Thursday, August 24, 2006

Money makes the world go round

As good as digital cameras are, there is still an issue with tonal range and colour rendition. Whenever photographers look at chromes or a good black and white print, they fall in love with photography again. Believable colour saturation and exceptional tonal gradations are just so beautiful. But because the consumer, and that is where the real money for camera/film manufacturers is, wants the convenience of digital instant gratification, the manufacturers pander to them. In real terms, to me, the quality of the image has deteriorated. I just hope that in time digital capture will improve to provide a richer better colour palette.

What has got me writing this piece of gripe is the news that Fuji is going to stop supporting the frontier lab machines and hand over the print lab business to Noritsu. But the Noritsu machines have a large dot and puts down colour in a blotchy manner, resulting in soft images with a plastic look. This seems to be the beta/vhs battle again, where it is not the best format that wins. From what I hear, although the Fuji Frontier machines are superior, the Noritsu's are more easy to operate and enables the operator to punch out more images for the clients.

Money 3 Quality 0

In this age of quick and easy, we are losing our appreciation of the finer things in life.


Mike said...

Someone told me that the number of photo labs in Japan plunged down with digital photography, and even the Frontier labs had problems doing business. He put the figure of Frontier labs in Japan at around 2000 (and decreasing).

Eric said...

Hi Heng, I am glad to hear your decision to go back to the Hassy X Pan for pano-film work. Vindication for my own pet gripe re: mass consumerism in the digital age.
I want to puke at the news of Noritsu taking over Fuji Frontier. For years now, I have benefitted from economical scanning of 35mm (and 120/220) negatives onto CDROM using the drugstore Fuji Frontiers around the Bay Area, and hope they will last for a long while and not get 'upgraded' to Noritsu machines.

IMHO, film still beats digital for wider dynamic range for light levels as well as for color/greyscale resolution. A scanned 120/220 TIFF still thrills me more than a straight shot from a Nikon/Fuji/Canon DSLR. However, I haven't tried a full frame sensor DSLR yet, like the Canon 5D. Lucky for Leica, the very expensive IMACON-manufactured Leica DMR for the R8/R9 seems to have a growing following.