Editing these old Nikon D70 files makes me a lot less cocky about saying that cameras don’t matter. Grudgingly I have to admit that the newer cameras are better, especially when pushed with harsher light and extreme conditions. The old files degrade more and not very nicely.
I wonder if we’ll say the same about our D800 files in 2022?
The older cameras had pretty mediocre auto-focusing too, although my skills at focusing and post-processing have improved since then so it’s inaccurate to blame the camera when it’s probably more operator error than anything else.
All this causes me to think that standards were quite a bit lower for most film photography back in the day. Now we can zoom in and look close to find the flaws in our lenses and focusing… compared to making a darkroom print where you tend to look at the entire image holistically rather than focusing on isolated details….
Also, I have a variety of old files from the 90s, including drum scans from commercial printers, Scitex flatbeds, some of the first Leaf, Nikon, and Imacon scans, etc. and while some are very good quality, most of them are atrocious files because they were edited in 8-bit and their histograms are all chopped up. Once I got a 16-bit workflow, my Leaf scanner did pretty well but all things considered, I’d rather just have a good RAW file from a more modern digital camera (D300 or later).
Where I am going with this is that more than before, I am appreciating our current “state-of-the-art” digital photography workflow, even if the camera companies don’t listen to photographers and Adobe is giving us the shaft over Photoshop… in spite of all that, things work really well!