[alt-photo] Re: AUUGGHH... Restarting and new decisions... Need advise.

joachim oppenheimer joachim2 at optonline.net
Thu Dec 31 15:43:31 GMT 2009

I grew into photography when 8x10 was an impressive size and 11x14 almost
unheard of. But then, again, my garage could hold two Chevies, one behind
the other, and life was still beautiful. Joachim 

-----Original Message-----
From: alt-photo-process-list-bounces at lists.altphotolist.org
[mailto:alt-photo-process-list-bounces at lists.altphotolist.org] On Behalf Of
Diana Bloomfield
Sent: Thursday, December 31, 2009 12:57 AM
To: alt-photo-process-list at lists.altphotolist.org
Subject: [alt-photo] Re: AUUGGHH... Restarting and new decisions... Need

Hi Trevor,

Thanks.  I do think digital is certainly far easier when traveling  
(flying).  Using film when flying is a royal pain, for sure, and next  
to impossible to do these days.

I use an Epson 3800 printer-- have had it for several years now and  
see no need to buy anything else. When it breaks down, I guess I'll  
have to get an update.  I love it, and it works really well for me.   
Every so often, I think I'd like a bigger printer (3800 has a 17"  
carriage), but then I think about all the other costs involved with  
that bigger printer-- more expensive (bigger) paper and/or  
transparencies, more costly inks, more and bigger everything, really--  
not to mention a room of its own, probably.  I just grow weary  
thinking about it.  Plus, in the end-- I'm not a big fan of prints  
that are as tall as I am hanging on a wall.  I maintain that anything  
that's 64 inches tall (or taller), hanging on a wall, is gonna have an  
impact, regardless of what it is.  Honestly-- how could it not?  I  
actually prefer (relatively) smaller prints, and even 8x10, 11x14, and  
even 16x20 seems to be very small these days.  My scanner is an Epson  
Perfection V750 Pro.  It's certainly not their most recent or best  
scanner, I'm sure--  but it does absolutely everything I need and  
more.  It's really an excellent scanner, and I've been really pleased  
with it.   The 3800 is great for digital negatives, by the way.

Hope that helps, Trevor.  Good luck in finding what you need.


On Dec 31, 2009, at 12:07 AM, Trevor Cunningham wrote:

> Diana,
> Your post was a breath of fresh air! I've recently put my Mamiya up  
> on a shelf in lieu of Nikon digital gear (although I have had a  
> Sekor lens in my bag which has more recently been replaced by a  
> Tamron 90mm 2.8 [amazing lens]). I went digital due to a high volume  
> of travel and the lack of medium format film in the places I  
> live...over the past eight years, I've had to do without a really  
> professional shop/lab. But, your post gives me hope. I'm interested  
> to know which scanner/printer combo you're using. I'm currently in  
> the printer market and have had my eyes on the HP b9180. From  
> everything I've read, it does a great job with both prints and  
> digital negatives.
> Trevor
> Diana Bloomfield wrote:
>> Hey David,
>> I'm intrigued with your questions and only wish I could seriously  
>> contemplate whether to buy a Leica M9 or a medium format digital  
>> camera.
>> I have a Canon 5D, which has been terrific for when I'm being paid  
>> to photograph people.  It's fast, does the job well enough, and--  
>> in the end-- everybody seems satisfied and happy.  I recently  
>> rented the Canon 85mm 1.2 lens for a job, and it was a dream.  I  
>> really loved it and loved the results.  Honestly, it made me like  
>> the camera better-- which makes me think I just haven't been using  
>> the right lens.
>> For my own artwork, though, I rarely use that camera-- mainly,  
>> because-- in the end-- I just don't like the format. I find myself  
>> cropping to square, or something close to it, all the time.  (I  
>> never actually liked the 35mm format, either, though I have had an  
>> M6 for years and love it).   I tend to still use 4x5 film for my  
>> 4x5 pinhole cameras-- and medium format film for my other cameras--  
>> In fact, I recently purchased (from a guy who went all digital all  
>> the time) a Mamiya 6, with a couple of the lenses that accompanied  
>> it, and it is one amazing camera (and the lenses give spectacular  
>> results).  I really love using that camera. I scan my negatives and  
>> make larger digital negatives for alt process work.   I do believe  
>> that a great flat-bed scanner (and they are out there) works really  
>> well, at least for my purposes.  I think a drum scanner would be  
>> serious overkill-- at least for what I do.
>> I'm not at all averse to making digital prints, either.  (I  
>> probably shouldn't say that, as one could possibly go to hell for  
>> making that statement on this list).  But I do believe that the  
>> digital prints made from scanned negatives are often more  
>> impressive than digital prints made from a digital camera.  The  
>> digital prints made from actual film don't seem to have that flat  
>> 'digital look.'  The owner/manager of my local photo lab here told  
>> me a long story once about why digital prints look so flat,  
>> compared to images made with film--  His reasoning was way too  
>> technical for me, so I forgot most of what he said as it went way  
>> over my head-- but it seemed to make sense at the time.  I have  
>> actually seen quite beautiful digital prints, but I have found that  
>> those who learned how to make prints the old-fashioned way (in the  
>> wet darkroom) tend to also know how to make prints on the  
>> computer.   An excellent printer and scanner-- as well as superb  
>> paper-- surely helps.  Mostly, though, what we tend to see, I  
>> think, are the results of enormous numbers of people who never  
>> learned how to make a print, either the old-fashioned way, or the  
>> digital way-- and they seem to be overly enamored with Photoshop  
>> (especially the over-sharpen and saturation tools).   But I've made  
>> some digital prints that I think are gorgeous (if I do say so  
>> myself!), and I've certainly seen some that are amazing--  
>> compelling and impressive, both image- and print-wise.
>> I understand that Canon's latest digital camera (still too  
>> expensive for me) now produces the 'look' of film in the print (not  
>> offering that flat digital look), and lot of folks think you'd be  
>> hard-pressed to see the difference as to whether the print was made  
>> from film, or straight from the digital camera.  My issue is--  
>> several thousand dollars later, and upwards to $10K  or more if  
>> you're talking an M9-- and you're STILL essentially working with a  
>> 35mm, or small format camera.  That makes no sense to me.   If I  
>> had the money, I'd be getting a medium format digital camera, for  
>> sure, but I would never pay thousands for a small format camera,  
>> and a format I really don't like.
>> I still use (color) film and have an Epson flat-bed scanner which  
>> is wonderful and works really well.  Maybe I'm too easily  
>> impressed, but I don't think so.
>> Anyway, not much help here-- but given that you seem to have the  
>> available funds-- and, by your own admission, an arm that doesn't  
>> work as well as it used to--  my free advice is to buy a medium  
>> format digital camera.  You'd still have to make digital negatives,  
>> but they would be first generation negatives.  I'm sticking with  
>> film, but only because I can't afford what I'd like.  :)   I just  
>> hope they keep making it.
>> That's my 2 cents.  Good luck!
>> Diana
>>> Ok all... The basic story here is that I'm taking a bit of a  
>>> sabbatical from my day job (in high tech) and going to devote much  
>>> of the next year to various pursuits, most of them photographic.
>>> I haven't photographed much at all in the last 8-10 years... And I  
>>> hate even to admit that. I shot some 8x10, but mostly 4x5... 80%+  
>>> Polaroid type 55 which I dearly love, but also ready-loads (and  
>>> occasionally film holders, always for the 8x10 and rarely for the  
>>> 4x5) because while I'm more contemplative than the typical 35mm  
>>> photographer (and ALWAYS use a tripod) I did like to work lite  
>>> (and my favorite of 2 4x5s is my Polaroid 110 conversion). I'd  
>>> process all of the film myself, and had all but abandoned Silver  
>>> for Platinum printing. I was starting to get into digital  
>>> negatives so I could standardize on 11x14 prints, but hadn't  
>>> gotten very far. I did however scan every negative for cataloging  
>>> and for my website.
>>> Jump ahead to late 2009 and I have the same basic desire for my  
>>> work, if not wanting to work even a bit lighter (part of the  
>>> reason for my time off is due to being on disability from almost  
>>> having lost my right arm and shoulder.. I've still got it, but it  
>>> doesn't worn near as well as it used to).
>>> So I start thinking.... I prefer ready-loads and Type 55 even  
>>> more... There ARE no B&W ready-loads available anymore, and until  
>>> The Impossible Project ( http://www.the-impossible-project.com/)  
>>> gets Type 55 revived, I'm limited to a very small stash I have in  
>>> my deep freezer.
>>> My workflow was analog, with a side of digital, but was and will  
>>> likely move to at least analog-digital-analog. I want to print Pt  
>>> at 11x14 for the most part so there'll have to be a digital  
>>> (negative) before the print... Hence the digital step in the  
>>> workflow.
>>> Maybe it's time for a change.
>>> Is the quality of a good drum scan from a 4x5 negative still so  
>>> much better than a digital camera when printing negatives at 11x14  
>>> as to make it worth hauling film holders or a couple or three  
>>> Grafmatic holders, a changing bag... And still processing the  
>>> negatives myself?
>>> Or is it time to consider a Digital Camera-Analog print workflow?
>>> I'm one of those people who can tell an analog print from a  
>>> digital print... At least anytime I've called it out in a gallery  
>>> or photography exhibition I haven't been told I'm wrong (I'm  
>>> usually asked how I knew). From personal experience of my (and  
>>> other's work) I can't seem to see it in an analog print from a  
>>> well made digital negative (but all were from scanned negatives).   
>>> I don't really know if I'd see it in a digital capture.
>>> If I did move to a digital camera, I'd probably go higher-end...  
>>> And likely medium format.  Something like a medium format digital  
>>> solution (Phase One, Hassy, or Leica S2) or a Phase One, Leaf, or  
>>> Hassy back on an Arca-swiss or other "technical camera" platform  
>>> (then I don't have to give up movements).  Either way, that would  
>>> require a significant investment (somewhere in the $13k - $25k  
>>> range.) I might also consider a Leica M9 and get a couple of those  
>>> sensuous lenses, which would cut the price down to around $10K or  
>>> $11K with a couple of lenses, give up some quality due to the  
>>> smaller sensor (still 35mm Full Frame), but again lose movements  
>>> for the ultimate in lightness and portability.
>>> AAUUGGHH....
>>> Thoughts???
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