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Thread: Why View Camera & Sheet Film Today, in our here and now?

  1. #21
    Tin Can's Avatar
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    Re: Why View Camera & Sheet Film Today, in our here and now?

    I have a MFA Performance...AKA in EU...Live Art, degree

    I absolutely consider Large Format, as act, dance, fight, entertainment, history, forward and story

    I will never sell 'Art'. I collect tools, some I sell now, some posthumously

    So it goes

    Quote Originally Posted by Jody_S View Post
    I give the same answer every time to the same question. My LF is performance art. When I need a photograph of whatever, I use my phone like a normal person.

    Since I'm not an especially good photographer and its been 25 years since anyone purchased some of my work, I do what I damn well please without worrying what other people think of it.
    Tin Can

  2. #22

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    Re: Why View Camera & Sheet Film Today, in our here and now?

    I photograph using black and white film, because I like a silver gelatin image that's enlarged from a medium format or larger negative. They can be absolutely beautiful! (As we all know.) I have the craft to make the kind of silver gelatin images that I want, that have both nice shadows and nice highlights.

    I also thoroughly enjoy using a view camera.

    But with the absence of "U-Develop" labs that enabled one to enlarge their own C-Type prints, I'm veering away from color negatives. I've gotten some nice results scanning and digitally printing color negatives. But it's so hit or miss, it's a work flow that's wasn't really "meant to be."

    I've not yet given digitally printing scanned transparencies a fair try. Unfortunately, at $99 per box of 20, the price of 4x5 transparencies is rising. Don't know if I'll ever give it a fair try. I may be missing out, if I don't. Hmm. Will have to think on that.

    So for color work, I've gone in the direction of using a digital back on a medium format view camera. In the earlier days, digital backs were unaffordable. But, they've come way down in price, even for a 39 megapixel back. For optics, I use high quality, film camera lenses. Even with my Rodenstock 35mm f4.5 SW lens, which unbelievably covers the 6x9 format, chromatic aberration is not enough to worry about. (So says a professional architectural photographer friend of mine.) Taking into account that color photography is not my main thing, I like the results that I can get with digital technology.

    I tried using DSLR cameras, and they're not for me. They have more flare than I like. I don't see how light can't help but bounce off the walls of the sensor chambers, given that these walls are so tightly compacted around the sensor. Take a look at any photograph with overcast sky taken with these cameras, and you'll see what I mean. And, I bloody well dislike the 2x3 aspect ratio. What a waste of sensor for most images. And, consider the expense of perspective control lenses for these cameras. Jeepers.

    Mirrorless cameras are worth investigating; they don't have the deep throats of DSLR cameras.
    Last edited by neil poulsen; 27-Jun-2021 at 08:01.

  3. #23

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    Re: Why View Camera & Sheet Film Today, in our here and now?

    The pros of continuing to shoot LF color Film:

    1. Larger size quality prints (above 24x30 assuming good scans)
    2. Greater effective color bit depth and better color differentiation compared to digital (though Adobe RGB offers greater but subtle discernment)
    3. LF movements has not been effectively matched by digital options
    4. Greater 3D depth

    Here are the cons for me:

    1. prohibitive cost of 4x5 color film and processing ($10 per image plus shipping)
    2. logistics of getting film back and forth to the lab (no longer local options)
    3. the difficulty of finding and cost of replacement bellows
    4. Few if any remaining repair options for copal shutters - copal shutters no longer made
    5. Fewer film choices now then 20 years ago (though most are satisfactory)
    6. With seriously damaged and painful shoulders (arthritis and surgery from mishaps along the trail during LF trips), the weight is prohibitive without a sherpa. Perhaps LF on wheels as option?
    7. Increasing cost of drum scans (though not prohibitive)
    8. The LF arch nemesis, the WIND (along with slow shutter speeds). It seems to me that at least in Mid Atlantic, winds have increased in velocity and frequency.
    9. Limited DR of color transparencies
    10. Many fewer venues for selling LF prints (fewer galleries who cater to photography) - I don't find on-line options eminently viable for print sales.

    Having explored digital color for many years, its facility allows for much more creative opportunities IMHO - without question. I have so many more interesting outcomes with digital but am frustrated with limitations imposed with enlargement and color fidelity (though I continue to work on digital outcomes).

    On the other hand, I would continue to use LF for monumental images, those you want to greatly enlarge.

  4. #24

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    Re: Why View Camera & Sheet Film Today, in our here and now?

    Curious about the "color fidelity" comment. Please expand-explain.

    What appears to be the limitation on enlargement?


    Bernice


    Quote Originally Posted by pdmoylan View Post

    I have so many more interesting outcomes with digital but am frustrated with limitations imposed with enlargement and color fidelity (though I continue to work on digital outcomes).

  5. #25

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    Re: Why View Camera & Sheet Film Today, in our here and now?

    Because I have never owned or learned how to use a digital camera, never learned how to photoshop. A lousy user of enlarger. Too dumb, stubborn and old to learn new things.
    Because I like to look at upside down images on the ground glass, enjoy contact prints and all the frustrations and bliss that comes with wet darkroom process.

  6. #26

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    Re: Why View Camera & Sheet Film Today, in our here and now?

    As many of you, and I am sure Bernice, know, this question gets asked periodically. My answer is always the same: I enjoy the process, I wouldn't argue that the end product from either film or digital is "better" than the other.

    Pre-Covid, I would attend the AIPAD (Association of International Photographic Art Dealers) show annually in NYC. Everything from the dawn-of-photography museum-grade prints to the most current gallery art was on display for sale (almost always at prices way beyond what I could afford). But the point was that you could buy a vintage silver print by Ansel Adams or Strand or William Clift, or a large-scale digital print by Julie Blackmon or Stephen Wilkes. I would see many prints in either medium that I would have loved to own, hence my comment that I don't differentiate between film or digital on the basis of quality.

    But at my humble personal level, I simply enjoy the process of using the view camera, developing the big negatives, and making silver prints. I use my digital camera when my wife's school, or my synagogue, request work for a catalog or for the web, but I don't get much satisfaction from that process. I belong to a photography group that meets monthly (sadly now via Zoom) to critique each other's work. It isn't a "camera club," the end-goal is to put together exhibitions or circulate information about other exhibitions where members can display their work. One member, in a discussion similar to this thread, stated that one virtue of digital was that once you had your final file in the form you wanted, you could print any number of prints, in any size, that you wanted. Since he sells work, he felt that was important. But the comment crystallized for me the reason I enjoy making darkroom prints: it is a craft, and no two prints (assuming you dodge and burn, etc.) will ever be exactly the same. So the difference is not the quality of the final product (in my own judgement) but a major difference in the process needed to get there.

  7. #27

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    Re: Why View Camera & Sheet Film Today, in our here and now?

    [QUOTE=Bernice Loui;1605079]Curious about the "color fidelity" comment. Please expand-explain.

    What appears to be the limitation on enlargement?

    Go to 200% on the same detail, 4x5 film vs digital, both color. You will see more color differentiation with film assuming similarly sized files. In that sense, the digital output has less accuracy in those details. Several tests including by Charles Cramer prove this out. It’s not that there isn’t comparable detail, but perhaps we can say that film is a bit more refined from a color output perspective.

    Next, PD Online performed an accuracy test of digital color by camera, and what was noteworthy is the amount of significant deviation from accurate color in virtually all high end units. PO and Hasselblad were not included and I have no direct experience with either to draw any conclusion. I can say that my experience with the Fuji GFX50s seems to add to the mystery of why digital output is so very materially “off” from what I am accustomed to seeing with 4x5 Provia, Velvia 100F, Astia (no longer available) Kodak E100g.

    In fact I cannot get Fuji digital files where I like them so I have discontinued using the GFX If fact, the colors are so “plastic” at times, greens can be neon-ridiculous, reds turn pink, yellows muted, and in low light there is an annoying warm bias which I can’t easily fix. Canon has a yellow bias overall, and Nikon has shifted also to a warm bias starting with the D810 and thereafter.

    Some adjustments with digital cameras are manageable, Fuji is not IMO, and I have spent countless hours trying). I recognize Dykinga and others are using GFX, but I don’t see the images as comparable to film. Some come close perhaps. I understand from multiple sources that Leica SL2 colors are much less saturated and more accurate than most of the market but if I invest in anything it will be hasselblad.

    IMO, it is the lack of color differentiation in the digital that contributes to the lack of “pop” that I am accustomed to with film - nothing scientific. This is why I default to Adobe RGB to increase that differentiation for prints (subtle but there is some slight improvement).

    One can ask “is color film accurate”, and I guess it all depends on what you like/get used to. I work hard to maximize detail and color fidelity and it has always been somewhat challenging with digital.

  8. #28

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    Re: Why View Camera & Sheet Film Today, in our here and now?

    Quote Originally Posted by pdmoylan View Post

    Go to 200% on the same detail, 4x5 film vs digital, both color. You will see more color differentiation with film assuming similarly sized files. In that sense, the digital output has less accuracy in those details. Several tests including by Charles Cramer prove this out. It’s not that there isn’t comparable detail, but perhaps we can say that film is a bit more refined from a color output perspective.
    https://www.onlandscape.co.uk/2010/1...other-stories/

  9. #29

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    Re: Why View Camera & Sheet Film Today, in our here and now?

    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Santamaura View Post
    ... Mat papers with pigmented inks are not much better than mat darkroom papers. With dye inks they're even worse. Pigmented inks on glossy papers don't just suffer from gloss differential, they're excessively shiny anywhere there's ink, irrespective of density.
    Of these #1 and #2 not problems.
    #3 and #4 have been already solved by some manufactures long time ago.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sal Santamaura View Post
    The only combination that's acceptable to me is dye ink on some glossy papers
    Out of printer these look nice but can't stand any moisture whatsoever and fade fast.

  10. #30

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    Re: Why View Camera & Sheet Film Today, in our here and now?

    Since the output of both film and digital is an image, it's easy to forget how much the technical possibilities and limitation of each technical platform influences the outcome.
    As I see it you can't separate the technical process from the outcome as they push for wholy different creative processes.

    An analogy comes from the recording industry (I am a sound engineer ) where the movement from tape (analog) to hard disk (digital) recording has transformed not only how you record but also the result. Tape is hard, cumbersome and expensive to edit, so focus in the good old analog days was on performance. It was important that musicians could play a whole song in one take. A few lesser mistakes sometimes had to pass for an otherwise very good take.
    Nowdays, when you in seconds can chop up any recording and copy the best 4 bars around, you get the best same snippet in every chorus and every verse. Focus has moved to arrangement and structure instead of performance.
    The same goes for pitch corrections on vocals. On an old recording you can often hear a few notes slightly out of tune. Nowdays that's unheard of, at least in mainstream music. Everything is pitch corrected.
    Music doesn't sound the same as before.

    I'm not saying one is better than the other, only different. And technical platform and creative outcome is interlinked.
    A film photographer and a digital photographer would never create the same picture of an identical setting.

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