What I love about digital

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by Jock Elliott, Dec 20, 2014.

  1. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    It’s ironic – I bought the LX100 in part because of its full manual control, yet the experience of using that full manual control is reminding me of how neat and useful are the fully automated features of today’s digital cameras.

    Visions of Henri Cartier-Bresson danced in my head when I ordered the LX100, imagining myself swiftly capturing what my hyper-vigilant, educated eye was seeing. And I do share one thing with HCB – I am an opportunistic photographer. Often I wander through life with a camera on my person, ready to snap a frame or two when something catches my attention.

    But the process of the bad-old-days was fraught with limitations. You selected your film and were stuck with the ISO (ASA) until the roll was finished. You estimated aperture and shutter speed, matched needles, or took a light meter reading to get the right exposure and wouldn’t know if you were correct until the processing had been completed. You used hyper-focal distance or manually focused and again hoped it was right. It was what we had.

    Some folks got very, very good at it. Others, like me, were decidedly mixed in our competence and were often astonished – both negatively and positively – by the end results. (One of the best shots I ever took in my film days was a quick snap in a stairwell to use up the end of a roll of film before I processed it. I had no clue how good it would be.)

    Twice I had the great fortune to work with National Geographic photographers back in the film era – Bruce Dale on one occasion and Ted Spiegel on another – and I was amazed at how much they “over shot” to make sure they had captured the image they wanted.

    The LX100 shows me that P mode – with auto exposure, auto ISO, auto focus – works very well much of the time. I love it! It’s only when the results of digital automation fail to match what’s in my mind’s eye that I start to fool around significantly with the controls on the camera.

    And that brings me neatly to my second point: I love digital because it encourages me to experiment, because the cost is basically zero, nada, bupkas. During my early morning routine, I often spend time messing a camera: what happens if I do this or that? And can I rescue a lousy shot with creative post-processing?

    Cheers, Jock
  2. dalethorn

    dalethorn Guest

    I haven't been able to quite duplicate what I did with a film enlarger, using a diffuse light source to hide grain and yet have the appearance of a sharp photo. Digital has some good noise reducer software, but it doesn't seem as good. Digital's advantage OTOH is shooting bursts at extremely low shutter speeds to maintain a low ISO, and with a good image stabilization, it often produces a sharp image shooting handheld as low as 1/4 second.
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  3. drd1135

    drd1135 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jul 13, 2011
    Lexington, Virginia
    The feedback helps, despite the initial response to chimping. With film, there was a lag between taking the shot and seeing the shot. Assuming you were dedicated enough to carefully go over your slides/prints, it was a longer learning curve. It was hard to just experiment on the spot. Film has its rewards and you can learn from shooting with it, but digital has some undeniable advantages.,
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  4. Jock Elliott

    Jock Elliott All-Pro

    Jan 3, 2012
    Troy, NY
    You're dead on: it's the speed of the feedback (among other things) that makes digital so darned seductive.

    Cheers, Jock
  5. grillec

    grillec Veteran

    Jan 16, 2014
    I prefer the direct experience usually but a few weeks ago I bought a F2 and it's fun to wait for the results, too.

    Henri Cartier-Bresson had used AF compacts, too, not only Leica and he was not the type of film developer, so I think he would made a good use of a digital camera. :)
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