The digital revolution is creating a gaping hole in our heritage

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Fuzzy Logic, Apr 28, 2004.

  1. Fuzzy Logic

    Fuzzy Logic Guest

    Fuzzy Logic, Apr 28, 2004
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  2. Certainly interesting but the impression I came away with was of a
    comparison between a Linhof and mobile 'phone snapping.

    Okay, there was more, but a fairer comparison would have been the millions
    (billions?) of film prints that have been lost or were taken with poor
    equipment and the equally high number of digital images already lost. And on
    the other hand the collections of film prints - good, bad, idifferent
    compared to the equally good, bad, indifferent digital pictures stored on
    CDs, DVDs, hard drives websites, ... archives various.

    Also, I think that there are (and will be) many prints taken off digital
    'negatives' for inclusion in 'photo albums.
    Anthony Ralph, Apr 28, 2004
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  3. Fuzzy Logic

    bmoag Guest

    This is more of the same about technical limitations of one particular
    digital technology as if any of the sensors out there were actually usable
    if not for the extensive in-camera processing required to simulate/fake a
    usable image. Just an image and nothing more.

    Time was when there were technical papers proving that the casette tape
    moving at 1 7/8 inches/second could not possibly rival then reel to reel
    tapes for sound quality. Have you checked the densities of recorded material
    in the average computer hard drive sold at Best Buy? According to some
    papers published 15 years ago that kind of density in magnetic recording was
    not physically possible. The real unsolvable problem with small imaging
    sensors is that they require short focal length lenses which will have
    physically small diaphragms that cause distortion of the passing light wave:
    this problem is truly a brick wall of physics.

    As computer processing power becomes cheaper many of the physcial
    limitations of sensor technology will be camouflaged by even more in-camera
    processing than occurs now. Olympus is claiming they will be able to match
    lenses with cameras such that barrel and pincushion distortion will be
    eliminated in the final image.
    bmoag, Apr 29, 2004
  4. Fuzzy Logic

    Trentus Guest

    The main consideration is backing up images stored electronically, and
    updating the media they are stored on as technology improves.
    Imagine if you only had all your images stored on the old floppy disks that
    were actually floppy (i.e the old 5 and a quarter or whatever they were)
    there wouldn't be too many people around who even still have those drives to
    get your images off the disk for you. Even the "hard" floppies are becoming
    rarer on new computers, now they're all CD, which is slowly changing to DVD,
    which will eventually change to x? Copying images stored on an older media
    over to the newer media and backing them up is the main problem.

    Their comment in the above article that people in an emergency grab their
    photo album and their pets, not their hard-drives may not be correct for
    During the January 18th fires that hit Canberra last year and took out over
    500 houses, some of us grabbed hard-drives as well as photo-albums. In fact
    I packed my entire computer. But for convenience during my next emergency,
    I've arranged to convert all my hard-drives to removeable. So all I have to
    grab is the drive/s.

    Trentus, Apr 29, 2004
  5. Fuzzy Logic

    Don Stauffer Guest

    I still wonder what percentage of old snapshots were truly saved. I am
    sure it is a small percentage. I think the time is near at hand when
    the 'net itself will be an archival facility that will preserve today's
    current as tomorrows history better than anything yet seen.
    Don Stauffer, Apr 29, 2004
  6. Fuzzy Logic

    Bowzer Guest

    I've got a collection of family photos that dates back to the 19th century.
    I think the point of the article is that we really don't know what the
    future will bring for digital file formats, and that digital media is,
    except for lab tests, somewhat of an unknown. Whether or not our digital
    archiving methods will stand the test of time as well as black and white
    film remains to be seen.
    Bowzer, Apr 29, 2004
  7. Fuzzy Logic

    Charlie Self Guest

    Bowzer responds:
    Actually, whether film will stand any real test of time remains to be seen.
    About the oldest photos around would be 150-175 years or so. Will they stand
    the test of time as well as the hand illustrated manuscripts from the early
    Middle Ages.

    Charlie Self
    "I am confident that the Republican Party will pick a nominee that will beat
    Bill Clinton." Dan Quayle
    Charlie Self, Apr 29, 2004
  8. Fuzzy Logic

    adm Guest

    It doesn't really matter. Once your photos are digitised, you can always
    change the file format at a later date if neccesary. What's more even if
    file formats change radically, almost every graphics package will offer
    backwards compatibility.

    Also - whether digital archiving methods stand the test of time is also
    irrelevant. Again - once your pictures are in the digital domain, you can
    archive them in multiple physical location, on to different media types the click of a mouse.
    adm, Apr 29, 2004
  9. I bet the same complaints were made when papyrus replaced clay tablets.
    There are always folks who cling to the old ways. There will be film
    available as long as there are enough people buying it. When there is no
    film on the market, silver-emulsion buffs can return to the practice of
    coating their home-made emulsions on glass plates. They made great photos
    that way back in the good old 19th century.
    Marvin Margoshes, Apr 29, 2004
  10. Fuzzy Logic

    jean Guest

    And that is precisely why really old pictures are worth something. If Van
    Gogh had painted tens of thousands of paintings, they would be too common to
    be worth anything.

    A picture taken by a telephone will be as much a heirloom as a chest of
    drawers bought at Wal-Mart.

    I have been videotaping stuff for about 20 years and taking digital pictures
    for about 5 years, so far the tapes can still be read and I have only munged
    pictures when I didn't know what I was doing 5 years ago.

    jean, Apr 29, 2004
  11. The problem with that argument is that it assumed someone cares. How many
    times have we all heard stories of "lost" things being rediscovered.
    Photographs thought worthless by the photographer may have great value
    when found in an attic 90 years later. Digital files will stand the test
    of time fine *while they're actively looked after*. If however, the files
    are stuck on a CD or DVD, and forgotten about, do you think the media, or
    the data format will be readable in a century? I'd say the media would
    probably be unreadable, and the drives would probably be unavailable. JPEG
    data would probably be fine, proprietary RAW formats would be useless.
    All true, but I think to assume that all worthwhile information created
    today will be looked after and migrated to new formats/media is overly

    Mike Brodbelt, Apr 29, 2004
  12. Fuzzy Logic

    Dave Haynie Guest

    And they're digital -- there is not one iota of a reason to toss out
    old file format support in any modern program. The price for said
    support was paid long ago, the storage necessary to ship such is free,
    rounded to the nearest cent. I've got photo editors that support stuff
    that hasn't been common used in 10 years (Amiga IFF/ILBM, for
    example). Does anyone really believe that JPEG is going to vanish

    You have a little more concern about format rot -- will the computer
    of 2020 support CD-ROM? Well, I think it's already being demonstrated
    that the folks doing the new digital disc formats understand that
    supporting the old formats is worthwhile. So the IR laser discs work
    on the red laser readers, and on the blue-violet laser players. If
    they're running 120GB UV-laser 5" round shiny things in 2020, it's a
    safe bet they'll still read CDs, if there'a any good reason to do so
    (for example: will folks still buy music on CD, or will something else
    take over. So far, with various "something else" on the market,
    nothing has even looked like a challenger; for example: customer
    demand). If everyone switches to some kind of 5TB holographics data
    crystal, you may not have that optical disc included in every PC, but
    they'll still be made. And you will have transferred all of your
    photos from all of your CDs and DVDs to a datacube somewhere.
    And in fact, as formats improve, it's sensible to upgrade archives of
    important stuff to the new format, just for eash of search. You can
    only fit so many TIF or RAW files on a CD; DVDs offer much easier
    access. The blue-violet discs will do likewise, and so on. You're
    upgrading your accessibility, and making a backup at the same time.

    Eventually, you'll probably keep it all on a hard drive, even with
    higher density data discs around. That's where is gets risky -- you
    probably archive digital photos today because you have to, maybe
    because it's wise. When you don't have to, many won't. But the drive
    WILL still fail in 5-10 years (at least until we get that holographic
    data crystal), so backups will have to be the kind of discipline they
    are to professionals.

    And of course, long-term on-line archives also makes you vulnerable to
    other factors. Imagine a virus that eats all of your graphics files,
    Today, that would set me back two weeks, since I'm behind on backups.
    In the future, it's easy to imagine Regular Consumers losing all of
    their photos in one attack. I think OS companies and VARs will,
    finally, start taking The Backup Thing far more seriously, as a
    competitive advantage if nothing else. Advanced broadband coupled with
    cheaper storage also suggests you might have automated data backup to
    well maintained servers, at least for a price.

    Dave Haynie | Chief Toady, Frog Pond Media Consulting
    | Take Back Freedom! Bush no more in 2004!
    "Deathbed Vigil" now on DVD! See
    Dave Haynie, May 2, 2004
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