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Author Topic: It's finally good enough  (Read 11394 times)
marcmccalmont
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« on: May 12, 2012, 03:55:50 PM »
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After a few days with the Nikon D800E I can say it is "Finally Good Enough". It's human nature to want and want more and want better. When I was making a living with my loudspeaker business I noticed most people were "audiohaulics" just churning their equipment not necessarily making things sound better, human nature. I took pride in setting up systems that sounded so good that the cycle ended and people started spending more time listening and spending money on CD's and LP's not equipment. Well the D800E is just that, "good enough" that I'm not searching for better or greater, just looking forward to going for a walk with my camera, it's "Finally Good Enough". I think DSLR's have left adolescence and matured into adulthood.
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
MarkL
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« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2012, 05:42:40 PM »
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I feel similarly. I liked my D700 when it was released but moving from medium format film the resolution was lacking and I was stitching many frames together to compensate as well as exposure blending to get better DR/improve shadow noise, now these techniques can be mostly relics for the majority of situations.
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Ray
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« Reply #2 on: May 12, 2012, 11:38:16 PM »
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After a few days with the Nikon D800E I can say it is "Finally Good Enough".

Until you buy that super duper, not-yet-announced, 36"wide, high gamut, ink-economical printer.  Grin
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dturina
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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2012, 05:20:52 AM »
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I hit that point with Canon 5d; it was 35mm, it had excellent colors and resolution and quality wise, I had no real need for something better. I still don't; it equals medium format film in resolution, it has DR of color negative combined with colors of the best slide film, and all that in 35mm format. I recently bought Olympus E-PL1 which has very similar resolution, to complement it when 35mm is too heavy, and its 12MP resolution is just fine, I don't realistically need more, and when I do want a really huge print, I can do it by stitching a panorama. These days I'm more into lenses and good processing software than I am into cameras.
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Danijel
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2012, 09:34:36 AM »
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hese days I'm more into lenses and good processing software than I am into cameras.
I have been waiting for the day that the imperfections of sensors are reduced to the point that I can choose a digital camera system primarily by the suitability of the lens system and format to my photographic goals ... the way we could with film choices, uncoupled from camera choices.

Are we almost there?
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dturina
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2012, 11:35:27 AM »
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I have been waiting for the day that the imperfections of sensors are reduced to the point that I can choose a digital camera system primarily by the suitability of the lens system and format to my photographic goals ... the way we could with film choices, uncoupled from camera choices.

Are we almost there?

I think we've been there for a while, but we keep revising our expectations upwards. Smiley
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Danijel
douglasf13
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2012, 01:27:30 PM »
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  I think most of us haves reached that point before the D800.  In fact, most of us are probably fine with the various m4/3 and other mirrorless cameras on the market.  I sold my A900 after using NEX for a while, because I just couldn't legitimize the weight and expense of my A900 system when I'm looking at my prints...and that was with the old NEX-5.  With the NEX-7, my prints are virtually indistinguishable from my A900 prints.  I kind of wish that I still had my A900 simply so that I could do a test to see just how big of a print that it would take to separate it from my NEX-7.

  Of course, there are other reasons, like AF, to shoot a DSLR, but, in terms of image quality, I'm fine with a mirrorless camera, unless I decide to become a very large format printer.  Getting near medium format film resolution in a small digital camera is pretty darn awesome.
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Ray
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2012, 09:30:11 PM »
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 I think most of us haves reached that point before the D800.

Definitely! Most people seem quite satisfied with their P&S cameras or iPhone cameras. It's only the relatively few who are passionate about photography, who continually want something better.

Many years ago when I was shooting 35mm film, the image quality of Medium Format was a source of envy, but that envy was offset by the additional price of such equipment and the additional inconvenience of the increased bulk and weight of MF equipment.

That we can now buy a 35mm DSLR for less than the inflation-adjusted price of an MF film camera from a previous era, and which DSLR has significantly better dynamic range and significantly better resolution, and in color, than the finest B&W film used on those MF film cameras (not to mention the significantly better high ISO capability), is something to be very pleased about.

I get a sense that real and significant progress has been made.

Whether or not the 36mp of the D800 is finally sufficient, is another matter. The latest cropped-format cameras are 24mp, which translates to 54mp for full frame.

If I were to see a useful advantage in a 24mp DX format, compared with a 16mp D7000, for example, then such advantage would be transferred to a 54mp full-frame of equal quality, and I might decide at some future stage that the 54mp DSLR would be a useful upgrade to my 36mp D800E.  Wink
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kencameron
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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2012, 10:24:45 PM »
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It's only the relatively few who are passionate about photography, who continually want something better.
I think that it is possible to be really quite keen on photography without continually wanting a new camera. As for "passionate", I think it is one of the most over-used and hence devalued words in the english language. When people declare themselves to be passionate about brands of shoes or flavours of ice cream then I need a different word to express my attitude to photography.
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douglasf13
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2012, 01:21:26 AM »
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Definitely! Most people seem quite satisfied with their P&S cameras or iPhone cameras. It's only the relatively few who are passionate about photography, who continually want something better.

  Implying that being satisfied with camera gear is left to P&S camera owners is disingenuous, and continually wanting something better is not intrinsically tied to passion about photography.  In fact, I'd say that many of the successful photographers that I've been around only pay attention to new gear with only a fleeting interest. 

  Either way, it comes down to how large you print, for the most part.
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dturina
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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2012, 07:24:49 AM »
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Definitely! Most people seem quite satisfied with their P&S cameras or iPhone cameras. It's only the relatively few who are passionate about photography, who continually want something better.

I would disagree with that statement. This no longer has much to do with photography, as I don't see what I would gain, photographically, by D800E over 5d, other than slightly better detail when printing over a meter in width. It doesn't change depth of field, it doesn't change color, it doesn't do much for dynamic range except replace 11EV with 13EV, where 10EV is enough. Photographically, those two instruments would, at least for me, produce almost identical results, and whoever thinks he can easily distinguish between prints made by those two, at B2 size, is probably wrong.

So it's not about passion for photography, which at this point is satisfied by going out and taking pictures, but passion for acquiring new and expensive gear in order to have bragging rights. That's how I see it. Whoever says he *needs* D800, and isn't already shooting with a medium format back or large format film, is probably deluding himself. I myself am a 35mm film shooter who went digital. I occasionally flirt with medium format film, but it has no resolution advantage over my digital gear, that I can feel in any way.

So it's all a matter of "how big am I going to print". More is not necessarily better; more can mean more storage, CPU and RAM for managing files that are too big for my realistic needs, and I never printed bigger than B2.
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Danijel
BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2012, 09:00:07 AM »
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So it's not about passion for photography, which at this point is satisfied by going out and taking pictures, but passion for acquiring new and expensive gear in order to have bragging rights. That's how I see it. Whoever says he *needs* D800, and isn't already shooting with a medium format back or large format film, is probably deluding himself. I myself am a 35mm film shooter who went digital.

How about the possibility that some photographers enjoy reaching higher levels of technical perfection in their work?

Why was Hansel Adams shooting 8x10 when 4x5 was so much easier?

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
marcmccalmont
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2012, 09:02:09 AM »
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I can't do this with my 5DII!
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
Ray
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« Reply #13 on: May 14, 2012, 09:16:19 AM »
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I would disagree with that statement.

In my opinion it's quite normal and to be expected that those who are passionate about golf would want to use the best golf club that may give them an advantage in the game, and those who are passionate about tennis would want to use the best tennis raquette that would give them an advantage.

My passion for photography is not satisfied merely by going out and taking pictures, although that's a big part of it. It's finally satisfied by processing my RAW images in various ways, sometimes years later, exploring the possibilities of different types of processing, and eventually achieving a result, or a number of different results from the same image, which satisfies me. If the camera has produced noisy shadows or blown highlights because the scene was too contrasty and the camera didn't have sufficient DR, and it wasn't possible to bracket shots because of subject movement etc, then I'm not satisfied.

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So it's all a matter of "how big am I going to print".

It's about a whole range of qualities, including tonal range, noise in the midtones and noise in the shadows, high-ISO performance, frame rates, autobracketing flexibility etc etc, as well as maximum print size that can withstand close scrutiny.

It's also about cropping flexibility. The high resolution sensor allows one to make a reasonably sized, sharp print, say A4, from a significantly cropped area in the image which might be of particular interest.

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More is not necessarily better; more can mean more storage, CPU and RAM for managing files that are too big for my realistic needs, and I never printed bigger than B2.

C'mon! Don't you know that RAM and external storage are now dirt cheap compared with a good camera? I think my 2TB Western Digital external hard drive with USB3.0 connectivity, cost $129.

If you are really genuine in thinking this is a problem, perhaps you shouldn't be buying a new DSLR at all. It sounds as though you might not be able to afford it.

 
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Whoever says he *needs* D800, and isn't already shooting with a medium format back or large format film, is probably deluding himself. I myself am a 35mm film shooter who went digital

I don't know what needs have to do with it. I think they would be rare occasions when someone chose a new camera as a result of a need. However you do need to use a camera in order to take a photograph.

I always find as a general rule that I get more satisfaction from the use of equipment which is sufficiently light and flexible for my purposes, yet delivers the maximum quality within the limitations of the format. I never limit myself to maximum print sizes. My printer takes 30 metre rolls.

By the way, Sharp has produced an 85" display with 16x the resolution of the current HD standard. It displays 36mp images and the pixels on the display are so small they cannot be seen however close you peer at the screen. The future.
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #14 on: May 14, 2012, 09:34:42 AM »
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Until the next 60MP camera for under $2000...
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dturina
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« Reply #15 on: May 14, 2012, 09:49:01 AM »
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In my opinion it's quite normal and to be expected that those who are passionate about golf would want to use the best golf club that may give them an advantage in the game, and those who are passionate about tennis would want to use the best tennis raquette that would give them an advantage.

You keep saying "passionate about...", but you keep describing people who are, if anything, "passionate" about collecting equipment and not about doing things with it. You talk about things such as tonal gradations and resolution, but I see no problem with either, in cameras over five years old. I've seen many problems with previous generations of equipment, but that was then. At one point, and for me that point was 5d, I found that the quality of the camera is such that I can simply forget about it and just do my stuff. It's good enough. It does what I ask it do do, and until it dies I'm not sure I'll need a replacement.

Right now, I can process its files on my 13" Air. If I buy a 36MP monster, what happens then? I might obsolete my entire workflow just to get bigger files from a single shot. Do I need it? Maybe, here and there. I don't need it all the time, or for all kinds of photography. For landscapes, yes, but not for portraits or macro. And for landscape, I am consistently producing very good panoramas by stitching. Can I afford it? It's a silly question. Of course I can afford a camera that costs as much as a car. Already having a car I obviously can afford something in this price range. The question is, is it worth the expense. For me, the answer at this point is no. And I am not an undemanding casual photographer. I just don't believe that upgrades of equipment universally produce improvement in the end result. If anything, I have observed that people who invest in very expensive gear almost always display a decline in the quality of their work, because they become obsessed with microscopic detail while on the other hand failing to see how their pictures fall short of their former standards. They can print them bigger, but do they deserve to be printed bigger?
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Danijel
Ray
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« Reply #16 on: May 14, 2012, 09:51:05 AM »
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I think that it is possible to be really quite keen on photography without continually wanting a new camera. As for "passionate", I think it is one of the most over-used and hence devalued words in the english language. When people declare themselves to be passionate about brands of shoes or flavours of ice cream then I need a different word to express my attitude to photography.

Then tell us what the different word is or could be, so we can assess whether it's more appropriate.
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dturina
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« Reply #17 on: May 14, 2012, 10:11:42 AM »
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How about the possibility that some photographers enjoy reaching higher levels of technical perfection in their work?

Why was Hansel Adams shooting 8x10 when 4x5 was so much easier?


With all due respect, I don't see all that many Ansel Adamses going around complaining that their D700 is limiting their photography. If anything, there are many people who are deluded thinking that technical ability to produce extremely big prints will somehow improve their photography. In most cases, switching to such an extremely high res device will promote obsession with photographic minutia at the expense of everything that matters.

Don't get me wrong, I did live on the digital bleeding edge for a while, buying the best and newest as it appeared, but there came a point where I concluded that the camera is no longer limiting my photography, and I happily went on doing my stuff. That point was when I saw 5d files along medium format velvia scans and saw that the differences are negligible.

Right now, I can produce files that equal sharp medium format film scans. I might at one point want more resolution, but honestly, right now it's not among my biggest concerns.
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Danijel
dturina
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« Reply #18 on: May 14, 2012, 10:22:31 AM »
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Then tell us what the different word is or could be, so we can assess whether it's more appropriate.

For me, "passion" is emotion of highest intensity, an all-encompassing single-minded focus. Most people either never feel it at all, or they feel it about a person whom they want to spend the rest of their lives with, or a major spiritual conviction worth living and dying for.

With photography, I could agree it's a passion on par with any other purpose of one's life - for some people. For most, it's a hobby, a form of entertainment, a pastime, a creative outlet.

"Strong interest and care" is the highest ranking I could give it, and that is not even close to "passion".
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Danijel
BJL
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« Reply #19 on: May 14, 2012, 10:45:30 AM »
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How about the possibility that some photographers enjoy reaching higher levels of technical perfection in their work?

Why was Hansel Adams shooting 8x10 when 4x5 was so much easier?
A dodgy example: as technology progressed, Ansel Adams mostly moved to 4x5, and then started doing a lot with medium format too, not to mention using 35mm (a Contax rangefinder) for the sort of photography that it suited better.

Surely there are some for whom progress in technical features like resolution and dynamic range are truly relevant (e.g. anyone who has been doing a lot of stitching of HDR blending). Then again, there are others for whom the new improved headline specs are of as little practical relevance as the deep diving abilities of a Rolex Submariner that never goes more than a few feet under water, a heavy duty luxury 4WD complete with winch and snorkel that never leaves the smoothly paved road, or a super lightweight titanium framed racing bike whose rider is carrying as much extra weight around his belly as the entire bike weighs.
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