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| p.2 #12 · p.2 #12 · Re-assessing the D800 sensor as a Canon alternative |
I went to all digital processing (of 6x7 film scans) in 1998, and full digital acquisition in 2003/2004.
I profile all of my devices - including every camera - which in my mind is the **only** way to ensure a consistent, neutral, baseline file from which to begin color manipulations to achieve the "look" that you want. (Warmer/cloder/higher/lower saturation, higher/lower contrast, skin tone placement, shadow depth, highlight rolloff, etc.)
I have also mixed my own, custom B&W ink sets, made profiles for those, as well as run multiple custom ink sets through 3 large format printers (2x24" and 1x44"), making custom profiles for all of those too.
Many pros understand that their "Look" is a large part of their "Brand." I remember around 2004/2005 on Rob Galbraith, some very knowledgable and serious pros complaining that it took them 1 year to dial in the look that they wanted on the Canon 1Ds, only to have the (wonderful) Canon 1DsII come along, and now they had to try to adapt that to their workflow ...
Sort of the question: If I shot all Kodak Portra 160NC, why did other (less intelligent;> folks prefer Velvia?
All of which is to say that, yes, "In Theory", anything can be made to look like anything else.
In practice, on the artistic side, we find the tools that fit our style, adapt a workflow and process that suits us, and then go out and use our creative/right brain to create images (versus engineering color spaces and software workflows with our analytic/left brain.)
That is: I would not minimize the effort involved to find the look that you want when switching to a new camera system.
I had both the Canon 5DIII and the Nikon D800E on pre-order, the day that each was announced. I fully, fully intended to move to the D800E. I probably would have done that had it been released in November or December. But I decided I did not want to spend the summer (in Michigan), and my vacation time in the Upper Penninsula, with family, doing engineering tasks, buying and selling lenses, learning a whole new system, and NOT making images!
Then I realized that the marginal value to me was limited to large prints. Finally, in August, I shifted my focus (no pun) from large scale ISO 100 prints to low light, high ISO event photography, and realized I needed a 5DIII and bought that.
I still hope to buy a Nikon camera and a couple of lenses to explore toward spring. I just bought a Sony NEX 5n to play with the sensor and images as a "point & shoot".
So you are right to realize that in theory anything is possible, but in practice it is a lot of work to get to where you want your look to be, and where you know and are comfortable with your tools.
The only camera that I ever really felt like I knew and trusted completely was my Canon 1DsII, after about 40,000 images per year, for 2 years, and the time spent understaning those imges (and the results I got using the camera and lenses) in post.
If you do decide to make the move, and want to dial in the image, I would suggest this process:
1) Start with a Color Checker 24 square or Color Checker Digital camera calibration.
2) Open that profile, or create a new profile, in the Adobe DNG Profile editor.
3) Tweak and save the colors, especially skin tones, there to achive the type of color space mapping that you are looking for. You can adjust Saturation, Contrast, or Curves, etc. for each of the 24 color squares in the Color Checker, then "Export" that as a profile to be used in Adobe Camera Raw or Lightroom.
4) Use Lightroom "Presets" to create a set of user defined "Looks" for yourself: Slightly higher saturation/l;ower saturation, slightly wider DR/Narrower DR, etc.
Of course you can do teh same thing in Capture One, etc.
Only you can judge the realtaive effort involved, whether you like to do that kind of "color space engineering" work, etc. And what that down time or distraction means to running your day to day business, or doing creative work - making images.
Which is, after all, what this is supposed to be about.
Finally, here is a recent post on The Online Photographer from Ctein (and Eric Chan) on "Why RAW is not RAW" that may prove interesting reading. It is certainly the type of thing you will be dealing with at some level:
Good luck! have fun.
I didn't look to see where you are from, but if you have winter and grey and cold looming, like we do, you might have some down time to take on a project like this. I plan to edit 10+years of work, going back to 1998, create some portfoluios, a web site, and print.