portraiture Tag

I'll have something for the rest of you later in the week. Today is for the analog landscape and portrait artists. Some people see them as a dying breed - what with the rise of ever-larger or ever-smaller digital sensors. But they are not unhealthy at all - just selective in what they photograph and what they use to do it. This Fujifilm GF 670 Professional camera is sitting in the secondhand cabinet at Camera Electronic - ironically on an X-system plastic plinth.  It is one of the last of a very long line of traditional folding cameras - remember the Zeiss Ikon camera you saw here a few months ago. But this one gives no quarter at all as far as lens quality and resolution. It is superb.   The format that the camera seems to support is 120film in a 6 x 7 cm gate. However, if you prefer a sqaure format you'll find that there is a switchable mask inside the camera that can pare it down to 6 x 6. You choose as you load the film. Users of other...

And do it digitally. You all can. I attended a funeral last week of an old club-mate. In the manner of many modern ceremonies there was a slide-show presentation at one point and we got to see as many good pictures of his 94 years as had survived war and emigration. The quality of the old stuff was exceptional...

That sounds like a waspish little criticism, but it's not. It's actually praise for the decision that the Nikon designers made when they decided upon a short telephoto for the new mirrorless Z system. Short tele has always been the choice for portraitists in the film era. Now that we are in the 24 x 36 digital era the same optical rules apply as before and this focal length can come back as a head and shoulders choice. At 80 cm - the closest focusing distance  - and the widest aperture of f:1.8 - you'll have a whopping depth of field of 54 mm! Everything else is going to be bokeh and/or mush. Very good mush, though, as this is the highest performing 85mm lens Nikon has made. Also one of the sleekest - it all happens inside and it all talks to the camera inside. You'll get a choice of AF or manual outside and the biggest focusing ring you've ever seen. And a very clean back end - Nikon lens designers must have had a week-long party when the management decided to...

" And he's using a new Profoto hand-held mobile C1 flash. " Actually he may be using the Profoto C1 or the C1 Plus, depending on how much flash he wants and whether he wants to add colours and accessories. The advent of the mobile phone as a viable camera option has left some people looking for a way to do the shooting in a more professional manner. The basic phone is fine for hold-it-up-and fumble-for-the-button stuff. Perfect for selfies and recording plates of food. But sadly lacking when it comes to portrait or product lighting. It's just hard to get decent lighting that is as portable as the mobile smartphone itself - hard until now.   The Profoto C1 and C1Plus are simple cylinders approximately 74 and 79mm in diameter respectively. They weight either 120 g. or 176 g. - not wrist breakers or rocks in your pocket. The simple one puts out 1600 Lumens and the C1 Plus emits 4300 Lumen. You can vary the colour temperature between 3000ºK and 65 They'll both do approx. 2000 full-dust flashes on a charge and recharge...

There is no doubt that two camera makers in the current market have been most successful in embracing the concept of retro style - I should have said three, but if I used the term Lomo in the same breath as Leica and Fujifilm, I would be chased from the place. And I haven't been chaste for years...

I am a fan of the softboxes that I own, but I only own two - and they are strip lights with grids. They do rim lighting a treat but I do not ask more of them. I've owned other softboxes before - a big octagon and an absolutely enormous rectangular one. They functioned well, but ultimately were supplanted for my studio purposes by umbrellas and beauty dishes. Personal preference and prejudice, if you will. The use of a softbox with a portable flash is a little more unusual - people who opt for this have a need to take the soft lighting out into the field. They'll have to deal with how to fire the flash and how to support the rig, but these are simple basics - a folding stand and a radio trigger. The benefit will be a far softer and more workable light than available with a bare speedlight. Worth having for portraiture and fashion shooting - nearly essential for wedding work. Is it going to make a difference whether you get a 40 cm or a 50 cm...

Come to think of it, that catchy title would make an equally catchy product name. Thanks, Lastolite - send me one when you make it. But today's Lastolite product is the answer for both the run-and-gun people shooter who has to keep their speedlight on their camera and the more ambitious portraitist who can get the gun off  and onto a light stand. It's an adaptation of a classic idea but with a couple of new convenient twists. To start with, and this is common in all the Lastolite range of goods, it is well packaged. They build for people who are going to haul their gear thither and yon repeatedly - the working pro and enthusiastic amateur who do not baby the goods. Hence they tend to bag everything in sturdy nylon cases with big zippers. This case contains a folding softbox - one that sticks to the front of your speedlight. The construction is such that the sides fold flat and the thing collapses on itself, with no complex rigging of struts required. The interior is silvered and has arrangements for...

No, We're not talking about another footballer's romance or a North Korean threat - it's the Lastolite Ezybox Micro - possibly the lightest of the large diffusers for speed lights. Certainly one of the easiest to put on and off. Speed light diffusers have a long history - all the way from those rigid plastic panels that you clipped above the Metz 45-series hammerhead flashes in the 1970's through to the strobist craze five years ago. There were innumerable things that attached to your speed light with rubber bands and velcro straps. Nearly all of them worked and nearly all of them were a pain. The ones that went on easily, came off easily - usually when you moved your camera from horizontal to vertical. The ones that stuck tight needed a welder's degree to attach and an oxy torch to take off. And the matter of needing a diffuser in the middle of an event shoot meant that both of these possibilities could occur at the same time. The heavy ones strained the joints of the speedlights - you would have...

Thank you for coming along to the Little Studio and being such a good photographic model. And thank you to all the people at Fujifilm Australia for letting me have time to try out the new GFX50s camera and lenses in the studio environment. It is my preferred milieu because it has controlled lighting and a coffee pot. And once I let the new medium format camera have its head - doing the thing that it does best - it proved to me how good it can be. The tabletop trial was not the thing - this camera needs more space between itself and the subject. It needs to be photographing fabulous detail in faces. And you need to be careful when you let it go - the detail it captures can be marvellous and terrifying at the same time. Dare I say too detailed for some occasions? If your purpose is to flatter your portrait sitters, and you are addicted to f:16 and smaller apertures, be prepared to be surprised. Also be prepared to have the sitters mad at you. You see,...