Now with modern digital cameras we have a never ending list of modes, buttons, switches and different screen interface designs.
Now I think I have become a real Leica fan boy. Over the years Leica have refined their interface to something quite simple and easy to use. When every I come back to the Leica M its like a breath of fresh air.
We modern cameras all being so good, I often recommend people that ask me what camera to buy, to buy the camera that feels the best in the hand.
Thats one reason why I maintain a good relationship with a local camera shop and enjoy visiting camera shows. The feel of the camera can be inspiring to shoot.
With the current COVID-19 lock down I am not getting out or doing photography but I look forward to this all being over and getting out and shooting again and visiting camera shops to try out the latest gear.
I have a couple of favourite models that I always seem to go to when I want to experiment with an idea.
This was part of a recent shoot where I used a lot of red, and Jessica was perfect for this with her lovely red hair.
Apart from the challenge with the heavy use of red, it was also a challenge in using just Lightroom V9 and delicate use of the texture and clarity slider to soften the skin and sharpen the eyes, lips and teeth.
For a quick edit I think it worked out quite well.
Sometimes I hit the studio with a major plan, detailed and organised. Other times like the glasses idea with the delight fully Miss B (who has now retired and I am delighted to say is expecting), its just a simple idea that I work through.
This time in the studio, the idea was just a simple one; it was tweed. It can be fun to see what images you can come up with.
I took a selection of tweed jackets to the studio and worked them with the model.
Shots using just jeans and tee shirt
To underwear and finally topless.
A simple progression and one that I thinks shows promise.
Lens are a very personal thing. For street photography a focal length of 24mm to 50mm is the most useful, followed by a short telephoto.
If I had the Leica CL then I would have two lens, the 23mm f/2 Summicron which gives a field of view of 35mm, and the Leica APO-Macro-Elmarit-TL 60mm giving a 90mm field of view.
So now for studio work.
The Hasselblad X series lens light up is still being expanded upon but there are two portrait lens that interest me, the 90mm f/3.2 giving a field of view of around 70mm equivalent for 35mm, which is a little short for head shots, and the 135mm f/2.8 which gives a field of view of 105mm for 35mm format.
With medium format and 50 MP giving a lot of cropping potential it would be tempting to go with the 90mm and cropping a little for headshots, but it depends on how much room you have in your studio and your budget. The longer lens is £1100 more a big step.
As I said before this is a very personal selection and one where money has not really be considered so more a flight of fancy with the more expensive choices.
A studio gives you controlled conditions, heavy cameras are not an issue but large maluble files useful for post production are essential.
High on the list must be the Sony A7RIV at 61 MP full frame 35mm sensor its a technical tour-de-force, up there must also be the Nikon D850 and Canon 5D. The new Leica SL2 must also be on the list.
As this is the studio then lets think big and consider medium format.
Lets first consider the big players; Hasselblad and PhaseOne.
Your talking big money, and even though this is a flight of fancy. While a bottom of the range Hasselblad H series starts around £14,000 and for 100 MP its over £30,000, lets me a little more reasonable and consider the Hasselblad X and the new Fuji range.
The new X series Hasselblad, the X1D II at a little over £5399 is quite a camera and the colour is unmatched, the flash sync up to 1/2000 and a degree of weather sealing should one want to take it out.
The Fujifilm GFX range has really set the world alight. A, for medium format affordable system. The S and R have the same sensor as the Hasselblad X, an older sensor without the outstanding colour of the Hasselblad but the price is hard to beat, but a more limited flash sync. The R at under £3,000 and the S at £4500 are tempting in the extreme, but the new GFX 100 with a newer sensor at £9500 is outstanding.
What would I pick, a tough choice, it would be between the Leica SL and the Hasselblad X. With my previous choice being a Leica, being able to have the same lens mount between the two would make life easy and its a very modern sensor compared to the Hasselblad, but the draw of a medium format lens and the advantages of the bigger sensor is tempting.
This is going to a highly personal selection and I expect most people to disagree with me.
If I was starting in photography budget not being a concern what would I buy. Well I am going to limit this initially to the two areas that most interest me, street photography and studio portraiture.
Street photography if fixed lens compact then you have a large choice. The little DX crop Ricoh, Fuji X100, full frame Sony RX1 and the full frame Leica Q would be the cameras I would look at.
If I was after a camera with a little more flexibility, then I would go for Olympus Pen or Leica CL, both very flexible interchangeable len cameras, both being smaller crop factors so giving greater depth of field making zone focus easier.
So what would it be? I think for the flexibility I would pick the Leica CL a little DX crop format camera.
So what about studio work? Well I’ll address that in a few days.
Would I get one, well a small autofocus camera would be useful to me as a general carry, but the aperture and viewfinder will be the key. Also on my shortlist is a second hand Olympus Pen F and a Leica CL.