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  • opinions?

    When doing digital retouching, are there any pros/cons, in working with a 1) original digital image, or 2) working with a scanned analog one? Does one or the other allow you more latitude?

  • #2
    if i'm understanding your question right, it would make no difference except for whatever difference there might be in the two image qualities to begin with... if all other things were equal.

    what i mean here is, 'an original digital' could be most anything, from a very bad picture to start with to something very good. the underlying 'framework' is digital, so the content might be nice or horrible.

    and a 'scanned analog' is now digital also. so, again, the underlying framework is digital now but the content might be very bad or very good.

    all the factors involved in getting each of those images are variables, the camera quality, the scanner quality, the ability of the photographer, and so on. each plays a part in the quality. if one is bad then your picture could end up being bad, regardless of being 'an original digital' or a 'scanned analog'.

    and if all you're asking is, which takes a better photo, a digital camera or an analog camera, that again would depend on the camera. a digital camera can now take images which are in the 10 or above megapixels. an analog can take one in the trillions of trillions, if you think of photons as pixels, but the human eye is only going to discern resolutions up to so far. so, at some point it's going to get moot.

    so, in doing retouching, it's the same thing. you've got X number of variables in the camera, who took it, how good is the scanner and so on and so forth. both images are digital (now that you've scanned the image) so the path as to how each arrived in your computer is the determining factor. you could take an image with a cheap pocket digital and have it come out better than an image taken with an expensive, analog Hasslebaad (sp?) if the scanner was a cheap, piece of junk. you see?



    • #3
      As Craig said above, plenty of factors to deal with.

      1. Photographer's skill - lighting done properly? For fashion/commercial, was there a good hair/makeup artist? Was the product properly cleaned? Etc.

      2. The medium, and how it is brought to the retoucher. If you're given a low res image, be it from a low res digital camera, or a lower quality scanner, you're already starting with image quality loss.

      Ideally, you want all the variables in your favor. But you can't control any of them.

      Being a commercial photographer myself, I do have a preference with working with digital files. The only reason being, I shoot in RAW, and therefore, can always get back contrast I've normally lost when/if somebody gives me an under or over exposed image. RAW allows you to do lots more.

      For example, if you're given a white shoe, on a white background, and the shoe was for whatever reason, overexposed, and you're given a tiff file, there's not much you can do to restore the exposure unless you start doing some heavy photoshoping, or redrawing.

      With RAW, you can underexpose it, gaining back a stop or 2 under. Awesome stuff. For this reason alone.... one can enjoy digital a little more. Sadly, you're rarely given RAW files to play with.

      My 2.5 cents.


      • #4
        I appreciate what has been said so far. I guess the point I was trying to get at, was given a point and shoot digital, and a traditional 35mm SLR, which would give you more latitude in retouching? I know there are a lot of variables in here, i.e. the photographers skill, the film, film size, and if digital whether it was a CCD or CMOS, the resolution, and so on.

        I guess the bottom line here is, if you were trying to set up a business of photographic restoration, would you have any preferences? If the customer came to you and said, I have a 35 mm negative and/or digital image of the same site, which would you prefer?


        • #5
          A photo restoration business would probably cater to "older" images, so you're likely to have less choices with regards to what clients bring. A Photo-retouching business would in my mind encompass both.... repairing old, fixing new.

          I would personally prefer digital images if they were from a higher end camera, or high quality scans. But will you really be given options from clients? I would ask the client for their best quality representation to reduce the amount of work I would need. "Bring me all you've got", and then you're job is to produce the best you can from what ya got


          • #6
            christo, ok, that clarifies things a bit better. and, for me, i'd prefer to work on analog prints...IF, and this is the BIG if, the scanner used to scan the print is of a good quality and generally wont pick up all the paper texture which then has to be edited out. so, that's a very qualified answer.

            and you can simplify this question by just asking, which do you prefer, good analog prints or good digital camera prints. because, if all other factors are even, that's really the only difference.

            therefore, i tend to prefer analog. i think digital is great but i dont think it's quite up to analog yet in film resolution and quality, especially if you're using the bigger format analogs.



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