I have had the good fortune to enjoy 35 Years as an Advertising Photographer with access to the best equipment available to our profession at any given time. The cameras, film and sensors have changed over the decades and I have some observations that I hope will help to understand the current "State of the Art".
Beginning in the 1950's, 35mm SLR and Rangefinder cameras were getting the attention of Pro Shooters. By the 1960's they had been established as Professional Tools capable of producing Reproduction Quality Images for use as large as Billboards and were routinely used for Fashion, Advertising, Sports, Fine Art, and Photojournalism.
This was not to say other more established formats (120,4x5,8x10 even11x14) were replaced. It only came to us as a fresh new way to approach the job at hand.
A quick glance at the Advertising Photography Tab in this Website reveals a cross section of all of these formats.
More importantly, we had gained a tool that allowed us new and more creative ways to illustrate ideas, tell stories, create moods and sell everything from Cigarettes and Beer to Lingerie and Perfume. It no longer meant having to pack the 4x5 Crown Graphic to every event that might make the Times front page.
As a result, a new energy started to appear in our work that only could be captured with the versitile new cameras afforded us.
But then, as Film was put out to pasture in favor of the more practical Digital Sensor, we have had to adjust to quite a new set of tools.
I must admit that, at first glance, the Pro DSLR appears to be the natural descendant of the 35mm SLR.
But after considering the many factors governing format choice, I`m convinced that, for a project shot on Medium Format with 120 Film in the old days, I would in fact, be using a Pro Full Frame DSLR Camera like the Nikon D4s or D810.
As for the kind of work I routinely shot with 35mm, I would now use a Mirrorless Compact System.
My choice, after considerable scrutiny, was the Micro 4/3 System from Olympus, the OM-D E-M1 and the wonderful compliment of Pro-Grade Lenses they are making available.
Olympus has always had a reputation for great glass and they continue in that tradition. But of equal importance is the Sensor Technology that gives the E-M1 a Dynamic range similar to Kodachrome 64.
We once again have a new Professional Tool to fill the gap left when, as Paul Simon predicted she would, ``Momma`` took away his beloved Kodachrome.
The Unedited Photo above is just one example of how, with the right tools and knowledge, we can once again enjoy the experience of "Getting It In Camera"
It truly is An Exciting Time to be a Photographer.