Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: Sareesh Sudhakaran on April 26, 2011, 11:47:43 pm

Title: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Sareesh Sudhakaran on April 26, 2011, 11:47:43 pm
I must state I am a beginner, and not even a 'serious' amateur yet. I shoot 35mm film on a Nikon with prime lenses, using Tri-X or Tmax 400. I have read almost every essay on the Lula website, plus a thousand others, and still find the need to ask what I am about to ask. I apologize beforehand if I have made a mistake in doing so.

Here's my interest in photography:
1. I would define my interest as 'carefully staged and artificially lit fictional B&W photography where the prime subject will always be one or more human beings in various surroundings'. If possible, I would like to have the camera shoot color as well. I will shoot both outdoor and indoor.
2. I will need to print to a maximum size of 36 inches in its longest side. The goal is to create fine art that will sell.
3. 6x6 or square format is NOT an option. Any other rectangular format is okay.
4. I will not go above ISO 800 under any circumstances, and in most likelihood, be well within ISO 400.
5. I will almost always shoot on a tripod, but will need to use the camera handheld as well. I will have all the time in the world to compose and select settings, so I don't need professional weather-sealed bodies with buttons for everything. I am okay with menus. Autofocus is not a requirement.
6. I will need an interchangeable lens format. Most of my shots will be stopped down since I will be lighting the scene and need a lot of depth of field. Flash is not required.
7. Fast shooting is not required. A perfect meter is not required (I will be using a light meter) - meaning, a basic DSLR meter is okay.
8. Film is out of the question (for reasons I don't want to get into). It has to be a digital camera system - one with easy-to-find batteries.
9. I will be using Photoshop to manipulate the images, and it might need to have the exposure bracketing feature.
10. It has to be the cheapest system possible.

I think what I'm looking for is a cheap camera system that is meant to do one type of photography only. The question is: how low can I go?

For example, I have printed JPEGs (72dpi) off a 550D on A1 (23x33 inches) and the resolution seems okay. But would any of you consider a print from a 550D as fine art? Assuming I master my camera in and out, and become a good photographer, will an entry-level Nikon or Canon system limit the quality of the print? Do I need to go full frame, or can I stay with APS-C (or even 4/3)?

In my particular case (I can manipulate my content to my heart's desire), will a kit lens be good enough? Or L glass, or Zeiss? Would I be able to overcome any limitation in the lens with my methodology, or is it futile? Or should I set my standards higher and aim for a Leica M9? Or higher, to a medium format system?

Thank you in advance for any assistance.
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Rob C on April 27, 2011, 03:40:08 am
Sareesh, I think you are trying to fly before you have wings.

Rob C
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Sareesh Sudhakaran on April 27, 2011, 05:52:27 am
Rob...you're absolutely right...but I'm still stuck where I am - I have to buy gear to start even...
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Jim Pascoe on April 27, 2011, 09:37:32 am
Sareesh, if it has to be "the cheapest system possible", I should say that almost any DSLR or m43 available would suit.  If the lens is going to be stopped down even the lower end lenses would be fine and if you are doing 'fine art, if the pictures are good enough no one is going to want to know what camera they were shot on. Jim
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on April 27, 2011, 12:00:34 pm
Why does this remind me of the saying: "If you have to ask, you do not need to know"?
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Rob C on April 27, 2011, 02:33:48 pm
Why does this remind me of the saying: "If you have to ask, you do not need to know"?




Ah, the close relative to: "If you have to ask, you can't afford it."

I seldom ask anything anymore; who needs humiliation?

Rob C
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: uaiomex on April 27, 2011, 09:10:32 pm
Sareesh: You seem to me to be the perfect candidate to buy a used 6X7 film camera. Used ones can be found really cheap. It's not digital and that implies scanning and finding suitable film depending where you live.
My own heart advice: Get a brand new aps camera from Nikon, Canon, Sony or Pentax with one good lens. Know your camera and lens combo and learn how to stitch properly. But my first choice would be to find a good used 5D (MkI).
Eduardo
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Sareesh Sudhakaran on April 27, 2011, 11:53:31 pm
Thanks Jim...that's what I wanted to know.
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Sareesh Sudhakaran on April 28, 2011, 12:03:33 am
Thank you Eduardo...A good used 5D is also what I had in mind.

To everyone else: I wouldn't have asked this question if film was an option. I was going to buy a mamiya rb67 system but where I live (Mumbai, India), it's almost impossible to find good film and the costs of developing, scanning and printing are insane. However, if I do feel the need to upgrade in the future, thanks to Lula, I'll know where to ask.
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Rob C on April 28, 2011, 03:23:01 am
Thank you Eduardo...A good used 5D is also what I had in mind.

To everyone else: I wouldn't have asked this question if film was an option. I was going to buy a mamiya rb67 system but where I live (Mumbai, India), it's almost impossible to find good film and the costs of developing, scanning and printing are insane. However, if I do feel the need to upgrade in the future, thanks to Lula, I'll know where to ask.




You think that only applies to Bombay? Try Mallorca, and even then you will find you'll have to try Barcelona...

Does the Persian Cafť still exist in, I think it was, Marine Drive? Or the air-conditioned Eros and Metro?

Rob C

Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Sareesh Sudhakaran on April 28, 2011, 09:51:56 am
Hi Rob...not sure about the Cafe, but Eros and Metro still does, but Metro has become a Multiplex. It's all digital now (I couldn't resist!).
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Rob C on April 28, 2011, 01:03:13 pm
Hi Rob...not sure about the Cafe, but Eros and Metro still does, but Metro has become a Multiplex. It's all digital now (I couldn't resist!).


Yep, everything sure is different now... Not  better, just different and more expensive.

I recently saw a series on Indian train lines on the tv; they did the Nilgiri Blue Montain Express, which I knew only too well, and also the other one up in the north - to Darjeeling, I think, which I was not familiar with, having spent my time at the other end of the country. The one where they showed Ooty was not very good: there used to be so much of interest up there, but they only touched on the Club and a brief shot of St Stephen's and that was it, apart from a lot of stuff about families living off the train service... Who says tv can't get it wrong? Or perhaps it just wasn't the right programme for me.

Rob C
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Sareesh Sudhakaran on April 29, 2011, 12:05:07 am
You didn't miss much with Ooty...they have destroyed it. One place that might be a landscape photographer's dream is Munnar in Kerala. Luckily, almost untouched. Any direction you turn, you have a winner.
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: RawheaD on April 29, 2011, 12:32:15 am
A 5D Mk1 used is still going to cost near $1K US.  For what you want to do, I would tend to discourage you. Why?  Lack of liveview for composing, and the general suckitude of the LCD--basically, I found the Mk1's LCD preview so bad to the point that looking at the previews had impact on my motivation to shoot.  I now shoot Mk2 and it's worth the extra $1K just for those two things (seriously).

However, you might not agree and want to keep costs down.

Until recently, I would've discouraged you from going Pentax for the kind of stuff you want to do.  I owned a K-7 and one reason I sold both it and the Mk1 to get a Mk2 was because of K-7's reluctance to let me turn NR off for exposures longer than 30s.  The current K-5 is another matter altogether.  It has a superior, modern sensor (that is, in relation to Mk2 as well as K-7), better higher ISO performance, and very useful features like its two axes digital level, great in-camera shake reduction, and sensor-tilt based recomposing (+/- 1˚ AFAIK).  The only thing it lacks is sensor size, but since you want to do stop-down, landscape photography, there are few instances where that would make a huge impact (I wouldn't recommend an APS-C over a fullframe, for example, if you wanted to do lot of wide-open, shallow DoF photography...like I do :-).

Combined with some excellent wide angle primes in the Pentax lineup (e.g., the diminutive DA 15mm F4 Limited), the K-5 I think is a fantastic landscape DSLR.
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Riaan van Wyk on April 29, 2011, 01:23:19 am
A 5D Mk1 used is still going to cost near $1K US.  For what you want to do, I would tend to discourage you. Why?  Lack of liveview for composing, and the general suckitude of the LCD--basically, I found the Mk1's LCD preview so bad to the point that looking at the previews had impact on my motivation to shoot.

Darnit, looks like I'm wasting my time trying to save up for one. I now also know why my photos are so crap. The LCD's on my two non live view cameras must be the problem.
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: RawheaD on April 29, 2011, 02:27:45 am
I understand you're being sarcastic, but I know from experience that crappy LCDs can be problematic.  The photos that came out of the Mk1 were, quite often great.  Much greater than I'd thought in the field, indeed. But, like I said, not being able to see that, and in fact being shown something that looks crap, can, and in my case definitely *did*, affect motivation, enthusiasm, whatever you want to call it.

Imagine you had a friend shooting with you and every shot you took, he told you what utter crap you just took, and tell me that won't impact you as a shooter.  That's pretty much what the Mk1's LCD was to me.

Obviously photographers got along fine for ages without *any* previews, so you could either decide you're not going to rely on the LCD at all in the field, or not even turn the darn thing on.  In fact, that's what I did with my Mk1 during the last few months I owned it. If that is all that you would demand from your "D"SLRs LCD, then more power to you, and it certainly isn't a waste of your time to save up for it.
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Rob C on April 29, 2011, 04:06:04 am
My latest shoot was the opening of a friend's new show in a local gallery here in Mallorca.

The lights were very strong and aimed at the paintings; the walls and the ceilings are white. I used the D700 set on Auto ISO with aperture at f2 and shutter at around 250th. (I think that's where I set the shutter, but I never look at that info. once the images are in the computer) on the basis that since folks are walking about and I don't want to pose them, if it doesn't freeze them sufficiently, too bad. I only shoot RAW and leave the camera set on daylight, and the meter on Matrix.

I never, once, looked at the rear sceen. (The only time I do is in strong sunlight where I fear killing important highs.)

Now, having converted them all from NEF to Psd files, I'm delighted at how well the camera accomplished its task, and the white balancing via Nikon Capture NX2 is beautiful, the only thing I'd question is the very slight warmth of the walls, which the slider can't quite kill, taking them into too cold if I try the next position in the other direction. Amazing technology. Frankly, I don't know what I'd have achieved that's better had I used the screen.

As was said, we didn't have those screens with film, and Polaroid was an entirely different beast anyway, yet great work was done...

Rob C
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Sareesh Sudhakaran on April 29, 2011, 04:08:10 am
Thank you rawhead...I would love to spend the extra money for the Mark II, but I can't. Not until I know this is going to work for me. That said, if I can't find a good 5D with lens, then I might still go for a new 550D with its 18-55 IS kit lens ($800 in India).
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: RawheaD on April 29, 2011, 04:52:55 am
As was said, we didn't have those screens with film, and Polaroid was an entirely different beast anyway, yet great work was done...

Sure, but the point is, why have a screen in the first place?  It's like saying "Why use film, great works were done with glass plates".  Technological progress is useless if it's not used; some people may not need/want it, but other people do.  I spoke as someone who thinks that in this day and age of digital, using the LCD/LiveView, which, unlike most viewfinders out there, has 100% coverage, is crucial for the kind of photography that the OP wants to do (carefully composed landscape photography).  The preview having the ability to show a good representation of the actual image, in terms of color balance, dynamic range, exposure, etc. is also extremely important. 

Are these things necessary to take great photographs? No.  Do they not help you take great photographs in any way?  Of course they do. 

So the question is, is the OP willing to live without them?  I, personally, was not; hence the Mk2.  I, unlike some, won't judge anybody for disagreeing with me on what are and are not essential traits of a digital SLR.
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Rob C on April 29, 2011, 05:32:28 am
Sure, but the point is, why have a screen in the first place?  It's like saying "Why use film, great works were done with glass plates".  Technological progress is useless if it's not used; some people may not need/want it, but other people do.  I spoke as someone who thinks that in this day and age of digital, using the LCD/LiveView, which, unlike most viewfinders out there, has 100% coverage, is crucial for the kind of photography that the OP wants to do (carefully composed landscape photography).  The preview having the ability to show a good representation of the actual image, in terms of color balance, dynamic range, exposure, etc. is also extremely important. 

Are these things necessary to take great photographs? No.  Do they not help you take great photographs in any way?  Of course they do. 

So the question is, is the OP willing to live without them?  I, personally, was not; hence the Mk2.  I, unlike some, won't judge anybody for disagreeing with me on what are and are not essential traits of a digital SLR.


I take your point, but speaking for myself alone, as most of us have to, a rear screen isn't much use other than for a histogram, and in a sense I see that requirement as a result of the limitations of highlight capture on digi. Was a time an incident light meter told you all you had to know in one fell swoop!

Again, personally, chimping (or its compulsion) simply gets in the way of taking pictures as the mood dictates, and inserts yet a further intrusion into the process between seeing and capture. I accept that for people who never knew another way that is the norm; for me it is not. Of course, I agree that in cases where you are doing multiple light shots etc. it's a great plus to have a good screen, and better yet a computer beside you; for free work, as I expect the OP is wanting to do, I see few plusses in more options. Maybe that's what Leica has known all along.

Rob C
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Sareesh Sudhakaran on April 29, 2011, 06:03:15 am
If it helps any, the 550D has a 3" 1million pixel screen with live view. Will I use it? I don't know.
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: nma on April 29, 2011, 11:52:36 am
If it helps any, the 550D has a 3" 1million pixel screen with live view. Will I use it? I don't know.

I completely agree with rawhead about the value of liveview for the style of photography that you envision for yourself.  Assuming the 550D supports the key features of liveview, you will only be limited by your own competence. Liveview will provide strong information about critical focus and depth of field over much of the image, something unavailable with the viewfinder.  Someone will always have a camera with higher resolution, a better lens, etc. However, at the end of the day, it is the totality of the image that counts, particularly if you think you are trying to make an artistic statement.
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Slobodan Blagojevic on April 29, 2011, 01:05:47 pm
... using the LCD/LiveView... is crucial for the kind of photography that the OP wants to do (carefully composed landscape photography)...

Although OP is rather cryptical as to what exactly he is planning to shoot, he did say: "carefully staged and artificially lit fictional B&W photography where the prime subject will always be one or more human beings in various surroundings". That, however, does not sound like a landscape photography to me. Nor as something where the critical focusing the live view enables would be very practical.
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: RawheaD on April 29, 2011, 02:11:39 pm
Ah, somehow I completely misread that!  I knew OP wanted human subjects, but for some reason I thought they were all to be placed in a lanscape context :D  Still, if it's a "carefully staged" scene, having access to LiveView with 100% coverage is extremely important.
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Sareesh Sudhakaran on April 30, 2011, 12:19:04 am
Please allow me to clarify - even though live view is a great learning tool, when I go for my money shots I will have the camera tethered to a bigger and better display. Slobodan has understood me correctly. If have to depend on live view for DOF or color/tonality, etc, then I have failed as a visualizer (if not photographer). My primary goal is to recreate what I visualize, and give it life. I would be perfectly happy with a Leica M9, just that I want to earn it first.
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: RawheaD on April 30, 2011, 12:34:20 am
So depending on a larger, tethered display is OK, but depending on LiveView, you're a failure? :LOL: I don't get the logic, but that's probably just me.  Sounds like you know what you want but just can't afford it, or something along those lines.  I have nothing more to contribute it seems.
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: uaiomex on April 30, 2011, 12:39:21 am
For OP:
Everything Rawhead said about the 5D Mk1 and its lcd screen as well as not having live-view is true but my approach is somewhat different. I had the Mk1 first and the Mk2 lcd made my heart happy. I didn't care much for LV in the beginning. Now it is another nice weapon in the arsenal to use and enjoy when necessary. To say the truth, I would not want to go back to be without but hey, I've been a pro photographer for over 30 years and never missed chimping and LV'ing. What I mean is that you (nobody) don't need these features to be happy with a camera or to be a better photographer. They just make your life easy and probably more fun.
On the other hand, image quality is what most counts after content. If you think that you need the latest features to produce a good visual speech in an artistic or esthetic way, go buy the latest photo gizmo. If you think a used camera capable of producing some of the best image quality this side of $10k usd could inspire you, go buy a 5D.
As usual, the world is not black&white. There are thousands of greys in between.
Best
Eduardo
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Sareesh Sudhakaran on April 30, 2011, 02:14:29 am
LOL...I was actually expecting that reply. I should have been clearer. Staging and lighting is complex, time-consuming and expensive. I will depend on a monitor, but I need a better one than the LCD of any camera.

What I meant (I hope I'm not making this worse), is that I prefer to master my camera so that if my life depended on it, I can still pull off great shots (as if I'm shooting on film), and earn the title of 'fine art photographer'. Please forgive me if I'm not making sense, and let it rest.

Rawhead...your input has led me to seriously reconsider the 5D Mark II, if I can find it used. Otherwise I'll be quite happy with a used 5D. If I fail to find either, it's a new 550D. This is good enough for now.

Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Rand47 on April 30, 2011, 11:52:28 am
RENT a Sony a850 & the focal length you need.

If it suits, find a body ASAP ( they're being discontinued from what I've heard ).

Great quality Minolta lenses on the cheap (relatively speaking) on eBay.

Low cost high image quality.  Very well suited for what you describe are conditions & out put requirements.
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Lost on April 30, 2011, 02:00:10 pm
Again, personally, chimping (or its compulsion) simply gets in the way of taking pictures as the mood dictates, and inserts yet a further intrusion into the process between seeing and capture.

I can't help thinking that without a bit of chimping it would be very hard to get to a stage where you can take pictures reliably enough to not need to chimp - modern cameras are too hard! Rapid feedback is a good way to understand everything from whether or not the AF was actually enabled, or to learn how much exposure compensation a given picture is likely to need given the ISO setting, hightlight tone widget value, metering mode, etc etc...

I have been using an old manual-focus SLR of late and it is quite liberating to find that the only camera settings to worry about are aperture and shutter speed (though I agree that the processing costs are a bit steep!).
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Sareesh Sudhakaran on May 01, 2011, 01:03:16 am
I discounted Sony for one reason only - they have no authorized service center for their DSLRs in India. Can you believe that?
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: SeanBK on May 01, 2011, 03:25:31 am
Check out Nik software's "Silver Efex Pro II". They have a few upcoming webinars on use of Silver Efex (B&W app).There is one on next week on Tuesday May 3rd. There is one for strickly B&W landscape, I think that might interest you the most. That is on May 27th by Rob Sheppard. Niksoftware's Capture NX2 for all Nikon RAW (nef files) gives U amazing control with their U-point technology. Also check out John Paul Caponigro's site & his tutorials, he IS really great @ B&W conversion specially landscape. Of course the camera & lens do matter but what you achive (read convert) is quite/very important too.
  I thought in Bombay "Photokina Labs" is excellent source for equip also now with Nikon increasing it's presence than the tech support should be great.... strange to give advice to guy from India @ tech support. ;) Been to India > Bombay, Jaipur, Simla, Nainital, Agra, Delhi... more than couple of times in my travels. What RobC suggested is quite true. RobC that Cafe U recall which was clos to CCI club is closed but quite a few good ones are there, but in those days Jazz was very good & popular. I saw Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington .. while I was there in Bombay.
      Looks like U are on right track, IMHO.
  Check out my website > they are not B&W but shot with Nikon D2X @ 5/7 yrs back. I have new expensive Gitzo tripod but these were shot with old heavy Bogen 3050. The reason I suggest Nikon is that in India as I understand Nikon is serviced better & easily resold, than Canon.

 www.vintagecarphotography.com/
  Sean
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Rob C on May 01, 2011, 03:51:05 am
I can't help thinking that without a bit of chimping it would be very hard to get to a stage where you can take pictures reliably enough to not need to chimp - modern cameras are too hard! Rapid feedback is a good way to understand everything from whether or not the AF was actually enabled, or to learn how much exposure compensation a given picture is likely to need given the ISO setting, hightlight tone widget value, metering mode, etc etc...

I have been using an old manual-focus SLR of late and it is quite liberating to find that the only camera settings to worry about are aperture and shutter speed (though I agree that the processing costs are a bit steep!).




That's why I use mine as manually set as is possible with the exception of work that's just out of the range of expected reality: Auo ISO country in available darkness, but still manual focussing.

But thatís the point: digital photography has become a more complex matter (if allowed so to do) because of the digital failures Ė the peaks and troughs donít function as smoothly as they do with film and, so, you get dreadful cut-off in bright areas and noise at the other end, both something quite ugly to behold. The answer Iíve found for myself - using Nikonís Matrix metering which is very accurate Ė is that one simply estimates the subject and increases or decreases exposure a smidgen, manually.

Even film, unless in a controlled studio/lab situation isnít going to cover the brightness range thatís out there: the medium ainít yet invented! But, what does exist, is the backlog of habit that allows certain types of over-exposure to be acceptable depending on where they impinge on the subject. Take a sunny, backlit head and shoulders: you accept, totally, that blonde hair is going to burn out around the edges, so the halo becomes a definite aesthetic plus, even: it adds to the 3-D effect and isolates the subject from the background, unless youíve picked the wrong one! And itís not confined to blondes, that effect, either. It works, to an extent, with all hair colouring. In fact, that was one of the main used for the Zeiss Softars: creating a light halo around the subject. And digi can ruin that, too. In my website Iíve got a shot of a girl sitting on a rock in a Japanese (might have been Chinese Ė I canít remember the nationality for sure) garden in Singapore. Sheís holding a can of lager (well, it was a lager calendar) and I used a Softar on the Nikon just to create that very effect of a light surround. So, the minute you attempt to sharpen a little bit for the web, the damned effect vanishes almost to zero. Yet, to publish sans sharpening it all looks too soft, which isnít how a Softar works. Of course, were it more important, one could mask and mask and mask, but this is meant to be just for fun. But thatís simply my opinion, and if you want to see good use of the backlit effect turn to Bokelberg and look at his head shots.

http://www.bokelberg.com


Digital seems to have brought about an obsession with so-called quality in the sense of technique overtaking artistic merit. I see lots and lots of great technical work around but not any increase in great photographic content. Without that, we may as well stay with the brick walls and save a packet on travel...

(Just for Slobodan: that falls in line with my credo regarding validity ;-) )

In the end, neither film nor digital are going to give you the best until you, as photographer, know what youíre doing Ė more or less. And donít forget: even the greatest snappers in the world still eff up now and again. Itís called reality.

Rob C


Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Sareesh Sudhakaran on May 01, 2011, 04:30:09 am
Check out Nik software's "Silver Efex Pro II".
Thanks for the links. I'll check them out. Is Silver Pro any different/better than Photoshop (which I know and use already)?

Quote
I thought in Bombay "Photokina Labs" is excellent source for equip also now with Nikon increasing it's presence than the tech support should be great.... The reason I suggest Nikon is that in India as I understand Nikon is serviced better & easily resold, than Canon.
Both Nikon and Canon are well represented with good service in India, at least as far as I know. I think my hands can get used to either, if necessary. Both have good resale value. Impossible to find a used D40 (or 5D for that matter).

Quote
Check out my website > they are not B&W but shot with Nikon D2X @ 5/7 yrs back. I have new expensive Gitzo tripod but these were shot with old heavy Bogen 3050.
 www.vintagecarphotography.com/
  Sean
Thanks for sharing! I've worked with a Gitzo on a 7D (for video), and they are a godsend. I know I'm just a beginner so for what it's worth my favorite photo is the 1931 Duesenberg Model J.
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Sareesh Sudhakaran on May 01, 2011, 05:00:41 am
That's why I use mine as manually set as is possible with the exception of work that's just out of the range of expected reality: Auo ISO country in available darkness, but still manual focussing.

But thatís the point: digital photography has become a more complex matter (if allowed so to do) because of the digital failures Ė the peaks and troughs donít function as smoothly as they do with film and, so, you get dreadful cut-off in bright areas and noise at the other end, both something quite ugly to behold. The answer Iíve found for myself - using Nikonís Matrix metering which is very accurate Ė is that one simply estimates the subject and increases or decreases exposure a smidgen, manually.

Rob...Is it wise to invest in learning the digital equivalent of the zone system with the in-built spot meter, as opposed to matrix metering? This is obviously for a. learning, and b. situations where time isn't much of an issue. Or, are there better methods to extract the best dynamic range?

Since I come from a filmmaking background let me clarify with an example: When videographers use DSLRs or even professional HD cameras, and try to simulate the film look, the combined wisdom is to underexpose so that the highlights won't get blown. Later, in post production, the image can be 'lifted' and it will still retain some shadow detail, and the final grade will approximate the film look. Do photographers also employ this method to simulate the S curve of film?
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: SeanBK on May 01, 2011, 08:19:03 am
Theoratically Photoshop can do most of the stuff but I use both. Cloning, layers & masking cannot be done in Nikon's NX2. The silver efex pro II can do ONLY B&W conversions, but the control it gives for conversion is in my view the best. One can achieve may be the similar results with PS but it can be highly labor intensive. They have a free trial best U try it for yourself.
 What I meant by comparing Gitzo to much heavier Bogen 3050, if you can then I would definately carry the Bogen than Gitzo, but as I got older & bitchier I go for Gitzo. Often older equip does do wonders. Thanx that U liked the Dussenberg, I did too but the owner did not like that details did not show up. I thought lines were more important than the how good the paintjob was, but then to each his own.
  Good Luck.
    Sean
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: schrodingerscat on May 01, 2011, 01:28:38 pm
LOL...I was actually expecting that reply. I should have been clearer. Staging and lighting is complex, time-consuming and expensive. I will depend on a monitor, but I need a better one than the LCD of any camera.

What I meant (I hope I'm not making this worse), is that I prefer to master my camera so that if my life depended on it, I can still pull off great shots (as if I'm shooting on film), and earn the title of 'fine art photographer'. Please forgive me if I'm not making sense, and let it rest.

Rawhead...your input has led me to seriously reconsider the 5D Mark II, if I can find it used. Otherwise I'll be quite happy with a used 5D. If I fail to find either, it's a new 550D. This is good enough for now.



You've already got Nikon glass, so if you are happy with the quality why not go with a D300 or such? Or D700 if you can fit it in the budget. One good thing about Nikon is the ability to use legacy lenses., and you are already familiar with the Nikon work flow.
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Sareesh Sudhakaran on May 01, 2011, 11:04:40 pm
Thanks for the suggestion Schrodingerscat, unfortunately I have no need for the extra features of the D300 or D700 to justify its purchase. My current set of Nikon primes are old and worn out, and I'm not sure how much value they will add over a modern kit lens, especially for a beginner like me.

The only reason I lean towards the 550D or 5D II in this case is for its video features, which can always come handy. I wouldn't need another system for a long time.
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Sareesh Sudhakaran on May 02, 2011, 05:50:09 am
Actually I completely missed the D5100, which seems to be a cracker of a DSLR.
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: SeanBK on May 02, 2011, 06:18:51 am
Also Nikon's D7000, which I use often. Do consider that with it's movie mode & live view.
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Sareesh Sudhakaran on May 02, 2011, 09:19:19 am
Also Nikon's D7000, which I use often. Do consider that with it's movie mode & live view.

Heard it's a great camera, but I would prefer the 5D full frame over this. Movie mode isn't critical since I have video gear exclusively for that purpose.
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Rob C on May 02, 2011, 10:05:51 am
Check out Nik software's "Silver Efex Pro II". They have a few upcoming webinars on use of Silver Efex (B&W app).There is one on next week on Tuesday May 3rd. There is one for strickly B&W landscape, I think that might interest you the most. That is on May 27th by Rob Sheppard. Niksoftware's Capture NX2 for all Nikon RAW (nef files) gives U amazing control with their U-point technology. Also check out John Paul Caponigro's site & his tutorials, he IS really great @ B&W conversion specially landscape. Of course the camera & lens do matter but what you achive (read convert) is quite/very important too.
  I thought in Bombay "Photokina Labs" is excellent source for equip also now with Nikon increasing it's presence than the tech support should be great.... strange to give advice to guy from India @ tech support. ;) Been to India > Bombay, Jaipur, Simla, Nainital, Agra, Delhi... more than couple of times in my travels. What RobC suggested is quite true. RobC that Cafe U recall which was clos to CCI club is closed but quite a few good ones are there, but in those days Jazz was very good & popular. I saw Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington .. while I was there in Bombay.
      Looks like U are on right track, IMHO.
  Check out my website > they are not B&W but shot with Nikon D2X @ 5/7 yrs back. I have new expensive Gitzo tripod but these were shot with old heavy Bogen 3050. The reason I suggest Nikon is that in India as I understand Nikon is serviced better & easily resold, than Canon.

 www.vintagecarphotography.com/
  Sean



BombayÖ whatís in a name? A helluva lot, Iíd say. I understand why they changed it, having asked that question of a correspondent in India, but to my mind, thatís throwing away the magic of heritage (as understood internationally today) for some parochial (helluva large parish, have to grant them that!) populist(?) political point.

Hell, even Francis Albert S. sang inviting us to that Ďbar in far Bombayí without making the slightest reference to Mumbai.

Jazz. Yes, the love of my youth before Chuck came along and changed the world. Never could get my head around modern jazz, though, which always struck me as technical fireworks without soul; pyrotechnics for their own sake. I saw Satchmo in Glasgow once Ė with his All Stars Ė and though he (and they) were brilliant, it never quite captured the feeling of the Hot Five and Sevens. Probably wasnít supposed to, but thatís where my own tastes lay at the time.

I find that my quick lines to youtube videos embrace Julie London quite a lot, as well as some post-Sun Jerry Lee Lewis warbles about older men feeling the loss of youth (Thirty-nine and holding is a favourite, but itís been removed, at least from the link I used to find it withÖ) and digging deep into swamp pop rock comes up with some jewels, one such being Betty and Dupree, of which I discovered many versions, both sanitized and uncut. Willy DeVille had a great rendering which he sang in a blue light on a stage somewhere in the world, accompanied by a wonderful pianist whose blue notes could make you weep. The bass isnít bad, either. Thatís where jazz really hits: simple, straight-to-the heart sounds.

With all that stuff in the ether, no wonder I find it hard to get down to working on anything I actually shoot, though I have compromised by running two computers at the same time, regardless of the electricity bills.


I like your cars very much; glad to see somebody else who does not feel obliged to show every single detail. It was a constant struggle with fashion clients, that need for everything to be seen, whether it added to the whole or not.

Rob C
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Sareesh Sudhakaran on May 02, 2011, 11:47:56 am
BombayÖ whatís in a name? A helluva lot, Iíd say. I understand why they changed it, having asked that question of a correspondent in India, but to my mind, thatís throwing away the magic of heritage (as understood internationally today) for some parochial (helluva large parish, have to grant them that!) populist(?) political point.

Eventually every name is lost or distorted...if that is any comfort. I love the slogan on the Lula home page. And my knowledge of Jazz is limited to Norah Jones. My music director gave me a list of great jazz albums to listen to, and I couldn't find even one of them in Mumbai. Maybe if it was Bombay, I might have!
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: uaiomex on May 02, 2011, 06:37:39 pm
Mike Johnston, publisher of "The Online Photographer" blog is a lover of jazz and old cars. Every now and then he writes about it. On jazz, I'd say he knows and has good taste. Check it out. Great site!
Edaurdo
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: Sareesh Sudhakaran on May 02, 2011, 10:53:33 pm
Eduardo...that's a fantastic site. I wonder why it never shows up in any search results. Thanks for sharing!
Title: Re: Camera for B&W fine art
Post by: SeanBK on May 03, 2011, 12:12:08 am
.............................
I like your cars very much; glad to see somebody else who does not feel obliged to show every single detail. It was a constant struggle with fashion clients, that need for everything to be seen, whether it added to the whole or not.

Rob C


 Thanks for the complement @ cars. When the website was created that size seemed adequate but now....?
Though they are highly detailed, so ask away the image that might catch your fancy & I will dig them up & post 'em at larger size.
  Looks like we have quite similar taste in music & I am sure like me, U shrug your shoulders with those Rap guys with their rhyming dictionary & same metronome thru' the whole song.
 But too each is own. ::)

Sean