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Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Then & Now

See how digital has changed the workhorse kits of working pros and what the essential DSLR and lens combinations are today

This Article Features Photo Zoom

Our survey showed a lot of pros working with fast wide-angle zooms like these from Tamron, Canon and Sony.
Do Today's DSLRs Replace Medium Format?
Robert Ruotolo is a pro who migrated from a Mamiya RB67 and a Mamiya 85mm lens in 2001 to a Nikon D700 and a Sigma 8-16mm. Ruotolo is shooting a lot of architecture and aviation images these days, and he describes the kind of photography his current setup has made possible, "This lens offers me the greatest opportunity to show objects in a different light, so to speak. For example, in an aviation setting, it allows me to capture an aircraft and the environment fully. When I switch to the interior to photograph the cockpit and cabin with their confined spaces, yet again this lens shines."

Continues Ruotolo, "I wanted to shoot a DC-3 cockpit and present it from an angle and perspective that hadn't been seen before. I needed to achieve this in a single shot and in a very limited amount of space. I was handholding in low-light conditions. This [Sigma 8-16mm] lens made it possible to get the shot just as I had previsualized it."

Ruotolo's experience describes one of the ways digital gear has fundamentally changed how today's pros are able to work. Ten years ago, to shoot those aircraft interiors, Ruotolo would have needed powerful lights and a medium-format camera with a very expensive wide-angle lens. Using big lights in a tight area is notoriously difficult, and it would have required a lot of setup time and a fair amount of retouching. Today, his high-resolution DSLR and an ultrawide zoom make such shots much easier, with less setup time and much less retouching time.
On my last shoot, there was a miscommunication, and the scope of the shoot ended up being far more than agreed. However, with my favorite lens on camera, I was able to cover all that was needed.
—Survey respondent discussing the Sigma 28-70mm ƒ/2.8 EX DG on a Nikon D300 DSLR
Another photographer who responded to our survey, but didn't leave their name, switched from a Hasselblad to a Canon EOS 7D and a Canon 24-70mm ƒ/2.8 lens. The photographer describes why this is now the workhorse setup, "It's great for nearly any use, indoors and outdoors. Fast ƒ/2.8 is great, along with the image stabilization."


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