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Thread: LF: do your viewers notice the difference ?

  1. #11

    LF: do your viewers notice the difference ?

    For most peopel at large, it is content that make them take notice. It's why they like Anne Gettes' images more than Gary Winograd's. But there does come a time when LF is considered superior to it's smaller cousins. Tonal scale and perspective. Take an artist such as John Sexton and Joe Blow or his brother JB. Give each of them a LF camera, identical scenes and guess which one will produce the better image. Look at any 35mm image at whatever size and the same size LF print and if you can't see the difference, you're blind as a bat. But 35mm has many advantages over LF or even MF. That is why there are different formats. Each has a strength of it's own. You don't take a Porche to a drag strip nor a Top Fueler to Seebring. You want to see action, 35mm wins hands down. You want incredible detail and tonal scale, large format blows away the competition. James

  2. #12

    LF: do your viewers notice the difference ?

    Q.-Tuan, this is a very important not to say decisive question and I have seen f or myself, as many have outlined, that the first impression that a picture gives is more important than it's physical quality. With a small format camera however, it is easy to trick the viewer eyes by searching fo r stunning perspectives, or capturing action, looking for blurring and color effects images, all things t hat produce an appealing look and many will stop on the shallow "first impression". If someone wants to m ake money out of photography, he better gets the latest Nikon or Canon and use it as a harmless m achine gun. I am not saying to shoot just anything, but to shoot life from within, instinctively. Peo ple love life and are man centered. I am still stunned that a photographer like Ernst Haas used small form at for most of his work, including the giant posters designed to promote a cigarette brand. So what is wo rse the trouble of dragging a large format camera around? Mhhh... wouldn't it be the authenticity o f the large format approach? No tricks, no make-believe, but a raw portion of authentic beauty pres ented right into the tiniest details. Some are sensible, some are not. The ultimate is to combine the stunning and the beautiful. Such pictures seldom leave people cold and I wish I had more of these !

  3. #13

    LF: do your viewers notice the difference ?

    In auto racing "Nothing beats cubic inches". I think the same holds true for photography.

  4. #14

    LF: do your viewers notice the difference ?

    A great example, even at 8x10. A couple of years ago my wife had to work on a Sunday afternoon, and so I did all sorts of misc catch up proof prints -- 35mm, 6x6, 6x7, and 4x5. After dinner she was looking thru the 8x10 proofs (which were in random order from the drying rack), picked out two and ask how come they looked so much better than the others? Guess which 2 were the proofs from 4x5?

  5. #15

    Join Date
    Sep 1998

    LF: do your viewers notice the difference ?

    It's been my experience that most people, even people who enjoy and appreciate photography, don't really give a rat's backside about the differences in the technical quality between the different formats. If it's a powerful image, it's a powerful image.

    Lots of people have looked at a collection of photos I have taken with 35mm and medium format. The difference in the grain and tonality of the photos from the two different formats is quite obvious (to me). Not one person has ever said anything about that difference. They haven't shown any general preference for the images from one format or another. That's not what they're paying attention to.

    If they were to compare very similar images made by different formats, then they might notice a difference. But, for many types of photos, those types of differences are incidental.

    I like large format. I shoot it sometimes. There are some things for which it's perfect. But talk about large format images being in some way artistically superior is a bunch of crap. If someone's large format images are better than the images they've made with other formats, then good for them. They've found a way of working that helps them best express their vision. But it's just silly to try convincing yourself, much less anyone else, that the "large-format way" is the "best way."

  6. #16

    Join Date
    Jan 1998

    LF: do your viewers notice the difference ?

    I do a lot of work for people who sue the government. About five years ago I threw away my 35 mm gear and went to medium and large format for this work. Most of the lawsuits involve logging, grazing, and mining on public lands in the west, and my photos end up in legal briefs. I am convinced that my prints have won lawsuits because the government attorneys looked them over and thought: "How in the hell am I going to explain this photograph when it shows up in front of the judge in the courtroom blown up to 16x20 or larger?" For these applications a 35 mm camera just plain doesn't do the job. You need to be able to see the rings on the stumps, the flies on the cowshit, and the oil slicks in the streams. People may not know that the photograph they are looking at is superior to all their snapshots at home but they do have an intuitive understanding of what they are seeing. That's what I think. Their memory and comprehension do not extend to the point where they know the 8x10 contact print is afundamentally different kind of print, but they do know it is an extremely sharp print.

    Whether it is art - that is a different question altogether.

  7. #17

    LF: do your viewers notice the difference ?

    To really blown them away, show them a 4x5 or 8x10 transparency on a light table!

  8. #18

    LF: do your viewers notice the difference ?

    I think APS and compact camera sales answer the question.

  9. #19

    Join Date
    Dec 1999
    Forest Grove, Ore.

    LF: do your viewers notice the difference ?

    A lot depends on the particular image, but I think they know. I've had people notice and remark on the detail in a print, the texture, or even the lack of converging lines. They may not know that a 4x5 camera was used, or that view camera movements were used. They definitely know when they see a contact print from an 8x10 negative.

    It's worth considering that, at one time we were they, and we knew instinctively.

  10. #20

    Join Date
    May 2000

    LF: do your viewers notice the difference ?

    Most people don't care. Most people would listen to Brittney Spears before Vivaldi.

    I remember when I got my first 35mm camera, I was in ninth grade. It was just after I had gone to the Eastman museum in Rochester, NY. That is when I first saw original works by Adams.

    I started working with my 35mm...something was desperately wrong with it. I did not have the razor sharp focus from foreground to background. And I did not have the perfect tonal range from black to white. I had the camera checked out. They said it was fine. Then I read "The Negative". Things started to click.

    The people who are inclined to notice, will notice. Who cares about the rest?



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