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Coming Full Circle on JPG

Omaha

Omaha, US
561 posts

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Omaha Registered since 07th Jan 2012
Sun 16-Mar-14 02:45 PM

Years ago, when I got my D70, I shot JPG because I didn't know there was any alternative. I bought it to take product shots for our website, and generally things worked out well.

Almost. I was always frustrated that the results weren't exactly what I wanted, so I spent a lot of time fiddling with lighting (mostly). That helped a lot. But then (thanks to some very helpful Nikonians) I finally "got it"...meaning I finally understood how to correlate what I knew about film photography to digital.

So I started shooting everything RAW, and spent countless hours experimenting with different RAW conversion options in Photoshop. That was the last piece of the puzzle, and the results were wonderful. It was a rare image that couldn't be "fixed in post". RAW was where its at.

A couple of years ago, I realized that the amazing medium format film cameras I couldn't begin to afford back in the 80's were available at crazy-low prices today. I ended up getting an amazing Mamiya RB67 setup (complete with some fantastic lenses and a collection of film backs), and the whole business cost less than I spent on my second-hand Nikon 10.5 fisheye.

Back to film I went. I shot about a thousand miles of Tri-X back in the 80's, but this time around I decided to give Ilford FP4 a try. Amazing stuff. I also discovered Kodak Portra 160, which is absolute magic.

I also realized that digital had made me sloppy. I'd moved up to a D7000 by then, and its wonderful, but in its wonderfulness, I had become dependent on "fixing" stuff after the fact. All that is very time consuming and tedious. Film is less forgiving, particularly when you are shooting a completely manual camera (no AF, no AE). Shooting the Mamiya (or my other recent acquisition, a 1955-ish Agfa Isolette III) really makes you think.

All that came together over the last few months and it occurred to me that I should be able to get my D7000 to produce JPGs the way I want them, the first time. Why spend hours in Bridge/Photoshop when I've got this great camera that should be able to produce the JPG I want in the first place?

No reason, actually.

So, for most shots, I'm back to JPG. I also realized that unless I have a reason otherwise, full size images are a waste of space. If you shoot a "small" JPG in "basic" mode, you still end up with a 5.4" x 8.2" image at 300 DPI. So, if you want to print 5x7's, you are good. Even if you want to print 8x10's, you're good. For social media sharing, you actually have way more resolution than you need. AND the files are a delightfully small 600k to 900k or so (most are right around 800k).

The full circle part of this comes in the fact that all my fiddling with RAW conversion had the effect of teaching me how to set the various options on the camera to get the results I want. If I hadn't gone through all that, I would still be overwhelmed by the massive configurability these cameras offer.

I shot a parade yesterday. Ended up with about 600 shots, all "small", "basic" JPGs. Sifting through them, picking out the keepers, uploading to FB, sending off for prints...all that was so much faster and easier than wrestling with 20MB RAW files. And they all look like I want them to look.

I still shoot RAW for serious shots. But for routine stuff, everything about in-camera JPGs is more to my taste.

Just some random Sunday morning musings...

Visit my Nikonians gallery
Most of my Nikon photos end up here.

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