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Author Topic: Camera for B&W fine art  (Read 7361 times)
Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2011, 05:03:15 AM »
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If it helps any, the 550D has a 3" 1million pixel screen with live view. Will I use it? I don't know.
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nma
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« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2011, 10:52:36 AM »
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If it helps any, the 550D has a 3" 1million pixel screen with live view. Will I use it? I don't know.

I completely agree with rawhead about the value of liveview for the style of photography that you envision for yourself.  Assuming the 550D supports the key features of liveview, you will only be limited by your own competence. Liveview will provide strong information about critical focus and depth of field over much of the image, something unavailable with the viewfinder.  Someone will always have a camera with higher resolution, a better lens, etc. However, at the end of the day, it is the totality of the image that counts, particularly if you think you are trying to make an artistic statement.
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Slobodan Blagojevic
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« Reply #22 on: April 29, 2011, 12:05:47 PM »
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... using the LCD/LiveView... is crucial for the kind of photography that the OP wants to do (carefully composed landscape photography)...

Although OP is rather cryptical as to what exactly he is planning to shoot, he did say: "carefully staged and artificially lit fictional B&W photography where the prime subject will always be one or more human beings in various surroundings". That, however, does not sound like a landscape photography to me. Nor as something where the critical focusing the live view enables would be very practical.
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« Reply #23 on: April 29, 2011, 01:11:39 PM »
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Ah, somehow I completely misread that!  I knew OP wanted human subjects, but for some reason I thought they were all to be placed in a lanscape context Cheesy  Still, if it's a "carefully staged" scene, having access to LiveView with 100% coverage is extremely important.
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Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #24 on: April 29, 2011, 11:19:04 PM »
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Please allow me to clarify - even though live view is a great learning tool, when I go for my money shots I will have the camera tethered to a bigger and better display. Slobodan has understood me correctly. If have to depend on live view for DOF or color/tonality, etc, then I have failed as a visualizer (if not photographer). My primary goal is to recreate what I visualize, and give it life. I would be perfectly happy with a Leica M9, just that I want to earn it first.
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« Reply #25 on: April 29, 2011, 11:34:20 PM »
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So depending on a larger, tethered display is OK, but depending on LiveView, you're a failure? :LOL: I don't get the logic, but that's probably just me.  Sounds like you know what you want but just can't afford it, or something along those lines.  I have nothing more to contribute it seems.
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uaiomex
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« Reply #26 on: April 29, 2011, 11:39:21 PM »
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For OP:
Everything Rawhead said about the 5D Mk1 and its lcd screen as well as not having live-view is true but my approach is somewhat different. I had the Mk1 first and the Mk2 lcd made my heart happy. I didn't care much for LV in the beginning. Now it is another nice weapon in the arsenal to use and enjoy when necessary. To say the truth, I would not want to go back to be without but hey, I've been a pro photographer for over 30 years and never missed chimping and LV'ing. What I mean is that you (nobody) don't need these features to be happy with a camera or to be a better photographer. They just make your life easy and probably more fun.
On the other hand, image quality is what most counts after content. If you think that you need the latest features to produce a good visual speech in an artistic or esthetic way, go buy the latest photo gizmo. If you think a used camera capable of producing some of the best image quality this side of $10k usd could inspire you, go buy a 5D.
As usual, the world is not black&white. There are thousands of greys in between.
Best
Eduardo
« Last Edit: April 29, 2011, 11:49:01 PM by uaiomex » Logged
Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #27 on: April 30, 2011, 01:14:29 AM »
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LOL...I was actually expecting that reply. I should have been clearer. Staging and lighting is complex, time-consuming and expensive. I will depend on a monitor, but I need a better one than the LCD of any camera.

What I meant (I hope I'm not making this worse), is that I prefer to master my camera so that if my life depended on it, I can still pull off great shots (as if I'm shooting on film), and earn the title of 'fine art photographer'. Please forgive me if I'm not making sense, and let it rest.

Rawhead...your input has led me to seriously reconsider the 5D Mark II, if I can find it used. Otherwise I'll be quite happy with a used 5D. If I fail to find either, it's a new 550D. This is good enough for now.

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Rand47
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« Reply #28 on: April 30, 2011, 10:52:28 AM »
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RENT a Sony a850 & the focal length you need.

If it suits, find a body ASAP ( they're being discontinued from what I've heard ).

Great quality Minolta lenses on the cheap (relatively speaking) on eBay.

Low cost high image quality.  Very well suited for what you describe are conditions & out put requirements.
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« Reply #29 on: April 30, 2011, 01:00:10 PM »
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Again, personally, chimping (or its compulsion) simply gets in the way of taking pictures as the mood dictates, and inserts yet a further intrusion into the process between seeing and capture.

I can't help thinking that without a bit of chimping it would be very hard to get to a stage where you can take pictures reliably enough to not need to chimp - modern cameras are too hard! Rapid feedback is a good way to understand everything from whether or not the AF was actually enabled, or to learn how much exposure compensation a given picture is likely to need given the ISO setting, hightlight tone widget value, metering mode, etc etc...

I have been using an old manual-focus SLR of late and it is quite liberating to find that the only camera settings to worry about are aperture and shutter speed (though I agree that the processing costs are a bit steep!).
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Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #30 on: May 01, 2011, 12:03:16 AM »
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I discounted Sony for one reason only - they have no authorized service center for their DSLRs in India. Can you believe that?
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SeanBK
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« Reply #31 on: May 01, 2011, 02:25:31 AM »
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Check out Nik software's "Silver Efex Pro II". They have a few upcoming webinars on use of Silver Efex (B&W app).There is one on next week on Tuesday May 3rd. There is one for strickly B&W landscape, I think that might interest you the most. That is on May 27th by Rob Sheppard. Niksoftware's Capture NX2 for all Nikon RAW (nef files) gives U amazing control with their U-point technology. Also check out John Paul Caponigro's site & his tutorials, he IS really great @ B&W conversion specially landscape. Of course the camera & lens do matter but what you achive (read convert) is quite/very important too.
  I thought in Bombay "Photokina Labs" is excellent source for equip also now with Nikon increasing it's presence than the tech support should be great.... strange to give advice to guy from India @ tech support. Wink Been to India > Bombay, Jaipur, Simla, Nainital, Agra, Delhi... more than couple of times in my travels. What RobC suggested is quite true. RobC that Cafe U recall which was clos to CCI club is closed but quite a few good ones are there, but in those days Jazz was very good & popular. I saw Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington .. while I was there in Bombay.
      Looks like U are on right track, IMHO.
  Check out my website > they are not B&W but shot with Nikon D2X @ 5/7 yrs back. I have new expensive Gitzo tripod but these were shot with old heavy Bogen 3050. The reason I suggest Nikon is that in India as I understand Nikon is serviced better & easily resold, than Canon.

 www.vintagecarphotography.com/
  Sean
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Rob C
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« Reply #32 on: May 01, 2011, 02:51:05 AM »
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I can't help thinking that without a bit of chimping it would be very hard to get to a stage where you can take pictures reliably enough to not need to chimp - modern cameras are too hard! Rapid feedback is a good way to understand everything from whether or not the AF was actually enabled, or to learn how much exposure compensation a given picture is likely to need given the ISO setting, hightlight tone widget value, metering mode, etc etc...

I have been using an old manual-focus SLR of late and it is quite liberating to find that the only camera settings to worry about are aperture and shutter speed (though I agree that the processing costs are a bit steep!).




That's why I use mine as manually set as is possible with the exception of work that's just out of the range of expected reality: Auo ISO country in available darkness, but still manual focussing.

But thatís the point: digital photography has become a more complex matter (if allowed so to do) because of the digital failures Ė the peaks and troughs donít function as smoothly as they do with film and, so, you get dreadful cut-off in bright areas and noise at the other end, both something quite ugly to behold. The answer Iíve found for myself - using Nikonís Matrix metering which is very accurate Ė is that one simply estimates the subject and increases or decreases exposure a smidgen, manually.

Even film, unless in a controlled studio/lab situation isnít going to cover the brightness range thatís out there: the medium ainít yet invented! But, what does exist, is the backlog of habit that allows certain types of over-exposure to be acceptable depending on where they impinge on the subject. Take a sunny, backlit head and shoulders: you accept, totally, that blonde hair is going to burn out around the edges, so the halo becomes a definite aesthetic plus, even: it adds to the 3-D effect and isolates the subject from the background, unless youíve picked the wrong one! And itís not confined to blondes, that effect, either. It works, to an extent, with all hair colouring. In fact, that was one of the main used for the Zeiss Softars: creating a light halo around the subject. And digi can ruin that, too. In my website Iíve got a shot of a girl sitting on a rock in a Japanese (might have been Chinese Ė I canít remember the nationality for sure) garden in Singapore. Sheís holding a can of lager (well, it was a lager calendar) and I used a Softar on the Nikon just to create that very effect of a light surround. So, the minute you attempt to sharpen a little bit for the web, the damned effect vanishes almost to zero. Yet, to publish sans sharpening it all looks too soft, which isnít how a Softar works. Of course, were it more important, one could mask and mask and mask, but this is meant to be just for fun. But thatís simply my opinion, and if you want to see good use of the backlit effect turn to Bokelberg and look at his head shots.

http://www.bokelberg.com


Digital seems to have brought about an obsession with so-called quality in the sense of technique overtaking artistic merit. I see lots and lots of great technical work around but not any increase in great photographic content. Without that, we may as well stay with the brick walls and save a packet on travel...

(Just for Slobodan: that falls in line with my credo regarding validity ;-) )

In the end, neither film nor digital are going to give you the best until you, as photographer, know what youíre doing Ė more or less. And donít forget: even the greatest snappers in the world still eff up now and again. Itís called reality.

Rob C


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Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #33 on: May 01, 2011, 03:30:09 AM »
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Check out Nik software's "Silver Efex Pro II".
Thanks for the links. I'll check them out. Is Silver Pro any different/better than Photoshop (which I know and use already)?

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I thought in Bombay "Photokina Labs" is excellent source for equip also now with Nikon increasing it's presence than the tech support should be great.... The reason I suggest Nikon is that in India as I understand Nikon is serviced better & easily resold, than Canon.
Both Nikon and Canon are well represented with good service in India, at least as far as I know. I think my hands can get used to either, if necessary. Both have good resale value. Impossible to find a used D40 (or 5D for that matter).

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Check out my website > they are not B&W but shot with Nikon D2X @ 5/7 yrs back. I have new expensive Gitzo tripod but these were shot with old heavy Bogen 3050.
 www.vintagecarphotography.com/
  Sean
Thanks for sharing! I've worked with a Gitzo on a 7D (for video), and they are a godsend. I know I'm just a beginner so for what it's worth my favorite photo is the 1931 Duesenberg Model J.
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Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #34 on: May 01, 2011, 04:00:41 AM »
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That's why I use mine as manually set as is possible with the exception of work that's just out of the range of expected reality: Auo ISO country in available darkness, but still manual focussing.

But thatís the point: digital photography has become a more complex matter (if allowed so to do) because of the digital failures Ė the peaks and troughs donít function as smoothly as they do with film and, so, you get dreadful cut-off in bright areas and noise at the other end, both something quite ugly to behold. The answer Iíve found for myself - using Nikonís Matrix metering which is very accurate Ė is that one simply estimates the subject and increases or decreases exposure a smidgen, manually.

Rob...Is it wise to invest in learning the digital equivalent of the zone system with the in-built spot meter, as opposed to matrix metering? This is obviously for a. learning, and b. situations where time isn't much of an issue. Or, are there better methods to extract the best dynamic range?

Since I come from a filmmaking background let me clarify with an example: When videographers use DSLRs or even professional HD cameras, and try to simulate the film look, the combined wisdom is to underexpose so that the highlights won't get blown. Later, in post production, the image can be 'lifted' and it will still retain some shadow detail, and the final grade will approximate the film look. Do photographers also employ this method to simulate the S curve of film?
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SeanBK
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« Reply #35 on: May 01, 2011, 07:19:03 AM »
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Theoratically Photoshop can do most of the stuff but I use both. Cloning, layers & masking cannot be done in Nikon's NX2. The silver efex pro II can do ONLY B&W conversions, but the control it gives for conversion is in my view the best. One can achieve may be the similar results with PS but it can be highly labor intensive. They have a free trial best U try it for yourself.
 What I meant by comparing Gitzo to much heavier Bogen 3050, if you can then I would definately carry the Bogen than Gitzo, but as I got older & bitchier I go for Gitzo. Often older equip does do wonders. Thanx that U liked the Dussenberg, I did too but the owner did not like that details did not show up. I thought lines were more important than the how good the paintjob was, but then to each his own.
  Good Luck.
    Sean
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« Reply #36 on: May 01, 2011, 12:28:38 PM »
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LOL...I was actually expecting that reply. I should have been clearer. Staging and lighting is complex, time-consuming and expensive. I will depend on a monitor, but I need a better one than the LCD of any camera.

What I meant (I hope I'm not making this worse), is that I prefer to master my camera so that if my life depended on it, I can still pull off great shots (as if I'm shooting on film), and earn the title of 'fine art photographer'. Please forgive me if I'm not making sense, and let it rest.

Rawhead...your input has led me to seriously reconsider the 5D Mark II, if I can find it used. Otherwise I'll be quite happy with a used 5D. If I fail to find either, it's a new 550D. This is good enough for now.



You've already got Nikon glass, so if you are happy with the quality why not go with a D300 or such? Or D700 if you can fit it in the budget. One good thing about Nikon is the ability to use legacy lenses., and you are already familiar with the Nikon work flow.
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Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #37 on: May 01, 2011, 10:04:40 PM »
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Thanks for the suggestion Schrodingerscat, unfortunately I have no need for the extra features of the D300 or D700 to justify its purchase. My current set of Nikon primes are old and worn out, and I'm not sure how much value they will add over a modern kit lens, especially for a beginner like me.

The only reason I lean towards the 550D or 5D II in this case is for its video features, which can always come handy. I wouldn't need another system for a long time.
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Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #38 on: May 02, 2011, 04:50:09 AM »
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Actually I completely missed the D5100, which seems to be a cracker of a DSLR.
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SeanBK
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« Reply #39 on: May 02, 2011, 05:18:51 AM »
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Also Nikon's D7000, which I use often. Do consider that with it's movie mode & live view.
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