IŽd to recommend this very interesting article by Joe Holmes on the Medium Format Digital minefield.Warning, it is a bit scaring
IŽd to recommend this very interesting article by Joe Holmes on the Medium Format Digital minefield.Warning, it is a bit scaring
To be honest it's one reason why I ain't changing anything with my DSLR system, after 4 years I finally got every lens dialed in with every body and I hit freeze! Now that everything is working I ain't changing anything!
My uncle bought a Daimler in the days when Jaguar were known for shoddy QC and build quality. He took the advice of a friend and took his car, brand new, to a trusted Jag mechanic. He told him to strip every single component and then build it from scratch - properly. He never had a problem with his car and neither did his friend in an age when Jag's spent more time in repair than on the road. Seems to be that due to the incredible quality possible with digital and the showing up of many errors once covered by film, the same thing makes sense with cameras. Send all your lenses and cameras in to a trusted repair shop and tell them to make all work with each other perfectly. Will cost a lot of money perhaps but whats money compared to all the hair torn out over years of fustration?
A friend of mine took a 2nd hand and very battered 70-200 f2.8 Non IS in to a repair shop, told them to strip it and check everything. They took out and cleaned every element, reseated and double checked then focus calibrated it. I've used the lens, heck it's on my shelf at present while he's abroad. I've never seen a Canon zoom lens that comes close for contrast, sharpness and resolution and I've owned plenty including two 70-200's. I would say that at f4 it's very almost on par with my 85 1.8 prime (also calibrated and stupidly accurate/sharp). I did the same when I bought a 100mm f2, sent it straight in to canon, didn't even bother with detailed testing. Got it back as sharp as a pin and with sweet contrast. If I buy a 3rd 5D then it's going straight in to canon for focus calibration as the other two were. Haven't got the patience to test anymore.
I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz
For my taste there are a little too many "is quite sure that he used f8/f22/f..." sentences in the text (f22 tests with a 7 micron back? Just one word: diffraction).
And he mentions tests with a Seitz scanback on Alpa, a device which doesn't even exist (yet)?
I'll take it with a big grain of salt...
sounds to you should try the arTec
Mmmh, a friend of mine is specialist for watches. He recommended me to only give my watch for a mechanical check and maitenance if I had a problem, since every time you open the watch you get some dust and dirt inside, no matter how carefull you are.
Frankly, as long as a unit works without a problem I would never give it away. And then there are better and not so good skilled people. Whenever I had to send a lens in for calibration or repair (to Leica or Nikon or Canon or Rollei), they mostly solved the problem but I couldnt find an improvement of overall performance.
Since I got into MF I have had to return (or test in store and not buy) more items, especially lenses, than I can remember. My Phase kit arrived with a wonky kit lens. Silvestri could have had a lot of my money if I had been able to get any of their kit to focus. Mamiya lost me after two 28D's were just C**P and I eventually went second hand. I could (and have in the past!) go on and on but the fact is that this stuff is mighty sensitive to poor QC and poor QC is widespread.
Had I read this article before starting my journey in November, I would at least have known I was entering a vale of tears. As it was, there have been months of lost shots, detective work to try and work out which of many elements was the weak link in the chain, a feeling that everything I purchased was doomed. Now I learn that this is just standard. And, controversially, I have come to the conclusion that anyone who has not had the same experience has probably been either extraordinarily lucky or, more likely, they are insufficiently observant or demanding.
I now have a setup that works perfectly: A Cambo RS with Schneider 35XL and a P45+ back mounted on a Gitzo GT354LS with Manfrotto 410 geared head. It produces images at F11 which are sharp to my standards from edge to edge. I also have a Phamiya AFDIII which I regard as very flawed and only just fit for purpose, a Mammy 28D which is a good example but not really good enough for a big exhibition print, an 'old' Hartblei super rotator which again is a great example but still flawed in some ways. I also have some good glass for the Phamiya. Then there are numerous discarded tripods and heads, the Metz flash kit recommended by Phase and yet not suitable for TTL use as advertised and so on and so on.
SO: for anyone thinking of going the MF route: read Mr Holmes' article. It is detailed, informative and in my experience entirely correct.
You have to kiss a lot of frogs.
it seems that most of the focusing errors he points out have to do with the reliability of the lens barrel markings or the similarity of the ground glass image plane to the sensor image plane. the first method seems limited by your ability to measure camera-to-subject distance and the barrel markings, both limited in precision. In my experience, the ground glass focus method is most practical, so that is where precision is paramount. of course tethered is the most accurate (wysiwyg), and offers something never available with film
I do think there is a lesson here even if the method can be debated .. like it always is
Most all of us have had some sort of issue with expensive gear that our expectations are high for ... and the lens or camera disappoints by not delivering on those expectations.
My experience is not unlike Ben's ... if you get a kit zeroed in it can be more valuable than the latest, greatest that may or may not be calibrated correctly ... which is often difficult to diagnose due to so many factors than can effect minute performance.
I had a very frustrating time of it with my Leica M8 and a slew of M lenses ... but once zeroed in, I simply will not give up this specific camera and set of lenses unless financially forced to. It is now incredibly precise with every M lens I own ... and any new lens has to work as well or it immediately gets sent back to the seller.
I discovered an issue with my D3 after many slightly OOF shots ... and when using the camera's optional calibration menu, I saw it was off consistently with each lens. A quick trip back to Nikon and it is now incredibly accurate. That in itself is a real confidence builder when I use that camera ... especially with lenses like the 200/2 up close.
While I have never had a Phase One digital back, I have had my share of independent backs that were off just a bit one way or another ... the back maker said the camera's tolerences were off, and the camera maker said the back was off. Can't speak for anyone or anything else but myself ... but this is what convinced me to go with a totally integrated system approach where the back is specifically calibrated to the camera before I got it, not after. It comes with a few disadvantages (like not really being able to swap backs on identical models of cameras ... but for me I could care less as long as the system delivers that shooting confidence that I now enjoy.)
Love the one you're with ... IF it is on the money ... it saves a lot of grief.
The Liveview focus on my 5dII is infinitely superior.
The biggest single saleable innovation that Phase and others could offer to make me upgrade is not more pixels but proper zoomable live view focus. Closely followed by better higher ISO...
"The biggest single saleable innovation that Phase and others could offer to make me upgrade is not more pixels but proper zoomable live view focus."
'Sinar Hy6, Leaf AFi interface, and Hasselblad V'
So unless I were to have my P45+ back's fitting changed, I can't use an Artec.
If we assume for a moment that very large numbers of MF digital photographers use Phase One backs and that a lot of them also use Phase AFDIII cameras then it is clear that like me, a large number of photographers are automatically excluded from the Artec. A point I was just trying to make to Edwin, since he works for them!
The other conclusion to consider is perhaps the folks that have not had the same experiences as you did not begin with the same expectations as you...
Yet another conclusion, and the one I subscribe to, is that in contrast to everybody else being extraordinarily lucky, was that you had an incredible amount of bad luck
FWIW, I interact with Joe offline regularly and we have shared numerous ideas and maladies of getting our MF systems to work the way we want them to. In fact both of us reached the same conclusion regarding tech cameras --- that for all intents and purposes, NONE of the current offerings provide enough precision to work more reliably than the basic Mamiya body and lenses, at least until we get usable live focus capabilities in an untethered back... (Though we do however remain optimistic about the Arca RM3D if we ever see an actual production unit.) We even have a difficult to find, special Zeiss loupe that allows us to check for critical focus through our Mamiya viewfinders. (Yes really.)
Thanks Tim. now I understand what you mean. The old camera and lens system versus the digi back system and associated compromises/positives/negatives and wish lists.
Maybe ten years from now chip production will be cheap enough to give us full frame 4x5 = problem solved! Sadly, nothing out there in digi land works like a 4x5 or LF camera and film system.
I'm not sure I agree totally: I think that I get better results in general from my P45+ than I did with 4x5 film and that there are advantages and disadvantages to both ways of working.
The difference is that film is a mature technology and digital is not. So all this messing about with LLC shots and centre grads and so on, plus the inability of many manufacturers to get the sensor sufficiently well lined up with the plane of focus, and the inability to make Live View work with these sensors is symptomatic of that immaturity and we suffer for it.
So now I find that if I want to get assured focus on longer lenses I have to use the Phamiya body, which I really do think is clunky, slow and nasty. And if I want wider angle shots that are in focus to the edges then I have to use a tech camera and put up with all the associated glitches that go with it.
If I had known all this before I started, might I not just have sunk about a third of the investment into an Imacon scanner and stayed with film?
Hmmm. Maybe. Probably not on balance. But the balance is very, very much finer than I thought it would be when I walked into my dealer with a 4x5 field camera last fall and said 'what would you give me for this if.....'
Maybe I come from a differnt way of thinking and expectations than most people. I view MF as i would view any progression in format going up in size. I look at it like P&S camera's are the easiest to work with just point and shoot and it does it's thing than move up to 35mm and the work is fairly easier but still tougher to use than a P&S camera and your expectations are differnt. We all know that any MF system we pick and I don't care what brand you pick certain things will not change . There slower , there harder to work with and tougher to focus and DOF is null and those expectations are not the same as you would get in 35mm. Frankly I never compare the two systems against each other. I know when I bought MF exactly what i was getting . BUT BUT and one more BUT. I have yet to find the limitations in shooting MF as a serious issues than what it was and is made out to be by many users.I shoot fast runway , events, golf with it and slow down also to a snails pace with it and frankly since this is all I own i force my work and my thinking to work within it. I rarely complain about MF if ever actually. I know what my expectations are and I know what I can do and what I have to do to get it done. But I know that with any system and in any format. The key I think is having the ability to adjust to it and draw the most you can from it.
In reality I don't find it painfully slow and I don't find it hard to work with but my expectations are real and not something beyond what I know what it can and can't do. I don't know maybe I have been shooting so long in my life and have had so many formats and camera's in my hands that this stuff does not phase me in the slightest. I come from shooting speed graphics hanging out of helicopters doing aerials. Thats 4x5 folks handheld and guessing at everything just like some old dogs here have been around BEFORE polaroids. LOL.
Honestly I find all lot of this stuff just more BS in your life. I rarely miss anything that I need to get with any camera i have in my hand. Now not because i think I am great or anything like that but my head just adjusts to that style of shooting. Heck i don't even have a favorite proportion size. I have just learned to shoot with whatever is in my hand without cropping which for me is extremely rare to do.I just think we get to hung up on what CAN"T be done or what we think can't be done. I think learning how to pull the rabbit out of the hat given any gear is just more important than figuring out how he got in there in the first place. Okay that was the 2:30 am thinking and not being able to sleep thoughts.
To me they are all boxes with media at one end and a lens on the other. Each format inherently has it's level of expectations and are selected based on the priorities at hand. MF is selected when IQ is the priority ... it does most all the rest (perhaps a bit more inconveniently,) but IQ is the priority.
in my experience and from what i have heard above, achieving accurate focus, especially when using tilts and swings is the bugaboo of MFD.
it is still incomprehensible to me that the $10k to $45k MFDB cannot achieve the focusing accuracy/simplicity/dexterity of the $500 G1 with it's live view zoomable, tiltable LCD.
This was exactly my experience yesterday, shooting table top with a P45+ on a Linhof 679cs with a 90mm Rodenstock. A major PITA to find the optimal tilt compared to shooting 4x5. IMHO 36mm x 48mm is just too small.
Then we had lens cast problems. That was also the case with the back on an Hasselblad V with a 80mm. At least, with the Hasselblad, focusing was accurate and pure joy!
Joe had a lot of grief getting a TECH camera system to work the way he wanted and did have some early bad luck with his back being out of spec and one of a friend's he tested being out of spec. He then got bad copies of the 80D and AFD3 body I think too -- so yes, he's had some bad luck as well.Not at all! Joe has had a roughly equal amount of grief. He's had a lot of kit that is simply not built properly and lost a lot of shots as a result.
I agree here, that used un-shifted, the Schneider 35 Digitar OR the Rodenstock 35 HR (not the non-HR!) Digital are the best options in the 35mm focal length. But you still have to guess focus, and if you look at your files at 100%, I suspect you'll find that RARELY is your desired focus point hit perfectly -- close enough to work at the chosen aperture yes, but rarely will it be perfectly on point. And of course all this assumes your tech body is true and square, which I am not convinced is a good assumption eitherI know where you're coming from on this but I have to say that my Cambo/Schneider 35XL combination seems to be the only way of getting results at wide angle that equal those I get with an 80D or longer. Sure, you have to guess focus, but I can and do get results with it even with this guesswork that are, to my standards, as close to perfect as I expect. I might be speaking too soon here since all the above is true of my WDS and the RS has only just arrived but early signs are promising!
Now back to Mamiya glass. As I have said before, there is variability in glass. I test first, usually multiple copies, then keep the best. I tested 3 copies of the 35AF before settling on the one I currently use. I have three friends that own and use equally good copies. (Guy has one he may be selling soon.) I have not seen ANY copy of a 45 AF that was sharp enough to the corners to satisfy me. The Hartblei is so variable in its performance -- I tried 4 copies -- that with the best one, I could take 4 frames in succession without touching the lens, and one would be excellent and the other three variable from okay to horrible. And personally I cannot see how you put up with it, but then that's me . My 55AF, and all other folks I know that got one, worked great from the start -- this lens seems an anomaly. The old 80 for the most part was very good but still variable, and the newer one excellent, though there have still been a few reports of bad copies -- I believe you got one and Joe's first one was off too BTW -- but my first copy is stunningly good. The 120 Macro later versions all seem to be very good. Ditto the 150/2.8D, excellent all around, perhaps another anomaly. The older 150 3.5 AF is generally good, but again variable. The 210 is variable -- I've had three versions, one was only okay the other two both excellent. I've only had experience with two 300 f4.5 APO's and both were excellent form wide open, so would assume that's a generally good lens too. Zooms are variable and you should expect to got though a few to find good ones, even with the 75-150D -- the first one I had was okay but did not stun me enough to keep it -- finding a good copy to keep is on my short list. If you are a perfectionist -- and I feel I am -- you should expect to try three of any lens you plan on buying and keep the best.
Note that when you test glass, you need to insure your camera body and back are in perfect alignment too. Here perhaps I have been lucky as my back has performed perfectly on three separate bodies, both in AF and manual focus modes; my first AFD2 body, my Phase AFD3 body and a Mamiya branded AFD3 body all behaved identically with respects to focus.
So in summary, I do rigorously test everything I get before I use it for a critical shoot, and sometimes I test it on a critical shoot without relying on it to deliver any finals. But then, that's my point isn't it? I don't expect EVERY lens or piece of kit I purchase to be perfect -- in fact quite to the contrary I expect to have to try a few copies of everything, so I test each lens I get, return any bad copies and keep going until I get a good one. So you see, we're not all that different in this regard other than in our initial expectations. Though admittedly I have been pleasantly surprised with much of my Phamiya kit -- specifically the P45+/AFD3, 80D and 150D -- on the first try... And perhaps was overly generous in my assumption it was a new norm?
PS: Joe and I disagree on the value of the Mamiya 35AF -- our expectations from it are different. I showed him this corner crop from the below pano and he felt it wasn't up to his standard. In my case, while I agree it isn't nearly as good as other lenses I own, it regularly delivers images that look great in print. Note however that Joe also commented it was better than any 35 corner he had seen previously. Also note that Joe is still on a Power PC Mac and as such was not using C1 to convert his raw P45 files, and as such also did not have access to the newest C1's superior conversion for Phase files nor the built in lens corrections for Mamiya lenses. For whatever it's worth, he is currently in the process of updating his computer system to a new MacPro so he can hopefully try the new C1 soon and comment.
Here is the crop of the very corner from my 35 lens as well as a middle crop, then the whole pano for reference as to how small an area (and relative significance or lack thereof) these represent in the final image. Note I had to jpeg 8 these to get them reasonable sizes for upload, so you are seeing some jpeg artifacts in the high-frequency detail that are not in the final file. Note also, that these crops are taken from the processed tiff before the final pano merge and before the CS4 processing, hence the different appearances from the final. These crops represent approximately 2-1/2 x 2-1/2 inch sections of a 24x72 inch print:
lower RH corner of the 3rd frame of the pano:
center of same file:
full pano (4 frames cropped to 3:1 aspect ratio) for reference -- hopefully this illustrates relative sizes of the crops:
Here comes the second article
This is not about the fact that Guy finds the results from a 28D acceptable and I don't. It's about stuff that does not perform to its own spec!
I suspect had I used my M8 with an 18mm lens for about the same effective focal as the 35 on my P back in the above pano, those horses would have been rendered as single black and white pixels in the middle of the road --- if even that
For clarification: The Schneider 35 to get is called
" Schneider KREUZNACH APO-DIGITAR 5.6/35 XL-102 MC"
Yep. But again, it is the worst lens I own for my Mamiya, and given it is also the widest, it serves a purpose for me when nothing else will. Maybe someday when I'm wealthier or start finding a more regular need for that focal, I'll replace it with a Cambo RS and 35 Digitar -- but for now I'll dance with who I brung.
If I had to choose an actual tech camera kit right now -- and money were no object -- it would probably be the RS with Rodies, the 23 HR, 35 HR, 45HR and 70 HR-W and maybe I'd add the Schneider 120. Though before I laid down any cash, I'd want to get a Silvestri in my hands for a few days and demo it. If I found it rigid enough and it reliably zeroed, I would consider it over the RS.
But then more seriously, I'd want live focus in my back (even if it was just a histo) before getting into a tech camera with tilts or longer lenses. Having been there with the Betterlight scanning back and a set of the best lenses available, I can assure you there is no way to get reliable focus from a high-resolution back mounted to a camera with movements without it. We have not even started discussing the problems of overcoming issues like curvature of field and focus shift...
The Schneider 35XL Digitar is an amazing lens and you really do not need to focus other than by distance scale as long as you're shooting landscapes with small apertures. But I won't bother trying lenses longer than 35mm on it til there's real live view.
Jack lost my original post as he was trying to quote me but lets see if i can remember it.
I find tech cameras to be somewhat boring as hell in use. I'm a very mobile shooter and like to shoot than move on to a different angle or prospective. I really don't consider myself a landscape shooter at all , although I enjoy it my patient level of sitting it out for a hour and my camera height does not thrill me . half the time i am laying on the ground in a tree or whatever. I'm more like a butterfly and shoot than move on to a different spot or something around a subject. I find the tech camera just are not fluid enough for me. Some folks they have the patience and love shooting with them and get awesome results . To me it's like using a 4x8 sheet of plywood. I like to actually see my focus and see my framing in camera to get what i want than move and get another look at something. Guessing at focusing is just not my way of why i spent all this money on something. I want to know I have it before packing it in. But that is me and more a float like a butterfly type shooter and than sting like a bee when I see what I want. I had the Alpa TC and awesome little camera and I even got great results but just did not fit me at the end of the day.
Every shot I take is made with the possibility of large exhibition prints. That's why the M8 and 1DSIII weren't enough, brilliant though they are. But I absolutely cannot see the point of the 28D on a Phamiya. At any aperture that is not diffraction limited its corners are too soft, always, and even the best corner sharpening routines do not quite get them good enough. By the time you have cropped to the sharp zone you have a file with not many more pixels than a Canon file made with a good lens (Leica R glass for example). Hell, I will even restate what I said to Jack: the 28D corners are so soft that even for a medium sized print (say 24" wide) a shot from an M8 with 28 Cron, uncropped, will be better than from a Phamiya with a 28D uncropped. It doesn't matter that the centre portion of the Phamiya shot will look better in larger prints, because the print is only as good as its weakest spot.
So for me all the advantage is gone at that point. I would actively get better results for less money and less carry around weight with a Leica, let alone a 5DII or 1DSIII. There is no doubt in my mind whatsoever about this.
However, put the P45+ back on a Cambo and the story changes radically. The results are astounding, hugely enlargeable, and exactly what I paid for with money and time when I got into all this - i.e. a LOT better than with anything I have used before and even better than my old 4x5 film camera.
We all experience these things differently but I would strongly suggest to any landscape shooters thinking of making the move to get a tech camera before they get a Phamiya if their most favoured focal lengths are wides. And even then they'd have to test, test and test again to make sure that the stuff their dealer delivers is adjusted to spec.
Tim: First I find it interesting you had trouble dealing with the 28 D's curvature of field issues, the primary reason for its soft corners *at the plane of focus*, yet you put up with the performance variability in the Hartblei... With careful composition, the vagaries of the 28D can be used to advantage (much like forward tilt), or at least it's defects significantly mitigated... Yet I found the Hartblei is so variable in its performance as to be essentially useless.Jack: the 28D corners are so soft that even for a medium sized print (say 24" wide) a shot from an M8 with 28 Cron, uncropped, will be better than from a Phamiya with a 28D uncropped. It doesn't matter that the centre portion of the Phamiya shot will look better in larger prints, because the print is only as good as its weakest spot.
Second, I heartily disagree that all prints are only as good as their weakest spot. In fact to the contrary, I think selective focus can be a significant benefit to many images, in print or otherwise. I suspect this is one area where your and my thinking differs significantly. Again, your needs are different from mine...
A FWIW to the posterity of this thread: Personally, I don't own a 28D because of the curvature issue combined with the price. But if I needed a lens that wide with any regularity, I would consider one, save for the cost; for the cost I can get a fair bit of the way into a Cambo RS with the 23HR, and that's more likely how I'd go for that focal. Ditto adding a 35 if I used my Mamiya version more than I do... (Another option for landscape wides from a cost versus performance standpoint would be film in a 6x9 view camera and a good scanner.)
As it stands however, about 85% of my landscapes are shot using 55 through 150 mm focals on the P45+, and I have stellar glass for that -- in fact multiple copies of stellar glass in that range -- that deliver direct capture results on par with the quality I used to get from scanned 4x5 film. And then I manage to get by with the other focals I have for the remaining 15% of my images with that system . Which hopefully explains why I have yet to bother with a tech camera solution for MF digital...
Tim sorry I disagree as a 30mm lens it is extremely good and i have made LARGE prints. To get a wide angle that is any better start adding the numbers and you know them well it starts at least 10k for a body and a Rodenstock 28mm. Is it worth over twice as much. Not a chance seen it and it is not ,better yes but not twice the price better. I can step back 2 ft if I really need that corner and crop slightly. Tim once again I have a great copy of this 28mm and I have proved it on every post made with the images from it. Sorry but that 10k extra can be better used somewhere else. The tech cameras are great but critical focus is never achieved without being tethered. When there is money on the line I guess at nothing and not everything is shot at F16. I can't shoot any work with a tech camera when there is people involved. Landscape work is not why i bought a 28mm lens. It's advertising with subjects and such, no tech camera is going to help me there.
reading through all these experiences and the review of Joseph Holmes I come to the conclusion that buying a digital MF system especially for landscape fine art photography and the main use of wide angle lenses is currently a very critical action
Can anybody give me advise for this? I want to make high resolution large fine art prints from landscapes. I currently scan my 6x6 films from my pst days with a Hasselblad Flextight X5 and achieve great result in printing up to 80'' x 60''. And one of my favorite lenses was in the range of 35mm an a Hasselblad and a Contax 645 - unfortunately all sold now since many years.
Can I achieve the same quality with a modern Phase One camera and a 28mm lens using a P45+???? Or similar gear from Hasselblad?
Or shoud I wait for the Leica S2 which has not the issues of fine adjustment between back and camera and lens? And is expected to have better image quality because of the Leica glass, also and especially in wide angle areas?
Or should I go and buy again a MF analog system (used and cheap) - and work on film for the next few years? Not quite what I want, because scanning and retouching is very time consuming.
I am desperately waiting and listening for your advice
Many thanks in advance!
I agree that a lot of the 28D's issues are to do with curvature of field, I also agree that that can be used creatively and that is an advantage. However what I want it to do before it offers 'extras' is to do plain vanilla really well and I think we're mostly agreed that largely it can't. I don't mind the top corners being weak, they're usually sky, but for the sort of work I am doing at the moment (and have been for a while now) I really like the 35mm FOV equivalent of the classic 24-28mm lenses and I like the shots (which I am making in fine art series that require consistency) to have front-to back sharpness. I guess I'm just very lucky with my Hartblei in that it is generally pretty good if used in certain ways but in fact if I had one chance of the shot I'd never use it. I use if for stuff where I can see the results on a computer soon and take the shot again if I screwed up. But a lot of the time it does give really nice results with sharp corners. You know I briefly had a Phase version and it was impossible to get a sharp shot with under any conditions so we're agreed that they're very variable.
I went to (and ended up buying a print from) a show by Nadav Kandar last fall. They were shot on the Yangtze river on 4x5 and 8x10 film, often stitched, and one of the reasons they had such enormous impact was this overall sharpness - even when the subject matter was veiled in fog, you didn't get this sense that the equipment had just given up in the corners. In other words, the corners did not distract. I think the work would have been a lot less good if that had not been the case.
The place where I disagree is that 'double the price but not double the quality' is a bad equation. For my stuff I will pay with money, sweat and time for the last ounce of quality. For all my current work, to all intents and purposes I want the camera not to be there at all as far as the viewer is concerned. So if it costs me twice as much to get sharpness over 100% of the frame rather than 85% of the frame then so be it. It may not sound fair but it is what it is - and you are luckier than I in that your needs and objectives don't force you to spend the silly money! Though Guy, this is you, and you are a gear whore by your own admission so maybe you should think again!
The good news is that if you get a P45+ back, a Cambo RS or Alpa Max or XY and a Schneider or Rodenstock lens of 35mm or 23mm you will be able to get critical sharpness across the frame and you'll be able to stitch to get 80mp files that will make very, very nice prints.
The Hassy guys will no doubt defend their 28mm lens but I have seen results from it that a Hassy dealer was very pleased with and they sucked in a low key way. Similar to the Phase/Mamiya 28D, possibly slightly worse.
Hope that helps,
FTR, I came to MF digital from large format film, 4x5 and 8x10, not from a DSLR like many have. Again, this is probably where my expectations are vastly different than yours. Oh, and for the record, center grads are the norm when shooting large format film with short lenses too, so they are inescapable if you want quality. As is the sturdiest tripod and head combo you can carry...
Well there you go. Seriously if you are after the ultimate quality for huge prints from images made with short lenses, I would suggest a good fieldable 4x5 camera like an Arca, Ebony or Linhof, and then use the 47XL, 58XL, 72XL (or 80XL) and 110XL lenses. FTR, divide by three to get a rough conversion to the equivalent 35 focal. Oh, and you will need CF's on the 72/80 if you use movements -- and you will need movements with them if you want the corner to corner sharpness you are looking for, because you cannot stop down far enough to carry the DoF you'll want. And you'll need CF's on the 58 and 47 even if you only use them "zeroed."Blimey, you and I are basically Jack Spratt and his wife. 85% of my work is shot on the P45+ at 35 and less - or rather it will be when I stump up for the 23HR! Still, I do have some gear to sell!
Next you'll need a good spot meter and need to know how to use it -- and don't forget to apply the CF and bellows extension corrections.
Then all you need to add is a good scanner like the Imacon X5...
Moreover, one could also take a shot on a Betterlight scanning back in addition to 4x5 film. The image on film would be handy to correct anything that has moved during the scan!
The best of both worlds!
I will see what I will do, but all existing solutions seem not workable for me. Maybe the S2 will be better dealing with all that mess.
Personally I wouldn't take 5x4 sheet film up to that size, let alone anything that comes out of a roll film camera.