Thursday, May 7, 2015

Using a Leaf Credo 50 Wide Spectrum (Part II)

Part I was published a couple days ago with basic information; this post should fill in some of the gaps.

This is the result of one of the first images I captured using the WS 50.  Taken late afternoon in Sand Harbor State Park NV, using a 590nm infrared filter attached to my Cambo WRS and Rodenstock 40 HR lens;  f/8 1/500 with the ISO set at 100.  590nm is one of my favorite filters to use when I know I want to shoot in black & white; just look at the details of the clouds. 
Wide Spectrum and Infrared photography offers me the ability to extend my normal shooting days into the heat of the day.  The hotter the sun is shining and the longer it shines on a typical landscape the better it is for IR.  I've also found little difference between wide spectrum and capturing color using a "hot mirror" on the lens.  However there can be enough of a difference to capture in both wave lengths.
Early morning sunrise shot overlooking South Lake Tahoe.  As with the others, this was also captured using my Cambo WRS and Rodenstock 40 HR lens.  This shot was also captured while tethered to a Surface Pro 3 via a USB3 cable running C1-Pro.  This began life as a wide spectrum image but was converted to black & white for the dramatic details.
I love smoking water and wanted to see what effect the WS 50 would have when I did it.  So sitting on the edge of a waterfall I used the live view function of the Credo to make certain I had proper focus (did not tether on this shot).  f/11 1/4 ISO 100 and shot using a 590nm filter.  I kept the false colors in this one.
This was taken near the one from above.  I set the tripod on top of a couple boulders and did a 3-shot panorama shooting 10mm left and right as well as centered.  This is a great example of just how well a WS 50 will perform on a tech camera.  You might not be able to see it however this image shows the result of flat stitching (the small amount of white on the edges are from the camera not being perfectly level).  Cambo WRS, Rodenstock 40 HR f/8 1/30 ISO 100

My normal IR capture method has been using either a 35mm DSLR or recently a mirrorless Sony A7r.  The first digital camera I had converted was a Canon 1DsII which I also had to supply the lens I was going to use in order to have the lens and sensor registered for autofocus.  Taking the mirror out of the body in a camera such as a Sony NEX or A7r stops the focus issues and allows you now to use any of a multiple lens without the issue of autofocus. 

This is much the same using the WS 50 on a technical camera such as the Cambo WRS as there's no mirror in-between the lens and the back.  Something I hadn't noticed using the Sony A7r is that using different filters will change the focus point on the lens.  This is where the WS 50 shines using live view.  A couple of simple steps to turn on live view and a double tap to bring the image into 100% view and the focus is checked.  It actually took me longer to type this than it does in practice.

Driving south through Nevada we passed this structure in Luning NV looking all Mad Max and just had to stop and explore.  I shot this using wide spectrum and purposely overexposed it some before converting it to black & white.  Then Sandy told me I had to see the inside...
So here we are, inside a hot semi-dark industrial building and I'm now thinking Indiana Jones and snakes.  Once again I set the tripod up and within a matter of seconds using live view (was not tethered) I had proper focus.  Three-shot panorama while on the lookout for things that live in the desert and like dark places.  This is the wide spectrum shot with only a custom white balance and lens correction.  f/5.6 ISO 200 10mm movements left and right 11:50 a.m.
As "nice" as the above is I felt it needed more.  Or in some cases less since the light coming through the windows was blown out.  (I didn't notice it when I took the capture and somehow feel that had I been tethered to my Surface Pro I might have caught it.)  This sample has a small amount of HDR.
This is much the same using a Leaf Credo WS 50 on a technical camera.  My Cambo WRS has no mirror and is manual only (along with stop and shutter speed).  There's more reasons to shoot a WS 50 vs. a 35mm camera.  The sensor size of a full frame 35mm camera is 36x33mm whereas the sensor size of the WS 50 is 44x33 (the sensor size of my IQ180 is 44.4 x 53.7mm or full frame medium format). 
Passing through Garfield NV we spotted what we later learned was a haunted hotel.  The first image is the hotel as shot using wide spectrum, the WS 50 switched to portuarte mode and movements out to 20mm left and right with a 10mm shift upwards and a 5% shift of the lens.  This was the most technically challenging shot I did with the WS 50 and pleased with how it turned out.  f/11 1/25 ISO 100 3:30P.M.  The second image is an artistic rendering of the first.
Sensor size isn't the only aspect to shooting the WS 50.   Connected to a technical camera such as my Cambo WRS I now have a much broader reach.  Keeping the camera body in place and just moving the WS 50 I can make better use of a technical camera lens by moving the back 10-15mm left and right or up and down and achieve a flat stitch (that flat stitched image can exceed 90-megapixels when done).  While it's possible to shoot multiple images on DSLR/mirrorless bodies the end results will be lacking when compared to what you can do with a flat-stitch.
Passing through Garfield NV working our way to Pahrump we passed a sign for "Big Dunes".  Since we could see the dunes from the road we decided a slight detour was in order.
Once again this is an example of a three-shot panorama using a Cambo WRS, Rodenstock 40 HR and wide spectrum. Captured late in the afternoon, f/11 1/500 ISO 100.  The first is the wide spectrum with the second a black & white conversion.
Walking back towards the truck I spotted this scrub with the sun shinning on it just right.  Light was fading fast and I was concerned with loosing it.  Setting the tripod down on the sand and using live view I was able to achieve critical focus in a matter of seconds.  f/11 1/500 ISO 100 shot in wide spectrum.
Same file converted to black & white.
Shooting normal color digital you are left with 2-choices; stunning color and in some cases stunning black & white.  Shooting in wide spectrum and various infrared you open that up much more.  Colors take on a totally different effect to the point they can appear unworldly.  Skies turn dark and forbidding, vegetation takes on a totally different color.  And black & white conversion is in my opinion better with richer tones and contrast. 
As much as I like it, I'm still trying to figure out if the WS 50 a good fit for me.  Currently I'm using the 36-megapixel Sony A7r as my wide spectrum/IR camera.  While it has its limitations it is small enough and handy enough to use on the fly.  The WS 50 is best suited on a technical camera where a lot a determination is needed to capture an image.  I did try the WS 50 on my Phase One DF and was left "wanting".  While the WS 50 can certainly be used on a DSLR 645 it nevertheless needs very special handling, handling that I'm currently unwilling to give.
So, do I recommend the Leaf Credo WS 50?  Yes.  With a caveat.  Set the WS 50 on a technical camera and you have one of the greatest systems in which to capture wide spectrum/IR landscape images I've seen.  If you are thinking it could replace a mirrorless converted camera then the answer is much more difficult as it depends on your shooting style.  I whole heartily suggest trying this digital back out for yourself.  I was very impressed with the total ease of use and as I write this I find myself missing it.


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