Friday, September 19, 2014

Medium Format Cameras for Street Photography?

Jesse and Ayreene, Photographed by Charlie Arnhold
Mamiya Universal Press (MUP), Mamiya Sekor 100mm f3.5 Lens
Kodak TMax 400 Film
Of course, street photography started with the camera technology of the times. It's difficult, and not so important, to pinpoint exactly when that happened, but certainly a lot of street photography was done in the days when the Graflex 4x5 camera was the main game in town. Later, street photography was largely associated with 35mm cameras, and small 35mm rangefinders like the Leica and Contax in particular. Today, smaller and smaller high quality digital cameras are playing their role, as are smart phones.
So, can you really shoot street photographs with medium format cameras? Of course you can. In fact, one generation that I skipped over in the paragraph above is that of the twin lens reflex (TLR), led by the Rolleiflex. As you can see above, my friend and mentor Charlie Arnhold is quite comfortable shooting the Rolleiflex for this purpose. In this case, Charlie has engaged his subjects (Jesse and Ayreen, visiting DC from NYC). But, yes, the TLR has a firm place in the street photography game. Reasonably compact, especially for the negative size they produce (6x6 cm), TLRs are also pretty well-accepted by subjects on the street.
Okay, so what about other medium format cameras? Well, there are also reasonably compact medium format rangefinders, the main ones having been made by Mamiya and Fujifilm. They also work fine for street photography.
To push the upper size limits, I've been shooting some street scenes with my Mamiya Universal Press (MUP) camera. Yes, it's a press camera, which means it was designed to be taken out in public. But, it's a big beast, not one that will go unnoticed in the process. While it does a fine job of capturing the scene in a high quality image, I find that most of my subjects are looking at the camera. This is different from shooting anonymously with a smaller camera. Different, but not necessarily better or worse. I'll have more examples to share shortly.
My guess is that using the MUP for street photography is similar to what one would experience in going back even further, and shooting on the street with a Graflex 4x5 camera. I haven't done much of that at all. Maybe I'll give it a try again soon.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Leica Brings Out a New FILM M! Yes! The M-A.

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I think this is really good news for us film shooters. Leica has announced the new M-A, an analog M camera body, with absolutely no electronics. None. Yes, there are lots of great historic Leicas out there that fit this bill, but it's exciting to see Leica still paying attention to film.
They even highlight Kodak TriX as a great match for the camera.
I hope this keeps the film companies interested in making film for us hardcore users!
(Click Here) for lots of information on the Leica website.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Panasonic Lumix LX100 is Here! Micro 4/3 Sensor is a Huge Upgrade from the LX7.

Well, it's finally here. And the rumors were pretty much true.
The Panasonic LX100 has been announced. The big news is the sensor, Micro 4/3 size, more than four times the size in area over the sensor in the DMC-LX7. That's awesome.
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(Click Here) to read a first-glance review on
The lens is a DC Vario Pana-Leica Summilux Aspheric, 24-75mm equivalent, f1.7-2.8. Not quite as fast as the f1.4 lens on the LX7, the sensor size should more than make up for that difference. It also has a built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF), as opposed to the accessory finder on the LX7.
You probably already know that I'm a huge fan of the LX7. That said, I can see no reason not to upgrade to the LX100. This is very exciting news.
Actually, I'm not sure "upgrade" is the right way to refer to it. The size of the LX100 seems to be somewhere between the LX7 and, say, the GX7. But, the fixed, fast zoom lens on this size sensor had to result in some increase in overall size.
The introductory price is $900. Pretty steep. But, I think that $900 buys you quite a lot of camera.

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Some Promo Shots for My Friends, Dry Mill Road

I got the opportunity to shoot some promotional images for a great band, Dry Mill Road. Here are my picks from the set. All shot with Nikon D700 and prime lenses (35mm f2, 85mm f1.8).
I tried to give them a few different poses and scenes to choose from, while not taking away too much of their time or attention. In fact, immediately after the shoot, they recorded an entire CD in front of a studio audience. They look surprisingly relaxed given the situation, don't you think?
I sure had a great time on this assignment. I hope the images are useful to them.
Be sure to check out the band by clicking on this link:
They play a great combination of original and traditional bluegrass/"newgrass" music, including some "Good Ol' Grateful Dead." That always makes me happy.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Is That New Panasonic LX Series Camera Really Coming?

Were you waiting through the month of July for an announcement from Panasonic? Well, history did not serve as a great predictor for a new product introduction from Panasonic, at least not for a new LX series camera. As you may know, I'm a huge fan of the current LX7.
(Click Here) to read my (incorrect) musings about a successor to the wonderful DMC-LX7 being announced last July. It didn't happen.
Well, if the latest rumor on is true, it will be worth the wait. Rated by the site as "FT5" (81-99% confidence), this rumor says the new "LX100" will have a Micro 4/3 sensor and 24-75mm f1.7-2.8 equivalent lens, all in a very compact body. It also says it will have a built-in electronic viewfinder (EVF). Now, I'm not sure how they'll make such a fast zoom for a sensor that size truly compact (at least in comparison to the current LX7 model). It hasn't really been done elsewhere. Some of it is limited by the laws of physics. I don't immediately see how they could make a fast zoom for this camera any smaller than the ones that are already available for the Micro 4/3 cameras, if they're going to take advantage of the full sensor size.
In any case, (Click Here) to read the latest rumors on If they're correct, we'll hear more today (September 15).

Merlin the Dog, Mamiya Universal

Merlin the Dog, by Reed A. George
Mamiya Universal Press Camera, Mamiya Sekor 100mm f3.5 Lens
Kodak TMax 100 Film
There's a great little store in Waterford, Virginia, one of very few in the town. I've shot here a few times before, including some of my favorite pictures of my daughter a few years back, drinking a Coke and hanging out on this same porch. This day, it was Merlin the Dog.
One shot, no automation. I really like shooting the Mamiya Universal Press (MUP) camera.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Evan Leavitt's Doing Instant Photography Now

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I've posted Evan Leavitt's work several times in the past. The shot above, entitled "Camak," was made with a Polaroid camera and Fuji instant film. Right up my alley.

I think Evan's work has a very special feel to it. He shoots with vintage equipment, many times even making a paper negative. The results are always impressive to me.

(Click Here) to visit Evan's blog.