Thursday, September 14, 2017

A Point and Shoot Beats Most DSLR Portfolio Shots

All of the following photos were taken with a point and shoot (and no, it wasn't a Leica) which I serve up as evidence that it's more about the photographer than camera (although this is a pretty damn good camera too).

All images are Copyright Douglas Dubler 3 - ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. You may click to view full size versions in Google Chrome, but you may not save, print, download, link to, repost, etc... any without written consent.

"Summertime Boy" - 1/1250 at f/5 ISO 100 (-1 1/3 EV)

“Peruvian Jungle Lily” - 24mm at the closest focusing distance ( less than 8 inches) At f5.6

f/6.3 for 1/40 sec at 24mm (-1 EV)

"Lilies" - 24mm (widest) end of the zoom lens. At f4.5 at almost the closest focusing distance

And the camera was...

Sony RX100 IV  at B&H (review)
Also on available at Amazon

Yes, the Sony RX100 IV was used for all of those shots except the first one which was actually taken with he Sony RX100 III!

Of course, to be fair these were taken by one of the greatest living photographers of our time, Douglas Dubler (website). This legendary photographer has shot more magazine covers than most photographers have (or will have) portfolio caliber shots in their lifetime. He's also been the featured photographer for the launch of major products from Nikon, Epson and so many more. Simply put, these weren't taken by a mere mortal, but it does show off what this camera can do.

In Douglas Dubler's own words

24mm for 1/160 sec at f/8 ISO 100 (-1 EV)

Many people who are familiar with my work most likely associate me with high resolution capture and large format gallery prints. Much of this work is/was done on medium format digital backs or high megapixel DSLRs. Lately I have been exploring a different direction. Several years ago I purchased a Sony RX100 III for my girlfriend and began giving her photography lessons. As her photography progressed I noticed a look that I began to admire. 

24mm for 1/80 sec at f/5.6 ISO 100 (-1 EV)

They were done mainly at the 24mm focal length at the closest focusing distance (around 4 or 5 inches ). The small sensor gave her more than adequate depth of field at modest apertures (f4-5.6).  The wide angle lens gave just a little distortion which enhanced the subject. My best description is a hybrid of environmental and semi Macro.

24mm for 1/60 sec at f/5 ISO 100 (-1 EV)

Inspired, I began to emulate the effect with my A6500 and larger A7RII. Even with the APS-C sized sensor in the A6500 with various focal length lenses from the Sony 12-24mm ( on the A6500, a 18-36mm), to many different Zeiss,Sony and Sigma prime lenses I couldn’t get the look.  If I was shooting flowers to get the depth of field I would end up with a shutter speed that was too slow (wind vs. flowers!).  So I borrowed her camera and spent a few days at the New York Botanical Garden seriously photographing flowers. It took me one day to work out my approach but I was very happy with the beginning results.

"Maleficent Tree" - 24mm for 1/160 sec at f/5.6 ISO 100 (-1 1/3 EV) RX100 III

The next step was to make some prints, the whole point of photography.  With a little editing in my favorite Capture One V10 and of course B&W conversion done with Nik’s Silver EFex Pro 2 I was ready for the litmus test..  With my Epson P5000 and Epson’s new Legacy Platine paper I made prints that rivaled the best silver-gelatin prints.   As a test, at the beginning of one of my classes I had the students look carefully at one of  the prints and guess what camera I had used. Unanimously they declared a high resolution professional DSLR or mirrorless camera. I showed them the diminutive Sony and at first they thought I was joking. I assured them I wasn’t.

24mm for 1/60 sec at f/4 ISO 100 (-1 EV)

Since then I went out and purchased a MarkIV model which is around my neck whenever I leave my house. Even on my bike I can easily carry it in a small bag around my waist. Now no one even looks at me and I blend in with the iPhoners. I hand hold almost all of the images and as a result am able to shoot many more images. It doesn’t mean I will abandon my abstract Macro studies with the larger cameras and tripod but I have a feeling I will always have this camera hanging around my neck…

Douglas Dubler's thoughts on a couple shots

Black Dahlia - 24mm@f5.6@1/80sec, ISO 100, exp.comp.-1.3 stops

I found these two blossoms in perfect juxtaposition, full face and profile, which I am always looking for. They were the last shots out of 250 exposures that I did during my B&W class at NYBG last week.

I was actually on my way out of the garden and, in exiting, revisited the flowers I had shot earlier at around 6 P.M. I was tired after a long day of teaching but instinctively knew that those last few minutes of sublime light (exactly 7:11 P.M.) reward those who are patient. 

Processed in Capture One V10 and B&W conversion done in Nik Silver Efex Pro 2.

“Empress Lotus”

I have been trying for quite some time to get a good shot of a lotus blossom. For me that meant getting directly over the flower. Not so easy when you consider they grow in water, in this case, water that is over 5 feet deep. I surveyed all of the lotus in bloom and decided this was aesthetically my favorite. All I had to do was wait for the best light.  At around 7:10 P.M. the sun was no longer directly on the flower but was creating a beautiful soft illumination that seemed to be emanating from within the flower.

With some help from my friend Steve Titus (shown below) I was able to get an almost vertical camera angle and with the advantage of the articulating LCD could precisely compose the shot. It still took over 40 shots to get this precise uncropped composition.

Post processing, I had my friend Irfan Yonac do some digital enhancement using an “analog film” technique. It was the final step in the evolution of this photograph. Shot at 28mm@ 100 ISO @ f5.6 @ 1/200 sec, exp.comp.-1.0 stops.

Processed in Capture One software available at B&H.

Here's a funny behind the scenes shot of what it took to get this shot...


My review shows what mere mortals will get with this camera, but it's fun to see that in the hands of an X-Rite Coloratti Master like Douglas what is possible!

I really hope you enjoyed this guest blog from as much as I did. If so, please leave comments and check out more of Douglas's work on Instagram, Facebook,  or his website. Here's a couple more guest blogs from Douglas with his amazing work:

And here's one where Douglas breaks out the big camera that will really blow your mind:

Thanks Douglas!

Ron Martinsen

Want to do a workshop with Douglas?

Contact me if you are interested in working with Douglas or doing a workshop with him in New York City.

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1 comment:

Unknown said...

I like my RX100 IV a lot. With small sensors especially, good light and filling the frame help. I do pay attention to exposure compesation requirements and avoiding camera movement. It has fast focus and frame rates. This is the camera I take biking and to lunch or dinner fot it's silent shuuer fast lens at the wide end, and discrete size to get shots that don't intimidate or disturb. Having guest posts is a good idea.