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Thread: A 4×5 camera with a Petzval lens VS Canon 5d

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    A 4×5 camera with a Petzval lens VS Canon 5d

    "Four weeks prior to the London Olympic Games, Los Angeles Times photographer Jay L. Clendenin spent that time traveling around Souther California, composing portraits of the competing athletes on the US Olympic Team. Yes, while he wasn’t the only one documenting these athletes, Clendenin chose a more unusual way of capturing them. In addition to using a Canon 5D Mark IIs, he also used a 4×5-inch field camera with a 100+ year old Petzval lens, exposing each image onto B&W paper to produce a tnegative. Clendenin put his two photographs side by side to show the comparison of the two, revealing how strikingly different analogue photography is to digital and how it can capture an ethereal and unique look that digital can just not match."

    More here:
    F.N.D | A 4×5 camera with a Petzval lens VS Canon 5d



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    film wins hands down
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    Paper negatives? Looks gimmicky. I say this as a guy who just bought a second 4x5.
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    You'll never duplicate the clarity of a 4x5 with digital. In my opinion, it can't even be done with 35mm much less 4x5

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    I find it amusing that we're talking about a paper negative, which he then scanned.. This seems to be a "thing" where the artist wants the cachet of film, but the ease of digital post. Then we see tiny little images on the web, or in the newspaper.

    I think it only "can capture an ethereal and unique look that digital can just not match" if you're told that it's film. If you were told that it was an instagram filter, in the first place you'd believe it -- there would be "no way, that's 4x5.. I think a paper negative.. look at the buttery tonality" and in the second place we'd dismiss the images instantly.

    If we say a 16x24 print, we might have some trouble with the "it's an instagram filter" story, but on the web and in print? We'd buy it in a heartbeat.

    Possibly Mr. Clendenin fully intends these to be printed large, in which case, bravo!
    My awesome photography blog: Photothunk. You will hate it. Seriously. It's wordy and pretentious, and there are no pictures.
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    Clever gimmick. What I thought was absolutely PATHETIC was the teensie-tiny little web-served JPEG files the "article" used to show us the guy's photographic results...the images served up were worse than the crap I slap up on Facebook...I mean, when one compresses and shrinks and shrinks and then re-compresses the living chit out of either a 4x5 image of a 5D-II 21 MP image so that it is smaller than a playing card...man...why bother...pencil sketches have greater detail...I mean, great idea and all, but man--let's see the WORK, shown PROPERLY. As in "higher-than-Facebook-quality".

    NO reflection on the OP is/was meant by any of this carping...I just hate to see crap-quality web images now that broadband is here.
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    I wish the photos in this article were larger too but pro photographers often publish only small renditions of their photos on the web to protect their work from theft. You can see more of his work on his own site.

    Notice that he is not only using paper negs but also a lens that was designed in 1840, one of the first photographic lenses.

    Jay L. Clendenin is an LA Times photographer with lots of published work including major magazine covers, celebrity portraits, etc.

    His site is here:
    LA Photographer Jay L. Clendenin: Portrait Photography, Celebrity Photography and Photographic Essays


    Last edited by compur; 08-15-2012 at 08:21 AM.
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    Wasn't it William Henry Fox-Talbot that started the paper negative process, with his "Talbotype" process??? Man...that History of photography class was a loooong time ago!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Derrel View Post
    Clever gimmick. What I thought was absolutely PATHETIC was the teensie-tiny little web-served JPEG files the "article" used to show us the guy's photographic results...the images served up were worse than the crap I slap up on Facebook...I mean, when one compresses and shrinks and shrinks and then re-compresses the living chit out of either a 4x5 image of a 5D-II 21 MP image so that it is smaller than a playing card...man...why bother...pencil sketches have greater detail...I mean, great idea and all, but man--let's see the WORK, shown PROPERLY. As in "higher-than-Facebook-quality".

    NO reflection on the OP is/was meant by any of this carping...I just hate to see crap-quality web images now that broadband is here.
    My thoughts, also. Thanks, Derrel.

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    Yes, Talbot used paper negs which were then printed on salted paper. He called them Calotypes. Before Talbot (and Daguerre) a Frenchman named Hippolyte Bayard used paper positives (reversal processed paper negs).
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    The fact that these images are "printed" full frame, together with the fact that they have a variety of different bizarre artifacts on them suggests to me that thse are highly affected images.

    The guy seems to have consciously decided to go for an Olde Tyme Looke here, and for all we know he added the artifacts in post. Some of the artifacts make no sense at all, and some of them look sort of like shoddy processing, but DIFFERENT shoddy processing frame to frame.

    I was going to speculate that the paper negative thing was a misprint, but I don't see any film notches, so maybe he really did use paper negatives. And then rolled them around in the trash after developing them, but DIFFERENT trash, frame to frame. Or maybe he shot them all on his Canon and whacked them with photoshop. There's really no way to know, is there?

    The only question that matters, once we remove the artifice, is whether the pictures are any damn good. And, happily, they are. They show a much higher degree of thoughtfulness and creativity than the color ones, which are all very ordinary strobe-lit color-popped pseudo-fashion crud of the sort 10,000 photographers the world over are churning out by the yard because that's what the customers demand. Also, why are the (color) fencer's legs all out of focus? What's up with THAT?
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    This was a "conceptual" project, so yeah...the images are "highly affected"...by choices the photographer made, and by the process he selected (and the actual, real-world image-making techniques and equipment: lens, paper negs, the type of camera, camera movements, development, processing, printing-out of the images and so on). As far as the color fencer's legs being "all out of focus"...that seems to be a nod (a wink, perhaps?) to the ability of old tymey cameras that have movements...it looks like he used a Canon tilt/shift lens to do modify the image the camera recorded; that effect can be done IN-camera, using a Tilt/shift lens on a digital (Canon makes three such T/S lenses currently) OR it could have been done later, in digital post.

    These days, the photographic image is the subject for MUCH manipulation...at the hands of teenagers, moms, dads, grandparents, hobby shooters, pro shooters, fine art photographers, school kids...etc.,etc..

    Was his project successful? I think so, yes. Heck, he has us talking about his images, his project....in a world where we each consume thousands of images a week, we have taken some TIME and SPENT IT, spent our TIME, looking at his images, and thinking about them, and discussing them in a public forum. I think that qualifies as a success.
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    It is entirely inappropriate to suggest these two sets of images be compared as in some type of contest.

    Joe

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ysarex View Post
    It is entirely inappropriate to suggest these two sets of images be compared as in some type of contest.

    Joe
    But that is **exactly** how the images are being presented...AS A SIDE-BY-SIDE "comparison"...and I mean that literally...the pics are shown side-by-side, the article emphasizes the competition angle with the use of the term "vs", and so on...seems like a fair fight to me...paper negative versus Canon digital...

    I went to Clendenin's web site and looked through all the shots he has up there...he's very big on the "Polaroid large format look", shown with the film borders and the many perforations the film has...a lot of artsy types like that full-field,I-don't-crop-my-images-look-here-are-my-negative-borders-to-prove-that-to-you-peons, blackout frame-type look...it draws clear (screamingly clear), blatant, in-yo-face-sucka!!!! attention to "the process" used. Somewhat of a contrivance, but a well-known one. A type of visual shorthand most of us are familiar with.
    "It's about time people started taking photography seriously, and treating it as a hobby." Elliott Erwitt

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