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Inside My Digital camera Bag | Marcus Bell

If there was ever a occupation that would put together you for the curveball that could be a pandemic, there’s an opportunity that the pictures trade is one, particularly in the event you additionally shoot weddings. Not that something may actually have ready us for what’s unfolded. Ever since turning into a marriage photographer, there have at all times been adjustments.

Evolving has at all times been key in our trade, by no means a boring second. The pandemic has supercharged “change” and on the similar time, it’s made most of us reassess what’s essential. One factor I’ve already observed is the renewed significance of weddings, it’s a celebration of life, in any case, one thing that we’re taking extra discover of.

Twenty-five circles across the solar and nonetheless counting.

This 12 months marks twenty-five years since I first began Studio Impressions right here in Brisbane Australia. Time has flown by and I nonetheless really feel prefer it’s the perfect job on this planet. This previous 12 months has given me the chance to reconnect with my pictures, which has meant relooking on the gear that I shoot with.

I believed it was time for an replace on the gear I’m presently utilizing and the place I’m at with my pictures.

Wanting again, I consider myself as fairly fortunate that I started wedding ceremony pictures taking pictures movie. Utilizing movie gives a wholly totally different option to be taught. The primary wedding ceremony photographer I ever regarded as much as (and nonetheless do) was David Oliver who shot solely with Leica. Like every impressionable photographer, I simply thought that’s what you probably did to be like your heroes, so I began my profession on two Leica M6’s, one loaded with color and the opposite B&W.

I later moved to at least one Leica M6 loaded with B&W and a Canon EOS movie DSLR with color. I’ve at all times been per taking pictures, utilizing two our bodies to offer that totally different perspective on the story I seize.

Digital hit in 2000 and as quickly because the Nikon D30 was launched I immediately noticed the chances, particularly contemplating we had been scanning our movie for years earlier than the primary economical digital digital camera got here alongside. In 2008 I moved over to Nikon because the D3 was groundbreaking for low gentle pictures, which labored nicely with my ardour for taking pictures in pure gentle.

I beforehand talked about all the advantages of that system on Shotkit and the way that line continued to develop into the unimaginable Nikon D750 and Df our bodies.

For twelve years I used to be stoked to be a Nikon Ambassador. I’ve liked my time utilizing Nikon gear, the relationships that I’ve had with fellow ambassadors and the Nikon group right here in Australia, the USA and Japan. It has been a spotlight of my life and profession. It has additionally been actually gratifying to be concerned with future digital camera growth serving to make the cameras what they’re at the moment.

So why did I resign as an envoy? You possibly can say that it was principally destiny.

Simply over a 12 months in the past, I used to be photographing a dream job in Uluru with this unimaginable couple eloping attributable to worldwide journey bans. Relatively than getting married in Italy, they selected the centre of Australia.

I used to be assigned to take a pre-production Nikon Z 70-200 f/2.8 lens with me and it was going to be the right shoot to get some unimaginable pattern images. Nonetheless, Nikon’s head workplace had an inner error and the lens by no means arrived earlier than my flight.

Amassing particular lenses has at all times been a ardour of mine so I believed I might take one among my lenses on this journey. It’s one thing I hardly ever get to do however figured as I used to be away for every week I had time to experiment just a little so I took the unique Nikon Noctilux f/1.2 guide lens. It’s at all times been a dream lens of mine and it’s unimaginable the way it renders when broad open!

That week immediately jogged my memory of the pure pleasure of pictures, I can’t even put the precise feeling into phrases, however I used to be transported again to the place it began, utilizing the Noctilux on the M6 after I first began weddings. I felt alive each time that I picked up that lens throughout the shoot!

It was at that second that I realised how I’d been holding myself again.

Through the years I’ve learnt a lot about different image-making, varied methods, and totally different tools that’s been produced over the previous 100 years. A great deal of these instruments and purposes are nonetheless very related at the moment, but will be simply missed. Many firms focus solely on the most recent and best state-of-the-art expertise however within the course of lose sight of the previous.

Photographic historical past remains to be very related at the moment in the event that they need to acknowledge it and even higher use it as a energy.

After coming again on such a excessive that week, I opened up the information and I used to be blown away by how the photographs simply leapt off the display. Not one thing I expertise on daily basis. Right here was a lens that was by no means made for digital, first created in 1977 and completed in 1997, but it was doing one thing that not many lenses within the digital period may handle. A lens that’s probably completely missed and misunderstood.

I immediately knew after that week that I couldn’t suppress the whole lot I had learnt about a complete different aspect to pictures. My realisation was {that a} new journey was ready and that I needed to be true to myself – resigning as a Nikon ambassador was the one choice.

The 12 months since resigning has given me the chance to re-look at what’s essential. Utilizing what I liked about being with Nikon and taking the whole lot under consideration I’ve learnt over the previous sixteen years has allowed me to look past what the most recent and best gear needed to provide.

A gathering with the legendary Parker J Pfister additionally helped me to broaden my horizon in pictures, extra on that later.

Armed with a broader information base and with cautious consideration of all of the totally different elements which have turn out to be more and more essential to me since I began taking pictures I’ve come again to Leica. Having the perfect of each worlds inside one model the place they embrace the previous and transfer ahead with expertise on the similar time.

They even reissue a few of their well-known outdated lenses which I can’t perceive why Nikon doesn’t do as they’ve an unimaginable historical past of creating some distinctive lenses. Nonetheless, Nikon continues to create some unimaginable digital cameras and is taking lens making to an entire new stage.

Why the transfer to Leica?

After the expertise of utilizing the Nikon Noctilux in Uluru, I checked out my present set of Leica M lenses that I had stored since beginning plus extra lenses that I had collected alongside the way in which. I used to be bought on the concept of with the ability to use my M lenses once more, realizing they’d give me the feel and appear I used to be chasing for my work.

When studying critiques on utilizing M lenses on mirrorless cameras, the constant message was that M lenses at all times carry out at their finest on Leica digital camera our bodies.

I might repeatedly learn on Ken Rockwell’s evaluate web site, the place he would go a step additional, saying  – “regardless of the manufacture, this lens will at all times carry out finest when matched with the identical branded digital camera”. It was actually sound recommendation, although irritating in the event you had been hoping to combine and match which is what I used to be exploring.

The opposite essential side to contemplate was how lenses have their very own means of manufacturing color, usually distinctive to every producer. This was another excuse for not mixing and matching as consistency is essential.

So all roads led to the Leica SL system coupled with the M lenses. The SL physique is so completely suited to taking pictures with these lenses, from utilizing the 6-bit coding that identifies every lens you’re utilizing and the unimaginable viewfinder that makes it really easy to nail focus manually. I used to be additionally impressed with the color science and the flexibleness of the RAW information.

With this mixture, you actually do get the Leica look that so many individuals discuss.

What I wasn’t anticipating was what the wonderful Leica SL system supplied with the SL2 and SL2-S and matching lenses. To be sincere this was by no means on my radar. The outcomes left me much more impressed than utilizing the M lenses. The SL APO lenses are elegant and I used to be merely blown away. I immediately settled on the 90mm f/2 APO Summicron together with the 24-70mm f/2.8 zoom lens.

Each lenses provide unimaginable sharpness and the photographs have that particular look about them. They’re so nicely suited with the sensors on each the SL2 and SL2-S and the truth that they each don’t have a Low-Move Filter was a function I used to be additionally in search of to present that further little bit of punch.

I knew instantly I discovered the right mixture!

After making an attempt the SL system with their native lenses I nearly forgot about my M lenses, but that’s what led me up to now within the first place. So now I’m very comfy photographing a complete wedding ceremony with simply the SL 24-70 on one physique and the 90mm f/2 Summicron on the opposite.

This method was a step up in high quality and value and after twenty-five years of shopping for and promoting Leica gear, I do know that it holds its worth and provides the standard.

What are a number of the essential elements I’m in search of in my gear?

With a Digital camera Physique I take into account the next:
Color Science
Dynamic Vary / RAW information – with the ability to push and pull element in post-production.
Good Excessive ISO efficiency
No Low Move Filter
Skinny Glass over the sensor
Skill to program totally different consumer profiles.

Like a painter utilizing totally different mediums to color onto, totally different brush sorts, or a mixture of their paints, the identical will be stated about every lens we use with totally different apertures and totally different distances from the topic. The digital camera additionally performs a job regarding the sensor kind or what filters are over the sensor.

I’m after lenses that provide a singular look with the flexibility to make a picture soar off the display.

Every of us as photographers see the world otherwise, one thing I really like about pictures, there is no such thing as a proper or fallacious means in how every of us sees the world, the identical is with the gear we use. We be taught to make use of gear to assist us both seize a second or to easily specific our concept inside a picture.

Simply how we would shoot a picture at f/5.6, we additionally may select f/1.2 to precise a wholly totally different view that gives an extra emotion to the scene. If we all know why we’re selecting to make use of some gear over one other, then it may well assist with the inventive course of.

Our bodies
Leica SL2-S
Leica SL2
Leica M6

Upstraps – Skinny Digital camera Strap together with PeakDesign’s Anchor Hyperlinks
Spiderholster – Wriststrap and holster.

Lenses – SL (Autofocus) / R (Handbook)
Leica SL 24-70mm f/2.8 Vario-Elmarit Asph.
Leica SL 90mm f/2 APO Summicron
Leica R 180mm f/2.8 (with Leica R to SL Adapter)

Lenses– M (Handbook)
2x Leica M to SL Adapter (with 6bit Coding)
Leica M 35mm f/2 Summicron ver IV
Leica M 50mm f/0.95 Noctilux
Leica M 75mm f/1.4 Summilux
Leica M 7.3cm f/1.9 Hektor
Voightlander 15mm vII f/4.5

Every of the above M lenses provide a special view and have their very own traits, some have a fantastic softness when shot broad open, fairly totally different to many different fashionable lenses.

iPhone 12 Professional Max with PolarPro Case – Excellent for Pre-Location scouting and BHS footage.

Profoto A1x with distant set off
Profoto 10 / 10+ (not pictured)
Stella – Gentle and Movement GLX10 10,000 Lumens steady gentle
X Energy – Extremely Compact 500 Lumens Bike gentle
Manfrotto – Compact gentle stand 5001B

Sandisk SD Playing cards – 5 x 300mbs Excessive Professional + 2 x 95mbs Excessive Professional for the second backup card slot

Leica Battery x 6

ThinkTank – Imaginative and prescient 15 My major bag throughout the wedding ceremony day.
ThinkTank – Retrospective 30 Black – used for any backup gear and lighting.

Again Historical past

Classes that took me too lengthy to be taught.

Good advertising and marketing will get folks speaking and I’m responsible of getting excited in regards to the launch of a brand new digital camera, the most recent and the best. I’ve a sense I’m not the one one responsible of this. It’s simple to have a look at lenses and the way they’re rated in opposition to one another, making an attempt to see which lenses are the perfect.

Studying press releases and making an attempt to know an MFT chart of a newly launched lens, (that’s Modulation Switch Operate ) which exhibits the optical efficiency potential of a lens. It’s like a contest of who can outdo one another on technical specs and forgetting to visually see the variations within the photographs produced.

I’ve learnt that there are some lenses that on paper are excellent, nevertheless, once you have a look at the picture, they’ll really feel soulless. It’s nearly like they’re too excellent and on the finish of the day don’t provide something to the inventive course of. Maybe some photographers may have this pure replication of a scene. Generally we are able to lose what we try to convey within the pursuit of perfection.

I’ve learnt to not get caught up in all of the advertising and marketing hype.

Vital Issues

Past the aesthetics and ergonomics of the digital camera, the menu settings and programmable customized operate buttons all mix to deliver the artwork of capturing the picture into one.

Over time I’ve learnt that inserting an equally essential emphasis on –  the lens and the way it renders and interrupts color, the sensor, the addition of a low cross filter, how versatile the digital RAW picture is ready to be manipulated with the dynamic vary, the color science that every model develops regardless of who gives the sensor, all make a distinction. With color science being a private choice to every photographer.

Past the most recent tech

Enter Parker J Pfister –  who I used to be lucky to satisfy again in 2004 at WPPI, we immediately hit it off, he’s like a brother from one other mom. He’s some of the unimaginable artists I do know, somebody that experiments a lot with pictures, because of this, he’s taught me so a lot, not solely about seeing however how methods and tools can play an essential function within the course of.

He additionally taught me {that a} twenty-dollar toy lens will be higher than a 3 thousand greenback state-of-the-art lens, however equally how a ten thousand greenback lens may also be so significantly better than a 3 thousand greenback state-of-the-art lens, even with a number of flaws.

There are such a lot of issues I discovered alongside my journey that led again to Parker. Generally it might need been a dialog we had 10 years earlier, the place he would put an concept in my head, I might then analysis it and work it out, lastly unlocking the puzzle and discovering somebody who practised the method. Typically that somebody was a good friend or affiliate of Parker.

I’m sure Parker’s method was to present me simply sufficient data in order that I might begin my very own journey of discovery.

Parker was utilizing the Brenizer technique even earlier than it was a factor, probably even earlier than Ryan Brenizer. I bear in mind in 2007 when he got here out to Australia and handed me a lens exhibiting me a technique of freelensing. We had been in a nationwide park and it was a type of moments when Parker despatched me down a rabbit gap looking out past MFT charts and the most recent digital camera specs.

A few of these photographs I produced with Parker within the nationwide park that 12 months had been submitted in a panorama award competitors taking out the highest prize. Was it the lens (Mamiya 55mm f4.5 lens from the C330 system) or was it the freelensing method, I’m unsure nevertheless it definitely opened up my eyes to have a look at panorama pictures otherwise.

I’ve at all times liked Parker’s 4 x 5 and eight x 10 movie work. The format has an unimaginable look to it which I’ve tried to duplicate digitally however with little success. He’s at all times pushing the boundaries and I’ve learnt a lot about totally different methods, lens design, movie codecs and rendering.

In my early analysis, I got here throughout David Burnett and his use of the Kodak Cine Lens together with his cropped sensor Sony A6000 sequence digital camera. The lens offers an ideal swirl to the background and when mixed with a Lensbaby mechanism the motion may give a 4 x 5 look to the picture. In case you then mix that with the sensor of a Leica M8 and even the Ricoh GXR A12 M modular digital camera, each with out the low cross filter, the look is getting a wholly new really feel about it.

Briefly, get on the market and experiment with totally different methods, lenses and digital camera our bodies.

WISE WORDS – That lastly sank in

Ken Rockwell looks like an establishment on the subject of digital camera and equipment critiques. He’s been round for so long as I can bear in mind and as I stated earlier than he consistently says that you’ll at all times get the perfect outcome once you mix the identical model lens with the identical model digital camera, as they each intertwine with one another.

I lastly understood that to get the perfect out of the Leica M lenses they need to at all times be coupled with a Leica physique regardless that they can be utilized on most digital mirrorless cameras. You’ll get the perfect out of the colors, retain the standard edge to edge sharpness and keep away from smudging on the corners.

Autofocus vs Autofocus

It’s attention-grabbing to note that every time a flagship digital camera is newly introduced one of many issues that get talked about is how AutoFocus is the perfect in the marketplace, superseding the whole lot that has been launched earlier than. They discuss AutoFocus as if it has simply been invented when you’ve got the fourteen-year-old digital camera like Nikon D3 that’s unimaginable with excellent autofocus.

I at all times felt that the Nikon D800, D810, D850 after which each the Z7, Z7ii had a singular high quality about them that not many different cameras had. It was the sensor and together with an absence of low cross filter that gave the information an added punch particularly when in comparison with the low gentle fashions just like the D700, D750 and Z6ii.

The purpose I’m making is that there’s usually an excessive amount of emphasis on AutoFocus within the advertising and marketing technique which can solely be of significance to a minority.

There are such a lot of different essential elements to a digital camera it simply will depend on what you need to shoot. | @marcusbell



I’m Marcus. I’m a husband, a Dad, an Australian, a Photographer, and the proprietor of Studio Impressions.

Some say I’m a romantic (you’d must verify with my spouse). Possibly that’s why I really like photographing the connections between folks – these unscripted wonderful moments that outline their lives. Possibly that’s additionally why I really like photographing landscapes – highly effective, majestic, romantic locations.

A while, about 20 years in the past, I put the 2 of these issues I liked collectively – little folks in love in opposition to the backdrop of an epic panorama – the facility of affection and nature all mixed, and I discovered my “factor.” It was that factor that might transport my profession as a photographer.

I received a few awards for it, my first award within the USA acquired an ideal 100 rating and together with it the Grand Award at WPPI, Rangefinder journal in 2003 described my work as “Weddingscapes” and eternally since its caught. Now it’s a type of wedding ceremony pictures utilized by actually unimaginable photographers from across the globe and continues to develop. Its good to know that it began all the way in which again within the mid 90’s right here in little outdated Brisbane.

Ever since I’ve been fortunate to trip the wave of creative change that has occurred in wedding ceremony pictures during the last couple of many years. I’ve learnt to maintain evolving, innovate, however be true to myself, let what I really like in life form my pictures.

My gear is like an extension of me. It ensures I seize the second exactly when it occurs and in precisely the way in which I really feel it. I in all probability have an excessive amount of gear, however I’ve totally different kits for various assignments. (I really like weddings, however that’s not all I do.)

My wedding ceremony package is easy. It’s compact and light-weight. I select our bodies and lenses based mostly on high quality and measurement/weight. I spend ages planning forward and assume the whole lot via earlier than each wedding ceremony, then I pack precisely what I would like, modifying my package to go well with the day.

I’ve at all times shot with two digital camera our bodies, one over every shoulder and use “Upstraps” in order that I can put on a go well with and mix in additional on the marriage day. I even have a small Tamrac belt buckle card holder excellent for inconspicuously holding further playing cards and batteries on me always.

I take a small shoulder bag just like the ThinkTank Retrospective10 for the additional gear wanted for that day. I by no means wheel something round at a marriage so I’m at all times free to shoot at any second, plus I’m by no means frightened about any gear I left within the nook.

When utilizing a Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 lens, I’ll use a spider holster. Digital camera strap methods just like the Holdfast are nice, however on weddings they only scream “have a look at me I’m the photographer.” The extra issues you are able to do to NOT appear like the photographer, the extra folks will ignore you and simply let the sudden and emotive moments occur proper in entrance of you.

The 2 newest bits of package I’m in love with are first the brand new Nikon 24mm f/1.8–it’s my favorite focal size and the standard is stellar, not to mention so gentle, and second the Wacom Specific Key, a management pad that I can use to program all my favorite Photoshop and Lightroom keystrokes and actions. With a number of presses of a button and I’ve received my photographs the place I would like them to be. It’s an superior time saving gadget.

I’m massive on backups. On a marriage day you solely get one probability, so it’s worthwhile to be ready. My two-camera setup means I at all times have a backup, however secretly there’s a third physique not too far-off. I extremely advocate utilizing the second card slot with a backup card and at all times, at all times carry spare batteries.

That is my final wedding ceremony package. My staple grasp package which I structure after which reorganise, swap and alter for every wedding ceremony (pictured). For cameras, I carry two Nikon D750‘s. My typical lenses are Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8, Nikon 58mm f/1.4, Nikon 24mm f/1.8, Nikon 85mm f/1.8, and on events both the Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 or the Nikon 20mm f/1.8

Loads of 64gb and 128gb Sandisk Excessive Playing cards, utilizing the 128gb playing cards within the backup slot. A variety of little equipment from spare batteries, zip ties and the magical “exit” stain-remover bar that may get just about something out of a white wedding ceremony gown.

I’m a lover of pure gentle so solely use flash when completely essential or after I need to use it in a inventive means. Once I don’t want a robust flash I take advantage of the Nikon SB-500 speedlight. This flash is tremendous small and light-weight and punches nicely above its weight.

For inventive lighting I can nonetheless use the SB-500 with a set of PocketWizards, however I even have both the Profoto B1 or Profoto B2 package for location lighting. These get used within the studio and on industrial jobs I do.

I’m on the highway for many of my weddings so I’ve my ColorSpace downloading gadget to obtain playing cards and again up on the fly (there’s that backup factor once more).

My Wacom Companion 2 lets me begin picture work on the airplane house. Lastly a Chord mojo DAC, mixed with a particular app on my iPhone retains my ardour for top def music satiated after I’m travelling. Love this factor as a result of after I’m again within the studio I can plug it into the Wacom Companion and with a classic tube amp crank up the music and post-production my coronary heart out.

The Grasp Package is (pictured) WEDDING KIT 2016
Wacom Companion 2: Use it for journey as a stand alone pill while I’m touring plus can plug & play into the MacPro on the studio.
ExpressKey – Programable wi-fi keypad to hurry up publish workflow.
Chord Mojo + Shure 535’s earbuds: I really like my music and utilizing an App by Onkyo “HF Participant” I can play hi-res audio from my iPhone (or the Wacom within the lodge room).
iPhone 6
Umbrella (Compact)
Nikon Coolpix A
Sandisk SD Playing cards
Spare battery
Listerine Tabs (at all times good to have recent breath doing shut up photographs)
Speedlight SB-500 (So love the compactness of this flash, excellent for receptions)
Compact Highly effective LED torch (Bike retailer purchased)
Tremendous compact LED gentle
Tiny Softbox for the Torch + warming gel
Two Nikon D750 our bodies (At all times two our bodies)
1 x Nikon D810 (Backup physique, but additionally for distant digital camera use if wanted)
UpStraps Digital camera Straps (allow me to put on every physique on my shoulder with out sliding off)
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8
Nikon 135mm f/2 DC
Nikon 85mm f/1.8
Nikon 24-70mm f/2.8
Nikon 58mm f/1.4
Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8
Nikon 24mm f/1.8
Nikon 20mm f/1.8
Nikkor 55mm f/1.2 Handbook Lens
Lensbaby Composer with a hand-crafted conversion to suit a Holga lens.
12mm Extention ring (excellent option to make any lens a macro lens & Compact)
Card & Battery pouch by Tamrac (Love the zipper and the belt clip)

Not Pictured: Baggage – Thinktank Retrospective 30, Thinktank Retrospective 10,  Paklite Duffle/Curler bag (for travelling – tremendous essential because it matches my Retrospective 30 inside it plus some further issues, excellent keep it up, has a curler and doesn’t appear like a digital camera bag) Passport (off getting a Visa for this month’s journey) Profoto B1 Package and light-weight equipment.

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