When it comes to ultimate digital image quality, nothing beats medium-format cameras and digital backs. The word 'medium' might be tepid—the image quality is anything but.
Issues of size have always impacted image quality and changed the course of camera design. In the days of film, larger cameras delivered the best image quality, while smaller cameras provided portability and ease of use. Medium-format cameras have long been a popular professional choice because they strike an ideal balance between quality, portability and ease of use.
To get complete predictability, consistency and control, it's important to calibrate your entire system. We used to do it with film, now we do it a little differently with digital gear.
As professional photographers, we've always tested our equipment to determine the specific characteristics of gear combinations so we'd know the precise capabilities of camera, lens and film in the conditions in which we most often shoot. Product shooters would load different emulsions and shoot tabletop scenes, fashion photographers would bring in models, etc. With film, this was an arduous process that required multiple exposures and different chemical recipes.
Discover how custom functions can improve the way you produce images
The ability to customize a professional digital SLR is likely both the best and most underused feature you'll find in today's cameras. With dozens of user-adjustable controls for focus, metering and more, these cameras offer great adaptability. But learning how and when to use these settings, particularly in combination with each other, is often a challenge for photographers who are busy creating images to make a living.
Today as camera manufacturers control all aspects of image capture and processing, it's time to reexamine what it means to buy into a system
In the photo press, the “designed for digital” discussion has tended to focus on lens design from the perspective of correcting for issues that are unique to digital sensors. For instance, image sensors, and the filters in front of image sensors, have a tendency to reflect some light back to the lens. To counter this, new coatings have been developed for the filters and the rear lens elements. This kind of innovation is certainly significant, but to think that “designed for digital” ends with new multi-coatings only hints at the real potential of a digital system.
When you need resolution and the compactness of an SLR, these are the four current models you'll want to check out
There's no question that D-SLRs are hot right now. Manufacturers who had one or two in their lineups a few years ago are rapidly bulking up their offerings to include a range of models that cover the amateur buyer up to the professional. For pros who need the most resolution possible, we're looking at the four 35mm-form factor D-SLRs with image sensors of 10 megapixels and higher—the Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II, Canon EOS 5D, Nikon D2x and Nikon D200.
There are significant advantages to D-SLRs that are designed around sub-full-frame image sensors. Before you decide that only full-frame will do, consider all the angles.
For the better part of the last three years, one of the biggest buzz topics for pro photographers going digital was the full-frame camera—an SLR with an image sensor that's physically the same size as a frame of 35mm film. Along with the implication of higher resolution, these cameras have the added benefit of not requiring users to apply a magnification factor to their lenses in order to determine the apparent focal length. In the past few months, however, several advancements call into question the superiority of the full-frame sensor.
When the unthinkable happens and your memory card becomes corrupt, it's important that you keep calm and apply the right tool
At some point in all of our careers, it's going to happen. A disaster will strike and, for the briefest of moments, we'll consider sending the assistant to find Dr. Kevorkian's contact information. What kind of disaster could create such an extreme reaction? For a photographer, only a loss of images could make you want to have Suicide Hotline on your cell phone's speed dial.
The reports of the death of medium format in a digital age seem to have been greatly exaggerated
If you're reading this, there's a good chance you own a digital camera. That's a rather safe assumption, as digital cameras have become a regular part of the modern professional photographer's life. It's not equally safe, however, to assume that most pros shoot digitally with a medium-format camera.