I have an ongoing ‘discussion’ with a family member who is not a fan of processing digital images. She prefers ‘pure’ images straight out of the camera. I get what she means but I also point out (the discussion takes the same direction every time) that the image on a phone or cheaper camera is almost always a jpeg. Which means that the raw image has already been processed. The difference is whether the camera makes the processing decisions or the person does.
There can be snobbery and inverse snobbery about processing images. Those who prefer minimal manipulation may be surprised to know that, even in the age of film, processing decisions were made. I remember seeing this when, I think it was, Magnum released contact sheets and annotated prints with instructions about visual effects.
However there can be snobbery too relating to how technical processing is perceived to be. For example, in an earlier blog I suggested the inclusion of filters in Instagram was essentially dumbing down. But in the immediately preceding post I lauded the provision of film effect Lightroom presets. Surely there is little difference between Instagram filters and Lightroom presets borrowed from others.
Recently Olympus brought out the beautiful Pen F. It’s a lovely blend of extreme retro styling and advances in technology, for example it matches the Panasonic GX8’s 20MP sensor. Personally I’d prefer a bit of a front grip but I guess that might spoil the rangefinder aesthetics.
When new products arrive, I often find myself worrying that my gear might be inadequate. This usually develops into a mild obsession as I pour over articles and reviews, often that I’ve already read, to prove to myself that I should stick with what I’ve got.
This time I took comfort in Thomas Leuthard’s various comments that he’s happy with the Olympus OMD EM10 despite having use of the EM1 and the mk11 versions of the EM10 and EM5. I read somewhere that Magnum photographer David Alan Harvey prefers cheaper, less complex digital cameras too.
After obsessing with camera bodies, I moved on to lenses. But again I eventually found solace in re-reading a post on m43photo blog (here) stating that the fastest glass is not necessary the best. For street shooting especially I’m increasingly aware that I shoot mainly in the f4-f8 range which negates the need for lightening fast primes.
So, after wasting time with this technological naval gazing, I returned to actually taking pictures.