Wed 11 Aug, 2004 07:33 pm
I just picked up some prints at the lab and found myself wishing one of the prints had been grainier.
Film now is so super fine grain and processing so exact that if you want grain you really have to add it in Photoshop. (I imagine that's possible, but I've never tried it.)
Mostly I work in digital so grain isn't even an aspect.
The other day while browsing through a magazine I noticed that companies are starting to make turntables again. I've also heard many audiophiles say that they like the pop and buzz of music recorded on vinyl.
Vinyl appreciation is now here.
Will we eventually pine for grain?
Thank you for sharing your thoughts.
I pine for grain! I used to pine for B&W until I realized it wasn't really going away. I go for textured paper to try and simulate grain, but it doesn't really work. Portraits - SKIN - look so good in a slightly gainy B&W print.
People portraits in B&W used to look great and natural when using old standby papers like Agfa Portriga Rapid. I was a wet darkroom holdout for many years (still have my dusty B&W Beseler 23c enlarger), until I finally broke down and went digital 2 years ago. Now I only scan certain negs of my existing-light images using specialty B&W films.
However, I get pleasing grain when I scan my B&W (1600 ISO) negs with my film scanner and print the images while shutting off my scanner's ICE software that auto-removes scratches and grain. Nice pleasing B&W grain and a nice tonality when I use Ilford Delta 1600 B&W.
Incidentally, as an Audiophile, I must tell you that there's never been a time when turntables WEREN'T made. The lower priced tables were often used by DJs to "scratch" (at dances and discos) and make sound effects. The higher end TT, like the one I use, have been in limited production and have had a small (but profitable) niche that is invisible to the mass market. The quality of a sound fidelity is so much more inviting than CD. Also ticks and pops can be eliminated in many cases. I wish you could listen to a good Modern TT setup and you could hear the quality for yourself.
Canvas paper for grainy look
Incidentally, when I want that particular effect, I use a specialty canvas paper on which I print. It does a great job with skin tones and when I make family portraits, I can get an antique look that can be quite pleasing.
While the Great Yellow Father, Kodak, continues to take a bath in red ink, the place for film will settle in to a smaller-but-valued niche.
I'm sure the film will be around for a long time, but the one hour developing shops just have to be feeling some pain.
Right now custom film labs are the ones who are feeling it the most. Though they feel the pinch now, One hour labs will be feeling it even more a year from now. The camera companies like Nikon and Canon are selling digital cameras somewhere around the ratio of 10 to 1 vs film.
Hi little k, ragman and roger!
Those are great tips, ragman. I'll need to do some experimenting.
I have all my photos printed as photos, even digital. The little custom lab I use keeps pretty busy with people who, like me, are not satisfied with computer prints.
I remember in photo school where grainless images were what we strove for. All these many years later and I find myself wanting to grain it up a bit - and finding that it has to be an after-effect.
Film probably will become that niche market. Most of the current generation will most likely never shoot an image to film. I wonder if they will be able to appreciate the works of photographers like Robert Frank with his grainy view of the world.
I think the same thing about vinyl. (By the way, I considered posting this to the music category so audiophiles are more than welcome to include their thoughts about vinyl.) I remember reading one of those college surveys that said something to the extent that this year's group of freshmen had never bought a recording on vinyl.
I still have a huge collection of music on vinyl that my husband keeps threatening to toss. I really didn't know that someone was still making turntables but I've often longed for one. I'm not an audiophile but I would just like to hear some of the music again and a lot of it was never released on CD -- not that I could afford to replace it all anyway.
I embrace new technology but I find myself missing the "imperfections" of the old ways of doing things.
You can pick up a turntable (here in the UK at least) for any between £50 and £5000, depending on the quality you're looking for. Many DJs (of the dance music genres) use Technics, which are around £1200 a pair, but are designed to be abused.
ragman- You are absolutely right about turntables. My husband , not too long ago, paid big bucks for a turntable. He has a LOT of vinyl. Many of the better recorded records sound much better than the CDs.
When he was researching what to buy, I had the opportunity to learn about some of the very expensive turntables that are around. I think that the average consumer would be shocked!
As an average consumer, I can assure you that I'd be shocked. I'm shocked to even find out that they're available at all. I was surprised to see them advertised.
Grand Duke - (or anyone else) do you have any idea what that would translate into in dollars?
I'm sure that if I actually bought one that I would immediately find that all of my other equipment needs dramatic updating.
The dollar is currently worth (very) roughly 2/3 of our £ sterling. Conversely, I believe that most electrical goods are cheaper in the US. So as a ballpark figure, just change £ into $ and add a bit!
Example of US turntable prices
The ones on sale here are aimed mostly at the DJ market, so the decks tend to be alot more rugged than those for domestic use. They are also Direct-Drive so the records can be scratched back & forth without damaging the motor. Things like 10% pitch shift are also of limited use for the home.