Sunday, March 16, 2008

Mamiya C220 1, maart 16, 2008

My new "Godzilla", the Mamiya C220.

I wanted to have another quality MF camera as a complement to the Kiev 88. This one, the C220 seemed quite appealing as it is relatively inexpensive (about 100€) and also relatively modern. It's fully mechanical (another plus) and unlike the Kiev-88 built to western standards of quality. Note that I have no complain so far about the K88, but I wouldn't blindly buy another one unless it where from one of the official stores in Ukraine or the USA. Something that you can do with all confidence with western models, specially non-classical gear.

Drawbacks of this camera compared to the K88 are the loading of the film. This can be just a minor inconvenience in studio situations, but a real headache in the street. I am able to change even 120mm film on almost any camera in ten seconds while walking, but changing one of those backs is really handy... not to speak about the possibility of having different film on them.

On the other side, the C220 is a bit lighter as the K88 and the handling is much more easy at waist level, with it's handy winder. Of course, none of both are so easy to use as a 35mm camera, but , hey, it's a pro-format!

So. Now I just look foreward to get the step-up trafo to get my Epson 4990 running with good ol' European 220v current...

Sunday, March 09, 2008

I am a noisy photographer

Silver 02 16 maart 06, 2008
Originally uploaded by Enric Martinez
This is another preset, I called this Silver 02.
The effect tries to suggest (more than imitate) antique silver oxide tinted prints ("sepia"), but I'm not trying to make them pass for old photos. The omnipresent iso-noise gives it a dream-likes (or sometimes nightmare-like) atmosphere and the land and cityscapes are all obviously modern.
I am a very "noisy" photographer, I indeed search the iso-noise in the same way others search the grain in film. I use several tricks to increase noise, such as using high iso setting, shooting in poor light conditions or manipulating the grayscale mix in order to achieve the desired level of noise. Once again: I could use PS Elements or Gimp, but the result is on one side not the same and on the other side, I need to be able to apply it to dozens of photos on the fly.
I need to stress that I don't want or try to emulate film grain, I am experimenting with ISO-Noise because it is ISO-noise and behaves like ISO-noise; a feature that's different from grain: I have an good bunch of film cameras of both 35mm and medium format cameras, when I want film grain I can simply shoot film.
iso-noise is like the Great Shaitan of digital photography, where the word "crisp" is something like The Mecca... stir it up with a bit of flashy HDR and you will surely harvest dozens of prices, ohs, ahs and "good captures" in Flickr... soon you will think yourself that you are something more than a little cam-swinger with nothing to express except the topical kitsch clich├ęs for the dumb masses. ;)

Lightroom 1.3 sharpening and noise removal

I have been playing around a bit, testing how the noise reduction and sharpening functions in Lightroom 1.3. I specially wanted to know how the exported results look like.

On this I wanted to achieve a watercolor-like finish. What seems to have worked quite well.
I could have used PS Elements for something similar or even The Gimp, but I want to be able to apply a given setting to a full batch of pictures straight from the camera.