Kodak Portra 400 – Minolta Dynax

The camera included pre-programmed settings for portrait, landscape, night portrait, macro, and sports, despite its simplistic description.

Only a few months ago, I purchased my Minolta at a cancer charity shop in my local town. I paid less than £10 for it. I took the below photos using it, with a roll of Kodak Portra 400. I scanned the images with a Canon 8800f.

Minolta announced the Dynax 40 in 2004 as a basic consumer-level 35mm film SLR. It was marketed as the Dynax 30 in some countries. It was also known as the Maxxum 50 in some other countries. All done to confuse us, I’m sure
Minolta – Portra 400 – “The Chair” – © Narrating Images – Christopher G

Minolta announced the Dynax 40 in 2004 as a basic consumer-level 35mm film SLR. It was marketed as the Dynax 30 in some countries. It was also known as the Maxxum 50 in some other countries. All done to confuse us, I’m sure!

The camera included pre-programmed settings for portrait, landscape, night portrait, macro, and sports, despite its simplistic description. Aside from these convenience options, the photographer can select aperture priority, shutter priority, or fully manual mode. Amazing technology for such a basic entry-level camera.
Minolta – Portra 400 – “Condensation” – © Narrating Images – Christopher G

The camera included pre-programmed settings for portrait, landscape, night portrait, macro, and sports, despite its simplistic description. Aside from these convenience options, the photographer can select aperture priority, shutter priority, or fully manual mode. Amazing technology for such a basic entry-level camera.

The flash is synchronised at 1/90sec, and the shutter speeds range from 30 seconds to 1/2000 seconds. Aside from the main flash, the camera has a little pop-up flash also.
Minolta – Portra 400 – “The Entrance” – © Narrating Images – Christopher G

The flash is synchronised at 1/90sec, and the shutter speeds range from 30 seconds to 1/2000 seconds. Aside from the main flash, the camera has a little pop-up flash also.

It was usually sold with the AF kit lens 28-100mm f/3.5-5.6, which I got. It's a little soft on the edges, but nothing I can’t crop out in Capture One.
Minolta – Portra 400 – “The Window” – © Narrating Images – Christopher G

It was usually sold with the AF kit lens 28-100mm f/3.5-5.6, which I got. It’s a little soft on the edges, but nothing I can’t crop out in Capture One.

This article was written by © Christopher G – Narrating Images

Medium Format Photography

Its rumoured that a Bronica Medium format camera from the 1960s, was used on the Apollo mission – it can be also converted into a digital camera – not that I can see why you would want to do this. I love the classic analogue look film creates.

I’ve been shooting with 35mm point-and-shoot film cameras for most of my life. I remember as a boy sitting with my dad in his loft, watching him develop his rolls of 35mm film. So I have a long affiliation to film. However, when I had the opportunity to acquire a Bronica, a Medium format camera, which I found in a local Charity shop, I jumped at the chance – for me Medium format is the next obvious step. After all, the image quality of Medium format cameras is a major advantage; whether they are film or digital!

When I had the opportunity to acquire a Bronica, a Medium format camera, which I found in a local Charity shop, I jumped at the chance

As you may know, the 120 film size has traditionally been used in Medium format photography. It’s much larger than the 35mm film format I grew up with. It is the foundation of modern digital photography today. Similarly, the sensors in Medium format cameras are much larger than the 35mm full-frame standard. One of the other advantages is most older vintage lenses can be made to work on new digital cameras, as a full-frame sensor is roughly the same size as a single frame of 35mm film.

Medium format cameras aren’t just known for their image quality; they’re also known for being ‘system cameras.’ This means instead of a single camera body, they are modular, made up of different pieces. This is what enables the conversion of old obsolete Medium format film cameras to digital. As different lenses, viewfinders and digital-backs can be fixed to most Medium format systems – depending on your preferences. I prefer the waist level prism viewfinder. To me, it adds a more classic and authentic field of view.

While there are certain specialist digital Medium format cameras, such as the Fujifilm GFX 50R, Medium format film cameras can easily be converted into digital cameras. This is done by simply replacing the 120 film magazine on the back with a ‘digital back’; all thanks to their modular construction. This is simply a digital sensor that fits into the space where the film holder used to be.

Its rumoured that a Bronica Medium format camera was used on the Apollo mission – it can be also converted into a digital camera – not that I can see why you would want to do this. I love the classic analogue look film creates.

While there are certain specialist digital Medium format cameras, such as the Fujifilm GFX 50R, Medium format film cameras can easily be converted into digital cameras.

Some camera manufacturers like Fujifilm, have added more megapixels also, as much as 100MP in some of their models. Fujifilm have even used larger sensors, creating an even greater image resolution. The 51MP GFX50S for example is approximately 1.7x bigger than a full-frame sensor they originally made. You get much bigger and better quality photographs using a Medium or Large format camera, compared to 35mm film.

Images taken using a Medium format camera differ slightly from those captured with a full-frame or a crop sensor camera. Most photographers agree the images look so much better, yet I’m sure the average person just viewing say your holiday snaps would notice little or no difference.

Medium format cameras do have the disadvantage of being big, heavy and sometimes fragile. They also get lots of attention, most times I’m using it someone will approach me, and ask questions about it. One disadvantage, is they do have a much slower burst rate, and less advanced focusing technology. This I understand could be restrictive in some circumstances.

Medium format cameras do have the disadvantage of being big, heavy and sometimes fragile

Medium format cameras are mostly used in advertising, portraits and fashion photography. But I use them more for Landscapes, as the slower style of shooting and depth of field, works better for my style, than say faster Street photography. A Medium format camera is used to shoot the bulk of magazine covers today. When working in a studio, image quality is obviously so crucial. A Medium format camera’s image quality, such as its sharpness and depth of field is a massive benefit.

I must stop waffling and dribbling over my passion for Medium format camera. I’ll post some images and write more about my experiences with my Bronica Medium format camera soon.

Any questions, drop me a line!

This article was written by © Christopher G – Narrating Images

Highland Cattle

Out for an evening walk, with an old Olympus 35mm, when this guy walked up for a photo shoot!

Highland Cattle – 2021 – © Christopher G – Narrating Images.
Highland Cattle – 2021 – © Christopher G – Narrating Images.

#35mm #kodak #Olympus #cattle #cow #filmisnotdead #photographer #captureone #photoshoot #photography

If you see it, shoot it!

If you see it, shoot it, has always been my motto!

Polo Cirencester – July 2021 – © Christopher G – Narrating Images.

If you see it, shoot it, has always been my motto! After all, photography is all about having fun, taking pictures and making memories.

(Image taken with an old Olympus Zoom 35mm, using Kodak Ultramax film.)

The Importance Of A First Impression!

I ensure every photoshoot is a relaxed, fun and enjoyable experience. This helps produce the best pictures possible.

WE CAN ONLY MAKE A first impression once. When online, we largely rely on our profile picture to portray a trustworthy and professional image. The photo is the first thing our eyes naturally seek when looking at someone’s social media page.

A professional picture demonstrates the type of person we are and how we want others to view us. This is true of any social media platform, business website or even dating website.

Your online profile is permanently visible. If you write on a social media post or comment on other peoples pages, your profile picture will be seen again and again.

So the most important thing anyone can do, to make the best possible first impression, is hiring a professional photographer. A high-quality headshot will help you connect with others, acquire jobs or build business connections. It will also show you care, as well as being serious about the job you do.

There are more than 740 million users globally on LinkedIn alone. Many people create business connections and find jobs using this networking tool. You wouldn’t submit a CV with spelling mistakes and grammatical errors when seeking a job. You should attach the same importance to your profile photo.

When you have a professional profile photo it presents you in the best way, you can show prospective employers or business contacts that you are confident, friendly and professional. This all helps create trust, helps you get noticed and can help you find a new job or win a new contract.

Just as a great profile picture can have a positive impact, the reverse can happen with a poor photograph. Highly pixelated photographs demonstrate that you are not up-to-date, unprofessional and unaware of the latest technology. It can also affect how you are perceived. The same applies to unfamiliar photos, such as pictures of your pet or dream car – keep these for your private pleasure.

You can use a professional photo in several ways. You can use it for your profile image on your website and on different social media networks. Sometimes you may also need to provide a specialist photo for press releases, on business brochures, interviews and other media forms.

If you want to benefit from having a professional profile picture, to use on your various social media pages or business website, drop me a line. I am a Cotswolds based photographer, who started shooting professionally some ten years ago now. I’ve been commissioned to photograph everyone from actor’s, business owners, celebrities, dancers, families, models, musicians and writers.

Why me?
I have all the experience and equipment necessary to ensure that every image I make accurately portrays you or your company perfectly. I ensure every photoshoot is a relaxed, fun and enjoyable experience. This helps produce the best pictures possible. I can provide my clients with photographs that can be used for all types of marketing, from online stores, social media to catalogues and personal portfolios.

www.NarratingImages.Info

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Colour Chrome Effect

The development of Colour Chrome Effect is derived from a reversal film: fortia.

My stunning XPro-3 and I think all ‘newer’ Fujifilm X-Trans IV sensor cameras, have a ‘Colour Chrome Effect’ feature. If you have had the chance to shoot with the XPro-3 or say GFX, then you already know the effect from your hands-on experience.

©Fujifilm

The Colour Chrome Effect was created from a reverse film: fortia. In 2004, the film was released with the slogan “Higher contrast and vivider colour than Velvia”. The film was limited in production, so while many people talked about it, very few actually got to see it.

Fortia was highly praised by the enthusiasts. Many people asked us questions such as “How can I adjust the setting to make it look like fortia?” and “If you set Colour +4 Velvia mode, will it become fortia?”

©Fujifilm

Despite all your efforts in Velvia mode it will not turn into fortia. To begin with, the ideal colour reproduction is different. Reversal colour film has one characteristic: the tonality is maintained even in high contrast areas. Fortia images are not saturated, and the colour still achieves depth even when the contrast is greater than Velvia.

Fortia had a very limited run. This was due to the perception that this film was only useful in specific situations. In the digital age, the low saturation and high contrast characteristics of fortia are essential. We had to attempt fortia to replicate Velvia, PROVIA and ASTIA.

©Fujifilm

High brightness is a way to express colours like yellow, orange, yellow or yellow-green with high contrast. Tonality is impossible when brightness and contrast reach their maximums. The image will become very flat as a result.

The sensor surface can be detected by analyzing the light and the information it receives. However, there is a slight gradation. Colour Chrome Effect creates tonality and high contrast using this technique. This allows for images to be created without losing their depth.

This effect is universal. The difference is visible in both sRGB and Adobe RGB users. However, there is a side effect. You will need to have processing power. The X-Processor Pro takes about 1.0 seconds to process. To process the Colour Chrome Effect. This is fine if you only use the Colour Chrome Effect for a single shot. You can’t shoot continuously, or set the camera to AF-C.

Fujifilm suggests that you disable the feature when shooting and turn it back on when you are processing raw files in-camera. The XPro-3 has the ability to output Super Fine JPEG and TIFF. The XPro-3 can convert raw files directly from the camera and then use your Mac or computer to edit the final image.

Fujifilm asked the Colour Chrome Effect creator to show Fujifilm how he replicated the Colour Chrome Effect using image processing software. He replied, “Yes, but it would take an hour for me to complete each image.” I need to be able to identify the sensor characteristics for each image.

©Fujifilm

The film simulation is not the final touch to the colour, according to the image design team. Every photographer wants a different color. If a few clicks with the camera can save you an hour of labor, you may as well take advantage.

Fujifilm hopes to make film simulations perfect so that editing is not necessary. However, if that means only a starting point it is perfectly acceptable.

This article was written by © Christopher G – Narrating Images.

Shooting Sports Events

As someone who has worked as a photographer for over ten years, I have a particular way of working when I attend an event.

As a photographer for over ten years, I have a particular way of working when I attend an event, whether it is at my local football club or local Equestrian events.

Much has been said about what camera and lenses to use, but, for me, preparation is a key factor in getting better shots. The better prepared you are, the better your images will turn out, and this doesn’t just apply to sports photography; it is right for all genres. Below are my top ten tips for shooting fast action sport.

  1. Know Your Sport

Before you can shoot something well, you need to know your subject. If you know how an event is run, then you have a better chance of anticipating the action unfolding in front of you.

If you are shooting a sport for the first time, do some research online – YouTube is an excellent resource for sports videos. Watch the sport, but also make a note of where the photographers are standing.

© Narrating Images – Cirencester Horse Trails
  1. Contact the Team or Event

If you are attending an event where you have to pay an entry fee, such as a football stadium, then it is best to check in advance that cameras with interchangeable lenses are allowed in. There is nothing worse than turning up at the gate to be stopped from going into the stadium because you have a ‘professional’ camera.

Horse Jumping is one sport where you are actively encouraged to bring a camera, and your local football club at the local park will probably also have no issues. But as a rule of thumb, if you are going into a stadium and paying for a ticket, its best to give them a ring first, to make sure you are allowed to take your camera.

WEC in Japan
  1. Know Your Camera

I liken using a camera to driving a car. Experienced drivers don’t think about changing gear or turning the steering wheel; it’s second nature when you drive regularly. It should be the same with your camera and lenses. If you are fiddling with the controls at a critical moment, then you might miss the shot.

I also have all my cameras set the same way so I can move quickly and smoothly from one camera to the other, which reduces the need to swap lenses.

  1. Dress for the Conditions

Billy Connolly is quoted as saying “There is no such thing as bad weather – only the wrong clothes.” Never a more accurate word has been spoken when it comes to sports photography as you have to be out in all weathers and conditions.

You could be indoors, but you’ll still need to wrap up warm if you are shooting, say an ice hockey match. In the summer, wear clothes that will keep you cool and protected, especially if you are out in the sun.

Always check the weather forecast 24 hours in advance and plan accordingly, and that means planning for the worst-case scenario – because you never know with British weather!

  1. Get into Position

Choose your shooting positions carefully and always look at the backgrounds for distractions. It could be some parked cars or a steward in a bright yellow jacket or something else that will take the viewer’s eye from the subject.

For most sports, make sure you stay behind the barriers and you never stand in what are classed as Red Zones (danger areas). If you are attending as a spectator try to get a position where you can shoot over the fences to get a clear shot, or get up close and shoot through a linked fence using a wide aperture to blur out the links.

If you are shooting team sports at your local club, you should be able to move around. Try and shoot head on to the players but make sure you don’t cause a distraction. I also like to get down low to give a better angle. At the big games, we usually sit on stools behind the goal or try line so we are shooting lower than if we were standing up. This is actually a good perspective to shoot.

Eventing – Forgandenny
  1. Choosing the Right Camera and Lens

Now, this obviously depends on the sport you are shooting. To be honest, any X Series camera with interchangeable lenses is capable of shooting sport but, obviously, the top end bodies like the new Fujifilm X-Pro3 or GFX cameras offer certain advantages, especially when it comes to autofocus speed and accuracy.

It is the lenses that makes the difference, and you should always buy the best you can afford. The good news is all XF lenses offer great optical quality. The focal length of the lens is an important consideration. There is no point trying to get a frame-filling action shot at a motorsport event with an XF18-55mm zoom, but you can still get great shots with that lens if you shoot to show the environment around the subject.

© Narrating Images – Cirencester Horse Trails

The best choice for sports photography is either the XF 200mmF2 and 1.4x converter or the XF 70-300mm F4-5.6. If you don’t need such a long focal length, then consider the brilliant XF50-140mmF2.8 (with or without converters) or the highly capable XF55-200mmF3.5-4.8. Don’t ignore standard and wide-angle lenses for sport; just choose your subjects wisely.

© Narrating Images – Cirencester Horse Trails
  1. Capturing the Action

For team sports freezing the action usually means setting a fast shutter speed (1/1000s or faster). However, it depends on your subject. For example, a horse rider on the course doing 30mph will be frozen if you shoot at 1/2000s, which doesn’t convey the sense of speed you get while watching the race. With static legs, the horse can look like it stopped on the course rather than moving at high speed.

© Narrating Images – Cirencester Horse Trails

You can use high shutter speeds for Equestrian events, but it is usually used for horse racing, when they are battling for a position or for head-on shots, such as the start shot. If you drop the shutter down to 1/125s or slower and follow the subject as you press the shutter release (a technique known as ‘panning’) you can inject a real sense of speed into the image.

This technique can also be used in other sports to give a different image from the norm. Don’t be afraid to experiment with shutter speeds.

Musselburgh horse racing
  1. Think Out of the Box

When attending a sports event, it is very easy just to concentrate on the action on the field or on the track. Look around you and try to capture a flavour of the whole event. It could be fans enjoying the event, the celebrations of the winning team or the dejected look of the losers. Look beyond the obvious photo opportunities.

Pictures that give a flavour of the event. This is a spectator on a rainy day.
  1. Automatic or Manual Exposure?

This really depends on what you are shooting. I shoot in manual exposure and control the shutter speed on the rear dial of my X-Pro3, the ISO on the front dial and the aperture on the lens.

Some photographers prefer to use shutter priority with the aperture left on its widest setting, the shutter set to the speed needed to capture the action and the ISO left on auto. However, when shooting sport where sunlight hits the water or headlights on a car, it could cause the image to be underexposed. Conversely, capturing skiing or ice skating could mean the predominantly white background means the images are underexposed. In these situations, you need to override the automatic setting by dialling in some exposure compensation.

This is the main reason I choose to shoot in manual exposure and use my experience, and what I see in the EVF, to judge the exposure.

© Narrating Images – Cirencester Horse Trails
  1. Bumping Up the ISO

Don’t be afraid to bump the ISO up to 6400 or even 12800 if you can’t maintain an action freezing shutter speed with the maximum aperture of the lens you are using. The latest X-Trans sensors can handle high ISO settings really well.

It is far better to have a noisy image rather than a blurred image due to the shutter speed not being high enough. You can always add a bit of noise reduction in post.

I have also underexposed an image when shooting RAW files and then adjusting the exposure in post-production. Be careful, however, if you are using this method as this can introduce noise into the final image.

©Fujifilm

Spontaneous

I grabbed this shot on the evening before the end of the second Covid lockdown. It was taken with an old Olympus 35mm film camera

I grabbed this shot on the evening before the end of the second Covid lockdown. It was taken with an old Olympus 35mm film camera, loaded with Kodak Gold film – I then used a ‘little’ post-production to remove some of the grain, giving the image more clarity and structure.

© Narrating Images – Lockdown

Depth of field

The X-Pro range of cameras I use has two options for ‘Depth of Field Scale’: Pixel basis and Film format basis. This will enable you to adjust the camera setting to suit your need and style.

Where do you set the focus? This is a question we should always consider. How accurately do you want to focus? That is another critical question is on what basis are you adjusting the focus? Does it suit your needs and style?


The X-Pro range of cameras I use has two options for ‘Depth of Field Scale‘: Pixel basis and Film format basis. This will enable you to adjust the camera setting to suit your need and style.

Technically, the only region that is in focus is one particular plane parallel to the optical axis. All other areas will be out of focus, even when moved by 1mm. All other planes are in ‘bokeh‘; theoretically that is. The reality is that the amount of bokeh is so tiny that it appears to be sharp. You can basically ignore it. ‘Depth of Field‘ is about the plane in focus and areas in front and back of the plane that appear to be in focus (although it is defocused in theory).

The bokeh in the defocused area is referred to as ‘circle of confusion’. The ‘permissible circle of confusion‘ is the bokeh that is almost indistinguishable. Bigger the maximum permissible circle of confusion, the deeper the depth of field it gets. They are proportionally related.

©Fujifilm

The problem is this ‘permissible circle of confusion‘ changes depending on the image sensor resolution and the viewing condition.

The resolution of the image sensor is much higher than that of the silver-halide films, and the circle of confusion is therefore smaller. In addition, pixel-peeping has gotten popular, so the ‘permissible‘ circle of confusion is much more restricted—the ‘shallower‘ depth of field demands for much more accurate focus position and area. The depth of field scale on a pixel basis is optimised for such needs.

However, for some people, the depth of field becomes useful only when it is deep. Snap shooting, for example, takes advantages of the deepness of the depth of field and does not demand a more accurate and strict scale.

Go out in the street. Set the aperture to f/8. Search for the light. Find the composition. Predict the subject movement. Set the focus position based on the prediction. Do not get overly concerned about the accuracy; the ‘depth of field‘ will cover the error…. You can see that in such a style of photography, one benefits from the greater permissible area.

This is something that is inherited from the silver-halide film days. And to match this sense of feeling, we have the ‘Film format basis’. (*The value is based on the 4P print viewed at a standard distance.)

©Fujifilm

There is no correct answer. You should make the selection based on your style and needs. If the viewing size is already determined, then you can make your choice based on it. You do not have to stick to one basis either; you can always go back and forth.

For your information, the XF14mm, XF16mm, and XF23mm has a depth of field scale on the lens barrel based on the film format. If your style is to grab a shot by eye measurement or manual focus, these three lenses can help you.

©Fujifilm