I think if you are really into high quality product shots you should be looking at view camera for the movements. The cheapest way is probably a monorail 4x5 camera with a medium format back on it. That way you get the low cost of medium format film and the movements from.
If that isn't your thing, then an RZ67 is a great medium format system. The 140mm macro lens is fantastic for closeup work. I sold my RZ67 (still have some lens to sell off) because it's as heavy as my 4x5 setup and the only thing I really used it for was the excellent macro lens. For studio work that shouldn't matter at all.
I've never used the Fuji 6x8 system, but it's got movements like a view camera and takes 120 roll film. They are larger than the already large RZ67. So that's another system to consider.
As far as digital goes, I would say it depends on the the volume and the turn around time needed. Sounds like you have few shots to make, but want high quality. That's a perfect combo for film shooting and scanning.
If you want to scan, you need a real scanner, not a flatbed. There are those who will tell you a V700 is OK, but it's not if you're doing this commercially; think more along the lines of a Nikon 8000/9000. I can get about 90MP from a 6x7 (RZ67) frame using my 8000. And a real scanner will *cost* you (think $1000-2500) so keep that in mind if you think you've found a good camera deal. You also talk about "1600 on the long side", which is crazy-low resolution and sutiable only for web publishing. It's not enough for a magazine spread, while a 6x7 chrome can be pushed out to 80" or more; go see an Annie Leibovitz exhibition in person sometime to get an idea of what an RZ can do in skilled hands.
The other option (if not doing this commercially) is to shoot colour neg (cheaper chemistry!) and print to RA4 (same paper as for digital printing; very cheap) using an enlarger. You can then scan an 8x10 print using a cheap flatbed and get decent resolution, plus you have prints to show people. But prints are very time consuming too...
There's processing costs - typically $5-12/roll at labs on top of the film costs ($5/roll; 10 frames/roll at 6x7) if you're shooting chromes. You can process at home for $2.50/roll if you have access to chemistry with no shipping costs, but then you need to invest $500-1000 in a processor to keep the chemicals at the right temperature. And the time spent doing it is crazy (an hour to process ~5 rolls).
Think very carefully if you're doing this for business reasons. While I love shooting 6x7 chromes and developing them myself (I souped 10 rolls last night from a trip around the world; the results are unbeatable), there is no way that it is economical to do so if you want to do product shoots commercially - if you run the numbers you'll see that there's a very good reason no one does it any more and RZ67s are selling for 10% of their list prices.
If your wallet wants to make an investment in product shots and you expect the investment to pay off, put it into high quality studio lighting. That will make more difference than any choice of format or camera.
Excellent post. Answered a lot of my questions. I don't think I realized ALL of the costs involved. I wonder if there's a way to get good scans on a CD from a film processor reasonably. I really only need a few good photos of my main models. A 5D would be a cheap way out if what you said is the only way to do this. I hope it's not! lol
Originally Posted by polyglot
ALSO, you're 100% right in the lighting statement. I have some lighting (triggers, Nikon Speedlights, Novatron Powerpack and lights, and of course the diffusion to go with all of that).
My current plan is to shoot in Digital for the instant gratification and shoot film along side. That way I have what I need right away and also have the high quality (assuming that it proves to be better) to go along with it.
Originally Posted by L Gebhardt
And you're 100% right, I don't have tons of shots to take. For customer photos, digital is plenty good. But for the website I'd like to get it right.
I'll see if I can add my web link to my username in the CP if anyone is curious what I'm shooting. EDIT: added it in. Go easy on me if anyone does view my photos ( ;
Last edited by 777funk; 10-16-2011 at 10:49 PM. Click to view previous post history.
Suspect what you call cynical, I call experienced. They're actually not substitutes. I'm all for chasing rainbows, especially when it's on someone else's dime.
Originally Posted by lxdude
That statement tells me that you "get" what it is about film that keeps people like us using it.
Originally Posted by 777funk
I do use a digital device in my photographic pursuits when necessary.
When someone rags on me for using film, I use a middle digit, upraised.
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I'm not sure what a D40 is, but for web posting of musical instruments I use a little 5.1MP point and shoot I got in 2005. Do you really think the camera is the limiting factor? I can't imagine the expense and time to process film, make prints and then scan them for the web. With the little digital camera I just plug it in to the computer and I'm ready to post. Unless you are offering up multi-megapixel images that take minutes to download, your viewers are unlikely to appreciate any advantage of medium format film for a 75dpi screen image.
Originally Posted by 777funk
1976 LP Custom with Chrome Hardware.
I say go ahead and use the medium format camera for your work but keep in mind that it would be for your own satisfaction. There are benefits to using film but convenience is not one of them.
If you want to use MF for its own sake use it for general photography first. Then, as you get used to the workflow, move into using it for the product shots.
I propose that the greatest benefit to using film is that your photography skills will improve regardless of the format you end up doing your work with. Even if you have used film before but switched to using digital, shooting film will serve to refresh your skills and help you relearn the sense of craftsmanship that is part and parcel of the photographer's art.
This. While I heartily recommend getting and enjoying a 6x7 system and shooting chromes and loving the results, if your ultimate output device is the web then a new camera will gain you absolutely nothing. If a product shot is done well then you won't be able to tell what shot it unless there are features like lens movements present or you need to print it 80" wide.
Originally Posted by ic-racer
I agree that you should look at a LF camera with tilt and shifts and has the ability to use a rollback. As your need is not for a lot of photos, sheet film does make more sense. USe the digital to confirm the lighting and exposure and then use the LF for the shot. Why burn a roll if you only need a couple of tries?
A TLR does not make sense as the viewing lens does not offer the same view as the taking lens so there is a variable you'd need to work with. A rangefinder has the same issue. A plate camera and SLR does away with the shortcoming. With the plate camera, you can use a magnifier to aid in assuring the focus is where you want it, usually easier than with an SLR that has a smaller viewfinder and usually dimmer.
I won't get into the digital discussion onther than it is usefull as a substitute to a Polaroid to check lighting and composition.
This has been another superb discussion of options and capabilities on APUG. And at first I would have agreed that an RB for maximum economy or an RZ would be the most logical choice. I know my Mamiya Press Super 23 has movements but by the time you find one in decent shape and have it CLAed something like a 4x5 would make more sense. All I know I do want an RB or RZ.......been wanting one of years actually.
I almost made the decision to bit the very big bullet and get a 120 scanner. There was one here on the sales forum not to long ago for......please sit down now.....around $3400. That's alot of money and that could buy a whole bunch of film cameras in a variety of film formats. If I knew I was doing product shots for "real" customers even once a quarter, I would consider one of those kinds of scanners, although even a $100 drum scan sent off to who knows where every quarter would still be more economical than that $3000 scanner. We can recommend someone close or reasonably close if you need a real drum scan........I have found that even the plain jane scans from my local lab of my 645 film results are far, far superior in detail....well, everything, compared to the same labs scans to cd of my 35mm film.
If you have the time and the lab nearby, the results from 4x5 should be spectacular compared to anything smaller. Nothing better than looking at the picture through ground glass and making those minute movements to perfect the shot.
So since I have essentially rambled on and said nothing really new or earth shattering than earlier posts, I wish you luck in your choice. I will tell you this though. I also have a Nikon D60 instead of your D40, I was not overjoyed by the results I got when going critical for some special occasion. That's why I returned to film and have been slowly, steadily increasing my format size over the past couple of years. I think my lab can still do 4x5, so I may go that way soon. I would be interested to know what you end up doing. Touch base again and let us know what you decide.
Nikon F5, Nikon F4S, Nikon FA, Nikon FE, Nikon N90, Nikon N80, Nikon N75, Mamiya 645 Pro, Mamiya Press Super 23, Yashica Lynx 14e, Yashica Electro GSN, Yashica 124G, Yashica D