Careful !!! You can only do studio portraits with big, professional cameras. It's in the rules.

Dani was in the studio today and we were drinking coffee, sharing stories and making portraits. I had my big camera all fired up and my fast, long lens was holding court. And as I made a bunch of images I started wondering if I could make the same kind of work with a (gulp!) "amateur" camera. You know, one of those mirrorless cameras. Something so primitive that it doesn't even have an eye level viewfinder finder. I made sure the guardians of the professional way weren't looking and I pulled out the little, bitty Samsung NX 300 with it's (supposedly) pedestrian kit lens mounted on the front and I......well I just started shooting. I was expecting to have a humbling experience in which the bigger, better and brawnier camera, with the coveted lens, spanked the crap out of the small system and my experiment proven to be a waste of time. But I was chagrined to find that I liked the color, skin tone and contrast of the smaller camera at least as much as the big one and maybe just a notch or two better. Yes, the bigger camera focuses faster and might be a better choice in Stygian darkness but the little camera focused quite well in what is my usual working modality and since I can afford to use lights I didn't have to worry about shooting at 12,000 ISO at all.

Your evaluation of my portrait of Dani may be different. This isn't a science. It's just the messy intersection of physics and art. 


  1. Cool portrait of Dani, Kirk. Oh and of course good light is much more important than a good camera. I learned that from you years ago, but thanks again.

  2. Everything about this portrait is very very good. The model's expression. Composition. Lighting. Color tones. You were using an AMATEUR camera? Aw, c'mon. What kind of rubes to you take us for?

  3. Wonderful portrait. Beautiful eyes.

  4. In studio light all is well with mirrorless, and I'm sure your NEX 7 would do even better. Ive been an advocate of mirrorless bodies and leaving my DSLRs aside for the past two years. Being assistant/2nd shooter on a important, once-in-a-lifetime type of even (and no it wasn't a wedding), was a brutal reality check of how big guns can really save your life in nightmarish lighting conditions. I re-got a bunch of DSLR lenses since and put them to use. The performance is a joy, and the images ain't too bad. Death of the DSLR ? Me think not ;-)

  5. Beautiful girl.

    Would have been better with a Hasselblad, 150mm lens, and Tri-X.

    1. Or.. you can take Hasselblad lens, use adapter and put it on NX300.

      And maybe do Tri-X in PP software, like Alien Skin Exposure 5.

      And you will end with nice 20 mpix file, which is bit more convenient than film.

      Not saying film is bad, I like it too..

  6. Funny, your Sony A-series cameras are basically mirrorless, since the translucent mirror plays no role in reflex viewing, only siphoning off a sliver of light to maintain the fast phase detect autofocus system.

  7. your camera really, really, really, but no, REALLY, makes practically no difference at all. Whatever the camera, you make luscious, yearning portraits.


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