How Seriously Should We be Thinking About Going Digital? - part 2 of 1 2

by Dave Simm Published 01/07/2001

As I mentioned earlier, I am still in the market for a sophisticated digital camera, I haven't made the switch to one hundred per cent digital imaging. I really want to do that before the start of the next wedding season, but as yet I haven't identified the camera I want to work with. Funnily enough, I suspect that it may well be Olympus who come up with the camera I am waiting for. I say that because, I wrote several e-mails to their technical support and field sales offices, both of whom were very responsive to my questions or concerns and consequently their senior design engineering manager Mr. Minoru Matsuzaki, came to visit me at home and took my suggestions back to Olympus Tokyo, for research and development.

One of the cameras I seriously considered, and wish I could work with, is the Fuji Fine Pix S1, the quality is superb and when you see some of the stunning images it is capable of, with magnificent flesh tones and superb definition, but then I realize, I would need to change batteries about three times, to shoot one Chicago Wedding and I would have no advance warning when the batteries were about to flake out, it could be just as the Bride is walking down the aisle, who knows?.

I am still working on it though, I would like to test one at a wedding. Minolta too, have a fine camera that is worth looking at, as of course, does Nikon. There is no shortage of fine equipment, it is just a matter of matching features to needs.

I have never taken a wedding photo at 1/8000th of a second, nor am I ever likely to. I don't see the wisdom of over paying thousands of dollars for whistles, bells and flashing lights I will never use.

When I first started with this obsession to go digital, it was just to rid myself of the ever growing mountain of wedding negatives, that increase with every subsequent wedding, it wasn't too bad when I had a two thousand square feet studio, but now that I work from home, negatives seem to be taking over, even though I have a big house. I hadn't even considered what my end product would be, at the beginning, I just wanted to be free of the celluloid nightmare.

As I tested the camera along side my Hasselblads and Pentax 645, I began to like the results, it was only then that I started to put together an idea of just how I was going to present the images to the client. Oh, I was already into digital proofing with ProShots.

I was having my films scanned at the lab and putting up web sites for weddings and giving the Bride and Groom a neat little CD of images images

with a snazzy slide show.

Now all I had to do was put together a presentation of real photographs for a wedding album, to set my digital service apart from the more traditional silver halide images. As it happens I opted for silver technology for outputting my digital images, I looked at ink jet and dye sublimation very seriously, but the quality from the Fuji Frontier and Durst Lambda better matched the modus operandi of America's best book binders. I could continue to offer the highest quality wedding albums, available on earth, with the same archival quality of negatives that had been printed on Fuji Crystal Archive Paper.

So one day, as I sat staring at a blank computer screen, wondering what to do next, I was interrupted by the arrival of the mail, in there was a frame makers catalogue, which I briefly flicked through, it was at the matting section that the idea came to me. MMM, "wouldn't this look nice in an album" I thought, so pulling an image into Photoshop, I started to play around with the idea of making a 12" x 10" flush wedding album, where the prints are all bonded onto full bleed pages, yet have the appearance of an artistically matted print. As one thing lead to another, I was soon making multi size montages to fit the 12" x 10 page, tickled by all this fun I was having, I just had to get them up onto my web site, to create an interest in my digital works, fifteen minutes of authoring HTML and the new page was up and linked.

Either, "Great minds think alike" or "Fools seldom differ" because on a recent visit to the trade show at P.P.of A.'s national convention, I saw a number of interesting examples of my new project, at two of the five album companies exhibit booths. Well that only confirms that my new product has a great starting chance in my market place. Even though I have only shown screen images and loose prints to prospects at this stage, several brides and grooms have already told me that other studios around me, aren't even offering CD proofs let alone total digital wedding coverage.

By the time this appears in print, my new sample album will be back from the bookbinders and ready to show to next year's prospects. I will still be able to offer my real high end matted story books. the only difference being I will save $800 a month on film and almost two thousand per month on proofing. Even at my age, and believe me I could easily see out the end of my career on film, it makes switching to digital a very viable proposition.

Now I am suggesting to all my prospects, that while they can choose any of the service levels I offer curently, that their wedding may well be photographed one hundred per cent digitally, because by this time next year, I am certain that I will have identified one of this coming winter's new entries onto the scene as being the camera I can work with along side my E10.

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1st Published 01/07/2001
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