Venue(s) for reasonable discussion

Discussion in '35mm Cameras' started by D L Singer, Aug 6, 2003.

  1. D L Singer

    D L Singer Guest

    I have a few basic (not uninformed, but basic) questions about
    photography and photo equipment that I would really like an
    opportunity to discuss. Is there a forum somewhere that I can do this
    without having my intelligence (or, frankly, my parentage) called into

    I have been searching through the posts trying to find answers, and
    much (certainly not all) of what I have found is dismissive animosity
    or shrill egotism. I know that for other interests there are places
    where informed discussion and debate are accompanied by tolerance and
    even kindness. Are there discussion groups for photography where that
    is true?

    I am an amateur. I don't have all that much money. I made the best
    choices I could when I bought my equipment and I enjoy the process of
    photography. I want to make that experience better without being told
    that I made all the wrong choices when buying and using my equipment.

    If someone could be so kind as to point me (and whoever may see this
    post) in the right direction, I sure would appreciate it. If you would
    like to email me back channel, please note this group in the subject
    so I don't erase it by mistake.

    Thanks a lot, in advance,

    D L S
    D L Singer, Aug 6, 2003
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  2. D L Singer

    Alan Browne Guest

    Do it right here. Most folks here are genuine and helpful. We are
    having a troll storm right now, but as usual it will blow over.

    You can also go to google groups under this NG and search for what you
    are looking for.

    Alan Browne, Aug 6, 2003
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  3. D L Singer

    Polytone Guest

    And you want your Mommie to hold your hand too?
    Polytone, Aug 6, 2003
  4. All I can tell you is, "develop some thicker skin, buddy".
    Post your questions here, we will do our best to answer them
    without insulting your intelligence, but if we do, curse us,
    put us in your killfile, have a drink and let go. Life is
    too short to be worrying about such things like electronic
    discussion group members' opinions about your intelligence.

    Victor Bazarov, Aug 6, 2003
  5. D L Singer

    Tony Spadaro Guest

    Tony Spadaro, Aug 7, 2003
  6. D L Singer wrote:


    I suspect you've little experience with the UseNet, else you wouldn't be
    asking for a "reasonable discussion" group in this venue. If that's so, 1)
    you've no reason not to feel appalled by what you find here, and 2) once
    you discover what's going on, you'll know how to proceed, I'm sure.

    If this is not the case, then skip to the last paragraph of this post.

    For all the people who are "computer literate" (ie, have one, know how to
    turn it on, have connectivity, do email and web surf, etc), there are still
    many more that are not. And at any given time, there's gotta be a lot of
    people in the process of transition. Very many people who discover the
    UseNet for the first time are often astonished by what they find. If this
    is the case for you, I sympathize, simply from the point of view of a
    fellow human being.

    That said, here's what's going on: The UseNet is one of the oldest network
    entities still extant. It started out decades ago as a "user network" of
    approximately the form of a bulletin board. The concept was taken up by
    most of the old Arpanet nodes (universities and such), and as the myriad of
    local networks began to be subsumed by the TCP/IP "internet", they
    established themselves as general network entities rather than local
    network setups.

    Originally, the UseNet was divided into a handful-plus of domains: Computers
    (comp.), science (sci.), recreation (rec.), social (soc.) (can't
    remember...) remain, and there are now others, the most notorious of which
    is the 'alternative (alt.)' domain. Domains were populated with
    'newsgroups'. This newsgroup is in the recreation domain. Now, the UseNet
    is a common Internet resource, carried by a myriad of servers.

    It's important to understand that the UseNet is, by default, unmoderated.
    Certain newsgroups are moderated, most are not. So, behavior in the
    unmoderated newsgroups is an interesting representation of controlled
    anarchy, and one gets to see a manifestsation of a great range of the
    'human condition', such as is freed of any enforceable social pressure. As
    such, the UseNet is probably a research resource of inestimable value to
    those who are interested in said human condition, but it's also a dangerous
    place for those whose well-being hinges on civility.

    Unlike physical reality, "cyber" reality allows one to escape the
    consequences of one's actions with virtual impunity. Identities are
    routinely forged for whatever purpose, and posting addresses can be spoofed
    with ridiculous ease. It is almost impossible to bring any given offender
    of civility to task, and only the government itself has the capability of
    doing so.

    All of which means that this venue is subject to the entire range of human
    behavior for good or ill, and very little can be done to ameliorate the
    fact. So, what usually happens is that readers and posters here develop a
    winnowing technology which allows them to avoid the dreck that shows up, at
    least to some extent. That dreck, which you obviously so regard, is here
    seen as noise, where the topical discussions are seen as information. This
    impersonalizes the phenomenon to some extent, and promotes a more healthy
    view of the activity here. Simply, pull the information out of the noise!

    Software will allow you to delete posts on the basis of poster or subject,
    such that they simply don't show up in your UseNet reader. The offending
    material is said to be sent to a "kill-file". Probably the easiest way of
    dealing with this material is to 1)ignore it, or 2) regard it as egregious
    entertainment. If 1) isn't feasible, 2) usually is. In any case, because
    the full range of humanity shows up here, you are well advised to expect
    the best as well as the worst. The UseNet is an astonishing source of
    information that is often quite thoroughly peer reviewed, very little that
    is challengeable goes unchallenged here. Ultimately, caveat emptor.

    If, however, you do have experience with the UseNet and therefore should
    know these things, please be advised that human verities thrive here as
    well. All posters are defined by their posts; do you wish to be defined as
    a whiner? I can tell you, it will detract from the efficacy of responses
    to serious inquiry, and even if you don't care about that, the chances are
    there will come a time when you will, at which point you will be served as
    you have sown.


    Bill Tallman
    William D. Tallman, Aug 7, 2003
  7. D L Singer

    Matt Clara Guest

    I've found that if a) you're not an antagonistic jackass yourself and b) you
    don't put forward uninformed opinions, then you won't be the subject of too
    much aggression. Sure, sometimes some asshole (Polytone) will still light
    into you, but then you just point out that they're lighting into you for no
    good reason and add them to your killfile. Try and remain above the board
    when doing so, and everyone can see that you're the better person for it.

    It's my belief that you won't find a more informative photography forum
    anywhere on usenet than this one.

    Matt Clara, Aug 7, 2003
  8. (D L Singer) wrote in

    Ask away. School is about to start soon, so the score or so of pre-
    pubescents who are taking such great advantage of the warm weather and free
    time to sit on their misshapen asses and giggle crookedly over inane posts,
    will soon be in the hands of teachers who spent their summers much the same
    way and couldn't care less about their ability to perform simple functions.
    This will come to their attention in a few years when they realize that
    fast food restaurants still require workers with the skill to not touch hot
    surfaces or some other super-developed intelligence.

    Meanwhile, simply ignore the rude responses you get. It's only typing
    (okay, in most cases, cut-n-pasting previous responses), and cannot harm
    you in any way. Even better, ignoring them takes away the only delight they
    can achieve from posting in the first place. (Note to others: This is
    what's known as a BROAD HINT. Trolls eat everything).

    As for other forums, such as moderated ones? I've never seen a decent
    one myself, but you might try I prefer the active forums since
    it gives a variety of experiences, and not just the answer from the one
    person paying attention that week.

    - Al.
    Al Denelsbeck, Aug 7, 2003
  9. What if you could do far better? Would it bother you one way or the
    other? It is often possible to buy older equipment used that was VERY
    expensive when new that actually would be superior in image quality to
    what you can buy new for the same price. I'm thinking primarily, but
    not exclusively, of Leicaflex cameras and lenses from the 1970's, such
    as the Leicaflex SL and Leica R3. Some of these are available at quite
    reasonable prices, and will still blow the hinges off the latest
    Pentax or Minolta lenses.

    What do you want to accomplish with your photography? What are your
    'basic questions'? A lot of people get started on something and never
    get really good at it because of a lack of proper critical feedback.

    Sure, you will find differences of opinion here. But my #1 rule is
    'don't be cheap', either with your time or your money. Life is short.
    Why putz around with half-measures and half-quality when you can learn
    to do things the right way.

    So, if we say don't try to stint on your safelight, we're not
    insulting you. It's better in the long run for you to have the proper
    equipment. The best way to approach this is NOT to say "I want to set
    up a darkroom, but I have no money for an enlarger or chemicals and
    paper. Suggestions, please." There's no way we can help you. There are
    certain costs associated with this hobby, and it's not the cheapest
    one, though certainly not the most expensive. Sure, you can derive a
    certain amount of pleasure from even an elementary experience in a
    darkroom, but soon you'll want better and better, and you'll be
    stymied with inferior stuff.
    Michael Scarpitti, Aug 7, 2003
  10. D L Singer

    D L Singer Guest

    No, but you can hold my d....

    never mind, this is exactly why I am looking for some other
    photography discussion area...
    D L Singer, Aug 7, 2003
  11. D L Singer

    Polytone Guest is moderated.

    Polytone, Aug 7, 2003
  12. Michael Scarpitti wrote:


    While I seem to regularly rebut Mr. Scarpitti, in this, he is correct.

    Without undue comment or description, I will assert that my choice to be
    "responsible" (parsimonious) in funding my gear has turned out to have been
    the major cause of my having given it over for the last few decades.

    I have determined to afford what I require, even though I'm not much more
    financially replete than I was then. I've acquired a decent EOS system,
    which, with one exception, was "preowned"... <grin>. I don't pretend that
    it is the finest gear available, but is the most likely choice to support
    the addition of a digital SLR of acceptable quality in the near future.
    But I'm still open to getting that one great shooter that blows the doors
    off everything else in terms of optical quality, even if it decades old and
    even if I only get just a standard lens. Because I now know what a
    difference it can make.

    Am I a compulsive/obsessive perfectionist? Nope. I had the "misfortune" to
    discover just what could be done, and now I'll not be completely satisfied
    with anything less, even though I may never meet my own expectations. It's
    when you stop being critical of your own work that you find yourself
    satisfied with the quality of your gear, I think.

    After all, the photography that makes the "it's real!!" grade is done with
    large format, and that means that 35mm will always fall short in that
    regard. Perhaps Leitz or Zeiss optics make a fair approach, though. If it
    might make a difference, you only thwart yourself if you don't find out.

    You want to improve? Don't predecide how that will be implemented. If you
    knew the answer to that, wouldn't you have already done so?

    Bill Tallman
    William D. Tallman, Aug 7, 2003
  13. D L Singer

    D L Singer Guest

    I'm not new to usenet, which is why I asked the question. There are
    many people who like the way of the give-and-take on usenet, and I am
    not really one one of them. As I mentioned, I was really just trying
    to find another photo group. I thought that a clear explaination of
    what I was asking/expecting was called for, perhaps a simple "are
    there any other photo groups out there that aren't usenet?" would have
    done the trick.

    In any event, it has been suggested that I try my questions out here
    and see what happens...

    These were some of the basic photo questions that I had. I am sure
    that they have been discussed before, but the Google search is either
    too broad or too common to ferret them out.

    Thanks a lot for all the help,

    D L S

    1) C-41 process – if all I care about (really) are the negs, how can I
    tell a good c-41 from a bad one? Are there any one hour places that do
    good C-41 (if there is a difference)? I usually don't expect more than
    3-4 decent (let alone striking) photos on a role – I can scan negs or
    get prints made at a pro place for the few shots that come out really

    2) Using a fill flash outdoors – My camera (n80) only had a 1/125th
    sync, most of the time I use low speed film (160 prints, 64 or 100
    slide), even so I can sometimes (rarely, but annoying) get over
    exposed backgrounds on bright days. Closing the aperture seems to do
    the trick (exposure-wise), but it also messes with the DOF bringing
    more stuff into the foreground. Is this the point where I need to
    learn about pushing/pulling? Is there a good resource on that?

    3) I am a bit confused by the Kodachrome thing - from what I can tell
    Kodachrome "pro" (which is easily twice as much money) is not very
    different from regular Kodachrome – B&H phone rep tried to explain
    this to me – concluding with saying that very few people need the pro.
    I like Kodachrome a lot, but I am a certainly not a pro. When would
    one like me ever need "pro"? What other films does this sort of
    dichotomy apply to?

    4) This may sound odd – modern AF cameras (the N80 is my first) don't
    appear to have anything to assist the photographer is manual focusing
    – no focusing screen or what-have-you. Am I missing it? Any hints on
    manual focusing without a focus screen?

    5) The other camera I have, passed down from my dad, is an Alpa 11e
    with 3 lenses (inc the 1.9 macro switar which I am a huge fan of – I
    learned photography on this camera and yashicamat-124, I never had a
    K-1000 phase). The 11e currently at Heitz camera being operated on and
    I am looking forward to its return. Traditionally I have tended use an
    external light meter. It's not an expensive one, it seems to basically
    be a photo-voltaic cell and a slide rule – but it's good enough for
    me. I bracketed all my exposures because, pre repair, the Alpa's
    shutter wasn't 100% accurate. When all is functioning properly on the
    camera, I can start thinking about metering and composition beyond the
    basics. What would be a good place to start? Keeping a notebook with
    apertures and shutter speeds for each shot? Experimenting with
    something like a still life (stable, steady lighting, lots of
    contours, shoot a bunch of shots with all possible settings)?
    D L Singer, Aug 7, 2003
  14. Sharpness and contrast are the main give-aways. If the frame looks
    flat, it's probably a bit underexposed (if developed correctly). If
    you know there were different colours in the scene, you probably want
    to see different colours (and not only orange) in the negative as
    well. Ask a technician in a pro lab (I don't recommend talking to,
    or using services of, one-hour place people), ask him/her to suggest
    you the best and the worst negatives on a roll, compare them yourself.

    Generally, it's really not possible to tell a better negative out of two
    good ones without printing (or scanning). So, the first thing I do when
    I get a C-41 roll developed is scanning all of it at a lower resolution.
    I don't know of any.
    The worst thing is to get a scratch right through those 3-4 otherwise
    decent shots. That's why I don't use 1-hour places.
    ...or find a higher-synching body or use a lower sensitivity film. is a good resource for any photographic knowledge.
    Sorry, I know nothing about Kodachrome.
    Well, since the viewfinders are [usually] small, they are probably
    not designed to be used for manual focussing, only for correcting
    focus a bit and mainly for composing the shot. When I started using
    manual focussing on my Elan IIe (comparable to your N80 in features
    and overall "level"), I discovered that the focussing screen wasn't
    installed at the right depth. Luckily, it was adjustable, and the
    repair shop I came to provided the adjustment while I was the one
    to tell them where to adjust.

    The AF sensors do the job perfectly, by the way, if you know where
    to point the camera :). So, now my shooting routine is (a) Look,
    (b) Frame, (c) Lock the exposure, (d) Move the view to align one of
    the focussing sensors with what I want, (e) Look at it causing the
    eye-control focus to acquire the point, (f) Depress the shutter to
    focus, (g) Return back to the intended composition, (g) Check
    everything, (h) Trip the shutter.

    If your camera has interchangeable screens, look for a split-image
    one or for a microprism one. Those are much better than the stock
    matte screens usually installed.
    Reading about Zone system might not be a bad idea. No, you don't
    have to use the Zone system. But it will give you more understanding
    of what to meter for and why.
    That's possible. I used a small tape recorder. Easier than notes.
    That would be good too. OTOH, how would it help you learn, say,
    street photography, or landscape, or architecture with all kinds
    of strange light sources over which you have no control?

    I'd say, try concentrating on seeing the image instead of seeing
    the scene. Imagine what it would look like after it's printed
    and framed. Look through the viewfinder with this in mind: what
    do I keep and what do I crop? Metering is secondary, and frankly
    speaking, you can almost always correct it during printing, while
    composing is more difficult to correct.

    Victor Bazarov, Aug 7, 2003
  15. Shoot Kodachrome and forget about negs.
    Pushing and pulling are not in any way related to flash synch speeds.

    Kodachrome Pro has a different 'aim point', which means it's ready
    right off the production line. Amateur Kodachrome needs a few moths of
    ageing to look good.
    I love PKR. Nothing else comes close.

    Use a manual focus camera. The N80 must be crap.

    The Alpa was one of the best 35mm cameras ever built. Savor it!
    Michael Scarpitti, Aug 8, 2003
  16. (D L Singer) wrote in

    Biggest issues I've seen with process-only have been with scratches
    (and occasional fingerprints), and with the emulsion degrading after only a
    few years.

    For the first, it's pretty easy to hang around briefly and see how
    the strips are being handled, whether the techs wear gloves, et cetera.
    Most one-hour labs that I've seen place no emphasis on this anymore.

    The second is a lot harder. I suspect it's either from not
    replenishing the chemicals often enough, or from using a fixer without a
    (adequate) hardener. Since only a few of my negatives started a serious
    emulsion breakdown, and this happened a few years after processing, it was
    impossible to track. However, I cared enough about them at that point to
    stay with a high-volume pro lab. For process only, the cost difference is
    usually insignificant.

    The issues isn't so much film speed, it's metering area. If you're
    aiming for your main subject, which is a few stops lower than the
    background sky, the exposure aims for this and the flash is calculated for
    it - the sky becomes ignored, and simply is too bright for the other
    settings. I'm not exactly sure how the N80 works, but the goal is to expose
    more for the sky (not directly off the sky, since it should be about a stop
    brighter than midpoint), and let the flash crank the light output to fill-
    in your subject. Keeping the difference between subject and background
    light levels to a minimum will help. Otherwise the flash becomes the main
    light for your subject and takes away the subtle fill effect you might be

    I took a quick look at the specs on the N80, trying to determine how
    it works in manual focus, but it's unclear. It has focus confirmation,
    which means it will tell you when the selected focus point has locked in,
    but I don't know if this still continues to operate in MF. It certainly

    The other option, usable only with zoom lenses and, moreover, the
    constant-focus variety, is to zoom in tight, get your focus where you want
    it, then zoom back out. If the zoom lens is not a constant-focus type, the
    act of zooming requires refocusing, so there's obvious problems here. Ditto
    for trying this at the longest focal length, or for non-zooms.

    Basically, becoming familiar with *exactly* how the metering system
    works for whatever camera you have will probably serve you best. The N80
    has a spot-meter, so you can start learning about the Zone System (do a
    websearch) and play around with how that works. The matrix metering system
    generally works pretty well from all I've heard, but it can be fooled.
    Learning exactly how it can be fooled is a time-consuming process, so
    you'll probably learn faster by knowing how it works in the first place.

    Good luck!

    - Al.
    Al Denelsbeck, Aug 8, 2003
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