I believe most photographers who think digital is not there yet are DSLR users, who have never seen the level of quality thatís possible. I edit, adjust, and archive with Capture One and only use Photoshop for retouching when needed. I let the job dictate what camera system to use, at least on location. I have several Canon EOS-1Ds Mark IIs, and I use a Hasselblad 500 C/M mechanical system with my P 20≠óas well as with an H 5ófor my corporate headshots and copy work.
In the studio, itís about creating the best results with the best tools and the least amount of post-production. Great originals make post work faster and easier, with a better final result. We never compromise the quality our clients have come to expect.
Iím surprised at how many medium-format shooters use DSLRs in their portrait business. Fine portraiture needs the best quality, and so do a lot of commercial situations. You canít shoot everything with a DSLR, but you canít do everything with medium-format gear, either. You need to use the right tools for the job. You have to understand the capabilities of your equipment, quality of light, tone, separation contrast, and direction of light.
I have two parting thoughts: First, try to incorporate the zone system into your exposure scale, and slide the scene along, either up or down, until you see how the two are related. Learn the art of seeing. Understand the properties of light.
Second, my mentors were journeymen and craftsmen, dedicated to the art of capture. They produced photography all day, every day, with a level of quality few will ever know. They gave me the confidence to shoot and taught me to know what to expect by seeing the light. They were the last of an era of craftsmen who were wise enough to keep the craft alive by sharing and teaching.
Daniel J. Stankey, president and owner of Todd Studios Photography (www.toddstudiosinc.com), in St. Louis, Missouri, specializing in classic portraiture, and Daniel J Stankey Commercial Photography (www.danieljstankey.com), which specializes in advertising and editorial photography. His clients have included the AP, the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers, and Fortune 500 companies. His images have run in The Wall Street Journal, Newsweek Tokyo, Le Journal De Montreal, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and Time.