A month ago we had a demo day at our store for Hasselblad and Broncolor. I will always carry a special place in my heart for Hasselblad. When I bought my first Hassy, I thought I had "arrived" and there would never be another camera in my future. That was a true statement for over 20 years, but time brings changes. In those days there wasn't even thought of digital capture. (you have to remember that Dick Tracey talking into his watch was complete science fiction)
This portrait of Ann Michael was taken with the Hasselblad and a macro lens. It is sharp and beautiful. The lighting is totally different so it's not fair to compare the two images, but I thought I should include one from the day that started my mind thinking about "medium format digital capture."
As I reviewed some of the files I shot with the Hasselblad I wondered how the Fuji GFX 50S would stack up. I contacted my friends at Fuji to ask if I could borrow a camera for a while to do some testing and they graciously agreed. Timory is a young lady that is both beautiful and very talented. We had been talking about a portrait idea of her with her guitar and this would be the perfect time to try it.
For the portrait today I dug out a favorite Les Brandt Backdrop that I have owned for years...maybe decades. It is a beautiful hand-painted, low key canvas that photographs like nothing else. I had to break out the steamer to get rid of wrinkles but other than that, I was good to go.
I am using five Profoto B10 lights in this setup. The main light is a 2'x2' OCF Octabank with grids. There are various other lights used as fill and accent lights and most of them also have grids to control spill on the background. Each light was individually metered and adjusted throughout the session with a Sekonic L-758. I've used Sekonic meters for many years and while TTL is nice to have available the control available in manual is unmatchable. I always have this meter with me when I am using lights.
My goal was a very low key feeling with a nice, peaceful mood. Here her darker top pulls the image into key where I want it and also shows off the guitar nicely. I am considering burning the left side down to more closely match the right side, but I haven't decided if it needs done or not. Sharpness is there all the way through the image, incredible sharpness! But, the dynamic range of the larger sensor is where this camera shines. The Fuji GFX is 1.7 times LARGER than a full-frame camera. The sensor is huge and can carry a lot of data, that's the medium format difference. The camera size is surprisingly small for what it does and is easily handheld if you want to. I use a tripod whenever I can. I feel it allows me to communicate better with my clients and adds sharpness and safety.
Timory's dad is a good friend of ours and he drove her over. While they were here, I took the time to do a quick portrait of them together. One thing I've become aware of is that as image-makers we have a certain responsibility to make portraits that show relationships when the opportunity presents itself. It's natural for many people to not get excited about being photographed, or wish we were better prepared. But, the fact is, it's always a good idea to make the image. The day will come when you (and they) will be glad you did.