What I'm seeing from my new Arca-Swiss M-Line Two and Rodenstock Sironar Digital lenses on my AFi-II 10 digital back is nothing short of astonishing.
I am new to the world of view cameras, and am spending the first several weeks getting control of my tilts and swings. Jack, thank you for your practical post on using tilt and swing. It was a little counterintuitive at first, but there's no arguing with those results!
I've also read a copy of Harold Merklinger's Focusing the View Camera to help me understand the key concepts of how changing tilt, swing and focus move the plane of focus in space.
I am currently on extended travel, and am getting a chance to put all this knowledge into practice almost every day.
So first of all, a thank you to you, Jack, and everyone here at GetDPI for getting me turned on (figuratively and literally) to technical/view cameras.
I began the quest to achieve this level of image quality in 2005. After having owned just about every major brand of camera and lens in medium format was still finding myself disappointed with image quality; I was about to throw in the towel, but my stubbornness came through for me this time, as I decided to give my digital back a try on an Arca-Swiss M-Line Two.
I chose the A/S M2 over a technical camera because I wanted larger movements, and to retain compatibility with 4x5 film. (I recently saw a large print by Jock Sturges, and it was stunning. The print was from scanned 4x5 film).
So here I am, 8 years on, with all the sharpness I could hope for, movements, light weight, effective freedom from artifacts.
I'd like to share a couple of the images I've taken over the past week to show you what I mean. These are not fine art--these are imaging exercises to allow me to get to know my new dance partner. All images developed with Capture 1 DB v7 with default settings + WB. No additional processing performed. With that said:
Here is the field captured with the Rodenstock Sironar Digital 55mm f/4.5 on a Leaf AFi-II 10 digital back (56mm x 36mm sensor):
Despite the distance of the bridge, individual suspension cables can be easily resolved, as can the pattern in the guardrails. Of particular note is the lack of artifacts around the light-dark transitions of the vertical suspension cables (100%):
Further torture test of the optical system; note the lack of fringing/blooming in the specular highlights on the water. A superb result (100%):
In a different scene, I was practicing tilt to achieve sharpness from near to far (bottom to top) in frame (frame 1 of a 3-frame stitch). This taken with the Rodenstock 150mm f/5.6 Apo Sironar Digital:
How many markings do you see on the crosswalk? If you're puzzled by this question, don't worry. It's right here, see it?
No? Me neither at first. It was only as I was zoomed in to 100% to check focus was I blown away to be able to count the 16 painted strips on each side of the road miles away through the haze. Looks like focus was spot on! (100%):
The system is delivering shot after shot like this. It seems I've got a good working mental model of the Scheimfplug and Merklinger principles, allowing me to control my depth of field. Seeing each image open is a little like Christmas again; it's been a while since I've been so pleased by the results of my camera system. It reignites my passion and my imagination to be able to make photographs which are simply renditions of my vision with gobs of faithful detail (apparently) delivered effortlessly.
Thanks to everyone here contributing to make this a helpful and informative community--I wouldn't have made it here without your help!
A note to any Retina Display users out there (like myself): the 100% renderings are suffering in apparent quality because your web browser is (probably) not Retina-Display aware. If you'd like to see the original file, here is the raw file for the Akashi bridge. Check it out in C1 7 or Photoshop CS 6+ (both are Retina Display aware) to see it properly.
Over the coming weeks and months I look forward to posting artistic works created with this setup.
All the best,