Blog 2018

Why I love using a Full Frame Camera, Raw Mode, and with a Real Viewfinder.

12 December 2016

My point and shoot camera is a 1″ sensor- Canon Gx5. I used to use an Olympus OMD as a walk around camera. I use APSc cameras for my dentistry-Fuji 5s pro and Nikon D7200. But when serious, nothing beats using full frame cameras for predictablility of image capture. These include my Nikon D750 which my jack of all trades (24mp). Nikon D3s (12mp) for anything that moves and in dark places. Nikon D800(36mp) for slow work on a tripod-landscape photography.

In good lighting conditions and accurate exposures all the above cameras will give great results and  images enlarged to at least 16 x 20 inches. So for passports, selfies, holiday shots you should be fine. And you probably would find it hard to distinguish which camera was used.

However when the going gets tough, bad weather, poor lighting, everything happening at once, we can’t always get ideal framing, composition or exposure-especially me. As explained in a previous article I am more a snatch and grab photographer ( unless doing landscapes) and especially when travelling with tour groups when one doesn’t have much time. Often I get the settings wrong in the excitement. For example, forgot to adjust the iso, used too fast a shutter speed resulting in under exposure, paying so much attention to the subject and forgetting to zoom in! Yup thats me , I need lots of latitude. People say that about my behaviour as well!

Using an electronic viewfinder can sometimes artificially enhance the scene. I found that a lot with the Olympus. I see the image in the viewfinfder (EVF) and think , wow thats gonna be a nice picture. Put the image on the monitor later and its pretty boring. With a large viewfinder (35mm equivalent) its amazing how much of the scene you really see and there is less chance of disappointment later.

Also, when the surroundings are very dark the EVF doesn’t do as well as the optical viewfinder like in my ballerina shot.

The  following 2 scenes will hopefully illustrate what I mean.

At the wedding I only had the 85mm lens and was shooting in availble light. My white balance is always set to daylight and it doesn’t really matter when shooting in raw. But from a post processing point of view it is always good to start from the same baseline. No auto white balance for me (unless you shoot in Jpeg). Notice  with the severe cropping,  detail and especially colour is preserved. Most camera reviews go on how good the noise (or lack of ) at high isos. But what is more important is colour information, especially when underexposed. The Olympus, and even the new Nikon D500  (APSc) lacks the colour information which I desperately need to “make’ the shot. I included the balanced colour crop for reference , before turning the picture into B&W using SilverEfex pro. The decision to use B&W is because the medium conveys emotion well with out the distraction of colour. I see a lot of photographers using B&W for gimmicky reasons (as it is trendy now-like vinyl records) or to hide the noise from using high iso. But in my view the content of the image should help decide how one is going to present it and not because I decided to cover the wedding in B&W because I can or own  a Leica M Monochrom (I don’t).

The second scene I was covering a ballet concert  from a behind the curtains point of view. It was very dark and the kids were moving all over the place.

Initially when I saw the under exposed image I was going to discard the file. But I decided to boost the exposure in Lightroom by at least 2.5 stops as a matter of interest. What a surprise, I got a “keeper”! There was a little noise, but that added to the impressionistic effect. But what is amazing is how much colour I manage to recover. That is the advantage of the Nikon D3s. Only 12 mp but sensors with “large buckets” to collect the light and all visible wavelengths. This picture won me a Bronze medal in the 2011 Better Photography competition in  the “Creative Flair category. The moral of the story is don’t delete your photos in a hurry. So when you go on a photo expedition or safari, don’t spend the evenings on your lap sorting and editing your days work. I don’t, then again I don’t have a lap top just lots of memory cards !  Sometimes its best to revisit the images after a month with fresh eyes. Its amazing what you can find which if in a hurry, you may have previously discarded.

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