Exactly one year ago, with the help of this forum's collective wisdom & guidance, I decided on my first ever technical camera set-up.
So how do I honestly feel about my decisions now?
On technical camera itself...
I feel absolutely satisfied. I think technical camera fits my personality. I find it to be therapeutic. The slow and deliberate work flow helps my generally restless/fidgety demeanour. It also has had the unexpected (but welcome) side effect that I now do not feel the urge to take a picture of every-freaking-thing. I am able to enjoy the moment. I am a lot more selective and happier for it. I am still not comfortable mixing tilts and swings. I need a lot more practice.
On choice of lenses...
I did not want to compromise when it came to lenses. I decided on a 2 lens kit of 32mm HR & 90mm HRSW. Both are optically superior to anything else I had used previously (these 2 are actually NOT the most expensive lenses I've owned). 32mm is awesome when centered or even with small amounts of shifts. Shifted 12-13mm it loses a lot of its magic though. I have still not purchased a center filter for it. 90mm HRSW is just awesome - I wish I did not have to deal with its spacer, but the stellar image quality is worth it.
On choice of Cambo...
At that time I really wanted an Alpa STC and my choice of Cambo 1200 felt like a compromise. It was really not. It is compact and packs tilt+swing+rise+fall+shift functionality. I appreciate the 5mm notches on shifts. If anything I feel that some type of a focus assistance, if it was available with Cambo, would be helpful. I mean something along the lines of Arca helical or Alpa HPF rings. That would make focussing of longer lenses a lot easier and less time consuming. For 32mm this is not an issue.
On choice of digital back...
I was rightly advised by forum members to stay clear of older backs, due to poor UI and lack of tethering support. I found a Credo 60 and have been quite happy. Tethering ability was not even in my criteria at that time. It definitely should have been - and perhaps at the top. I have to say that Surface Pro tethering has been vital to my learning and usage. I feel that using a technical camera without Surface Pro (or something similar) is akin to using a view camera without ground-glass/loupe. I like using the Product 5 profile in C1 for Credo files. The colors are so refreshingly natural. Credo's live-view is seriously lacking and really the only complaint I have. I still feel no desire to get a Credo 50 or similar CMOS back. In fact the only change I have contemplated has been getting a Credo 80.
A few notes...
- Having an app such as Snapi Tilt Calculator helps - a lot
- Read Harold M. Merklinger's books "Focusing the View Camera" and "The Ins and Outs of Focus" again and again
- Practice at home and formulate some focus+tilt presets for various scenarios, then just apply those settings in field
- Technical camera requires dedicated effort in learning.
I learned to play golf myself, at the age of ~30, without any lessons. I could never break 110 no matter how hard I tried or how many rounds I played. I then decided to take lessons from a reputable teacher. He basically changed everything I was doing. I got horrendous. I could not even break 140. My golf buddies started avoiding me, I got so bad. But I really kept learning and practising what the teacher taught me. I broke 100, then 90, then I broke 80. ( No I never broke 70
I feel the technical camera is similar. I got worse and now beginning to slowly getting better.
My only real regret has been my inability to spend more time using this equipment, which I hope to rectify this coming year.
Thank you GetDPI for being a truely great forum.