Best Fine Art Camera Entering 2010

In Black and White Photography, Camera on December 31, 2009 at 10:44 am


Photo source: Stock Exchange

Well, the voting is in and the “experts” across multiple venues are in total disarray … more questions than answers.

SLR or medium format? Canon 5D MK II or maybe Nikon D300S with 3.3 MP pixel density?  Or how about the high end Hasselblad H3DII-50MS? Is there still a place for large format? Is the new Leica M9 the next Cartier-Bresson’s dream street camera? Or maybe the Lumix DMC-GF1 with trim size, interchangeable lens and RAW?

Just a few more questions we have recorded from the vendors and artists …

Where do film aficionado’s go for a new year? Is the only answer a digital back? Scanning? Or maybe go high end digital SLR with special bellows attachments and post production digital filtering for that large format look and feel?

Oh, yes, and where does Hi Definition video capture fit into the mix? And, are we talking image only or print quality as well?

Digital camera and printer as an integrated, custom profiled system. Is that the new paradigm?

We have followed the camera market closely in 2009 from a fine art, Black and White perspective. Our conclusion is that the real answer is not to be found in the B&H catalog but in the galleries (physical or virtual).

If we look at the array of cutting edge, contemporary and traditional images exhibited in 2009,  you will conclude, with more certainty than ever, the camera is only a tool for enablement of artistic expression. Exciting art is being made with camera phones and throw away cameras. Video stills offer a whole new way of image capture and presentation. Digital images of incredible resolution, with detail surpassing film, are now almost common.

But of course, at the end of the day, a 1954 Harry Callahan print of his beloved Eleanor serves as a reminder about what makes a truly great photograph and it is not state of the art technology.

Ah! film … dead in 2010? We don’t think so. In Atlanta, this fall for the annual photo week, we attended the Portfolio Review. Some of the the most stunning monochrome, duotone and colored prints involved expert chemical process development of every variety. The craft of working with a physical negative lives on with a new generation.

In short, if you, the artist, needs a new camera, define your objectives, then buy … and feel comfortable the tool set out there is the best ever… but YOU have to make it work in the context of your art.

Happy New Year!

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