Real Techniques has released its Artists Essential Set of synthetic bristle brushes for application of cosmetics products and the set impresses with the ongoing brush design innovation displayed by the brand and its owner Paris Presents Incorporated and most especially by the Chapman sisters, Nicola and Samantha.
The brand’s most recent brushes appear to no longer suffer from the problems of its first generation where the black rubber coating on the lower part of the brushes would suddenly deplasticize, making them difficult to impossible to use due to the coating turning sticky and even flowing onto other items stored with them.
Brushes with this problem can be rendered usable by soaking and rubbing the black part of their handles with methylated spirits or rubbing alcohol until it is completely removed.
I am still a newcomer to the realm of quality makeup brushes but am impressed by the Real Techniques brushes I currently have in my collection and am intrigued by the shapes and synthetic bristles of the brushes comprising this new set, the 420 Spotlight Fan Brush in particular.
217 Expert Edge Large Brush
421 Soft Accent Brush
420 Spotlight Fan Brush
317 Smudge Liner Brush
425 Lip Smudge Brush
I had a so-called natural bristle fan brush in my collection when at art school years ago, but never found a use for it and, sadly unused for so long, it eventually disappeared.
During recent online research I would come across fan brushes in other brands of cosmetics brushes but their design was essentially the same as that long-lost brush as well as more contemporary versions for painters such as those made by Escoda.
The Chapman sisters’ 420 Spotlight Fan Brush for Real Techniques takes a different approach to the humble and so often forgotten fan brush, one that makes it far more useful to the art of makeup as well as the art of painting.
Just as artists’ brush design has evolved hand over fist in recent years as demonstrated by Escoda’s ÚLTIMO brushes made from Tendo synthetic fibres, reportedly imitating the qualities of squirrel hair to a remarkable degree, so has the design of cosmetics brushes.
It is inspiring to see Nicola and Samantha Chapman at the forefront of this revolution, and I look forward to seeing their Artists Essentials set for Real Techniques appear in the stores where I live.
We need to see more success stories like theirs, where women prove their creativity and ability to innovate over and over again in fields too often dominated by men but where women offer unique insights and advantages.
Real Techniques Artist Essentials Set
Real Techniques Artist Essentials Set.
The 425 Lip Smudger brush in the Real Techniques Artist Essentials Set.
The 317 Smudge Liner brush in the Real Techniques Artist Essentials Set.
The 420 Spotlight Fan brush in the Real Techniques Artist Essentials Set.
The 420 Spotlight Fan brush in the Real Techniques Artist Essentials Set.
The most important lesson that I learned in art school was buy the very best brushes that you can afford, and the second most important was to clean them carefully, thoroughly and regularly.
I preferred the relatively new acrylic paints over traditional alternatives such as watercolour, gouache, tempera and oil paints, and applied my acrylics with hog bristle, sable and synthetic fibre brushes as well as palette and painting knives for more vigorous effects.
Synthetic fibre brushes were somewhat primitive in those days and so I reserved them for less exacting tasks, hoping that they would improve and perhaps someday surpass in quality the pricey and often fragile brushes made from natural fibres.
Besides being cruelty-free, those synthetic fibre brushes handled acrylic paint better than natural fibre alternatives though synthetic fibre brushes lacked the handling finesse of so-called natural fibre brushes.
Some Real Techniques brush sets and accessories from which to build your collection
Start at the upper leftmost image and click rightwards to see how thorough the Chapman sisters and the Real Techniques product developers have been in creating a rational cosmetics application system, filling every gap in a way I have not seen in any other brand.
Real Techniques Prep + Prime Set: “The prep + prime set has 4 skin prep tools for your pre-makeup routine. These tools help create a smoother skin surface for better makeup application.”
Real Techniques Complexion Blender Brush: “MIX MAKEUP WITH SKIN CARE PRODUCTS. The complexion blender brush has a unique swirled cut for blending skin care products with your favorite makeup for a smooth, natural complexion.” Use in conjunction with the Real Techniques Prep + Prime Set when preparing skin before applying makeup.
Real Techniques Color Correcting Set: “EVENLY APPLY + BLEND COLOR CORRECTING CONCEALERS. Make color correcting easier with the color correcting set. Apply, buff, and blend color correcting concealers for an even tone complexion before makeup application. Each brush corresponds to a key correcting concealer color to avoid color mixing.” A brilliant idea for keeping colour correcting cosmetics separate and clean by allocating one brush for each correction colour. Some faces need correcting in several different colours and I gave seen makeup artists use the same brush for different colours, needlessly diluting them and making extra work for themselves.
Sephora Collection Must-Have Face Palette: “Curated colour sets to demystify contouring, colour correction, strobing, and blush sculpting.” Almost a perfect match for Real Techniques Color Correcting Set.
Real Techniques Expert Face Brush: “OUR #1 BEST-SELLING BRUSH. Our expert face brush is ultra firm and broad for perfectly buffed foundation and an airbrushed finish. Ideal for cream and liquid foundations.”
Real Techniques Flawless Base Set comprising contour brush, detailer brush, buffing brush, square foundation brush and brush cup.
Real Techniques Sculpting Set: “NATURAL CONTOURING. Accentuate favorite features, create defined contours for added depth, or simply enhance your natural bone structure with our sculpting set. With the use of light and dark makeup this set gives you the flexibility to take your look to the next level.”
Real Techniques Brow Set: “Create the perfect arch with our brow set. We have included all of the tools you need to clean up, fill in, define, shape, and highlight your brows.”
Real Techniques Enhanced Eye Set comprising medium shadow brush, essential crease brush, fine liner brush, shading brush, lash separator and brush cup.
Real Techniques Perfect Crease Duo: “FOR A DEFINED CREASE. The perfect crease duo brushes are designed for an easy to achieve defined crease. Use with eye shadows.”
Real Techniques Instapop Eye Duo: “HIGH IMPACT COLOR WITHOUT THE MESS. The instapop eye brush duo is designed for full coverage shadow application. Use to sweep on loose pigment shadows.”
Real Techniques Eye Detail + Define: “PAIRED FOR EXPERT EYELINER APPLICATION. The eye detail + define brushes are designed for precision eyeliner looks…. Bonus Liner Guide For steady liner application.”
Real Techniques Eye Shade + Blend: “EASY APPLICATION. The eye shade + blend brushes are designed for easy two-color shadow application.”
Real Techniques Eye Smudge + Diffuse: “FROM SUBTLE TO DRAMATIC, OUR EYE SMUDGE + DIFFUSE TWO PACK IS PAIRED FOR EASY EYE LINER BLURRING. The eye smudge + diffuse brushes are designed for expert smudging and blurring of eye makeup. “
Real Techniques Lip Color + Blur: “The lip color + blur brushes are designed for easy application of on trend lip looks and effects.”
Real Techniques Instapop Cheek Brush: “HIGH IMPACT COLOR WITHOUT THE MESS. The Instapop Cheek Brush is designed for one-sweep application of bold cheek color.”
Real Techniques Blush Brush: “FOR A FLAWLESS FINISH. Preferred 2-to-1 over a leading department store brand. Our blush brush is custom-cut to contour and define cheeks for flawlessly blended, high definition results.”
Real Techniques PowderBlue Collection: “FauxBleu™ Technology engineered to layer powders evenly for a soft, flawless finish. Known for its fine filaments, luxurious softness, and flawless powder application, blue squirrel hair is the one of the rarest and softest bristles used in prestige makeup brushes. Our FauxBleu™ Technology uses synthetic bristles engineered to perform as well as blue squirrel hair.” These sound amazing, cruelty-free and of the same high quality as the legendary Russian Blue Squirrel brushes used by top watercolour and gouache painters in preference to sable.
Real Techniques Blend + Blur Brushes: Look perfect for short-sighted spectacle wearers like me who must get up close to the mirror or apply makeup between spectacles and eye lids.
Real Techniques Rebel Edge Trio: “Cropped head puts you in control to define + blend powders your way.”
Real Techniques Foundation Blender: “FOR FOUNDATION. Small, dense bristles blend + buff for flawless foundation coverage. Blend. Press. Buff.”
Real Techniques Face + Body Blender: “FOR FOUNDATION + BRONZER. Large, dense bristles blend + buff for even full body coverage. Blend. Press. Buff.”
Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Palette: “Great makeup application starts with a clean brush. The brush cleansing palette helps sweep away makeup, oil, and impurities from bristles to give you truer, more consistent color application.” I have used this palette with a range of brushes and M·A·C Brush Cleanser fluid and it works better than any other brush cleaning method. I have yet to try Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Gel.
Real Techniques Brush Cleansing Gel: “Designed for deep cleaning, with the cleansing power of a concentrate, this formula is laboratory proven to effectively remove nearly all makeup residue*. It removes what you see…and even impurities you can’t see for a new brush clean.”
Real Techniques Stick & Store Organizer: “Tame your counter clutter – keep everyday essentials clean and within reach!… Sturdy silicone with Miracle Cling™ technology sticks instantly and adheres strongly to glossy surfaces yet peels off easily so you can remove and reposition.” Excellent idea! In my experience most bathrooms are small with inadequate bench top space and inadequate storage via drawers and closets making it way too hard to be organized and lay out your cosmetics and tools for easy use. These storage containers can apparently stick to mirrors or tiled walls.
Real Techniques Stick & Dry Brush Drying Rack: “Tame your counter clutter! Sturdy silicone with Miracle Cling™ technology sticks instantly and adheres strongly to glossy surfaces yet peels off easily so you can remove and reposition.” A brilliant idea for drying brushes without laying them down flat on a bench top or towel and risking them drying out of shape.
Real Techniques 3 Pocket Organizer: “CLINGS TO MIRRORS + MORE! MIRACLE CLING™ giving any space instant beauty storage”
Real Techniques 6 Miracle Sponges: “3 STEPS: COVER. CORRECT. COLOR. These essential 6 miracle sponges are the key to well-blended, airbrushed looks.”
Real Techniques Everyday Essentials: “FOR FOUNDATION + CONCEALER + BLUSH + HIGHLIGHTER + SHADOW. Your one and done set to master pro-styled looks! Cover. Color. Blend.” A good starter set for basic looks?
A while back I was preparing for a personal portrait photography project aimed at depicting female creatives in their workspaces.
During my Australian magazine editorial portrait career, photographers rarely had the time or the budgets for assistants, hair and makeup artists or high-end lighting equipment.
I had experienced something very different in my time working on the other side of the fence at magazines and in advertising agencies in the United Kingdom, and the necessity for a creative team and adequate time was proven again and again.
It helped that the photographers I was commissioning and production-managing were often at the top of the profession, were accustomed to being treated well and I was paying them ample fees and costs to do their job to the very best of their and their teams’ abilities.
In other words, the very opposite to what I and my fellow magazine photographers had experienced over the years in our own country.
I was determined to do it differently in my personal portrait photography projects and, with the help of a little knowledge gleaned from watching my former partner at work as a UK-based MAC makeup artist, decided to build a collection of cosmetics and makeup brushes and accessories to carry with me.
I am no makeup artist, have no high-end training in the profession like my ex-partner, but quickly learned the necessity of providing for skilled hair and makeup professionals when commissioning photographs of female and male subjects for magazine and advertising shoots.
Now I would have to stand in as one for my own projects or at the very least provide a well-rounded kit for my subjects to use as needed.
Discovering Real Techniques
When I came across several Real Techniques brushes in a Sydney city Priceline store, I was gobsmacked.
Here were synthetic fibre brushes miles ahead of the early ones I had used and found so frustrating during my art school days and beyond.
I bought one and found it was made to a standard I had not seen in the synthetic fibre brushes I often perused in the high end art supply stores I sometimes dropped into while working on urban documentary projects in the city.
The late photographer and fashion stylist Karl Lagerfeld apparently used top quality makeup brushes when creating his fashion designs, fashion illustrations and caricatures, and I could see myself using Real Techniques brushes for applications in photography and design as well as in applying makeup.
As more Real Techniques brushes began showing up in a couple of CBD Priceline stores, I added more to my collection and hoped that the Real Techniques might organize their brushes into sets for specific tasks.
Watching my former partner doing makeup at model test shoots confirmed that line of work was as skilled and as creative as any other creative profession and as reliant on possessing the best tools and consumables money could buy.
My project is set aside
Ill health and other factors over which I had no control meant I had to put off my documentary portrait photography project, but recently I began assembling the kit needed to resume it when health and other conditions improve.
My Real Techniques brush collection, still not as complete as I would have liked, had been carefully stored in a dedicated closet well away from each other and any volatile substances or fluids, and went unused for several years.
Then moving day came and I discovered to my horror that my Real Techniques brush collection had succumbed to the same fate as some other treasured objects.
All of my Real Techniques brushes have black rubberized lower handles, all the better for good grip in the same way as our collection of full-size Esprit umbrellas, LensPen screen and sensor cleaning tools and even some control buttons and dials on our Mercedes sports car (secondhand but well-loved and cared-for by previous owner).
All these items have succumbed to their black rubber coating deplasticizing often to the point of liquidizing, becoming sticky and unusable to various degrees, picking up detritus that becomes embedded in their surfaces and then transfers to the fingers and other items of equipment.
I dropped into a couple of Priceline pharmacy stores not far from where I live to see if Real Techniques products were still being sold here, and found that the company’s product range had expanded considerably since I bought my brushes.
Going online to the Real Techniques website revealed even more new and more specialized products than appeared in-store.
Although some of the brushes on sale appear to be made with a rubber-looking black coating on their lower handles, many others looked as if they were made with plastic down there rather than rubber.
Has Real Techniques replaced the deplasticizing black rubber of its earlier generation brushes with a material less prone to the same break-down?
So far my enquiries have not drawn definitive conclusions but I certainly hope they will soon.
My initial tests with the brushes several years ago were so encouraging that I was prepared to invest hard-earned readies in a collection of them.
The black rubber’s liquefaction on all brushes in my collection is disappointing, to say the least, just as the same degradation in my LensPen items, Esprit umbrellas and Mercedes control surfaces was disappointing.
Have these coatings not been tested properly before applying them to product runs?
Were they simply a fashionable gimmick at the time and were they withdrawn when purchasers began complaining?
The makers of those other items did not have any useful advice as to what could be done to render them usable again, but I am hoping for something better with my Real Techniques brushes.
Meanwhile I have been looking at those brush and accessories sets in the photo gallery further up this page, pondering how they might help contribute to a well-rounded hair and makeup location kit like the rather larger one my ex used to carry around all over the UK, Europe and the Middle East.
I need something I can transport around Sydney in a backpack, containing enough tools and cosmetics to at least subtly groom my subjects if not do a full hair and makeup job if needed before photographing them.
Time to get into practise on myself?
Meanwhile, I have provided a number of links below if you wish to read up on Real Techniques and the inspirational sisters who front the brand and teach makeup techniques on their online channels, one sister being a former MAC professional makeup artist.
I am still in dialogue with the customer support representatives at the Real Techniques brand’s parent company Paris Presents Incorporated but so far there has been no useful resolution nor any suggestions from them as to how to make my Real Techniques brushes usable or whether the company will take responsibility for its products and replace them.
The latest email from Real Techniques appears to be a deflection, in fact.
Here is the first reply:
Thanks so much for your email, we really appreciate the feedback. Many customers have found that sometimes brush cleaner can make the rubber handle peel or bubble. Try not to put any wet brushes next to the handles of other brushes, or get them wet in any way. This often happens when customers clean on the go and then throw the brushes in a case to transport them.
Here is the second:
Thanks for reaching out. Can you please give us an approximate purchase date, the name of the retailer, and the name printed on the side of the brush?
And here is the latest:
Were so sorry to hear what happened! Please contact the retailer where your product was purchased for a solution according to their return policy. Unfortunately, we cant accept returns for products purchased from retailers, but we trust that all our retailers have fair return policies.
Australian retailers often have a seven or sometimes fourteen day returns policy on products that are clearly defective when purchased, and I seem to recall that under Australian law the return and replacement period may be longer, possibly thirty days.
Retailers always ask for the cash register receipts as proof of purchase but the ink on cash register receipts rapidly fades to the point of invisibility, so keeping old and ancient cash register receipts just in case a product later proves unfit for purpose is a pointless exercise.
I do not have the receipts from when I purchased all my Real Techniques brushes, so fronting up to the various Priceline stores in the city from whence they came may well also prove to be a pointless exercise.
Some manufacturers take full responsibility for their products whether they prove defective at purchase or unfit for purpose over time, and offer full replacements.
For example, LensPen replaced one of their lens cleaning pens after the cleaning surface suddenly popped off of its own volition while sitting in a storage box.
I have followed up my initial enquiry about the defective LensPen Lap Top-Pro screen and keyboard cleaners and LensPen SensorKlear Loupe Kit with the LensPen folks and am hoping for a similarly positive outcome.
The Esprit umbrella situation is unresolved as the company closed its stores here and I have yet to make contact with the company’s head office.
Again, I no longer have the faded-to-blank cash register receipts from the long-closed Esprit store Pitt Street Mall store.
I would love to know the true story behind this black rubber coating that seems to have been popular amongst product manufacturers but that turned out to be such an abject failure.
Hopefully it is no longer in use.
I wish to see the original developer of this coating take full responsibility for it as well as the manufacturers that were duped into using it.
Whatever you do, do not ask anyone who has never had this problem for suggestions and solutions as they can be widely off the mark.
A friend just came by, looked at the computer stand that I currently have soaking in a bowl of methylated spirits and told me I would be better off spraying it in layers of epoxy resin to seal in the liquified rubber compound.
Stick with soaking in and rubbing with methylated spirits and you will be okay.
Avoid vicious solvents like full strength acetone, lacquer thinners, petrol, kerosene and anything else helpful friends suggest.
Especially avoid making the problem exponentially worse by spraying or dipping thew affected object with paints, lacquers, resins and all sorts of nasties.
After discovering the problem with my Real Techniques brushes, I did a thorough search throughout all my possessions and found that this nasty black substance has been used on all manner of items including automobile interiors and control surfaces, mirrors, photographic equipment, television sets, radios, hi-fi equipment, computer accessories, pens, and plenty of other items whether cheap or expensive, old or new.
EcoTools– website – “Armed with a mission to make women look beautiful on the outside and feel just as good on the inside, sisters Jen and Stacey set out to create a brush collection that was not only environmentally friendly, but chic, high-quality, and affordable too. After sourcing recycled materials, renewable bamboo and better manufacturing processes, in 2007, EcoTools® was born.”
Kryolan – “There is only one real professional make-up maker. There is only one Kryolan. Kryolan have been supplying the film, theater and television industries for over 70 years, which makes us one of the world’s first professional make-up brands. We’re still the number one choice for make-up artists today, thanks to our extensive range of over 16,000 high-quality make-up products and accessories.”
M·A·C – “Make-Up Art Cosmetics started life in Toronto, Canada. Makeup artist and photographer Frank Toskan and salon owner Frank Angelo became frustrated by the lack of makeup that photographed well, so they decided to create their own.”
Some of the many things I miss from my time in the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe include the many wonderful agent and artist show-and-tells, art and photography festivals, book launches, face-to-face interviews, gallery and museum shows, meets-and-greets, movie premieres, new venue openings, portfolio reviews, presentations, private members’ clubs meet-ups, product launches, professional organization events, sneak previews, trade shows and private meetings with fellow moviemakers, photographers and other artists at all stages in their careers.
That sense of belonging to a constantly active and vibrant creative community is crucial to the development of any artist and is as important as the mutual respect shared amongst students, starters, established and late-career artists alike that I observed many times overseas.
I experienced a reminder of all that when I attended a presentation by Ray Martin, Australian journalist and television presenter, at the recently opened photography concept store Ted’s World of Imaging in Pitt Street, Sydney, last Saturday.
Mr Martin described himself as a street photographer and related his late start as a photographer while working as a journalist, carrying a superzoom bridge camera on location during assignments.
After starting to take photography more seriously, he invested in a range of cameras and lens brands including Canon and Panasonic, and over a year ago was given a Fujifilm GFX 50S for use on location in travels around Australia with landscape photographer Ken Duncan.
Portrait photography of Ray Martin made by Karin Gottschalk with Fujifilm X-Pro2 and Fujinon XF 56mm f/1.2 R in available light as seven HDR bracket raw files merged in SkylumAurora HDR 2019 then finished in Skylum Luminar 2018 and Adobe Photoshop.
Other photographs made with Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 with Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 12-40mm f/2.8 Pro lens.
“This product is custom designed for Sony A7RIII, A7III and A9 cameras. Both the base plate and the side plate are of Arca-Swiss standard. It mounts to the camera’s tripod socket and extends 20mm height for more comfortable gripping. The side plate is detachable and slidable as per your needs. Accessories such as hand straps, and Metabones adapter support 1764 could be attached to it, providing more stability….”
SmallRig L-Bracket for Sony A7III/A7RIII/A9 2122, SmallRig Cold Shoe Mount 1593 and SmallRig Lens Adapter Support 1764
I was browsing through the pages of the SmallRig video camera accessories website this morning when I handed upon what appears to be the company’s very first L-bracket, for Sony’s Alpha a7 III, Alpha a7R III and Alpha a9 mirrorless 35mm sensor format hybrid stills/video cameras.
This is an exciting development especially as SmallRig’s design provides for mounting on Arca-Swiss tripods heads or adapters, allows access to the cameras’ batteries, and looks sturdy and well-machined.
L-brackets can come in handy when using hybrid cameras for video and stills, in portrait and landscape format, swapping rapidly from one to the next.
Some manufacturers such as 3 Legged Thing make universal L-brackets that can fit a range of cameras with varying degrees of usability and ability to easily access batteries, media cards and other essential hardware features but there is no question that custom L-brackets designed to fit their intended camera perfectly are the best option by far.
Regrettably though, custom L-brackets are not always available for specific cameras nor are they always designed and manufactured in the way one might desire.
For example, I am still looking for a good enough L-bracket for my beloved Panasonic Lumix DMC-GX8 hybrid professional rangefinder-style camera.
The GX8 remains one of my favourite and most-used professional-quality cameras for stills photography and video even though it was supposed to be “superseded” or “updated” by Panasonic with the enthusiast-level Panasonic Lumix DC-GX9, a marketing misstep about which I have written in several articles here at ‘Untitled’.
I and a good many others are still waiting for Panasonic to come up with the actual professional-quality rangefinder-style successor to the GX8.
Meanwhile, getting back to L-brackets, the best GX8 L-bracket so far had vanished from sale just before I discovered it, though its design was far from perfect and was neither as advanced as SmallRig’s solution for the Sony A-series cameras nor as affordable.
Nor did that disappeared GX8 L-bracket offer the option of attaching a special cold shoe for mounting microphones or other accessories off to the camera’s side, or a lens adapter support below the lens while securely screwed onto the L-bracket itself.
I ended up buying a GX8 camera cage from SmallRig as a form of consolation gift to myself, but a cage and an L-bracket are two different things made to solve two different sets of problems even though, as SmallRig has illustrated in its Sony L-bracket product page, an L-bracket can be useful to moviemakers too.
I encourage SmallRig to consider making L-brackets for other cameras.
“In 2002 Peter Lindbergh was tasked with shooting his second Pirelli Calendar, aptly named Peter Lindbergh’s Hollywood, which was the first of its kind to feature actresses rather than the usual ultra airbrushed and scantily clad models. In it, the chosen women made Lindbergh’s images come alive with a sense of their own narrative, in way that Pirelli had never seen before…”
The Ambassadors teaches us how to use light, location and objects to tell a story in one frame.
Portrait of Christina of Denmark shows us how to depict someone so it feels like we are standing in their presence, as if in Holbein’s shoes, forever.
Environmental and full-figure portraiture are two of my favourite photographic genres that quickly became specialities during my magazine editorial days, creating them with tripod-mounted sheet film or 120 roll film cameras, with or without flash or continuous lights supplementing the lighting I found on location.
The medium format option
Although relatively affordable digital medium format cameras and lenses are here with the arrival of Fujifilm’s GFX 50S and its reportedly excellent lenses, medium format photography remains relatively unaffordable for me right now and for the foreseeable future.
I have learned to bypass version 1.0 of most new moviemaking or photography hardware unless there is a truly compelling reason to be an early adopter, another reason why I have passed on the GFX 50S.
I do look forward to seeing what comes of the GFX 100S and wonder whether a rangefinder-style GFX camera might be in the works some day, one drawing on Fujifilm’s remarkable 120 roll film rangefinder camera heritage.
Meanwhile Panasonic may already have their own solution to my high resolution, high image quality portrait photography needs in the Lumix DC-G9’s 80-megapixel high res mode.
All that I have seen so far in Panasonic’s marketing web pages is a low res landscape, the genre in which I am least likely to ever want to photograph.
Imaging Resource has explored high resolution modes via pixel shift in several Olympus and Pentax cameras, links below, so I won’t reiterate their findings.
Quite how Panasonic does it in the G9, whether shifting by half or full pixels, remains to be seen and Imaging Resource will no doubt produce a similar article on it soon.
Meanwhile, according to Imaging Resource’s Mike Tomkins and William Brawley:
“The G9 takes eight separate frames in quick succession and composites the individual frames together in-camera. Like other pixel-shift high-res modes from other camera makers, the G9’s comes with similar limitations, or rather, appropriate use-cases. The high-res mode on the G9 is best suited for still life, architecture or certain landscape subjects without any moving subject matter.”
What is it good for?
I beg to differ on their list of subjects best-suited to the G9’s 80.6 megapixel pixel shifting high resolution mode, and so, it appears, do Panasonic UK’s Carol Hartfree and UK-based Lumix Ambassador Ross Grieve.
Both have just begun exploring the G9’s high res mode for portraiture and both report their first impressions in glowing terms.
“… my first test is impressive.”
“We have just had a go and it works like an absolute dream as long as you and the model is very still. It works particularly well with a good prime…. Stupid excited!”
“We were discussing formal portraiture earlier and the fact that people don’t really do it any more. Using the G9 in this way, on a tripod with slowish exposures might really lend itself.”
Formal, casual and all forms in between may be more popular than meets the eye judging by the slew of portrait photography award, books, competitions, Instagram accounts and websites I came across in the course of researching this article.
I have long wanted to find affordable digital analogues for the way I successfully made casual and formal portraits in sheet and 120 roll film during my magazine photography career, affordable being the key word.
Rolleiflex 4.0 FT twin lens reflex telephoto portrait camera, special edition.
Linhof Master Technika Classic 4″x5″ sheet film view camera. Photograph courtesy of Linhof.
Fujica GW690 120 roll film rangefinder camera, image kindly released into the public domain by Jfriedl.
I had three distinct approaches – documentary-style with a Rolleiflex twin lens reflex camera, environmental or full figure or face close-up with 4″x5″ view cameras, and less frequently a casual medium format rangefinder approach.
Fujifilm’s X-Pro2 does an impressive job of matching if not surpassing the image and handling qualities of its many generations and variations of 120 roll film rangefinder cameras under the Fujica brand name.
Panasonic’s GX8 provides a rare digital equivalent to Rolleiflex twin lens reflex cameras with its magnifying waist-level viewfinder-emulating tilting EVF, a unique feature I hope will continue in the Panasonic Lumix GX9.
While the only exact digital equivalent of a multifaceted sheet film view camera like the Linhof 4×5 Master Technika Classic is a Linhof 4×5 Master Technika Classic with Phase One digital back, I suspect that the Panasonic Lumix G9 may provide good enough emulation of its high resolution image qualities, minus the camera movements.
“Good enough” being enough high resolution to produce large exhibition prints with more detail and more sense of the sitter’s presence than I can achieve right now with 20 megapixel and 24 megapixel mirrorless cameras.
Some portraits as evidence?
A couple of photographers with access to pre-production G9s have agreed to shoot and send me some portraits made in 80 megapixel high res mode, and I will share them here when they arrive.
Panasonic Lumix DC-G9 – until I learned about its high resolution mode, I might have passed over this camera and defaulted to relying on the GH5 for stills as well as video.
Olympus M.Zuiko Digital ED 17mm f/1.2 PRO Lens – moderately wide prime lens for environmental portraiture for a sense of a figure enclosed within a space. I prefer lenses with manual clutch focus mechanisms for focussing accuracy especially when using wide open apertures.
Rotolight AEOS 2-Light LED Kit – an excellent self-contained two LED light kit for continuous light or flash, with high output for its colour accuracy, versatility, weight and size, that can be used with optional barndoors.
Tweed Regional Gallery & Margaret Olley Art Centre – Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture – “The Olive Cotton Award for photographic portraiture is a $20,000 biennial national award for excellence in photographic portraiture dedicated to the memory of photographer Olive Cotton.”
“Liz Ham started taking photos of women in the punk scene because she wanted to pay tribute to a diverse community that, in her experience, was welcoming, supportive and liberating for the women and girls who were part of it. Now her new book, Punk Girls, brings together more than 100 of these portraits – including of rock stars, activists, artists, performers and musicians – to celebrate the colourful and confident rule-breakers and nonconformists of Australia’s underground….
THURSDAY 16 NOVEMBER 2017 – BETTER READ THAN DEAD, NEWTOWN
Celebrate the launch of the Punk Girls book at one of Sydney’s leading independent bookstores and be the first to have the author, Liz Ham, sign your copy. 6.30pm | drinks served | free of charge
THURSDAY 23 NOVEMBER 2017 – SUN STUDIOS, ALEXANDRIA
In partnership with Young Henrys and Sun Studios, Manuscript Publishing will host an evening celebrating women in punk. With performances by Bam Bam, Betty Grumble, Mahla Bird, Venus Vamp and DJ Scarlett Scar, and a special range of merchandise accompanying the book, there’s never been a better time to unleash your inner punk. 6.30pm | drinks served | free of charge RSVP: firstname.lastname@example.org
THURSDAY 30 NOVEMBER 2017 – BRUNSWICK BOUND, BRUNSWICK
Melbourne, it’s your turn to celebrate with Liz Ham, as the Punk Girls author returns to the southern state to celebrate alongside the inspiring women that feature in the book. Get your copy signed in person at leading bookstore Brunswick Bound. 6.30pm | drinks served | free of charge RSVP: email@example.com
SATURDAY 2 DECEMBER 2017 – STATE LIBRARY OF NSW, SYDNEY
Join us at the State Library of New South Wales’ Metcalf Auditorium for a fascinating panel discussion between Liz Ham, Emma Price (The Kingpins), Ollie Henderson (the House of Riot) and Sydney councillor Jess Scully.
2-3pm | $10.00“
“… As I waited, my eye was drawn to the rows of digital displays hanging throughout the departure lounge. Normally displaying advertisements and train departure times, instead these boards were illuminated with a series of photographic portraits.
This was part of Portrait of Britain, a collaboration between the British Journal of Photography and the digital billboard operator JCDeaux, who came together to display 100 portraits of contemporary Britons on digital signage across the country….”
“… Although every portrait shoot is interesting for different reasons, working with actors has frequently proved the most enjoyable. “They have an inherent understanding of the craft and being in front of a lens… The pictures often feel like a gift.” But, he adds, “photographing ‘normal’ people is the most rewarding. The time constraints are often less pressured and I’m offered a genuine window into someone’s life that I would never have had had I not been a photographer.”…”