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Inside My Digicam Bag | Douglas Fry

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I’ve been a industrial and company photographer for over 25 years, and earlier than Covid, I used to be commissioned about 300 instances a yr for picture shoots all through the UK and Europe.

The photographic work is assorted and fascinating and I obtain briefs to seize company portraits, firm conferences, occasions, PR, and placement images. Through the years I’ve met presidents, prime ministers, rock stars and entrepreneurs, photographed mine clearing in Bosnia, and energy stations in Finland, which all have a narrative to inform and images that must be taken.

As a pupil I studied physics (with computing) at Imperial Faculty London which went a good distance to assist me to embrace digital know-how. I used to be one of many first photographers within the UK to maneuver from movie to the brand new digital cameras once they turned accessible and to make use of Yarc+, one of many first examples of RAW picture processing software program.

I began my skilled images profession capturing with Leica’s in 1992 after I invested in a pair of Leica M6 movie cameras which had been dependable and resilient.

On the flip of the century, I used to be seduced when Canon launched the digital D30, with its hefty 3.1 megapixels, and used this digital camera for a lot of of my subsequent picture shoots. It was the immediacy and pace of turnaround with this digital camera that made the Canon enticing, and I used to be shortly dedicated to digital images.

Sadly, I discovered that my digital camera bag bought heavier and heavier, with the cumbersome zoom lenses, batteries, chargers and a number of cameras, and gave me back-ache.

I stored a watch on the brand new Leica cameras as they turned accessible as I nonetheless had a number of small, pristine prime lenses, however initially I discovered that the Leica M8 had too many compromises for me by way of picture high quality and lowlight potential. The Leica M9 with its CCD sensor wasn’t appropriate for full time industrial work, once more when it got here to low gentle images, though the picture high quality was an awesome step up from the M8.

Then the M240 arrived on the scene and this was an ideal digital camera for me – 24Mp, CMOS sensor (for greater ISO’s) and full body, precisely what I wanted. I acquired the Leica M240 and the next Leica M10 and later the Leica SL with an adaptor with which I might use all my previous lenses, and I nonetheless to this present day use all of them frequently.

The Leica rangefinders are very good reportage cameras and the SL is sweet for extra staged setups with transportable studio-type flash. My first ever Leica lens was the Summicron 35mm f/2, an outstanding lens which I’ve had and nonetheless use for 30 years and which I just lately despatched off to Leica to be adjusted for digital with 6bit encoding, offering it with a brand new lease of life I hope for one more 30 years.

In addition to the virtually legendary 3D look given to their pictures, Leica cameras have a secondary however very actual position in Public Relations. On a company photoshoot, the cameras can serve to attract the consumer’s consideration to the photographer and assist them interact within the shoot.

In 9 out of ten photoshoots with chief executives, administrators and celebrities, all of them recognise the enduring Leicas for his or her design, fame, and high quality. On many events, an extended dialog and dialogue have ensued. This sounds trivial however might be an effective way for the photographer to be remembered and if you’re utilizing a digital camera, which they aspire to personal themselves, it lends credibility.

One instance of this was after I was commissioned to {photograph} a company occasion with visitor speaker Professor Brian Cox OBE FRS, a well known physicist and presenter of science applications. When Professor Cox noticed me taking a candid portrait, he recognised my Leica SL digital camera with a Leica Noctilux lens and came to visit to debate the selection for over half-hour till the organiser moved him to a different keen group of visitors.

Cameras

Leica M6 x 2
Leica M240
Leica M10
Leica SL

Hasselblad 501 – The Hasselblad is a type of cameras that I’d by no means promote, as when the necessity arises and the mission requires it, medium format movie has a singular and timeless look. All the images of our household dotted round the home are all taken on this digital camera. I’ve shot with it for a few years and it at all times yields nice outcomes, with care.

Processing isn’t a problem as there are some nice labs bobbing up, now that movie has grow to be fashionable once more, I hope to do the identical.

Lenses

Leica Tremendous Elmar 21mm f/3.4 – That is an unimaginable lens, by far the sharpest wide-angle lens I’ve ever used. It’s crystal-clear nook to nook with minimal distortion and has wonderful color and distinction.

Leica Summilux 35mm f/1.4 – Helpful for almost every thing in all gentle, pin sharp and has nice color.

Leica Summicron 35mm f/2 – A small, older lens however nice for normal images, actually sharp clear pictures.

Leica Summilux 50mm f/1.4 – This lens is small, exact and quick. I exploit it most days for portraits because it has a chic high quality, nice pores and skin tones and tremendous easy bokeh.

Leica Noctilux 50mm f/0.95 – It is a weapons grade lens for shoots which can be in a darkish room on a darkish winter day when the consumer doesn’t need any flash. It’s surprisingly simple and fast to give attention to a rangefinder, even when carrying glasses. It’s sharp at f/0.95 and utilizing it requires observe to be as quick as autofocus, however the muscle reminiscence does construct up and I’ve had no points with it.

Costly after all, however the further work it has provided means it has paid for itself. One UK managing director was so impressed with the standard of the pictures, he commissioned me to proceed the photoshoot in all their firm’s European places of work, and that almost paid for the lens in a single go.

Summicron 90mm f/2 APO – This was the focal size I used most frequently when on Canon (the 85mm f/1.2) however much less so now as I desire to be nearer when taking portraits. The APO is arguably the sharpest 90mm lens ever made and yields nice outcomes. Once more, the pores and skin tones are very correct however not overly sharp. Leica appears to put equal emphasis on color, distinction and precision, not simply striving to get ever sharper pictures that look unappealing.

Voigtlander 15mm f/4.5 III – This lens is in my bag for these uncommon moments after I have to go extremely vast and wish so as to add some mega visible drama. The lens is just not delicate and produces some distortion, but when the digital camera is held horizontally then architectural images might be undertaken and distortion might be corrected when processing with Lightroom.

It’s a incredible lens however not appropriate for portraits except you’re photographing somebody you dislike; the wide-angle distortion will likely be an excessive amount of!

Nikon 300mm f/2.8 – As a handbook focus lens with an adaptor on the Leica SL, it’s one other actually helpful lens, constructed like a tank and sharp. It’s important for when an extended attain is required at a convention or related. Helpful to have, however large and heavy, within the occasion of a zombie apocalypse nevertheless I think it might be invaluable in hand-to-hand fight.

Flash Equipment

Elinchrom ELB400 Moveable Flash – I’ve used the Elinchrom flash equipment for a few years now, it has confirmed to be very dependable and strong. I mix it with the large Rotalux Octa Softbox for the most suitable choice in high quality of sunshine, consistency, energy and portability.

Nikon Speedlight SB-28DX – It is a small flash unit that’s set to handbook for these moments when solely an on-camera flash will work, and I exploit it a couple of times a yr. I’ve had this unit for about 15 years and it nonetheless works completely, the Leica cameras all sync. with it as much as 1/a hundred and eightieth second and the facility goes right down to 1/sixty fourth energy which might be nice when bounced off a ceiling for a bit of fill gentle.

I’m not that eager on on-camera flash as the pictures can look a bit ‘paparazzi’ which isn’t the look I am going for, but when I’ve to make use of it I’ll.

Audio

Tascam HD P2 – For audio when recording video, the standard is great and simple to make use of however does eat batteries, so it must be mains powered when on longer periods. I desire to work with a devoted videographer as of late, so I can consider stills solely.

Tripods

Gitzo Carbon Fibre Tripod – I’ve tried different manufacturers however the tripods aren’t fairly as inflexible because the Gitzo. check is to set the tripod up and grip it by the pinnacle and attempt to transfer it backward and forward or rotate barely with out the legs slipping. Almost all tripods I’ve examined moved and flexed, the Gitzo was rock stable. It’s gentle and remarkably sturdy, so it might probably simply help the Leica SL and Nikon 300mm lens.

Luggage

Suppose Tank Airport Safety V3 – It is a dependable curler bag with good further options, like a padlock wire loop, so it might safely be connected to the wheels of a tank when you go and get your Pulitzer. It has an honest built-in mixture padlock too, to maintain the bag contents safe on a practice for instance.

The varied components of the bag have a great guarantee so yearly or so, I ship footage off to focus on how a lot I’ve worn down the wheels and get a brand new set freed from cost a number of days later, which is a superb service.

Pelican Armoured Case – Once I journey overseas and I examine in my equipment on the airport, I have to know will probably be protected. The Pelican vary of instances is well-known for his or her indestructibility, however I at all times take care to ask for my gear to be hand loaded onto the aircraft. There may be often a particular gate for this, it’s freed from cost, and it doesn’t take lengthy to place it by the separate channel.

Handkerchief – An indispensable, easy merchandise of equipment I at all times carry. An previous clear cotton handkerchief, it’s nice for cleansing glasses, lenses, wiping and absorbing water off rained on cameras, and extra usually, mopping a sweaty forehead.

www.piranhaphotography.com | @piranhaphotography



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