I've been on a MF journey lately. I've had film cameras around all through my adventure in digital and am now a waning Canon user moving toward Micro Four-Thirds for travel and location event photography. There are definitely some things I don't like about the m4/3 sensors although they are extremely capable.
But I've recently picked up an RB67 and the Sekor C 90 and 180mm lenses. I really enjoy this behemoth. I use it at events for portraiture mainly, though I'm starting to put it to some fine art use. In that vein I've been thinking about MF digital for almost no other reason than the immediate feedback I can get when doing event portraiture where I have to get the portrait with the subject there because I don't have the option to do re-shoots. Even taking several frames with digital I see eyes closed or not looking at the camera, etc... All that's great for the fine art perspective but not what people expect to purchase in a portrait.
I've been researching used MF digital on this forum and others. Because of my association with Mamiya equipment I've been trying to figure out whether a Leaf back with the RB (or even upgrading to the RZ) would be a step in the right direction for creating a unique look for my photography.
I don't have time or inclination to try and differentiate myself from other photographers in the subtleties of viewing angle and lighting but end up using the same equipment as every other photographer I come into contact with. I don't plan on quitting my "day job" any time soon so I have no need to feel pressured to take jobs I don't want to do. I'm still working on the part of sticking to my artistic guns in the face of clients who say they want some specific look or some spot retouched out or that sort of thing.
What I'm really looking for is a "look" from a CCD MF sensor that will work really well with my B&W environmental portrait work. For day-to-day portraits for doing sports and events the Olympus E-M1 is sufficient for what I want to produce. Prints up to 8x10 are great and I've printed them much larger at lower resolutions (like up to 24x36 for an outdoor banner). I don't need something that will compete with this usability and portability. The lenses are great and sharp and there's plenty of low-light capability. But the m4/3 images are not as good as I would like when I do portraiture. I find them okay but pretty lacking in what it is I'm after. So I've been looking at MF digital as a potential gap-filler in this regard.
I guess some questions I have are:
- What's the generational cutoff for doing this kind of portable out-of-studio work? Kodak 645M, Leaf Aptus 65, 75, 75s, II 5, II 7, etc...? I probably need to tether for doing high-magnification proofing before I let the subject go in case I need to take more photos. Quality of the back LCD is a helpful thing here but not a deal-breaker.
- I'm much more interested in the overall look of a RAW file matching my artistic vision than I am in pixel-peeping and basic resolution arguments. What's the megapixel floor that is usable for relatively large prints (very subjective, I know)?
- What sensor can best produce a RAW file with deep, rich darks and soft highs? I prefer low-key to high-key and I generally expose for the highlights.
I probably need to stick to an RB/RZ (or maybe Hy6?) approach because I want to shoot both film and digital, sometimes even of the same subject. Being able to swap backs is a huge deal and something I'm more interested in than even AF.