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Author Topic: Shooting fashion with MFDB on a manual camera  (Read 4666 times)
VanKou
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« on: May 04, 2008, 08:29:31 AM »
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Hi:

I would like to hear from people, especially the ones that are using a manual focus camera with a MFDB on how they deal with the slower pace during fashion shoots.  There is no question that a auto focus camera would help speed things up, but do you think that this slow focusing process makes the model not perform well?   Do you find that it is more difficult for the models?  What is the perception/reaction from artistic directors/clients etc...  I think the young models today are so used to working with fast shooting dslr and anything that slows things down and they get bored.  One has to remind all that Richard Avedon was shooting fashion with an 8x10,   but who cares...

Let me know what you think about this.... Thanks very much for reading and for replying.

VanKou
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Graham Mitchell
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« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2008, 09:14:49 AM »
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It is a personal preference so it doesn't matter what other people think. It doesn't bother me, mainly because the flash recycle time already slows things down a little. I usually shoot on location with portable power so I can't use the 'turbo' recycling rate.
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Graham Mitchell - www.graham-mitchell.com
Snook
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« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2008, 10:37:51 AM »
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It is a personal preference so it doesn't matter what other people think. It doesn't bother me, mainly because the flash recycle time already slows things down a little. I usually shoot on location with portable power so I can't use the 'turbo' recycling rate.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=193435\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Again like anything else it depends on what YOU shoot.
If you shoot models always jumping or running or such.. forget the MF for sure.
I have a P30 with AFDII and RZII and I have a Canon 1DsMII. they all come out of the bag at sometime now..:+}
There are times when in a hurry, or I do not need 30 megapixels re: a lot of catalogue I shoot..:+}
That get just the Canon.
Portrait/Campaigns/Adverts/personal posed studio fashion shoots.. all get the P30.
You really need to see if it is right for your shooting style.
Snook
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sergio
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« Reply #3 on: May 05, 2008, 07:11:07 PM »
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If you shoot models always jumping or running or such.. forget the MF for sure.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=193440\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Not really. I used to do a lot of 4x5 work of jumping models. And a great deal of beauty too.
There is this idea that certain areas of photography can only be done successfully with this or that type of gear. And yes, Avedon did a lot of his work in extra LF. Rob Kendrick does on the road portraits in 5x7 with an ultra slow lens that dates back to the 1800s and has only a few seconds to expose before the collodion on his plates dries up rendering it useless.
I think James Russell nails down when he says to put the wrong camera in the wrong shoot and see what shakes loose. That is a good piece of advice.
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terence_patrick
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« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2008, 07:36:39 PM »
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I think James Russell nails down when he says to put the wrong camera in the wrong shoot and see what shakes loose. That is a good piece of advice.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=193682\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

True dat. I just shot parts of the Long Beach Grand Prix with an RZ. Wasn't easy, but I got great stuff that won't look like anyone else's work!
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James R Russell
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« Reply #5 on: May 05, 2008, 11:45:57 PM »
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True dat. I just shot parts of the Long Beach Grand Prix with an RZ. Wasn't easy, but I got great stuff that won't look like anyone else's work!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=193688\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

There is something to be said from getting away from the traditional.

A friend of mine who is one of  (if not the) premier architectural photographers in the world, sent me an amazing image shot with a Panasonic Lumix.  Obviously this is not his standard medium format style, but the image is beautiful and no viewer cares about the camera, the lens, or the pixel count, they just see that beautiful image.

In fact I have been on to this photographer for years to shoot a fashion spread and he just looks at me like I'm crazy, but I can see the fluid design of how he uses light, shadow and subject to create an image and I am positive would translate into a beautiful fashion spread.

Sometimes on set, if I feel like I'm getting flat footed or stuck I will purposely use the wrong camera, if only for a few frames.  It just opens my mind, and makes me see the goodness of what's in front of the lens in an entirely different way.

True, to some extend we all specialize, but I am not a believer that if you shoot cars you can't capture a beautiful scenic, or portrait.  It might be different from the norm, but that's what photography is about melding the personalities of phtoographer, subject and sometimes (actually in my world more than sometimes), the talents for the support crew.

JR
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shutay
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« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2008, 08:52:43 AM »
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I would say that manual focus for fashion shoots is definitely doable - my closest experience is shooting studio portfolio portraits for a model hopeful. But you see, I shoot manual focus, manual exposure nearly all the time because I don't have a choice on my camera anyway. If you're not used to it, just make sure you get in as much practice as you can before you do a job to make sure you will have as few surprises on the day as possible.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2008, 08:53:02 AM by shutay » Logged
Graham Mitchell
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« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2008, 11:50:41 AM »
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If you shoot models always jumping or running or such.. forget the MF for sure.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=193440\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I disagree. I would use manual focus for this anyway. NO delay due to AF hunting so you can get the timing right.
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Snook
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« Reply #8 on: May 06, 2008, 12:17:00 PM »
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I disagree. I would use manual focus for this anyway. NO delay due to AF hunting so you can get the timing right.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=193869\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Sorry I did not mean it was impossible.. just a pain in the Rear basically.
I also meant running or movement shot's where both I and my subject are moving.
Not a model jumping in studio or the same mark every time.
A great example would be Kids..:+}
Of course this all depends on your style. But No way I would be shooting the RZ with kids or fast pace catalogue..:+] Not even the 645... That's what the Canon is for.
Snook
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terence_patrick
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« Reply #9 on: May 07, 2008, 11:37:19 AM »
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Sorry I did not mean it was impossible.. just a pain in the Rear basically.
I also meant running or movement shot's where both I and my subject are moving.
Not a model jumping in studio or the same mark every time.
A great example would be Kids..:+}
Of course this all depends on your style. But No way I would be shooting the RZ with kids or fast pace catalogue..:+] Not even the 645... That's what the Canon is for.
Snook
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=193877\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Seriously, try it a few times and you'll be surprised at what your own abilities are. There was an entire world of fashion or even war photographers before auto-focus came along!
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Snook
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« Reply #10 on: May 07, 2008, 12:26:02 PM »
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Seriously, try it a few times and you'll be surprised at what your own abilities are. There was an entire world of fashion or even war photographers before auto-focus came along!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=194170\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Yes I am one of them...:+}
I actually learned on Medium and large Format first..:+}
But as you should know, Digital backs are much less forgiving than film ever was..
Now that we see all the images on screen at 200%
In any case I might have gotten a little spoiled with shooting Canon for the last 4-5 years..
Just an Opinion  
Snook
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TMARK
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« Reply #11 on: May 07, 2008, 12:27:38 PM »
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It is do-able. I used to shoot press with two Nikon FM2's with motor drives.  Split screens help very much.
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Plekto
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« Reply #12 on: May 07, 2008, 12:59:28 PM »
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Heh.  Of course, when I started with my first, well, SEVERAL cameras, AF wasn't even a realistic option.  You learned old fashioned skills to get those action shots.    

I actually don't life AF myself, since I almost always have to tweak it anyways to get it like I want it.  I usually shoot with faster, wider angle lenses, so bokeh can sometimes be measured in inches.  Since I generally take 5-10 seconds to compose any shot that I take, focusing manually isn't even a problem.
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VanKou
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« Reply #13 on: May 07, 2008, 01:18:22 PM »
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Heh.  Of course, when I started with my first, well, SEVERAL cameras, AF wasn't even a realistic option.  You learned old fashioned skills to get those action shots.   

I actually don't life AF myself, since I almost always have to tweak it anyways to get it like I want it.  I usually shoot with faster, wider angle lenses, so bokeh can sometimes be measured in inches.  Since I generally take 5-10 seconds to compose any shot that I take, focusing manually isn't even a problem.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=194189\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The thing is, that focusing manually is not instant.  It takes a few seconds and some models complain that work better with a faster pace as their poses and facial expressions come up more naturaly.  In my opinion a good model would  be able to work well no matter what the pace would be.  The other issue is, that if you need about 1000 images for a fashion editorial (at the very least) slow shooting means long hours...  
What is your productivity?
VanKou
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SecondFocus
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« Reply #14 on: May 07, 2008, 01:52:15 PM »
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Please post some or get them on your website so we can take a look. Would love to see! Great fun!

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True dat. I just shot parts of the Long Beach Grand Prix with an RZ. Wasn't easy, but I got great stuff that won't look like anyone else's work!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=193688\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
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Ian L. Sitren
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« Reply #15 on: May 07, 2008, 02:06:06 PM »
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The thing is, that focusing manually is not instant.  It takes a few seconds and some models complain that work better with a faster pace as their poses and facial expressions come up more naturaly.  In my opinion a good model would  be able to work well no matter what the pace would be.  The other issue is, that if you need about 1000 images for a fashion editorial (at the very least) slow shooting means long hours... 
What is your productivity?
VanKou
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=194192\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I don't think manual focusing will extend your shoot time, mainly because I don't think you need 1000 frames for a fashion editorial.  I'm not critisizing the way you shoot, just adding my experience.  When shooting with a 1ds2 I've hit the 800 mark on a fashion piece.  When I shoot an RZ with 120 film I shoot about 300 frames, and MFDB up to 400.  The RZ and MFDB shoots have a MUCH higher percentage of keepers.  I think when shooting with a dslr you get into a rhythm where you hit the button to keep things going, even if whats in that tiny viewfinder is questionable.  You end up with 10 frames of the same shot that may not have been great to begin with, the only differenc ebeing the slight variation in the model's expression. The slower pace of medium format and manual focusing is beneficial at times.  It gives you a chance to nail the composition, and the larger viewfinders allow you to actually see the model's expressions through the viewfinder, which can get you the shot you need. This has been a long way of saying that manual focusing should not really extend your shoot time.

I feel you on the dilema of models getting bored, but I find this mainly with the new girls who need to learn to act like professionals, which is why they are sent out on tests.  I always make the models feel comfortable, treat them well, keep it light on set, play a mix that matches the mood of the shoot, but I expect them to work, which means adapting to my pace, which means taking direction and posing while I focus.
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Plekto
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« Reply #16 on: May 08, 2008, 02:28:35 PM »
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The thing is, that focusing manually is not instant.  It takes a few seconds and some models complain that work better with a faster pace as their poses and facial expressions come up more naturaly.  In my opinion a good model would  be able to work well no matter what the pace would be.  The other issue is, that if you need about 1000 images for a fashion editorial (at the very least) slow shooting means long hours... 
What is your productivity?
VanKou
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=194192\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

My point was that most times that I have used an AF camera, I've always resorted to manually adjusting the AF by hand - nudging it a tiny bit one way or another.  At least 2/3 of the shots require human input anyways, so manually focusing is literally 1/2 a second longer to do.  Since I usually shoot scenery, even a few seconds isn't a big deal.  But when I do shoot people, it's not a big deal, either.  The extra second you spend per shot results in much better composition as well.  My sister's wedding photographer used old school MF film manual focus for half of the shots and they all came out superbly.  

And that's not counting the zillion functions, menus, adjustments, and so on.  If I have to adjust the AF metering or zones at all, that's way longer than just picking up a manual lens and working with it.   I still use my 40 year old 35mm rangefinder for family trips because of the completely idiot-proof simplicity and light wight.
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Snook
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« Reply #17 on: May 08, 2008, 03:53:56 PM »
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My point was that most times that I have used an AF camera, I've always resorted to manually adjusting the AF by hand - nudging it a tiny bit one way or another.  At least 2/3 of the shots require human input anyways, so manually focusing is literally 1/2 a second longer to do.  Since I usually shoot scenery, even a few seconds isn't a big deal.  But when I do shoot people, it's not a big deal, either.  The extra second you spend per shot results in much better composition as well.  My sister's wedding photographer used old school MF film manual focus for half of the shots and they all came out superbly. 

And that's not counting the zillion functions, menus, adjustments, and so on.  If I have to adjust the AF metering or zones at all, that's way longer than just picking up a manual lens and working with it.   I still use my 40 year old 35mm rangefinder for family trips because of the completely idiot-proof simplicity and light wight.
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PLekto.. what AF system are you talking about that you have to nudge it al little?
You lost me a little there..Never heard of that?
What you have to keep switching on and off AF.. that has to be a pain.
Please explain further I am very interested.
Mamiya or Contax? I hope you not talking about 35 mm type camera, bc/ then I won't believe you..:+} No way I could tell good focus through a 35mm Prism or viewfinder... by "nudging" it a little? That would entitle ,on any camera I know, pressing or switching the AF focus button which would throw off everything anyways unless your just fully tripod shooting in "products"?
Thanks
S.
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Plekto
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« Reply #18 on: May 08, 2008, 07:36:38 PM »
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Plekto.. what AF system are you talking about that you have to nudge it al little?
You lost me a little there..Never heard of that?
The last AF system I used was on a 35mm DSLR camera and it constantly chose the wrong area to focus on, so I had to constantly keep my hand on the focus ring and manually adjust it a tiny bit so that the focus was more to my liking.  It was repeatedly focus - humm - not *quite* right... nudge a little bit... click.

But evidently this is always a problem unless you are shooting portraits or something where the software is pretty good at figuring it out.  The MFs that I have shot/used and/or borrowed have always been manual focusing and it's always worked fine, even for action shots.  

AF is a nice crutch/aid to have, to be sure, but it's completely not necessary, either.

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No way I could tell good focus through a 35mm Prism or viewfinder... by "nudging" it a little?
We're not talking about 2 inches off, but it focusing on the tree instead of the person sort of thing.  Just miserable AI most of the time, especially when I was shooting in low light.
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