Kuro5hin.org: technology and culture, from the trenches
create account | help/FAQ | contact | links | search | IRC | site news
[ Everything | Diaries | Technology | Science | Culture | Politics | Media | News | Internet | Op-Ed | Fiction | Meta | MLP ]
We need your support: buy an ad | premium membership

Is Forgoing Digital for Medium Format for You?

By MotorMachineMercenary in Technology
Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 04:01:27 AM EST
Tags: Technology (all tags)

It seems as though everyone in photography is moving to digital. Consumer digital cameras will outsell film cameras this year. Even professionals are moving into digital; photojournalism is practically all digital now. I have followed the development of digital cameras quite closely since first digital SLRs (those big cameras with changeable lenses) came out. As a prosumer and someone who is critical of quality of enlargements I have been saying that I will move to digital when an affordable 8 megapixel SLR comes out. Recently Canon delivered with their EOS-1D Mark II priced at around $3000. Now would be a good time to move to digital as a serious amateur photographer. Instead, I'm moving to medium format. Should you?

Digital cameras have gone a long way in just a few years. Megapixel counts are up, noise is down, color rendition is good, dynamic range is getting there and there are no shutter delays which plagued the earlier models. Digital consumer cameras are very good for what they were designed for: mostly consumers taking snapshots of their kids. But does digital today offer enough for the serious amateur who takes photography as art, not just memories, and wants large prints, vivid colors and lots of sharpness and resolution? And at what price?

First - and usually the only - thing most people ask when they see a digital camera is "how many megapixels does it have?" Current standard is five megapixels for a point-and-shoot, six to eleven for a SLR. But as many serious photographers who really know their stuff will tell you, it's not the megapixels that produce quality alone. The size of the sensor is an important factor, and most consumer cameras (including SLRs) have smaller sensors than 35mm which is the standard film size most people are accustomed to. Small sensors have more noise. And consumer cameras end up with lower-quality sensors than the pro-cameras have.

Also, as there is a lot of controversy about how many megapixels it takes to simulate film - estimates range from 6 to 25 for 35mm - it is not a given that even if you pay the big bucks for a pro-camera you will get film-like results. Even if the megapixel count is enough, it's still comparing apples to oranges. Usually the problem with comparing analog to digital is with methodology: do you compare computer scans from film against digital photos or prints from transparencies to printed digital photos?

A major problem with any digital camera is quality of enlargements. Whereas a 35mm negative or positive can be enlarged to maybe up to 16x20" without an appreciable loss of quality, even a 6 megapixel camera will start to lose it at 8x10". A medium format camera can produce beautiful prints at 30x40" and larger. Now, it is up to the individual photographer to know what size prints he uses to see what his needs are. If you only have 8x10"s in your photobook and don't do slideshows, there's is little reason to move to medium format. But if you plan to make exhibition prints, produce a nice portfolio or just hang your own pictures on your walls, a film camera will be a much better choice.

Differences in dynamic range between the two formats is somewhat easier to assess. While this is another subject which digital geeks and film old hats disagree on, there should be no question that digital renders highlights poorly compared to film. I don't know how much Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro will change things, though: it has a special type of sensor which should greatly enhance highlight detail.

Then there is a plethora of other differences in film vs. digital, some of them fundamental, many trivial. Workflow is entirely different for the two formats. Shooting digital is practically free whereas developing and making prints of negatives/positives costs money. Images you take with your 5 megapixel camera will look outdated and low-resolution in just a few years compared to the 10 megapixel point-and-shoot you'll then have. If you take large prints of digital photos they'll look like crap compared to most film solutions. Adjusting, tweaking, fixing and playing with digital photos is much easier than doing the same with film. Putting photos on the net, emailing them to family and friends and cataloging them is easier with digital.

So why did I choose to forgo digital for film? My view is that the entire debate about digital versus film is confusing and mostly academic. As usual with many things in life, there is no one absolute answer and you should use what works for you. I have chosen medium format over digital because of the following reasons: picture quality and price. The overall picture quality of a medium format camera is years ahead of even the most expensive digital cameras. The pictures I take today will still look outstanding in 20 years. Noise/grain is not an issue for me since I shoot Velvia exclusively; it would likely be worse in digital, especially when doing those low-light shots. Due to Velvia color is also uniformly brilliant, I'm not so convinced about digital. And as said before, dynamic range is better in film.

Even bigger differences than in picture quality can ben seen in price. A Canon EOS-1D Mark II with one zoom lens complete with memory cards costs around $4000. I can get a used medium format camera in excellent condition with one lens for around $200. A complete system for me would comprise of fast primes (no zoom). For 35mm this would mean 25mm, 50mm and 100mm lenses, for medium format 55mm, 80mm and 135/185mm lenses. This system would cost nearly $10000 as a new digital SLR but only around $1000 used for medium format. That leaves me with $9000 to burn on film and developing. I guesstimate this would bring me 5-10 years of shooting with film at current rate. Even if I didn't fork out $6000 for primes for the 35mm system and got used lenses or managed with a 28-105mm zoom, there is a gap of several thousand dollars between the systems. There are no used 8 megapixel digital SLR bodies out there. Not to mention a consumer zoom SLR lens is immensely inferior to coated primes for almost any medium format camera.

Currently I own a Canon EOS 50E (Elan IIE in the US) for real shooting and a 3 megapixel Casio Exilim for snapshots. My EOS work is mainly landscapes, cityscapes and travel photography. I also do a lot of low-light photography of cities, traffic trails and fireworks with tens of seconds of exposures. Snapshots are mainly of drunken friends and hot babes. Due to the impossibility of enforcing copyright I will not offer samples, but some of my photographs are quite beautiful. I consider myself a serious amateur and I have been slowly building a portfolio and have a dream of putting up a website to sell fine prints.

I will be keeping my EOS and will get a Mamiya C220 camera. This will be a used camera and it will likely be older than I am. It will have nothing digital in it, no electronics, no automation. In fact, it won't even need batteries! And I consider myself somewhat progressive when it comes to technology.

The idea of using the zone system with an un-automated camera is very alluring, though intimidating. I've relied on the automatics in my Canon and bracketing for ages since I shoot slides. Now that won't be possible with the Mamiya. I will need to learn how to create photographs. I might actually become a photographer in the process. Better to practice on my usual fare (travel/landscapes/cityscapes) and wait till I make a move to female nudes and some artsy stuff I've dreamed of for a while. And just the thought of being one of the few medium format photographers who are still left in the world is enticing. It will also be interesting to see how people react when I take a 30-year-old TLR to shoot the light trails at an intersection.

Still, I have a few worries. I will keep my EOS as a backup but lugging two cameras around while travelling might be prohibitive. Since the artsy stuff needs heavy digital processing I will need to scan my positives. That'll be also necessary if I ever get around to putting up the website to sell my photos. Scanning will be expensive, as will be making prints out of all the good photos I'm destined to make. Cataloging will continue to be a nightmare which I have already successfully avoided but will have to do one day. If I want to show my pictures to others I need to get a medium format projector or lots of prints; showing transparencies on a light table just doesn't cut it for the average person.

Medium format requires a lot of investment from the photographer, but not necessarily monetarily. Learning the ropes of medium format photography, shooting with mostly manual cameras, finding a photoprocessor who does medium format film, cataloging, viewing and printing is all harder, more difficult and possibly more expensive than digital. But when you take the overall cost of ownership in the lifetime of the camera, it is easy to see that digital is not so cheap after all. You also have to take into account that the digital SLR you buy for $3000 now will be an expensive fishing net weight in just a few years whereas a medium format camera will depreciate much more reasonably.

Today, medium format produces more bang for buck than digital for many serious amateurs. There are many reasons why someone shoots digital and someone film. There is no one system (be it digital, 35mm film, medium format or pinhole) which is best for everybody. Current digital photography is good for snapshots, photojournalists who need extremely fast turnaround and amateurs who don't need large prints. Medium format is for those who want the best in image quality (although there is large format) whatever the size of the prints. There is a system for everyone out there but finding what's right for you will take time and some serious objective thinking of your requirements for your equipment. Then again, in the end, it's not the equipment which takes the pictures; it is you!


Voxel dot net
o Managed Hosting
o VoxCAST Content Delivery
o Raw Infrastructure


My #1 system
o Digital SLR 21%
o 35mm SLR 21%
o medium format 1%
o large format 1%
o digital point-and-shoot 45%
o film point-and-shoot 4%
o lots of disposables 3%

Votes: 61
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o will outsell
o EOS-1D Mark II
o medium format
o serious photographers
o not the megapixels that produce quality
o 6
o 25
o dynamic range
o Fujifilm FinePix S3 Pro
o Mamiya C220
o Also by MotorMachineMercenary

Display: Sort:
Is Forgoing Digital for Medium Format for You? | 214 comments (190 topical, 24 editorial, 0 hidden)
Help needed (none / 1) (#1)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 12:49:17 PM EST

So I will be buying a Mamiya C220. Anyone know where I could get a ball head for my Manfrotto to fit the Mamiya? What about a remote to trip the shutter? Lens hoods and polarizers? Preferably in Europe.

Also, what's a good compromise in print size between pimping medium format's resolution against price?


"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
-- George Orwell

Mamiya Accessories (3.00 / 5) (#26)
by localroger on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 08:03:50 PM EST

The C220 is very standard 60's era-wise. The shutter release and flash trigger are on the lens, but there is a mechanical transfer bar mounted on the camera body and your camera should come with a bracket that accepts the same standard mechanical remote shutter release that 60's and 70's-era 35mm cameras used. Same deal on the tripod; there is a standard 1/4 x 20 socket on the bottom of the camera, but beware the body weighs about 4 kg and is very top-heavy, so many tripods designed with 35mm SLR's in mind will fold over or shake under it.

As for prints... well, we shot slide film, as that was standard for nature and magazine photography in the 80's, so you could just project them. Nowadays you can actually scan negatives with a scanner and reverse them to cherry pick for proof prints, which should be 5x7 inch or so. If your proof prints are done right, you can examine them with a loupe to evaluate for further magnification.

After proofing, it all depends on how good the pic really is; often camera shake or motion will limit the usable magnification. Or a picture may be technically good but just not aesthetically compelling enough to justify a $50 print.

As always, as you develop experience it will be your best guide. Because of all the process costs it's almost impossible to say X by Y is the "ideal" medium format print size; it depends on the picture and how much you think it's worth.

If you're doing print film get a scanner that can scan slides so you can digitally reverse and print your images for rough proofing, that will save some major bucks. 3x5 prints aren't good enough for real proofing, they're more expensive for 2.25^2 film because the process isn't automated, and it's a waste of money to print every image you shoot for proofing purposes.

You will quickly learn to think, hard, before pressing the shutter release. This has it's bad side; you may miss good shots. But it's also good, because it will force you to pay attention to everything in the environment *before* you press the button. In the end, this will make you a better observer and you will find opportunities for shots you never would have noticed if shooting was free.

What will people of the future think of us? Will they say, as Roger Williams said of some of the Massachusetts Indians, that we were wolves with the min
[ Parent ]

first question people ask is not about megapixels (none / 1) (#8)
by Mindcrym on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 03:18:09 PM EST

The first question most people (non-geeks) ask about a digital camera is, "How many pictures can you take with it?"


That's (none / 1) (#9)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 03:23:54 PM EST

2nd most asked question at least for me. And stupid at since it depends on the memory card. And I know plenty of non-geeks ;)

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
-- George Orwell

[ Parent ]
how many pictures? (none / 1) (#46)
by jgibson on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 01:44:50 AM EST

well, i have over 23k pictures taken on my old sony dsc f505v. it's not showing any signs of wear

[ Parent ]
sensitivity (none / 1) (#19)
by calimehtar on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 04:35:42 PM EST

A big point in favour of digital cameras is that they are (or seem to me to be) more sensitive. You can get better pictures without a flash in low-light conditions with a digital camera. I don't know anything about the details - how much more sensitive a good digital camera actually is. I suppose for an art photographer this isn't a big issue since you would rather control your lighting yourself with silver umbrellas and floodlights. I prefer taking photos a bit more off-the-cuff though I hesitate to use the word "snapshot", letting the current lighting situation define the mood of my photos, so I think a digital camera might be a better option for me.

I would have posted this as editorial, but I seem to be too late. Perhaps someone can address this in a reply.


The whole point of the Doomsday Machine is lost if you keep it a secret.

I believe (2.75 / 4) (#20)
by bgalehouse on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 04:58:52 PM EST

That the nominal speed of digital cameras tends to be similar to film, in that 100-200 ISO looks nice, while 1600-3200 is grainy, if available at all.

However, CCDs are far more linear than film, and so tend to keep detail when underexposed. On the other hand, this makes them more sensitive on the other end, and so they oversaturate easily. Therefore, some cameras tend to underexpose a bit, leading to dark photos which can be lightened with photoshop.

Finally, a decent digital camera will let you select (and I suppose some might select for you) different ISO speeds on the spot. Film is much less flexible.

[ Parent ]

Sensitivity (none / 1) (#22)
by OldCoder on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 05:39:17 PM EST

If you're doing serious art photos with Velvia film, you can put the thing on a tripod and get a long time exposure. You can expose the film for a whole second or a whole minute. Sensitive indeed.

By reading this signature, you have agreed.
Copyright © 2003 OldCoder
[ Parent ]
Most digitals have cheap-ass sensors (none / 1) (#28)
by The Jews on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 08:56:35 PM EST

And thus will start to show noise in the pure black areas of a picture taken at slow shutter speeds. D1H and the like have reduced the problem, but it still exists in all digital cameras.

You call these bagels?
[ Parent ]
"pure black"? (none / 1) (#38)
by rpresser on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 10:22:10 PM EST

What is such a thing?

I don't even see pure black with my eyes.
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]

Well gee (none / 0) (#116)
by The Jews on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 10:05:57 PM EST

I guess Ansel Adams didn't have pure black in his pictures either. We're not talking about some absolute absence of light in real life, we're talking about the representation of a near-pure blackness on paper or computer screen. Specifically, that "low-light area" should have no noise, that is random pixels of wildly different colours.

You call these bagels?
[ Parent ]
My point was (none / 0) (#136)
by rpresser on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 10:07:05 AM EST

that even my EYE sees random pixels when presented with a no-light situation. Why should that not be represented in a photograph?
"In terms of both hyperbolic overreaching and eventual wrongness, the Permanent [Republican] Majority has set a new, and truly difficult to beat, standard." --rusty
[ Parent ]
YARGH (none / 0) (#144)
by The Jews on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 02:30:35 PM EST

How exactly would a photograph approximate what your eye sees in total darkness? What a noisy sensor shows in the dark area of a photograph has NOTHING TO DO with what your eye sees when it's dark. It's simply the result of a crappy piece of equipment.

I repeat my original poorly-presented point: would you want Ansel Adams' pictures to have some random shit where the sky is, just because your eye sees stuff there?

You call these bagels?
[ Parent ]

naff (none / 0) (#57)
by PigleT on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 06:53:07 AM EST

Many digicams are exceptionally bad in low light before flash cuts in, seriously limiting the sort of shots possible.

For example, some cheapo nikon compacts have a choice of a couple of speeds and apertures, and then vary the ISO emulation to suit the brightness (what kind of a number is 117?). Try taking a shot into a corner of your room in low lighting with this, and you are going to get *NOISE* as ISOs approach 400 or 1600. If they kept the ISO emulation low, you'd need wider aperture or longer exposure, risking motion-blur but that's what a tripod is for.

> though I hesitate to use the word "snapshot"

Well, yes, the word has bad connotations amongst more critical photographers. There's an understandable PoV that it means `shot taken without thought/care/attention', which if you've let a camera do everything automatically, is probably a just accusation.
~Tim -- We stood in the moonlight and the river flowed
[ Parent ]

True. (none / 2) (#70)
by bakuretsu on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 09:27:11 AM EST

I agree with everything you said, but I would like to add that as you approach the prosumer and professional line of digital cameras (read: Canon EOS-10D, EOS-1D, Nikon D100, etc.), and I am speaking from experience having used a 10D for some time now, you can easily get it up to an ISO of 800 without any appreciable loss in quality (depending on light conditions, but in most conditions 800 is fine). The 10D has the ability to go up to 1600 and by setting a custom option, 3200 (which is crazy). Both of those highest options exhibit horrible noise no matter what the conditions.

I tend to shoot between 100-400, but the occasions when 800 has been necessary, I have never noticed any significant noise. To add yet more fuel to the fire, a professional photographer friend of mine always shoots 800 ISO in his studio using strobe softboxes (and all Canon EOS digital cameras) and there is absolutely no problem.

Either way, it definitely helps to have a camera that trusts you to set all of your settings as you see fit, rather than the "cheapo Nikon compacts" that pretend to be smarter than your average hobbyist photographer.

-- Airborne
    aka Bakuretsu
    The Bailiwick -- DESIGNHUB 2004
[ Parent ]

more agreement (none / 1) (#127)
by PigleT on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 05:58:10 AM EST

I recently moved from the sigma sd9 to a nikon d70. I shot a series at the Southend airshow a couple of weeks ago, using S-mode to keep the speed at 1/1000th all afternoon. The sunlight was bright but variable and sometimes I was shooting long zoom into clouds, etc, so the apertures used varied a lot. But the d70 wins here: when the aperture required was wider than the lens would support, it increased the ISO from 200 upwards as required - very low noise increase.
And, of course, for really long exposures you have noise-reduction mode as well. This rocks :)
~Tim -- We stood in the moonlight and the river flowed
[ Parent ]
Noise (none / 0) (#131)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 08:02:50 AM EST

For getting rid of unwanted noise, I recommend Noise Ninja. Once you calibrate your digital camera, or even film, it beautifully gets rid of most, if not all, noise. I don't have an affiliation with them, but I bought the software because it's absolutely brilliant.

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
-- George Orwell

[ Parent ]
Don't know (none / 1) (#82)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 11:03:24 AM EST

I think a good high speed film will give you better low light exposure than most digital camera sensors, which get pretty noisy at high ISO settings. At least on my Canon S45, high ISO is a mess. It's not really worth shooting, it's different from a film grain. Just ugly.

jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]
Mamiya C220 (3.00 / 5) (#24)
by localroger on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 06:16:39 PM EST

Boy, this brings back memories. I have two of these bodies and a full set of lenses, and took several thousand pics with them back in the 80's.

I think your assessment of film vs digital is spot-on, and if your desire is to set your work apart from what everyone else is doing it's a good idea.

I will give a caveat, though; be sure to budget in your own darkroom and printing and copying equipment. Almost nobody has the equipment to do prints from 2.25^2 film, or slide projectors that can display 2.25^2 slides directly. If you find a camera shop that does handle medium format work it will be tres expensive. Development isn't too ridulous but printing and mounting are.

We did move to high amateur-grade digital, mainly because we do a lot of wildlife. This means you shoot a LOT of duds, and the longest lens available for the C220 at 180mm is only equivalent in reach to a 90mm for 35mm film. For wildlife you're also often shooting motion with fast film and you don't get very good sharpness anyway, and my Olympus C2100 Ultra Zoom is the equivalent of a SLR and a whole bag of lenses and a hell of a lot easier to carry around. I published a few photos back in the day, but now the place my photos are most likely to end up is online somewhere, where they get sampled down to postage stamps anyway.

One thing the Mamiya does real well is macro; I have some beautiful frame-filling slides of tree frogs. But, since it's a TLR, you have to practice aiming off-center. I wasted about four rolls of film to get three good slides :-( But I'm sure with more investment and practice the signal to junque ratio would have improved.

What will people of the future think of us? Will they say, as Roger Williams said of some of the Massachusetts Indians, that we were wolves with the min

Developing/Processing (none / 1) (#32)
by ras on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 09:58:34 PM EST

Actually, the local lab, using a standard machine is able to do medium format just as easily as 35mm film.

Mind you - this is for print film, slide film like Velvia needs to be handled by a pro lab in most cases.

[ Parent ]

Different systems suit different situations ... (none / 0) (#158)
by dtcook on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 09:18:09 PM EST

I think the longest lens for Mamiya TLRs is actually 250mm; that's still not very long though, I agree. I also agree that a manual focus TLR with manual wind-on, manual shutter-cocking and limited focal length is not the sort of camera you use for wildlife photography. For macro, though, there's a little device called a "Paramender". It fits between tripod and TLR, and lets you move the whole camera up so the taking lens moves to the position the viewing lens was at while you were viewing and focusing. No more parallex problems for macro photography. Of course, they're getting rather hard to find, and not so cheap these days either.

I use a mixture of 35mm (Pentax PZ-1P), 6x6cm, and digital (Pentax Optio S) for my photography, and find each has its optimal range of situations for use. The Optio S is small enough that I can carry it with me everywhere, something I can't imagine doing with the Mamiya, for some reason, and hopefully it means I don't have any more "oh, wish I had a camera with me" moments.

As for processing, it seems to depend where you are. In Melbourne (Australia), getting 120 format film developed was quite easy and only cost around AUD 8 (about USD 5). Some labs even managed to do automated proof prints, making them 4x4" on standard 6x4" paper, again for typical proof print prices. Enlargements are the killer, though, especially if you stick with the square format, since standard paper sizes seem to be in 3:2 or 4:3 ratio.


[ Parent ]
shrunken pix (none / 1) (#25)
by adimovk5 on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 07:54:58 PM EST

Due to the impossibility of enforcing copyright I will not offer samples, but some of my photographs are quite beautiful.

Please post some shrunken internet versions of your work. If you reduce the pixel quality, we can see your photographs and get the idea of your work without you worrying about theft.

Perhaps in a diary if not here?

Good article.

awesome (none / 2) (#27)
by mariahkillschickens on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 08:39:31 PM EST

i got 2 old (1940-1950) medium formats for free and almost free a couple weeks ago. they need a little tweaking, but they have the potential to take some beautiful photographs... yay for film and boo to digital (although i'd use a digicam if i had one... but probably more for posting stupid snapshots than for actual photography...)

"In the end, it's all dirt."
An interesting comparison. (2.50 / 4) (#29)
by i on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 09:01:44 PM EST

Canon D1s vs. Rolleiflex 2.8GX steel cage death match!

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

No, not interesting... (none / 0) (#84)
by aturner on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 11:06:22 AM EST

Test was horribly flawed. A MF prime lense vs a 35mm zoom (although that 28-70L is a great zoom, it'll never match up with the $300 Canon 50mm F1.4). I love comparisions/shoot outs as much as the next guy, but apples to oranges isn't useful.

They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. -- Benjamin Franklin
[ Parent ]

Hm. (none / 0) (#92)
by i on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 12:05:41 PM EST

The test IMHO shows that the difference is not huge. It can only become smaller if you use a better lens, don't you think?

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
film will never go away (2.50 / 4) (#30)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 09:14:30 PM EST

movies didn't kill theatre, television didn't kill movies, internet didn't kill television

every medium has its place in this world, from vinyl lps to am radio to chemical-development-dependent camera film: these things never go away, they just change their purpose and audience

and it's not just nostalgia: there are plenty of aesthetic and practical reasont to stick to film over digital

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

Tried to buy a vinyl LP player lately? (2.40 / 5) (#35)
by localroger on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 10:10:56 PM EST

Seriously. I have one of those too, but I haven't used it since transferring my vinyl collection to CD, a project that took several months of after-work recording, and which will in turn be obsolete because we're still re-buying a lot of this music on CD because it sounds better than the LP's did even before they got scratched and worn.

If something becomes such a specialty that very few people use it, it loses the economy of scale and goes bye-bye. Got a Betamax videotape player lying around?

Film *in general* will be around for a long time but film in readily available standard formats for consumer/"prosumer" use may not be. Places to get it developed will get harder to find. It will become an ever-more-expensive specialty.

Eventually, the sensors will get so good and the data storage so cheap that nobody except specialists who roll their own will use it. That is, I'm afraid, the trend. But the ultimate death of film is still at least a decade or two away IMO, and the experience you get doing things the hard way makes you that much better when you get to cheap 'n free click-space land.

What will people of the future think of us? Will they say, as Roger Williams said of some of the Massachusetts Indians, that we were wolves with the min
[ Parent ]

no, no, no (1.50 / 6) (#39)
by circletimessquare on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 10:26:23 PM EST

no media ever goes away really, it just changes its focus

lps became fodder for dance djs and scratch: the vinyl record player as musical instrument, just as cds were claiming the common format for consumer music

before tv, radio was the center of national cultural attention ("only the shadow knows", "war of the worlds", etc.)

when tv became the center of national cultural attention, radio mutated into something else: a news format, a music format, a drive-time chat format

so you are confusing the death of film itself with the death of film as the central focus of photography, two totally different things

film will still find uses, both aesthetic and practical, that digital cannot satisfy, and its focus and purpose will shift

just as you cannot drive your car and watch tv, and just as you can't scratch mix with a cd player, there will be something film can do that digital can't that will become film's future

do not ever lament the death of a medium, that is a fallacy

but you may lament the passing of an era where that medium was king

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]

Memory (3.00 / 5) (#81)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 11:00:29 AM EST

No media that you remember goes away. Remember 8-tracks? RCA Videodiscs? Betamax?

I guess you could say those are all represented by their successors. And I agree that film isn't dying. But still, there is a ton of technology dead on the side of the road, almost completely forgotten.

jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

8-tracks? RCA Videodiscs? Betamax? (none / 0) (#130)
by The Smith on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 07:10:05 AM EST

Videodiscs and Betamax never caught on big in the first place, the way film has. 8-tracks are a better example, in that they've been supplanted completely by a replacement which is all of cheaper, easier to use and better quality. That's what will happen to film, eventually.

[ Parent ]
Betamax never caught on? (none / 0) (#157)
by localroger on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 09:05:17 PM EST

Betamax was the entire VCR industry in its early years. During the time when the court case was going on that would legalize time-shifting, "Betamax" was synonymous with "VCR." As recently as 1995 it was usual for video rental places to have a small Beta section for the die-hards.

About videodiscs, however, you're right, they never achieved a wide deployment.

What will people of the future think of us? Will they say, as Roger Williams said of some of the Massachusetts Indians, that we were wolves with the min
[ Parent ]

0; vertical spam (1.50 / 4) (#90)
by sllort on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 11:58:23 AM EST

Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
Huh? (none / 1) (#111)
by SPYvSPY on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 04:25:45 PM EST

I see no reason why you can't buy a turntable today. In fact, they're vastly improved since their heyday. But maybe it was just a poor example, and your point still holds.

By replying to this or any other comment in this thread, you assign an equal share of all worldwide copyright in such reply to each of the other readers of this site.
[ Parent ]

In fact, (none / 0) (#201)
by ckaminski on Tue Jun 22, 2004 at 04:22:20 PM EST

significant advancements have been made in vinyl players with the advent of laser needles.  Vinyl didn't just die off, it enjoyed a RESURGENCE in the 90's.  In many respects, vinyl is just as fragile as CD's.  Aside from the damage done by old fashioned needles, there's little reason now why they cannot have the durability of CD's.

[ Parent ]
perhaps not, but you have to admit (none / 2) (#47)
by livus on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 01:59:16 AM EST

video killed the radio star

HIREZ substitute.
be concrete asshole, or shut up. - CTS
I guess I skipped school or something to drink on the internet? - lonelyhobo
I'd like to hope that any impression you got about us from internet forums was incorrect. - debillitatus
I consider myself trolled more or less just by visiting the site. HollyHopDrive

[ Parent ]
in my heart and in my car (none / 2) (#51)
by circletimessquare on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 03:28:01 AM EST

we can't rewind, we've gone too far

The tigers of wrath are wiser than the horses of instruction.

[ Parent ]
Kodak? (none / 0) (#195)
by m1fcj on Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 11:39:07 AM EST

Kodak, one of the best known point&shoot camera maker will no longer market film cameras... That says something. Consumer market is moving to digital . Semi-pro/Pro market will take longer. Of course it won't replate it. APS didn't replace 35mm. 35mm didn't destroy medium format but the cost of available equipment will go up unless you want some second hand very old stuff and choice of available equipment will diminish. I have a 5 UK pound SLR and I love it but I can't get anything similar as brand new easily these days or it will cost me an arm and a leg. Same goes with TLR. I got my sister (an art student) a Yashica TLR for penauts and I'm going to get one for myself just for fun pretty soon (depends on this e-bay bid I have :-) ) but if I try to buy something brand new, the cost is prohibitive. I have to be a "pro" to justify spending that much money on a Rollei et al.

[ Parent ]
excuse, me could anyone tell me... (1.38 / 13) (#31)
by rmg on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 09:52:25 PM EST

what's cooler than being cool?

your daily shot of schadenfreude

dave dean

ICE COLD! (nt) (2.16 / 6) (#33)
by buck on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 09:59:16 PM EST

“You, on the other hand, just spew forth your mental phlegmwads all over the place and don't have the goddamned courtesy to throw us a tissue afterwards.” -- kitten
[ Parent ]
i can't hear ya! (2.00 / 5) (#34)
by rmg on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 10:07:26 PM EST

i say, what's -- what's cooler than bein' cool?

your daily shot of schadenfreude

dave dean
[ Parent ]

ICE COLD!!!! (2.25 / 4) (#36)
by buck on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 10:16:34 PM EST

awright, awright, awright, awright, awright, awright, awright, awright, awright, awright, awright, awright, OK. Now, ladies...
“You, on the other hand, just spew forth your mental phlegmwads all over the place and don't have the goddamned courtesy to throw us a tissue afterwards.” -- kitten
[ Parent ]
we're gon' break this thing down (2.25 / 4) (#37)
by rmg on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 10:21:52 PM EST

in just a few seconds... now don't have me break this thing down for nothin! now i wanna see ya'll on ya'll baddest behavior! lend me some sugar! i am your neighbor!

ah! here we go! uh!

your daily shot of schadenfreude

dave dean
[ Parent ]

shake it, shake it (2.40 / 5) (#40)
by bankind on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 10:52:48 PM EST

come on, shake it, shake it,

Shake it like a polaroid pict-chah.

BTW: I saw those dudes when their first album dropped and dre was still in high school.--I ROCK!!

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

OH-OHH !!!! (2.40 / 5) (#41)
by rmg on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 11:03:47 PM EST


your daily shot of schadenfreude

dave dean
[ Parent ]

The good old days (none / 0) (#210)
by xtian on Sat Jun 26, 2004 at 09:53:58 PM EST

Ja, and you were selling the tapes from your dorm room.

Work, build, dream, create. =)


[ Parent ]

Naw (none / 0) (#211)
by bankind on Mon Jun 28, 2004 at 07:29:06 AM EST

me and Steve Albini was pressing records and putting prizes of used herion needles and razor blades in every album.

"Insurgents are blowing up pipelines and police stations, geysers of sewage are erupting from the streets, and the electricity is off most of the time -- but we've given Iraq the gift of supply-side economics." -Krugman
[ Parent ]

Post your photos here! (none / 1) (#42)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Tue Jun 15, 2004 at 11:19:41 PM EST

Due to the deluge of requests (2), I posted seven readily available photos of mine on Photobucket. All taken with a Canon EOS 50E on Fuji Velvia, scanned, unretouched except for cropping on some of the pictures and serious downsizing.

Please post your links to your pictures in replies!

Photos here. Password: kuro5hin

Hope you like them!

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
-- George Orwell

what happened (none / 0) (#99)
by Xcyther on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 12:59:28 PM EST

to the drunk friends and hot babes?


"Insydious" -- It's not as bad as you think

[ Parent ]

the only medium format camera you need... (none / 2) (#43)
by Work on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 12:02:04 AM EST

is a holga, of course ;)

Oh sure. (none / 0) (#175)
by braeburn on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 02:27:06 PM EST

I love the vignetting all my frames get because the high-quality plastic engineering can't hold the film flat on the focal plane. Also, the myriad possibilities of not just one but two choices of aperture really blow people away. I'm only partially kidding. I love my Holga, and it's a lot of fun for taking experimental, play-around shots. But I wouldn't put anything it makes in my portfolio. For those who don't know, a Holga is a cheap ($20-$30 depending on how cool your camera store is) plastic piece of shit camera that will actually shoot medium format film. It has one shutter speed (1/100), two apertures (f-8 and f-11, iirc), and a purely mechanical shutter. Theo nly pieces of metal I can find in the damn thing are a couple pieces of the shutter and clips for neck strap. The lens is plastic and has three indicators for focusing "really close", on "group of people", and on "mountains". Oh, it has a shoe on it, so most electronic flashes will fire with it, which is pretty cool. The same company that makes the Holga makes a couple of interesting novelty cameras, including one that'll shoot 4 frames over a second or so (iirc) on different quadrants of a single 35mm frame. So you picture is divided into quarters, each of which is the same shot, but at 4 different times. Pretty cool.

[ Parent ]
and... (none / 0) (#180)
by Work on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 06:50:30 PM EST

surrealistic light leaks from ill-fitting plastic body panels!

[ Parent ]
I personally prefer video (none / 1) (#44)
by Amsterdam Vallon on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 12:56:07 AM EST

Anyone else enjoy video to still shots?

I looked into digital cameras, but I see mostly Birkenstock-wearing northeastern socialist college hippies with the things snapping shots of trees and trash on a sewer grate and weird stuff like that.

I personally prefer this kind of photo ;-)
Read my recent comments and reply to/rate them as you see fit.

Video and still (none / 0) (#59)
by ttsalo on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 07:56:30 AM EST

Anyone else enjoy video to still shots?

I enjoy both. They are so different I can't imagine doing only one. Now that desktop computers are powerful enough to handle digital video, it's possible to create fast-paced videos that are interesting to watch.

But you can't really hang a great video on the wall. Videos and still images are a different experience, and both have their places.

What I think of as pointless is shooting loads of video, then not taking the time to edit it and then letting it rot because no-one wants to watch the unedited raw footage. But sadly, very few people take the time to even learn nonlinear editing.

(My "fast-paced" is cuts 3-4 seconds apart on average, 1-2 seconds in the fastest sequences - not much by today's MTV standards.)

[ Parent ]

Shooting digital is not free (none / 1) (#53)
by dimaq on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 04:42:15 AM EST

or rather it is only free after the initial invetment in a digital camera - a mate of mine got himself an affordable digital camera cause he thought it was cooler than his affordable film camera - we estimated he has to take at least 2 pictures every day for two years straight to make up for the price difference. so far he doesn't.

In that case, it isn't about cost (none / 1) (#54)
by squigly on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 04:56:35 AM EST

It's about coolness.

But even if you ignore that, digital can seriously improve your photos.  The ability to take a dozen pics of the same thing without worrying about cost helps, so does instant review.  

[ Parent ]

indeed. (none / 1) (#75)
by dimaq on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 10:33:13 AM EST

[nearly] instant preview is indeed the only worthy feature of digital cameras now.

the rest is just "a tax on people bad at math" so to speak :)

[ Parent ]

worthy feature (none / 0) (#93)
by ffrinch on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 12:06:11 PM EST

Not if you don't want hard copies of the photos. Most of what I take is either shit (i.e. don't want prints) or would be going on the intarweb anyway, where it's much easier to plug in a USB cable than it is to get the pictures developed and scan them in.

The camera I bought worked out costing about the same as the non-digital equivalent + 20 rolls of film, not including development cost. It'll only take a few months to make up that difference.

"I learned the hard way that rock music ... is a powerful demonic force controlled by Satan." — Jack Chick
[ Parent ]

that is so (none / 0) (#126)
by dimaq on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 04:22:09 AM EST

only if you actually go through 20 rolls of film in a few month. I'd bet it would take you 2 years unless you take pics for work or a hobby (e.g. if you're an architect and you shoot buildings to study their features or something)

[ Parent ]
I must have taken several thousand shots. (none / 0) (#168)
by squigly on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 05:32:46 AM EST

I take several shots of everything, and keep the good ones.  

If I did this with film, I would have spent at least as much as the digital camera on film, and the same again on developing costs.

[ Parent ]

depends on your use of the camera (none / 0) (#149)
by bradasch on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 04:59:16 PM EST

For instance, when I bought my first digital (a Sony point and shoot), in two months I took 1200 pics. I would NEVER do that on film. Of course maybe 50% or so of the pics were deleted, but with digital you are free to take as many pics you feel like and pick the good ones. On film, every pic costs something. So, the cost depends on how you're going to use the camera. And, of course, if you intend to print every shot or not. My guess is that with digital there is no point in printing everything.

[ Parent ]
1400 pictures? (none / 0) (#187)
by grahamsz on Sat Jun 19, 2004 at 01:21:43 AM EST

That doesn't seem like that many.

If i'm in a photo mood i know i can burn 2 or 3 hundred frams in a week. Granted I can't afford to do that very often, but i do sometimes.

In fact i've taken over 1200 pictuers in a year with my p&s camera.

OTOH i've only taken about 20 or 30 pictures with my large format gear - that equates to about $100 a frame ... i should really get on that instead of posting here.
Sell your digital photos - I've made enough to buy a taco today
[ Parent ]

cost? (none / 0) (#194)
by m1fcj on Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 11:30:07 AM EST

Realistic cost calculations:

I have a $7.5 Praktica MTB 5B with wide, telephoto, 50mm and 400mm zoom. It takes 35mm standard films. I don't want to spend a lot of money. I have a shop which gives away a 200ASA film with every development (good franchise, you come back to the same shop to develop the film) which costs approx. $10 (6.99 UK pounds). I used to shoot approximately 15 rolls a year. Total cost: $150 + cost of petrol/bus fare which used to come around $200. Total amount of shots: 15x36=540. Assuming 1 out of 10, cost per good shot was 27 cents.

This spring, I got myself a Fujifilm S5000 Zoom. It is not a typical digital-SLR, more of a SLR-alike but it is good enough (3MP, 6MP chip) and I paid around $380 (240 pounds) I still use my SLRs but not that much, approximately one roll every two or three months. On the other hand, in the last four months, I shot over 3k pictures. This time the average is lower, I have about 1 out of 30 pictures (because I shoot more of the same subject and get more careful about what I like).

If I carry on with the same rate, here's the math:

Yearly cost:

Film camera: $200 a year, approx 540 shots, 70 cent a picture, 54 good shots

Digital camera: $380 a year, 12k shots a year, 400 good shots, 3.1 cent a picture.

Economics and logic are clear, digital is useful. Note that I still use both cameras.

Assuming I upgrade my digital camera every year with the same range of options (10x zoom, SLR-alike body, good lens, reasonable software) and never spend a penny on my SLR hardware (everything I need, I have), digital camera comes out more expensive but cost and amount of good shots I can achieve increase.

Whatever happens, I win. :)

[ Parent ]

Need to mention a few of things: (3.00 / 6) (#56)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 06:03:17 AM EST

  1. Medium format film can be scanned decently for screen display on flatbed scanners with transparency adapters.  A real film scanner that takes MF film, however, is a really huge expense.
  2. MF equipment gets you significantly less depth of field than 35mm at equivalent focal lengths, and much less than most digital cameras.  This isn't a disadvantage-- it's a factor you should consider in composition.
  3. You shoot a lot less with MF than with 35mm.  A 120-size roll holds 16 6x45 pictures, 12 6x6.  Even with an MF system, I wouldn't want to go "forego" a small-format system, either 35mm or digital.
  4. B&W film really gets a big boost from the larger film size.  One should consider shooting nothing but B&W on these cameras--it's really killer.  One should probably go for 400-speed films like Kodak Tri-X or Ilford HP5-- you have to factor in the fact that you'll want to use filters that will soak up everywhere between 1 and 3 stops of light, that you want to overexpose the film a bit to get better shadow detail, and that the depth of field is shallower.
  5. Somebody mentions this below, but it needs to be repeated: an old manual medium format TLR is a Real Camera that requires a Real Photographer who can do everything manually-- measuring exposures (I use a separate meter), calculating depth of field, focusing (sometimes on really dim screens), calculating exposure correction for filter factors, setting shutter speed and aperture, the whole works.  Somebody who doesn't know how to do all this should probably go for a fully manual 35mm SLR first to cut their teeth on.
Some of my medium format pics: Hermes in his father's farm; Roque's aunt; Statue of Amílcar Cabral (all in Cape Verde).  These were done on Tri-X 4 with a Minolta Autocord I picked up for US$125; scanned on some sort of Epson flatbed scanner (at 1600x1600), with some mild processing (adjusting curves, scaling down, sharpening).


Comments (none / 0) (#58)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 07:19:18 AM EST

  1. Indeed. I plan on getting my transparencies scanned at a lab. Only the good ones, of course.
  2. Shallow depth-of-field is one of the major things I'm really looking forward to. Getting blurred backgrounds on my current system is very difficult, and there's still not much bokeh. Trying to re-create blur in Photoshop just doesn't look right, and it's cheating anyways, IMO ;)
  3. Good point. I see MF and 35mm SLR / DSLR as complimentary systems. I will still keep my 35mm SLR for those times when I can't be bothered to lug the MF system around or when I know I need to do fast or action photography.
  4. I've toyed with B&W once in a while with my 35mm, but never got around to do it much. One reason is probably that I've only tried Tri-X but I really don't like its texture. Another is I've always thought you need to do your own prints (burning, dodging, etc.), but I read recently that not many people do that these days.
Is it possible to get good results with just dumping your b&w negs at a good photo processor? Shooting only Velvia has made me all but oblivious to that part of the workflow for negative shooting.

Thanks for the pics; very nice work!

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
-- George Orwell

[ Parent ]
Getting good results (none / 0) (#60)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 08:19:40 AM EST

A good processor can get good results. Not some chain, or a guy who ships it to a lab that does bulk work (unless it's a good lab), but a local.

OTOH, b&w developing costs an arm & a leg. It's a very low volume business. For 35mm it can run $1 to $2/frame.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]

Price of B&W developing is pretty low. (none / 0) (#65)
by ras on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 09:08:14 AM EST

I disagree with the cost of B&W developing.

Prices for used darkroom equipment is extremely cheap these days, and if you only develop and then scan your film, it's probably the cheapest alternative of them all!

[ Parent ]

If you do it yourself (none / 0) (#71)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 09:30:00 AM EST

but not if you use a commercial lab, as the poster asked.

Heck, I've been developing and printing my own b&w for about 25 years. Color slides are easy, too.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]

a fully manual 35mm SLR first (none / 0) (#61)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 08:28:10 AM EST

Unless you can score one at the local pawn shop, or on ebay, expect to pay quite a bit for a good one. Or even a decent one like the Pentax K-1000 (in quality, Pentax no longer makes the k-1000) costs several hundred dollars.

The Nikon FM series starts at around $600, body only. Fully kitted (lenses, flash, etc.) it's probably $2000 or so.

Add in about $1/frame for color print film, more for slides, unless you develop it yourself.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]

wrong (none / 0) (#63)
by Cruel Elevator on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 08:58:38 AM EST

Nikon N60 with a 28-80 lens will cost < $250, and that's a pretty good camera.

FYI, FM10 is about $200 (with 35-70 lens), FM3A body is $450, and a 50mm f/1.8 prime is about $100. Flashes and used lenses can be had for very little money. Remember, quite a few older Nikon lenses work with the newer bodies.

Haven't checked the prices lately, eh?

[ Parent ]

Where are you getting these prices (none / 0) (#72)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 09:31:43 AM EST

for new equipment? Or are you doing strictly the used market, and taking your chances on the condition of the equipment?

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
froogle (none / 0) (#94)
by Cruel Elevator on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 12:17:59 PM EST

These are standard, online retail prices from relatively well-known dealers. Have a look at it yourself.

[ Parent ]
Well known (none / 0) (#95)
by i on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 12:21:04 PM EST

disreputable dealers. Broadway Photo, oh my.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
Indeed. (none / 0) (#96)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 12:42:55 PM EST

35mm mail-order and internet camera equipment shops are one of the worst industries in the USA-- these guys live to scam customers.  Stick to B&H or Adorama.

[ Parent ]

Any half-decent SLR (none / 0) (#69)
by i on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 09:24:41 AM EST

works in fully manual mode. Get one with the two-wheel user interface, like N80/F80. Still needs batteries though.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
No, do get fully manual (none / 0) (#97)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 12:50:38 PM EST

For two reasons:
  1. It's the "sink or swim" philosophy-- it removes the temptation to do everything in auto mode.  Automatic modes make the photographer lazy
  2. Manual cameras, in general, just have a better interface for shooting manually.  They have a real focusing screen for accurate manual focus, and honest-to-goodnees knobs and dials that do one and just one thing, immediately.  One of my first cameras was a low-end autofocus SLR with one dial; all sorts of settings were done by "hold down this tiny little button (with no tactile feedback) while turning the wheel with your index".  It was hopeless in anything other than auto exposure modes.
I do second your recommendation that if somebody's going to get an autofocus SLR, they should go for one with two control dials like the N80.  (This is an important feature!)

[ Parent ]

Reason 3 (none / 0) (#102)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 01:15:22 PM EST

Robustness. A totally manual camera (even a low-end one) requires no batteries and can take an amazing amount of abuse. If I was going to Iraq, or backpacking in the Sierra Nevada, I'd want a Nikon FM3. For what I normally do, a digital slr is best.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]
Unless, of course... (none / 0) (#124)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 02:51:18 AM EST

...You and your camera get pummeled to death by a collapsing building.

One wouldn't expect things to get that rough most of the time though.

[ Parent ]

I'm still using my Nikon F401. (none / 0) (#103)
by i on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 01:35:52 PM EST

Thank dog it has two wheels (and little else). Was dropped on a concrete floor several times, needed a new back door at one point. It is AF, but this feature can safely be ignored (way too slow).

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
film scanners (none / 1) (#66)
by Cruel Elevator on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 09:09:45 AM EST

...are not really expensive. Nikon LS 9000 or Minolta Dimage MultiPro can be had for < $2000. They can take in MF negatives. It's a steal if you consider the megapixels you are getting out of this.

[ Parent ]
More than $1,000 = expensive [nt] (none / 0) (#179)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 05:46:07 PM EST

[ Parent ]

less than $400 is not? (none / 0) (#202)
by ckaminski on Tue Jun 22, 2004 at 04:36:30 PM EST

CanoScan 9900F can do 4x5, 6x9 (IIRC), and 24 35mm frames at once.

Is that better?

[ Parent ]

That's a flatbed scanner (none / 0) (#203)
by Estanislao Martínez on Wed Jun 23, 2004 at 05:16:34 AM EST

The cheapest medium format dedicated film scanner selling right now at B&H Photo is $1,499 after a $200 rebate.

[ Parent ]

Why I'm going digital with my next camera. (none / 1) (#62)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 08:45:17 AM EST

First, note that I agree with M3 about using medium (or even large) format if you're going for artistry.

But I'm not doing that. I do mostly point 'n' shoot of people doing things. Skiing, hanging out, hiking, barbeques, etc. The new digital SLR's are Good Enough for that. Not Kodachrome, or even Ektachrome, quality, but Good Enough.

My current camera is a k-1000 knockoff with Pentax lenses (good lenses can get good results from a cheap camera). Fully manual, no batteries required, just have to remember the f-stop/shutter speed settings for the various conditions. But...

Last year I shot about 700 frames, at about a dollar a frame to buy, develop, and print the film. I would've shot more if I could've afforded it. A decent digital SLR, with lenses and flash, would break even in two to three years. And, unless it broke, I would probably keep it for a decade or more.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

Beware (none / 0) (#86)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 11:19:36 AM EST

Digital cameras seem to suffer the same problem as all digital things: they are expensive paperweights in just a few years. Of course, if you don't care what other people think and feel that those 6 megapixel shots you are taking with your old SLR look just fine compared to the 12 megapixel pictures your neighbor takes with his p&s, more power to you. But I tend to think that digital is likely more expensive and might even make pictures you take today outdated with time.

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
-- George Orwell

[ Parent ]
One word. (none / 0) (#88)
by i on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 11:39:25 AM EST


and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
Taking care (none / 0) (#101)
by wiredog on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 01:13:01 PM EST

When I buy it's going to be, say, a Nikon. Or Pentax, Canon, etc. A camera from a company with a history of good products and a good warranty.

Many digital things, properly cared for, last for years. I still use my Palm Pro (vintage 1998?), my Epson LQ-510 lasted 15+ years, my cell phone is a couple years old.

Now a digital camera certainly isn't going to be as abuse resistant as my old totally manual camera, or the Nikon FM that a friend's brother (a photojournalist) took to Beirut Lebanon in 1977. That one got hit by a ricochet from an AK-47 and was still useable.

Wilford Brimley scares my chickens.
Phil the Canuck

[ Parent ]

Nikon user here (none / 0) (#105)
by meaningless pseudonym on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 02:29:46 PM EST

Picked up an old F801 a while back now, very much enjoying it. Huge change from my old all-manual M42 :-)

I did the maths and reckon that I'm spending 2-300 UKP per year on cheap Fuji Superia from the net and processing at my high street Kodak lab. Nothing goes in frames, I don't do enlargements and stick it on the wall. I've got a Fuji digital that I love but the film camera rules for high-power flash work and anything that's moving at any speed. Considering I'm a motor sports nut... :-)

Right now, A D70 is more than I can justify. It's got the spec I want though, and at £500 I'd buy one. The way prices are going at the moment, I'm hoping for that sort of price / spec combination next summer-autumn. I don't _care_ if it's only worth £150-200 within 2-3 years, I've saved more than that on film and developing in 1 year and I've had the extra utility of a digital that I can just shoot and shoot and shoot and shoot and shoot and... you get the idea.

I've been shooting SLRs for long enough to know quite a bit but I'm still nowhere near as good as I could be and would love to be better. Digital gets me the possibility of nearly free lessons by taking a laptop / PDA with me for preview and just makes it all so much easier. I can shoot in whatever units I want, not 36 exposure chunks, and I don't have to plan ahead. For what I want, digital is a complete no-brainer - it's just too expensive right now. Won't be long, though, and I personally won't miss film one bit.

[ Parent ]

Oldies, but goodies (none / 0) (#64)
by CaptainZapp on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 09:00:59 AM EST

This will be a used camera and it will likely be older than I am. It will have nothing digital in it, no electronics, no automation. In fact, it won't even need batteries!

Specifically this sentence provoked the almost uncontrollable urge to dig out my trusty Pentax LX and take it out to the sticks for some serious foto shooting.

It's not really that old and it does provide some automation, but works just fine if the batteries are toast. For example in very cold weather

Hell, it's inconvenient, bulky (specifically when you drag around a couple spare lenses) and processing is an overall nightmare compared to digital. But the fotos have something that digital will never have, regardless of quality.

I call it kharma.

Good stuff. (none / 2) (#68)
by bakuretsu on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 09:18:55 AM EST

I would like to take this opportunity to shamelessly plug my photo gallery. I just broke onto the amateur (prosumer?) photography scene a few months ago and chose to use a Canon EOS-10D with my one 24-85mm f/35-4.5 because I believe it is the best value (price vs. features) in a digital camera and I'm a digital whore.

I don't think I will ever return to film; I can only hope against all odds that I'll have enough money to support this ridiculously expensive hobby. My first gallery show will be in November; any Kurons from the Hartford, Connecticut area are encouraged to contact me if they wish to come.

The Bailiwick Gallery.

Please focus your attention in the section titled "The Gallery" and its sub-albums. Most recent albums appear at the bottom of the page.

-- Airborne
    aka Bakuretsu
    The Bailiwick -- DESIGNHUB 2004

Great! (none / 0) (#77)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 10:42:19 AM EST

Didn't know you had a photo site, let alone that you were local. I really like your work.

I actually drive across the Saville Dam regularly, I've always wanted to take pictures there but never bothered. I like your perspective, I think we're attracted to similar subjects.

Mind if I link you? Have a look at my site if you're bored.

jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

Problems with this article (1.60 / 5) (#73)
by Mr.Surly on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 10:10:53 AM EST

Unfortunately, I didn't see it in the edit queue.
  1. Title is awful.  Reads like the title of a scientific article, only shorter.
  2. "Medium format"? What is that?  Why not include the one-liner from the linked faq "Medium format photography includes anything larger than 35mm but smaller than a 4''x5'' view camera."?  Or better yet, just mention that the film is larger, and why.
  3. "Velvia?"
  4. "Guesstimate"

Also, (none / 3) (#78)
by ksandstr on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 10:43:08 AM EST

  • Use of word "prosumer" anywhere in the article.
  • Use of word "prosumer" in the intro copy of the article.
  • Use of word "prosumer" in a self-referential context.
Yuck. -1 all the way until fixed. Sadly most k5ers aren't as sensitive to marketing wanker words as I am, thus I too missed the opportunity to downvote.

Gegen kommunismus und bolschewismus und terrorismus, jawohl!

[ Parent ]
Yeah, that too. (nt) (none / 0) (#79)
by Mr.Surly on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 10:52:13 AM EST

[ Parent ]
Hmm (none / 1) (#83)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 11:04:29 AM EST

Agree with title being awful. It was different but then I did some rewriting and just hacked it.

I didn't put much info on MF or Velvia because this article is meant for amateur photographers who will know what those are. If not, you managed to look it up.

By the way, Velvia is film by Fuji which has been the industry standard for 15 years. Incredibly vivid colors (reds are actually more saturated than in real life without it or other colors being unnatural), low or non-existent grain. Only problem with Velvia is its slow at ISO 50 so you need long exposure times. ie. usually need a tripod. Also it is slide film so getting prints is more expensive than negative film.

I disagree on the word "prosumer." It's a very descriptive word which nevertheless comes from marketing wankery. Whether you're a stinking pinko or fat capitalist pig, that shouldn't diminish it's convenience. I've used "serious amateur" in other parts but avoided tautology with "prosumer."

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
-- George Orwell

[ Parent ]
clap, clap, clap (1.20 / 5) (#104)
by coryking on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 02:27:11 PM EST

Do you have anything useful to say, or are you just going to show off your wonderful Intarweb ski11z to us all?

[ Parent ]
Best camera ever made (none / 0) (#74)
by haydentech on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 10:21:51 AM EST

Pentax 6x7cm --  Indestructible, dependable, perfect aspect ratio, and as big as you can reasonably go and still not require a tripod.

Like the author's, mine is probably as old as I am.

Let's skip forward a bit... (none / 1) (#76)
by Wiggy on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 10:42:13 AM EST

I concur that today, right now, you are better off with medium format if you want quite large prints to put up on your wall.

That said, you need to appreciate that the long-term is not looking good for film. Think about the position say 5 or 10 years from now or beyond.

In 10 years it's not unrealistic to imagine digital cameras going over 25 megapixels. At that resolution, large prints are going to be fine, so that objection goes.

Ahhh, the batteries you say, the batteries! Well, by then fuel cells will be available, and you'll be able to run your camera in harsh conditions for quite some time. Plus, power consumption will come down, so your camera will last longer than it does today.

The image quality! you say. In 10 years there can be as much processing power in your camera as there is today with a P4 and Photoshop sat on your desktop. You're going to be able to give the image that feel you wanted from your old camera on the fly. You're going to be able to produce images that are effectively your camera emulating a 1960's Russian SLR if that's what you want. The quality is going to be what you want it to be.

It's not the same! Where is the real advantage? Well, how about being able to store an indescribable number of pictures, and being able to transmit me them to anywhere in the world instantly? What about being able to have a camera the size of a cigar lighter that can take high-quality 20+ megapixel shots to carry around with you, or embedded in your phone?

This is all just the tip of the iceberg. Digital is here to stay. It might not be quite ready for serious art photography yet, but it will be soon. Invest too much in medium format and in 10 years time, you'll have a lot of expensive equipment that nobody wants, including you.

For now, medium format is not bad, but I'd really keep a close eye on digital as it will develop into something that even the most serious photographer will be unable to resist.


Agree completely (none / 1) (#80)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 10:55:59 AM EST

I'm no film fanboy, but I ain't no blind adopter of new, immature technologies. IMO digital is good for the things mentioned in the article (snapshots, photojournalism and amateurs who don't need large prints). In fact, digital is excellent for those if you have the money to burn.

As said in another post, there are already digital backs for medium format cameras. And I can't wait to get my hands on a 25 megapixel digital back for a MF camera. So the investment is not necessarily lost as long as you invest in a well-established modern MF camera system. For me, I'm gonna be just fine for a few years with an old system. By that time, I'll be swimming in money ;)

"In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
-- George Orwell

[ Parent ]
No go. (none / 2) (#87)
by i on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 11:27:58 AM EST

Barring a total revolution in physics, it is impossible "to have a camera the size of a cigar lighter that can take high-quality 20+ megapixel shots". Light doesn't scale down.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
Perhaps. (2.25 / 4) (#91)
by sllort on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 12:04:56 PM EST

But you know, the best stereos still use vacuum tubes, and despite the massive proliferation of digital modeling amplifiers, guitarists who can still afford it play through tube based Fender Super Reverbs. In audio, it seems, digital will never truly catch up to analog, and yes, you can hear the difference.

Photography is an art. There's a good argument to be made that in some ways, the imperfections in film may prove to be non-reproducible in much the same way.
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]

but some of that is simple elitism (none / 0) (#114)
by Delirium on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 09:54:13 PM EST

In most cases, no, you can't hear the difference. Differences seem to have a way of magically disappearing in double-blind listening tests. Especially if you're playing live in a relatively noisy environment through an amp where you swear you can tell the difference.

[ Parent ]
In the case of stereo amplifiers (none / 0) (#135)
by sllort on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 09:58:49 AM EST

I have personally been subjected to double-blind comparisons more times than I care to recount. I have never failed to pick out the tube when asked. The detail and compression are stunningly obvious once you've heard the difference for a while.
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
That's elitism pure and simple (none / 1) (#118)
by brunes69 on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 10:14:29 PM EST

It can be *absolutely proven* through mathematics/physics that using a tube amp distorts sound far beyond any possible loss through bitrate sampling. A high quality digital amp is guaranteed to give you better sound than a tube amp costing 10X as much. In fact the only reason you would possibly be able to pick a tube amp in a double-blind test like this would be that you would be able to hear the distortions.

Whether or not the distortions a tube amp creates "sound better" is purely subjective, and can vary from person to person... the simple fact is that they *are* distortions, and they are not reproducing the true sound like a good digital will. The only difference is the elitist factor, where you can show your tube amp off to your hi-fi buddies and go "check me out!"

---There is no Spoon---
[ Parent ]

sure it can, (none / 2) (#119)
by rmg on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 01:44:15 AM EST

and it has been. digital effects sound dead and lifeless just like a guitar made out of particle board does. you just can't get the depth and character of a tube amp out of some eighty dollar ZOOM piece of shit.

it's not elitist at all, it's just that regular schmuck guitarists don't have the ears to hear it (or just haven't tried real tube distortions because they can't afford them or whatever). you might as well argue that there's no difference between a fine french wine and some californian swill that comes $15 a bottle because only "elitist" people can taste the difference.

but if you don't believe it, consider that the most coveted distortion device out there is the ibanez ts-9 tube screamer: a tube based distortion. yes, you can get a rat or a big muff pi for half the price and they sound alright, but they don't sound as good. and that's solid state, not digital. in fact, no one seriously uses digital distortion emulation because it sucks.

your daily shot of schadenfreude

dave dean
[ Parent ]

wine (none / 2) (#122)
by Delirium on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 02:32:07 AM EST

Actually that's another instance of elitism. People assume "fine french wine" is better than "californian swill that comes $15 a bottle", yet in double-blind taste tests, the $15-a-bottle California stuff wins not that infrequently, even when the taste-testers are supposedly connoisseurs.

[ Parent ]
wine quality doesn't correlate perfectly to price (none / 0) (#133)
by Battle Troll on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 09:48:43 AM EST

Because there's a market in wine, like any other consumer product.

However, in the long run, vintages that were a success rise in price relative to vintages that weren't. Consistent success raises a winemaker's profile and his prices start higher. This effect is entrenched with French wine because, until around 1980, French red wine really was consistently the best in the Western world. (Great Iron Curtain wines like Tokaji and Khvanchkara weren't available in the West, and the Californian, Australian, and Chilean industries hadn't matured yet.)
Skarphedinn was carrying the axe with which he had killed Thrainn Sigfusson and which he called 'Battle Troll.'
Njal's Saga, ca 1280 AD
[ Parent ]

don't knock the big muff (none / 1) (#134)
by sllort on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 09:54:57 AM EST

it's good shit.

but you're right about the ibanez. i'm surprised at you.

there are, actually, good arguments as to why tubes are physically superior to transistors at the very high end, but i always forget them, as they are unnecessary: anyone who can hear can tell the difference, and everyone else is either deaf or ignorant.

the problem with scientifically quantifying the difference is that you're delving into psychoacoustics. this guy tried.

Vacuum-tube amplifiers differ from transistor and operational amplifiers because they can be operated in the overload region without adding objectionable distortion. The combination of the slow rising edge and the open harmonic structure of the overload characteristics form an almost ideal sound-recording compressor. Within the 15-20-dB "safe" overload range, the electrical output of the tube amplifier increases by only 2-4 dB, acting like a limiter. However, since the edge is increasing within this range. the subjective loudness remains uncompressed to the ear. This effect causes tube-amplified signals to have a high apparent level which is not indicated on a volume indicator (VU meter). Tubes sound louder and have a better signal-to-noise ratio because of this extra subjective head room that transistor amplifiers do not have.

blah blah whatever. they sound smoother and they have more detail.

Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]

actually, (none / 0) (#139)
by rmg on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 01:01:57 PM EST

i'll take a rat over a big muff. love that eighties metal sound. big muff is a bit too fuzzy/seventies for me.

your daily shot of schadenfreude

dave dean
[ Parent ]

Call it whatever you want (none / 1) (#132)
by sllort on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 09:48:14 AM EST

But when you do a double blind test of the world's best digital amps vs. the world's best tube amps, people always pick the tubes. The Smithsonian spent millions on their audio installtion for playing back concerts of lost & dead music, and it's all tube powered. If you haven't listened, you don't know.
Warning: On Lawn is a documented liar.
[ Parent ]
As a guitarist and tube-amp owner, (none / 0) (#208)
by metalfan on Fri Jun 25, 2004 at 07:44:55 PM EST

I can say that tube amps have an unmistakable sound that is often imitated but never duplicated.  As a guitar player, I can also say that tube amp distortion DOES sound better.  Warm and crunchy (awesome for blues, just check out any SRV gear list) as opposed to the harsh and buzzy distortion you get out of any solid state amp or stompbox.

As for hi-fi tube stuff, I haven't listened to enough of it to make any kind of statement.  I do have a circa 1950's AM/FM tube radio that sounds pretty good though, and has a more sensitive receiver section than most modern radios to boot.

[ Parent ]

Please don't overestimate (none / 1) (#115)
by cdguru on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 10:00:56 PM EST

The problem that everyone has with consumer electronics is they compare the "advances" and price changes in the PC market with their favorite consumer electronics device.

I worked for a company that made that mistake with automobile navigation systems, and they were completely astonished with the utter lack of growth in processors and memory capacity. I would say that cameras are going to go about the same way. Don't think PCs, think televisions.

The problem is that all consumer electronics devices have one overriding consideration - price. The drive to squeeze the price down as far as possible vastly exceeds the need for new features. And besides, new features are software, not hardware - just beat on the engineering harder to get more from less. The trade-off is often that it is cheaper to pay a million dollars more in engineering than to add a megabyte of RAM. The megabyte of RAM might only add $1 to the cost of the device, but that is saved if you make any more than a million devices. This leads to lots and lots of engineering being spent on trimming the hardware down to the absolute bare minimum.

[ Parent ]

they've still been growing rather impressively (none / 0) (#121)
by Delirium on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 02:30:07 AM EST

While that's true, consumer electronics do sometimes grow by leaps and bounds. Digital cameras have gone from 2 megapixel to 5 megapixel being pretty much the standard in about 3 years, which is not bad.

[ Parent ]
I disagree. (none / 0) (#200)
by ckaminski on Tue Jun 22, 2004 at 02:48:56 PM EST

I purchased a 4.1 MP Canon G2 for $800 in Feb 2002.
I was evaluating the 6.1 MP G5 for $800 in Feb 2004.

You're logic may indeed be true for the dSLR market, but that is more a factor of market penetration vs. actual unit cost (you can't tell me that a D1H is 3-5x more expensive to manufacture than a D70 to justify the cost difference).

Fact is, at the low end, the price performance ration has not kept up like you portray. 1-2MP was the standard in 1997.  It's 4-6MP today.  That's not leaps and bounds.

[ Parent ]

increases seem greater at the low end (none / 0) (#204)
by Delirium on Wed Jun 23, 2004 at 05:50:18 AM EST

I don't have exact numbers or a perfect memory, but I'm pretty sure available megapixels in my pricerange, $350-$400, have gone up significantly in the past few years. Sometime around 2001 or so the best you could get in that price range was 2-3 megapixels, whereas now you can get 5 megapixels. Doubling in 3 years isn't as good as what CPU speeds do, but it's not bad either.

There does seem to be a barrier at around 5-6 megapixels though—the $400 pricerange has gone up to 5 megapixels, but the $800 pricerange hasn't gone up very much past that, so the difference in megapixels between a $400 and $800 camera has been reduced over the past few years. Not really sure why that is.

[ Parent ]

Because.... (none / 0) (#209)
by StewedSquirrels on Sat Jun 26, 2004 at 03:57:00 PM EST

Because 4MP is "good enough" and they are starting to get back to concentrating on "camera features".

Honestly, when I shoot professionally at a little league game, I often shoot at 3MP.  I can print an 8x10 print and often 11x14 if the image is sharp and contrasty and the smaller files are easier for me to deal with in batches of 300 or more.

Then again, I shoot a DSLR and at 3mp an 8x10 is butter smooth as well as sharp and vibrant.  With my little "pocket" Sony S20, a 3.3MP image is grainy and soft at 8x10.

So not all pixels are created the same.


[ Parent ]

About to buy (none / 1) (#85)
by thogard on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 11:16:53 AM EST

I'm about to buy my 3rd digital camera.  My 1st was a samsung digimax that did 800k pixels.  It does very well at low light and even better than the sony F550 that cost 10x as much.  I've got a nice shot of the full moon and its reflection with the cheapo camera.  The sony woudln't even take the picture.  The sony does have a very good real lense but it belongs to work.  My 2nd camera was a cheapo 6 pseudo meaga pixel "mouse 610" which is ok for outdoor type pictures where you would use an disposable camera.

For my next camera, I'm considering the Caplio G4 Wide which is a 3mp but can take fast photos and I've got a new kitten.  It seems to have a decent lense which supprises me that most $90 35mm cameras have better lenses than $500 digitals.  I've looked at the 5mp model but I don't print photos and they are slower writing to the memory card and it costs much more.

A few years ago on the plane back form Tahati, I was sitting next to a couple of people that had been there for film related confernece.  One of them asked how much film I bought since I was taking pictures of any little coral head I could see.  The light came on in her head when I pointed out I had taken about 600 pictures on my trip and not bought any real film.

The only thing I use real film for now is in my underwater camera.  I used slide film which costs a fortune and even more to develop and even more when I want a print but when I luck out and get a decent shot, the slide film is great.  With underwater photos, I figure I get about 3 decent shots per roll and only about one in twenty is very good.  That gets expensive fast but the digitals can't cope with the wide range underwater that the slide film and a relativity cheap underwater camera can.

Quality Film vs Digital (3.00 / 8) (#89)
by StewedSquirrels on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 11:49:40 AM EST

Let me preface by saying that I'm a working professional photographer.  Let me also mention that although I've shot Medium Format twice in my life, I never had any desire to go that route.  Of course,  I shoot mostly sports and news, which makes Medium Format a non-option anyway.

I would disagree that the image quality is significantly greater on medium format than on a high-quality digital SLR.  In fact, I took a photo of a house with my Fuji S2Pro and had it printed 30x40 on a high-quality lightjet printer.  Keep in mind, that i saw it out the window of my car and stopped, stepped outside, quickly metered, changed a few settings on the camera and snapped the shot with a very good quality 50mm Nikon prime lens (MSRP $99).  Now, if you use a 5x loupe (magnifying glass) you can see slightly rough edges on the individual grains of wood in the window framing of the house, but for a wall hanging 30x40 picture of a 3 story victorian house, that's just not noticable.  Perhaps it might be if it was hanging in the Metropolitan Art Museum or if it was printed 5 feet across, but a 30x40 print is actually larger than most art-prints.

Now, here's the kicker. I have a friend who is a huge proponent of the medium format option and sells a good deal of his prints at art fairs and the like.  He took a look at it and set out to prove to me that medium format was superior.  He went to that spot outside the house 3 different times, lugging a heavy Bogen tripod, head, handheld meters, a grey card, a couple of lenses and a Hassleblad 4x5 MF camera.  He burned a roll of film each time he was there, and tried half a dozen filters to make sure to get the color temperature correct (This is easily changable in-software, even after the fact in a pro digital when shooting RAW).

In the end, every layman and pro who saw the 30x40 prints picked the digital "snapshot" with a cheap $99 lens over the best of mediculously prepared Medium Format shots.

Now I recognize that Medium Format DOES have a better dynamic range and has the potential of having a better resolution, but I think the losses outweigh the gains for 99.99% of imaging and phtography.

And that slim margin will only grow more slim as the technology marches on.


Don't forget the other important benchmark. (none / 0) (#112)
by Trepalium on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 05:21:30 PM EST

Namely, how much time it took you to get a picture you love. I'm guessing it took you an hour or so to get the picture exactly as you wanted it, including snapshot time. I'm also guessing that your friend spent considerably more time shooting, and developing to try to best you. The less time you spend on the silly things, the more time you have to spend on things like spending time with your family (if you have one), or finding more interesting things to do or photograph. I imagine it also cost you less money, as well.

Now, all the formats have their strength and weaknesses, and there's a great deal of overlap. Like anything in this world, the people who grip to one thing as the One True Way are always blind to the benefit to everything else. You can see this in computers (Linux, Macintosh and Windows users), and in politics, and even in photography.

[ Parent ]

Fantastic article... (none / 0) (#98)
by skyknight on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 12:50:44 PM EST

I've long been interested in the possibility of taking up photography, and this piece has brought it back to the fore of my mind. Historically I've been an enthusiastic ornithologist, though I haven't had much time for it in the past few years. I'd really like to take it up again, and more seriously this time, figuring out, among other things, a good photographic rig for capturing decent quality images while out bird-watching.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
Lookie (none / 0) (#100)
by i on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 01:08:01 PM EST


and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
Cool... (none / 0) (#106)
by skyknight on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 02:39:45 PM EST

Now I remember why I'm not yet an avian photographer. Seeing as I am presently a graduate student, the words "financially crippling" come to mind with respect to this hobby's apparent investment requirements. If I had the kind of money, I think my first item of business would be to buy a house.

Buying a new Honda Accord a month ago was enough for this year as far as I am concerned. I really don't need to spend more money on camera lenses than I just dropped on a reasonably nice car.

Maybe I could just get a pellet gun and a disposable camera.

It's not much fun at the top. I envy the common people, their hearty meals and Bruce Springsteen and voting. --SIGNOR SPAGHETTI
[ Parent ]
Then there is digiscoping (none / 0) (#153)
by walwyn on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 06:59:33 PM EST

birds which is relatively inexpensive.
Professor Moriarty - Bugs, Sculpture, Tombs, and Stained Glass
[ Parent ]
It's all about the prints (none / 0) (#107)
by Cruel Elevator on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 02:42:17 PM EST

If your prints are not larger then 10x12 inch, 35mm is actually pretty good. I somehow prefer handheld prints, and never had the fascination to make poster size prints. So, I didn't go beyond 35mm. It also gives me the convenience of being able to get my stuff processed from almost everywhere.

Do note that making prints from films by yourself is quite hard. Setting up a darkroom is not easy and each print takes 30-45 minutes to get done. It's also very expensive. If you are doing black and white only, you can still go the old fashioned printing route today, but color? Forget it.

The best way I've found is to do a hybrid approach. I shoot film, and then get them scanned using a dedicated film scanner. After that, I retouch the images in Adobe Photoshop. Then, I send the images to a photo lab that has digital printing. The results are very good. Fuji Frontiers print at 300 dpi, and Noritsu does 320 or 400 dpi, depending on model.

The only darkroom that's feasible right now is the digital darkroom, i.e. your computer with a powerful image-editing software. The objective is to find the best way to get your image into the computer, and I believe that film+scanner is a very good approach.

Conclusion: film isn't dead, but the traditional darkroom is.

Darkroom (none / 0) (#109)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 03:52:55 PM EST

I used to love darkroom work, I did a lot of B&W 35mm. It feels much more genuine than taking pics on a digital, fixing them up in Photoshop and then sending them over the Internet to a printer. Of course you're right that it takes a certain crazy dedication to do color printing these days, when shops on the web can do it quicker, cheaper, and more accurately than you could ever do in a darkroom.

Still there's something to be said for all the dodging, burning, and trial and error of printing your own photos. There's nothing like seeing your own shot through the entire process, from your entirely analog camera all the way to the print dryer. The slowness of it all really forces you to think about the pictures you're working on - not such a bad thing.

jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
[ Parent ]

Suggestion (none / 0) (#128)
by marx on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 06:05:03 AM EST

You could run photoshop on a 486 with 8MB of memory. Then the slowness of the whole process would also force you to think about the picture you're working on.

Join me in the War on Torture: help eradicate torture from the world by holding torturers accountable.
[ Parent ]

What makes a good camera? (3.00 / 4) (#108)
by rho on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 03:04:48 PM EST

Things that make a good camera, in ascending order of importance:

  • The megapixels of the sensor
  • The quality of the lens
  • The likelyhood that you'll actually use and/or carry the camera

The lens is more important than the megapixels of the sensor. A good lens will allow a smaller sensor to make better prints. The Nikon D1 has a 3-ish megapixel sensor, yet it will print an 8x10 quite easily. You could take it up larger, as long as you're not planning on viewing it very closely. Basically, if you fill the sensor with the photo, you can fill a page in a magazine.

The likelyhood that you'll actually have the camera on you is more important than everything else, however. A good photo can be taken with one of those shitty 640x480 cameras. NO photo can be taken if you've got nothing. And, the likelyhood of your carrying a spendy digital SLR decreases dramatically, depending on where you are and what you're doing. I've hauled a big camera bag around on vacations, but it's not fun.

You will NEVER haul around a medium format camera, not even one of those Pentax SLR MF cameras. For one thing, using a MF SLR means you can hardly handhold it, due to the extreme mirror-slap. Secondly, a MF camera weights a metric fuck-ton. Thirdly, you will be hassled nearly everywhere if you pull out a professional-looking camera. Hell, half of New York City won't let you set up a tripod, because they assume a person with a tripod is a professional photographer, and you have to have a license to shoot professionally. (Or something--all I know for sure is I wasn't allowed to set up a tripod anywhere.)

Also, the  best digital in the world cannot take a picture when there's no juice. Carrying chargers and batteries and whatnot adds to the overall hassle of a digital. I'm looking at finding a Canonet rangefinder as an everyday, walking-around camera. Loaded with decently fast B/W film, I can still use it even if the battery in it is kaput and I've got no flash. It's small, unobtrusive, and I can slide it in my sachel with no trouble. The quality of the lens is spectacular, but the total cost is nothing that will make me commit hari kiri if I drop it over a cliff.

Developing B/W film is easy cheesy, and can be done in your bathroom. (If you don't mind dumping heavy metals down your sink drain.) Once you have the film, you can scan it in fairly easily, either with a flatbed or film scanner. (Doesn't that sound ridiculous--a $3000 autofeed film scanner to support a 25-year-old $60 rangefinder. Well, you can have the film sent off to be scanned, if you want.)  Right now, digital output is better than chemical, because you don't have to spend hours and gobs of paper tweaking little bits. You just tweak on the computer, then make one print. It's not as easy as digital, but it's not so hard that I wouldn't do it, and it fulfills a good niche.

Oh, BTW, there are plenty of MF photographers out there. They're just all wedding photographers and portrait photographers.
"The thought of two thousand people munching celery at the same time [horrifies] me." --G.B. Shaw

There are MF rangefinders out there, you know. (none / 1) (#110)
by i on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 03:59:18 PM EST

If I had spare $3000 or so I'd get me a Mamiya 6 system, just for fun.

and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

[ Parent ]
tripods and "looking like a pro" (none / 2) (#155)
by janra on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 07:14:59 PM EST

you will be hassled nearly everywhere if you pull out a professional-looking camera. Hell, half of New York City won't let you set up a tripod

I've actually had the opposite experience when hauling my tripod out, doubly so when I put a long lens on. I've even been invited past audience barriers, without being asked for a press pass. (Ok, they weren't really high-end events, but there were still audience barriers, and people with P&S cameras weren't allowed past... and like all the P&S people, I was just there to take pictures of my friends' team.)
Discuss the art and craft of writing
That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.
[ Parent ]

Indeed (none / 1) (#184)
by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 08:16:47 PM EST

SLR cameras impress most people-- especially high end ones with lots of knobs and switches, or older ones made out of metal.  Having a good-sized lens also impresses people, as also does having a decent-sized lens hood on your lens (makes it look bigger).

Now, I'm not a vain person: I don't use the equipment I do because I want to impress others.  In fact, only once I've spent more than $150 on a piece of camera equipment (a tripod).  However, the impressiveness has good side effects: laypeople take you seriously.  What you mention is just one instance of that; they do more stuff, like pose better for you, get out of the way for your pictures (though you often don't want them to, aaargh), and so on.

[ Parent ]

Error: $6000, not $3000 (none / 0) (#113)
by sakusha on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 09:23:38 PM EST

Your description of the Canon EOS-1D Mark II costing about $3000 is incorrect. The list price is about $6000, best price I could find is around $4500. This camera is going to set you back at least $5000, and that's including a piece of crap lens instead of a nice expensive lens that this camera body really deserves, so just figure it's going to cost you $6000 total. On the other hand, a Hasselblad 501CM with a standard 80MM lens is going to cost you well under $3500 new (I suggest you buy the prism viewfinder which will set you back another $1000 or so). This is the top of the line medium format camera, and the Zeiss lenses are the best quality on the market. And it has the bonus advantage that you can buy (or rent) digital sensor backs, like the amazing Sinar 22 Megapixel sensor back, which will set you back a cool $15,000 or so. But that's another problem with medium format SLR accessories, they're very expensive. Lenses are dramatically more expensive than lenses for 35mm SLR cameras. I used to own a 500CM and I assure you, it takes incredible pictures, Hasselblad is the standard by which all other cameras are judged. I especially liked to shoot transparencies, and send them for drum scans at about 45 megapixel rez. This is a lot cheaper than buying a digital camera back, and the results are awesome. My drum scanner guy used some of my slides to demonstrate the quality of his scanner. But you don't have to go whole hog and drop thousands on a medium format rig. A good used twin lens reflex is the cheapest way to get into medium format. The old 120 cameras are available for really cheap, and often have high quality lenses. I've seen very high quality TLR rigs selling for $100.

eBay prices (none / 0) (#120)
by eeg3 on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 02:22:37 AM EST

Well, you're right about it retailing atleast a grand more on most of sites I saw. It seems that it can be had in the $3000 range on eBay. Out of 11 auctions, the non-Buy-It-Now ones are at $3000 or under with 24 hours or less left on them.

-- eeg3(.com)
[ Parent ]
$4500 (none / 0) (#160)
by sakusha on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 10:03:00 PM EST

No, I think you're looking at the Mark I, I just checked and all the auctions for the new Mark II model are going well above $4500. This is above street price, which would seem to indicate these cameras are in short supply and people are willing to pay a premium to get ahold of one.
There was one auction from a seller with no rating, going around $3500. I bet it was a scam.

[ Parent ]
why I use a relatively small digital camera (none / 0) (#117)
by Delirium on Wed Jun 16, 2004 at 10:11:03 PM EST

It's not entirely the same as your situation, but I own both a nice 35mm film Canon SLR with a reasonable complement of lenses (35mm, 50mm, and 70-200mm zoom), and a 5-megapixel Canon digital camera, of the relatively small "fits in your pocket" variety (PowerShot S50).

Clearly, the film SLR is better. It has better lenses, it has better zoom, it has a better rangefinder, it has better manual controls, and just about everything is better, really. Body and lenses all together cost less than the digital camera too (since it was purchased used).

But I nearly always use the digital. The reasons are fairly straightforward, and have nothing to do with image quality:

  • I actually have the digital camera with me, because it fits in my pocket. I can take it places where I might take a picture but am not sure. Showing up at a party with a big SLR around your neck is considerably more awkward. I can also look a bit less like a tourist when I'm in another country. Especially useful is that I can discreetly take it places that might have crime and therefore reduce the chances I'll be mugged for it.
  • I feel less inhibited taking pictures. Even if you say a film camera is cheaper than digital, so you can set aside the money you saved for film and printing, it still psychologically isn't the same. I play around with the digital camera, taking pictures of myself in the mirror, taking 50 different exposures of a nighttime shot, and so on, all of which I could do with a film camera, but which I probably wouldn't. When I'm using a film camera, I feel I have to justify why I'm taking this picture, and why I'm going to get a print of it. With a digital camera, I can always delete the picture right on the spot if I can tell on the LCD screen that it's crap, and it costs nothing anyway.
  • I can more conveniently take more pictures, and then organize them. Carrying, say, two 512-mb memory cards takes nearly no space, and gives you over 900 five-megapixel pictures. Carrying around over 30 rolls of 24-exposure film is a little odder, and makes me feel a bit ridiculous. Directories I can sort full of hundreds of pictures are also easier than a gigantic pile of photographs that I have to spread around my room to organize.
  • If I don't stick my photographs online in an illustrated travelog of sort, they'll never get labeled or really go anywhere. It's easier to use a digital camera than to sit around scanning in film, even if I had the equipment to do so.
I do have some complaints:
  • Small-camera lenses are not very good. There is noticeable fisheye-style distortion in the corners at certain zoom levels.
  • The zoom is only 3x (i.e. 35-105mm), and lenses are not interchangeable, nor do they accomodate UV filters or anything of that sort.
  • The autofocus is not nearly as good as in autofocus SLRs, despite fancy AI algorithms that are supposed to figure out what sort of image it is and focus accordingly.
  • Manually focusing is damn near impossible, as its non-SLRness means the glass viewfinder is not through the lens, and the display on the LCD that is through the lens is pretty hard to focus with in the best of conditions, and impossible to even see in broad sunlight.
I realize I'm conflating some small/large and film/digital issues here, but that's just how it happened given the cameras I own. The main upshot is that currently I'm willing to sacrifice quality for the benefit of actually taking photographs, versus a quality camera that always sits at home. Ideally I'd carry both around in luggage, and use the small digital camera while walking around, since I can keep it in a pocket, and use the SLR in locations where lugging a camera is less of a hassle. Even more ideally, I'd have a digital SLR, since I think it'd takes care of most of my concerns above with my current digital camera, except of course for the price.

Those are the advantages (none / 1) (#137)
by Niha on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 10:51:13 AM EST

 Indeed, being able to take photos anywhere  and anytime is the big advantage of digital cameras.
 This being good for photography is another question....

[ Parent ]
it's good for *my* photography anyway... (none / 0) (#161)
by Delirium on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 11:03:46 PM EST

One certainly doesn't take good pictures by not taking any at all. =]

[ Parent ]
How would it be bad for photography? [NT] (none / 0) (#162)
by SoupIsGoodFood on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 11:52:43 PM EST

[ Parent ]
the good, the bad and the ugly? (none / 0) (#193)
by m1fcj on Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 11:12:03 AM EST

Well, if you are really bad at taking photos, spending 100k won't change the fact. :) On the other hand, if you want to learn, experiment and educate yourself, even a $50 digital will be useful.

[ Parent ]
If consumers don't need it - it wont be cheap (none / 0) (#123)
by grahamsz on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 02:42:56 AM EST

Digital cameras are cheap just now because consumers want them. There's enough critical mass that manufacturers can bring the cost of parts down.

The same thing happened with personal computers, cars and plenty other technologies.

Unfortunately consumers dont need 25MP, sure some will buy it, but most will choose a sleek 3MP camera over a bulker 25MP. My mum's main complaint with her (2.4MP) digital camera, is that "the pictures come out so big".

A 25MP camera will also require a sensor which is larger than the ones found in consumer cameras. Larger silicon chips cost exponentially more to make, and that hasn't changed much in the last few years.
Sell your digital photos - I've made enough to buy a taco today

Why not go large format? (none / 0) (#125)
by grahamsz on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 03:01:24 AM EST

Digital is massively convenient. I've probably taken more pictures with my digital ixus than any other camera, but that's because i'm mostly lazy.

I bought a Shen Hao HZX45-IIA some time ago and, when used properly, the results will blow you away.

Here's an example of resolution, showing how much you can zoom in without loosing detail. Even at 8x10 i've had people comment on how that picture is so sharp it couldn't be 35mm.

Not to mention the fact that you can play with the focal plane to your heart's content. Notice in the image how the arm is in perfect focus, but the rest of the image is thrown out - you just cant do that in a camera where the lens is always parallel to the film plane.

Of course large format is the ultimate in inconvenience. My camera + lens weight about 6lbs, my tripod weighs about 8, I have to individual load each sheet of film in the dark, and each color frame costs me about $3 (B&w is about 50c).

But if you want to trade convenience for results then forget medium format.

Of course someone will no doubt retort that i'm only using 5x4" film and they have an 8x10 or 16x20 camera - but i'm happy with what i have.

Also the image above was scanned with a cheap consumer scanner. I still haven't actually had a wet print made from it, but i'd expect that'd be even sharper.

Another plus is that decent large format gear isn't any more expensive than medium format.

In my case (from memory):

  • Camera - $625 new
  • Lens - $425 used
  • Light Meter - $200 used
  • Film Holders - $10/each new
  • Tripod - $150 but i had it for 35mm already
  • Focussing Loupe - $25
  • Backpack - $150 had for 35mm - really need a bigger one
  • Scanner - $400
  • Processing system for b&w $150

    All in all i've spent less than $2k and you could get running for a lot less.
    Sell your digital photos - I've made enough to buy a taco today

  • What scanner do you use? (nt) (none / 0) (#129)
    by philwise on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 07:02:21 AM EST

    (presenter) "So, altogether now, what are we?"
    (audience) "We are all Free Thinkers."
    [ Parent ]
    Epson 2450 (none / 0) (#138)
    by grahamsz on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 11:04:12 AM EST

    It's a couple of years old now and I think they've replaced it with one thats slightly higher res and a lot faster.

    It can scan negatives up to 4x9" at 2400 dpi.
    Sell your digital photos - I've made enough to buy a taco today
    [ Parent ]

    that (none / 0) (#156)
    by trener on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 08:36:41 PM EST

    is a really great photo. i like. in fact, i'd love to get a higher res version, but you probably don't just give those out, hey...

    [ Parent ]
    Depends (none / 0) (#164)
    by grahamsz on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 02:45:48 AM EST

    on what you want it for :)
    Sell your digital photos - I've made enough to buy a taco today
    [ Parent ]
    The major problem with large format, IIRC... (none / 0) (#183)
    by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 08:09:53 PM EST

    ...is that the enlargers are damn expensive.  You can get an enlarger than can do 35mm and MF for well under $500, but for LF prepare to spend some serious money.

    OTOH if you get an 8x10 camera you can just do contact prints ;).

    [ Parent ]

    Go digital (none / 0) (#185)
    by grahamsz on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 08:39:35 PM EST

    For now i've been scanning my negatives to make huge images files which i print, either at home on my inkjet, or on a fuji lightjet.

    If I really want a wet print I know i can have one done.
    Sell your digital photos - I've made enough to buy a taco today
    [ Parent ]

    Or maybe 8x10 (none / 0) (#186)
    by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 11:44:06 PM EST

    The cameras and film are that much more expensive, but you can just do contact prints...

    [ Parent ]

    Used D2 isn't expensive (none / 0) (#188)
    by pingflood on Sat Jun 19, 2004 at 01:22:38 AM EST

    Spent $200 for my Omega D2, and another $120 or so on a Rodenstock 135mm enlarger lens. Works fine for 4x5 printing. :-)
    Sell fitness equipment, make bucks. Cool affiliate program.
    [ Parent ]
    Digital for me (none / 0) (#140)
    by Aldebaran on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 01:10:59 PM EST

    I owned three slr in the past, one Minolta and two Canon (one EOS 50e too) and consumed a lot of film (more than 1000 pics per year). And after travelling around the world with a large photo bag, I have now a little 4 Megs Panasonic Camera with an excellent Leica lens and a good HP photo printer.

    The panasonic was to try Digital and I'm now converted to the new medium.

    I ask myself the same question and was looking to the 6x6 format with an old hasselblad.

    What does it means ?

    - If I want good color print I must go to a very expensive professional lab. - I will be able to process only B&W at home. - I must dedicate a room to the enlarger. - Equipment is heavy and not easy to carry with you when you are travelling by plane (just one bag per traveller ..) - This one is more personnal but I don't want to have chemicals at home with three young children (a locked room is always attractive to them)

    And the last one but the most important question you must ask yourself :

    Does the quality of your work is so high you need a professional equipment ?

    And probably I will buy soon the new Nikon D70 as I'm not happy with Canon (lack of) robustness. It seems that Digital now is solving now speed and delay issues.

    So if you prefer studio photography, go medium but if you are on the road , digital is the way to go.

    Processing. (none / 0) (#141)
    by i on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 01:44:36 PM EST

    Shoot slides, scan and print at home. Scan and/or print at a pro lab if you want a very high quality print (expensive).

    and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

    [ Parent ]
    Good dia scanner price (none / 0) (#142)
    by Aldebaran on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 01:52:11 PM EST

    I used to shoot dias, I have more than 10k of them waiting for scans, most of them landscape, aerial pictures and family ... Issue ? Price for a good scanner allowing batch scan (not 4 dias per scan but a complete film (24 at least).

    Conservation with dias is another issue and definitely , I have less dust on pics stored on a DVD.

    [ Parent ]

    I dunno. (none / 0) (#146)
    by i on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 02:41:15 PM EST

    Look at this.

    and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

    [ Parent ]
    Handheld vs D70 (none / 0) (#206)
    by strawser on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 06:56:14 AM EST

    I keep a little Olympia 3.1 MP (I used to use a Fujifilm 2.2, which made better prints, but I finally wore it out) in my pocket, because sometimes the most important quality you can find in a camera is to actually have it on you when you see the shot, and also have a D70 to use when I'm specifically going looking for pictures.

    So far, it works out well. (I kind of wish I'd bought a Fujifilm FinePix S2 Pro, though, but it was just a little bit out of my range. At least the lenses I bought will move over if I ever decide to upgrade to the S2 or S3.)

    "Traveler, there is no path. You make the path as you walk." -- Antonio Machado
    [ Parent ]

    okay, now's the time to bash my decision (none / 0) (#143)
    by the77x42 on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 02:12:00 PM EST

    i'm probably just above a newbie when it comes to taking photos. i know about iso and shutter speed and appropriate lighting, etc. but i haven't had much experience with cameras (because i've never owned one). I have mad photoshop skills, so any minor problems with colour really aren't a problem.

    i've been in the market for a digital camera now for over 3 years. i've waited and waited, and now i'm leaning heavily towards a canon powershot s45 or s50.

    i might do the occasional print, but i don't have a printer so it will definitely be occasional. Most images will be scaled down to 1024x768 in the end because I'm going for computer viewing. I want advanced features like shutter speed adjustment, iso settings, exposure, focus control, etc. But I also want something small.

    What do you guys think? s45 or s50 worth it?

    "We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
    "You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

    Yes (none / 0) (#151)
    by CaptainSuperBoy on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 06:15:03 PM EST

    I have the S45, it's an excellent camera. It's not too small but it's small enough. You get a lot more control than you would with their smaller models. It does have all the manual controls you listed, sometimes they take quite a few button presses though.

    However good your photoshop skills are, you want to start off with a good image. No amount of unsharp mask is going to fix a blurry shot, and no amount of curves will fix an overexposed shot. The S45/S50 are quality cameras. S50 is of course identical to S45 except for the extra megapixel. S60 is an updated S50, I would also consider that. The S45 and S50 have been out for over a year now. S60 is smaller and has a new lens.

    jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
    [ Parent ]

    thanks! (none / 0) (#165)
    by the77x42 on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 03:30:09 AM EST

    finally a comment on k5 that betters my life :D

    "We're not here to educate. We're here to point and laugh." - creature
    "You have some pretty stupid ideas." - indubitable ‮

    [ Parent ]
    Oh yeah, sorry about that (none / 1) (#174)
    by CaptainSuperBoy on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 01:09:18 PM EST

    Here, I'll balance it out. Suck it you ass-monkey, lololollorz!

    jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
    [ Parent ]
    Anything with a stabilizer (none / 0) (#189)
    by EdwardH on Sat Jun 19, 2004 at 12:53:28 PM EST

    A stabilizer is worth its weight in gold. Get yourself a Canon S1. 10x zoom lens with a stabilizer. CF = good, manual controls = good, IS (stabilizer) = good.

    [ Parent ]
    Medium format? Why not large format? (none / 0) (#145)
    by phr on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 02:35:04 PM EST

    If you're shooting landscapes, your flexibility will be increased tremendously by using a view camera, which lets you tilt the focal plane by tilting the lens so it's not parallel with the film, or change perspective by shooting from a low level and shifting the lens. You can keep the convenience of roll film by getting a roll film back for the view camera, but for those large images, nothing beats sheet film. 35mm is already practically dead, and medium format is just a bigger and less convenient version of 35mm. If you really want to do stuff with a big camera that you can't do with a small camera, large format is where it's at.

    Because of (none / 2) (#147)
    by i on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 03:05:43 PM EST


    You have to agree, large format is not for everyone...

    and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

    [ Parent ]

    Photography? Why not painting? -NT (none / 0) (#150)
    by CaptainSuperBoy on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 05:23:00 PM EST

    jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
    [ Parent ]
    It's about talent. (none / 0) (#190)
    by EdwardH on Sat Jun 19, 2004 at 12:54:48 PM EST

    People who can't draw or paint choose photography.

    [ Parent ]
    I see (none / 0) (#197)
    by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jun 21, 2004 at 01:44:47 PM EST

    How's the crayon set working out for you, then?

    jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
    [ Parent ]
    Film isn't analog (none / 1) (#148)
    by compnski on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 04:02:48 PM EST

    One thing people always forget when comparing digital to film, is that film is not analog. Film is made up of grains, and a digital photo is going to be sharper than some of the faster films. Even with 400 speed film you can see where detail has been lost. Shooting with a digital you get noise, but it not the same. While digital probably can't beat slower films or medium format, in terms of quality its up there with film.
    Plauged by spam? Spamdam is an easy to use frontend for creating sendmail aliases to filter spam.
    true but... (none / 0) (#192)
    by m1fcj on Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 10:58:34 AM EST

    In SLR (or for that matter, TLR) cameras the choice of film effects the outcome more than just the camera. Sometimes colours on film are warmer, nicer. You can achieve the same output using Gimp or Photoshop if you are a Windows/Mac user but that's still an additional step.

    Shooting with film, I found that the worst step I had in my photo-life-cycle was scanning. It really made a crap of my shots. Now I have a digital and some film cameras, I usually leave the photo on the media it was shot with. This results in much better experience.

    Since I do photography for fun, all of this only matters to me. :)

    [ Parent ]

    Another comparison. (none / 2) (#152)
    by i on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 06:58:04 PM EST

    Digital vs MF.

    and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

    unmitigated drivel (none / 3) (#154)
    by brettd on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 07:13:36 PM EST

    Whereas a 35mm negative or positive can be enlarged to maybe up to 16x20" without an appreciable loss of quality, even a 6 megapixel camera will start to lose it at 8x10".

    Um...and that would explain why the 18x20 print I gave a friend, which was CROPPED from the original photo off my 10D, looks absafuckinloutely gorgeous?

    Oh, and it's got that not-full-35mm-sensor you despise...AND it was shot at 200 ISO, not 100.

    But as many serious photographers who really know their stuff will tell you, it's not the megapixels that produce quality alone.

    Yes, smaller pixel wells make for higher noise levels...but the even wiser photographers will tell you that a good picture has nothing to do with equipment. Shockingly good photos come out of Pentax student cameras, using Royal Gold film or TMAX-400. Absolute GARBAGE comes out of Leica, MF and LF cameras, using Fuji Provia and whatnot. It's the photographer. The subject. The lighting. There's often a strong component of Dumb Shit Luck.

    The idea of using the zone system with an un-automated camera is very alluring, though intimidating. I've relied on the automatics in my Canon and bracketing for ages since I shoot slides. Now that won't be possible with the Mamiya. I will need to learn how to create photographs. I might actually become a photographer in the process.

    You don't "become" a photographer by switching from a 35MM automatic SLR to a totally manual MF camera. Furthermore, it's not going to make you a better photographer, because if anything, you'll be distracted from the basics, and you're fooling yourself in exactly the same way some idiot who strolls out and buys a digital SLR thinks he's going to make magic from crap.

    I bought a 10D, after years of being disgusted with every digital camera I ever owned; I had started out on a OM-1, a near total manual SLR.

    I love it, because I'm finally back to being the one in control- and my photos have improved dramatically. I also shot, in 2-3 months, more photos than I shot with my last camera (a Canon G1, absolute piece of shit- the G5's are even worse from what I hear) over 3 years.

    Did my shit turn to gold? Nope, I still shot PLENTY of really crappy photos. But I'm getting much, much better. I'm enjoying using it, which means i'm using it more, and I've got complete control so I can experiment and be flexible. And, thankfully, when I'm doing everything right, the camera is too.

    Good parallel is a race car- dropping into the seat of the F2004 is not going to make you a Schumacher. In fact, you're not even going to leave your pit lane space- you're gonna stall. Similarly, a Ford Pinto is not going to be sufficient to teach you handling dynamics and such.

    That's why a good, solid camera with a nice lens such as one of the Pentax metal-bodied student cameras with the famous pentax 50mm is a perfect learning tool. High quality, but simple.

    Who's spewing drivel again? (none / 1) (#159)
    by MotorMachineMercenary on Thu Jun 17, 2004 at 09:42:42 PM EST

    Chill, man, and read what I'm saying. If you read the article and my comments here, you'd see I'm no MF fanboy nor a digital basher. I've said on several occasions there's room for all and every format out there. Hell, I use and will be using film and digital into the foreseeable future. And I love both of them.

    I agree totally, it's not the camera that takes the picture, it's the photographer. One of my favorite photos were taken with a middle-level 35mm p&s, and one of my faves is a 3 megapixel camera from a p&s smaller than a pack of cigarettes.

    What I referred to "becoming a photographer" by purchasing a MF system was to learn the technique. As I pointed out in the article, I feel I've been spoiled by the auto-everything in my cameras. I want to learn to do correct exposures manually. I'll probably turn out only crappy pictures for a while, but I'm sure all my shooting (not just MF) will improve by knowing light. Again, I was only referring to the technical part of photography.

    I believe I have written a fair and unbiased article, and judging from other people's comments, kurobots agree. You might take a look at yourself in the mirror before accusing others of something they explicitly and implicitly said they are not.

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
    -- George Orwell

    [ Parent ]
    Elite camera technicians (none / 0) (#163)
    by SoupIsGoodFood on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 12:20:17 AM EST

    One nit I have is that some photographers (usually from the film side) think that using an automatic camera makes one much less of a photographer. I suppose it depends on what your definition of a photographer is, as well. But some peoples' definition seems to be: Photographer: Elite camera technician. Where your ability to instinctively know which f-stop to use is more important than the actual image captured.

    Luckly most people realise the knowing how to use the controls of a camera is just a way to get the image you want.

    Lookie. (none / 0) (#167)
    by i on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 05:03:04 AM EST

    If you don't know, instinctively or not, which f-stop to use, you will probably not capture the image you want. The f-stop only depends on the light and the subject, which is what a photographer uses to create an image. Are you saying that you don't need to know these things?

    You may want to trust your camera's program mode in many situations, but you better know when not to trust it.

    Camera technicians fix broken cameras. They don't need to know all this crap.

    and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

    [ Parent ]

    I think you've missed my point (none / 0) (#169)
    by SoupIsGoodFood on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 07:11:23 AM EST

    If you don't know, instinctively or not, which f-stop to use, you will probably not capture the image you want. The f-stop only depends on the light and the subject, which is what a photographer uses to create an image. Are you saying that you don't need to know these things?

    Yes, these days, you don't nessesarily need to know these things, unless you're automatic isn't giving you the results you want. In which case basic photography principals come in handy.

    My point is, if someone doesn't know how to operate a manual camera, it doesn't mean they're not a photographer. There seems to be people who feel to the contrary.

    [ Parent ]

    The automatics will give you standard results. (none / 0) (#170)
    by i on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 07:35:21 AM EST

    If that's what you want, fine.

    and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

    [ Parent ]
    Well, yes and no (none / 0) (#171)
    by MotorMachineMercenary on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 07:53:23 AM EST

    It is quite possible to take beautiful (in all senses of the word in this context) photographs without knowing much about photography. BUT to consistently - or at least more often - take good photographs it helps a lot to know the the basic technicalities of photography.

    Let me elaborate. You used an f-stop as an example. Most "non-photographers" use their cameras on auto-exposure (usually their cameras even don't have manual) which leads to them using an f-stop the camera's electronics see as being the most appropriate. Now, f-stop is not just some value that just "makes good exposures," it has a lot of uses. For example, if you use a small f-stop, say, 1.4 with a fast 100mm lens in an SLR, you can get a models eye to be perfectly in focus, but her nose and especially the background will be more or less blurred. Or, if you use a very large f-stop of f22 you can take motion-blurred photos in daylight without filters.

    Bet you didn't know that? Don't worry, only "photographers" do. It's the same thing with ISO speeds, exposure lengths and lens lengths and f-stop ranges: they're not some magical values you can arbitrarily change to get the same result. All those technical aspects of photography affect greatly what you can achieve. And knowing how each aspect affects your final photographs greatly enhances them; if you know beforehand that a long lens will "flatten" the picture you can take this into account when designing a picture.

    Again, just using automatic can and does produce "perfect" pictures. But there is a lot to this "photography" you are talking about which does and will affect the overall quality of your work. If you know your exposures, f-stops and lenses you will be able to get results you want. Whether this is good or bad is another debate.

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
    -- George Orwell

    [ Parent ]
    I agree (none / 0) (#172)
    by SoupIsGoodFood on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 09:04:12 AM EST

    I'm not denying most of your points, but what I'm saying is that there is more to photography than the camera settings you use. You also have to know composition, lighting, darkroom/photoshop etc. If you are skilled in those areas, you can still take good photos dispite being limited by the camera.

    Knowledge of some of the examples that you give make you a better photographer. Lacking them doesn't mean you're not a photographer, it just means that you are less capable in some areas of photography.

    [ Parent ]

    The truth of the matter is... (none / 0) (#178)
    by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 05:41:01 PM EST

    ...that people who care about the technical factors as a rule care more about composition and light than those who don't.

    Depth of field and motion blur are compositional elements controlled by aperture and shutter speed, respectively.  The implyication that composition is orthogonal to those "technical" aspects is wrong.

    If you want to be a really good photographer you really have to take a "horizontal" approach to it-- you have to understand most of the factors involved in taking good photos, and use them to your advantage.

    [ Parent ]

    another f-stop example (none / 0) (#176)
    by janra on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 03:31:59 PM EST

    Just because this reminded me...

    I was looking through filters one day at the camera store (coloured filters + B&W film = fun effects), and I saw this filter that blurred the picture outside of a central oval. I remember looking at it, and wondering what the hell anybody would want that for. The promo writing on it said that it was for portraits where you didn't want the background in focus to distract from the main subject, and sure enough, it had a picture of a girl taken using that lens, and the background (in an oval around her face) was out of focus... but, the background that showed next to her neck was in focus, and the bottom of her arms were out of focus... it looked terrible IMO. And I remember wondering why the hell somebody would buy a filter like that instead of just changing the f-stop to give them a shallow depth of field, which is what the filter was trying to simulate (and doing so very poorly).

    But then I remembered that a lot of people take pictures without even knowing what an f-stop is, or what depth of field is, and frequently with cameras that wouldn't let them adjust that even if they knew how, and I realized that to them, this stupid filter would let them think they were taking "pro" portraits.

    How sad.
    Discuss the art and craft of writing
    That's the problem with world domination... Nobody is willing to wait for it anymore, work slowly towards it, drink more and enjoy the ride more.
    [ Parent ]

    Heh. (none / 3) (#177)
    by i on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 05:22:29 PM EST

    But your pathetic little 28-108 won't open wider than f/5.6 at the long end, and even if it did, you've loaded Kodak Ultra 400 and it's sunny (remember sunny 16?) and your pathetic litle shutter won't go faster than 1/1000. How are you going to blur that bloody gas station ($8.56 Premium Unleaded) in the background? How, I ask you?

    and we have a contradicton according to our assumptions and the factor theorem

    [ Parent ]
    Blur it with Photoshop (none / 0) (#196)
    by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jun 21, 2004 at 01:43:48 PM EST


    jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
    [ Parent ]
    Ummno (none / 0) (#198)
    by MotorMachineMercenary on Mon Jun 21, 2004 at 03:27:34 PM EST

    Blurring and bokeh ("blurring" when something is out of focus) are two totally different things. Gaussian blur is an extremely poor alternative to blurring, and any photographer worth his salt knows the difference between bokeh and blur. Google for bokeh, it's actually pretty interesting stuff if you're into this.

    Now, I'm sure there are filters that do a decent job of approximating actual bokeh. In Photoshop CS you can even use transparency layers so you can have incremental post-processing bokeh/blur to better emulate real-world bokeh.

    You will still have to do a lot of work to get it right. For example I can imagine how nightmarish it'd be to make a headshot which is in full focus (including background) so it'll look like something out of a fashion magazine (eyes in focus, nose somewhat off-focus and backround fully blurred).

    While the software gets better, getting good blurred backgrounds is still easier with a good, fast lens.

    "In a time of universal deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act."
    -- George Orwell

    [ Parent ]
    I know (none / 0) (#199)
    by CaptainSuperBoy on Mon Jun 21, 2004 at 05:56:57 PM EST


    jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
    [ Parent ]
    bracketing can make up for much of that (none / 0) (#205)
    by Delirium on Wed Jun 23, 2004 at 05:55:44 AM EST

    With decreasing memory costs, it's quite feasible these days to have the equivalent of a few 400-to-500-picture rolls of film in your back pocket. If you use use some of the automatic bracketing features of most good digital cameras in various combinations and fairly regularly, you can then go back and see which ones you like best after the fact. Actually, that might turn out better than trying to fiddle with the settings on the spot.

    [ Parent ]
    But at least (none / 1) (#207)
    by hobbified on Thu Jun 24, 2004 at 10:06:21 PM EST

    Having a computer and a digital sensor (the thing you're exposing is also your meter and what's driving the EVF) does make it easier to get what you want, with less math, if you know enough about photography to know what you want. Automatic settings will look decent for when there's no choice but to point and shoot. But what I'm talking about is: I'm shooting this spider-web, so I want a short DOF, so I go into AP mode and open it all the way up, and it'll figure out the rest. If I don't like it, I can take that as a starting point when I go into manual, and the camera will give me its opinion . Nothing that a fancy SLR doesn't do, but on digital it's so much cheaper to have it so much more integrated. And it makes the numbers themselves less important.

    [ Parent ]
    Being a point-n-click type of photographer, (none / 1) (#166)
    by hovil on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 04:33:53 AM EST

    I think I will always prefer digital.

    Just being able to instantly review and delete crappy photos, and retake better ones on the spot is just too convienient. This feature alone puts my photos far ahead in terms of quality compared to what they would be if I took one shot which I thought was good but later realised it was crap once I got the photos back from the store.

    If I was more serious about photography, I'd probably look into medium format, after reading this writeup. Thanks!

    Mamiya C330 (none / 0) (#173)
    by BlackHawk on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 10:53:58 AM EST

    I have an EOS 50, an APS (Canon), a Canon IXUS III, and a Mamiya C330. Basically, it's a lot of equipment for a hobby that doesn't get indulged much in the UK but it's been worth it. Anyway, of all those cameras my favorite is the Mamiya. The medium format sized film, and the amazing sharpness and clarity of the fixed lens are truly winning features. If you need to do a big print medium format is the way to go.

    The camera is entirely manual, and I use a cable release and a tripod to shoot on, so setup time is longer than a point and click camera, but whoo, the results...they're great.

    The other thing I have noticed is that the quality of photos to bad photos is higher on the Mamiya. It takes longer to load and shoot, so I shoot better shots (12 on a roll only), and don't go for poorly framed work. I tend to shoot full-frame as well now :-).

    Anyway, I strongly encourage you to buy that secondhand Mamiya, mine was secondhand 7 years ago when I bought it and it is in perfect working condition. I think it must be about 30 years old or older now...try that with a modern camera. Incidently, it was a wedding photographers main workhorse for many many years, and she still works flawlessly.

    [ Parent ]

    No! Don't delete on camera! (none / 0) (#182)
    by Estanislao Martínez on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 08:02:30 PM EST

    Just being able to instantly review and delete crappy photos, and retake better ones on the spot is just too convienient.

    It is indeed "too convenient", as in "excessively" convenient.  Right after shooting is not the moment to judge the merit of a photo.  Many of the very best photographers would process a roll of film and then not look at them for months-- so as to be able to see them without remembering when they shot it, and thus see them more objectively.

    Of course, this is something done by people who literally live for photography... but it's just a bad idea to throw out a picture right after you take it, unless it's something REALLY stupid like leaving the lens cap on.

    [ Parent ]

    A few comments... (none / 0) (#181)
    by bashibazouk on Fri Jun 18, 2004 at 07:24:30 PM EST

    Medium and large format cameras can come with scan backs so film and digital are not necessarily mutually exclusive (but that form of digital is still quite expensive).

    Some medium format cameras have a limited version of the swings and tilts that large format cameras have.

    With film and processing costs, medium format film is expensive to shoot above and beyond the price of the camera.

    Personally I prefer digital for these reasons:

    No chemicals. This is a biggie for me. I grew up in and around a darkroom and I can no longer smell photo chemicals but I do taste them after being in a darkroom for more than a few seconds. If I never deal with photo chemicals again it will be too soon.

    Instant results. Take a shot, look at it, make compositional and exposure adjustments, take another shot. The time for learning about composition and exposure is much quicker with digital than film where it can be days before you can adjust from a previous photo and by that time you have probably forgotten exactly what you did.

    You can take many more photos with digital. Get a micro drive and even at max resolutions you can get hundreds of photos on a card and 10 cards in your bag will take up very little space compared to film. A typical fashion shot in a magazine probably took 20 to 30 rolls of film (12 shots per roll, medium format) to get that one image. Being able to take tons of photos is one way professional photographers get good shots.

    no replacement? compliment? (none / 0) (#191)
    by m1fcj on Sun Jun 20, 2004 at 10:48:02 AM EST

    IMHO, digital and film are not to replace each other, not yet. I have a reasonably-cheap semi-pro camera from Fuji yet my film cameras (all manual SLRs) are still gets used a lot. If I can carry the weight around, I carry an SLR and my digital camera together. Then I can experiment with my digital and then shoot a couple of frames with my SLR. This way I more or less know what to expect, can see the intermedia results immediately and have fun. The biggest problem I have with film is the time it takes to get it developed. I shoot in colour, not b&w and although when I was a student I had access to a dark room (and loved the b&w experience), I no longer have that luxury. Coupled with my work and availability of my free time, it usually takes a month to finish a roll, a week or two to get it processed. Digital is just much more convenient.

    Pricewise, my digital enabled me to shoot much much more pictures, it already paid for itself in dev & printing costs and I can get a new one next year, still leaving me in the positive balance.

    Overall, although the cameras like EOS-1D (or 10D or 300D (Digital Rebel in US) are too expensive to justify their costs. I can get a perfectly in-working-order SLR from ebay under 100 pounds.

    [ Parent ]

    Amen, O Fellow Film-Fan! ;-) (none / 0) (#212)
    by kc7gr 15 on Wed Aug 11, 2004 at 12:18:28 AM EST

    I've been an 'advanced amateur' shutterbug since 1978. In that time, I've owned two Canons: An AE-1, and later the A1. I still have a complete outfit built around the A1, and the shots it takes still look as good as they did the day I bought the thing. I'm not moving away from Kodachrome slides anytime soon.

    There's another issue with digital cameras that never seems to get mentioned: Image file size. Let's say, under ideal conditions, you get a top-end digicam that can take pictures which rival a 35mm SLR. Let's also assume that it takes 25 megapixels to do the trick.

    This means, assuming that each pixel represents eight bits of information, that a SINGLE IMAGE will take up 25 MEGAbytes of storage.

    Multiply that by 36 shots (the standard size of a roll of Kodachrome 200), and you get a whopping 900 megabytes required for a standard roll of film.

    While this may not seem like much, given today's large hard drives, think about archiving over 100 rolls, as I certainly have with my slide collection (and I'm still not done).

    Think about transferring an entire slide show to a relative or friend over the Internet on a worst-case dialup connection. Ever try to transfer even a 10MB file via dialup? Remember, a lot of people still don't have broadband.

    Film is going to be around for a while yet, I think. At least for those of us who still consider photography as an art form (myself included -- I'm into wildlife shots, particularly birds).

    Keep the peace(es).

    "Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati" (Red Green)
    Film is King (none / 0) (#213)
    by NickTrop on Mon Sep 26, 2005 at 11:15:15 PM EST

    I shot with a decent digital point and shoot for a couple years. When I outgrew it, I started looking at DSLRs but wound up purchasing a used medium format system. I have zero regrets. I am an advanced hobbiest, and when I started seeing the kind of DSLR system I would want, I began to think of all the wonderful, classic, timeless film cameras and lenses I could own for a lifetime - Leicas, Hassys, Contax cameras, as opposed to something that would stay relevent for only a short period. "This years DSLR...". I now own a (don't laugh) Keiv 60. Works fine, love the camera. It's as manual as it gets. I also own an array of fixed focal length Eastern (Jena) Zeiss lenses along with some surprisingly good Russian glass. All this, plus an enlarger, for the price of a lower end DSLR body and so-so kit lens. Digital got me back into black and white photography, and I purchased a used enlarger for peanuts. I've been at this about a year, and I have never taken better looking images, nor have I had more fun with my photographic hobby, "making" pictures, and seeing a final image through from capture to negative to print. Film photography forces you to slow down and think, it's far more engaging than click-delete-click-delete trial and error method a lot of digital photographers do. That's neither fun, nor is it really photography. Black and white film images are: 1. More evocative 2. Enigmatic. They are at once the "most real" and also surreal 3. All the resolution, using wet process, ends up on the print. I find digital imaging prosiac, cold, often visually boring, emotionless. Furthermore, I like prints. Nice 8x8's at least. Keep your jpeg, RAW and computer viewing software. Photography is all about prints to me. Here, look at this nice PRINT. No, you don't need to plug anything in, no software required. Sorry to hear your SD card failed. How many gigs was it? How many pic were on it? No thanks. Give me a good old fashioned negative. If I want to digitize it, I'll scan it. I would have cost me a fortune in inks to print the number of prints I have made using inkjets. Chemistry for black and white costs pennies per print, once you get proficient. And, frankly they just look better than scanned injet stuff. All the resolution in the neg makes its way to the print. No compromises. It's also nice to learn a new skill, one that doesn't involve a PC. While you lose the immediacy of digital, you gain the excitement factor of how will the negs turn out, and it's so cool to see your print come to life in the developer tray. Time in the darkroom flys. I enjoy it so much more than wonking around in Photoshop. Medium Format film photography is my hobby for life. I can't tell you how much I enjoy it, and I teach digital imaging and Photoshop! Long live film.

    Not king, just not the only option anymore (none / 0) (#214)
    by SoupIsGoodFood on Tue Oct 18, 2005 at 05:07:44 AM EST

    I have never lost a image file from any flash media that I have used.

    Also, medium is great for landscapes etc, but is not the best for action photography or telephoto etc.

    And how is trial and error shooting with digital neiher fun or photography? Fun is not being able to see your image straight away, or knowing if you got that classic shot?

    Please, film isn't going to die. No one is going to take it away from you, so there is no need to con yourself into believing that one format is supreme.

    [ Parent ]

    Is Forgoing Digital for Medium Format for You? | 214 comments (190 topical, 24 editorial, 0 hidden)
    Display: Sort:


    All trademarks and copyrights on this page are owned by their respective companies. The Rest © 2000 - Present Kuro5hin.org Inc.
    See our legalese page for copyright policies. Please also read our Privacy Policy.
    Kuro5hin.org is powered by Free Software, including Apache, Perl, and Linux, The Scoop Engine that runs this site is freely available, under the terms of the GPL.
    Need some help? Email help@kuro5hin.org.
    My heart's the long stairs.

    Powered by Scoop create account | help/FAQ | mission | links | search | IRC | YOU choose the stories!