Magazine Article


Diving Into Digital



Three Pros Tell Us How They Took the Plunge


© Guillaume Garrigue for
Round Productions
With recent statistics showing digital camera sales now comprising nearly half the U.S. market, and with our readers craving more information than ever on megapixels and memory cards, we thought the time was right to check in with a few photographers who've taken the digital plunge and find out how the water is.
To that end, SP&D recently caught up with three shooters at different levels of digital development and asked for their feedback on questions ranging from "Is there any difference between a digital and a traditional studio—aside from the extra space in your refrigerator?" to "What is a spider box and why would anyone need one?"

If you told food photographer T.J. Hine three years ago that by 2001 nearly all of his work would be shot digitally, he would have said you were crazy.
"I guess I'm sort of a traditionalist," this Chicago-based photographer says.
But as the years flew by and Hine saw more and more of his colleagues making the switch to digital capture, his interest was piqued. What really did it for him, though, was the fact that his clients were starting to ask about it. "It seemed to be the way things were going." Flash forward to the present, with Hine shooting digital for nearly all of his steady clients. It's clear times have changed for him and his industry.
"It's really moving faster than I ever thought possible, especially in the food industry," Hine notes. "A couple of years ago, digital was nonexistent."
Part of the reason Hine's conversion has been so smooth is his satisfaction
with his equipment. After searching around for the right system, he settled on Sinar's Sinarback 23, which he uses with a Sinar p2 camera. "I like the software package and the fact that it has its own cooling system. And it's more versatile than most digital setups because you can switch easily from single-shot mode for motion to four-shot for still life."

© Michael Indresano Because the Sinarback 23 is large format, Hine simply swapped it for his former workhorse, an 8X10 Cambo. Other than that, his studio hasn't changed much. "I've added a computer and there are a lot more wires running around, but it's pretty much the same." Hine shoots tabletop, primarily food, but also does editorial work for dairy, prepared food, and bakery trade magazines. When he shows new clients what digital can do, they quickly become converts, too.
"It's an incredible time saver. We can see things clearer on the screen than with a Polaroid and we can make corrections faster. The stylist is looking live at the same thing I'm looking at, so we're in sync. Meanwhile, the clients can see it at 100 percent. Once they say yes to something, it's done and they leave the studio with their shots in hand." Hine recently convinced his final editorial client to go digital.
While he only purchased his Sinar gear in February, he's already thinking about what's next.
"I hope to get a conversion plate so I can hook the Sinarback onto my 4X5. I also hope to start doing my own CMYK conversions to save money. Digital's been great. It's like being back in school again and seeing those B&W prints develop right in front of your eyes."
More of Hine's work can be seen at
© Michael Indresano

"I can look out on the entire shooting space from where I'm standing. It's stunning," says Guillaume Garrigue by phone, from the elevated office of his new 12,500-square-foot digital studio in Dallas, Texas.

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