Tagged: for photographers

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 to Safely Ship Film

Tons of thought goes into how to safely protect images for any professional photographer. Consideration is given to image protection when shooting, photo archive back-up, and even protection against hazard using cloud storage. For the digital photographer, any concerns usually stops there. However, for the hybrid or film photographer, film must be shipped to their photo lab for processing. This extra step can bring with it extra risk. But there are steps you can take to mitigate this risk. In the video below, I cover how to safely ship film to your lab.

The steps aren’t about choosing the best shipping company. I’ve heard so many people complain about FedEx, UPS, and USPS. Fact is, they’re all the same. Each shipping company delivers regularly and occasionally has issues. Choosing one company over another really won’t make a difference. Instead, mitigating risk is done how you pack and address the shipment. Here are some top tips from the video:

  1. Secure your film inside zip-lock bags
  2. Use a good shipping container – use a box and avoid envelopes
  3. Securely seal your package with good, thick tape
  4. Use a printed label – ensures the shipping details are easily scanned by the shipping company
  5. Never hand-write the shipping label
  6. Consider buying a label printer to make at-home preparation easy

How to safely ship film really boils down to ensuring the shipping company can easily read the intended destination. Equally important is choosing a good photo lab that will treat your film well.

If you enjoyed this quick tutorial, try subscribing to my YouTube photography channel. You can also follow recent work on Instagram.