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  #1  
Old 09-26-2004, 05:06 PM
Midnight_sun Midnight_sun is offline
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Default Top photographers condemn digital age

I just came across this news article here.

It also said that

"Ilford Imaging in Cheshire, the world's largest producer of black and white photo materials, went into receivership in July, thanks to traditional photography's decline."

Just when I was getting into b&w... Should we stock up on b&w film or just accept the digital reality?
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  #2  
Old 09-26-2004, 08:27 PM
Ebbe Ebbe is offline
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Default Re: Top photographers condemn digital age

But the main thing must be the result, the B&W picture, not the material used getting there, right?

There are many examples through the history of businesses gone down when methods and technologies shifted, it is a never ending story. The most known Swedish case is "FACIT" who made mechanical adding machines, or calculators. I think they were one of the biggest companies in the world in that business. The management in the 70īs just said that electronical calculators was impossible, or maybe a passing trend. It took just a few years from a top business position to final collapse.

The canal system in UK were finished just in time for the invention of the railway so their days of glory were soon counted too.

The B&W film as we know it today has not changed much for 50 - 70 years or so. Sometimes we tend to think that products that old and mature will stay for ever just because they are old.....

So I think the alternative for us is B&W in digital form. Works very fine for me!

Ebbe
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  #3  
Old 09-26-2004, 09:26 PM
Luko Luko is offline
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Default Re: Top photographers condemn digital age (1)

So I think the alternative for us is B&W in digital form. Works very fine for me!

Good for you, Ebbe...

1- Unfortunately we are a couple of BW aimed photographers that find Digital BW is still far away from the real thing unless you're ready to pay 150USd for a print.
Just to say that today there are no consumer printers that can emulate BW print... It would be no problem if we had found how to replace decent BW for the cost of nothing. the problem is that companies are starting to cut down the market without any replacement solution.

2- As a long time photo consumer... I might be not be as positively optimistic as you are, Ebbe. I hope you didn't have that state of mind when 4 major companies launched 10 years ago the APS system which didn't improve anything except their stock value.
I simply watched the system collapse despite vendors who'd sell APS as the utmost film technology. You know what? Investments on films benefitted to 35mm film as we know it today... funny, eh?

3- What I've learnt from business history is that new things are not necessarily for the better (check APS, will you). Companies need sometimes to have a lobby in front of them saying stop! Kodachrome prints were ready to be cut down by Kodak until pros said we're not ready to go digital, we prefer to stay for a while with slides. (Despite what companies pretend there are many pro photographers who work with film not digital, specially the photographers who do not need to send pics in a hurry... look at recent National Geo photos, all those grainy pics are taken with Kodachrome 200, it's about 3/4 of the magazine).
Thnks to some of them, Kodachrome is still selling (expensively but it can be found...)

4- Old and mature products are... widely used and mature. Except to pay me for my consultant job, I don't see the point of changing simply for the sake of changing.
Changing means you have a strategy or an interest behind : do you see one for BW? Personnally I'm afraid, I don't. The BW market is the spine in the companies' feet, it's no secret they would like everyone to switch to color, it pays more (and they thank you). Once in a while, they launch a new BW product, like C41 BW or Tmax range for instance, sorry to say that for some users but after the fashion trend was cooled down, serious BW photogs stuck to old TriX or HP5 that have been used for years on... because they were simply better...

<to be ctd>
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  #4  
Old 09-26-2004, 09:27 PM
Luko Luko is offline
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Default Re: Top photographers condemn digital age (2)

So you'll understand for my own, I don't rely on companies to fulfill my wills, on the contrary, majors have lately spent their money on technologies aiming to press my wallet to the last drop, the last stand being the joke of illegal copies from CD to MP3. I don't trust Fuji and Kodak more than Sony or Universal...I try first to analyze before saying Amen, the alliance of tevchnology and markting has saved us, if not, we're dead in a shortwhile, maybe not us as consumers but simply as people...

So my opinion is ok, I don't see any problem switching to all digital providing the new situation is better than the previous one.
For the reasons I told you, digital would hardly compete on BW, mind the big gap....other thing is that situations are always better when alternatives are possible : even though autofocus has been widespread for 20 years, some people as I do, have Manual focusing cameras on purpose because I will be faster than you'll ever be focusing in low light for instance.

As for a conclusion, biologists know that optimal solution is secured when diversity is maximum, when one takes seemingly advantage over the other, there are consequence that are very hard to predict.

As for me I prefer film AND digital, if you don't mind... and hope BW film will still be alive for a long time and that traditional BW techniques would be improved with digital R&D (digital home enlarger with chemical prints,...).
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  #5  
Old 09-26-2004, 10:16 PM
Ebbe Ebbe is offline
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Default Re: Top photographers condemn digital age

Hi Luko, that was a long and quick respons! I merely said it works fine for me, thats me, Ebbe. I used to do a lot of B&W with darkroom at home when I had the time and the place. Never enough time to get routines working well enough to really get the quality right. And for my paper copies, color or B&W, and slides the just sit there in the cupboard. As for copies from the digital I donīt have a printer at all, I e-mail the few pictures I print out to some lab and get them back in the post. But I have not tried doing a B&W print yet. If I were working the photography the way you do I would have the same concerns as you do...

But I think there must be a hugh market drop for B&W. Local newspapers all over the world has given up both B&W in favour of color and gone digital which suits them well as they are in a hurry and the quality demands are low. I think that market was the bread and butter of the market for B&W film, paper and chemicals. All gone now.

Ebbe
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  #6  
Old 09-26-2004, 10:52 PM
Luko Luko is offline
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Default Re: Top photographers condemn digital age

Ebbe, of course your opinion may first depend on the your personnal use and concerns over BW, but it's so obvious this is like we had not said anything at all ;)...

What made me react about that, is that you unconsciously (or not) made yours one of the argument of the major photo companies, which stands like "Hey, we're inventing the best future just for you while you're moaning that we've stopped producing your favorite camera/film/etc." this sounds as fishy to me as "We've included copyright protection into this audio CD for YOUR confort".

In fact I don't think there's any market drop for BW since Digital has come in : I don't know any newspaper that has been using BW, many have been using RGB film, mostly neg as it's far more tolerant than BW.
I then think the big market dropdown should be color neg BUT there are 2 different markets that are progersing nowadays : digital of course AND disposable camera which include RGB neg.

The BW market drop has been continuous for years, as companies and street labs didn't want to invest into consumer classic BW processing (that's why they invented the C41 BW, aimed to amateur-with-a-twist market) : have you ever tried to give a classic BW film to a minilab these 3 last years, the answer will either be "sorry dude, no prehistorical stuff here" or "Ok, come back in 3 weeks, it'll be huuuumpff$" (and you wonder whose cat pissed on the prints when you get them back... you also notice later that the anonymous cat has used its claws on your film.). Unless you're a real cat lover with a budget, you're tempted to switch to something else... (who said digital? hehe...)

Although the companies have conscienceously shot in the back of the BW, they're now accusing the consumers of not having used BW... funny, eh?

I have the feeling I'm really getting worried these days, i mean speaking as a consumer, you know... like many markt depts were sitting on my back and tinting their glass over me... May be just a feeling but...
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  #7  
Old 09-26-2004, 11:35 PM
Midnight_sun Midnight_sun is offline
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Default Re: Top photographers condemn digital age

The magic of marketing, videos, vcd, dvd, super dvd etc, the new product for the new generation. Economies now depend on consumer spending much more than before, so you are right to be more sceptical of what the next technology has to offer, as it could just be repackaging the current technology (aps etc).


I had to look around to find a place that does b&w, and it took a week and cost Ģ11 per film, which is twice the cost of colour normally, i think if i want to do a lot more b&w I'll have to buy all the dark room stuff, which looks like a lot of fun, and time. B&w seems to relay more on development than colour film, so in that respect it would be good to have more control over it.

Although choice of film may decline as digital takes more of the market, hopefully the quality stuff will always be available.
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  #8  
Old 09-26-2004, 11:57 PM
bpelvan bpelvan is offline
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Default Re: Top photographers condemn digital age

"So I think the alternative for us is B&W in digital form. Works very fine for me!" said EBBE.

This is the summary of the reality. Otherwise we would still be using ernemann ernoflex, pocketbrownie or auto graflex.

This is the digital age, business was business and will always be business.

Human beings accept and get used to the comfort easily. And the BUSINESS is very well aware of this. The marketing departments were already sitting on our back. Why do you think that we bought our Olympus C-4000Z, Nikon FE, Leica M6, Leica R5,
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  #9  
Old 09-27-2004, 12:08 AM
bpelvan bpelvan is offline
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Default Re: Top photographers condemn digital age

(sorry I clicked the post message button)
and our Nikon CP 4300 and Minoltas???

Why do you think that most of us scanning and transferring especially the old photos to digital environment??

Top photographers will also get used to the new age with it's all aspects.
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  #10  
Old 09-27-2004, 12:18 AM
Ebbe Ebbe is offline
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Default Re: Top photographers condemn digital age

No matter what you sell you can allways make your product expensive, hard to find or difficult to use if you want your customer to by the new stuff instead.

I come to think of the national railways in the later half of the 20īth century. Just make the tickets expensive and run the trains so that there are no connections in the timetables and in a few years you can prove to your government that there are no passengers on the trains and the traffic should be closed. It is that simple!!

We will allways be under the eyes of the marketing depts, no matter what we do or what buy. Maybe best not to think about it. It is so easy to get into the big conspiracy spiral.

Ebbe
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