My Long Exposure journey

Have recently been engaging in a little ‘navel gazing’ about the direction I wanted my hobby to take. Was it film or digital, medium format or 35mm, B&W or colour, landscapes or cityscapes and on and on it went. When I sat down and asked myself what I liked the look of most it generally came back to long exposure ,Black & White and in Square format.

So once I realised what I wanted to shoot, I then had to chose the medium. First off I had a month or so taking some LE shots with my Hasseblad Arcbody,  Linhof 612 and  Delta 100 combination and really enjoyed the process. There is a real learning curve with film and reciprocity effect and long exposure,  had to do a lot of reading but in the end come up with a combination that worked for me.

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Really liked the look and tones of film but feel that a lot of that advantage is lost when the negative is scanned. If I was a dark room guru I think I would be 100% film.

Next up give digital a go. Had two options my Sony SLT-A99 and Sony RX-1 (MF digital not it my budget yet). Have a couple of really nice landscape lens options for the A99, being Zeiss 15 2.8 ZF.2 and Leica PC 28 2.8R both converted to Sony A Mount. Have the Lee Big Stopper 10 stop ND filter for PC Lens and a 95mm B&W 10 stop for the Zeiss 15, yip you heard right, 95mm!

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Two above with A99 + Zeiss 15 2.8

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Two above A99 with Leica PC28 2.8R

Really like using the A99 for long exposure because of the articulated screen and the electronic view finder. Always find DSLRs are bulky and ugly but the results are superb.

The Sony RX-1 was an easy choice as well. Small and light, has 49mm thread so I already had ND filters from my Leica days. Has an old-fashioned cable release thread in the shutter release and superb resolution. Doesn’t have the width of the 15mm or shift functionality of the PC lens but did I mention how small and compact it is?

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A couple with RX-1.

You really can’t beat the RX-1 when it comes to portability. The think in all other respects then RX-1 and A99 are a tie. All this will change though with the advent of the Sony A7r. A body similar size to the RX-1, a 36mp sensor and the ability to mount both my favourite landscape lenses. Think the A99 will go and the RX-1 will be for those times when AF is beneficial and A7r the rest. Am first on the list with Photo Warehouse for A7r and really looking forward to it.

Think if long exposure landscapes is your ‘bag’ then digital is a no-brainer. Film is fun but with reciprocity effect you have to at least double the exposure times. The Sony’s have an electronic view finder so for normal under 30 sec exposures you can actually see the result in the EVF. Very cool.

Will post some long exposure shots from my recent visit to Taupo in next couple of days, and will be doing a printing project, with subject being the West Auckland beaches.

One response to “My Long Exposure journey

  1. Hi, well, the Linhof 612 has been the camera of my dreams since, coincidentally, I visited NZ in 2001 and discovered the work of Andris Apse. But it’s way over my pay grade 😦 And the camera I most regret selling (and the only one I ever made a profit from) is the ArcBody. But looking at your photos here, seems you similarly excellent results from whatever you use. I guess if I had to make that choice, the head would go for Sony, the heart for Linhof/Arc…

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