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Has the digital era resulted in photographic complacency?

mattw 17 5.2k 10 United Kingdom
21 Mar 2005 12:26AM
to add my 2p worth:

I think that digital might make it easier to take 'no brainer' pictures - i.e. for those who don't wish to learn about correct exposure (although that said, print film does have greater exposure latitude).

However, for those who want to pay attention and learn, digital is the better tool. OK, digital does not punish you for poor exposure like slide film does, but the information available (histogram) is invaluable.

Even with detailed notes, it is difficult to really associate the thought processes that went into a particular shot when you finally get the slides back one week later. And that is if you even had time to take the notes in the first place (Wildlife? Sports?). Bracketing doesnt teach correct exposure - it teaches you to be careful.

The other advantage of digital of course, it that it allows you to take far more pictures without having to worry about film/processing costs. As they say, practice makes perfect.

duncan clarke 17 350 United Kingdom
21 Mar 2005 2:22AM

Quote:print film does have greater exposure latitude

Do you have any details of this? How much more latitude does film have (do you have details for different films and digital cameras for comparison)? Is this just for exposure or also for saturation and overall gamut?
strawman 17 22.2k 16 United Kingdom
21 Mar 2005 3:22AM
Re exposure.

I spent some time using Ilford B/W film, printing and developing it myself alongside using a 300D. In my experience at ISO400 the level of grain is no better than the level of noise in the dSLR, indeed shot by shot there were plenty that were better in the 300D. Above this no contest, the dSLR won in my view. Printing with on black ink only often resulted in degradation though, but that is another story that can be fixed by varying grey inks.

And yes the digital exposure needed to be more accurate than the film exposure I found, as you can compensate well in the printing. Empirical experiment, but it was my back to back test. Having said that with the feedback you can get it spot on. Result less photo's taken!

But to go to the hear of the question. If you are taking control of the camera and controlling it, you can learn. Digital has the advantage of quick feedback and storing the notes for you. So an auto everything camera probably results in the issues that the lecturer mentioned.
tonyvizard 19 19
23 Mar 2005 2:06AM
I think digital has woken us up to the need to expose accurately again and as such is raising skill levels.

With my T90 plus good colour neg film any auto setting will produce well enough exposed negs from which good prints can be made nearly 100% of the time. With slide film more care is needed but the camera gets it right most times with only tricky lighting requiring exposure input from the snapper. But my 10d requires great care to expose correctly (particularly strong highlight/deep shadow situations) in order to produce a good file from which to produce a good print or image. The histogram, which I use all the time, is a superb tool but a very necessary one on a digital camera.

I've just been going through a large number of raw (digital) shots taken in tricky lighting conditions and the thought struck me, before reading this thread that, much as I love my 10d (and prefer it) I would probably have had far more 'hits', particularly with grab shots, with my T90 and film.

I would imagine that as a teaching tool a digital camera with a histogram facility would be a godsend for serious instruction.
randomrubble 16 3.0k 12 United Kingdom
23 Mar 2005 4:49AM
I'd agree with tony on this one, I've just moved from an Eos 3 to digital, and find blown highlights a real problem, I'm going to have to change the way I meter to suit the characteristics of digital. My personal view is that slight over exposure is required for slides to scan, slight under exposure for slides to be prijected, and for digital again slight under exposure at any given ISO. Does that sound about right?

Incedentally I grew up using a T90, then an Eos 3, and now a 1Ds, I mainly use spot (& multi-spot) metering, and often take several readings to get a feel for the range in the shot, so understanding the media's characteristics is important. Since taking the 1Ds off matrix mode I'm strugling a little!
mattw 17 5.2k 10 United Kingdom
23 Mar 2005 6:02AM
Randomrubble, Yes a slight under exposure on Digital - but be carefull not to overdo it.

photoworks 18 325 United Kingdom
23 Mar 2005 2:32PM
Personnally, all those fancy programs on my camera (i have a EOS 50 AND A EOS 100) I never use them. I always have my cameras set on manual.
24 Mar 2005 9:06AM
I came straight into photography via the digital door and I'm certainly not complacent.

A friend of mine has a big flashy, bells and whistles film SLR and she doesn't even know what "bracketing exposure" means.

For photographers wishing to learn about exposure, then looking at bracketed shots and comparing the difference is a good way to learn, whether using film or digital, and this is exactly how I learnt. I can't see why your tutor thinks that I wouldn't care simply because I have a digital camera.

If you are interested in a subject then you will invest the time and effort to learn the skills. Irrespective of medium.

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