Just had dinner one summer night with Tung Tang, Peter Yen, Joseph Wei and myself near Soho. After dinner, Tung and Peter were already armed with their Leicas + 50mm f1.0 lenses! We strolled around Soho and we settled on a spot to shoot some photos.
I didn’t picked the proper equipment for the night shoot and I only had my Polaroid Land 250 with me. It was loaded with a pack of FP100c. I also brought a flash, an old Sunpak 411 flash which I think works perfect with the Polaroid cameras. After a quick look in the area, we quickly settled a spot in front of an old door. Joseph is the model. Tung is the photographer. Peter was taking some action shots and was holding two iphone LED lights on the right of the subject. I was the flash light remote and stand.
Tung checking the lighting here.
Here is the setup.
Not shown on the above shot was Peter, who was holding two iphones with LEDs opposite of the flash. Here is the flow of the shot. Tung will start the trigger. I will hear a click, then I press the test fire button on the Sunpak flash. Tung sees the flash and will let go of the trigger and completed the shot. The whole process is very raw and manual.
To our surprise, the shot turned out quite nice.
It was a lot of fun and I look forward to more shoots!
For a while, my travel photo gears includes: Canon Powershot S90, Canon QL17 GIII + Canolite D flash and Zeiss Ikon Super Ikonta B 532/16. The S90 serves as the all purpose camera, QL17 mainly for street photography and the Zeiss Ikon for portraits. For 135, I mainly use Kodak TriX 400, Fuji Xtra 400 and Agfa Vista 400. For 120, I use mainly Fuji Reala 100 which are excellent for portraits. All of these fits nicely in a small Crumpler camera bag.
Recently I went to Japan for a week and I was debating what to bring. I have upgraded to a Canon 5D Mark III recently and really wanted to try this out during this trip, but the sheer size of it gave me second thoughts. Since I am going for a week, the Zeiss Ikon also didn’t seem feasible. This medium format beauty can only produce 11 shots per roll, this means I will need to bring a dozen of 120s. Weight is not an issue, I am more worried about how the Fuji Reala will perform under hot temperature (30C+).
The final verdict, I took the dive and brought the 5D, along with the stock 24-105mm F4 L lens, 40mm F2.8 pancake lens and a Yongnuo YN-568EX flash. I decided to drop the Zeiss Ikon and brought the QL17 and S90.
I didn’t realize until I took the photo above that I have a complete Canon lineup. I swear that it wasn’t intentional, just happened that way. The S90 continued to perform well, especially for food closeup shots. I shot six rolls of Kodak Tri-X with the QL17 (awaiting for development). For the QL17, during the day, I often use a Kenko ND4 filter so I can use ISO 400 during the day. Nothing can beat the QL17 for street photography in my lineup, it’s small, non-intrusive, quiet and fast focusing. The 40mm F1.7 lens is perfect for that.
How did I find the 5D for traveling? It’s heavy but worth it. With the 40mm pancake lens, this is basically the same setup as my QL17 but with one huge advantage. That’s high ISO. I can shoot at up to ISO3200 without a lot of noise which makes this camera a winner for taking photos indoors and at night. The stock 24-105mm F4 L lens with IS gave a good working range for most travel shots, from architecture to far away objects. It is also quite a bit lighter than the 24-70mm F2.8 lens which makes this a bit more desirable for traveling. Did I need the flash? Yes! I actually used it often as a fill flash especially during late afternoon around sunset time.
All the equipment fitted in my Kata backpack. The new selection of travel gear added another few kilos compared to before but the 5D took beautiful photos and was worth it at the end.