So, 2 weeks ago, I was approached by a long time friend to do a photoshoot for her and some friends. She knew I had just leased a large studio and was eager to try out this idea. Essentially, I was to shoot a group of people who were attending a costume party in vintage/steampunk gear. I did a little research, got a feel for how I wanted to approach it, and set up the studio.
I had two cameras in my bag, the D7000 and the D800. I decided to shoot most of the shots on the D7000/70-200 combo, and shoot the tights and detail work with the D800.
The shoot went quite well, and the post processing came off nicely. I posted a few samples on Facebook, and everyone LOVED them. I decided to print one of the better shots for the client and sent it off to my favorite lab. I printed an 8x12 mounted on 3/4" standout, and a 16x24 loose print.
The prints arrived last night. I'd not printed anything that large from the D7000, and I had done a small crop of the image so I wasn't sure what to expect. When I pulled out the two images from the box, I sat there mouth open. The prints look STUNNING. Easily the best prints I've ever done. I'll be delivering them today. I'll let the client select the one she wants and I will keep the other.
So why bring this up? The thought hit me today that everyone has been clamoring for the greener pastures of full frame. Everyone is talking about moving up from this or that DX camera to the D800, or D600, or even a used D700. I sat there staring at my prints last night thinking to myself, what a fools errand that is. I could have EASILY produced a 20x30 from that cropped images off my DX sensor D7000 and would have been proud to hang it in my home or a commercial gallery. One of them WILL be hung in my home.
So for those of you "stuck" on the paltry DX sensor D7000, I say you needn't worry. It's one HELL of a camera, and for now, my studio camera of choice. I've done my last two studio shoots on it instead of the D800 just to see what it would give me, and I am VERY pleased with my results.
#1. "RE: An interesting shoot..." In response to Reply # 0
I'm glad you are getting such great results from your cameras. I too think that many of the people thinking of upgrading to FX will not be pushing their cameras hard to the point where the 'extras' the new cameras provide are really required. I think we are getting to the point where we are choosing between wonderfully good cameras and insanely good cameras. It would be very hard for me to justify moving to a different camera body as I am getting such wonderful results from my D7000, too.
#2. "RE: An interesting shoot..." In response to Reply # 1 Sat 22-Sep-12 09:06 AM by km6xz
St Petersburg, RU
Congratulations on your new studio Perrone. I see the same thing going on, the rush to get advanced cameras before a vision or style is developed which I am afraid retards the learning process. When really interesting compelling images are posted( a rarity) there is no visual clues as to what sort of technology created it and most of the elements that make it interesting did not require any particular technical level of sophistication.
With the new D600 there has been a deluge of questions on various forums about details of features with many people saying it is unusable for some particular reason that would not have any impact on their shooting if they just learned a new habit or method. For example, it is unusable for having 1/200 sync speed instead of 1/250....really? Or only has 5.5fps....So? Does all this sound familiar? It is exactly the same sorts of complains heard with each new model going back years. But it is getting worse.
When the D7000 came out, its advanced feature set was a breakthrough, still is. Many people rushed into it and complained because it was not as easy to use, based on their prior habits. The many AF or soft images reports filled the forums. Funny how, with a little experience and practice, the cameras healed themselves and few people report difficulties. I am starting to tell people that they will be further along and be creating images that are worthy of a prominent hanging spot on someone's gallery wall if they work with what they have. Poor portraits? No it is not the lens, or the camera, it is lighting, pose and concept. Bland landscape? No, it is not lack of 36 mpxs, or $10,000 lenses, it is vision, patience and concept. I doubt people want to hear that because those solutions are not high tech or easily handled by handing over a credit card. I am a pretty firm believer that training ones eye is half the battle. Enrolling in a good art appreciation class at the local museum or college will help more than a new news or $3000 body I have yet to see a really interesting image that could not have been taken with a D7000. How many people say even on Nikonians, where people tend to be more serious, that they can't use a camera without 9fps since 6 is unusable. Only 1 frame is being displayed. Or they can't use the D7000 or D600 because it only has 39 focal points. Funny, every shot uses only one. Galleries are full of images from cameras with no FPs. We are not suffering from lack of features, we are lacking imagination and creative problem solving. There are 10,000,000 ways to capture a scene, why is the only one consider the one that requires special features their camera does not have? Rant off.... Stan St Petersburg Russia
#3. "RE: An interesting shoot..." In response to Reply # 2
People always seemed amazed that I can get such compelling sports photos with the motor drive turned off. I spend HOURS learning lighting, examining images, and looking at the works of the masters. I commit 2 hours per night scouring the internet looking at good works in the types of photography that interest me.
Like you, I scoff at the idea that people need this feature or that feature. I look at the work of sports shooters that were capturing timeless images on a Graflex with 2 shots to a plate! I look at the landscapes captured on 8x10 view cameras. I look back to my own early beginnings with a rangefinder and hand wound film for sports shooting. The cameras I have now are an embarrassment of riches. In some cases the new technology is demanded because we now don't allow flash photography for indoor sports like we used to. We don't accept the grain in the images we used to. Etc. The bar has been raised so much. I remember when it was a BIG deal to get an 8x10 of my work. Now, it costs fifty cents.
But to be honest, there is not a single image I have ever taken in my LIFE that I could not have captured with the D7000. There is no daytime outdoor image I've ever captured, that I could not have gotten with a Nikon FM2 and a decent lens. If you handed most people a fully manual film camera today, they'd be totally lost.
The answers to excellent photography are the same today as they were 50 years ago. Learn you craft, and master your camera.
#5. "RE: An interesting shoot..." In response to Reply # 3
I haven't been shooting that long but my other hobby is music (guitar) and the similarities between the two are staggering.
Many guitars players are not happy with 10 different guitars and 20 different amps. They are constantly in search of the holy grail combination of the two that will make them great players. Instead of choosing the right notes to play, they are always trying to make the wrong notes sound good and it never works.
A great photographer can take a great photo with anything because has a good eye. A great musician can make great music with anything because he has a good ear.
#6. "RE: An interesting shoot..." In response to Reply # 0
Livermore, CA, US
Great post Perrone. I had a similar revelation when processing a D7K image, and in scrutinizing my sharpening on screen at 100%, I was awestruck at the quality of the details. This is something we're supposedly not able to really do - evaluate image quality at 100% zoom. Isn't this why people think their high-res camera sucks? Yet, with proper shot discipline, the D7K holds up to this.
Ultimately I agree that great results ultimately comes down to being a student of light. For this particular shoot, I was on site for over 8 hours and got about 45 minutes of good shooting out of it, where the light was really right. It can't be overestimated how much photographic detail is about the subject's illumination.