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John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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Analog Cameras??


Just noted that something called "analog cameras" in the Buying Gear Section of Q&A. Now, in the Dark Ages when I studied process control, the word "analog" really had some relationship to control. But, I'm having difficulty understanding the use of the word with obvious relation to tradition/film cameras.

Thoughts, anyone?


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6/28/2005 7:24:38 AM

 
Kay Beausoleil
BetterPhoto Member Since: 5/31/2004
KayBeausoleilPhotography.com
  John, analog guitars and analog watches don't make sense to me either. Having surrendered to the illogical, I now take the expression to mean Something that doesn't come with a 150 page manual as opposed to the New Thing which does.

But a manual camera (like the Nikon FM2) would be analog compared to the more automatic F4. But since the F4 isn't digital, does it now become analog?

Why not just keep the simple distinction of film and digital equipment?


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6/28/2005 9:26:53 AM

 
Christopher A. Vedros
BetterPhoto Member Since: 3/14/2005
  I've seen many cases where people use the term analog for anything that is not digital. Sometimes it makes sense, sometimes not.

I prefer to call a film camera a film camera.


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6/28/2005 10:56:27 AM

 
Bob Fately   Well, analog isn't all that bad a term, actually.

An analog watch is called that because you tell the time based on where the hands are on the face. When the big hand is on the three and the little hand is a bit to the left of the 6 you know it's 6:15; the hand positions are analogous to what time it is. Get it? With a digital timepiece, nothing moves, per se - the number (digits) you read changes as time passes. In a similar way, a digital dashboard displays a numerical representation of your speed, whereas an analog dash has a needle that moves to indicate your speed. You might note that car manufacturers have generally moved away from digital and back to analog speedometers - this is because the human animal can identify much more quickly the analog readout (where it's a visceral matter of where the needle is) than the digital (where you have to first read, then interpret what you read).

I never heard the phrase analog guitar, though in a stretch I guess the argument could be made that where your fingers are on the neck and what strings they are holding down is analogous to the notes that play.

You can see where this is going. In the world of photography, the final image you see on paper (the photograph) is analogous to the image that was recorded on some physical piece of film. You can hold a slide, or even a negative, up to the light and at least get a sense if this is a picture of Aunt Martha or the family car (one hopes).

However, if you were to look at the file produced by a digital camera, you would see a bunch of numbers. I daresay you would not be able to tell from that bunch of numbers if that's Auntie or the Studebaker. Everything is encoded numerically - thus the term digital.

Likewise digital music recording - your MP3 file is a string of numbers, while the LPs rotting in your attic have grooves that, under a microscope, could be seen to have undulations analogous to the tones emitted by the machinery that plays them. No power of microscope viewing an MP3 file can give you a hint as to what the music in the recording is.


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7/19/2005 3:21:08 PM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  The way I see it is that Analog is real, digital is a computerized interpretation of that reality.
(OK guys, now tear me apart.) ;)


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7/19/2005 5:16:15 PM

 
John P. Sandstedt
BetterPhoto Member Since: 8/8/2001
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  Bob -

Hello???


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7/19/2005 5:17:58 PM

 
Bob Fately   John S - to which Bob are you addressing your one-word query?

And Bob C - regardless of the way you see it, digital refers to any method (computerized or not) wherein the "real world" phenomenon is recorded as a string of numbers (i.e. - digits). Computers simply make the process of converting and translating strings of numbers into human-perceivable output (music, images, etc.) easier. A photograph made with film and paper is also an interpretation of reality - just an analog version.


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7/19/2005 10:07:20 PM

 
Kerry L. Walker   "I prefer to call a film camera a film camera. "


I prefer to call it a real camera. LOL


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7/20/2005 6:56:56 AM

 
Bob Cammarata
BetterPhoto Member Since: 7/17/2003
  My comment was meant as a light-hearted attempt to get a few digital photographers to get their hackles raised. ;)
Of course I know that film and digital both interpret reality in their own ways.

Honestly, I had never heard of film cameras being referred to as "analog".
Music recordings...certainly, but not cameras.
I did a quick Google search and it seems like they refer to those surveillance cameras used for security purposes as "analog cameras".
(...Go figure) ?

Bob


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7/20/2005 5:01:41 PM

 
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