Saturday, September 13, 2008

Peak technology is past too (for some things)

So my new interest in photography has reminded me of something interesting. That digital is nowhere, nowhere near the apex of perfection that analog achieved in its total evolution from the 1890s to the 1970s. In music recording or photography for two cases in point. The mania for vinyl is more than sentimentality. It sounds good. If you have a good turntable from the 60s or 70s you know they are works of art with their strobe tuners and exquisite tone arm mechanisms that pump out smooth analog tube recordings through a tube amplifier. Warm golden stuff that. Digital equals convenience and a level of quality, but not sublime yet. Same is true with digital cameras, they are fabulous and convenient but the feeling and aura of the old 35mm's or medium format cameras still lingers. Its been such a pleasure for me to move into shooting with analog cameras. They focus differently, the feel different (heavier for one) and this peak technology can be had pretty cheaply. In one case for me I bought a Nikon L35 at the thrift store for three dollars.

Heavy metal casing, excellent lens, range finding, simple use a true SLR in the most compact form that real analog quality would allow. (That means its still pretty big in 1979) The other analog camera I have is a 1966 minolta srT. Its a brute of a camera, heavy, heavy duty. Super lens, super mirror in the camera itself. Its alot of fun to not look at a little digital LCD and really focus on the subject in a way that you can see the depth and the nuance of what you're shooting. Alot of people with digital cameras will never know how difference and still make lovely images. It's the nuance that they miss. Hopefully I can make that feeling come out in the pictures.

So as we get set to switch from analog to digital everything give digital time, someday it will be as elegant as analog was/is. Remember analog had the better part of a century.


ann marie simard said...

Which, of course is a pleasure to read :)

The true mirror in Minolta is great and gives such floating pictures, but then again, so does the whole camera...

fingerprinz said...

I like the notion of "giving digital time" to evolve. Even more so, it should take its time, so that we can enjoy film even longer.