As regular readers of this blog will know, I’m mostly using digital cameras in the ‘Micro Four Thirds’ format – which is exactly the same as ‘Four Thirds’, except that those ‘Micro’ cameras lost the mirror, so they’re more modern incarnations than their older DSLR brethren.
The format of both systems’ sensors is 13×17.3mm, which is bigger than the so-called “one inch”, but smaller than APS-C or “full frame” sensors which are as big as the old “Kleinbildfilm” – 24x36mm. Most portrait photographers nowadays use those “full frame” systems because of mainly two reasons: the lenses have to be twice longer for the same angle of view, so they give you another “look”, and the depth of field is much thinner with these longer lenses, so you are able to separate your subjects (models and other persons) from the background by blurring that background, which helps in getting rid of unwanted “distractions”.
Apart from that, the simple rule is that the bigger your medium – be it a digital sensor or film – the longer your lenses have to be for the same angles of view. And that gives your images a certain look which simply cannot be achieved with smaller formats.
Instead of further trying to describe this, have a look at Nick Carver taking some photos on route 66 with several different formats, from Polaroid and 4.5x6cm to 6x17cm which is pretty ‘cinematic’ as I would describe it. But also his 6×6 and 6x7cm photos from the Mamiya RZ67 cannot be replicated by anything smaller. Have a look:
So the takeaway from this is:
– yes, using film is a hassle (and he’s using Rollfilm which is quite easy to handle)
– yes, using film is expensive
– no, except with Polaroids, you won’t get instant results
But man oh man, how I love those renderings of larger formats, and the colours of both Kodak Portra (a colour negative film), and Fujifilm Velvia (a slide film, good for landscapes only).
Can’t get that with medium format digital – the biggest Sony sensors are still smaller than 4.5x6cm film, so you’d have to stitch several images after taking them with long lenses. Oh, and those sensors are not exactly mainstream yet, and so they still cost about the same as your typical middle class Mercedes limousine. The cheapest larger-than-full-frame digital camera you can buy at the moment is also one of those ‘cameras of the year’; that’d be the Fujifilm GFX. And yes, being a modern camera, it’s of course mirrorless, like the ones I’m using. Just with a slightly bigger sensor, and longer lenses.
Thanks for reading, and for watching – hope you enjoyed it.
This is an interesting one from the Camera Store guys in Calgary, Canada – because they also asked other people’s opinions. And tho these other people are mostly Youtube ‘vloggers’, it can still be seen as a kind of industry overview – they all touch many more gear than you or I do. So if you’re interested and have the time (and understand English, but if you wouldn’t then you probably wouldn’t be reading here), here it is. Enjoy.
I agree with them in their choices of the three best cameras, tho one of them is a dinosaur – but they also make that a topic, so thumbs up for you guys!
I’ve got a third studio strobe. The reason is that the original seller/distributor in Germany (who is just another photographer) doesn’t seem to continue selling the ones I bought, and so I’ve got a similar – maybe slightly older – model from another seller via Amazon.
And just an hour ago I did the first real test: light something “on white”, which means put two strobes onto a white background, and one on your subject.
First test was with two bare strobes (just standard reflectors) at level “2”, and that main one through a 20″ socked beauty dish on level “3” – that measured aperture 11 on the background, 8 on the subject, which gives a difference of exactly 1 stop. Should have raised the background ones to 2.5 to blow out the white just a bit more. Set as I did, I had almost no light “spill”, which surprised me a bit – the place was a bit small for a setup like this, so I have to check again with those background flashes powered up more. But for a first check it was ok, at least in black & white.
Mitchie took my picture with these settings (thanks sayang!), and I worked on it a bit with the usual 3-step process for black & white, which is OV3 and SFX on Windows, then RT on Linux. It’s borderline usable, but it shows the direction, which is why I show it here:
Wolfgang, November 2017
As always, thanks for viewing. And as Joe McNally uses to say/write, more tc…
There are a few other photographers whose blogs I follow; one of those I read since years is Kirk Tuck, a professional photographer about my age from Austin, TX, USA. In his latest blog post he wrote about a walk with his Panasonic G85 (which is here called G80, its successor is the G81), married with an old and manual focus Contax/Yashica/Zeiss 50mm/1.7 lens.
And yes, nice results. My main and now only camera is the Olympus OM-D E-M10, which is comparable, and like Kirk I wanted to take a walk with that camera today. I could have used one of my older and manual Olympus lenses from the OM system – I have the 50mm in both versions, with apertures of 1.4 and 1.8. Or I could have used the Zuiko ED Digital 50mm/2 Macro which I also love and which gives me autofocus with the right adapter. But instead, I just used the 45mm/1.8 from the newer Olympus Micro Four Thirds series of lenses, and like Kirk, I let it on f/2 almost all of the time.
So here are some impressions from my walk around noon today:
“I was driven beyond belief. I was driven to be accepted, to be respected. Without that drive, how are you ever going to do that? Rather, you’re going to go to a party and carry on with your life. In the end, I don’t think one gets ‘discovered’—rather, it happens for those individuals who fight to have their work seen.”
A very good article about one of the great and still living photographers, Nadav Kander, at LensCulture. Fair warning: contains some nude images, so maybe NSFW in/at/around your area.
“A well focused 12 megapixel camera trumps a poorly focused 24 megapixel camera any day of the week. A photograph of a captivating subject taken with a camera that’s mediocre at high ISOs still beats another noise free image of a coffee cup in a coffee shot every time. Waiting for the perfect camera is a fool’s errand.”