Thursday, October 05, 2006

Film versus Digital



As I watched this video on the Gilde 66-17 MST Super 3d camera, I ran through an interesting sequence of impressions.

The first impression is that this is a pretty amazing camera - it shoots every format from 6x6 thru 6x17, offers tilts, shifts, a ground glass, a rather amazing 120 roll film holder that sings, dances, and mixes dry martinis.

The second impression was that, at least in this 'niche camera' market, film still rules. The flexibility of film and the relatively low technology needed to hold it in place means that it's perfectly possible to make great pictures with nothing more than a cardboard box, a sheet of film, and a bit of tape to hold the film in place and a pin to put a hole in the box. That low tech flexibility means that we also get film cameras that range from this all singing, all dancing wundercamera to custom built 4x5 and 8x10 pancake cameras with helical focus mounts.

And then, just after I had that series of "film is still better for some things' thoughts (not for the first time), I saw the cunning back that lets you take a MF digital back and slide it around to do tiled images in a variety of formats.

The photo world could really do with a simple, easy to manufacture standard for digital backs. It would make entry into niche markets like tiling panoramic cameras a whole heck of a lot easier, and since the markets are small, a low capital investment threshold for entry into the market would mean a lot of small players would produce a lot of very interesting niche cameras like this one.

So I hope the digital back standard thing works out soon. (Manufacturer's web site here)

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