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Has technology made photography better??

Discussion in 'Weekly Poll' started by Damien_Demolder, Jan 13, 2008.

  1. Damien_Demolder

    Damien_Demolder Well-Known Member

    This week's poll is:

    Over the last ten years, what has been the impact of technology on the aesthetic quality of photography?

    I wonder too whether you think the technical quality of photography has altered, both for you personally and for the population as a whole.

    Go to the HomePage to take part.

    Thanks all

  2. APchris

    APchris Well-Known Member

    Positive in my opinion. :D

    With digital we now have far more control over the results than we ever had before, both in post processing and at the taking stage with the ability to judge the success or otherwise of the shot.
  3. Dave_Cox

    Dave_Cox Well-Known Member

    I voted positive, but mainly because digital has enabled most of us to experiment more and this will have an effect on the aesthetic aspects of the hobby.
    I think that the technical quality has improved - my 10mp digital files look a lot better at A3 than an enlargement from 35mm used to (but then perhaps that could be dure to the people that printed my films!).
  4. john_g

    john_g Well-Known Member

    I voted that there has been no impact. Yes, technology has made some aspects of photography easier and more accessible, but photographs that stand out for being aesthetically pleasing have always been the exception rather than the rule and have been a reflection of the photographer's vision rather than the technical abilities of the camera. If anything, I was tempted to vote that photography has had a negative impact in that there are now so many photographs floating around in cyberspace that it has made it more difficult to find the ones that really hit home.

    On the other hand, digital technology has made it easier to instantly view the picture you've taken, enabling the photographer to see whether they have successfully caught "the decisive moment" but, by definition, decisive moments can't be repeated and you've either caught it or you haven't. So really nothing's changed.
  5. Rhys

    Rhys Sasquatch

    I don't think there has been any impact either. After all a camera can be a box with a hole in it and a bit of film at the back or a bunch of electronics - the output still depends on what it is pointing at. Technology to me screams more of post precessing that actually taking a pic in the first place. Anyone with a computer can fiddle with an image - still takes a photographer to initially come up with an image whatever the means at hand to do so.
  6. Dave_Cox

    Dave_Cox Well-Known Member

    I don't know so much. What I could do with a set of Cokin filters and hope for the desired result, I can now do on the PC with DFX. Same result, but I still have to visualise the scene in the first place. Technology has just made it more likely that I'll get the result that I'm aiming for!
  7. Ellie527

    Ellie527 Well-Known Member

    "There have been no impact"

    Shouldn't it be 'has'? Yes, I'm being picky.

    I don't think technology has had any impact on the aesthetic quality of pictures, some people still can't take pictures even if they have the most expensive gear. Styles change, fashions come and go, it's the same with pictures - what might be 'good' now is likely to be unfashionable in a few years' time.

    But, I think proportionally more people enjoy taking pictures using digital media (including compact cameras/camera phones etc) and have the chance to experiment a bit more than they might have done with film. There's the instancy of digital too, which can be fun for children, no long wait for a film to be developed.
  8. spinno

    spinno Well-Known Member

    I think the biggest change has been in the number of people who actually take an interest in how the picture looks...
    Bear with me and I think you'll get my drift.
    More and more people now own a computer with even the most basic software they can edit an image..even if it's just a crop or red eye removal.
    Looking back a few years those of us who managed a darkroom set-up were looked upon as "geeks" (though I suspect the word probably hadn't been intended for us).
    So technology has given the "masses" the opportunity to take their hobby or pastime further, in this case photography and therefore I would have to say aye..it has improved the art..though not necessarily the content...sadly :eek: :D
  9. Rhys

    Rhys Sasquatch

    Filters still go in front of the camera, like holding your hand over the lens to stop flare - it's still how you visualise the image through the viewfinder. But I see your point about being able to do the same thing with your PC to a certain extent (maybe not so much ND grads to retain detail, can't get much from blown highlights afterwards with software - multiple exposures and HDR maybe, but that's another discussion lol).

    I agree with the comment on darkrooms and manipulation therein, having had my own darkroom several years ago and spent many long hours/nights printing I can now do the same sat at my desk (but save to disc rather than print). Technology has advanced on that score to some degree but I don't think you get the same feeling of accomplishment as you do with a finished print that you get clicking about on a computer screen.
  10. john_g

    john_g Well-Known Member

    Why not?

    I think this is perhaps the central issue in terms of film vs. digital.

    For me the final image is all that counts and, especially with a good printer paper such as PermaJet Royal, I find that digital gives me great results that do stand up to anything I used to produce with film.
  11. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    The magic moment with traditional monochrome wet process is watching the image slowly emerge under safelighting in the developer tray. The first time I saw this I knew I would always be interested in photography. However convenient it is, the digital darkroom just doesn't grab me in the same way.

    Technically, you're right. But the emotion that goes with producing the image is missing - replaced by a plethora of concerns about colour matching, ink stability etc. - I'm not saying that the wet process was perfect in this respect, in fact it clearly wasn't, but at least we had other things to do instead of waiting for the print to emerge from the printer. (Is there enough ink left in the magenta tank to finish the next print, or do I change it first and throw away the expensive liquid remaining?)
  12. beejaybee

    beejaybee Marvin

    Digital technology has made an enormous impact at the snapshot level, but whether it actually makes any difference in the way the photographer "sees" the image is rather doubtful. Aesthetically, many digital images are, to my eye, horribly oversaturated and oversharpened. That's a set back, but it's not the fault of the technology - it's simple misuse by the majority of photographers for whom impact counts for more than veracity.

    Digital technology certainly makes some types of imaging fairly easy which weren't really feasible due to constraints imposed by film. Astrophotography is a particular example - high speed sensors and lack of reciprocity failure together with sophisticated image processing software written by astronomers for astronomers make it possible for amateurs to produce the sort of images which were once the preserve of major observatories. My interest in astronomy has been reinvigorated in the few months since I bought a DSLR.

    For "ordinary" photography, image quality from the better DSLR / lens combinations is now on a par with or slightly ahead of 35mm film SLRs. However the images which look technically superior, to me, still come from medium format and large format film cameras. Meanwhile, in the mass market, high street "enprints" seem to be just as unreliable as they ever were. Better or worse? How do you comapre apples and bananas? Just accept that they're different.
  13. Paul_R

    Paul_R Well-Known Member

    I remember that experience with really fond memories. I was at secondary school and remember 'doing' photography. Can't remember what camera we used but know we used B&W film. We had to remove the film from its canister from within a large cloth bag, which wasn't easy because I couldn't see what I was doing! We had to process the film ourselves and hang the negs up to dry. We then developed our own prints and, as you say, watching the image slowly emerge was just fascinating. I'll never forget it. Mind you, I dodn't know if I would give up my D-SLR now ;)
  14. LargeFormat

    LargeFormat Well-Known Member

    Changed out of all recognition I'd say with colour more than mono. There is so much more that can be done after clicking the shutter, there's the chance to experiment, the opportunity to go back and start again, to take out offending bits, to carry out spotting just once rather than on every print.

    On the other hand a photograph has less veracity than it once did.
  15. parisian

    parisian Well-Known Member

    The question asks have the aesthetics of photography altered?
    Answer is simply no!
    The question on this thread regarding technology making photography better the answer again is no!
    Technology has changed photography for ever, made it more 'immediate', more accesible to some but it hasn't improved it. The mental 'hit' of a decent snap is just as good now as it ever was.
  16. ermintrude

    ermintrude Hinkypuff

    For me the aesthetic quality has improved infinitely!!! I have so much more control over what comes out, and because of this and the convenience I take more and more and more and get so much more practise that they are inevitably going to be much better than they were with film.

    I guess publicly - at the top end and the bottom end it hasnt changed much - the best are the best no matter what they were taken on, and the snapshot from Joe Public who isnt really interested in composition, exposure and has everything (if anything at all) printed on auto.
    But for the people in the middle who have an interest in getting a good photograph but who arent superb photographers there inevitably has to be improvement due to the increased control and increased practise?
  17. Hotblack

    Hotblack Dead Horse Flogger

    I don't believe that technology has had an impact on the aestethics of photography. A beautiful shot is a beautiful shot whether it's film or digital.

    What technology has done is made it easier for people to achieve a more aesthetically pleasing image (or not, if you overdo the HDR) by themselves.
  18. 100% in agreement with Hotblack's first comment.

    The second is a bit more "yes & no"

    I personally think that many of the latest DSLRs are a retrograde step in terms of "usability"

    I think the rise and rise of the programmer as designer has not been wholly to the benefit of the ordinary amateur photographer (as opposed to the advanced amateur)

    In the way that mobile phones (before the advent of the iphone) have packed more and more features in to the detriment of the original purpose, I think DSLR design has taken two or three backward steps of late.

  19. john_g

    john_g Well-Known Member

    I've had a quick play with an iPhone and think it's the ultimate in style over substance. Technically, there are things it can't do that my year old phone can, and typing on the virtual keyboard for texting is, frankly, rubbish. Yes, it's lovely and glittery and obviously has been programmed to call out "buy me... go on... you know you want me" at a frequency that is inaudible to all but our inner ear but, at the end of the day, for me it symbolises a lot of what's wrong with our consumer society - it looks good so we want it, even if we don't need it and it doesn't really work very well.
  20. Garry McNamara

    Garry McNamara Well-Known Member

    I'm still concerned that film isn't as flat at the film plane as plates.

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