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According to David Bailey digital cameras are all the same?

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Posted 08-05-14 at 05:40 PM by Ian

Bailey on the left and me on the right (June 2009).

This week I have been listening to some previously broadcast BBC interviews with the legendary photographer, David Bailey. You can find the programmes on the BBC Website (it's possible this page is only accessible from within the UK).

The two programs are quite interesting and provide a very relaxed insight into Bailey's persona. But I was a bit surprised at one comment he made, inferring that all digital camera are the 'same'. This was in relation to his feeling that his film cameras (both plate cameras and, especially, his Rollei twin lens reflexes) had distinctive personalities.

I certainly agree that cameras have what can be described as personalities and this can dictate how a picture is visualised and captured. But why does Bailey feel that all digital cameras are basically devoid of personality? As someone who has represented both Olympus and, more recently Samsung, in the marketing of their digital cameras, this comment is all the more puzzling.

What do you think, is Bailey right?
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Total Comments 3


  1. Old Comment
    Kurt's Avatar
    He doesn't think composition is important either, although he would move a tad to the left or right to make a picture look better? Enough said.
    Posted 08-05-14 at 11:47 PM by Kurt Kurt is offline
  2. Old Comment
    I would imagine he's been using those film cameras for a very long time and has bonded with them. Conversely, he probably gets all sorts of digital cameras thrust into his hands to try and never gets the chance to settle on one particular model.

    Also, using a manual only camera is a far more intimate and intense experience involving setting the shuter speed and aperture by hand (from the readings of a seperate light meter), focusing manually, even winding on the film or replacing the plate is done by hand. With a DSLR all that can be accomplished with a single press of the shutter button. Digital cameras are very effective tools, but they lack soul.
    Posted 09-05-14 at 01:41 AM by John Perriment John Perriment is offline
    Updated 09-05-14 at 09:29 AM by John Perriment
  3. Old Comment
    Ian's Avatar
    Kurt - that comment about composition did make me smile! John - yes a manual camera forces you to use it in a particular way, but you can use digital cameras in manual mode too
    Posted 09-05-14 at 11:29 AM by Ian Ian is offline

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