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Author Topic: Is this completely bonkers or maybe someone has tried it and can comment??  (Read 2639 times)

Neil Williams

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Question
I have been a hobbyist photographer since 2012. I have had quite a few different cameras from PAS to DSLR to Rangefinder and now to Medium Format. My current MF camera is a Leica S007. I have quite successfully hand held used the S007 for shooting some street photography, my most recent while on holiday in Kyoto Japan.





I have now got a 100 megapixel digital back on the way to my home in Thailand and plan to use that for shooting mainly landscape and pretty girls. This is where the bonkers bit of the subject kicks in.........has anyone tried shooting street photography with a digital back before??

My digital back has a CSMO sensor so high ISO is possible (I think) and leaf shutters speeds of up to 1/2000 will also be available so its actually going to be quite similar to what I can get with my S007..........I am fully aware that there is a considerable size difference so failing away into the background with a brick in my hands over say a compact RF  isn't going to happen (Ive got that bit......I understand that).

The H6D as an option for a similar viewfinder as what I have on my 503CW (cant remember what you call it) but you look through the top of the camera and everything is upside down and back to front, and in a way not so in your face ..........why is he pointing that big camera at me "if you know what I mean"!!.

Anyway if you have ever tried shooting street kind of photography with a digital back and would like to share your experiences and maybe some pictures as well that would be fantastic

Neil

KLaban

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It's technically possible of course, I've done it but didn't enjoy the experience at all. The problem with large cameras is they are so indiscrete. They draw attention to themselves and to the photographer. Not something I could recommend.

In any case, what would be the point? You want humungous street prints? 
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Neil Williams

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It's technically possible of course, I've done it but didn't enjoy the experience at all. The problem with large cameras is they are so indiscrete. They draw attention to themselves and to the photographer. Not something I could recommend.

In any case, what would be the point? You want humungous street prints?
Thats exactly my thinking hence asking. As for large prints..........hell why not, I could imagine a nice street scene in B&W would look amazing on a big wall...........problem is is that I have very little wall space left :) :)

Neil

Doug Peterson

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Some thoughts:
- A medium format SLR is definitely not the traditional tool-of-choice for street photography
- Your hit rate (both technically and creatively) will be significantly lower than with other more traditional tool choices
- Many great images have been created by photographers using cameras other than the traditional tool of choice for a given kind of image (think Avedon's 8x10 portraits)
- If you get a hit, it will have more technical credentials than 99.99% of street photography out there

I've done a fair bit of defacto street photography with the XF as part of my job in R+D. It's a great environment in which to test autofocus response. With the XF you can use autofocus even with the waist level viewfinder, which can help you be a bit less disruptive/obvious. There is also a mode on the XF for focusing to a specific distance (e.g. 6 ft) with a push of a button (whichever button you assign to it) which can serve in a similar way to the Leica M zone focus. You can also collapse the viewfinder, hold the body against yours with one hand (point forward, or cradled in the nook of your arm pointing to your side), and use the built in wireless to transmit to an iPhone in your other hand.

Bottom line: it will be more challenging, and you should expect a lot of frustration and misses, but nothing says you can't create some striking images with it.

Sometimes it's nice to challenge yourself :).
« Last Edit: January 07, 2018, 06:53:00 PM by Doug Peterson »
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Bo_Dez

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Sure, why not?

I've done it with a Mamiya RZ and loved it. A smaller AF digital medium format would be even easier.

Joel Myerowitz and Stephen Shore did it with a 10x8 LF camera.

Street photography is a personal thing and how you want to play with it is up to you.
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Neil Williams

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.

Sometimes it's nice to challenge yourself :).
Thats Neil Williams right there :) :)

Bo_Dez

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Actually - Alec Soth used a Hasselblad H and Digital back for his book "Song Book" which has a lot of street in it. He said using it was like "an attack dog".
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Neil Williams

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I'd start with two pretty undeniable statements:
- A medium format SLR is definitely not the traditional tool-of-choice for street photography
- Your hit rate (both technically and creatively) will be significantly lower than with other more traditional tool choices
- Many great images have been created by photographers using cameras other than the traditional tool of choice for a given kind of image (think Avedon's 8x10 portraits)
- If you get a hit, it will have more technical credentials than 99.99% of street photography out there

I've done a fair bit of defacto street photography with the XF as part of my job in R+D. It's a great environment in which to test autofocus response. With the XF you can use autofocus even with the waist level viewfinder, which can help you be a bit less disruptive/obvious. There is also a mode on the XF for focusing to a specific distance (e.g. 6 ft) with a push of a button (whichever button you assign to it) which can serve in a similar way to the Leica M zone focus. You can also collapse the viewfinder, hold the body against yours with one hand (point forward, or cradled in the nook of your arm pointing to your side), and use the built in wireless to transmit to an iPhone in your other hand.

Bottom line: it will be more challenging, and you should expect a lot of frustration and misses, but nothing says you can't create some striking images with it.

Sometimes it's nice to challenge yourself :).
Doug
I just read your reply again......."Waist level finder" Thats the name I remember, I used to use that with my 503cw and got some amazing shots in old Delhi and Vietnam


Neil

opgr

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I recall this thread which has a link to a GFX review which specifically mentions streetphotography and has some interesting samples.
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matted

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At least in my experience with my Hasselblad V, a waist level finder goes a long way I think in making a big camera less obtrusive.

It is certainly doable, and not totally bonkers! Although this may not be the right crowd to judge what is and isnít ďbonkersĒ in relation to photography ;)
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Bo_Dez

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Re: Is this completely bonkers or maybe someone has tried it and can comment??
« Reply #10 on: January 07, 2018, 05:29:43 PM »

Not only less obtrusive and more discrete, but that also WLF is a whole other level of brightness compared with the prisms.

When I shot Digital on the V, it was always with the WLF. But that bloody ground glass pattern was still too distracting for me to get critical focus. I never noticed that pattern until I shot digital and the focus became more critical.
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Chris Livsey

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Re: Is this completely bonkers or maybe someone has tried it and can comment??
« Reply #12 on: January 08, 2018, 07:12:19 AM »

Weegee seemed to do quite well on the street with a large camera  ;)

If you "wave" slowly around everyone seems to think it is video because of the size so you can shoot a still frame rather discreetly on the "pan" if you pause momentarily and for some reason I find people are less intimidated than if just pointing at them alone, singling them out.

On the WLF bear in mind you will loose metering altogether.
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KLaban

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Re: Is this completely bonkers or maybe someone has tried it and can comment??
« Reply #13 on: January 08, 2018, 07:37:41 AM »

My experience is the larger the camera the more folk feel threatened or conversely start to pose. The former is the last thing I would want and the latter is the last thing I would want.

;-)
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Bo_Dez

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Re: Is this completely bonkers or maybe someone has tried it and can comment??
« Reply #14 on: January 08, 2018, 05:51:09 PM »

My experience is the larger the camera the more folk feel threatened or conversely start to pose. The former is the last thing I would want and the latter is the last thing I would want.

;-)

That is so true. I hate that posing!
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hubell

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Re: Is this completely bonkers or maybe someone has tried it and can comment??
« Reply #15 on: January 08, 2018, 11:33:47 PM »

That is so true. I hate that posing!

In general, I prefer a pose to being assaulted.
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Bo_Dez

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Re: Is this completely bonkers or maybe someone has tried it and can comment??
« Reply #16 on: January 09, 2018, 09:27:29 AM »

In general, I prefer a pose to being assaulted.

Ya poser! :-*

 :) :) :)

Jokes aside, as a photographer i just like to be unnoticed. But I think you can still do this with big cameras - you only tend to get one frame though after the shutter goes off. I'm rather excited about the prospect of all these electronic shutters nowadays.

 I've lost way too many photos because people have seen and become conscious of the camera and then acted differently. Smiled, pulled a face or whatever. Most have their camera face and it's so annoying!
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BAB

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Re: Is this completely bonkers or maybe someone has tried it and can comment??
« Reply #17 on: January 10, 2018, 09:26:32 AM »

Iíve shot the street with Leica and had just as much notice as with my Hasselblad or my Fuji itís the camera they see. Yes a small camera is more stealth and generally faster to shoot but their are other ways. Anticipating your moment is one way, another is like many street photographers do they just start shooting the subject until they are told to stop. I think it more depends on the image your after. Great street has always been (to me) great lines, four subjects or points of interest and great lighting. For that you could be on a tripod and wait all day for it to fall in place.
Hereís one I snapped impromptu just a lucky shot as far as Iím concerned the person never knew until it was to late and I got what I wanted.
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ErikKaffehr

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Hmm... a technical camera?
« Reply #18 on: January 10, 2018, 12:43:11 PM »

Hi,

I just shot some test shots with my Hasselblad 555/ELD and my Sony A7rII with the Canon 24-105/4L. It is a bit shocking how ungainly the Hasselblad 555/ELD with the Distagon 40/4CF and P45+ back is.

The solution may be to use a technical camera with Rodenstock/Schneider lenses. That will keep weight and appearance down. But, if you don't use a laser distance meter your focusing may be a bit of target.

A 100MB back is probably not the optimum for shooting street. The real solution may be a next generation Hasselblad X1D, with 100MP 44x33 mm sensor and AF that may actually work? Or the slightly larger Fuji GFX?

Could be that the 100 MP is not needed? In that case a Leica S may be a good alternative or any of the 33x44 mm options or even 24x36mm?

Best regards
Erik
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