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Thread: Compairing old digital backs with new dslr systems?

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    Compairing old digital backs with new dslr systems?

    Interested in a comparison between the old digital mf backs vs the new dslr systems like the canon 5d3, 5dv or nikon d800

    used prices on digibacks like the p30+, p45+, p65+, h39p .... are the same or even higher than the actual dslr bodies!

    cannot test them but i think the new dslr systems are much better in dynamic range and liveview.

    any experience
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    Re: Compairing old digital backs with new dslr systems?

    Quote Originally Posted by gmfotografie View Post
    cannot test them but i think the new dslr systems are much better in dynamic range and liveview.
    The old backs do not have liveview at all, so the new DSLRs are certainly better in that respect. From tests between a Nikon D800 and a Hasselblad H4D-50, dynamic range is a also better on the D800. If these are your criteria, then indeed a modern DSLR is a better choice.

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    Re: Compairing old digital backs with new dslr systems?

    I don't have personal experience for the requested comparison, but would note that the old digital backs would have CCD sensors whilst the new DSLR systems would have CMOS sensors. Apples and Oranges when it comes to ISO performance - the CMOS sensors win hands down. The importance of this is not stated for the comparison, but if elevated ISO images are required, then there is no real comparison!

    :-) ... MomentsForZen (Richard)

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    Re: Compairing old digital backs with new dslr systems?

    Although new DSLR's are on par in terms of dynamic range, the backs still do have a larger sensor and the DLSR's are unmatched in terms of image detail. In general however it is a comparison of two different systems and it is easy to find pros and cons for both depending on your own preference.

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    Re: Compairing old digital backs with new dslr systems?

    I shot a D800E and a D810 alongside a Hasselblad H4D-40 for a couple years. As others have said, it's an apples to oranges comparison, and they each have their respective strengths. I never cared to do any "under the microscope" pixel-peeping comparisons between the two systems, however color and detail was great on the Hasselblad (as was dynamic range), but detail and dynamic range is also great on the Nikon[s]. Prints with the Hasselblad look great, but then again so do the prints with the Nikon. Nikons [and other modern DSLRs] are also much more versatile (can't do milky way shots really with a CCD MF without a star tracker for example), with a wider lens selection, live view, better AF, more AF points (MF only has a single center AF point), and great high ISO performance. Older CCD MF cameras are somewhat cumbersome to use (slow, big and heavy, limited more or less to base ISO for optimal quality, limited AF, rear LCD resolution is bad, etc) compared to modern dSLRs, but shooting with the Hasselblad forced me to slow down and think about my shots more than I ever did with a dSLR, which I think definitely helped me develop as a photographer. It's not anything quantifiable, and it's personal preference for me, but I also got a lot more joy out of shooting the Hasselblad than I ever have with any Nikon/Sony/Fuji/etc. Also, something that other photographers always remarked when they used my Hasselblad was how gigantic the optical viewfinder is compared to the Nikons...it definitely provides for an immersive shooting experience. In short, I found my dSLR/mirrorless systems get more use, but my CCD MF experience was more rewarding. I also found for the types of shooting I liked to do (landscape), I needed both systems as the CCD MF couldn't do everything I needed it to (like milky way shots, for example).
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    Re: Compairing old digital backs with new dslr systems?

    The old digital backs don't have that impressive technical performance compared to the modern CMOS.

    However as long as you use the digital backs within their comfort zone, which varies depending on back (eg P45+ can do long exposures, P40+ cannot), the technical result is very good.

    If you need lots of dynamic range for your photography (backlit scenes playing with lots of tonemapping) I would not use an old CCD back, the new CMOS sensors are simply significantly better. But many shooting styles, I'd say most, don't really need that high amount of dynamic range. Ask yourself what you need.

    When it comes to color profiles, medium format ones have always been very well made, meaning that a technically less capable sensor can end up with more pleasing results regarding color than a more modern camera. I make my own profiles for all cameras so it's not a factor for me, but if you use bundled profiles and the manufacturers own raw converter like most do, this is something you should consider.

    Then you have the optics. There are very capable lenses today for smaller formats, but its a mix. With medium format lenses are overall excellent. Some also see subtle differences in look related to the lenses.

    And finally it's that elusive "medium format look" that some claim to see and prefer but can't really explain. Maybe it's there, maybe not. Maybe it's optics, maybe it's color profiles, maybe it's CCD CFA, maybe it's imagination. It's an unanswered question.

    It all comes down to taste and personal aspects, you need to see for yourself and make a decision.

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    Re: Compairing old digital backs with new dslr systems?

    Those old backs 'can' make nice images but they're also such a PITA to use.
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    Re: Compairing old digital backs with new dslr systems?

    Hi,

    My take is that almost any system is good enough for most purposes.

    I would agree with Torger on CCD backs having less DR than modern CMOS, but that comes mostly from low readout noise. There has probably been a lot of development on modern CMOS and probably less so on CCD. As an example, modern CMOS often has a capacitor connected to the photodiode, expanding low ISO capability. On some designs that capacitor can be disconnected, thus increasing output voltage and reducing readout noise.

    The increased DR and high ISO capability go hand in hand. You simply use a bit of the DR to increase ISO. To be able to do that you need clean readout, that CMOS can provide.

    MFD solutions used to be geared a bit towards underexposure, thus protecting highligts. Film curve in C1, histograms etc, all go in that direction.

    Regarding lenses I am somewhat in doubt how well film era lenses keep up with modern designs. I had all Distagons for the V-series Blads except the 40/4 IF which is known to be excellent, and I would say that all fell behind higher quality zooms on my Sony outside the centre. But, all lenses could produces great prints at A2 size and probably A0 if not viewed to closely. If we say 80x120 cm prints I would say not good when viewed at 50 cm, but excellent at say 100 cm. This applies to the Distagon 40/4 CF FLE, at least my sample. The Distagons 50/4 and 60/3.5 are a bit better.

    New lenses for Phase One and Hasselblad are probably quite good. DSLR lenses can often have weak extreme corners. The old MFD lenses can be bought second hand at very low prices.

    To that comes that modern DSLRs have tons of usable features, like multiple AF spots and matrix metering. They have a wide selection of lenses.

    Nothing hinders elaborative work with a DSLR or a mirrorless, but with a Hasselblad 555/ELD like the one i have, elaborate work cames natural, at least for me, as I needed very careful focusing. I even did not have a shutter release button on the 555/ELD. MLU is mandatory.

    Getting a good tripod with a good head may be the first step to MFD like image quality.

    Best regards
    Erik

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    The old digital backs don't have that impressive technical performance compared to the modern CMOS.

    However as long as you use the digital backs within their comfort zone, which varies depending on back (eg P45+ can do long exposures, P40+ cannot), the technical result is very good.

    If you need lots of dynamic range for your photography (backlit scenes playing with lots of tonemapping) I would not use an old CCD back, the new CMOS sensors are simply significantly better. But many shooting styles, I'd say most, don't really need that high amount of dynamic range. Ask yourself what you need.

    When it comes to color profiles, medium format ones have always been very well made, meaning that a technically less capable sensor can end up with more pleasing results regarding color than a more modern camera. I make my own profiles for all cameras so it's not a factor for me, but if you use bundled profiles and the manufacturers own raw converter like most do, this is something you should consider.

    Then you have the optics. There are very capable lenses today for smaller formats, but its a mix. With medium format lenses are overall excellent. Some also see subtle differences in look related to the lenses.

    And finally it's that elusive "medium format look" that some claim to see and prefer but can't really explain. Maybe it's there, maybe not. Maybe it's optics, maybe it's color profiles, maybe it's CCD CFA, maybe it's imagination. It's an unanswered question.

    It all comes down to taste and personal aspects, you need to see for yourself and make a decision.
    Last edited by ErikKaffehr; 28th September 2016 at 14:09.

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    Re: Compairing old digital backs with new dslr systems?

    This sort of comparison usually comes down to pragmatic technical analysis because aesthetic analysis is fraught with so many personal variables.

    On GetDpi, it is also a bit skewed due to a tendency toward Landscape type photography being the criteria. Or specialist requirements like astrophotography.

    Even though I personally prefer Medium Format CCD for aesthetic reasons, were I a landscape oriented photographer I may well have over-ridden that preference for convenience, CMOS features already mentioned, and ease of transport of the newer 35mm higher resolution systems now available. While I prefer my Leica S CCD system in most every way of measurement for my work, I do have a Sony A7R-II and very nice Zeiss Batis lenses.

    However, I tend to shoot tethered in studio for half my work (so live view is less important) ... and I prefer the larger optical viewfinder when working for long periods of time compared to 35mm (OVF or EVF).

    When working with people, live-view is also semi-useless because I'm working quickly and spontaneously and rarely even look at the LCD while shooting with either MF or 35mm.

    Lastly, I use lighting for a lot of work ... where again, live-view is not helpful but MF leaf-shutter lenses definitely are ... and use of strobes tends to even the playing field between CCD and CMOS when it comes to ISO and/or DR.

    Aesthetically, each MF system offers optics that have a distinctive signature. A Hasselblad V system with select CF/CFI/CFE lenses have a distinct look and feel. While not technically the equal to some later 35mm super optics, they are also not as clinical ... a perfect example of this is the Zeiss 110/2 FE. Contax 645 with a 33 to 60 meg back is a pathway to some very yummy Zeiss optics like the 55/3.2, 80/2, spectacular 120/4 Macro, and delicious 350/4.

    So, IMO, it is more to do with what and how you shoot, and what pleases your eye when doing that.

    - Marc
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    Re: Compairing old digital backs with new dslr systems?

    I cant make beautiful photos with ugly cameras.
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    Re: Compairing old digital backs with new dslr systems?

    I agree with Mark, it's too personal a judgement for me, I don't see improvements in high ISO or live view as relevant to me personally so cmos is of no advantage in the studio with strobes, I also shoot a lot of personal work, landscapes and the like and still there, have no need for high ISO and live view. If you do then there's no competition, if you don't then your options are much wider. I shoot everything with a ccd sensor at the moment and there is honestly nothing I feel like I'm missing for my work, if I did I'd change. See if you can find some people with experience of the back you want to try and go shoot with them, you'd be very welcome to shoot with me, I used a Canon 5DS over the last couple of weeks and maybe it's down to a lack of experience with it but there was not one shot that I preferred over the IQ260 except for aurora work, something that the ccd is not good at but I don't do enough to warrant the trade off against what I shoot commercially.

    No right or wrong in this, you just need to find what works for you!

    Mat
    http://matrichardson.com/
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    Re: Compairing old digital backs with new dslr systems?

    i would never ever buy an old used mf back when it is intended for commercial work even when it is still possible to get it repaired or serviced. it is a waste of money in every aspect but especially now with the gfx and x1d on the horizon.

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    Re: Compairing old digital backs with new dslr systems?

    Hy
    I think there is still a huge advantage of MFDBs when you shoot with TechCams and tripod.
    The MFDsrls don't impress me at the moment, but the newest systems are too
    expensive for me. Here I use Nikon D800/D5 with good optics.

    But for architecture and studio stills my MFDBs (P25+ and P40+) give me better results as
    my Nikons.
    I often worked with both types of cameras and always took the MF pictures.
    I can't tell you why, maybe the colors, maybe the lenses, maybe the format (3:4) .....what ever....

    By the way, I can work a lot faster when I shoot architecture with
    my Cambo WRS, P40+ and SK 24 and SK28
    than with my Nikon D800 and 24PC + 45PC.
    I don't have to focus, I set it one time and it is sharp from 1.5 m to infinity at F11.3.
    I don't need a viewfinder, two test shots and I have the right frame.....
    I can shift independent in all directions.
    When I need more angle, I can stich.
    The only annoying thing is the LCC.

    Regards,
    Ben
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    Re: Compairing old digital backs with new dslr systems?

    Interesting question and I think a lot of people are in the same boat. I came to the conclusion long ago that for me, my finances and my clients MFD is a waste of time and money because most of my work is only seen online and I know even knowledgable clients really can't see the difference. This was from a shoot where I submitted images shot on both MF and DSLR to the client, and the art director picked DSLR across the board because they were wider. So game over, case closed, save the huge sums of money that I can't justify and move on.

    A couple weeks ago Dave Gallagher from Capture Integration did a Creative Live web class on C1 and suggested going back and reprocessing old images with the new C1 engine. Easy enough, why not. I dug up some old Leaf and Phase files, clicked the button to upgrade the processing engine, tweaked a few things and was blown away by how good they looked and how easy it was. Two images that never did much for me were instantly added to my portfolio. I convinced myself a long time ago that because clients can't see the difference it isn't worth spending the money. However, I can see the difference and that is worth something. Further, the amount of time spent in post is significantly less, so I can get higher quality images to my clients faster. That has to be worth something.

    Where I go from here I honestly don't know. On some projects where I can push the budget I will likely rent some systems and see how it pans out. I would love a tech cam, but the way I shoot is best done with a SLR. For years, Doug Peterson has beat the drum about define the use and the budget first, then go shopping for a camera, and there is a lot of logic there. I don't know how much experience you have with MF gear, but the new backs are a big step up from the old backs in usability, and the XF is another world from the DF. I don't have much experience on the Hassy side, but the H5D is a noticeable step up from the older bodies. The point being, while older gear is a fraction of the price of newer gear, it may not represent a good value.
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    Re: Compairing old digital backs with new dslr systems?

    As I see it, old gear, like I'm using myself, is for amateurs and artists or personal non-commercial projects. It's a bit like working with film, in that you're making it more difficult than it needs to be, and it's not necessarily "better".

    With lower production speeds and other needs than producing for a customer on time you can allow yourself to play around with older speciality gear just for the fun of it. Like using a classic car instead of a modern one, despite that the modern one is better in almost every aspect.

    If you just look at end results and really think it's a pain using gear that's not as user-friendly as modern stuff, I can only say it's not worth it.

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