The Kit Is Complete

I received a couple of questions recently about the equipment / film I have now been using so let me respond here, with one remark: the answer is very dynamic and so will remain so going forward.

It did not come easy, but I left film behind lately and switched to digital. Despite of what I wrote about the comparison of the two before. Or perhaps because of it - the CMOS Phase One chip of my IQ150 has somehow become more vibrant and of a character than extremely neutralised CCD of previous models. It is also more practical for me to shoot digitally as I failed to find a lab in Moscow that would process transparencies (please let drop a line if anyone knows of one). Hence even looking for a high quality scanning service such as the one I used in Prague was a non-starter...

To cut the very long story short, on my last trip to Lake Baikal few weeks ago I carried Linhof Techno with three lenses (23mm, 47mm and 90mm as listed here) and IQ150. I also used Nikon D810 with Nikkor 16-35mm to back me up when Techno was hard to use (it actually happened in extreme weather conditions when temperature fell deep bellow minus 20 Celsius, movements on Techno became almost impossible). I was initially thinking I would have a problem with batteries on Phase One having dried up fast in a deadly chill but to my pleasant surprise, this was not an issue at all. I just struggled with operating a system fast enough.

I have not been using Linhof for some time for one simple reason. I did not have a wide lens for my digital back. I initially got this camera to be able to carry one camera system for both backs, digital and film, but I soon discovered it was not designed for film photography even though you can attach the film back to it. The focusing just couldn't be harder, while with a true live view of CMOS Phase Ones it became a kid's stuff. 

Caption: Ice Block; Camera: Linhof Techno; Digital Back: Phase One IQ150; Lens: Rodenstock 23mm f/5.6 HR Digaron S; Exposure: 1/8s; Aperture: f/11; ISO: 100; Filter: Lee ND0.45 Soft

Now, before the trip to Baikal, I finally decided to obtain the last piece of the kit. It was an abrupt and spontaneous decision (so was the trip itself), but thanks to an amazingly prompt service of Paula from Linhof Studio it took 3 days to open up a parcel with Rodenstock 23mm f/4 HR Digaron S. With my 44x33mm chip it provides a view that is similar to 18mm on 35mm formats. Beautifully designed ultra-wide that you bow to once in your hands. I just fell in love with a glass.

Caption: Yeti Was Here; Camera: Linhof Techno; Digital Back: Phase One IQ150; Lens: Rodenstock 23mm f/5.6 HR Digaron S; Exposure: 1/4s; Aperture: f/16; ISO: 100; No filters

You know the beauty of this lens is that you don't have a feeling it's 18mm. You can lay down as close to your subject as possible (which might be few centimetres when using the standards movement to focus), and still you do not get any distorted unrealistic perspective that you can many times see on ultra-wide shots. The level of detail and the quality of outcome is just unmatched.

The 100% crop of Ice Block shot above, unsharpened.

I got obsessed with that glass. During the entire week, I have not used anything else. Which, by the way, was a major mistake as there were countless structures and patterns inside the ice that called for an amazing macro images. But - I did not have a lens.

I realised back there that the kit is never complete. :-)