The BS of Digital Photography

Boris Liberman boris71 at
Tue Oct 6 08:00:06 EDT 2009

Tom, in general I am with Paul Stenquist on this one. My reply is
between your lines below...

On Tue, Oct 6, 2009 at 9:07 AM, Tom C <cakaltm at> wrote:
> 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.

Jostein and Ralf pointed out a number of times that dark frame
subtraction cannot be canceled with K-7 if exposure time is over some
threshold (like 30 sec or so, but I am not sure I remember it
correctly). Thus, they claimed K-7 is ill-suited for astrophotography.
I tried shooting at night with K-7 only once and the results were
reasonable, but I am not doing it often. If you wish I can supply you
with PEFs for you to examine.

> 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.

But you had to set up the scanner or scanning program to give you
proper representation of the transparency, had you not? And if for any
reason you did not hit it swiftly, it could become a rather tedious
process of trial and error, could it not? This at least was my
experience, though I was shooting and thence scanning negative film
(mostly Fuji NPC 160).

> 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.

Didn't you have to calibrate your screen for work with scanned film?
Wasn't you post processing your scanned film at all? If you did post
process it, then you probably used the same Photoshop software, did
you not? Who did your film processing? How did you solve the problem
of dust on the film?

> 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.

I remember that working with film after it has been processed was
rather hectic for me, or better yet - tiresome.

> 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
> hardware?

I found that having taken the film processing and scanning set up out
of the game made my life significantly easier. Today my workflow is
such that I usually spend 5-10 min of post processing per image and
either it becomes something I'd rather share or it stays on my
computer or even gets deleted. I sometimes process one image of the
series and then apply post processing settings to the rest of the
series. Yet this happens rarely and usually I process each image
separately. Yet, I find that the technical or better yet technological
component of my hobby has become much less tiresome and in general

> 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.

I do admit that I do my processing by the eye. That is, I don't have
any measure or any template or any standard. I just sit down and do as
I please in Lightroom. Often I catch myself thinking that I processed
this image earlier and arrived to slightly (or not so slightly)
different result. Yet, I don't seem to recall my film days with any
nostalgia technology-wise.

> Does it seem that way to others as well?

I suppose my answer would be "definitely no, it does not seem so".
However my film experience is far less than digital one.



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