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  1. #1

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    Could people tell me what they think of this?

    I have just posted an article on my research project's web site on the wisdom (or rather otherwise) of using digital rather than film photography in scientific and particularly archaeological recording. That might sound rather a minority interest, but it covers much of the more mainline film v digital debate. If anyone from this list feels like reading it, I would be very grateful for any feedback, and to have any mistakes pointed out. The article is at
    http://www.romangask.org.uk/Pages/In...otography.html

    Hopefully you will have a look at the rest of the site while you're there.

    David.

  2. #2
    bobfowler's Avatar
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    Good article. I would add one thing, the current crop of "professional" digital SLR's lack a vital capability - that of interchangable viewfinders. A low angle (waist level), high magnification finder is a tremendous help in macro photography when the camera is down at or near ground level.
    Last edited by bobfowler; 04-04-2005 at 05:22 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Bob Fowler
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    Some people are like Slinkies. They're really good for nothing, but they still bring a smile to your face when you push them down a flight of stairs.

  3. #3

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    An excellent article.
    I would add that the NASA method for archival storage of digital pictures is to print the digital positives to silver film and process the resulting negatives to archival standards. Color images are stored as B&W color separation negatives.

    I have used this technique to archive my color transparencies (film) of archaeological subjects.
    Tom Hoskinson
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    Everything is analog - even digital :D

  4. #4

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    Good article. You make some good points. I think the biggest concerns are the longevity of the image, and the ability of a computer to withstand the rigors of the field.

    The research project I worked for in the mid nineties was checking the viability of digital cameras in the field as a means to aid in three dimentional computer reconstructions of sites. They destroyed three cameras in one summer. The Pentax and 50 mm lens that looked like it went through a war had lasted for ten field seasons and showed no sign of wearing out. I am sure the quality of the cameras have improved but the ccd issue you raise has got to be a big issue. For instant feed back they were great. We could take images of strata and evaluate them that night against the maps we had drawn.

    Your concerns with longevity and readability of the files in the future, you would think, would make many weary of moving to the digital format entirely.
    Technological society has succeeded in multiplying the opportunities for pleasure, but it has great difficulty in generating joy. Pope Paul VI

    So, I think the "greats" were true to their visions, once their visions no longer sucked. Ralph Barker 12/2004

  5. #5

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    Nicely done.

    I read your article with interest. I have a couple of suggestions. You mention the superiority of large format cameras. Why not mention what is capable of being done digitally with a scanning back such as the Readylight... slow but very detailed images. Why not mention the capability of modern medium format to be able to take digital and film photos seconds apart after changing backs?

    I hope that your article is thouightfully and well received.

  6. #6
    Baxter Bradford's Avatar
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    An interesting and well written article David.

    As someone who, this afternoon, whilst trying to supply image files for a rush magazine request, discovered corrosion on some 2 yr old backup cds rendering data lost; the volatility and vulnerability of digital media ought not be underestimated. Although not overly enamoured about the prospect of having to rescan the images, I can feel ever so slightly smug that the film originals have a rather longer life.
    But then we all knew that, didn't we APUGs?

    Will they allocate the budget for all of the photographic gear which you feel is needed to cover all bases adequately?

  7. #7

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    Thanks for the reactions so far. By the way. I am not sure how I managed to put this thread in the antiques section. It was meant to be in articles.

    David.

  8. #8

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    Old thread

    Perhaps you used thread found on the job.

  9. #9
    jimgalli's Avatar
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    I read waiting for one item: longevity. My concern is that the digital community is in a fantasy world if they think continuous re-mastering will = continued longevity. That is un-proven and indeed can't be proven. 80 years from now an important digital photograph of JPII in repose is re-mastered for the 16th time but all of the subsequent losses have finally had an additive effect so that the data is meaningless. Interesting point about NASA. Interesting also that the library of congress is recording musical sounds that define our era on 78rpm shellac. Heartbreaking that the patent office has gone the other direction and thrown out old hardcopies wholesale.
    He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep..to gain that which he cannot lose. Jim Elliot, 1949

    http://tonopahpictures.0catch.com

  10. #10
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    Hi David
    A good article as others suggest.
    I think your observations regarding using digital as a tool reflect a lot of different aspects of digital and its encroachment on traditional camera image taking.
    The argument about the mb size I think is soon to be a non issue, as we are very close to the 20mb 35mm camera. I would use traditional film as you are right it does contain more information. But if the budget is there a medium format camera with a digital back will give you the file size to make the type of prints you are suggesting. No it will not match a 4x5 negative or 8x10 negative quality you were speaking of .but the advantages of looking at the work on site and sending files to counterparts makes a lot of sense to me.
    Maybe two cameras , one digital for the grunt work and a good medium to large format camera loaded with film for the quality records.
    Regarding storage. Of the 3000 images plus you are storing , how many of them are of real value. I think recording the important images to an image setter may be of value.
    If this is too simple of an fix , I do imagine that the storage and filing of digital
    images will improve as well as the price of the equipment itself.
    Regarding film storage, traditional black and white and colour, if these images are not properly maintained there can be major problems, lets not kid ourselves here.
    I think your profession is on the digital wave and much like a lot of our facets of photography , digital is here and is going to stay.
    I think if one can mix the best of both, digital/traditional , you are on the right track.
    If you are using laptops in the field then I think you will be able to use a digital camera as well.

    I think the proper tool for your job would be the one that suits you the best and the people that have to work around you. Whether it be digital or traditional.

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