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Ponderings of a Digital Future
Old 08-04-2016   #1
farlymac
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Ponderings of a Digital Future

I've been pondering getting a DSLR lately, mainly because I came into possession of a couple of DX format lenses, and the fact the Nikon D750 is now down to the same price as the D500 (which would mean I can use all my D series lenses on the D750 in their native format).

I went down to the closest camera store to do some fondling of the above mentioned gear, and it only muddles the issue of do I abandon my film gear for the sake of getting my moneys worth out of what would be a big investment? Or do I go downstream a bit to say, the D5500, so I can save $1500, and not feel like I have to use it all the time?

After walking out the store without being able to make a commitment one way or the other, I later came home to read up on the latest from PetaPixel. Sometimes the articles are more "Why I ditched ... for ..., and you should too!", which just seem so pandering to me, but this time I read something that kind of hit home for me. I still can't make up my mind on the issue, but this article helped me to feel like whatever I decide, it will be okay in the long run.

The Year of Living Mirrorlessly

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Old 08-04-2016   #2
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Everyone makes their own choices so one person's experience is not necessarily any indication of how you will respond.

I have been telling myself for years that the future belongs to digital and that I am dragging my feet for no good reason. Over these years I have occasionally purchased a digital camera and worked with it. But I have never bonded with any of them that I own. The closest I have come has been with my digital M, but that was a costly step and I still much prefer to carry and use my M-A.

My wife is not very considerate. She says I should just toss out all the film cameras and leave myself with nothing but digital equipment. "Once you have nothing to use but digital you will get used to it pretty quickly." She may be right, she usually is, but the thought of tossing out all my film cameras sends me into near seizures.
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Old 08-04-2016   #3
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I never buy new camera bodies (and seldom buy new lenses). I buy second hand. Most people change their gear so often that it's not hard to find top quality 2nd hand equipment at perhaps half the cost you would have paid 18 months before if you bought new.

In terms of my main DSLR (a Nikon) I had a DX camera (a D200 and before that a D70s, my first DSLR after my film days) some years back and sold it to buy a D700. My main reason was that I wanted a camera that could shoot in natural light and especially in dim conditions such as street lighting at night without too much loss of image quality. The D700 fit the bill nicely and I am still using it. The D200 had the older CCD sensor and the D700 in addition to being full frame and hence having larger pixel pitch had the newer CMOS sensor. Its image quality in bad light is markedly better. But of course this camera has now been surpassed with Nikons newer offerings. But I have no plans to change yet despite the occasional G.A.S. attack (which I tend to satisfy by buying smaller format cameras as my second string cameras)

To be honest DX cameras have improved so much these days (in terms of sensor quality / image quality) I would have trouble deciding whether to stick to FX or go back to DX on this criterion alone. Furthermore, I like shooting with longer lenses so for me using DX is actually an advantage because of the 1.5 crop factor. I still use many of my older lenses on my DSLRs (both FX and DX) so a bigger issue for me would be ensuring that whatever I get it meters properly with older lenses including MF ones and will auto focus the screw drive AF ones.

My advice would be ask yourself how you will use the camera and let this be your guide. If you mainly shoot wider angles then maybe DX is not for you. The opposite applies if you like longer lenses. I would also advise finding yourself a good store that you trust and consider whether buying second hand might not work best for you. This option allows to get a better camera without the financial strain of buying new. I use my digital cameras as if they are film cameras (i.e. I do not shoot zillions of images with them. Usually its one or two shutter presses and that's it with each image. If I miss it I miss it) and hence can happily keep my digital cameras for a long time thus getting good value from them.

As to your last point / link. If you are really considering buying a mirrorless and using your Nikon lenses with adapters on it, (you are not clear about this) it really depends whether or not you want AF. If not then a suitable mirrorless (say an Olympus OM D EM 5 etc) may be fine. But I can say that my experience is that if you want to use AF comparing Nikon DSLR AF with an Olympus alternative (with its own native 4/3 lens with AF) the Nikon AF seems faster and more decisive. So again it comes back to your needs.
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Old 08-04-2016   #4
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There is no single future. Your own future is a mixture of choice and happenstance. You might, tomorrow, be introduced to large format contact printing and decide that this is the best future for you, without any digital, ever again.

Feeling that you "have to use" a particular piece of equipment seems to me to be getting things precisely backwards. If you want to take pictures, rather than just buying cameras, you will pay whatever you can afford in order to get the camera that is closest to what you need (or at least want) to get the kind of pictures you hope to take.

If you don't really know what you want to take, or what you want to do with the pictures, then pretty much any camera will do. As you form a clearer idea of what you want, you may decide to change cameras. You may also form stronger opinions of what you don't want: for pleasure, and "fine art" (whatever that may be) I'd rather use a Lubitel than a mirrorless camera with adapted lenses. In the studio, a mirrorless camera might be more use.

Ultimately, though, as Pioneer says, no-one can tell you what you will prefer.

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-05-2016   #5
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If you shoot for yourself, stay where you are.
If you do pro work, where the results are needed yesterday,
get digital. Digital is continually changing.
It means upgrading computers, drives and now memory cards.
That in turn means purchasing new programs.
DNG or RAW may need to be repurchased.

I went another way.
A small point and shoot.
I use it continually as I am retired.
It is adequate for 8x12" prints.
Mainly print 4x6" at lab.
I don't own a printer.
Picasa is my only Photoshop.
I have the Canon one but don't bother.
I have never stopped shooting film.
BW is easy processed in my kitchen.
Canonscan is perfect for my needs.

BW Film for things, events, well worth documenting for the future.
Digital images can disappear.
Images on phones are lost, drives collapse,
memory cards don't open.
If Vivian Maier had shot on early digital?
If NASA can't read early data, what chance have I?
Lately NASA released FILM images.
Film for me will continue.
A digital camera if required might well be a smart phone.
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Old 08-05-2016   #6
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I went DSLR way from SLR. If film is your thing no reason to stay virgin or religious fanatic. Do it. After DSLR I ventured back to film as I never did before. Because I learned what film is better as my thing and digital is convenient time saver for pictures everyone else is needed.

I'm not Nikon expert, don't know what DX is. If it is lenses from film era, you might get better results with cheap DSLR (Nikon make them good) and dedicated modern lenses.
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Old 08-05-2016   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roger Hicks View Post
There is no single future. Your own future is a mixture of choice and happenstance. ...

R.
Well said! Low probability events happen.









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Basically, I mean, ah—well, let’s say that for me anyway when a photograph is interesting, it’s interesting because of the kind of photographic problem it states—which has to do with the . . . contest between content and form.
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Old 08-05-2016   #8
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As far as I can tell Nikon believes DX users prefer zoom lenses. I suggest you pick up the lowest price, most recent FX Nikon body you can find. I would take a hard look at KEH.

If you end up using the DSLR more than you think you have the option sell or trade for an upgrade. If you use it lightly, you have spent an appropriate amount of money.

As far as software and computer costs go, unless people have a pure analog work flow or can afford out sourcing all of their scanning and post-production work, you have to invest in IT with film too. It takes time and effort to create high quality prints with both film and digital media.
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Basically, I mean, ah—well, let’s say that for me anyway when a photograph is interesting, it’s interesting because of the kind of photographic problem it states—which has to do with the . . . contest between content and form.
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Old 08-05-2016   #9
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Buy a used D7100...
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Old 08-05-2016   #10
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Ahem... I made a u-turn, and got a Calumet 4x5. DSLR can wait.

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Old 08-06-2016   #11
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Well, surprising change of mind.
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Old 08-06-2016   #12
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Ahem... I made a u-turn, and got a Calumet 4x5. DSLR can wait.

PF
See Post 4...

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-06-2016   #13
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farlymac,

If finances allow, obviously one can do both; it’s not an either-or decision. Despite a life-long preference for film with Leicas, I’m enjoying my digital experience.

For example I find it easier travelling abroad with digital than film – and certainly I don’t feel a ‘traitor’ leaving my film cameras at home, but they get well used when I frequently wander around London for a day shooting a roll or two.

Keep an open mind, and don’t fall into the trap of thinking within a rigid set of parameters that limit creativity and mental development.
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Old 08-06-2016   #14
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DX is a small viewfinder because the sensor is small. FX is bigger and allows better manual focus and seeing of details such as facial expressions.

No matter how good the tests show the camera to be in final image, there will always be the small image in the viewfinder. Only you can decide if this is important.
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Old 08-06-2016   #15
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. . . Keep an open mind, and don’t fall into the trap of thinking within a rigid set of parameters that limit creativity and mental development.
Dear Brian,

aka "Hardening of the Categories".

Cheers,

R.
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Old 08-06-2016   #16
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Dear Brian,

aka "Hardening of the Categories".

Cheers,

R.


(plus additional characters)
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Old 08-06-2016   #17
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Ahem... I made a u-turn, and got a Calumet 4x5. DSLR can wait.
Congratulation, 4X5 is big beautiful negs.
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Old 08-06-2016   #18
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This brings back memories...again.

No one resisted digital more than I. But from a practical standpoint, I knew I should go ahead and take the plunge. Since I already owned Canon film equipment, in 2007 I bought a Canon 30D (APS-C format...I think it's the same as Nikon's DX, isn't it?) and I hated it. I carried it around but resisted using it, instead using either my Leicas or Pentax medium format cameras. Truth was, I was afraid of the damn thing and I was confused because I had read too much advice from camera forum "experts".

I had the 30D for about a year before I finally forced myself to use it and only it for a trip. And I made a photo on that trip that I felt was as good as anything I had ever done on film. That one photo built up my confidence and I started shooting more things digitally. Eventually, I realized I hadn't used a film camera in months and the chemicals in my darkroom had begun to look and smell kinda nasty. I realized I had finally made the transition.

I've previously read the Peta Pixel article that the OP referenced. It brought back those memories for me the first time recently. Randall Armor, the author, must have lived a life parallel with mine at several points. His other article that he referenced, "The Myth of More", is also a good read. His assessment of the Fujifilm X100T (I have the older X100S model) is very accurate.
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Old 08-06-2016   #19
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Parallel story here too, Dogman! Just substitute "Pentax" for "Canon". My new-in-2007 K100D sat for a year before I picked up the manual and tried to figure out how the thing worked. Now it's been years since I used any film.
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Old 08-06-2016   #20
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Enjoy.

Although I have been spending time lately testing out some film I have also been running around with my new snapshot camera, the Wanderlust Travelwide. It has been great shooting 4x5 negatives with my wide angle 90 without too much concern if I remembered my tripod or not.

As soon as I get around to implementing John Carter's suggestion for scanning 4x5 negs with my V500 scanner I'll get some things posted.

Don't be expecting anything better than what I post now.

Have fun.
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Old 08-06-2016   #21
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I have come to the opinion that most articles in Camera Magazines are extolling the virtue of the purchase, nothing else. Just like movie reviews all movies are worth seeing because "they are fun." And, advertisers pay for advertising and don't like bad reviews. Just my jaded opinion of reviews.
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Old 08-06-2016   #22
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I guess it wasn't really a big u-turn. I'd always wanted a mono-rail 4x5 since the days I had a couple of Graphics. So I saw one for a decent price, and went for it. Going to use a 6x7 rollfilm holder on it for a while until I can get the hang of using all the movements.

I've spent a lot of time building up my Nikon gear this year, and while doing that came across some deals on Contax/Yashica lenses, and Leica R system. I think I've learned more about how to make a quality photo by using all the gear I've experimented with over the last few years (Canon, Minolta, Olympus to name a few). And the one thing I found that had been lacking was a decent set of lenses. The cameras always seem to be the weak link between me and the image I want to capture, either through being mechanical disasters, or ergonomic nightmares.

Just today, I was shooting an event (The Great Road Encampment) with a Nikon N5005/Nikkor AF-D 35-80, and a Zorki-6/Industar-26M. It was just the sort of event where I felt that an APS-C DSLR with a moderate zoom would have been nice to have, as there was so much to capture, my two 36 exposure rolls weren't going to do it justice. But I found myself more enjoying the moment, than concentrating on getting a shot. Had to worry too much about burning the shutter in the Zorki, but it was fun when one of the participants came rushing over from his tent to see if I had a Leica.

So now I'll be able to satisfy my longing to learn more about large format, and maybe capture the type of landscape shots that have eluded me over the years.

It's all a process, long and drawn out, with opportunities abound. I now have some time in my life to do what I enjoy without the pressures of a job holding me back. I sometimes wish digital hadn't come about, but then I hearken back to the evening I took a tour of the local pro lab in Norfolk, VA in 1972 or 73, and stood amazed as the technician manipulated my color negative on their brand new previewer (showing it in positive) to a point where I would be satisfied with the print. And I thought to myself "Wouldn't it be great if you could do that in-camera?".

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Old 08-28-2016   #23
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As an update, I was looking around for some more AF-D lenses, when I came across an AF-Micro Nikkor 60mm 2.8D. It comes with a D80 rear lens cap, so I guess I'll be experimenting with a digital SLR sooner than I expected. That is, if the camera works.

DP Review liked it in their review, saying it was a nice improvement over the D70s, with parts from the D200. It's even got a real pentaprism.

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No future for Digital
Old 08-28-2016   #24
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No future for Digital

In view of the nature of countries that are about to become Nuclear, and those who are nuclear, but near developing delivery systems, I question the future of Digital, and may just stay with film. I can mix ingredients for film with the best of them.

Considering the wars we are about to experience, and well placed EMP's (ElectroMagnetic Pulses) moving to digital is a losing proposition.

The OP's choice to go to film 4X5 is wisely taken. We can all mix solutions and natural ingredients in a dark tent, alongside the rivers and in the landscapes we are bound to be living in, without electricity.

Carleton Watkins mixed and loaded his glass plates along the Columbia River and other glorious scenics.

He was unfortunate to lose all his work in the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. Digital would not have saved his work however at the time, and doubtfully today.

Look up Carleton Watkins on Wikipedia.
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Old 08-28-2016   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by farlymac View Post
As an update, I was looking around for some more AF-D lenses, when I came across an AF-Micro Nikkor 60mm 2.8D. It comes with a D80 rear lens cap, so I guess I'll be experimenting with a digital SLR sooner than I expected. That is, if the camera works.

DP Review liked it in their review, saying it was a nice improvement over the D70s, with parts from the D200. It's even got a real pentaprism.

PF
That's interesting.
I myself thought out of 35mm and ramping down on m43 as I enjoyed more the film process and results.
I got an F80 with 28-80D that has been quite fun to use and I'm always pondering to get a 50mm or something, yet keep not doing and instead putting it into film as it is fairly decent.

It's a time where some older Digicams are available at cheap prices and well, that's great. I have to keep myself away from the classifields (not these, the local ones) because really decent stuff is so cheap nowadays. BTW, I do have my dad's F401s (N4004) which I shot my first couple rolls on film, before moving on to Olympus OM. It was quite heavy, noisy and exudes too much 1980s to my taste, so it sits pristine.

I am happy to use whatever equipment is at hand. I will always have my memory... or the iPhone.
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Old 08-28-2016   #26
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In view of the nature of countries that are about to become Nuclear, and those who are nuclear, but near developing delivery systems, I question the future of Digital, and may just stay with film. I can mix ingredients for film with the best of them.

Considering the wars we are about to experience, and well placed EMP's (ElectroMagnetic Pulses) moving to digital is a losing proposition.
Aren't we being a bit overdramatically here? Seriously, if an emp that would ruin your digital cameras came around, the chance is great that not any digital piece of equipment would survive. Not even (and probably even less) your phone. It will probably not even be possible to buy food (everything is digital remember) because no cash registers working, no atm working, no freezers or fridges working.

And you worry about taking photos?
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Old 08-28-2016   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kuzano View Post
In view of the nature of countries that are about to become Nuclear, and those who are nuclear, but near developing delivery systems, I question the future of Digital, and may just stay with film. I can mix ingredients for film with the best of them.

Considering the wars we are about to experience, and well placed EMP's (ElectroMagnetic Pulses) moving to digital is a losing proposition.

The OP's choice to go to film 4X5 is wisely taken. We can all mix solutions and natural ingredients in a dark tent, alongside the rivers and in the landscapes we are bound to be living in, without electricity.

Carleton Watkins mixed and loaded his glass plates along the Columbia River and other glorious scenics.

He was unfortunate to lose all his work in the 1906 San Francisco Earthquake and Fire. Digital would not have saved his work however at the time, and doubtfully today.

Look up Carleton Watkins on Wikipedia.
So how will they make film, if the EMP takes out all the controllers for things like power plants?

I'm not going to worry about such nonsense, as life is too short to begin with, and I've already lived most of mine. And if it would happen tomorrow, I think photography would be the least of my interests, since I don't have a bunker full of canned goods, and Tri-X.

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Old 08-28-2016   #28
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Ah washing film in a creek. My main concern would be deciding whether the remaining coffe was better used for me or my film...
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Old 09-01-2016   #29
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The D80 arrived today. I put an MB-D80 grip on it with the AA adapter pack, and six fresh cells. The 18-105 DX VR I repaired (replaced broken mount) is working fine on it, and I went through the Settings Menu.

From what it says in the manual, apparently it is recommended to use only up to a 4GB memory card. Now I don't have any of those lying around, but one did come with the camera. There are eighty images of too low ISO; odd body parts getting in the way; weak flash; a large percentage of just plain out-of-focus images. Nothing to write home about. I'm just going to format the card, instead of trying to find another one that size.

You know, it's a lot like my N80, only digital.

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Old 09-01-2016   #30
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I think for a film shooter making this type of shift to digital, personally, I would ditch the DX lenses, buy a couple of vintage Nikon lenses in 35 50 and possibly 85mm and find a low mileage D700 to put them on. The D700's 12 megapixel files are a pleasure to work with and convert very well to monochrome, the dynamic range of that old sensor is sensational for its time and is usable up to 6400 ISO ... and the camera itself is bullet proof.
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Old 09-01-2016   #31
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I'm late to this thread but having just read it I'm glad you didn't abandon your film gear. Back in 2003 I bought my first digital point and shoot, that replaced my APS fuji but I kept using the 3 film SLR cameras I owned. A couple of years later I bought my first Nikon DSLR and put two of the SLRs on eBay.

The first DSLR I owned was awesome, a Nikon D40 with a 5MP CCD sensor, the JPGs straight out of the camera were amazing. Then it was stolen. I replaced it with another Nikon and carried on using that for a few years, but something was missing, using it was never truly satisfying, plus I found that the DSLR was a pain when traveling.

After some research I bought myself a travel camera, a Leica D-LUX Typ 109. After a couple of weeks of using that the Nikon, all lenses and flash went on ebay.

But something was still missing.

Then my wife came home from Goodwill with a Mamiya Sekkor SLR and I knew what was missing. Then came the regret, those SLRs I sold? I should never have sold them, I still have one, but I miss the other two. However I have managed to collect several other film cameras, I have run film through seven of them recently, last weekend I processed my first films in 20 years, and my new scanner will be delivered on Tuesday, because even though it is film, I do want to digitize the result.

Also, I bought some supposedly frozen APS film on eBay and the Fuji camera is in my pocket again.

The moral of this story? Enjoy the digital, digital is awesome and convenient, but never sell the film gear, you would regret it one day.

Oh yeah, chromatic aberration on Nikon lenses is a bitch, even on the pro versions, that was one of the things that put me off the whole system.
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Old 09-01-2016   #32
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With my film cameras I may be able to photograph the end of the world,
however I won't be around to see the photos.

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Old 09-02-2016   #33
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Quote:
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...
Oh yeah, chromatic aberration on Nikon lenses is a bitch, even on the pro versions, that was one of the things that put me off the whole system.
Me too.

The high levels of longitudinal CA in most contemporary Nikkor lenses is one of the main reasons I abandoned Nikon.
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Old 09-02-2016   #34
skopar steve
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Yea, I ditched all my film gear and went digital. Including , embarrassed to say, An M6 kit with 35, 50 crons and a 90 tele Elmarit. Not to mention a wonderful darkroom. It was a bit like jumping in the lake to learn to swim.

What I gained was the ability to change ISO for any shot. No more partial rolls of film in the bag. And not worrying if it would have been better in color or B&W. Not to mention over time photography became much more economical in time and money.

Shooting only digital for years and being happy with the results, I would pull out a box of fiber based prints I'd made on occasion. Viewing the prints I realized there is a different aesthetic to the wet print versus the ink jet print. Perhaps it is just my lack of skill in digital workflow. But I even like the look of my film images scanned to digital. Not that they are better, just a different and pleasing aesthetic.

So, long story short. Keep your film gear! Or you will be like me kicking yourself and buying it back at some time in the future.
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Old 09-02-2016   #35
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I think for a film shooter making this type of shift to digital, personally, I would ditch the DX lenses, buy a couple of vintage Nikon lenses in 35 50 and possibly 85mm and find a low mileage D700 to put them on. The D700's 12 megapixel files are a pleasure to work with and convert very well to monochrome, the dynamic range of that old sensor is sensational for its time and is usable up to 6400 ISO ... and the camera itself is bullet proof.
Well, someone gave me the 18-105, so I'd hate to ditch it. And I got the 55-300 at a song seeing as it was used once, and put back in the box. But I appreciate the advice, Keith, and have been looking at getting an FX camera. It's just not in the budget at the time. This D80 will suffice me until I get tired of it's limitations, since it is just a step up from my P7700. Still have a lot of learning to do when it comes to quick setting changes in the field.

As for vintage lenses, I've already got quite a few non-AI, AI, AIS, AF-S, and AF-D. As well as a brace of Tamron AF.

I'm kind of set for the long run.

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Old 09-02-2016   #36
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Mike, Chris, Willie, and Steve, I'll never abandon my film gear, though I plan to jettison quite a bit of the excess.

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Old 09-02-2016   #37
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Well, someone gave me the 18-105, so I'd hate to ditch it. And I got the 55-300 at a song seeing as it was used once, and put back in the box. But I appreciate the advice, Keith, and have been looking at getting an FX camera. It's just not in the budget at the time. This D80 will suffice me until I get tired of it's limitations, since it is just a step up from my P7700. Still have a lot of learning to do when it comes to quick setting changes in the field.

As for vintage lenses, I've already got quite a few non-AI, AI, AIS, AF-S, and AF-D. As well as a brace of Tamron AF.

I'm kind of set for the long run.

PF

One of the issues I have with the DX cameras is the viewfinders ... they tend to be a bit of a tunnel. They are more suited to AF I guess.
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Old 09-02-2016   #38
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Yea, I ditched all my film gear and went digital. Including , embarrassed to say, An M6 kit with 35, 50 crons and a 90 tele Elmarit. Not to mention a wonderful darkroom. It was a bit like jumping in the lake to learn to swim.

What I gained was the ability to change ISO for any shot. No more partial rolls of film in the bag. And not worrying if it would have been better in color or B&W. Not to mention over time photography became much more economical in time and money.

Shooting only digital for years and being happy with the results, I would pull out a box of fiber based prints I'd made on occasion. Viewing the prints I realized there is a different aesthetic to the wet print versus the ink jet print. Perhaps it is just my lack of skill in digital workflow. But I even like the look of my film images scanned to digital. Not that they are better, just a different and pleasing aesthetic.

So, long story short. Keep your film gear! Or you will be like me kicking yourself and buying it back at some time in the future.


Likewise. I've gone fully digital and it suits me. I had a DSLR die on me while out in a village in Guatemala and I couldn't recharge my batteries. So I swore it'd never happen again and bought an M6. I enjoyed shooting film for a few years but came across the same issue. Changing light throughout the day left rolls half used and the cost of developing color film and scanning was just too much. Digital is my only option for now.
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Old 09-02-2016   #39
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One of the issues I have with the DX cameras is the viewfinders ... they tend to be a bit of a tunnel. They are more suited to AF I guess.
I've noticed that too. One of the things on the Limitations list.

I basically got the camera for free, because I was in reality bidding on the AF 60 Micro 2.8D attached to it. For what I paid, it was a steep discount for the lens. The only money I have in the camera is for a used MB-D80 grip with the AA pack adapter, 6 new AA batteries, two used MH-18a chargers, and three used EN-EL3e batteries, and that was all under $80 total. Small price to pay for training wheels.

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Old 09-03-2016   #40
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One of the issues I have with the DX cameras is the viewfinders ... they tend to be a bit of a tunnel. They are more suited to AF I guess.
Yes.

Nikon seems to enjoy making DX cameras unpleasant for some photographers.

Fortunately other brands have a different approach.
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