Medium format story

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by EricO, Jun 5, 2007.

  1. EricO

    EricO Member

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    I was in the park the other day and saw two photographers leaving their wedding party and as they passed I yelled, "Where are your RZ's?" They replied, "What's an RZ?" I said, "You know, Mamiya RZ 67 (medium format cameras)?" They replied, Oh! We had Hassleblads and we just bought these (digitals) recently." I said proudly, " I just bought a Mamiya RZ 67 and..." One of them interrupted me saying, "YOU JUST BOUGHT A FILM CAMERA?" I smiled and said, "Yep!"
     
  2. DrPablo

    DrPablo Member

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    I actually saw a wedding party out in the Boston Public Gardens recently being shot with RB67s. That's a big clunker to carry around for location shooting, but it was nice to see.
     
  3. Masuro

    Masuro Member

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    I love film but I sure would like to have a digital back for my Contax 645. Great for checking composition and exposure and I'd have a file to put in online galleries and to send to my family back in Canada. It's the best of both worlds but, alas, digital backs are still too expensive for me.
    Is it sacrilege to wish for a digital accessory here? :smile:
     
  4. keithwms

    keithwms Member

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    Oh, how dearly I love my RB.

    And in case somebody is in a vacuum and hasn't discovered it yet... the finest new RB lenses are going for zilch, particularly in Europe. Will any UK members be traveling to the US with space for a lens for me? :wink: There is such a big markup on Mamiya gear in the US. (I know, I know, I was just involved in a thread on the ill effects of the grey market...)

    P.S. It's not a crime to wish for a digital back, I mean, it is an alternative to polaroid before taking your proper film exposures.
     
  5. nworth

    nworth Subscriber

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    The style for wedding photography has changed. It used to be that you set up and shot a relatively small number of scenes and the produced an album of about 25 8X10 pictures, finely printed on Y (silk) surfaced paper, that told the wedding story. 4X5 press cameras and medium format cameras were the mainstay of that work, with an emphasis lasting quality. Now couples demand a more candid approach for their wedding photos. There are few set and posed shots, and the couple wants maybe a hundred pictures, usually on a CD. They also want color and they want everything now, not in three weeks. They may want a very few prints, and they may want sume bulk 4X6 prints for friends. That sort of work is much better served by digital. I have one friend who still uses a RB67 for the very predictable poses (cutting the cake and the like), but even he does the bulk of his work in digital.
     
  6. Curt

    Curt Subscriber

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    If I had to do a wedding I would do it in digital. I did weddings and didn't like it. I did my first one with a pro and he used a 4x5 Speed Graphic and I used a 2 1/4. His turned out like shit and mine were the ones used and it saved the whole shoot. The last wedding I went to the photographer used a digital camera. My son had class photographs taken last month and they were digital. I imagine in the grind of that kind of business digital is the answer. We selected the pictures right after the shoot, on some nice big monitors. It felt kind of cheap and uncooth though. It kills film in a huge way and that's very very sad. It takes a hell of a photographer to shoot film portraits and class pictures. Read what Edward Weston and others have to say about portrait sittings and class pictures and Ansel Adams had some comments too.

    Wedding photographers are a special breed, you have to get the shots, no excuses no screwups, you can't do it over. In fact the only other time I heard that was in Radiation Therapy school. You can't go back and retreat the patient. Once the patient is overexposed that's it, there is no second chance.
     
  7. copake_ham

    copake_ham Inactive

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    When you boil it all down, it's all a matter of work flow. We live in the "instant age". Folks have digis in their cell phones and carry a digi P&S etc. and know one can just download "images" in an instant.

    So even with what are "life events" they want instancy (and a lot of pics - no matter how good they might be).

    Funny thing - my brother and sister-in-law recently did a 25th anniversary vow renewal ceremony. They hired a nice young fellow to take the pics. He arrived with a top of the line Canon DSLR (I don't know the model # - doesn't matter anyway).

    He took a ton of shots. At times, he blew his batteries and had to miss things while swapping them out.

    I carried a little Nikon N85 film slr that's easy to use since it has a built-in flash. I shot a bunch of rolls and we gave some prints to my brother and sister-in-law. Now they are clamoring for more! They even want my scanned negatives!

    Meanwhile, they're still waiting for the "pro" to deliver prints.

    But he's a digi guy and has better work flow than me! :tongue: :wink:
     
  8. Blackie Fingers

    Blackie Fingers Member

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    Ha! The world has changed! I shoot all the formal shots digital (w/flash) and all the candids with a Leica (film if you please). Workflow is not an issue as most folks can wait two weeks (as they have done from the beginning of time).

    I provide a DVD movie made from stills (80% shot with the Leica) and a disk from which the customers can make their own prints. Yes, making the movie is very time consuming (workflow in the digtal world is hell too).

    Almost all my customers are happy with the DVD and no one complains that I don't offer an album of prints. Most folks just don't want it after they see the 5 minute DVD presentation of 70+ shots rolling by.
     
  9. snegron

    snegron Member

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    I currently shoot weddings with a couple of DSLR's (Nikon D1X's-old technology by today's standards), however I still shoot the engagement shots with 120 film.

    Recently I have reconsidered this approach because I had some rolls of the engagement ruined by the lab. Luckily I had shot backups with my DSLR. I was quite saddened by this. I have had rolls ruined in the past at other labs, but this time I noticed that this particular lab has been making way too many mistakes. My guess is that they are printing from digital files and have become "rusty" when it comes to developing color 120 film. It boils down to the lack of demand now.

    As Curt mentioned above, wedding photographers have to get the shots, no screw ups. I have had an issue with a corrupt card at a wedding, but I learned to work around that by using multiple cards with less memory (not to mention several back up DSLR bodies all set to the same settings ready for immediate use or replacement). The idea is not to store all your eggs in one basket. Kind of like shooting 120 film with a 645 instead of 220.

    I still use my 645's and my RB for my personal fun stuff and artistic images. It is what helps me keep my creative interest alive. I enjoy using my RB even though it weighs 7 pounds with the metered CDS prism attatched! I see my DSLR's as work tools that get the job done. My DSLR's are kept in the bag until the next wedding assignment. They don't get taken out for any type of non work shooting. I don't see them as "fun" cameras, just tools that get the job done effectively and quickly.
     
  10. elekm

    elekm Member

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    Digital seems to be "good enough" and that's all people seem to want these days -- "good enough."

    So wedding photographers follow suit and shoot what's good enough and don't worry about ultimate quality. You don't see many 16 x 20 wedding portraits on walls, and 8 x 10 is about the largest you see these days, sometimes 11 x 14. A 5MP digital file should be sufficient for 8 x 10 and the occasional 11 x 14.

    Personally, being the wedding photographer is enough work. Then going back and becoming the photo lab as well as you process hundreds of files can't be any bundle of fun. Newspapers did this with pagination, in which the layout editors also became the composing room. Saved the company a lot of money by being able to fire the entire composing rooms and proof-readers. But the tradeoff has been an increase in errors ... but it's been "good enough."

    A woman at a wedding I attended last week said she was at a wedding, and the photographer shot digital. He took hundreds of photos during the ceremony, which annoyed the guests because she said the constant click-click-click of the shutter was too much for a church ceremony. Just because you can doesn't always mean you should.
     
  11. darinwc

    darinwc Subscriber

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    wow, now that you mentino it, i havent heard any of the digi forum people ask "what s the quietest digital slr"
     
  12. eddie gunks

    eddie gunks Member

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    i love my RB! i take it everywhere! it has been to SE Asia for the last 6 years! i have shot several weddings (i am not a wedding photog per say) i use my 35mm film nikon, my RB and for my personal entertainment (and the entertainmant of some of the guests) i shoot 4x5 formal poses! i love film, and that is what i shoot. if you want a digital work flow then there are 100s of wedding photogs to choose from, but if you want me, then you get film!

    i iwll be uploading some of my photos from this trip to asia...stay tuned.

    eddie
     
  13. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    I recently did one of these, it was my in-laws' 40th wedding anniversary last month and I was asked to take some pictures of the ring blessing service and guests, etc.

    I used my Bronica ETRS and I was very pleased with the results. It was planned to be an outside event and I was just going to use a bit of fill flash - So obviously, it was the wettest day of the year and it was all done inside with full flash.

    I would have used my RB67 but I didn't want to pay the extra processing and printing costs! 10 shots per roll RB67, 15 shots per roll ETRS.

    Printed at 6" x 8", you can't tell anyway.

    One thing which surprised me was that nobody else took any pictures at all. I was expecteing a few guests to take digi compact and phone snaps.



    Steve.
     
  14. DBP

    DBP Member

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    The only cameras I would consider using during a ceremony are leaf shuttered TLRs and rangefinders.
     
  15. toyotadesigner

    toyotadesigner Member

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    I'm shooting weddings with nothing else but film. Some outdoor poses, the bride and groom with their families, the cermony and cutting the cake. If requested one day prior to the wedding some 6x9 slides in a beautiful environment for hughe prints. That's it. For the other images I ask the couple to collect the memory cards or cd copies, screen them for the best shots, so we can produce a separate album. The result: better quality from us and total coverage without hassle, without long discussions why brand >x< is better suited for a wedding than brand >y< etc. And no trouble with interfering mobile phone or P&S flashes. If people don't like this approach (=workflow), we send them to someone else because we strive for quality and not 'cheap & cheerful & good enough'.
     
  16. munz6869

    munz6869 Subscriber

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    The last wedding I shot with a Mamiya M645 - aroundabout 20 rolls of Kodak Portra 100 & 400, and because I'd triple prepared and was thinking and double thinking everything I was doing - the success rate was very high, with only a couple of dud shots, and nothing missed thanks to my partner spooling spare inserts. The Mamiya has a LOUD shutter, but film makes me wait for the "moment" anyway, so I'm shooting less (and less annoyingly) than digital, but composing better and getting what ends up useful more often - and I only used one 80mm prime, further narrowing any fussing. The medium format softness just looks sooo nice, and the new Portra grain is lovely!

    Marc
     
  17. Steve Smith

    Steve Smith Subscriber

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    The ETRS is loud too. I only took two shots during the ceremony (which was very informal anyway) and staged the rest afterwards.

    Steve.
     
  18. narsuitus

    narsuitus Member

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    My personal preference is to shoot weddings with a quiet 6x7cm rangefinder. However, since more and more customers seem to want high quantities of digital candids, I also provide that service.
     
  19. Daniel_OB

    Daniel_OB Member

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    You did right think Eric.
    I am pressed hard to shoot and weddings and thinking about the best camera (I also have RZ67 proII). I think I would never have a good sleep with digital camera on a such important event.
    www.Leica-R.com
     
  20. Sirius Glass

    Sirius Glass Subscriber

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    I understand what Daniel meant, but frankly I would sleep better with a woman than with a d____l camera. :wink:

    My Bad!

    Steve
     
  21. Daniel_OB

    Daniel_OB Member

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    What can be the difference between Nikon D5X (or any $9999 machine) and Nikon Coolpix 7 MP, when make 4x5” colorful prints for album. All work around contrast, brightness, sharpness, cropping, … are done in photoshop anyway. Just cannot get it when wedding is in play.
    Thanks