Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Slide Film Canard

Every now and then in some discussion or another online some idiot will trot out a line about how, in the goode olde dayes wee shote slide filme, and soe wee hadde to gette it righte inne thee camera.

This sounds great but is total bullshit. If, like most slide shooters, you didn't ever do anything with your slides except drool over them on a light table and -- rarely -- bore the crap out of some victims with a slide show, then certainly the transparencies were the end of the road. A pointless stupid end of the road that nobody cares about.

If you actually did anything with your slides, such as selling then to a print publication, or making prints, or having prints made, then there was, well, hmm. What was there? Oh! A printing step in which, my goodness, all the usual corrections can be made. Wow.

Most slides did languish as a worthless endpoint. Most slides never sold to anyone, and getting prints made was never cheap.

If you never did anything with your negatives except admire them, then you could make the same silly argument that you had to get it right in camera. In the goode olde dayes wee hadde to gette it righte inne the camera because wee nevere printede, wee just admirede the negatives in the sleeves doesn't have quite the same cadence, but it's pretty much the same thing.

Indeed, these days the requirement to get it right in camera is if anything greater. Most photos are unadjusted JPEGs, slammed helplessly onto the internet as-is. In the goode olde dayes of yore, most photos were machine printed color prints. Which had a bunch of adjustments made in the printing process.

Now, I'm not the right kind of nerd to answer this, but I am pretty sure that the in-camera adjustments to make a JPEG are less than the automated machine printer adjustments. I could be wrong there, mind you, but I think I'm right. If I am, you gotta be closer now than you ever had to be in the past, for most pictures.

Which really means that the camera's exposure and white balance software has to be better than it ever was. Which it is, so, hooray.

Anyways, next time some old bugger trots out the slide film canard, now you can snicker quietly, or start a big argument, or whatever. Enjoy!

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