Am I wrong?

Discussion in 'Open Discussion' started by Phil66, Apr 21, 2012.

  1. Phil66

    Phil66 Mu-43 Regular

    Dec 27, 2011
    Am I wrong in thinking that photography should reproduce what the eye sees????

    I don't want to have to post process, I want my camera to reproduce what I see.

  2. thearne3

    thearne3 Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Jan 28, 2010
    Redding, CT USA
    If we could agree on what 'the eye sees' means, we'd have a start...

    What we see varies continuously as our attention changes. If I'm looking at a dark area, my pupils dilate and my mind ignores the fact that other things are now overexposed - and visa-versa. So the first refinement might be 'what I see through the viewfinder'. Now at least there's some consistency, but accuracy is still a question - especially with an EVF or LCD rather than SLR-style OVF.

    If photography were simple recording of our world maybe we could stop here. But photography is also an art, ie, images are intended to convey meaning. This opens the door to post processing interpretation, eg, black and white or enhanced colors or high contrast, etc. Ansel Adams produced striking images that were clearly NOT just what the eye sees.

    In short, I believe you have unnecessarily limited the medium.

    (I have taken liberties with your question...maybe you were looking for a technical answer?)
    • Like Like x 2
  3. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    The human eye can shift focus, white balance, and even perspective to some extent in an instant. It takes in and processes so much more than a camera with a single lens can. When we take a photograph, or goal is to capture and portray just one of those tiny instances in time.
    • Like Like x 2
  4. dhazeghi

    dhazeghi Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2010
    San Jose, CA
    Real Name:
    Photography is am artform. That means you can make of it what you like.

    Some take a more artistic approach which means more work shaping the output to match their vision of the scene. Others aim for a more documentary style where they aim to keep the results as close to the original scene as possible. The choice is yours.

    Realistically reproducing what the eye has seen is a tricky problem, and few cameras are capable of doing so under all circumstances. Moreover, the output of most cameras tends to be tuned to be 'pleasing', sometimes at the expense of being realistic. Olympus for instance is well know for producing beautifully saturated blue skies - even though the actual color of the sky is typically more muted.

    Moral of the story - even if you're going for realism, postprocessing may be necessary.

  5. phigmov

    phigmov Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Apr 4, 2010
    And of course if you're Oliver Sacks what you see cannot be easily re-produced by a camera without some serious post-processing.

    That aside, Having the ability to reproduce exactly what you see and finding it pleasing does of course fall firmly into the IMHO category. Plenty of great photos (like a lot of art) are mere representations, filtered through the photographers eye and processing technique, of reality.
  6. tdekany

    tdekany Mu-43 All-Pro

    Dec 8, 2011
    Sunrise and sunset will be your best bet. Follow the basic rules and you will be happy with your pictures (you should be) I know I am. All of my pictures are just JPEGS. Some don't come out good, those get deleted.

    What settings are you using? How is the weather?
    • Like Like x 1
  7. Luckypenguin

    Luckypenguin .

    Oct 9, 2010
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    No, you aren't wrong, but then neither is someone who does believe in post processing.
    • Like Like x 4
  8. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
    It was easier to understand during the film days, because back then your choices were either to develop and print yourself, or to hand it off to some guys that would do it for you. Postprocessing is still occurring whether you shoot JPEG or use your computer. These choices are still being made; only the difference is that you're handing off those choices to someone else, which in our case with digital photos is the group of engineers that designed the set of instructions for the image processor. Some group of guys in Japan don't know that right now, in this shot of my girlfriend reading or my cats playing, what contrast or brightness I need. They don't know that the stack of red-cover books is throwing the color off; they just programmed the camera to work best for most people in most situations. And last, they don't know whether I'm going to print that image onto a 5x7" piece of photo paper using my Epson printer.

    For a photograph, you are recording an image onto the sensor, and then outputting that image onto a medium, be it your iphone screen or a matte 13x17" print. Only you know all the details of that workflow, and you can optimize them to best suit your needs. Since decisions are being made either way, they might as well be conscious decisions.
    • Like Like x 1
  9. starlabs

    starlabs Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Sep 30, 2010
    Los Angeles
    That may be your opinion, and that's cool.

    However, does that mean that every black and white photo is invalid then? Cause I'm sure my eyes see in color...

    To each his own. You may post-process 0% to 110% - since it's your photo, do whatever you want with it!
    • Like Like x 2
  10. Pim

    Pim Mu-43 Regular

    Totally agree, for me all that counts is creating an image that I (!) like, and sometimes that can be one that looks as real as possible (with little or no post processing) but more often than not I prefer to tweak it in PP... To each his own indeed!
  11. jim_khoo

    jim_khoo Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 9, 2010
    Kuala Lumpur
    no, you are not wrong.
    in fact the images capture by the camera are exactly what you see except for the FOV and DOF.

    if you are not picky, you do not need to post process.

  12. MizOre

    MizOre Mu-43 Veteran

    Dec 26, 2011
    The neuroanatomy of seeing is quite complex, and no, we don't see the same way a camera does. We take clues from the visual system and chunk in things we expect to be out there.

    There's an experiment on film out there where you're asked to count times something happens. A man in a gorilla suit walks through the scene and most people simply don't see him, at least not the first time.

    This is why what you think you photographed turned out to have things in the scene you hadn't realized were there when you took the picture, like a telephone pole sprouting off the top of someone's head.

    If humans don't see what they imagine they see, then why should a camera?
  13. Ned

    Ned Mu-43 Legend

    Jul 18, 2010
    Alberta, Canada
    What I see from my eyes varies all the time depending on so many factors. For instance, a woman may appear angelically soft and glowy one minute, as if she's exhibiting spherical aberration from an ultra-wide aperture, but get her mad and her eyes will turn dark and her skin turns red, as if she's been put under a snoot and colored gels.

    Photographic techniques are only there to mimic these effects we see in real life.
  14. Hikari

    Hikari Mu-43 All-Pro

    Nov 26, 2010
    That will be impossible. The best is to understand how your camera sees and then use it to bring out the best of your subject.
    • Like Like x 1
  15. blaffendespin

    blaffendespin Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 28, 2012
    Rexburg, ID
    Lol...this video is awesome! Here's the link because I think everyone should see it. It's called "Test Your Awareness: Do the Test."

    And I have to agree that the optics in a camera are so incredibly different than the optics in our eyes. I doubt we will see anything that complex in the near future.

    [ame=]Test Your Awareness: Do The Test - YouTube[/ame]
    • Like Like x 1
  16. speltrong

    speltrong Mu-43 Veteran

    May 8, 2011
    Northern California
    I'm a big fan of post processing. I don't want the camera to just capture what I see - that's boring for the most part. I want it to capture what I find interesting and allow me to call parts of it out, focus, obscure, distort and all the other great things that lenses and PP software allow me to do.

    That being said, Instagram still sucks!
  17. shnitz

    shnitz Mu-43 Top Veteran

    Aug 25, 2011
    Austin, TX
  18. Lawrence A.

    Lawrence A. Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 14, 2012
    New Mexico
    Real Name:
    Cameras have never reproduced what we see. Film depended on a good deal of chemical processes and human judgement in printing, even in machine printing. The contrast of color paper emulsions was determined by manufacturers, by larege scale averages, not by what anyone really "saw". Lenses have perspective characteristics that our eyes do not have.
    Emulsions and sensors have color characteristics that do not match nature precisely. The reflective scale is seriously compressed. Photographers have long used all these departures from "what I see" to impress a personal view of the world upon their work. The recording medium, film or sensor, provides nothing but raw information. True, jpegs have been processed in camera, like machine prints used to be, according to large averages and manufacturer's imaging philosophy.

    The light caught on the photosensitive medium has always and still has to be manipulated to become a "picture". The question today is how much you want to trust the machine you are using to shoot and how much you want to do yourself. There is no one answer, and all answers to the question are legitimate. BUT if you are hoping to hang your images in public or sell them, or to produce a body of work that is meaningful outside the family, depending on the camera will get you no further today than it ever did.
  19. Bill

    Bill Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 15, 2009
    Brisbane, Australia
    Real Name:
    Bill (really)

    • Like Like x 3
  20. fredlong

    fredlong Just this guy...

    Apr 18, 2011
    Massachusetts USA
    Real Name:
    Yes, you're wrong that photography should reproduce what the eye sees. It may reproduce what the eye sees. Quite often post processing is needed to create this reproduction. Maybe we'll someday have the technology recreate a view without any additional work beyond the capture. We don't today.

    Sometimes what I see isn't what my eye sees. So how can I get you to see what I see? This is where all the technique we learn comes into play. Some technique is used at the time of the capture. Composition, finding just the angle, what's in the frame what's not, is the light right?, can I fix it?

    Then there's getting that image out of the camera and onto a piece of paper or an electronic display of some sort. I may be able to just print it, more often it needs some more work. And so it goes.

    You don't have to post process, but you don't always get what you want.