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BernardLanguillier

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« Reply #40 on: August 25, 2009, 06:31:08 pm »

Quote from: barryfitzgerald
I take it all back, I was wrong. I can now see film is in fact digital. In the same way my kettle is digital as well, or course it's either on or off, and the water temperature has nothing to do with it, just two simple states on or off, hot or cold..
Also I note that a car is digital too, yes it's either on or off, if we take it back to basics it's pure binary.
We could apply this interesting "digital slant" to just about everything, I am deeply humbled ;-)

The point being that discrete quantities at a small scale are perceived as continuous quantities at a large scale.

The modelization of physical phenomenon is often done through such a micro-marco approach where small scales phenomenon are modeled simply and statistics used to average their influence when looking at a system at our human scale.

The reason why you are not relating to all this is that the word digital means something else for you though. You are referring to a process, not to the underlying physics. The way I see it, digital means cold to you, you hate the clean alignement of photosite as opposed to the random mess of the silver grains on a film plane, you like the smell that pops out when opening a can of film and the process of snapping in a roll of 220 in its holder... and that's totally fine by me.

Cheers,
Bernard

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« Reply #41 on: August 25, 2009, 08:51:37 pm »

Quote from: michael
The fact that at its fundamental level grains of silver halide are binary in nature has already been explained, so I'll just ask what being "organic" has to do with anything? There are numerous examples of binary behavior in nature, from the atomic level to the macro. Why should being "organic" somehow be considered superior when it comes to photography?

Light itself is both a particle (binary – there's a particle or there isn't a particle) AND a wave. Which one do YOU want it to be?

In the end it all comes down to the displayed image, whatever its manifestation, whatever its origin.

Michael

I mostly agree with Mike on this, but some clarifications should be added. While silver salts, the basis of modern films, are essentially black or clear after development and fixing, they are crystals and exhibit growth dependent on the light level they are exposed to. Larger crystals on negatives represent lighter areas and smaller crystals represent darker grays. So, they are not directly equivalent to pixels, or photosites, on a modern DSLR sensor.

Also, like human sight, the representation of grays by silver halide films is logarithmic by nature, not linear as with sensors. For the record, all color films, negative or transparent, incorporate multiple color-filtered silver halide layers that are dyed and washed away during processing. In the Kodachrome process, the dyes are added during processing; in the E-6 Ektachrome and C-3 Ektacolor processes, they are part of the emulsion, hence the higher level of detail in Kodachrome.

Regarding "organic," films were once made from cellulose, a highly flammable material, but modern "safety" (i.e., post 1930) are polymer based and inflammable.

Relying on the quality of the "displayed image" is where, in my opinion, the argument gets confused. Are we comparing the absolute quality of silver halide films to DSLR sensors, OR are we REALLY comparing the quality of half-screened lithographic printing in a fine (Ansel Adams quality) book with the half-screened output of the latest Epson or HP printer? 8x10 contact prints on photo paper show more detail than any digital image (there is no screen), dye-sub prints by hand are just as good, and photogravure (a costly alternative) may also be better than an inkjet.

These are, in my  mind, important points to discuss, in part to better motivate equipment manufacturers to give us the tools we really need.

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Mark D Segal

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« Reply #42 on: August 25, 2009, 10:05:24 pm »

Quote from: BernardLanguillier
I don't want to go to far into this as it has been discussed quite a bit already, but let's just say that after normal sharpening, I have never seen a MFDB file that looked significantly better than a d3x file. Resolutionwise also, although this stops to be relevant once stitching is part of the equation.

It could very well be that the MFDB files I saw (my Mamiya ZD files or others) had not be optimally captured, so I would be interested in looking at one of your sample files (a crop would do). I would have no problem changing my mind on this.

I believe that many high end shooters buy a P65+ mostly because they don't want to bother with stitching.

Finally, productivity is a strong advocate against stitching in some domains, but clearly not fine art. So I am personally 100% sure that for the fine art landscape work I am trying to do (whether I am succeeding or not is a different matter), a 40.000 US$ back would have zero of negative value compared to my current kit.

As to why landscape stitching is better done with a D3x than a back, there are many objective reasons like:

- lighter than most MF systems, especially when dealing with the kind of focal lenghts I consider best for stitching (100mm on FX), pancake cameras are the exception but are practically very hard to focus accurately in the field (think low light levels,...),
- access to a very wide array of top quality lenses from 14 to 300 mm (to only mention those that I actually use), the image below was shot with a 300 f2.8 as an example:

- live view enables perfect focusing of the main subject with 100% accuracy 100% of the time,
- much better high ISO image quality enlarges dramatically the range of scenes that can be captures with stitching (windy situations in low light,...), the image below was shot at 800 ISO because of low light level and the need to maintain enough shutter speed to avoid clouds migration:


- more DoF thanks to the smaller format reduces the need to do DoF stacking and reduces the lenght of the exposures significantly at equal DoF, which is critical at sunset and sunrise where skies change every 15 sec of so,
- much better long exposure image quality and lack of dark frame substraction until 8 sec results in much easier low light panorama shooting,
- much longer battery life lends itself well to the large amount of capture induced by stitching,
- no need for color calibration when shooting wide,
- much better handling of cold weather,
- support of panoramic robotic heads,
- SDK enables automation of HDR/DoF when needed,
- total lack of moire reduces the need to check images at 100% pixel magnification in post and does therefore saves time,
- typically better availability of accessories from third party (L brackets,...),
- much lower price makes it actually possible to carry a credible back up body when doing long over seas missions,
- better support from third party raw conversion software from some of the backs give more options,
- the 3:2 vs 4:3 aspect ratio increases the pixel count on the long side of the frame and reduces the need to do multi-row stitching at equal resolution (a 24 MP d3x is about equivalent to a 28MP back from this standpoint)
- ...

Cheers,
Bernard

Bernard,

As usual - outstanding photographs - excellent work, and many thanks for sharing. One of these days I need to get into panos more seriously - you've inspired me.

I think one other factor that may be worth mentioning in support of the pano approach - by careful selection of the overlapping strategy one can arrange to retain only the highest quality portions of the image the lens can produce in each contributing frame - usually away from the edges. That's what one would want to compare I suppose with the outcome of a single shot from a MFDB with a wide-enough angle lens to provide comparable field of view.

Cheers,

Mark

Edit: I deleted the images in quote to reduce post size.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2009, 10:35:09 pm by MarkDS »
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #43 on: August 25, 2009, 10:17:35 pm »

Quote from: Bill VN
,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,but in the end, a traditional photograph is a physical medium, not electrical charges in the ether.

My Epson prints are also a physical medium, and what I can do with today's technology far surpasses anything I was able to achieve with film be it colour or B&W, be it in my own darkroom or sent to a service. That's just my two-cents' worth based on my own operational experience. It isn't a general statement about the art of the possible in either medium because I don't know what that is - it's an abstract concept undefined and unbounded by any particular sample of work, with all due respect to the best work out there, film or digital. It is, however, a matter of measurable fact that today's inkjet printers and finest papers can produce B&W images with higher DMax than achievable with pre-digital technologies. And we will be able to save the image files indefinitely and intact with appropriate attention to timing of media conversion, which I appreciate having examined the condition of my Kodachrome slides shot over 50 years ago.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #44 on: August 25, 2009, 10:49:20 pm »

Quote from: Bill VN
........... and photogravure (a costly alternative) may also be better than an inkjet.

I don't know what you mean by "better", and much of this is a matter of taste. This kind of contention needs to be either acknowledged as the latter, or formally documented in terms of measurable, objective criteria defining "better".
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« Reply #45 on: August 25, 2009, 11:27:38 pm »

On further consideration, to bring this discussion back "on-topic" - it is about needs, wants, affordability. How did it get into a tangent on film versus digital? I suppose it's because needs and wants can be conditioned by outcomes. But that said, is there some kind of relevant relationship between the potential image quality of film based images versus digital-based images and the relative costs of the equipment and stuff needed to maximize quality in each domain? If that's where it comes from, then it's off-base, because there is none and there's no reason to expect any. And anyone evaluating such relationships, would need to also include the value of time, waste, health effects and environmental impacts. Lots of Luck doing that. No. Each technology developed in its own time and place and its prices are based on the supply and demand conditions prevalent for those materials in real time. Even if for example photogravure prints remained the greatest medium that man ever invented (which I doubt - as nice as they are), it bears no relevance whatsoever to the value the market places on a MFDB, and as long as there is a market for these MFDBs, it means that an economically viable quantum of photographers prefer them to making - for example - photogravure prints for whatever the reasons. That's really where the rubber hits the road, because if too many people thought they'd get better images more easily doing photogravure, for eample, they would do photogravure and the MFDB market would collapse (that may be happening anyhow due to current economic conditions - I don't know - but certainly not because of competition from pre-digital processes of any kind). I think it's time to set aside the theological debating about historical processes and much like Bernard has been suggesting here, focus the discussion on the real trade-offs affecting how people would evaluate the key factors today - such as, does the technical output of a stitched threesome from a 1DsMk3 compare favourably with the same image from a P65? That's the kind of issue which could reasonably determine needs and wants in today's context, and it's also the kind of issue amenable to objective evaluation.
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Wayne Fox

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« Reply #46 on: August 25, 2009, 11:30:54 pm »

Quote from: Bill VN
I mostly agree with Mike on this, but some clarifications should be added. While silver salts, the basis of modern films, are essentially black or clear after development and fixing, they are crystals and exhibit growth dependent on the light level they are exposed to. Larger crystals on negatives represent lighter areas and smaller crystals represent darker grays. So, they are not directly equivalent to pixels, or photosites, on a modern DSLR sensor.

You sure about this?  Are they "larger" and "smaller" or is there just more individual crystals affected or less.  I can't see how the crystals would "grow" once they are suspended in the emulsion.  I think they are larger because more individual crystals in a larger crystal are affected.

I'm not sure anyone was really comparing them to modern sensors.  But at the very basic level of the chemical process, silver halide photography is built on the premise that hundreds of millions of crystals each are either exposed and developed into silver or unexposed and undeveloped and the result will then blend into a visual (analog) image.  I don't think anyone is saying this is a digital process, but in fact it is more similar to a digital process  than a modern sensor, which is truly an analog device, and must be converted to a digital representation of the data it receives.
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BernardLanguillier

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« Reply #47 on: August 25, 2009, 11:41:45 pm »

Quote from: MarkDS
Bernard,

As usual - outstanding photographs - excellent work, and many thanks for sharing. One of these days I need to get into panos more seriously - you've inspired me.

I think one other factor that may be worth mentioning in support of the pano approach - by careful selection of the overlapping strategy one can arrange to retain only the highest quality portions of the image the lens can produce in each contributing frame - usually away from the edges. That's what one would want to compare I suppose with the outcome of a single shot from a MFDB with a wide-enough angle lens to provide comparable field of view.

Thank you Mark, much appreciated.

You raise a very good point indeed, I tend to forget that because the Zeiss 100mm f2.0 I have been using mostly is basically as good in the corners as it is in the center around f6.7/f8 - the aperture I use it at most of the time, but it is obviously not the case for all lenses.

Pano is fun once you get used to it. It can be frustrating at the beginning, but things are very smooth once you get a well defined routine, it is now very rare that I mess things up (don't even remember when that happened last):-)

Cheers,
Bernard

Bill VN

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« Reply #48 on: August 26, 2009, 01:22:48 am »

Quote from: Wayne Fox
You sure about this?  Are they "larger" and "smaller" or is there just more individual crystals affected or less.  I can't see how the crystals would "grow" once they are suspended in the emulsion.  I think they are larger because more individual crystals in a larger crystal are affected.

I'm not sure anyone was really comparing them to modern sensors.  But at the very basic level of the chemical process, silver halide photography is built on the premise that hundreds of millions of crystals each are either exposed and developed into silver or unexposed and undeveloped and the result will then blend into a visual (analog) image.  I don't think anyone is saying this is a digital process, but in fact it is more similar to a digital process  than a modern sensor, which is truly an analog device, and must be converted to a digital representation of the data it receives.

Now finding myself as an old-timer, when light is exposed to a photographic film, it converts silver salts to a pure silver crystal that grows dependent on the lumens hitting it. After fixing, the salts are removed and the silver remains inversely dense to the original light exposure. This is simply the basics of traditional photography using silver halide chemistry.
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Bill VN

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« Reply #49 on: August 26, 2009, 01:30:28 am »

Quote from: MarkDS
I don't know what you mean by "better", and much of this is a matter of taste. This kind of contention needs to be either acknowledged as the latter, or formally documented in terms of measurable, objective criteria defining "better".

Photogravure, which is how our paper money is printed, is a very expensive medium, but was utilized by fine print photographers during the early part of the 20th century along with off-the-shelf platinum and palladium printing papers. Almost all modern printing up to ink-jet output has been done by lithographic printing, which relies on various screen levels for depth of detail. Present ink-jet printers produce extremely high screen levels, but cannot match an equivalent contact print.
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ErikKaffehr

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« Reply #50 on: August 26, 2009, 02:22:25 am »

Hi,

It is perfectly possible to stitch MFDB images. If you need more pixels stitching is always an option. In a sense I think Bernard is absolutely right, with stitching you can do with less, both regarding money and weight.

On the other hand, there are plenty of subjects where stitching is not practical.

As Michael used to say: "Horses for the races". But, if you cannot afford or carry that MF equipment, the ability to stitch lesser images is a good option.  

Best regards
Erik


Quote from: Josh-H
Hi Bernard,

I agree stitching is a partial solution only - there are many instances where stitching is either impossible or virtually so.

Stitching can of course bring a lower MP camera up to or greater than the same number of pixels from a MFDB - but pixel count is not the whole story. There are a lot of other factors owners of High end MFDB's attest to as significantly superior to even high end DSLR's like my 1DSMK3 or your D3X.

I think stitching remains a good viable option - but it isnt a substitute for a high end MFDB in my opinion.

As to the value question - well.. i think that like 'beauty', 'value' is also in the eye of the beholder (or holder in this case  )

P.S - Lovely Shot.
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« Reply #51 on: August 26, 2009, 03:23:45 am »

Quote from: Bill VN
Now finding myself as an old-timer, when light is exposed to a photographic film, it converts silver salts to a pure silver crystal that grows dependent on the lumens hitting it. After fixing, the salts are removed and the silver remains inversely dense to the original light exposure. This is simply the basics of traditional photography using silver halide chemistry.

And this is magical for some reason why?

First off, define "old-timer"...are you somebody over 50 years or so old that has extensive B&W and color darkroom work experience? (since you don't seem to care much for color neg, I presume mainly B&W?) Come on, fess up...

It's kinda funny as I was dealing with this thread (and the a$$hole that first lambasted me and then felt compelled to erase everything he wrote) I was dealing with a retrospective show of 31 prints the majority of which were 24" x 30" but 1/3 were 36" x 46", framed...all nicely matted and framed and crated to be able to ship at a moment's notice anywhere in the world. The only problem was that all the framed and matted prints were done with an Epson 78/9800 printer and my current "state of the art" printer is a 9900 printer...so, I have this show made up of nicely matted and framed 24x30" and 36x46" prints–the cost of the print show (which was handed by Epson) was thousands of bucks. What did I do?

Some of the prints went into the basement cause, well the framed prints look really nice. But a bunch of the 36"x46" went into the dumpster cause, well, the prints made with the 9800 look less god than what I  can produce with the 9900. and the prints were matted, framed and sealed into the frames.

And this is a sad (ironic) reality of digital at this stage...the originals (the raw captures) keep getting vastly better because of the improved raw processing–and the digital printing keeps getting better because of the improved color gamut and dynamic range of the prints...the stuff you shoot today (or shot yesterday) is actually better than in most technical respects that what you could have shot or processed a year or so ago...

If you don't like the "shock of the new" you really should get into oil painting and get out of photography...
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ErikKaffehr

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« Reply #52 on: August 26, 2009, 04:32:26 am »

Hi,

I'd suggest that the high prices much depends on the cost of making large sensor chips in small series. Competition obviously matters, but as long as the chips are expensive so will the backs be expensive.

That said, it's quite obvious that analog film is still an option. I published recently two comparisons between 67 film and my Alpha 900, and had quite a few comments. After considering all the comments I'd suggest that medium format film is still an option, but not a very convenient one. Some of the photographers who commented my "test" work with both film-based MF and large format and "top level" digital, like the Aptus 75. On the other hand very demanding photographers like Joseph Holmes and Charlie Cramer find MF digital to match or surpass 4x5" film.

Taste may matter. Some like Velvia and some don't. Much research went into Velvia to achieve the Velvia look, it may not be easy to reproduce it digitally. Should be possible, IMHO, but not easily.

On the other hand, my Alpha 900 probably beats a "blad" using a conventional darkroom process any time, and it just more practical and convenient. If you need the ultimate quality from MF film the best option may be to find a good lab offering drum scans, but that's probably expensive. A used Imacon scanner may be an option. Normal CCD-based scanners may be less optimal.

A full frame DSLR is probably a good alternative to film based MF, just more convenient and probably also better.

Regarding my findings, the article is here:
http://83.177.178.241/ekr/index.php/photoa...-sony-alpha-900

Best regards
Erik

Quote from: Bill VN
Actually, my original post was about the obscenely high cost of switching to digital for photographers who have worked with large and medium format cameras in the past. One of the reasons for this, in my view, is the practical monopolization of the market by a few Danish companies, such as Phase One, which now owns Leaf and partially Mamiya, and Hasselblad, which is owned by a Chinese trading company and really operated by ex-Imacon management.

Franke & Heidecke has fallen by the wayside, so Jenoptik is leaving the market, divesting Sinar along the way. There is MegaVision in California, but I am not sure how much of a factor they are in the market.
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Mark D Segal

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« Reply #53 on: August 26, 2009, 09:02:05 am »

Quote from: Bill VN
Photogravure, which is how our paper money is printed, is a very expensive medium, but was utilized by fine print photographers during the early part of the 20th century along with off-the-shelf platinum and palladium printing papers. Almost all modern printing up to ink-jet output has been done by lithographic printing, which relies on various screen levels for depth of detail. Present ink-jet printers produce extremely high screen levels, but cannot match an equivalent contact print.

Bill, I think there is some mix-up here. There's photogravure and there's photogravure. The one-off historical process beautifully described here Photogravure on the one hand, and rotogravure or sheet-fed gravure used for printing money and the many excellent gravure-printed photographic books of the 1950s-1970s on the other hand - produced by firms such as Draeger Bros in Paris, Braun in Mulhouse, the Meriden Gravure Co. of Connecticut, C.J. Bucher of Luzern and Conzett & Huber in Zurich, to name some of the foremost, aren't really the same product, and it simply isn't serious to argue that the print quality of the latter compares with the DMax, clarity and tonality of contemporary inkjet prints produced by people who know how to use the medium.

In a thread like this where we are supposed to be discussing "want, need and afford", it's legitimate of course to situate wants and needs within a context referencing the outcomes which generate those wants and needs, but it doesn't make any sense to juxtapose apples and oranges from different eras. 99% of market participants will be making choices based on practical contemporary options ranging from the acceptable to the extraordinarily high quality which today's processes and equipment can deliver.
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« Reply #54 on: August 26, 2009, 09:24:24 am »

Quote from: Schewe
And this is magical for some reason why?

...............(since you don't seem to care much for color neg, I presume mainly B&W?)

 Good you resuccitated this point, because I intended to say something about that too. I'd like to know what was wrong with colour negatives? In the right hands this was an excellent medium. They have tremendous tonality, great shadow detail, very forgiving of exposure issues, and scanned by people who know what they are doing, they can produce clean, well-controlled, high-quality results. But it's a time-consuming process. If Bill were to do some more research, he'd find that prominent professionals in the digital imaging field have said very positive things about colour negative materials. Not putting myself in that league, but as an aside, I've done a lot of work digitizing colour negatives Near Digital Quality Scanning with Silverfastand I agree with them.
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« Reply #55 on: August 26, 2009, 09:35:26 am »

Quote from: ErikKaffehr
Hi,

..........I'd suggest that the high prices much depends on the cost of making large sensor chips in small series. Competition obviously matters, but as long as the chips are expensive so will the backs be expensive.

That said, it's quite obvious that analog film is still an option. ...............

Best regards
Erik

Erik, yes, I enjoyed your research, and I would add the high prices of MFDBs is not only the cost of making the chips, but that factor combined with what the high cost of entry does to the size of the market. There simply isn't the scale to bring the costs down a whole lot, and underlying that one needs to consider the amount of custom, manual intervention required to maximize quality of each production unit at the high-end of the technology. The people doing this have high overheads in R&D, facilities and equipment and they aren't working for nothing.

And yes, film is still an option, but as your own work shows, for most purposes it is no longer a cost-effective or market-relevant option. There will continue to be users of film, there are certain applications of film-based technology which have a sustainable niche, but outside of that, the real comparisons between wants, needs and outcomes are within the digital realm.
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Bill VN

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« Reply #56 on: August 26, 2009, 06:25:45 pm »

Quote from: Schewe
And this is magical for some reason why?

First off, define "old-timer"...are you somebody over 50 years or so old that has extensive B&W and color darkroom work experience? (since you don't seem to care much for color neg, I presume mainly B&W?) Come on, fess up...

It's kinda funny as I was dealing with this thread (and the a$$hole that first lambasted me and then felt compelled to erase everything he wrote) I was dealing with a retrospective show of 31 prints the majority of which were 24" x 30" but 1/3 were 36" x 46", framed...all nicely matted and framed and crated to be able to ship at a moment's notice anywhere in the world. The only problem was that all the framed and matted prints were done with an Epson 78/9800 printer and my current "state of the art" printer is a 9900 printer...so, I have this show made up of nicely matted and framed 24x30" and 36x46" prints–the cost of the print show (which was handed by Epson) was thousands of bucks. What did I do?

Some of the prints went into the basement cause, well the framed prints look really nice. But a bunch of the 36"x46" went into the dumpster cause, well, the prints made with the 9800 look less god than what I  can produce with the 9900. and the prints were matted, framed and sealed into the frames.

And this is a sad (ironic) reality of digital at this stage...the originals (the raw captures) keep getting vastly better because of the improved raw processing–and the digital printing keeps getting better because of the improved color gamut and dynamic range of the prints...the stuff you shoot today (or shot yesterday) is actually better than in most technical respects that what you could have shot or processed a year or so ago...

If you don't like the "shock of the new" you really should get into oil painting and get out of photography...

Sir, you crack me up! Yes, I am slightly over 50, and I have done extensive darkroom work with 4x5, 120 and 35 mm films including color negatives & prints, color transparencies and B&W prints. As a technical sales specialist, I once represented the leading supplier of pump assemblies to the photographic/graphic arts processor manufacturers of the time, such as Agfa-Gevaert and Linotype. And when I represented the largest provider of graphic arts masking films for lithographic printing, I also functioned as my company's technical liaison with Eastman Kodak.

In addition, I have constructed view cameras and enlargers for my personal use, so maybe I can claim a modest knowledge of this subject. It has been interesting to see folks "bounce off the walls" with opinions every time I post simple facts. Oh by the way, I am currently a business development manager for a leading provider of engineering services to--you guessed it--the semiconductor industry. An industry that still uses photolithography to make chips.

To reiterate, I started this subject simply to state that there is a large population of photographers who demand the highest level of quality of imaging, and they have been staggered by the huge rise in cost for digital equipment that comes anywhere close to meeting their standards.
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« Reply #57 on: August 26, 2009, 07:42:29 pm »

We discuss the archival quality of film over digital - but does anyone care? Apart from the photographers.

Did Rembrandt or Monet know how long his images would last? or care?

Do we aim for more than our customers want?

Do most of them want a nice image to display on the wall? or are they looking for an investment that will be worth more when they and the photographer(film or digital) are deceased?
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BernardLanguillier

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« Reply #58 on: August 26, 2009, 08:00:46 pm »

Quote from: Ray R
Do most of them want a nice image to display on the wall? or are they looking for an investment that will be worth more when they and the photographer(film or digital) are deceased?

There is a clear hope that signed limited editions of prints that are supposed to last long are a way to increase the price of a fine art print, as opposed to... high quality posters?

Cheers,
Bernard

Mark D Segal

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« Reply #59 on: August 26, 2009, 08:16:04 pm »

Quote from: Bill VN
Sir, you crack me up! .........................
To reiterate, I started this subject simply to state that there is a large population of photographers who demand the highest level of quality of imaging, and they have been staggered by the huge rise in cost for digital equipment that comes anywhere close to meeting their standards.

Ya, Jeff cracks me up to - but in the right way, because 9.9 times out of 10 he makes a lot of sense to me (sorry about the 0.1% Jeff - that's just the parsimonious philosophy in me that nothing or nobody - even me - can be 100%)  

Now turning to the real meat of your post, let's analyze whether what you say here makes any objective sense. How do you define "the highest quality of imaging" in an operationally significant manner? Because without that in the foreground, the rest of the premises is untestable and pointless. And in a similar vein, what are "their standards"? And can you quantify this "large population of photographers" who are so affected, and of that population, how many of them really understand the technical revolution of the past decade? You see, the fact is, that the most successful professional photographers who really ARE at the forefront of 21st century photography - and here I'm thinking of people like Vincent Versace, Greg Gorman, John Paul Caponigro, Michael Reichmannm, Joe McNally, Jay Maisel, Charles Cramer, Moose Peterson, Jim deVitale, Joe Glyda, Martin Evening, and the list can go on and on.........have not only embraced the digital revolution, but are also teaching the world how to maximize its potential. Companies like Canon and Nikon are churning out MILLIONS of cameras from point and shoots up through DSLRs and they aren't piling-up in garbage dumps - people at ALL levels are buying them. There has to be something to this which defies the situation you are trying to establish.

But let's dig a bit further into this question of "huge rise in cost for digital equipment". What "huge rise in cost" are you talking about relative to what and over what time period, because the quality keeps getting better and the real prices keep coming down. And more importantly, how are you doing your accounting? As a professional economist this is something in which I take an interest, and as a sales professional you should know about it too. There is front-end investment cost and then there is a long string of recurrent operational costs, and labour costs and the time value of money. When you look at ALL the LIFE-CYCLE, comprehensive cost implications of a film versus a digital workflow can you seriously say the latter is higher cost? Have you done this research to know the answer (and based on what time period, what equipment, what costs and what other assumptions about the relevant comparator variables)? I haven't, but I have a very strong sense of the texture of this issue-set that digital would come out winning the cost war hands-down, except perhaps for irrational situations in which someone spent 30K on an MFDB and used it once a year - unless of course that one usage netted them a 50K image sale. You see, it ain't so simple after all, is it?
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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