Everyone loves to debate whether a “good camera” is required in order to take “good pictures.” (If photographers had a dime for every time we’ve heard “you take such great photos; you must have a really good camera” we wouldn’t need to sell our work.) Similarly, people have widely varying opinions on the importance of “Photoshopping” in the creation of good photography.
So, does gear matter? Do post-processing skills make or break a photo? I personally have mixed feelings on both of these questions, which is partly what inspired this project, as I mentioned in Part 1 of this series.
In Part 2, I asked which camera helped produce the best final photo and have been fascinated with the feedback (it’s not too late to chime in! Post your comments). Today, in Part 3, I’m interested in assessing which camera captures the best raw image (i.e. unedited, right out of the camera). To do that, consider these before-and-after versions of the abandoned “Ritz Theatre,” located on Britton, just east of Western Ave in Oklahoma City.
Nikon D700 / Full-Frame DSLR
Rolleicord / Medium Format / 120 Film
All of my 120 film images from this project were developed and scanned (high-res) by Richard Photo Lab in California. If you need a lab for film, I definitely recommend them.
Remember, I shot all of these hand-held, so forgive the crooked “Before” images. Apparently, I need to work on straightening my camera! 🙂
I edited all of these inside Lightroom 3 (with the exception of the iPhone Instagram image), applying basic corrections as needed such as straightening verticals, correcting lens distortion, recovery, black point, color tweaks, sharpening, noise reduction, cropping, white balance, brightness, fill, curves, etc.
So what are the answers to the questions above?
- Which camera produced the best “Before” image and needed the least amount of technical improvement for the “After” version?
- If you could only photograph this scene with one camera, and you couldn’t post-process the image at all, which camera would you pick?
- How much did post-processing matter in these images?