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Ambassadors Programme

Explorer

Clive Booth

Apr07

The EOS 5DS: a DSLR for fine art photographers

By Clive Booth, Tuesday April 07, 2015
Storm force winter gales and snow hit Port Wemyss on the west coast of the inner Hebridean Island of Islay. Taken on a pre-production Canon EOS 5DS with an EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at 70mm; the exposure was 1/400sec at f/5, ISO 250.

Storm force winter gales and snow hit Port Wemyss on the west coast of the inner Hebridean Island of Islay. Taken on a pre-production Canon EOS 5DS with an EF70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM lens at 70mm; the exposure was 1/400sec at f/5, ISO 250. © Clive Booth

More and more of us are viewing our pictures on a screen, whether it is a phone, tablet or computer monitor. The new Canon EOS 5DS captures each image to a whopping 50.6 Megapixel sensor; each RAW file is between 55-60Mbs in 14bit at 8688 x 5792 pixels, producing a 16bit TIFF at 300Mbs, and there isn’t a monitor on the planet that can do this amount of capability justice. There is, however, another technology that can not only realise all of the above but even challenge it. Enter the good old-fashioned fine art print or, more specifically, the modern day equivalent; the fine art digital print.

Even the very best monitors barely get close to a paper size of A2 and, if you want to see part of a file in detail, it means zooming in. These days print is almost limitless. In my home I have a Canon iPF6450 24” fine art large format printer which can produce a full A1 edge-to-edge print in 12 colours at 600ppi in 14bit. Canon is unique in that it not only designs and manufactures cameras but also wide format fine art printers, and the two share technologies from decades of continual development.

There’s something beautifully tactile about ink on paper and having a piece of work that you can hold in your hand. There are also very solid reasons for using print as a medium; it’s archival for in excess of 150 years, way beyond any current digital technology. Colour, contrast and brightness vary from one screen to another; not so with print and there is a very tangible monetary value associated with fine art printing. A print can be seen from any angle and the detail is viewed in context as we, the viewers, move closer or farther away. And, unlike a monitor, print has the additional dimension of paper; I can choose whether to print on matt, satin, gloss or pearl. For a fine art photographer the print represents the ultimate expression of their work, enabling complete control of what the viewer sees. In my opinion the advent of a DSLR that can produce a 300Mb 16bit TIFF will lead both serious amateurs and professionals to take a closer look at the digital darkroom and fine art printing.

For me there are three types of magic in photography. The first being in the capture of a picture and all that is associated with the subject matter, composition and light. The second is in how I post-produce the picture, and my interpretation of the RAW data, and how I then create the look and atmosphere. The third is the process of making a print. From the alchemy of monitor calibration, paper profiling, paper choice, balanced viewing light and, finally, the deep appreciation of all that has gone before now realised in this... the most perfect, and by far the most rewarding, medium I know.

This Lightroom screengrab shows an extreme close-up, illustrating the amount of detail within the file. Even through the snow the American Monument on the Mull of Oa is clearly visible nine miles away in the far distance.

This Lightroom screengrab shows an extreme close-up, illustrating the amount of detail within the file. Even through the snow the American Monument on the Mull of Oa is clearly visible nine miles away in the far distance. © Clive Booth

This Lightroom screengrab shows the file, post-production complete. With the reference monitor calibrated, paper profiles selected along with resolution, additional print sharpening, bit depth and colour management... the file is ready for print. Lightroom uses the chosen paper profile to create a soft proof (a screen representation of how the picture will look when printed).

This Lightroom screengrab shows the file, post-production complete. With the reference monitor calibrated, paper profiles selected along with resolution, additional print sharpening, bit depth and colour management... the file is ready for print. Lightroom uses the chosen paper profile to create a soft proof (a screen representation of how the picture will look when printed). © Clive Booth