Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2004/09/01

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Subject: [Leica] the future happened yesterday
From: bdcolen at (B. D. Colen)
Date: Wed Sep 1 16:25:07 2004

Sorry to disagree, Scott, but the learning curve involved in turning out
really high quality black and white digital prints is no steeper than
the learning curve involved in turning out really high quality silver
prints from film. In fact, it may be less steep. For some reason I don't
get allot of people are cowed by the fact that turning out the digital
prints involves using a computer and mastering some Photoshop skills. I
say I don't get it because I've done it, and I've done it on my own,
without courses, despite the fact that I'm not some computer-raised
Gen-Xer, I'm a 58-year-old old fart who grew up souping tri-x in the

Yes, I still love film - and my Ms. And in some weird ways I wish
digital had never come along - at least for b&w  (I can't conceive of
now even thinking about using film for color work - digital just
eliminates too damn many problems to not be the obvious choice.) But I
do love black and white film...but I find I can get essentially the same
look using digital now.

B. D.

-----Original Message-----
[] On Behalf Of
Scott McLoughlin
Sent: Wednesday, September 01, 2004 5:34 PM
To: Leica Users Group
Subject: Re: [Leica] the future happened yesterday

Emanuel Lowi wrote:

> My trusty dealer tells me that he now sells 3x worth
> of Sandisk memory cards vs. film, daily.

> Who feels like some luddisaurus trapped in a Jurassic
> tar pond?


So many thoughts.

(1) I buy all my film online mail order. Lots cheaper
and bigger variety. Same for almost all of my gear. I
never really think about it, but I guess lots of folks
must be keeping retailers in business.

(2) I have a D70, and it hasn't bowled me over yet.
If I had to choose between the D70 and FP4+ and
about any decent manual camera (just for example,
souped some yesterday), the FP4+ would win hands
 down - for me.  To my eye, the images are just so
much lovelier.

(3) I don't know about the same comparison with
Reala or NPH, my color films of choice right now.
I don't shoot all that much color, and I'm not much
of a slide film shooter.   Again, I don't usually think
about it, but I guess most camera-wielding folks shoot
color.  Maybe digital is more attractive here if you
get the white balance down just right.

(4) After many decades (more than I am old), is the
notion of achieving some kind of "ultimate quality"
from a small format camera now unimportant. Was
this idea just some kind of accident of technology
and economics?

PJ work is shot for cheaply printed magazines or
newspapers.  In my own lifetime, consumers have
flocked to Instamatics, Polaroid, 126 and APS
format cameras. I remember when my dad bought
me a Canonet as a not so well-healed boy - Wow,
a "real" camera using 35mm film!  I guess I get a
bit of the same tingle using my Leica M6 today :-)

But maybe digital is letting us know that "good
enough and cheap" is the real driving principle of
small format photography?  I don't know. I, for
one, kinda like my M6.

(5) I don't have too many romantic memories of
using film or anything. But right now, a good
composition, decent lighting and a good exposure
will yield a negative that a (vanishing, yes) good lab
can turn into a beautiful, nicely enlarged print.  I've read this is
possible with good "digital darkroom" skills, but the learning curve and
time commitment is very steep. What about folks that just can't master
the intricate digital workflow process?  A good lab is a real partner in
producing images.

(6) Just thoughts and worries that maybe some of the
more experience folks on this list might help me sort
out.  Might medium format or large format photography
be a better "safe haven" than small format for folks who
want commercial support in producing lasting, high
quality images? Is there any safe haven?


>Emanuel Lowi
>Post your free ad now!
>Leica Users Group.
>See for more information

Leica Users Group.
See for more information

Replies: Reply from nathan.wajsman at (Nathan Wajsman) ([Leica] the future happened yesterday)
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