It’s the photographer..

Not the camera that makes the photograph..

I couldn’t agree more with this statement but we can’t ignore the fact that we have cameras that cost less than £50 and cameras that will cost you the same as a mid range, brand new BMW? The Camera must be important on some level, mustn’t it?

CF107349 frw Phase One p45+ 28mm Schneider Kreuznach LS f/4.5 f/11 4 sec. ISO 100

Well yes, of course it must.  Whilst it isn’t the camera that makes the picture, it’s the camera that reproduces the vision of the photographer and this is where things get interesting.  A mobile phone can take a picture in the same way a £30,000 camera can, but when it comes to the quality of the image, the process of turning the artists vision into pixels on the screen or ultra fine droplets of ink on paper, there is no comparison.  For some applications of course, the level of quality is not so critical while for others it certainly is.

A couple of weeks ago, thanks to Brian Tinsen, at DTek Systems UK , I had the opportunity to test drive the camera equivalent of the new BMW.  A medium format Phase One 645 DF camera with a P45+ digital back along with a fabulous Schneider Kreuznach 28mm LS f/4.5 Aspherical Lens.  As I’m principally a landscape photographer, I needed the SW150  filter system from Lee ,designed to fit lenses with fixed hoods to protect the convex nature of the super wide lenses. The P45+ digital back has a 49.1 x 36.8mm sensor giving 39.1 megapixels at a resolution of 7216 x 5412.  What all this technical stuff amounts to is wonderfully sharp images with superb depth and range of colour.

Within ten minutes of the courier delivering the equipment, I had the camera unpacked and I was taking pictures.  Using the menu system on the P45+ digital back, I was able to format my compact flash memory card and set the ISO.  It was all very intuitive.

I took a half-dozen shots from my patio then came back inside, inserted the compact flash card into my card reader and uploaded the images to my PC.  I already had Capture One Pro installed.  This is the software created by Phase One to process the .IIQ RAW files that come from the camera.  As soon as I put the images on the screen I knew I was dealing with images of superb quality.  I could see immediately, even at 16%, that the photos were sharp with a fabulous depth of colour.  It was when I looked at the image at 100%, though I knew I had to get me one of these cameras. :-)

I’ve posted one of those first pictures below in full resolution so you can judge for yourself.  Click on the image and view at 100% and you’ll see what I mean.

CF107046 frw

We generally don’t go zooming into images to check the finer detail so does this level of quality matter?  Well on a professional level it does and while the camera didn’t take this picture what it did with the data I gave it to process is on another level.

I went on a couple of dawn shoots to Trebarwith Strand and was really pleased with the way the kit performed and the results I got.  The camera is big and heavy but packed away nicely in my Kata backpack and I use a tripod so I didn’t find this a particular problem.  It’s not a camera I’d like to have around my neck all day long however.  The Schneider lens is in a class of its own, the clarity and depth of field achievable with this lens just blew me away.

Below is a gallery of images I took while I had the medium format kit.  Second hand, the equipment I had costs around £16,000.  I’m now in the process of trying to raise the cash so if there is anybody out there keen to sponsor the arts, this particular photographer could do with some help so please get in touch :|

My thanks once again to Brian for the loan of the equipment and for showing me what is possible.  It’s a lot of money.  My current kit costs around £3,500 and in many respects, the Nikon D800 holds its own against a medium format camera.  I love my D800 and the images it produces.  Is the medium format kit worth 5 times my current kit?  Well yes, for me it is.  Looking at the images in the gallery below, the style is the same, these are Chillbrook images for sure and there’s not a whole lot of difference to be seen at this level  However, these images could take being printed at billboard size without any problem and from a quality point of view, would satisfy the critical eye of the most exacting magazine photo editor.  As a professional photographer, this is where it counts.

My sincere and on going thanks to everybody who has clicked the links to my new website, The site is doing really well in the Google page rankings, thanks to you all, and in several fairly general searches I have done recently found Cornwall Photographic sales on the first page of results.  This is fantastic so please keep clicking..

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81 responses

  1. Stunning quality and classic Chilly composition. Hope you get your new kit very soon. :-)

    October 27, 2013 at 8:15 pm

    • Thank you Angi!

      October 27, 2013 at 8:30 pm

      • Big Lottery Fund could be a way to raise some money. We use it regularly at work for various projects and to fund equipment and resources.


        October 28, 2013 at 9:54 am

      • I got an email on Thursday to say the National lottery had great news about my ticket. Even though I knew it was going to be a £25 3 numbers match deal, the stomach still churns when you see a message like that. :-)

        October 28, 2013 at 2:14 pm

      • Let’s hope your next one is in the thousands :-) say about Ohhhhh 16 of them.
        I have never won on anything lol :-(

        October 28, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      • That would be nice Angi. Sorry to hear you haven’t won on anything. Maybe soon, we can but hope :-)

        October 28, 2013 at 9:20 pm

  2. Simply outstanding! Good luck on getting the new kit. I’m also glad the new site is doing well. It is excellent.

    October 27, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    • Thank you so much Edith! :-)

      October 27, 2013 at 9:07 pm

  3. Awesome serie of photos!
    Great photowork!

    October 27, 2013 at 8:33 pm

    • Thank you very much Hans!

      October 27, 2013 at 9:07 pm

  4. Gorgeous pics

    October 27, 2013 at 8:39 pm

    • Thank you Lou!

      October 27, 2013 at 9:08 pm

  5. Stunning! Your photos are simply amazing!

    October 27, 2013 at 8:40 pm

    • Thank you very much!

      October 27, 2013 at 9:08 pm

  6. Well it certainly produces superb images, but that’s a heck of a lot of notes for a camera! But if Photography is now your Business, then perhaps is can be a tax-deductible start-up expense. Then it gets a little cheaper! Good luck with the business and the fund raising

    October 27, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    • Thanks Andy. It certainly is a lot of notes and yes, it’d be tax deductible. I just have to generate enough sales and therefor tax, to deduct it against. I’m working at it. ;-)

      October 27, 2013 at 9:11 pm

  7. Thanks for the reminder to ‘click’. I needed that. Life just gets busy and things slip on by. That’s one expensive piece of equipment you’re hankering for… ;)

    October 27, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    • Thank you Gunta. It sure is an expensive piece of kit. Holding the camera in my hands I have to say I struggled a bit to rationalise it all but in the same way a factory needs machines to produce widgets, pro photographers need the very best cameras to produce pictures. I’ve always like to aim high.. ;-)

      October 27, 2013 at 9:14 pm

  8. Love the photos, Adrian. Fantastic camera – my wife would divorce me if I bought it! I hope your broadband is faster than mine. In my part of Cornwall we get 0.75MB/sec, taking 6 minutes to open your full res image!

    October 27, 2013 at 9:00 pm

    • Thank you Malcolm. Yes I can imagine that would be a divorceable offence. Thankfully my broadband is around 12MB. That’s a long time to wait for a picture. What happened to the Superfast Cornwall that we have all paid heavily through our council tax to get? It seems to be taking rather a long time despite assurances it’s on it’s way. I hope Infinity makes it’s way to West Penwith very soon..

      October 27, 2013 at 9:19 pm

      • Some parts of West Penwith are now able to have BT infinity. I am at the very end of the St Buryan exchange and unfortunately there is now a question over whether it will be upgraded. There is an interesting review of the Phase One IQ260 Achromatic in December’s Black+White magazine – £30,000 just for the digital back and you only get a black & white image

        October 27, 2013 at 11:15 pm

      • I know that the p45+ is at the lower end of what one could pay. There’s clearly a lot of money in photography at some level. Just a case of finding my way there…

        October 27, 2013 at 11:27 pm

  9. fabulous cam!

    October 27, 2013 at 10:15 pm

    • It certainly is! :-)

      October 27, 2013 at 10:36 pm

  10. Beautiful images as always. What a camera!

    I’ve just committed for a new camera body and was worried about the divorce courts after spending a very small fraction of this camera’s value, but then, I’ll never make a penny out of my investment, so it is just squandering cash on my hobby. Perhaps that is grounds for divorce. :?

    October 27, 2013 at 10:18 pm

    • Thank you Dave. I think you should get away with that. There are worse things you could be spending your money on that’s for sure! :-)

      October 27, 2013 at 10:43 pm

  11. These photos are just amazing, Adrian. So glorious to look at. And yes, the camera speaks volumes. I’m not a pro but I felt such relief when I looked at some of my Red Rock Canyon photos from Vegas taken with my Nikon D5000 after using the camera phone for too long!! Well done on all your success!!

    October 27, 2013 at 10:19 pm

    • Thank you Marina. I’ve just been looking at you Las Vegas post. Fabulous pictures.
      The cameras on our phones and the marketing behind them, Instagram and all the hype has not been good for the camera market and photography shops in general but there really is no comparison. :-(

      October 27, 2013 at 10:55 pm

      • Yes, mobile photography has upped the number of “photographers” out there but there will always be a market for exceptional photography. Unfortunately, it’s just so competitive. I saw a series of Instagram photos in a magazine that were published to illustrate a feature. Unbelievable!

        October 28, 2013 at 1:03 am

      • That is pretty unbelievable. The problem is the high end kit is so expensive so the prices charged for top quality images are correspondingly high. Thankfully there are still plenty of publications out there that are not using iPhone photography to grace the glossy pages.

        October 28, 2013 at 8:57 am

  12. Sensational images Adrian! Lucky you to have the opportunity to test that gear and glad to know the new site is doing well.

    October 27, 2013 at 10:27 pm

    • Thank you Phil. It was a great opportunity and an experience I was lucky to have.

      October 27, 2013 at 10:56 pm

  13. Wonderful photo. So are you going to sell your left kidney, or the right one? :)

    October 27, 2013 at 10:41 pm

    • Thank you. Not something I would consider, highly illegal in the UK… erm, just out of interest though, what does a kidney fetch these days? ;-)

      October 27, 2013 at 11:21 pm

  14. Vicki (from Victoria A Photography)

    Beautiful quality images, that’s for sure. The garden shot looks like you can put you hand in the image, it looks so sharp and realistic.
    Perhaps send a letter to Santa…..

    But I have to say, you’re a particularly good landscape photographer anyway. In my hands that lens would be wasted.

    As someone who takes mainly close-ups, could you please take a shot of a flower or piece of wall or something, so I can see what it does with the fine detail. Thanks. Vicki

    October 27, 2013 at 11:14 pm

    • Thank you very much Vicki, I appreciate your comment. Unfortunately I had to return the camera and I didn’t get around to taking any close-ups. I did have an 85mm lens which would have been ideal.. perhaps when I’ve raised some funds…

      October 27, 2013 at 11:29 pm

  15. You could set up an Indigogo thingy, I’m sure the money would be raised easy peasy with the quality of your work

    October 27, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    • Thank you Simon. I’ve never heard of Indigogo. I’ll check it out.

      October 27, 2013 at 11:26 pm

  16. leecleland

    The high tonal range of colour just blew me away, a couple of the images of clouds gave me the feeling of 3D, or was that my imagination? You only live once and you can’t take the money with you, go for it and best wishes for your new site.

    October 27, 2013 at 11:31 pm

    • Thank you. I really appreciate that! :-)

      October 28, 2013 at 8:53 am

  17. Awesome colors…truly impressive shots! The colors are tremendous, but it is the depth and contrast of the scene/colors that really captures my eye (the first shot pink clouds that will clash with the indigo clouds…wow). It is always kind of fun & exciting to try out new equipment, especially when the end result is capturing beautiful shots.

    October 28, 2013 at 1:19 am

    • Thanks Randall. I had a lot of fun over those few days. Gave me a taste of what could be. I will keep working towards my goal. :-)

      October 28, 2013 at 8:59 am

  18. Superb photos with gorgeous colour and fine detail.

    October 28, 2013 at 3:13 am

    • Thank you David. Much appreciated.

      October 28, 2013 at 8:59 am

  19. Your photography is a pleasure to watch. You’re advancing so beautifully. And there are a couple of pictures on this page that I truly love. For about 40 years I worked with large negatives. 4×5 inches. So I know what you’re talking about when you consider the advantages of this fine camera. In art, we can reach the sublime even with the most simple cameras. But for those of us who want high resolution… large prints… there is such an advantage to a large negative or a large sensor behind a very good lens. Enjoy yourself.

    October 28, 2013 at 5:42 am

    • Thank you Shimon. I really do appreciate your comment very much.

      October 28, 2013 at 9:02 am

  20. Hi Adrian, fantastic images as always and a very interesting post. My thought process is actually taking me in a whole different direction – I want smaller, lighter and more compact, mainly because most of my photography is hand-held and travel related. In fact I’m about to part ex all my Canon gear (today in fact) and embrace the world of mirrorless csc’s – I’ve had a very solid offer from Wex for my 7d, 4 lenses and a bunch of other accessories and therefore will have approx £2000 to invest in a new system – probably either Panasonic or Olympus MFT. Although the MFT system has a smaller sensor (half the size of your full frame D800) the image quality is right-up there with the APS-C in the 7D – but in a much less bulky package. I have the Panasonic Lumix GX1 (quite an old MFT camera now) and on my recent trip to Spain it took some lovely images – easily comparable with my 7D – in fact I think it performed even better in some areas, especially better dynamic range.

    October 28, 2013 at 8:39 am

    • Hi Mark, Thank you. I certainly wouldn’t want to lug this kit around the Alhambra for a day. When I take pictures, I generally find my composition, set up and the don’t move. I wait for the light to be right, get my shot and go home. The bulk and weight of the medium format is therefore not a problem.
      We need to buy the kit to suit our needs and your decision sounds right for what you want to get out of your photography. I don’t know an awful lot about MFT cameras. Perhaps you’ll do a post? I know you’re going to have fun going shopping. I’ll look forward to seeing the results with your new camera. :)

      October 28, 2013 at 9:10 am

  21. poppytump

    What a gorgeous gallery ChillB . Such serenity in your images you bring .. the colours .. timing .. composition and an artistic eye together here for a truly beautiful series.
    I know how much you were taken with the Phase One camera ;-) and yes aim high , but don’t keep us waiting too long for some more from that old friend of yours the D800 :-)

    PS You can be sure another time I’m going to be vying with you for a space on that narrow ledge at Trebarwith Strand so look out ;-)

    October 28, 2013 at 9:32 am

    • Thank you Poppy. Such a lovely comment. I’m very much looking forward to getting back out there with the D800, very much my old friend. It is a very narrow ledge at Trebarwith but I think there’s room for two. Perhaps we’ll find out when you next visit Cornwall. That would be so nice! :-)

      October 28, 2013 at 9:36 am

      • poppytump

        It’s a deal then . And I promise to share nicely ;-)

        October 28, 2013 at 9:43 am

      • I’ll look forward to it! :-)

        October 28, 2013 at 2:12 pm

  22. Hello Adrian, you’re dead right, the hardware definitely makes a difference, as you’ve proven here beyond all reasonable doubt! I hope you manage to acquire your PhaseOne camera and I’m looking forward to the images.

    October 28, 2013 at 9:50 am

    • Hi Finn, thanks for your comment. Much appreciated.

      October 28, 2013 at 2:12 pm

  23. It’s not the camera that takes the picture but the camera makes the picture (in terms of achieving the photographers vision) and there’s no denying the detail, colours and tonal range. Superb!
    It’s great that the rise of phone cameras etc. has opened up the joy of photography to so many more people but it’s also a shame that it has damaged the camera market and had such a negative impact on serious photography. We’ve become inundated with average images and the bar has been lowered – on a positive note, those that are any good stand out! Good luck with fund raising.

    October 28, 2013 at 11:01 am

    • Thanks Noeline. You are absolutely right. I know that Jessops blamed their problems on the camera phone and the idea that they take ‘great’ pictures. Well they take pictures, sometimes really nice pictures, but you can’t do anything with them beyond look at them on a screen and quite a small screen at that. Nowadays, everybody is a photographer which, on one level as you point out, is a great thing but with so many publications and websites relying on amateur pictures, a credit is the only payment required, it is becoming ever harder to sell images at a price that will provide a ‘proper’ photographer with a living of sorts. But as you say, there is a positive note. Thanks again for your comment.

      October 28, 2013 at 2:21 pm

  24. I started reading and then your first image suddenly appeared, and I gasped. Absolutely breathtaking! The combination of this amazing piece of technology, your photographic expertise and great eye for a picture, are a marriage made in heaven. :) I hope your wish comes true, but in the meantime, as Poppy says, don’t leave it so long before your next post. A superb gallery,, Adrian. :)

    October 28, 2013 at 11:31 am

    • Thank you so much Sylvia. What a lovely comment. I really appreciate that very much. I will do my best not to leave it too long to get out there again with my D800. :-)

      October 28, 2013 at 2:24 pm

  25. Stunning images, Adrian….so very wonderful. :)

    October 28, 2013 at 3:37 pm

    • Thank you very much Scott! :-)

      October 28, 2013 at 9:20 pm

  26. Wow!!! :)

    October 28, 2013 at 4:01 pm

    • Thank you. :-)

      October 28, 2013 at 9:20 pm

  27. Exquisite in every way!

    October 28, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    • Thank you Elena! :-)

      October 28, 2013 at 9:21 pm

  28. I too am looking forward to getting hold of some new kit – but shall have to wait to next summer when the gratuity hits the bank. Meanwhile I will continue to practice the photographer bit with my DX sensor. I may well try some camera and lens hire before I splash the cash. This was a very interesting read. I feel the post processing software also influences the image as that is something others use also (albeit in subtly different ways) so perhaps all three elements come together – wonderful landscape images in support of the post Chillbrook

    October 28, 2013 at 8:41 pm

    • Thank you Scott. Much appreciated. It certainly makes sense to give the kit a try out and the processing software too. Lenses vary so much as well and need testing out too. Having used the 28mm Schneider Kreuznach lens, I can’t think of anything else. It was the incredible depth of field achievable with this lens that impressed me the most. So important for us landscape photographers of course. I’m a big fan of primes. That lens coupled with the P45+ digital back, a match made in heaven. It’s a big investment so it’s important to get it right. I bet you can’t wait to go shopping.. :-)

      October 28, 2013 at 9:32 pm

  29. Beautiful and yes, a good camera helps ;-)

    October 29, 2013 at 6:39 pm

    • Thank you very much Yvonne.

      October 30, 2013 at 11:44 am

  30. You are right with this post. A photographer with an artistic eye and a feeling for light, colour and composition can get a good photo with any camera. BUT with a top of the range DSLR or similar the results go past good to stunning, as you have demonstrated in this post.

    October 29, 2013 at 11:10 pm

    • Thank you so much. I’m glad you enjoyed the pictures. :-)

      October 30, 2013 at 11:44 am

  31. Adrian, you know I am a stern supporter of the quote you started this post with. But, yes, the camera and equipment is important, depending on what kind of pictures the photographer takes. At the same time I see a lot of photographers in my workshops with very expensive, top of line cameras who aren’t able to produce interesting pictures at all. Then I would say all that equipment is a waste of money. On the other hand as you show here high technical quality makes a difference when the photographer knows how to use it. Excellent images, my favourite being the opening picture.

    October 30, 2013 at 9:25 pm

    • Thank you very much Otto! :-) I do indeed know that you are a very stern supporter of the quote, ‘It’s the photographer not the camera..” and I have to say I was thinking of you as I wrote the post. To be honest, I was a little nervous as to what your reaction to it might be. I was keen to ensure that the idea that better equipment will not make you a better photographer came across because as you say, some can have the best equipment there is and still produce uninteresting pictures.
      I guess one’s creativity is innate but as your posts so eloquently describe and inform, this can be worked on and then there is the craft side of the equation, again one has to put the hours in, serve the apprenticeship. A brand new shiny, super expensive camera will not do all of that for you. The equipment you own cannot short circuit the process. But, when you have put the hours in, that super shiny equipment is such a pleasure to use and the pictures the camera produces, such wonderful quality. Thank you again for your comment Otto. I really appreciate it.

      October 30, 2013 at 10:34 pm

  32. Great, great photography and very inspiring comments here! Thank you, Adrian!

    November 2, 2013 at 1:32 am

    • Thank you very much! Glad you enjoyed the post! :-)

      November 2, 2013 at 7:45 am

  33. Hi Adrian, I can see why you might be smitten with the quality of these images. They are incredibly beautiful and detailed.
    I wish you good luck finding a way to make owning this camera a reality. Either way your vision and execution with photography will remain admirable.
    Your work is exhilarating!

    November 7, 2013 at 4:14 am

    • Thank you Karen. I really appreciate that. :-)

      November 9, 2013 at 5:26 pm

  34. Ah the color, it transports!

    November 11, 2013 at 1:02 pm

    • Thank you Elena. It’s all about the colour isn’t it? I think it’s a real shame that so many photographers convert so many of their pictures to black and white. I don’t convert many. So much colour in the landscape, and the sea, of course. :-)

      November 11, 2013 at 2:21 pm

  35. Reblogged this on sueshan123.

    November 17, 2013 at 3:15 pm

  36. so beautiful. Loved by me.

    November 17, 2013 at 3:22 pm

    • Thank you so much and thank you for the reblogs! :-)

      November 18, 2013 at 8:16 pm