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Dazed and confused
Old 06-12-2005, 06:20 PM   #1 (permalink)
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I'm hoping someone can reassure me on my decision to go digital. From what I've read in mag's and on here it seems unlikely I'll get a printable photograph from digital unless I'm well versed in Photoshop or my monitor and printer are calibrated with the color temp of the sun. Is Photoshop the only software out there to accomplish corrections, I hope not since $600 is a bit steep for my needs. Is PS elements suitable for the average "Joe". I read of sRGB, RGB, color space, curves and levels...will all of this become clear as mud once I begin playing with it?

After finally convincing my wife to allow(yes...allow)the purchase of a digital SLR, I would really hate to disappoint her and myself if I am not able to come up with a worthy image.

I understand that a bad photographer will continue to make bad photographs despite what gear he shoots with, but will moving to digital knock me back in my abilities? With my ever shortening memory I think the quick feedback of digital will move my learning curve up a bit. Shooting film and having to wait to pickup the roll I forgot to drop off in the first place is really slowin up my lurnin'. Not to mention the half roll I still have in the camera from two or three weeks ago, with nothing lined up to shoot in the near future.

Are most workshop goers' also digital shooters? I don't see how you could get decent feedback if shooting film. Sure you have the one-hour photo labs, but I have given up on them for providing what I shoot is what I get. The magic Kodak or Fugi machines all seem to correct my brackets to the same thing. Don't even think about trying to get creative on your exposures since they don't print extremes in exposure and if they do it's hardly ever composed the way you saw it. I actually had a photolab tell me I had my camera set on panoramic, which was funny since I shoot with a Canon A2. Dispite trying to teach the "lab tech" exactly what a Canon A2 is, I still ended up with a nice panoramic print of my daughters Nike Shox tennis shoe.

I am hoping by going digital I will get more of what I saw in the viewfinder when I pressed the shutter.

Joe [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/confused.gif[/img]
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Re: Dazed and confused
Old 06-12-2005, 07:52 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Phptpshop elements is a very good program for making all your basic tweeks, it's a powerful program. Unless your going to get fancy with stuff that all you'll need.


Bill
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Re: Dazed and confused
Old 06-12-2005, 08:33 PM   #3 (permalink)
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if you don't want to spring $600.00 for adobe CS, paint shop pro or thumbs plus are a good and cheaper alternative till you get your feet on the ground with digital photography. both under $100.00 and turn out impressive work.

in the end you'll be better off with digital, we all learn more by our mistakes that when we do something right, you'll get it and i think you'll be happier in the end .
m. allen
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Re: Dazed and confused
Old 06-12-2005, 08:52 PM   #4 (permalink)
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I highly recommend Photoshop Elements. It is basically Photoshop "photography only" with most of the press and video stuff taken out.

A lot of photoshop pros use Elements to avoid opening the big boy especially when they only need to do minor things.

However not to sound like Adobes mouthpiece I have heard kudos of Paintshop over and over.

So why not download demos of both and decide for yourself, I dont know about Paintshop but Adobe has a fully working 30 demo of Elements downloadable from www.adobe.com.

30 day demo of Photoshop when you are ready for it.

Hope this helps,

Stu

BTW I dont think anyone at HTL had film.

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Re: Dazed and confused
Old 06-12-2005, 09:17 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Joe
Rest Assured digital can give excellent results. I made the jump to Canon EOS1d's 11 Megs and find I take a lot more pictures than I used to. Some of my shots are dreadful but with Photo shop many are savable that would otherwise be useless. I had a 20x30 print made and took it to a local frame shop and the owner said WOW as he unrolled the print and got his first look. Next he asked if it was a medium format camera and at that point I knew digital was good enough for me if it could fool someone that looks at pic's all day long. Initially I had buyers remorse but it has long since vanished. Enjoy your new toy/tool; tools are only good if you know how to use them.
Ken
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Re: Dazed and confused
Old 06-12-2005, 09:32 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Joe,

Consider yourself hereby reassured. Digital is the way to go. Of course it would be.. I've already made that jump. What makes you think we'd say anything else? [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/wink.gif[/img]

A lot of how much trouble you have to go through to get a printable image depends upon how picky you are, and how much tolerance for 'close enough' you have. You can take a brand-name printer, load it with the brand's premium paper, load their drivers on your computer, fire up whatever image viewer/editor you've got and get a halfway decent image within minutes. Whether it's accurately displaying the colors, or not, is another matter. The folks who do this for a living often invest in high-priced monitors, specific drivers, color checkers, and run quality-control tests all the time to insure that they're putting out something that is accurate. For me.. well, it'd be nice if her skin wasn't green, but usually I don't care if her panties are a couple of Pantone color swatches off from what they really are or not.

At our local workshop, all but one shooter has gone digital. Gene, bless his heart, will continue shooting medium format film until the day AFTER he dies! At Rolando's recent workshop in Dallas, the vast majority were digital.. I think I saw two of the pack shooting film.

Regarding editing software - hey, that's what makes digital the advantage over film that it is... you can change the image as you desire. Cropping, minor color corrections, saving to web sizes, basic retouching.. nothing you can't learn in a couple of hours.

Finally, a hint. If you're going to take your digital images to the lab, tell them to turn off the auto-corrections and print it as it is. No cropping, no color correction, no expsoure correction. Just dump it to a print, thank you.

Once you learn how to put an image on the CD that you're going to take to the lab, and make it look the way you want so it'll print the way you want, you'll be looking back on your question and shaking your head wondering what you thought was so hard about all this.

Hang in there and keep playing!

BTW - is the main image (the girl in the red swimsuit, ankle deep in the water with the sunset behind her and your fill flash lighting her) on your portfolio yours, and did you shoot digital with it? If so, you're already ahead of many of the folks here on this forum, dude.. gorgeous image!

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My soul mate...
Old 06-12-2005, 09:40 PM   #7 (permalink)
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[ QUOTE ]
Gene, bless his heart, will continue shooting medium format film until the day AFTER he dies!

[/ QUOTE ]...there are others out there afterall...

Art.
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Re: Dazed and confused
Old 06-13-2005, 12:46 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Get Elements and save yourself some cash. Unless your doing lots of web graphics and CMYK conversions there really is no need for a digital photog to own CS. Once you learn your way around the software and want some more power you can add many of the features of regular photoshop very easily and inexspensively.

I upgraded from Elements 2 to Elements 3 last December for a whopping $65 after rebates. [img]/ubbthreads/images/graemlins/smile.gif[/img]

Here's an article that might help you in your decision:

Photoshop vs. Elements


Best,

Allen

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Re: Dazed and confused
Old 06-13-2005, 08:56 AM   #9 (permalink)
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If I may make a recommendation, the best way to learn anything is to practice and write everything down. Digital makes it easy to practice, since once you've bought the camera, lens, battery, and memory card, shooting is essentially free. But you _have_ to write down what you're doing. When you're setting up a shot, what ISO, shutter speed, and aperture are you using? What are the meter readings for important elements of the shot? What is the source of light? How many lights? What reflectors did you use? If daylight, what is the time of day? What are the weather conditions (cloudy, rainy, sunny). Make yourself a drawing of the set and label everything. Also write down what you're trying to accomplish.

I keep a small notebook and write down a lot of information for every set. Not every shot, but every set. I start a new set of notes everytime I change the set. If you can't remember what you did, or were trying to do, a week after you shot it, you will not learn much, even if you're shooting digital.

Regarding film, you can get decent feedback if you shoot chromes and write everything down. Shooting negative film is frustrating, as you've discovered, because the lab compensates for your errors. One of the _best_ ways to learn the technical side of photography is to shoot chromes (slide film). IMO, it's even better than shooting digital, because what you see is what you get. There's no difference in monitors, video cards, color calibration, printer settings, etc. Except for the fact that most viewfinders don't give you 100% of the actual composition (97% is closer to reality), the composition of the image is what you framed. You can have them scanned, but can't cheat on the original by tweaking in Photoshop. Chromes are a harsh, unforgiving tool. But when you start to nail them technically there's a great amount of satisfaction too.

Regarding Photoshop, there's a nice little program called Picture Window Pro, from Digital Light and Color that you may want to try. It has just about every feature a photographer could ask for, allows you to process in 48 bit color (unlike Elements), is _way_ easier to learn, and only runs $90. You can try it for free for 30 days. Again, IMO, the only reason to spring for Photoshop is if you need the bazillion or so plugins that have grown up around it. You can find Picture Window Pro at:

Digital Light and Color's website

The vocabulary does get easier, but there's a whole lot to wrap your head around. You've basically taken on the job of lab technician in addition to photographer.

My experience with workshops these days is that there's always a film shooter or two, but the majority of attendees shoot digital.

-Chip
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Re: Dazed and confused
Old 06-13-2005, 02:44 PM   #10 (permalink)
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Just to let you see a historical comparision. When I went to the first RG Workshop several years ago, there were only about 2 shooting digital and the rest film. Rolando was even giving out free boxes of film as part of the party gifts. At the Dallas workshop, I think everyone used digital, but maybe 1 or 2 had a film camera also. So anyway, the whole thing has flip flopped in just a couple of years.

By the way, here is my last film shot:



Cheers,
rfs
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