I Think MF Digital Is A Dead End

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by scott_fleming|1, Jun 7, 2004.

  1. There is a VERY informative thread on this issue ove on robgalbraith.com

    http://www.robgalbraith.com/ubbthreads/showflat.php?
    Cat=&Number=239254&page=0&view=collapsed&sb=5&o=&fpart=1&vc=1

    If this is a subject that interests you it is well worth reading.

    Below is my post to this thread which is the latest post on the thread right now. It sums
    up my personal thoughts on the future of digital .... FOR ME. Your mileage may vary.

    This whole thing (capped off by this thread) has been a hard punch in the gut for me. I
    don't think it has dawned on most avid photography enthusiasts/amateurs who have
    flirted with digital capture yet. I only had a 10D but it took me away from film for a whole
    year. I believed digital capture was the future. Scanning has always turned me off and I've
    avoided it. I invested a year with digital because I 'knew' it was the future and I needed to
    learn it.

    I now see that digital capture beyond 35mm is a complete dead end. It's over! For the
    foreseeable (imaginable) future at least. I would have to go the 1Ds route now. It is the
    only possibility. I could do it. I have the money but most in my league do not. But I loathe
    the format for what I really want to do.... which is large print landscape work. I guess I'll
    just have to substantially downgrade what 'large' means to me now if I want to stay with
    digital capture ..... AND hope that Canon can come up with a decent WA lens.

    I really dreamed of the day I could get a full frame 645 digital back. I figured I was maybe
    two years away from it. I mean that was my plan and I was ready to spend $20k to get
    there. Figured I'd pick up good used equipment. Even if that meant forgetting my own
    printing for a few years (not enough $ for a truly large format printer after buying
    expensive kit ). But all that is OVER. It's not even a dream.

    I'm angry about this. I'm shooting film again. I'm on the way to the printer now to have
    $500 worth of prints made (just large proofs really) . This is money that was being saved
    for my own digital solution of the future. I'm simply going to quit fretting about all this
    and let the lab do what labs do .... I don't really want to do it all anyway (the ugly fine print
    of the digital contract). I like to make images not pour over a computer screen hour after
    hour.

    Maybe it's a good thing. I don't know exactly what I will do. For now I'm determined once
    again to master my 4 x 5 equipment and just forget about histograms and Photoshop. It's
    hard. All that control and the ability to breathe life into marginal prints was enthralling.
    But really only because I was shooting for that dream of 645 full frame and 22 MP. (or
    more)
    I'll just spend my 'digital money' for the occaisonal drum scan and more large prints from
    the lab.

    I'm disheartened by taking what seems like many steps backward but I can still make the
    good images (I do get one now and then) with transparencies. The digital world now
    seems like an affair I had with a Siren but now it just seems an ugly episode. Just a bad
    taste left in the mouth. But I had to have the affair to know what I now know.

    Perhaps some new tech we can only imagine will come along (Foveon?) and turn the 35mm
    imaging chip into three times the size file we think is normal now? Then at least we could
    crop to something like a decent ratio and print to 30 x 40.



    Post Extras: ? ? ?
     
  2. I'm not sure what your point is but it only took me one simple realization to know that digital--in any format in its current technology--is nothing more than a scam. There are *no* digital cameras or scanners whose image files do not require "sharpening" by software to achieve a quasi-photo quality. This sharpening is nothing more than the insertion of facsimile data where the digital capture is missing detail. After this phonybaloney computer tweaking and because it has no grain, and inspired by the false-economy of "no film cost" (blind to the added cost of the digicams themselves)and overcome by the aphrodesiac of instant-gratification, the photo ignoramuses pronounce digital "equal" to film, and swarm to it in droves.

    The problem is not that "MF Digital Is A Dead End", it is that *digital* is a sinkhole, and the knowing and discering among us are being flushed down the drain as well.

    Going back to film is a short-term solution, because the lemings have voted and film will not survive as a medium for very much longer, despite the pinheads who chant "film will be around forever" in total denial and ignorance of the tenets of simple economics.
     
  3. Exactly how does that thread demonstrate that digital MF is a
    dead end? And a dead end for whom? for what purposes?
     
  4. Isn't it obvious?

    Digital is a sinkhole and film is on its way out. I think I'm going to give up photography right now ;-)
     
  5. That is an interesting read ofthatthread . the guy who made the orignal post and virtually
    eveeryone else who has added to that thread wopretty much completely disagrees with
    you.

    As to the guy who said 'when Canon comes out with a 16mp version of the 1Ds...", well
    unless the underlying design engineering principles of the sensor array change radically
    to accomodate the hard realities of quantum electrodynamics (AKA: "light") a 16mp
    camera with a 24x36mm sensor array will perform worse than the current 11mp one.

    "Perhaps some new tech we can only imagine will come along (Foveon?) and turn the
    35mm imaging chip into three times the size file we think is normal now?"

    At a certain point pixels of the right size (currently about 9 x 9 microns) over a larger
    piece real estate, not masses of tiny, tiny pixels beats a small piece of real estate with tiny,
    tiny pixels. Putting more pixels in an area the size a 35mmnegative is possible now -- but
    no one liks the results. other wise a 5.3Mp point & shoot would produce images that are
    technically just as good as a Nikon D1x or a Canon 10D.

    So I guess your point is YOUR dream of a MF digital camera is dead. Any of the 22mp
    "medium format" backs easily out resolve and out enlarge 4"x5' film. (I know this because
    I've done my own tests. Gregory Heisler thinks the resolution is about that of a 5"x7'
    pirece
    of film) But you have to pay for that. My suggestion to you is to get either the second or
    top tier Imacon scanner instead of crying in your Lone Star.
     
  6. Photographers buy medium format and large format cameras for the higher quality images they can achieve with the larger film. Amateurs use 35mm for convenience, and are now switching to digital because of its increased convenience. Lots of pros use 35mm and now use digital for convenience and speed, and for those applications where quality is not as important, such as newspaper and magazine publishing.

    I shoot film for everything except the images I use for my business web site. Given what I shoot film for, I have no reason to consider digital capture. If digital capture can't deliver the same level of image quality as medium format or large format for professional use, I see no reason to believe that medium format or large format film and processing won't be around for a very long time. Amateurs and press photographers aren't using medium format or large format now, nor have they used it for many years. So why wouldn't the infrastructure to support medium and large format photography continue to be available regardless of digital's takover of amateur and press photography?
     
  7. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    Lots of pros use 35mm and now use digital for convenience and speed, and for those applications where quality is not as important, such as newspaper and magazine publishing.
    I'm not going to get into the dead end argument, but this statement is absurd. Lots of pros have used 35mm for photographs that were used in high quality applications, including documentary, scientific, nature, portraits, etc etc, and published large format books and made large prints from 35mm.
     
  8. I don't understand why you say it's absurd. I have 11x14 prints made from 35mm film. They look pretty good. But there's simply no comparison between an enlargement to that size from 35mm film and the same size print from a 4x5 sheet. It's like the difference between looking at a scene, and looking at it through a fine screen. Clearly, the 4x5 sheet has more detail than a 35mm slide. How is this debatable?
     
  9. "Lots of pros use 35mm and now use digital for convenience and speed, and for those applications where quality is not as important, such as newspaper and magazine publishing."

    I don't know what sort of magazines you have in mind, but most magazines I read are quite susceptible to high quality images.
     
  10. Spearhead

    Spearhead Moderator

    That has not nothing to do with whether or not professionals use it, that's why. You said: Lots of pros use 35mm and now use digital for convenience and speed, and for those applications where quality is not as important, such as newspaper and magazine publishing. That's still not true. 8x10 will give much, much, much better big prints, but that has nothing to do with what you said. Professionals have used 35mm for many years for a wide variety of applications. You said otherwise and that's just wrong. I said nothing about whether you can get better quality from a larger negative.
     
  11. This is probably for another thread, although it is a related issue, but isn't there also a problem in terms of storage? How often does one need to transfer digital files to preserve the image as opposed to the long storage life of negatives? Am thinking of all those folks who preserved the most "important life moments" on VHS only to find years later they have been lost. Is this a legitimate concern...
     
  12. i think theyre called hard drives...
     
  13. ...which never crash. but then tomorrows venus transit across the sun might wipe out everyones :)
     
  14. Just use what you have and what you like and be happy, predictions on IT related items are anyway off in most cases. The kind of equipment planning for the future (more than 2 or 3 years ahead) does not make sense in our time.
    That said I will still continue to buy into MF, because it is just the best of the two worlds (film + digital) for my needs. And I also dont want to support an upcoming monopolist in the DSLR sector.
     
  15. >i think theyre called hard drives...<

    yeah, but deep inside ... you all have that fear it might fail you, isn't it?
    i never had this with film.
     
  16. I don't understand why you say it's absurd. Well because it is absurd to put format over subject. each format has its strengths and weakness, and each has it's place.
     
  17. db1

    db1

    These are boring conversations and lately they are all posted by the same person.

    ...blah blah blah...
     
  18. I don't understand the anguish and anger over high-end digital capture.

    If "medium format" digital capture costs more than you can afford today, then use small format digital capture or film.

    If small format digital capture or film doesn't give you the print quality that you want at the print size that you want, then use medium or large format film.

    Most photo.net participants are amateurs, and our decision criteria can be different from those of pros. For example, most of us use much less film than pros so the calculation of capital cost vs film cost per day is different.

    If in a few years high-end digital capture seems better and within your price range, then buy it then. Why worry so much about it now?

    As an amateur, if with technology X you can get the end results that you want at a price that you can afford, then use technology X.

    I don't know why you are so negative about scanning, or why you seem to imply that digital will give you a higher rate of good images than transparencies. Is it the dynamic range of transparency film? If so, try negative film.
     
  19. Jeff,

    Perhaps we're talking about two different things. Perhaps you don't understand what I wrote. Perhaps I didn't write clearly. So, let me try again.

    When I look at a photograph in a magazine such as Time, Newsweek, Outdoor Photographer, etc. it's made from a series of dots. I believe it's called half-tone, but I'm not a pro, never have been, and never will be, so perhaps my terminology is incorrect. But it's clear to me, and should be clear to anyone with reasonably good vision, that the quality of an image printed in the typical magazine is far inferior to an image printed on paper in a darkroom. That being so, there cannot be much difference between an image originating on 35mm film and one originating on 4x5 film, if it ends up being printed in Time magazine.

    If that's incorrect, please tell me why. I'm willing to listen, and learn from those in a position to know better than I.

    But if I'm correct, that might go a long ways towards explaining why press photographers no longer use Speed Graphics and Rollei TLRs but instead use 35mm and digital SLRs. They are much faster to work with, and produce results that are more than good enough for the publications they will appear in.

    A photographer who uses medium or large format film is obviously attempting to achieve results that are superior to that which can be produced on 35mm film. Those results would be wasted on the cover of USA Today. So why go to all the hassle?

    Having never used a digital back on a medium format camera or a 4x5, I can't say how the results compare to film in those formats. But I do often come across statements that seem to indicate that digital is not yet up to the quality that can be achieved with large format film.

    If that's true, I'm simply suggesting that that is a good reason why medium and large format film will continue to be a viable means of achieving high quality photographs.

    Not trying to start a war, just offering an opinion.
     
  20. "...digital--in any format in its current technology--is nothing more than a scam..."

    "...the apparatus, the souless machine, must be subserviant, the personality and its demands must dominate..." Heinrich Kuhn
     
  21. I'll see if I can talk to all those who have raised a civil point or attempted to carry on a
    decent discussion.

    Mike. $15k to $30k pricetag for a MF digital back kills it for 99.99% of all those who use
    MF. It's dead to me that's for sure and it may kill it altogether.

    Ellis. I appreciate your help and suggestions. I know you are right but I just have this
    giant reluctance. I just gotta stew about it some more. If I must I must. As to the
    opinions of those on that thread. I guess they're in the one onehundredth of one percent.
    Hope they can keep the monopolists at bay.

    Peter. At $30k a back when the 1Ds solution is nearly as good for so much less I don't
    think the infrastructure of MF digital capture can survive. Film is more secure, to my mind
    than I had thought a few months ago.

    Michael. The anger is because I made an assumption and got sucked in. I spent a year
    experimenting and learning digital for not nearly so good a reason as I thought. The
    prices of larger format digital capture are beyond all reason. Senseless. Stupid. Digital is
    a better way to make pictures for me. I really wanted to make my sorts of pictures with
    digital capture. But it ain't gonna happen. Sorry but this ticks me off. I refuse to
    compromise and make small pictures. I'm glad for those who don't give a whit for digital
    and like film. I envy them actually. Perhaps it is that I was not all that good a
    photographer and digital capture made me a better one. Goodness knows it was easier.
    As to the rate of success with digital versus film I should think that is self esplanatory.
    Easier to shoot more with digital and thus get more keepers and just the histogram itself
    pretty much insures proper exposure.

    Peter. What if tomorrow you woke up to the news that cars were going to cost ten times
    what they presently do? You'd be pretty mad, right? Well my photography means almost
    that much to me.
    Emotionally it means a lot more than ANY car. I don't need photography to live so of
    course its not the same. Yes, at heart, I am unhappy at the cost of MF digital backs. I
    am unhappy with the cost of a 1Ds but it makes sense to me. Phase One's prices make no
    sense. It is an outrage.
     
  22. db1

    db1

    Scott,

    In one of your other rants, you had settled on using the large AND medium format cameras you ALREADY own and that you were going to use a $400 Epson scanner.

    So, what happened?

    In any case, get over it. The Ferrari you want is out of your price range. Get on with life and make the photographs you want to make. Then scan them and print them. The photographs will probably come out better this way, anyway.

    What is so difficult about this?
     
  23. David,

    Rant? Is it your opinion that this board is just to ask questions like "Can I put a Hasselblad
    lens on my Mamiya Super? Or, Which Hoga should I get?"

    If you don't like my instituting discussions about current photography trends .... please
    feel free to not read them.

    I think we all might be better off if the manufacturers of digital backs knew how we felt.
    These prices are an outrage and absolutely impossible to justify. Those who's business
    can amortize the expense are not doing themselves any favors by laying down as docile
    lambs at the wolf's door.
     
  24. db1

    db1

    In the new "Picture" magazine, there is an interview with the President of Mamiya America Corp. He says Mamiya has a 40% share of the medium format market. I don't recall his name.

    So now that you know this, you can direct your efforts toward him.

    In the mean time, why have you changed your mind about shooting film and scanning it?
     
  25. I also don't see why the discussion is that heated.

    In the ex-35mm range, digital has managed to reach or outperform film in many instances for a price that many find acceptable. Others still shoot film, for financial reasons, or because they like film.

    In the medium format range, many (but not all) backs are still extremely expensive. I guess some of the manufacturers have to decided to get a huge return on their development investments on each individual back. Right now, few of them follow the logic that once they reduce their prices, medium format's attractiveness will not suffer and they may stay in their business themselves.

    Hopefully some of them read these threads and find the arguments convincing... I guess many medium format enthusiasts see the issues and want to bring attention to these issues.
     
  26. For me the answer is easy, for digital work I use my recently bought and affordable 10D with some good Canon L glass, for Film I still use my Rollei 6008 along with my old 3.5F Rolleiflex TLR. I even think to buy old IIIF leica just to have fun again with 35mm film, for large format it's just not my style so I stay away from this. Anyway digital or film as long as I can shoot and take pictures, I am a happy guy simple as that!.

    Ike
     
  27. Scott,

    I don't really see the problem you're facing. If you want to become a master of 4x5 format
    film, go for it. If you want to shoot medium format film, go for it. If you prefer some sort
    of digital camera or back, go for it. In the end, nobody but a technology geek cares what
    camera you used, all they care about is how good the picture is. Good photographs
    transcend format and media.

    Godfrey
     
  28. Scott wrote: >>I now see that digital capture beyond 35mm is a complete dead end. It's over! For the foreseeable (imaginable) future at least. I would have to go the 1Ds route now. It is the only possibility. I could do it. I have the money but most in my league do not. But I loathe the format for what I really want to do.... which is large print landscape work. I guess I'll just have to substantially downgrade what 'large' means to me now if I want to stay with digital capture ..... AND hope that Canon can come up with a decent WA lens. FWIW, I just printed (and have on display in a show) three 30x45 landscape prints that are stunningly detailed. The camera? A 1Ds. The lens? A "crappy" 16-35 L zoom. The printer? The current state of the art Epson 9600, complete with all of its inherent disabilities. The secret? Time spent learning HOW to use Photoshop effectively to make the image look good. The irony? I just bought a MF digital outfit and the files are superior to the 1Ds'. By about 50%. So now I can use ALL the capacity of my printer and print 44x55 with incredible detail equal to what I used to get with my 1Ds -- assuming I can find an empty wall that big to hang it on ;) My point? If it gets any better for me on the capture side, I'll need a bigger printer -- and I don't know of one I can even begin to afford ;)
    I wonder how good does it really have to be to finally be "there" (achieve nirvana) from a technological perspective? The answer is "perfect" I guess... So while others go on in search of perfect(ion), I guess I'll continue settling for the best I can do for now with the "inadequate" tools I have.
    Cheers,
    Jack
     
  29. Sounds to me like you are unhappy / impatient over having to wait for your "perfect camera". Hey, man, just evolve. There are several varied paths open to you.

    So, you can't have MF digital ... the way you want it ... today. Move on. Use a scanner; 6x7 scans on the EPSON 4870 are 500meg's. Or lab prints. Or drum scans.

    Tomorrow will deliver up the solution you require. In a couple of years, digital (which is still in it's infancy), will be vastly improved ... either that or the manufacturers will have ceased selling upgraded units to the same collection of buyers.
     
  30. db1

    db1

    Scott,

    are you going to print 30x40 or are you hoping to print 30x40. and are you that good that your photographs can stand to be seen at that size.
     
  31. What a fun thread!
     
  32. i know wat u mean kelly ...!
     
  33. Jay, I think you and I were cut from the same cloth.
     
  34. I'm a 1Ds user. It's a great camera and I'm delighted with it. But it's not the answer to every photographic problem.
    For one thing the 11MP sensor doesn't guarantee sufficient resolution to make 20"x30" prints. It does with some subjects, but not all. I tried using it for sweeping cityscapes taken from commanding viewpoints. As this meant climbing hundreds of stairs into the bell towers of various churches the 1Ds plus a tilt and shift lens was an attractive option.

    Printed out on A3 paper at 9"x13.5" the results were consistently great. Take the print size up to 20"x30" and the limitations of the 1Ds start to become apparent. Tiny lettering on a shop or road sign was only half resolved, and where you'd expect to see tiles or courses of brickwork there was just blank spaces without texture.

    Like I said, the 1Ds is a tremendous camera, but there's a danger that some people are seeing it, and the rumoured 16MP replacement, as the end of history, the ultimate solution makes everything else second-best. In truth it's got its limits just like every other camera that's ever been made.

    Scott, if digital's the way you want to go then you should stick with your original vision and go for a 22MP back. Even if Canon deliver a 16MP DSLR I doubt it will guarantee 20"x30" prints in all circumstances. Furthermore 22MP with a sliding back and a large format camera will give you almost 44MP, which in turn means you'll be printing 20"x30" at 240dpi, more than enough with this size print for even the most critical application.

    Alternatively, just stay with 4x5 and invest in a good scanner and a big computer to handle the massive file sizes. Apart from convenience you wouldn't be giving much away.
     
  35. Hi Scott:

    You don't really sound like you're interested in shooting pictures - if you were, you'd not worry about what you can't have and you'd certainly not be angry that you can't afford a digital back - you'd get your ass out there to shoot film and either scan the stuff yourself or have it professionally scanned - either way you can equal or surpass the best of digital backs for a tiny piece of the price. Photography has always been an art of compromise - from choosing the tones you'll capture to which equipment you'll pack for your shoot. Now stop bitching and bring something to the table - just accept the fact that you can't have the $20,000 back and move on already.
    <p>
    Thanks!
    <p>
    <img src=http://www.jalook.com/fun/plantation.jpg align=center><p>
    Maui Tropical Plantation - c330, 55mm - scanned to 13x19 on an Espon 2450 (total cost for camera, lens and scanner (all bought used on Ebay): about $800
     
  36. Now, what's so interesting about the Maui picture?
     
  37. Just a couple of un-called for observations: 1) The guy with the 1Ds really needs to clean his sensor - he's got more spots than a dalmation. 2) Much of this discussion would be a moot point if the ridiculous cost of MF digital backs weren't so high. Perhaps it costs Phase One 10 grand to make one of those things and they just double their money - I don't know. 3) If someone (Kodak?) could come up with an 11Mp back for my Hassie for 7 grand, I'd likely buy it before a 1Ds, although I couldn't swear to it. 4) A good-natured challenge for Jay: Blindfold test to tell me in a series of prints, which were captured digitally (using the dreaded un-sharp mask!) versus the ones captured and printed analog. Anyone care to wager how he'd do? ;-)
     
  38. Scott, perhaps it's time to do some math. Since you want to print to 30x40, start by figuring out what you want your output ppi to be. Then multiply back to determine the raster size. From the raster size, derive a couple of more numbers. On one branch, multiply by the color depth to determine the overall size of the digital image. On a different branch, compute the resolving power of the camera system necessary to create the raster.
    For an 200 ppi output from a sensor with a 2:3 aspect ratio, my calculations say you need a 6000x9000 pixel raster. At 12-bit RGB depth, that's a 243 megabyte file, which isn't totally out of bounds. But if your sensor is 24x36mm, the resolving power required is about 125 lp/mm. Even with a film like TMax 100, it takes extraordinary equipment and technique to obtain two-thirds of that.
    So unless there's a scientific revolution in optics, and camera stabilization and sensor density, large print landscape work will require a larger format than 35mm. Nor can current MF digital systems achieve the results you want for this task.
    But to say that MF Digital is a "dead end" as a result is like saying a Leatherman is a "dead end" tool design because it makes a lousy hammer. In order to survive, medium format (film or digital) must find markets where it is more cost-effective than other formats. Since MF is inherently more expensive than 35mm-based systems, that means finding jobs not only where the extra resolution makes a perceptible difference, but where someone is willing to pay for that difference.
    People rarely enter into affairs with their eyes wide open. You knew the incompatibilities were there, so you shouldn't be too surprised that the affair didn't turn into a long-term relationship. Look back on the fun you had together with fondness and move on.
    Or, to loosely quote Sam Kinison:
    Everyone's got some kind of Wild Thing that went through our lives and made it hell. Because eveyone's had one, you, me, nobody likes to lose.​
     
  39. "Now, what's so interesting about the Maui picture?"

    If you don't see it, no one can enlighten you...
     
  40. "Now, what's so interesting about the Maui picture?"

    What a stupid question! What's so interesting about anything? It has interest to me because I not only took it - but I was there. It has interest to me because I'd rather be there right now than stuck behind my desk. Please, though, post one of your very intersting photos, so I know the parameters of your version of interesting. I merely posted so Scott could see that medium format senics could be easily scanned to large print size (though 13x19 ain't the biggest print, it could've easily gone much bigger). Whether you find it interesting is besides the point...
     
  41. Jeff, no need to get nasty... you found it interesting enough to post it. Well, your notion of finding your picture interesting enough to post it should be -- more or less -- equal to my notion of finding it rather not interesting, don't you think? (Please excuse my English, I'm not a native speaker).

    What I meant was this: What does this picture has to do with the thread's theme? As far as I can see (or the .jpeg reveals) this could have been done with my Contax P&S as well as with any digicam around, so how does this posting add to the discussion?

    Sorry if I sounded too rude...
     
  42. "What does this picture has to do with the thread's theme? As far as I can see (or the .jpeg reveals) this could have been done with my Contax P&S as well as with any digicam around, so how does this posting add to the discussion?"

    As I said, this was done with a c330 - a 6x6 camera that can create huge prints from the transparency - this is a small version of a 13x19 which is not 20x30, but I could've scanned it much larger - thus the topic of the thread. Didn't mean to be rude but it's hot hot hot in NYC today...
     
  43. Beau wrote: 3) If someone (Kodak?) could come up with an 11Mp back for my Hassie for 7 grand, I'd likely buy it before a 1Ds,
    Well how about a 16MP back for less than $8000? They routinely show up on @bay used or refurbished for around $7,000. A quick search turned up this one:
    CLICK HERE
    Just a thought...
     
  44. Thanks for all the good ideas and thoughtful replies.

    No thanks for all the gripes. It's amazing to me that so many want to put me down for
    putting up a thread that obviously raises so much interest.

    I'm not broken hearted or falling apart that I have to shoot with film. I'm OK with it
    because it's just a hobby although it's what I do. I make pictures and I go out and earn
    money (non photographically) for equipment. That's it.

    But I'd rather do it digitally and I think I have a legitimate gripe.

    How anyone can disagree with my basic complaint is a wonder to me. $30,000.00 for a
    digital back is such extreme madness that words fail me.

    I can buy a new Dodge PU. Loaded. Cummins Diesel. Running boards and custom
    bumpers. For $30,000.00.

    Just take a minute to visualize a digital back sitting on the hood of a big .... loaded ....
    Dodge Truck. Or if Trucks are not your thing .... how about a new Chevy Impalla or Buick
    Electra .... loaded.

    It's a sick situation and it would seem high dollar fashion and product photographers are
    making so much money that price is just no object.

    Obviously the back makers know how cut-throat competitive these people are and realize
    they can play them and second tier professionals off against each other to market their
    backs. Top tier photogs just don't care. They're millionairs many times over. Second
    tier
    photogs may be so worried their competitors will show up to a job with an H1 and P-25
    and edge them out of a gig that they justify the astronomical price.

    Actually I believe the manufacturers are painting themselves into a corner. They will be
    forced to drastically drop the price if they want to survive. Obviously they plan to rake in
    the max profit the first year but then, I wuld suspect, there will me NO sales unless they
    halve the price. So you've wizzed off your best customers. (or perhaps early adopters
    have been conditioned to accept this level of abuse)

    I didn't cry years ago at the price of Kodak digital cameras. It was a brand new industry
    and I just ignored it. But this is price fixing fo the worst ilk. I think a revolt is in order.
     
  45. After taking a long break from photo.net and actually shooting, I am sort of back, and do enjoy the fact that nothing much has changed.

    Beau, I can see the difference of an analog print and a digital print. Digital looks sharper and more defined, edges look crisp, analog looks more diluted, maybe thats not the right word, but rather the edges and lines of subjects are less defined. Anyway, I'm not explaining it right, but I can usually always pick a digital print from an analog one, they look different, sometimes only close scrutiny will tell, but there is a difference. Both systems are more than capable of making superb images, but, of course, the photographer should know the "look" that his equipment will add to a scene, like differences in lenses and filters.
     
  46. I've always wanted a new Ferrari for $4500. What's your point? You set some expectations that weren't met exactly to your liking within your self-imposed time frame?

    That's VERY realistic. There are a lot of different choices on how to make images, and you're throwing a tantrum because life didn't work out EXACTLY the way you wanted it to? So now, you can't make images? Or, you can't make images the way you fanticized about in your make believe parallel reality?

    So many choices, so little imagination. You don't like scanning yet you're going to get "an occasional drum scan." Hmmmmmm....where's the disconnect here?

    You're angry because you've been forced to shoot film? Then quit making photos until your "perfect solution" is available. Or, suck it up, make wet darkroom prints; or buy a really good scanner (you can find used drum scanners) and use PS for, "...All that control and the ability to breathe life into marginal prints was enthralling."

    But, then again you did say, "...I like to make images not pour over a computer screen hour after hour." Sounds like a film lab with a good custom printer is the soloution - except there's that digital back rant portion to contend with.....

    So, there you have it. You like digital for all the control but don't like sitting at a computer. How do you solve that conflict in your parallel universe of photo-nirvana?

    From the rant you posted I'm not sure I really understand what you want since you've presented so many conflicting pieces of information.

    If you're truly interested in making photos, the method you use is secondary to the images. If you can't make the images you want with medium or large format and film, then I don't believe you'd make any better photos with digital - it would only be a different workflow.

    You're pissed off that the workflow isn't exactly what you wanted? Why? Why should you care more about the workflow than the images? I don't get it - please explain.
     
  47. Aren't most, if not all, published photos thrown in the digital process at some point which tends to even the output regardless of the original image. A picture in a newspaper looks poor no matter what type of camera was used. Back to the question, yes I agree digital capture is a dead end for two reasons; size is not as important in digital as film and MF digital remains too expensive (because of the size of the sensor) for most everybody. The 1Ds is the most feasible alternative for the present.
     
  48. It's really very simple Steve.

    Digital capture is supperior to film. I won't argue this with you. I don't care if you
    disagree. For me it is an undeniable truth.

    With a histogram you can easilly nail the exposure and the only fiddling necessary on the
    computer is a quick curves adjustment and a little sharpening.

    Perhaps your problem with my presentation is that it has been an exploration of the
    many variables. I have presented different variables that I will or may be forced to deal
    with if MF digital capture is placed out of my reach. I have supposed that there are
    others in the same boat. My posts have been an attempt to talk over the whole
    situation with others dealing with the same situation.

    I'm not writing articles here. I'm just working out a solution.

    I hate scanning. I hate the idea of spending $10k for a decent scanner. I hate the price
    of drum scans. It just seemed so simple and workable to me to get a MF digital solution
    and it seemed worth up to $20k to me to do so. But not double that amount ( the
    whole kit). Scanning is the pouring over the computer part I mentioned. Photoshopping
    the occaisonal keeper is not 'pouring'.

    Another problem I have that makes my photography less enjoyable is that my lab is
    fifty miles away. It takes them a week to process my normal order (varried tasks).
    That's four hours of travel (both ways, two trips) and a week of waiting. No fun at all.
    A big part of why I prefer digital.

    Now finally, your ill tempered near attacks on me for simply expressing and exploring
    my ideas are foolish and uncalled for. Is this what you do in life? Denigrate and belittle
    others for no good reason?
     
  49. Mike. $15k to $30k pricetag for a MF digital back kills it for 99.99% of all those who use MF. It's dead to me that's for sure and it may kill it altogether.
    It does make high-res digital backs for MF unaffordable for hobbyists and others who don't have the business to make that sort of investment worthwhile.
    What if tomorrow you woke up to the news that cars were going to cost ten times what they presently do? You'd be pretty mad, right?
    Actually, a nice new car already costs over ten times as much as my present car is worth, but my old car still does its job well. But that's beside the point: a new high-res digital back is more comparable to a big 18-wheeeler, diesel tractor and trailer rig than it is to a new car. Your fundamental complaint seems to be about how terrible it is that a hobbyist can't afford the same tools that a full-time, working professional uses. That's really not the equivalent of those expensive tools being a "dead end."
     
  50. This is really interesting -- every time somebody tries to justify the horrendous prices of MF digital backs, it comes back to the so-called professionals, with the same old phrases ("cut-throat competition" and so on), as if they can afford ANY equipment, to hell with price, don't bother me with numbers, I have Vogue on the other line!

    And every now and then, this professional wanders through these pages like an epiphany, hard to grasp, even harder to understand, like he or she is some alien from another world. Certainly THE professional is not a contributor to this site, because he's out there fiercely trying to cut some other pro's throat!

    Why is he always taken as an excuse for almost anything some photo.net regulars don't like about market dynamics? I don't know specifically about the pricing of MF digital backs, but when I look at my Contax 645 for example (There! A welcome opportunity to throw in some gear! I really belong to this place!), then one thing is pretty obvious: this gear costs so much because it mirrors the demand. (Relatively) high demand in a certain segment, low production runs, good quality -- high prices. When the pendulum swings to the other side, that is: fierce competition (cut throat?) on manufacturers' side, high production volumes, (probably) lesser quality -- lower prices. It's not THAT hard to understand.

    One word about quality: Why don't you (I don't mean anyone specifically, just anyone who reads this) pick up a real high-end photograpy magazine like Vogue and check out the editorial spreads? I'm almost certain that 9 out of 10 fashion spreads (in any given issue) have been done with analog gear. In those magazines you see what the so-called professionals really do and why they need this equipment, because one thing can be said about professionals, and that is that they are definitely NOT equipment-driven. And their photography is definitely NOT digital.

    (Please excuse the capitals)
     
  51. If you're shooting landscapes, just get a 4x5 and a scan back--way better quality, less
    (although still a lot of) money. So you can't shoot things that move--is that actually an
    issue for you?

    Re: scanners--drum scanners are getting dirt cheap as pro prepress houses see their
    entire workflow going digital, and can't justify the space the drum takes up. I recently got
    an 8000 dpi Screen 1045 for $2200+$350 shipping. It kicks the living $%^& out of any
    desktop film scanner I've tried for not much more money.

    And learn to develop your own film. If you're already driving 2 hours to a lab, you're
    probably one failed lab business plan away from having no lab at all. Get ready for it
    gradually now, or deal with it in a mad panic when it eventually happens.
     
  52. db1

    db1

    This is definitely one of the more pathetic threads I have read in a while. Fun and entertaining, but pathetic.

    Scott, I still don't see your point. Your gripe is that the back makers have priced their products out of your range? Who cares? Deal with it. Get on with your photography.

    You have still yet to say how big you plan to print. If you are doing 30x40, what printer are you using? How about color cailbration software? Did you get Photoshop CS yet? Are you pissed at Adobe for pricing photoshop at $700 and then upgrading it every 6 months? I would be.

    Instead of wasting the time complaining, go make a photograph. That is what I'm going to do.

    BTW, I'm going to use a Mamiya 7II and Agfa APX 100. And yes I am pissed at Agfa for discontinueing one of my favorite films.
     
  53. Jeffery,

    See what happens when you post real photography on the web? The computer monitor is
    just a proofing device to my mind. It can not do justice to large scenics. People post full
    sized files that can be examined piece by piece for resolution and detail but in no way
    can one 'see' what's really there. Many with dialup connections cannot even download a
    large file. So ... posting one's treasures on the web is usually a dubious effort.

    I would think all this is a given. I can't imagine someone thinking they could criticize
    another's efforts from a little monitor sized facsimile of a real image.
     
  54. Hi Scott:
    I did a little research for you: for $378 a month you can lease the Phase One H20 for Mamiya RZ. This is a 16 MP back and perfect for your needs. And relatively affordable. Enjoy!
    Calumet Photo
    RZ Pro II body for under $400
     
  55. What I think is pathetic is how a lot of people are down on Steve for wanting more out (or for less) of the current state of MF digital. Whats wrong with that? Isn't that what drives innovation that benefits us all? The position that the current capabilities is ok and therefore had better be ok for everyone else is absurd to say the least. If you have a camera that you are fond of, great, just don?t bad mouth people who are not also in love with your camera.

    Sure, 35mm sensors are limited by physics to about 21mp. But whats wrong with having 21mp's? And don?t say ?my computer can't handle it? like you won't be buying a new computer in two to three years. If you really want less pixels, then you will still be better off as you can make the files any size you want. If you want more pixels, all the more reason that a 645 or 6x6, or even a 6x9 sized sensor. Personally, I'd love to have around 251mp, which is probably a little beyond my current 6x9's resolving power. However, I'd like to have it with great contrast and color rendition, and with no noise. Will this happen anytime soon? NO, but whats wrong with getting there eventually? And yes, manufacturing and chip design could get us there someday on a MF sized chip. Why would I want this? For cropping, for extreme detail in some situations, because that's what I see in my vision. Even if no one else is interested in seeing my vision.

    Also, to put it down to telling which print is digital and which is analog from an other photographer is nearly absurd. Each process has an enormous amount of places for variation that will effect the final print, and its nearly impossible to tell which of those control steps the photographer or printer made in producing the print. Sure, a lot of errors are self evident like USM halo's, but minor changes are not as easy to tell. Not to mention what the photographers vision of the final print will be different than your own. Where it does make sense to compare the finial print is with in a photographer's own work and their own expectations.

    I totally agree that different systems have their limitations and applications and that it is up to us to work with in those criteria. Sometimes the limitations are in themselves great motivations for creativity. However, what is wrong with wanting better tool's so that the boundaries of those limitations and applications are wider?

    Still, the most important thing is to be taking pictures and having fun. I have fun and get satisfaction from everything from a cell phone camera to my 6x9. But whats wrong with wanting a cell phone camera that could be 6mp?

    I just don't like anyone saying that your crazy for wanting more, people were saying that with 4mp's?
     
  56. Yawn..

    I shoot landscapes on MF, unlike my wedding work where I use 35mm and cannot afford not to get the shot each time, with my landscape work I'm happy to get a sellable image per 20 or so rolls of 120.

    From what I hear that is more or less normal for people trying to get that outstanding image which will Sell. When I get that image I have it scanned using BPD, the UK's premier landscape lab (used by Joe Cornish, etc) on the latest Imacon scanner and emailed back and forward until I'm totally happy, for about 6 pounds. Prints are made on a Kodak (laser) mini lab using Ilford Hi Gloss paper and are spectacular.

    So I have the best of both worlds. I'm a lot happier with the colour/sharpness of my prints then Cibachrome, I have a digital image for easy repeat printing, but I'm not worried about not having a high end computer and incredible photoshop skills.

    Who is a happy man? One who is happy with his lot..
     
  57. I think Ben's response really gets to the heart of why Scott is
    seeing little sympathy. There are readily available means of
    accomplishing Scott's goals which are well within his budget--
    they just don't put him in possession of the latest, greatest bit of
    digital gear.
     
  58. Nothing is wrong.

    All this situation is ridiculous and the roots of this problem are in the corporate offices and current market technologies that do not care about dedicated services but care about mass sales only - hit and run.
    It`s just a reality of the modern world coming into small old-fashioned business of photography. Same business model as in IT ? you buy a computer, you use it for 2 years, you throw it away and you buy a new one. Do you think it would be difficult to build a fully modular system that could work for 30 years and be upgraded part by part as say old MF cameras used to be built? Of course it is possible to do but they who produce `em will never do so. They don`t want us to use the tools we have. they want us to pay more and get new. They invent new form-factors so we cannot even use old cases for god sake.

    They will kill current market and current generation of old cameras by the lack of support and then they will start it again with new price tags and new ?design features?. That`s the reason of frustration and that`s that concerns me personally.

    Fuji has built a great system ? H1. Where is a digital solution for it? Why did they build 40mp digital back for GX680III system but don`t sell it for 'damn foreign devils' and didn`t make a version of it for H1 or Contax or old Hasselblad?
    They are not interested in this ? they are interested to force you do sell your gear, buy a S2, next year sell S2 for nothing, buy S3, and so on until you drop dead.
    Why modern water heater works only 5 years without trobles and heater in my parent`s house works OK for a 25 years already? This crap is everywhere.

    Modular MF system is almost immortal and perfect for photographer but not for those greedy bastards who want only on thing ? to suck as much money out of your pockets as they possibly can.

    Am I bitching for nothing? Yes I am. I know. I`m sorry.
     
  59. Jaques,

    "I'm almost certain that 9 out of 10 fashion spreads (in any given issue) have
    been done with analog gear. In those magazines you see what the so-called
    professionals really do and why they need this equipment, because one thing
    can be said about professionals, and that is that they are definitely NOT
    equipment-driven. And their photography is definitely NOT digital. "

    Agreed. What's so difficult? No one is going to give a damn about your
    pictures, irrespective of what they were taken on, if it's a dull shot. A friend,
    who shoots for British Vogue, (as do I) had a conversation with their Art
    Director as to whether he should do start shooting on digital. The reply was
    that no one gets a prize for coming first. Nick Knight is probably the most
    innovative fashion photographer in the world and yet he always starts off with
    analog. Check his fantastic website showstudio.com if fashion is your thing.

    It's the quality of the photograph not what it was taken on. Is this so very
    difficult to grasp or do we prefer to hide behind whatever hardware we are
    using (I do sometimes)? Good grief, this is almost as bad the Leica forum :)
     
  60. Wow! I had absolutely no idea people were quite so emotional
    and polarized on the simple issue of whether to capture an
    image digitally or with film. I come here about once every three
    months or so, and thought this time I'd throw my 2 cents in...

    I shoot ALL my professional work on film - 4x5, 6x7 and 35mm - I
    then either supply transparencies to my clients or I supply them
    images on CDs after scanning them (to whatever specs they
    desire) on an Imacon Flextight. I like to work this way as I am
    comfortable shooting film (different films for different
    applications) and I know how to use filters with them to get the
    results I want, I like to file my clients originals in a real filing
    cabinet, and the perfect digital answer hasn't come along for me
    yet (the wide angle / shift / tilt issue isn't there yet with MF or LF
    digital - yes, I know about the 1Ds and 24mm shift option). I also
    sometimes scan huge files for large exhibition banners, I can
    rescan a transparency at a higher resolution at a later date after
    the initial delivery if my clients needs change, I am not locked
    into the resolution of an original digital capture.

    Everything I shoot ends up in digital pre-press and that has
    mainly changed the industry for the better. Better color
    consistency, quicker and cheaper retouching and the ability to
    send files across the country in the blink of an eye.

    When I shoot my family, go on vacation or shoot my kids sporting
    events, I shoot 100% digital. I like the immediacy, the ability to
    have 1,000s of images in files on my computer, cross
    referenced and easy to access. I like the ability to do
    slideshows, to drag a bunch of images onto a CD, take it to my
    local consumer lab and have 6x4s or 5x7s knocked out in an
    hour without wading through endless sheets of negs.

    Both film and digital will be with us for quite a while - use
    whatever works for you and is best for your final use. We are
    living in a time with unprecidented options - it astonishes me to
    find that additional choices can create this amount of additional
    stress!

    John Bellenis - www.johnbellenis.com
     
  61. Scott,

    You wrote 'At $30k a back when the 1Ds solution is nearly as good for so much less..." But
    the thing is, it isn't! Anyone who actually works with both can tell you that.
     
  62. Scott,

    You wrote 'At $30k a back when the 1Ds solution is nearly as good for so much less..."

    But the thing is, it isn't! Anyone who actually works with both can tell you that. And can
    tell you stories of clients who have been burned to the point of being "gun shy' by
    photographers who solfd them on that claim.
     
  63. db1

    db1

    Scott,

    You obviously hit a nerve with this group.

    But I am still waiting to hear from you as to how large you plan on printing and what printer you plan on using.

    Please tell us.
     
  64. David,

    I don't have a definitive answer for you. I could see a 10x enlargement of a 4 x 5 but I
    haven't reached that stage of my journey yet. I'm sorting everything out. I get 'proofs' of
    my better images done by machine print at my local lab at 11 x 14 0r 16. I've had crops
    of 4 x 5 trannies done at 20 x 30.

    My goal right now is really to simply study photography. Every shot I take is an
    experiment. Somewhere down the road I will start to build a small portfolio. Maybe some
    of the experiments will make it into that grouping.

    I have several 'spots' I shoot all the time. I use different cameras and I shoot only in my
    own locale. Especially the river on which I live. I especially look for exciting
    atmospherics. I shoot lots of other things but just for fun.

    One of these days, if I am successful in my own estimation at capturing what I can
    envision, I will either open a gallery or rent space in an existing gallery or shop ( I live in a
    tourist area) and hang my stuff up and see what others think. If people want to buy them
    I'll sell them at any size they want to pay but for my own work ultimately I would like
    about 40 by 50 inches.

    I've been waiting to get a printer and had thought to get a Epson 4000. It would pay for
    itself in a few months just for my proofing purposes. But I'm glad I waited. If I can't
    surmount my fear of scanners I won't be needing a printer. As to the future and printing I
    don't worry about it. If I show my pictures and people want to buy them I might decide to
    just let the lab worry about all that. I'm just not that much of a purist. If the lab can make
    me good enough reproductions of my images ( we ain't talking silver hallide B&W here) I
    may never get into printing.

    I guess if you love printing that's another thing or if you want to keep more of the price of
    a print ..... I just want to make big images and sit back and look at a lot of em hanging
    on white walls with proper lighting.
     
  65. The reply was that no one gets a prize for coming first. Nick Knight is probably the most innovative fashion photographer in the world and yet he always starts off with analog.
    Re: Nick Knight
    make that 8x10 film (analog). that is his format of choice. I know another highly successful beauty, fashion and portrait photographer. When he is doing a 4 hour portrait session he shoots 50 to 100 220 rolls of Kodak E100with his RZ67 cameras. He has looked into digital in a serious way and tested it but clients still prefer film. I have some ideas about this: it is what the cliets are used to looking at; it gives the client more of a sense of control over the digitization process (they do the scans, targeted to how they are going to reproduce the shot); they like the look of film; and some more reasons as well. But talk to any manufacturer of medium format cameras and they will tell yo uthat there is very little growth in that market right now and for the forseeable future. Thehasselblad will survive, so will mamiya and Fuji. I am not so sure about Rolleiflex, Bronica, or even Contax.
     
  66. The reply was that no one gets a prize for coming first. Nick Knight is probably the most innovative fashion photographer in the world and yet he always starts off with analog.
    Re: Nick Knight
    make that 8x10 film (analog). that is his format of choice. And he shoots lots of 8x10 for each job.
    I know another highly successful beauty, fashion and portrait photographer. When he is doing a 4 hour portrait session he shoots 50 to 100 220 rolls of Kodak E100with his RZ67 cameras. He has looked into digital in a serious way and tested it but clients still prefer film. I have some ideas about this: it is what the cliets are used to looking at; it gives the client more of a sense of control over the digitization process (they do the scans, targeted to how they are going to reproduce the shot); they like the look of film; and some more reasons as well. But talk to any manufacturer of medium format cameras and they will tell yo uthat there is very little growth in that market right now and for the forseeable future. Thehasselblad will survive, so will mamiya and Fuji. I am not so sure about Rolleiflex, Bronica, or even Contax.
     
  67. db1

    db1

    Well now I am really confused.

    You want to buy the Epson 4000 printer whose maximum print out is 17 inches ? So why all the craziness to buy a 645 digital back?

    So why not use your large format camera, the Epson 4000 and the Epson 4870 scanner? If you purchased both these items at B&H, the price without shipping is $2390. Very reasonable.

    And just like I said before, take the balance that you had planned on and travel or take a class. Or do both. Plus, think of all the paper you can buy.

    C'mon man, snap out of it!!!!
     
  68. Andrew,

    thank you for your recommendation of the June issue of British Vogue. The Luchford pages are really very interesting. Did you see the Demarchelier "white" pages in the May issue? Now this is difficult to emulate, I guess! It seems so easy... but (as always) easy is the most complicated. How did he achieve this grey-ish look? Is that all post-production or did he use a filter or maybe gels, what do you think?
     
  69. This discussion is out of control. But let me throw in my two cents.

    1) MF digital backs will eventually become available for a couple thousand bucks, probably within five years or so. IMO it does make sense to learn digital now, so as not to be too shocked once it becomes possible for amateurs to use all their MF gear digitally. Pros are, of course, a completely different story.

    2) A different cut at it than those above, but which was important for me in my decision, to a certain extent, to buy into Canon digital: MF cannot really do long telephoto, so if you want to shoot birds or wildlife (or, indeed, sports, which I don't do), at a distance, 35 format is your only choice. 35 digital is then an obvious and logical bridge to the eventual use of MF digital.

    3) To repeat above posts: Buy a decent scanner. I fail to understand the source of any anguish here???
     
  70. There is a MF/Digital System on eBay now for $10thou. Item number 3820719822, here: http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=30020&item=3820719822&rd=1

    It's a Mamiya 645 AFD with four lenses and a Kodak 16MB back ... like new in box. Someone is going to be making nice pix.
     
  71. I wasn't trying to be unsympathetic, just babbling aimlessly really...
     
  72. >>>Digital capture is supperior to film. I won't argue this with you. I don't care if you disagree. For me it is an undeniable truth.<<<

    Really? In what ways? Dynamic range? No, not unless you do split (multiple exposures). Which, you can also do with film.

    Resolution? No, I can always get a larger film format.


    Ease of use? Ahhhhh....that's probably the one real area you're talking about.


    >>>With a histogram you can easilly nail the exposure and the only fiddling necessary on the computer is a quick curves adjustment and a little sharpening. <<<

    If you use a lightmeter properly you can "nail" an exposure on film everytime - but, only if you know what you're doing.


    >>>Perhaps your problem with my presentation is that it has been an exploration of the many variables. I have presented different variables that I will or may be forced to deal with if MF digital capture is placed out of my reach. I have supposed that there are others in the same boat. My posts have been an attempt to talk over the whole situation with others dealing with the same situation. <<<<

    No, you're post was to complain about the fact that the easy way out for image making didn't materialize for you.


    >>>I'm not writing articles here. I'm just working out a solution.<<<

    No, you're complaining vehemently that there IS NO SOLUTION.

    >>>I hate scanning. I hate the idea of spending $10k for a decent scanner. I hate the price of drum scans.<<<

    Can't help you with that one. There's always a price to enter the venue. You can hate it all you want, or, focus on the end goal - an image - and just figure it's the cost of pursuing that goal. Really, golfing isn't much cheaper over the long haul.

    >>>It just seemed so simple and workable to me to get a MF digital solution and it seemed worth up to $20k to me to do so. But not double that amount ( the whole kit). <<<

    Funny, at least three people have posted direct links that provide solutions to your problem - at the price you want - and you apparently are bent on ignoring the information.

    >>>Scanning is the pouring over the computer part I mentioned. Photoshopping the occaisonal keeper is not 'pouring'. <<<

    No. Using a LIGHT BOX to edit film is "pouring over the information." You only scan what looks good on the light box. Who says you have to scan a whole roll of film just to look at it? Even there you could use a cheap flatbed, scan the whole roll for proof viewing at low res and then individually scan the keepers for the final images.


    >>>Another problem I have that makes my photography less enjoyable is that my lab is fifty miles away. It takes them a week to process my normal order (varried tasks). That's four hours of travel (both ways, two trips) and a week of waiting. No fun at all. A big part of why I prefer digital.<<<

    Geee...I'm having a hard time with this since I shot Kodachrome for years. A whole week? Wow...... Okay. Buy a small processor and do it yourself. Oh, yeah that would add "WORK" to your life, and well, from your post I can tell you really aren't into that.

    "Now finally, your ill tempered near attacks on me for simply expressing and exploring my ideas are foolish and uncalled for. Is this what you do in life? Denigrate and belittle others for no good reason?"

    Yep - I have little patience for lazy, whiney people - guilty as charged.
     
  73. Jaques,

    I agree with you the Demarchalier 'white' shoot is great. Very intersting to see
    how something so simple could look so nice and fresh. I'm at a loss as to how
    it was done. When I see the Art Director next (not soon) I'll ask him. What I
    was told was that when Patrick photographed Gaultier, for the June issue, he
    was very, very hands on when it came to lighting. He was the one who
    adjusted the lights not the assistants. Contrast this with Steven Meisel who
    only walks onto the set when all the Polaroids have been taken and the lights
    have been set up :) To each his, or her, own....
     
  74. I get a kick out of those bitching about what a lousy thread this is, then contribute to its lousiness. And those who are cutting down ol' Scott because they have so little time to waste straightening him out... as though he's somehow taken some away from them... saying that, after wading through this thread for ten minutes, THEN contributing ANOTHER 10 minutes of random noise generation themselves, well, it's a hoot! But I digress... At some point, whilst defending his valour, our hero Scott said: How anyone can disagree with my basic complaint is a wonder to me. $30,000.00 for a digital back is such extreme madness that words fail me. From what I understand, here is the rationale: If you are a "big city" studio shooting hundreds of film images a day, your lab costs can get big - really big. I suspect for some large studios, the 30 grand can come out in the wash by not having to buy all that lab time, chemicals, etc. to process all that film. Sure you still need Photoshop and a nerd or two, but they're a dime a dozen in my hypothetical, big-city studio. Add to that possible tax write-offs for a business that leases one of these beasts (and the dollar buy-out in the end), and the costs aren't nearly as bad as they look from way down here where I live, at least. It's unobtanium to me, too. Have you heard about the huge tax write-off Uncle Sam gives you for buying a gas-guzzling SUV... IF you own your own business? So us wee little peons are not the target market for these expensive backs, rather it is a high volume, successful pro, for whom such a purchase could actually make economic sense. Of course, i'm just another windbag with an opinion, wasting your time! ;-)
     
  75. It's clear Scott believes MF-based digital is a dead-end. He's failed to justify the claim, though, in large part because some of the facts he's using to present his case aren't valid.
    1. Larger sensors give lower noise, especially in the shadows. That means that for certain types of work, the larger sensor will make those images practical instead of impractical--or would otherwise require film.
    2. The digital systems for MF cameras have better highlight handling; they clip somewhat less gracelessly than "35mm" or smaller sensor systems do. Douglas Dubler stated at a recent conference that for certain kinds of work, where he's dealing with hot speculars, he still uses film For everything else, it's digital for him. (He shoots primarily beauty and some fashion.)
    3. The $30,000 cost that keeps getting repeated isn't valid. New MF backs are available under $8K, and, while not the high-resolution ones, still have the other benefits: better software, firmware, lower noise, highlight handling, etc. 100+ megapixel scanning backs are available for $15,000 or less, and single-shot 20+ megapixel backs are available for that price or less as well.
    4. The idea that manufacturers aren't aware of their customer base is somewhat naive. (I think we all might be better off if the manufacturers of digital backs knew how we felt. These prices are an outrage and absolutely impossible to justify..) Since they know exactly how many systems they sell, they know exactly who HAS justified the purchase, and--for better or worse--are OK with that choice. The prices can also be justified by the smaller market (to help amortize the research costs), and by the much higher sensor and hardware costs.
    5. If you honestly feel the system is overpriced, make one of your own. (How anyone can disagree with my basic complaint is a wonder to me. $30,000.00 for a digital back is such extreme madness that words fail me. ) Buy a pre-designed sensor from a fab company and make the associated software; then sell it for less. You'd be a big hit for those who want cheaper systems.
    6. Tools are for using. It's impossible to have a tool that's too appropriate--and sometimes that's 10, 40, 100, or even 500 year old technology instead of the latest-and-not-always-greatest. If your word demands a technique or method that precludes the use of the latest technology, don't use it. But making a broad sweeping claim that something is dead when there's very little legitimate support for the assertion simply makes you look sloppy.
     
  76. My apologies to all for writing this worthless thread that generated 77 posts in three
    days.

    I won't bother you again for another six months or so. That's usually how long it takes
    me to regain any interest in photo.net after a few days posting. The rain has stopped now
    and I can go out and shoot in between slaving away for more equipment purchases.

    I have no idea what I'm amassing cash for however. There is simply no way to see a
    clear path for several months at least. In a way I'm peacefully and strangely happy to be
    back to film and I really don't care which way the cookie crumbles. I'm greatful to have the
    cameras and lenses I have and the refrigerator case at the lab always has lots of choices.

    Thanks to all who contributed to this discussion.
     
  77. Scott,

    I can understand your frustration, I've gone through these sorts of decisions before. So you can't afford, or can't justify a MF digital back. Remember that old saying, "when the going gets tough, the tough get going"?

    You've already summed up what you need to do: go back to shooting film. Sure, it's not as easy as digital capture, nor is it as convenient, but if you are interested in your craft, you will succeed. I bet that in time, you will even learn to enjoy the process.

    My 4x5 camera is very inconvenient compared to my 35mm gear, but I enjoy shooting with it much more than the 35. I'm not exactly sure why, but if I had to sum it up, I'd say it's kinda like chopping wood with an axe on a brisk fall morning. Sure, it's more work than a wood-splitter, but it's relaxing, contemplative and peaceful. Just because something is difficult, doesn't mean that it can't be enjoyable. Many people do difficult things all the time that probably could be done easier and more efficiently, yet they choose the hard path. Why? Are they crazy? I suspect these people enjoy the journey as much as the destination itself. I see digital as the latter in many cases, all destination and no journey. Does nobody enjoy the craft anymore? What's wrong with having to wait to get your film back? Or worse, developing your own film? I do my own E6 and I enjoy it. Sure, it may not be immediate or convenient but it can be quite enjoyable. Scanning, is it really all that bad? Personally, it reminds me of my old enlarger, it takes time and patience to get good results, but when they come, it's a great feeling. I think we can get so hung up on convenience and taking the easy path that we forget to enjoy the process. Been there, done that.

    Anyway, Scott, good luck to you.
     
  78. As to the guy who said 'when Canon comes out with a 16mp version of the 1Ds...", well unless the underlying design engineering principles of the sensor array change radically to accomodate the hard realities of quantum electrodynamics (AKA: "light") a 16mp camera with a 24x36mm sensor array will perform worse than the current 11mp one.​

    No radincal changes -- yet better performance. Oh well.
     

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