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Author Topic: Camera Recommendation - 35mm - not Digital  (Read 19811 times)
Plekto
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« Reply #20 on: April 02, 2008, 05:42:19 PM »
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Mmmmm... Sorry to ask a dumb question, but... Where were you living in the past 5 years? 

Heh.  Well, I used to be up to date with film and digital about 5-6 years ago, and kind of kept up with it, but as they say, life happens.  I decided recently to get back into it - and maybe explore medium format, again, since it had been about ten years since I sold my old Rollei TLR.

It's sort of like having missed windows XP and jumping straight from 98 to Vista.  There are differences and such, but the technology takes time to get up to speed on.

Back then, the big debate was still manual versus AF.  Digital wasn't anywhere close to replacing film.  

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More seriously, the flaws you're talking about may be real when one consider the ouput of a 2001' Canon D30 (and not 30D).
Today, a decently-processed DSLR capture at 1600ISO has a comparable amount of grain/noise as a scanned 35mm 100ISO slide, with dynamic range comparable to the corresponding negative.
And now, we can process all that (including defringing and a very nice falloff handling) with reversible selective adjustments in LR2beta...    It's a good time to be a photographer.

I'd be glad if this was true, finally.  But of course, I can't really afford a $3000 setup, either.  This is a hobby for myself, and maybe a bit of artwork here and there as well.  That software has improved is also good - but how much does this all cost?  Yet, there's a simplicity about film that I like.  Shoot, develop.  Print or whatever as technology gets better.  Doubly so with slides, since there's no printing (technically) required.

Anyways - this place has been helpful in many ways.  (see, unlike a lot of people online, I can change my mind)

1 - I've realized that dye-sub printers have basically stood still and the inks have the same problems and so on in the last 5-6 years.  Dot pitch, resolution, fading, susceptibility to VOCs and so on - nothing much seems to have been done.

So I'll just get a nice large format inkjet, most likely(unless there's a third technology I don't know about)  How much do they cost, though?  I'd like to find something that's good, but also not some consumer-level piece of junk.  My only real requirement is it have zero banding and alignment problems.  Used is fine, of course.

2 - For scanning, a Minolta scanner for $500 or so used will also be fine.  3200DPI for 6*4.5 or 6*6 should more than suffice.  No need to get silly, really, considering that this is true pixels as opposed to a sensor type pattern.  That's good for pixel for pixel, view it from 2 inches away printing up to 11*17 from 6*4.5.  That's as large as anything handheld will ever get.(8.5*11 or so more realistically, even)

Few people get that close to a large framed picture as well. ie - if I print bigger, it would be framed anyways and likely 4x that size, but seen from a dozen feet away.  But how much do large format inkjet printers cost?  I'm not a fan of $20 ink cartridges.  If I have to buy ink, I'd rather pour it into a tank.(my printing experience comes from when I worked with offset printing and such, mostly - from pictures and development to making the plates and so on).  I'd rather his sort of approach, but then again, I'm not rich...  

3 - The main question seems to be film or digital and cost.  I just don't have the silly money that some people have.   So let's pose this as a simpler question:

If I had $1500 to spend on a camera and two or three good lenses(this assumes no scanner - so maybe $1000 for film), and wanted something better than 35mm, what would I get?  Used, of course, would be an option.  

I don't want something that is junk or will break in 3-4 years, which is why I initially was considering a Nikon F4.  (but was also looking around for other options - maybe some other maker had similar stuff)  

I like the simplicity and straight-forward design of the professional stuff, but darn it, it's so silly expensive.  I love the continuous tone output and technology of the Foveon sensors, for instance, but Sigma's digital cameras are such crap to use and the resolution is a whole generation or two behind.  Have to shot in raw, have to set it to ISO100 and never change it, have to manually post-process every picture by hand... etc etc.        Sigh.  

Plus, 26401760 isn't "14MP".  This isn't even what a typical 3000*2000 optical scan from a photo lab will do with cheap 35mm film.  Nice technology, miserable implementation.

(see, I'm not *completely* out of touch with the technology -   )

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For me, the main problem with scanning film is the emphasize (almost a parody, without exaggerating that much) on the grain, probably because the square & uniform "pixel structure" is added to it.
Noise reduction can be applied, but it will be hard not to smear that "tad more information" (especially in textures) with it.

That makes sense, now that you mention it.  Round peg, square hole in effect.(actually in projectors, which I do know a lot about, it would be a infamous "screen door" effect of DLP projectors).  So does this mean you have to lower the resolution to less than the maximum optical, or apply a bunch of software processing to defocus it?

P.S.
situgrrl, I know how big 6*4.5 is - it's just not taken very seriously(mostly by pros it seems), which is a shame - it's a very nice format.  The Pentax 645NII isn't much larger than a typical full-size/pro SLR.  And they *are* pretty inexpensive.  Though, I do wonder about parts and such, since they seem to have abandoned them in the last year or so...  But film means a scanner as well, so... maybe not as inexpensive as I was hoping for...
« Last Edit: April 02, 2008, 05:46:55 PM by Plekto » Logged
Plekto
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« Reply #21 on: April 02, 2008, 08:06:31 PM »
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Sorry for the double post.  I just read GLuijk's thread about the software he made.  This indeed is an astounding improvement over what I was used to.  It seems to solve most of the problems that I had wit digital, though it's obviously only going to work for stuff on a tripod.  It also wasn't available a year ago, so I may have just gotten lucky.   ie - it seems as if his software and a little extra work to do multiple exposures manually may be the critical moment in the evolution of digital where it matches film.  At least until cameras start to do this sort of thing internally.

Q: are there any digital cameras that allow for rapid changing of exposure - like via a remote or a simple single switch or button?  So one could fire off a rapid sequence of shots.   Optimally, each press would do a value up.

eg: Shoot - hit button *beep*
It's now at +2.  Shoot.  hit button *beep*
It's now at +4.  

Total time for all three shots is maybe 1-2 seconds.

A digital SLR that could do this would be very interesting, especially since it would allow for night and low-light shots without much if any blurring(or an acceptable amount like a long exposure on film).
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Jay Kaplan
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« Reply #22 on: April 02, 2008, 09:44:26 PM »
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If you want manual, no electronics or auto anything, then try a Pentax Spotmatic or an early K mount.

The newest Pentax digital K20D is backward compatable, with adaptors, all the way to the M42 screw mount lenses which are all manual.

The shutter speed, film advance, aperture setting, etc are all manual.
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #23 on: April 03, 2008, 12:02:07 AM »
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Q: are there any digital cameras that allow for rapid changing of exposure - like via a remote or a simple single switch or button?  So one could fire off a rapid sequence of shots.   Optimally, each press would do a value up.

eg: Shoot - hit button *beep*
It's now at +2.  Shoot.  hit button *beep*

Any decent DSLR has exposure bracketing, and can shoot 3 bracketed frames in less than a second. A Canon 1D-Mark II or Mark III can shoot a 3-frame bracket in less than half a second.
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situgrrl
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« Reply #24 on: April 03, 2008, 04:25:59 AM »
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645 not taken seriously by pros?  Go over to the MF forum here and see wha those guys are bolting their digital backs to!  Contax and Mamiya have always been taken seriously because they have had the support network in place.  Bronica less so but they were still a stalwart of the wedding industry when they went under.  Pentax are different story - I don't beleive they have removable backs which is obviously necessary in a fast throughput situation.

I know a couple of girls shooting for the British music press who still use Bronica 645 for studio shoots.

As to your budget and what to buy?  i'd look at the mid range DSLRs such as the 40D, D80, K20 and Alpha 700.
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #25 on: April 03, 2008, 05:25:55 AM »
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Used 30D and a sigma 18-200 OS
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
Plekto
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« Reply #26 on: April 03, 2008, 04:19:11 PM »
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Any decent DSLR has exposure bracketing, and can shoot 3 bracketed frames in less than a second. A Canon 1D-Mark II or Mark III can shoot a 3-frame bracket in less than half a second.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Nice to know technology has advanced this far.

I've been looking at the Fuji S5 as well - it's kind of the same trick Foveon is using in a different format. But the MP count on both isn't high enough.  They need a digital back quickly.  Imagine a Fuji back for $2000. It would turn the high-end market upside down.  (it needs a massive price adjustment).  

But multiple exposures seems to be a better, though more time-consuming way to get it done.  And for much less money.  Plus, some shots look like they would require 3-5 shots to do well.

Q: The newer cameras can do this(newer than 4-5 years old that is, evidently).  Which ones can have that set as the default shooting mode? I want to be able to set up the camera and no matter what I do as far as priority or focusing and so on - it would always do a multi-exposure.

Also, which one(s)  go to +4/-4 range.  If a camera could automate this properly, I'd probably be happy with digital. (I tend to shoot a lot of low/ambient light and night shots, plus the typical high contrast scenery, so dynamic range is probably my top priority)

EDIT:
[a href=\"http://hdr-photography.com/aeb.html]http://hdr-photography.com/aeb.html[/url]
I found a list!  This cuts my choices down considerably.  3 shots, 8 range, and +/-4EV step.  It looks like to do +4/-4, I'd have to actually take 5 shots at a 2 step difference and throw out two(or blend all 5 - why not)

The contenders:
Canon - lovely, especially the ID MKIII, but it's way outside of the budget.  5 shots in half a second is astounding, you're right.  

But wow - pricey.

Nikon and Fuji would require 9 shots and my removing 6.  Seems cumbersome, but would work in a pinch.  It's amazing that nobody has a camera that does this in 4 steps as an option.  

Others:
Pentax K10D
Samsung GX-10 (slow FPS)

Sigma(+3/0/-3 isn't +4/0/-4, but it's the only one to actually do it in only 3 shots)  My only gripe is the low MP(4.6) and no 5 shot capability.  Miserable software and ease of use.

One last question - I was looking around at software to do this and ran across Tfuse.
http://www.tawbaware.com/tufuse.htm

It also says it can do focus blending.   Are there any AF cameras that can be set to do this as well?  Hopefully any on that list above?
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bob mccarthy
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« Reply #27 on: April 03, 2008, 05:25:02 PM »
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Also, which one(s)  go to +4/-4 range.  If a camera could automate this properly, I'd probably be happy with digital. (I tend to shoot a lot of low/ambient light and night shots, plus the typical high contrast scenery, so dynamic range is probably my top priority)

EDIT:
http://hdr-photography.com/aeb.html
I found a list!  This cuts my choices down considerably.  3 shots, 8 range, and +/-4EV step.  It looks like to do +4/-4, I'd have to actually take 5 shots at a 2 step difference and throw out two(or blend all 5 - why not)




[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=186866\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Adding 4 stops above and below the nominal dynamic range is going to give you, hmmm maybe 16 stops of capture range. I have yet to see a HDR shot that looks good when done in this manner. Subtlety is the watchword if your don't want a very artificial look. Personally I rarely go over +/- 1 stop. Now GLuijk's technique is about reducing shadow noise and I do believe it does provide some DR expansion.

Good luck,

bob
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #28 on: April 03, 2008, 06:32:36 PM »
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Q: The newer cameras can do this(newer than 4-5 years old that is, evidently). Which ones can have that set as the default shooting mode? I want to be able to set up the camera and no matter what I do as far as priority or focusing and so on - it would always do a multi-exposure.

Also, which one(s) go to +4/-4 range. If a camera could automate this properly, I'd probably be happy with digital. (I tend to shoot a lot of low/ambient light and night shots, plus the typical high contrast scenery, so dynamic range is probably my top priority)

With Canon DSLRs, if you turn on AEB, it stays on until you turn it off. The 1-series do up to 3 stops/frame (+3, 0, -3), which is more than adequate for >90% of high-DR subjects. You can also do up to 7 bracketed frames in a series if you really want to, but it's hard enough to get 3 frames 3 stops apart to blend together naturally. There's a limit to how far you can compress DR before an image starts looking unnatural and strange.

Another consideration with blending multiple frames is that the more frames you blend, the greater the odds of one of them being misaligned and causing ghosting.
« Last Edit: April 03, 2008, 06:34:34 PM by Jonathan Wienke » Logged

Plekto
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« Reply #29 on: April 03, 2008, 07:37:29 PM »
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With Canon DSLRs, if you turn on AEB, it stays on until you turn it off. The 1-series do up to 3 stops/frame (+3, 0, -3), which is more than adequate for >90% of high-DR subjects. You can also do up to 7 bracketed frames in a series if you really want to, but it's hard enough to get 3 frames 3 stops apart to blend together naturally. There's a limit to how far you can compress DR before an image starts looking unnatural and strange.

Another consideration with blending multiple frames is that the more frames you blend, the greater the odds of one of them being misaligned and causing ghosting.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

My bad - I meant +2 instead of +4.  I was looking to duplicate the effects that I'd seen here - he said 4 and I didn't realize it was +2 and -2.    

The Canons do look nice, though.  3 shots in not even third of a second. with the best one.    Just wish they didn't cost so much...   Obviously the reason I wanted this was in case I need to occasionally use 4 or 5 shots 1 stop apart.  It's always good to have more capability than you think you'll initially need, especially since whatever I buy has to last me several years.

The Fuji S5 also looks nice with that change.  And it has that fancy sensor as well, which would double the number - so 2 shots would work like 4.(aligning 2 images being easier and 4 being more than enough)

Edit - I looked at the SD-14's pictures and the Fuji's side by side.  The Fuji almost looks a bit de-focused and blurry, though the color rendition is very good.  the SD-14 just - gray doesn't look gray.  It's hard to tell what one is the correct color.  

[a href=\"http://www.dcviews.com/reviews/Sigma-SD14-Fuji-S5/@Sigma-SD14-Fuji-S5-samples.htm]http://www.dcviews.com/reviews/Sigma-SD14-...-S5-samples.htm[/url]
The 70mm one with the tower, for instance.   What color is nearest to correct?
The girl - same thing.  Her hair color - it's two different colors - which one?
The fence... which blue-gray is right?
And Lastly - the interior sideways shot.  Which wood color and glass color is correct?
« Last Edit: April 03, 2008, 08:55:28 PM by Plekto » Logged
situgrrl
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« Reply #30 on: April 04, 2008, 05:01:39 AM »
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You can set the bracketing on the cameras - ie, you decide whether you want +3-3 or +2-2 or +2/3-2/3

I'm not sure of the pics you compared with the S5 and SD14 but if they were unsharpened RAW, bare in mind that the Sigma lacks an anti alias filter.  This is a good or bad thing depending on your subjects and preferences.  The Fuji will require more sharpening as a result.

Re:  Which is right - it's almost a choice between Velvia and Kodachrome - except you get to choose after the fact in RAW processing.  The real question therefore is, which do you prefer?
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Jonathan Wienke
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« Reply #31 on: April 04, 2008, 07:18:09 AM »
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The Canons do look nice, though.  3 shots in not even third of a second. with the best one.    Just wish they didn't cost so much...   Obviously the reason I wanted this was in case I need to occasionally use 4 or 5 shots 1 stop apart.  It's always good to have more capability than you think you'll initially need, especially since whatever I buy has to last me several years.

You might want to consider a used 1D-Mark II. The price isn't much more than some of the other models you mentioned, and they are still awesome cameras.
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Plekto
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« Reply #32 on: April 04, 2008, 12:24:03 PM »
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I'm not sure of the pics you compared with the S5 and SD14 but if they were unsharpened RAW, bare in mind that the Sigma lacks an anti alias filter.  This is a good or bad thing depending on your subjects and preferences.  The Fuji will require more sharpening as a result.

Re:  Which is right - it's almost a choice between Velvia and Kodachrome - except you get to choose after the fact in RAW processing.  The real question therefore is, which do you prefer?

I think I had a link to it.  They both do great job, but the color balance between the two is vastly different.  I'd almost have to see a normal slide of the same thing to figure out which is portraying colors correctly.  Look at the tower - it's most obvious there.  One is kind of a dull beige and the other is gray.  Not even close.   Exactly like comparing say, Kodachrome and Fuji Reala - but it's the camera's sensor doing it and so I don't get a choice to alter the raw data.  (neither looks like Velvia, really, which is a shame)

4.6MP that's gorgeous and 6MP with pretty bad in-camera blending isn't nearly a film replacement.   I'm tempted to wait, but Fuji and Foveon seem to move at glacial speeds.  I do like how both have a nearly film-like shoulder.  What they are doing is obviously superior to typical sensors in that aspect.   Are there other cameras that use similar technology?  I do like how it takes essentially two pictures at the same time, so action shots also would be decent.
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daethon
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« Reply #33 on: April 07, 2008, 07:42:12 AM »
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situgrrl
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« Reply #34 on: April 07, 2008, 06:26:16 PM »
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4.6MP that's gorgeous and 6MP with pretty bad in-camera blending isn't nearly a film replacement.   
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=187053\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


How big do you expect to enlarge your photos?  See, I got 12x16 out of a 5 mp camera quite happily.  I never felt comfortable pushing a 35mm neg beyond that.  I've never shot with either the Sigma or the Fuji but I would imagine them to be good for at least the same.

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Exactly like comparing say, Kodachrome and Fuji Reala - but it's the camera's sensor doing it and so I don't get a choice to alter the raw data. (neither looks like Velvia, really, which is a shame)
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=187053\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I think you need to download some RAW files and have a damn good play with a RAW convertor because I get the impression that you fundamentally misunderstand the concept of a RAW file.  PM me your email address and I'll send you a file or two along with a link to see what I did with the RAW and some post processing.  Go download Lightroom demo in preparation!
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Plekto
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« Reply #35 on: April 07, 2008, 07:23:59 PM »
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I've looked and I pretty much hate what those programs do to the pictures.

If you look at the Sigma SD-14, it just simply has a different color balance to a typical sensor and there's nothing you can easily do about it.  ie - either you love it or hate it.

But as for the size, 4.6MP on the Sigma is too low.  Hardly anyone would even take 4.6MP seriously these days.  Now, true, they are full pixels.  Figuring that into the equation, you get roughly 8MP or so for a comparable Bayer sensor.

But 2640 x 1760 is just too low for fine details to show up adequately.  That's not quite 6*9 at 300DPI dye sub - not 400DPI.  Beautiful but no room for enlargement.

6MP on the Fuji is okay I guess, but I can easily tell 35mm film from 6MP.  12mp or so it starts to blur the lines, and honestly 12mp cameras aren't uncommon anymore.  But Fuji and Sigma seem to be stuck in some sort of time warp where everything moves half as fast.
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NikoJorj
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« Reply #36 on: April 09, 2008, 09:06:23 AM »
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Yet, there's a simplicity about film that I like.  Shoot, develop.  Print or whatever as technology gets better.  Doubly so with slides, since there's no printing (technically) required.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Then, think about : Shoot, Go Home, Do Not Pass your Film to the Processor, Do Not send him 200$, Watch the Result NOW.    Welcome to the digital world.
There are sensible softwares out there to process raw files, such as LightRoom. I understand you feel running all your images through PotatoChop a pain, because it is after all, but LR, if not as powerful, is reaaaaaally much more user-friendly.

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So I'll just get a nice large format inkjet, most likely(unless there's a third technology I don't know about)  How much do they cost, though?  I'd like to find something that's good, but also not some consumer-level piece of junk.
I got a R1800 (smallish - 13"wide) - cheap when buying it (a few hundreds bucks), but ink costs (a hundred bucks every 50 prints or so, making ink more expensive than fine art paper   ) made it compulsory to feed it with a CIS and 3rd party inks (InkJetFly for me).
For ink costs of larger printers, see eg [a href=\"http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/4800%20tracking.shtml]http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/4...0tracking.shtml[/url]


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2 - For scanning, [...]  No need to get silly, really, considering that this is true pixels as opposed to a sensor type pattern. That's good for pixel for pixel, view it from 2 inches away printing up to 11*17 from 6*4.5.
Side note : in my experience, film scanning is an much greater waste of pixels than Bayer capture - you'll need a 16bits, 4000dpi scan and the obese 48MB file it produces to equal a 8-10MP DSLR... But the move towards MF film is good, because it does not drives you into scanning the grain to get reasonable detail, so results will not be that dramatic.

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So let's pose this as a simpler question:

If I had $1500 to spend on a camera and two or three good lenses(this assumes no scanner - so maybe $1000 for film), and wanted something better than 35mm, what would I get?  Used, of course, would be an option. 
Jonathan's 1DmkII suggestion seems quite sound...
Otherwise, a used 20D will leave some more money to put on lenses, given your budget. It's not as tank-built as the 1D series, but it delivers an already very good IQ. Of course canon is not the only brand out there! But it's the only one I know.



Talking about dynamic range, keep in mind that a raw DSLR capture holds a full well (pun intended, sorry) of information in the shadows, and that decent raw converters extract this information very well (eg, it's called Fill Light in Adobe).
So, bracketing is not always necessary, far from that... See this tutorial for a good example of how to use bracketing soundly.
And about stitching those frames, TuFuse seems to giveone of the most natural-looking results today, much more to my taste/vision than Photomatix (as far as I tried it, ie not that much).

And for the "film-like shoulder", no it won't be film, but the "highlight priority" in the new canon 40d eg approaches it quite a bit. Poor man's solution : underexpose slightly, about 1/2 or 1 stop (we're talking about Expose To The Right of course!), and get that shoulder in the raw converter.
« Last Edit: April 09, 2008, 09:13:14 AM by NikoJorj » Logged

Nicolas from Grenoble
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« Reply #37 on: April 09, 2008, 05:38:58 PM »
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I've decided to wait a little bit and see what Fuji and Foveon do with their sensors.  I like the results of both a lot.  In the mean time, I can take up a month or so to research and look at inkjets and pigment printers and the like.

Most of what I print will be typical prints, but being able to do larger items for a reasonable cost(few dollars per print worth of ink is fine for larger stuff). Quality is the key - I loathe banding and smearing and so on like you find in typical consumer units.  $300 for an inkjet that makes prints that are a mess or can't be synced up to Photoshop  to get correct colors... Of course, I'm preaching to the choir here - heh.

I just wish it didn't cost so much, but it's nice to know that there are options at that end of things...  Is the 3880 a major step down from the 4880?  Obviously it can't use rolls.  I see 3800s - the older models - going for silly low prices new ($1000 NOS), and used - like $600 now.  This might be a good alternative as well.

Oh - yes, TFuse does look nice.  Do any of those digital cameras allow for focus bracketing?
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« Reply #38 on: April 09, 2008, 06:23:04 PM »
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IOh - yes, TFuse does look nice.  Do any of those digital cameras allow for focus bracketing?

No camera will automatically bracket focus; you'll have to do that manually. All you need is a DSLR and a lens with a manual focus ring.
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capital
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« Reply #39 on: April 29, 2008, 11:32:02 PM »
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Do any of those digital cameras allow for focus bracketing?
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The ability to focus a picture after you take the shot, see this site [a href=\"http://www.refocusimaging.com/about/]Refocus Imaging.[/url] They have example photographs from different genres.


Here's a youtube video of the technology: Light Field Camera
« Last Edit: April 29, 2008, 11:43:47 PM by capital » Logged
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