From a production at Zach Theatre. ©2016 Kirk Tuck.
If nothing else I have spent the last few years unintentionally proving to myself and everyone around me that the actual camera I take out and use on a job hardly matters at all. I often come to realize this when I head over to Zach Theatre to shoot dress rehearsals. In the last year and a half I have dragged over bags full of Nikon, Sony, Olympus, and Panasonic cameras; in formats ranging from one inch sensor models to full framers, and lenses as current as last week, and as old at the 1960's. But the differences between the images are less effected by the size of the sensor than by the distance to the stage, or my sense of timing and composition on any given day.
When I look at the image above I always presume it's one I made using the Nikon D750 but when I look at the exif information I find that it was done with a Panasonic GH4. I recently did some additional available light portraits for a corporate client. I thought I'd done the first round with a full frame camera and a relatively fast lens, stopped down to f4.0 so I could make sure the subjects' ears would be in focus. I presumed I was using the same combination I did the time before because the color and the out of focus rendering looked like a good match. But when I went back to Lightroom to post process the new batch I took at look at one of the earlier batches and realized that those images had been done with an Olympus EM5.2 and the Panasonic 42.5mm f1.7 shot at f2.0.
While many of my readers are logical engineers who thrive on the idea of finding the "best practices" of a task, and doing it over and over again, always with the same equipment, I am not wired the same way. I get easily bored with repetition; at least where the technical part of a process is involved. I like to mess things up a bit and see if I can still pull out the images I want.
I recently followed one assignment at Zach Theatre, where I shot with two full frame cameras, with a second, similar assignment where I shot with nothing but a Sony RX10ii camera. In the Theatre's final use, even across big, transluminated graphics, the images were more of less identically capable.
I have switched between formats on many assignments and have come to understand that, if the "seeing" is consistent, and the "style" of shooting is consistent, then, except under specialized conditions, the choice of camera is really incidental.
One thing that does bother me when I switch between cameras is the operational differences between cameras. I dislike having to keep an assortment of radically different camera menus in mind almost as much as I dislike having to remember, across camera lines, which functions I have assigned to what custom function buttons --- and why.
I bristle at having to stock different batteries across the brands (and across models) and I chaff at having to learn the rhythm of the batteries' inevitable declines, from model to model.
I have talked about simplifying my camera and lens choices on this blog for years. In the past I have never seemed to be able to