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Thread: Some food for thot from Luminous Landscape

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    Moderator nightwolf75's Avatar
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    Default Some food for thot from Luminous Landscape

    and the eternal debate goes on bet film and digital....

    i'm sure some of us have read these articles already? just to share with those who haven't. but, pls, dun start a flame war here after reading, yah?

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/clumps.shtml
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/es...-already.shtml

    fyi only.
    If Life worked on auto mode then manual mode for photography would have never existed. ― Deeksha Mittal

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    Senior Member Cheesecake's Avatar
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    hi,

    i believe many fine arts photographers still shoot with slides and films of various sizes, ie. 35mm to medium format to large format. esp. monochromes. thus what pete myers is ranting about is nothing new or nothing spectacular. just some old rantings we've heard all too often.

    personally, i believe equipment is but a choice of medium. he has chosen to work with digital imagery but found it to be not his cuppa tea, perhaps for various reasons, and so, he has now decided to enter the darkroom and do his own monochrome prints. yes, that is all very exciting being in a darkroom and all.

    if u're goin into digital, u'll better be good in ur post-processing skills too. for some of us who can't stand hours infront of a monitor then perhaps film is still the best medium.

    as for michael reichmann, he's not much of a difference from ken rockwell.


    cheers!
    You'll Never Walk Alone! - i have the best job in the world!

  3. #3
    vince123123
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    Interesting reads

    Quote Originally Posted by nightwolf75
    and the eternal debate goes on bet film and digital....

    i'm sure some of us have read these articles already? just to share with those who haven't. but, pls, dun start a flame war here after reading, yah?

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/clumps.shtml
    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/es...-already.shtml

    fyi only.

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    The second article looks like a thinly veiled advert for a certain "luxury image" camera brand - I read things like "world's best lenses" etc. Also, Mr. "fine art photographer" decries the complexity of a digital camera, and then indulges in how his film is downrated and processed in a specific developer at precisely 21.25 degrees C - and subsequently digitized using a scanner (which is also a kind of digital camera) from another luxury brand ...

    For my taste, this guy is a bit too focused on showing off/promoting his luxury equipment to take him serious.

  5. #5

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    Why is it that people who talk so much about cameras and debate about film and digital are always the landscape photographers

  6. #6

    Default It's not an ad

    It's not an ad, but an opinion, a belief... just like some people believe Canon/Nikon is best (depending on which side you're on).

    You should go to his website to see if his work justifies being taken seriously, rather than just making a judgement based on one article. If he has really supported himself as a fine art photographer using film over the last 20 years, then certainly he's not a slouch.

    Whether Leica or Zeiss or Canon or Nikon makes the "best" lenses is a subjective argument at best, because a lens cannot be judged on purely objective criteria such as lp/mm, but must also be judged on the look, colour saturation, bokeh, flare resistance, contrast, etc. most of which are dependent on the preferences of the viewer. Even weight, compactness, build quality, etc. should be considered. This guy believes Leica lenses are the best, so do I, but others will of course feel that their preferred brand is the best. No point arguing-- it's very subjective, as I mentioned, and in any case, we all hold on to our beliefs very strongly and there's no way we will change our viewpoints. It also depends on the application-- is the lens for sports, macro, wide open photography or what?


    Wai Leong
    ===




    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf
    The second article looks like a thinly veiled advert for a certain "luxury image" camera brand - I read things like "world's best lenses" etc. Also, Mr. "fine art photographer" decries the complexity of a digital camera, and then indulges in how his film is downrated and processed in a specific developer at precisely 21.25 degrees C - and subsequently digitized using a scanner (which is also a kind of digital camera) from another luxury brand ...

    For my taste, this guy is a bit too focused on showing off/promoting his luxury equipment to take him serious.

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    Quote Originally Posted by waileong
    It's not an ad, but an opinion, a belief... just like some people believe Canon/Nikon is best (depending on which side you're on).
    Is turning a specific brand into a religion a good basis for discussing the merits and drawbacks of different technologies ... ?

    You should go to his website to see if his work justifies being taken seriously
    Hmmm... first thing on that webpage is that guy advertising himself as "one of the most gifted Master Fine Arts Photographers of our times". He certainly has figured out how to apply marketing phrases, but I wish I could form my own opinion by looking at his wonderful works ... the image links in his portfolio page are broken.

  8. #8

    Default Woods and trees

    I agree. Unfortunately, this is just like the peanuts case, where the guy has something really valuable to say, but how he expresses it irks people enough that the main message is lost.

    He should be mature enough to realise that photographers as a lot hold on to their religion very strongly, so if he goes to talk about how good Leica is (even if it's the truth or it's his firm belief after many years of photography), anyone who doesn't use Leica or doesn't like Leica or cannot afford Leica will attack him for it, or at the very least, will be distracted by it.

    But if you are willing to see beyond his views of Leica's quality, he makes some very interesting points:

    a. That the lens is the most important thing in achieving a good picture, hence, spend your $$ on the lens-- I think few would argue with that (ie until he talks about why Leica is the best, why the Leica QC is so good, etc.-- that's when all the flames come)

    b. That theoretical lens resolution increases as you open up-- that is a revelation! I've not read the mathematical/optics theories given in the book, so I can't vouch for whether that is true, but assuming it is, this means that a lens with better performance wide open can be far far better than another lens.

    c. That artists should shoot wide open whenever possible, but most artists stop down only because most lenses are compromise designs-- this follows logically from b, although I would say that DOF also plays a part in the decision to stop down.

    We've always been taught that one should stop down to f5.6 or f8 to get optimum performance, but if a lens can deliver better performance at f2 or f1.4, there's no reason to stop down other than DOF!

    d. That a simple mechanical camera, with no AF, no complex controls, is very relaxing to use-- conceptually it's logical, but unfortunately people will disagree, esp. those who have never used anything other than automated SLRs/DSLR's.

    My own view is that a Leica is only relaxing for non-flash shots; with flash, I often forget to set the correct flash sync speed, and I'm always worried about whether the flash exposure is correct because I sometimes have no idea which subject the flash chose for its exposure. But perhaps when I get more practice, I will feel even more relaxed.

    e. That a simple camera frees an artist to use his artistic side and express his creativity-- seems logical enough.

    If you shoot in P mode, you get what the camera chose, which is optimised for a typical scene. If you decide everything, from focus point to shutter speed and aperture, you can decide the look you want, exactly, that suits your artistic need. You can make a shot moody, blurry, shallow DOF, wide DOF, etc.

    f. That you have to use a good scanner to get good scans, and in fact, you must use the very best-- the Imacon.

    Just hairy ass guessing here, I've never tried an Imacon scanner, I prefer darkroom printing anyway, but maybe a $10,000 pro scanner is really better than a consumer scanner from Nikon, Epson, Canon or Minolta? I think we can accept that. Strangely, no one using Nikon, Epson, Canon or Minolta scanners complained about him plugging Imacon...

    g. That most B&W films are not optimised for scanning-- that's a revelation to me. I always thought that the scan quality is simply a function of the scanner quality, if what he says is true, then we should certainly reconsider the films we shoot if the intention is to output to scanner.

    There's a lot of food for thought in that article if you're willing to see beyond him expressing his love for Leica.

    I'll just close with one final thought from Mike Johnston:

    Most lenses are better than than most photographers.

    That's a fact. Pete Myers said it differently in his article, that it can take a lifetime to master a lens.

    Wai Leong
    ===
    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf
    Is turning a specific brand into a religion a good basis for discussing the merits and drawbacks of different technologies ... ?

    Hmmm... first thing on that webpage is that guy advertising himself as "one of the most gifted Master Fine Arts Photographers of our times". He certainly has figured out how to apply marketing phrases, but I wish I could form my own opinion by looking at his wonderful works ... the image links in his portfolio page are broken.
    Last edited by waileong; 27th July 2005 at 01:44 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by waileong
    He should be mature enough to realise that photographers as a lot hold on to their religion very strongly, so if he goes to talk about how good Leica is (even if it's the truth or it's his firm belief after many years of photography), anyone who doesn't use Leica or doesn't like Leica or cannot afford Leica will attack him for it, or at the very least, will be distracted by it.
    The laws of nature are the same for all camera brands , and praising a specific brand to make an argument for or against a brand-agnostic technical issue is, in my humble opinion, utter nonsense.

    But if you are willing to see beyond his views of Leica's quality, he makes some very interesting points:

    a. That the lens is the most important thing in achieving a good picture, hence, spend your $$ on the lens
    ... which is the same for film and electronic sensors and therefore makes an argument neither for nor against digital cameras ...

    b. That theoretical lens resolution increases as you open up-- that is a revelation! ... this means that a lens with better performance wide open can be far far better than another lens.
    I wouldn't call it a relevation - it's basic high school physics, and it has nothing to do with film vs. digital.

    c. That artists should shoot wide open whenever possible, but most artists stop down only because most lenses are compromise designs-- this follows logically from b, although I would say that DOF also plays a part in the decision to stop down.
    I don't see why artists "should" shoot wide open. This is a matter of personal preference - and if you look at paintings by the "great masters", you'll rarely find "bokeh" in them. Again, it has nothing to do with film vs. digital.

    We've always been taught that one should stop down to f5.6 or f8 to get optimum performance,
    Who taught you this? If one should always shoot at f/5.6 or f/8, the aperture of lenses had only two settings ... and where's the relation to film vs. digital?

    but if a lens can deliver better performance at f2 or f1.4, there's no reason to stop down other than DOF!
    Wasn't that always the reason to step down in the first place? Or, alternatively, why would one spend a lot of money on a f/2 or f/1.4 lens if one were to take photos only at f/5.6 or f/8? How does this relate to the film/digital issue?

    d. That a simple mechanical camera, with no AF, no complex controls, is very relaxing to use-- conceptually it's logical, but unfortunately people will disagree, esp. those who have never used anything other than automated SLRs/DSLR's.
    I don't see a fundamental handling difference here. How often do the "complex controls" get used? With my digital camera, I change the ISO setting every now and then, which is a lot less complex than rewinding and swapping film cartridges with an all-mechanical 35mm camera (except cameras like Rollei's 35mm SLRs with interchangeable backs). Apart from that, it's focus, aperture, exposure time - the same as with both old and new cameras. Admittedly, the viewfinder of many new SLRs is so horrible that focusing manually is a pain. (But the viewfinder is equally horrible for both film and digital SLRs.)

    My own view is that a Leica is only relaxing for non-flash shots; with flash, I often forget to set the correct flash sync speed, and I'm always worried about whether the flash exposure is correct because I sometimes have no idea which subject the flash chose for its exposure. But perhaps when I get more practice, I will feel even more relaxed.
    I use a 20+ year old electronic flash from camera system X on my brand Y DSLR in exactly the same way as I would with my 30+ year old all-mechanical SLR (not a Leica, by the way) - including setting sync time and aperture manually . And the best thing, the exposure is more consistent than with the TTL matrix metering of the built-in flash. But what does it have to do with film vs. digital?

    e. That a simple camera frees an artist to use his artistic side and express his creativity-- seems logical enough.
    To an extent, yes. But not many "serious" painters use only a single brush and three basic colours. Using a more complex kit saves them a lot of effort.

    What makes me think is that many questions here on Clubsnap are not on some esoteric functions hidden five layers deep in the menus of their dSLRs, but along the lines of "what is the aperture setting for?". How would a classic mechanical camera help here? How many complex adjustments does a contemporary film SLR have? Why is a digital camera off worse?

    If you shoot in P mode, you get what the camera chose, which is optimised for a typical scene.
    Same as presetting aperture/shutter on the Leica for snapshots, but no argument for or against film/digital.

    maybe a $10,000 pro scanner is really better than a consumer scanner from Nikon, Epson, Canon or Minolta?
    Which is an argument in the film vs. digital debate how?

    g. That most B&W films are not optimised for scanning-- that's a revelation to me.
    More likely, most scanners are not optimized for B&W films. This shouldn't be a surprise, given where the mass market is (colour) and that conventional silver B&W negatives are already quite sensitive to things like diffusion vs. condensor enlargers. You probably know this already, but just in case... you may have another "revelation" if you look at the emulsion side of your B&W "negatives" against a black background; they actually show up as positives ...

    There's a lot of food for thought in that article if you're willing to see beyond him expressing his love for Leica.
    But not much to make an argument in the film vs. digital debate. I have absolutely no problem is the guy likes his Leica, but basing an analog vs. digital discourse on it just doesn't cut it.

    And, for the record, own both a dSLR and a fully mechanical SLR. But I won't claim that the fact that the build quality of the all-metal mechanical SLR vs. the cheap plastic of the dSLR has anything to do with film vs. digital.

  10. #10

    Default It's not an F vs D debate

    If you wish to see it as an F vs D thing, so be it.

    I felt the article was interesting, full of nuggets of info.

    FYI f5.6 or f8 are supposed to be optimum apertures for most lenses, you can try it yourself if you want, there are MTF charts you can refer to as well which shows these things. Most lenses just aren't at their best wide open because they are designed to a particular price point, hence they need to be stopped down quite a lot to get optimal performance.

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    Quote Originally Posted by LittleWolf
    I don't see why artists "should" shoot wide open. This is a matter of personal preference - and if you look at paintings by the "great masters", you'll rarely find "bokeh" in them. Again, it has nothing to do with film vs. digital.
    I agreed with what you've said. But, do you noticed that whenever our eyes are looking at it turns out to be sharp without any "bokeh"?
    Anyway, it's just another of my no brainer thoughts again. Cheers dude.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by waileong
    f. That you have to use a good scanner to get good scans, and in fact, you must use the very best-- the Imacon.

    Just hairy ass guessing here, I've never tried an Imacon scanner, I prefer darkroom printing anyway, but maybe a $10,000 pro scanner is really better than a consumer scanner from Nikon, Epson, Canon or Minolta? I think we can accept that. Strangely, no one using Nikon, Epson, Canon or Minolta scanners complained about him plugging Imacon...

    g. That most B&W films are not optimised for scanning-- that's a revelation to me. I always thought that the scan quality is simply a function of the scanner quality, if what he says is true, then we should certainly reconsider the films we shoot if the intention is to output to scanner.
    ===
    the imacon scanners aren't necessarily better, but they are fast. the colour space seems slightly better, plus it gets the colours right most of the time compared to a nikon 9000.
    if this guy's so anal about scanning he should be owning a drum scanner.

    Black and white film doesn't scan well at all. forget about it. it all comes out as massive clumps of grain. I never bothered to figure out beyond the fact that the black and white scans were terrible, so maybe someone can enlighten me

    for someone who's so anal about lenses and etc etc etc you would think that he would use a format larger than 35mm. how can you take someone who uses 35mm for landscapes seriously?

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