Under the "Barndance" picture, below, a commenter named James (very kindly) said, "It's a shame you don't have more of your black-and-white work online." And actually, there's a story behind that.
I used to print my pictures 6x9" on 8x10" paper. Although that seems paltry, they looked pretty good framed—here's an example:
(It was fashionable in museums for a while to frame horizontals in a vertical mat like that—I don't know if it still is. The picture is called "My grandmother's chair after her death." They don't make that molding any more—a pity; I liked it.) But people were always critical of my 8x10's. Big prints were more popular. I'd tell them I'm not trying to be popular; my personal work actually was personal, and if I never had shows anyway, what was the difference? But eventually the criticisms got to me. I bowed to fashion, and started printing on 11x14" paper. On most of my prints the image area is 7x10.5", which I figured was about as small as I could print on 11x14 without having it also fit on 8x10, but sometimes I printed really "big" and made 8x12's.
So here's the funny part. After making thousands of carefully crafted prints on 11x14" paper, for many years, digital came along. And all my prints were too big to fit on the bed of a standard flatbed scanner.
And that's why so little of my work is online. Doesn't fit on the scanner. I would have been a lot better off in the end if I'd just kept making 8x10's all along!
That's what you get when you give in to fashion.
Anyway, I just have one little point to make today, and it's not even something I'm prepared to support. It's just that I've been saying for years that digital sucks at black-and-white, and everybody argues with me and then sends me bad black-and-white prints. Well, not all of them are bad. But a lot of them are. And a number of times I've put on my rusty armor, mounted my trusty steed Rocinante, and said there should be a digital camera with a black-and-white-only sensor.
Those trumpet blasts echo from the canyons. The world and I do not see eye-to-eye on this point.
So forthwith the perfervid peroration: In the past couple of days I've had my ol' inkjet printer fired up and cranking away. I can't really say about the Sony A900, because I shot so little with it—although I suspect it's also really good—but the Nikon D700 seems to be a really good camera for B&W. I mean really quite wonderful. I did Carl's "paper towel test," and whereas the Pentax K20D holds detail 2.7 stops above Zone V (not bad; about par for the course for APS-C sensors in my experience), the D700 holds detail 3.7 stops above Zone V! (Don't take my word for this; perform your own tests). And, impressively, that 3.7 stops above Zone V holds true for me with the D700 at ISO 200 and at ISO 3200. The difference in highlight detail is very noticeable. Using the "Exposure" and "Recovery" sliders in ACR, you can make files with surprisingly rich highlight detail, and they print wonderfully. No, I'm not prepared to share any B&W pictures yet; it's personal. But I'm impressed and gratified. I would say it's the first time I've gotten B&W quality out of a digital camera that doesn't make me mourn for Tri-X on Multicontrast Classic—tonally; grain and sharpness are much better with the digital prints. But that's been true before. It was the tonality that's been lacking, especially in the highlights. That's changed, finally, if my early trials with the D700 are a good indication. Overall the print quality I'm getting from the D700 seems to be very, very good.
...In colors, even, if one insists on that.
P.S. Man, I'm losin' it. Here's something else I meant to say: the D700's high-ISO performance goes double for B&W, because of course in B&W you don't see chroma noise in the shadows (or anywhere). So I'm making very pretty B&W prints from files shot at 1600 and 2500.
Featured Comment by Ross Chambers: "Oh dear, I've been busy printing about 25 pictures 5x7" on 8x10" paper for a show! It all started when some were 5x7" negs and I could only contact print, so all the rest became the same size. I also will be matting 'landscape' in the same format as Mike's example. They look okay to me. Maybe someone who needs to fill a large wall will buy several! By the way, re size: There's a Gursky show in Melbourne, Australia at present. The Sydney Morning Herald was nasty enough to make an equation between admission fee and acreage."