Thursday, September 18, 2003

Art and Technology: Digital vs. Film


Howdy Kari:

There once was vinyl records now CDs dominate. There once was a time for popping popcorn in a pot and a stove now we toss a packet into the microwave.

The technology in photography is going digital. Resistance is futile. Have you made the switch?

Of my photography hobbyist friends, most are still with film. Some are traditionalists and like the "art" of the "old fashioned" film way of doing things. Others are more pragmatic reasoning that to match the flexibility of their SLR film cameras one would have to pay quite a bit in the digital realm. I'd say I'm one of these types of film camera people.

I don't have the money and even if I did, I'm not sure I'd pony up for one of these.

As it stands right now, there are two other issues with digital: color rendering and noise in long exposures.

One of my friends who follows the technological developments says the tech wizards are working on a new chip that will handle colors better. Unfortunately, it is turning into a real bear to manufacture.

The other problem is electronic noise of the chips. This is usually not a problem unless one goes to long exposure. My friend demonstrates this phenomena with this photo.

The digital revolution will continue and I'm sure artists and photographers will continue to debate the pros and cons for the production of art and how it affects the meaning of art and what it means to be an artist.

When I was in Sausalito recently, I had the chance to stop in on the gallery of photographer Rodney Lough, Jr. Reading his literature in the gallery and clicking around his web page I find out he has taken a hybrid approach. He makes the original image with large format cameras on Fuji Velvia (50ASA) slide film because he believes it gives the best colors. However, in the print phase, he will print some onto traditional Fuji Type R Ultrachrome paper. With others, he scans the transparency with a high end scanner (ColorGetter Eagle drum scanner) and then prints onto Fuji Crystal Archive.

The bottom line for me is how much WOW can you get from the finished product. Everyone browsing in the gallery was just amazed and it is only technophiles like me who have some curiosity of how he gets the final product.

What kind of film cameras, lenses and film do you use? Which digital camera have you bought or have considered? I'm looking at getting the A60. What have you heard about it?

Perhaps in a future post, you will treat us to a photo essay about some aspect of Kansas life.

Blogging will be light to non-existent as I'll be away on business travel until early next week.
'Till later,
Rene

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