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  • Monday, January 11, 2010

    Serious About Digital ? Lego or Leica?

    Do The Research
    spend the money & time
    or get a LEGO

    (Click on image to learn about LEGO digital camera.)
    .. We have some friends that enter a stream with over $5,000 worth of gear on and about their body and enjoy fishing with a fly. The combined total of rod, reel, line, (and spares,) waders, boots, staff, vest, gadgets, and hundreds of flies, (@ $2.00/ea.,) can make $5,000 seem spartan. These are serious fly-guys and fly-gals. (And not one of them uses a $9,000 Hardy.)
    .. We also have a couple of friends that enter Yellowstone National Park with five times that amount around their neck and in their camera bag. Think of it! Enjoy nature with the price of a new SUV in tow. Not to mention what brought them.
    .. The digital revolution sneaked up on us starting about 1978. Printed circuits and digital compensation were incorporated into the top film cameras in the 80's & then BINGO, we were taken.
    .. Film may still hold a slight edge for some work but pixels are coming on strong. In-camera processing is making enormous leaps and the gear is good - nay, very good.
    .. If you, unlike us, are serious, (or want to be,) about taking the ultimate photographs of your fishing adventure it will cost both time and money.
    .. Lets be clear about this: not swell photos, not good images, not excellent renditions, and certainly not snapshots - BUT - EXTRAORDINARILY SPECTACULAR IMAGES.
    .. And, not just one a day, or one a week, or one per fishing trip; but time after time, after time.
    .. First, keep in mind that the camera and lens are just tools. In the beginning, don't even consider what brand or format to use. Unless you are wedded to an emotional state of "camera-kind;" the camera is not the place to start.
    .. Plan your seriousness by budgeting for an unusually competent computer. Time was when Apple had the edge.
    .. Now, software is king and graphics cards for the PC can do much more. Brands are for arguing, competence is king in this arena.
    .. The damn graphics card will cost between $600 and $1,800 and you might want to consider two of them. If you are really serious $6,000 for the box is not out of line. Two large monitors at minimum are necessary, (are you really serious?)
    .. Then comes the software. From Photoshop to DxO Optics-Pro there is a pile of software to make your images really pop.
    .. Budget no less than another $5,000 for the complete image management software suite. This will allow your work-flow to proceed apace with your commitment and talent.
    .. The digital revolution is making pretty good photographers out of snap-shooters.
    .. Gear is very good and getting better at an exceptional pace. Even pros have a hard time keeping up.
    .. Once your "darkroom" is configured it's time to look at camera bodies and lenses.
    .. The long standing tug-o-war between Nikon & Canon has continued into the digital arena. People less serious about images can still be heard wrangling about brands and features.
    .. There are serious new players in the digital arena. Sony, Panasonic, Olympus, and even the venerable Leica (with a $6,000 digital rangefinder camera, and a $22,000 DSLR with dual shutters,) have some features and capabilities not matched by the big two.
    .. It's a whole new ball game and even the pros are spending mega-bucks on "other brands" in an effort to gain an edge.
    .. The feature set for your type of photography should be the deciding factor in choosing your tools. Bite the bullet and commit to lenses before bodies.
    .. There are piles of exceptional lenses available. A $2,600 lens is cheap if it allows you to capture the ultimate image. It's still a bargain if you get close to the result you want - the software will bring your vision to the fore.
    .. You just can't have one camera body. Two is the minimum number. Some pros consider 4 as the bare essential. More Bullet Biting!
    .. The format, (FX or DX,) is really a concern if you are going to print large. But all women know that size does matter. Go with the FX - just in case. Figure about $2,500 to $5,000, (or more,) per body.
    .. Money, unhappily is the least of your worries, (are you really serious?) Time is critical. With auto everything and a motor drive, 20 frames are exposed where one or two used to be sufficient. Winnowing, selecting, evaluating, culling and reserving for processing take time.
    .. Processing and reprocessing, and even more processing take even more time.
    .. What? You didn't use auto everything? Did you calibrate the white balance for the scene and subject? That's more time, even before you shoot.
    .. Trust the camera 100%? Is good good enough? More processing time. Background too sharp? More processing. Fused dust on the sensor? More processing. Time, time, time.
    .. Remember, we're talking seriousness. There is, after all, a dumpster full of good images that appear daily on the web. Several times that many good images are printed each hour across the continent.
    .. Many are grab shots and snapshots. The equipment is just that good now.
    .. But you are planning to be serious. Every shot needs to surpass good. It should be exceptional at worst; spectacular at best.
    .. We would wager a dime, or maybe more, That there are more serious photographers than fly fishers. Think of the time and money!
    .. And we haven't even mentioned fluid head tripods, equipment cases, batteries, auxiliary flash units, or high speed SDHC cards. OR -> a new laptop for shooting tethered!
    .. No mention has even been made about printers, inks, or aluminum either. {{ALUMINUM? Yup, the medium that will soon replace paper for seriously spectacular images!}}
    .. Even if it is, (and we concede that it usually is,) the eye behind the lens; it still takes about $50,000 to be serious about your digital images.
    .. Then, the invention of an 80 hour work week would be a useful addition to seriousness.
    .. We won't even mention travel to spectacular locations, workshops, tutorials, and contracts. That would be just too serious for us. How about you? - - - YIPES, when would you fish?
    .. If you are even half-way serious about your outdoor photography you already know about OUTDOOR PHOTOGRAPHER. We were clued into a secret URL (shown legally below,) at that site.
    .. Try this for some videos that interest the serious photographers: http://www.outdoorphotographer.com/optv/all-videos.html?limitstart=0