Tour 09: Fine Art Printing and Fine Art Reproduction Update

We’ve been having a great time. We held our Tech Expo (day 1)  and Workshop Session (day 2) at the Denver Studio Complex and Denver Pro Photo. This was the first of seven events planned, ranging through Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona.

The Tech Expo featured wide format printers from Canon, Epson, and HP, color management tools from X-Rite, displays from Eizo, cameras from Mamiya/Leaf, papers and print finishing products from Premier, lighting from Westcott, Eizo, and more!

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The Tech Expo was very well attended, and we had reps from a number of companies present.

Dennis Halley (digital2you) was the primary host. During the course of the day, we fielded questions regarding inkjet printing, color management, print finishing, art reproduction, media selection, medium format cameras, and displays from Eizo.

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We also had quite a bit of original artwork on hand, and print reproductions of many of these examples.

On day 2, we held our workshop on Fine Art Printmaking and Fine Art Reproduction. The session was very well attended; we had approximately 20 students in attendance.

We not only covered the “how to” aspects of fine art printmaking, we also got into the details of the business model for fine art printmaking, using your wide-format printer to make prints for other photographers, art reproduction, color management, print finishing, and more.

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We had a complete fine art printmaking setup, and of course a studio setup for fine art repro:

I encourage you to attend one of the next sessions. We will be in Glenwood Springs, Santa Fe, Flagstaff, Phoenix, Tucson, and Albuquerque.

To register for the workshop session, please go to the Digital2You web site here or CALL FOR DETAILS 303-934-2777

Camera Test: Mamiya 645AFD III Camera and the Leaf Aptus DL-28 Digital Back

I recently received a Mamiya 645AFD III medium-format camera to test, accompanied by a Leaf Aptus II DL-28 digital back, and several lenses. 

 

I’m going to report on my experiences with this camera, starting with an overview and first impressions in this post. In subsequent posts, I’ll cover a variety of shooting situations (in studio and on-location), image quality, and the Leaf Capture software and its performance. Note that this is one of the cameras we will be using on the upcoming Focus 09 Fine Art Printing and Art Reproduction Seminar Tour October 2-21.

 

The camera arrived in the original packaging, which is well designed, protecting the camera quite well.

 

Ergonomics are top-notch; the camera is well balanced, and controls are logically placed and fall easily under one’s fingers – in short, it just feels good. 

 

Camera, lens, and digital back build quality is excellent. This is clearly a pro-level camera, robust materials and construction.

 

In the next image, basic features are marked by the numbers. Number 1 is located next to the shutter release, and shutter controls: single, continuous, mirror-up, and lock. Number 2 shows the settings screen, which indicates battery life, aperture/shutter speed, and the like. Number 3 shows the dial which controls shooting mode – Aperture priority, shutter priority, program/auto, manual, X, and custom function. Number 4 indicates the digital back, 5 the stylus used to activate controls on the back.

 

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Controls on the front of the camera include depth of field preview, and a focus mode selector (single, continuous, manual).

 

The camera is powered by AA batteries, which is a plus in terms of cost as compared to camera bodies which require more expensive 123 batteries.

 

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Mamiya lenses have a strong reputation for build and image quality. Focusing rings are well-dampened, and autofocus lenses are quick and quiet.

 

Some specs on the digital back: 28MP, which produces a >150MB file @ 16 bits. The sensor size is 44x33mm, and offers  ISO ratings of 50-800. Pixel pitch is 7.2 microns, which is larger than, for example, the Nikon D3x which features 5.9. Dynamic range is reported to be 12 stops.

 

So far, I’ve used the camera mostly in-studio, with a couple of short sessions outdoors. To this point, the in-camera meter has been accurate, handling high-contrast situations accurately. More to follow on this topic.

 

The camera may be used shooting to a CF card, or tethered to a computer. The days of using an attached hard drive are gone. The battery mounts underneath the camera back, which I find convenient as it helps balance things when using longer lenses.

 

The digital back shoots at 1/fps. It has an excellent, bright viewing screen, 6x7cm, which has very good contrast and color. It can be viewed outdoors, but direct sun is a challenge. In-studio it is, in a word, stunning.

 

A feature of the Aptus digital back is it not only provides a preview and histogram of the image – it is a touch-screen controller for the camera, controlling quite a few functions.

 

In short, one can set up the parameters of the shot, from color space to pre-sharpening to pre-set camera profiles – all with a tap of the included stylus.

 

Now some have criticized this for being “too complex”, or “too fancy”, and I just can’t agree. It is much quicker than push-button driven controls, and the menus are clear and pretty easy to follow.

 

For example, one can set up the camera to provide a simple image preview, image preview with histogram in the corner of the image, or histogram overlaid on the image. Quite flexible and useful.

 

 

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RAW file format is now compatible with Photoshop, Lightroom, and Aperture. I applaud the company’s approach to open architecture – makes it much easier to work in a variety of circumstances and locations. We don’t always have control of the resources available to us in the field!

 

Image quality is excellent. Although the camera provides ISO settings up to 800, as a practical matter image quality begins to suffer at 400, and has significant color and luminance noise at 800, even in bright light. To be fair, this camera was designed for lighting-controlled situations – ie, ISO 50-100.

 

I used the camera in studio to capture some macro shots of an orchid. We used the new Westcott Westcott TD-5 lights with daylight-balanced fluorescent bulbs installed. (a check with a spectrophotometer shows these to be dead-on at 5500k).

 

The macro lens is a 120mm f/4 model, updated with a 16-bit CPU. The focusing ring is smooth, perhaps a little heavy to turn. I’d like to see a little less pressure needed, and a better turn ratio for close focusing – after all, this is a manual focus lens. Having said this, I had no trouble at all focusing the lens. (There is a very accurate focusing indicator in the viewfinder).

 

Image quality is superb. On macro shots, I recommend using a sturdy tripod or studio stand, and mirror-up mode for maximum clarity. 

 

The image below shows an orchid photographed in-studio, with a cutout at 100% to demonstrate sharpness. The white “fuzz” you see isn’t sharpening artifact, it’s part of the flower!

 

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I’ll be photographing a number of subjects this week, including some acrylic paintings for a fine art reproduction project that just came in. More to follow!

 

 

*****

 

We’ll be working live with this camera, among others, at the upcoming Fine Art Printing and Fine Art Reproduction seminars in Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico. These one-day intensive sessions start at the beginning of October 09. For more information, go here.

 

 

 

 

New Blog Announcement: Focus 09 – Digital Fine Art Printing and Art Reproduction Seminars

New Blog Announcement

 

Focus 09: Digital Fine Art Printing and Art Reproduction Seminars

Focus 09: Digital Fine Art Printing and Art Reproduction Seminars

Instructor: David Saffir

In October 2009, we begin a new tour and seminar series: Fine Art Printing and Photographic Reproduction. This series provides an in-depth review of the subject from several viewpoints: first, for photographers wishing to make fine art prints, and second, for curators, galleries, and other organiztions in dealing with artists and their work in the context of creating open- and limited reproduction editions of their artwork. Third, for artists who wish to expand their marketing efforts and created editions of their work for exhibition and sale.

Beginning October 2, 2009, and continuing through October 20th, the Tour covers seven cities in three states (Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico).

Designed for photographers, artists, galleries, printmakers, students, and organizations this series provides a number of learning experiences:        read more.

Focus 2009 Tour and Seminar Series, Fine Art and Photographic Reproduction

Instructor: David Saffir

In October 2009, we begin a new tour and seminar series: Fine Art Printing and Photographic Reproduction. This series provides an in-depth review of the subject from several viewpoints: first, for photographers wishing to make fine art prints, and second, for curators, galleries, and other organiztions in dealing with artists and their work in the context of creating open- and limited reproduction editions of their artwork. Third, for artists who wish to expand their marketing efforts and created editions of their work for exhibition and sale.

Beginning October 2, 2009, and continuing through October 20th, the Tour covers seven cities in three states (Arizona, Colorado, and New Mexico).

Designed for photographers, artists, galleries, printmakers, students, and organizations this series provides a number of learning experiences:

  • A full-day workshop which covers the complete scope of work involved in producing reproduction of fine-art watercolor, oils, and acrylic artwork. We begin with art selection, proceed to planning workflow, image capture, processing, color management, output devices media selection, printing, edition management, certificates of authenticity, print finishing, and more.
  • A Tech Expo which provides an opportunity for hands-on experience with a number of printer manufacturers’ equipment, color management, displays, and more.
  • A bonus summary session which provides real-world, practical building blocks for running your own business and achieving profitability in the Business of Fine Art Reproduction and Fine Art Printmaking.

We will have the summary business session the evening before the main seminar event. The main event, held the next day, runs from 9 am to 5 pm. In Denver, for example, we will have the Tech Expo on October 2, summary business session on the evening of Oct 2, and the full day seminar session on Oct 3rd.

The schedule:

Denver, Colorado

Friday, October 2nd Tech Expo and Summary Business Session

Saturday, October 3rd Fine Art Printmaking and Art Reproduction Seminar

Location: Denver Pro Photo Studio Complex,

235 S. Cherokee St. – Denver, Colorado

 

Glenwood Springs, Colorado

Monday, October 5th Tech Expo and Summary Business Session

Tuesday, October 6th Fine Art Printmaking and Art Reproduction Seminar

Location: Glenwood Recreation Center,

100 Wulfsohn Road – Glenwood Springs, Colorado

 

Santa Fe, New Mexico

Thursday, October 8th. Tech Expo and Summary Business Session

Friday, October 9th. Fine Art Printmaking and Art Reproduction Seminar

LOCATION : Holiday Inn-Santa Fe,

4048 Cerrillos Road – Sante Fe, New Mexico

 

Flagstaff, Arizona

Monday, October 12th,Tech Expo and Summary Business Session

Tuesday, October 13th, Fine Art Printmaking and Art Reproduction Seminar

LOCATION : Flagstaff Ranch Golf Club Community Center

3605 So. Flagstaff Ranch Road – Flagstaff, Arizona

 

Phoenix, Arizona

Wednesday, October 14th, Tech Expo and Summary Business Session

Thursday, October 15th, Fine Art Printmaking and Art Reproduction Seminar

LOCATION : Hampton Inn & Suites ,

16620 North Scottsdale Road – Phoenix, Arizona

 

Tucson, Arizona

Friday, October 16th, Tech Expo and Summary Business Session

Saturday, October 17th, Fine Art Printmaking and Art Reproduction Seminar

LOCATION : Sheraton Four Points University,

1900 East Speedway – Tucson, Arizona

 

Albuquerque, New Mexico

Monday, October 19th, Tech Expo and Summary Business Session

Tuesday, October 20th, Fine Art Printmaking and Art Reproduction Seminar

LOCATION : Holiday Inn & Suites Airport,

1501 Sunport Place S.E. – Albuquerque, New Mexico

 

This schedule may be subject to change. PLEASE BOOKMARK or subscribe to this page to keep up to date.

For registration links, go to the Digital2You.cc here  or CALL FOR DETAILS 303-934-2777.