Beginner Do any professional/highly regarded photographers use entry level gear?

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Tommy
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#41
I'm mildly dyslexic, that's why I re-read what I've written and amend it if I spot a mistake; not really an excuse, more a reason really. Anyway, back to your post. Yes, some enthusiastic pro photographers will often have a play with some new bit of kit, or perhaps experiment with a bit of vintage kit. However, the way I read it, the OP's question was do pro photographers use entry level kit in their daily jobs, not purely to evaluate something or have a bit of a play.

To answer your question, I've met/known a few pro photographers over the years, and from what I've seen they've all used pro-quality cameras and lenses for their main kit when doing their 'day job'. I've also met a few part time/semi-pro photographers, and a number of them have used a mixture of semi-pro/enthusiast grade kit, occasionally with some pro grade kit as well (depending on their budget and needs I suppose).
So, you are dyslexic but even then still feel the need to point out a spelling mistake on an internet forum. :LOL:

Anyway the point you made earlier was that professional photographers only buy equipment based on business needs, all I was saying was that I know that is not the case for a huge amount of pro photographers, myself included. In my experience and I know many professional full time photographers they are as gear hungry as anyone else sometimes more so.

You clearly don't like someone having a different opinion than you though, hence the childish remarks about spelling. To be fair, pettiness does seem to go along with your online persona, as I have seen you make other similar comments on here before when someone disagrees with your opinion.
 
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#42
So, you are dyslexic but even then still feel the need to point out a spelling mistake on an internet forum. :LOL:

Anyway the point you made earlier was that professional photographers only buy equipment based on business needs, all I was saying was that I know that is not the case for a huge amount of pro photographers, myself included. In my experience and I know many professional full time photographers they are as gear hungry as anyone else sometimes more so.

You clearly don't like someone having a different opinion than you though, hence the childish remarks about spelling. To be fair, pettiness does seem to go along with your online persona, as I have seen you make other similar comments on here before when someone disagrees with your opinion.
No, I didn't say they only buy equipment based on business needs, I said they tend to do so. This isn't being petty, it's putting the record straight as to what I actually said. If you still disagree with that then fine.

I think we may be at cross-purposes here? What I was talking about was a pro photographer's every day work kit, not the stuff they buy (or get given) to experiment with or 'play' with. For instance, do you regularly use entry level camera bodies and/or lenses for work? If so, what type of photography do you do (as we know, it's a pretty broad subject), what kit do you use, and why?
 
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conanthewarrior
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#43
Where I am rarely meet people being paid using entry level gear. Some assignments stipulate “full frame” cameras a silly rule which irritates people but also has the effect of preventing people with more entry level equipment.
OK, so there are quite a lot of differences with pro bodies and lenses, suh as AF points, weather sealing, durability, button and dial placement to get to things more quickly, and more.

I see you mention some places require full frame- I am doing this as a hobby, and one day if I could get payed in the future was something I was thinking of.

I was going to stick to DX though, as I see Nikons top end DX body is less than a FX equivalent. I did not expect to be able too, or other people, to see a big enough difference in the upgrade to full frame.

So in the future, would it be worth upgrading to a full frame body? Also, should I be looking at FX lens's to use on my DX body for future compatibility?
 
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#44
OK, so there are quite a lot of differences with pro bodies and lenses, suh as AF points, weather sealing, durability, button and dial placement to get to things more quickly, and more.

I see you mention some places require full frame- I am doing this as a hobby, and one day if I could get payed in the future was something I was thinking of.

I was going to stick to DX though, as I see Nikons top end DX body is less than a FX equivalent. I did not expect to be able too, or other people, to see a big enough difference in the upgrade to full frame.

So in the future, would it be worth upgrading to a full frame body? Also, should I be looking at FX lens's to use on my DX body for future compatibility?
Seriously.
Your question is the age old - I've been playing a bit of 5 a side football for fun with my mates, I was just wondering, will I be OK playing professionally or even Sunday league with my trainers, or will I need 'professional' boots?

The boots are the last thing you should be worrying about - you've got a dream to be good enough to make money. Hold onto that dream, work at it, build your skills and knowledge. By the time you're ready, you'll know what gear you need, when you need it because you'll know why you might need it.

Owning pro gear doesn't make you a pro - conversely, not owning pro gear won't stop you earning money. But you should hope that you will understand all of that before it becomes important to you.
 
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conanthewarrior
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#45
Seriously.
Your question is the age old - I've been playing a bit of 5 a side football for fun with my mates, I was just wondering, will I be OK playing professionally or even Sunday league with my trainers, or will I need 'professional' boots?

The boots are the last thing you should be worrying about - you've got a dream to be good enough to make money. Hold onto that dream, work at it, build your skills and knowledge. By the time you're ready, you'll know what gear you need, when you need it because you'll know why you might need it.

Owning pro gear doesn't make you a pro - conversely, not owning pro gear won't stop you earning money. But you should hope that you will understand all of that before it becomes important to you.
I do tend to overthink things, and question myself a lot. This doesn't help obviously lol.

So go out with my camera, enjoy it, and find what I need as I go along. I'm pretty sure I could do with a longer zoom so am thinking of the 55-200MM Nikon lens, as where I live there are lots of things I try to get but they are just too far away.

I could walk closer for the shot- but would have to walk into the thames estuary at high tide so that option is out, unless I take up scuba diving as a extra hobby.

I realise owning pro gear won't make me a pro- I just enjoy learning everything I can, including the tech side of things whatever I am into. This has been handy with the photography, as I have read and learnt a mass amount already and am enjoying every moment of it :)
 
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#46
Google the words "crop or crap" and hear what Zack Arias has to say.
Beginning to feel like a broken record
 
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#47
There are lots of threads about going pro, have a read of those. In my experience it’s a people business and those aspects are far more important than gear.
 

Asha

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#49
I went to a wedding once and the pro photographer was using film....
Which is far from low end and most definetly not entry level…...Those who know how to use film correctly will possibly agree that not only does the medium require a certain learning curve ( not that digital doesn't of course!) and the results can sometimes match if not surpass what can be achieved with digital.
 
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#50
There’s W Eugene Smith with the only single frame reflex camera, the Olympus Pen F/FT:
https://theonlinephotographer.typepad.com/the_online_photographer/2009/09/the-olympus-pen.html
Harold Feinstein with Olympus Pen F/FT and other Pen cameras:
https://www.haroldfeinstein.com/the-olympus-pen-camera/
Denis Gibbons with Pen FT IN Vietnam:
https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1170340
There’s Robert Gale on trail watch in Cambodia (does that count as professional,?) with Pen EE2:
http://www.modernforces.com/uniform_robert_gale.htm
Anyone see a pattern here? ;)
I’m sure I remember another In Vietnam “wearing” a pair of Pen Fs bu can’t remember at preset.

Of course it all depends on what you are photographing and how you define professional!
Just remembered Jane Bown with Olympus OM1 and if she thought she would need additional light (beyond window light) used to take a desk lamp from the office:
https://www.theguardian.com/gnmeducationcentre/jane-bown-camera-teaching-resource-gnm-archive
Don McCullin Olympus OM1. there are just too many. Mostly “street” — isn’t war photography a kind of “street” too?
 
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Nod

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#51
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#53
I think we have rather drifted away from the OP's topic, which was whether top toggers use budget kit.
And the answer is that top toggers aren’t defined by kit, and by the time you’re ‘good’ enough you’ll know the answer.
It’s a cart before horse question often asked by beginners. No actual ‘photographer’ of any level needs the question answering.
As we can see from the answers above, good or pro photographers have quite different views of gear; they’re not based on ability, but on the circumstances created by their specialism and on personality.
 
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#54
Half frame?

Wasn't the OM 1 Olympus's flagship model rather than entry level?
Single frame and double frame were used in the earliest 35mm dats because single was the whole frame of cine film which ran vertically — which I’m sure you know. But “single frame” was used to describe some of those Olympus cameras and I’m just, as usual, having a dig at those “full frame” maniacs who are using what was known as “miniature format” in my youth ;).

Edit. Also the OM1 (or M1* when it came out) couldn’t be the flagship when it was the only model. Flagships May have been the OM2,3 & 4. Also for entry level don’t forget the OM101 PF ;).
* I just found, while clearing some stuff out, my old brochure for the OM1 with “OM1” labels stuck over the “M1” printed name:)
 
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#55
Yes it was. Entry was OM10
Yes, the OM10 was entry level but didn’t come out until after the OM1. non-entry level and professional don’t mean quite the same thing. When I bought an OM1 it was not considered professional (not that I remember the term being used). Professional would have been Nikon F etc.
 
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#56
And the answer is that top toggers aren’t defined by kit, and by the time you’re ‘good’ enough you’ll know the answer.
It’s a cart before horse question often asked by beginners. No actual ‘photographer’ of any level needs the question answering.
As we can see from the answers above, good or pro photographers have quite different views of gear; they’re not based on ability, but on the circumstances created by their specialism and on personality.
Yes. I was trying to think if “pro” is used in other contexts and all I can think of at present is tools of various kinds, so a pro shovel would be one you could use all 24/7 without it breaking and so on .... nothing to do with functionality, so an ordinary shovel would do exactly as well for occasional use around the house and garden. I think that’s the only way in which pro cameras and pro lenses can be defined otherwise they are cameras etc used by pro, ie working, photographers and that becomes meaningless as this thread has show.
 
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#57
BTW, and I know I’m getting a bit off subject but I like this and think it is relevant to the OP,
"I believe there are two barriers: the technology barrier and the barrier of accepted wisdom. You can't achieve anything until you break through both of these barriers."
Yoshihisa Maitani, designer of the original PEN half-frames and the OM series. The XA too, I think.
 
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#58
When I bought an OM1 it was not considered professional (not that I remember the term being used). Professional would have been Nikon F etc.
I remember the marketing campaign for the OM1 launch and there could be no doubt that Olympus intended to eat Nikon's lunch. Large numbers of press photographers moved to Olympus and for a few years the arguments were quite heated. I moved from Nikon to Olympus largely because the viewfinder was much brighter and bigger than the Nikon F. After a few years plenty of people moved the other way when they discovered that the Olympus wasn't as tough as the marketing claimed and that the Nikons were.
 
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#59
Yes, the OM10 was entry level but didn’t come out until after the OM1. non-entry level and professional don’t mean quite the same thing. When I bought an OM1 it was not considered professional (not that I remember the term being used). Professional would have been Nikon F etc.
My first encounter with the OM1 was, I'm pretty sure, through an advert with David Bailey holding one. But maybe it had been out for a while by then?
 
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#60
And the answer is that top toggers aren’t defined by kit, and by the time you’re ‘good’ enough you’ll know the answer.
It’s a cart before horse question often asked by beginners. No actual ‘photographer’ of any level needs the question answering.
As we can see from the answers above, good or pro photographers have quite different views of gear; they’re not based on ability, but on the circumstances created by their specialism and on personality.
IIRC the OP didn't ask if any 'top toggers' defined themselves with entry level kit.

I don't get the hostility in this thread, and what comes over as a need to put him in his place as knowing nothing and not even being a photographer yet.
 
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#61
My first encounter with the OM1 was, I'm pretty sure, through an advert with David Bailey holding one. But maybe it had been out for a while by then?
Maybe, but David Bailey was advertising the Pen half frame compacts before that wasn’t he? Didn’t the snapshooter in the ads say “who do you think you are David Bailey?” echoing the Stirling Moss saying?
 
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#62
IIRC the OP didn't ask if any 'top toggers' defined themselves with entry level kit.

I don't get the hostility in this thread, and what comes over as a need to put him in his place as knowing nothing and not even being a photographer yet.
I haven’t detected much hostility, certainly I don’t have any. I subscribe to belief that “there are no stupid questions only stupid answers!”
 

TheBigYin

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#63
Maybe, but David Bailey was advertising the Pen half frame compacts before that wasn’t he? Didn’t the snapshooter in the ads say “who do you think you are David Bailey?” echoing the Stirling Moss saying?
they were adverts for the Olympus Trip, 35mm "full frame" point and shoot (and actually quite a lovely little camera for what it is)
 
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#64
Yes. I was trying to think if “pro” is used in other contexts and all I can think of at present is tools of various kinds, so a pro shovel would be one you could use all 24/7 without it breaking and so on .... nothing to do with functionality, so an ordinary shovel would do exactly as well for occasional use around the house and garden. I think that’s the only way in which pro cameras and pro lenses can be defined otherwise they are cameras etc used by pro, ie working, photographers and that becomes meaningless as this thread has show.
I would suggest a ‘pro’ shoveller would be able to dig all day with any shovel whereas someone like me would take an expensive spade and do trenching work with it, only to wonder why I kept snapping the handles.

If I had known what I know now I would have either bought the correct tool (a cheap trenching spade) or used the expensive pro gardening spade in a way that didn’t result in snapped handles.

Same is NOW true with my photography, which is why I use m43, it’s the correct tool for the job I need to do. I could use an expensive ‘pro’ camera (and have owned them in the past) but I don’t need to. And I’ll say that when I post pictures absolutely no one says “shame you didn’t use full frame pro kit”, in fact unless it’s this forum more often than not it’s “wow, you must have a really good camera” which annoys the hell out of me!
 

sirch

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#66
A bad workman blames his tools.

It's a classic false dichotomy. A good workman will have good tools and while he may make a better job than a bad workman with any tool, they have the skills and knowledge to know what a good tool is and how to use it.

To the OP, the place to start is not gear but the end result, i.e. photos. Go and look at some photos and do this critically, decide why you "like" some more than others, then look at what went into making the ones you prefer. Don't just look at them online, there is a huge difference if you set aside an afternoon to go to an exhibition of photographic prints, the print quality is different, sure, but so is your frame of mind. Exhibitions encourage quiet contemplation.
 
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#67
IIRC the OP didn't ask if any 'top toggers' defined themselves with entry level kit.

I don't get the hostility in this thread, and what comes over as a need to put him in his place as knowing nothing and not even being a photographer yet.
Like others I don’t read any ‘hostility’ perhaps there’s unconscious bias at play.
It’s not putting someone in there place to say that when the answer is required they’ll know what ‘they’ need (because what ‘they’ need will be unique to them) :)
IMHO it’s completely unhelpful that pro photographers ‘answer’ from a very niche or closed mindset.
Taking the ‘specific’ answers given is totally unhelpful; everything from ‘only the very best gear’ to ‘whatever gets the job done’.
That might have answered the OP’s question more directly. But seriously it’s about as much use as a chocolate teapot.
 
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#68
Like others I don’t read any ‘hostility’ perhaps there’s unconscious bias at play.
It’s not putting someone in there place to say that when the answer is required they’ll know what ‘they’ need (because what ‘they’ need will be unique to them) :)
IMHO it’s completely unhelpful that pro photographers ‘answer’ from a very niche or closed mindset.
Taking the ‘specific’ answers given is totally unhelpful; everything from ‘only the very best gear’ to ‘whatever gets the job done’.
That might have answered the OP’s question more directly. But seriously it’s about as much use as a chocolate teapot.
Yes, though in his OP and his other thread he seems to be looking fo a general chat about photography, he writes in the OP “It's only a thought that popped into my head, I realise the camera is just a tool that is used ...” and something similar in the other thread. I don’t think he’s one of those people who come here, ask a similar question and either get argumentative or are never seen again!
Edit: typo.
 
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#69
Working professionally is only partly about the pictures.
agreed, as a professional it's more about working to a brief, and getting hired requires personality, so in a way spending money on something that will make you more cheery and pleasant to work with (like a holiday) is a better personal investment than any piece of gear

but a real pro 'tog knows that he (or she) must have equipment that won't let them down and will produce the images their clients will be willing to pay for.
only if they know how to make it do that, I (as a full time professional) often struggle with the subjectivity of clients expectations when they don't really know what it is they want either, good clients will understand that and will pay for a re-shoot, if they ended up not liking the pictures but they were objectively good just not to their tastes

especially not when professional kit is just a week or twos wages to a working professional.
a penny saved is a penny earned- one of my pro photographer pals shoots only with a 6d, a 16-35 and a sigma 35 1.4, i have about 30k worth of stuff, he owns his own house and took a holiday last week, I dont

They don't do it because if the equipment breaks down on them then it costs them a lot of money in lost time and productivity. Plus, using pro quality kit usually increases productivity, taking less time to deliver the finished result.
having 2 of a mid range piece of gear is probably a better shout than having one of a high end piece of gear. One of my a7iii's got laser damage to the sensor. Ive smashed a 70-200 canon lens from slipping over in the wet

As others have said it depends how you define 'low end'. I've read loads of articles from fantastic, busy pros who use relatively 'consumer' gear, the Fuji 18-55 2.8-4 springs to mind in one. Mirrorless has really fractured the market (in some fields) in that respect.

One of the most highly regarded wedding photographers in the UK chooses to use the Nikon 35mm 1.8 over the 'pro-grade' f1.4 version. Loads of working pros use Fuji gear now, and often with the cheaper f2 lenses rather than the expensive 'pro' ones.
the lighter my kit the freer i feel to create, it's weird to me that pro=1.4=metal=heavy and big, I want pro grade optics in a small f2 plastic housing

I am a full time self employed photographer and buy plenty of camera crap I don’t need but just want. So do many others, I would go as far as saying the majority do and I know quite a few. There is the odd old school type guy who only buys based on business reasons but quite a lot of pro photographers are just as gear hungry as amateurs, sometimes more so.

As for the original question posted by the o.p sometimes it’s fun to bring along non “professional” equipment just for the challenge, a few giggles or just the shear enjoyment factor. Depend on the equipment obviously.
100% I buy new kit just to add novelty to the job sometimes, get all the safe shots done and then work exclusively with whatever lens I just bought to really put it through it's paces
also I will buy things that make my life easier, professional gear isnt always about cameras, its about having a bag full of clamps and mcguiver kit so you can rig anything

Not sure about entry level, but I suspect there are many professionals in all sorts of trades who are continuing to use equipment which might be seen as obsolete just because it still works. Whereas other, non professionals are quicker to upgrade just because it's new.
theres a lot of value in knowing your kit inside out, but i've always shot with the idea of pushing the boundaries of my kit, an example: when I first started shooting professionally I always just kept the thought in the back of my mind that one day iso 6400 will be clean as a whistle, so even though it looks grainy now, in the near future camera tech will be where I want it to be so that I dont have to make the compromises I do today
 

StewartR

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#70
Pro photographers tend to spend money on camera kit based on actual need....
Obviously that's a generalisation and some pro photographers don't behave like that, but some certainly do. I know one pro who shoots a lot of equestrian stuff with a pair of Nikon D3s. Those cameras are 10 years old now. But his argument is that they're incredibly robust; 9 frames per second is plenty; the buffer is plenty big enough; the autofocus is more than good enough for his usage; he's shooting outdoors in daylight so he doesn't need to shoot at a gazillion ISO; and 12 megapixels is plenty for making prints for his clients. So whilst a D4 or D5 would exceed his cameras' capabilities in every single respect, they wouldn't actually enable him to deliver better results for his clients and would therefore be a waste of money. (Note, however, that he has two bodies though, and redundancy in his lenses. Backup equipment isn't a waste of money to him.)
 
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#71
“Photography is an expensive hobby but a cheap profession”. Considering an average farmer spending more than £100,000 on tractor it makes even the most expensive camera kit seem trivial.
 
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#72
“Photography is an expensive hobby but a cheap profession”. Considering an average farmer spending more than £100,000 on tractor it makes even the most expensive camera kit seem trivial.
A Phase One outfit plus a Broncolor studio flash set up will bring you pretty close to this, add the other bits and pieces you would need and it could easily get over £100,000.

Having said that, I agree with the principle that the set up costs (and running cost) to become a professional photographer can be much lower than many alternative professions.
 
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#73
Which is far from low end and most definetly not entry level…...Those who know how to use film correctly will possibly agree that not only does the medium require a certain learning curve ( not that digital doesn't of course!) and the results can sometimes match if not surpass what can be achieved with digital.

It wasn't meant to be a serious post and I'm a bit surprised if you thought it was. Sorry :D The point was that film isn't even digital. And that's another unserious comment. Just so you know :D
 
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Asha

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#74
It wasn't meant to be a serious post and I'm a bit surprised if you thought it was. Sorry
No need to appologise Alan, I sort of thought it wasn't serious but being a numpty I wasn't sure.:thinking:

The point was that film isn't even digital.
Now that's debatable…......If like most of us in the f&c section, one no longer has access to darkroom and enlarger facilities, negatives are scanned in order to produce a positive which of course means that they become a digital file!;)
 
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#75
As always the answer is "depends". I can give my example but it just one scenario.

Whilst working for a portrait studio going to clients house's, I & the other photographers were supplied with FujiFilm S1pro DSLR's. At the time they had been superseded by two new upgraded models so where low end based on what was available. The images printed large made money, so why not use them?

Check out the specs, much lower than your low end camera:
https://www.dpreview.com/reviews/fujis1pro

In this situation the company was run by a respected professional photographer, not glamorous work at all but 100% professional without high end kit doing the work on the ground.
 
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#76
Which is far from low end and most definetly not entry level…...Those who know how to use film correctly will possibly agree that not only does the medium require a certain learning curve ( not that digital doesn't of course!) and the results can sometimes match if not surpass what can be achieved with digital.
The 'medium' is available in many different formats, there isn't currently a digital camera that can compare to 10x8 film, but most modern DSLR's beat their film equivalents as has been pointed out by many photographers above who have used both extensively.
Using it 'correctly'? Just Wow
 
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#77
The 'medium' is available in many different formats, there isn't currently a digital camera that can compare to 10x8 film, but most modern DSLR's beat their film equivalents as has been pointed out by many photographers above who have used both extensively.
Using it 'correctly'? Just Wow
Apart from the endless ways of ensuring youll end up emptyhanded there are endless possibilities for compromising the end result in every step of the process

Getting the exposure right/wrong
Not nailing focus
To slow shutterspeed

Film choice
Developer choice
dilution and development time

Have the enlarger set up and aligned properly
A proper enlarger lens
Focus
Paper
Technique
Keeping the bloody gear and room clean.

Its a craft. Getting results and getting great result are 2 different things.

Analog photography is a great place for people to execise their OCD
 
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#78
Apart from the endless ways of ensuring youll end up emptyhanded there are endless possibilities for compromising the end result in every step of the process

Getting the exposure right/wrong
Not nailing focus
To slow shutterspeed

Film choice
Developer choice
dilution and development time

Have the enlarger set up and aligned properly
A proper enlarger lens
Focus
Paper
Technique
Keeping the bloody gear and room clean

Its a craft. Getting results and getting great result are 2 different things.
I was responding to the condescending nature of the post re ‘quality’.
All my large prints from film were done by Pro labs.
I charged a lot of money for that work, for happy customers. All of who would be happier with the quality I’m getting from digital.
 
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#79
I was responding to the condescending nature of the post re ‘quality’.
All my large prints from film were done by Pro labs.
I charged a lot of money for that work, for happy customers. All of who would be happier with the quality I’m getting from digital.
Or at least the price ;) :D Film flatness issues?
 
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