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Author Topic: DSLR for Fineart reproduction. Advice please....  (Read 15042 times)
Humblenubie
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« on: November 11, 2008, 03:34:26 AM »
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  Hi elders,
Im new to photography, experienced in large format digital printing and all printing methods, for that matter.
Propose to enter Fineart and photo enlargement printing on Epson 9880/Canon iPF8000S on canvas and papers.

Digitizing method:
I need to scan/ photograph big size paintings (4x3, 6x4 ft) to edit with Photoshop and print.
I know large format scanner is best option. But $15000 is too much on a scanner for a newbie. Good investment on quality but no $$$$$$$, put it simply!
The next multipurpose option is a high end camera. There too a Digital-back is out of my reach, at least now.
I am advised 3 models: EOS 1Ds Mark-III, EOS 5D Mark II or Nikon D3.
My budget is about $ 3000.
Kindly enlighten me:
1.   Is my choice of camera to Scanner is suicidal ? (Scanner-man says so)
2.   What is best I can buy at my budget for my purpose? (Considering my requirement is max. MB hi-res file capture, than photography as profession)
3.   Any Scanning Back available at this money ?
4.   Or the above mentioned camera models are the options left ?
5.   If yes, Which of the above or any other ?
Your expert opinion will be very valuable for my future course.
Im in India. You may contact me at : signergyprints@yahoo.co.in.

Thanks for the time.
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PSA DC-9-30
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2008, 04:55:01 AM »
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You say your budget is $3K, but you don't tell us whether this is just for the camera, or for a camera + lens combo. You certainly won't get anywhere near an EOS 1 Ds Mk. III or a D3 for $3000 . The Canon 5D mk. II is highly recommended I'm sure (but lenses to live up to the full frame potential = $$$$), but I would advise you to look at the Olympus E-3 with 12-60 lens--a combo that can be had for around $3K. The Olympus colors are superb, and the 12-60 lens is universally-praised for its sharpness, focusing speed and lack of distortion. Some may complain about noise and / or dynamic range of the 4/3 sensor, but this will likely not be too much of a problem for you, asssuming you plan to use a tripod and keep it at or below ISO 400 or 800.

Viel Glück!
« Last Edit: November 11, 2008, 04:56:59 AM by PSA DC-9-30 » Logged

Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2008, 09:51:00 AM »
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Given your budget constraints, I would suggest considering a slightly lesser Canon or Nikon DSLR for now, together with a very high-quality fixed lens. Then learn the skills of stitching multiple images. This is the poor man's way to get resolution equivalent to a digital back.
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Plekto
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« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2008, 02:37:33 PM »
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Quote
Digitizing method:
I need to scan/ photograph big size paintings (4x3, 6x4 ft) to edit with Photoshop and print.
I know large format scanner is best option. But $15000 is too much on a scanner for a newbie. Good investment on quality but no $$$$$$$, put it simply!
The next multipurpose option is a high end camera. There too a Digital-back is out of my reach, at least now.
I am advised 3 models: EOS 1Ds Mark-III, EOS 5D Mark II or Nikon D3.
My budget is about $ 3000.
Kindly enlighten me:
1.   Is my choice of camera to Scanner is suicidal ? (Scanner-man says so)
2.   What is best I can buy at my budget for my purpose? (Considering my requirement is max. MB hi-res file capture, than photography as profession)
3.   Any Scanning Back available at this money ?

1: Yes, suicidal.  You need a proper lighting setup to get good scanner-like results.(a couple of sets of indirect lights should suffice, same as say, photographing models or jewelery or whatever - just on a larger scale.  This eats some into your budget.

2 and 3: Your best results would be with a medium format film camera or similar and a scanner for the slides(better color balance and stability than negatives)  Digital just won't be remotely affordable unless you have literally thousands of pictures to take.    Note - a 6X6 or 6X7 film camera for about $1000 plus a scanner - your total budget here might be under $2-3000.(!!!).  

For this sort of work, film is usually superior because of the controlled environment and precise lighting, plus no huge rush for the work flow.(I'd suspect - nothing like say, needing the thing to go to print in 4-5 hours like a news room)  You have the time and a limited budget.  Film isn't dead - just relegated to tasks like this or artistic setups(I use mine for street photography and so on - where a 30 second to 1 minute setup time per shot isn't a big deal).

Or you could shoot 4x5(large format) and scan that.  This might be even easier due to the ability to  get a perfect preview on the glass before you drop the film in.  

3B:
Even a Sony A900, which is comparable to a basic ~20MP DB is $3000.  At 24MP, I'd rate this as the best option for the money, but it's not going to leave you much for lighting or lenses. (figure $4-5K is possible)

***
Honestly I'd shoot film and scan it. A Mamiya 6X7 camera is quite within your budget.(and can fit a digital back in theory, later on).    How many pictures are we talking about?
« Last Edit: November 11, 2008, 02:44:39 PM by Plekto » Logged
Photostudent
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« Reply #4 on: November 12, 2008, 05:37:56 AM »
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Quote from: Plekto
1: Yes, suicidal.  You need a proper lighting setup to get good scanner-like results.(a couple of sets of indirect lights should suffice, same as say, photographing models or jewelery or whatever - just on a larger scale.  This eats some into your budget.

2 and 3: Your best results would be with a medium format film camera or similar and a scanner for the slides(better color balance and stability than negatives)  Digital just won't be remotely affordable unless you have literally thousands of pictures to take.    Note - a 6X6 or 6X7 film camera for about $1000 plus a scanner - your total budget here might be under $2-3000.(!!!).  

For this sort of work, film is usually superior because of the controlled environment and precise lighting, plus no huge rush for the work flow.(I'd suspect - nothing like say, needing the thing to go to print in 4-5 hours like a news room)  You have the time and a limited budget.  Film isn't dead - just relegated to tasks like this or artistic setups(I use mine for street photography and so on - where a 30 second to 1 minute setup time per shot isn't a big deal).

Or you could shoot 4x5(large format) and scan that.  This might be even easier due to the ability to  get a perfect preview on the glass before you drop the film in.  

3B:
Even a Sony A900, which is comparable to a basic ~20MP DB is $3000.  At 24MP, I'd rate this as the best option for the money, but it's not going to leave you much for lighting or lenses. (figure $4-5K is possible)

***
Honestly I'd shoot film and scan it. A Mamiya 6X7 camera is quite within your budget.(and can fit a digital back in theory, later on).    How many pictures are we talking about?



hi

you may also think about scan back with second hand large format body,with two good lenses
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sergio
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« Reply #5 on: November 12, 2008, 07:38:47 AM »
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And you can consider stitching. I had great results making reproductions of big works. You have to be very careful though so you do not alter the geometry of the subject. My final repros were great and of incredible resolution and printed beautifully.
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Plekto
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« Reply #6 on: November 12, 2008, 03:09:12 PM »
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Note - the main reason that I suggested film was because a good desktop slide scanner is potentially an option AND the A900 or something close to it plus lens and the rest of the lighting and so on would likely be in the 4-5K range.(over budget).  But there's another issue...

Your printer is roughly 3.5 ft wide and probably 5-6ft long for the largest prints?  That's way beyond the limits of most digital cameras or budget scanners to deal with, because things start to look blotchy and grainy when they are that large.   The A900 might work, but that's close to 90dpi after being blown up that large.   It'll look okay from a distance, but not up close.  But even 6*7 film at 2400dpi would net you a bit over 6K pixels high. (the Sony is about 4MP in height).  Roughly 175DPI.  Acceptable.  6X7 and 2400DPI would look good enough to likely sell.  

That leads me to change my recommendation, then, due to the sheer size of the printing that you are doing.

- Shoot 6x7 film and get it scanned with your own home unit.

The Nikon Coolscan 9000 ED seems to be the best for a limited budget.  Used, you could probably find one for not a lot more than $1200.
Specs: 6 x 7: 56.9 x 70.0mm/8,964 x 11,016 pixels.  100MP. Though realistically only about half that MP is usable before you're really starting to get into grain.  IME, 2400-3000DPI is where this starts to happen.  Figure 6K X 7K is a more reasonable scanning result. (still 40-50MP)

- Shoot large format and scan it at home on a good flatbed scanner.

Large format is so much larger than anything else that you're talking about essentially 12K X 15K @3000dpi.  The Epson 9880 says 44 inches maximum width.  That's about 270dpi printed off of a large format 3000dpi scan.  Vastly better results than a DSLR or medium format.   This might be overkill, though...  

I mention this because large format gear is brute-force simple and inexpensive used.   You'll spend less money on this than a typical 6x7 setup by far as it's hardly changed in over 100 years.  No auto winders, no auto focus, no auto anything.  Just a box and a lens and some film.  The flatbed scanner also costs a lot less money.  Even Epson's best film oriented 4800dpi unit is about $750 new.  Note - anything over 2400-3000 DPI is largely useless for film, hence my 12K X 15K estimate above(at a silly 4800dpi, 4x5 would be an absurd 470K MP.)    Some people seem to have good results with the $350 VT700 scanner.

Me?  I'm partial to 6x7 and a scanner but I'm a total gearhead if I have the money(which I don't - heh).  but large format does offer the biggest bang for the dollar when we're talking about making enormous prints.
« Last Edit: November 12, 2008, 03:22:45 PM by Plekto » Logged
BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #7 on: November 12, 2008, 05:22:06 PM »
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Quote from: Plekto
- Shoot 6x7 film and get it scanned with your own home unit.

The Nikon Coolscan 9000 ED seems to be the best for a limited budget.  Used, you could probably find one for not a lot more than $1200.
Specs: 6 x 7: 56.9 x 70.0mm/8,964 x 11,016 pixels.  100MP. Though realistically only about half that MP is usable before you're really starting to get into grain.  IME, 2400-3000DPI is where this starts to happen.  Figure 6K X 7K is a more reasonable scanning result. (still 40-50MP)

If budget did allow, I would think that stitching 3 A900/5DII images would be a much higher quality/much faster/much more flexible solution than scanned 6x7.

The main advantage will be with lighting since you will have the possibility to adjust the WB.

Besides, the A900 is a much more flexible general photography tool than a 6x7 film camera.

As far as scanning goes, I have used both the Coolscan 900 and the Epson 700 and the quality of the pixels both deliver is very low compared to the sharpness we have come to expect from digital. To my eyes, you have to devide the scanned resolution by at least 3 to get closer to a digital equivalent. Besides DR gets really narrow.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Plekto
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« Reply #8 on: November 12, 2008, 08:16:08 PM »
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Was that the new Coolscan 9000?  The new one has an optical resolution of about 100MP, so it's obviously going to do a decent job.  I'd suspect that it was the thing being out of alignment because it obviously has a far better resolution than a typical DSLR's sensor.

http://www.imaging-resource.com/SCAN/V700/V700.HTM
They also mention that it's a bit soft due to the holders not quite being at the right height all of the time - but that's likely fixable with a shim of some kind.  Given the cheap price of the scanner, it's very good for what it is, IMO.(especially the 750, which has better software and coating on the glass)

Microtek also seems to have a couple of scanners as well that are getting good reviews.

Yes, he could stitch a bunch, but it's going to be very tricky.

P.S. I have no problem with digital, really.  Its just that his budget is about half what it needs to be to do it properly if he goes digital.(software, lighting, lens(es), the camera... 4-6K can easily roll by before he even gets to the issue of his printer.

« Last Edit: November 12, 2008, 08:49:22 PM by Plekto » Logged
BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #9 on: November 13, 2008, 06:22:36 AM »
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Quote from: Plekto
Yes, he could stitch a bunch, but it's going to be very tricky.

P.S. I have no problem with digital, really.  Its just that his budget is about half what it needs to be to do it properly if he goes digital.(software, lighting, lens(es), the camera... 4-6K can easily roll by before he even gets to the issue of his printer.

I understand, but what is tricky about stitching?

PTgui enables you to define some vertical edges easily and if the lens is long enough you will end up with a very uniform rendition.

As far as the Coolscan 9000 goes, I am not aware of a new generation. Ar 4000 DPI, you indeed get close to 100MP for a 6x7 slide, but the quality I got even with glass holder holding the negative pefectly flat was never even close to what my 2000 DPI Imacon scanner delivers. IMHO, the pixels of scanners should not be compared directly to the pixels of a digital camera.

Cheers,
Bernard
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Plekto
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« Reply #10 on: November 13, 2008, 03:47:47 PM »
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Okay, that I can see - after all, a drum scanner is going to be better.  Or perhaps he should get a different brand if the Epson has quality and focus issues?  Q: assuming he can't use a drum scanner, what's the best flatbed unit made?  I honestly have no idea.  

That's why 4X5 *might* work better than 6X7/MF as it's large enough so that even an older used 2000dpi or so higher quality unit would still net a good 80K MP or so.  It's about $5 a shot last I checked(figuring tax and/or shipping as well) - that might add up a lot faster than 6X7 or 6X9.(anything that uses 120 film)  I can get 120 film for $3-4 a roll quite easily.    Of course, the ink for the prints is far more money than he'll ever spend on the film...

But 6x7 would give him a theoretical DB upgrade path later on in most cases.  He could also stitch with it as well I guess, since it's all going to be converted to digital at some point to get on the computer.  It depends really as to what his real budget is.  He might save enough for instance, by getting a nearly new printer to afford a decent MF setup.(the printer is so far the most expensive thing he's mentioned so far)
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marcmccalmont
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« Reply #11 on: November 13, 2008, 08:45:26 PM »
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Here is how I would do it on your budget:
Canon Xsi
Canon 50mm 1.4
Sturdy aluminum tripod/head
4 florescent continuous lights w/stands and diffusers:
diffusers; http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/4878...tml#accessories
Lights; http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/4905..._Light_Kit.html
Florescent Bulbs; http://www.filmtools.com/eiko-85-watt-fluorescent-lamp.html

Stitch with PS CS3 or CS4
I hope this helps
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
Humblenubie
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« Reply #12 on: November 17, 2008, 08:45:53 AM »
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Dear Peers,
Thanks for helping me to an insight into large format photography.
I summarise :
1. Film is the cheap and best option when extra-large sizes involved with limited budget.
I am both: extra large requirement with limited budget.
But when I scanned the local photography market, I realized to my wonder the reality that no color film, 4x5 or 6x7 is available (35 mm may be), and even if I import no processing house is undertaking chemical processing ! All local photographers moved to digital !!
If I am adamant I have to put up my own Dark-room.
Is it feasible ?
In India I don’t think any ‘used’ or old model Digital Backs nor a Dealer available. We are notorious to take such gadgets to our coffin than selling.
Kindly spend some more of your time for a most suitable ‘digital proposition’.
I don’t mind an old one or a combination assembly; provided it gives me decent result in 36x48 inch on Epson. Anything larger, I am ready to enlarge and compromise quality!
Budget: I will stretch to meet your proposal.

1.  Scan Back with second hand large format body, with two good lenses. Best. Large format  is assured without stitching.
Somebody advised Hasselblad 500c/m circa 1980+Hasselblad CFV digital back.
Is it a cost effective and large file size proposal ?
Or which ‘old’ digital back ?

2. STITCHING: Well, ok, what is involved and how problem is stitching?
Stitching means you take 3 snaps of 3 parts of a large body, edit on Photoshop to join together as one body ? In India Photoshop expert is much cheaper; say a Dollar per hour.  

Which body and lense gives max. size ?

Thanks and regards a lot for the good advice for an overseas guy !
















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juicy
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« Reply #13 on: November 17, 2008, 02:20:01 PM »
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Quote from: marcmccalmont
Here is how I would do it on your budget:
Canon Xsi
Canon 50mm 1.4

This is a budget setup. However, I would avoid this lens (50mm f1,4) because of massive barrel distorsion. Canon's 100mm macro, 50mm macro and especially 90mm t-SE are much better lenses for flat copy work.

Cheers,
J
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Plekto
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« Reply #14 on: November 17, 2008, 06:13:28 PM »
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Odd that medium format film isn't processed anywhere...  Most Digital Labs that handle 35mm film will also handle 120 film on the same machine.(anything made by Fuji or Kodak or Agfa will, and that's like 80% of the DLabs out there).  They won't advertise it though.  You'll have to likely ask.

Unless you literally live in the middle of nowhere, there is someplace that still processes 120 film.  They might not print it, but develop it, almost certainly.

The best option would then be medium format with a film back and later on a digital back.  But let's say you can't get that or afford it. Or that there *really* isn't any place that develops it near you...  (doing it yourself for color is a huge pain for a beginner - black and white is easy)

The digital back is clear out of the question right now as anything good is $5-10K, used, for just that one piece of the equipment.  But you can always add or borrow/rent one in a pinch if you have the actual camera that it fits.(and use film in the meantime)  Used MF film setups that can later fit a digital back are right in your budget.

The only other pseudo-MF options are either the Sony A900 or the new Nikon ~25MP that's due to come out in a few weeks.  Both should run $3000-$3500(NEW!) for the body but be pretty close to medium format for your use, since you can carefully control the environment and lighting.  A bit of zero noise technique(see topic on the forums here about it) and stitching and you are set.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2008, 01:48:28 PM by Plekto » Logged
juicy
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« Reply #15 on: November 17, 2008, 07:42:22 PM »
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Depending on the intended printsize, you might get quite acceptable results with 5D2 and the 90mm t-SE when stitching.

Cheers,
J
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framah
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« Reply #16 on: November 18, 2008, 02:10:40 PM »
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Right now, up on eBay is an older Betterlight scanback that fits into a 4x5 camera. It gives you the best image you can get in one shot.  The image can be corrected in the preview feature before the final scan. Right now it is at $400 but in the end it will probably go for under 2,000 +/-.  This package includes a Zig align system for making sure the painting and the film plane are parallel.

With that and a 4x5 camera which I'm sure you can find on eBay also you will have money left over for lights.

Check out the betterlight website to learn more about this system.

If you are going to print these to the same size as the originals, you really need the larger file that the betterlight provides.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2008, 02:12:04 PM by framah » Logged

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ddk
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« Reply #17 on: November 18, 2008, 03:38:38 PM »
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Quote from: Humblenubie
 Hi elders,
Im new to photography, experienced in large format digital printing and all printing methods, for that matter.
Propose to enter Fineart and photo enlargement printing on Epson 9880/Canon iPF8000S on canvas and papers.

Digitizing method:
I need to scan/ photograph big size paintings (4x3, 6x4 ft) to edit with Photoshop and print.
I know large format scanner is best option. But $15000 is too much on a scanner for a newbie. Good investment on quality but no $$$$$$$, put it simply!
The next multipurpose option is a high end camera. There too a Digital-back is out of my reach, at least now.
I am advised 3 models: EOS 1Ds Mark-III, EOS 5D Mark II or Nikon D3.
My budget is about $ 3000.
Kindly enlighten me:
1.   Is my choice of camera to Scanner is suicidal ? (Scanner-man says so)
2.   What is best I can buy at my budget for my purpose? (Considering my requirement is max. MB hi-res file capture, than photography as profession)
3.   Any Scanning Back available at this money ?
4.   Or the above mentioned camera models are the options left ?
5.   If yes, Which of the above or any other ?
Your expert opinion will be very valuable for my future course.
Im in India. You may contact me at : signergyprints@yahoo.co.in.

Thanks for the time.

As an alternative you can get yourself a good used Kodak SLR/n or SLR/c, for $1200-$1300 and have enough left over for a high end lens. The Kodaks are wonderful cameras, hi rez and very, very sharp with excellent color and tone. Pose your question here, http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/forum.asp?forum=1026; there are several people there using Kodaks for exactly the same purpose. I recommend that you avoid the earlier 14n, 14nx series.

david
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2008, 08:54:15 AM »
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Quote from: ddk
As an alternative you can get yourself a good used Kodak SLR/n or SLR/c, for $1200-$1300 and have enough left over for a high end lens. The Kodaks are wonderful cameras, hi rez and very, very sharp with excellent color and tone. Pose your question here, http://forums.dpreview.com/forums/forum.asp?forum=1026; there are several people there using Kodaks for exactly the same purpose. I recommend that you avoid the earlier 14n, 14nx series.

David,

Having used the SLR/n before a D2x, before a D3, I don't think that it is such a good option. OK, the ISO 6 mode is interesting and produces very clean image noisewise, but the lack of AA filter results in various strange artifacts, moire,... that must be difficult to find with artworks, but will introduce fake colors.

A Canon 50D or equivalent will IMHO pose a lot less problems and deliver very similar real world detail.

Cheers,
Bernard
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ddk
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« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2008, 12:36:07 PM »
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Quote from: BernardLanguillier
David,

Having used the SLR/n before a D2x, before a D3, I don't think that it is such a good option. OK, the ISO 6 mode is interesting and produces very clean image noisewise, but the lack of AA filter results in various strange artifacts, moire,... that must be difficult to find with artworks, but will introduce fake colors.

A Canon 50D or equivalent will IMHO pose a lot less problems and deliver very similar real world detail.

Cheers,
Bernard

Bernard,

I don't do any art reproductions so am not familiar with the techniques or its pitfalls, and that's why I provided the link for the OP to contact those who make a living from it using the Kodaks. But, I can tell you from personal experience that I never had any real moire problems with my SLR/ns and the Kodak software fixed the issue for the couple of times that it occurred. Then again my subjects usually don't have any clothing on!

rgds, david
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