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09-25-2014, 04:43 PM   #1
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We forgot to see the "big picture" (some FF thoughts)

Many years ago during my Boy Scout days (late 1960's), a troop mate showed me the magic: He had a darkroom at home (built in a bathroom), were he developed, enlarged en printed nice b&w pictures shot with his beautiful Rollei 35S camera.

I was hooked instantly. Poured my savings into a new camera (Fujica... can't remember model), a 35 mm rangefinder and started shooting everything. First thing I learned is that life was measured in 36 frame chapters. That every chapter meant some cash in film and developing (plus contact sheets) and if I wanted prints, had to download a little more cash. 100% of my allowance went to film and darkroom supplies.

Photography was magic (and still is).

With years to come (early 70's), I got my first 35 SLR, a nice Praktica LLC, bought at K-Mart, along with an extra 70-200 zoom, branded "Focal". I though I had the best rig in the world and shooting became more exiting. By mid 70's I got a brand new Fujica ST901 and was fascinated with the electronics and the fact that it took all muy screwmount glass (3 lenses). A few months later I got introduced to the new Pentax K2DMD and guess what.... Sold everything and got myself a new KX with SMC 50/2....

From then on, it has been only Pentax and a few Soligor, Vivitar, Sigma and Toking glass... but nothing worth even keeping nor even talking about.

Black and White photography was still my only action arena. Color photography was out of the question. Just some slide film every once in a while. I got to build a nice black and white darkroom. Got a nice Omega enlarger plus a bunch of goodies, including a Gra Lab timer which I believe its still around.

Years past until I got married (late 80's), then came my first son. One day when he was just 15 months old, I tried to shoot some pictures of him while he was running around our back yard. Surprise: Out of a 36 frame roll, I got only 3 usable "in focus" shots... I was time to go for the newer autofocus cameras and then came a Pentax PZ10, then a PZ20, later a PZ1P and an MZ5n. Of course, all my glass was replaced except for my SMC-A 15/3.5 which I still have.

With the AF era, then came the first steps toward digital... with a negative scanner from Minolta. First victim of the digital era: The darkroom! When scanning my own negative I started discovering all the "weak links" in the photography chain, that took part in the photo producing thing and you had no control over them: Development quality, printing quality, enlarger lens quality, photo paper, chemicals, dust, scratches, proyector lenses, wrinkled screens, and literally, hundreds of small details that you could not control and had a strong impact on the final result.

By the turn of the century, came the *istD with its 6 megapixel sensor. I though that was about as good as it can get after the negative scanner. Next victim: Film! and with it, we started forgetting about the 36 frame chapters that life was composed of. We started caring only for the memory card size and hard drive capacities, only to discover, that Parkinson's Law fell on us like an anvil from a 10th floor (no matter how much space you have, you will always need more space....)

The full digital era was in. No more film, development, printing, chemicals, negative scratches, dust, proyectors, wrinkled screens, fungi on negatives, no more smelly prints, no more "browning" b&w prints, etc. Then came the printer war. Epson, HP, Canon, Kyocera, etc. offering their magic and all of a sudden, back we were caring for the small issues that we never even had the chance to care about during the chemical ages.

More megapixels, more gadgets, more auto functions, more robotics... bigger memory cards, bigger hard drives, and then came the most interesting thing that has heppened to photography in 100 plus years: INSTAGRAM!

What about Instagram: It gave us a very interesting media to show, share, publish and compare our pictrures, but in such way, that everyone plays by the same rules. No printing involved, no processing and no size (even format ratio) difference. Everyone plays with the same rules. Everyone shows whatever they want (some rules apply) but the most important thing.... is that Instagram is letting us go back to the beginning: Seeing the big picture!. No more "my lens is faster than yours", no more "purple fringing that was there since the Daguerre days, but no one even payed attention until the high resolution monitors came". No more nothing involved with the hardware.

Isn't this like the perfect conditions?

Of course, I am not saying that Instagram will turn into the only way to see pictures in the future. I am saying that as the darkroom, the film and the scanners became extinct animals, so will the prints in a near future. It is in OUR generation that we will witness the paperless society, which means, that all of our graphic production, will be shown on screens ONLY, and saved in memory cards (hard drives, the cloud, etc).

Display hardware is becoming more and more precise to the point it has surpassed the human eye capacity to show detail. Under "paperless" conditions, then no longer the printer (or commercial printer) will have an impact on our pictures. We will all see and be seen under the same rules (at a given moment in time and place), just like Instagram today.

I say: hurray for this technology, that will let us go back to the roots of photography. We can forget about the defects now (only seen through high resolution monitors or even microscopes!) We can forget about the aberrations (that were always there but just during the digital era, some people started caring about).

So, my friends, if you want absolute precision and play peeping tom from two hundred miles away... get a job at Nasa and use the Hubble telescope to peek into the back seat of your next door neighbor.

So, if people ask me if Pentax needs a full frame body... I say: Sure, of course... because Pentax should jump into the "me too" wagon. But if the question is "Do you need a FF body?" I say... nahhhh... my eyes couldn't tell the difference between 6 and 14 megapixels from my K20D, so going full frame will make no difference. Besides, very short soon will come a day that the next victim of digital photography will be. (you guessed it!) THE PHOTO PRINTER!.

Sorry for the rant... but I've been developing this feeling ever since I got my *istD and read about the first "Pentax needs a full frame body..." thread or conversation.

09-25-2014, 06:47 PM   #2
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Your talk on the no more prints got me thinking. How are we ever going to see the same picture. I mean, a print made by the photographer for its viewing light should look pretty much the same for everyone. Whereas, seeing images on monitors and what-not is subject to all kinds of variation in color, brightness and contrast. If the photographer is flirting with the edge of darkness, for example, good luck that everyone on the web by today's monitor standards will see the way you do.
09-25-2014, 07:02 PM - 1 Like   #3
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I'm hoping for calibrated, zero power, retina resolution, super high DR displays that you can basically paint on or cut roll material to size. Maybe e-ink? Backlit like a 'chrome?

That way an artist could pretty much deliver digitally, and know it looks right.
09-25-2014, 08:05 PM   #4
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I think that's an excellent perspective! Photography is constantly changing and evolving. Sometimes the changes are technical and sometimes they are creative. Think of how photography moved for low sensitivity glass plates that required many seconds to many minutes for a proper exposure to high speed flexible roll-up film. The technical upgrade changed the creative process of how we shoot and in turn what we shoot. People also wanted to shoot action and freeze it. This was a push from the creative community and the technical providers devised way to raise the ISO and quality. Now with digital we have smaller bodies, smaller lenses, and smaller imaging surface areas.

Some people say that digital photography is not "real photography" because "real photography" can only be a chemical based image processing system. I don't think that's true. Photography, especially as an art and a creative process, can mean whatever you want it to mean. As Brian Duffy once said, "Art is if you say it is."

Do I want a FF? Sure! Do I want a fast wide angle prime for my Q? Sure!

09-25-2014, 08:16 PM   #5
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So many have cropped minds...
09-25-2014, 08:28 PM   #6
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Never used Instagram. I guess I should get a smart phone one day.
09-25-2014, 09:51 PM   #7
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QuoteOriginally posted by rawr Quote
Never used Instagram. I guess I should get a smart phone one day.
Going smart phone kind of backfired for me... I am so rebellious about being snooped and tracked upon etc that I don't use facebook/instagram/google/twitter type stuff on my phone at all, which then means I don't really use them for photos... I don't mind flickr on my phone though for some reason...

I like the paperless idea.. I'm sure plenty of people with money are already doing it.. Like smart tv's now but more efficient and photo specific... Taking from what noser said, frames with retina quality displays and wifi remote control interface.. Duh just make them touch screen... Various sizes... Would be great to have a bunch of those hung around the house to display whatever images I want and slideshow them etc... Just need to be able to get power to them without wires...
09-25-2014, 10:17 PM   #8
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QuoteOriginally posted by todd Quote
Just need to be able to get power to them without wires...
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(That's actually why I thought about painting on the display too... get two birds with one brush. Or roller maybe...)

09-25-2014, 10:17 PM - 1 Like   #9
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The loss of physical photographic images will be but one of the elements that will compose a "paperless" dark age wherein there will be no physical record of our visual or written history. The archeologists of the future will have precious little to find. Those youngest of archeologists, especially, will never feel the thrill of discovering treasures of personal history hidden within shoeboxes and photo albums buried among artifacts in basements and attics throughout the world. That moment when a shoebox or album is discovered and opened to reveal the aging images of family history will be lost forever.

Discovering a shiny disk in a sea of discarded shiny disks will never resonate with meaning the way discovering a cache of old photographs does.

Shooting film isn't just personal anymore. It's about being among the few who create physical images of the world and the life that exists in their time.
09-25-2014, 10:26 PM   #10
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So... Our walls have to remain empty because we're only supposed to post on Instagram? Only the forum rules are keeping me from very foul language here. I love my giant acrylic prints!
09-25-2014, 10:45 PM   #11
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My point is not in favor of Instagram. I used it as a reference where everyone watches and gets watched under the same rules. Of course, the tools used to achieve whatever image you produce do matter, but they are the tools, the means and instruments, not the end of the line, as many people still thinks the music comes out the instrument, thus they think that with better and more advanced instruments, they can do better music.

Is like when someone gets the ultimate top of the line computer with all the bells and whistles, just for checking facebook, email, some web browsing and of course, a little word processing....

Some years ago I was shooting with my trusty MX... then some guy I knew (as your usual show off a'hole) and showed me a brand new Nikon F5 with an impressive Nikkor 300/2.8 (about $8,000 worth by those days...) and while showing me his rig, said something like his camera was pro level and such and such about National Geographic using similar gear...

Do someone really thinks having the most expensive, fancy, pro level or whatever excuse (to buy) photo gear would make a difference in someone that has pictures of two consecutive christmas seasons on the same roll of film?

That is exactly my point. The last DSLR I got was my K20D which I thought was ahout the top anyone could ask for. Then some health issues kept me away for a while. Just recently I am coming back, dusting my gear, getting new batteries and reading a lot to catch up with whats new, what the trend is and what to expect.

Also bought a brand new MX-1 which I find impressive for its optics, image quality and especially, about the built in image correction software specifically calibrated for the built in zoom. And all this quality is coming frm a 1/1.7" sensor!!!!

So, who really needs a ff sensor? Besides true professionals that may really need super high resolution images ( and are probably using med format systems or are NOT Pentax users) the other 99.5% of full frame enthusiasts, I do think they are being caught into the "me too" bandwagon. Or to say it in other words, they are like the guys that buy a Steinway gran piano, just to play twinkle twinkle little star with right hand only.

---------- Post added 09-25-2014 at 11:59 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Clavius Quote
So... Our walls have to remain empty because we're only supposed to post on Instagram? Only the forum rules are keeping me from very foul language here. I love my giant acrylic prints!
You are right sir. Those giant prints are beautiful to watch, but as technology advances towards a paperless world (including less waste too), I bet that in less than 10 years from now, you will be able to purchase a digital display monitor as big or bigger (60 inches), with enough resolution as to to blood counts with bare eyes, and enough memory to run 2 thousand pictures slid shows. And best of all, for about the same cost of a today's 40 inch acrylic print plus light box.

I say: lets grab the technology for what it is: instruments to achieve certain goals, not the center and whole meaning of the tech rat race.

Last edited by rburgoss; 09-25-2014 at 11:06 PM.
09-26-2014, 12:27 AM - 1 Like   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by rburgoss Quote
My point is not in favor of Instagram. I used it as a reference where everyone watches and gets watched under the same rules. Of course, the tools used to achieve whatever image you produce do matter, but they are the tools, the means and instruments, not the end of the line, as many people still thinks the music comes out the instrument, thus they think that with better and more advanced instruments, they can do better music.

Is like when someone gets the ultimate top of the line computer with all the bells and whistles, just for checking facebook, email, some web browsing and of course, a little word processing....

Some years ago I was shooting with my trusty MX... then some guy I knew (as your usual show off a'hole) and showed me a brand new Nikon F5 with an impressive Nikkor 300/2.8 (about $8,000 worth by those days...) and while showing me his rig, said something like his camera was pro level and such and such about National Geographic using similar gear...

Do someone really thinks having the most expensive, fancy, pro level or whatever excuse (to buy) photo gear would make a difference in someone that has pictures of two consecutive christmas seasons on the same roll of film?

That is exactly my point. The last DSLR I got was my K20D which I thought was ahout the top anyone could ask for. Then some health issues kept me away for a while. Just recently I am coming back, dusting my gear, getting new batteries and reading a lot to catch up with whats new, what the trend is and what to expect.

Also bought a brand new MX-1 which I find impressive for its optics, image quality and especially, about the built in image correction software specifically calibrated for the built in zoom. And all this quality is coming frm a 1/1.7" sensor!!!!

So, who really needs a ff sensor? Besides true professionals that may really need super high resolution images ( and are probably using med format systems or are NOT Pentax users) the other 99.5% of full frame enthusiasts, I do think they are being caught into the "me too" bandwagon. Or to say it in other words, they are like the guys that buy a Steinway gran piano, just to play twinkle twinkle little star with right hand only.

---------- Post added 09-25-2014 at 11:59 PM ----------



You are right sir. Those giant prints are beautiful to watch, but as technology advances towards a paperless world (including less waste too), I bet that in less than 10 years from now, you will be able to purchase a digital display monitor as big or bigger (60 inches), with enough resolution as to to blood counts with bare eyes, and enough memory to run 2 thousand pictures slid shows. And best of all, for about the same cost of a today's 40 inch acrylic print plus light box.

I say: lets grab the technology for what it is: instruments to achieve certain goals, not the center and whole meaning of the tech rat race.
Ah sorry, only now I get your point. It's actually the same issue I'm having with todays cameras. Only I usually twist it around. All todays camers, even the mediocre ones, are all high res, high IQ, high fps and what not. Even some smartphone cameras are to good for Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram.

I don't say we don't need all that IQ and resolution, my point is that we also need some high end technology that makes good use of all our high IQ pics. The balance is gone. Our tools are currently super-overkill in comparisson to what we can do with the output.

When I go to the the big camera stores, or even the electronics stores, there's rows upon rows of good digital cameras, lenses and other options. But any dedicated digital display methods? No, zero. The digital photoframes are lagging seriously behind compared to the cameras. They are completely gone in most stores.

I would even go as far as saying this is exactly why the camera industry is currently having such a big relapse. All those consumers are tired of lugging around a giant camera while the options for doing something with the pictures are so ~1999. They all already have the cameras and discovered there's no real need for all that IQ.

The camera industry is currently focussing on emerging market. To fill those countries up to the brim with high cameras too. But that's just a temporary fix. They should just create a modern need for al that quality.

Like I said, I print my best pictures on giant acrylic plates. 2,3x1,9 meters is my largest. And I have several. I need to have that done for me two countries to the east. They're beautifull and ludicrously expensive. When you stand in front them, it's like pixel peeping an entire photo all at once.

I would love a digital version of that. An economic digital display that actually shows all that resolution. Something you wouldn't dare fill with smartphone pics or just badly taken pics, because the size and quality of the display will reveal all the flaws. Like, for starters, a big flat E-ink high resolution monochrome display with built in battery. If set to change the picture only once at midnight, a tiny battery would only need to be replace once a year.

I think the first manufacturer that focusses on that is back in business. It's more important then larger sensors, higher FPS and extra DR combined.

Sorry, it turned into a rant.
09-26-2014, 03:00 AM   #13
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QuoteOriginally posted by MD Optofonik Quote
The loss of physical photographic images will be but one of the elements that will compose a "paperless" dark age wherein there will be no physical record of our visual or written history. The archeologists of the future will have precious little to find. Those youngest of archeologists, especially, will never feel the thrill of discovering treasures of personal history hidden within shoeboxes and photo albums buried among artifacts in basements and attics throughout the world. That moment when a shoebox or album is discovered and opened to reveal the aging images of family history will be lost forever.

Discovering a shiny disk in a sea of discarded shiny disks will never resonate with meaning the way discovering a cache of old photographs does.

Shooting film isn't just personal anymore. It's about being among the few who create physical images of the world and the life that exists in their time.
I am with you. I try to scrap book photos in real photo albums -- not for myself, but for my kids and their kids who hopefully will enjoy looking through them some day. Many of the photos taken today are not worth keeping, but if they contain memorable moments, even if they have no artistic value, they still have value. I am afraid that most photos are just dumped on facebook/instagram or never leave the phone/camera that took them, eventually to perish when the hard drive or memory card gives up the ghost.
09-26-2014, 03:48 AM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by Clavius Quote
Ah sorry, only now I get your point. It's actually the same issue I'm having with todays cameras. Only I usually twist it around. All todays camers, even the mediocre ones, are all high res, high IQ, high fps and what not. Even some smartphone cameras are to good for Facebook, Tumblr and Instagram.

I don't say we don't need all that IQ and resolution, my point is that we also need some high end technology that makes good use of all our high IQ pics. The balance is gone. Our tools are currently super-overkill in comparisson to what we can do with the output.

When I go to the the big camera stores, or even the electronics stores, there's rows upon rows of good digital cameras, lenses and other options. But any dedicated digital display methods? No, zero. The digital photoframes are lagging seriously behind compared to the cameras. They are completely gone in most stores.

I would even go as far as saying this is exactly why the camera industry is currently having such a big relapse. All those consumers are tired of lugging around a giant camera while the options for doing something with the pictures are so ~1999. They all already have the cameras and discovered there's no real need for all that IQ.

The camera industry is currently focussing on emerging market. To fill those countries up to the brim with high cameras too. But that's just a temporary fix. They should just create a modern need for al that quality.

Like I said, I print my best pictures on giant acrylic plates. 2,3x1,9 meters is my largest. And I have several. I need to have that done for me two countries to the east. They're beautifull and ludicrously expensive. When you stand in front them, it's like pixel peeping an entire photo all at once.

I would love a digital version of that. An economic digital display that actually shows all that resolution. Something you wouldn't dare fill with smartphone pics or just badly taken pics, because the size and quality of the display will reveal all the flaws. Like, for starters, a big flat E-ink high resolution monochrome display with built in battery. If set to change the picture only once at midnight, a tiny battery would only need to be replace once a year.

I think the first manufacturer that focusses on that is back in business. It's more important then larger sensors, higher FPS and extra DR combined.

Sorry, it turned into a rant.
I quite agree. Maybe Leica are coming closest to this with their galleries and emphasis on the image. I understand from reading around that their stand at Photokina was a big hit because of the gallery in it. It's hard to understand why, if you go to their websites, the camera companies do almost nothing to help their customers get the images out of the camera and into whatever form they wish, from huge prints to coffee mugs. Maybe it's all the not invented here thing, who knows. The Japanese camera companies seem to have lost sight of what it's all about.
09-26-2014, 05:19 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by MD Optofonik Quote
The loss of physical photographic images will be but one of the elements that will compose a "paperless" dark age wherein there will be no physical record of our visual or written history. The archeologists of the future will have precious little to find. Those youngest of archeologists, especially, will never feel the thrill of discovering treasures of personal history hidden within shoeboxes and photo albums buried among artifacts in basements and attics throughout the world. That moment when a shoebox or album is discovered and opened to reveal the aging images of family history will be lost forever.

Discovering a shiny disk in a sea of discarded shiny disks will never resonate with meaning the way discovering a cache of old photographs does.

Shooting film isn't just personal anymore. It's about being among the few who create physical images of the world and the life that exists in their time.
Interesting and sobering thoughts.
I think it may prompt me to create a photobook of some pics I would like to keep...both the artsy and un-artsy, family stuff.
We get caught up in the artistic side of photography. Sometimes it is important to remember that photography is also a way to preserve history, even if it has little artistic value.
I know some of my favorite pictures have absolutely no artistic value at all; they are out of focus, have poor color, are tilted etc, but it shows scenes of my grandparents, aunts and uncles sitting around a table, drinking, eating, having a good time.
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