What's in My Kit / by Mike Stacey

I don't normally prattle on about gear so this'll be brief. My usual kit contains a mixture of film and digital. On most shoots I'll have a Nikon D800 and a Pentax 67 medium format film camera. Sometimes the Nikon F100 35mm film camera comes along too. I either use the Nikon 85mm f1.8 or the 70 - 200m f2.8 with the Nikon cameras. The Pentax has only one lens, the 105mm f2.4 and this thing cannot be beat. As a portrait lens, the results look as good, maybe even better, than many large format lenses. The bokeh is something else and when used with Tri-X, the results can be sublime. Oh yeah and for the art portrait work I use a 4x5 or 8x10 camera loaded with Tri-X.

If I'm shooting digital, my editing workflow incorporates a number of steps where I essentially give the image a film look - add some noise (grain), fiddle with curves and sometimes some do some colour grading to emulate my favourite film. For film, there is always some Kodak Tri-X packed, and occasionally some Portra 400 if shooting colour although the real beauty of film is in black and white. I don't know what it is and people can carry on with a whole heap of techno babble about tonal range, dynamic range etc. It doesn't need dissecting, film just has some magic about it, some life. But I will admit that given some careful shooting and editing, the digital files from the D800 look pretty damn fine. 

The D800 isn't just a convenient option, it's a necessity when shooting a lot and in situations where there's a lot of movement and flow. The development and scanning of film combined with the dust removal adds a lot of time to the workflow so I save film for 'certain' shots these days and usually those shots just wouldn't work too well with digital. 

I think that's it. It was a bit less brief than expected but here's some shots from the last shoot with Ama Garatshun - styling by GIAN.

Ama Garatshun on Tri-X with the F100.

This time on digital, the D800.

Ama again on Tri-X shot with the Pentax 67.