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The Romance of Digital

June 14, 2010

A Fine Art Film Shooter Finds the Best of Both Worlds with Nikon’s D-700 and D3 Series

I always share my truest feelings about my photography.  A lot of people ask me about my passion for film and assume I’m anti-digital. This couldn’t be further from the truth.  I have a passion for digital just as much as I do film, and I also enjoy apples as much as I do oranges.  It’s not about choosing one over the other; rather, it’s a question of selecting the right camera for the right situation.  My film camera is like a classic car that I might take for a spin on a Sunday afternoon in wine country, whereas my digital Nikons are like luxury commuter sedans that provide me with comfort, convenience and practicality.

While I always thought that only film images could make me slow dance, whisper in my ear, and seduce me to my knees, along came Nikon’s professional digital cameras.  Until recently, I didn’t feel that digital technology had the ability to record light, shadow, and depth in the way analog cameras could; but my D700, can see the romance of candlelight flickering in the eyes of two lovers in a way my film cameras never could—having to supplement with flash fill in a situation like this would be the ultimate buzz kill, destroying the magical subtle nuances of a warm candle-lit room.

For all my film enthusiasts out there, I would like to say this: we need to be careful not to miss out on some of the cutting edge advancements within the digital world.  If we could have the best of both worlds, shouldn’t we?

I shoot with the Nikon D700 and D3, both of which have changed my perception on digital cameras.  The D700 is fantastic for a variety of reasons, but hits it out of the ballpark in low light situations.  When it comes down to it, it’s lightweight, affordable, easy to use, and boasts incredibly low noise levels, thanks to the larger pixels in its 12.1-MP FX sensor. With its wide sensitivity range of ISO 200 to 6,400 (and even up to 25,600 in the Hi modes!!), I have total confidence and control in any low-light situation.  There is no film camera that could compare to this digital performance. My D3 gives me the added security of a second memory card slot, which I have programmed to make a copy of each image on my second card. With either digital body (or any, for that matter), the immediacy with which I, or my client, can review shots from a current shoot is simply invaluable.

Does my newfound love affair with Nikon’s digital cameras mean that I am going to toss out my film camera?  Absolutely not, there is still a time to shoot film, like on a Sunday afternoon drive in my 1966 230 SL Roadster.

I will always enjoy the rich grain and graceful highlights from film; however, this “novelty” is not always practical.

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