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Abandoning hope...Looking into a *cheap* MF rig

crashwins

New member
I've plateaued somewhat in my paid work (mostly portraiture and lifestyle, but nothing fast-paced). And with the release of mirrorless MF backs like the GFX and X1D I feel like I might be able to enter the space. But there's so so much I don't know. Basically, I just want a reliable single-point AF body for portraits on a Phase One, like the older 645 bodies...But which back to get, and I like wider shots, so I'd definitely want the Schneider 55mm 2.8 (of course, the older one). I saw a Leaf Aptus 65 back locally for $600 from a friend. Seems like I could grab a $600 P1 DF body and a used 55mm Schneider lens and be in business, no? Of course not - please tell me why :)

I regularly shoot Sonys and Nikons in the 50mm focal length...sometimes 35mm, typically ART lenses. Why am I looking at MF? To slow down...color space. A new experience. Some of my work below

Screen Shot 2019-12-29 at 3.53.08 PM.jpg
 

kdphotography

Active member
I recommend visiting a dealer. They will have used/CPO digital backs and camera bodies. Try before you buy. You never know what you might like best.

The easiest transition to medium format digital would be through the Hasselblad X1D and Fuji GFX systems. You've get tons of subjective opinions here. I much rather shoot with a Phase One digital back than the mirrorless options. I've always photographed portraits coming from Mamiya (film) and then onto digital backs, using all the various generations of Mamiya-Phase bodies up to the current XF. The XF is will also make life with a digital back easier. :thumbup:

Ken
 

Chapel

New member
I've been happy with the Pentax 645Z. With all the new mirrorless offerings the prices are coming down and the lenses are reasonably priced also.
Greg
 

steve_cor

Member
Basically, I just want a reliable single-point AF body for portraits on a Phase One, like the older 645 bodies...But which back to get, and I like wider shots, so I'd definitely want the Schneider 55mm 2.8 (of course, the older one).
You might want to add leaf shutter lenses to what you want. Especially if you use flash for portraits, you would prefer leaf shutter lenses for faster flash synch.

For portraits like your examples, you would like the 150mm f/3.5 LS lens. Funny that you said you like wider shots, but then you showed examples of close ups.


--Steve.
 

f6cvalkyrie

Active member
Hi !

I've bought a set here, with a 645 DF body, a P1 30+ back and the 80/2.8 mm P1 lens ...
As Dante predicted, I've spent some money on extra lenses (but not a fortune, since I bought only 2nd hand Mamiya lenses AF or not) and I am very happy now with what I consider an excellent complete set, more than good enough for the amateur I am ...

Keep an eye on the Buy/Sell here !

C U,
Rafael
 

kdphotography

Active member
The Phase One P30 MFDB was one of the easiest MFDBs I've ever owned. Great files right out of the box. Good portrait digital back. It was like you could drop the camera, accidentally trip the shutter in doing so, look at the digital back and have captured a great photo.

:thumbup:
 

Geoff

Member
There are a number of older backs, and lower cost ways to get into this. They aren't as cheap as one might hope, but they are affordable. A wee caution: some of these involved less-than-ideal solutions of the entire system, that is, the camera body, lens, and back. For instance, the back might be great, but the body not so hot. That's why its important to try any answer out in person, preferably with a dealer, so you can see if the answer works for you.
 

RobbieAB

New member
What do you define as low cost? Especially as you are talking about P1 systems this is a vague term...

My main thought would be, for paid work, try and find budget for an early IQ back, and an XF body. If this is way out of your price range the Fuji or Hasselblad systems might be a better fit. Yes, you can get even older P1 systems cheaper, but at that point you might actually get better results from top end glass on 35mm.

The Leaf Aptus 65 is a 28MP 2006 digital back. I am sure it was excellent when new, but pretty much any current sensor should be better in any quantitive metric (“feel” is so hard to measure).
 

k-hawinkler

Active member
*cheap* or *inexpensive*, that's the question.
I opted for Fuji 50S and a bunch of GF lenses.
So, that definitely wasn't *cheap*. :facesmack: :LOL:
 

dougpeterson

Workshop Member
As the largest Phase One dealer in the world we get a lot of older systems in on trade, and remainders of old demo inventory. We list that category of gear here: DT Outlet

More recent pre-owned, demo, and factory refurbished gear is here: https://www.dtcommercialphoto.com/p...ies-lenses/pre-owned-phase-one-digital-backs/

Having worked for more than a decade to help match photographers with equipment, I'd suggest the following:
1) Start with your needs, then look for a deal. Currently you seem to be starting with a deal (a friend's Leaf back) and seeing if it fits your needs.
2) Don't assume anything is a good fit based on spec and price; if you haven't played with it in your hands you may well miss elements of usability, ergonomics, aesthetic or preference that are not captured by spec and price.
3) A "great price" on the wrong gear is still a bad deal. Better to buy once and buy the right fit for your needs.
4) The world of medium format is a niche with far more options than you'd expect, plus a lot of "gotchyas" that aren't obvious to first time users. Working with a dealer that specializes in medium format can *really* help you navigate this space and make more confident decisions and generally have a more enjoyable experience.

Of course all the above is biased by my job, but it's also informed by my job, so take from it what you will.

P.S. Beautiful portraits; the woman in the center is especially nuanced
 

Photon42

Member
I can only comment on equipment I use(d) myself. From what I see in your portraits, you could well enjoy a Leica S2 or successor with either an adapter for Contax lenses or the Leica S120, and maybe later the 70.
 

Pelorus

Member
From a consumer's point of view I'd give a +1 to what Doug says here.

I've received great advice from my dealer over the years. He's often said things that were counter to my initial views...and he's always been right in retrospect. He's helped me make the right decisions over time and I wouldn't have done that without him...including starting right where you are and with a limited budget. I've grown to value this relationship and the advice as sound and appropriate even though his job is to sell me stuff;)

There's lots of stuff out there. I use both MFDB on a tech cam and the Fuji system. If I were in your shoes I'd follow Dougs steps below but I'd include the Fuji system in your exploration.

As the largest Phase One dealer in the world we get a lot of older systems in on trade, and remainders of old demo inventory. We list that category of gear here: DT Outlet

More recent pre-owned, demo, and factory refurbished gear is here: https://www.dtcommercialphoto.com/p...ies-lenses/pre-owned-phase-one-digital-backs/

Having worked for more than a decade to help match photographers with equipment, I'd suggest the following:
1) Start with your needs, then look for a deal. Currently you seem to be starting with a deal (a friend's Leaf back) and seeing if it fits your needs.
2) Don't assume anything is a good fit based on spec and price; if you haven't played with it in your hands you may well miss elements of usability, ergonomics, aesthetic or preference that are not captured by spec and price.
3) A "great price" on the wrong gear is still a bad deal. Better to buy once and buy the right fit for your needs.
4) The world of medium format is a niche with far more options than you'd expect, plus a lot of "gotchyas" that aren't obvious to first time users. Working with a dealer that specializes in medium format can *really* help you navigate this space and make more confident decisions and generally have a more enjoyable experience.

Of course all the above is biased by my job, but it's also informed by my job, so take from it what you will.

P.S. Beautiful portraits; the woman in the center is especially nuanced
 
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