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Lighting & Cameras, Paradigm Shifts In Photography
It’s Happening Now, Don’t Get Left Behind
In my last article, Mirrorless Madness Professional Cameras, you became aware of how the Pacific Ocean drowned my Canon DSLR camera during one of my recent Maui photography workshops. If you read the entire article, thank you, and that means you found out that in my search for a replacement digital camera system, I noticed a paradigm shift to mirrorless cameras and how Olympus is tops in this field. A paradigm shift is happening in photography lighting too, and Rosco is on top of that game.
Heather was photographed with the Olympus OM-D E-M1 mirrorless camera and the Olympus 75mm f/1.8 (150mm equivalent) with only natural light. White-balance is set at 6000K, ISO 500, shutter speed 1/160 and aperture f/4
Paradigm shifts are happening at a rate faster than ever in photography. Whether it’s Instagram, selfies, the layoffs of major newspaper photographers in New York, Atlanta and Chicago, or the fact that almost everyone with a cell phone is now carrying a camera in their purse or pocket, photography continues to evolve daily.
You can blame or thank digital technology, depending on which side of the fence you feed on, but the fact is simple, if you don’t adapt or at least recognize the new paradigms, you will be left behind. It doesn’t matter if you’re a manufacturer, or a consumer, in today’s world you stay on top of paradigm shifts or you’ll wind up like Minolta, Contax, and Bronica—out of business.
Here Heather is photographed with the Rosco LightPad Loop LED lighting system and the Olympus OM-D E-M1 mirrorless camera with an Olympus 45mm f/1.8 (90mm equivalent) lens. White balance 4000K, ISO 1250, shutter speed 1/100, aperture f/2.
So let’s look at two paradigm shifts, camera systems and photography lighting. Starting first with mirrorless camera systems, these digital camera systems are smaller, lighter, less expensive and can do just about everything a top-of-the-line DSLR system can do, plus more. As an example, how many 150mm f/1.8 lenses exist for DSLR’s that can fit in your front jeans pocket and weigh about the same as 98 copper pennies? None. The Olympus 75mm f/1.8 lens is the equivalent to a 150mm DSLR lens in the four-thirds system and does this with high ratings.
Then there are costs to factor in, and in today’s economy, when we say every penny counts, we actually mean it more than ever. In the DSLR paradigm it’s easy to expend $10,000 to $15,000 for a digital DSLR system, vs. less than $5,000 for a mirrorless system with a camera body (Olympus OM-D E-M1) and four lenses (Olympus 75mm f/1.8, 45mm f/1.8, 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro, 40-150mm f/2.8 Pro). It’s about smaller, lighter and less expensive in these crazy economic times and fears.
Yes, the professional digital camera paradigm is shifting and the same is happening with photographic lighting. One of the reasons for this shift, and studio flash companies are concerned, is that photographers have noticed how “clean” higher-ISO’s are in the latest digital cameras, mirroless included, plus how this allows them to work with less powerful lighting sources like LED’s. It’s not “Where is the beef?” It’s “Who needs all that power and weight?”
Here Heather is illuminated with the Rosco LightPad Loop LED light as the main light, while the background lights are Ledino battery operated LED floods fitted with Rosco gels. Olympus mirrorless OM-D E-M1 camera fitted with Olympus 45mm f/1.8 (90mm equivalent) lens at f/2. White-balance 4000K, ISO 400, shutter speed 1/100.
Don’t get me wrong, I love my Hensel lighting strobe systems, you can’t beat them when it comes to studio monolights and portable power packs, but I use them less than I once did and for more specific lighting choices, like over-powering the sun with flash on location, something LED’s can’t effectively accomplish at this time. For indoor portraits or beauty shots, I’m favoring higher ISO’s, lower apertures, plus LED’s than studio flash—technology allows that, whereas in the old paradigm of film, it was practically non-existent, you were forced to flash.
LED’s are here and they are a continuous sources of light that allow you to see what you will capture in still photography and work seamlessly with video. You can even find LED’s on the new iPhone 6, though Apple calls their camera light source “True Tone Flash.” It’s two LED’s, one white, one amber, that provide up to 1,000 different color lighting temperatures and calling it “flash,” well that’s marketing—in reality it’s just a short burst of continuous LED lighting, there is no flash tube or capacitors that require charging before firing on any iPhone.
This photography lighting paradigm shift is not new, it’s evolving, in fact, over a year ago I wrote the article, A Perfect Lighting Solution For Shooting Beauty, which focused on the Rosco LightPad Loop LED lighting system. This lighting system is compact enough it fits in the overhead compartment on Delta airlines jets just fine. One of the biggest problems with photographers are airline baggage restrictions and increased rates that once were not a problem—that was an airline paradigm shift all travelers, not just photographers, were forced to experience in the past years.
Yet another reason photographers are working smaller, lighter and less expensive is the smaller fingerprint in photography equipment LED’s and mirrorless cameras provide. It’s less intimidating to their subjects and actually helps camouflage the “professional” of a professional photographer when shooting on public locations.
Here Heather is illuminated with the Rosco LightPad Loop LED light as the main light, while the background lights are Ledino battery operated LED floods fitted with Rosco gels #3006 Tough Spun, #3000 Tough Rolux, and #4790 CalColor Magenta 90. Olympus mirrorless OM-D E-M1 camera fitted with Olympus 45mm f/1.8 (90mm equivalent) lens at f/2. White-balance 4000K, ISO 400, shutter speed 1/100.
It’s important to recognize these paradigm shifts because if we don’t, the only thing we can gain is a good deal on old gear and work the old way. As an example, you can find the Nikon D1 2.74 MP DSLR that was the camera of choice in 1999 for almost $6,000, now only $120 on Amazon.com. In contrast, the current Apple iSight camera found on the iPhone 6 is loaded with features including image stabilization and boasts 8MP plus built-in LED lighting and depending on your wireless carrier and contract, you can get it free.
My point is this, don’t get stuck in the old paradigms of yesterday and get left behind. Mirrorless camera systems and LED lighting are here today and they produce publication-quality professional photos as good or better than any DSLR out there. While the Pacific Ocean may have drowned my Canon system, that event reminded me to not ignore the new paradigms shifting daily in photography. With that I close and like always I say, please don’t forget the men and women in our armed services. God Bless them, their families and friends, Rolando.