Camera designed for the "Professional Chimper"

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Barlowephoto
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Camera designed for the "Professional Chimper"
6 months ago

Hello, let me start by saying I'm a working pro for 40+ years. When the pressure was on, in the "film days" we would all shoot Polaroid until we were absolutely certain of our lighting and exposure. And only then would we risk our reputation ( and the huge expense of color sheet film ).Then came the digital age, and we are all squinting at these tiny images at the back of our cameras. When the light is bright we are doing a dance, moving the camera around to avoid seeing reflections on the screen. And when we're outdoors in bright sunlight, we have to purchase huge magnifying hoods. I can even envision a progression all the way to the dark cloths of the view camera days!

It's crazy! I think progress is going backwards. What I wouldn't give for a nice big 4x5 inch Polaroid preview!

But, then I begin to think of the new mirrorless cameras with EVF's. They too have the now traditional LCD screen on the back of the camera. But also since the image in the viewfinder is electronically generated, shouldn't it be possible to chimp your images ( to perfect your lighting and exposure ) through the camera's EVF?

Is anyone doing this? Is it working? Can you judge lighting ratios and modeling in your lighting effectively? What camera are you using? I would like to hear your ideas. I'm presently shooting with Nikon D700 and D800 cameras, and I'm fed up with trying to focus my aging eyes on a miserable piece of LCD real estate in bright light. I'm not about to splurge my money on a pricey Zacuto finder. My cameras are already huge enough!!!

I need your collective experience and wisdom on this. Any and all ideas are welcome! Thank you very much.---Jeff Barlowe

Nikon D700 Nikon D800
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darklamp
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Metering, bracketing - do you use them ?
In reply to Barlowephoto, 6 months ago

Cameras these days ( and for a long time now ) have had very good metering systems that do a very good job at metering exposure.

For that matter you can just bracket exposures.

And of course if all else fails there's always the option of using a dedicated light meter.

However what I find almost always works fine is just learning to trust the meter ( and using the right metering mode and exposure compensation which an experience photog should be able to do easily ).

I just don't understand why you're having such a problem.

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Ron Poelman
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There are people here who have no idea...
In reply to Barlowephoto, 6 months ago

what you are talking about.
Australians for example, have way too much light around them
to look at an unhooded screen.
The modern EVF, preferably an OLED one, is a thing of wonder.
Not only does it enable a bag of visible info in front of you,
but it's all you need to judge lighting and effects.
Pick up any recent Sony, (maybe the Alpha 77 ?)
leave the screen alone and look down the EVF
to review your shots, case closed.
Most OVF shooters seem to take about a week to acclimatise
and by and large, they don't go back.

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MediaArchivist
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Yes
In reply to Barlowephoto, 6 months ago

I am pretty sure all cameras with a EVF will allow you to review in it. I know all the Sony A-mount cameras do (eg a77, a99).

Under the circumstances you are describing, I have chimped via the EVF and it works as well as you imagine it would (which is very well). When reviewing, I usually use the LCD. As soon as I bring the camera to my eye the EVF takes over and I can review that way, I don't have to press a button or toggle anything.

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cplunk
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Re: Camera designed for the "Professional Chimper"
In reply to Barlowephoto, 6 months ago

You can zoom in on the LCD.  I do this to check focus, in specific areas, and it works well enough for that.

There are some companies that make an LCD loupe. You should be able to find them searching amazon for that.

And Sony makes a small HDMI LCD, larger than really any build in LCD, but small enough to be shoe mounted on top of the camera.

I have a Sony A99, with the EVF that I can review photos on. But when it comes down to checking my lighting, I just switch the card over to a computer and view it on the larger screen.

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Martin.au
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Re: Camera designed for the "Professional Chimper"
In reply to Barlowephoto, 6 months ago

Barlowephoto wrote:

Hello, let me start by saying I'm a working pro for 40+ years. When the pressure was on, in the "film days" we would all shoot Polaroid until we were absolutely certain of our lighting and exposure. And only then would we risk our reputation ( and the huge expense of color sheet film ).Then came the digital age, and we are all squinting at these tiny images at the back of our cameras. When the light is bright we are doing a dance, moving the camera around to avoid seeing reflections on the screen. And when we're outdoors in bright sunlight, we have to purchase huge magnifying hoods. I can even envision a progression all the way to the dark cloths of the view camera days!

It's crazy! I think progress is going backwards. What I wouldn't give for a nice big 4x5 inch Polaroid preview!

But, then I begin to think of the new mirrorless cameras with EVF's. They too have the now traditional LCD screen on the back of the camera. But also since the image in the viewfinder is electronically generated, shouldn't it be possible to chimp your images ( to perfect your lighting and exposure ) through the camera's EVF?

Is anyone doing this? Is it working? Can you judge lighting ratios and modeling in your lighting effectively? What camera are you using? I would like to hear your ideas. I'm presently shooting with Nikon D700 and D800 cameras, and I'm fed up with trying to focus my aging eyes on a miserable piece of LCD real estate in bright light. I'm not about to splurge my money on a pricey Zacuto finder. My cameras are already huge enough!!!

I need your collective experience and wisdom on this. Any and all ideas are welcome! Thank you very much.---Jeff Barlowe

Yes.

My experience is with the OM-Ds, in particular the E-M1.

Chimping on the EVF is easy. Put your eye to the viewfinder, hit playback. Works just like chimping on the rear screen.

However, as you can also nail the exposure prior to the shot, through live blinkies, histogram and real time exposure preview then you should hardly need to chimp to check exposure in the first place.

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Barlowephoto
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Re: Camera designed for the "Professional Chimper"
In reply to Barlowephoto, 6 months ago

Thank you everyone. I guess the EVF might be the answer. Darklamp suggests I use a meter, but it will not show if a shadow from one of my multiple lights is crossing an important part of my subject. Ron, I think you hit it, that OVF users take a while to get used to the EVF, but I think that for me it would be a worthwhile tradeoff.

With so much of my money invested in DSLRs, it may take some time to decide which way to go. I'm thinking back to when I shot with a Rollei. I needed to shoot Polaroids, to get lighting and exposure nailed down. Rollie didn't have a Polaroid back, and so I bought a Polaroid Model 150 ( I think that was the model) which had a full Compur synchro shutter and f stops. I used it along with the Rollei, to proof my images. Well, that same concept might be helpful if I get a mirrorless with EVF to proof my images and shoot the actual job with the Nikons. Then at some point I'd move up to better cameras with EVF.

Thank you everyone, I needed to see if the EVF was handy and efficient. Sure beats the magnifier hoods, I guess............. Jeff Barlowe

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chiane
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Re: Camera designed for the "Professional Chimper"
In reply to Barlowephoto, 6 months ago

I used to have to walk 10 miles to school, uphill both ways!

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Jim Salvas
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Re: Camera designed for the "Professional Chimper"
In reply to Barlowephoto, 6 months ago

I pre-chimp with the EVF on my E-M1, since it pretty much shows me the shot I'm going to get. I also have it set to display the taken shot for a half second after the exposure.

One of the more interesting things to do with an EVF is to set the camera for monochrome, but shoot in RAW+JPEG. This changes the display to black and white, but the RAW file is recorded in color. It can help you see the lighting and composition better, without the distraction of color.

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darklamp
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Preview with a tablet and a wi-fi card
In reply to Barlowephoto, 6 months ago

Barlowephoto wrote:

I guess the EVF might be the answer.

I use both optical and electronics VF's and while the EVF is becoming more useful to me that's only it's attached to a camera than mounts any lens I have via adapters ( although focus peaking is quite useful in this context ).

Darklamp suggests I use a meter

Yup ( and bracketing ).

but it will not show if a shadow from one of my multiple lights is crossing an important part of my subject.

Well that, with respect, is your job !

It's your job as the photographer to organize the lighting to that it doesn't produce issues like this. Depending on a viewfinder to show this strikes me as the problem, rather than the solution.

Ron, I think you hit it, that OVF users take a while to get used to the EVF, but I think that for me it would be a worthwhile tradeoff.

I think this switching time is over-estimated for the better EVFs.

Note that EVFs don't do well when following rapid movement or panning, in my experience. So that kind of subject will be best left to an OVF.

With so much of my money invested in DSLRs, it may take some time to decide which way to go. I'm thinking back to when I shot with a Rollei. I needed to shoot Polaroids, to get lighting and exposure nailed down. Rollie didn't have a Polaroid back, and so I bought a Polaroid Model 150 ( I think that was the model) which had a full Compur synchro shutter and f stops. I used it along with the Rollei, to proof my images. Well, that same concept might be helpful if I get a mirrorless with EVF to proof my images and shoot the actual job with the Nikons. Then at some point I'd move up to better cameras with EVF.

This is what is called a Heath Robinson solution in this part of the world. ( Over-complex ).

I think what you really need here is a wi-fi card and tablet.

Use the wi-fi card to enable the tablet to read the shots you take while the card is in the camera and review them on that. ( Google Eye-Fi card for one make of such cards ).

Using two cameras is just making things difficult and gets you no better a display.

However I still think your eyes would do better reviewing the scene for issues than waiting until after the shot.

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Barlowephoto
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Re: Camera designed for the "Professional Chimper"
In reply to Jim Salvas, 6 months ago

Jim, I really like your idea of (pre)viewing the image in B&W. Yes, I always shoot raw only and only seldom used B&W settings. I'm a lighting fanatic, and removing color from the "proofs" is a nice touch.

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Barlowephoto
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Re: Yes
In reply to MediaArchivist, 6 months ago

Thank you MediaArchivist for your detailed reply. I'm hearing really good things about the SONY's. They really innovate new ideas. I wish Nikon would follow in their footsteps, and I can keep my lens collection........Jeff Barlowe

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sixtiesphotographer
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Re: Camera designed for the "Professional Chimper"
In reply to chiane, 6 months ago

I used to have to walk 10 miles to school, uphill both ways!

You had a school?! Luxury. All we had was a cardboard box at the end of a dirt road - with a mouse as a teacher.

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Barlowephoto
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Re: Camera designed for the "Professional Chimper"
In reply to cplunk, 6 months ago

cplunk, most of the time my LCD on the back of the camera is more than adequate, especially in the studio or on location when it's indoors and not so bright. In the studio, I'm always plugging my memory card in the computer and reviewing. If I'm shooting a model, that's the way I work-where the model can see the images "larger than life".............Jeff Barlowe

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Barlowephoto
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Re: Camera designed for the "Professional Chimper"
In reply to Martin.au, 6 months ago

Martin.au I used to own Olympus OM film cameras, and it seems like Olympus is at the forefront of the mirrorless revolution. Nice to hear you can chimp with the EVF. Let me explain my need for chimping. Shooting in daylight ( or available light), whatever..... is no great challenge. Cameras have great metering, and shooting in raw gives almost unlimited exposure freedom. So I'm not worried about basic exposure. What I need from chimping is feedback. Feedback because I like using multiple strobes on location indoors and out. I like to SEE what every light is doing. Ive been in this game a long time, and just looking at an image, I can tell which one of a half dozen strobes is a half a stop too much. Or if there's a shadow or reflection-which strobe is the offender. Or maybe a gel is casting too much color. It's all about control, I guess. And if my LCD screen gets washed out with too much ambient light--i feel like I 've lost control.........Jeff Barlowe

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MediaArchivist
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B/W mode
In reply to Jim Salvas, 6 months ago

Jim Salvas wrote:

One of the more interesting things to do with an EVF is to set the camera for monochrome, but shoot in RAW+JPEG. This changes the display to black and white, but the RAW file is recorded in color.

I have used this technique, and it can be extremely useful. Two interesting side effects:

  1. If you use focus peaking, the peaking color is extremely obvious.
  2. Letting others chimp with you ups your hip cred by orders of magnitude
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jeffcpix
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Re: Camera designed for the "Professional Chimper"
In reply to Barlowephoto, 6 months ago

As someone who remembers the value of having a polaroid for the AD to approve and who understands why someone doing interior architecture with multiple sources etc wants something larger than a thumbnail, I think you've already got your answer from darklamp:

"I think what you really need here is a wi-fi card and tablet.Use the wi-fi card to enable the tablet to read the shots you take while the card is in the camera and review them on that. ( Google Eye-Fi card for one make of such cards )."

And there are quite a few external monitors that might be useful:

http://www.amazon.com/s/?ie=UTF8&keywords=external+lcd+monitor&tag=googhydr-20&index=electronics&hvadid=38822842022&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=7768612147790512697&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=b&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_6lnaae3q1i_b

Polaroid helped -- but it was expensive and it could be inconsistent in speed and color.

And I believe the Polaroid model you referred to was the 195.

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Sdaniella
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correction: Nikon Camera designed for the "Professional Chimper"
In reply to Barlowephoto, 6 months ago

Barlowephoto wrote:

Hello, let me start by saying I'm a working pro for 40+ years. When the pressure was on, in the "film days" we would all shoot Polaroid until we were absolutely certain of our lighting and exposure. And only then would we risk our reputation ( and the huge expense of color sheet film ).Then came the digital age, and we are all squinting at these tiny images at the back of our cameras. When the light is bright we are doing a dance, moving the camera around to avoid seeing reflections on the screen. And when we're outdoors in bright sunlight, we have to purchase huge magnifying hoods. I can even envision a progression all the way to the dark cloths of the view camera days!

It's crazy! I think progress is going backwards.

on Nikons lower dSLRs D700 or lower ... they mostly offered autogain (auto-ev0) preview only for focus/framing, never full image exposure preview (still had to read light meter scale)

What I wouldn't give for a nice big 4x5 inch Polaroid preview!

full dynamic range image exposure simulation with realtime LIVE FULL IMAGE SENSOR PREVIEW particularly most powerful in Full M/M ISO mode

available on prosumer M-capable Canon/Sony dcams since 2000 (ES-LV, or live preview), Canon EOS dSLRSs since EOS 20Da (ExpSimLV 2005+) and later (except 30D), video exposure preview (5DMkII)

includes live electronic ...

saturation preview

color preview, infrared preview, ND preview (long exposures, IR, and ND are limited by 'sim' shutter speed times)

wb preview

contrast preview (

highlight clipping preview; shadow preview)

onset noise preview

dof preview

compensation preview (for AE users)

auto-gain (auto-ev0) for focus/framing preview (a MINOR given for all LV preview systems of all LV mfrs)

I.e. custom JPEG LV EXPOSURE/DR "FULL-TIME" (not part-time) preview before shot is captured ...

MISSING: HDR EXPOSURE LIVE PREVIEW (choose either: triple* ISO (varied noise creeps in), triple* shutter speeds (variable blur could show), triple* aperture (weird triple dof distortions) selection)

*triple (or more)

MISSING: multiple-exposure/overlay LIVE preview (a variation/extension of hdr live preview) between a new live scene and existing image(exposures before)

But, then I begin to think of the new mirrorless cameras with EVF's. They too have the now traditional LCD screen on the back of the camera. But also since the image in the viewfinder is electronically generated, shouldn't it be possible to chimp your images ( to perfect your lighting and exposure ) through the camera's EVF?

no need to chimp at all (shoot, review, adjust for errors, reshooting, repeat, etc = totally avoided to begin with)

just choose your "pre-outcome live preview image to taste" THEN shoot it as desired 'first-time-right', and vary it creatively for other outcomes, if you want, as you please.

Is anyone doing this? Is it working? Can you judge lighting ratios and modeling in your lighting effectively?

Canon has led in this area even more than Sony for a long time

funny you should ask this because Nikon later offered this in their D3/D3x/D3s ... D4 ... and partially in your D800 ... (why not use it, or try it on a Canon ?)

What camera are you using? I would like to hear your ideas. I'm presently shooting with Nikon D700 and D800 cameras, and I'm fed up with trying to focus my aging eyes on a miserable piece of LCD real estate in bright light. I'm not about to splurge my money on a pricey Zacuto finder. My cameras are already huge enough!!!

exposure determination for a given lit scenario only needs to be done once with ExpSimLV given you can preview it ALL (whole/most of) the scene via EVF or swivel/tilt) LCD, then knowing exposure is what you want, you can spend all your 'shooting' time with your OVF exactly what sportshooters are doing at sports venues)

I need your collective experience and wisdom on this. Any and all ideas are welcome! Thank you very much.---Jeff Barlowe

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Eamon Hickey
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neither helps with judging light quality
In reply to darklamp, 6 months ago

darklamp wrote:

Cameras these days ( and for a long time now ) have had very good metering systems that do a very good job at metering exposure.

A good test shot is still useful when using artificial light sources. Neither the camera's meter nor bracketing helps at all with fine-tuning light ratios or even judging the positioning of a single light source. Light quantity is not the same thing as light quality.

But the OP could easily use a tablet or laptop (tethered or WiFi) for judging light quality, and both of those are far quicker and more convenient than pulling 4x5 Polaroids ever was. So I agree that his nostalgia for the old days is puzzling.

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Barlowephoto
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Re: neither helps with judging light quality
In reply to Eamon Hickey, 6 months ago

Eamon, I think you've expressed my sentiments better that I could myself. A good test shot is useful for fine tuning EVERYTHING. When I look back with nostalgia at 4x5 Polaroids, I guess I've forgotten the tedium of purchasing the film, cleaning the rollers, coating the prints etc, etc. etc. But I do remember the beautiful tones and sharpness. Now, as I've said my aging eyes aren't what they used to be, so even if I could get my 4x5 Polaroids back--I'm not sure they'd look as sexy nowadays! So I guess that idea of using a wifi driven tablet or EVF in review mode is as good as it's going to get. And, oh yes it was the Polaroid 195, now I remember. And I also remember I dumped that camera after a while because it's added bulk to my shooting gear got to be a PITA. I guess I'm going to start looking at some mirrorless cameras one of these days. Thanks to all for your input...........Jeff Barlowe

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