Some thoughts in response to whether or not to upgrade from the Canon system to medium format digital. The Medium format systems typically cost $25K and up when camera, back, and lenses are included. One could easily spend $60K or more on a new system. The below is in response to a conversation on LL where some photographers were comparing (at 100% zooms in photoshop) the various pros and cons of the systems…
“I think it’s humorous reading about these differences and comparisons between cameras. Of course I don’t shoot huge landscapes for a living, but I do wonder just how many people in the world are in fact making a good living at it. I can think of not one of my hundreds of favorite images over the years which would have improved from more “micro-detail.” I am talking about my own work, prints I see in galleries, magazines, museums, etc., etc.
I believe there are micro-differences, but I believe that these have little to do with the goodness of an image. I mean seriously, go over to your bookshelf, flip through the pages of some of your coffee table tomes, and tell me what you see. How many would have much greater impact with 20% more detail?
And as has been said many times, do what your business requires. Have your clients ever asked for more micro-detail? Do they even see it? Do they care? I use a variely of camera formats from 4×5 to polaroid to 5D2s. Just the 5D Mark I cameras have earned me 6 figures per year for the past several years, without any complaints from clients. One client had their best sales day ever during the economic meltdown just this past November – with sales exceeding $1.1 million on the Monday following Thanksgiving. The ads were all shot with the lowly 5D, with no complaints about micro detail or anything else. (and no moire either )
I know that in terms of investing in my business, spending on plane tickets makes a lot more sense and will better my portfoilios to a MUCH greater degree than spending huge amounts on cameras.
I think about it this way: given my portfolios as they are today – if I were to have shot everything inside with a 40 or 60mp back, they would essentially look the same. Now if I had spent that same $30K or so on traveling, hiring talented stylists, locations, models, there would be a huge difference in my portfolios. $30K sends me on a lot of trips, and could potentially transform my portfolios. In my experience, what you put in front of your camera is 95% of the battle. The camera itself: 5%.”
Anyway, this was shot with the Canon 5D2, and thankfully it worked fine. It was a mixture of cloudy daylight and strobe which was coming from the same angle as the window light.
Flying back to NY from Palm Beach last night, we got some pretty and moody views of the landscape. Of course my airplane window was filthy, and looked like it had several leyers of Saran Wrap sandwiched in between the plexiglass – causing all kinds of glare, flare, color smear, low contrast, you name it. Plus the old 50mm 1.8 I was using contributed plendy of flare on it’s own. (I actually keep this lens because I really like the flare it produces when pointed at the sun and other bright things.)
(for the most part post-processing included only contrast and exposure adjustments. All images were shot with the Canon 5D Mark II and the old Canon 50mm 1.8 Series I lens)
A couple recent hot spreads mentioned on Fashiongonerogue. the first one in Italian Marie Claire:
and here is the lovely Doutzen Kroes nude in VMan magazine
Just in case anyone here missed it, Paolo Pellegrin of Magnum Photos has done some relly beautiful work for the Times recently in the 2.28.09 issue of the magazine – Oscar Issue: Great Performances. It’s a somewhat unusual approach to commissioned celebrity photography, and the results are lovely.
There were also some nice photos by Ryan McGinley in the 1.25.09 article – What Do Women Want?
(I was trying to get off of this testing phase on this blog. and back to lighting, but I am still testing…)
In trying a third Canon 5D Mark II body today, it focuses better with the outer AF points, but they are still no good for full figure shots where the target is far off. Lots of out of focus ones.
On a positive note, the outer AF points seem to work ok for waist-up shots. And the color on this one is FAR better than my other 5D2 bodies.
(If the skin tones look a little funny, that’s because they are. The model is going to Japan tomorrow, where they insist that the models be as pale as possible. So she’s been hiding from the sun And thus, copius amounts of spray-on tan were applied.)
Still, if I were shooting something critical and could not be tethered to a computer to check focus, I would not use this camera! The auto focus is just too dodgy on far away objects, even using the center point. Tis a pity.
p.s. Dear Canon: Isn’t the one-shot AF mode supposed to only take the shot when it’s achieved focus at the selected AF point? IF so, maybe part of this problem could be resolved with a firmare fix: make it so that in one-shot AF mode the camera actually does not take the shot if the image is out of focus. Would this work, or can the camera just not tell that the image is not in focus?
**notes on the lighting setup for the above shots will follow shortly**
**dates have been announced, and here they are:**
Starting in February, 2009 I will be offering monthly lighting workshops in New York City and elsewhere. If you would like to be notified about dates, times, fees, etc. please make sure to become a registered using your real e-mail address on this site and you will recieve notification via e-mail.
You can register by following this link
Topics covered will include daylight, strobes, reflectors, what’s in the shadows, tethered shooting, effective RAW file conversion, etc. etc.
And most importantly, training yourself to really see light, and using that insight to achieve predictable results.