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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 18 Jun 2014 (Wednesday) 15:07
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Good Old Days

 
20droger
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Jun 18, 2014 15:07 |  #1

A modern photographer (I shan't say who) was nattering at me about how he was ever so much better than any of us from the good old days of photography, specifically, the time when I was in the Vietnam War (early '60s). Was he now....

I grant the equipment today is far superior to what was available back then. But let's see who was/is better.

Let's level the playing field by limiting you to what I had available:

First, put gaffers tape over your LCD. There was no chimping with film cameras.

Second, set your camera to "M" mode. We only had manual cameras back then. Lucky for you, we did have in-camera metering.

Next, set your ISO to one of 32, 64, 100, 200, or 400, the ASA of the film available in SE Asia at the time. You may only reset your ISO between "rolls." And oh yes, it you chose ISO 400, you must set your camera to monochrome. There was no color film available at that ASA.

Set your camera to JPEG, to simulate standard processing. All shots are SOOC. No fancy darkroom (PP) work. That stuff was not available.

Next, chose a prime lens at one of the following focal lengths: 28mm; 35mm; 50mm; 85mm; 100mm; or 200mm. These are what was available, not what I had (I used a 50mm f/1.8 almost all of the time, with 135mm f/2 occasionally). If you don't have a prime lens, then set your zoom lens to the appropriate focal length and then don't change it. No fair cheating!!!

If you want to change lenses while shooting a "roll," fine, as long as you limit yourself to the listed focal lengths. If you're using a zoom lens set to a "fixed" focal length, you must dismount it, change it, and remount it to simulate swapping lenses out of your bag. Again, no cheating.

Set your lenses and camera to MF (manual focus). There was no autofocus back then.

Limit your sessions to 20 shots each (one "roll"), changing cards between "rolls."

Go out and shoot multiple moving subjects in widely varying light conditions per "roll," using only in-camera metering.

Every 5th or 6th "roll," pretend someone is shooting at you (and NOT with a camera!). For greater realism, try doing all this in a paintball firefight. If you get hit, you lose!

Remember, your shots are SOOC. No post-processing of any kind, not even cropping. Those darkroom services were simply not available in SE Asia at the time. That had to wait until I got home.

Compare your results with mine. I had an average of 12-14 definitely usables (good enough to send home to Mom) and 2-3 definitely unusables (pure crap) per roll, with 3-4 keepers (good enough to publish, i.e., better than the average bear). Published shots were processed and/or cropped during printing, but not by me.

Have fun! But remember, one paintball splat and you are at least wounded, perhaps dead. I was wounded twice, and not with paintballs: once in '61 and once in '63. I lost both times.

Yea, I know '61 and '63 were early in the war. I was an "advisor." (Those of you who are old enough may remember what an advisor was.) Nobody took my advice then and nobody takes my advice now. Some things never change.




  
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jetcode
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Jun 18, 2014 15:15 |  #2

LOL ... great post. Can I give you some advice ... LOL

I took a Fuji 645 60mm rangefinder on a trip to Europe once and it proved to be an amazing experience. I love simple camera systems. My current favorite is a Shen-Hao 6x17 camera. Just love it. No batteries.

I wish that war never happened. I wish no war ever happened.




  
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LV ­ Moose
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Jun 18, 2014 15:27 as a reply to  @ jetcode's post |  #3

Where's the dang "like" button?


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DocFrankenstein
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Jun 18, 2014 15:36 |  #4

20droger wrote in post #16979860 (external link)
A modern photographer (I shan't say who) was nattering at me about how he was ever so much better than any of us from the good old days of photography, specifically, the time when I was in the Vietnam War (early '60s). Was he now....

You're kind of mashing up a lot of things in with using manual cameras.

If I have to get shot to shoot film, I'd rather shoot digital.

But I don't find limits of film camera systems hampering my creativity. Discard things you can't shoot with it, and shoot the things you can.


National Sarcasm Society. Like we need your support.

  
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mzondeki
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Jun 18, 2014 17:17 |  #5

I guess the modern photographer was comparing war journalists of 60s vs now and challenges they face on the job. Camera is not the only thing improved over 50 years ?? So also weapons.


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20droger
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Jun 18, 2014 18:22 as a reply to  @ mzondeki's post |  #6

Yes, weapons have improved, but the infantryman, on either side, still basically shoots bullets at his opposite number.

And for those who sneer at those puny older weapons, compared to the efficient modern ones, I just want to point out how many Allied soldiers and marines died from those puny .25 caliber Japanese rifles in WWII.

Besides, all those nice modern NATO 7.62mm weapons are still .30 caliber, just like the old-fashioned M1 rifle.




  
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memoriesoftomorrow
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Jun 18, 2014 18:47 |  #7

You could just as easily level the playing field the other way around and both shoot digital to see "who is best". In fact your test would just show who would have been best given a certain set of circumstances 50 odd years ago. A test with modern cameras would show who "is best" in today's environment. Besides in order to make it a fair test you'd have to allow the other party the same time and environment to learn film that you had many years ago and visa versa with you being exposed to digital. Without that it wouldn't be a fair test... you're both comparing apples with oranges.

In both cases how people take the shots would be irrelevant the only thing of any importance would be what the respective resulting pictures were like.

Say, for example, someone who never shot film is expected to process a film... they wouldn't know how. Likewise make someone who has never used a computer etc manage to print an image from a digital camera. Apples and oranges.


Peter

  
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TooManyShots
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Jun 18, 2014 19:10 |  #8
bannedPermanent ban

Don't go there. Why not just shoot film, period? Why simulations? What, film SLR? How about medium format? Medium format is too easy. How about large format?

Oh, you have to also develop your own film too. If you are so incline, make your own prints. :)


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tonylong
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Jun 18, 2014 19:41 |  #9

Roger, sometimes you crack me up, which is nice because it gives me a break from just laughing at myself!:)


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sjones
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Jun 18, 2014 20:09 as a reply to  @ tonylong's post |  #10

Putting the issue of equipment aside, I've seen enough photojournalism (wartime in particular) from the past to know that the best of that period might be equaled today in a few rare cases, but not surpassed.


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airfrogusmc
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Jun 18, 2014 20:22 |  #11

sjones wrote in post #16980324 (external link)
Putting the issue of equipment aside, I've seen enough photojournalism (wartime in particular) from the past to know that the best of that period might be equaled today in a few rare cases, but not surpassed.

Agree....




  
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DocFrankenstein
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Jun 18, 2014 20:37 |  #12

sjones wrote in post #16980324 (external link)
Putting the issue of equipment aside, I've seen enough photojournalism (wartime in particular) from the past to know that the best of that period might be equaled today in a few rare cases, but not surpassed.

Yep... well put.


National Sarcasm Society. Like we need your support.

  
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EOS-Mike
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Jun 18, 2014 22:25 |  #13

My fifth and sixth grade teacher (same guy for two years) was in Viet Nam and used to show us slide shows, but I was too young to appreciate it. I sure wish I could go back and watch again.


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PH68
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Jun 19, 2014 05:30 |  #14

Why not just buy a 2nd-hand film SLR, a 50mm lens, and a couple of rolls of B&W film.

I've not loaded film in a camera for almost 10 years, so...
First task... lets see how fast you can unload & load film under pressure!


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Sibil
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Jun 19, 2014 06:45 |  #15

20droger wrote in post #16979860 (external link)
. Lucky for you, we did have in-camera metering.

I'd say you had good gear if you had that in the early 60s :)
Good post. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks.




  
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Good Old Days
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