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Author Topic: Ken Rockwell Insults PODAS & our Host  (Read 29949 times)
John Camp
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« Reply #100 on: November 22, 2009, 11:46:31 AM »
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Quote from: Wayne Fox
been that much Kenny smack if you read the thread.  It's five pages of smacking those of us that were involved in the workshop ... as though we owe everyone an explanation and a portfolio of our work to justify we  actually need the equipment and are worthy enough photographers to own it.

Damn shame, too. Envy disguised as disinterested criticism, IMHO. Saw the same thing with the Antarctica trip.

JC
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #101 on: November 22, 2009, 12:36:24 PM »
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Envy? Envy of what I read on the digital back forum of the life of an MF shooter? The 'fun' of that recent article on the guy who bought the Leaf? If you gave me a P65+ I'd put it immediately on ebay and finish paying off my mortgage with change for a new car. No thank you.

I have no problem whatsoever with serious pro's who are interested in these backs, they have the need. I am confused by the fact that for years all the MF dealers have been saying that the best way to choose a back is to have a representative come to your studio and spend a day there with the things you shoot. The idea of a workshop for these pro's does as a result sound, well, like a nightmare actually. An expensive nightmare compared to what the dealers have long championed as the correct way to buy a MFDB. Even the dealers suggest that you shoot with all the backs (different manufacturers) in your target zone to see what you prefer. With your subject matter. With your computers and workflow. In your own time. At your studio or usual locations.

But when you put up photos like that from a p65+ on your blog to champion your workshop you do invite the notion that you are selling incredibly expensive equipment to rank amatuers and you don't mind the fact. Whether or not it is true, you can't deny the inference. Bad marketing maybe (are those p65+ shots still up there?) but as yet there has not been anything to prove otherwise other than some rather annoyed members of that workshop. (well they would be). I'm still confused though. Wayne is a serious pro, no question whatsoever about that. He just said that he doesn't shoot landscape. Can I ask Wayne, why a workshop? What am I missing?
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Schewe
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« Reply #102 on: November 22, 2009, 05:45:28 PM »
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Quote from: pom
I have no problem whatsoever with serious pro's who are interested in these backs, they have the need.


So, you're ok with "serious pro's" going on the workshop but you somehow draw the line at "amateurs"? That's pretty arrogant dooode...

Fact is, the pro photo equipment market has, for years, been subsidized by "amateurs"...none of the pro equipment from the low end to the high end pro equipment could be produced if pros were the only buyers. Now, it's typical of some pros to look down their noses a "amateurs". But I have a slightly different view...

Personally, I have a lot more respect for somebody who does things for love vs. money...I've been a pro (25+ years as an award winning advertising photographer) and an "amateur" (the last couple of years that I've refused to do commercial assignments). To be honest, the money motive of being a pro tends to put a real slant on one's views of the industry...

On the other hand, people who do something because they purely love to do it I think are pursuing a more noble goal...they don't do stuff for just money...they do it for love...

And thank those people for their love of the art because without them we wouldn't have nearly the range of "professional equipment" available as pro's if there weren't a bunch of guys and gals willing to pay a lot of money for equipment they don't really "NEED".

Naw, gotta tell ya, all you cheap-ass pro's out there (and pro photographers are nothing if they aren't "cheap") owe a debt of gratitude to all those wealthy "amateurs" out there that are willing to help subsidize the pros cause if it weren't for them this stuff would cost a _LOT_ more money...
« Last Edit: November 22, 2009, 06:00:11 PM by Schewe » Logged
dchew
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« Reply #103 on: November 22, 2009, 06:27:08 PM »
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Quote from: Schewe
So, you're ok with "serious pro's" going on the workshop but you somehow draw the line at "amateurs"? That's pretty arrogant dooode...

Fact is, the pro photo equipment market has, for years, been subsidized by "amateurs"...none of the pro equipment from the low end to the high end pro equipment could be produced if pros were the only buyers. Now, it's typical of some pros to look down their noses a "amateurs". But I have a slightly different view...

Personally, I have a lot more respect for somebody who does things for love vs. money...I've been a pro (25+ years as an award winning advertising photographer) and an "amateur" (the last couple of years that I've refused to do commercial assignments). To be honest, the money motive of being a pro tends to put a real slant on one's views of the industry...

On the other hand, people who do something because they purely love to do it I think are pursuing a more noble goal...they don't do stuff for just money...they do it for love...

And thank those people for their love of the art because without them we wouldn't have nearly the range of "professional equipment" available as pro's if there weren't a bunch of guys and gals willing to pay a lot of money for equipment they don't really "NEED".

Naw, gotta tell ya, all you cheap-ass pro's out there (and pro photographers are nothing if they aren't "cheap") owe a debt of gratitude to all those wealthy "amateurs" out there that are willing to help subsidize the pros cause if it weren't for them this stuff would cost a _LOT_ more money...

Jeff, I think that is a great post.  Thank you.

Not that I'm wealthy, but one can aspire...

Dave Chew
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caribsurf
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« Reply #104 on: November 23, 2009, 03:54:00 AM »
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It is a good thing to follow the First Law of Holes; if you are in one, stop digging.
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #105 on: November 23, 2009, 05:33:40 AM »
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Quote from: Schewe
So, you're ok with "serious pro's" going on the workshop but you somehow draw the line at "amateurs"? That's pretty arrogant dooode...

Fact is, the pro photo equipment market has, for years, been subsidized by "amateurs"...none of the pro equipment from the low end to the high end pro equipment could be produced if pros were the only buyers. Now, it's typical of some pros to look down their noses a "amateurs". But I have a slightly different view...

Personally, I have a lot more respect for somebody who does things for love vs. money...I've been a pro (25+ years as an award winning advertising photographer) and an "amateur" (the last couple of years that I've refused to do commercial assignments). To be honest, the money motive of being a pro tends to put a real slant on one's views of the industry...

On the other hand, people who do something because they purely love to do it I think are pursuing a more noble goal...they don't do stuff for just money...they do it for love...

And thank those people for their love of the art because without them we wouldn't have nearly the range of "professional equipment" available as pro's if there weren't a bunch of guys and gals willing to pay a lot of money for equipment they don't really "NEED".

Naw, gotta tell ya, all you cheap-ass pro's out there (and pro photographers are nothing if they aren't "cheap") owe a debt of gratitude to all those wealthy "amateurs" out there that are willing to help subsidize the pros cause if it weren't for them this stuff would cost a _LOT_ more money...

I actually said the opposite. I cannot see what there was in it for a pro not shooting landscapes over the dealer recommended method of having the dealers of several manufacturers (kill that there are only 2 big ones left  ) come round to your studio or place of work and spend a day shooting what you shoot the way you shoot it. I'm interested in learning.

It's a free market and a democracy, anyone can spend their money how they want with the greatest of pleasure. I do personally respect the need for a P65+ back by an amatuer around the same level as a Lamborghini Murcielago for driving around LA (how many huge prints can you hang around a house?). Fun if you can but still rather silly that people would consider it necessary or that people would defend it as anything other than a 'if you can then why not' expenditure.
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Rocco Penny
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« Reply #106 on: November 23, 2009, 07:43:19 AM »
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Everyone loves a good controversy
I wonder how hard it is to handle one of these awesome sounding cameras?
Is it much more difficult than a DSLR?
Truly the naysayers have much to naysay.
Could an amateur handle a p45?
 oopsy, I mean p-65
« Last Edit: November 23, 2009, 08:34:50 AM by Rocco Penny » Logged
michael
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« Reply #107 on: November 23, 2009, 08:46:02 AM »
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Quote from: Rocco Penny
Everyone loves a good controversy
I wonder how hard it is to handle one of these awesome sounding cameras?
Is it much more difficult than a DSLR?
Truly the naysayers have much to naysay.
Could an amateur handle a p45?

In an attempt to move this discussion to a more elevated plane (he said, clearing his throat) I'll respond, because this is a very good and relevant questions.

Ever since I started working with a P45 several years ago, and particularly with the P65 last year, it has become very clear to me that to get the most from equipment at this level one has to use the best possible technique. This includes a large solid tripod and head, mirror lockup, self-timer with at least a six second delay (with longer lenses), and the use of optimum aperture.

More casual use will produce images that may appear to be fine, but which will likely be found to be similar to the output from a sub 24MP DSLR.

We discussed this at some length and then demonstrated it to the participants at PODAS in Death Valley the other week. Some folks were coming back from a morning or afternoon shoot and finding that their images didn't seem to them (or us) to be of the quality that they expected. But then when we went through a check list of shooting technique we always found what the problem was non-critical focus, camera vibration, etc.

All of these affect all cameras, of course, but when you're north of about 35MP the cameras are so unforgiving of poor shooting technique that the advantages of the system are negated, or at least leveled.

If someone has shot 4X5" film critically with a view or technical camera then this won't come as a surprise, but for people coming from 35mm who think that MF digital systems are the same as what they're used to, there is a rude awakening in store.

This goes a long way toward explaining what one reads and hears from people who test an MF system and then claim that they don't see an advantage. It also helps explain why something like PODAS was so valuable. People had the opportunity to work side by side with instructors who are familiar with the gear and issues as a result of personal experience, even more so I believe than a dealer would be.

Michael
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wtlloyd
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« Reply #108 on: November 23, 2009, 10:48:55 AM »
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Leave it to Michael to enter the only post in 6 pages worth reading.

Thanks, that was very informative.
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gubaguba
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« Reply #109 on: November 23, 2009, 11:36:54 AM »
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I can say I never hear anything good coming from KR site.  It is always controversy.  I don't think KR has the resources and knowledge base to provide a timely and relevant information.  So he cries fire a lot.  There are many good sites that actually do their homework I think it is just hard for him to compete.  He needs to get his name out there somehow.  It works.  Ignore it and he will either go away or be forced to write something of actual value.
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caribsurf
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« Reply #110 on: November 23, 2009, 01:31:32 PM »
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"O ye, of little faith", don't despair! Decent JPEG's are available on the Web. Have a look at 25 entries to the National Geographic's International Photography Contest 2009 (these are just entries). Not one of them has won anything yet. All probably shot with "ordinary" cameras. It is possible to see fine images on the Web and appreciate ability, technique etc. Most of you will enjoy these and take comfort from the fact that you can get great images from relatively inexpensive gear. Chins up please! See:

http://www.boston.com/bigpicture/2009/11/n..._internati.html

   


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David Mantripp
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« Reply #111 on: November 25, 2009, 10:49:24 AM »
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Quote from: caribsurf
Most of you will enjoy these and take comfort from the fact that you can get great images from relatively inexpensive gear.

of course you can. And now we've seen you can take diabolical snapshots with eye-wateringly expensive gear.  Personally the longer I take photographs the more I realise how little I know, and how little all the hours of reading books, forums, and whatever have resulted in any information that has really sunk in and become second nature.

I don't know if I'll ever use gear more expensive than the stuff I have now. I doubt it. But until I've actually really nailed some of the finer points of technique which Michael mentions above - and I mean really nail them: it really only is in the last 12 months I've reaslised that exceeding f11 is actually very counter productive with my DSLR.

My point being I suspect it is actually considerably harder to produce impressive results with something as unforgiving as a P65 than it is with the average DSLR, but the potential is there if you're able to exploit it do produce really, really memorable photography.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #112 on: November 29, 2009, 10:53:59 PM »
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Quote from: wtlloyd
Leave it to Michael to enter the only post in 6 pages worth reading.

Thanks, that was very informative.

Yes indeed, and I can vouch for that, because I attended this workshop and went through the whole experience. What Michael outlines here corroborates my findings exactly. And by the way, the workshop was an excellent experience in every conceivable way. Nobody can judge the value of this event from images posted on a blog site. It's just preposterous to try.

I'm now working on some of the images I made there, so it's a fortuitous time for me to add a bit of technical perspective on the question of what one gets for the investment. I own a DSLR with 21 MP, F-F and 6 micron pixel pitch. So I really went there with the primary intent of finding something out - hence an open, but questioning, mind as to what value-added there would be from another system also sporting 6 micron pixels albeit many more of them. What I saw with my own two eyes from my own work with the system is simply that there's a whole lot more to this than the ability to make huge prints, which in any case I have no room to either display or store, and I'm not in business selling them. It's about the image quality obtainable with correct capture technique. The P65 and P40 sensors have 12.5 stops of dynamic range. Our DSLRs have 5 or 6. The Phase lenses were designed for digital imaging and the quality is superb. I made a number of photographs with this camera in extremely low light, on a tripod, with low ISO, mirror lock-up, time delay - the whole 9 yards; for the ones that came out well, the cleanliness and crispness of the quarter-tones and below which I can open-up in Capture 1 from these shots is kind of breath-taking. The detail I can pull-up on rock faces a good distance away under normal daylight, even before any sharpening - also amazing. I'm not detracting from the fine capabilities of my Canon 1DsMk3, but this stuff is at another level, and you don't need huge prints to see it. 11*17 will do. I'm finding as I process these images that in some cases there are photographs within photographs; Death Valley is that kind of place, and the MP count and the IQ both facilitate selecting and cropping portions of an image which make fine, high-resolution photos in their own right, depending on the crop, say in the 11/17 ~ 13/19 size range. So yes, it's inherently pricey stuff because of what goes into making it, but it delivers.
« Last Edit: November 29, 2009, 10:54:53 PM by MarkDS » Logged

Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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John Camp
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« Reply #113 on: November 29, 2009, 11:14:21 PM »
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Quote from: michael
Ever since I started working with a P45 several years ago, and particularly with the P65 last year, it has become very clear to me that to get the most from equipment at this level one has to use the best possible technique. This includes a large solid tripod and head, mirror lockup, self-timer with at least a six second delay (with longer lenses), and the use of optimum aperture.
Michael

There's an interesting aesthetic aspect to this comment, as well. When all is said in done, in my own photography I'm not very interested in tripod/MLU/self-timer shots. I ABSOLUTELY do not think that there's anything wrong with them, and I own a fantastic print of Adams' Moonrise, and other photos made within this aesthetic. But for my own photography I prefer movement stuff, with drama -- if I could pick any famous shot in the world, and have taken it, it'd probably be something from Henri Cartier Bresson or Robert Capa or James Nachtwey, rather than one of those still and silvery shots. For that reason, I have a D3, and I'm now collecting m4/3 gear. Again, I love some of the shots I've seen with the big high-end cameras, but we've gotten to the point with digital now where the cameras themselves are a critical aesthetic choice -- not just a matter of ultimate print size, but in how the cameras themselves must be handled.

I may be completely wrong in this -- perhaps we'll have a better idea when somebody shoots a Leica S2 handheld from a moving helicopter.

JC
   

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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #114 on: November 29, 2009, 11:20:15 PM »
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I also learned, and saw, that with good hand-holding and exposure technique these cameras can be used hand-held successfully. You need a firm but relaxed grip of the camera, shutter speed about three times the focal length of the lens, and a good squeeze (rather than push) technique of the exposure button. I'm not saying you'd want to do sports photography with this gear, but it is less limited than it may at first appear.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #115 on: November 30, 2009, 01:32:26 AM »
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Quote from: MarkDS
It's about the image quality obtainable with correct capture technique. The P65 and P40 sensors have 12.5 stops of dynamic range. Our DSLRs have 5 or 6.

Mark,
Please tell me that this is a typo mistake. You should be aware that that the D3x has a DR equal to that of any MFDB, as well as having many other features that make MFDBs look like dinosaurs.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #116 on: November 30, 2009, 07:44:33 AM »
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Yes, according to DxO the high-end DSLRs approach the DR of the Phase back. I should have been more discriminating in that comparison. While dinosaurs are extinct, the new breed of digital backs is on the leading edge of 21sts century imaging technology, and as I said, offers unique properties of image quality which is worthwhile seeing or better still working with to appreciate. It's due to a combination of contributory factors. Also as I alluded to, a high-end DSLR remains a very good camera and valuable for a lot of stuff you wouldn't ideally do with an MFDB, but each has its place in the sun.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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« Reply #117 on: November 30, 2009, 10:41:12 AM »
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Quote from: MarkDS
Yes, according to DxO the high-end DSLRs approach the DR of the Phase back. I should have been more discriminating in that comparison. While dinosaurs are extinct, the new breed of digital backs is on the leading edge of 21sts century imaging technology, and as I said, offers unique properties of image quality which is worthwhile seeing or better still working with to appreciate. It's due to a combination of contributory factors. Also as I alluded to, a high-end DSLR remains a very good camera and valuable for a lot of stuff you wouldn't ideally do with an MFDB, but each has its place in the sun.
All that being said, even the cheapest DSLR's on the market today have considerably more than 5-6 stops of dynamic range. I think you meant to say "slide film", not DSLR.
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #118 on: November 30, 2009, 11:39:22 AM »
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No I didn't mean slide film - it was just a seniors' moment - my bad. Anyhow, looking at the DR numbers on DxO's website, of course it varies as a function of ISO. On the intro page for the Phase P40 for example, they rate DR as 13. Then when you go to the DR tab with the graph, you see it ranges between about 12 and 8.7 depending on the ISO. Overall not much different than a Nikon D3x. One does need to be careful interpreting and comparing the DxO results for MF sensors for reasons they themselves explain on their website. And other factors affect IQ out of the box. For example, the DSLRs are all equipped with low-pass filters, while the Phase backs are not.

All that said and done, when I sit here playing with my MF results from the DV experience, I can tell you the good ones are the highest technical quality image files I've ever produced "straight out of the box", and I've been working with the original Canon 1Ds and then the Canon 1DsMk3 on thousands of images over a number of years. At some point, once we get beyond hair-splitting over numbers and look at real photographs one simply has to acknowledge what is. One should also take account of evidence in the market place. This gear is inherently expensive, and the people who buy it, on the whole and from my observation, don't buy it frivolously because they have some money to spend - whether they make money from photography or not they come into this realm with considerable experience making photographs and quite well-formed taste evaluating images, and they assess what they'll get for what they may invest. I know this runs contrary to some assertions on this thread that the demand side of the market is somehow irrational, but in general that's not true. I raise the point simply to say that others can legitimately corroborate my own observations, so either we're all nuts or none of us are, and there is something special about this technology.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
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Ray
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« Reply #119 on: November 30, 2009, 07:41:38 PM »
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Quote from: MarkDS
Yes, according to DxO the high-end DSLRs approach the DR of the Phase back. I should have been more discriminating in that comparison. While dinosaurs are extinct, the new breed of digital backs is on the leading edge of 21sts century imaging technology, and as I said, offers unique properties of image quality which is worthwhile seeing or better still working with to appreciate. It's due to a combination of contributory factors. Also as I alluded to, a high-end DSLR remains a very good camera and valuable for a lot of stuff you wouldn't ideally do with an MFDB, but each has its place in the sun.


Mark,
I didn't mean that MFDBs are like dinosaurs because they are extinct, but because they are big, heavy, cumbersome and slow.

I can understand in a world of expensive cars and attractive models hired at $10,000 a day to languish over such cars; in an environment where the photographer controls the elements in the scene and has the time to arrange the lighting and composition to his satisfaction, and can employ assistants to carry the heavy tripod and other equipment, there would perhaps be no reason not to use a camera which is capable of producing the very best image quality possible, irrespective of the fact that the advantages of such exceptional image quality may often be lost in the processing for many applications such as magazine spreads.

We should not forget Michael's comparison on A3+ size prints of identical scenes taken with the Canon G10 and the P45+.

We should also not forget the psychological effect of expensive equipment, ie. the placebo effect. There have been numerous double-blind tests conducted with great scientific rigour which imply very clearly that people do actually experience greater pleasure as a result of the mere belief that the product with which they are interacting, using, sampling, tasting etc is a superior product. It's why people will often swear blind that their ridiculously expensive amplifier 'sounds' better than another good, well-designed but sensibly priced model. It actually does sound better as a result of their believing it sounds better.

However, place such people in a position where they are not aware which amplifier is in use, as in a double-blind test, and they can be at a complete loss as to which amplifier creates the better sound, and sometimes even get things the wrong way round, consistently confusing the cheaper amplifier with the much more expensive one.

An even more graphic example of this effect I came across recently was an experiment in which electrodes were placed of the participants' heads to measure activity in the pleasure centres of the brain during a wine tasting session. This methodology was used presumably because we know that people are often given to telling little white lies to save face and avoid giving the impression, for example, that they might be unsophisticated and not know the difference between a good quality wine and a cheap wine.

The results were surprising. Those who believed that the (in truth) cheap wine they were tasting was actually the expensive wine, because they'd been told it was expensive, experienced greater pleasure when drinking that (in reality) cheap wine than they did when drinking the 'real' expensive wine.
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