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B&W – Negatives making a comeback? April 1, 2007

Posted by isthatwacked in Photography - Architecture.

Singapore at night!

Singapore Business district night view, originally uploaded by * etoile.

Taken with a Ricoh GR10 on Ilford XP2, exposure was not recorded.

I have posted this image to start a discussion (thanks to * etoile on flickr). I have posted several HDR images of the last little while, mainly from Trey Ratcliff. I have admired Trey’s HDR images for awhile now and have been impressed by the detail, brilliance and hyper realism. (More on HDR here.)

Now to my point. I received a comment regarding an HDR image from a fellow blogger Zep Hopper at www.In-Sect.com.

The comment can be seen here. And to some degree I do agree with Zep, although they don’t make me dizzy there are elements of the images that are more unrealistic than hyper realistic and something that your would not expect to see in conventional photography. When you get down to it, like art, it is a matter of personal preference and taste.

I posted the B&W image above to start the discussion around what your preference is. This image is taken the old school way on a B&W film negative. Having started in photography this way and processing my own negs and prints all in B&W, I am somewhat attached to it despite all the attractions and convenience of digital photography. There is something about achieving the tonal range of the B&W image as well as the care to adjust the exposures that I find technically challenging. Also it is a lesson in experimentation in the field while your taking the shots since you cannot preview them in anyway (camera or computer) and make the necessary adjustments.

Your comments are appreciated.

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1. Zep - April 2, 2007

The last time I tried to buy B&W film, it was twice as expensive and only available with ASA400. Is turning an image to a B&W in Photoshop so much worse in quality? And why?

2. isthatwacked - April 2, 2007

Thanks Zep for the comment. Your right about the B&W film, bloody expensive and ASA ranges are not there (no demand). As far as the changing a digital image in Photoshop to B&W, there is really no difference in quality (based on a digital SLR 8-10 MegPixels) I guess it’s just and aesthetic thing with the B&W negs, the purest coming out in me and the days I would spend 10 hours in the dark room……you can likely manipulate the curves in Photoshop and print on a high quality printer with archival inkjet paper to archive the same striking results.

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