Editorial - August-September 2002 - part 1 of 1

by Mike McNamee Published 01/08/2002

We got quite a lot of letters this month. Thank you for so many kind comments regarding the new look magazine, we will try and keep it moving forward.

Two letters provoked the content of this editorial. One from Malcolm Sales was prodigital, the other, from Mike Herring was generally anti-digital. Mike relates that a couple had approached him for advice on some rather poor quality digital prints that another professional had produced of their wedding. In essence his argument is that digital can't cut the mustard and that he is going to stick with C41. He says, "...we are being kidded into believing that digital results are equal to the C41 process. Rubbish!"

I have no reason to doubt Mike's damnation of the distraught couple's prints. I too have seen some really dodgy digital output. I have also seen some equally dodgy C41 prints complete with stains, tramlines, pictures of a completely different wedding, negatives split down the full length of a 135x35mm stock etc - we all have.

My own recent experiments, using instrumental measurement to assess colour quality, have shown that digital camera output is the equal of C41 (I put it no stronger than that). The experiments have also shown that both routes are capable of producing scrap. Often, when you are standing minding your own business, professional camera in hand, people come up and say, "That's a good camera I bet it takes fantastic photographs." Has anybody ever had someone approach them and say, "That's a great looking pencil, I bet you can draw fantastic pictures"?

My own view, for what it is worth is that the marketing people are guilty of one thing above all others. They try and convince the buyer that the acquisition of good images is simple - it is not; that is why there are professional photographers. The problem is that there are good and bad pieces of equipment and good and bad photographers. Bad ones choose inappropriate equipment and use it badly, or both!

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