As many of you know, I work as a portrait photographer in Leicester, and I am really into creating great images of people. For me, the subject always comes first. I do not care about the image being sharp at 100% crop, but there are a few things that a camera can do that matter a lot to me. This in mind I thought I would write a small blog post about why I shoot film for my professional work.
There is a LOT of hype about “full frame” digital cameras. How amazing they are, how great the depth of the image is, and a myriad of other reasons. And yes, compared to an iPhone, or a point and shoot, this is very true. Compared to a crop sensor SLR, not so much.
Anyway, after shooting and being very happy with the image quality of the Canon 5D range for 4 years, I started to crave something else. Sharpness and low noise only get you so far, what I wanted was compression, depth and smooth tonality.
We all know that shooting at 200mm is more flattering on most faces than shooting at 35mms for portraits and headshots. I like 85mm for portraits. It allows me to be close to the subject (unlike at 200mm with my 70-200 2.8 lens, which also weighs a ton). So when looking for a new camera, part of the brief was that it could get close to the subject, and have an 85mm field of view with a longer focal length for better compression.
To cut a long story short, I went with an RB (rotating back) 6×7 mechanical camera with a 140mm 4.5 macro lens, and bellow focus (shows the same as an 85mm lens on a full frame digital SLR). Now I can go on and on about the beautiful qualities of film and the zen-like approach to shooting it until the cows come home, but I thought I would save you the boredom and simply share 2 portraits taken with the 85mm and Canon 5D and the Mamiya 6×7 with 140mm lens and portra film for colours and Delta 100 for BW.