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Old Jan 2, 2005, 11:30 AM   #1
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I am doing a research project for my final year dissertation at University in Leeds (UK). I am trying to find the effects of the digital revolution on the professional industry and photojournalists. If anyone has any opinions, I would appreciate their replies immensely

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Old Jan 2, 2005, 12:15 PM   #2
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My first thought is the Iraq War, with a Google search leading to items like this:


Digital cameras are changing how Iraq war is perceived
By Ellen Simon, Associated Press
NEW YORK — The explosive photos of abuse in an Iraqi prison drive home a defining fact of 21st century life — that the pervasiveness of digital photography and the speed of the Internet make it easier to see into dark corners previously out of reach for the mass media.


The famous photojournalist WeeGee, when asked about the technical aspects of his craft, famously said, "F8 and be there." Now, I guess its "A Megapixel and be there." :shock:
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Old Jan 2, 2005, 12:31 PM   #3
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I switched over from photo to digital two years ago. At any event I tend to take more shots and review them in camera often.

The result is a much higher ratio of "good shots" to "shots taken", and because I take more shots, I end up with more "good shots" all around.

I've spoken with other newspaper photoghaphers that also say they are under a lot of pressure to get a technically "good shot" of some main event or speaker. With film, you never know you have the right shots "in the can" until the negatives are developed. With digital, an in-camera review gives you some piece of mind that you have minimum coverage.

The other effect I notice is the simple speed by which images are taken and available on the wire. I was at a major sporting event a few weeks ago in New York. The photographers were taking images and literally walking over to a truck and downloading them onto a laptop, then sending them via satellite. The images were no more than twenty minutes old that were literally available to the world.

One could argue if digital makes it too easy, and whether the technical aspect of photography is declining as a result. These days, you can call yourself a pro photographer by buying an expensive digital rig, set everything to auto and snap away. As long as somebody is buying the photos, I guess your a professional.

In my mind, professionalism is about the never ending quest to become a better photographer, whether that be the thinking that goes into a shot or the mastery of technique and equipment. The nice aspect of digital is that it gives more immediate feedback than film, and lends itself economically to experimentation.

My father, who was a very avid photographer, passed away before digital hit like a storm. If he could see how easy it is now to take great pictures, review your results, and print decent color photos at home, he would be very pleased. I think it will speak well for a general rennaisance in photography.

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Old Jan 2, 2005, 12:32 PM   #4
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I would hardly call it a revolution. The growth of digital technology has followed the growth of the Internet and, it is quite likely that, if there were no Internet then there would be no digital cameras.

The movement to digital cameras in photojournalism has nothing to do with image quality (they are printing on newsprint at about 60dpi after all!) and everything to do with speed. Newspapers, in competition with television, has to increase the time to press for photographs and the ability to transmit printable images back to the newsroom in minutes has enabled them to get to press faster. Newspaper have large numbers of dedicated technicians on theor 'picture desk' to do all the prep-work for publication.

It is notable that publications that are not under time pressure...like monthly magazines...have NOT moved to digital.

The next thing to remember is that the digital camera industry is not and never was driven by the professional photographic community (there were too few of them to make a significant impact on sales). The digital camera marketing thrust has always been to thenon-professional, casual snapshooters. Interestingly, it is the non-professional community who have exerted pressure on the professionals to include digitalimaging amongtheir services because of the mistaken belief that, somehow, digital is 'higher quality' than film. As nice as dSLR images might be, they still have a long way to go before they encroach upon Medium Format film cameras.

What professionals have learned about the real digital photography workflow is quite different from the party line. It turns out that digital imaging is not any less work than film photography and, in fact, probably takes up more of the photographer's time than traditional photography. Traditionally, the photographer would have most of the work done in the lab while, with digital, they are usually stuck doing it themselves. Time is Money and, since digital takes more time...you will see that professionals charge MORE when shooting digital than when shooting film. Strange, if digital is so much cheaper to use! The public, however, are more than willing to pay a premium for what they imagine will be higher quality.


In spite of the anecdotes floating around the Internet, the number of professional photographers who have completely abandoned film and 'gone 100% digital'is probably less then 5%. Any pro knows that you will need different tools for different jobs and, there are many times when film just is the better choice. Because of the expectations and demands of their customers, many offer digital as an option but...that is just business.
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Old Jan 2, 2005, 2:54 PM   #5
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Short list of the really high end shooters and studios that have gone digital.

George Lepphttp://www.leppphoto.com
Seth Resnickhttp://www.sethresnick.com
Art Wolfehttp://www.artwolfe.com Is using digital to take his imaging in a new direction
David Mendelsohn http://www.davidm.com
Michael Lichter http://www.lichterphoto.com
Robert Beckhttp://www.robertbeckphotography.com
Jody Dolehttp://www.jodydole.com
Doug Menuezhttp://www.menuez.com
Douglas Dublerhttp://www.douglasdubler3.com
Michel Tcherevkoffhttp://www.tcherevkoff.com
Pete Turnerhttp://www.peteturner.com
Paulio Filgueirashttp://www.paulofilgueiras.com
Herrmann & Starkehttp://www.hsstudio.com
Lois Greenfieldhttp://www.loisgreenfield.com
William Neillhttp://www.WilliamNeill.com is exploring digital imaging with the new 1ds
Vincent Laforethttp://www.vincentlaforet.com
Markus Klinko & Indrani http://www.markusklinko-indrani.com
Fabrik Studioshttp://www.fabrik-studios.ch
Maki Kawakitahttp://www.makiphoto.com
John Paul Caponigrohttp://www.johnpaulcaponigro.com
Al Slatterwhitehttp://www.alsatterwhite.com
Doug Kirklandhttp://www.douglaskirkland.com
Regis Lefeburehttp://www.regislefebure.com
Nick Vedroshttp://www.vedros.com
Jeffrey Aaronson represented by - http://www.networkaspen.com

Yes, film still has its uses, and will hold a place for a while yet, but using it is more of a nuisance factor now. In 2003 there were customers that still insisted on slides only and made their own separations. In 2004 it is reversed, nobody wantsthe slides.For 2004we were down to only using 100 rolls of film, there is just no demand for it any more. And we are not restocking the freezers for 2005. If neededpropacks will be bought as needed.

Film just can't compete with things like the Valeo22in a production environment.

It is correct though that digital is much more time intensive in post production than film ever was. Also billing for and getting paid for the post production is not so easy.

With film there were standard line items on theinvoice like film cost, processing cost, transportation & couriers that have disappeared. And getting clients to accept the being billed for the very real digital processing charges is a battle that is currently in progress.

On the bright side if you want to try MF, I have seen used Hasselblad CM's going for 500$ in the used bins in downtown Toronto.
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Old Jan 2, 2005, 5:04 PM   #6
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~Great answers and great discussion! One quick question. Like terry@softreq.com said some people say that digital is to "easy" and is not as challenging. I have had this said to me occasionaly and wonder if any of you guys have that told to you alot?~

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Old Jan 2, 2005, 6:55 PM   #7
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Yes, unfortunately that seems to be a general perception about digital.

The truth is that the same rules apply to photography, no matter what the recording medium is, film, digital or glass plate. You still need to know how to compose, setup, light and make an image. Unless you are running on the cameras Program mode, but then this very same automatic program modeis available in film cameras as well. :lol:

The only thing digital capture buys you is immediacy, no waiting for the film to be processed to see if you nailed the shot or need to try again.
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Old Jan 3, 2005, 8:02 AM   #8
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You are starting to hear the same stories over and over...like this from Photo.net:

"...I have heard here in Toronto, thru a major Pro Lab, many pros having problems with clients!" The Albumn/Prints do not look like my friends done some time ago.The prints are flat!"So many pros here are trying to buy back their Hasselblads that they sold so easily..."


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Old Jan 3, 2005, 9:14 AM   #9
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The dynamic range of digital cameras just isn't there yet. Maybe the Fuji S3 Pro will well well and that will teach the manufacturers a well. I can hope.

Basically all digitals are flat compared to films like Provia. This is why you can find photoshop actions which can give your digital files a "provia-like" look.

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