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Old Aug 10, 2003, 2:47 PM   #1
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Default Digital Media More Accurate?

When having a photo printed from film of a night sene or stage show if the person printing doesn't pay attention the print gets washed out. Even if the film was proberly exposed. Apparently the machine gets fooled by all the blackness. This shouldn't happen with digital media should it? Being that it's not using a negative to print from. This should result in more accurate printing. Yes or no
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Old Aug 10, 2003, 10:55 PM   #2
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With digital you can actually see what you shot before you have it printed, so you only print the image with the more accurate color. Digital processors get more accurate results than analog ones. Popular Photography & Imaging had an article about exactly this issue on their August 2003 issue.
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Old Aug 11, 2003, 5:38 AM   #3
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This issue could be about the 'human interface' when getting prints done, but actually this is digital so there aren't any humans!

Consider that special sunset shot - let the camera run on auto exposure, and it's likely if average metering is set that your highlights will be over exposed and shadows 'lifted', when the print gets processed, the same thing can happen = double jeapardy! Automated processes, including digital, assume 'normal prints' with an average scene brightness. So if your camera histogram is showing symmetrical about the centre - that's fine. The photo printing service does the same thing - fine for most happy snappies which is the bulk of their work.

For creative work, only you know what it should look like. In UK, I've been told that a Fuji frontier printer will make automatic adjustments if the camera file is original. However, once edited in PS, the EXIF header gets marked (or deleted on earlier PS versions) and the Frontier turns off its internal correction.

Digital processes can get worse results if you don't understand their algorithms!

Sounds logical - but what happens with your print machines? Next time you get some prints done, include a grayscale, dark test patches and files with/without Exif.
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Old Aug 11, 2003, 8:25 AM   #4
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I had similar thoughts to voxmagna's comments, but I went is a slightly different direction.

When the processing is automatic (at least currently) most machines make some assumptions about the scene and develops the picture using those assumptions. If the scene fits those assumptions, then the scene will get "fixed" (or not, if it doesn't need it.) IF the scene doesn't fit those assumptions then the computer will wreck the picture if it "fixes" the picture based on those assumptions.

If you do your own developing (either in the darkroom or on the computer) you won't apply those wrong assumptions.

As for film vs. digital. Film has better dynamic range of light. It can cover more f-stops in the same picture than digital. This is a serious shortcoming, and I can't wait for the day this gets solved. I would also bet that film can show a wider color gambit (as someone said.)

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Old Aug 11, 2003, 9:02 AM   #5
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What digital lacks in visible light dynamic range is made up by sensitivity to near infrared and to some degree, ultra violet. But then again you could buy IR or UV film to use in a film camera

Going back to the original issue, the lab I take all my digital files to checks every file to be printed to make sure the output is as I requested. That's why it's not a Kmart one hour photofinish, it's a swing by next week to get your perfect prints type of deal. I also color correct all images prior to sending it to the lab, so it's double checked before being printed. If your lab doesn't do that I recommend you find one that goes the extra mile for you
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Old Aug 11, 2003, 9:47 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric s
Film has better dynamic range of light. It can cover more f-stops in the same picture than digital. This is a serious shortcoming, and I can't wait for the day this gets solved.
Of course film users still have the same trouble as us in getting their excellent dynamic range into a form where people can see it, especially as 2x2 slide projectors have got rare. This involves dodging and shading below the enlarger, or lots of complicated twiddling if you filmscan the negative.

The digicam equivalent is bracketing exposures and digitally combining the images later. I've attempted this once or twice with otherwise invisible shadow detail. I also have a professional friend who uses his Dimage7 as much as he can instead of his Hasselblad. He brackets the exposure for each shot and regularly combines bits from different frames to get the desired commercial product.
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Old Aug 11, 2003, 3:35 PM   #7
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Now that I have a good tripod, I hope to try this on occasion. Honestly, I do mostly shoot animal (birds, butterflies, dragonflies...) where bracking wouldn't work. But on occasion I see something which I'd like to do.

Is this merging easy or hard? I'm in PS Elements 2.0, FWIW.

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Old Aug 11, 2003, 7:38 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eric s
Is this merging easy or hard? I'm in PS Elements 2.0, FWIW
Well, it was just a quick cut&paste a selection job when I did it in PainShopPro7, but I'm no purist, and it wouldn't stand up to peer review round here.

My professional pal's brochure photographs of flame effect fireplaces with all the right bits correctly exposed were superb, but I think it took him hours of work, for which I suspect he won't have been paid enough. He's a PSP user as well.
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