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Thread: LF Digital Setup

  1. #1
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    Apr 2010
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    LF Digital Setup

    I've tried asking this question in the MF forum, but I got MF answers.

    I am trying to find a setup which will not be too expensive but will give me good results for close up (macro) with a digital sensor.

    I would like to improve DOF sharpness mostly, for objects around 1"-1'.
    Now I am using Canon 1Ds3 at f/22 and of course I would like to see something better, otherwise what's the point.
    The main problem is diffraction.

    I've tried Mamiya ZD with Mamiya 120mm Digital, and I saw good results at f/32.
    Other non digital lenses from Mamiya Zeiss and Schneider with not good results.

    My conclusion was that I need a digital lens.
    So I found these LF lenses:
    - Schneider 120mm f/5.6 Apo Digitar M
    - Rodenstock 120mm f/5.6 Apo-Macro-Sironar digital

    Rodenstock literature recommends movements to get DOF sharpness rather then closed aperture.

    So my questions are:
    - Assuming I have the digital back and lens, what would be a cheap way to connect them? It seems I need a sliding back adapter to focus? I found a solution for $4500 (Horseman LD) or a sliding back adapter for $2500 with a used Linhof for $500. Is this right?

    - Will the lenses I mentioned above give me a result much better than Canon or Mamiya? Is this worth the trouble for this specific application?
    Last edited by shlomi; 17th April 2010 at 11:11.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Lars's Avatar
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    Nov 2007
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    Re: LF Digital Setup

    The digital LF lenses such as Digitar 120 differ relevantly from a DSLR lens in image circle. The Digitar 120 is rated at some 100 mm or so image circle - actual coverage is closer to 190 mm, though resolution, fall-off and plane flatness makes image deteriorate a bit towards the edges (but not a whole lot). Compare that to the diagonal of 43 mm for 24x36 format.

    Focal plane tilt/shift movements are useful for extending/replacing DOF if the subject matter is flat. If you are shooting a 3-dimensional object such as jewelery then stopping down is unavoidable. This will lead to diffraction.

    I would guess that the problem you see isn't related to lens quality.

    As you move up in sensor format size, DOF will become more of a problem. A solution could actually be to move to a smaller sensor format. To get a feel for that, try using a digital compact camera at macro setting. This might give you some insight into what happens when sensor size changes.

  3. #3

    Re: LF Digital Setup

    shlomi, have you considered focus stacking instead?

  4. #4
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    Re: LF Digital Setup

    Yes, I have been using stacking.
    It works, but it is a poor man's solution - requiring work and doesn't get the best quality.
    So far I have moved from Canon to Mamiya and I am seeing nice improvements in image quality.
    DOF is much bigger - the loss of DOF due to the bigger sensor is cancelled by the gain in being able to use f/32 with no bad diffraction.
    I am working towards integrating digitars and then I expect further improvement.
    I can still do stacking on Mamiya source just as well as on Canon source and the results are better.

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