Re: benefit of digital camera

Date: 04/14/04-08:20:09 PM Z
Message-id: <>

I have been using digital cameras since the first Apple digital camera was
released, though probably few people would remember that. I think it made an
image of about 400 x 600 pixels. hehehehe

Since the Nikon D1X was released I have been shooting with that camera and a
Nikon F5. All my lenses are interchangeable between the two bodies and the
two camera bodies are almost identical—thus I am less likely to screw up.

I often use the D1X as a backup to what I shoot on TMax 100 with the F5.
There are some occasions where I prefer the digital over film. Usually that is
with some portraiture and close-up work. The 6 megapixel images can usually
be interpolated up as much as 1.5X–2X if necessary for larger prints. For
landscape work I definitely prefer the F5 and TMax 100—the 6 megapixel digital
file just does not hold the fine detail necessary in some landscape work. A
22 megapixel digital back would be nice for that.

I never shoot color film anymore. I use the D1X if I need color. Given
the size of grain in color film (unless you want it), the 6 megapixel file is
pretty competitive. Besides, I can always add grain in Photoshop if I
want it.

I scan my film with an Imacon scanner at up to 8000 ppi, which gives a pretty
healthy size file for making large digital prints. If I want BIG prints I
make those on a large format printer. If I want smaller prints I make those
in PD with digital negatives.

I always shoot RAW files and store the originals. Photoshop CS is wonderful
for working with RAW files. I use the File Browser to quickly review shots
and sort them into different categories/folders. I can also examine them
without fully opening them in the RAW post processing environment (which is the
best I have seen, including the Nikon software).

When I first got the D1X, I did shoot a LOT more images than I would have
with film. I think I learned a lot doing this because I was not worried about
the cost of burning film. I think that made me a better photographer—
especially with the immediate feedback. Sometimes this immediate feedback is
indispensable—I may be in a situation that I cannot re-shoot, so I need to see what
was captured and determine if I need to shoot again. An example of this would
be shooting figure work where I am using motion to get a certain effect.
Another example is time Sam Wang made a pinhole lens for the D1X using an
aluminum coke can. We could shoot and get immediate feedback on exposure values
and lighting requirements. I think he got one of those images published.

I always use my cameras in manual mode. With the D1X, I watch the histogram
very carefully. I double check the camera settings with a spot meter,
though both cameras have a mode that works the same as a spot meter.

I also carry a tiny Pentax 3 Megapixel camera for snapshots and also make do
with it on occasions where I cleverly determined that it wouldn't be necessary
to take along one of my "real" cameras.

For an interesting point of view on shooting digital, check out the editorial
in Lenswork issue #51. Brooks Jenson discusses his experiences with a
digital camera on a shoot with friends using large format. He also discusses the
issue of shooting lots of images with the digital.

All the tech and equipment aside, it's the final image that hangs on the wall
and whether it speaks to the viewer or not. A disposable camera in the
right hands is as good as anything else.

Mark Nelson

In a message dated 4/14/04 5:08:46 PM, writes:

> >
> > Then Chris, you say you wipe out a lot on the go. Of course you're
> > shooting environment, not war or politics -- but we read about this or
> > that photog going back after the fact & finding the triumphant shot in
> > restrospect (like Monica on the receiving line) -- is that an issue for
> > you? (Or do you keep those?)
> > Judy
> Good point, and you'll probably gasp at my practice:  once I have shot an
> image, I try not to labor over whether I "got it" or not, but instead enjoy
> the ones I got.  That way I am not eternally disappointed at the "ones that
> got away."  I adopt the attitude that what is on my film/computer is what I
> have--what I get is what I get, you know?
> As far as the ones I delete that I actually got and aren't up to snuff for
> me **now**--once I delete them I also don't think about them again.  Out of
> sight, out of mind.  But that is my personality:  I am a thrower, always.  I
> actually have contemplated editing my BW negs with a pair of scissors, but I
> held myself back.  I'm not a Weston, tho, who will burn all my negs when I
> am facing the D word.  The only thing I have regretted throwing in my
> lifetime is my 70's wardrobe, hiphugger jeans, platform shoes, faux fur midi
> coat.
> One last point: I never delete in camera.  When I am photographing, I am in
> brainstorming mode, everything positive.  Editing at the camera level puts
> picture taking on a critical level, and IMHO is counterproductive to the
> visual mode of working.  I save my critique for the computer screen.  But
> that's me, and is not a practice for everyone (unless you're shooting
> digital :)).
> Chris

Mark Nelson
Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana.
—Groucho Marx
Received on Wed Apr 14 20:20:29 2004

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