It's a matter of taste. Personally I don't like more than two speakers. I have heard digital front ends that I think sound fantastic, completely void of the usual digital noise (listen to crash cymbals on a high resolution system via a cheezy CD player and you'll know what I mean), and I've heard digital front ends that sound like $hit. The same is true for analog, except for the crash cymbals; some tables sound fantastic, and others sound terrible.
Originally Posted by Arkasha
Either way, analog has the potential for infinite resolution, which is something digital can never have. Digital will always be an approximation. This approximation can be done well or it can be done poorly. Analog has similar challenges in that resolution is hampered by things like noise, mechanical imperfections, vibrations, etc. I claim that both technologies can offer staggeringly good results, and in my mind it the choice between the two really just comes down to what preferences we have as users.
I prefer tangible things.
For example: I don't like sticking a Super Audio CD into my SACD player, push the button, and out comes music; I like to carefully clean a vinyl record, clean the turntable stylus with LAST cleaner, and sink the stylus into the grooves. I feel a lot more connected.
I don't like clicking the shutter release button on a digital camera, and magically a picture comes out the other end; instead I like to wind the crank of the camera to advance to the next frame, manually take a light reading, change the aperture and exposure time by turning dials to get the exposure I want, develop the negative for different types of tonality in the print, and go into the darkroom and make the print to my liking. I just feel more connected and plugged into the work flow.
So, to me, it's all about philosophy and how we choose to lead our lives. I don't like to embrace something new just because it's available; first I like to know that it will actually benefit me. That is why I am head over heels impressed with my iPhone, even though it's just full of magic buttons. It actually benefits me, while a CD player or digital camera doesn't improve my life in the slightest of ways.
"Often moments come looking for us". - Robert Frank
"Make good art!" - Neil Gaiman
"...the heart and mind are the true lens of the camera". - Yousuf Karsh
What Thomas has written is more or less my view on the subject too.
At the recording stage, digital is capable of superb quality. It's just a shame that most people now choose to download it as an inferior MP3 file.
"People who say things won't work are a dime a dozen. People who figure out how to make things work are worth a fortune" - Dave Rat.
In all cases there is also a space limit. I cannot aford to have all my files as lossless codecs and so each song will take up 60MB because my storage is limited.
But this is going off topic.
Originally Posted by stavrosk
The key difference between analog and digital is storage once the physically finite limits of the capture medium are achieved.
Both emulsion and silicon photosites are analog, possessing nearly identical capture capacities where both can outresolve their optical intermediary.
So you would rather print 16x20 off 35mm because a 4x5 sheet of film takes up too much space once scanned in at over 200MB a shot?
Originally Posted by stavrosk
Space is soooooo cheap now. We'll spend inordinate amounts of money on photo gear and the whine about a $150 hard drive that holds over 1 trillion bytes...really?
They way digital cameras sample from their silicon sensors is digital. Pretty much no analog at all. The shear design of digital sensors induces loss into the sample itself. Yes, all 'captures' are analog, but the processing and sampling methods are wholey digital. Not to say you can get very high fidelity from digital sensors. Granted we keep running into issues with digital sensors.
Originally Posted by Aristophanes
The latest Nikon D800 with its 36MP sensors is amazing. Yet, you have an AA filter that induces fidelity loss. Get the D800E you say? Moire much?
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But I don't have more than 2 ears. ;-)
Originally Posted by Steve Smith
Actually, you do.
Originally Posted by Lionel1972
Low level bass sounds are not entirely interpreted through the ear canal. The mind still "hears" them as aural.
More than that. You need to back up the back up and then back up. So more like $500 plus the time*, which is priceless.
Originally Posted by MrBaz
*Note! While the backup can run by itself, you still have to manage the whole affair.
Wrong. Non linearity is one of the huge differences. Why do you keep conveniently leaving out beneficial signal compression?
Originally Posted by Aristophanes
Stop worrying about grain, resolution, sharpness, and everything else that doesn't have a damn thing to do with substance.
Because at a certain point it will become unnoticeable. Even analog has limits in the ability to read its signal completely (see reciprocity failure, colour balance, film grain, dust, fingerprints, etc.). Digital's discrete points are being whittled smaller and smaller through sampling, just as the case with film when all you could get at one point was ASA 25. Signal compression can be used to cut fidelity (cost to implement), so it was a tool limited by money, not a real desire to downgrade fidelity. The barrier for silicon sensors has been the bandwidth necessary to translate the density of data. No one at Sony or Nikon wants to keep throwing away photon data. From what I understand, the real limit is going to be optical resolution vs. the Nyquist limit. OTOH in 20 years a silicon sensor may have the capacity for separate ISO for every 20 pixel bins. These are simply things no emulsion could ever do.
Originally Posted by clayne
Even with enormous prints trained eyes cannot tell the difference between analog and digital captures. At a certain point sampling and data compression cannot be differentiated from analog by the human senses. Many would argue we are already there.
I still hate Photoshop with a passion. I still like having a mini-lab process my stuff far more than I like spending time in front of a PC. I just posted 2 to the Gallery from some rolls I had done at Precision Camera (hood stuff from them BTW...big endorsement). I am here because I like the way analog film "bakes in" the formula for an exposure with unique characteristics. It's a discipline I enjoy.