Camera Age / Technology Age
It’s interesting to read the threads and comments on the age of cameras, and I’m very impressed that Oren regularly uses his Eastman No. 2. But the real issue isn’t camera age, it’s technology age. That is, when asking someone “How old is your main camera,” we are skipping part of the real question, which is “How old is the photographic technology you use?”
by Paul Butzi
by Paul Butzi
Until recently, my main camera was either a Linhof Technikardan 45s or a Leica M6. Both of those cameras are pretty old technology. The M6 is a specialized beast, and it would be hard to do the same work with another camera, but the Linhof is just a view camera. I could do the work with pretty much any other field camera, including ones made as much as 80 years ago. But I use modern film and developer—I use Tmax-100, which was reformulated by Kodak not long ago. That means the newest part of that technology chain (even if I’m doing traditional gelatin silver printing instead of my current hybrid digital workflow) is just a few years old.
My point here is that your 50 year old view camera or your 22 year old M6 have gotten many, many technology upgrades. You can put E6 film in them that incorporates the very latest advances in film, and your technology chain will be newer than someone working with a two year old Canon EOS-1ds. In contrast, once you buy a digital camera, you’re locked into the "film" that can be used with it, forever. (the obvious exceptions would be removable digital backs like those for medium format cameras, and things like the Leica DMR).
So don’t tell me how old your camera is. Tell me when the manufacturer last revised the film you use. Because if you’re loading your Leica CL with Fujichrome 64T, your technology chain is newer than my digital Canon EOS-5d by about five months.
Posted by PAUL BUTZI
Featured Comment by Fras: Very good points, but, to a degree, the same arguments can be applied to the digital world with the question "What raw converter are you using?"
In my catalog, I've got Nikon NEF files, Leica RAW files and Konica-Minolta MRW files.
I've used Nikon Capture, Adobe Camera Raw (in Photoshop Elements 3), Rawshooter Essentials and Premium and lately, Adobe Lightroom Beta.
Each new product, or iteration of a product brings new possibilities for all of my images and sometimes subtle, sometimes significant, improvements in the end results.