woman coming from the market in Suchitoto El Salvador with a chicken in here hands
Just like as before digital technology, this question is impossible to answer. In the oldies one would base its development of black and white film on several facts. The type of film, iso speed of the film contrast of the subject captured and desired effect. To this all, one would then add the dilution of the developer and also the performance of accurate agitation and top it with the heat of the developer and the accurate to the second timing. All this came down to some desire effect , weather it was contrast, finer grain or what one was after.
If you where shooting 35mm film you would develop generally and then try to compensate in the enlargement by using graded paper and couple of filters. Sheet film you could develop to its nearest perfection. Today one has to think on similar notes when developing raw files. Lot of the handwork and critical things are out of the equation. But in stead we have other things to think about and lots of sliders, histograms, color informations and god knows what in those software to bother us.
As before there is no "develop to perfection button" that one can push and get the perfect picture out. There is just as much if not more study and research that has to be done now. Each and every camera is like a new film. In this case you will have to learn how the film reacts to different lighting situations and if you can master that you are good to go for about 100.000 shots or so.
Each type of sensor acts differently, at least that is my feeling after having worked with three bodies of Canon, Kodad dcs and Fuji Cameras as well as trying out handful of others SLR types and image backs. The Canon I am working mostly with now is different from the other same type of Canon. Then comes along different countries and different seasons, all given different light to think about. After traveling through 5 different countries in the last past two years I know that almost each and every week I have to twist and turn some knobs in my software to compensate for changes. As I said before I am using Canon camera. For that camera I am using most part the Adobe Adobe Photoshop Lightroom software. I could be using Adobe Photoshop and bridge but I just do not like their style of working and Adobe Photoshop Lightroom works better for me. Still lightroom is not enough, even though I have set up several different development methods to apply to my images and in most cases I have to attend to each image individually. Therefore I do use Canons own DPP software that came with the camera. It is a good nifty little software that does what is asked to do with out having lot of unnecessary extras. There are those that do not like these software and of course there are Nikon camera users that have software from Nikon and then Fuji as well as Sony and more. My old Kodak photodesk software was one that I liked much. Lightroom is getting close to being better than that so I am happy.
Man in his boat in El Salvador My friend on the other hand uses Capture one. It suites his style better and we do get totally different files from shooting at the same location. We could probably be closer even though we are using different software, but that is the beauty of various photographers they see and feel things differently. An other friend of mine uses Aperture from apple and does not want to go back to any thing else he has used before. One would think he should know as he has thought students to use almost any other software there is to be used in connection with photography as well as Aperture, but it always comes down to ones liking and artistic eyes. What he sees is not what I see. What is important to him is not to me. This is why we are in the same shoes as before. We have to experiment and find out what software best suits our needs and style of shooting. And even though we find the one that is best in our opinion over all, we still need to have one or two more on those special occasions. Here is a list of few of the software available for raw development: Aperture Adobe lightroom Adobe Photoshop Canon DPP Kodak DCS Photodesk Nikon CaptureOne