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Subject:Surfing porn
Time:01:13 am
I should not be surfing camera porn late at night. I now have this utterly insane and ludicrous desire for a medium-format digital camera. If I was going to go the budget-conscious route, I could probably pick up the camera, a standard lens, and a macro lens for... oh, maybe $30K. Going all-out would put me in the $50K range I think. Oh, hell. I may as well go fantasy-all-out, 'cause there's no chance in hell I'm buying either.

I suppose I could try shooting f... f... f... film? Nah, fuck that.
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clutch_c
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-06-29 02:00 pm (UTC)
Why so much?

You could get started with this for only $13K:

http://www.amazon.com/Nikon-D3x-24-5MP-FX-Format-Digital/dp/B001MSJK32
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dd_b
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Time:2010-06-29 03:43 pm (UTC)
That and the Brand C competition are certainly pushing up into the range of enlargeability that 6x4.5 medium format gave with film. On the other hand, the digital medium format are giving 30 megapixels to 50 megapixels last I checked, and the 50 end of that is another full step up.

I've gotten appallingly good prints from 6 to 10 megapixel images up to 20x33 inches or so image area; much better than I got the few times I tried that degree of enlargement from 35mm film images. I don't have much use for going bigger than that, myself (which is good, since I don't seem to have $7400 sitting around for a D3x body either, never mind medium format digital).
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whipartist
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Time:2010-06-29 04:52 pm (UTC)
The thing is, it's not just about the pixel density of the sensor... it's about the optics that get the image there in the first place. Medium-format of the equivalent quality will always have better resolving power than 35mm.

This all started a couple of months ago when I was looking at some images of mine next to someone else's, and found myself amazed at the clarity and quality of his prints.
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dd_b
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-06-29 05:44 pm (UTC)
Sorry, I used megapixels too much as a shorthand. Fuji S2 at 6MP and Nikon D200 at 10MP, not small-sensor P&S; so 6 and 10 million GOOD pixels, not cheap small-sensor pixels. The quality is key always.

(I do seem to remember that especially when you get to large format, the actual difference isn't primarily resolution; making lenses with the coverage needed for larger formats causes limitations there. And a big part of the difference is just enlarging the grain less -- something that's a non-issue in well-lit digital captures.)

And while I described them as "appallingly good", that was specifically in comparison to prints from 35mm film. I can see the limitations in fine detail in them, certainly. Landscapes, and big art prints, are side areas for me, I'm simply not that well equipped for them. I have a D700 for the low-light performance inside (haven't made BIG prints from it yet; the batch I mention pre-date it, and happened because I was visiting Ctein in the Bay Area shortly after he'd gotten his Epson 9800, and he suggested I bring some files to play with).
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-06-29 06:08 pm (UTC)
The biggest I've done thus far is 32x48, and that was from a 5D. That image would be a bit better if it had been done on the 5D Mark II, of course-- full-frame, 21MP. I'm lucky in that I have very cheap access to an Epson R11880. At the cheapest, it's twenty bucks an hour for rental plus $X/linear foot for paper depending on the quality and width of the paper.

I'm nowhere near the point of being limited by my equipment. At the same time, I've gotten far enough that I can see the horizon in the distance and know that I'm heading in that direction. Plus, you know... toy lust.

I had the third-string camera out last weekend, an 8MP cropped-sensor thing, and I could visibly see the difference in image clarity between it and my 5Ds (Mk I and Mk II). It's not too hard to extrapolate and see where improvements are possible. So what I really want to do is go play with something bigger, but this way may lie madness.
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dd_b
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-06-29 06:41 pm (UTC)
Just the paper and ink do mount up when "square foot" is the relevant measure for print size! And light-weight paper is less and less satisfactory as the size goes up.

I've got one of the Costcos with a 7800 convenient, but haven't used it yet. Otherwise there are labs, but last I looked a good price was $5/square foot (not linear). The cost of making big prints isn't THAT much if you're selling them at big-print prices, but is a fair amount if they're just for fun. Especially after framing :-( . Which is my situation.

My D700 is an anomaly for me; too expensive for my normal relationship with photography. Full-frame really isn't my deal; but the high ISO was irresistible. Amusingly, it cost me on BOTH the short and the long end of the lens collection (I had a Tokina 12-24mm DX, not terribly useful on the D700; ended up with a Sigma 12-24mm FX, which at least has the benefit of being extreme). I'm really pretty solidly a telephoto person, not a wide-angle person. The full-frame fisheye is a lot more interesting full-frame, though, I will admit.

I sold off the previous DSLR, a D200, about this time last year. I'm just not doing enough pro work to justify owning a backup body, so I figured to cash it in before it lost the rest of its value (I think I got better than 1/3 of the price I paid back, which is not too bad for a several-year hold time on a DSLR body).
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-06-29 07:32 pm (UTC)
The lab I work with charges $11/ft^2 for their bottom tier, which is Epson papers, and $14 and $16/ft^2 for the higher end stuff, mostly Hahnemuhle. That's for the service of me handing them a file, them creating a 4x6 proof for me to approve, and then them printing it out for me. I can have them done on an Epson 11880, or a Canon ipf9000. Here's the menu. I can also rent the printers and do it myself for a pretty decent price, if I want to go that route. Rates and details here.

I cannot begin to tell you how lucky I am to have these guys nearby. The unspeakably huge win is that the guys who work in the digital lab are expert printers, and I can lean on their expertise when I need it. My printing knowledge is rudimentary, so having one of them say, "You know, the Canon on this paper will do a much better job for that image. Look at the print sample, and see how much smoother the gamut is here..." is invaluable.

For the show I hung last week, I took in a pile of files and handed them a USB drive. We talked about paper and printers, and they offered to print proofs on both the Epson and the Canon for me. The next morning I went in and we reviewed them together, and wound up doing half on the Epson and half on the Canon.

And that was it. "I'm leaving town for almost two weeks. I need to hang them on date X. Please print, mount, and backframe them for me. Thanks!" It is impossible to overstate the fabulosity of having these guys three blocks from my office.


Strangely and sadly, I'm also starting to see the limitations of inkjet printing right now, and I'm on the verge of exploring other options.

Edited at 2010-06-29 07:32 pm (UTC)
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dd_b
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-06-29 08:43 pm (UTC)
My lab prices appear to be out of date, yes.

It's cool that Canon (and apparently HP, according to other sources) is an actual competitor in large printers (competition is good, keeps 'em at least slightly honest).

Expert help is certainly wonderful! My play prints came out so well because I had expert help, not just the use of his printer.

A "perfect" and yet affordable option would certainly simplify the decision tree. Sometimes I think the universe hates us!
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gunga_galunga
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-06-29 08:47 pm (UTC)
Strangely and sadly, I'm also starting to see the limitations of inkjet printing right now, and I'm on the verge of exploring other options.

They inkjet your big prints? I guess I had it in my head that they would use photographic paper and digitally project your images on it.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-06-29 04:33 pm (UTC)
That's full-frame, not medium format. I already have a 21MP full-frame dSLR with all the trimmings. I'm looking at the Hasselblad H3D/H4D or a similar Mamiya. It's just camera lust, though... I wouldn't really buy it.
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dd_b
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-06-29 03:36 pm (UTC)
My standing advice (so good I even sometimes follow it myself) is not to buy camera equipment unless you have a pretty clear idea of exactly what current limitation or problem it will fix. This can save me from bad ideas, if I want to be saved.

If you've been itching to go into landscapes (or cityscapes) for a while, mosaic stitching can give you much higher resolution at almost no cost; but I don't see it as applying so much to what I've seen in your online galleries.
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-06-29 04:27 pm (UTC)
I'm WAY ahead of you on all of this stuff... that's exactly my advice, and I'm extremely familiar with stitching. I have 21MP full-frame now, so it's not like my camera's a slacker.

This one isn't about practicality, though, it's about lust. And it's not like I'm actually going to buy it.
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dd_b
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-06-29 05:34 pm (UTC)
Just trying to reinforce the Bright Side!
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whipartist
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-06-29 05:41 pm (UTC)
Great. Now I'm singing showtunes.

"Always look on the bright side of lust..."

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcNpDJ80iqQ
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(Deleted comment)

walterzuey
Link:(Link)
Time:2010-06-29 06:39 pm (UTC)
It occurs to me that this is the path to buying a $10k lens when one never would've considered doing so if that were the priciest unit.
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[icon] Surfing porn - Patti
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