Digital’s Dirty Little Secrets

moire on latticeDigital has some dirty little secrets.  Maybe they’re not secrets anymore, as the digital era has taken over photography completely.  Does that mean we even have a digital era, but I digress.  The first thing I noticed when I switched to a digital back form a film back was that I could no longer focus my trusty Hasselblad by looking at the depth of field ring.  The DOF ring, on  the lens, showed two f-stops on either side.  Once you focused on a point in the photo you could use this ring to determine how much of your shot would be in focus.  With a Hasselblad and a tape measure you could focus your camera without ever looking through the lens and it was “money”.  Many times If I could not determine if I had enough DOF in a room scene I would measure and set the f-stop and know with certainity the photo would be on frozen pondOld school guys know what I’m talking about.  But with a $30K digi back this great tool  no longer functioned properly.  This  was something no maker of equipment would admit.  We also began to realize how much digital “back-focuses”.  In addition, the age old rule of focus, 30% foreground, 70% background, turned into 50/50.  Then came the realizations about “camera shake”, the reason all you “full auto” shooters are always shooting at 125/sec.  Many times I’ve handheld a film body for a 1 sec. exposure and would still have sharp images, try that with your fancy Mark IV.Plastic wrapped palletNow we’re heading toward the era of “pick your focus in post”, relegating focus concerns to the dust bin of history.  I must admit to being fascinated by the possibilities of focusing after the fact. Even though I’ve pointed out these things I miss, don’t get me wrong,  I like my post as much as anyone.  I guess I always hoped in would remain a tool.  More of a means to an end, rather than the end itself…triptych of moire, ice and plastic covered pallet




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