By Joe Kashi, for the Redoubt Reporter
As the Redoubt Reporter embarks upon a well-deserved vacation, it’s a fitting occasion for summing up our nearly eight years exploring technology and photography.
Originally, Plugged In was a weekly computing and networking technology feature. As those technologies matured, they became quite reliable, affordable and slow to change, reducing the need to frequently upgrade hardware and software. The maturing of those computing technologies is excellent news for all of us who rely on them daily, but yields few new topics, certainly not enough to sustain a fresh weekly feature for eight years.
Enter digital photography, a combination of art and science that appeals broadly, is more accessible for most people, and still surging forward with few indications that its steady technical improvement is slowing. Even though new digital imaging products cannot break the iron laws of physics, increasingly clever electronics now produce technically superior results, sidestepping former limitations. Even though camera makers don’t seem to turn much profit, each quarter brings new and better products.
While out of state a few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to see a number of vintage prints made by Ansel Adams and other famous master photographers. It was evident that, judged solely on final printed image quality, digital photography is a superior technology, capable of readily producing reliably higher quality results, even when printed very large.
Used carefully with good lenses, even midlevel digital cameras using Micro Four-Thirds, APS-C and full-frame sensors have the potential to produce higher quality images than formerly made with bulky film cameras. Compared with larger format film cameras used by now-famed masters, careful digital imaging shows better controllability, higher sharpness, reduced graininess and better dynamic and tonal range. Oh, and you can have color images with no greater difficulty, and image stabilization enables quality handheld photography even in dim light.
So, if you bemoan the passing of easily scratched silver films processed with toxic chemicals in the dark, producing potentially uncertain results, then you’ll bemoan without me, and I’ve processed film for more than 40 years.
So, as this column rides off into an oversaturated digital sunset, I’d like to reflect on a few broad, enduring fundamentals: Continue reading