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Author Topic: An Embarrassment of Riches  (Read 12655 times)

Alan Goldhammer

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #60 on: May 03, 2012, 08:27:03 PM »

There are all kinds of reasons to make photos (and paintings) different sizes, both large and small. But not many people really had the option to print large, until recently, and for a whole lot of mechanical reasons, rather than artistic preferences...which was my point.
Agreed.  If you look at pictures of the set up Ansel Adams had to make 'big' prints you realize how much better we have things today with inkjet printers.  I'm sure he would have salivated over the possibility of printing on a 44 inch wide inkjet!
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Mark D Segal

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #61 on: May 03, 2012, 08:27:32 PM »

YES! I remember that 105mm lens - I used it on a Contax decades ago and it was superb.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml

JohnBrew

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #62 on: May 03, 2012, 08:56:26 PM »

Good question about the lenses Alan - the issue is of course that they are not "optimized" for digital, and the resolution of that sensor is so fine it could make a difference to ultimately achievable image quality; so the real question is whether what you will get using those lenses meets your expectations and from there, whether investing in a D800 is worthwhile paired with those lenses. I don't know the answer, but I suggest there is a real question here.
Mark, several of the pros on Nikongear have tested many of the so-called legacy lenses on the D800 and found them to be as effective as they were in the past.

Mark D Segal

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #63 on: May 03, 2012, 08:58:51 PM »

Mark, several of the pros on Nikongear have tested many of the so-called legacy lenses on the D800 and found them to be as effective as they were in the past.

Interesting. I hadn't seen any of that - and it's encouraging of course, but the more relevant question in this context is how those lenses compare on a Nikon D800 compared with high-end Nikon lenses optimized for digital.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml

BJL

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #64 on: May 03, 2012, 09:16:47 PM »

Good question about the lenses Alan - the issue is of course that they are not "optimized" for digital, and the resolution of that sensor is so fine it could make a difference to ultimately achievable image quality ...
If lenses were designed for film including the highest resolution B&W films, even the D800 does not yet surpass that, so I would not assume that "film lenses" were all designed with less demanding resolution goals than modern DSLR sensors need. Many yes, but not all.

For example, Kodak TMAX 100 has MTF of 70% or better all the way up to the Nyquist frequency of the D800, just over 100lp/mm. It drops to MTF of 50% only at 125lp/mm, which would need pixel size of under 4 microns, so 54MP in 35mm format.
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Mark D Segal

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #65 on: May 03, 2012, 09:19:58 PM »

« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 09:23:32 PM by Mark D Segal »
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml

MatthewCromer

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #66 on: May 03, 2012, 09:23:51 PM »

I've got a couple of analogies that I think are instructive.  Aviation is a mature technology just as digital photography is a mature technology.

Let's see.  That would put us -- right around 1930 or so in aviation terms, given the amount of time digital imaging has been actively developed.  And there weren't any significant changes in aviation between 1930 and today, right?  Uhhhh. . .

I'm afraid I find it pretty unlikely that "digital photography is a mature technology".

Quote
After a certain point in the development of a technology, advancement comes at a slower pace and every increment is hard-earned.  That doesn't mean there isn't value in the advances or that it would be better to hold them in reserve until a larger advancement could be debuted.  As far as the manufacture of components goes, Cessna Citations are among the most advanced of light jets and they have an enviable safety record, and yet they don't build the engines.  Pratt and Whitney builds most of the engines.  I think that point is irrelevant.  I don't care that Nikon doesn't manufacture the sensors or displays.  I would rather they source the best they can or develop strategic partnerships and work at their highest value developments.  We live in an age of undeniable technological mastery.  As photographers we have tremendous tools that would be unimaginable just a few years ago and yet we can complain over the lack of even greater advancement.  My grandfather was a British Army officer and served at a time when cannon were hauled around behind horses, yet he lived to see manned space flight.

Yeah.  So why is Canon still selling "cannon hauled around behind horses" then?

More to the point, why are Sony, Olympus and Panasonic innovating with digital?  Why is Nikon innovating with their V1 line and not with their dSLRs?  I'm afraid the answer is that their dSLR customers prefer to buy what they are used to, and not go forward with new breakthroughs in technologies.

You can't blame Canon and Nikon for building the dSLRs their customers want.

I wasn't BTW criticizing Nikon for buying their sensors from Sony (in fact, Canon should consider doing the same).  I was simply noting that the actual breakthrough with the Nikon D800 (a really kickass sensor at an affordable price) wasn't even their doing.

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MatthewCromer

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #67 on: May 03, 2012, 09:25:19 PM »

1) Perhaps the low hanging fruit has been taken.
2) Perhaps continuity is also important to their customers.
3) Perhaps those corporations are content to reap the profit from previous innovation until their market share is threatened.

I'll take 2) and 3).
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Mark D Segal

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #68 on: May 03, 2012, 09:26:12 PM »



I wasn't BTW criticizing Nikon for buying their sensors from Sony (in fact, Canon should consider doing the same).  I was simply noting that the actual breakthrough with the Nikon D800 (a really kickass sensor at an affordable price) wasn't even their doing.

Does it matter whose "doing" it was? The main issue is what it is and what it costs.

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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml

MatthewCromer

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #69 on: May 03, 2012, 09:28:39 PM »

MatthewCromer. Um… exactly what was this great era of innovation from CaNik during the film slr era?


I was more specifically referring to the autofocus SLR era (although Minolta shares a lot of the credit for that particular breakthrough).

They definitely pushed forward the state of the art in autofocus, and Canon's introduction of IS was an obvious big win.

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BJL

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #70 on: May 03, 2012, 11:43:33 PM »

It's not only about resolution - it's about how they concentrate and direct light on the microlenses of the sensor.

http://www.shutterbug.com/content/digitally-optimized-zoom-lenses-do-they-really-make-difference
My comment was addressed to your mention of resolution right after the mention of "digitally optimized". And agreed, issues like controlling flare due to sensors reflecting back more light than film are issues to some degree.

On the other hand, beware quoting seven year old sources like that Shutterbug piece: the worries about microlenses seem to have gone away, with the microlens designs in modern SLR sensors having off-perpendicular sensitivity good enough that there are usually no problems with SLR lenses, whose exit pupils have to be moderately far from the sensor anyway. There are problems with some rangefinder lenses, and maybe with some shift lenses.
« Last Edit: May 03, 2012, 11:46:58 PM by BJL »
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Rob C

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #71 on: May 04, 2012, 03:54:00 AM »

Rob, different Russ Meyer! Rob is refering to the porno king who had an obsession with large, make that huge, mammary glands.



Thanks for seeing the humour of the twin names; I suppose it might just be a generation thing but no, wait, as far as mammary memory serves, Russ was way ahead of the arrival of plastic boobs - oh, of course, that means it must be age-related after all!

Confused -

Rob C

Rob C

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #72 on: May 04, 2012, 04:33:13 AM »

Rob C.,
It seems that your point is that advances in automation (focus, exposure level setting, film advance) and operating speed are irrelevant to you, and then, yes, maybe not a lot has changed except the replacement of chemical emulsions by electronic sensors.

But if all such technological innovations of the last fourty years or so are irrelevant to you, I think it just means that you and the 21st century do not have much to say to each other. Not that there's anything wrong with that.




You are on the money. And my point is, to drive it further, that most of these 'innovations' don't really make better pictures. Pictures are basically about the mind, and because somebody likes to let the machine change focus, change exposure etc. for him doesn't make his work any the more superior at all. We had motor drives decades ago - they failed to make better shots, because all they did was allow chance a greater say and chance is notoriously unikely to co-operate with the lazy or inept. (However, they did encourage higher film sales.)

Someone mentioned the pelicle system of viewfinder - it didn't last and was seen as a novelty, period.

Gimmicks sell cameras; they don't usually create the conditions for better images. As far as I can see, digital capture has only created an entirely new camera industry at the expense of a hell of a lot of other established companies, jobs and the value of money invested in equipment itself. However, I am more than willing to admit that digital home printing has opened the door to a lot of more user-friendly opportunities for print making. Having written that, I have not seen any great number of prints that's been any more worth the making digitally than via the old ways. Do it with a brush, a trowel, a stick or a spoon or even through a lens - unless the image has something intrinsically worthwhile to state, it matters not at all that (or how) it is created.

And that's the basic, bottom lˇne that digital has never been able to disguise.

Rob C
« Last Edit: May 04, 2012, 08:39:10 AM by Rob C »
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Tony Jay

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #73 on: May 04, 2012, 05:01:46 AM »

I agree that any camera per se will not guarantee a good image (as far as aesthetics and artistic vision go).

It is also sad that the art of analogue developing and printing is largely dead (BTW my only exposure to this was doing electron microscopy at university - there's an expensive camera for you!). It is true that those that "develop" digitally and subsequently print now using experience developed prior to the digital era may have an advantage over us who have largely come to the craft in the digital era.

Many companies who have fallen by the wayside, most notably Kodak, held part of the future in their hands and just did not look ahead and see the opportunities or take advantage of them.

Nonetheless there are tremendous advantages in digital imaging.
The learning curve can be exceptionally steep due to the immediate feedback afforded by digital. The only reason my photography has advanced is due to this. Shooting slide film just didn't allow me to improve my image making - the interval between shooting and viewing was too great (even with good images I couldn't really remember what I had done or what I was really trying to capture from an artistic perspective).

Now I can concentrate on my vision as well as get reasonable feedback straight away (critical focus may be an exception at times). Viewing images on a monitor within an hour or two of shooting closes the loop nicely.

Personally I hope that film photography never dies off completely. It is still an important, if small, part of photography be it professional or recreational.

My humble opinion

Tony Jay
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #74 on: May 04, 2012, 05:50:52 AM »

Don't know whether it is a game changer, nor why it is important that it could be a game changer, but as someone having just spent 30+ hours over 3 days shooting panoramic landscape with one in the dark forests of World heritage site Yakushima, I can clearly state that:

- the D800 is a very good landscape camera, close to ideal in fact. I'll be posting some images soon,
- I have had zero issues with live view, even in pretty dark situations.

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!

Mark D Segal

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #75 on: May 04, 2012, 06:47:02 AM »




.......... As far as I can see, digital capture has only created an entirely new camera industry at the expense of a hell of a lot of other established companies, jobs and the value of money invested in equipment itself. However, I am more than willing to admit that digital home printing has opened the door to a lot of more user-friendly opportunities for print making. Having written that, I have not seen any great number of prints that's been any more worth the making digitally than via the old ways. Do it with a brush, a trowel, a stick or a spoon or even through a lens - unless the image has something intrinsically worthwhile to state, it matters not at all that (or how) it is created.

And that's the basic, bottom lˇne that digitsl has never been able to disguise.

Rob C

Well, with all due respect for your right to your own opinions Rob, frankly I don't think you're seeing far enough. But what one sees partly depends upon what one wants to look for, and that may be the determinative issue here. I was actually just thinking about this yesterday. A couple of days back I was browsing Amazon.ca for a book on another topic, and you know how they bring up, based on your browsing history, other books you may be interested in. Normally I don't react well to this kind of thing because there is an underlying sense of being watched and tracked - well not only a sense, the reality - ANYHOW, setting that aside, one title really caught my fancy - "The Dawn of the Color Photograph: Albert Kahn's Archives of the Plant" by David Okuefuna. This book is a sequel to a BBC program on the subject. Looked interesting and had a string of highly positive reviews so I bought the book and am I ever pleased I did. It's a treasure. It's about Kahn's initiative to create a world-wide collection of colour photographs of the state of human existence on the planet nack in the early 1900s using the then new autochrome process (variants of which survived into the 1950s), invented by the Lumiere brothers in France and the first practical approach for making colour photographs on a commercial scale. You can look-up the details of the process - seen from today's perspective it's disarmingly simple - very tiny dyed grains of potato starch serving as colour filters affixed to glass plates of photographic emulsion, exposed and processed by reversal to yield a positive transparency. Considering what it is and when, the results are truly remarkable and the images have tremendous "character"; but when you look at these beside what comes out of a modern inkjet printer and compare the processes involved from capture to end-product, you can't help but be impressed with the enormous contribution that technological progress has made to image quality and the ease of making them in terms of every technical metric you can throw at it.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Rob C

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #76 on: May 04, 2012, 08:50:36 AM »

Mark –

You may be right – it’s only my own view tempered by what I’ve experienced, but also, you must remember that my response was to a post about CaNik’s supposed great ‘innovations’ during the slr era, and that doesn’t go as far back as Autochrome! So whilst I may be looking insufficiently far ahead, you’ve looked a bit far in the opposite direction, too.

I also admitted that digital printing, as distinct from digital capture, is a great step ahead in convenience and, in some ways but not all, print manipulation and control is now easier for the newer printer (the person).

Rob C







Mark D Segal

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Re: An Embarrassment of Riches
« Reply #77 on: May 04, 2012, 08:57:53 AM »

Yes Rob, I was taking the grand overview, not only in time, but through the whole technical chain, because to get to the digital prints of the quality we're seeing today, you also want the digital captures. One can do great things with film scans, but they're still not what a Nikon D800 or many other DSLRs can deliver as the starting point for the prints. The prints are the end-result of an evolution of a technological continuum through each link in the chain from capture to end-product, with all the advances in materials technology, design technology, software and firmware development etc. that are brought to bear.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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