Size Matters

8th Apr 2012

No apologies for the quality of the two photographs on this page, they’re just snapshots taken and edited on my phone and then posted to the popular App Instagram. They show two camera 'Set-Ups' I've been using over the last couple of weeks. The first a small system based around the Lumix 4/3rds GH1camera and the second a Hasselblad H3Dll - 39. They take up virtually either end of the spectrum, the "little and large" of the camera world, admittedly there are compacts and 10x8, so they aren't as extreme as extreme gets but they aren't that far off.

Now when I say I'm talking about 'SIZE' I'm not, I repeat NOT talking about pixel numbers! I'm talking about physical size and therefore the weight of the camera and lenses. For me the size and weight of the system is hugely important. Its important because it’s usually me that has to single handily lug it into all those "hard to get to places" that I work in a lot of the time and that means carrying it in, in a backpack.

For most of my shoots I use my trusty Nikon system and as rule of thumb take with me as an absolute minimum a D700 (full frame but smaller and lighter than my D3) a D300s (DX, small and light with video capability) 3 zoom lenses (14-24mm f/2.8, 24-70mm f/2.8 and 70-200mm f/2.8) I may also take a 50mm f/1.4 (very fast for low light situations) or an 85mm f/1.4. Add in at least 2 SB800 flashes, remote triggers, spare batteries, filters, cleaning stuff and a couple of mini tripods and you start to get the picture - it weighs a lot before I even start to think about adding the necessary rigging gear, climbing gear, skiing gear, whatever gear I might need to utilise in order to “keep up” with my subject, so to me SIZE really does matter!

Week one saw me running around the streets of London. I decided to be really mobile, I wanted to go as light as I could, while still maintaining the versatility of an interchangeable lens system and without loosing too much quality in the finished photographs. Earlier in the year I’d used the Panasonic Lumix GH1 with a variety of both fixed and zoom lenses on a trip to the Cogne valley in Italy, the results were surprisingly good and gave me a lot of confidence in such a small camera.

Everything packed into a tiny sling pack, including camera, two zooms, a 25mm f/1.4, a flash, charger and two spare batteries and Eight Gig CF cards. Back at the hotel was a MacBook Pro, a card reader and a couple of external hard drives and that was it. Charging round Covent Garden and the Southbank I hardly even noticed I had a pack with me.

The following week I had two shoots in and just outside a studio. For this I packed a Hasselblad H3Dll-39, HC 50-110mm f3.5/4.5 AF and HCD 28mm f/4 AF. Fabulous system, bloody heavy though. Hand holding this little baby makes your arms ache, a marked change from the tiny, light Lumix of the week before.