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  1. #31
    MattKing's Avatar
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    The are only two things special about using a Rolleiflex for portraiture

    The first isn't actually particular to the Rolleiflex - it is related to using the waist level finder.

    Using a waist level finder when you shoot portraits does require that you learn a slightly different approach, because the process of viewing, composing and focusing has a bit of a different flow to it as compared to the same process using an eye level finder.

    Now before anyone points this out, I'll do it first - there are lots of other cameras that you can use a waist level finder with, and you can get a prism finder for the Rolleiflex.

    The second thing special about using a Rollieflex for portraiture?

    It is a Rollieflex
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  2. #32
    Ektagraphic's Avatar
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    I have become somewhat accustomed to working with the waist level viewfinder and it has become easy for me know so I don't think that it will present much of a problem and I think I prefer it to an eye lever finder usually......I do have the flip up magnifier to be able to look close to check focus and such....
    Helping to save analog photography one exposure at a time

  3. #33
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ektagraphic View Post
    I have become somewhat accustomed to working with the waist level viewfinder and it has become easy for me know so I don't think that it will present much of a problem and I think I prefer it to an eye lever finder usually......I do have the flip up magnifier to be able to look close to check focus and such....
    Has your experience with the waist level format included portraiture?

    I ask that mostly as a rhetorical question, because IMHO the most important attribute of a good portraitist is their ability to make a connection with the subject, and to have that connection show itself in the resulting photographs.

    Working with a waist level finder affects how we make eye contact, so if that connection with your subject is to be established and maintained, it does require a specialized approach.

    After all, the top of the photographer's head communicates very little to the subject of a portrait.

    Hopefully this won't discourage you, but will instead give you food for thought, because I think that if you are interested in portraiture, and are willing to work on it, you and your Rollieflex can create wonderful work, that you will enjoy and be proud of.
    Last edited by MattKing; 06-28-2010 at 11:55 PM. Click to view previous post history.
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  4. #34
    Ektagraphic's Avatar
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    I actually haven't really done much formal portrature with a waist level finder so you bring a very valid point I will be doing some experimentation very shortly when my Rollei gets back from repair.
    Helping to save analog photography one exposure at a time

  5. #35
    MattKing's Avatar
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    Be sure to note my last edit to my previous post - and have fun with your experiments!
    Matt

    “Photography is a complex and fluid medium, and its many factors are not applied in simple sequence. Rather, the process may be likened to the art of the juggler in keeping many balls in the air at one time!”

    Ansel Adams, from the introduction to The Negative - The New Ansel Adams Photography Series / Book 2

  6. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by MattKing View Post
    Has your experience with the waist level format included portraiture?

    I ask that mostly as a rhetorical question, because IMHO the most important attribute of a good portraitist is their ability to make a connection with the subject, and to have that connection show itself in the resulting photographs.

    Working with a waist level finder affects how we make eye contact, so if that connection with your subject is to be established and maintained, it does require a specialized approach.

    After all, the top of the photographer's head communicates very little to the subject of a portrait.
    Using a waist level finder, you look up at the subject. All it takes is a flex of the neck.
    Something people hiding behind a piece of metal with a peep hole to peep through usually do far, far less.

    So if anyone of these two types of finders is more likely to get you connecting with the sitter, i's the waist level finder.

  7. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rolleiflexible View Post
    A Rolleiflex is a great portrait camera.
    So is a Tele Rolleiflex. I use both and
    love both.
    The twin lens Rolleiflex'es are getting still produced in Braunschweig/Germany, and the new firm selling them still excellent in Russia, Japan, and in the Asian theater. My favourite for portraits would be the (new) Tele-Rolleiflex! Unfortunately, an expensive dream!

  8. #38
    Trask's Avatar
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    I saw a film of avedon shooting portraits -- he'd put his Rollei on a tripod, positioned in front of the subject who was in front of the backdrop. Avedon would focus, then stand to the side or behind the camera with a long cable release and interact with the subject. He'd fire the camera when he wished, advance the film, maybe check focus or framing, but in general once he'd set the camera he'd spend most time talking to the subject.

  9. #39
    df cardwell's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ektagraphic View Post
    I guess I just need to get my ass out of the computer and off into the field
    Something like that, but so do we all.
    "One of the painful things about our time is that those who feel certainty are stupid,
    and those with any imagination and understanding are filled with doubt and indecision"

    -Bertrand Russell

  10. #40
    Rolleiflexible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2F/2F View Post
    It's [almost] all about YOU, not the camera. Do what you can with what you have. Working on your skills as a portraitist is immeasurably more important than hemming and hawing over what camera is suitable for your work. This means thinking conceptually and visually as one unit, and being able to work with subjects. It is YOU, not the camera.
    Of course this is right. But the final image is in part
    a function of the camera, and its characteristics and
    its limitations.

    I prefer the Rolleiflex for a lot of reasons, some just
    because I feel connected to it emotionally -- I find it
    a beautiful work of industrial design. But there are
    functional preferences as well. When I want superior
    optics and biting clarity, the Rolleiflex is the obvious
    choice. And the Rolleiflex offers other advantages.
    For example, the leaf shutter is quiet; there is no
    mirror slap; the design of the camera permits hand-
    held exposures at quite low shutter speeds. And
    the finder permits photos at angles that would be
    difficult to shoot with a direct finder. As an example,
    I am attaching a photo I took of my wife and son as
    they lay on the bed -- I held the camera over them
    from the side, I believe the exposure was around
    1/15 @ f/4 or thereabouts. I could not have gotten
    this angle or this exposure with many other cameras.
    Attached Thumbnails Attached Thumbnails 15-CharlieMelanie203adj.jpg  

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