Home
SearchSearch MemberlistMemberlist RegisterRegister ProfileProfile Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages Log inLog in

Some thoughts on cameras and lenses
View previous topic :: View next topic  


PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 3:57 am    Post subject: Some thoughts on cameras and lenses Reply with quote

Hi everybody!

By way of introduction, let me say that I have been shooting with manual focus lenses and digital cameras for a few years, that throughout that time I avidly searched MF lenses for information and ideas, that all of you guys are guilty of my new obsession (which includes making sure that I get to the mailbox before my wife discovers yet another package that we were not supposed to be getting), and that I joined MFlenses a few months ago and have posted some images in the Manual Focus gallery. I have been sort of silent for a few months because of work commitments (something to do with having to pay for those packages, I suppose), but I have just added an entry to my personal blog which I figured most of you will be able to relate to. Here it goes:

http://fourbillionyears.org/manual-focus-lenses-mirrorless-cameras/

All the best!

Alberto


PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 5:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Yes, most of us will relate to that.
Congratulations on your blog.
Tom


PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Like 1 Like 1

Excellent writeup and a wondeful selection of images!


PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I liked the last statement:

"But I am not driving unless the car has three pedals and a transmission that allows me to shift when I well damn feel like it otherwise you simply steer, you dont drive."

Like 1 small


PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:50 am    Post subject: Re: Some thoughts on cameras and lenses Reply with quote

fourbillionyears wrote:
Hi everybody!

By way of introduction, let me say that I have been shooting with manual focus lenses and digital cameras for a few years, that throughout that time I avidly searched MF lenses for information and ideas, that all of you guys are guilty of my new obsession (which includes making sure that I get to the mailbox before my wife discovers yet another package that we were not supposed to be getting), and that I joined MFlenses a few months ago and have posted some images in the Manual Focus gallery. I have been sort of silent for a few months because of work commitments (something to do with having to pay for those packages, I suppose), but I have just added an entry to my personal blog which I figured most of you will be able to relate to. Here it goes:

http://fourbillionyears.org/manual-focus-lenses-mirrorless-cameras/

All the best!

Alberto

Hola!
Very, very nice and inspiring post on your blog. Although I am still mostly a film shooter, I am determined to buy a A7ii for all the reasons you mention as soon as I get enough dough together. Incidentally, I really like your writing style. And boy, can I relate to the "stick-shift" argument. Smile


PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 10:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

"There is also the issue of film. Diehards still maintain that film is better than digital sensors. I respect their nostalgia, as I have my own nostalgia for better times, but this is simply not true. It was probably true until about ten years ago, but not now, not for quite some time already. Film does not have the dynamic range of current sensors. Period. If you are not aware of this you probably have not shot with Sony full-frame cameras. Film is not capable of going above ISO 200 or thereabouts with any sort of decent resolution and contrast – remember Ektachrome 400? It was terrible. And Kodachrome, great as it was in its 25 and 64 incarnations, was horrible as an ISO 200 film. Remember when you had to to use colored filters to adjust white balance? Even then, it was mostly guess work with no possibility of fixing it after the fact. Exposure bracketing was a rather expensive and often futile proposition. Enter histograms and free reusable storage. I could keep going, but I’ll let you decide what else is better about digital recording vs. film. I do want to add one last thought, though. Permanence. Emulsions, no matter how good (read Kodachrome) are not permanent. Numbers are. There is some uninformed opinion going around that digital information can degrade with time as much as the chemical information stored in film. This is not true. Systematic redundant backup of digital files makes them effectively permanent. In contrast, copying film on film always leads to loss of information. Chemical information is not permanent."

"I could keep going, but I’ll let you decide what else is better about digital recording vs. film."

"So there it is. I often give talks on this topic..."

I hope your talks are related to manual focus lenses on digital as you hint with the context. Otherwise, in attempting to have two image taking mediums butt heads, you are in danger of closing off a whole world to your audience of different ways of capturing an image. From film to wet plate to salts on a piece of leather, and many formats too. Who can afford medium, let alone large format digital?

Digital is another way of capturing an image and it's great. But in proposing that one method is 'better', you are in danger of proselytising, closing peoples ears off to all the other ways of expressing themselves too.

I hope you take this criticism in the way it is meant. As constructive. You like digital. I do too. But 'better' isn't a term I'd use when extolling its virtues. 'Better' is subjective in the world of photography. Easier (at one level), more accessible, democratising etc... yes, it's all of those.

I, like most I would imagine, have observed the younger generations becoming interested in the older image taking mediums, and like their interest in vinyl records, I initially thought they were on some nostalgia trip, a sub-conscious trip back to perceived more stable times in regard to homes, careers, building futures for themselves. In listening to the legion of young'uns I know, I eventually realised I was wrong. The interest it seems, is because these mediums are 'of this world', for want of a better term and how they seem to approach it. I think that observation would make a great piece for your blog some time.


PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 8:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dear Sciolist,

I fully sympathize with your view - after all, I am explaining why I prefer old lenses to new ones. My point, and I perhaps should have been clearer about this, is that with a modern digital image you can do virtually anything that you can do with film, but not the other way around - this is more or less how I phrase it in my talks. Admittedly this was not true perhaps as late as 2008 or thereabouts, but it is now. And tied to this idea is my opinion that the recording medium does not matter all that much, it is the lens what counts, so that the less intrusive the recording medium is, and the easier it is to work with to get the results you want, the better. I think that is the meaning that one should attach to the word "better" in my essay. True, medium and large format digital are out of reach, at least for me - but much the same was true with film. If anything, with present-day full-frame Bayer sensors (not to speak about Foveons) one can get closer to medium format quality than it was ever possible with 35mm vs. medium format film.

In any event, I truly appreciate your thoughtful comments, and no worries about me taking it the wrong way - I am a firm believer that honest exchange of ideas are what forums like this one are all about (and the reason why I do not have Facebook, Twitter, etc. accounts Wink )

All the best,

Alberto


PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 9:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

fourbillionyears wrote:
Dear Sciolist,

I fully sympathize with your view - after all, I am explaining why I prefer old lenses to new ones. My point, and I perhaps should have been clearer about this, is that with a modern digital image you can do virtually anything that you can do with film, but not the other way around - this is more or less how I phrase it in my talks. Admittedly this was not true perhaps as late as 2008 or thereabouts, but it is now. And tied to this idea is my opinion that the recording medium does not matter all that much, it is the lens what counts, so that the less intrusive the recording medium is, and the easier it is to work with to get the results you want, the better. I think that is the meaning that one should attach to the word "better" in my essay. True, medium and large format digital are out of reach, at least for me - but much the same was true with film. If anything, with present-day full-frame Bayer sensors (not to speak about Foveons) one can get closer to medium format quality than it was ever possible with 35mm vs. medium format film.

In any event, I truly appreciate your thoughtful comments, and no worries about me taking it the wrong way - I am a firm believer that honest exchange of ideas are what forums like this one are all about (and the reason why I do not have Facebook, Twitter, etc. accounts Wink )

All the best,

Alberto


Thanks for taking it the right way. But in answering me, in my opinion, you appear to be presenting what is a fair opinion, as factual.

You say that - "My point, and I perhaps should have been clearer about this, is that with a modern digital image you can do virtually anything that you can do with film, but not the other way around..."

If you find that film, or any other medium, is the best process for expressing what you want to say, then digital isn't going to be able to do it. It's a different process. Conversely, if you want to work in digital after using a different medium, you can. Through scanning. In this scenario it is the initial digital image that is limiting, as it cannot provide you with say a real leaf on sensitive paper, or the feel and texture of a collodian, or indeed much other than being a digital image. I hope this is not sounding contrarian. I'm just trying to say that while it is fair to hold your opinion, you are perfectly entitled to, it is not factually correct to infer that the digital image is the 'do anything' process. It patently is 'do one thing', while other processes can exist as both themselves and a digital image.

I mentioned in my first post that you could revisit in your blog why older mediums appear to be having something of a small revival, as it doesn't appear to me at least, to be down to nostalgia as you hint in your piece. Could I also suggest a look at digital obsolescence too, as you mention that -

"I do want to add one last thought, though. Permanence. Emulsions, no matter how good (read Kodachrome) are not permanent. Numbers are. There is some uninformed opinion going around that digital information can degrade with time as much as the chemical information stored in film. This is not true. Systematic redundant backup of digital files makes them effectively permanent. In contrast, copying film on film always leads to loss of information. Chemical information is not permanent."

As far as I'm aware there is still an opinion that due to software and hardware obsolescence, it is the digital image and not the film image that is most worried about by archivists and has been for about a decade now. As you'll know, and as opposed to other mediums, digital images don't actually exist in a material way as stand alone items. They rely on software and hardware to exist. I think archivists have already thought through passing the medium from one technology to another over time and still concluded that with at least this initial era of digital photography, and at a time when we appear to be awash with images, historians in the future could find that this is one of the most poorly documented times of the 'modern' era, unless some careful custodianship is carried out. Of course we know that if you pick the right shop, you can still pick up and look at a glass plate image from over 100 years ago. As well as of course books for text. This is not so certain for the current digital image, 100 years in the future. I think in other terms, say the span of a lifetime, the change in the look of a film negative/print against the change in the look of a digital image that has passed through much code and hardware to retain an existence, may not be that different. Will a salmon pink in a digital image end up being a magenta in 70 years time? So I'm not sure that attaching the term 'permanence' to the current digital image, is factually correct, or at least at the moment. Perhaps the permanence of a digital image, say over 150 years, as we have images using other processes of around that age still here today, could be the subject of another blog, and it may spark an awareness of the fragility, rather than the permanence of the digital image. It would be no bad thing.

Of course, and without sounding glib, if you're looking for permanence, knock a small hole from outside into a windowless room. For as long as the sun can keep going, and the conditions are correct, an image will be projected onto the opposite wall. The Greeks knew this more than two thousand years ago, but I suspect even they were johnny-come-lately's.

Cheers.