A quick review of my time with the Leaf Aptus AFi7 medium format camera.

I wish I still had the Leaf Aptus 39 megapixel, medium format camera in my studio; especially if I had gotten to keep the 180mm Schneider short telephoto lens as well. At the time the files were much more detailed than anything we could have gotten out of a 35mm style DSLR. Nowadays? The only advantage might be the real 16 bit files but you'd have to be looking at great prints or a $2,000 monitor to really see the difference between those files and the ones that start out as 14 bit files in our current cameras.

When I found this file in my archives I looked for a similar file done with the Sony a99 and compared them both at 100%. The colors were close and could be matched without too much brain sweat. The shadows are more nuanced with the bigger file camera. But I can get very close to the Leaf in post with the Sony.

What I loved about the Leaf was the combination of lens and sensor size but lately I've found that a good 85mm at f2.8 gets me so close to the same look. And pragmatically, my audience has changed as well. Most clients are working more and more on the web and at 8 bits the discriminating factors between the files vanish. At that point any good business person has to consider the price of ownership differential and the cost/benefit analysis.

The medium format package as I was using it was close to $40,000. The Sony a99 with a Rokinon 85mm 1.5 lens tips the total to $3200. The Sony files are easier to do the day to day plumbing work of photography with and the camera is much more agile in use. I'm glad to have kept the extra $36,800 in my pocket. It went a long way toward shepherding my business through some tough times. Sometimes the only way to make a real assessment of the value in your hands in to put the gear in your hands and try it. Anecdotal stories are too imaginary to use as decision making metrics. Now, the real question is whether or not the Sony/Zeiss 85mm 1.4 is worth the difference. I'm getting one to test. Should be an interesting and potentially embarrassing run through. More later.


Corwin Black said...

If you can, try to get 135/1.8 for testing. Thats what I would call "flagship lens" of Sony system. Anyone who has Sony and doesnt have that lens is missing quite a bit.

85/1.4 will be most likely good in studio, its not great outside wide-open cause it fringes like hell. But yes, nice lens.

André Balsa said...

Another beautiful portrait, I love the pose, the varying lines of the shoulders and the arms, the way the hands are intertwined, the light. The background is not lit in the same way as your more recent portraits, but the light on the face of the model is very much your style.
Thank you for posting this series of portraits these last few days, it's incredible to be able to see in these images how consistent your work has been as a portrait photographer.

Kirk Tuck said...

Thank you.