Alley in Pisa, Italy

by Lars Kotthoff

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Questions about the history of photography, including why things are the way they are today.

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49
votes
3answers
3k views

What historic reasons are there for common aspect ratios?

The most common width to height ratio rates in the "old good" paper photography seems to be 3:2, which was adopted by today's DSLRs. Early (non-professional) digital cameras adopted 4:3 aspect ratio, ...
12
votes
4answers
2k views

Where does the ¹/shutter speed = focal length rule for hand shake come from?

The generally accepted rule of thumb is that the shutter speed must be the same or larger than the inverse of the focal length. As is, it seems that it makes no sense as is: On a 24 Mpixels ...
17
votes
3answers
2k views

What makes this Eggleston picture great?

What makes this Eggleston picture great? I'm being a little provocative here, I actually like the picture, but... It is just a rusty toy; you can find one like it almost everywhere. Ok, the ...
14
votes
6answers
3k views

What, if anything, does “RAW” stand for?

I understand that RAW files contain data straight from the sensor, that they're used as input to the production process that results in a final image, and that RAW isn't really one format but a ...
4
votes
1answer
211 views

Who is the (contemporary) photographer using an old bellow camera?

I have read about a photographer (possibly working for/collaborating with the National Geographic society) who was using (not uniquely, of course) an old style bellow camera for his shoots. He went on ...
8
votes
5answers
1k views

Why are Canon and Nikon the biggest camera manufacturers?

Coming in new to the whole SLR world, I am yet to find a conclusive answer to a question that's been bothering me: why are Canon and Nikon the big two? My wife has gone down the Sony route because ...
20
votes
1answer
602 views

Which is “the most memorable, mind-changing photograph of all time” that Galen Rowell talks about?

Galen Rowell in one of his books talks about the "The most memorable, mind-changing photograph of all time. A color landscape shot taken without a tripod by an amateur". Does anyone have a link to a ...
5
votes
1answer
158 views

Did film photography have lens correction counterparts?

Were there ever any tools to correct for lens distortion in the film-only era? I'm thinking a device that contained a lens system that you could alter, or a soft workable lens that you could fine ...