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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 5:59 am 
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Jordan wrote:
I've always wondered, what's the lab photography equipment like?

You get very decent, professional results. Good job :wink:


Any insight, Mike? This was a genuine question :oops:

I enjoy the SPCR lab insider coverage but I don't think you've ever covered what camera and lighting you use?

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 28, 2009 6:39 am 
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Missed that, Jordan.

Two different digicams are used: Canon G6 "point & shoot" and Nikon D80 SLR w/ 28~135mm std lens. Often on auto exposure/focus but also often on manual or mixed-auto settings. Both usually with tripods (a Sherpa & a Manfrotto with a ProBall head -- love this thing, but drool over the Really Right Stuff ballheads) usually no flash, sometimes in open shade outdoors, most often indoors, with diffuse lighting from bare daylight CFLs behind swaths of white cloth. Gives the lab a bit of a tenty look. Imagine a Bedouin geek's tent. An external flash for the Nikon D80 works well when needed, especially with bounce.

Image
Here's a shot with the Nikon, from the floor straight up at one of the "tented" bulbs.

A light box -- that I made originally to view 35mm slides back in the day -- is used for spot lighting. Sometimes placing things right on it gives good/cool results.

Mostly shoot in jpg; RAW is not worth the trouble for low res web images (which is mostly what the pics here are, optimized, usually 20kb to maybe max 80kb). Photoshop is the only touchup/correction tool I use. Used it for >15 years, at one point, with prof. DTP, doing multi-page color brochures & booklets, posters, tradeshow booth graphics, hundred page tech manuals, etc.

Been a "serious" hobby photographer since I was a young teen -- O so long ago, sigh... :lol: Cut my teeth on Canon & Leica 35mm rangefinders, Minolta/Minox 16mm minis, Minolta/Canon 35mm SLRs, a Mamiya 120/220, messed with chemicals and an enlarger in a darkroom for a few years.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 2:43 am 
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Excellent, thanks for the detailed info :D

MikeC wrote:
Been a "serious" hobby photographer since I was a young teen -- O so long ago, sigh... :lol: Cut my teeth on Canon & Leica 35mm rangefinders, Minolta/Minox 16mm minis, Minolta/Canon 35mm SLRs, a Mamiya 120/220, messed with chemicals and an enlarger in a darkroom for a few years.


That explains a lot and it shows :wink:

Bit of a hobbiest myself and got my first DSLR (second hand D70s) a year or two back. I was messing around with compacts for years before it but could never afford the upgrade until I discovered how big the second hand market is on these things as people upgrade so often!

Also looking to make the upgrade to a good ball-head myself (Manfrotto, most likely) just so much easier to set than adjusting two sticks on a pan and tilt. The amount of time I takes me to set up my tripod currently really puts me off using it.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 5:33 am 
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Jordan wrote:
Also looking to make the upgrade to a good ball-head myself (Manfrotto, most likely)


Have a look at Markins, they're a half-way house between Manfrotto and the Kirk/Arca/RRS stuff. They take the same QR plates at the more expensive heads (don't like the Manfrotto QR system myself), but are a bit better priced. Or at least they were last time I went through the I-want-a-proper-ball-head research cycle, which I'll admit was a few years ago :)


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:40 am 
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I really like the idea of the gun/trigger ball-heads :?

I know the existing ones have a limited weight capacity, but I'm just using the kit lens and primes.

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 8:30 am 
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Well, OK looking at their site there's heads there I've not seen before (the 322 which I've guessing is the one you're talking about?). I had one of the 222's for a short while - one of the two worst photography kit related purchase decisions I've ever made, made because I was looking for something quick, cheap, and neat. Not surprising in hindsight :)

I guess it depends on what sort of photography you do, for what I tend to do (macro, avian including flight shots) those styles of grips don't make any sense. On my Markins I have something close to the trigger release anyway, it's just a twist of a knob by 30 degrees rather than a squeeze of the trigger. For macro the quick-friction-release is irrelevant, for flight shots the friction control is useless anyway. Basically what I'm saying is that the trigger thing is a gimmick IMO. But that's from the perspective of the photography I do, your requirements are very likely different :)


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 31, 2009 10:36 pm 
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Oh, the joy of SLR photography. Isn't it more of an addiction than a hobby? I'm sometimes wondering how much time I've spend drooling over reviews and yet I'm still on a Nikon D40 with kit-lens. Too bad I couldn't take the family's Nikon F2 with me. I've always loved the huge matte viewfinder.

edit: removed German-inspired typos


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 5:44 am 
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Canon G9 and a Pentax ist DS here. I would love to have a more professional setup!

:dreams:

Dean.

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 7:21 am 
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Jordan wrote:
Bit of a hobbiest myself and got my first DSLR (second hand D70s) a year or two back. I was messing around with compacts for years before it but could never afford the upgrade until I discovered how big the second hand market is on these things as people upgrade so often!

There's some justification for frequent updates -- the technology has been improving at a phenomenal rate. I went from a used D70 to a new D80 in about 1 year; the gains were very worthwhile to me, and I lost only about 25% of the orig D70 cost in the deal. When the D90 came, I was tempted but felt I'd lose too much $$ so held back. My wife got into photography with my D80 and decided she wanted one of her own, bought a D40, which is so fun to use cus it's small, light, handy and can produce great photos.

Recently, I've tired of the noise in the D80 -- in all the digicams I've tried -- because 80% of my best photos are taken in lower light conditions (early morn, near dusk, night). Now I have a yearning for a "full frame" (ie -35mm negative size) sensor SLR, the obvious choice being a Nikon D700. The high res. sample photos in reviews like dpreview.com show that it has the lowest noise of all the top FX sensor cameras. My guess is that a 20-25 megapixel model will be introduced in response to the Sony D900, and maybe, if its price and low light noise is good enough, some D700s will come on to the used market. That's probably when I'd make my next upgrade. :wink:

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:38 am 
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Tangential to this thread maybe, but if you subscribe to the arguments in this article

http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/arti ... _long.html

then the days of ever improving DSLR tech are numbered. There just ain't enough photons!


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:40 am 
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I upgraded from D70s to D300 in late 2007... it was like night and day... The 10-20 sigma I always percieved as slightly soft was suddenly tack sharp, and the 18-200VR really shines. Not gonna upgrade for a few years now I think...

Oh and Nikon ftw :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 10:42 am 
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nutball wrote:
Tangential to this thread maybe, but if you subscribe to the arguments in this article

http://www.northlight-images.co.uk/arti ... _long.html
Neat. Thanks!

At least people at Sony finally realised that having the cable job in front of the diode wasn't such a smart idea. And I thought no-one would ever realise that we're building CMOS in the same crippled way as our retina evolved (well, at least the fovea/macula has managed to keep the 'wiring' somewhat out of the way).


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