Practical advice needed on view/digital conversion
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Old 01-18-2011   #1
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Default Practical advice needed on view/digital conversion

I am very interested is shooting landscapes and architecture in large format such as 4x5. I'm interested in a view camera because of the adjustments that allow for distortion free long DOF images. I am also interested in modifying a camera with my own lens board and camera back with custom film holders to crop 4x5 to an aspect ratio of my choosing. Once I expose the film I'd want to digitize the results. I understand drum scanning can cost as much as $50 per negative. My object is prints in the 24x36 range. This mixture of camera, film, and process I hope to produce a unique style. Help me understand the cost of processing and decide how to get there would you

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Old 01-22-2011   #2
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Default Re: Practical advice needed on view/digital conversion

A Betterlight 6K will get you a 6,000 x 7200 pixel image of real, uniterpolated (non Bayer pattern), un aliased goodness. When circumstances warrant it (light availabilty, static subjects*) I use a Dicomed Field Pro, the older version, and it makes scans look downright bad in comparision.

Out of curiosity, why are you drum scanning? A good flatbed can get you into the range you need without breaking a sweat on negative films. Transparencies have a different aesthetic, capture a shorter tonal range and are very difficult to expose properly. This is coming from somebody that made his living shooting chromes commercially. The later color negative films have the capapbilty to capture amazing dynamic range, and are optimized for RGB scanning.

Also, do you cropping post capture, you'll find it to offer more creative freedom and overall flexibility.

Erie


*However, you need lots of light, and a capture can take a few mins to much, much longer.
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Old 01-22-2011   #3
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Default Re: Practical advice needed on view/digital conversion

I really don't know the best way, I'm trying to put together a work flow based on what I have researched and what I understand. I'll look up that 6K as I have no idea what that is, but I know it sounds spendy! Thanks, Jeff
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Old 01-29-2011   #4
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Default Re: Practical advice needed on view/digital conversion

If you want to do fine art prints 30x40 inches or bigger you may need drum scans. Smaller than that a decent flatbed scanner should work fine. At 2400ppi 4x5 is about 125mp & 219mb with my old Epson 2400. With all that data available it makes sense to do your cropping and editing in post.
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Old 01-29-2011   #5
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Default Re: Practical advice needed on view/digital conversion

The issue with shooting outside landscapes with a scanning back is the motion of clouds, trees, grass, water etc. during the scan. A scanning back also requires the use of a laptop computer during the scan. Something to consider if you're shooting in remote locations.

If you want digital capture, a medium format digital back on a small technical camera offers the best solution for both quality and portability.

If you can use slightly less mp size digital capture, both Nikon and Canon produce lenses in several focal lengths ( 24mm, 45mm and 85mm Nikon lenses) that have the capability for swings, tilts, rise or shift. so you can have the same image control that a view camera offers with better portability and a larger choice of optics for when you don't need those corrections.

Hi rez digital capture ie: 24mp chip in a DSLR up to a 30" print, or 30-80mp chips in medium format backs for much larger prints, produce better image quality than a scanned 4x5 transparency because there is no film grain.

I've spent more than 25 years shooting 4x5 transparencies commercially and digital capture 24mp and higher is better in every way.
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Old 01-29-2011   #6
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Default Re: Practical advice needed on view/digital conversion

Brooks, I'd agree on every point.

I already have a scanning back, and as a returned to school middle age student, funds are limited. Given an open budget, I'd aim for a 22+mp back anytime.

While I still shoot some film (having been given some 400 sheets of C41 and E6 film, and a lifetime supply of chemistry), I find that direct digital capture has many more advantages than disadvantages.

Finz up, Brooks! (from one old fan, pre-PH days, to another)
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Old 01-29-2011   #7
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Default Re: Practical advice needed on view/digital conversion

Still, some nice work being done with a scanning back. You've seen Stephen Johnson's National Park Series? http://homepage.mac.com/sjphotog/stu...phy-design.pdf
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Old 01-29-2011   #8
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Default Re: Practical advice needed on view/digital conversion

Here's a better link to Johnsons actual website Home Page of Photographer Stephen Johnson
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Old 01-29-2011   #9
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Yes I've seen his work. His images were the final push for met "man up" and start dragging the Dicomed out in the field. Mike Collette's original Dicmed images on the Betterlight website were the genesis for the idea.

Funny thing, I'm going back to school to ultimately get an MFA (to teach..) and I'm more the old crazy guy who likes shooting LF and lugging a Sinar around. I've gone out shooting with a few of my fellow students and the slow, contemplative approach to "building" an image as opposed to lucky snapshooting is starting to rub off of them.

The down side to returning to school is the significant reduction in income, many trips I would take to shoot I now have to curtail and plan and budget appropriately. I am planning a trip this spring to HaHaTonka state park, in MO. It's about a 4 or 5 hour drive from me, but I expect some stunning imagery. Here's a link to the Wikipedia page, lots of image potential at this site.


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