Thread: Fwiw
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Old 06-22-2011, 04:48 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by JRMDC View Post
Charles, I do think there is a difference on RP between mid 1960s and 1980 in terms of acceptable image quality. No way, in my experience/recollection, the Flanary shot gets on if 1980, and if a caboose in a generic setting.
Sure. It's a technology issue. Not a railfan issue.

What happened between the 60s and the 80s was the rise of the consumer grade 35mm SLR, so there is more 80s material out there in the world to choose from than the 60s. Few railfans had cameras well suited for the job in the 60s. Built-in light meter? Nope. You used the guide that came in the film box or purchased a hand held light meter. Focus? You guessed at the distance and set it. Framing the shot? You had to hope your view finder was close. Shutter speed? You were lucky if your camera went to 1/250th. Automatic film winder? You had to turn a knob and watch for a number in a little, red window. Ever wonder why there are so many roster shots and so few line of road shots from the 50s and 60s?

What didn't change much in that period was film quality. Ektachrome X and Ektachrome 64...pretty much the same stuff....and pretty slow for railfanning, particularly if you were using a telephoto lens. The 120 and 200 speed Ektachrome helped a bit, were really quite a bit more grainy. (and, boy, does it scan lousy...)

So, what you had at the end of the day were shots with insufficient depth of field, slightly out of focus, motion blurred (camera and/or subject) or underexposed - all compromises you had to make on the fly in order to come away with anything at all, many times. While there are many more shots from the 80s out there in the world, many of them are slightly flawed one way or another. (some are A LOT flawed....) But, many of them were suitable for sharing at informal slide shows and were part of the narrative that went along with them.

I have no doubt nearly everything I scan and process couldn't be tweaked this way or that to improve it a bit. That's not what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to share interesting (to me) stuff that I have in my collection that might be of interest to others. RP is a good place to do this, but if they don't pass muster, so be it. I have others. I'll move on.

No apologies for the caboose shot. Anyone born after 1980 would only have a hazy memory of mainline cabooses. For an EL fan born before 1980, a ex-PRR Conrail caboose on the Erie mainline is likely to evoke some emotion....
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