Topic: What's your Stein-weigh?

I was recently at a wedding, along with my trusty Exakta V (1950). Someone at our table seem shocked at such a contraption. Finally he asked, "What is the difference between that and a modern camera?" Knowing he had some background in music, I said: It's kind of like the difference between an IPOD and a Steinway; both play music but one requires a great deal more skill, but if you know how to use it - you can create something beautiful". 

I would love some comments/insight

Re: What's your Stein-weigh?

Your comparison is very pictured, and according to me you hit it excactly. I know a lot of people which are not able to realize that this Exakta is a camera. A camera is this thing in the iphone ... or similar.

One of my colleagues, a graduated physicist (maybe 35), I told him from my film cameras, he didn't belive that I (born 1955) could have bought new film-cameras in the past. According to him, film cameras have been used in the fifties last century. He never saw one and I showed him my old Pentacon. You should have seen his eyes ...

Hanoi

Re: What's your Stein-weigh?

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.

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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

Re: What's your Stein-weigh?

It's like with the kids that see me shoot with a film SLR, approach me and ask if they can see the picture...they sometimes seams to think that I lie when I tell them I can't show the the picture until some days later... wink

SLR: Konica AR system / Pentax 110, m37, m42, K, KA, F, FA, DFA, DA, 645, 67 system / Praktica BP system / Samsung NX system+adapters for the above and m39, FD, F, OM...lenses / TLR: Rolleicord 6x6 / RF: Voigtländer Bessa RF / Kiev/Contax system / Agfa Ambi Silette system / Yashica Electro 35 G / develop BW, scan 35mm, looking for a solution to scan my MF...

Re: What's your Stein-weigh?

I wonder if Ansel Adams used an I-Phone or Android to create his more famous work? tongue

I put that adapter in a safe place, never to be seen again.

Re: What's your Stein-weigh?

I don't know if AA would use an iPhone and I don't care.

To me the main difference between a film camera and a digital one is that a film camera really create an image, a digital one does not, just a file which could yield an image if you have the right software. Remove the software and the computer and you have nothing left. I can se a picture through a negative, nothing through a memory card...

Apart from that, there is no difference.

"That rug really tied the room together."  The Dude

Re: What's your Stein-weigh?

The only point about Adams is that digital simply didn't exist when he was alive and working. He happily used Polaroid, for quickies if not the final pieces of art. I see no reason to think he wouldn't have used digital if it made sense to him, maybe as a preview image, or maybe as the final piece, if he'd had access to the best of the state of the art as it is now. Ansel Adams was no minimalist "decisive moment" purist; he went for the best negatives he could get, and then doctored the hell out of them at the printing stage to get even better.

I don't buy the differences in media. I can see an image on the LCD playback screen, and I don't even have to put it through a dev and fix bath to do that. I do love film and shoot lots of it, but I'm not going to pretend that digital is inferior in every way because it simply isn't. Any decent digital camera and lens these days can vastly outresolve 35mm film in terms of pure detail and low noise. Doesn't make the photos better looking all by itself, and film has a different look that I prefer. I'm an agnostic, and this is a religious debate :-)

Last edited by SteveFE (2014-06-23 18:42:36)

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

Re: What's your Stein-weigh?

Turn off you LCD screen and you end up with nothing, no image. I mean that digital does not give you a REAL image like with a negative, it gives you a file. To me it is a huge difference. It is not a religious question, it is just plain reality, no need to be a zealot to understand it.

"That rug really tied the room together."  The Dude

Re: What's your Stein-weigh?

Zarathustra wrote:

Turn off you LCD screen and you end up with nothing, no image. I mean that digital does not give you a REAL image like with a negative, it gives you a file. To me it is a huge difference. It is not a religious question, it is just plain reality, no need to be a zealot to understand it.


Well, if you have no developer, stop bath, fixer, etc. You have no image either with film. However by the same token you can print an image from digital with fewer steps, but we are now comparing apples with oranges.
My comment about which iphone Ansel Adams might have used was meant to be a bit sarcastic towards people not knowing anything about film.

I put that adapter in a safe place, never to be seen again.

Re: What's your Stein-weigh?

Ballen Photo wrote:
Zarathustra wrote:

Turn off you LCD screen and you end up with nothing, no image. I mean that digital does not give you a REAL image like with a negative, it gives you a file. To me it is a huge difference. It is not a religious question, it is just plain reality, no need to be a zealot to understand it.


Well, if you have no developer, stop bath, fixer, etc. You have no image either with film. However by the same token you can print an image from digital with fewer steps, but we are now comparing apples with oranges.
My comment about which iphone Ansel Adams might have used was meant to be a bit sarcastic towards people not knowing anything about film.

Yes, if you don't have a camera, you don't have a picture neither.... Assuming that I have at the same time an exposed film, a developer and a fixer (which is not that extraordinary in real life), I get a picture, being a negative or a slide. Did you ever look at a slide with your bare eye? I guess yes. What did you see? An image which makes sense because the film is the support of a real image, nothing more, nothing less. try the same with the digital process... unless you print on paper (and then you get something tangible).

yes we are comparing orange and apple or the be more precise, a process (analogic) which give an image and another one (digital) which give a myriad of electronic signals which if (and the IF is very important) processed correctly could end up as something visible on a screen or a sheet of paper.

Eveeryone is free to chose whatever he wants; it does not mean all processes are equal.

"That rug really tied the room together."  The Dude