Is it safe to say that one can't do long exposures on CCD backs?
Is it safe to say that one can't do long exposures on CCD backs?
It depends on what you call long exposures.
P45+ is a CCD sensor MFDB and is good for up to an hour.
IQ180 is good for about a minute or so. The reality is probably that few really need long exposure capability all the time. It's just those few times.....
Different backs have different capabilities----CCD or CMOS.
IQ3 has longer exposure capabilities----haven't tested or had the opportunity to see if the specs match actual use.
What do think of this idea on a REALLY tight budget:
Canon DSLR (already owned) + Mamiya bellows (it has movements) + Mamiya MF lenses = mini view camera with infinity focus. The whole things should run under $500 with a lens and adapters.
Long exposure capability differs very much between different backs. With my old-school Dalsa in the Aptus 75 max exposure was 32 seconds and it lost about 2 stops of DR at that max time. With my H4D-50 it's 128 seconds with about 1 stop DR lost at those 128 seconds, no dark-frame needed (that is no need to wait twice the time to make the next shot).
The 32 seconds on the Aptus felt limiting at times, but not too bad. The 128 seconds is enough for me, it's just too dark for the ground glass if I would need to shoot longer. However if you're into using 10 stop filters or shoot night skies or such, that is strive for long exposures you'd want something more of course. The P45+ is a good option there. Of what I've seen the old P45+ actually has less issues with long exposure noise than the newer IQ260/IQ360.
The need of dark frame or no possibility to turn it off can be a pain concerning convenience although it helps reducing noise. If I remember correctly you can't turn it off for the P45+ so for one hour long exposure you need to wait one more hour for the exposure to complete. So make sure you have batteries to cover those two hours . Hasselblad has taken a different approach and doesn't have it it all, which I actually prefer. It costs a bit in noise but it's not too bad and I love the convenience not having to wait for that dark frame exposure.
The noise aspect is often forgotten in evaluations as its not mentioned in the specs. All digital cameras (unlike film) get more noise in the image when exposing for a long time and it can be significant, so do look into that when evaluating.
The Sony-based CMOS backs are capable of long exposures of course if you should go down that path. As far as I know they're better than any of the CCD backs, but I'm not 100% sure when it comes to the P45+ which is impressive. Others have investigated this in more detail.
With the Mamiya bellows I guess you're limited to longer lenses only. If your shooting style doesn't require wide angles you should be alright and as far as I know lens quality is certainly adequate. You won't get the sharpness of say a P65+ with Rodenstock Digarons but it won't be bad.
I assume that the Mamiya bellows is designed for closeup / table top photography. In such situations parallelism is not an issue. However if you want to focus at infinity for a landscape scene parallelism can become an issue, that is if the bellows does not have really high quality zero dents there's a risk that you may end up with shots that are slightly fuzzy on one side.
So it depends on what you want to shoot. It's probably not a great system for landscape due to lack of wides and possible issues with parallelism, but should be great for product photography and similar scenarios.
An advantage with the Hassy Kodak-based backs compared to Phase One's is that you don't need a wakeup trigger, but it seems to come at the cost that sync errors (with resulting magenta cast issues) can occur for the fastest shutter speeds. My H4D-50 can do down to 1/125 on the Copal without issues, but at 1/250 and 1/500 it can fail. (Note: this is only a problem with Copal mechanical sync, no issues when shooting on the Hassy body of course.)
To me it's not a problem as I'm always shooting at relative small apertures and thus get longer shutter speeds, and would I need shorter due to extreme bright conditions I could always use an ND filter. However if you shoot hand-held wide open it could be. I know of at least one Alpa user that shot hand-held wide open (f/4 on digarons) and had severe sync issues at 1/500 with a Hasselblad back he tried, I forgot which model it was though.
On long exposures, it depends greatly on ambient temperatures, my Leica S 006 with a ccd sensor produced amazing 2 min exposures with filters, my 007 with cmos sensor only went to 1 minute but also did it at ISO200 which I actually found limiting with filter work but again very clean. My IQ260 does very clean 1 hour exposures but I have only used it in very low ambient temps so not sure yet what the results will be like when it gets warmer, I have read a few posts stating it's not very good but maybe I am lucky as it's cold here. For night work capturing aurora and things like that then hands down a cmos sensor is better, 6 seconds at ISO800 with a Leica S and the files are cleaner than any other camera I have used, it all depends on what you want to shoot.
Good point. Ambient temperature does make a difference, possibly huge one. My statements previously are based on room temperature. I have noticed that there are improvements when shooting in cold conditions (which we enjoy in Sweden quite large time of the year ), but I have never quantified them as I don't really have any specific interest in long exposure myself and is satisfied also with the room temperature performance of my back.
I originally started this thread with the idea in mind that I would need a med format back to mount on a technical or a view camera that would provide me with the types of movements that would expand the possibilities. As I started looking into what's available out there, I'm beginning to think that I'm not too sure about the need for a med format back or even a technical camera.
Are there any compelling reasons to shoot with a med format back provided you're fine with the 40-50mp resolution that modern 35mm digitals provide? What exactly does one gain with a med format back?
Despite that some still claim that the look, superior colors, more "depth" better "pop" or whatever is the key reason, even when looking at down-sized heavily post-processed web images. It's a valid reason for some but not all of us see it. To me medium format does not have any special magic like this, but it may have to you. By watching images and testing gear you can find out what you think yourself.
Another key reason is resolving power. Say you want the highest resolution you can get with the sharpest lenses, then a tech cam with a recent back and lenses is the answer. It's like if you shoot large format film yesterday and want a digital drop-in replacement, then a tech cam is the answer.
However, say that you come to the same conclusion like me, that you don't really need medium format for the "look", and resolution-wise the 135 high res cameras is enough for you, what are then the reasons?
If you like to work with tilt and shift and doing so with many different focal lengths you have more lenses to choose from in the tech cam ranges, and very high quality ones too. With the 135 systems you typically have only a limited choice of tilt shift lenses, and many of the lenses are limited in how you can combine tilt and shift. With a view camera you get tilt, swing, shift/rise/fall on all lenses as it's built into the body. (Note that some tech cameras are more limited than others when it comes to movements).
Another emotional reason that some of us responds to is the "zen factor", a tech cam is slow to work with, you can't shoot some suddenly appearing wildlife, and if you use a view camera type you can't really even hand-hold it. This narrows down your shooting to certain genres and to some of us this makes us more relaxed and focused on the type of photography we want to do. Others may instead get frustrated by the slowness and if you are one of those you should choose a different camera type. When I'm out photographing in nature my highest pace is about two photographs per hour. I could shoot much faster of course, but when you need to unpack and mount the camera for each shot you really only take out the camera if the shot is going to count. I like that.
I also like the "low tech" feel of those mechanical cameras, it's much like shooting film with the exception that you don't need to scan and dust-spot. That low tech feel is something that make some of us feel more connected to the scene than if using the latest Japanese electronic prosumer product. That too is very personal though and to some it doesn't matter.
There's also a "classic car" factor to it, it can be nice to use something different with a high tactile feel. These are very fine all-metal mechanical instruments and it's a joy to play with the gears compared to the fiddly 135 gear (especially when it comes to tilt-shift mechanics).
Previously a reason to use medium format was that you didn't feel the urge to upgrade that often, and indeed there are people that still use their 10+ year old backs, and that's rarely the case with135. I don't think this is a valid argument any longer though as medium format seems to be almost as quickly changing as 135 these days and those in the forefront upgrade often.
Oh, if you like to use legacy cameras for the look or fun an advantage with a digital back is that you can mount it on many different cameras.
I've been heard complaining a bit in this thread and that's because I feel the "zen" part of tech cams is slowly disappearing. It's becoming more electronic and more software-focused. There's still many choices around though with varying degrees of zen
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a bit of info:
the canon TS lenses are quite good, (i use the 17 and 24mm, so they are wide and very wide, useful for interiors). they have one axis for tilt and one for shift, and you can un-couple the axes easily. you can also rotate the orientation of the axes as well. to use them on the sony, you need an adapter (mine has a tripod mount); they fit right on the 5D, obviously.
if you use an L-plate on the sony, it will interfere with the adapter tripod mount, in which case, remove the L-plate and use the axes rotation function on the lens to rotate the camera
showing the 17mm (with huge polarizer fitted)
I had never shot large format, so I figured that given there's no large format digital and since the cost of film has skyrocketed in the past 10 years or so and the processing infrastructure disappeared, I'd go with a tech camera and a digital back. However, upon reading the replies here and the side conversations that arose, I'm beginning to think that perhaps there's no justification in going with a med format camera and/or back. There are TSE lenses to use on my Canon natively. Alternatively, there are a number of view/tech cameras that will accommodate my camera and provide the movements. Additionally, it would be way cheaper to get a Sony mirrorless, which would open up other tech camera horizons. So, it's not clear as to what would be the best way to go. Not only are there so many options, but there's tremendous overlap among the options out there.
Well, the whole segment is in a state of flux as I see it, so if you don't have very specific quality requirements or are attracted by the handling I think it will be very hard to motivate the high cost, instead of expanding on your Canon system or get a A7r-II and use that "and wait and see" what happens in the tech cam genre the coming years.
If you need the quality and field of view of a Rodenstock 32-HR and an 60MP fullframe CCD combo you can't really match that quality with any other system today, and you can push it with the 100MP CMOS too although I don't recommend it. These are hugely expensive systems though and you can get pretty close for a lot less these days, much closer than you could just 3-4 years ago.
Yes, at higher speeds the Hasselblad backs need a wake-up just like the Phase do. I find that above, say, 1/60, there's a slight magenta cast and a little noise without triggering the back first. (It will sync at all shutter speeds, but at the fastest shutter speeds it shows those issues.) It worsens at faster shutter speeds, i.e., more noticeable at 1/125 and 1/250 and 1/500. So at those higher shutter speeds, I connect a cable release directly to the back, trigger it first (say, at a shutter speeds of 2-4 sec., set on the back), and then fire the lens while the back is firing. And the exposures are very clean. For handholding, I hold the cable connected to the back in my left hand, along with the SWA's left grip. I fire it, then fire the lens, just as on a tripod.
2) Much larger viewfinder. Not to be underestimated as a benefit.
3) Flash sync at all shutter speeds. Also not to be underestimated, if you light your shots. Easier to balance with or overpower ambient. Requires less strobe power. Recycle times are shorter. Flash durations are shorter. Strobe batteries (when required) last longer.
4) Feels better in the hands. Less portable than 35mm (bigger, heavier), but feels solid.
5) Better lenses across the board, rather than merely certain standouts. I can see an immediately apparent difference just looking through the viewfinder with Hasselblad H and V lenses, compared to 35mm. Zooming in on the files, the difference is even more obvious.
6) Easier tethering, in my experience.
7) Better skintones and color. Richer, more robust files that withstand more abuse in post.
8) Your camera will be better than your clients' (whether or not this should matter is another discussion).
9) Modularity. Back can be placed on other cameras, including LF and homemade cameras. Viewfinder can be swapped out for waist level, etc.
10) Easier to clean the sensor, since the back is removable.
11) 4:3 format rather than the uglier, less useful 3:2.
There are more, but that's what comes to mind at the moment.
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Let's look at these points from strictly my own perspective.
1) Working with a fine instrument rather than plastic junk. - I've shot with many film cameras including med format. Either a camera does what it's supposed to do or it doesn't. The fine instrument argument doesn't really do anything for me because I see cameras as tools, nothing more.
2) Much larger viewfinder. Not to be underestimated as a benefit. - I agree. That's really nice.
3) Flash sync at all shutter speeds. Also not to be underestimated, if you light your shots. Easier to balance with or overpower ambient. Requires less strobe power. Recycle times are shorter. Flash durations are shorter. Strobe batteries (when required) last longer. - I agree, but it doesn't apply to what I do
4) Feels better in the hands. Less portable than 35mm (bigger, heavier), but feels solid. - The feel is the same as a fine instrument argument. It's not an issue with me.
5) Better lenses across the board, rather than merely certain standouts. I can see an immediately apparent difference just looking through the viewfinder with Hasselblad H and V lenses, compared to 35mm. Zooming in on the files, the difference is even more obvious. - I would probably say "more consistent" lenses based on my experience med format during the film days.
6) Easier tethering, in my experience. - I haven't had any problems, but ok
7) Better skintones and color. Richer, more robust files that withstand more abuse in post. - Would that still be true with CMOS backs? How would files from those backs be any different from any other file?
8) Your camera will be better than your clients' (whether or not this should matter is another discussion). - Non starter.
9) Modularity. Back can be placed on other cameras, including LF and homemade cameras. Viewfinder can be swapped out for waist level, etc. - That's the thing that drew me in at first, but seeing how there are so many options available out there, with tech cameras accommodating 35mm format cameras, it's no longer cut and dry. Sure, the back is more flexible, but there are ways to accommodate the existing equipment
10) Easier to clean the sensor, since the back is removable. - Yes, albeit I never had to clean the sensor. The cameras sensor self cleaning does a good enough job.
11) 4:3 format rather than the uglier, less useful 3:2. - Yes, I agree.
There are more, but that's what comes to mind at the moment.
The reasons are there, but they're not compelling enough to justify the costs. If the price of entry was a few thousand dollars, then these reasons would be enough of an incentive. However, with the price of entry starting at around $15k for a used back, which will not be able to accommodate long exposures (a must for me), it makes me pause. Furthermore, it seems to me that if I were to jump into the med format, it makes sense to do so at FF. Otherwise, the gains become marginal. So now, the price of entry jumps to about $25k for a used back. Start adding a camera and lenses and all the accessories and you're way into the mid $30k. If you're shooting professionally, then you need your backup equipment and unless you're willing to use smaller formats for backup, that's another $30k. That's an insane amount of money for a camera system.
When I shot film professionally, I got FULLY equipped for well south of $10k. Even adjusted for inflation, that's still south of $20k in today's $$. At that time, the reasons for going med format were much clearer - there was no way to attach a 35mm camera to a view camera and the difference in quality going from 35mm to 645 even was BIG. Is med format digital becoming more like a Rolex? More jewelry than a watch?
For the record, my H4D-50 body is more plastic-fantastic (hello popup flash) than a Canon 1D body. The Linhof gearing is surely much nicer than the tiny sloppy TS-E wheels though.
When it comes to the color/skintone argument my view is that it's 90% about camera color profiles, and certainly not anything about sensor size as such. The Hasselblad profiles are very well designed, just as Phase One and Leaf. It's subjective rather than accurate color, but it seems to suit the typical "professional taste" very very well. When I compare a Hasselblad Phocus rendering from my Hassy with say an A7r-II with Lightroom's default rendering the Hassy is simply vastly superior. However, as I prefer making own camera profilels I've done that for both cameras and then I can't say the advantage is there. Very few users make own profiles though and it's quite hard to make good ones, so most get what the standard software provides and there I think one can say that the MFD manufacturers have clear lead, especially since most 135 users choose to run third-party software like Lightroom which typically has considerably worse color than the native software.
When MFD did not have CMOS the CCD vs CMOS was a strong debate. It was mainly Dalsa CCD vs Sony CMOS. Now when also MFD uses Sony CMOS that debate has moved to the background, but there are still those that think the CCDs have that extra little something. CCDs have a different noise profile for sure which may lead to some difference in texture (less "plastic" perhaps) but it's only a pixel peep thing as far as I can see. Anyway the thing is that you'll see both opinions on CCD vs CMOS and MFD CMOS vs 135 CMOS, that there is a big difference and that there is not. You must see for yourself and make up your own mind. I suggest to do blind testing if you can, and not concentrate too much on pixel peep but rather the overall look.
I've seen people come from the A7r-II and move to a 22 megapixel CCD and think they did a vast improvement in image quality. That does happen, but it's not common. There are also those that say that 135 has gotten so good so in order to get a meaningful improvement you must go for the best MFD can offer, which is 100MP CMOS today.
Concerning the costs of second hand backs it seems to me that your prices are way too high. Where have you got them from? Look here for example: Hasselblad CPO a H4D-60 is $13k, a H4D-50 like I have is $7k. If you're prepared to buy in the private market you may possible get even better deals.
Phase One is not the brand if you want most value for money. However you should be able to get a P65+ for about $10k, and despite its age it has virtually identical image quality to a IQ360, minus long exposure.
Urgh, these threads are always a little ridiculous, there are as many solutions to what you want to create as there are people, every single person wants something different.
If you have your own requirements then fine, buy what fits them, it certainly won't matter to anyone else what you choose to work with, same as what I choose doesn't matter to anyone but me. The hardest part if narrowing down exactly what you want and building from there, if it doesn't warrant medium format then fine.
For me, I wrote a list of what I needed to achieve and then worked out how to get there, I shoot commercially so I listen to my clients and then provide them with what they need, that for me includes mf for many reasons. I have files on my computer from Canon, Nikon, Sony, Leica and Phase One, they are all taken and processed in my style and I know very easily which camera shot which image. Mpx mean very little to me and are certainly not indicative of quality of final output, I have files from my P25+ 5 years ago that have a more pleasing look to them than anything I took in 2 years of using Nikon and the best Zeiss glass, they just stand out to me. The Leica S is another level all together, a crop sensor and "gasp" a ccd at that, in the studio under strobes for business portraits there is nothing I have tried that comes close to matching the smoothness and transitions from light to dark. The IQ260 is a tool for a job, one that is very lucrative for me, with the Rodenstock glass the images are sharp, detailed and crisp, long exposures, interiors with movements, I can't get that combination from any other camera I have access too, so it is the right thing for me.
I shoot outside a lot for personal projects, I don't want a camera with a bellows, it's just not what I want for bad weather, strong winds etc. so the cambo works well with movements built in the lens mount, it's still a wind sock but less so than a bellows camera would be so that works for me. As a commercial photographer, cost is much less of an issue but still important, if my business wasn't making enough to support the equipment I wanted then I'd have some serious issues to deal with. My equipment pays for itself many times over.
When I bought the Leica I tested every other camera I could get my hands on and regardless of mpx count, the final image was just stunning for what I shoot, it fitted perfectly. If I didn't need to cover a different style of photography that the Leica just doesn't excel at then I'd still have it over any 35mm system, regardless of manufacturer, if final image quality counts then the differences are plain to see for me. Once I used mf in my own way then it wasn't a question of what would do the job adequately for cheaper, the only question was how hard do I need to work to get it, I don't care if the clients see a difference, I see it, I produce a lot of stock libraries for clients and I make a big point of the fact that every image I supply will look as good at 800px wide on the web as it does printed 5m wide on a display stand, there is no doubt that could be covered adequately with any system available today but I want to feel confident with what I produce and being different to everyone with a Canon 6d and a couple of lenses is important to me and my clients. With the tech cam last week, I had my client with me for half an hour amazed at what the camera could do, that for me is very valuable and helps to separate me from my competition, even though I am more expensive in a lot of cases.
Anyway, I hope you find what will do the job for you and enjoy using it, guaranteed my experiences will have very little in common with yours or anyone elses.
With the Cambo and high precision focusing rings you don't need the ground glass, that can be a big advantage when there's no live view. The largest drawback of view cameras has been the ground glass, which is changing now with the CMOS backs, but then there's the wide angle issues so it's not so straight-forward drop in replacement as it could have been.
I agree that bellows is more of a personal issue for me than necessarily a practical one, it's just something that if I can get away without using one then all the better for me. For landscape work where my aim is to get everything sharp then I have zero focussing issues, f11 at 5m with a 32mm and you can point it where you like, everything from average tripod height is in focus, rear rise/fall helps with composition and it's that easy. I can set it at home and wander about all day without needing to refocus. The 50mm and 90mm I have with tilt are a revelation, 1 degree of tilt at f11 and again, I can cover pretty much everything. Obviously that is just one discipline but even with tighter compositions, I never need more than a couple of shots to get things right, I am sure that is quicker than using a sliding back. It's just a different way of working to ground glass, not necessarily better or worse, just good for me.
Yes sliding back + ground glass is slow. Some use infinity stops on the rail to focus in the way you suggest so it's possible also on the view camera, but I do that slow ground glass focusing for each shot . Compared to how incredibly slow I am in the rest it doesn't make that big of a difference to me
While handling was "it" to me, it seems only a clear difference in image quality will convince Abstraction. This is one thread that highlights small vs large and how easy some see differences and other have a harder time to do it:
IQ180 vs Up-Res A7R2
As you can see in that thread some of us don't really see much differences apart from the resolution, while others claim to see vast superiority in color tonality. Take a look at those images. If you see a clear superiority unrelated to resolution I think it's likely that you will appreciate medium format and you don't really need to worry about what's going on in the smaller formats. If you instead don't think the difference is there and feel that the cost need to be justified with a clear improvement in quality, well, then there will be an issue.
The thread also highlights that you can't take my word or any other's word on image quality, as we can sit and look at the same pictures and draw entirely different conclusions. You need to see for yourself.
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So much great info on this thread and in these forums in general. A great, big thanks to everyone who took the time to reply. My horizons have been widened.
I've always said, "The photography isn't done until it's printed."
Internet and web images don't count, imho.
Print it and then compare.
I must admit to finding 100% crop comparisons to be telling a very small part of the story and largely pointless. Bottom line is that the uprezzed Sony crop didn't look anywhere near as good as the IQ180 shot, no point ignoring the resolution because the 180 comes with all the resolution and uprezzing a file doesn't give you the same thing so there's no competition in that regard. If the results are good enough for the individual then all good but it's no good thinking that you can get the same thing. I also think it's pointless because if a lesser quality uprezzed file is good enough then why bother with the A7R2 and not get a lower model and uprez that.
I also think that a lot of people look at the 100% crop and make judgements but surely at some point the complete image is more important? I look at some of the recent comparisons on LL for example and it baffles me, what's the point of it all, buy what you want and shoot with it! I loved that image that recently won the press photography awards, amazing shot full of fear and desperation and noise and softness and converted to b&w presumably to deal with the colour noise and I couldn't care less, it does what I wish a lot more photography did, certainly my own, and that is tell a story in a beautiful and touching way. http://www.worldpressphoto.org/
I can imagine some people in that position, "hold the baby in the barbwire again, I need to get my tripod, keep it still I need a low iso because otherwise it will have too much noise and it won't be as good" "Don't move, let me change lenses, this one has better microcontrast if I view at 200% and the shot will be so much better for it" etc. etc. Haha!
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Shoot what you can afford to either rent or purchase. After trying various products, shoot the camera/lens/back you prefer and then go and have a great time shooting.
Opinions and judgements are just that. I'd rather shoot and have a lot of fun than critique what others are shooting, for I'm not much interested in what equipment anyone else is shooting.
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Printing often reduces the difference between systems, demonstrated for example here:
but it of course depends on how large you print, the subject and how close you inspect the print.
If you want to investigate "the look" on a more global scale I think watching on screen can make valid comparisons, although its more satisfying to look at prints.
In any case it's wise to think all the way to your end product. The most obvious is evaluating the need of a certain resolution.
Printing is the great leveller I find. However, if you print BIG (which for me is always) then the MF advantage shows through. I see no point whatsoever printing 10x8 or even 11 x 17in with my MF digital files unless specifically asked to do so. For me it's always 24in minimums when I print (unless it's mono or exhibition fibre from my 3800). At that size the differences make themselves known. Below 11x17 tbh I could keep to my 12/16mp (or even less) cameras as they will look superb at that size regardless.
Btw, I agree with Michael's assessment. Printing really shows up that for most images we're more than adequately covered by cameras 3-4 years old with 2-3 generations of sensor behind our current megapixel behemoths. That said, print 'em big and the differences show themselves quickly. For tonality it's even visible on smaller images once you've become accustomed to seeing the MF advantage.
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Blind testing prints is difficult to do, but interesting. In addition to imaging software development I've worked with hifi audio, and the "we see/hear what we want" psychological factor is stronger than most think. It's easier to arrange blind tests with audio as you can't "cheat" by bringing out a loupe or look for specific identifiers like aperture shape in a bokeh highlight or lens distortion etc. Switching loudspeaker cables many claim they hear the difference, but when doing it in the blind they no longer can.
At some point I'd like to do the same with medium format vs smaller formats to really find out which factors that count, both out of curiosity and as it would be useful knowledge when making imaging software. I'm most interested in the tonality aspect as I've spent a large part of last year making camera profiling software. For many I suppose it's better to not do it as the results could be unsettling
There are some mysteries to me, for example that many are able to see very subtle tonality differences in the advantage of MFD, but still are unable to see the artifacts from crosstalk on tech wides, which indeed primarily affects tonality. Another example is that so few seems to notice the effects of the built-in noise reductions in C1 / Phocus that indeed seemingly improves dynamic range but also hurt both tonality and detail (a classic tradeoff). If we can detect such fine tonality details why are discussions around those other things lacking? As a man of science I can not avoid thinking that there's some bias going on. I saw this phenomenon in audio as well, people that said they could hear differences between cables but still missed obvious issues due to bad listening room acoustics for example.
For most users it doesn't matter of course, just get what you like and if it's placebo in it or not it doesn't matter. When you make software trying to "unlock the secrets" of color and tonality it's however more important to know what's real and what's imagined, and I cannot deny that I find it a bit frustrating at times that some claim "huge differences" between two images and I stare and I stare and don't see it.
Last edited by torger; 5th March 2016 at 05:57.
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These matters of "bias" as you describe them Anders are, in my view, fascinating insights into the functioning of the human mind/brain. If you take the explanation of these phenomena to the extreme then you get into the realms of the radical constructivists.
Regardless of the explanation that the scientists might choose, there is also a case of "whatever makes you happy".
This is indeed interesting Anders, I can understand your frustrations, they must be similar to mine when I read that I'm wrong and the differences I see are not there!
Ultimately we all pay our money and make our choice, we are all free to buy and use whatever we want and if we are happy with the route we take then it makes absolutely no difference. Whether a specific piece of equipment produces "better" images than another, cheaper or more expensive, in my opinion is largely down to who's standing behind it, I very rarely see stunning images from anyone who continually posts crops of images as comparisons, that is something I can definitely say, even if I can't technically describe what differences i see in my own images produced with my own cameras and instead trust my eyes. I guess it has always been the same and always will be!
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Is it possible to convert USB 3.0 to HDMI w/o Windows or Mac OS, for those of us on Credo 50 / IQ150 and not fortunate to have HDMI output? I was looking at this.
LV from C1 to an external hdmi monitor? Sure but I suspect that's not what you want (especially since LV on a Surface Pro is going to be better than hdmi).
Natve usb 3 to hdmi without a processor? I think not.
The scientific view is not only bound to enthusiasts that like to post crops and discuss technology, I see also many professionals which make good images that have a scientific view and it seems to me that fewer in that group go for medium format, although some still do. It should be said that most that make the jump to a smaller format actually think that MFD provides better image quality, it obviously does in resolution for the very least if you use the lastest gear, but they don't find the difference to be valuable enough. Some wants the best possible image quality no matter the cost, and others make a tradeoff. For professionals the cost as such is usually a smaller factor (if it's a factor you probably don't have a profitable business), it's much about workflow. Among enthusiasts and semi-pros price/performance is a strong factor.
As a sidenote I also think that the "brick wall shooters" provide lots of valuable quantifiable product information in forums like this. I love the images threads in this forum, but if it wasn't for the technical stuff I wouldn't be here. Many of those that do provide quantifiable information are professionals too. My eyes was opened for the fantastic tech cam compatibility of the Hasselblad Kodak-based backs not through dealers (they didn't say or didn't know) but through forum users that provided me with raw files. This forum helped me understand that the SK35 really has only 75mm image circle of high quality, quantifiable by crops, so I knew that before buying so I knew what I would get. Before getting crops so I could see with my own eyes I just heard lose opinions that it was either great or bad. I've learnt to recognize the users that always says everything is super-great, but somehow they still make upgrades or replacements; while those users help in keeping up a general positive atmosphere in the forum (which is nice), they're not really that helpful for users that want solid information on camera system performance. Sharing crops helps much more in my humble opinion, and describe the good and the bad about handling. Some only provide the good, I don't know if it's fanboyism or if people are afraid to sound negative, but if we really want to help eachother we need to share the full view.
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I think we're talking about slightly different things here, those that constantly post crops appear much less motivated by being able to say that this piece of equipment or that piece of equipment work best in these circumstances, thus providing valuable information to others, they appear far more interested in saying that this cheaper piece of equipment I bought is better/equal/acceptably less good than this other more expensive piece of equipment, something I find fairly ridiculous because everyone wants different things. Very rarely do people say, I have been using this kit and have actually found that for me, in my circumstances, I can get away with using this instead.
I find some technical aspects to be extremely valuable and I read a huge amount when I am purchasing gear because believe it or not, I would be much happier handing over cash for a Canon 5ds or a D810 than for a Phase One but for me they don't come close in many areas apart from cost and in some cases size, if they did for me then I'd own them, I have tested them all. So I guess I come in the category of image quality being more important than all else, I have no problem with that. What I find less interesting are the technical posts that state based on theory or science that some equipment will not work or be less useable without it actually having been used, the whole series of "the sky is falling" posts on cmos mfd performance being a case in point, as many on here attest, in actual use, things aren't anywhere near as bad as we would be led to believe. I don't find those things being helpful to other photographers, scientific or not.
I too really appreciate the detail that comes from people showing performance of equipment, I read a lot about performance of the lenses I have, I appreciate those posts because they are saying, here is a shot at maximum movements and I can decide if that is acceptable to me, rather than saying, look how bad this shot is taken with mf and how much better it is with 35mm.
I'm fairly self assured so whilst I said that I can be frustrated because people are saying the differences I see aren't real, it's not really true, I accept my testing methods and my view of the final image above anyone else's view so I'm not really frustrated, it doesn't matter. I always love seeing photographers getting a huge amount of pleasure from whatever they use, I know how good it feels to be using what you want to use, maybe I don't understand the constant comparisons because I think those people would be better served by choosing their equipment and then using the hell out if it!
It's good that we see things in different ways, it's what makes the world go round.
Have a good Sunday.
Cameras have a tendency to fanboyism, probably all of us has a little of it, at test is if you get upset if someone trash-talks your camera brand. Although I think I have only little of it, I'm not 100% immune. My heart beats a little extra for Linhof. Anyway the large cost difference in this case gives it even more focus and people trash-talk either 135 or MFD depending on where their heart lies.
Regarding the tech cam camp I think however that we give the manufacturers a lot of love without getting much back. Sure the body manufacturers like Cambo, Arca-Swiss, Alpa, Linhof, Silvestri do the best they can to adapt, and they do pretty well with their latest move is to support 135 systems and SLR lenses on their tech cams as digital backs are by many seen as too expensive and/or too incompatible.
But really, the last digital back that had a sensor that was designed for tech cam use was the P45+, and then Hassy 50MP Kodaks. Then came microlenses, light shields disappeared and sensors got tile patterns. Some of it can be covered up in software pretty well (which C1 eventually did), some can't. The situation got worse with the 80MP Dalsas and the Sony CMOS sensors.
In a fully healthy tech cam world Schneider and Copal would still be manufactured, the Schneider option would be there to us that prefer a more traditional approach and also appreciate the lower weight and cost. Partly due to sensor incompatibility it was pushed out of the market. The digital back manufacturers would provide, like they did before in the Kodak days, backs that was optimized for SLR use and backs that were optimized for tech cam use. Now it's only the former and they don't even do testing (interested dealers do). The large levels of crosstalk is indeed only visible to the average eye in certain conditions, but no sensor+lens combination is deliberately designed that way. If anything it's a 100% clear indication that they were not made to match, and it's thus obvious that tech cams is not part of the equation. It's adapt or die for them. Do I think digital back manufacturers should get a lot of love while they ignore to fulfill the needs of tech cams? Not really.
Do I think the sky is falling? For the traditional large format style photography I think it is, although slowly. There's always the second hand market. Tech cams will probably survive well into the future in one way or another, but I don't really know how they will look. I worry most for Linhof though, that still lacks electronic features such as EF adapters and shutter units, but I guess they're niched enough to survive on their 4x5" camera production alone.
At the risk of taking this off-topic, can we look for a moment at the act of photographing? There are different modes of working, and they aren't the same. There is a difference between "I see and take" (say from the DSLR mode of working), versus "I see and think about it before taking", requiring a separate operation between first seeing and composing, and the act of taking the image.
The first, "see and take", is quick and very popular. It allows for captures to (in theory) replicate one's immediate views. This is strongly desired evidenced by the millions of "snapshot" artists capturing everything as they see it.
"See and think" is different, calling for thoughtful reconsideration of the image prior to taking the shot. This was the way of working with ground glass and slow film, and encouraged composition as part of the art. It also played out on waist level finders (with GG) in the Rollei/Hassy world, and may help explain why those were so beloved.
Today's world offers other ways of reviewing: chimping is common, but after the shot. IPhones and live view allow for almost instantaneous viewing and shooting. They are also super-fast: see it, move the camera around to compose, and shoot. In theory, this is the holy grail.
Is all this new-found speed helping us get better photographs? We are getting more for sure. If a tech camera becomes more like an iPhone, its convenient, but what happens to pondering? Its a needed part of the photographic experience, and instant information does not help.
Last edited by Geoff; 6th March 2016 at 07:02.
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I don't buy the whole premise that you need to buy Type A equipment because it forces you to slow down. You shouldn't need equipment to force you to slow down. The equipment should be there to help you do the things you need to do, not to dictate or to force you to shoot a certain way. If you're forced to shoot a certain way, that means you're experiencing the limitations of technology. That's fine, you can work around those limitations, but it doesn't mean you should embrace those limitations for their own sake.
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I think both views are valid, and it's a personal thing. Of course you're right that you can use a speedy DSLR like a large format camera if you like to, and indeed that was how I did most of the time when I used my Canon for landscape photography. But it's about what you enjoy using and what you resonate with. Of course there's no difference to drive a classic car or my tiny Toyota when going from A-to-B, you'll get there with both alternatives. Still some find enjoyment of the classic car, despite that it may actually be less comfortable.
I get a bit stressed by all this electronics and hunt for ever-improving image quality and convenient features. Reacting against it, making photographs in a classic very basic way, I see the image projected on the ground glass make my movements, put a sensor there and register the image, done.
I also got a bit stressed from having a camera that instantly can react to all opportunities. I like to narrow it down. Of course I could do it in my mind only, but it just feels better to have a system that so well aligns with how I want to make images.
And one thing I'm 100% sure about, once medium format cameras work the same as smaller cameras and the same price difference is still maintained, then I'm out. I do not believe that you sacrifice any meaningful image quality by choosing the smaller format these days, and if handling is just too similar the motivation to stay in won't be there for me any longer. (I must have a reason to not continue to use my current system first though...)
I'm very rational and "scientific" when it comes to image quality, but when it comes to handling and shooting process I'm the emotional type. I don't make commercial photography though, my intention is to make art, and using gear that I like how it handles and shoots help me getting "in the mood", get more connected to the scene etc. This is something personal, no rights or wrongs. Would I do commercial photography I would probably take on a more rational approach there and look at what solution that would be most efficient to get results for the client.
If gear doesn't matter at all to you, congratulations that's good, then you only need to look at raw performance and what you actually need in technical terms. With your very rational view on gear I'm very surprised that you are still shooting film. Why is that?
Oh, I'm a little bit of both also in this. I don't like to be limited by focal lengths, I don't like to be limited in movements. To my Linhof Techno I have 35, 47, 60, 72, 90, 120 and 180 all Schneider Digitar, thanks to their compact symmetrical design and lens boards it all fits in my camera backpack which I carry with me. So from my shooting perspective my camera is more flexible in opportunities than any other system I could come up with. But I can't shoot hand-held, and I can't shoot any suddenly appearing wild-life, and it feels rather relaxing.
(In theory medium format should be the gear that you need to update the least often, and thus a good alternative to tech-stressed guys like myself. However I don't think it has worked out so well with tech cams, it's changing quicker than most formats I've seen. But it's still true in one sense, the gear I have today matches or even exceeds 4x5" in quality quite well, and who needs more? So you don't really need to upgrade if you can battle the temptation.)
Last edited by torger; 6th March 2016 at 10:34.
I'm not against megapixels, in fact I'd like say 400-600 or so to really kill aliasing for good, but there's the law of diminishing returns and if we compare against the highest resolution the 135 formats can offer I think we are in that space.
Sure if you are shooting very detailed subjects and print very big (such as cityscapes), getting the highest possible resolution, or stitch, doesn't hurt. If you have that clear special need it shouldn't be that hard to figure out the best gear for the job. Personally I mostly shoot intimate landscapes scenes and thus don't have a particular need for ultra-high resolution.
I also think it matters a lot if we shoot with deep or shallow depth of field. If we shoot shallow depth of field the bokeh and lens look comes into play at a whole other level, and Leica of course has a very good reputation there. I'm not going to argue against that because I have too little experience from them. I do like the rendering of classic Hassy V and RZ lenses on film which I've seen some more of. However in tech cam photography it's most often about "the whole scene sharp" and then lens rendering is much less a factor, although I surely like the foggy bokeh of the simple symmetric Schneiders I use (I don't particularly like the shape of the Copal aperture though).
Anyway, if we in general think medium format will make our images stand out more because it's medium format, then I think we're mistaken. As an image quality separator it's become less and less relevant, simply because the smaller formats, if handled well, are so good these days. I see nowadays more often than before the argument that the standout is also about impressing clients with that you use expensive rare gear, and it may actually be a valid point in some cases, but it feels a bit tragic that it's even brought to the table.
There are other opinions of course and it will never stop being controversial. The best advice I can give is that everyone should look with their own eyes and not trust the opinions of others, just see it as interesting food for thought. If you do see the "3Dness and smoothness" and do see them as significant and important and unattainable from a smaller formats, then do go for it.
I don't shoot film anymore, but I wish I did. I viewed film and I still do, as a palette. Each film has a different look and you could pick and choose the best film to help you express your vision. The reason I don't shoot film anymore is because the film processing infrastructure has disappeared for the most part. I shot slide film and I had found that Cibachrome prints best reflected the slide and hence, my original vision. However, you'd be hard pressed to find a Cibachrome printer anymore. Lots of film choices have disappeared as well. So, I moved to digital because it was pointless to continue shooting film. If you want your slides printed, they either make an internegative and print it optically, which defeats the whole point of shooting slide film or they scan the slide and print it digitally, which defeats the whole point of shooting film at all.
So, I did what I thought was the most rational thing: I switched to digital.
My decision to stay with film or to switch to digital had very little to do with emotional attachments. I liked shooting film because it allowed me to pick and choose my color palette. I switched to digital when those choices were no longer there.
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John, for what it's worth, I see the same things you do in MF so I guess we are both delusional! I see it in P25+ images shot with schneider lenses on an Alpa, with the Leica S and with the IQ260, there is no comparison for me. I saw far far better image quality from the 36mp S than I did from the Canon with 50mp, for me it has nothing to do with the amount of pixels on the chip, my conclusion is it's all about the size of chip combined with the lenses and the processing, which of those steps has the biggest impact is not important to me, the fact that the differences are there is. Trust your own eyes and go with what makes you happy.
As far as the differences are concerned, judging from the RAW files I have seen, downloaded from this site and some others, I am pretty confident saying that whereas the differences are there, they're not significant enough to justify the price delta. As I had mentioned earlier, if the price of entry was a few thousand dollars, I would say that the image quality difference justifies the price of entry. As it stands, I don't see the need for MF unless you're doing extremely specialized work or you need the 80 or 100 pixels to do the mega enlargements. In other words, from what I can see, MF is not just a niche market, it's a shrinking niche market.
It's great that you have come to the conclusion that it's not worth it to you, you have gone from wanting info on only full frame backs with live view to realising that there is only one really effective cmos model for that and the cost of entry for someone with no existing equipment is huge, to finding a solution to allow you to use your existing kit and get what you want, I doubt you'd have even been thinking about at all had you known this at the start. There are a good number of photographers though who have build up a system or built up clients that appreciate their work for whom it is valid and to them, benefits out way costs and it's all good. Whether you decide to buy mf or not is of no relevance to me personally, I hope that what you do buy gives you pleasure and this process has been rewarding in some way.
However you can do fixed presets also with digital too of course, it's just like you can use a DSLR like a large format camera, it's about discipline. I've spent quite some time to reach a disciplined post-processing routine and I think I'm just about there.
Film responds to color quite differently from a camera though so you really can't get the same look with digital as with film, so if you really like the film palette there's no good substitute. In balance of things I prefer to have the digital control of colors though, the possibilities to make a personal design which is in line with your "message" are considerably better, and indeed making realistic colors is easier with digital too.
Unfortunately color software for digital cameras is under-developed, that's why I made my own DCamProf. Digital photographers don't really have the tools they could have had to control color, and I think that's a reason why there's such strong "mythology" around colors from various cameras, as most don't really know what sits in the software and what sits in the hardware. Most sits in software, but if you don't have the tools to control it it doesn't really matter.
There's another thing about film. We've been talking about clients and status of camera systems. When it comes to art photography, at least here in Europe, film has a special status. The audience thinks it's more "honest", although of course many in actuality scan and post-process digitally just as if it was a digital image. In the era of "photoshoped" (it's a verb now) commercial photography the audience long for something more pure and traditional. So for my genre if I was about to think about status I should look into large format film, preferably 10x8", that has much higher status than the latest coolest digital camera. I'm today just not skilled enough to work with film though, I shoot too little, and digital gives me margins for errors and possibility to correct mistakes at the scene. I'm not ruling out that I will turn to film in the future though, although I hope I won't do it for "status" reasons...