It’s a digital world after all

Ann McMaster’s Christmas Cactus blossom shot October 8, 2006 with a Sony F828

Toronto. When did you last shoot film? I remember when I did. It was during a month long trip out west with my daughter the summer of 2002 – 15 years ago. I was all for taking my digital camera and using the trip as an excuse to buy more digital memory cards.

My daughter insisted that I bring my Leica M4 instead. My Gossen meter batteries were dead and no longer sold (mercury cells). The alternative with a zener diode voltage clamping circuit was available only as a special order custom built device the size of the original two mercury cells.

There were alkaline cells available but they had a slightly higher shelf voltage and did not hold the voltage over most of their life like the old mercury cells. However, my daughter had a Canon AE-1 with a built-in meter so I could calibrate my alkaline equipped Gossen meter as needed. ASA800 colour negative film gave me a bit of leeway, necessary since  no shots would be processed until we arrived back home.

In the fall of 2006 a friend, Ann McMaster, was moving from a house to a condo and donated some of her flowers – house and garden – to my wife. On October 8th of that year, I photographed the glorious blossoms of Ann’s Christmas Cactus with my Sony F828 using the built-in flash to isolate the blossom from the room. The blossom was mostly white but added the usual puplish-pinkish trim the following year. Eleven years later, the shot became the wall paper on my 2017 model 27 inch iMac with its 5K retina screen (5120 x 2880 pixels). The massive added pixels meant modest upscaling of the Cactus Jpeg photograph from my F828. The result as you see here is simply gorgeous!

As much as I liked, developed, and printed film – both black and white and colour – the digital cameras and computer image processing are just so much faster and sharper that the film cameras have been left on the shelf as collectibles. The massive Zeiss zoom on the F828 makes beautiful jpeg images. It is still my backup camera, but the buffers are far too slow to make raw shots practical as they are on my regular camera, a Sony NEX-6.

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