Well, after a good two months of studying the different offerings I have come to the point that I am to put in the order within the next couple of weeks. It has been tough, starting completely from scratch.
I learned early on that there is no setup that is best in everything, there are pros and cons with just about every single component and as soon as I have found something I really really like, then there is a downside that makes it not so attractive anymore. Start again.....
Obviously the my personal fight in choosing the right equipment for me has been a limited budget and at the same time knowing exactly what I need. It does not add up. The stuff I want costs more than I can afford. Simple fact and tough on your mind!
I think that the first component I decided on was that I want to go with Alpa! I know, not the cheapest route.....but I figured that I limit myself to a 2 lens setup and the whole idea is that I am going to make money on it, so it is just a question of having patience. (I should add that I am an established working pro).
The Alpa STC is a such a goodlooking piece of equipment that I cannot resist it So that decision was settled a month ago!
Next, another quite important question. Which DB? Well, the IQ series is ofcourse extremely tempting, but it is a definite no-go because of cost. It is just impossible. That leaves me with a choice between 3 backs. Aptus 7 or 8 or a Hassy CFV 50. The Hassy slightly more costly. The Aptus 8 got out of play also for the reason that I intend to compose on groundglas. (May I add that I thouroughly enjoy composing on GG).
In the end I am going with the Aptus 7 and this has to do with the overall value (especially now with the new GUI from Leaf). It is the cheapest way in but still can deliver very clean files and totally accepted by any size client.
OK, I have settled on an STC coupled with an Aptus 7. Good start. Now the really difficult part comes into play. The choice of 2 lenses. This has made me toss my thoughts back and forth with numerous combinations.
Before I go any further with my lens choice I should explain that my bread and butter for many years has been architectural photography, specialising in large residence interiors. (I have been using Canon 1ds3 and all the Tse lenses). So, I do need a wide for interiors and I need a moderate wide for exteriors, to start with.
Now, composing with (the excellent) Alpa pro ground glass means that I really want to choose lenses as fast as possible so the image is nice and clear. Lenses that require centre filter is a no-go becasue of this. For interiors I therefore go for the Rodenstock HR-S28. Yes, the downside is it weighs tons, is really expensive and must be corrected for distortion. But, I am not into stitching, never have been, which means that on single shots from any of the Rodies they are nicely corrected with the Alpa corrector software.
So, the slight distortion is a no issue. The HR-S28 is bright with f4.5 and requires no CF and it still translates to a 20mm lens in 35mmFF. Actually, that is my absolute favorite length for interiors. I found many times my Canon 17Tse produced nice images, but it is that little too wide to make the room look realistic. I have had clients requesting me not to use the 17, and rather shoot the 24 throughout the shoot.
Anyway, I appreciate the f4.5 on the GG instead of the f5.6 from the HR-S23 (imagine if you also must use the CF) and the width is perfect. Ofcourse I realise that it is 'only' 70mm image circle, but for interiors I tend to use rise/fall at a lesser extent and when I do, in the real world I understand that you can get away with as much as 10mm with my DB and that is brilliant when needed.
The second lens of my choice is the Rodenstock HR-W50. This translates into a 36mm in 35mmFF. Perfect lens for exteriors IMO. This lens I can use the full rise/fall capability of 18mm with the STC. A workhorse. On top it is a really nice f4.0 to seal the deal....nice on the GG! It is also nice to know that both these lenses are very sharp already at f5.6 and also great edge sharpness. This is more important than size and weight.
Here the fun stops. The funds empty and I have no possiblity go further. But, what the hell, not a bad start...what do you think?
The lens I want to buy further down the line is the HR-S100. Again, the f4.0 is great for GG and the resolution is awsome. The limited possible rise/fall of 10mm is not too bad and most of the time I would shoot this one without any shifts or a moderate 5-6mm rise. But this must wait a little.
So, my conclusion:
Leaf Aptus II 7