Some Photography Logistics

June 08, 2009  •  Leave a Comment
Like Many, I have been struggling with the migration from film to digital.  Prior to the digital revolution, I was an affirmed view camera (5x7) and 6x7 photographer.  I preferred the smooth, descriptive tonality that larger formats could deliver compared to 35mm.  Furthermore, I loved the ground glass of the view camera - what a great way to see!

Of course, it had its drawbacks.  it was slow (maybe not a drawback if it promoted careful seeing); it was less portable; less flexible; took more time in the darkroom, etc.......

Now with the digital age, I am using a Canon 5D.  I use tilt-shift lenses (24/45/90) and enjoy reasonable control over the image with tilts and shifts.  The 5D is a remarkable camera with "medium format film" image quality...from what I have read, the 5DMKII is yet again better...

I love the camera, but I still struggle with the viewfinder; especially when the camera is on a tripod with a tilt-shift lens.  The image is simply too small and not bright enough for my taste.  I have added the "high precision" focusing screen which gives me more manual focusing feedback at the expense of some brightness - it is a worthwhile tradeoff.  As we all know by now, the productivity and control of digital is off the charts.....the real reason to use this camera.

I am also trying something different for this project.  I am using my terrific Canon EOS 1-V with SPUR DSX film and developer.  This film/developer combination is the latest in a long line of "ultra fine grain" continuous tone films from Germany.  Erwin Puts reviewed the film on his site and stated that it had an enormous exposure range (14 stops) with exceptional grain and sharpness.  The main reason to try this is to be able to use the EOS 1V's wonderful viewfinder.  It is night and day compared to the 5D; I can actually see "into" the image with the 1V whereas I have to look hard to try to see the same thing with the 5D.  If the film/developer combination delivers good scannable (and printable "I still print") negatives this will be a great adjunct for Black & White landscape work.  I'll let you know how it turns out.

My guess is that Canon's current 1 series digital bodies have the same wonderful viewfinder, but they are out of my price range (and the are very heavy).  The evolution/revolution will have to wait until product/pricing/innovation cycles run their course.


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