The BS of Digital Photography

Tom C cakaltm at
Tue Oct 6 03:07:38 EDT 2009

I just ordered a K-7 against what may may be my better judgement...
I'm optimistic that it will meet my present needs, though I'm pretty
sure it's far too noisy for any astrophotography.

It has started me thinking though about the tradeoffs between film and digital.

WIth film (E6 or positives specifically):

One had to wait for the results.
What you saw is what you got.
Notwithstanding the development process, the largest variables in the
result was the metering accuracy of the camera body (MX or Pz-1P, both
overall excellent), the attributes of the film that was selected, and
the judgement of the photographer.
When I scanned a transparency, I pretty much considered that it was,
as recorded, based upon my decisions at exposure time. It was a 1st
generation image.

With digital (shooting RAW):

I see the 'results' (almost immediately).
I'm unsure what processing has occurred in camera.
I'm unsure how the sensor has responded to the scene and how the
software in the camera has adjusted the image. I can guess, but I'm
not sure.
I'm unsure if the image shown on the playback screen is an accurate
representation of the scene or if it will match what I see on the
computer screen.
I'm unsure if Photoshop or ACR, or whatever software used, is
displaying an accurate representation of the recorded image.
Screen calibration is an issue unto itself.

Maybe there was just as many variables with E6 and they were taken for
granted at the time, because we didn't (or I didn't) have the
knowledge 6 - 10 years ago to know the difference. Certainly all the
post-capture and transposition to digital issues existed.

Nevertheless, with the advent of digital capture, it seems or feels as
if the process is far more complicated.  Maybe my RAW image is the
equivalent of my transparency, but it just does not feel the same. It
seemed that I could look at a transparency and say "Wow, that looks
exactly like what I saw" or "Wow, I messed that one up".  With digital
I feel much more insecure.  Was it me, the camera, the software, the

It seems the almost instant gratification of digital capture and the
speediness of results has been eclipsed by the, OMG factor, and 'what
do I have to do to adjust this image?'.  Time saved by instant results
is erased by time spent post-capture processing.

Does it seem that way to others as well?

Tom C.

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