Old African proverb: "The monkey always knows where his tail is before he puts on his pants." Another way of saying "be prepared."
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I always heard it was the 7-P Principal
Fred, its a shame you've had so many problems with MFD and understandable that you feel like you can no longer shoot MF in your professional business.
However, we are now on page two and this topic seems to be going nowhere fast. You've had endless problems, others tell you they don't. You question their credentials as an "enthusiast" and the amount they shoot as the Phase system is so flakey it must be impossible for anyone to shoot these camera without a breakdown. And so it continues.
The whole point of you starting this topic highlights the sometime problem with internet gear forums and that people only usually report problems and very rarely the praises. I shoot a DF and quite like it but never felt compelled to start a post about praising it.
I don't mean to kill this topic dead but I'm not sure what more can be said?
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All equipment can fail occasionally, even the "best" and most expensive one. What is troublesome with MF DB is the cost which is so high that hardly any "normal" photographer can afford to have a backup on a regular basis. If an MF film back or insert fails, any professional photographer has one or more backups, an 80mm can be replaced by a 110mm in a pinch and even an MF body isn't terribly expensive. So when they fail, they don't make the big headlines.
The price of the digital backs have also made them more rare than almost any other photographic equipment. With traditional gear, one can almost always find a replacement by calling some friends or a dealer as long as it's some reasonably mainstream gear, which MF film was. A 20 or 50,000 dollar digital back... just forget about it.
So one would believe then that since they are so bloody expensive, they would also be extremely well made and that there was a service organisation behind that would be able to replace any part within hours, should something, against all odds, fail. But no, the quality of service seems to be going down, not up, and if reliability was the only criteria, I would rather travel around the world with a single Nikon F3 than shoot in the big city where I live with any MF DB. I'm sure it would be more reliable, easier to get fixed and that parts would be more readily available. Most places in the world, even finding a new MF DB to buy can be hard enough. Spare parts?
One can always discuss how relevant it is to use the internet as an indicator of how troublesome a piece of gear is, but having followed these discussions for a number of years, what surprises me isn't how often digital MF cameras break down, and it might not be as often as threads like this give the impression of, but how difficult it sometimes is to find the parts and to get them fixed, even when what seems to be a tiny detail is what causes the problem.
This is also one of the reasons why the D800 is a serious threat to this segment of the camera business: it offers 80-90% of what most digital MF cameras have in store, backed up by a worldwide service organisation that, at least in theory, but mostly also in the real world, have endless piles of spare parts and where many of those parts are shared with amateur cameras that can be bought at any shopping mall.
Which makes me think that MF DB, as good as it is, will never really become as mainstream as MF film was and to a certain degree still is. At least not as long as none of the electronics giants move into that market. With 36MP available in 35mm sensors, I would be very surprised if that happened. Kudos then to those photographers, and their clients, who are quality conscious enough to work with this gear, helping maintain an interesting photographic world.
I don't care what gear I have.
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Than you send it in for warranty repair with a receipt. Fred red carpet comes from your dealer not Phase. When I had my issue with my DF my first call was to my dealer there tech guy started the return paperwork sent me the address to ship too with correct paperwork and RMA. Done . This is what dealers do for ANY customer. Do you think I stand here on a freaking podium preaching use a dealer for no damn good reason. I been down these roads and I know exactly what works and what don't . E-bay stuff gets no ones attention, I said it a hundred times. Good luck But I will tell you right now you want Nikon to fix something your going to have to do the work no retail shop will help you. The conversation to them will go like this just send it in to Nikon with your receipt . I have one too and it's nice but I know damn well what to expect. If I want something I better get on my horse and do it. My Phase gear I call my dealer he handles it all. That is the difference or at least one of them. Honestly there are many of us out here working with this stuff but it's okay if your frustrated and don't want to deal with it. Btw there is no such thing as a value added dealer just a handful in the states that actually sell, service and maintain there customers. There is a value added warranty which I don't have myself . That's something diffrent with overnight loaners at your disposal and also mount swaps. All this data is right here on this forum.
Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.
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I've had two problems with my Phase gear. The first was with the infamous lock-up, before it became infamous! My dealer responded to my phone call by contacting Phase and came back to me within one hour (yes, 60 minutes) with the solution. Which worked!
The second was my own fault - dropped the back in a river. Again my dealer responded instantly, arranged for the shipping (from my location a long way from home) to Phase for repair and quarterbacked the process until it was returned to me.
So, yes, my dealer is pretty important to me. Incidentally, I've had no problems with the DF or the IQ other than the now solved lock-up.
Issues with my S2 were handled over-night ... literally. Called Leica at 3PM, before 10AM over-night loaner delivered. Didn't care if they took a month to repair mine, I was putting miles on their camera, not mine. Leica also called and apologized for the inconvenience.
On the job, of the moment, back-up to medium format quality is a problem due to expense but mostly because nothing equals it. Most folks use a high meg 35mm DSLR as the back-up. I have a S2 and H4D/60, but before that I just used my Sony A900 as back-up to my prior H4D/40. Sounds like a good role for the D800. Nothing is going to replace my H4D/60 for what I shoot for GM, but in a jam I guess a D800 would be better than nothing. (BTW, never had to back up the H4D/40 or the H4D/60, so it is all speculative on my part).
Sorry I run a camera store and I have Nikons, Sonys, Canons, and olympuses walk in the door all the time that need fixing. And some are lemons .. send them in two or three times and they still have issues.
I'm actually with Marc here ... you want to change fine, but what's the point of posting all this stuff anyway? No one really cares what you shoot, all that matters is if you're happy with it. What's the point of all these images at web resolution ... sorry, just don't get it.
I bought an Alpa system, and hated it. Sold it. I bought an M9 and hated it. Sorry, just isn't my cup of tea. I didn't go to the Leica forum and lament how I hated it, couldn't focus it, etc.
Get enough of this kind of stuff on other forums, have always come here because most posters seem to have enough class to not throw this type of stuff up ...
Spare parts? Repairs? Nobody knows, and this is a city with around 15 million people
Around a year ago, I needed a spare battery and a new control unit for my Metz 70 MZ-5 potato masher. No have, but they were willing to sell me the newer (Metz 75?) model for a reduced price. So I asked if they could deliver an extra battery for that model, since the need would be the same. No have, same same.
Although Bangkok might be worse than cities in the west in this regard, I do hear friends in Europe complaining about deteriorating service and problems getting spare parts there too. Equipment often has to be sent to other countries for repair or parts have to be flown in. If I need it by tomorrow morning, that simply isn't good enough. For me, that means that I stick with brands that have accessible service facilities nearby. Unfortunately, that excludes a lot of potentially good gear here in Bangkok, like MF DB. Although the situation isn't identical to Fred's reasons to start this thread, the principle is the same; a camera that doesn't work doesn't have any value, and for a client, the cost can be rather high if many people are involved in a shoot or if there are other time constraints. For the photographer, it may mean the loss of a client.
Perhaps for the sake of making this thread worth everybody's while, you can share a bit more info regarding which MFDB equipment you had, how long you had it for, where did you buy/ sell it and who did you use for service and support. If you had any direct dealings with the manufacturer then you must also have some form of reference, support case number(s) etc.
Otherwise (and I'm not being sarcastic for a change, just honest) you're leaving us to guess or to search and to conclude that you've bought something on the cheap (relatively speaking), had is for a few weeks, didn't get on with it, expected the manufacturer to send you stuff (which normally doesn't happen as there is no direct sales channel in the US) and then sold it on (perhaps with a small profit? Was there a warning note included in the listing?) etc. etc.
Revealing more detail will add some weight to your complaint, although as many already suggested, one's (or three's) experience does not reflect on an industry or on a market as a whole
No matter what you say, your comments will not detract from the FACT that I enjoy the DF and have had no major issues with it. No matter what I say will rectify the problems you've experienced using the kit and make you appreciate using the DF again.
We're at stalemate!
As this topic is suddenly turning into a one man soap box, will it help if we (as you obviously want) as a collective forum all agree with you that the DF is a complete pile of tosh so we can get on with discussing something more interesting than a "I hate XXX because" thread?
I very much enjoyed the image quality I would get when things worked. I enjoyed the hint of a larger format look that I could get thanks to a larger sensor. The phase One backs are built like little tanks and I have praised that aspect many times.
I have email records.... to and from your company. Do you really want me to name names.
As far as sending items to customers... I was sent a part, but it was neither new or the part I needed. There should not have been any confusion because I send a photograph of the part I needed. I did not at any time expect anything for free from them as you allude with your comment "expected the manufacturer to send you stuff". For the record I contacted the manufacturer and on their suggestion contacted a recommended dealer. They did not come through so I contacted the company again, actually both Phase One and Mamiya USA.
I don't have to prove anything here. I think my work and my client list speaks for my professional standing.
I have used many systems over the years. I worked for quite a few years with the Mamiya RZ67 and recommended it to many colleges. I shot supermodels Amber Valletta and Yasmin Ghauri with the RZ. I was sponsored by Polaroid for many years and featured in their advertising.. I have collaborated with Elinchrom and Fuji. I was invited personally by Lino Manfrotto to visit him and his factories and give my opinion on his products and enjoy the fine food of the mountains in northern Italy.
I have owned many Mamiya and Phase One items. Last one's being Phase One AF and DF with various lenses. My principal backs p25+ still brilliant backs.... and rented various others.
Last edited by FredBGG; 8th May 2012 at 01:06.
To conclude my main point here is that I said good by to medium format digital for my work becuase of reliability issues and because I find the combination of the the D800 and 6x8cm medium format film out weighs MFD. D800 with select lenses (actually more options than those offered by medium format digital) gives me virtually what medium format gave me even with higher MP counts) larger format film gives me looks that medium format digital can't. I'll probably add an RZ67 system back into the mix. I may still use a MFDB on the back of my Fuji GX680 occasionally.
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Just because I've had excellent luck and service from Hasselblad doesn't lull me into a false sense of security. I plan for the worse and hope for the best on every single shoot (same as I do no matter what brand of tool I'm using).
As a former Art Director/Creative Director for 40 years, I may have attended more shoots with piles of support people, talent, location rentals, clients on set, and so on, than many photographers. There are always time constraints, and pressures for everything to work smoothly, and shoot insurance in case it doesn't.
I once worked on location with paid talent employing a shooter that had 2 Pentaxs and 1 Hassey V camera all fail with-in 20 minutes ... Murphy's Law on steroids.
Another big name shooter showed up to a super-star Football player's house for a Child Support campaign I had created for the State of Michigan. She arrived with an array of redundant RZ gear, multiple lights, giant parabolics, etc. ... and no film. As we only had the subject and his family for 1/2 hour of stills immediately after I finished shooting the TV commercial with a production company, I loaned her my Leica R6.2, and bag of film, as the assistants rushed off to get film.
Once spent a 10 hour day shooting a Unilever commercial on location at a California farm with top clients present ... multiple set-ups, very expensive talent, endless details, dolly moves, the whole works ... only to find that the lighting techs has not sync'ed the HMI lights with the ARRI camera and all the rushes were chattering.
I could write a book on this stuff ... as they say ... "Shyt Happens".
I will say that I attended numerous shoots in LA, Chicago, and NYC where rental Phase One or Hasselblad equipment was employed, and perhaps more importantly, had a tech running the camera ... and never experienced a single down shoot due to the gear. Lucky I guess.
I do not use them for more than a half day. I always load new ones.
I know that does not sound very ecological, but the batteries get passed on to assistants and photographers that use them for their strobes etc.
Here's the current slightly used inventory ready to be passed on. Any students in LA that could use a boxfull of free batteries PM me.
I have experienced that when I 'throw' my $, Euro, Franc,etc. at the shops in Mayfair or near Victoria Station...' class ' never entered into the discussion.
As a matter of fact, I get the phone answered on the first ring. This is for
repair. ' Class ' is never discussed on overseas calls at least.
For purchase, the phone is picked up before it rings.
Different experiences, different outlook, different ' class ' you might say.
Definitely the wrong battery to use with the Phase DF body. I wouldn't use those batteries either. Well, let's not say "wrong," how about a more politically correct, "that's not the best choice in AA power sources for the DF..." But too late now and it wouldn't matter anyway. I don't think anything would matter at this point. You've had a bad experience, get over it and move along. Either figure it out (it may take more than 563 frames) or change. No need for the paternalism here. I think it's safe to say the majority at GetDPI, and especially those in Dante's Inferno, are an older, more experienced lot, educated, and pretty well-heeled. Somethings just weren't meant to be. Look at Wayne there with an Alpa and didn't like it? Certainly no battery issue there... Hope you find what you're looking for; we certainly get the message that medium format digital ain't right----for you. And speaking of Wayne, I think he nailed it on the head with an apt ending.
p.s. Those 9-volt Duracell batteries in that box must have been a bitch to shove into the DF battery insert...
So here I should officially say thank you Mamiya for making and introducing such gorgeous camera to us. Long live film!
I gotta say whilst I've been considering the D800 I've been going over some shots from the weekend with my H1 + 100 2.2 + P25 back and they are still streets ahead of the 5D3 in detail at least.
Folks, I'm killing this thread -- it's presenting the danger signs of going beyond typical GetDPI pleasant discussion. Thanks to the folks who tried to keep it balanced and restore order.
"Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."4 Member(s) liked this post
Got my vote to close also.
Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.
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