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08-05-2011, 10:58 PM   #31
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Not Better...Not Worse...Just Different

This is really is an interesting topic because it seems to incorporate a lot of different things, some easily identified and right on the surface, and others that are buried a bit.

I personally am far more comfortable with the older, mechanical, film-based systems, I think because that is what I grew up with. But that does not make the newer, electronic, digital-based equipment less effective...or less reliable.

I like my old 1954 Chevy pickup, but it is nowhere near as reliable as my wife's new van. I have to do a tune up on that old pickup every 4 to 6,000 miles or it starts to get grumpy. I don't think my wife's van even needs a new set of plugs until it passes 100,000 miles. Likewise the van runs much cleaner, is far easier to use, and is much more convenient. But deep down I am not as comfortable with the van as I am with that pickup.

Likewise, my Pentax K-7 is a very reliable piece of equipment. It's sealed against the weather, it focuses quick, it chooses the right exposure on Program mode 99 times out of 100, hell...the shutter will work reliably for over a 150,000 actuations, and maybe way more times than that. That is equivalent to more than 6,000 rolls of my favorite black and white film. It will almost certainly still be shooting long past the point when I even care. But I am still way more comfortable shooting my K1000! And it has absolutely none of those features or benefits.

Why is that?

It is what I am used to. Somewhere deep down I feel that...IF...it breaks in the middle of nowhere I might be able to fix it and get it working again. That is almost certainly hogwash, for the pickup as well as the camera, but I still believe that. And I know that the pickup is much simpler than the van, like the K1000 is far simpler than the K-7. And everyone knows that something as complex as one of those new cameras can't keep running forever...can it? Well, the hard reality is that the van is far more reliable, and friendlier to the environment, than my pickup. And the K-7 will keep working far longer, and in worse environmental conditions, than my little K1000 will.

Now, flip the scenario and put my grandson in charge. He'll pick the electronic gizmo every time. Again, because that is what he is used to. Ask him about reliability and he'll tell you. It dies when the battery dies but if I charge it back up it keeps working. But that doesn't bother him at all. Hell, it is a fact of his young life. Everything uses batteries. You either buy them or recharge them. Everyone knows that. Oh, he enjoys Grandpa's pickup, and he thinks it is neat that Grandpa shoots film and develops it at the kitchen sink. But he also thinks Grandpa is old...and maybe a little odd as well. He likes the digital way of life. For him it is normal. Only grandpa wants to use a camera where you can't see the picture right away.

As for the other issues of "spray and pray" vs slow contemplation, and even what camera you are using. None of that makes you an artist, now or back then. But make no mistake, there are digital artists today just like there were film artists in the past. And there will still be artists in the future even though the imaging tools they use may not even be recognizable as cameras by then. I can't make a decent looking black & white picture in Photoshop to save my life...but there are people today who can make that program sing! Just like Ansel Adams could make his darkroom sing! And if you honestly believe all his pictures were printed right from the camera then you have never read any of his books. He was a master at darkroom manipulation. For him the capture was just the beginning.

Digital has absolutely made photography and cameras more reliable. And digital has absolutely created far more imaging options for all of us. Digital has changed the creative landscape for the better. If Ansel Adams or Cartier Bresson were starting out today, they would be using digital. And they would be at least as good, and maybe even better, then they actually were. But that is because they were artists in the first place.

Don't get me wrong, I love using film and I believe that there is a place for film just as there is a place for digital. Digital and the internet have certainly released a thousand wannabe professional photographers and it is changing the face of photography forever. It will certainly never be the same and I am certainly not all that comfortable with it. But that doesn't make it better...or worse...just different.

08-06-2011, 07:13 PM   #32
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Join Date: Jan 2011
Location: Edmonton, Canada
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I have a manual camera and a self-winding watch.

I also have this internet addiction thingy.

If I can get rid of that, I think I will be happier, just as I became happier after I got past my former news addiction, my political affairs mania, and a few other things.

Of course, then I will have to work on using coin and currency only.

And that's when things become a little bit difficult.
08-06-2011, 07:38 PM   #33
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Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Limbo, California
Posts: 11,264
I have manual, analog electric, and digital cameras. I no longer wear a watch (slave bracelet).
I have built mechanical, analog electronic, and digital computers. From piles of components.
I got my first modem in 1980. I've been online ever since. I don't tweet, nor blog any more.
I do not watch TV. My radios (Sony ICF-2010 commo receivers) are set for music stations.
Oh yeah, I also have Zenith Transoceanic commo receivers, with actual hot vacuum tubes.
I carry a paper notepad, not an iPad. (I don't do Apple.) Cellphones don't work where I live.
I have ancient acoustic and modern electronic musical instruments. I keep an ocarina on me.

Which adds up to, what? Modern technology is wonderful, when kept in proper perspective.
Following all the latest political-economic-tabloid news will drive you batshit insane, quickly.
Staying kewl with the latest hip tech toys will keep you and your progeny in debt forever.
Any technology is obsolete before it goes out the door. But it still works! Until it wears out.
There is no going back to the good old days. There are no good old days. The past sucked.
We're all going to live in the future for the rest of our lives. Get ready. And smash your TV.
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