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03-07-2010
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Would it be considered unprofessional to use a rebel camera on test shoots?
Is a Canon 1D considered less professional for a fashion photo shoot than a medium format because its digital?

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03-07-2010
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That is a good question.

A 1D is not considered less professional than a medium format camera, it's different tools for different shots. If i need best image quality and sharpness, i would use the medium format. If i need speed, mobility and autofocus speed, i would use the 1D(s).

Now using a rebel however kind of removes the speed advantages, and it's a worse crop sensor. So while it would still work (provided you use the same lenses as you would on the 1D(s) it would prob not be as good of a tool as a 1D(s). For these types of work i personally use the 5D mk2, not the 1D(s).

If the client will object or not depends entirely on the client. Ive seen people hook up extra lights just to impress on clients who wanted everything to look massive and expensive, half the lights never fired . Showing up with the same (or cheaper) camera than the client might be shooting his kids with is probably not an idea. Does it affect the shot? Nope. Not a bit. But if you have a client who expects you to use the best equipment and knows how this equipment looks, then you might loose the client.

However, having said this, it's not a good business move to base your purchases on if a camera looks professional or not. Base it on wether or not your client base will be requiring the quality and can support the purchase expense with work. We have quite a few local photographers here who have now dropped medium format because their clients never wants that level of quality. So if they need it they rent it, otherwise they shoot with DSLRs.

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06-08-2010
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i'm starting a degree in photography soon, and plan to make a career out of it (somehow)

thinking of getting canon 7d. i saw it in a store today and spoke to one of the shop assistants who told me that it would be better to get that and basic 50mm lens than to get something like 550d with 18-135mm lens.

i don't get what he meant..do you think it's better to get the lower priced one or not? i just really want something with high quality even though they both have 18 megapixels the 7d is way more expensive!

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06-08-2010
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the 7D will be faster and more effective than a 550D. It will not however take better pictures.

I would rather get the 550D and some better glass than the 7D. Lenses does a lot more to improve the image quality than the camera house does.

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06-08-2010
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yep i think you're right i watched videos on youtube saying how it is bad to compare and i think i just need to do some research on the lenses thanks for the help!

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06-10-2010
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I was hoping practicing fashion photographers out there would comment on lens preferences... seems to be a debate between 50mm vs 85mm vs 100mm...I have a 50mm on a Canon 5d, and was debating whether I should get an 85mm to replace it, or just keep the 50 and add a 100mm.

Would anyone in the business be so kind as to share their views? Have you found the lens compression on the higher lenses to make that much of a difference? Thanks!!

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08-10-2010
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the lens compression between a 85 and a 100 is minute, it's more about the optical quality of the glass used in the lens, sharpness, aberrations, etc. that differs between those two. They are both awesome lenses and will produce excellent images.

the 50 depends a bit on which model it is, the 1.2, 1.4 or 1.8 variant. I definately prefere the 1.2 (although very expensive), and then the 1.4 over the 1.8. The 1.8 has a slightly cold cast that im not too happy about + the diaphragm elements of the aperture opening makes the bokeh (out of focus) shape a bit edgy.

So should you use a 50, 80 or 100? it all depends on the framing of the picture and depth of field. A 85 or 100 is usually considered portrait lenses, but walk backwards and you will do great full body shots with them aswell. However, the further away from the subject you get, the bigger the area of focus at a particular depth of field. If you want very shallow depth of field, get in close and use a large aperture opening (small value). In this case a 50 might be better since you get in closer. Lens compression however will be much larger on a 50mm compared to a 100mm making facial features distort (allthough not too bad compared to a wide or ultra-wide angle ofcourse

My personal preference is a 70-200 F4L (on the Canon platform) or a 85mm f1.2L. On the Mamiya platform (medium format) i tend to use a 150mm or the 120mm macro these days. I have fashion shoots however done with a 17mm lens, so its all up to what image you want to take =)

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08-10-2010
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Imaginara - thank you so much for that color, it was very helpful. To clarify, I have a 50mm f1.4 (I just cannot justify purchasing an 'L' series until I'm getting work!).

I think I will perhaps go for the 100mm, now next question, is it worth getting a 100mm f2.8 macro and having the option of doing beauty shots with it? Or would you suggest keeping it separate and getting say the 100mm f2, and focus on macro lenses separately?

Thanks again for your thoughts, I really appreciate it!

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10-10-2010
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The big question is "why." What were you trying to communicate to the viewer? Does there seem to be a clear message or feeling or mood? Are there are too many distractions and is there no real subjective focus in the compositions? If that isn't addressed, no amount of equipment will save you.

Either back away from your subject and use their bodies as an element in the composition, or close to point blank range and make their bodies the composition. Make a decision and carve the lines of your image from contrast and color. Take possession of the viewer's perspective and communicate.

Think of a photo shoot as war, and remember that photography, like all art, is all about editorial choices. Either you're in the trenches on the front lines, or you're at headquarters planning the larger operation. The supply lines are important, but that's not where you want to be if you're going to be a photographer, because there is no opportunity to edit in that middle ground, it is stagnant space.

The best lens for practicing is a 50mm prime (or 40mm on a cropped frame sensor). It's the lens that best matches the human eye's perspective, and therefore the easiest way to learn. If you're looking at the world through a fish-eye or a telephoto lens, it is harder to learn composition, because it's less natural for us.

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13-10-2010
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Like Ched said, it's all about the editorial process, and instead of worrying too much if you want to go for f2 or f2.8 L or not L glass, use what you have. You can do very nice beautyshots with a 50mm 1.4, aswell as using longer lenses, hell you can even do them with a extreme angle lens aswell, it's all in what image you wish to convey and create.

Sure, making all those editorial calls might feel like it's very tough in the beginning, always questioning "did i make the right choise?". But thats whats called learning, and with practise you will pick up what works and what does not and occasionally go totally off the reserve and create magic ;D

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13-10-2010
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Hi all,
I have been following this thread with much interest. I am quite new to fashion photography having only completed a course and a few editorial shoots.

I am using a Canon 5D. I love using my 50mm 1.4 but, have struggled with the 70-200 2.8IS. Its heavy of course but also I have found it difficult to gain auto focus quickly. Most of the people in my class prefer primes and I think I am heading that way also. Truth is the 50 suits me very well. I am happy to move back and forth rather than zoom. I did try to manual focus the 'beast' (70-200) but to poor affect. I noticed that some of the group only used manual focus on their primes.

My question is do any of you use/prefer manual focus for fashion editorials? Are some lenses/cameras better for this? I know some medium format are only manual etc but are these good options today? maybe its just the 5D's auto focus. Would a 7D or 1Dxxx be better for me or should I just spend more time practicing manual focus?

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13-10-2010
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Auto focus is a tool. Like any other tool, there is a right time and a wrong time to use it. Shooting an editorial, when the point is to make choices, it makes more sense to be in full manual control of your lens, unless you're going for a specific effect. The only time I use auto focus for fashion photography is on the runway.

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13-10-2010
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well chad beat me to it ;D

I do tend to use AF whenever i can because im lazy but in quite a lot of systems, the AF is less than optimal (Mamiya 645 AFD) or non-existant (MF lenses, Mamiya RZ-67/Large Format/Holga's, etc) so then you are forced to use manual focus.

As for manual focus systems, its like ched said, all in what you will use it for. If you are shooting a still subject using a tripod, it's quite easy to get manual focus set. If you are trying to track a model running around in the studio or on the catwalk, you need a good fast af =)

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13-10-2010
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Thanks for the replies ched and Imaginara.

I agree that there are different tools for different jobs and I can understand ched that manual could be better for a controlled editorial shoot. I would certainly prefer to focus manually for my stationary shots if I was just more confident at nailing the focus. I do use a tripod in the studio for classic portraits and agree focussing then isn't too difficult. However, I prefer to be more engaged and move about a bit for my editorials.

I imported into Lightroom and compared the output of one of my class mates who always focuses manually (5D2 and 85 lens) and his eye details are certainly as accurate as my auto focussed shots when viewed at 2:1. I probably just need to practise more and build confidence.

I still have the same question as before though; do you think its easier to manually focus with a light prime rather than a big, heavy zoom? Is the zoom a different tool for a different purpose? And does the camera make any difference to the ease and accuracy of manually focussing? Does live view on the 5D2 help or do you never even use it for focussing? Are lighter (rangefinder?) cameras any easier?

Thanks again for your insights.

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14-10-2010
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Well i'll chip again, just can't keep me quiet

When i manually focus, i use the focus ring to get an approximation focus, it wont be perfect, but it will be close, then i let go of the focus ring and instead use my body for the finetune. If you rock back and forth you will slightly adjust the focus, bringing the subject into perfect focus. This technique works with all cameras and only need a big bright viewfinder (and if your eyesight isn't in the owl category, a fair bit of light present).

The size and weight of the lens only affect the bulkyness of the camera, not the actual focusing, and if it's too heavy, use a monopod (or tripod) for taking some of the weight.

This technique btw is actually one where the newer cameras with electric aperture control is better than an camera/lens with manual aperture control (ie. a aperture ring) because they will always be wide open when setting the focus and viewing, and then close for the shot wheras the old system meant the aperture was closed even when focusing, making it hard to see when stepped down to higher apertures.

just a little note though, focus is great, perfect focus is nice, a great content trumps all. If you have a look at the most iconic images (fashion and otherwise) during the ages, you will see that perfect focus and super-sharpness is actually a quite recent phenomena. A lot of the images pre-2000 could have been discarded today for being out of focus, simply because there is an weird emphasis today from a lot of photographers that the image needs to be perfectly sharp. In my personal opinion, this is putting too much emphasis on one single attribute of an image.

Now don't get me wrong, i am not saying that images should be out of focus to become good. What i am saying is that, don't get too hungup on creating perfect focus as the quality of the image depends on it because it doesnt.

It's just one factor among many and not a very important one at that =)

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