of these consumers were ever interested in the high quality film cameras). Improvments are also evident in the consumer-grade printers and papers, all designed to help any photographer make better prints - all without investing in a special room with various chemical baths that they have to be concerned with the issues of storage, mixing and disposal.

    Will film be more difficult to work in the years to come from the end-user perspective? Sure. We've seen that with large format systems that through the years got supplmented with more convienent equipment to use, and their supplies dwindled or disappeared.

    Will professionals have to spend $$$ to replace all their equipment? Sure. But ask any business leader who has run a company for 10/20/35-years how they survived and I am confident you will hear "change" and "capital investment"; if you want to succeed you need to keep on top of or be out front in your market. An Adobe Photoshop professional can be as much an expert as any darkroom specialist - different tools being used to make outstanding and original results (truly there is no philosophical difference between making changes in the darkroom vs. on a computer).

    Will film die? Probably, and probably not in our lifetimes.

    Is it worth spending this much time talking/writing about? Probably not, because the market is going to steam roll most everyone, forcing the digital solution upon us (at some level) whether it's wanted or not. You can hold out on film, but don't expect major leaps in technology as the R&D $$$ will move away from it. In the end, the convience of digital (in all aspects: review/edit/print/transfer/storage) will simply be too seductive for society as a whole to want to stop.

    Me, I'll continue to use my M, but I'll be learning and preparing for my Digilux 3/4/5 (if Leica survives) when the time comes to move onward.
     

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