I get asked a lot "What is my favorite camera?"
This has always been hard to answer, because I have quite a few cameras. From my iPhone to my Nikon's. To me they seem to do all the same thing, take pictures. Even when comparing with other brands such as Canon's, Sony, Pentax, etc....
My senior year in collage. I used a Mamyia 645pro. (medium format). Film was twice as big than 35mm film and you pick up more details when printing in the darkroom. And the freedom to change film backs without ruining the film. (I'll have that in a future blog).
My all time favorite camera that I have used was a Sinar F1 4x5 camera. Though the first time I used it, it controlled me with all the swings, tilts and rises. These are great for architectural photography for distortion correction on the buildings or landscapes. The 2 semesters experience of nothing but using the F1, was just amazing.
It almost felt like a stepped back in time with this. Setting it up on a tripod, using a loop on the ground glass to make sure it's in focus, cocking the lens and then releasing the shutter with the cable. Clamping the film holder down and pulling out the film shade out just felt old fashion and fun. This is what they had to work with when photography was growing, but longer exposures and harder processing techniques.
I mainly used it for studio work in collage and I was actually aiming as a product photographer. With this, you have the freedom to shoot polaroids to get an idea of where your lighting falls or you need to adjust something. After that you load in your single shot film holder and press your release cable. When developing chrome film was very pricey at times. But picking it up and looking at the developed film sheet was just and eye opener. "WOW" was my first reaction.
These are not ideal for action shots such as a wedding or a sporting event. And I have never taken one outdoor.
Here are some samples of some of my work with 4x5 camera.
I have photographed my niece's Quiceañera in 2015. The hard part of photography is doing it for family and treating it like a paying client. Taking photos there was no problem. Time for editing and designing a book was the hard part. Though they have been very patient with me, I have sent them photos to look at and print for themselves.
For me, the wait was worth it. I have learned some design techniques and how to use more Photoshop tools with the photos and layouts.
A big challenge in wedding photography is time. You can't spend too much time on photographing the details. I took my wife's and my wedding rings and had two different set ups to give myself no more than five minutes. The first four photos are with the same light and an off white hand made paper. The blue ones are my second try. I had two speed lights with a blue gel over the background light and a paper with hologram stars to create some bokeh.
I love trying new things and advancing on old techniques.
In the past, I used to love going out at night to photograph San Francisco. Lugging my tripod around and bumping people with it and my camera bag wasn't too fun.
Since I've been photographing, I have always stayed at the lowest ISO setting and rarely going higher than 400. So, I gave myself a challenge and start photographing higher than 400 ISO and photographing without a tripod at night. All handheld.
© Claude Peña