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Thread: Likely Very Naive Question, sheet film then scan to produce a digital print.

  1. #51

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    Re: Likely Very Naive Question, sheet film then scan to produce a digital print.

    I mean, other people have said this, but it's nothing like using a digital camera. There are too many unique characteristics of LF film.

    There is no digital camera made, except for large format scanbacks, which have their own problems, that will give you such shallow DoF at normal focal lengths and middling apertures. The ability to do blurred-background portraits in broad daylight with fast film is nice. This is especially true now that most consumer digital cameras are going to sensors even smaller than 35mm-equivalent, usually APS-C or M4/3rds, leading to a situation where you have to use very long lenses and very wide apertures to get good background blur for portraits and closeup photography.

    No camera sensor will naturally produce any of the unique tonal responses that you can get from different combinations of B/W film and a developer/developers. A scanner can capture this, but if the digital element is the thing actually making the image, these unique qualities will be absent. And then don't get me started on color film!

    Most digital sensors are emphatically not optimized for B/W, and with small sensor sizes like you have in digital cameras, the interlacing or whatever becomes noticeable in the loss of resolution. Not so with a scanner, especially given the area of large-format.

    And let's be real--the size of large format is a huge boon. It is so much easier to get a usable enlargement out of a LF negative, photographically or scanning digitally, then out of a small format photo, film or digital.

    So why LF+scan?

    Because it's a cheap way to have some fantastic and desirable photographic characteristics unobtainable with most digital cameras.

  2. #52

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    Re: Likely Very Naive Question, sheet film then scan to produce a digital print.

    The vast majority of digital shooters would not be involved in photography at all if it wasn't for the instant gratification that digital offers.

    Push a button and bingo there's a photograph on my LCD.

    No skill required. Awesome.
    I don't even shoot digital and I know that that's completely untrue. There's still plenty of room for skill. Every DSLR I've ever seen has aperture priority and manual modes, plus a switch to disable autofocus--remember the last Canon film SLR's from the 90's and early 00's? Same thing. I could make art with one, just like I regularly make art (at least, I think it's art) with a Kodak Brownie Hawkeye that has fixed focus, fixed aperture and fixed speed. Composition is central to art photography--no one is going to care what aperture you were shooting at when they're in the gallery looking at your silver prints. They'll care that it's a crisp image that's well-composed.

    Also, not all photography needs to be high art. Sometimes people just want to take snapshots of their family. Sometimes working photographers just need to take basic wedding photos without worrying about film stock and chemicals.

    Lastly, what does that have to do with LF hybrid photography (film + digital scanner)?

  3. #53

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    Re: Likely Very Naive Question, sheet film then scan to produce a digital print.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bernice Loui View Post
    Digital back on a digital specific view camera can easily achieve traditional view camera movements (perspective control, tilt-shift-swing-rise-drop and....) as needed.

    Does not make rational sense to me to use a sheet film camera to produce a digital data file when high quality digital is easily available.

    ~I'm trying to understand this.~

    Bernice
    My sentiments exactly! A good term for this is direct imaging (versus indirect imaging with scans), and it's what I've done.

    I purchased a Phase One P45+ digital back from Digital Transitions for about twice the price of a good digital camera. Not the case with most refurbished backs, mine had less than 2500 activations, and it came with a year's factory warranty. The price was a bit steep, but it's about 8% of what they were new. Resolution is 39MP from a 24mmX48mm sensor. (That's twice the size of a "full-frame" sensor.) Enough resolution for what I will ever need, this will give me a 16x20 print with some room to spare.

    I use it with an Arca Swiss 6x9 view camera and film lenses. I already had 47mm, 58mm, and 75mm lenses. For wide angle, I found a 35mm Rodenstock f4.5 lens for a quite reasonable price. This lens demonstrates some chromatic aberration, but not enough to worry about. And besides, it can be corrected in Capture One, free software that's available when processing files from Phase One digital backs. (Capture One corresponds to Adobe's Lightroom. It's first rate imaging software.) This lens has huge coverage for a digital back, so for super wide angle, stitching is an option. With lenses of this small focal length, one has to be careful that the back of the lens doesn't interfere with the rear standard of the camera. To avoid this, I have a special "N" standard, Arca ground glass and adapter.

    I'd been working toward this capability for quite a while, so I already had the camera and all but one lens. Still, it was a tad bit expensive, but maybe not quite so bad, when one considers the cost of a good scanner, film, and all the time and frustration that can go into getting decent scans from color negatives.

  4. #54

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    Re: Likely Very Naive Question, sheet film then scan to produce a digital print.

    Quote Originally Posted by neil poulsen View Post
    ....I purchased a Phase One P45+ digital back...Resolution is 39MP from a 24mmX48mm sensor...
    The Capture Integration specs say this sensor is 49.1mm x 36.8mm.

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