How camera choice affects the photo

Discussion in 'Photographic Aesthetics and Composition' started by Pieter12, Oct 31, 2018.

  1. Pieter12

    Pieter12 Member
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    I realize that different camera types are better suited for different types of photography. But I think the way you look through the camera also influences the way you take a photo and the photo itself.

    I just came back from shooting with a 6x6 medium format slr after a week or so of mostly using a 35mm rangefinder and it occurred to me that I perceive differently with the two cameras. Although the scenes I shoot with either camera are often similar, the shooting process feels very different. Using a 35mm rangefinder camera I look through the finder (where I can see more of the image than what will be caught on film) to compose the picture. I can see elements that I might want to include in the composition or action at the edge of the frame that might complement or mar the photo and time the release taking that into account. Using a prism-finder medium format sir, I look into the viewfinder, seeing the image as I would the final image. I am aware of what is happening at the edges, the relationship of subjects, shapes and lines within the square format. I shoot B&W, often using an orange filter and that helps to make the viewfinder image more monotone so I get a hint of what it might be in B&W.

    I can be just as spontaneous with either camera, having used both for street shots.

    I haven't shot much 35 slr recently, but it seems like it is somewhere between the two.

    A waist-level finder 6x6 really throughs me off, often not finding the picture I "see" before looking into the camera because of the reversed image. And maneuvering the camera to compose can often be frustrating. I don't have a lot of experience with this--maybe more time behind the wheel (under the hood?) would help. As it is, it takes longer to get the composition I want.

    I have minimal experience with a view camera, but once again the image is not only reversed but upside-down so it takes time and patience to line up the picture I "see" with the image on the ground glass. The up side is certain compositional elements take on new weight in this transformed view.
     
  2. Sirius Glass

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    I prefer to shoot 6x6 over 35mm because I like the square format and feel that the 35mm frame is way too long. The 35mm frame [24mmx36mm] was based on using two movie single frames. At that time many manufactures felt that the frame was too long and brought out cameras with 24mmx30mm and 24mmx32mm which never caught on partially due to Leica's popularity and fame.

    Additional I like the negative size for darkroom work, the optics of the lenses in my system, and my system.

    I also like 4"x5" over 35mm because of the nearly square shape.
     
  3. Theo Sulphate

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    Size of the camera is an important aspect. Prism viewfinders, rangefinders, and waist-level finders all can be found on medium and smaller formats. I think even Minox has a waist-level adapter.

    Anyway, with small cameras that can fit in a shirt or coat pocket, such as Minox and the small rangefinder / viewfinder cameras such as 35RC, Trip 35, Canonet, such cameras encourage spontaneous photography. It's effortless to grab a shot. Maybe the best for street photography.

    35mm SLRs, larger rangefinder cameras, and medium format cameras have a bit of "ceremony" in making the photo; it's more deliberate.

    Use of large format, at least to me, implies a planned photo and much thought - unless you're walking around with a Speed Graphic and a few Grafmatic (6 shot) holders.
     
  4. OP
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    Pieter12

    Pieter12 Member
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    Let me clarify. I think if I were to take a photo in the same place of the same subject but with different cameras (not trying to deliberately make the same shot), the photos would be different because of the way the subject is viewed.
     
  5. Arklatexian

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    This is something I would not lose sleep over. If you prefer what you see in the 35mm, shoot that camera. Same with 6x6 and 4x5. You make the decision, not the camera. All three are different for different reasons and therefore will never "be the same"........Regards!
     
  6. Sirius Glass

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    If I have a 35mm camera and a 6x6 available when I am at a location and I use both cameras, the compositions will be different, sometimes very different.
     
  7. jnanian

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    hi pieter12
    i have exactly the opposite POV. for me at least it doesnt'matter what camera i use, it is just convenience sake. i've taken
    the same or similar photographs with 110 and 1'2 frame cameras that i have weeks or months later with MF film, 4x5 or bigger cameras
    same photograph just less convenient. although because they have different lenses .... they render what was there differently.
    i have one lens that makes things vanish... its kind of a dilemma when it comes to documentary work because it makes its own reality.
     
  8. Ian Grant

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    The purpose of the photograph is a major reason for my choice of camera in terms of format.

    I mainly shoot project work and LF either 5x4 or occasionally 10x8 or 7x5, 5x4 when I need most mobility and then depends on whether I may have to work hand held in which case it's a Super Graphic light weight kit. otherwise my Wista 45DX in a larger backpack.

    Most of the time I'm also shooting MF as well with a TLR, as I compose to the format that has an effect on my images as well. There are time I need a Panoramic camera so will use a 6x17 camera as well. I stopped using 35mm some years ago for my project work as I just wasn't using the images and a print from a 35mm negative just doesn't really work alongside those from 5x4 and 10x8 negatives.

    Ian
     
  9. Rick A

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    For me, the vision remains the same, only the methodology changes. I really cannot say the resulting image would be any different other than it be square from shooting my 6x6 or rectangular from using my 4x5 or 5x7.
     
  10. MattKing

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    It tends to work the other way for me.
    The circumstances and the subject tend to influence the choice of camera.
    Usually it is the circumstances - the camera I have with me is the one I use.
    But usually I can make most cameras do basically what I want done. I've switched back and forth enough between viewing systems to be able to adapt them to my needs (mostly).
    There are of course situations where one camera is much better suited than another. For example, rangefinders aren't great for close focus use, and eye level prisms aren't convenient for working at ground level.
     
  11. Alan Edward Klein

    Alan Edward Klein Member

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    How you frame the shot is different if the cameras' formats are different. What goes in and where will vary.
     
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