Production Gear

Before deciding which gear to stick to, try to get experience with different cameras and lenses shooting different subjects under different lighting conditions. Eventually you will get the feeling what you really like.

There are two big questions to answer:

Question 1: Full Frame or Crop?

Question 2: Prime or Zoom?

My current answers for my own photography:

Answer 1: Full Frame only.

Answer 2: Prime only.

Here is the gear itself:

Now let me explain how I came to this conclusion, and why I did not include other options.

My goal is to get the best quality within my budget that fulfills my needs.

I am not a professional photographer, photography is not my single source of income, therefore I am not under any pressure to get the right gear for my next session or my next client. For professional photography the gear is a completely different question.

My primary genre is portrait and travel.

For travel I need something small and light that I can carry with me all the time.

For portrait I need something that gives pleasing and undistorted image with any natural or studio light. The size and weight does not matter. It should work with the wireless triggers and tethered shooting.

So, why not a crop sensor body?

Any crop will convert the focal length of the lens to something else, and the look will change from 35 mm film body. You have to do mental calculations to remember that this 32 mm is actually acts as 50 mm, and this 50 mm as 85 mm and so on. I want my results to be the same on my DSLR as on my SLR with the same lens. It will train my mind to have better visualizations.

The biggest question is a mirrorless body. Why Canon R5 did not make my list?

The EF lenses for SLR can be adapted to the RF mount, but eventually I would go after RF lenses, which are big, heavy, and costly, and will duplicate my EF lenses for SLR.

Leica Q has a fixed lens. 28 mm is a new normal. I shoot it with 35 mm fake crop. I cannot mount any other lens on Leica Q, so I do not need to worry about other lenses and spend time and money.

The next big question is a classic zoom lenses: Canon 16-35mm f/2.8, Canon 24-70 f/2.8 and Canon 70-200 f/2.8.

F/2.8 aperture is good, but f/1.4 is better for low light and bokeh.

One thing about prime lenses is that they train your visualization ability by creating constraints. Zoom lenses remove the constraints.

And the last question about Canon 50 f/1.2 and Leica 50 f/0.95.

Phone photography shifted the standard view in the collective mind from 50 mm to 28 mm. 50 is not wide enough, does not capture a context from the short distance, and can be easily compensated by 35 and 85 combo. For street photography 35 mm is better. Leica put 28 mm on Q for a reason.

Post-Production Workflow

The workflow ideally should be simple and stable, independent from various gear and software changes.

  1. Pre-Production
  2. Production
  3. Post-Production
  4. Publishing

Let’s talk about step 3, Post-Production.

Usually the film is scanned into digital files, so I do not treat analog photography differently from digital.

The digital camera always records the image in the RAW format, which is the Digital Negative analog of the film. Some cameras hide the RAW file and allow to get the processed JPG file instead.

My understanding is that the RAW file is what we are talking about here.

Task 3.1 Import Original Files

Usually people choose Adobe Lightroom Classic or Capture One software.

Adobe Lightroom Classic
https://www.adobe.com/products/photoshop-lightroom-classic.html

Capture One
https://www.captureone.com/en

Capture One offers Catalog or Sessions for the library function. I prefer Sessions. The copied files are saved in Capture folder.

Capture One Import Window

Adobe Lightroom Classic offers Catalog only in the Library module.

Adobe Lightroom Classic Import Window

Task 3.2 Backup Original Files

Making two backup copies in addition to the one that was imported.

Get Backup Pro
https://www.belightsoft.com/products/getbackup/

Get Backup Pro

I use two G Drives 4 TB each, PROD and BACKUP 1
https://shop.westerndigital.com/products/external-drives/g-technology-g-drive-usb#0G03594-1

Task 3.3 Select Images to Process – Culling

Both applications offer Contact Sheet View, which is how the analog photography editors looked at the film to decide which image to choose.

Magnum Contact Sheets
https://www.magnumphotos.com/theory-and-practice/magnum-contact-sheets/

Capture One in Sessions uses a special folder called Selects, and has menu items and a keyboard shortcut to move a file from Capture folder to Selects folder.

Capture One Contact Sheet View

Lightroom has a special flag called Pick and a keyboard shortcut to mark the file as Selected.

Adobe Lightroom Classic Contact Sheet View

Task 3.4 Process Selected Images

This step is the most complicated, and can be expanded to the infinity.

The main idea is that the photographer before taking a picture has a visualization of the end result in mind. The camera cannot capture it exactly, and therefore, the captured image needs adjustments to reflect the original visualization.

Usually a camera has a low dynamic range, problems with the white balance, gives flat looking images that need some crop.

The assumption is that all the things that can be done right in the camera itself are done in the camera. The post is not for making an image, just for the modest corrections.

Lightroom Classic has a whole marketplace of presets and plugins, Capture One not so much.

My favorite plugin is Nik Collection, which works with Lightroom and Capture One
https://nikcollection.dxo.com

One thing about Lightroom Classic – you do not need a subscription to process the image. The Library module still has access to the adjustment controls after the subscription is expired.

My preference is Capture One. It has that high end experience that Lightroom lacks.

Task 3.5 Export Processed Images

The export requirements are given by the client or publishing provider.

Instagram requirements – 1080 pixels
https://help.instagram.com/1631821640426723

Capture Pro has a built in Instagram optimized export recipe (preset). The exported files are saved in a separate Output folder.

Capture One Instagram Recipe

Lightroom has also some Export presets.

Adobe Lightroom Classic Export Presets

Task 3.6 Backup Processed and Exported Images

In this case not only files need to be copied, but also a Catalog backup needs to be done, because all the changes to the RAW file are preserved in the Catalog or Session file only.

Capture One Catalog allows to import Sessions, so all the adjustments can be saved as one backup. This is how the backup folder looks like after being created by Capture One or Lightroom Classic. Usually it takes less space than when you copy the entire catalog manually.

Capture One Catalog Backup
Adobe Lightroom Classic Catalog Backup

Conclusion

That’s the major steps that I would take for any film or digital photography. The mindset and concepts should be the same regardless of the gear or software. The idea of the workflow is to stop thinking about the post-production steps, but rather free yourself to focus on what matters – the image itself.