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  1. #1

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    How Analog is silver imaging really?

    Sorry if this has been discussed before, but, it occured to me over the weekend that silver imaging records in a digital manner. I.e. as far as I'm aware the silver grains are either black or not there, So is comparable to "on or off" in the digital world. Tone is merely a perception by our eyes of the ratio of black to white/clear areas of the neg or print.

    Additionally, my understanding of how electric photography works is that the photo receptors will record tone at the micro level, not just black or white and position and store this digitally in whichever recording medium is used. So in some respects "digital photography" may be closer to what we feel intuitively is analog due to it's ability to put a value to dark or light tone at a micro level, wheras analog imaging only puts a black or not value to it at this level.

    However, if there are grey grains then my whole thesis sinks like the Hood.

    My thoughts moved along to the feeling that maybe "digital" imaging would actually be able to do something that silver imaging can't do due to it's recording of another level of information, missing to silver imaging.

    I am not advocating electrical photography through this as I am a strictly film chappie. But wondered if anyone else had thought of this, as I have not seen anything discussed about this.

    I was also considering at this level that the silver photo receptors are randomly scattered across the medium in position and varying in size/shape, wheras photo receptors in digital are I think much more regularly sized and positioned and how this may effect the image and our perception of it at the macro level.

    Any thoughts?

  2. #2
    David A. Goldfarb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RossJarvis View Post
    Sorry if this has been discussed before
    Over, and over, and over again.

    While this narrow meaning of "digital" is interesting from an intellectual perspective and for understanding how traditional photographic processes work, it's not the relevant definition that relates to what APUG is about.
    flickr--http://www.flickr.com/photos/davidagoldfarb/
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  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by David A. Goldfarb View Post
    Over, and over, and over again.
    Sorry! as a new member to the site I haven't been able to look through the history deeply enough to find the other discussions on this. My main thoughts around this was whether recording tone in a different way to silver had liberated something new in image production. It just seems to me that "digital" is doing nothing "new" apart from the ease with which the image can be manipulated. When maybe it could do something truly novel which cannot be achieved with a silver image.

  4. #4
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    Actually, silver isn't an on-or-off thing. It can be partially "on". That's the analog part. In truly digital media, on and off are the only possibilities; somewhere in between is impossible. (In aggregate, an effectively in-between response is of course possible, but any individual pixel is either on or off.)
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  5. #5

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    I suppose where my thoughts were going was how revolutionary "digital" methods of recording really are. And I don't want to go off the purpose of an Anolog Forum.

    Analog photography was I believe truly revolutionary due to the nature of the image itself. Prior to this images were man-made recreations of the world and this was possibly how people viewed paintings and drawings. (However maybe with Icons, people's perception was that there was life in the image itself). When photographic images started appearing I think people saw something totally new. For them they were seeing a window on a real world. For example, when I look at a photograph of a person, I perceive that I am seeing through a window, a living breathing person, or tangible place, not just different tones on a flat piece of paper. When taking and printing an image I am often trying to produce some reconstruction of, or creation of a live world. Or that at least is my aim.

    Maybe the next great image revolution was the cinema. People would feel that they were looking at breathing moving life, when in fact all they were really seeing was a play of light on a screen. This all relates to the psychology of how we look at images.

    I wondered whether digital capture had the potential to be as revolutionary as the advent of photography and the only new thing I could think it had to offer, was the ability to record tone on a micro level. Could this lead to something we cannot currently do with silver photography? Currently it seems to me that so far digital capture of images is little more a revolution than say, the move from glass plates to film or monochrome to colour (which happened a very long time ago).

    If not, then I can quite happily sit in the dark-room, knowing I still have the best chance of creating magical places that I can see through that window bounded by the edge of the picture. Almost believing I can pass into that world and interact with it.

  6. #6
    roteague's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by PhotoJim View Post
    In truly digital media, on and off are the only possibilities; somewhere in between is impossible.
    However, sensors in digital cameras are also analog devices. It is the A/D converter that makes it digital.
    Robert M. Teague
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    "A man who works with his hands is a laborer; a man who works with his hands and his brain is a craftsman; a man who works with his hands and his brain and his heart is an artist" -- Louis Nizer

  7. #7
    PhotoJim's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roteague View Post
    However, sensors in digital cameras are also analog devices. It is the A/D converter that makes it digital.
    Since the final product is a product of the stored converted image, and not the raw image right on the sensor, that doesn't really matter.

    Jim
    Jim MacKenzie - Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada

    A bunch of Nikons; Feds, Zorkis and a Kiev; Pentax 67-II (inherited from my deceased father-in-law); Bronica SQ-A; and a nice Shen Hao 4x5 field camera with 3 decent lenses that needs to be taken outside more. Oh, and as of mid-2012, one of those bodies we don't talk about here.

    Favourite film: do I need to pick only one?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by RossJarvis View Post
    I wondered whether digital capture had the potential to be as revolutionary as the advent of photography and the only new thing I could think it had to offer, was the ability to record tone on a micro level. Could this lead to something we cannot currently do with silver photography? Currently it seems to me that so far digital capture of images is little more a revolution than say, the move from glass plates to film or monochrome to colour (which happened a very long time ago).
    Tone at the smallest level is one area where film still towers over digital, and this gets more and more true as you increase in format size.

    If not, then I can quite happily sit in the dark-room, knowing I still have the best chance of creating magical places that I can see through that window bounded by the edge of the picture. Almost believing I can pass into that world and interact with it.
    You can do that both with film and with digital. Choose the tool that fits your vision and technique the best. You can't start off a conversation about the nature of digital versus analog data recording and expect that to be somehow predictive of art. Film is for some. Digital is for some. If you're making choices based on weak quantitative comparisons, then you're not really thinking like an artist.
    Paul

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by roteague View Post
    However, sensors in digital cameras are also analog devices. It is the A/D converter that makes it digital.

    this point along with maybe an incomplete understanding of graphs is what got me wondering initially.

    If we consider a black and white print as a graph with an x and y axis, we can consider the image made of black points, given positions on this graph. The density of points gives us tone which we perceive as an image. As we look at this image which is purely 2 dimensionsal (ignoring the fact that silver grains have thickness too!) our brains can perceive depth, usually caused by shadow tone and highlight, plus perceived position creating depth in the image. The image is "digital" in that the tones are formed from black points (on or off) on a white field (the opposite to whatever we assign to the black bits).

    In my mind I considered a digital sensor as this two dimensional field where the sensors were positioned via the x y axies, however as the sensors can record tone too, how do we represent this in graphical terms. (We could ignore a value for colour as maybe this could be attributed to different positions related to different colours). In my mind a value for tone would have to come into the z axis, therefore being out into the third dimension.

    Could this bring something into a black and white image which cannot be achieved by black or not points? Particularly when it comes to putting the image onto paper. My mind wondered if using tone, in tone based inks rather than perceived tone created by a ratio of black to white, we may perceive a form of depth or position so far denied to us.

    The conclusion I am coming to is no! So thank you very much, digital offers nothing we don't have in analogue and I can rub my hands gleefully whilst buying up lots of kit which I couldn't afford before all those people went digitalist and flogged it off cheap.

  10. #10
    Daniel_OB's Avatar
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    Ross
    I think you better to find some painting forum, or even airbrashing. Digital imaging has in common with photography just nothing, except that it try to steall the name.

    www.Leica-R.com

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