Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1]   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Camera for B&W fine art  (Read 6603 times)
Sareesh Sudhakaran
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 547


WWW
« on: April 25, 2011, 11:40:24 PM »
ReplyReply

I must state I am a beginner, and not even a 'serious' amateur yet. I shoot 35mm film on a Nikon with prime lenses, using Tri-X or Tmax 400. I have read almost every essay on the Lula website, plus a thousand others, and still find the need to ask what I am about to ask. I apologize beforehand if I have made a mistake in doing so.

Here's my interest in photography:
1. I would define my interest as 'carefully staged and artificially lit fictional B&W photography where the prime subject will always be one or more human beings in various surroundings'. If possible, I would like to have the camera shoot color as well. I will shoot both outdoor and indoor.
2. I will need to print to a maximum size of 36 inches in its longest side. The goal is to create fine art that will sell.
3. 6x6 or square format is NOT an option. Any other rectangular format is okay.
4. I will not go above ISO 800 under any circumstances, and in most likelihood, be well within ISO 400.
5. I will almost always shoot on a tripod, but will need to use the camera handheld as well. I will have all the time in the world to compose and select settings, so I don't need professional weather-sealed bodies with buttons for everything. I am okay with menus. Autofocus is not a requirement.
6. I will need an interchangeable lens format. Most of my shots will be stopped down since I will be lighting the scene and need a lot of depth of field. Flash is not required.
7. Fast shooting is not required. A perfect meter is not required (I will be using a light meter) - meaning, a basic DSLR meter is okay.
8. Film is out of the question (for reasons I don't want to get into). It has to be a digital camera system - one with easy-to-find batteries.
9. I will be using Photoshop to manipulate the images, and it might need to have the exposure bracketing feature.
10. It has to be the cheapest system possible.

I think what I'm looking for is a cheap camera system that is meant to do one type of photography only. The question is: how low can I go?

For example, I have printed JPEGs (72dpi) off a 550D on A1 (23x33 inches) and the resolution seems okay. But would any of you consider a print from a 550D as fine art? Assuming I master my camera in and out, and become a good photographer, will an entry-level Nikon or Canon system limit the quality of the print? Do I need to go full frame, or can I stay with APS-C (or even 4/3)?

In my particular case (I can manipulate my content to my heart's desire), will a kit lens be good enough? Or L glass, or Zeiss? Would I be able to overcome any limitation in the lens with my methodology, or is it futile? Or should I set my standards higher and aim for a Leica M9? Or higher, to a medium format system?

Thank you in advance for any assistance.

Logged

Get the Free Comprehensive Guide to Rigging ANY Camera - one guide to rig them all - DSLRs to the Arri Alexa.
Sareesh Sudhakaran
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 547


WWW
« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2011, 10:44:51 PM »
ReplyReply

Nobody to help? Did I post this in the wrong forum?
Logged

Get the Free Comprehensive Guide to Rigging ANY Camera - one guide to rig them all - DSLRs to the Arri Alexa.
Bryan Conner
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 520


WWW
« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2011, 01:03:55 AM »
ReplyReply

Hi Sareesh,

Your question "would any of you consider a print from a 550D as fine art?" is easy to answer--Yes.  Lots of wonderful "fine art" images were made 10 years ago using the Canon D30 (3MP).  Many of these images were printed very large and look wonderful.  Many photographers used the early Kodak, Nikon and Canon DSLR cameras to make large, wonderful prints.  And most (if not all) of todays DSLR's are much more advanced and capable when compared to those early cameras.  No matter which camera you purchase, in a month or two, you will learn that it is "outdated".  I suggest going to a camera store and trying out each of the bodies, maybe Nikon since you have Nikon lenses that may work on a current body.  Find one that feels comfortable in your hand.  You also can download the user manuals of most camera models.  This is a good way to educate yourself in order to make a better decision.  You may find that one model has a particular feature that you find usable in your workflow. 

The only person that knows which camera is the right one for you is you.  You can find sample full size images to download and to print from most DSLR's.  If the image looks good to you when printed using your normal printing process, and the body feels good in your hands, and the price feels good to your budget, then you have your camera.
Logged

Sareesh Sudhakaran
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 547


WWW
« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2011, 01:48:55 AM »
ReplyReply

Thank you Bryan. That's the answer I was looking for.
Logged

Get the Free Comprehensive Guide to Rigging ANY Camera - one guide to rig them all - DSLRs to the Arri Alexa.
Steve Simon
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 3


« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2011, 01:37:11 PM »
ReplyReply

I agree with Bryan.  I would add that given the type of work you're interested in doing, I'd recommend going with APS-C, especially since you're planning on making rather large prints.  Nothing against 4/3.  I have a micro 4/3 setup that I love but the main advantage is size and weight which are not factors for the kind of work that interests you.  Why give up sensor real estate when you don't have to.  The 550D is a good choice in an inexpensive body for what you want to do.  I've made prints up to 36" wide with my 7D which has virtually (maybe exactly, I don't know) the same sensor and they look quite good, especially at lower ISOs and on a tripod.  If you have access to one, you're in good shape.  If, however, the 550D is not yours, then I would also agree you should check out Nikon's latest offerings if your lenses will work with them.  It's generally a good idea to stay within one camera line once you've started to buy lenses so you don't have to start all over.

I also want to say that I think you're going about this the right way.  You're clear about your goals and limitations and are asking for advice.  I've mentored a number of newer photographers starting where you are and I think you'll do fine whether you stick with only the goals you have now or change interests later.  Just start shooting and learning.
Logged
Sareesh Sudhakaran
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 547


WWW
« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2011, 11:09:19 PM »
ReplyReply

Thank you Steve. It's good to hear I'm on the right track (as opposed to loony). 550D it is!
Logged

Get the Free Comprehensive Guide to Rigging ANY Camera - one guide to rig them all - DSLRs to the Arri Alexa.
Plekto
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 551


« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2011, 11:15:08 PM »
ReplyReply

I would seriously consider a film-based 6X7 medium format camera first.  These can be had fairly inexpensively.  AGFA and Ilford make stunning black and white film that creates images that you would need in excess of 50MP to equal with digital. (Kodak is fine, but it's not nearly as good any more)

Logged
Sareesh Sudhakaran
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 547


WWW
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2011, 03:55:53 AM »
ReplyReply

Unfortunately film is out of the question for now, at least where I live.
Logged

Get the Free Comprehensive Guide to Rigging ANY Camera - one guide to rig them all - DSLRs to the Arri Alexa.
usathyan
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 184



WWW
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2011, 08:40:40 AM »
ReplyReply

You seem to have done enough research to answer your own questions! What do you have in mind?  To answer your only real question - "Can prints from 550D be considered fine art?"

Absolutely! I routinely print 12x12 from my iPhone - and pass them off in the name of fine-art Smiley

About lens - Did I mention iPhone? it has a much inferior lens as compared to Zeiss, L glass or any other glass I have known/owned...

Entry level cameras from both Nikon & Canon or even a m4/3 should be plenty for what you seek.
Logged

--------------
Umesh Bhatt
http://www.8thcross.com/blog/
Sareesh Sudhakaran
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 547


WWW
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2011, 11:19:27 PM »
ReplyReply

You seem to have done enough research to answer your own questions! What do you have in mind? 

Thanks, Umesh.

I want to hold a fine art exhibition in Mumbai next year - that's the goal for now. Right now, I'm using a Canon 550D and a Mamiya RB67. Went through your blog. Nice work!
Logged

Get the Free Comprehensive Guide to Rigging ANY Camera - one guide to rig them all - DSLRs to the Arri Alexa.
fredjeang
Guest
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2011, 12:53:50 PM »
ReplyReply

Do you already have Nikon 35mm lenses ? That's key.

The 550D is fine for the sizes you want to print.

If you start from scratch, on a budget there are 2 or 3 cameras very good you might consider: the Canon 5D (1 or 2), The Nikon D700, the Sony Alpha 900 and very interesting, the Leica R9 with digital back.
Those are all full frame and I strongly recommend to go FF. The D700 is rather cheap second-hand. The Sony is a beast of camera if higher isos aren't your concern.

I personaly would choose the Canon 5D2 or the Sony for the resolution so you have much more room in print size but if you have Nikon primes already, the D700 is the choice.

On the other hand, if you have already a Canon 550D for movie, the upgrade to the 5D2 is not loosing money at all because you'll end with one gear for all and the still image is in another league. Considering that the new body costs 2000euros it's incredibly cheap. The problem is that nobody sell them and there is no second-hand market. But soon the 5D3 will come and that's the date you need to wait to buy a 5D2 very cheap.

If you go full-frame the Canon's aps line lenses are useless. Sell them all with no regret and e-bay new lenses suitable for FF. You can use the Nikon lenses on the Canon with a proper adapter you find in e-bay.

About lenses, as you are in FF and therefore no need to convert focal lengh, use e-bay. You find superb vintage lenses for very cheap that would fit any of those cameras. The Leica R lenses are sold here second-hand for very little and that's another story than the plastic Canon's new generation. Old Canon, Minolta (if you go Sony) or Nikon manual primes in e-bay are very affordable.
You don't have AF but you have optic quality not ruining the bank account.  

Leica R lenses can be mounted on the 5D2 and the results are stunning, even better than with most of the pro-line Canon's current glasses, but you are in full manual focussing and direct aperture. (you see the light in the viewfinder at real aperture and not open wich is also a big advantage with live view).

I actually have some friends who are in the gallery circuit, old experienced photographers and work with the 5D2 and exclusively with Leica R lenses for the print quality output. Those guys have money to buy whatever and they don't take-off their old Leica Rs from the Canon mount, it's that good!

If you can't go with those FF options for budget reasons, I find the GH2 surprisingly good for photography (so as Michael Reichmann) and it's cheaper than an Aps Canon. Same for lenses, ebay all. No need to ruin you.
The pixel density is clearly there but they managed to do it right and the grain is almost filmic.
Also, the GH2 allows you the access to Leica M line, and cine mount. Probably the most versatile mount to date. It takes almost everything, even PL ARRI !
« Last Edit: August 14, 2011, 01:31:10 PM by fredjeang » Logged
Sareesh Sudhakaran
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 547


WWW
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2011, 12:38:47 AM »
ReplyReply

I actually have some friends who are in the gallery circuit, old experienced photographers and work with the 5D2 and exclusively with Leica R lenses for the print quality output. Those guys have money to buy whatever and they don't take-off their old Leica Rs from the Canon mount, it's that good!

The 5D2 and Leica R is my dream 35mm system. I have promised myself this system - but I have to earn it from selling photos off the 550D. I am just an amateur, and need to prove to myself I am worthy of it.

Quote
If you can't go with those FF options for budget reasons, I find the GH2 surprisingly good for photography (so as Michael Reichmann) and it's cheaper than an Aps Canon.

When I was deciding, my three choices were 550D, D5100 Nikon and the GH2. I left out the Nikon because the ergonomics were not comfortable for my hand type. I really wanted the GH2, but Panasonic has very poor sales and service support in India, so I went with the 550D, which after a lot of research, I knew was good enough.

I have Nikon lenses because I was shooting on the F2 for a while. For my photography, I will be using the 550D with prime lenses and the RB67 with TMAX 100 rolls.
Logged

Get the Free Comprehensive Guide to Rigging ANY Camera - one guide to rig them all - DSLRs to the Arri Alexa.
RFPhotography
Guest
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2011, 05:31:39 PM »
ReplyReply

You can get an adapter to use your Nikon lenses on the Canon body.
Logged
Sareesh Sudhakaran
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 547


WWW
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2011, 10:53:38 PM »
ReplyReply

Thank you, Bob. I already have the adapters. I no longer shoot Nikon, so the lenses have all been adapted.
Logged

Get the Free Comprehensive Guide to Rigging ANY Camera - one guide to rig them all - DSLRs to the Arri Alexa.
caerphoto
Newbie
*
Offline Offline

Posts: 7


« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2011, 04:59:21 AM »
ReplyReply

I know it's not the point of your question, but this bit caught my attention:

Quote
For example, I have printed JPEGs (72dpi) off a 550D on A1 (23x33 inches) and the resolution seems okay.

At 3323 inches, a 550D image will be 157 dpi, assuming it's uncropped. Images have no inherent dpi; it depends entirely on the size at which they're displayed, regardless of output medium. Even at 100% on your monitor they will be closer to 100 dpi only very low resolution screens (by today's standards) are 72dpi.
Logged
Sareesh Sudhakaran
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 547


WWW
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2011, 05:46:59 AM »
ReplyReply

You're right...I've learned that lesson by now.
Logged

Get the Free Comprehensive Guide to Rigging ANY Camera - one guide to rig them all - DSLRs to the Arri Alexa.
Pages: [1]   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad