Preamble: Lately I have resorted to using keywords in subject headers so that it becomes easy for chaps to find appropriate information by searching in the titles. (this works great with emails as well). I wish everyone would do this. There is an amazing amount of information in this forum that is actually under threads that you wouldnt think it would be. But please dont take this the wrong way.
So thanks to all the amazing advice on the forum and after ages of thinking and trying this and trying that and sore necks from reading on laptops in bed, it was finally the day to make the decision. I had ALMOST convinced myself to get a WRS 5000 with a IQ260.
And then I visited a dealer here and had a prowl on his computer and man, the ISO35 with good technique files just blew me away.
Two small observations that I would like to share from my experience so far (disclaimer: I have only seen a few prints and not made any of my own) :
1. As mentioned above, ISO 35 with good technique, the IQ280 blows away anything that I have seen until now in my 3 months or so of contemplating MF photogear. Even 8x10.
2. The ISO 100 and 200 with good technique are quite comparable to ISO140 files of IQ260 for long exposures. I found that over the few hundreds of files that I saw of long-exposures done with the 280, this held true almost every time. Of course the sensor kind of caps out at 95 secs of exposure where it starts to show artefacts regardless of the ISO used, having said that, there is a wide choice available for exposure permutations below this time limit; I found that IQ260 files at ISO140 at a few minutes and a similar scene with ISO 200 at 95secs on the IQ280 were quite comparable with the sliders were tweaked, with little loss in dynamic range and noise levels.
On the other hand, I did notice a difference between ISO 35 and ISO 50 respectively of the two backs at short exposures. YMMV, but I suppose this would not make a great deal of difference either ways when it comes to printing even largish.
All in all, this suited me well. I dont think I will ever need exposures longer than this considering the photography that I do.
Next, I assumed that I would go with the WRS 5000, BUT, had a chance to play with the STC and fell head, line and sinker to the siren call of Alpa. Its not about shimming, its not about the marketing speak or the way which alpa advertises and cambo doesnt. It was just the feel of the bloody thing, thats what it was. Doug / Graham / Guy / Ken and others thanks you for the best advice you gave: handle the bloody stuff before you buy. I wonder whether it would have made any difference had I handled the STC after I paid for the WRS, but it doesnt matter now.
So there we are: STC, IQ280, Rody 40 with 17mm TS adapter.
Will post some camera porn on the show me yours thread.
1. IS the arca Cube so indispensable ? The thing weighs almost a kilo (am considering the RRS-2 series tripod for travel overseas I have the CT 414 induro for inland use ) and the cube seems too complicated in the open positions in that I am worried that if I knock it and something comes apart, Im done. For one, the arca maintenance here in Australia is virtually non-existent, and secondly, the geared D4 is not available anywhere in the world suits me more, would happily pay for it if the folks here can ship it in the next week or so, so PM me please !!
2. Nodal panos: (now that I am committed to the 280, stitching with movements will be limited) could a BH-55 pro (RRS) suffice instead of the D4, if D4 is really not available anywhere ? Any other options ?
3. Is the manual D4 reasonably closer in function to the geared D4 ?
4. Alpa STC :which quick release plates ( I need two - portrait and landscape ) with the above options ?
So apologies for the long winded thread, as you can see, there is a lot on my plate