Originally Posted by cliveh
Then clearly Pentaximus the 6x7 is not working. I believe big is better, but I can't get any bigger without breaking my back...somebody recently said here on APUG to me, "get an 8x10 next Gary, you know you want one..." The thought is haunting me... :(
The biggest advantage I find in 35mm over MF or LF is that when I take a bad photograph (~95% of the time), I don't feel as bad about wasting film and money. The biggest disadvantage I find in 35mm is that when I take an excellent photograph (~2% of the time), I ALWAYS wish I had taken it in a larger format while I'm printing it. The remaining 3% of my photographs are just ok. And to me, that's exactly what 35mm is -- just ok.
One should not lose sight of one fundamental truth in the small format vs medium-large format debate: that the bigger formats (medium and large) present as the finished product a very considerable leap in resolution, flexibility of print size and a better tonal spread over the compressed frame of 35mm. This is one of the reasons why 35mm is dumped so early on by professionals who then move on to medium format (but I actually think they've foresaken some valuable skills by leapfrogging over 35mm) and, for those in specialties, large format. All this is not to say that 35mm cannot WOW a viewer, but a lot is resting on the shoulders of the photographer by way of skill and fitting the subject to the frame, combing visual aesthetics, compositional metrics and precise exposure — not that hard to achieve with solid practice. Medium and large format is more demanding to use working toward the finished product because such cameras lack automation that has been carried for a long time in 35mm — ever seen a Linhof with a motor drive or Program mode? Where 35mm wins outright is in portability, readiness, flexibility, speed and a huge variety of lenses as opposed to mostly primes for MF and just primes for LF and ULF. But despite all the gloss and clammer to handle automation, the best photographs do not need any of it — like the Pentax K1000, of which a friend created beautiful works many years ago that are still on display in his home even though he is no longer amongst us. So one format of camera will not be suitable for all conditions and requirements, all things properly considered. The more formats you have at your disposal, the better you are to tackle a great many more tasks that may not be suitable if your only format is 35mm.
Automatisms only are needed in circumstances when one has not the time to think about exposure and focus. Those situations never happen in LF or ULF because the time it takes to set up the frame and the movements is long and, in general, the concept of "focus" with LF is on an entirely different plane (pardon the mediocre pun) and cannot be made automatic. Exposure is a matter of seconds.
If there ever had been a need for an autoexposure LF camera it would certainly exist.
If one has those few seconds at his disposal necessary to establish focus and exposure, manual setting is much less prone to mistakes or unintended results than any automatism.
I disagree Fabrizio.
Originally Posted by Diapositivo
Automated functions can and are used very accurately and very reliably. What automation cannot fix is sloppy use, that is a completely different issue.
Automation can also improve exposure placement of the subject and background. Fill flash is a prime example. The reason I own an F5 and F100 is for TTL matrix balanced fill flash, something my FM2 simply can't do.
Auto focus helps make up for my old eyes vastly improving focus.
And while LF is not near as fast as 35mm and can include a long contemplative setup, that is far from required.
Many LF cameras include stops that can be set for certain focus distances, infinity or zone focusing and a step or two handles many situations very quickly.
Yes many of the f64 type crowd do end up with long shutter speeds but it isn't required. I regularly shoot LF as fast as the shutter will allow, like 1/400.
LF press cameras regularly have rangefinders, use Grafmatic holders, and even focal plane shutters, these automations make for very quick shooting.
4x5 cameras were the mainstay of the news industry for years, heard of Weegee?
One of the most famous photos ever was done in an incredible hurry on an 8x10 camera IIRC, Ansel Adams Moonrise.
I certainly agree about the usefulness of TTL-flash for macrophotography "in the field" and usefulness of autofocus for people having sight defects.
As useful as it is in the field, also TTL flash tends to "revert to grey" and in a studio situation a known setup or incident light metering certainly works better than automatism. Automatism is intrinsically "second-choice" for its inescapable limits such as the light meter not knowing which is the reflectivity of the subject, or the background being markedly darker or brighter than the subject.
This paves the way for mistakes which are avoided with manual metering. The only "price" to pay is the time it takes, which is not much, but sometimes is simply not available. Hence my general idea: when you have time, manual metering is always more reliable. Automatism works well when there is no time for manual metering.
Yes many, many years ago 4x5, and later MF, were used for news (I am thinking about the scene in La dolce vita when Ms Steiner understands something awful happened in seeing the paparazzi taking her picture in the road, and they all had either LF or MF cameras) and even before LF camera were used for news as well but those times are since long past.
When working with B&W negative there is ample room for exposure mistakes (avoiding underexposure) and I suppose paparazzi of the time greatly exploited the film quality. They really did not need accurate exposure for that kind of work.
Focusing was not a problem, the paparazzi would only take pictures at a certain "fixed" distance (probably around 2 meters). I think they did not focus at all for paparazzi-style work. When they used flash, they used bulb flashes which gave them a huge amount of light (again: close aperture, zone focusing).
The large format advantage for news I imagine was that the photographer could use very sensitive film (for the time) therefore closing the aperture enough so as to be able to prefocus by sight with acceptable results.
It's interesting that war photographers used mainly 135 or maybe Mf at the end of the fifties while news photographers used LF and some of them MF, but probably none of them used 135.
Actually the TTL flash on the F100 & F5 work with manual camera settings as well as auto.
It is not the automation that adds errors, it is sloppy or un-educated use that is the issue.
I don't understand what you mean. I mean if flash exposure is set by the camera or flash is "auto". If it is set by the photographer (setting flash power, flash distance, aperture) is "manual". Even if the camera is on M setting, the TTL-flash exposure is ("automatically") determined by the innards of the camera, and it falls prey of the usual exposure traps: background very different from foreground, subject very different from middle grey.
Originally Posted by markbarendt
An interesting auto-flash exposure certain modern cameras have is flash metering subject to AF distance. That is really brilliant or, should I say, bright :). Instead of relying on TTL metering, the camera sets flash duration based on AF measured distance, relying on the fact that the flash lightens the main subject and that the main subject is in focus (two very realistic assumptions). This way the flash duration will be proper even if the subject is not in the centre of the frame and even if it is quite black or white.
It's the same logic which was behind the flash exposure of cameras like the Canon Canonet with dedicated flash (better said: with a flash with guide number equal to the dedicated flash). The camera can be set in a way so that the focusing (precisely done through the rangefinder) also determines the aperture.
I am not really "against" automatisms. It's that their usefulness are limited to particular situations IMO.
The smart TTL I'm describing on the F100 & F5 use the focus info and focus point (left, right, center, up, down) to adjust the flash. The flash compensation can also be set to address say a white dress or black tux.
My point is that the issue isn't the tool.
Noticeable grain if you want it.