Zoe Raymond has been one of the first few models I’ve worked with and has been pivotal in honing my photographic style. It’s been a privilege to document her growing years. Together, we have created many firsts in our own respective shooting milestones.

For a long while we had been busy with our own priorities, but we would keep in touch and “see” each other’s online selfies, so it was quite refreshing to finally catch up with her in person last week. I reckon it must had been more than 2 years since we last met, as I noted she was still wearing braces back then.

After lunch we headed for a brief shoot with the lightweight Samsung NX30 mirrorless camera with 85mm f1.4 portrait lens, instead of my usual DSLR baggage. It was, for both of us, a rare shoot in recent memory. Personally, I have not been doing shoots, choosing to work on family-engaging activities like product reviews. And for her, she does mostly blog shop shoots and has not done any private theme shoots for a long time.

For our shoot, I left much of the poses and expression to her, with specific directions on the mood and feel. When I saw how the photos turned out, how she executed her expressions towards the camera, I saw the same her 6 years ago. The same way she poses, her use of facial muscles, her body language, except it’s a lot more polished, more decisive.

Shooting with the Samsung NX30 has its advantages and challenges. On one hand, the total package is so light and the image quality 85mm f1.4 portrait lens is stunning. Editing the SRW (Samsung RAW) image is no different from my Nikon D600. The wide dynamic range, faithful colour rendition, low image noise, gives me flexibility in manipulating the output. I also love how the NX30 keeps up with my shoot while saving images in RAW+S.Fine JPEG. On the other hand, using the EVF under broad daylight did not offer the same shooting comfort as the DSLR. Through the EVF, it is harder to see if exact focus is attained, especially when handling large-aperture lenses like 85mm f1.4. The shutter blackout is also longer than my Nikon DSLR.

Samsung NX20, NX30 and Nikon D600.

But in the end the image quality is just brilliant and it totally doesn’t break my back carrying photographic equipment for a lunch shoot in between work. More importantly, I do not have an equivalent lens for my Nikon.

Read her blog post about the shoot here – with more photos!

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