When making PetaPixel’s documentary about Blair Bunting’s U2 photograph shoot on the fringe of house (which it is best to actually watch now should you haven’t), one factor we determined to not give attention to was the digicam gear. However we love speaking about cameras and lenses, so Chris sat down with Blair the night earlier than his epic shoot to debate the gear he was citing in a U2 spy aircraft.
Blair spent months testing a whole lot of digicam and lens combos earlier than selecting his ultimate package. Try the video above for all the main points, however right here’s the rundown on Blair’s rigorously chosen gear.
Which Cameras Did He Take?
For his major cameras, Blair used a pair of 61-megapixel Sony a7R V mirrorless our bodies. These cameras have the best decision at present accessible in a full body mirrorless, but in addition wonderful dynamic vary. One had a battery grip connected to ensure that the battery would final the whole flight. The opposite had a digicam strap connected that sadly discovered itself wrapped across the eject lever!
Blair additionally introduced a Nikon Z7 II 42-megapixel mirrorless digicam with customized firmware designed particularly for the flight. There have been particular necessities that the cameras had all communications disabled, and Nikon was capable of present that. A Nikon Z9/8 was thought of, however Blair wished a mechanical shutter to substantiate the digicam was working, in addition to the absolute best dynamic vary.
To seize the flight, a number of GoPro HERO11 Black cameras have been within the cockpit working on exterior energy provides. These have been working customized firmware so batteries weren’t required within the digicam housing. This firmware prevented overheating on the 2 most essential digicam angles.
Which Lenses Got here Alongside for the Journey?
The precedence when choosing lenses for the Sony our bodies was discovering one thing compact that will nonetheless present top-notch picture high quality. For his beautiful photographs of Earth, Blair utilized a Voigtlander 10mm f/5.6. This lens is extraordinarily small however sharp and well-corrected. For photographing the second U2 spy aircraft, Blair chosen the extremely sharp, however nonetheless compact Sony 24-70mm f/2.8 GM II.
Blair made the choice to deliver a 3rd digicam up particularly so he may shoot a couple of photographs on his Father’s Nikkor AI 50mm f/1.4 classic lens. This required the usage of the Nikon FTZ II adapter to mount it to the Z7 II mirrorless physique. Whereas Blair says that he “wasn’t bringing it to make artwork”, the photographs this 50-year-old lens captured are really hanging.
For filters, Blair used a Breakthrough polarizer. Having the reflections of the Earth beneath and empty house above, mixed with the glass of the cockpit, created the fascinating flare patterns that Blair used to strengthen his compositions.
How Did It Go?
As Blair recounts within the full documentary, one of many Sony a7R Vs had the rear LCD fail at 65, 000 toes. The EVF was clearly unavailable because the house helmet stored Blair’s eyes a number of inches again from the eyecup. Happily, Blair felt the shutter fireplace to substantiate the digicam was operational, recalled his earlier settings, and was capable of each expose and body the photographs blind.
We have been capable of converse with Blair per week in the past for the newest PetaPixel podcast to cowl some questions which have arisen because the documentary was printed. I requested Blair if he would have finished something otherwise if he have been to do it yet again. I used to be stunned by his response that he wouldn’t change a factor. He went up with the expectation that he would seize a dozen or so good photos of the flight, and returned with over a dozen he was happy with.
The success of Blair’s shoot is a testomony to the worth of planning and testing your instruments previous to an essential venture. Blair’s diligence is a big a part of why he’s developed the popularity he has for getting iconic photographs in tough conditions, and the U2 venture is his greatest instance but.