Shoot with the most elite camera I’ve ever had.
I took a photo with a very expensive Phase One monochrome camera and taught me a lot about my own photography.
I am a professional photographer with over 15 years experience. Still, I was frustrated when I took the 54,000 pound camera system for a photo test.
I usually shoot with Canon 6D for $1,500, $1,699 or $2,570. On this occasion, I will use Phase One XF IQ3 achromatic – a 1 megapixel, black-and-white camera and “medium format” sensor, much larger than my Canon sensor. That’s $74,000, or 54,000 or $94,000. It creates a dynamic range (capture the amount of information in the highlights and shadows) far more than the digital SLR camera can reach levels, and to provide such detailed images, in order to easily print on billboards. Therefore, it is reserved for the highest commercial photographers.
This camera is so that PhaseOne insisted on sending technicians to my house for two hours before I was allowed out to shoot.
Why do I need training? The use of this camera requires consideration. In order to get the best shot, I had to think more about the hardware and more about the exact image I wanted to create. Not every scene translates well into black and white, so I need to know which is the best shot. Unlike my regular Canon 6D, I couldn’t simply take hundreds of images and decide whether to convert them to black and white.
Happily, all the efforts were rewarded. At the end of two separate shoots, I took a better black and white image than before – and learned a lot about how I shot it.
A dark coast, but great lens.
For my first shot, I went to Dungeness in the English channel. The coastal area consists of a stretch of beach, dotted with abandoned, decaying boats, dilapidated huts and fishing gear across the landscape.
So it takes a thoughtful approach to shoot black and white. The success of a black and white image is entirely in the interaction of light, shadow and texture. I know that the old rotting boats on stony shoreline are perfect. The texture of the shipwrecked wooden ribs stood strangely on the circular cobblestones of the beach. The weather was cloudy with a low mist over the area, giving a strange look.
At every location on the beach, I had to look carefully at the elements that made a convincing black-and-white photograph. Unlike my Canon, I can’t shoot in color, just try black and white editing in Photoshop to see what it looks like. I must now capture everything perfectly. If my photos don’t look good in black and white, there’s no way to be a cool color editor.
Question every scene.
I also had to ask myself almost no questions in every place. In the right place? Do I get the best composition in the right place? The point is in the right place? Do I get the right exposure from Settings? If the answer isn’t always yes, I don’t. Of course, if I don’t like it, I can simply delete and retake an image, but the amount of thinking required per shot doesn’t mean the most efficient way to use this camera.
All of these ideas have slowed down the shooting process, which is probably my favorite thing to do with this camera. Although I can in the Canon of hundreds of pictures taken in a short period of time (when I shoot the wedding, I could shoot as many as 3000 images), but before pressing the shutter button, I have carefully considered each picture.
The next day, too, I took my camera and three shots to east London to follow the Thames trail. Here, I also took a long time to consider this position, and know that this part of the river will be linked to industrial buildings, old wooden pier and other urban elements, is a good way to converted to black and white. I put all the kits in my Manfrotto backpack, which means that every time I want to shoot, I have to take the camera out of my bag and put it away. This is a very slow way of working, I found myself in every scene found abnormally criticism, only when I know I’ll get a good result, it is hard to photograph it.
To lose weight
I also quickly learned that the camera itself takes longer to operate, another factor, slower. It takes about 10 seconds to get ready to shoot from the shutdown, and it takes a few seconds to display the newly captured image on the back screen.
It’s heavy – almost 3 kilograms (6.6 pounds) with an 80 mm lens, which makes it about three times heavier than my Canon 6D 50mm prime minister. It slowed me down a bit. I had to stop and get into a comfortable position with my hands because of the heavy shot. I even began to feel pain and raised my eyes, which allowed me to prepare only when I found the image I really wanted to capture.
All shots are original Capture (not JPEG format), so I processed all the images that need to be processed in Phase One’s Capture One software. This is a standard part of the process for professionals working in a film company, but it also slows down the time it takes to shoot images and share online. In other words, because I take the time to think about every shot, I just take the time to deal with the people I already know.
During the processing, I really saw the benefits of Phase One XF. The image sensor gives me a huge dynamic range, which enables me to enhance the shadow and reduce the bright spot, while the small sensor on Canon 6D can’t be realized at all. The details of the 1,000-megapixel file are incredible, and even when you zoom in, the tiny pieces of wood from the ship are clearly visible.
The first phase of the system requires that from the moment you think about it, until you release it, your work will slow down. This forced me to consider every aspect of each photo, and I didn’t do it when I launched hundreds of frames in a few minutes with a DSLR. As a result, every photo I take every day is thought of as a photograph, with each element’s light, contrast and composition being thought of.