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Focal plane vs. leaf shutters in MF SLRs



 
 
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  #111  
Old May 25th 04, 11:22 AM
Neil Gould
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Posts: n/a
Default MF future? ideal cameras?

Hi Gordon,

Recently, Gordon Moat posted:

Neil Gould wrote:
I usually
start chatting with these folks about the archival quality of their
prints, and find that many of them don't have a clue about whether
their shots will be the same color next year that they are today.
Wait until someone drops big money on one of those images only to
have it fade to yellow in a couple of years!


Probably a few too many rely on the statements of manufacturers. I
have only rarely seen people who try to properly prepare their images
so they will last, and that use good quality paper. The reality is
that really high quality inkjet prints are not cheap, and only some
people will spend the time and money to get the best results. Then
the very slight cost savings is not much better than having a lab do
chemical prints. Some of the better work includes a fade guarantee,
almost like a warranty, and that might become the accepted norm in
the future.

The kicker is that a well-done optical print still looks better than the
best inkjet prints for some subjects. Gradation and color gamut are two
areas where the optical prints are superior. So, you get better archival
quality *and* better images with the optical prints. As one that prepares
images for trade shows where the archival issues are not important, I
consider the large format inkjets to be the perfect media. But, they
aren't fine art.

Again, this is true for the casual shooters. For those of us getting
paid for their images, we can't afford to get stuck with a
low-resolution shot that the client might want to enlarge. And, that
translates into a lot of editing time for small prints.


Absolutely, and one of the main reasons I stick to film for work. I
hear from nearly every advertising and editorial photographer I know
that the editing time of direct digital puts them in front of the
computer for too long, and it is tougher to justify billing out
computer time to clients.

I can only bill editing time for my most sophisticated clients... they
have an in-house digital studio, and would rather pay me to edit their
images for use in publications than do it themselves.

Editing on a light table is fast. While there are some people who have
learned fast editing on the computer monitor, they are the exception.
Computer editing is a linear process, while light table editing is
non-linear.

I'm not sure what you mean, here. Deciding about edits using slides on a
light table is only the beginning of the process, and in that regard
digital thumbnails (gallery) serve the same purpose. I think that the time
would be comparable, with the edge going to the digital because zooming in
is faster than using a loupe. However, there is a big difference in the
time that it takes to get the best quality image edited to final size.

Some clients want direct digital, though the reality is that the
request is often because they think that since it is new, it is
better. Another issue is that they think the turnaround time can be
faster, though there is not often a need to have the images faster.
There are many work issues to consider, and turnaround time is only
one.

Absolutely true, and I agree completely. I understand that for some uses,
for example a daily newspaper, digital is a great solution. But, most uses
have more than ample time to go with film.

Quality can keep medium format going, but the quality needs of many
have decreased. When clients are willing to now accept fairly small
image files, even scanned 35 mm seems like very high quality.

I agree completely. At one point, MF was far more "relevant" because image
quality was compared against smaller format film. As the public becomes
more visually literate, I suspect that the differences between MF and
digital will become just as apparent. An analogy might be the use of
special effects in movies. As better technology improves the quality of
these effects, the older images are less "convincing" than they were
originally. At one point, the original "King Kong" was a real shocker.

Regards,

--
Neil Gould
--------------------------------------
Terra Tu AV - www.terratu.com
Technical Graphics & Media


  #113  
Old May 25th 04, 02:06 PM
Jeremy
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Posts: n/a
Default MF future? ideal cameras?


"Neil Gould" wrote in message
link.net...

As it is, many
feel that 6 MP satisfies the majority of 35 mm user's requirements,


I use a 2.3 MP model, with 1200 x 1800 ppi resolution. It makes a perfect 4
x 6 print, at 300 ppi resolution. I also have greatly improved the
sharpness of the images by shooting with a tripod. I carry 2 of them--a
little tabletop model and a $15.00 Vivitar tripod that I picked up at my
local Wal-Mart. When possible, I trip the shutter via the self-timer, so as
not to add any vibration at the moment of exposure.

Finally, my digital came with a lens shade (!!) and I always use it. It is
a really effective one, too, that keeps the sunlight off that front element.

I do a fair amount of post image processing in my editing software, but the
final results are amazingly good for such a wimpy little camera. It is
amazing how much improvement can be obtained, just by using better
technique.

Granted, it is not very useful for bigger prints, but 4 x 6 is perfectly
acceptable to me for many photo applications, especially those utility
applications, like home inventory shots, photos of stamp or coin
collections, and non-artsy types of photos.

For casual users, 4 x 6 may be all that they ever print anyway.

If the truth were known, how many 35mm users never print anything bigger
than 4 x 6? I'd guess that the bulk of 35mm users--the types that buy their
equipment from places like Ritz Camera--have their film developed at cheap
places like Wal-Mart or Clark Photo (mail order) and have never seen how
much quality their cameras can deliver.

So you're correct that 5-6MP is more than the casual user will ever need. I
don't even need that much, because I have my film gear for those times that
I need better image quality.

It is in the mass-market that film will suffer, because many families are
finding that their little digital cameras satisfy their needs just fine. I
would think that this is where the film manufacturers will take their
biggest hit. Just think of all those family and vacation snapshots that are
not going to be recorded on film . . . The number must be in the billions.


  #114  
Old May 25th 04, 02:16 PM
Lassi Hippeläinen
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Default MF future? ideal cameras?

Raphael Bustin wrote:
... I think you could have found a
better source to cite than a four-year-old press release
from a third-rate player in the industry.


The figures have been the same since light was invented, and Carver Mead
is a first league player in semiconductor design. Don't put the blame on
him.

-- Lassi
  #115  
Old May 25th 04, 02:23 PM
Neil Gould
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Posts: n/a
Default MF future? ideal cameras?

Recently, Jeremy posted:
(much snipped)
"Neil Gould" wrote in message
link.net...

As it is, many
feel that 6 MP satisfies the majority of 35 mm user's requirements,


I use a 2.3 MP model, with 1200 x 1800 ppi resolution. It makes a
perfect 4 x 6 print, at 300 ppi resolution.

Resolution is not the only criteria. How much of this "perfection" is
attributable to limitations in your printing / reproduction capabilities?
And, how much is attributable to visual literacy, e.g. the ability to
distinguish and appreciate the differences between images?

For casual users, 4 x 6 may be all that they ever print anyway.

However, this is a discussion about MF, right? Casual users and 4 x 6
prints are not the appropriate measures for determining the impact of
digital technology, as neither is relevant to MF. MF has always been a
niche product, and I don't think that will change or even significantly
impacted by digital for reasons mentioned in other posts.

So you're correct that 5-6MP is more than the casual user will ever
need. I don't even need that much, because I have my film gear for
those times that I need better image quality.

This will impact the development of digital cameras, but, once again, will
have no impact on MF.

It is in the mass-market that film will suffer, because many families
are finding that their little digital cameras satisfy their needs
just fine. I would think that this is where the film manufacturers
will take their biggest hit. Just think of all those family and
vacation snapshots that are not going to be recorded on film . . .
The number must be in the billions.

Just wait until these families try to reprint their vacation shots 5 years
from now...
"Honey, what was that file name?" ;-)

Neil



  #116  
Old May 25th 04, 03:36 PM
Jeremy
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default MF future? ideal cameras?


"Neil Gould" wrote in message
hlink.net...
Recently, Jeremy posted:
(much snipped)
"Neil Gould" wrote in message
link.net...

As it is, many
feel that 6 MP satisfies the majority of 35 mm user's requirements,


I use a 2.3 MP model, with 1200 x 1800 ppi resolution. It makes a
perfect 4 x 6 print, at 300 ppi resolution.

Resolution is not the only criteria. How much of this "perfection" is
attributable to limitations in your printing / reproduction capabilities?
And, how much is attributable to visual literacy, e.g. the ability to
distinguish and appreciate the differences between images?

For casual users, 4 x 6 may be all that they ever print anyway.

However, this is a discussion about MF, right? Casual users and 4 x 6
prints are not the appropriate measures for determining the impact of
digital technology, as neither is relevant to MF. MF has always been a
niche product, and I don't think that will change or even significantly
impacted by digital for reasons mentioned in other posts.

So you're correct that 5-6MP is more than the casual user will ever
need. I don't even need that much, because I have my film gear for
those times that I need better image quality.

This will impact the development of digital cameras, but, once again, will
have no impact on MF.

It is in the mass-market that film will suffer, because many families
are finding that their little digital cameras satisfy their needs
just fine. I would think that this is where the film manufacturers
will take their biggest hit. Just think of all those family and
vacation snapshots that are not going to be recorded on film . . .
The number must be in the billions.

Just wait until these families try to reprint their vacation shots 5 years
from now...
"Honey, what was that file name?" ;-)

Neil


I was merely pointing out that, for many less-critical applications, today's
digital cameras meet the needs of users just fine. I did not mean to
suggest that digital would replace all film, or that film was doomed--jut
that the mass-market appeal of film was probably going to be supplanted.

There was a time that MF was the mass market film used by amateurs, but 35mm
supplanted it.

Those of us that have multiple formats can pick and choose which format best
suits our particular application. I have found that digital, with its
shortcomings, remains suitable for certain uses.

As for achievability, I agree with you that it will be a problem, but,
considering that most casual film users probably lose their negatives
anyway, I do not see digital archiving being much worse for them. Careful
users will always find a way to properly store their source images, whether
they are digital or negatives.

What seems clear is that film in virtually all formats is headed toward
being somewhat of a niche product. As digital imaging improves, it will
probably take over the consumer market, and that will impact the rest of us
in terms of prices headed higher for both equipment and film processing.

Look at fountain pens, as an example. Sure you can still get them. I own
and use several. But they are priced much higher than when they were used
by everybody, the ink and cartridges are priced much higher, and it is
extremely difficult to find ink at local stores. I typically have to order
my refills and ink online. That is a far cry from the 40s, when pens, nibs,
and inks were in plentiful supply in every town in America.


  #117  
Old May 25th 04, 05:15 PM
Neil Gould
external usenet poster
 
Posts: n/a
Default MF future? ideal cameras?

Recently, Jeremy posted:

I was merely pointing out that, for many less-critical applications,
today's digital cameras meet the needs of users just fine. I did not
mean to suggest that digital would replace all film, or that film was
doomed--jut that the mass-market appeal of film was probably going to
be supplanted.

I understand, and agree, for the most part. Digital is just another
medium, and it has benefits and caveats, like any other media.

There was a time that MF was the mass market film used by amateurs,
but 35mm supplanted it.

Those of us that have multiple formats can pick and choose which
format best suits our particular application. I have found that
digital, with its shortcomings, remains suitable for certain uses.

No doubt about that! I am only pointing out that *this* thread addresses
"MF future...", and as such, begs the question as to the impact of other
formats on the MF shooter. No question that digital has impacted 35mm,
but, as you've pointed out, the impact of 35mm on MF is only of historical
interest.

As for achievability, I agree with you that it will be a problem, but,
considering that most casual film users probably lose their negatives
anyway, I do not see digital archiving being much worse for them.
Careful users will always find a way to properly store their source
images, whether they are digital or negatives.

I don't think that it's as easy a matter as you may think. I've had to
store client data in digital format for over 20 years, now. I believe it's
safe to say that I'm a bit more exposed to the issues involved than the
casual user. ;-) In that light, I'll go so far as to say that the casual
user of digital will have almost no access to the images they take today
after a period of only 5 years. Casual film users are likely to fare
better than that, even if by accidental fortune. ;-) If they stumble
across their negatives, chances are good that they'll be printable. The
same is not necessarily true of their discs (if they even keep their
discs).

What seems clear is that film in virtually all formats is headed
toward being somewhat of a niche product. As digital imaging
improves, it will probably take over the consumer market, and that
will impact the rest of us in terms of prices headed higher for both
equipment and film processing.

As has been discussed at length, it is significant that most people don't
print out their digital images, anyway, so I'm not sure that any issues of
improvements in digital quality, etc. are of concern or relevance. The
question that impacts the MF shooter is whether film will continue to
improve. So far, we have seen new and better product introduced every
year, and I don't see a reason why that will cease any time soon.

Regards.

Neil


  #118  
Old May 25th 04, 07:03 PM
Gordon Moat
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Posts: n/a
Default MF future? ideal cameras?

Neil Gould wrote:

Hi Gordon,


Good morning Neil,



The kicker is that a well-done optical print still looks better than the
best inkjet prints for some subjects. Gradation and color gamut are two
areas where the optical prints are superior. So, you get better archival
quality *and* better images with the optical prints. As one that prepares
images for trade shows where the archival issues are not important, I
consider the large format inkjets to be the perfect media. But, they
aren't fine art.


Absolutely agree.



. . . . . . . . . I
hear from nearly every advertising and editorial photographer I know
that the editing time of direct digital puts them in front of the
computer for too long, and it is tougher to justify billing out
computer time to clients.

I can only bill editing time for my most sophisticated clients... they
have an in-house digital studio, and would rather pay me to edit their
images for use in publications than do it themselves.


I have started to offer a two part image service. The lower cost is RGB
files, and the extra cost is publication ready colour correct CMYK files. The
few clients I have offered that to this year have always chosen the CMYK
files. I try to read and listen to how others bill out, since I have not been
long in this business (graduated 1998).



Editing on a light table is fast. While there are some people who have
learned fast editing on the computer monitor, they are the exception.
Computer editing is a linear process, while light table editing is
non-linear.

I'm not sure what you mean, here. Deciding about edits using slides on a
light table is only the beginning of the process, and in that regard
digital thumbnails (gallery) serve the same purpose. I think that the time
would be comparable, with the edge going to the digital because zooming in
is faster than using a loupe.


The problem is that image files are slower to grab and place side by side, or
several near each other at a time, than when using a file browser, or digital
image cataloguing software. A separate issue is that with many medium format
transparencies, a loupe is not always needed right on the first look, so that
minimizes the zoom change. I also have a much larger light table to work on
than any monitor I could ever afford.

However, there is a big difference in the
time that it takes to get the best quality image edited to final size.


Sort of a nice thing about scanning, in that the final size can be done in
one step. However, I often do scan at maximum setting, then I have several
action scripts already set for resize. When I use LivePicture, I don't have
that option, though I only try to use that on more complex images, or for
doing composite images.



Some clients want direct digital, though the reality is that the
request is often because they think that since it is new, it is
better. Another issue is that they think the turnaround time can be
faster, though there is not often a need to have the images faster.
There are many work issues to consider, and turnaround time is only
one.

Absolutely true, and I agree completely. I understand that for some uses,
for example a daily newspaper, digital is a great solution. But, most uses
have more than ample time to go with film.


Being new at this, I went through that a few times. A client would urgently
push you to get the results to them really quick, then they would sit on the
results until they were really ready to use them. What I found out they were
usually doing was just pushing me to see how little time I needed to turn
around the results. Now that I know better, I try to discourage that
behaviour by charging extra for super fast turnaround.


Quality can keep medium format going, but the quality needs of many
have decreased. When clients are willing to now accept fairly small
image files, even scanned 35 mm seems like very high quality.

I agree completely. At one point, MF was far more "relevant" because image
quality was compared against smaller format film. As the public becomes
more visually literate, I suspect that the differences between MF and
digital will become just as apparent. An analogy might be the use of
special effects in movies. As better technology improves the quality of
these effects, the older images are less "convincing" than they were
originally. At one point, the original "King Kong" was a real shocker.


Which sometimes makes photography a little easier. There is no denying the
convenience of most 35 mm usage over medium format. It is unfortunate that I
get fewer jobs where the client would appreciate the better quality of medium
format, though keeping in mind the smaller printed sizes I usually provide
for publication, scanned 35 mm has become more relevant.

Ciao!

Gordon Moat
A G Studio
http://www.allgstudio.com

  #119  
Old May 25th 04, 07:09 PM
Q.G. de Bakker
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Default ideal cameras? Omega 120 surprise convertible lens RF?

Neil Gould wrote:

By leaving, do you mean that they are selling off their MF gear in favor
of another format (e.g. digital), or that the retirement rate exceeds the
recruitment rate? If the former, then I think one would have to determine
whether these folks are no longer shooting MF, or just unloaded part of
their gear to finance the new format. If the latter, then only time will
determine whether that is a concern.


I'm talking about people buying new digital stuff, whether or not they can
still get a buck for their MF stuff.
Some even have given up the idea that they might see a single penny in
return for their obsoleted MF equipment at all. Their decision was "too
late" they say. I see that happening around me a lot.
People remember the demise of 35 mm. Many were left holding rather expensive
35 mm cameras impossible to get rid of unless abandoned behind some tree in
a quiet part of some distant wood on a dark and moonless night.

So i guess the thing i mean is the first of your options, but without the
"we just do it so we can raise some money by selling MF gear" stipulation.
;-)

I'm sure that Sinar is also not selling in numbers that compare with
Nikon. Are they worried? I doubt it.


Oh, yes they are!
Have you not noticed what they have been doing the last 10 - 20 years
already?

They tried to find something to do to their cameras that would cach people's
eyes, hoping to keep ahead of a shrinking market.
They even let Colani design the LF-camera of the future. It looked weird.
What;s more, you could not take photo's with it, let alone have movemenets
etc. They finally designed a computerized LF camera.
Oh, and they did feel the need to play along and produce a tiny thing of the
"X-Acto"/FlexBody/"what-have-you" class when that "wave" came. The wave has
past.

All these attempts to do something to keep the market alive failed. All
their "new inventions" have disapperaed again. Now they abandoned LF
photography (yes, they still sell LF cameras. When asked) and set their
hopes on (wait for it...) digital and mirror housings that can go between
their digital back and 35 mm format lenses.

Bye, bye LF... leaving Sinar worrying their socks of.

Rollei is a bit different from Hasselblad, in that they offer a fairly
wide range of MF products. If AF bombs, that doesn't necessarily doom the
rest of their line. Frankly, in a market where every other MF company
offers AF, Rollei had little choice. I don't know what their sales
expectations are.


If anything Rollei offers a less wide range of MF products. But actually
both companies do compare well.
Anyway, no, if AF bombs, Rollei is in deep sh*t. Again...
Now how is Rollei's AF thingy doing again?

Well, if they do not get prices down...
I'll come and tell you "told you so" in, oh..., a year.
;-)

I'm not sure I understand your response, Q.G., but digital backs for MF
have many moving targets that they have to nail to be practical. They have
to exceed the performance of scanners as well as the price point.
Otherwise, small format digital will eat their lunch. [...]


That's what i'm saying all along.
So let me repeat another bit: if small format digital will eat MF digital
back manufacturer's lunch, MF camera manufacturers will starve too.
And the moment somebody's lunch will be pinched by someone else is upon us.
It is now, not next year, not next month, now that MF digital back
manufacturers must react.

And that's the length and breadth of it.




  #120  
Old May 25th 04, 07:29 PM
Neil Gould
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Posts: n/a
Default MF future? ideal cameras?

Greetings again, Gordon,

Recently, Gordon Moat posted:

Neil Gould wrote:
Gordon Moat wrote:
Editing on a light table is fast. While there are some people who
have learned fast editing on the computer monitor, they are the
exception. Computer editing is a linear process, while light table
editing is non-linear.

I'm not sure what you mean, here. Deciding about edits using slides
on a light table is only the beginning of the process, and in that
regard digital thumbnails (gallery) serve the same purpose. I think
that the time would be comparable, with the edge going to the
digital because zooming in is faster than using a loupe.


The problem is that image files are slower to grab and place side by
side, or several near each other at a time, than when using a file
browser, or digital image cataloguing software.

I see what you mean. In a reasonable digital image cataloging software,
like images would be in close proximity if their filenames were similar,
e.g. xxx001, xxx002, etc. Some image editors (other than Photoshop) also
incorporate a tiling function that allow the display of images in a
user-definable grid. With the right software suite, I don't know that
there would be much of a difference in the time it would take to make a
decision about which images to use.

A separate issue is
that with many medium format transparencies, a loupe is not always
needed right on the first look, so that minimizes the zoom change. I
also have a much larger light table to work on than any monitor I
could ever afford.

Now, that I can understand! ;-)

Regards,

Neil


 




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