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Thread: Advice on Technical Camera Workflow?

  1. #1
    Senior Member etrump's Avatar
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    Advice on Technical Camera Workflow?

    I am new to technical cameras having recently purchased a Cambo Wide RS and a few lens.

    With center-filter, shifts, lens cast, without EXIF, focusing, etc. how do you manage your workflow so you get sharp focus and keep track of everything?

    Thanks for any advice or opinions.

    Ed

  2. #2
    smei_ch
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    Re: Advice on Technical Camera Workflow?

    Don't take this as an offense, but:

    a) shouldn't these questions not be answered as part of an evaluation of a new system like this?

    and

    b) this is one of the tasks that your camera supplier should take care of?

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    Re: Advice on Technical Camera Workflow?

    Quote Originally Posted by smei_ch View Post
    Don't take this as an offense, but:
    b) this is one of the tasks that your camera supplier should take care of?
    Ed,

    *ears are burning*

    You know you bought from us so you could get this kind of support. You can call me at 305.534.5701 anytime to discuss these questions. I'll do everything I can to help you get up and running.

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    Re: Advice on Technical Camera Workflow?

    Hi Ed:

    No worries. We understand that it is often more comfortable to get basic info from a forum environment where you can take your time to read, digest and try out the various recommendations *before* you lean on your vendor their more directed help. Also, in the forum you get a variety of suggestions that may or may not be part of the vendor's workflow protocol, which may or may not better suit your working style.

    That said, here is my .02:

    First you need to confirm everything is properly calibrated -- meaning when the lens is focused at the 3 meter mark, is it really focused dead on at 3 meters, and when it is focused at infinity mark, is that really infinity? You can check that by shooting something 3 meters (or whatever the mid-range mark you want to calibrate to) distant as well as something very distant with detail, like a metal power tower. Shoot several frames adjusting focus minutely between each shot. I shoot a first one "on", then two closer, then two further back, moving the focus ring about 0.5mm between each shot. I then check these on the rear LCD. If one looks good, I move to the other point and repeat. If none of the first captures look good, I would repeat with a bigger series focused closer followed by a bigger series further until I could determine which direction the lens was off, then I'd try and zero in from there. If it's off (which I have seen more often than not) you may want to make your own calibrated zone focus scale using tape over the factory scales with hash marks at your most-used shooting distances.

    *Note this is my biggest issue with tech cameras -- you can never confirm 100% perfect focus unless you are tethered and do a review onscreen at 100% view -- so the focus is at the very best an educated guess you hope is close enough and has enough DoF to carry the day. Fortunately with shorter lenses it is often good enough. And admittedly I am a tech-camera cynic so you may want to ignore everything I say...

    Assuming the camera is all zeroed and true, my basic workflow is as follows: Compose, set lens and shutter speed and wait for the desired conditions then capture. Immediately after that capture, slow the exposure time 2 stops, place the white sheet over the lens and capture the LCC frame.

    Hope this helps and congrats on your new tool!
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  5. #5
    Senior Member etrump's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on Technical Camera Workflow?

    Quote Originally Posted by smei_ch View Post
    Don't take this as an offense, but:

    a) shouldn't these questions not be answered as part of an evaluation of a new system like this?

    and

    b) this is one of the tasks that your camera supplier should take care of?
    Not offended in the least.

    If I wanted to call my supplier I would and do often; they provide splendid support.

    I am asking here because this forum is frequented by a collection of many individuals using this type of equipment all day, every day.

    I wanted a broad stroke of opinion and practices which is why I asked here.

    The technique of operating the camera is pretty cut and dried but an individuals approach from visualizing, quality capture, organizing and processing can be all over the place. To me these different approaches are extremely valuable information.

    Ed

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    Senior Member etrump's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on Technical Camera Workflow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Hi Ed:

    Hope this helps and congrats on your new tool!
    Thanks Jack, I appreciate your response.

    In retrospect I didn't give enough information in my request.

    I was more interested in actual production workflow practices.

    Since you have no EXIF do you keep a notebook of aperture, f/stop, focal point for each frame you expose? This would also apply to movements used.

    It is interesting you take a lens cast exposure for every image captured. With the Cambo which only does shift I was instructed to create an LCC for each lens and the major shifts I intended to use.

    Ed

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    Re: Advice on Technical Camera Workflow?

    Talking a break and thought I'd add my 1.5 cents...

    I carry a small digital voice recorder with me; using the data screen I record the image number, f/stop and any shifts. I used to record the shutter speed until I realized that is the one item that's being recorded on the back. I then take all the information at the end to help me figure out what the heck I did. My recorder will store several days worth of information so it's never been a storage issue more of a PIA to get the info - then again it's a PIA not having the info. I had tried to jot this info down but found that method too slow and failed to work in wet weather.

    LCC: I believe there's several trains of thought here so here's mine. I took LCC's of all my lens and movements out to 10mm thinking if I go beyond 10mm I'd shoot them on the spot. I've got a library for my 35 and 72mm lens and will do the same for my next lens - it's worked for me.

    Focusing: Kinda touchy subject. I agree with what Jack has said; you need to make sure the calibration is correct but in the end it's nothing more than an educated guess. Most of my work is at infinity however I've always set the lens just a tad off and it seems to work. I also sometimes use a Fotoman to help judging distances.

    Filters: Yeah I know you didn't include this but what the heck. I've got step rings for both lens so I can now use 77mm screw filters or my Cokin filters. It's more of an educated/hit or miss which has me thinking of a groundglass for serious work.

    Center-filter: Don't use one nor do I have a viewfinder. Of the two I believe the CF is of much better general use.

    The biggest problems I've found are 1- remember to take lens cap off 2- remember to cock shutter 3- remember to use the recorder. I've got 1 and 2 taken care of and still working on #3.

    Don
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    Re: Advice on Technical Camera Workflow?

    Quote Originally Posted by etrump View Post
    It is interesting you take a lens cast exposure for every image captured. With the Cambo which only does shift I was instructed to create an LCC for each lens and the major shifts I intended to use.

    Ed
    Either or.

    1) Create a library of LCCs for each combination and maintain a log of the movements/lens for each shot.
    2) Shoot an LCC prior to each shot.

    Each has advantages and disadvantages. The library method reduces the number of total captures you'll take (less hard drive space, less CF cards, less use of the lens shutter, less actuations on the back) but requires pretty careful notations to be kept (though if you screw up occasionally you can usually guess-and-check which LCC is right). The LCC-every-shot method is easier to follow but takes more total shots and requires changing the shutter speed between each shot (ideally you want the LCC to be taken with more light than the shot itself since the plexi cuts out so much of it).

    Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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    Re: Advice on Technical Camera Workflow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Creek View Post
    Talking a break and thought I'd add my 1.5 cents...

    I carry a small digital voice recorder with me; using the data screen I record the image number, f/stop and any shifts. I used to record the shutter speed until I realized that is the one item that's being recorded on the back. I then take all the information at the end to help me figure out what the heck I did. My recorder will store several days worth of information so it's never been a storage issue more of a PIA to get the info - then again it's a PIA not having the info. I had tried to jot this info down but found that method too slow and failed to work in wet weather.
    As a bonus this will make his memoirs easier to right! Just make sure to occasionally mention how an image makes you feel :-).

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    Re: Advice on Technical Camera Workflow?

    Snicker all you want
    Don Libby
    Iron Creek Photography
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  11. #11
    Senior Member etrump's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on Technical Camera Workflow?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpetersonci View Post
    As a bonus this will make his memoirs easier to right! Just make sure to occasionally mention how an image makes you feel :-).
    The recorder is a great idea. I had thought of the notebook scheme but that would be problematic in the rain.

    Most of the time my feelings change drastically once I see it on the monitor anyway.

  12. #12
    Senior Member etrump's Avatar
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    Re: Advice on Technical Camera Workflow?

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Creek View Post
    Talking a break and thought I'd add my 1.5 cents...

    Filters: Yeah I know you didn't include this but what the heck. I've got step rings for both lens so I can now use 77mm screw filters or my Cokin filters. It's more of an educated/hit or miss which has me thinking of a groundglass for serious work.

    Center-filter: Don't use one nor do I have a viewfinder. Of the two I believe the CF is of much better general use.

    Don
    On the filter front, since all my filters are 77mm I use a step-up ring on each lens then replaced the rubber cap with spring loaded ones similar to the nikon caps. They don't have a tendency to pop off and go rolling down the mountain as easily as the rubber ones. The standard size avoids having to worry about different step-up rings working in low light.

    I have noticed some vignetting on the 35XL if I am using the full spec'd shift of 20mm and was thinking about the CF for that.

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