How to simulate a medium format camera with a DSLR

Oct 17, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

How to simulate a medium format camera with a DSLR

Oct 17, 2018

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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The “Brenizer method” isn’t exactly a new idea. In fact, it’s been around since before it was claimed by Ryan Brenizer. He was simply the one who made it popular. And we’ve covered it a few times before. But what is it? What does it do? And how do you do it?

Essentially, it’s a way to simulate the look of a larger format sensor than that which is contained inside your camera. It’s done by shooting several images at the same focus distance and aperture which are then stitched in post to create a wider field of view with a shallower relative depth of field. And in this video, Jamie Windsor shows us how.

Of course, you’re not limited to a DSLR, as shown in the video. It’ll also work with mirrorless cameras, too. And you don’t even have to use a camera with a full frame sensor. It should work just as well on an APS-C camera.

It’s a lot like stitching together any other panoramic shot. The main difference, though, is that you’d typically use a longer lens with a shallow depth of field than you would for a regular panoramic landscape or city stitch, for example. You don’t have to go with a shallow depth of field, but if you’re not doing that, then you might as well just shoot a wide angle lens, as the effect is lost.

What makes this video a little different to some other Brenizer tutorials in the past, though, is that we see a comparison to actual medium format film. We get to see if the simulation really looks anything like shooting an actual format larger than the 35mm sensor inside Jamie’s Canon 5D Mark III.

And, other than the colour, it looks pretty close.

It’s a fun technique, but with the resolution of many of today’s cameras, it can be hell on your computer’s resources to stitch them together. Worth it if you want to print huge, though.

 

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John Aldred

John Aldred

John Aldred is a photographer with over 20 years of experience in the portrait and commercial worlds. He is based in Scotland and has been an early adopter – and occasional beta tester – of almost every digital imaging technology in that time. As well as his creative visual work, John uses 3D printing, electronics and programming to create his own photography and filmmaking tools and consults for a number of brands across the industry.

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