Fashion and beauty photographer Sonja Dirscherl aka MIA ROYAL tested exclusively the new ZEISS Touit 2.8/50M against the tough conditions of a studio. And she is enthusiastic. The light and flexible combination of a system camera with a Touit exceeded expectations compared to a full-frame camera — that latter the ‘normal’ benchmark for professional photography.
Today DSLR cameras are state of the art for studio photography. But powerful compact system cameras (CSC) are increasingly becoming a viable option in this discipline too. And Sonja Dirscherl, a fashion and beauty photographer from Cologne, couldn’t agree more. She discovered the X system from Fujifilm and likes how light and flexible these cameras are. When working with a compact system camera in the studio, she doesn’t disappear behind a large single-lens reflex camera, but instead can communicate directly with her models during a shoot. In other words, she is both present and unobtrusive at the same time. When asked last fall whether she wanted to try the new Touit 2.8/50M exclusively before the official launch, she immediately said yes — and was surprised by the excellent results.
Together with one of her clients, a professional make-up school in Cologne, Dirscherl organized a six-hour shoot in December 2013. “The graduates of pro academy learn make-up techniques that are in demand in photography, film and television. They use finely pigmented high-end cosmetics because today’s cameras can pick up even the tiniest blemish and imperfection of the skin,” she says. Five young make-up artists carried out their “final thesis” on five models, which provided Dirscherl with ample opportunity to test the Touit 2.8/50M. “The macro characteristics of the Touit really add value in my work,” she says. “Thanks to the large magnification power that is possible, I can easily take detailed shots of such details as lips or eyes, where you can clearly identify the structure of a single hair, pore and even the pigmentation of the eye shadow. That level of detail is expected these days from a lens in cosmetics photography. At the same time, I barely had to do any extra work during the editing – for example for re-sharpening.”
One particular feature – autofocus - is particularly important for Dirscherl. Characteristic for the Touit family, autofocus is generally unusual for ZEISS. “I can’t really use manual focusing in my work because in fashion photography you want to have the body language, which comes from the model’s movements. For this, I need equipment that reacts immediately; otherwise the poses change before I can capture them. In this sense the Touit 2.8/50M really won me over. It not only has a pleasant surface feel, which ensures good handling, but also a super-fast autofocus with a short reaction time.”
Reacting fast is vital in studio photography, but of course the center of attention is always the final image, as Dirscherl herself emphasizes. “For a professional photographer like myself, Touit lenses are extremely interesting. For me, a fixed focal length is always my first choice because I am dependent on a higher focus and strong contrast. In portrait and fashion photography, it is extremely important that there are no anatomic distortions in the images, for example as a result of converging lines. The 50 mm focal length of the Touit 2.8/50M is ideally suited for this. It creates a fantastic, natural-looking depiction of the models.”
Dirscherl also likes the balanced color rendering of the Touit 2.8/50M. The colors are neither overloaded nor too neutral, but rather harmonious, in particular the skin tones. This is particularly noticeable in black and white; there are no visible contrasts. The image is so rich in detail that you can also see the mid-range tones. And there’s a certain dynamism achieved across the entire image, which harmoniously ‘rounds out’ the picture. The excellent detail and homogeneous skin complexion are also striking in a positive way.
“I always compare my photographic work to the standard of a full-frame camera. And with the Touit 2.8/50M, in combination with a system camera, I can truly say: the comparison totally works. Although system cameras are still uncommon in the studio, the Touit is outstanding to use for high-end photography.”
About Sonja Dirscherl
Sonja Dirscherl trained as a graphic designer, but later entered fashion purchasing. It was during this time that she privately started taking photographs. As an autodidact fashion and beauty photographer she acquired her skill through a lot of "learning by doing" and finally set up her own successful business in 2009. Today she counts such well-known names as Germany’s Next Topmodel, international magazines und various artists among her clients. She writes for DigitalPHOTO and teaches at the FUJIFILMSchool and the DigitalPHOTO Academy.