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I agree with you Gianni, the inevitable mediation of technology should probably be as little as possible! But I also recognize in this way of thinking the mentality of a "film photographer", while someone that used digital since the beginning maybe tends to see the camera shot as the first act of a long procedure. Technology changes our way of thinking photography and sometimes our styles, like it or not.
I think this is something that charachterizes our world now, not only photography: technology is increasingly present (maybe cumbersome), more technology probably means more possibilities but also more complexity and difficulties.

Indeed it would be much better to have a universal RAW format, but I fear this is impossible because of market pourposes.
So, we are bound to technology, that is created to make our life easier, but sometimes complicates it, and we are bound to the market that should provide us better products, but actually creates a lot of useless stuff.
Techonology should help us in making more easy to realize our projects, but sometimes opens possibilities we didn't think of. In this way, is it part of the "creative" process in an active way?
Commercials use the word "inspiring", I think we are just slaves to a limited number of possibilites that our machines "dictate" to us.
Probably a real artist today is someone that can overpass technology, or bend it completely to its needs.

Lorenzaccio, what I feel about cameras-getting-in-the-middle is exactly the other way round. Although being a film-generation photographer, I don't miss film cameras at all. The whole film-based process was awfully tricky, and some parts of it were a real pain in the ass. My remark to most digital cameras is that their designers don't take any advantage of technology. On the contrary they make the digital imaging workflow insanely complicated, exactly as the film-based process was. But we had no alternatives then.
As for creativity I agree with you. I already pointed out in an older post that switching between cameras deeply changes my framing style. And color management follows. And contrast. And perspective. Everything. It's still my photography, but its boundaries significantly shift. Creativity, in a word.

I understand what you feel about technology and film processing. I have never used film. I am from the digital generation, but I tell my self, than you can developp a film as you developp a raw format. The only and most important thing about photography is when you re all set with all setting s and ready to shoot. That's photography, no matter the technology. To my point at least ;o)

sembra facile...

you could use adobe's free dng converter.

We are not bound to technology. We are free artists and artisans who can use anything we want to realize the images in our minds. I walked away from digital for the very reasons you cite. Free yourself.
For example, use a $25 Adox camera from the '50's and shoot film and have it processed and scanned at a pro lab and you are done, unless you want to hammer on the image with photoshop later.

I think your comment about photoshop is spot on. The idea that in order to use photoshop with raw on the latest camera requires one to perpetually upgrade, is ludicrous. What I use photoshop for could afford me to still use v.5 or 6, so this marketing gimic by adobe has made me consider other software. I do the same thing now: shoot jpeg and raw. :)

btw, adobe's free dng converter is free because they want you to add yet another step in the process and get dependent on THEIR proprietary format.

I look forward to shooting with a m4/3 camera. I enjoyed your viewpoint on this type of camera.

Thanks,
rob

Rob,
I perfectly understand your point and the subsequent choice. It reminds me of a blogger you certainely know, Ken Rockwell (http://www.kenrockwell.com/tech/00-new-today.htm), who swears for the film-scan-edit workflow. He calls film "real raw".

I have to say I disagree with much of what's been said here.

Yes, straight from the camera a RAW and jpg file will have basically the same detail and tones visible. The jpg format is pretty good at compressing an image without any visible degradation. Just try making any adjustments to those two images -say contrast or colour correction- and you'll start to see a real difference. A RAW file has a LOT more information than a jpg, just like a negative has a lot more information than a straight print. For that reason, there is much more scope for adjusting a RAW file (just like in a darkroom with filters, etc.) than a jpg.

Adobe's dng converter is designed specifically to help people in your situation. OK, so they don't make each new RAW plugin compatible with old versions of photoshop (I'm assuming a business decision), but they do provide a very simple and free way for you to work on your RAW files through your old version of Photoshop if that's what you want to do.

The idea that Adobe just want you to "get dependent on THEIR proprietary format" seems a bit odd to me. They have created an open-source format, along with a free program to help make use of it, in an attempt to stop the very issues you've raised here (constant new formats perpetually superseding old software), and we claim they're taking us for a ride?... Like I said, seems a bit odd to me.

I'm all for people shooting jpg, in fact I see nothing wrong with it at all as long as you know how to get what you need from it (namely getting the image exactly the way you want it in the camera, a noble pursuit IMO). I just wanted to voice my disagreement with those few things.

Ross

Disclaimer: I have no affiliation with Adobe, although I do like their software.

Ross,
first of all thanks for your comment. Discussions need to be fueled by intelligent disagreement.
Your point of view is indisputable: raw format, thanks to its 16 (or 24) bit coding, contains more informations, true; Adobe's decides its strategies out of business decisions, true; introducing its open-source dng format, Adobe tried to set a standard raw for everybody, true.
But I don't think a tool should be dismissed as "worst" only because something better exists. A good tool is one fit to our purpose.
Although a view camera is better than a 35 mm. one, nobody would say a Nikon F6 is necessarily worst. It could simply be enough for the photograph to be taken.
I admit my recent excitement about jpg could be caused by beginner's enthousiasm, but for my personal imaging (which is far from being a noble straight-out-of-camera process, anyway) it seem to be a fit tool.
I recently attended a Nikon Day in Rome. They were introducing their huge new pro models. I asked why, as people demand for swift, light, low-emission, easy-to-park and not-too-expensive vehicles, they keep on selling 5-liter SUVs. I got no answer.

I quite agree with your sentiments about RAW complicating photography. RAW - or at least the RAW convertors - allow SO many options that the experience can be overwhelming. Indeed, the pain of converting 16GB of RAW files from a wedding a few months ago led me to sell my top-flight dSLR. The proceeds bought a very nice, minty Leica R kit. As a result, photography is fun for me again.

Gianni,

Excuse me as I add comments to previous posts, but I'm enjoying the mental conjugations created by your posts.

If a tool is something that allows you to achieve a vision, well, let's use it! If a fine wood worker chooses to polish their art and another chooses to leave the tool marks, should we critique the choice beyond what it lends to the final result? A sponge or a fine bristle paint brush, either has been used for rendering art that causes us to weep at the feet of the expression of human potential. Raw vs jpg, what does it matter, so long as at the end, you've rendered what it is that made your soul press the shutter.

Technically, I'll admit to always relying upon raw to give me the "headspace" to execute my vision. Until Adobe adopts Nikon's Picture Controls, I have to. I have take the time to set up my picture controls carefully so that the raw executes my vision. But I find Nikon's software options simply horrible. So, to the extent possible, I try to replicate the image as I saw it in my heart/soul when I took it.

I commented recently that I'm finally getting to the point of "seeing" the image before/as I take it on my own blog. I too wish for tools that would simply render the in camera result. I've only shot digital, coming to photography at the ripe old age of 47, but now at 51, I still wish that I could simply download the result into a usable software/darkroom and get it out. But, as we all know, we are captives to the technology. Even at it lifts us, it melts our wings.

Gil

The important thing is to check what is best for your kind of photos on the cameras you use (some are better at JPG than others). I see no difference in the final result in my photos and shoot today purely JPGs.

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