"This is the same problem I have with digital photography. The potential is always remarkable. But the medium never settles. Each year there is a better camera to buy and new software to download. The user never has time to become comfortable with the tool. Consequently too much of the work is merely about the technology. The HDR and QTVR fads are good examples. Instead of focusing on the subject, users obsess over RAW conversion, Photoshop plug-ins, and on and on. For good work to develop the technology needs to become as stable and functional as a typewriter." -Alec Soth
I recently followed a link to a "Flickr alternative," the photographs were handsomely displayed, each flawlessly reproduced, brilliantly colorful and as sharp as one could ever possibly hope for... after a dozen or so, I was ready to barf. That's one of the things that turn me off about digital- a lot of the images are just too technically perfect, too precise, great when the images are outstanding, grandiose and overbearing when they are simply... routine. Being able to see every pore in a mediocre portrait neither betters the picture, nor enhances the experience- and I'm not even talking HDR. If anything proves, "Beware what you wish for," it's the very quality now available with digital. Unknowingly, I was as much attracted to the subtle flaws and limitations of film, as the quality I always struggled to attain from that fragile, stamp sized 35mm rectangle.
Make no doubt, there are times I do envy the flexibility, and quality, digital now offers. And someday I'll probably take the plunge- if only so I don't have to deal with the butt breaking inconvenience of digitizing silver negs into an exhibition quality file (no, you're not getting me in no darkroom ever again unless someone is crazy enough to pay me). Still, I remain in no rush mode.
Someday, my digital camera will probably come to be- and I'll know it when I see it. They're getting closer ever day. Love that Fujifilm x100, it has the tactile, classic good looks and handling I desire, but it doesn't go wide enough for me; and even though its bigger brother has a real wide angle zoom, I really prefer smaller primes. Few, if any, mirrorless cameras have real WA primes yet; I could settle for a 28mm equivalent lens- but only on a 3:4 ratio sensor, as opposed to 2:3. Yeah, I'm talking my needs- not yours. And though anything's possible, I really don't see one of those bulbous DSLR's in my future- unless, of course, someone has the design smarts to strip one down into an elegant, compact, FF package (that's a wait).
The other thing that still gives me pause about digital- the way it looks in B&W, what I primarily shoot. It's most definitely grainless (good, right?), but it also has an "artificial," sanitized look that seems to lack "depth" and often leaves me cold. I guess that's what a Tri-X "filter" is for- how genuine and original is that? Anyway, the day will probably come, and I can most definitely wait...