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Thread: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

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    Senior Member Jamgolf's Avatar
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    One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Exactly one year ago, with the help of this forum's collective wisdom & guidance, I decided on my first ever technical camera set-up.
    So how do I honestly feel about my decisions now?

    On technical camera itself...
    I feel absolutely satisfied. I think technical camera fits my personality. I find it to be therapeutic. The slow and deliberate work flow helps my generally restless/fidgety demeanour. It also has had the unexpected (but welcome) side effect that I now do not feel the urge to take a picture of every-freaking-thing. I am able to enjoy the moment. I am a lot more selective and happier for it. I am still not comfortable mixing tilts and swings. I need a lot more practice.

    On choice of lenses...
    I did not want to compromise when it came to lenses. I decided on a 2 lens kit of 32mm HR & 90mm HRSW. Both are optically superior to anything else I had used previously (these 2 are actually NOT the most expensive lenses I've owned). 32mm is awesome when centered or even with small amounts of shifts. Shifted 12-13mm it loses a lot of its magic though. I have still not purchased a center filter for it. 90mm HRSW is just awesome - I wish I did not have to deal with its spacer, but the stellar image quality is worth it.

    On choice of Cambo...
    At that time I really wanted an Alpa STC and my choice of Cambo 1200 felt like a compromise. It was really not. It is compact and packs tilt+swing+rise+fall+shift functionality. I appreciate the 5mm notches on shifts. If anything I feel that some type of a focus assistance, if it was available with Cambo, would be helpful. I mean something along the lines of Arca helical or Alpa HPF rings. That would make focussing of longer lenses a lot easier and less time consuming. For 32mm this is not an issue.

    On choice of digital back...
    I was rightly advised by forum members to stay clear of older backs, due to poor UI and lack of tethering support. I found a Credo 60 and have been quite happy. Tethering ability was not even in my criteria at that time. It definitely should have been - and perhaps at the top. I have to say that Surface Pro tethering has been vital to my learning and usage. I feel that using a technical camera without Surface Pro (or something similar) is akin to using a view camera without ground-glass/loupe. I like using the Product 5 profile in C1 for Credo files. The colors are so refreshingly natural. Credo's live-view is seriously lacking and really the only complaint I have. I still feel no desire to get a Credo 50 or similar CMOS back. In fact the only change I have contemplated has been getting a Credo 80.

    A few notes...
    - Having an app such as Snapi Tilt Calculator helps - a lot
    - Read Harold M. Merklinger's books "Focusing the View Camera" and "The Ins and Outs of Focus" again and again
    - Practice at home and formulate some focus+tilt presets for various scenarios, then just apply those settings in field
    - Technical camera requires dedicated effort in learning.
    True Story: I learned to play golf myself, at the age of ~30, without any lessons. I could never break 110 no matter how hard I tried or how many rounds I played. I then decided to take lessons from a reputable teacher. He basically changed everything I was doing. I got horrendous. I could not even break 140. My golf buddies started avoiding me, I got so bad. But I really kept learning and practising what the teacher taught me. I broke 100, then 90, then I broke 80. ( No I never broke 70 )
    I feel the technical camera is similar. I got worse and now beginning to slowly getting better.

    My only real regret has been my inability to spend more time using this equipment, which I hope to rectify this coming year.
    Thank you GetDPI for being a truely great forum.
    Cheers!
    Last edited by Jamgolf; 15th December 2015 at 14:46.
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Good post, just the same reasons, I am going back to the XF, tried the tech camera for almost 4 years, but just tired of the LCC and time spent trying to balance color. Might have been different if a full frame CMOS back was around. But that's going to be too much anyway.

    The tech camera made me pick up my DSLR 85% of the time, just hate the workflow and the same deliberate process. Got to where I was leaving the MF back at home more times than not.

    The max movement with a wide or near wide is really about 15mm anyway and that's not enough for the pano look I want.

    Lenses are great, sharpness excellent, but I hate the copal shutter with all it's limitations and missed shutter speeds, aforementioned LCC process and hours spent trying to balance a blue sky on shifts with 32mm, 40mm or 43mm.

    I realize I am most likely an exception. But will miss tilt for sure.

    Paul C
    Paul Caldwell
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    Senior Member Jamgolf's Avatar
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Paul, four years is an eternity in camera world so you really have given this setup its full due.
    But if you "just hate the workflow and the same deliberate process", then clearly its time for a change.
    And change after all is the only constant.

    For an amateur (read hack) like myself, the slow process is "therapeutic" - but for a pro the slow workflow is lost time - and time is money.
    You've always been most generous, candid and unbiased in your advice and opinions about the tech-cams in your posts. Thank you for that.

    I hope there will be a full-frame back in the future with improvements that will lure you back to the inferno

    Cheers!
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    Senior Member DougDolde's Avatar
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Paul, I agree completely though I don't miss movements. The Schneider 40-80mm is as good as a tech cam lens or at least so close it's not worth debating. The new 35mm is maybe better yet.

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    Senior Member Steve Hendrix's Avatar
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Great and beneficial feedback, JamGolf.

    For me, I have a shocking confession to make. I have a love/hate relationship with technical cameras. On the one hand, I hate them because it takes some time, in most cases, to get a really right result. And I am naturally not that patient of a shooter and tend to enjoy more spontaneous moments than prepared, methodical capture.

    But it's really all a matter of time. And maybe I need to take more of that time to smell the roses. I'm a workaholic and this has been suggested to me more than once. Of course, most of the time I am shooting them, it's for a test or comparison of an optic at a specific shift position with various digital backs, or quality control testing for lenses, etc.

    On the other hand, when I do have (non-work) time, and I do take the time (this involves conscious and strenuous effort), I can't imagine shooting with anything else. It is not just the optics, it is the control. I am hooked on 2 way movement and complete control of my framing. Having that capability allows me to frame my composition exactly the way I want it from wherever I want my camera to be. I hate giving up that control. It's an issue.


    Steve Hendrix
    Capture Integration
    Steve Hendrix, Sales Manager, www.captureintegration.com (e-mail Me)
    Digital Cam: • Phase One | Leaf | Leica | Sinar • Authorized Reseller
    TechCam: • Alpa | Cambo | Arca Swiss | Sinar • Authorized Reseller
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    Senior Member Jamgolf's Avatar
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Steve, first of all I have to agree - you are a workaholic

    Spontaneity is a flavor of photography which I love, just as you. I admire Henri Cartier Bresson and others with similar extemporaneous styles. For that type of photograpy a tech camera obviously is a terrible tool. On the other hand I admire Richard Avedon's very deliberate work with his view camera even more. Different tools for different styles - I agree.

    Since we don't usually restrict ourselves to one type/style of photography. We also don't need to insist on using one tool for everything. I would argue that a Phase XF, a Hasselblad H5X or Pentax 645Z/D although better than a tech camera are still not the best tools if spontaneity is the objective. I'd argue that much smaller and discrete form factors such as Leica M, Fuji XT1 etc. are far better tools for that.

    I have been a gearhead of the highest order in the past 5 years. Presently I am of the opinion that a tech camera satisfies my desire for deliberate subject matter and Fuji XT1 satisfies the spontaneous side of things. Lets see how long this lasts.

    Thanks for your guidance and support over the past year Steve.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by Jamgolf; 15th December 2015 at 19:48.
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    About 3 years ago, I was introduced to technical cameras by Dave from CI during a Ken and Don group outing in Carmel. I sure thought the contraption was odd until Dave showed me the first image he set up for me to shoot. I was hooked and am still hooked.

    I have learned a lot but still have a lot to learn, sort of like learning to ride a bicycle. Ken, Don, and Dave have been extraordinarily helpful in answering my questions and helping me reach a level of confidence that makes shooting the camera even more enjoyable. Thank you, guys!

    Like many people I need to shoot more often so the learning curve accelerates to the camera becoming an extension of my thinking and not the object of my thinking.

    I've had a blast shooting my Cambo. No two ways about it. Sometimes I think I'm Mr. Magoo as I fumble about setting up the camera. Other times it just flows and I start shooting. I've had moments of brilliance and other moments, but the images captured with the technical camera are magic. Just so darn good.

    My goal for 2016 is frequent shooting, working to improve my skills set, and enjoying the outdoors. Simple, fun, and enjoyable!
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    I think it's different strokes for different folks, for sure.

    I also shoot with a Credo 60, but on a Linhof Techno. Before I got my back I shot both 4x5" with a Technika V and 6x7cm roll film on the Techno, scanning with an Imacon 949. For me I was really worried that the shift to digital capture would change my workflow, which has become very important to me in the way I conceive of and make pictures. I demoed a CMOS back with live view to use on my Techno and didn't bond with it, as the live view seemed to remove me more from the scene compared to using a ground glass. I was worried that using a sliding back on my Techno would be a horrible experience, but I found the opposite. I was sold as soon as I tried out the Credo on my own setup and have never looked back.

    I don't really understand the drive to take a laptop to tether to in the field when using a technical camera. I guess I can see a use for it in certain situations, but I can honestly say that I've never missed focus using the GG in varied light conditions, and with the GG and 12x Linhof Studio loupe dialing in tilts and seeings the effect is downright childsplay. The screen on the back is good enough for me to double check my technique regardless.

    All in all I jumped into DMF with eyes wide open, meaning that I knew I'd only be using my Credo at base ISO or one stop over; wouldn't have state of the art live view, and would have to live with needing to do LCC shots to correct colour cast. Knowing all that–and knowing a full frame CMOS will inevitably soon be released and slash the potential resale value of my back should I want to upgrade–I am very happy wtih my purchase and would do the same way again.

    A bit like driving a Ferrari though, I'd one day like to have the oportunity to trial an Alpa Max. I love my Linhof, but the Alpa just looks so...
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    Senior Member Jamgolf's Avatar
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    A few more thoughts on why I have affinity for technical cameras...

    A recent essay over at Luminous Landscape about trivialization of photography mentioned it has been estimated 3.8 trillion photos have been taken by human beings and most of them in the past few years... that's a lot.

    Cameras are so far advanced now it sometimes feels one is almost there just for the ceremonial cutting of the ribbon (pressing of the shutter release button, even that can be automated actually to accor at a future time). Auto exposure, auto focus, auto white balance ,auto subject detection, true focus, etc. soon there will be auto-everything. I don't want to sound like a snob, and I appreciate that we don't have to carry spot-meters with us, but this degree of automation all the time feels a bit out of control to me. This is "photography" in the same sense as a self driving car is "driving".

    In the past few years the cameras that I have enjoyed the most are (in order):
    1. Horseman 617 panoramic
    2. Rolleiflex FX-N TLR
    3. Cambo + Credo 60

    I am glad that such tools exist that allow us to have control and responsibility, if/when we want.
    I am not dissing modern cameras/tools. For most applications they are the obvious better choice.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by Jamgolf; 16th December 2015 at 13:53.
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Although "large format digital" may seem like a silly tag as we're using medium format backs I still like it, as I see the Hasselblad H and Phase One XF as medium format successors and the tech cams as large format successors.

    I see myself as a large format photographer which is too lazy to use film, and then a camera like the Linhof Techno is a logical thing to use. The workflow with the LCC is a bit messy but I think it's acceptable. And compared to film the most elaborate digital workflow is still easier. If you have the mindset of the large format photographer the tech cam workflow feels pretty smooth.

    However, we're all forgetting about film now and the expectations of camera handling are different. New photographers come from the high tech digital 135 format and handling will be directly compared against that. As image quality differences are smaller between formats these days, there's less acceptance of messier workflows.

    It's a lot going on technology-wise in camera-land, and I think it's hard to predict the future. I don't think the tech cam future looks very bright (many uncertainties), but on the other hand the market is tiny and the companies in the segment are adapted to that so if the interest is just kept at about the current level they will probably be fine. The largest problem they have is that due to their tiny size they can't affect important aspects of technology development, mainly sensor-wise, but instead must adapt to what comes out from Sony et al.

    If tech cam had been a large segment with large companies we wouldn't have to deal with color cast, the technology solution is rather simple actually. Just record tilt+shift+lens+aperture settings in EXIF data and have a preset database in the raw converter and voila automatic lens cast corrections, you could even correct the tiny amount of distortion and aberrations automatically. But that requires well-integrated partly electronic cameras, and the tech cam companies are just too small to make such thing happen, and the development costs would be too high for the related sales.

    The future field tech cameras I think will be much like the Alpa FPS today. More limited movements, focal plane shutter, coupled with large complex heavy lenses that is not so similar to traditional symmetrical large format designs but more enlarged "Zeiss Otus" variants. It will be even harder to differentiate from the H and XF systems or even 135.

    Alpa, Cambo and Arca-Swiss is already making electronic components for their systems. I'm a bit concerned about how Linhof will manage, they don't do electronics yet, they don't have a focal plane shutter module yet. They have the best and I think most under-appreciated field tech camera right now, but I'm not sure they will manage to adapt to the painful and necessary changes coming in the future.

    I think my own system I have now is great, a Linhof Techno with 7 digitar lenses and a H4D-50 back, but it's a technological dead end. I don't really know what to upgrade from here. What I hope will happen is that Sony's next CMOS sensor will have less color cast and crosstalk issues than the current, and that Hasselblad makes a 44x33mm CFV-50c II using that, then I can probably manage with just replacing my two widest lenses and continue for many more years. But I don't know that. It could be that focus will be on very high pixel count instead, which will most likely make the sensors even less compatible with tech lenses (they would still work well for long flange distances of the 645z, XF and H which really is where the major part of the MF market is). That would be a minor disaster for the tech cam segment.
    Last edited by torger; 17th December 2015 at 01:02.
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    The future field tech cameras I think will be much like the Alpa FPS today. More limited movements, focal plane shutter, coupled with large complex heavy lenses that is not so similar to traditional symmetrical large format designs but more enlarged "Zeiss Otus" variants. It will be even harder to differentiate from the H and XF systems or even 135.

    Alpa, Cambo and Arca-Swiss is already making electronic components for their systems. I'm a bit concerned about how Linhof will manage, they don't do electronics yet, they don't have a focal plane shutter module yet. They have the best and I think most under-appreciated field tech camera right now, but I'm not sure they will manage to adapt to the painful and necessary changes coming in the future.
    Actually anything with electronics would depreciate fast and eventually become e-waste. That's why some elder photographers still prefer to shoot film. The traditional technical cameras do not have any electronics so they can last a long time. For example you could shoot with an Alpa 12 SWA for like 20 years and still keep shooting with it, but this isn't likely to happen for an Alpa 12 FPS. Alpa says "things are simple at the top", and perhaps at the cost of inconvenience (e.g. manual LCC correction, mechanical shutter and aperture) one could just forget about the fast advancement of technology and focus on the essence of photography itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    I think my own system I have now is great, a Linhof Techno with 7 digitar lenses and a H4D-50 back, but it's a technological dead end. I don't really know what to upgrade from here. What I hope will happen is that Sony's next CMOS sensor will have less color cast and crosstalk issues than the current, and that Hasselblad makes a 44x33mm CFV-50c II using that, then I can probably manage with just replacing my two widest lenses and continue for many more years. But I don't know that. It could be that focus will be on very high pixel count instead, which will most likely make the sensors even less compatible with tech lenses (they would still work well for long flange distances of the 645z, XF and H which really is where the major part of the MF market is). That would be a minor disaster for the tech cam segment.
    This could be tricky. I am stuck with my current gear as well. I have heard no rumors of any larger-than-IMX161 sensor or any larger-than-IMX251 BSI sensor from Sony's sensor department. Their current focus seems to be on the 35mm format and they are still waiting for TSMC's 14nm/16nm fab process to improve their Bionz-X processor. Even if there is a fullframe 54x40 BSI sensor from them, chances are that the thick sensor cover glass would still cause smearing/astigmatism for symmetric lenses like the Schneider 28mm XL, causing more field curvature as well as more chromatic aberration. Also it would be difficult to find any modern lens+back combo to match the Canon 17mm TSE + 35mm format camera other than the 23HR+44x33 combo, since the 28XL+60MP combo had been discontinued by Schneider not producing that lens any more. A decent choice would be the 32HR+54x40 combo but it's not wide enough for single exposure and the center filter is too huge to take additional filters. I guess my 23HR is also stuck into a dead end with the IMX161 sensor.

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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    at one point, i shot an olympus half-frame; 72 shots per roll; staggering quantity of editing, small peep-hole of a viewfinder
    next serious effort was the yashicamat 120, 12 shots roll, tank development, gorgeous ground glass viewer, then a 500c; loved that square ergonomic, and still do. (have the CFV-50c and the 205 today)
    then Toyo 4x5 monorail; i might take 5 shots per outing, tray developing (tri-x). had to remember to remove the dark slide (and turn it around), loved the ground glass, upside down, could fall right into the glass all the movements, etc.

    been shooting now with MFD and tech cameras for 5 years or so; lost the gg experience, focus is always a bit of a guess, movements are easily sufficient, can be sure to zero in on exposure, still only take a few shots per outing and prefer it this way. it is a pre-disposed mindset, therapeutic, measured, with considerable control and amazing results. who cares about a little LCC work? only electronics are in the back, love to open the lens for viewing, close it, cock and shoot. CMOS back has made a major improvement. not exactly cheap however, and resale can suck.

    no more: hands in the dektol and HC-110, spot meter, blank shots (that dark slide!), scratched negatives.
    i can shoot color almost more easily than b/w; no real media expense or running out to buy more film, thawing stored film no more.

    toyo outing, backin the early 70's


    the 500c, same outing:
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Quote Originally Posted by voidshatter View Post
    Actually anything with electronics would depreciate fast and eventually become e-waste.
    Yes this is true. But electronics in this case is only related to shutter, movements and focus computer, nothing related to digital back or sensor, except for the interface to communicate with said digital back. So I think the electronic parts could survive quite long in such a camera body. Tech cam electronic solutions has traditionally been "Sinar spaghetti" short-lived and only useful in studio photography, I think it can be made better than that.

    The all-mechanical cameras also have problems with becoming deprecated, due to lens line compatibility issues, sensor format changes, and nowadays stuff going out of production. Copal shutters can still be bought new, but production has ended, and the replacement is electronic leaf shutter or focal plane shutters, and voila, the camera has become electronic by necessity.

    Some things become deprecated due to technology changes in the digital back that makes some workflows so much more attractive than the current. Like the ground glass vs live view. And now with live view, I think we're seeing more interest in view cameras again, and a bit less for the super-costly high-precision focusing rings in the Alpas and RM3Di. So the mechanical cameras are still very much affected by the electronic development.

    The camera land is not going back to the stability of the film years, not in the foreseeable future at least.

    I do see an attraction in shooting large format film. Although I'm very interested in camera technology and follow the developments with great interest, I'm not actually interested in always buying the latest and using the latest all the time. It's fatiguing for me, and I also think it's unsound to always buy new stuff and add to the ever-increasing pile of e-waste.

    Specializing in film could be more long-term (film availability and drum scanning services a question mark though), it does suit my style of photography and preferred look well, but it also requires more continuity to gain an extra level of craftsmanship skill and does have a quite high running cost. If I would shoot film I would like to shoot more than I do today, because I hate missing important shots due to silly newbie errors. With digital you can see what you got and correct directly.

    My current gear with the H4D-50 back will probably hold up 10+ years without failing, seeing how old digital backs that are in use today, some more than 10 years old. If I only would think rationally that is probably how I would do it, because the image quality is certainly adequate, on par or even exceeding 4x5" film.

    But there is this "itch" that gets going when you start feeling that technology has caught up and passed your system by a wide margin. For example if my "large format digital" gear would output considerably worse image quality than an fairly basic 135 system (because the latter has become so good). If you shoot film you don't get that same itch, as there's a special quality in the fact that you shoot film. But it's all in your head....
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    But there is this "itch" that gets going when you start feeling that technology has caught up and passed your system by a wide margin. For example if my "large format digital" gear would output considerably worse image quality than an fairly basic 135 system (because the latter has become so good). If you shoot film you don't get that same itch, as there's a special quality in the fact that you shoot film. But it's all in your head....
    I totally agree. Imagine a basic 135 system featuring a Foveon-X3-style sensor to output 100 million sharp pixels (out of 300 MP) and manage to work around diffraction limits (e.g. automatic focus bracketing at 1000fps). Imagine a basic 135 system utilizing an organic sensor to achieve 30 stops of dynamic range. What's left with the current technical cameras may be just feelings and they would sit on the shelf as a memo to remind one how much he spent during his crazy years

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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Quote Originally Posted by voidshatter View Post
    I totally agree. Imagine a basic 135 system featuring a Foveon-X3-style sensor to output 100 million sharp pixels (out of 300 MP) and manage to work around diffraction limits (e.g. automatic focus bracketing at 1000fps). Imagine a basic 135 system utilizing an organic sensor to achieve 30 stops of dynamic range. What's left with the current technical cameras may be just feelings and they would sit on the shelf as a memo to remind one how much he spent during his crazy years
    Change is always a bit scary :-)... I enjoy creating "on the scene" and "in the camera" more than creating in post-processing. In other words, I find great enjoyment in optically framing as close as possible to the end result directly in camera.

    If you have extremely high resolution you really only need to shoot one auto-focus-stacked wide-angle shot in the general direction and then you can crop as you please afterwards "in the comfort of your own home(tm)". Although that is a perfectly valid way to work, it today feels to me that some of the artistic connection to the scene is lost that way. You're just out fetching raw material, and then the art is created at home/office in the computer. That's not how I want to work, but it may very well be where landscape photography is headed.
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    Senior Member Jamgolf's Avatar
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamgolf View Post

    I have to say that Surface Pro tethering has been vital to my learning and usage. I feel that using a technical camera without Surface Pro (or something similar) is akin to using a view camera without ground-glass/loupe.
    I did not explicitly give credit where credit is due ...

    On tethering with Surface Pro, Ken and Don deserve a LOT of praise and credit.
    They've generously shared their knowledge and provided guidance to everyone.

    Much appreciated guys !
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    I admire the landscape imagery of two contemporary artists, Charles Crammer & Rodney Lough Jr.(though not limited to these two only).

    Charlie uses IQ180 / DF / 75-150 zoom lenses + Nikon D810 with Pentax zoom lens with TS adapter.

    Rodney uses 1Q180 with Arca Swiss RL3d and man of his images are taken HR 40.

    When art buyers looks at their images, they really don't judge by what camera was used to capture the image.

    So what works for one photographer, may not work for other.


    Subrata
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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Usually I do the "end of year retrospective" talking with Don Libby. It's not quite as deep in thought as this thread has gotten. It usually goes like this:

    "Man, I can't believe how much money I spent this year."

    "Me, too."

    "Well, next year is gonna be different---I'm happy with what I've got, and I don't see a need to buy anything else."


    ---pause---

    "Oooh, look---shiny!"


  19. #19
    Senior Member Jamgolf's Avatar
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Quote Originally Posted by subrata1965 View Post
    So what works for one photographer, may not work for other.
    Totally agree.

    Also, thanks for sharing Charles Crammer & Rodney Lough Jr. - I particularly enjoyed visiting Rodney's website.
    His website presentation is cool and the images can be seen at a better resolution to appreciate the work.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by Jamgolf; 17th December 2015 at 19:31.
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    This might be a bit controversial view, but anyway here it goes; I think Rodney Lough Jr shoots pretty images and has one of the most technically skilled post-processing techniques I've seen (light and contrasty with pure colors without looking garish), but I don't find his work to be particularly deep. I'm fascinated by his excellent technique, but where's the artistic concept? If you want to make landscape art today I think you need to take it a step further than just travel to the most spectacular scenes and shoot the same pictures that has been done many times before (and after) him.

    On the other hand, I've heard him speak and the idea he has is to enrich peoples homes with pretty nature images, and he's obviously more successful than most in that regard.

    I find this interesting:

    Rodney Lough Jr:


    Peter Lik:


    Willian Carr


    All these photographers have galleries in Las Vegas. I assume this tree sells well. But if the reason you press the shutter is that this is going to be a selling picture, my humble opinion is that you're not doing art, but you're making a product.

    When on post-processing I see two kinds -- the mindless "reality-improvement" type, and the atmosphere-creating grading type. The former is about pushing and purifying colors to make it look more impressive by pressing the well-known buttons, it's a bit like adding strings to a romantic scene in a movie. The other is not necessarily about impressing but to create a unifying atmosphere to strengthen the message and personalizing your style.

    I don't see anything wrong in making products that sell well though, the world probably has enough of struggling artists that can't finance their work. I guess I'm a bit provoked by mr Lough Jr's ego though, when I've heard him speak he doesn't exactly hide that he thinks he's better than everyone else. And indeed, he is better than most when it comes to selling products (I think Peter Lik is even more successful though), but when it comes to artistry? Then I'm not equally impressed. Some humbleness would suit him.
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    i'm with you Torger. how many big bend, antelope canyon shots do we need to see, or need to be made?
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    i'm with you Torger. how many big bend, antelope canyon shots do we need to see, or need to be made?
    Agreed. Also, another case for a tech cam..I find even the most photographed scenes gain a new perspective and framing with a tech cam.
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    Senior Member Jamgolf's Avatar
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    "So what works for one photographer, may not work for other"
    I don't think anyone is in disagreement on this point. Right?

    Now as to Rodney Lough Jr. I think his website presentation is cool, many times you can't appreciate an image unless it fills the monitor. His website implementation allows a visitor to do that. Also - since Subrata pointed out that Rodney uses an IQ180 on a tech camera, that caught my attention. I want to see what has been done and can be done with such equipment. I find it educational. I doubt anyone will disagree with this either.

    Now the usual controversies such as merits of Peter Lik style photography, what has been photographed to death, what qualifies as artful, what types of pictures to take, over the top post processing etc. I think I am on both sides of that and can see both sides of that. I will say Lik is selling what people are buying. Nothing wrong with that. If Lik and Lough (and others) are successful photographers then I say - Good For Them.

    Also, I struggle with the idea of photographed-to-death. Should we not visit Antelope Canyon, Iceland, Yosemite, Mesa Arch, Machu Picchu etc. since they have been visited billions of times? And if we go there we should put away the cameras? I see really no problem with attempting to take a similar picture as the ones that have already been executed succesfully, at least that would be educational and I'll have a sense of how poorly I did in comparison. Having said that - when I am at such a vista I try to find other compositions. I have no problem admitting that I do not shy away from the hackneyed/cliche - but I always try to find other different compositions for which I feel a sense of ownership.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by Jamgolf; 18th December 2015 at 06:31.
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    There is a bit of a thrill to visiting places where others have been. The question is "what do you do with it?". For example, a visit to Pt Lobos is like an encounter with Weston, and for the first few times, one is left with a sense of following his lead, his vision, and uncovering the place through his eyes. Hopefully the next step is to establish some distance, dialogue or even discussion between your work and those that came before, albeit perhaps only in one's own head. Still, its a place for discourse, and can help to push work to new places.

    I've not been terribly successful at such places in establishing a clear voice on my own, but the challenge has helped me upon return to other, less frequented grounds: there, the calling to establish one's own voice is ever stronger, and the push to "step out" reinforced.

    So in Torger's world, I'd vote for the art side of the picture, and leave the product side to others. And as Steve mentioned above, one of the great joys of tech cameras is movement in two directions and the ability to compose more carefully and precisely on site. Not to say one might not do some serious PP compositional work, but the main drive for the image seems more appropriate when done in the field, with the real stuff in front. Perhaps over time, field work will be understood as a different approach from PP.
    Last edited by Geoff; 18th December 2015 at 06:47.
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Geof:

    shades of Weston and Adams, Minor White, f/64. get it right in the camera
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    I have no problem with what people shoot, and I see no problem in shooting those famous scenes in your own way. The most important aspect of making good photography is to shoot what you enjoy yourself.

    I do have a personal idea of what is good art and what is less good though, and in that context I think it's impossible to not relate to what has been done before, and the digital revolution hasn't exactly made it easier for landscape photography. Someone said that photography is the easiest art form to learn, and the hardest to make a personal expression with, I agree with that and I'd add that in photography landscape is the easiest genre to get into, but the hardest to make personal.

    I prefer "project" style of works rather than just isolated images, I think you can make more powerful art that way and indeed it makes it easier to make something that stands out as new and unique. That is when you present a set of images in some sort of lose context that gets the thoughts going. That's art to me.

    However when one starts philosophizing about these things one quickly realizes that there's actually infinite ways to approach landscape photography as an art form, and what's "best" is in the eye of the beholder.

    I don't really mind the images of mr Lik and mr Lough Jr (they don't seem to like each-other by the way ), but I do get a bit provoked by their way to present their work and their ego-pumping. I get an itch to say "if you're as good as you say, how-come doesn't you have any solo exhibitions in any art museums? And how-come is the print resale value so incredibly much lower than it costs to buy the prints in your own galleries?"
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    Senior Member Jamgolf's Avatar
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    Someone said that photography is the easiest art form to learn, and the hardest to make a personal expression with, I agree with that and I'd add that in photography landscape is the easiest genre to get into, but the hardest to make personal.
    That's well said. Profound actually.

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    I prefer "project" style of works rather than just isolated images, I think you can make more powerful art that way and indeed it makes it easier to make something that stands out as new and unique. That is when you present a set of images in some sort of lose context that gets the thoughts going. That's art to me.
    Quite interesting. I have thought similarly. In fact I have a few project ideas, that I want to pursue.
    Forum member stngoldberg posts documentary images which are a 'project' style. I always appreciate his images, they say something about the places.
    Rebecca Bathory's work is also 'project' style and I admire her work.
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    This might be a bit controversial view, but anyway here it goes; I think Rodney Lough Jr shoots pretty images and has one of the most technically skilled post-processing techniques I've seen (light and contrasty with pure colors without looking garish), but I don't find his work to be particularly deep. I'm fascinated by his excellent technique, but where's the artistic concept? If you want to make landscape art today I think you need to take it a step further than just travel to the most spectacular scenes and shoot the same pictures that has been done many times before (and after) him.

    On the other hand, I've heard him speak and the idea he has is to enrich peoples homes with pretty nature images, and he's obviously more successful than most in that regard.

    I find this interesting:

    Rodney Lough Jr:


    Peter Lik:


    Willian Carr


    All these photographers have galleries in Las Vegas. I assume this tree sells well. But if the reason you press the shutter is that this is going to be a selling picture, my humble opinion is that you're not doing art, but you're making a product.

    When on post-processing I see two kinds -- the mindless "reality-improvement" type, and the atmosphere-creating grading type. The former is about pushing and purifying colors to make it look more impressive by pressing the well-known buttons, it's a bit like adding strings to a romantic scene in a movie. The other is not necessarily about impressing but to create a unifying atmosphere to strengthen the message and personalizing your style.

    I don't see anything wrong in making products that sell well though, the world probably has enough of struggling artists that can't finance their work. I guess I'm a bit provoked by mr Lough Jr's ego though, when I've heard him speak he doesn't exactly hide that he thinks he's better than everyone else. And indeed, he is better than most when it comes to selling products (I think Peter Lik is even more successful though), but when it comes to artistry? Then I'm not equally impressed. Some humbleness would suit him.
    Of those three I like Rodney's image the best by far.

    Having seen prints from both Lik and Rodney I have to say while both produce stunning prints Rodney's prints have much more subtlety in them and even upon extremely close scrutiny they are just as close to perfection as I have ever seen. He shoots for the print and that is something that is not really appreciated on the web. I have talked to Rodney and seen him work. He mostly uses an Arca RL3Di and Rodenstock 40mm HR-W lens with the Phase IQ180 on a RRS Pano rig (Arca Cube head). His captures are superb and his post-processing very judicious and with good taste. I think Lik has a post-production studio with a few people that do the work for him under his direction. A lot of time the work is more heavy handed and works well for an initial shock and awe (great for getting people inside the store) with exaggerated color and contrast. Rodney's is more about the enormous size prints with very pleasing compositions and punchy but subtle colors. He has awesome consistency.

    Whether they are artists or not that is for another thread but I would consider them (Photo) Calendar Photographers of the highest order. They capture and present reality (specially Rodney since Lik has been know to manipulate images much more including some aggressive compositing) in some of the highest quality possible in print. It is immersive reality. As with any photography there are creative decisions made all along the process but overall they stick to a realistic interpretation of existing (mostly iconic) scenes.

    Regarding the OP's retrospective on his tech camera experience It kind of mimics my own.
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    This has been a fascinating and educational thread. I thank you all. Peace.
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    I looked at Rodney Lough Jr's website. His pictures blew me away.
    His camera setting is so simple and constant, RL3D/Rodenstock 40mm/f/16.3/ISO 35.
    He didn't care about diffraction, just one simple setup. He didn't waste time for technical jargon. He didn't need more dynamic range.
    The clarity, color and perspective are so perfect. Post-processing is second to none.
    After looking at his work, my opinion is he is second to none for color landscape photography.
    What I learnt is "Rodenstock 40mm and f/16.3". From now on, I will tape my f stop at 16+ and stop listening to "Diffraction" problem at this f stop. I believe I will have more time to concentrate on perspective and composition.
    Thanks very much for the link that every landscape photographer has to visit.

    Rodney Lough Jr.

    Pramote
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    Senior Member Jamgolf's Avatar
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Quote Originally Posted by Landscapelover View Post
    His camera setting is so simple and constant, RL3D/Rodenstock 40mm/f/16.3.
    He didn't care about diffraction, just one simple setup. He didn't waste time for technical jargon.
    Pramote
    I also noticed the same thing. He even has some shots at f22 with the IQ180/40HR.
    What happned to all the diffraction? Is it that easy to handle in post processing ... ?
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    This might be a bit controversial view, but anyway here it goes; I think Rodney Lough Jr shoots pretty images and has one of the most technically skilled post-processing techniques I've seen (light and contrasty with pure colors without looking garish), but I don't find his work to be particularly deep. I'm fascinated by his excellent technique, but where's the artistic concept? If you want to make landscape art today I think you need to take it a step further than just travel to the most spectacular scenes and shoot the same pictures that has been done many times before (and after) him.

    On the other hand, I've heard him speak and the idea he has is to enrich peoples homes with pretty nature images, and he's obviously more successful than most in that regard.

    I find this interesting:

    Rodney Lough Jr:


    Peter Lik:


    Willian Carr


    All these photographers have galleries in Las Vegas. I assume this tree sells well. But if the reason you press the shutter is that this is going to be a selling picture, my humble opinion is that you're not doing art, but you're making a product.

    Every one of those makes me want to puke.

    That's simply not how the world looks.

    I have no doubt every one of them would get a gazillion likes on social media and a 99.9 on 500px though.
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamgolf View Post
    I also noticed the same thing. He even has some shots at f22 with the IQ180/40HR.
    What happned to all the diffraction? Is it that easy to handle in post processing ... ?
    Nope. At f/16 and beyond, diffraction would cause irreversible loss of resolution for the IQ180. It is not possible to bring it back by post-processing. Frankly speaking too few people would care about pixel peeping. Such technical grounds would only differentiate an epic shot and a legendary shot in the eyes of tech geeks.
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Quote Originally Posted by voidshatter View Post
    Nope. At f/16 and beyond, diffraction would cause irreversible loss of resolution for the IQ180. It is not possible to bring it back by post-processing. Frankly speaking too few people would care about pixel peeping. Such technical grounds would only differentiate an epic shot and a legendary shot in the eyes of tech geeks.
    So what are the points of "irreversible loss of resolution" for IQ180, IQ160, IQ150 ?
    I try to stay at or below f8, because that is what Rodenstock recommends and to avoid diffration.
    But its nice to know that getting away with f13 is possible.
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Great info on this thread. Thanks to the OP for starting it.

    Here is someone who does exquisite landscape photography. No gallery in Vegas. Just masterful images. His work inspires me to "see" in my own way.

    Julian Calverley
    Jeffery Salter
    www.jefferysalter.com
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jeffery Salter View Post
    Great info on this thread. Thanks to the OP for starting it.

    Here is someone who does exquisite landscape photography. No gallery in Vegas. Just masterful images. His work inspires me to "see" in my own way.

    Julian Calverley
    Agrred - great thread and I'm totally in sync with Jamgolf on the joy of tech.

    i was kind of bummed out that I couldn't make the Julian Calverley/Alpa/CI event in my neighborhood.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    "Well, success is an important thing! It’s often been said that an artist ought to work for himself, for the “love of art,” that he ought to have contempt for success. Untrue! An artist needs success. And not only to live off it, but especially to produce his body of work. Even a rich painter has to have success. Few people understand anything about art, and not everyone is sensitive to painting. Most judge the world of art by success. Why, then,leave success to “best-selling painters”? Every generation has its own. But where is it written that success must always go to those who cater to the public’s taste? For myself, I wanted to prove that you can have success in spite of everyone, without compromise. Do you know what? It’s the success I had when I was young that became my wall of protection. The blue period, the rose period, they were screens that shielded me".

    Picasso
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Quote Originally Posted by voidshatter View Post
    Nope. At f/16 and beyond, diffraction would cause irreversible loss of resolution for the IQ180. It is not possible to bring it back by post-processing. Frankly speaking too few people would care about pixel peeping. Such technical grounds would only differentiate an epic shot and a legendary shot in the eyes of tech geeks.
    My experience with the IQ160 and the 40mm HR-W is that f11 is my max on that combo, after that there is a noticeable loss of resolution, f14 is still good though since one is starting with a LOT of resolution and I have used it but at f16 the resolution loss is quite a bit and at f22 its huge. That is IMHO.

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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_R View Post
    My experience with the IQ160 and the 40mm HR-W is that f11 is my max on that combo, after that there is a noticeable loss of resolution, f14 is still good though since one is starting with a LOT of resolution and I have used it but at f16 the resolution loss is quite a bit and at f22 its huge. That is IMHO.
    Agreed! f8-f11 is ideal, F16 is a noticeable step down. F22 is unusable IMO.

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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Quote Originally Posted by jagsiva View Post
    Agreed! f8-f11 is ideal, F16 is a noticeable step down. F22 is unusable IMO.
    For my SK 43 XL, I do not get past f/11. According to Rodney, he got post processing skill to take care of of loss of resolution in the field. Rodney's prints proves that.

    Subrata

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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Quote Originally Posted by jagsiva View Post
    Agreed! f8-f11 is ideal, F16 is a noticeable step down. F22 is unusable IMO.
    For my SK 43 XL, I do not get past f/11. According to Rodney, he got post processing skill to take care of of loss of resolution in the field. Rodney's prints proves that.

    Subrata

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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Quote Originally Posted by subrata1965 View Post
    For my SK 43 XL, I do not get past f/11. According to Rodney, he got post processing skill to take care of of loss of resolution in the field. Rodney's prints proves that.

    Subrata
    His work looks fabulous, although hard judge "sharpness" from website images. Of course, subject matter will have much to do with what aperture you want to shoot as well. Curious as to what PP techniques could be used to salvage diffraction related sharpness loss though

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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    To a large degree diffraction softness can be fixed or at least greatly improved using deconvolution sharpening. Personally I use Piccure+ but then again I have plenty of time and processing power on my hands for those images that need it (it's glacially slow but can dramatically fix certain images).

    I would also caution the degree that you consider an image with slight diffraction at 100% in Photoshop vs a fully processed PRINT with the appropriate levels of micro contrast and output sharpening applied and viewed at normal print viewing distance. They can be vastly different.

    TBH I'm as guilty as any other tech cam shooter and try to use the optimum aperture for my lenses but that can sometimes produce optically perfect but ultimately boring images. If I need to open up or stop down for DoF purposes then I don't hesitate to do so.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"
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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    So I think the electronic parts could survive quite long in such a camera body.
    We can't even be sure whether we will be able to purchase new batteries for the ALPA 12 FPS in 20 years' time. The ALPA 12 SWA is still functional today, about to celebrate its 20th birthday quite soon.

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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    What's the story with the supply of Copal shutters now? Does anyone have any news about a replacement? Like Anders, I have a Linhof Techno and am a little worried about how this one will pan out.

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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    As I understand the situation Copal shutters have ceased production but the likes of Rodenstock still have stock (I just bought new 32/70HRs with Copal 0 new from the factory without any problems). There are plenty out there but ultimately new stock will dwindle.

    Also, there are plenty of repair shops that will always be able to service the many thousands of mechanical shutters out in the wild. However, I recently tried to purchase a replacement sync post part for a Copal 0 shutter and the web dealer who specialised in spares had just had his entire stock of spare parts bought up ... I ended up getting the part fitted by a local repair shop but bits are getting more expensive ($25 for a sync post for example).
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    SKGrimes do CLAs on Copal shutters: http://www.skgrimes.com/services/shu...epair-services

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    Re: One year retrospectives (tech camera)

    Or, as Graham once suggested, you could buy a lens to get the shutter.

    E.g.: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Fujifilm-Fuj...25.m3641.l6368

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