That is an absolutely fantastic parallel. Although I'd suspect the true parallel is between the iPod/Steinway and the fully-auto digicam/vintage large format camera (rather than a 35mm SLR, even one as august as an Exakta).
Let's call the 35mm SLR a Fender Stratocaster - they're a more rock'n'roll sort of camera after all, and the timelines are about the same. Rooted in the 40s/50s and came to fruition in the 60s.
The depth of knowledge and learning required to operate a LF camera, either modern or a vintage wood and brass beauty, and process and print your own photos from it - now there's the real comparison with a master pianist who can bring all the subtlety and tones from a truly beautiful instrument.
Hanoi - isn't it crazy that people even 35 have already become unaware of the historical aspect of photography? I fondly remember the approximate dates of my first cameras (film of course, and I was born 1962). I got an already very secondhand Agfa Silette as a young teenager around 1976 I'd guess. It was a little too manual for me (I was never any good at scale focussing or guesswork exposure) so I got some results and holiday snaps from it but also a lot of non-results. But then when I was 18 and got accepted into university in 1981 I got the combined birthday/congratulations present of an Olympus OM10 with a 50/1.8 and a Soligor 35-70, ƒ/2.5-3.5 zoom, and was suddenly able to make sharp, really well exposed photos (it had built-in metering and aperture priority automation!) I shot more films than I can count on that camera, and the rest is history!
Finally, many years later I feel like a beginner all over again, dipping my toes into large format after decades of 35mm and digital, from simple p'n's cameras through better bridge cameras to DSLRs to mirrorless, and then getting back into film cameras via 120 folders, 35mm rangefinders and other SLRs, but having grown to appreciate the subtlety and fine detail of large format work it seems to be where I've always been headed.
The remarkable thing is that really quite young people can appreciate this, if shown how and why. My oldest daughter, almost 20, is a confirmed retrohead who insisted I gave her one of my old Polaroid One600s, so I bought her some Impossible film for it too. She loves it and takes pretty good pics with it, and her boyfriend is a camera nut too, and likes Lomo stuff as well as his Olympus M4/3 thingie. But I took some portraits of them whilst trying to get my head around working my newest antique and the boyfriend was like "Wow, those are really sharp!" as if it was some kind of miracle that Voigtlander could design and build a lens (a Heliar 135/4.5 in this case, on a 1930s-vintage Bergheil 9x12cm) that was capable of taking incredibly sharp, modern-looking photos and not the Lomo-fad fuzzy random stuff that Instagram so likes to emulate.
Last edited by SteveFE (2014-04-01 20:48:23)
Canon EOS30D, Sony NEX-3
Favourite M/F lenses: Nikkor 50/1.4 pre-AI, Zuiko 50/1.4, Flek 35/2.4, SP 35-80/2.8-3.8, Macro-Tak 50/4 preset *NEW* Jupiter-8 and more rangefinder lenses to come!
Favourite (and only) AF lens: Sigma 12-24