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Advanced Questions
by Chuck McKern

With over 15 years of retail and professional experience Chuck thought he'd heard it all - until he took this job.

Send us your questions for either the Beginner or Advanced columns by clicking HERE.  Please include as much detail about the technique, camera, lens, or film as you can so Chuck can answer your questions. 

I am a hobbyist just getting back into photography after a 10-year absence.

My kick was making 25x30s from 35mm. (Medium format is not for the hobbyist on a budget).

I shot/will shoot off a tripod at F/8-F/16 with primes, but all the 25ASA films I used are gone. I also shot print film and had prints done by a local pro lab (still here, thank God!).

But with all the new technologies in film and processing (via digital, etc.), should I stick with print film, or switch to slide film? All there seems to be available anymore are 100ASA films -- do you have a suggestion as to which ones to use?

In looking at my past work, I am happy with image quality (even if I do say so myself), but could wish for more vivid colors...

Any help would be greatly appreciated...

Bill Naegele 
Albuquerque NM

Bill, welcome back!

The question about shooting slide or print film is one that is still argued about by a lot of people. Prints are quicker and more forgiving, but slides still have a better overall color saturation. Since you have been out of the loop for ten years, I would suggest trying a couple rolls of each, print and slide and see what you like. Film manufacturers have made tremendous improvements in the last ten years. I would start with Fuji Reala and Provia 100F. See how these work for you and go from there. If you still want more vivid colors try Fuji Velvia 50 and Kodak Ektachrome 100VS. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised at just how good these films are.

If you haven't read it yet, Gary Stanley wrote a great article called "Getting That 4x5 Look From Your 35mm Camera". 

I am very much interested in the Photography so I bought my first film SLR, a Cannon EOS 300 with 28-200mm Cannon lens.

Now I want to go for digital photography as it is more easy to use. But I am confused. Should I go for Nikon or Cannon?

I want to buy an advanced amateur camera but without spending too much of money.

Example Should I go for Nikon D100 or Cannon 10D. Any advice? 

Mudit Mahajan

Both of the cameras you mentioned are great cameras and should be up to whatever you want them to do. Unless there's a particular feature in the D100 that you need, I would stick with the Canon as the lens that you now have will work on it and additional lenses you buy can be used for either camera. This would start you on a system that will allow you to shoot with film or digital without having to carry two sets of lenses.

First of all, I'm Nikon User. Most photographers say Canon is the best SLR in 35mm. If it's true Why do Sinar, Fuji, Kodak and etc. make a NIKON mount Camera? And why does Sekonic use Nikon lenses in their Light meters?

Aishu Mathema

My guess would be that the photographers that are telling you this are Canon users. All the Nikon users that I know feel the same way about Nikon. The truth is that both companies are very good at what they do. Nikon lenses have always been noted for their optical quality. This could be part of the reason why other companies choose to compliment their product with Nikon lenses. It may also have something to do with the wholesale prices Nikon offers to other manufacturers.

Keep in mind, Kodak for several years offered some of their digital SLRs with either a Nikon or Canon mount.

What it all comes down to is that if your system does what you need it to do and you are happy with the image quality that you are getting, don't worry about what other people say. People (especially photographers) get too caught up in the "My toys are better than your toys" arguments.

I have a Bronica SQA complete with 80mm & 150mm lenses and a Canon EOS 3 with 28-135mm & 70-300mm zoom lenses.

I am a Head Chef and I would like to start taking photos of any food I produce to submit to agencies for future advertising.

Do you think this equipment is good enough for the job or will a large format camera will be needed knowing that a selection of focus has to be accurate. Or maybe a digital camera like the Canon EOS 10D will be the right move?

 Thank you very much for your time sir, 
Khemais Hajri

PS;I am a subscriber and I do enjoy your magazine a lot and it is shame I live in England, which means I can not attend your tours around the USA.

The equipment that you have can definitely produce high enough quality images to produce advertising and catalog shots. I have done many catalog shoots and several ads layouts using a Bronica ETRS and a Nikon F4s. So it can certainly be done.

The biggest trick is to use good lighting and lighting techniques, good high quality film (preferably slide/transparency film), a tripod, cable release, and the correct aperture to produce an image with adequate depth of field.

When shooting film for advertising, I recommend using transparency film for the higher level of color saturation and detail and a more accurate color representation. This eliminates the worry about the lab getting the correct color balance and any advertising agency will be set up to reproduce slides accurately.

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