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Dumb(?) question about blur and digital v film

km6xz

St Petersburg, RU
3559 posts

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"RE: Dumb(?) question about blur and digital v film"

km6xz Moderator Awarded for his in-depth knowledge in various areas, including Portraits and Urban Photography Nikonian since 22nd Jan 2009
Sun 04-Mar-12 10:16 PM

I had given up on photography for years after shooting film and enjoying it for a long time. I got busy with other activities and just stopped taking the kit out when it got too big and involved. I had a GF then who wanted the camera for a "serious interest" so I gave her my camera and about 20 lenses. She promptly sold it all. I prompting got rid of the GF.
My next venture into photography was due to another GF wanting me to get a camera to take photos of her and her fashions(as in advanced amateur clothing designer/model). I got one on my next trip back to the US, when the D90 came out.
I found that Digital, at least with the D90 was almost too easy. AF that worked. Metering that worked. WB that worked. A crazy good flash system.
I had always like manual focus because the focusing screens on film cameras were so smooth and sure, I never remember having unintentionally out of focus shots. The film work was gratifying because prints were viewed at reasonable distances and even if not the sharpest images technically, they always looked good. I got paid a lot for casual photos that were used on album covers and liner notes, some probably were not technically great, but no one cared except for the content and meaning of the shot, usually BW shadowy mood images. Had a few published in travel and backpacking magazines. So all told, there was a high ratio of keeper shots because so few shots were taken, each one was thought about before the shutter released.

Now, with digital, the technical traits of images are higher, particularly with my D7000 but the shots mean less because there are so many and viewing them on a screen is so different than a print on the wall. The ability to zoom in to exaggerated magnifications also shifts it from a content activity to a technical activity, sort of the difference between writing and word processing. The criteria on which people seem to judge the value of a photo is different. Sharpness was not so critical a factor that would trump any content or subject as now.
Color is judged differently now, whereas a tint or cast could have been an artistic element before, now it is a defect to be stamped out even if it leave the image sterile and pointless when doing so. Pixel peeping has ruined the enjoyment of more images than any other habit. You can always tell who are the pixel peepers in museums, the ones straining to get closest with nose pressed up against protective glass over some priceless master or straining to get past the rope crowd control to inspect a 9 ft canvas at 2 inches.
The art lovers however, are the ones stepping back, far enough to grasp the whole without scanning with their eyes. I wonder what the brush stroke peepers get out of looking at a large scale painting so closely. Are they trying to decode some secret intent or technique on the part of the painter? Same with 24" monitors at 100% crops...why?

Do they also get within 2 inches of the subject of a portrait to count nose hairs as a way of judging the appeal of the subject. I assume the only reason for doing it is because it is possible and the viewer is bored.
In many ways I think film was more satisfying because of the way the results were viewed and judged but were usually less technically perfect.
Stan
St Petersburg Russia

Visit my Nikonians gallery.

A general, generic topic Dumb(?) question about blur and digital v film [View all] , Omaha , Wed 29-Feb-12 11:56 PM
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