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Photography technique:

From 1970 to 1998 most pictures were made using either a Leica CL with 40 and  90mm lenses, or a Mamiya 645 (2-1/4" x 2-3/4") using 65mm,  80mm, 210mm, and 600mmm.


In 1995 I obtained one of the first digital camers, a Chiron 480 x 640.  But it was lost within weeks, and no pictures survived.  In 1996 I purchased the famous Ricoh RDC-1 in Japan, and used this camera quite a bit.  It was 486 x 720.  It still works.  In March 1998 I purchased the Nikon CP900 which was 960 x 1280 pixels.  This camera was not that great, and eventually stopped working.  Then I got the Casio 8000 which was 1.3 megapixels and had a 8X zoom.  This was a great camera and Tannya uses it today.  I then moved up to the Ricoh RDC-7 which is a 3 megapixel camera with a double exposure 7 megapixel capabilitiy.  I obtained some terrific 7 megapixel pictures, but a tripod is necessary, and the output was not reliable.  Also the flash never worked that well on this camera.  I also obtained an Olympus 3000z for Inyoung and gave it to Jay.  It takes consistent pictures with good reliability.  In May 2002, I obtained the Minolta D7i which is a 5 megapixel camera with a 7X zoom.  This camera is just as good as the film cameras I used during the prior 30 years.  In 2004 I got the Nikon D100 and began to accumulate lens from 19mm to 500mm (Sigma 50-500 "Bigma").  In 2005 I gave the D100 to TJ and got a Nikon D2x 11.3 megapixel camera.  I also obtained the Nikon 70-200VR, the Nikon 80-400VR, and the Sigma 18-50f2.8.  In between I got a Nikon D70 for backup.  In 2006 I got the Tamron 11-18mm lens for wide-angle.  At this time I have a full complement of lenses and bodies for any photo assignment.  To test the image quality of the D2X I took comparison images against my Mamiya Universal 6x9 cm medium format camera (this has a somewhat larger negative than my Mamiya 645: 6x7 compared to 6x9).  The D2X outperforms the medium format cameras by a large margin on dynamic range, detail resolution, and sensitivity.  However, with its high degree of automation, there is still something boring about using the D2X.  So I have been moving back to film, in sizes 120 and 220.  Fortunately film cameras are much more affordable now on eBay because most professional photographers are switching to digital.

In 2006 I acquired a Rolleiflex built in approximately 1953.  This camera is light and easy to use, but the focusing is difficult on the dim ground glass, especially indoors.  So I decided to upgrade my Mamiya 645s to 645 pro.  This camera is lighter than the older "s" and has an interchangeable back, and I got a polaroid back for it.  The 645 is not a bad system, but it is a SLR design with mirror slap, and poor outdoor flash synch.  The other problem is the film is a bit small for present day scanners, it only has 3X the area of 35mm.  So I got the Mamiya RZ67 which has a 6x7cm format with revolving back.  That camera has even more mirror slap, but compensates by being heavy (more than 5 pounds with the AE Prism finder).    Probably the best medium format camera is the Mamiya 6, a range finder camera in 6x6 cm format, and collapsible lens.  This system is lightweight, fast, shutter synchs to 1/500 and is very compact.  Operation is near silent with the leaf shutter and manual film advance.   I got two of these Mamiya 6 and Mamiya 6mf.  So far I have only the 50mm and 75mm lens.  Telephoto lens are more suitable for the SLR style since focus is an issue.   In 2006 I did take the Mamiya 6  on a Panama cruise, and found it useful for scenic pictures, but too slow to operate for people pictures, mostly my impatient  wife.  Also she likes to review the image immediately, which is not possible with film.  At present I think I will mostly use my film cameras for landscapes, and digital for people.  Ultimately y, I may be able to afford a digital back for some of my film cameras.

In 2007 I acquired a Hasselblad H1 with a Kodak DCS back.  In early 2008 I upgraded the Kodak back to Phase One P30 which gives 32 megapixels of resolution, and has micro lenses for up to ISO 800 performance.  The lenses for this Hassey are very heavy especially the 35mm and 150mm lenses which I use in addition to 80mm.   However, the image quality for both the previous Kodak back and the Phase One makes my Nikon D2X look like a cell phone camera.  Blowups to 30"x49" are needle sharp.  With photostiching I believe I can easily go to 42x72 now for really large prints.  I have been studying Peter Lik's amazing printing skills in his Las Vegas galleries, and with the help of master printer Mr. Shin and his shops, I believe I am now printing at this quality.  One key secret we learned is to use Fuji Crystal Archive Flex paper for the laser printing.  This is a metallic paper which although expensive, produces amazing color saturation and appears similar to backlit Kodak Duratans, or Fuji Flex that is used in trade shows.   The other part of the Peter Lik technique is extensive use of advanced Photoshop tools for wide and saturated color gamut.    I am beginning to increasingly use these methods in my photography.

Daniel Zabel is our nephew, see his wedding here!  (First Nikon CP900 pictures)

Sept. boat trip on S. F. Bay with Prof. Kort here!

Ashley_tahoe.jpg (52761 bytes) Ashley is our niece from Seoul.   Here she is learning to ski at Heavenly for the first time.  1/98.

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