Blog

Contax 645 Reviewfor Wedding Photographers

I had dreamed of the Contax 645 for years. Mostly due to “gear acquisition syndrome.” I believed this camera would make me a better photographer. In the back of my head, I knew it wouldn’t, but I learned to ignore the rational voice. Six years ago, I finally reached a point where I could afford a Contax 645. Surprisingly, it did change my work for the better. With the camera, I could finally achieve the vision I had in my head. I was immediately in love! But the camera also has a dark side. I thought I would share my experience with others, so I created the detailed Contax 645 review video below.

To sum up my feelings from the Contax 645 review above, I would simply offer the following pros and cons –

Pros

  • The legendary Zeiss 80mm f/2 planar lens – it’s a dream factory
  • Available battery grip – easier vertical shooting, better battery life, and enables use of standard AA batteries
  • Auto-focus and exposure meter unlike some older medium format cameras
  • Ease of use – simple dials for major functions, good ergonomics, not too complex

Cons

  • Price – popularity has driven the prices surprisingly high (too high)
  • Parts availability – all spare parts are now gone. Any major problem will require cannibalizing parts from another camera
  • Prima Donna – when the camera works, it’s amazing, but it’s known for random errors and finicky operation
  • Film flatness – sometimes the film doesn’t lay flat on the film plane, causing weird focus issues. Solving this problem can be really tough
  • The camera only operates in full-stops (no 1/3 stops), although the aperture can be set in half-stops
  • It weighs a ton with the battery grip, albeit less than a Hasselblad H1

Thoughts to Consider

The Contax 645 is worth exploring if your photographic style necessitates this particular camera. If your style is built around shooting wide-open apertures for creamy backgrounds, then you should consider the Contax 645. However, if you commonly stop down the aperture, then the greatest asset of the Contax 645 is wasted. Because I was having film flatness issues, I decided to try a Hasselblad H1 with the equally legendary 100mm f/2.2 lens. Since that time, I’ve hardly touched the Contax 645, especially for professional work. If you’re seriously looking at the Contax, consider it’s problems, and whether another camera might be a better choice.

With all that said, I still own the camera and would buy it again today if I had to do so.

Hope the above Contax 645 review helped. If you enjoyed the video, consider subscribing to my YouTube photography channel. It’s dedicated to all things film, digital, and hybrid photography. You can also find my most recent work on Instagram. You can also find more information for photographers right here.

How to Organize and Sort Photosfor Film + Digital Photographers

If you’re a digital-only wedding photographer, then sorting and organizing a mountain of photos is easy. After all, the camera has a built in clock and each photo is tagged with the capture time. Film cameras have no such feature. Once you add film into the mix, then sorting and organizing the photos can become a tedious pain. A single wedding might have a pile of film rolls with no obvious way to keep them in chronological order. There is a better way! In the video below, I describe how to organize and sort photos the easy way when shooting film+digital or just film.

How to organize and sort photos breaks down into a few simple steps –

  1. Number the rolls as you shoot
  2. Ask your photo lab to develop & scan the rolls in order – most will do so
  3. Cull your film and digital photos as you normally would
  4. Once all the photos are in Lightroom, sort the gallery by capture time to get the digital images in chronological order
  5. Rename just the digital photos with a temporary name – I use “digital-temp-001”
  6. Change the sort order to filename, to get the film images in chronological order
  7. Rename just the film photos with a temporary name – I use “film-temp-001”
  8. Both batches of photos are now chronological, but not yet chronological together
  9. Last step – drag the film photos to the correct position within the digital photo timeline.

All done. The images are in the proper chronological order (or whatever “story” order you desire). All that’s left to do is rename all the photos using whatever final filename you desire. How to organize and sort photos is more complex when using a hybrid film+digital approach, but it need not be difficult.

If you like the tutorial above, consider subscribing to my YouTube photography channel. You might also check out recent work on Instagram.

How ToCull Images Faster with Photo Mechanic

Professional wedding photographers know that you can easily drown in work. Especially when overwhelmed with photo editing. Editing can be slow, mind-numbingly tedious, and tiresome. So finding efficiency in the photo editing process becomes paramount. Most of us use Adobe Lightroom to edit photos and house our photo library. However, the first step in editing is always culling images to find the best ones. This step can be done in Lightroom, but you can cull images faster with Photo Mechanic.

In the video tutorial below, I explain why Photo Mechanic is the better choice. I also take some time to cover my process to culling, some detail about how I capture weddings, and a little bit about how I shoot.

The real issue with culling images in Lightroom has everything to do with previews. When you capture a RAW photo, the camera will automatically create a JPEG preview and embed that preview inside the RAW photo. When that same RAW photo is imported into Lightroom, Lightroom throws the embedded preview away and creates a new one. Doing this extra step on 3000+ photos can really slow down the culling process.

Instead, you can cull images faster with Photo Mechanic. Photo Mechanic does not throw away the embedded preview. Instead, Photo Mechanic preserves the embedded so that you can get straight to culling. Opening a large library of photos becomes lightening fast. Once you cull the images down to a more reasonable number using Photo Mechanic, you can then bring the selects into Lightroom for editing.

If you enjoyed the above photography tutorial, consider subscribing to my YouTube photography channel. You can also find recent work on Instagram.