Saturday, September 26, 2009

Diane Leicht, 1980

We had Diane Leicht under exclusive contract for Stix, Baer & Fuller for a couple of years, such was her talent and on-camera appeal.  Since there isn't much to date it, so this shot for bath and beauty products just sort of stayed in my portfolio.  Diane is from St. Louis and went on to some success in NYC and Europe.

Technical: Nikon F2, Micro-Nikkor 105mm f4.0, Kodachrome 25 Professional, f//11.0 @ 1/60s, lit with single Balcar strobe head shot through a silver/white umbrella.  Print on Cibachrome F using my own first developer formula and reversal process.  Copied with a Nikon D700 and Nikkor 50mm f1.4G.

Historical Note: I was pitching some old Camera World magazines, circa 1979, and noticed an article about non-silver photography.  Among the technologies being considered viable at the time, like UV sensitive plastics that could be erased with a hair dryer (I had a sheet of the stuff that I used to make highlight masks), was the "dark horse" of the day, the Charge Coupled Device.  At the time, CCDs were used mostly for esoteric photometry by astronomers and NASA.  To get an acceptable signal to noise ratio, the chips required a bath of liquid nitrogen.  The only dynamic, non-volatile memory available in 1980 was the bubble chip and 1K of single channel memory cost about $100.  The author of the article estimated that for a digital photography system to replace 35mm color gold standard, Kodachrome 25 Professional, would require 15 to 18 million pixels.

Looking at the 11x14 print of Diane, I realize that the Camera World author had it right.  Same size prints from my 12 mega-pixel D700 still fall just short of the Kodachrome 25 resolution.  Nikon's 24 mega-pixel D3x, released Spring 2009, is the first 35mm DSLR to actually surpass Kodachrome 25, a mere thirty years after the Camera World article.

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