The bigger the better - part 1 of 1 2

by Mark Lawrence Published 01/11/2012


Recalling the days when a wedding or portrait photographer wouldn't have ventured out without a medium-format camera, Mark Lawrence is a great advocate for a return to the days when quality was everything.

The digital revolution changed everything seemingly in the blink of an eye, and as 35mm-style DSLRs arrived that offered eye-wateringly high megapixel counts some photographers looked at the quality they were now able to get with these compact and highly specified cameras and made the assumption that traditional medium-format was now dead in the water.

Not a bit of it as it turns out, but with more choices out there than ever before and quality levels being delivered by DSLRs that are exceeding anything a medium-format film camera might have once been able to offer, it's perhaps easy to understand the resistance some photographers have to the larger, less flexible format, and their reasons for wanting to opt for something a little more affordable.

Bracknell-based social photographer Mark Lawrence can't go along with that train of thought, however, and his upcoming workshop at the 2013 Convention will be all about the reasons why he's rediscovered medium-format and has decided that it's the perfect partner for his business.


"I started working with a digital Hasselblad a while back," he says, "and I loved everything about it, from the quality of the images it delivered through to the standard of workmanship and the feeling that I was working with something that was, without a doubt, a professional tool. I'm now looking to move across to a Mamiya 645DF camera with a Phase One iQ140 back, which will offer me similar benefits and, for my business at least, medium-format has been the right choice, and it's given me a lot of advantages over those who are working with 35mm-style DSLRs.

"For a start, a camera such as this is imposing a certain way of working on me, and even if I wanted to 'spray and pray' I wouldn't be able to with a camera such as this. I've had photographers say to me that they might shoot thousands of images at a wedding, and take a particular shot seven or eight times to make sure they got one frame that was perfect. To my mind you shouldn't need to do that if you're a photographer who knows what they're doing, and it creates an impression that you're covering yourself because you're not sure what you're going to get.

"When I go to a wedding with my medium-format camera I'm taking care over setting up a few key images, and I'll light them with a bit of thought and will use reflectors to produce something that has a real feeling of quality about it. It will be way above anything that a guest might be able to shoot and it differentiates me from other wedding photographers. When I had the Hasselblad sitting on a tripod you could guarantee that there would always be guests who would come up to me at some point to admire the camera, and you know that you are going to get a certain amount of respect by using something like this."

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1st Published 01/11/2012
last update 07/04/2022 09:17:40

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