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Going back to Full Frame DSLR

ndwgolf

Active member
I've had all the top end MF cameras and everything Leica has thrown at me, but I find myself going back to everything that I've shot with my Nikon gear and think man I've waisted so so much money with all that fancy gear when my Nikon images are as good if not better than all the hype.
Anyone else feel the same, or am I just getting grumpy in my old age.
Neil
 

B L

Member
I've had all the top end MF cameras and everything Leica has thrown at me, but I find myself going back to everything that I've shot with my Nikon gear and think man I've waisted so so much money with all that fancy gear when my Nikon images are as good if not better than all the hype.
Anyone else feel the same, or am I just getting grumpy in my old age.
Neil
As you say old age may or may not be of much help !
Keep just a basic MF, just in case--- even for some weighlifting walk about.:p
 

JeRuFo

Member
As always with camera questions, the answer is: it depends. But I think almost al manufacturers are happy with that sentiment, it means another switch and switches mean money.
 

pegelli

Well-known member
My philosophy is that I think you make the best photo's with the gear you're most comfortable with and know best.

That's why the rat race and constant switching to find the "best" new camera (system) and switch brands/formats is generally unproductive, albeit that can be fun as well, but as you say it's also expensive and does little for the quality of your photos in general.

What are you seeing in your Nikon photo's that's missing in the others?

And as for getting grumpy I don't know, we all get grumpy once in a while and the current lockdown probably increases the frequency.
 

glenerrolrd

Workshop Member
It depends on what you enjoy shooting .

If you want to shoot long telephotos, high speed action or very high ISO ...then Nikon or Canon are superb systems . Lets leave out Canon or the Sony A9 for the moment . Its Nikon verse Leica or the MF alternatives . Lets assume you decide that the D850 is the most versatile Nikon offering . After that it depends on the lenses you choose .

The biggest weakness I have found in the NIKON DSLR is the ability to use and focus MANUAL FOCUS lenses . I converted a bunch of Leica R lenses to Nikon mounts and bough a Zeiss OTUS . Image quality on (at that time a D810) was just superb ....but the ability to focus wide open was just ..impossible.

The other advantage Nikon has over Leica and some of the MF alternatives is the ability to use strobes (Profoto in particular has made incredible advances in smaller highly capable lighting systems ) . These require manual operation on a Leica and many of the MF options .

The other issue is size ...you use the cameras you are willing to carry . My wife shot for 3 years with the Nikon D750 mostly with a 50/14af and set wide open . The image quality was just superb for our grandkids . She went to a Leica CL ...an APS C EVF ... image quality is excellent but aimed at travel photography ..punchy ,high saturation (skin tones require work ). Of course this can be tuned to taste . She loves the Leica CL and would never go back ..because of the size and build quality .

So to evaluate any kit and really determine the pro s and con s ..you need a hard look at what you will be shooting ....subjects ,lighting and focal lengths . I really believe in kit that is set up for specific applications . I have broken all the general rules ..like using Leica M s for sport ...but I come back to my best (and most efficient ) work is when I get the kit matched to the application .
 

Jack

Sr. Administrator
Staff member
I did it about 8 years back right after the D800e was released. My take at the time was that net IQ was "close enough" to being on par with my IQ180/tech cam and newest digital MF glass that the net differences didn't matter very much. Even for big prints, which I was doing fewer of... MF color was better, but that margin narrowed significantly with the D810. It's only gotten better with the 45MP sensors. But to be 100% objective, the real impetus behind my decision back then was I was simply getting priced out of the MF market; I didn't have the financial ability to keep upgrading so got off that train...

That said, I still miss the 'gestalt' unique to using a tech cam to create.

Full course, I've recently sold off all of my DSLR bodies and most of my DSLR glass, and gone mirrorless with the Z7 and mostly dedicated Z lenses, though the line is a little thin right now -- but you can adapt darn near any lens from any manufacturer to it.

So, do I miss MF? Yes, I still do on occasion. But I do not miss what was for me an out of hand expenditure for owning the gear, especially when compared to modern FF solutions...
 

stngoldberg

Well-known member
The following is my take:
Firstly regarding strobes the connectivity between medium format cameras and strobes is excellent.
I happen to have an Elinchrom system with my Phase One camera and Arca Swiss camera, but I have attended Profoto workshops and their systems with medium format are also widely used
Secondly for bird photography and surfer images, a DSLR is the correct tool for those jobs; however for images of birds that are not flying, I gravitate to medium format because, in my view, the image is superior in detail and color rendition.
Thirdly photography for me is about having a joyful experience...attempting to create something artistic...experimenting to make the best compositions...escaping from whatever issues of the day...so when I am able to use a technical camera with a large megapixel back and I have good light...wow
Stanley
 

glenerrolrd

Workshop Member
The following is my take:
Firstly regarding strobes the connectivity between medium format cameras and strobes is excellent.
I happen to have an Elinchrom system with my Phase One camera and Arca Swiss camera, but I have attended Profoto workshops and their systems with medium format are also widely used
Secondly for bird photography and surfer images, a DSLR is the correct tool for those jobs; however for images of birds that are not flying, I gravitate to medium format because, in my view, the image is superior in detail and color rendition.
Thirdly photography for me is about having a joyful experience...attempting to create something artistic...experimenting to make the best compositions...escaping from whatever issues of the day...so when I am able to use a technical camera with a large megapixel back and I have good light...wow
Stanley
Stan

Have you tried strobes both with a MF camera and with a dedicated TTL camera ? Of course pros have been using strobes with every type of camera since the days we evaluated exposure with a HB and a Polaroid back . Strobes used in manual require either a fixed setting (e.g. studio ) or really strong craft skills. If can control the environment and have time to dial in the balance ,exposure etc ...using strobes manually works well . The advances from vendors such as Profoto have been in creating MOBILE systems (e.g. A1 ) and integrating the TTL functions into the camera . This can be a game changer for event and wedding photographers dealing with changing light situations . Also pretty darn nice for fashion and editorial assignments .

So it always depends on “what you plan to shoot “ and the “craft skills” you are willing to master .

Roger
 

Paratom

Active member
grumpy ;)

I am long term S user and tried a lot in between. I have checked almost all brands, Canon 5dII, Nikon Z6, Z7, m43, dx (D500), Leica SL/SL2, Pana S1r,...

Right now my main system(s) are SL2, S007 and recently a D500 for fast action.

I have shot various times comparisons between S and SL2.

My take:
S-sensor + S-lenses render very natural, color is even slightly better than SL2, great midtones, smooth transition to background

FF/SL2: Very sharp, very good color, nice contrast, a little less tonality in midtones (compared to S), and while very good bokeh not as smooth transition to background.
When I had the Z6 I like the combo a lot but I prefer "Leica color" over Nikon color.

I love the D500 for the speed in C-AF.

Why not use the S for special things and occasions, where size and weight is not an issue, and use your Nikon when you want faster pace or Zooms or long reach?
I mean - you allready own the S-equipment, and used prices are down anyways.

And while I am sure FF delivers very good IQ, I feel I cann still see the difference when using S gear. I dont know how much comes from lenses and how much from sensor.
 

Joe Colson

Well-known member
I've had all the top end MF cameras and everything Leica has thrown at me, but I find myself going back to everything that I've shot with my Nikon gear and think man I've waisted so so much money with all that fancy gear when my Nikon images are as good if not better than all the hype.
Anyone else feel the same, or am I just getting grumpy in my old age.
Neil
Most of us, when asked this question, venture off into comparisons of various manufacturers' systems and the conversation devolves into a "mine is bigger than yours" contest. To answer your specific question, yes, I feel the same. And yes, I'm getting more grumpy in my old age. I've been through what seems like an endless timeline of medium format cameras, starting with the Hasselblad H4D, and now feel the results I can get with a mirrorless full-frame 35mm camera are in the "good enough" zone and very close to what I can achieve with a medium format camera with the equivalent number of megapixels. At about 40-50MP, I can print 17x22" at 300dpi with very good results from either system. Right now, I'm enjoying a Leica SL2 and a Hasselblad X1D II. If I pixel peep, the X1D II has better IQ, but it takes some serious pixel peeping at 100% magnification to see the difference. For most of my photography, the SL2 fits the need.

For me, the other practical difference is lens lineup. Few, if any, of the medium format systems have native mount lens lineups that rival those of 35mm full-frame alternatives. Even the L-mount and Z-mount "new kids on the block" have lenses (and lens roadmaps) that I can only wish existed for the Hasselblad X (or the Fuji GFX).

So Neil, you're not alone. I'm not going to shed my Hasselblad anytime soon, but if push came to shove, I'd divest it before I let go of my 35mm full-frame kit. Just my two cents.

Joe
 

Godfrey

Well-known member
I've gotten excellent, satisfying photographs with a bevy of FourThirds, Micro-FourThirds, APS-C, and FF format digital cameras. Literally thousands of them. I've sold them, licensed them, made a living from them, won exhibitions with them, etc etc. I continue to use my APS-C Leica CL and make tons of great photographs with it.

So why did I spend the money to acquire the latest Hasselblad 907x/CFVII 50c back? The answer is simple: Because I was looking for something specific in the qualities of photographs made with ultra-wide lenses that requires a larger capture format.

It is this specific 'something' that makes photographs from a Hasselblad SWC or other medium format film camera very different from the same photographs made with a 35mm film camera and a lens that provides the same angle of view. The something is the specific coupling of focus zone (depth of field, if you would) and field of view that is dependent upon precisely the size of the format and its relationship to the focal length of the lens and the size of the taking aperture.

There are other benefits to the medium format digital cameras as well, of course. And they're all worthwhile benefits, although many of them are slowly being approached by the best FF format sensors. But the DoF-FoV relationship cannot be approached by anything but specific capture format vs focal length attributes —*you'll never get the same relationship with a FF, or APS-C, or FourThirds format camera. (In truth, you won't get the same relationship with any two of the four, but those three are all much more similar than jumping up one more notch to 33x44 and beyond.)

If this specific quality of a medium format digital camera is not significant to your photography, then sticking with FF makes good sense given the price, quality, and availability of top-line FF systems today.

It has taken me many years to feel that what I wanted was worth the price and for the prices to come down to where I could stretch to afford them. I'm not endowed with enough excess wealth to consider hopping about different MFD systems for the joy of "finding just the right one." So I made my choice on the basis of "what do I have now that I can move forward into the MFD world" along with "emotionally, what do I like?" I've made my decision to go with this Hasselblad system because it integrates so well with my existing Hasselblad V system AND because I like the concept it expresses much more than the competition. It's not perfect by any means... But it's good enough for my purposes because it gives me what I wanted when I considered buying it. :)

You have to make your own decisions on these things, after doing the business of making photographs, seeing what worked or didn't work, studying the reasons as to why that might be, and considering what might do the job you want. There are no magic bullets; there are no perfect systems. There are only tools and your creativity, photographic vision, and skills to use them.

G

"Equipment is transitory. Photographs endure."
 

jdphoto

Well-known member
I've also owned quite a bit of gear in MFD, but thankfully sold most of it before the prices really dropped. It is amazing how planned obsolescence has, and will continue to make paperweights out of once considered "high end"cameras. Full frame mirrorless, such as the Nikon Z7, Canon EOS R with the newest lenses are leaps and bounds better than any MFD i've owned. Print size was primarily the reason I got into MFD, but with digital, I started pixel peeping at 200% (don't be that guy) to look for artifacts and any other thing I could complain about. I expected perfection, but what I was missing was character and composition. I've only had one client order a print that was 4 feet on the long side that easily could be taken today with the Nikon Z7 and 50mm 1.8S. However, film photography has me captivated now with the build quality of older mechanical cameras. Clients pay more for film shoots and often mistakes such as flare, OOF, or low contrast are viewed as creative and intrinsic to Fine Art. Plus, there's great deals on gear too!
 

glenerrolrd

Workshop Member
Obviously you have decide is good enough .....verse cost the trade off you are seeking . If it is then no question 35MM is the sweet spot for price-performance . No question ...


1. Clearly defining your requirements ..so many of the systems are “purpose designed “ they may be perfect for many users and not so great for others . I do 80% street and travel ,10% landscape/seascape and 10% sport . I prefer color but am moving into a phase where I really try to make black and white work . This is a big big difference from one of my friends. He does 80% landscape and of that is specializing in B&W ..he does a little travel in color and maybe 15% in B&W street. Neither of use use strobes to any measurable percentage . I can see exceptionally well for an old guy without vision correction (small +diopter adjustment dials it in ) ..My buddy has poor eyesight and avoids rangefinder cameras . (sorry no MONO ).

2. Cost is not an issue for either of us ..but time is . So ease of use to get the very best is important . We both suffer from way to much gear and its a problem ...always buying and sometimes selling . I hate that part of the hobby .

I just love the new HB systems but they just don t fit my requirements ...they are just too darn slow for street photography (its a square peg in a round hole ) . They also would require a real effort to learn FOCUS (raw conversions )
to get the very best image quality . I started with a HB 500C ..50 years ago and I just love their cameras . I grew up with this moon photographs on my wall . (when they were current ).

So every time I get ready to buy that beautiful 907 ...I think ...OH NO ..think of the work required .

Since this is GEAR SWITCH thread ..I would encourage you to really get down ..the type of work you plan to be doing with it .
 

dave.gt

Well-known member
What's wrong with using both? :thumbup:

Seriously, I have used both extensively at the same time and will probably do it again. There is no rule that says there can only be one system. Enjoy life, it is too short as it is.:)
 

MrSmith

Member
I think it’s far easier to dip your toe back in the MFD waters now with the current offerings available, while P1 reaches the stratosphere there are loads more options at the more affordable end of the market and they offer even more value used. It’s no longer the big leap it was to go up a sensor size.
 

Bill Caulfeild-Browne

Well-known member
Different tools for different jobs. I have a Sony mirrorless system and a bunch of glass and I'm very pleased with it - especially when I need a long reach for wildlife.

But....I get more satisfaction using my Phase gear. I just plain prefer it. Yes, the differences in its files compared to the Sony are not huge - but to my eye they're there. DR, micro-contrast and colour are better as I see it. And having used it for (admittedly mostly large) wildlife in Africa recently, I'm even more hooked.

So I'm not grumpy at all....just lucky to have two sets of tools.
 
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