The demands are extreme and I need to capture as much detail as possible. Because of this, I purchased a Leaf Aptus-II 12 digital back.
Kevin G Saunders
Kevin G Saunders is a photographer based in San Antonio, Texas who uses his 80 MP Leaf Aptus-II 12 for Rolleiflex Hy6 to shoot architecture, fine art and portraiture. Kevin’s clients include the likes of CBRE, the world’s largest commercial real estate services firm, and his fine art shots are in high demand by both private individuals and corporations. Kevin recently described his experiences with his Leaf digital camera back. “The Leaf Aptus-II 12 is a fabulous back. Its performance speed is impressive and of course the quality is superb. The most important thing to me is sensor size. This is as big as it gets with current technology, and having the state of the art is important for the work I do.” Kevin’s 80 MP Leaf Aptus-II serves a threefold purpose: to attract high-end clients, separate himself from the competition and to provide the amount of detail his style of work demands. “My architectural and fine art prints are huge. I have a panorama of Buckingham Fountain at Grant Park, Chicago that is 60 by 425 inches at 300 dpi resolution. My fine art orchid prints are printed up to 120 inches tall, at 300 dpi. The demands on the lens and the back are extreme and I need to capture as much detail as possible. Because of this, I purchased a Leaf Aptus-II 12 digital back.”
Kevin alternates between using his Leaf Aptus-II 12 on either a Hy6 or a view camera, depending on the type of work he’s doing and the type of lens he needs. “I can use either PQ and PQS lenses on the Hy6, and now I can choose between the Hy6 or the view camera with a Schneider APO Digitar lens. The view camera lenses produce less chromatic aberration and the image is sharper, with comparable lens focal lengths. For my panorama shots, I use a 180 mm lens with the view camera or a 350 mm PQS lens on the Hy6 to get the maximum detail. I get a shot every 2.5 degrees with the 350mm lens. On the wide end, I can use the 40mm 3.5 PQ lens on the Hy6 and the Schneider APO Digitar 47mm on the view camera with the Leaf Aptus-II 12.
I shoot tethered exclusively in the studio, using Capture One 7. In the field, I shoot tethered and also to a CF card, as the Leaf Aptus-II 12 view screen is clear enough that I know if I got the shot or not. Both cameras are used in the field about equally, with the only constant being the Leaf back.”
The orchid images displayed here are part of Kevin’s Fine Art Orchid print collection. He initially began the project with a Leaf Aptus 75s on a view camera. “The Fine Art Orchid print collection was started because I had a view camera and the Leaf Aptus 75s and both stitching and focus stacking were easy to do. Well, they aren’t easy to do perfectly but with this equipment it is possible. The medium format sensor is so much larger that more up-sampling is possible without pixilation. I still wasn’t satisfied with results on the 75s so the Leaf Aptus-II 12 was exactly the back I was looking for. With this in mind, I had to use my industrial design experience to custom fabricate some modifications to the view camera to allow the magnification that I needed for this project. No other camera that I know of is capable of doing what my Leaf-backed cameras can do.”
My father had a darkroom and he taught me the basics with his 35mm Leica, in 1968. We used to play a game whereby he had me look at a scene and guess the correct aperture and shutter speed. Learning to see the light as a youth was a great way to start out as a photographer.
I started professionally shooting when I built a studio inside my other business, an ultra-premium custom bicycle design studio. It was a global business and I couldn’t afford to hire a pro-photographer, so I figured out over years how to properly photograph the bikes. I was an aerospace industrial designer in another career and I knew what I wanted to get out of the shots, so through much practice and the help of some great mentor photographers, I eventually became quite good at product photography. At the time, I was using a Sinar P2 4 x 5 view camera as well as a DSLR camera and lenses. I started photographing people, sports, architecture and anything else that caught my fancy and before long the photography business outstripped the bicycle business which was hurt by the recession.
In 2011 I decided to move the small studio into a larger space and in April 2012 moved into a 2,400 square foot studio. It was the best decision I ever made."