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About MDM

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  • Joined Alamy
    29 Apr 2009

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  1. That was another era I'm afraid. That sort of knowledge only comes from experience. When I moved to Peterborough in 1999, there was a Jessops, a Techno and an independent camera shop (I forget the name now). All had really knowledgeable staff - mostly middle aged men with one woman that I remember. Jessops took over the Techno, closed their original branch, got rid of the knowledgeable staff in the former Techno and employed lots of young people who did not have the knowledge or experience. The independent camera shop closed and then Jessops went bust. I had already started using WEX (then Warehouse Express) in Norwich anyway. The only camera shops in Peterborough since whenever it was that Jessops went bust are John Lewis and PC World as far as I am aware and the staff there are probably not going to be able to answer anything but the most basic queries unsurprisingly as they are not specialist camera shops. It is just modern life. WEX (including Fixation) still have knowledgeable staff though. I still find the WEX customer service guys know what they are talking about.
  2. I agree that 2A8872A is not great and I will delete it. I only tagged it a few days ago but I don't like it myself. As I said it was only an initial experiment to see what was acceptable in terms of noise really. The highlights are too yellow for sure (although it was shot in evening light) and the way it is displayed on Alamy does not help. In fact the version on Dropbox was a later version and is much better in terms of white balance if you would like to download it and open it in Photoshop (https://www.dropbox.com/s/7o2w0yjjvmnz6ha/BlackheadAug023.jpg?dl=0) . Viewing in a browser is not ideal That one was Velvia 50 taken in 2002. I used to shoot Kodachrome 25 and 64 back in the 80s and should still have loads of them when I get around to digging them out but I generally preferred Fujichrome and shot Velvia 50 mostly from the the time it came out until I went digital. If you are going to do a lot of black and white then the ES2 which Nikon brought out along with the D850 a few years ago has a film strip adapter so doesn't need mounted slides. Just saying 😀. That Canon scanner is not going to last forever. Flatbed scanners - I totally agree with you as well.
  3. Chuck I know from years on the forum that you are a guy who likes to stick with what you know and I appreciate that but the point I was really making is that if you have not tried the ES-1 then it is not valid to say that your way is better. If you by any chance have a 55 Micro-Nikkor or a newer 60 Micro-Nikkor, then I would urge you to check out the ES-1 as it is quite amazing. I think this is definitely the way forward as quality film scanners are no longer available and it is difficult now to even get them repaired. My LS4000 died last year just when I was about to do a comparison with the copying method and I am not intending to get it repaired. Nikon no longer supply the parts in any case so there are no authorised repairers here any more. In fact I would be quite happy to give it to someone who might be able to use it for parts or have parts to repair and keep it. Incidentally I had big problems with the LS4000 when I got mine in 2001 - there was a fault in the early ones and the field of focus was not flat. I had a very friendly and helpful manager in the local camera shop (now closed for many years) who kept giving me different ones to try until I found a good one. After the first three I tried the Canon FS4000 which was fine in terms oif focus but the overall image quality was nowhere near the Nikon. I brought it back and tried LS4000 number 4 which worked fine and is the one I still have. That image DGRM9C was shot on a D800 in fact. The only image I have on Alamy that I duped is 2A8872A which I uploaded some months back on its own just to check it would pass QC as I am used to submitting really clean, sharp images. I am so busy doing all sorts of stuff that I have not really found time to go back through my archive. One day I will get around to it (a lot of black and white negs as well as slides) but for the moment my interest in digitising film is more academic than practical. You obviously have an amazing, unique and highly saleable archive from your years as a photojournalist and if I had stuff like that then I would be definitely working on it. Best of luck. EDIT - I should add that 2A8872A is not a great example of the quality attainable - I did it mainly as a test of QC but it does illustrate what is possible with a highly contrasty slide. A full sized version can be viewed here.
  4. I tend to forget about Live View partly because I wear glasses for closeup. I am so used to focusing in the viewfinder which is set for my eyesight as well so I would need to put on the glasses if checking anything in Live View. With my setup it is bright enough to focus through the viewfinder anyway but I will keep that in mind. One of my mottos is: I must not be a Luddite - be open-minded and ready to change and adapt. 😀
  5. Have you tried the Nikon ES1 with 55mm Nikkor with your D800. I am betting you have not. I have used the Canon FS4000 scanner you refer to as well as the Nikon LS4000 which came out around the same time back in 200 when I had the chance to try both the LS4000 and FS4000 and the Nikon was by far the better (as well as a lot more expensive). Scans from the FS4000 were oversharpened and with poor dynamic range as well as very noisy in comparison to the Nikon. I am not saying you can't get acceptable results from the Canon scanner but it would take a lot of work as is evident from what you describe. However, neither scanner comes anywhere close to the ES1 slide copier with 55mm Nikkor and extension ring with a D810. One very major advantage is you get a big, high quality NEF to work with which allows for far better noise control as well as amazing highlight and shadow recovery even from contrasty slides in Lightroom. Careful processing in Lightroom with spotting and a tweak or two in Photoshop should take no longer than 30 minutes. Speed, quality and cost - as I already had everything but the copier and extension ring the cost was about £200. That is all my direct experience.
  6. I just wondered if you would need to focus when stopped down because of the the theoretical possiblity of focus shift whereby the plane of focus can change depending on the aperture of the lens, given the tiny depth of field involved. But that is pure conjecture. I use f11 for optimum depth of field so focusing stopped down would be incredibly difficult I expect. Manual exposure is no problem to me as I almost never do anything else anyway and manual focusing is the only way to go that close in. The 55mm Micro-Nikkor is an astonishingly sharp lens corner to corner (and still manufactured by Nikon) so if you say it works on a Canon camera then I believe you. 😀
  7. He would need to check it would focus with the adapter as well as an extension ring on a Canon camera. It will only work apparently with a few Nikon lenses because of focus distances so may not work on Canon at all. And there is the inconvenience of stop-down metering as well as the possibility of focus shift becoming significant at the tiny distances involved. I would probably go with Phil's method myself if I wasn't a Nikon user already. For what it's worth the overall cost of a Nikon setup secondhand would be around £1200 for a secondhand D750 say plus 55mm micro Nikkor, ES1 and a Nikon extension ring, assuming you have a compatible flashgun or decent LED. Once set up though it is fast to use.
  8. If nothing else then this thread has been interesting in seeing what Alamy QC 2020 will tolerate in terms of noise. As I said in my first post, I thought it was a borderline failure in the first place. I'm betting there are a lot noisier than that one in the system. Because of the random sampling methodology it is never certain what is acceptable anyway. It seems that Alamy QC is becoming more relaxed in general (viz. the new approach to QC rank). I suspect a lot of this is due to the fact that online usage is now the main destination of images sold and most end users are using phones to view as well so a lot of images only need to look good at 1000-2000 pixels max I guess. The basic technical quality bar is continuing to drop. Back in the day (up to around 2012 or later I think) we used to have to produce 48 MB images min (3600 pixels long edge approx) suitable for high quality printing so it often meant upsizing if using 12MP cameras or lower and no sharpening. Hence it was much easier to fail QC. It was good training and it made me into even more of a perfectionist in terms of sharpness and minimal noise than I already was. This is something I apply in most of my work - basic technical quality underlies everything which is not a bad thing I think.
  9. While the PowerShot might be adequate to get through QC with good processing, the OP is presumably relatively new to photography. If she wants to really learn the craft then a step up to a camera with interchangeable lenses rather than what is effectively a point and shoot machine with borderline image quality would be a good idea if she can afford that. She might also find in due course that she has developed a nice portfolio of images that are substandard in terms of quality which might be cause for regret down the line. While we are very helpful here and somebody will always provide feedback if asked, it is not really the best place to learn the basic technical side of photography (i.e. apertures, shutter speeds, ISO, depth of field and all the processing side of things as well). Getting a reasonable handle on the technical side is a prerequisite to trying to make money out of photography which is what Alamy is about.
  10. Try clearing your Safari history. I had the same thing this morning and clearing history worked.
  11. Your unedited image has clean sky which would have no problem passing QC. The softness in the upper part of the scaffolding would probably not be an issue but in any case could be dealt with by a little local sharpening which would be far better done on a raw image. If it was mine I would use a quick local adjustment in Lightroom just on that area. As others have said, a major reason to shoot raw is the far greater tolerance to editing, not just for noise and sharpening but for highlight and shadow recovery as well as white balance. "So the problem is mostly my induced NOISE by adding grain; " I am not clear what you mean here when you say adding grain. Any digital grain is just some type of noise as far as I am aware. I can't see how this would enhance the aesthetics of the image here in any case. It is not visible even in the low res version you posted either. A general rule of thumb here is that if you are going to apply any effects to an image then that should be visible to the potential buyer when they click through to view the image. So if you want it to look grainy then make it really grainy looking. I am not sure how saleable such images would be on Alamy though. EDIT - just read your post which came a few seconds before I posted. It may not be a direct issue of raw v jpeg but you would be able to do a better job with local sharpening of the soft outside of the image if shooting raw.
  12. The reason for failure has to be noise rather than softness. The image is sharp as far as I can see and the corner softness is unlikely to be the issue. However, the sky has a lot of luminance noise which is also visible on the sheet covering the scaffolding. I can't see any problem in the shadow areas at the bottom right. I would think this is close to borderline failure - I wonder if the effect of the sheet has influenced the QC person. Is this an out of camera JPEG which has been pre-sharpened? If so then the general recommendation is to shoot raw as there is far more latitude for dealing with noise. In any case, there is certainly a lot more noise than I would leave in one of my images before submitting to Alamy or for other purposes.
  13. You are forgiven 🙂. It wasn't clear what you meant at all though. Taking it literally you seemed to be saying that you see noise in images shot indoors at ISOs greater than 100 when you meant that you don't shoot indoors at any higher ISO than 100. Forgive me for not understanding. 🤣
  14. There is no instrinsic difference in terms of noise in an image between natural light outdoors or indoors or artificial light so this does not make sense. Noise is not determined by the light source. If you are underexposing indoor images and opening up shadow areas as well then the images will be more noisy. Comparing noise at various ISOs is only meaningful in any case if comparing the same model of camera and the assumption that one is shooting raw. Having shots rejected because of noise at ISO 200 would be very questionable unless they were very underexposed (and maybe had the shadows opened up a lot). Are you talking luminance noise? Colour noise might be visible at low ISO but is easily removed and should be applied to all raw images (default Lightroom/ACR settings work well at low ISO).
  15. This is not true if you use the right equipment such as a high quality macro lens and a good camera (in my case a D810 with 55mm Nikkor and extension ring) a good and consistent light source (flash or photographic quality LED), shoot raw and process the images carefully. I find the results are far superior than using a high end prosumer slide scanner (in my case the Nikon LS4000) and much quicker.
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