John Shaw and D100

Discussion in 'Nature' started by arnabdas, Jul 2, 2003.

  1. Not sure if this is stale news (thread fit to be deleted in that
    case): I visited John Shaw's website after a few months today and in
    the equipments section I see a change: one D100 body mentioned
    alongside two F5 bodies.

    Can't guess which route my hero will ultimately take, but looks like
    he's going mixed-mode wrt photographic media at the moment ...
  2. Well known photographers are always given gear by the major manufacturers so they can claim that such and such a famous photographer 'uses' their new Pretentia X999 SuperCam.<P>
    Ansel Adams was given several Zeiss Ikon and Contax cameras...some he used and some he passed on to others as gifts.<P>
    It is not surprising that someone as well known as John Shaw would have a digital SLR given to him....sort of the marketing equivalent of 'push processing'
  3. I've heard that manufacturers DON'T give gear away, even to their company "spokesphotographers". Not sure if it's true but I've heard more than one photographer that appears in Canon ads comment that they have to buy their cameras just like everyone else. Of course the money Canon pays them more than covers the cost of the cameras!

    Going film/digital is just a logical choice for any working photographer these days.
  4. Bob:

    I can tell you from first hand experience that even some very marginally well-known pros get "loaners" and that not too often the "loaners" aren't returned. Others get free everything, or free use of everything as long as they want to use it. (Hell, I'm not well-known and I was given a piece of equipment.) At least two of our more well-known colleagues that I know personally are photo equipment pimps that have all this stuff at their disposal and write glowing commentaries about them for the mags but in private use somehting different. The whole digital boom is way ahead of actual professional application because of this pandering.

    Tom Walker
  5. It's tough to tell the difference between a "loaner" and a "gift" (except for tax purposes of course!). Well known shooters get loaners well ahead of the rest of us and probably keep them longer too! I didn't get a D30 until after the D60 was released, and then they wanted it back in 3 weeks...
  6. Of couse a well known photographer like Johh Shaw would likely to have a D100. Why wouldn't he? It's a lightweight camera to someone who carries two F5.

    It gives him longer macro working distances :)
  7. I'm unsure if it is a "loaner" body because when Shaw did use an F100 for quite some time, he didn't include it in his equipments list. F100 review here --
    The new Nikon F100 gives you the confidence that you'll bring home your best images
    I'm trying to imagine out how exactly he is using the D100 body. is it for checking exposure/composition/DOF before capturing the "production image" on F5, or is it used interchangeably with F5 bodies to capture same shot on both film and digital -- any guesses?
  8. I think Mr. Shaw's work is very high quality and don't think it's pertinent whether he paid for the D100 or not and can't understand why people contaminate threads with what seems like ill-intentioned envy. I would be interested to know how he's coming along with the D100 and whether he finds the quality "acceptable", and hope someone could shed some light on this facet of the original question. Thanks.
  9. My guess is ANYONE who's currently teaching workshops would benefit immeasurably from owning a digital camera. Secondly, he's a photographer, like the rest of us, and that means gearhead. Plus, if ya could afford one, who wouldn't own a digital SLR? Cheers Carl Donohue ==================================================================
  10. Is Shaw an endorser anywhere now of the D100? I'd guess he's being paid on some level to carry the thing, mention its use, show everyone that it works, and smile when asked. What's new?
    More surprisingly to me, when purusing his site yesterday (I have to admit I haven't looked at it in ages) I saw a picture of him for the first time in years. When did he become old? That mean I'm getting old?
  11. Okay, to get back to the original post and away from the cynical "whatever he says doesn't matter because I didn't get mine for free":
  12. Martin, thanks so much! My question answered.
  13. For what its worth - John talks a bit about digital in this latest article on Joe Van Os's site; Don't worry - he hasn't converted - far from it.
  14. Whats the big deal whether it was gifted or bought by John Shaw?
    <p>If he uses it for his images and sells/publishes those images it is a validation of the product. Does it give Nikon publicity? Yes.
    <p>A camera digital/film is just a damn tool.
  15. Mark, that one is again a slightly different twist. Thanks for sharing.

    Aside: visited your site for the first time today -- brilliant design and pictures!
  16. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    I just got home from a two-week Joe Van Os photo cruise in Arctic Norway. One of the tour leaders is none other than John Shaw. In this trip, Shaw did some contract work for Nikon and shot digital exclusively. He brought his own D100 and Nikon loaned him a D1x (with the memory upgrade) for the trip.

    In the two weeks I had opportunities to talk to John Shaw quite a bit. As far as he is concerned, the quality of 6MP DSLRs is just fine; he has made large prints as big as 20"x30" and he is happy with it. Of course, I didn't get to see them. The main problem with digital is that, according to John Shaw, he gives a lot of slide shows and photo seminars which include extensive slide shows, and the current digital projectors (such as In-Focus machines) cannot project images of high-enough quality comparable to the inexpensive $500 slide projectors. He feels that perhaps in two years or so, he will be shooting all digital.

    I also found out that John Shaw has been using Photo.Shop for 6 years and during the down time (sailing instead of shooting) of the cruise, he brought out him laptop and demonistrated various Photo.Shop techniques and tricks.

    Because of the smaller sensor size, the longest lens John Shaw brought to this trip was a 300mm/f2.8 AF-S. He used a 2x TC with it and got the 18x effect (equivalent to a 900mm lens for 35mm). Otherwise, he used all AF-S zooms: 70-200mm/f2.8 VR, 28-70 and 17-35. Meanwhile, we had a group of very serious nature photographers with some 15 500mm/f4 lenses among 50 people.

    Finally, for those who still attempt to dismiss digital, the revolution has clearly reached the nature photographers. Several people were shooting digital exclusively with Canon EOS 1Ds and 10D. There were several D100 and Fuji S2 as well as many laptop PCs for "in the field" editing. To top it off, one person even brought a portable printer to print out images. Joe Van Os was there also and he pointed out that the tide has clearly turned as there was essentially no DSLR in the same trip just one year ago.

    By the way, Shaw mentioned that a new Nikon D2h will be announced shortly, like in a month or so. I had no internet access during the trip and am not sure that is already official or not. Moreover, there will be a new 200-400mm/f4 AF-S VR and more DX lenses. A 200-400mm/f4 will be great news for wildlife photographers and will esepcially be very powerful for the smaller digital sensor, although I suspect that it will be pretty expensive.
  17. Having spent the better part of today chasing critters in the field with two 35mm MF film cameras, I feel a bit futile as I

    read Shun's post end-of-day. His experience is a revealation for me.

    Over time, I had hoped to build a somewhat modest collection slides consisting of what I think are good images and hoping to, just *hoping to*, use them for publication sometime in future -- if I would ever get a chance.

    Now I feel in about 5 years or less timeframe I'll stand no chance with my boxes of slides as far as publication is concerned.

    Selling the two FM3As and offsetting cost of buying a DSLR appears to be a quick end to the problem but it is still too expensive for me at the moment. More importantly, I'm reluctant to keep "investing" in DSLRs every two years to keep up with current standards, especially considering fact that I do not earn from my photography. Can't afford.

    Also, I've always done my best work using simple, mechanical 35mm MF cameras. Do I have to change my preferences and shooting style to catch up with digital?

    Just rambling... as I look at the 2 rolls of Velvia shot today -- I wonder what I'm shooting for.
  18. A lot has to do with the end goal of a person's photography. If it's just for fun, it is a whole lot less important whether you embrace digital (or even AF). My wife's Elan 7 blows my D60 away in terms of quick focusing making it far more desirable for inflight shots. However, I'm patient. I know a new one is coming and when it leaves only compromises I can live with, I'll have one and film will finally be gone for good for me (except those 1000's of slides I still like to look at). I'm honestly more upset about the mfg's programmed obsolescence of cameras in 9-12 months. All I can do is stay off that train until the right time.

    I do believe the instant feedback has the potential to help me make better images and I am enjoying the darkroom again (without fixer!)

  19. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    As a matter of fact, the topic of digital came up in the very first day of our trip. I was wondering why John Shaw shot only digital this time, and this topic came up many more times in the two weeks. John Shaw pointed out that in Colorado Springs where he lives, there used to be two pro labs. One only did conventional film processing while the other gradually moved into digital. Since most commercial work has switched to digital, the conventional lab was losing business because they refused to change and has finally gone out of business. There is now only one lab left in Colorado Springs and it is doing very well.

    As we say in English, "the hand-writings is on the wall." It is more than obvious that digital is taking over. News and sports photography is pretty much all digital now. A lot of professional product and portrait work have switched also. If you read the Medium-Format Forum, some pros have explained why digital is cheaper and more efficient for them. However, for us amateur nature photographers, cost may still be an issue. The rumor is that Canon will soon have a $1000 EOS 300D, and Canon themselves had predicted that the low-end DSLRs will be below $1000 by 2004. So for most people, the cost issue will also go away soon.
  20. Two issues I was wondering about

    1. If someone is shooting for stock, how will today's 6 mpx files hold up (in terms of market value/acceptance), against a raised megapixels standard (12-15 mpx?) a couple years down the line?

    2. As stock photographs, will slides have less and less acceptance in the publication market, now that most everyone is shooting digital?

    Note: I'm coming from a marketing images point of view (not film vs digital). Assume here that a photographer is always able to buy film of his choice and is able to live without the digital capture advantages (instant feedback, low running cost etc.). What are the threats then (stock photo terms) in continuing to shoot slides?
  21. ShunCheung

    ShunCheung Administrator

    Large and medium formats were around before the 35mm small format. The fact that larger formats can produce better image quality didn't prevent 35mm from becoming the mainstream. If the intended targets are magazines and calendars, images from 6MP cameras are more than sufficient. The EOS 1Ds and DCS 14n are intended to compete in the medium-format portrait market. Essentially, those 14MP files are overkills for most nature work, perhaps except for large landscape prints.

    A few months ago I pointed out that I once bumped into Art Wolfe and he had 600 rolls of film with him in a one-month trip a few years back. John Shaw mentioned that he shoots about 2 to 3 thousand rolls a year. For these pros, film plus processing cost can easily exceed $30,000 a year. If you shoot that much, digital is clearly cheaper. In other words, if you make your money from photography and insist on staying with film, your cost will be considerably higher than your competition.

    On the other hand, according to Shaw, those 4000 DPI desk-top scanners can already pull out most of the imformation from film. The limit is about 5000 DPI and then you are limited by grain. To get that little more gain at 5000 DPI, you need an expensive drum scan and is not economical. In any case, high-quality "film to digital" conversion is available fairly inexpensively, but the reverse is not the case.

    During my trip, quite a few people had laptops with them and we immediately reviewed the images shot only minutes ago. If there were any mistakes and issues, you had the opportunity to correct it immediately. Those who had only film could only looked and wonder what was captured on their film. The difference cannot be more obvious.

    In my case I shot a mix of 35mm and 645 film plus a D100. Once again the limitation of a D100 was very obvious. Its AF is simply not up to par compared to an F5 or D1 and I continued to have problems with its 4-frame RAW buffer. Once you fill up the buffer, you just have to wait until it slowly writes into the compact flash. For landscapes, the D100 is just fine. For serious wildlife action photography, you need something with top-of-the-line AF and a bigger buffer.

    We are living in a transition period. Us amateurs in nature photography are somewhat behind the pros in other areas (e.g. news, sports photographers) in this transition.
  22. The most interesting part of Shaw's article on Van Os's site was about the workflow of editors and the conditions they work under. It would seem that ultimately digital needs to become a positive business case to justify the capital these companies are going to need to upgrade.
  23. The reason larger format do not out-compete 35mm is because the hassle factor is much larger with bigger format. If MF or large format quality could somehow be made available in the 35mm format, everybody would jump at the chance. If higher Mp DSLR’s can be had at “reasonable” prices there’s no compelling reason for any photographer not to use it. Just like photographers take advantage of new film technology they will take advantage of higher resolution sensors as long as they are not associated with major hassles compared to lower resolutions sensor. Major hassles are everything from size, cost, weight, performance, power consumption whatever….
    It may well be that people shooting from the comforts of a cruise ship or the parking lot of national parks may take advantage of on-the-spot laptop editing, but for the majority of nature photographers having a lap-top in the field is not really an option. Digital have still a long way to go to be a real alternative for those who do self-propelled nature adventure far from power outlets. Even today’s 35mm AF cameras are sometimes borderline due to power consumption.
    I wonder, though, when someone is finally going to ask what underwear John Shaw is using. It might be of major significance!

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