The best of both: the Nikon Z6 “vs” the Nikon F6 in a portrait shoot

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After hearing last year that our office was going to close, I wanted to use my photography skills to give something back to the people I have worked with, something that could help them find their next dream job. I thought I could come up with portraits that people could use on their CVs and on social media. After doing a few formal shoots, a colleague of mine approached me to do something a little different.

He wanted to do something closer to a fashion shoot and I was happy to help him create some cool images. I thought this might be a great opportunity to try out some Kodak EKTACHROME E100 for portraits, but I wasn’t willing to unleash my novice flash skills on expensive movies without some form of backup.

Within a few months, we planned and executed two photo shoots. One in the offices and one on site at a local ruin. The workflow I chose was to get the lighting and settings on a digital camera (the Nikon Z6), before transferring those settings to the film camera (a Nikon F6). This turned out to be a fantastic way of working and has created a very nice selection of images with favorites from digital and film cameras.

The following are some of my favorite images and a little comparison between the two different technologies.

To note: It is not a review of the cameras (the F6 is fantastic by the way), as has been done to death by other websites. This is what can be created with two cutting edge creative tools.

I have used a Nikon SB800 off camera flash on a wireless shutter release button for all images and will start with some of the images from the office shot. For the image below I used a NIKKOR Z 24-70MM f / 4 S lens on the Z6 at 34mm and f / 4. The F6 again had a NIKKOR 50mm f / 1.8 AF-D lens at f / 4.

In this case, I like both images, the Z6 (left) clearly has more dynamic range and a warmer look to the image. The film image has more contrast and for some reason I wasn’t trying as hard to get my framing as precise as the digital version. I scan my slide films with the Z6 but try to keep the colors close to what my eye sees on the film.

Next, one from the reception area of ​​the office. I changed the lens from the Z6 this time on the Z6 to the NIKKOR Z 85mm f / 1.8 S. Our reception has an amazing feature wall that was too good not to be used, it took us a while to figure out how turn off halogen headlamps though.

I definitely prefer the feel of the movie image (right) to these two, the digital image is just too clean and clinical. Both images were taken at f / 2.8.

After whetting our appetites with the office shoot, we racked our brains for a good location for a follow-up. I remembered a local ruin I visited a few years ago and thought textured walls might work just fine. I wasn’t wrong and the location was an absolute gem for a fashion shoot with a variety of walls, baseboards, hallways, and stairs to shoot against.

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We continue and I love both film and digital images in this next example.

The digital workflow paid dividends in the ruins, I processed the digital images before sending my films to development and realized that I had managed to slightly underexpose the majority of the shots. As a direct result of this, I decided to ask the lab to push the +1 stop film during development. It seemed to me to lose a bit of dynamic range, but it was ultimately the right decision; there would have been a lot of dark slides if I hadn’t realized my mistake.

Hot tip: Always carry an umbrella, especially during a photoshoot! This made a really fun prop for the model to play with.

Would I shoot in this hybrid way again?

Certainly. Having the digital photos there and then was really important to working with a model, it helped create real energy and excitement on set. I made a point of not sharing the footage with my model after shooting until the films came back from development. It created a sense of anticipation when we finally looked at the outcome of the entire shoot with film and digital footage side by side.

The entire shoot (office and ruins) was a great success and a most enjoyable experience. While I have tried to show similar shots on film and digital in this “versus” article, we have managed to create a shortlist of over 60 fantastic images with real depth and variety.

When my favorite pictures change every time I look at them it tells me how good the shoot was.

Thanks for reading!

~ Dave

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