Technology

(or lack thereof - when less is more)

The Camera

The wooden camera may look old even though it is of recent manufacture. Yet, arguably, depending on what the photographer wants, this technology still represents the best in image fidelity. The camera used to make the images in this micro-vista website is a Wista, 4 inch by 5 inch, field camera.

The combination of film size (4" * 5"), the type of film, lens quality, camera "movements" and photographer skill dictates the image fidelity, depth of field and image perspective. Please understand that you should not gauge the final image quality from the facsimilies in this web site - these web images have been "scaled down" to allow the site to load without the aid of a coffee or two!

Composing a photograph in this "large format" camera is an art (the image being upside down and back to front) requiring a dark cloth. Calculating exposure is a science and requires some extra kit (there being no electronics on board at all) - in my case, a 1 degree spot metre suited to the task of landscape photography.

The Lens

Lens quality is yet another essential ingredient to the success of the image. I use lens considered benchmarks in their focal length - 90, 150, 240 and 300 mm.

The Film

The film of choice (so far - pending some more experience and experimentation) is Fuji Veliva 50ASA - a film well known for its fine grain and saturated colour, chosen to enhance the fidelity of the image.

The Filters

Clearly film does not always "see" as well as the eye can - and in high contrast situations (especially with transparencies - such as Velvia), film sometimes needs a hand. The filters I use are an attempt to resolve the contrast range "on the day" to what the film can record. I use Lee graduated neutral density filters and, ocassionally, a Lee polarising filter. The web site will indicate if a filter has been used to create a particular image.