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Author Topic: Shooting Digital MF in Wedding Photography  (Read 9176 times)
rjkern
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« on: January 15, 2013, 03:17:57 PM »
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While I bet there are not a huge crowd of MF followers in this forum that make their living shooting medium format cameras at weddings, I'd thought I'd offer my perspective to this small, but influential group of followers of all things medium format.

Good news. The medium is alive and well. And it is a totally different crayon. And if I have a daughter. And if she is planning on getting married, I'd love to know that her chosen photographer is using the best tools available.

My thoughts on the matter, share on el blogito ::

http://www.kern-photo.com/2013/01/shooting-digital-medium-format-in-wedding-photography-2

I share 11 technical advantages of digital medium format vs 35mm DSLR cameras.

Love to hear your thoughts!

Cheers,

R. J.
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R. J. Kern
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FredBGG
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« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2013, 08:12:42 PM »
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#10. Shallow Depth of Field. If you thought shooting 1.4 on a DSLR was shallow,
wait until you try shooting f/2.8 on a medium format rig.
Noticed how the depth of field in this portrait of my dog, Willy, draws your eye inward.
There’s a ton of math needed to determine depth of field in relation to sensor size, distance to subject, focal length,
yada yada yada I won’t go into in great detail, but it is a much shallower depth of field from my experience than what I’ve been used to using for the last decade.

This is not correct.

Comparing a 1.4 Nikon or Canon DSLR lens with the same angle of view as a 2.8 lens on a crop sensor (44x33mm), the 1.4 Canon or Nikon lens will have shallower depth of field.

You may be comparing lenses that do not have the same angle of view. For example the angle of view of a 50mm Nikon on a full frame sensor is not the same as an 80mm Mamiya/Phase One on the IQ140
that you use.

Their are no Hasselbld, Phase One or Mamiya lenses that will produce the same shallow depth of field and angle of view
combination of the following on a Nikon or Canon full frame.

24mm 1.4
35mm 1.4
50mm 1.4 or 1.2
85mm 1.4 or 1.2
200mm 2.0

The shallowest depth of field lens from Phase is the 150mm 2.8 D IF. Very nice lens.

Lets lok at the closest comparison that would be relevant.

85mm on Nikon/Canon vs Schneider 110mm 2.8 on a 33x44 sensor.

They have almost the same angle of view.

At two meters the Canon 85mm has the shallowest depth of field. 0.040m
Nikon 85mm 1.4 depth of field: 0.045m

The Schneider 110mm 2.8 with a 33x44 sensor depth of field 0.088m

Even on an IQ 180 the 110mm will still not have the shallower depth of field. 0.080m

Then there is the issue of shallow depth of field usability.
The af systems in the latest Canon and Nikon cameras as well as live view make accurate ultra shallow depth of field focusing
far more usable and accurate especially for off center compositions.
 
The king of shallow depth of field will be the new Leica with the Noctilux now that the Leica will have live view.

Another thing to be considered is using the method known as the Brenizer method.
He uses this for ultra shallow depth of field shooting that also gives him huge file sizes.

Here are some of his examples:

https://plus.google.com/u/0/photos/110492963926129353210/albums/5642588167921700753?sqi&sqsi

Here is one:


As you can see he uses it quite a bit at weddings.

You need a fast camera to use this technique. The result is quite beautiful.

« Last Edit: January 15, 2013, 09:21:58 PM by FredBGG » Logged
FredBGG
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« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2013, 08:35:50 PM »
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#3. Thinking long-term with an open-source platform.
I like modular systems where I have the power to pick and choose what I want to work with. Lenses, bodies, and backs.
This gives me greater flexibility over the next 10 years as my shooting style evolves.
Heck, if in 10 years I want to shooting landscapes all over the world, I can still use my back on a technical camera.
Can’t say that about other big-name DSLRs. Here, my friend Tim Boatman uses an Arca-Swiss Rm3D technical camera mounted with PhaseOne 140 back.


You've got the wrong term here.

The Phase System is not an Open-source platform.
To fit the definition of open-source Phase One would have to publish the source code of it's software, drivers and software operating the backs.

I think you are confusing open-source with the Phase one's catch phrase Open System.

If the Phase One system was open source there may already be USB drivers available..... just kidding.
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BrendanStewart
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« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2013, 08:54:24 PM »
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I shoot Hasselblad with my H3DII-31 and it's fantastic. I also don't agree with all your points, but some are sound.
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FredBGG
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« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2013, 08:54:47 PM »
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#11. Optimal ISO. With my PhaseOne IQ, there’s a lower base ISO of 50 vs. 100 which means I can get 1 stop more flash power than the closest a DSLR.
This gives me more options to use shallower depth-of-field, without the need for ND grad filters to slow autofocus. But I am not stuck there.
Shooting at ISO 400 still looks amazing! And with Sensor+ technology, I can shoot up to ISO 3200 sensitivity and get a beautiful film-like grain,
especially when converted to B&W. Plus, those images are smaller in size and speeds up my post-production workflow especially nice when I am editing reception photos.

Nikon D800 can be set to ISO 50. Base ISO is 100, but the ISO 50 setting for all practical purposes will let you do what you are doing with ISO 50 on an MF back in the situation you are describing.
Also a 1 or 2 stop ND filter on a D800 will not slow down the focusing to anything near as slow as the DF especially on a fast lens.

The D800 can also shoot different sensor area crops too.
Full Frame 36x24
1.2x 30x20
1.5x 24x16
5:4 30x24

Also if you are shooting black and white you can shoot with black and white preview
in live view. You can even load custom black and white curves.
« Last Edit: January 22, 2013, 11:45:59 AM by FredBGG » Logged
FredBGG
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« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2013, 09:43:38 PM »
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#8. Embrace smarter technology. The focus and exposure mask features are powerful and very useful, especially when shooting portraits in a short-amount of time.
Confirming critical focus, stat, is super important especially with shallow depth of field of medium format.
A double tap on the screen allows me to confirm focus on this portrait of my brother, Sean, doing his “Blue Steel” pose.

Your talking about shallow depth of field, but you post a photo that was taken at at least f8. Nice shot of your brother.

IF we are talking about new technology I would hardly call focus masking rocket science. First of all it will only confirm focus on high contrast features.
Second it's after the fact.
With a D800 and a few other DSLRs you can shoot in live view with an on Camera HDMI monitor with real time focus masking.
There are even very integrated ones available.

Also on the D800 you can zoom in to a pre set magnification with one touch of a button.
There is also an advanced face recognition review function that let's you zoom into faces and check focus as well as expressions.
It even lets you rapidly go over many faces in a single shot.

http://youtu.be/yNajUFMpISs
« Last Edit: January 15, 2013, 09:55:35 PM by FredBGG » Logged
FredBGG
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« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2013, 10:00:57 PM »
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#9. Don’t forget old school lenses.
You have lots to choose from: Hasselblad, Mamiya, Zeiss, ect. After lots of research, I found the leaf shutter lenses from Schneider-Kreuznach (especially the 55mm) to be stellar.
I am not tied to one particular camera manufacturer, but can choose from lenses and camera bodies that have been around for decades.
Below, the fastest medium format lens available, the Mamiya 80mm f/1.9 is shot wide open at 1/400 sec, ISO 50 in open shade. My friend Tim Ho (pictured left) isn’t fond of the chromatic aberration of the 80mm f/1.9 wide open):

You can use old school lenses on many 35mm DSLR cameras.
You can also use MF lenses on them.

True Live view focusing will also make accurate focusing on vintage lenses far more accurate.

It is true however that the Mamiya/Phase DF allows for more use of older lenses than the Hasselblad H system does.

However no MF system comes close to the lens options 35mm DSLR cameras have including the fun stuff by lens baby.
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yaya
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« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2013, 11:07:52 PM »
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While I bet there are not a huge crowd of MF followers in this forum that make their living shooting medium format cameras at weddings, I'd thought I'd offer my perspective to this small, but influential group of followers of all things medium format.

Good news. The medium is alive and well. And it is a totally different crayon. And if I have a daughter. And if she is planning on getting married, I'd love to know that her chosen photographer is using the best tools available.

My thoughts on the matter, share on el blogito ::

http://www.kern-photo.com/2013/01/shooting-digital-medium-format-in-wedding-photography-2

I share 11 technical advantages of digital medium format vs 35mm DSLR cameras.

Love to hear your thoughts!

Cheers,

R. J.


A very nice article with proper, real life examples and beautiful images!

Yair
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Josef Isayo
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« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2013, 11:48:09 AM »
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I shoot 20-30 weddings a year using Canon 1DX, 5D3's and Hasselblad H4D 40. While I get a slightly better file (after post processing) with the Hassy in perfect lighting condition, the negatives far out weight the positives. The H4D 40 is bulkier, AF is slower, and doesn't do well past ISO 800. Also I get significantly shallower depth of filed with my 50 and 85L's vs the Hasselblad HC 100 2.2 wide open.


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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2013, 12:13:52 PM »
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In his continued crusade to find anything wrong to nitpick that might shed positive light on anything related to Phase One, Fred has of course, glossed over relevant details...

I don't have time to go through each point, nor the patience any more, but here is one:

What makes a subject pop off an out of focus background (the "look" of shallow DOF shots) is not ONLY related to [Aperture + Angle-of-view]. If all you do is run a calculator you will NOT know how shallow DOF subjects render on any given lens+sensor combo looks.

A Phase One 150/2.8D is significantly sharper wide open than an 85/1.2 (I say this from a lot of experience with both lenses). Moreover the more the resolution the more the detail (assuming a sharp lens), and therefore the more that detail can contrast with an out of focus background. So with an IQ160 or IQ180 for example you have much more detail on the in-focus areas than with a 5D2. The rendering profiles of both lenses are also quite different and I find the transition from in-focus to out-of-focus to be much smoother with the 150/2.8 than with the 85/1.2 - BUT this is definitely a personal/aesthetic assessment so YMMV. The net result, in my eyes, from my shooting, is a significantly better ability to pop a subject matter off a background with shallow DOF when using a FF digital back and a 150/2.8 than a FF Canon with an 85/1.2.

Moreover the 85/1.2 has a lot of chromatic aberration in out of focus areas, which drives me crazy. I (personal feeling) think it makes it look far too digital and severely hampers my use of it wide-open.
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DOUG PETERSON (dep@digitaltransitions.com), Digital Transitions
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2013, 12:17:59 PM »
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I shoot 20-30 weddings a year using Canon 1DX, 5D3's and Hasselblad H4D 40. While I get a slightly better file (after post processing) with the Hassy in perfect lighting condition, the negatives far out weight the positives. The H4D 40 is bulkier, AF is slower, and doesn't do well past ISO 800. Also I get significantly shallower depth of filed with my 50 and 85L's vs the Hasselblad HC 100 2.2 wide open.

Mind you the H4D-40 (like a P40+ et al) is a 1.3 crop from full frame, which limits your ability to shoot shallow depth of field.

Still, I agree with everything you say here (as applied generically to medium format). It is heavier, bulkier, and the AF is slower. I never shoot a wedding 100% medium format. I use each camera where it excels. Notably, with (more recent) Phase backs you can use Sensor+ for a very good ISO1600 and an ISO3200 that can make a beautiful Delta3200 film-like B+W image when grain and contrast is added. If I think I'll need f/2+ISO6400 in a wedding scene I reach for my Canon. In many/most situations I don't I reach for the Phase.

Each tool has it's positives, negatives, abilities, and limitations.
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DOUG PETERSON (dep@digitaltransitions.com), Digital Transitions
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2013, 12:27:32 PM »
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Nikon D800 can be set to ISO 50. Base ISO is 100, but the ISO 50 setting for all practical purposes will let you do what you are doing with ISO 50 on an MF back.
Also a 1 or 2 stop ND filter on a D800 will not slow down the focusing to anything near as slow as the DF especially on a fast lens.

Shooting through an ND filter is a very poor shooter-experience in my opinion. Especially when dSLR viewfinders tend to start off small and dark - an ND filter only makes it darker.

Also, ISO50 on a D800 is not a real ISO. It is simply a one stop overexposed image at ISO100. I would not recommend this setting for weddings where white detail (highlights on faces and white dresses) is often essential. Frankly, I'm surprised you'd recommend it.
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DOUG PETERSON (dep@digitaltransitions.com), Digital Transitions
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Gel
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« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2013, 01:31:37 PM »
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The only thing that stops me using my H4D50 for wedding in ISO performance.

Clean ISO3200 and I'm there.
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« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2013, 01:47:01 PM »
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Hi,

I would say I agree with Doug on the chromatic aberration issue. It is known as LoCA (Longitudinal Chromatic Aberration) and is typical of fast lenses. I am under the impression that MF lenses are not that fast but quite decent even at full aperture.

I don't think MF makes you into a better photographer, but MF has some advantages if the photographer make best use of the system.

Best regards
Erik


In his continued crusade to find anything wrong to nitpick that might shed positive light on anything related to Phase One, Fred has of course, glossed over relevant details...

I don't have time to go through each point, nor the patience any more, but here is one:

What makes a subject pop off an out of focus background (the "look" of shallow DOF shots) is not ONLY related to [Aperture + Angle-of-view]. If all you do is run a calculator you will NOT know how shallow DOF subjects render on any given lens+sensor combo looks.

A Phase One 150/2.8D is significantly sharper wide open than an 85/1.2 (I say this from a lot of experience with both lenses). Moreover the more the resolution the more the detail (assuming a sharp lens), and therefore the more that detail can contrast with an out of focus background. So with an IQ160 or IQ180 for example you have much more detail on the in-focus areas than with a 5D2. The rendering profiles of both lenses are also quite different and I find the transition from in-focus to out-of-focus to be much smoother with the 150/2.8 than with the 85/1.2 - BUT this is definitely a personal/aesthetic assessment so YMMV. The net result, in my eyes, from my shooting, is a significantly better ability to pop a subject matter off a background with shallow DOF when using a FF digital back and a 150/2.8 than a FF Canon with an 85/1.2.

Moreover the 85/1.2 has a lot of chromatic aberration in out of focus areas, which drives me crazy. I (personal feeling) think it makes it look far too digital and severely hampers my use of it wide-open.
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FredBGG
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« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2013, 02:33:05 PM »
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Shooting through an ND filter is a very poor shooter-experience in my opinion. Especially when dSLR viewfinders tend to start off small and dark - an ND filter only makes it darker.

Also, ISO50 on a D800 is not a real ISO. It is simply a one stop overexposed image at ISO100. I would not recommend this setting for weddings where white detail (highlights on faces and white dresses) is often essential. Frankly, I'm surprised you'd recommend it.

I suggested that ISO 50 could be used with no problem in the situation he is describing. Using low ISO so as to use more flash power to darken daylight more.
When doing this the highlight exposure is established and controlled by the flash and over exposing highlights is really not an issue when you have control over the light.
The OP is going for deeper and moodier wedding photos, not super bright "lifestyle" type images.

As for using an 1 stop ND on a 1.4 lens it is really a non issue. Even if the view finder of the DF is a bit brighter it's by no means two stops brighter so the much faster Nikon or Canon lens will more than compensate for the ND filter.

On top of that the higher dynamic range of the Nikon would also handle the highlight issue with ISO 50.

Here is an examle of highlight recovery with the D800. Not a white dress, but there is certainly plenty of detail recovery from almost blown out highlights in a grossly
overexposed area.

« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 08:48:59 PM by FredBGG » Logged
Kirk Gittings
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« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2013, 06:43:15 PM »
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And if I have a daughter. And if she is planning on getting married, I'd love to know that her chosen photographer is using the best tools available.

I have two daughters and when they got married that was not even a consideration, compared to his eye, experience, people skills, sense of humor, work ethic etc.
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« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2013, 07:24:53 PM »
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Technically, perhaps better in some situation. Practically, probably not.

Another issue is in back-up. If there's a failure with the MF digital, what's the likelihood that there's a second camera/back/lens other than the "technologically inferior" smaller format? With full-frame digital and for sure, DX digital, a competent photographer will have backups of body/lens/flash, etc. or he's probably a "friend with a nice camera".

When I shot 6x6 for weddings, I not only had backs and bodies for back-up but brought along the 35mm. Today, It's a minimum of three bodies, duplicate lenses/flashes and all sort of redundancies for me.

Bottom like, it's not how much technically the equipment is compared to something, it's the heart of the image and my vision that my clients hire me for and the craftsmanship of the final image.
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Larry Angier
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« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2013, 07:27:22 PM »
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Technically, perhaps better in some situations. Practically, probably not. It's about light, timing, gesture and the more cumbersome the camera for me, the fewer moments I'll capture.

Another issue is in back-up. If there's a failure with the MF digital, what's the likelihood that there's a second camera/back/lens other than the "technologically inferior" smaller format? With full-frame digital and for sure, DX digital, a competent photographer will have backups of body/lens/flash, etc. or he's probably a "friend with a nice camera".

When I shot 6x6 for weddings, I not only had backs and bodies for back-up but brought along the 35mm. Today, It's a minimum of three bodies, duplicate lenses/flashes and all sort of redundancies for me.

Bottom like, it's not how much technically the equipment is compared to something, it's the heart of the image and my vision that my clients hire me for and the craftsmanship of the final image.
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FredBGG
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« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2013, 07:46:23 PM »
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In his continued crusade to find anything wrong to nitpick that might shed positive light on anything related to Phase One, Fred has of course, glossed over relevant details...

I don't have time to go through each point, nor the patience any more, but here is one:

What makes a subject pop off an out of focus background (the "look" of shallow DOF shots) is not ONLY related to [Aperture + Angle-of-view]. If all you do is run a calculator you will NOT know how shallow DOF subjects render on any given lens+sensor combo looks.

A Phase One 150/2.8D is significantly sharper wide open than an 85/1.2 (I say this from a lot of experience with both lenses). Moreover the more the resolution the more the detail (assuming a sharp lens), and therefore the more that detail can contrast with an out of focus background. So with an IQ160 or IQ180 for example you have much more detail on the in-focus areas than with a 5D2. The rendering profiles of both lenses are also quite different and I find the transition from in-focus to out-of-focus to be much smoother with the 150/2.8 than with the 85/1.2 - BUT this is definitely a personal/aesthetic assessment so YMMV. The net result, in my eyes, from my shooting, is a significantly better ability to pop a subject matter off a background with shallow DOF when using a FF digital back and a 150/2.8 than a FF Canon with an 85/1.2.

Moreover the 85/1.2 has a lot of chromatic aberration in out of focus areas, which drives me crazy. I (personal feeling) think it makes it look far too digital and severely hampers my use of it wide-open.

Rather ironic that you choose to attack me on a point I made.. that of shallow depth of field.... when a photographer who shoots 30 weddings a year who owns both MF and 35mm digital confirms what I was saying.

Also your comment implying that "all I do is run a DOF calculator" is ridiculous. I have 30 years of experience and I only used those numbers to help explain the point.
I also know the optical effect of many formats and also shoot from 24x36 to 8x10 film commercially.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2013, 07:53:16 PM by FredBGG » Logged
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« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2013, 08:10:19 PM »
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And if I have a daughter. And if she is planning on getting married, I'd love to know that her chosen photographer is using the best tools available.

I have two daughters and when they got married that was not even a consideration, compared to his eye, experience, people skills, sense of humor, work ethic etc.

I could not agree with you more. Hyper image quality is not a priority in event photography. Telling the story is and capturing the memories.
What is important to keep in mind is that the image quality difference is between a current generation full frame Nikon vs a crop sensor MF is practically indistinguishable.




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