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View Full Version : One final question for the converted......


chrisso
12-16-2004, 01:50
.........before I take the plunge.
$3000 for an RD-1, or $3000+++ for a really good scanner?

I still want to use my M6 and I love the pictures from my Mamiya 7II, but I don't own a decent scanner. My local scan place (incidentally a major centre for professional photographers) charges $40 per scan and they look soft to me.
I have two main reasons for wanting an RD-1.
1) To utilise my 4 x Leica lenses more often.
2) To try and capture the pictures I want to take more often.
I'm only a 'some time' photographer and I've missed great pictures by setting the exposure incorrectly (even when bracketing), or by panicking and attaching the lens hood incorrectly and finding a black stripe across the neg.

I enjoy making prints and framing them for my home. I'm really pleased with some prints I made after a friend scanned my slides on an Imacon. A couple of prints I made from the scans at the shop are soft, or grainey. Online examples of RD-1 images look great and I'm hoping 9 x 12 prints would remain sharp.
Any thoughts?

RML
12-16-2004, 02:47
IF I had the money I'd spend it on the RD-1 instead of on a scanner. Besides, you can have very good neg scanners for MUCH less than $3000; more like $3-500.

chrisso
12-16-2004, 02:58
Yeah, I saw some nice, crisp scans done on a fairly cheap Epson.
The friend who has done some scans for me say's the ONLY scanner is the Imacon. Let's not get into that argument, maybe we can just call him a snob.....although he is quite a leading photographer 'round here.
My worry is that the professional scans I've had done all look fuzzy compared to my friends, even though I pay for the highest resolution digital scan (before the drum scan service.....which is insanely expensive).
The deciding factor will probably be that I might take more pictures I'm happy with using the RD-1, rather than wasting a roll of film in a difficult lighting situation.
Then there is the argument about the savings made on film stock.
;)

rover
12-16-2004, 03:04
The professional scans most likely have not been adjusted in anyway. A processor will leave the post process work to the photographer, they are your images after all. You may just need to spend some time with Photo Shop.

Stick with the film and if you want enlargements have it done from the negative.

If you are scanning images to be viewed on a computer monitor anything over 72dpi is waisted, so get a nice film scanner, perhaps if you want to scan 120 film it will run you up to $1,200, but at that price you will have a great unit.

Pherdinand
12-16-2004, 05:20
Jorge had a Minolta Multi pro scanner (35mm up to 6x9MF film scanner) for 1600$ or something around that. New in a shop it costs almost double of that.

THEN you really can put the Mamiya in good use:)

If you buy the RD-1 you better sell your mamiya now - you will do it anyway, i wouyld say. Now they still go for a good price.

peter_n
12-16-2004, 05:52
chrisso, to paraphrase Brian are you emotionally attached to using the M6? I mean I would understand it completely. ;) I would spend the money on a good film scanner so that I could continue using the Leica.

In fact I just did that - I bought a 3200 res. Minolta (don't use MF). Now I have the best of both worlds - a great film camera that will create large print enlargements better than any digital cam, plus I can make very high quality scans for the internet when I want. And the scanner cost a heck of a lot less than $3K! :)

oftheherd
12-16-2004, 06:10
Originally posted by peter_n
... Now I have the best of both worlds - a great film camera that will create large print enlargements better than any digital cam, plus I can make very high quality scans for the internet when I want. And the scanner cost a heck of a lot less than $3K! :)

I believe film is still better than digital, I guess because I want to. Popular Photo & Imaging, in their Jan 05 issue, show an example that seems to disprove that. While I understand PP&I is a for profit business, I generally trust their content. On this one, sorry, I just can't buy it and think the "results" must have been "cooked" in some way. That even at 35mm. Of course, MF and LF probably won't be touched for at least five years, if then.

chrisso
12-16-2004, 07:19
Well I must admit that I'm not totally convinced digital has the beating of film. To nip a long argument in the bud, let's just say those who still use film, prefer it.......because they prefer it. ;)
Rover, I'm afraid what you said was wrong.
I'm talking about fuzziness, lack of sharpness, not colour balance or any other post processing. *
When I zoom in on raw Imacon scans from my M6, the picture's are still basically sharp, but on the raw pro scans they look blurred (almost pixelated).
My first idea was to shoot film whenever I want to and have the odd image scanned by a shop, but I now think the pro scans are a waste of my money.
I guess the most sensible suggestion is to sell the M6 - in favour of an RD-1.
I do have a sentimental attachment to the camera however.....and I'd still have all the lenses, so selling the M6 body might not change my dilemma too much anyway.

* I know about sharpening plug-ins, but you can't sharpen information that just isn't there. That's the scenario with the pro scans I've been getting.

Nikon Bob
12-16-2004, 07:33
As much as I like the RD-1 , I am personally staying with film as I have too much already invested in film cameras. I bought a Minolta 5400 a year ago to enjoy the best of both worlds and have been happy. I have an Olympus C5050 that does a good job but is not used too often. I am also a " sometime photographer" so what I saved by buying my 35mm scanner goes a long way to processing negs. In the end it is a personal choice .

Bob

Scarpia
12-16-2004, 07:37
I finally finished a roll of 120 with my ancient and somewhat broken RolleiMagic. It went to Kodak processing and the resulting prints (from 4.5x6 negs) looked like they were taken by a $3.99 supermarket generic one time user. Intending to buy a scanner that would handle 120 anyway, I went out and bought the new Canon 9950 flatbed scanner. Only B&H had them in stock here in NYC and I paid $369.99 which is $30.00 under list. I scanned a few shots at the maximum 4800 ppi or is it dpi, and the results were superb. The film was Fuji Superia. I could see prior to the purchase that the negs were sharp, but kodak scanned them very obviously at low res. This is their premium service. At least TriState charged me only $10.50 including tax which is reasonable for 120 development and printing. Turns out that 120 processing which is very hard to find outside of pro labs is done by a portrait shop around the corner from where I live at $3.50 a roll and 63 cents a print. I will be doing the prints myself henceforth with scanner and Epson printer so I hope they don't mind the limited business I give them as I do most of my shooting in 35mm. I will be trotting out my C-3 and Autocord, however Both of these are older than most RFF members but they work.
The only limitation of the Canon 9950 is limited software that comes with it (PS Elements 2) I haven't tried it with 35mm negs as I have the Dual Scan IV and love it.
Kurt M.

chrisso
12-16-2004, 07:46
Originally posted by Nikon Bob
As much as I like the RD-1 , I am personally staying with film as I have too much already invested in film cameras.


That's why I thought the RD-1 was a neat solution.
I could carry a few Leica lenses and shoot film & digi on the same day, using M6 and RD-1 bodies.
It's probably the Mamiya that's messing with my head.
I love the feel of it and I love the negs.
Would an RD-1 print look as good?
Like you say.....it's a personal choice at the end of the day.

EsaS
12-16-2004, 07:52
My thoughts, worth anything?
I have still my film cameras (M2, Nikon SLR, XA, Kiev, some others). I use my digital SLR for most of my pics. I still like very much using film, for occasional B&W pictures, for slides (you cannot compare anything digital so far with a projected slide, for reasonable cost), for "archival use" if some day my digital files fail (I take reasonable precautions).
I bought a film scanner (in my case 35 mm) and love to go thru old film archives (40 year old pics have new value in them).
In your case MF-camera makes things a little more complicated, but I would not sell M6 unless necessary for financing other purchases. It is a great backup to RD-1 or why not digital M after some years. And regarding quality: MF is certainly giving more details than RD-1 and so is most propably M6 and a reasonable scanner but digital files are "cleaner" which makes evaluation somewhat complicated.
Cheers Esa

EsaS
12-16-2004, 07:55
Crisso
You mostly summed my thoughts while I typed them:)
Cheers Esa

Nikon Bob
12-16-2004, 08:11
One other small point on using Leica film lenses on the RD-1 is the crop factor. I am sure you are aware of this but in case you are not I am mentioning it. I don't know what it is for the RD-1 but generally it is around 1.5 so a 20mm is an turned into a 30mm on a digital. Just something else to think about. If The RD-1 is like the Oly C5050
you have in camera sharpening settings to play with so no matter how the image is captured , direct to a CCD or via a scan, there are sharpening issues among others that have to be sorted out.

Bob

chrisso
12-16-2004, 08:38
Originally posted by Nikon Bob
so no matter how the image is captured , direct to a CCD or via a scan, there are sharpening issues among others that have to be sorted out.


Yep. I'm looking for sharper files in the raw though.
I think M6 or Mamiya 7II to Imacon is a fairly sharp combo (if there ain't no operator error :D ).
I'm willing to compromise on a mid-level digi camera like the RD-1, but not on $40 scans from a pro lab.

peter_n
12-16-2004, 09:02
Originally posted by chrisso
I guess the most sensible suggestion is to sell the M6 - in favour of an RD-1.
Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!!!! :eek: ;)
Originally posted by chrisso
Would an RD-1 print look as good?
It's all personal perception. Some people swear that a digital print looks "better" than a film print. To me a digital print look cold, dead. I much prefer the look of a film print. I was really interested in the RD-1 when it was announced, and since then I've spent a fair amount of time comparing the output of digital/film. Without getting into that debate I'll just say that I prefer the wet printed from film look, and that led me into buying the film scanner last week.

You'll get a lot of different responses to this question but try to make your own comparisons if you can. Then you'll be sure that your decision is right for you. I don't blame you for objecting to the $40 scans that really aren't good enough, I've had the same experience myself. I'm hoping the Minolta scanner I just got will fix that.

Scarpia
12-16-2004, 09:05
But Peter isn't a print from a scanned negative a digital print?
Kurt M.

peter_n
12-16-2004, 09:14
Yes it is Kurt. But I'm not going to be printing from my scans. They're just for web pages. The ones I really like I'll get printed by a lab.

I'm also looking into building a (wet) darkroom. :)

Nikon Bob
12-16-2004, 09:46
Chrisso

Have you post processed your $40 scans in Photo Shop using for example USM etc.?
If you have and they are still soft I am with you and would not tolerate it either. If there is grain in the neg a scan will show that too. Anyway, I am sure you will be happy with your new RD-1. If you go that route be sure and let us know if it solved your problems. BTW I get decent 8.5 X 11 prints from the 5 meg Oly so you should be able to get pleasing results from the RD-1

Bob

chrisso
12-16-2004, 10:32
Originally posted by Nikon Bob

Have you post processed your $40 scans in Photo Shop using for example USM etc.?

Yes.
However, I'm talking about the bought scan looking a bit fuzzy in the raw, compared to the look I'm used to in my own work.
If I zoom in on a raw scan in Photoshop, the scans done on an Imacon by my friend are pretty damn sharp.
I was presuming the pro lab would use Imacon, but their scans are poor IMO.
I haven't tested the same frame in both Imacon and shop method, but I have scanned images from the same roll of film.
One of the things I'm good at is focussing. I use a tripod, a cable release and I take my time. So it really looks like bad scanning to me.....and at $40 a frame.
A few rolls of film and I'd have paid for an RD-1! :D

Nikon Bob
12-16-2004, 11:36
Chrisso

I am sure glad I scan my own negs after hearing your experience! Happy hunting.

Bob

justins7
12-16-2004, 12:02
I went through the same debate, as I'm sure many have. Ultimately I bought a 35mm Canon film scanner ($500) that is magnificent, but SLLLOOOWWWW. It seems like the best compromise in this interim period before a real useable and cheaper digital rangefinder is available.
A scanner seems like the best bridge to digital; the RD-1 will be a worthless brick in 2 years.

chrisso
12-16-2004, 13:41
Originally posted by justins7
the RD-1 will be a worthless brick in 2 years.
That is an interesting point if view......and one I can understand.

Funny how I posted a topic, aimed at confirmed RD-1 users, in an RD-1 forum, but so far most have been sceptical. :rolleyes:
;)

Nikon Bob
12-16-2004, 14:28
Chrisso

Funny how I posted a topic, aimed at confirmed RD-1 users, in an RD-1 forum, but so far most have been sceptical.

Just out of curiosity , can you elaborate on the sceptical part? Thanks

Bob

jlw
12-16-2004, 14:38
I don't want to get into what seem to be some fairly emotional arguments brewing, but let me say a couple of things as BOTH an R-D1 user and somebody who loves film:

1) A good film scanner is a great solution if you mostly want wet prints and just need a digital image occasionally. Once you get beyond that, the problem is that scanning and prepping take a lot of time.

I have only a limited amount of time per week that I can devote to photography, and I quickly discovered that this amount of time would cover either a darkroom-based solution or a scanner-based solution... but not both.

The only reason I got into digital cameras was that I need to produce a lot of digital images, but I don't have the time to do a lot of scans.

2) If what you love about film is shooting in black-and-white, there's a dirty little secret about film scanners: grain aliasing.

A short explanation of this is that the regular pattern of the scanner's CCD interacts with the random pattern of film grain to produce an image in which grain is much more prominent than in the same image printed with an enlarger.

(You can read a much more scientific explanation at this link. (http://www.photoscientia.co.uk/Grain.htm))

Basically, there's NOTHING you can do about it that doesn't affect sharpness, except shoot only chromogenic b&w films. I really wanted to settle on a scanner-based solution for my b&w shooting, but I just couldn't live with the exaggerated grain.

3) I don't feel that the R-D1 will be "a useless brick in a couple of years." Why would that happen? (unless the special battery poops out and Epson doesn't offer replacements.) The images it produces in three years will still be as good as those it produces now, and that's good enough for most of what I shoot.

Don't fall for the planned-obsolescence sales pitch used in the computer industry; the fact that you can now buy a new computer that's faster doesn't really make your old one any slower, and the fact that somebody will have introduced a camera with a gajillion megapixels by then doesn't mean my six-megapixel images will somehow stop meeting my needs.

4) What should you do? For one thing, DON'T sell the M6 if you really like it; you'll probably wind up regretting it, no matter how logical the reasons for letting it go.

If you can easily afford to splash out $3000 for an R-D1 without selling the M6, go ahead and do it; it's a nice camera and a good way to get digital images with the lenses you already have (as long as you don't shoot a lot of superwide images; the R-D1's 1.53x crop factor 'unwides' them.)

If the $3000 would be kind of a stretch, start out by spending a few hundred dollars on a consumer scanner -- you'll probably have to go with a flatbed if you want to scan your medium-format negs. Experiment with this and see how comfortable you are with it.

If you decide you want to stay married to film and just have an occasional fling with digital, the scanner-based solution probably will do it for you; and the scanner will still be useful (for your old negs) even if you later decide to divorce film and get married to digital instead.

On the other hand, if you quickly find you love the flexibility of digital images, but curse the amount of time you spend scanning, spotting, etc., then you may want to move to a digital camera sooner rather than later.


Yes, these are random thoughts, but they're thoughts from someone who has been there...

Doug
12-16-2004, 14:45
Originally posted by chrisso
I'm talking about fuzziness, lack of sharpness, not colour balance or any other post processing.
*When I zoom in on raw Imacon scans from my M6, the picture's are still basically sharp, but on the raw pro scans they look blurred (almost pixelated). It sounds to me like there's a problem somewhere along the line. The Leica M6 and Mamiya 7II are superb cameras well able to produce stunning sharp negatives. So where's the problem?

If you've been able to get sharp enlargements from the negatives. then it would appear the problem is in the scanning. On the other hand, if your 8x10 or 11x14 enlargements are also fuzzy, that argues the problem is elsewhere.

If you get fuzzy enlargements with both the Leica and the Mamiya, that's another bit of useful data... suggesting operator error. If this is the case, I'd be concerned that photos from a new expensive RD-1 would be fuzzy as well.

I just think that it would be a good idea to pin-point the fuzzy problem before applying an expensive solution. :)

mourges
12-16-2004, 15:24
I currently use a film scanner - the Nikon LS 2000. It is quite a few years old, but it still does the job for me.

I've also been through 4 digital cameras in the same time frame as I have had the scanner - the urge to upgrade was too great!

The $ value of the RD1 will diminish over the next few years, however that shouldn't be compared to the personal value to you, and your photography. If you are looking to sell the camera in a few years then you would have an issue. If you have a look at the Nikon D2H you can see overnight the $ value went from $3200 to $2000.

In your position, you already have some great cameras and if the only thing that is annoying you is the lack of decent scanning, I'd buy a scanner. The scanner will last you longer - you don't get hot pixels etc.

Whichever way you go there will be a learning curve (Photoshop etc) but at least with scanning, as you get better you can go back and rescan. If I get a better scanner, I'll certainly rescan my negatives, but my 2 megapixel digital images will always be 2 meg images.

doubs43
12-16-2004, 15:42
"the RD-1 will be a worthless brick in 2 years."

Maybe...... maybe not. I bought a Fuji-S602Z a couple of years ago and upgraded to a Sony F-828. Is the Fuji now a worthless brick? Not at all. I use it often and my wife is learning how to use it now that she's outgrown a P&S Vivitar.

IMO it greatly depends upon the individual and how they view things. For some who must have the "latest & greatest", it's passe as soon as something "better" comes along. For others, they'll use it until it falls apart or until they're forced to upgrade.

Walker

sfaust
12-16-2004, 17:43
"the RD-1 will be a worthless brick in 2 years."

I disagree, as it appears most others do also. Sure the value may drop over that time, but the prints and images that it makes will won't change, nor will its usability. In fact, as printer technology gets better and better, it will no doubt create better printed images than it does now :)

And look at it this way. The price will drop enough that you can pickup a second one very cheaply. Then you'll have two bodies, one for B&W and one for color! :) :)

RML
12-16-2004, 22:01
Originally posted by jlw
...
1) A good film scanner is a great solution if you mostly want wet prints and just need a digital image occasionally. Once you get beyond that, the problem is that scanning and prepping take a lot of time.

I have only a limited amount of time per week that I can devote to photography, and I quickly discovered that this amount of time would cover either a darkroom-based solution or a scanner-based solution... but not both.

This is indeed what I've experienced. I shoot a lot (on average over a year perhaps a roll a day) and scanning everything is just too time-consuming. I currently have about 125-150 unscanned rolls, the oldest dating from September 2003. I simply don't have the time to scan them all. A digital RF like the RD-1 will save me tons of time; time that I can then spend on my wife and little girl.

chrisso
12-17-2004, 00:51
Originally posted by Nikon Bob

Just out of curiosity , can you elaborate on the sceptical part?


It just seemed that a lot of the comments yesterday were from people who had looked at the RD-1 and decided it wasn't for them (for whatever reason).

Doug,
Let's put this thing to bed. I think I have pinpointed the source of my fuzzy images. The only time I'm unhappy with the sharpness is when I'm working with an outsourced scan.
I only mentioned it because I had assumed the pro place would use top of the line equipment. Maybe they don't, maybe they don't have it set up properly, maybe they note I'm an amateur and deliver a half assed job. I don't know. It was my round about way of saying I was worried about settling for a cheap to mid priced scanner.

Thanks to everyone for the advice. I guess I'm crawling toward an idea of what I should do. You are all helping me to narrow the options however and I'm persuaded not to sell my M6.

denishr
12-17-2004, 03:58
Originally posted by Brian Sweeney

I looked at the N8008s, and said "This used to be a digital camera. The back died, so I converted it to film."


Hehehe, I like it, Brian :D

Denis

Nikon Bob
12-17-2004, 06:21
chrisso

The only thing that stops me from getting the RD-1 is the price. I really like the anolog user inputs on it and that is probably why my Oly C5050 gets so little use. I just hate the menu, menu, button, button way of operating the Oly. I wish Nikon would come out with a digital version of the FM2n for the same reason. Come to think of it a digital back would be fine too, so I could enjoy the best of both worlds with the same camera. Stuff dreams are made of. Let us know when you have finnished crawling towards a verdict.

Bob

sfaust
12-17-2004, 06:50
>>> Come to think of it a digital back would be fine too, so I could enjoy the best of both worlds with the same camera. Stuff dreams are made of. <<<

This is exactly why I am considering a medium format solution. Change the back between film or digital, even between each shot if you like. As they are about the same price as the high end of the DSLRs. Probably far more practical that getting the R-D1 which I've been serious considering now for a while.

peter_n
12-17-2004, 07:20
Originally posted by chrisso
I'm persuaded not to sell my M6. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh!!!!!! :)

jlw
12-17-2004, 12:55
Originally posted by sfaust
>>> Come to think of it a digital back would be fine too, so I could enjoy the best of both worlds with the same camera. Stuff dreams are made of. <<<

This is exactly why I am considering a medium format solution. Change the back between film or digital, even between each shot if you like. As they are about the same price as the high end of the DSLRs.

Could you elaborate on which medium-format cameras with digital backs are about the same price as high-end DSLRs?

All the medium-format digital backs I've seen are about the same price as a really good used car...

sreidvt
12-17-2004, 17:59
The R-D1 will not be a worthless brick in two years. Even a Canon D30 made in 2000 is still a very useable camera and I've often recommended it to photography students on a very limited budget. I have no idea what the $$ value of the R-D1 will be in two years but I don't really care. There are a lot of pictures that can be made with that camera in those two years.

Sean

tlianza
12-18-2004, 07:49
Hi to all,
Just to add my two cents... I own an RD1,M6,M7 and a Mamiya 7 as well as Dslrs and Nikon and Leica SLRs. My own experience has been that below 11X17 images, digital is normally a winner regardless of format, regardless of film type. I own a Nikon ls 8000 scanner and it does a fine job on the medium format and I can take those images to much greater size than the digital image files. If you buy an RD-1 you will probably just use your leicas less. It's very convient and very easy to produce images. I haven't taken thousands of images, but the RD-1 works better in mixed lighting than any of the DSLRs that I have and it seems to handle highlight detail far better than the Olympus E1 or Nikon D100. Having said that, a Leica with Ektachrome GX100 or Fuji ASTIA will do a far better job with highlights and the image will enlarge to sizes greater than 11X17 with ease and great detail. If you love rangefinders, own leica(s) and some lenses, the RD-1 is a very good addition. It certainly makes NO sense to me, outside of that context however. I still have a wet darkroom and I still use my Scanner often. Now if I can only find time to actually take some pictures....

DaShiv
12-18-2004, 12:50
Originally posted by tlianza
I haven't taken thousands of images, but the RD-1 works better in mixed lighting than any of the DSLRs that I have and it seems to handle highlight detail far better than the Olympus E1 or Nikon D100.

I can certainly believe the holding highlights part--typical of Canons, my 20D still likes to blow out highlights on a regular basis, although less so than the Digital Rebel it replaced. Nikons are reputed to be better at holding highlights and I'm glad to hear that the R-D1's processing is similarly capable.

I'm a bit confused by your mixed lighting comment though. Do you mean that it has a better built-in white balance, or that it doesn't clip individual color channels as easily under severe lighting (red channel under tungsten for example), or...?

chrisso
12-19-2004, 02:28
At this point I'm leaning towards buying a good scanner, because I know I have a library of past photographs I will want to scan at some point in the future.
On the other hand, I love the idea of the RD-1, the ability to see ones work in progress (no more wasted rolls of film). I'm also concerned about being left behind by the digital movement. It's already a steep learning curve IMO.
I had similar difficulties shifting from the analog music domain to digital a few years ago.

RML
12-19-2004, 06:40
Chrisso, if you have photos and film lying about that you want digitized you'll definitely want a neg scanner.

For me the RD-1 would mean can keep shooting an RF camera but no longer would have to spend tons on film and development, and days on scanning the lot.

I'm not too worried about being left behind. There are so many fields I have no knowledge of that I'm not too worried about digital photography. And as photography isn't my means of life I can take as much time as I want to get to know as much as I want about digital photography. Besides, learning new things, especially when it seems a daunting task, is fun. :)

chrisso
12-19-2004, 07:26
A lot of you keep talking about hours spent scanning film.
I tend to scan the few shots that are truly keepers.
I might scan two or three images off a roll of 35.
I'd be lucky if I get one outstanding image (well 'outstanding' for me at least) from each roll of film after scanning and processing in Photo Shop.

RML
12-19-2004, 07:55
How can you tell just from looking at the neg? I can't. Only when I see them full size on the screen (that is, after they've been scanned) can I tell whether a shot is a keeper or not.

chrisso
12-19-2004, 08:05
I can tell - if I'm looking at transparancies, or a lab contact sheet.
I'm often unhappy with the subject, or composition. I usually take 3 or 4 shots for each picture anyway (more if I'm doing landscape with changing light). I often only have 5 or 6 scenes I want to capture per roll of film.
Therefore I can pretty much weed out all but one or two versions of one or two images I want (from each roll).
Then it's a case of scanning and processing to see which is a sharp picture, with the subject how I want it and the light I'm looking for.

jlw
12-19-2004, 10:47
Originally posted by chrisso
On the other hand, I love the idea of the RD-1, the ability to see ones work in progress (no more wasted rolls of film). I'm also concerned about being left behind by the digital movement. It's already a steep learning curve IMO.

One great thing about the R-D1 for the traditional RF shooter is that basically there is no learning curve. As long as you keep the LCD screen folded away in its stowed position, you can use it just like a C-V Bessa if you want:


You set shutter speeds by turning a dial.
You set apertures by turning a ring.
You focus by aligning the RF patch on the subject.
You get ready for the next shot by stroking a lever with your thumb.


No exposure mode selector, no multi-program settings, no multi-pattern meter switch, no nuthin'. If you leave the camera set to raw mode, you don't even have to choose between color/grayscale or make any image-processing settings (you can do all that later when you "develop" your shots with the raw-conversion utility, so you can see what it does to the image.)

One thing I've been re-learning from using the R-D1 vs. my Nikon D-100: if you already know pretty much what settings you need in a particular situation, it is so much quicker and easier to make them directly with manual controls, rather than having to struggle with a lot of automation overrides. I can get good pictures with the D-100 if I devote enough attention to outsmarting it; with the R-D1, I still need to think about the photographic process, but I barely need to think about camera operation at all.

sreidvt
12-19-2004, 16:40
Chris,

I scan past 35mm negative work (primarily B&W) on a Minolta 5400 and am very happy with the results. I've had drum scans done of the same work and they aren't appreciably better (shocking perhaps, but true). That said, I've shot virtually all work since 2002 on digital and would not go back.

Sean

chrisso
12-20-2004, 00:47
Thanks. :)

sfaust
12-20-2004, 06:54
>> I can get good pictures with the D-100 if I devote enough attention to outsmarting it; <<

I take the opposite approach. Rather then trying to outsmart it, my normal default is all manual. Then I just turn on any automation that I know will do what I want, and/or will do it faster than I could.

So rather than outsmarting it, I selectively delegate any tasks to it that I already know its good at. About the only thing that I leave on most of the time is the matrix metering. Its almost foolproof with perfect exposures, and I rarely ever need to tweak it in post. I occasionally use spot metering, or even a hand led spot for tight metering.

AF comes a close second, but only for sports, action, or shooting people or models with motion to them. Once you know the exact placement of the AF sensors (not the viewfinder markings) and how to use them, its deadly accurate and faster at focusing than I ever could be. For anything that's not moving, the AF is usually turned off. Most everything else is always off, or only used occasionally.

For sports or fast action, there is nothing in the world that can beat AF with AF-s lenses, Dynamic motion tracking, matrix metering, (or Canons equivalent) at capturing a series of perfectly focused, perfectly exposed series of shots at 8 frames per second. I am always amazed when I do air to air or ground to air shots of air shows or air racing at the shear number of perfectly done images I can get of subject moving at 200mph. I had a L39 Albatross Russian Fighter jet on a fly by for a photo pass for me. At 200mph, I got 43 perfectly exposed and focused images in the brief few seconds that it took to make the run. I couldn't image how many passes I would have had to ask him to make if I was shooting with a manual camera. And at the cost of jet fuel these days...

When I don't need the automation, the R-D1 has got to be the most logical choice for me. I love the R3a, and the R-D1 is the perfect manual digital camera IMO. The price is the only thing holding me back. With upgrading my two S2 Pro's to two D2x's, I just can't justify the R-D1 on top of that since the D2x's can do anything the R-D1 can (with the exception of using M mount lenses). I need the D2x's because of the type of work I do, so its hard to justify the R-D1 at that cost as a personal toy.

My ideal camera bag would contain a pair of Nikon D2xs with a good selection of AF-S lenses, and 2 SB-800 wireless strobes. Right next to it would be a R-D1 with a 21mm, 35mm, 40mm, and 75mm! Nirvana!! But for the time being, it will have to be the R3a that takes its place.

Nikon Bob
12-20-2004, 07:43
Chris

The solution is obvious. Simply get both a scanner and RD-1. You can scan your old film at your leisure and get a quicker work flow with the RD-1. It is not tongue in cheek either. The newer model of Epson flat bed scanners are reputed to give great results and will do 35mm, med and large format. They are also not very costly.

Bob

sfaust
12-20-2004, 08:04
I've got the Epson 4870 scannner. I was impressed with the results I get from medium format and 4x5 transparencies and negatives. I got it to use for personal scans not thinking it would be good enough for my professional work. But I'ved decided to forego having my work stuff professionally scanned anymore. The scans I am getting from the 6x6cm and 4x5 images are excellent.

The 4870 is highly recommended in my opinion.

jlw
12-20-2004, 08:24
I take the opposite approach. Rather then trying to outsmart it, my normal default is all manual. Then I just turn on any automation that I know will do what I want, and/or will do it faster than I could.

This sounds like it could turn into a microcosmic recap of the entire SLR-vs-RF debate. As we all know, the SLR people won, at least in terms of numbers. An SLR is more versatile, more efficient, etc. In terms of churning out a large number of good pictures, an SLR will always win -- and the more automated, the better.

On the other hand, if you're willing to give up the certainty of a lot of good pictures to gamble in hopes of getting one great picture, then the choice becomes a lot more individualized.



great picture, he was paying for usable pictures. Ditto if you're shooting your kid's baptism or similar occasion. Nobody wants the one iconic image of a lifetime - they just want a decent shot of the kid's big moment.

I understand all that. But let's deal for the moment only with those idealistic occasions in which you can at least plausibly hope to be gunning for a great picture.]



Anyway, getting back to what types of cameras/features/settings work best in this highly individualized pursuit of great photos, I feel that it varies a lot depending on what you shoot, where, and how. For instance, our previous poster is an aviation guy, and I'm a theater guy. So...

About the only thing that I leave on most of the time is the matrix metering. Its almost foolproof with perfect exposures, and I rarely ever need to tweak it in post. I occasionally use spot metering, or even a hand led spot for tight metering.

And I almost never use matrix metering. It's almost never right. In theaters, rehearsal halls, etc., the light is always coming at the camera from all kinds of weird directions. Not only does matrix metering not know what to make of these situations, but I don't know how to override its recommendations -- because I don't know how it might have overcompensated or miscompensated its readings in the first place. It's like asking the guy next to you what exposure he's using, without knowing what speed film he has or whether he's even a competent photographer or not.

My digital SLR almost never comes off spot mode, just because even if it's mis-reading, I know exactly what it read and can compensate from there. Center-weighted is a pretty good second choice, although it requires a bit more experience to adjust it.

For sports or fast action, there is nothing in the world that can beat AF with AF-s lenses, Dynamic motion tracking, matrix metering, (or Canons equivalent) at capturing a series of perfectly focused, perfectly exposed series of shots at 8 frames per second. I am always amazed when I do air to air or ground to air shots of air shows or air racing at the shear number of perfectly done images I can get...

This is another illustration of how what you shoot makes a big difference. If there's nothing in the background except blank sky, I'm sure dynamic AF works great.

On the other hand, if there are lots of highly detailed objects at similar distances, you could easily get 40 frames focused on the wrong object! This happens to me all the time in theaters, where the important subjects (blurry, amorphous human beings) are posed right in front of sharp, contrasty, angular scenery that makes an irresistible target for the tiny brain of the dynamic AF system.

...the D2x's can do anything the R-D1 can (with the exception of using M mount lenses). I need the D2x's because of the type of work I do, so its hard to justify the R-D1 at that cost as a personal toy.

My ideal camera bag would contain a pair of Nikon D2xs with a good selection of AF-S lenses, and 2 SB-800 wireless strobes....

Another illustration of the importance of what you want to shoot, and how. Carrying around a big bag of equipment gives you more versatility - but it exacts a big cost in mobility.

This is an important factor for me: sometimes a chance at the best picture means climbing up into the second balcony, or squeezing in behind the piano, or hanging off the ladder up to the fly loft, or whatever.

When I'm lugging my digital SLR gear, I often don't even bother to explore these types of opportunities, just because "there's no way I can get in there with all this stuff." If all I've got is an RF camera and two lenses in a belt bag, I'll go anywhere. Often it doesn't pay off, but sometimes it does.


What I'm saying here is not that I'm right and the other poster is wrong -- but that there IS no "right" answer except what's right for you.

That's the reason I got back into RFs, after moving through a selection of higher-and-higher-tech SLRs and bigger and bigger collections of lenses. I was getting good pictures, all right, pictures that satisfied the people who use my photos.

But when I looked back through several years' worth of old contact sheets and prints, I noticed that almost all my best pictures had been made with an RF camera and one or two lenses.

So I decided I'd better start trying to find my way back to that, and that's how I got to where I am now. I'm not claiming I'm "there" yet, and of course it's a journey, not a destination anyway.

But what I finally figured out was that I can't be the kind of photographer I want to be unless I give myself at least the option of choosing an RF camera outfit... and that's why the R-D1 made sense for me, even though I had to sell a lot of other nice stuff to afford it.

As always, of course: Your mileage may vary!

sfaust
12-20-2004, 10:20
I though my point was simple, that a SLR set to fully manual is akin to a Bessa R2! Manual exposure, manual focus, with absolutely no automation! Basically that is no reason to try to out think the camera. Turn everything off, and only turn on what you need and know works. It wasn't a SLR vs RF, which somehow now it seems to be...sigh...

On the other hand, if you're willing to give up the certainty of a lot of good pictures to gamble in hopes of getting one great picture, then the choice becomes a lot more individualized.....

This whole line of thought really makes me pause! This has nothing at all to do with the camera, but the style or type of shooting one will be doing. Whether an RF or a SLR, both are more than capable of creating bad, mediocre, good, or great results. The only difference is the feature set and its relevancy to the particular photo taking opportunity. But even this wasn't my point, as all that automation can be turned off, making the high tech wonder nothing more than a high quality manual digital camera similar to the R-D1 (aside from the obvious RF limitations).


Anyway, getting back to what types of cameras/features/settings work best in this highly individualized pursuit of great photos, I feel that it varies a lot depending on what you shoot, where, and how. For instance, our previous poster is an aviation guy, and I'm a theater guy. So...

I shouldn't be classified into such a niche because of one example. I am far from an aviation guy! I shoot professionally, which means I shoot in a lot of differing situations. Sure, I've shot aviation, I've hung out of helicopters doing aerials. But that's the minority of my work. I've shot far more studio stills, product shots, corporate events, editorials, theater, film, movie sets, motor sports, environmentals, macro, industrial, annual reports, architecture, scenics, nature, and even some fashion. What I haven't done is traditional sports, weddings, and portraits. The majority of my work is corporate, product, and editorials. The editorial work covers a lot ground from studio to location, and all kinds of shooting scenarios.


And I almost never use matrix metering. It's almost never right. In theaters, rehearsal halls, etc.

Theater is one of the definite situations that I turn off the matrix and use spot or handheld. Depending on the lighting, I may just select an exposure value and leave it, or use spot metering and AE lock to dynamically alter the exposure depending on the lighting. Night photography, heavy backlit, and other challenging lighting conditions are other instances that I turn off matrix. This doesn't take any weight from my statement that I use matrix metering most of the time. I do, and it works perfectly! The nice feature is that I can decide when to use to, and not have to try to outsmart it. I just turn it off and use alternate methods.

SO yea, turn it off, and don't try to compensate for it. that's the beauty of automation. Use it when it works, turn it off and run manual when you know it won't be right, or are not sure how well it will work. That was the thrust of my first post. Don't try to out think it, only delegate when you know it will give you the results you want. Theatre is not one of them from my experience.




quote:For sports or fast action, there is nothing in the world that can beat AF with AF-s lenses, Dynamic motion tracking, matrix metering, (or Canons equivalent) at capturing a series of perfectly focused, perfectly exposed series of shots at 8 frames per second. I am always amazed when I do air to air or ground to air shots of air shows or air racing at the shear number of perfectly done images I can get...

This is another illustration of how what you shoot makes a big difference. If there's nothing in the background except blank sky, I'm sure dynamic AF works great.

Either you haven't tried it, or are shooting with the early stuff. Dynamic tracking works even with distracting backgrounds. In fact, it can even hold focus if an object crosses in front of the path of your object. Ie, you are focused on a a runner rounding third base, and another player passes between you and the guy on third. It will continue to track the guy on third since it uses predictive focus to estimate when the runner at third should be. The guy crossing is outside of those parameters, so it uses the predictive data and focuses where it assumes the runner will be based on its history of speed, angle, etc. When the closer guy passes out of frame, it recaptures the guy on third right where it predicted! I tried this a lot with my daughters softball season (she was on 4 teams, grueling schedule for me :( ). I was skeptical so I tried to fool it as often as possible. The damn thing really works. Busy background, things crossing in from and behind. Nice!! I really got to learn how it works, and when not to use it. Its supposed to be even better with the D2x.

On the other hand, if there are lots of highly detailed objects at similar distances, you could easily get 40 frames focused on the wrong object! This happens to me all the time in theaters, where the important subjects (blurry, amorphous human beings) are posed right in front of sharp, contrasty, angular scenery that makes an irresistible target for the tiny brain of the dynamic AF system.

That hasn't been my case at all, but then again I've never used it in the theater. Its not designed for that type of environment, nor is AF really. Unless the theater is bright, you could have all sorts of focusing issues which would make the dynamic tracking almost useless. I'm not surprised that you had issues with dynamic tracking, and the manual specifically cites those conditions as situations that will return poor AF results. Turn it off and use manual focusing, rather than try to outsmart it.


quote:...the D2x's can do anything the R-D1 can (with the exception of using M mount lenses). I need the D2x's because of the type of work I do, so its hard to justify the R-D1 at that cost as a personal toy.

My ideal camera bag would contain a pair of Nikon D2xs with a good selection of AF-S lenses, and 2 SB-800 wireless strobes....



Another illustration of the importance of what you want to shoot, and how. Carrying around a big bag of equipment gives you more versatility - but it exacts a big cost in mobility.......

>> bunch of RF vs SLR comparisons <<

You shoot theater. For me, theatre, film, or corporate events with a stage driven presentation with theater type lighting are always a manual focusing, sport metering AE or hand held meter with manual exposure affair. Whether you use a R-D1, R3a, or a D1x to do that doesn't matter. Either will work perfectly fine if you understand your camera well, and know when to use the features available to you. Putting a camera on auto, whether its a R3a with only AE, or a high end SLR with tons of features is not the way to get good results. Automation is a tool to be used as a helper, and not as a crutch. Its up to the photographer to know when a feature is either, and choose appropriately.

I don't know why this has turned to a SLR vs RF argument. I wasn't arguing the point at all. If you read it again, I was merely stating that you should think more in terms of turning on features for you that you know work in the situation you are in, rather then trying having all the automation on and trying to out think it or compensate for it which you stated you were always doing. If you reversed your process to only turning on what you need, things would be much smoother. I followed up with one situation where the automation clearly works, as a demonstration when it makes sense to turn it on, rather than leave it off. It certainly wasn't a knock against RF, or a RF vs SLR debate.

Another illustration of the importance of what you want to shoot, and how. Carrying around a big bag of equipment gives you more versatility - but it exacts a big cost in mobility.

This is an important factor for me: sometimes a chance at the best picture means climbing up into the second balcony, or squeezing in behind the piano, or hanging off the ladder up to the fly loft, or whatever.

When I'm lugging my digital SLR gear, I often don't even bother to explore these types of opportunities, just because "there's no way I can get in there with all this stuff." If all I've got is an RF camera and two lenses in a belt bag, I'll go anywhere. Often it doesn't pay off, but sometimes it does.

I always explore any opportunity regardless of what I am carrying. It doesn't mean I have to drag it all with me. I can easily drop the SLR in the bag and leave it, grab a smaller camera, and head up to the balcony. Even so, I don't find a SLR and a couple lenses such a burden that I wouldn't carry it anywhere I would take a RF.

What I'm saying here is not that I'm right and the other poster is wrong -- but that there IS no "right" answer except what's right for you.

Exactly!!!!!

Whether you agree with me or not, lets not do the RF vs SLR debate because you are exactly right in your statement above. I love RDs. I also love SLRs. I could argue the finer points regarding either regarding any given situation, but I would not want to be required to choose one over the other. Fortunately, I am in a position I don't have to, and work pays for it. For those that have to choose, one system will fit their needs better than the other, and I would never try to covert them away from their choice.

Fact is, if I was not working professional, I would have a very hard time choosing between something like a Hassy 500, a Nikon D70, a Epson R-D1, or a nice M6 setup. Why can't I have them all!!!

jlw
12-20-2004, 11:43
I think we've adequately covered both points of view here, and probably already have exceeded the interest level of everyone except ourselves.

Where I personally want to wind this up is by re-asserting that equipment and work-practice choices depend on individual goals.

For a working professional who needs to cover a wide variety of assignments, it's quite likely that a D2x outfit is the right tool, and an R-D1 would be (as you said) simply a toy.

For someone pursuing photography as a means of personal expression, it might very well be the other way around.

Usual disclaimers apply, including my favorite: "The smallest effective dose should be used."

jlw
12-20-2004, 12:13
I always explore any opportunity regardless of what I am carrying. It doesn't mean I have to drag it all with me. I can easily drop the SLR in the bag and leave it, grab a smaller camera, and head up to the balcony. Even so, I don't find a SLR and a couple lenses such a burden that I wouldn't carry it anywhere I would take a RF.

Okay, one last war story on this thread. I'm the guy who once got kicked out of the proscenium box at a dress rehearsal of Gounod's 'Romeo et Juliette' simply because the conductor didn't like the LOOK of my SLR and 200/2.8 lens! (The publicist who had commissioned the photos was livid, but there was nothing she could do. The conductor is the boss.)

Nowadays small 'n' stealthy is my mantra, and whether it's rational or not, I just feel more agile when I'm shooting with an RF!

sfaust
12-20-2004, 14:48
For a working professional who needs to cover a wide variety of assignments, it's quite likely that a D2x outfit is the right tool, and an R-D1 would be (as you said) simply a toy.

Toy was used in a less than serious sense just as many of us here would classify all our hobby camera gear as 'personal toys'. In fact, search for toys on this site and see how often we call our cameras 'toys'. You took it in a literal sense, which it was never indented to be when I wrote it. My RV falls under my toy category, as do my snowmobiles. But that is not meant to say they are 'toys' in the literal sense.

Okay, one last war story on this thread. I'm the guy who once got kicked out of the proscenium box at a dress rehearsal of Gounod's 'Romeo et Juliette' simply because the conductor didn't like the LOOK of my SLR and 200/2.8 lens! (The publicist who had commissioned the photos was livid, but there was nothing she could do. The conductor is the boss.)

Nowadays small 'n' stealthy is my mantra, and whether it's rational or not, I just feel more agile when I'm shooting with an RF!

It could have been just the opposite if you showed up with a smaller less obtrusive camera, only to find out that the only shooting position you were allowed to use was so far away that what you really needed was a 400mm f2.8 to cover the subject properly! Either way, that's exactly why I carry a big camera bag! I can always leave what I don't need in the car, or in a closet on location, but I can't use what I need if its back on the shelf in the studio!!! But most importantly, I always always make contact with those in charge at the location to work out the details. Not doing so creates problems such as this one, and further, not being prepared corners the photographer into less than ideal solutions. If I can't work out all the details for whatever reason, I advise the editor or art director there are open risks, and let them either work the issue directly, advise on how to proceed, or assume the risks that I may not get what they need. But rarely does that happen.

"My ideal camera bag would contain a pair of Nikon D2xs with a good selection of AF-S lenses, and 2 SB-800 wireless strobes. Right next to it would be a R-D1 with a 21mm, 35mm, 40mm, and 75mm! Nirvana!! But for the time being, it will have to be the R3a that takes its place."

I think I said this before but was scoffed at:) However, your example is an perfect example why my camera bag is as big as it is. And it's actually much bigger than that if you count the film bodies (F5, FA), the times I take the medium format or large format equipment, and other accessories, gadgets, lighting, reflectors, etc. And no, I don't carry it around all day, I use a smaller shoulder bag for the 'users', and store the rest on site somewhere close by.

I'll finish with a brief statement then just move on.

I never intended to argue RF vs SLR, big bag vs little bag, or the usefulness of an RFs vs SLRs in specific situations. That part of this conversation was steered by you. You stated you were having issues with a digital SLR trying to outsmart its automation. I responded only to tell you to turn off all the automation and think in manual terms and your issues would be gone. Shooting in a theater environment with a R2 and a hand held meter is no different than shooting in the theater with a D2x set to manual mode and a hand held meter. There is no difference as they are both manual cameras at that point with a thinking photographer and an external meter. What you do from there is entirely up to the photographer and not the camera.

Based on your statements, you had the automation on and were instead trying to outsmart the camera. Much like setting the cruise control on your car, then trying to figure out how to get it to go up and down hills without surging on the accelerator all the time. It wasn't designed to do that, so turn it off and use your foot. I was merely suggesting you do the same. The D100 (I think that is what you were using) isn't designed to use AF in a theater, nor was matrix metering designed to be used under theatrical lighting settings. In fact most camera manuals state something to that effect in the metering and AF sections regarding dim lighting, spot lights, etc, and suggest the AF is turned off and metering set to spot or center weighted. That's where I said to step back and go fully manual, then only delegate what features were designed to work successfully under those conditions.

I then added an instance where the automation does indeed work well as an example of when one might want to turn on all that automation. It was meant to show that while the camera can indeed be reduced to a fully manual camera, there are times that you would want to turn on most of the advanced features it offers. It wasn't meant to say the SLR is better, or that the automation relieves the photographer of the responsibility to decide when its appropriate to use it. We could spend days arguing different scenarios in the usage of SLRs vs RFs, and both be right in equal parts. Very non-productive and not worth going there!!

So, please read my first post with this in mind, and I think you will see that it wasn't negative toward RF's, slanted to SLR's, or even pro or con on either type of camera. It certainly wasn't suggesting that you abandon the R-D1 in favor of a SLR, rethink the scenarios in which you might choose one over the other, or trying to demote the R-D1 to toy status. Rather, I was merely suggesting that if you re-thought how you approach the automation (default off vs default on), it would resolve the issues you were having. If you felt it was otherwise, I apologize for not being concise, as it wasn't my intent.

sfaust
12-20-2004, 19:01
Could you elaborate on which medium-format cameras with digital backs are about the same price as high-end DSLRs?

All the medium-format digital backs I've seen are about the same price as a really good used car...

A used 645M (16mp) digital back for most common MF cameras can be had for around the price of a 35mm Nikon D2x or Canon 1D MkII, or around $4-5K. A brand new low end MF back can be had around the same price as the new 35mm Canon IDs MkII, or around $8-9K. The higher end MF backs are in the $12-20K range.

If you don't already own a MF system that is compatible, then the cost goes up dramatically. Although that also applies if you don't already own all the pieces of a 35mm digital system. The body (or back in this case) is only part of the cost of the entire system.

chrisso
12-21-2004, 02:06
If this thread is to continue, let's drag it back to the pro's and con's of the RD-1 and the arguments for or against scanning film instead.

RML
12-21-2004, 02:46
Well, Chris, I think the pros and cons of scanning have been discussed already. It's time consuming but gives good results.

The pros and cons of the RD-1 are already being discussed by JWL (iirc) in his excellent user reviews based on his experiences shooting at 'his' ballet college.

chrisso
12-21-2004, 02:51
Yeah, I know.
I've got a lot out of this discussion.
Thx.
Merry Christmas, or Happy Holidays to all.

tlianza
12-26-2004, 06:25
"I'm a bit confused by your mixed lighting comment though. Do you mean that it has a better built-in white balance, or that it doesn't clip individual color channels as easily under severe lighting (red channel under tungsten for example), or...?"

I don't believe that the RD-1 had better built in white balance, as a matter of fact, the auto white balance is technically really weak. I'll post some test images in early January that illustrate this fact. However, that technical weakness, may be an artistic strength in the camera. I shot some images in a Xmas show in a room with strong mixed lighting (flourescent, tungsten and daylight) . In particular, there was one shot that had some dancers positioned next to a window in front of a hallway door with tungsten light. They were back lit with tungsten, side lit by flourescent on one side and side lit by daylight on the other side. I can only say, that the camera worked really well, the image was captured beautifully and there were no problems in the white dresses that I have often scene with other digital cameras in similar situations.

The auto white balance is quite gentle on the RD-1 If I shoot an image under tungesten lighting using auto white, there is a huge difference using the tungsten setting on the camera. The auto balance is much warmer. This is the only digital camera that I would recommend leaving on auto WB. Naturally, if you are shooting in raw mode, this really doesn't matter... http://www.tlianza.com/EPSN0100.jpg

zuikologist
12-29-2004, 04:46
Whilst not wishing to side track this discussion (once again!) it seems that the pros that have posted here can afford (in $'000's prices) but cannot afford to be without (in performance, reliability, client expectations) digital slrs. For them, the downside of reduced portability and inconspicuous use of a rangefinder is of secondary importance.

As has been said elsewhere on this forum, for us amateurs/mortals, the first important point is to have a camera with you at almost all times. Digital slrs and even the RD-1 cannot fulfil this function as well as a small, light rangefinder. They are just not pocketable. Any amount of image quality is of no use if your camera is not with you.

You should also not be fearful of going into certain areas for the right shots. Carrying several thousand dollars of equipment would make me somewhat fearful in certain situations. Even an old but valuable Leica does not look valuable to most ordinary folks and does not get a second glance, which should also make street/candid photography easier.

The RD-1 is a step in the right direction. Perhaps higher end digital p&s equipment is the true street tool of the future, but until the performance and user interface is improved, I'll stick to a Canon ql17, Oly 35SP, Vivitar 35ES ....

sfaust
12-29-2004, 06:11
You make some very valid points, and that's why I mentioned my ideal camera bag would include a R-D1 or R3a. And when I want to go 'naked', I carry a pocket digital P&S that fits inconspicuously in my front pocket. Its only very slightly larger than my cell phone, takes awesome pics, is much quieter than an RF, and makes very good 8x10's. I've gotten many shots that I might otherwise have missed with that camera. No one pays any attention to it when I use it. So I always have a camera with me! Be it a P&S, RF, DSLR, or MF, I've always got something to shoot with. Here are some of the shots I've taken with it, many that would have been missed if I didn't take it with me. Most are just family snaps, but show the quality the little guy is capable of.

http://www.photo.net/photodb/folder?folder_id=429735

The R3a is the next best thing to carrying very light. With the 21mm, 40mm, and 75mm, its very compact and capable. My QL17 GIII is next on my list. Both of these attract a lot more attention than the P&S because of their classic nature, but are still inconspicuous for the most part.

I think the R-D1 is indeed a trend that I'd like to see continue. If the price point wasn't $3K, I would already own one. But as mentioned earlier, I need the D2x DSLR for work, and can't justify the R-D1 as well when I already have the R3a and digital P&S that can serve in the same capacity. It would just be an expensive overlap to existing functionality. Even so, I still want one!! Lets see how my equipment budget works out after taxes for the 2005 year, since Santa didn't bring me one :)