“I used to try to print exactly the same way every day, matching the previous day’s prints. Now I just print it however it looks best to me. Yeah, this is lessening of consistency, but who says I was right the previous day…or even more right than I am today? I can’t!”
Having read up and dabbled a bit into printing, his topic definitely sparked some thoughts in me.
I don’t do darkroom printing or dye transfers, so in digital terms this is like making a virtual copy of a master, tweaking it and then printing it.
And then repeating it again each time you want to print but tweaking a new virtual copy based in your mood.
Now I’ve always tried to have consistency in my printing so I didn’t think I would do what Ctein does…until I realised that I actually do something similar.
Each time I output a JPEG from a RAW file, I make the finishing touches based on what I see onscreen, not caring about what finishing settings I used the previous time I output the JPEG. Usually the difference is subtle but it’s the process that counts.
I wonder if most people just output once and never bother about the original files again?
So the question for today is: how important is the optical quality—the look in pictures—of lenses now? Does it still matter, or not so much?
Well in my case, I’d say that it does matter somewhat, considering that I’ve paid the premium for Zeiss lenses over Canon lenses.
The colours, bokeh rendering, and micro-contrast are almost intangible ways of describing the differences between a Canon and a Zeiss lens. We don’t always see a difference but when we do, we still can’t measure it.
Ultimately though, the image quality always comes first for me. Those intangible qualities of Zeiss only serve to make a good image better, but they won’t help to beautify a photo of a bad concept.
In the introduction of Friedlander, Peter Galassi said:
…that the most ordinary thing - precisely because it is ordinary - can be made to speak through the vernacular language of photography…
This was the lesson that Walker Evans took from Eugene Atget and passed on to Robert Frank, and both of them went on to produce the 2 photobooks1 that would influence many other photobooks to come.
Sometimes, street photography is really just about photographing the streets.
It’s sad to hear that Hasselblad has finally decided to stop making any more new 503CWs after 17 years, and bringing an end to their legacy of almost 70 years of medium format film cameras.
But I’m not surprised at this turn of events - the V-system languished after their management under Shriro decided to focus on the H-system. Since 1997, the only new things developed for the V-system were the CFV digital backs.
But in any case, the cameras of the V-system have been synonymous with versatility, reliability, and quality. I definitely intend to keep using mine, until it falls apart and there are no more mechanics or spare parts around (which hopefully might be for another 30-40 years!).
The King is dead; long live the King!
Olympus just had photos of their E-P5 leaked:
It looks amazingly (and probably intentionally) similar to their old PEN-F series from the 1960s:
While the return back to retro styling has gone well for Olympus and Fuji, one wonders if this is beginning to betray a lack of design innovation?
Something different would be Arca-Swiss’s Rm3d, made for function but still styled in that classic Swiss elegance:
As minaturisation and advancement of components continues, it will be interesting to see where that will lead camera designs of the future.
Mike Johnston of The Online Photographer asks:
Imagine for a few minutes that you’ve found the absolute perfect camera for you, and you like everything about it. (I know. But I said “imagine.”) Now imagine that the color rendition is perfect, the lens has just the right focal length, the camera is perfectly sharp into the corners and at all apertures. Dynamic range, responsiveness…everything is unimprovable. You have no more technical problems or limitations at all. (I said imagine. Stop arguing!)
Here’s the really tough question to ask yourself: what then?
I’ve always thought the answer was obvious: You go out and shoot!
But of course he’s just being rhetorical.