PhotoMedia Interviews Ken Doo Photography on the Medium Format Digital Advantage

A few months back I was contacted by James Martin, a professional photographer and reporter for PhotoMedia Magazine.  Jim is a talented photographer and experienced with medium format digital photography as well.  PhotoMedia had asked Jim to write an article documenting the resurgence in interest in medium format digital photography.  Consequently, Jim spoke with me and a few other authorities in the field.   You can read the online version of the article at http://www.photomediaonline.com/?p=2248 .  There are actually two articles,” The Return of the Medium Format Carmera” and “Medium Format Advances.”  This issue of PhotoMedia will remain on newstands until February 2011.  

This family portrait on the beach in Carmel became a gorgeous 30x40 museum gallery wrapped canvas. Medium format digital produces a visible difference. Phase One 645DF, Phase One P65+ digital back, Mamiya 150mm D. ©2010 Ken Doo Photography

There has always been a image quality difference between 35mm and medium format.  In the days of film, the larger real estate offered by medium format offered much high quality portraits, albeit at a slower pace than its faster and more nimble 35mm cousin.  Although medium format film processing was more expensive,  a medium format film body was not much more expensive than a professional 35mm film body.  It actually was pretty nominal.   Enter the era of digital:  35mm based DSLRs offer much higher performance than their predecessors, and though may be considered costly, not nearly at the sometimes stratospheric level of initial investment as a new medium format digital back.   The difference in initial investment between the two formats is no longer even close, with some medium format digital backs eclipsing the $40K mark. This is a substantial premium considering that even top DSLR bodies are currently in the $8K range.  One thing certainly has not changed:  bigger is better.  And the larger real estate of a medium format sensor simply offers better image quality. The difficulties in producing large sensors (up to 2.5 times the size of a full-frame DSLR sensor) has made the initial price of entry into medium format digital expensive.   Despite the recent recession, medium format digital industry leaders Phase One (Mamiya/Leaf) and Hasselblad continue to thrive offering systems costing many many times as much as a well-equipped DSLR system.  Even venerable Leica and Pentax have entered the medium format digital field.

Red Reeds in Yosemite. Phase One 645AF, Phase One P65+, Mamiya 35mm. More landscapes images by Ken Doo may be viewed at http://www.houseoflandscapes.com

Serious artists and professional photographers undertake photographic assignments for clients prepared to offer and deliver more than what is needed with hard-work, equipment, skill, and experience.  They promise to deliver more than what the client expects.  There is no doubt that a photographer can shoot with less, but the nature of the field and competition demands that professionals offer clients more.  For a client’s special day, event, or business endeavor, there is too much at stake to risk using anything but the best and most reliable photography equipment.  Simply stated, Medium Format Digital delivers.

Forbidden Rock by glass artist Becky Alexander. Phase One P30 MDFB. Ken Doo Photography.

I still use Canon DSLRs where I find they may be more aptly suited.  But in terms of photographic enjoyment, nothing satisfies me more than working with medium format cameras.  Although the initial investment is high, the cost over time negates the overall costs of photographing with medium format digital equipment.  It is not unusual for DSLR users to upgrade their camera bodies every 1-2 years, whereas even older generation medium format digital backs continue to produce astounding image quality and provide much more latitude for pushing, pulling, and retouching.  Blasphemy?  Hardly.  In truth, the only real significant change has been better performing camera bodies.  In terms of image quality, sensor size is just like the old days of film:  bigger is better.   I am passionate about my photography and enjoy offering my clients what I truly believe to be the very best through medium format digital photography.  Visit my boutique studio in Carmel to see the difference!

For more information on medium format digital, portraiture, weddings, and commercial photography, contact the photography studio in Carmel at (831) 626-1844.  ken

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