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Thread: "New Thoughts on Digital Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum

  1. #81

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    Re: "New Thoughts on Digital Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Barendt View Post
    No confusion for me.

    I truly believe that emotion drives the buying decisions of anything that must be sold. It's all about whom we trust first and then what we know.

    Take margarine/Oleo for example. There was a point in my life where I believed fully it was better for me than butter.

    There were a few other people that believed that too, we were afraid of butter. Uncle Sam and a few others sold us on that fear.

    Turns out we were wrong. Eggs, same basic thing.
    Ok, Mark -- you win.

  2. #82
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    Re: "New Thoughts on Digital Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum

    Quote Originally Posted by Jay DeFehr View Post
    Ok, Mark -- you win.
    Grasshoppa, finally, you understand.

  3. #83

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    Re: "New Thoughts on Digital Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum

    Quote Originally Posted by ROL View Post
    Grasshoppa, finally, you understand.
    Never mistake fatigue for wisdom.

  4. #84

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    Re: "New Thoughts on Digital Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum

    I think some people here need to step away from the keyboard for a few hours and relax.

  5. #85
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    Re: "New Thoughts on Digital Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum

    Quote Originally Posted by X. Phot. View Post
    I've always held this forum in "higher regard" when compare to those the likes of APUG. But to be honest, as of recent I can hardly differentiate between two. This is sad. Wasn't this thread about Bruce Barnbaum's article and his opinions on Digital Imaging? Or does that matter?

    My apologies for going against the grain.
    A small number of forum members make most of the clatter. The rest are courteous and light-hearted.

  6. #86

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    Re: "New Thoughts on Digital Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum

    Quote Originally Posted by iml View Post
    I think some people here need to step away from the keyboard for a few hours and relax.
    Or perhaps step away for even longer. This could have been a civil discussion of one man's observations. Instead, it has deteriorated and become an embarassment.

  7. #87
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Re: "New Thoughts on Digital Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum

    ON TOPIC POST FOLLOWS:

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Barnbaum
    There is nothing about digital photography that forces lack of thinking, but there is much about digital photography that encourages it. You can grab the camera, point it at a scene and shoot almost immediately. Then you can look and even delete if you’re not satisfied. Not much thinking involved there.
    From PetaPixel, The One-Gig Card Challenge:
    Quote Originally Posted by Derek Shapton
    I tend to churn through eight gigs at least, 280 to 300 shots and usually many more, even on the simplest jobs. It’s just so easy to snap away, and that’s what bites you in the ass.

    But has my photography improved with all those extra images? I would argue not. If anything, it’s diluted the faith I have in my photographic convictions.
    Somebody besides Bruce has noticed a problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Barnbaum
    A look at the past is a clear indication of future problems. Old time 5 1/4" floppy memory disks gave way to 3" floppies, then to zip disks, then to CD Roms, then DVDs, and so on. Along the way new hardware and software had to be purchased to keep pace with technological improvements. Translations had to be made from older to newer systems. Current memory storage options will have to be translated to future memory options. The longer you delay in staying current, the less likely it is that you can make the translation. Your older important work can be lost forever.
    LA Times: Movie Studios Are Forcing Hollywood to Abandon 35mm Film. But the Consequences of Going Digital Are Vast, and Troubling
    And even after the films are converted to digital, Jan-Christopher Horak, director of the UCLA Film & Television Archive, calls the challenges of preserving them "monumental." Digital is lousy for long-term storage.

    The main problem is format obsolescence. File formats can go obsolete in a matter of months. On this subject, Horak's every sentence requires an exclamation mark. "In the last 10 years of digitality, we've gone through 20 formats!" he says. "Every 18 months we're getting a new format!"

    So every two years, data must be transferred, or "migrated," to a new device. If that doesn't happen, the data may never being accessible again. Technology can advance too far ahead.
    Once again, somebody else has noted what Bruce observed.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bruce Barnbaum
    Cost is one, not just the initial costs, but the subsequent costs. Initially the cost of digital — scanner, computer, monitor, printer, and software applications — is comparable to traditional: enlarger, lens, sink and plumbing, timer, easel, trays, safelights, etc. But digital requires constant updating and upgrading. Nothing obsoletes itself as swiftly and thoroughly as computer equipment and applications
    LA Times:
    The new format is called a DCP, or Digital Cinema Package. It is a virtual format, a collection of files stored on a hard drive. Roughly the size of a paperback novel, the hard drive is mailed in a lightweight, foam-lined plastic case to the theater, where it's inserted (or, in the lingo, "ingested") into a server that runs the digital projector. DCPs won't run on traditional film projectors, however. So if they want to play the new format, theater owners must update their equipment.

    For this privilege, exhibitors can expect to shell out from $70,000 to $150,000 per screen.
    And yet another example of, yes, other seeing what Bruce has seen.

    Now, is Bruce really that far off base? He does state quite directly in his article, "I feel digital approaches are perfectly legitimate and wonderful." He has simply noted recurring problems with the digital process. Nothing more, nothing less.
    "It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." - Walker Evans

  8. #88
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mark Barendt View Post
    I heard a thing on NPR, a piece on a new book, a while ago about disappearing technologies.

    The upshot of the piece was that that no technology that has ever been developed by man has ever completely disappeared. Not even one.

    I do agree that we, as a community, aren't really discussing the right things and that ego and emotion very much get in the way because of our fears.
    I think it's true that we never really forget how to do stuff--someone will always keep it going.

    But my point wasn't that nobody would keep it going, but that Mr. Barnbaum would not be able to continue to extract prints from his negatives, including making new negatives, as conveniently as he has done in the past. This undermines his argument, it seems to me. The result is that he might have to make his own materials, or buy very expensive and inconsistent small-batch materials. These will necessarily affect his product and the time required to produce it, even the he presents it as a trustworthy constant. And the dimensions of digital photography are also dynamic.

    Most of us will, at some point, have to come to terms with this. Right now, it isn't easy--the alternatives to the quality and control we have using sheet film (however we print it) are still quite expensive, prohibitively for some, in dollars and relearning time. I think this was motivating Mr. Barnbaum to make a statement.

    Two things seem likely to me: 1.) Digital methods will get cheaper and better. I'm not sure they'll get better in the ways we want them to (big, affordable capture systems), but they will improve.

    2.) The value of quality will go down, as the commercial clientele loses interest in it. Slick catalogs give way to web pages, etc. I think we will always stand for quality even if nobody appreciates it but us, but we may lose sufficient critical mass to sustain the required support industry.

    Those who revere image detail and tonal depth in large prints are going to be faced with some hard choices, eventually. There are things to be afraid of: becoming irrelevant (maybe many of us don't care), not being able to afford the new technologies for a significant period of time after the old technologies lose viability in the market, or losing the value of the investment many of us have made in equipment and technique.

    These things scare me, or more accurately, they depress me--several of the avocations I look forward to in retirement in 15 or 20 years are likely not to survive that long. I've spent decades (slowly) building proficiency--who wouldn't be a little depressed at having to start over?

    So, we have divided into camps: those who hold on and those who throw away. The camps are often at war, but the fact is that most of us here are in both camps, if we are young enough to outlive what the holders are holding onto, yet old enough to have too much invested in what the throwers are more willing to abandon.

    Surely there is a way to explore the transition without the bloodshed.

    Rick "not ignoring the future" Denney

  9. #89

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    Re: "New Thoughts on Digital Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian C. Miller View Post
    Somebody besides Bruce has noticed a problem.
    Regarding the file formats, that may be a problem with cinematic formats, but what commonly used still formats have disappeared in the past 10 years? tiff, psd, jpg - all safe and will continue to be safe because the billions of images currently in those formats virtually guarantees all will be readable for many generations to come.

    What does DCP, and its effect on costs of storing cinematic content, have to do with the cost of storing digital still photography images? Again, there aren't any digital file formats disappearing or anyone being forced to convert formats. Also, compare the cost of storing film in file cabinets, hanging systems, archival sleeves, cost of floor space, cost of climate control to the cost of replacing a hard drive every 2 or 3 years. Hard drives are ever decreasing in cost per byte, take a fraction of the floor space, can be stored in normal climatic conditions, and first generation copies can be stored in multiple locations thereby decreasing the risk of loss.

    Regarding shotgun shooting, you could have made the same argument when roll film came out - I saw the exact same behavior in 35mm film photographers before digital ever became mainstream. You can also expect that people who use shotgun tactics are unlikely to improve as photographers regardless of whether they use digital or film. If someone lacks discipline and the motivation to learn how to see, then putting a film camera in their hands will not make things better. You can also make the argument that using the immediate feedback of digital allows for people (who are inclined to learn) to learn faster than with film, and become better photographers in less time. Using the anecdotal evidence of one photographer does not build a strong case. The better comparison would be to look a large population of serious new photographers, and see if there is any difference on their growth. Who cares about the hordes of snap shooters snapping away.

  10. #90
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    Re: "New Thoughts on Digital Photography" by Bruce Barnbaum



    From cave paintings to canvas paintings, we gained some and lost some.

    From canvas to photographs, we gained some and lost some.

    From analog to digital, it's the same.

    It's a zero-sum game.

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