Digital Camera What Kind ???

Discussion in 'Large Format' started by george_stewart|1, Mar 18, 2004.

  1. Digital cameras, both expensive and cheap, have been out for many
    years now and I still don't own one. The expensive ones just don't
    deliver the quality/price ratio I expect IMHO. The cheap ones are
    like toys (again IMHO). Don't get me wrong, for snap shots, the
    average consumer and simple documentation, it's the only way to go.
    However, I am starting to salivate for something in the toy range.

    As a shooter of LF for many years, am I crazy? I'm interested in how
    many of you LFers actually have a digital camera. What LF camera(s)
    do you shoot and what digital camera(s) do you own? I'm interested in
    those who don't own digital cameras and the reasons why.

    Thanks. George
  2. Hi George. I have a Canon S45, a 4mp point and shoot camera. I use it in the field in conjunction with my 4x5 to play with different compositions. I know the screen is tiny, but I shoot various takes of a composition and I can tell a lot about how it will turn out by reviewing the images on the digital screen. It is cheaper than polaroids. Also, I also use it as a point and shoot when the light is bad and I want to remember a location or composition and it is fun pictures for parties and social events.
  3. the highest resolution cam\digital camera that I regularly shoot with is the recently
    disontinued Kodak DCS Pro Back, I use it with a Contax 645AF camera. It is a 4000 x
    4000 pixel back (16mp). Very high quality, butnotstate of the art now that Imacon,
    Leaf, Phase One, Sinar and Jeoptik now make backs in the 20 to 25mp range. Many of
    these backs have Kodak designed and built imaging chips.

    Do you know who Gregory Heisler is? he is areally big time editorial and advertising
    photographer in NYC. The other day I was talking with Gregory and he had recently
    tested one of the 22 or 25 mega-pixel backs (attached to his Sinar) while on and
    advertising shoot. he said the quality was not quite as good as the 8x10 transparency
    film he was shooting with his otherSinar. To get it up to 8x10 quality he would shoot
    two frames (using rise/fall o nthe rear standard and stitch them together
  4. George,
    I shoot with a Nikon D100 when I'm not using my Sinar. I'd dearly love to buy and use a
    Sinarback but I'm not yet ready to shell out US$20,000 plus for one.
    At the present time, I'm considering buying the Blad H1 but won't be buying a digital back
    for it immediately. One day soooooon though!
  5. Assuming you don't plan to mortgage your house to buy a digital back or to buy one of the $5,000 jobs, the Nikon D100 might be a good choice. I bought one to use for color photography. Most of what I do is black and white so the D100 doesn't get used a whole but I like it. Prints 8x10 and smaller are at least as good as 35mm prints of that size. The few 11x14s haven't been as good as I get from 6x7 but I think that's at least partially a result of my lack of knowledge about how to use color in Photoshop. I've seen other people's 11x14 prints from the D100 and the comparable Canon that have been beautiful, very very comparable to medium format. Nikon has just come out with a new camera, the D70, that I think is intended to replace the D100 so if that's true there should be some demo and used D100s available at a good price pretty soon. But if you're expecting to get prints that are comparable to large format from a $1,000 - $2,000 digital camera I think you'll be disappointed.
  6. Another vote for the D100.

    There is a bit of learning to do to get good can't just point & shoot. It can
    look quite good when you get it right.

  7. I shoot film with an Ebony 23S and digitally with a Canon 10D.
  8. After 50 years of carrying a Minox with me everywhere, I bought a Minolta Xt. It's about the size of a pack of regular cigarettes but only half as thick. Only weighs 4 oz, and drops unnoticably into my shirt pocket. Take it out, point and click (it has a fast zoom and autofocus), and drop it back in out of they way without missing a beat. In 6 months I've made HUNDREDS of pictures with it, some of them pretty good. It's a perfect, not excessively expensive, way to test the digital waters.
  9. Sorry -- I posted the wrong picture.
  10. funny, when i first saw the top picture, i thought, "wow, that's got to be LF!" then, when i read it described as coming from a tiny digicam, i thought, "he's lying." (sorry, Bill -- chuckling). so, which camera did you use to take the top picture?
  11. I use a Canon Powershot A70 (A60 too) together with either a Crown Graphic or Arca Swiss. The A70 is just a lightmeter and viewing card combo that I use to preview compositions and exposure :). It is the smallest and cheapest digital camera that I found which has manual exposure capability.
  12. I'm very interested in a DSLR as a 35mm upgrade and medium format alternative (see any number of discussions on the rough equivalency between 6MP and 645 and 12MP and 6x7) but haven't bought one yet since current crop 6MP cameras aren't yet on the used market. My top choice is a D100, though I shoot a lot of high contrast stuff and am curious to see how the Fuji S3 turns out.
  13. Canon Powershot A70, the more I use it the more I like it!
  14. Dear George

    I have been using a DCS620 for a number of years. This was my first '35mm' camera after having shot LF, MF and 617. I could not be more pleased with this digital camera and find it an important addition to my equipment.

    Although large (based upon the F5 body), I find I use it for testing composition and locations many times instead of having to lug a P2 and my accessories all over. Especially in urban situations, I can go one day and shoot from many different angles, spots and scout numerous potential future places I want to return to with my other equipment. At home, I can print out the photos and file them (or even put them in my bag) for reference when I return for the LF shots.

    By the same token, I have enjoyed the quality of my Kodak digital images. In fact, I am hoping to purchase the new Kodak DSC Pro SLR/n which is getting good reviews. Alternatively, today Kodak announced a DCS Pro SLR/c for those prefering Canon glass. You might want to check them out in addition to the other suggestions being offered.


    John Bailey
  15. Here I have a 1.3 Megapixel Olympus P&S; with a 5.5mm lens; used to shoot Ebay photos; and photos of optical items being repaired. Also we have a Phase One 4x5 back; actual sensor size is 7x10cm; with 5000 x 7000 pixel output; 103Meg files the largest. This is an older unit; it has a scan bar; that goes across the "film plane" in minutes. Without "required" infrared filter on the taking lens; the sensor's response is stong in the infrared region; with a strong false color. This unit is mainly used with tungsten lighting; in studio conditions. It is tethered with a SCSI cable; to a computer during the scan.
  16. Both pictures were taken with the Minolta Xt, about a week apart. Although the camera has a B&W mode, these were actually taken in Color and converted to B&W in Photoshop 7.0. Here's the original.
  17. Hi, George,

    One suggestion may wish to definitely take the time to think about what you really want to do with the camera before you make a purchase.

    I have two digital cameras, and my first camera was a rather bulky but feature-rich Sony that cost over $ the cost of memory sticks and extra batteries.

    My mistake.....I later realized that all I really wanted out of a digital camera was a convenient, zoomable pocket camera to take quick flash snapshots of my friends and to email the results. So, I ultimately got a smaller, cheaper, cuter Canon that I can actually carry places without the annoying bulk of the first camera. This second camera has fewer megapixels...that I never really needed anyway.

    Have fun!

  18. Don't forget that high end cameras producing files of many megabytes require a computer with lots of memory and storage space and fast enough to process large files. That could add to the cost if one doesn't already own such a system.
  19. I often use a Cambo wide with either Grafmatics or a 545i as a travel camera, so perhaps I qualify as a LF user..It seems to me that most people using the high end digital cameras are commercial shooters who can justify the costs. Doubtless in five years the prices will fall to amateur levels. When I feel the need for instant gratification and the light permits I use Polaroid 55 p/n, a wonderful film. I think there's a pleasure in having the 4x5 negs./positives in hand which digital doesn't easily provide.

    I recently acquired a Canon A70 for parties, web pics., etc. Works fine as a new toy so far..It's not in the same league as my Contax T3 (which is very good quality for 35mm), and does have obvious shutter lag, so I still prefer the T3 for things like parties when I don't need the pictures right away.
  20. Hi George

    I have 2 Sinars P + F1 4x5 and the 8x10 kitt for my P is on the way to me, Arca Swiss F-Line, Horseman HF and I have now a Nikon Coolpix 5000 and the Fuji S2, but since I have the Fuji I don't use the Coolpix anymore! I did in a bit lesser then 1 year take over 8000 pictures with the Fuji and I like it a lot!
    Would actually prefer to work more with my 4x5's but, this days all want the pictures 1 day bevor I got the Job!
  21. high end cameras producing files of many megabytes require a computer with lots of memory and storage space
    Unless you have an inexpensive CR-R burner.
  22. Anyone heard of the Cambo ultima 35? LF camera with mounts for Canon
    EOS 1Ds, Fuji s2, Kodak DCS pro and Nikon D1x bodies. Haven't used it but
    it might be interesting for LF users interested in digital.
  23. I use a Sony MVC-CD350. It is a clunker point & shoot camera that uses a CD for storage.
    It is slow to write and takes okay pictures. However, the real reason I bought it is because
    it has a very large 2.5" LCD - the largest LCD of any camera on the market. I have two of
    them, one for backup, and I have all the accessories. It has has the best LCD hood
    solution on the market for viewing in bright light. This is very important for field work.

    I use the camera for quick prototyping compositions in the field. It is the only camera that
    also has all the features I need. For example, it has a zoom magnification factor that is
    displayed as you zoom. One of the few cameras that does this. I have built a table that
    tells me what lens to use for any zoom factor selected. This allows me to configure and
    place my 4x5/5x7/4x10 camera very quickly.

    For those of you who think digital can compete with film, think again. Photo Technique
    just published an article that benchmarks film and pixels. The author, who went to great
    lengths to eliminate all variables, clearly demonstrated you need a 25 to 35 Mb file to
    compete with the resolving power of just 35mm film. If you use a cheap lens with 35mm
    film you can see the difference. If you use a cheap lens with a 6 to 11 Mb camera (Canon's
    big boy for $8000) you will see no difference because the resolving power of a cheap lens
    is twice that for those cameras.

    If I extrapolate his results for 4x5, I would need a 390 Mb file to compete with this format.
    I believe there is currently no digital back that can generate that size of file on the market.
    Even if there was, the price tag would be prohibitive and the power consumption and
    storage in the field would not be practical.
  24. jbs


    Respectfully, my Minolta DiMage 7i produces 28meg+ files.
  25. I don't own a digital camera yet, but I want one. The reason I haven't bought one yet is my LF kit is not complete yet and I would rather put my money there. My wife and I live far away from our families and it would be nice to have a digital for snapshots to e-mail. Currently I shoot 35mm and scan prints made by a drug store/ grocery store. It is crappy quality and it is inconvenient. When I have the money I will pick up a Fuji Finepix 210. This is after I get a shutter for my G-Claron, an Epson 2450 scanner, a step up ring so I can use my filters on LF, a few more filters, take a couple dozen more sheets of Provia, and enlarge a couple of 11X14s for the rec room wall.
  26. I am using both Kodak DCS 520 and 620 which give me superb results considering they are only 2MP, I also have a Canon 10D which give great results at 6MP but is less robust that the Kodaks. The Kodaks are classic cameras based on the superb Nikon F5 and Canon EOS1 respectively. They have never let me down and I will continue using them.

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