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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Creativity is not proportional to superior equipment.

Ken Rockwell has a great site in which he reviews cameras, lenses and other photography related accessories not to mention a good bit of advice and insight. It is simple in design yet full of useful info if you are camera hunting.

He has a what’s new section that I check on periodically just for his attitude. He has opinions on everything from RAW vs. JPG to old film cameras to digital. I don’t always agree with him and with the constant change in digital photography – software to accessorized equipment – some times he has to go back and revise his comments. That is part of what keeps me going back.

I bought my Nikon D300 after reading his views on it. (Yes, Ken I gave you credit when I made the purchase at Adorama) Yet today he will tell you not to waist your money because the N90 has everything the D300 has but lighter. I have no qualms over comments like that. I learned a long time ago you make the best decision you can with what you know at the time. With digital cameras coming out so often these days you just have to pick a point to make a commitment. I’m happy with my D300. I know how it works and can make adjustments quickly on site. I’ve even won a contest with the photos I’ve taken with it. I’m not without experience with film cameras since I’ve been at this for over 40 years.

Which brings be to the purpose of this blog entry. Ken posted yesterday –

New decade, new deal.

Let's try to forget how many tens of thousands of dollar each of us threw at DLSRs last decade, and how little we have to show for it today.

Let's see: I burned through a D1H, D70, D80, D40, D300, D3, Rebel XTI, 5D, 5D Mark II, numerous Mavicas and point-and-shoots and I forget what else, and what is it all worth today? Worse, how about in just 5 years when the D3 and 5D Mark II are expired?

How about all the time I spent banging out reviews of all that junk? I must have ten huge 100 pages (when printed) on each of the D70 and D1X, and today, no one cares.

Compare that to the numerous pages I have up about the Nikon F100, which I wrote back in the 1990s. That work is still usefully, heck, the one guy I saw yesterday, Michael Chan, had just bought a used F100 and was having a blast with it.

So why review digital stuff, when something like the
LEICA IIIf has been cranking out great pictures for sixty years, and in 2020, the camera and its review will still be as useful as it is today.

Again I’m not disagreeing, but what I love about digital is post click production. Developing film and printing it is time consuming and costly. Yea, you can have someone process the film for you and even print the pictures, but the number of photos I take does not make that affordable nor convenient not to mention the problem with dealing with a distant photo processor when you want something that isn’t an industry standard. Just try to get a 10 x 6 picture on an 8 x 10 piece of photo paper via email. Cameras and software will change constantly. But the images I’ve captured will be as fixed as I make them and that means I have the most control with digital.

Yes, film and film cameras are still superior to digital today when it comes to quality of equipment and achievable results. After all, any photo can be digitized after it is processed. But what you are doing and what you want to achieve and what you can do with alternatives should figure into what equipment you use as much as superior results. Creativity is not proportional to superior equipment. Ken will tell you that right up front.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I don't like the quality of the photos my digital puts out compared to my film. It's a CanonA590. I hate the flash on it, it's way too bright. I prefer not using the flash and then the camera doesn't know how to focus properly half the time. So, it rarely focuses on what I want it to. I never have to worry about that with my Minolta film camera. It just knew what I wanted.
I also abhor the quality of digital photos when you get them printed out at a store. They suck. They just don't look good half the time. The only time I've found I liked them is when I made photobooks online at Shutterfly. Whatever they do, the photos looked great. The ones I have gotten from Walgreens or Target suck.
But hey, that's just my experiences I've had. Plus, I'm not willing to spend more than 100 bucks on a digital camera. I am a ludite at heart in some ways.

JDBatman said...

I love digital photography. I'm too cheap and lazy to spend all that time and money on film. That's why I never really got into photography before digital. I have no problems with print quality, but that's because I print them myself, either at home or the print shop I used to work at. Knowing the printers and how they shift colors allows me to adjust my digital file so that my prints come out the way I want. Also I can tell you from experience that a good hi res digital is WAY better than ANY scanner that I have ever tried. I don't even like drum scans from slides or negatives as much as a good digital original. I used to make trade show displays and would blow pictures up to HUGE sized and could always see teh grain no matter how a picture was scanned, but digital always looked good if done properly. All you purists enjoy your film cameras, and all you techno-geeks enjoy your latest wizz bang digital. I'll just keep on having fun with my $200 Canon capturing as many cool shots as I can ;-P