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07.02.2016Max De Martino

Inside the bag of the X-Photographer -Max De Martino

Max De Martino

Max De Martino is a photographer of events, portraits and weddings.
His clients include companies such as Chanel, AirBnB Beyond, Luxury Retreats and Vodafone. He has always been involved in technical and creative training. For this reason, as well as being a Fujifilm X-Photographer, he is an ambassador for several companies in the photographic sector, such as SanDisk, Cactus and AlbumEpoca, as well as being the Italian trainer of Profoto. Being curious and interested in technological innovations, he takes a train, an airplane or his old motorcycle and travels whenever he can. He has visited over thirty countries and in June 2008, he was the first Western photographer to exhibit a solo exhibition in Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein. For him, photography was a clear choice: to be a photographer he quit a job as sales manager in a company that had a turnover of 100 million euro a year. --- I initially chose Fujifilm because of its portability, with the first X100. Then I noticed that besides being a small and light system, it enabled me to obtain a very high quality, also thanks to the Fujinon optics, really insurmountable. Today my kit consists of two X-T2, a GFX50S and an infrared X-T1 IR, plus a significant number of optics, to be able to perform each job with the most suitable tool.

When they asked me to prepare an article for the international Fujifilm blog and to talk about what I kept in my camera bag, I had two contrasting emotions. The first said, “Ah cool! I’m a lucky guy!”. The second, more concrete, said “Yes, great.. but I use completely different equipment according to what I must photograph. And concerning bags and backpacks, I have at least five…”
Weighing them up with my interviewer, I asked him if I could tell you about an event which I always like to hold: an off-camera flash management workshop in partnership with one of the most important photography shops in Milan; New Old Camera. My proposal was accepted immediately. Thus, here I am talking to you about what I carry around if I have to shoot in a situation where I have to recreate the light that interests me mixing it with the ambient light. 
First of all, I have not mentioned everything which is complementary and absolutely necessary for a fashion or lifestyle shoot outside of a traditional photography studio; the stands, tripods and light modifiers that, alone, occupy a big cart and much of of the trunk in the car.
Instead, I will concentrate on the equipment on a purely technological side: cameras, lenses, flashes and triggers.

Let’s start with backpack no.1:
Firstly, the bag: one of the best purchases in recent years, a ThinkTank Airport Essentials. The only one which you can always carry on board in an airplane even when there is no more space in the overhead. Its dimensions are small enough to allow it to be placed under the seat in front of you. And the capacity is extraordinary … look what it can hold…

  • 1 Fujifilm X-Pro2
  • 1 Fujifim X100T
  • 1 XF50- 140 f2.8 (a lens which I love and which is very suitable when shooting in not static situations)
  • 1 XC55-230  f4.5-6.3 (an underestimated lens but, with the right light, can give a lot of satisfaction – brought just to show its quality)
  • 1 WCL100 and TCL100 (two inseparable companions of the extraordinary X100T)
  • 1 XF 35 f2 (one of my preferred lenses over the past few years)
  • 1 Multiplier 1,4x (helpful if I need lens compression)
  • 1 XF56 f1.2 (a lens which every lover of portraits needs to have)
  • 1 XF10-24 (useful for wide field pictures)
  • 1 Flash Fujifilm EF-42 TTL
  • 1 TTL Cable (short and long)
  • 1 Cactus V6 Trigger (3 pieces to control two flashes managing the power remotely in manual mode)
  • 1 Wein Sync Link IR Trigger (perfect to control each flash that works in "slave" mode even on very short shutter speed)
  • 1 Sb-700 and a Sb-910 flashes (only survivors of my Nikon kit from years ago)
  • Three SanDisk UHS-II 64Gb SD-Card (the most reliable I’ve ever used), plus three spare memory cards
  • Various batteries for the cameras
  • 12 additional rechargeable AA batteries 
  • 1 Rogue FlashBender flash reflector (great for spreading the light of the speedlights)
  • 2 belt hooks (since I tried them, I cannot stop)
  • 1 flash bracket which allows the trigger and flash to be mounted to the stand
  • 1 Color Checker Passport (perfect to balance the white in mixed light)
  • CTO gels for the speedlights
  • accessories for the cleaning and various materials

The second backpack was dedicated to the most powerful strobe, able to overpower of the sun – recreating the most suitable light from scratch.

This backpack consisted of:

  • 2 Profoto B1 (500w)
  • 4 Li-On Batteries
  • 1 AC adapter
  • 1 Car charger
  • 1 AirRemote Trigger to manage the power and shoot remotely
  • 1 OCF ring to mount accessories such as softboxes or portable beauty dishes
  • 1 OCF grids kit
  • 1 Kit of colored gels
  • 1 barndoor kit
  • 1 Collapsible 24″ Beauty Dish
  • 1 Power adapter for foreign countries (I never take it off the bag because I don’t want to be without it when I need it)

A portion of the material contained in these two backpacks is not even used, but it is always better to have a few more pieces present at the time of the shooting.

The workshop was developed in two sessions of twenty people in the morning and the same number in the afternoon. We initially shot with the X-Pro2 and the EF-42 using TTL assisted by the cables for synchronization.
Then we went on to use the Profoto B1 managing the power manually combined with the Fuji X100T that can sync up to 1/2000 in this configuration by starting the shot with IR trigger.

With regards to HighSpeedSync – I am waiting in anticipation for the arrival of the new EF-X500 flash scheduled to be released soon. This will finally allow me to shoot up to 1/8000 on the X-Pro2!
After the X100T, was the return of the X-Pro2 combined with the old Nikon flashes to achieve a portrait with a fake sunset behind the model. 

The day was very fruitful with a lot of positive feedback from the participants. The flash light is a creature that one needs to know how to tame to be able to make it natural and bend it to our needs… When you can pull it off, the outcome is extraordinary! 
Thank you for your patience if you have been reading until this point and I hope to return to be the new host of Fujifilm’s blog!

Max De Martino