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Is there a compelling reason to move to MF?

Abstraction

Active member
Re: My reflections coming from P45+ (and without reading the thread)

I was somewhat disappointed to see that and I'll offer up apologies on behalf of the majority of us here on the forums who believe that one man's art is ... Err, well their art. I never judge because often it's the unusual and abstract art that produces that image that captivates me much more than just another rock or another sunrise/sunset etc etc.

As Dogs said, it's all good and we welcome everyone here. Really :eek:

Thanks Graham, that's much appreciated. It's nice to see adults coming back here. :D


Hi,

Just to say, I am known as a medium format skeptic. I have been shooting for the last 2.5 years with a Hasselblad V system combined with a P45+ back in parallell with a Sony A99 camera.

What I would say that I did not see a lot of difference between the two system using my standard processing toolchain, LR6/LR CC. The P45+ had an obvious advantage in resolution. Colour is a more tricky thing. Both systems were capable of pretty accurate colour with good colour profiles. Much depends on taste.


I did not see a resolution advantage with the Hasselblad/P45+ combo at A2-sizes, but I think a clear advantage was visible at A1.

Now I have moved to a Sony A7rII, what I have seen is that the A7rII performs on par with the Hasselblad/P45+ combo also on axis (close to centre).

I am using the Sony A7rII with HCam Master TSII, a pocket size T&S adapter that takes both Canon lenses and my Hasselblad and Pentax 67 lenses. That works reasonably well.

So, from my experience MFD is a bit of a looser, unless 60-100 MP is needed. PhaseOne and Hasselblad also have leaf shutters, and there are cases where a leaf shutter is needed.


BUT, if you need 100 MP, MFD is the way to go. With 50 MP I am clearly skeptical and keep in mind that 50 MP is cropped frame MF, 44x33 mm.
That's exactly what I've been trying to say. Thank you for putting it so succinctly.
 

fotografz

Well-known member
"Nice to see adults coming back here?"

Really? Perhaps you do not recognize it, but that's easily taken as insulting by exclusion.


BTW, I do not think anyone was saying your work sucked the way you imply ... just that for the samples you chose to show, that you probably do not need MFD. While you could do such work with MFD, by your own evaluation you do not need it. I doubt few would disagree. Nothing wrong with that.

What is assumptive on your part is to postulate that by extension or implication no one else needs it either, and I'm not just referencing resolution. Even if others may agree with you, so what? What is right and what is not is by individual judgement, not a universal fact.


"So, to clarify my statement, NEED is something you can't do without, not something that's nice to have."

Your statement above seems the crux of your discussion.

However, "Need" is defined by the user. What may be "nice to have" for some, may be an essential "need" for another.

Many discriminate between systems as well as formats. We all have choices with-in the same format, let alone between formats ... which is usually a "systems decision" based on the purpose and aesthetic expectations behind those decisions.

What you refer to as "splitting hairs" is thought of as craftsmanship to others.

Each individual system provides differences in subjective "Image Qualities" as opposed to "Image Quality" (often seen as a metric). The two concepts are different. MF provides different Image Qualities from smaller formats, and different MFD systems provide choices in Image Qualities between one another.

Not sure what is so hard about understanding that.

- Marc
 
M

mjr

Guest
I agree with Marc, it's not anything negative on your images, it's the fact that what you show is unlikely to benefit from what MF offers, I doubt that enlarging any of those abstract shots will do serious damage to them.

I also agree that what the individual wants will dictate what they buy, remember you are asking this in a forum full of people who have already justified it to themselves, worked hard and are quite happy using it, a lot of people have answered your question as to why it works for them but it won't have any bearing on what works for you.

Erik is someone who visits some very nice places but I can honestly say that as Wayne has pointed out above, judging the performance and value of MF as a whole based on the images he is able to produce with his equipment is maybe doing it a disservice, having looked at a lot of Erik's shots, I can not honestly say that looking at a P45+ shot of his I have felt that I am looking at the pinnacle of the format, it doesn't get better than that, maybe it's the equipment, maybe the processing, who knows but I know that if I was getting the same results then I too would be looking elsewhere, but I don't.

Bottom line is that working out your budget, researching what you can get within it and then getting your hands on it and actually shooting your subjects in your own way is the only way to decide what is right for you, I wouldn't buy a point and shoot without testing so no way I'd buy 35mm or mf without knowing how it works for me, how it works for anyone else is of no relevance.

Mat
 

Abstraction

Active member
I agree with Marc, it's not anything negative on your images, it's the fact that what you show is unlikely to benefit from what MF offers, I doubt that enlarging any of those abstract shots will do serious damage to them.
You're right from a resolution perspective, but since many folks talk about medium format being better for tonality, I thought I would benefit in that regard. That's one of the reasons I wanted to exclude resolution from this discussion.

also agree that what the individual wants will dictate what they buy, remember you are asking this in a forum full of people who have already justified it to themselves, worked hard and are quite happy using it, a lot of people have answered your question as to why it works for them but it won't have any bearing on what works for you.
That's precisely the reason I asked it on this forum. I wanted to hear from people who have med format equipment, who use it on regular basis and I wanted to hear their take on things and extrapolate how that relates to me and what I do.


Erik is someone who visits some very nice places but I can honestly say that as Wayne has pointed out above, judging the performance and value of MF as a whole based on the images he is able to produce with his equipment is maybe doing it a disservice, having looked at a lot of Erik's shots, I can not honestly say that looking at a P45+ shot of his I have felt that I am looking at the pinnacle of the format, it doesn't get better than that, maybe it's the equipment, maybe the processing, who knows but I know that if I was getting the same results then I too would be looking elsewhere, but I don't.
I'm intrigued. I'll have to take a look at Erik's work.

Bottom line is that working out your budget, researching what you can get within it and then getting your hands on it and actually shooting your subjects in your own way is the only way to decide what is right for you, I wouldn't buy a point and shoot without testing so no way I'd buy 35mm or mf without knowing how it works for me, how it works for anyone else is of no relevance.

Mat
You have to start somewhere in your research, so what better place to start than to pick the brains of people who actually use it and have been using it for a long time?
 

Don Libby

Well-known member
I switched to MF many years ago while still using a iDsII to capture landscape and have never regretted that decision.

In looking for the answer one must first try the equipment first to see if it fits in your workflow rather than rely on others. If it fits and you like it then you have your answer; likewise if it doesn't fit and you don't like it you still have your answer. Seeking out the compelling reasons why others choose to use MF can be dangerous if you don't have firsthand knowledge.

As good as MF is there are also pitfalls; the need of a larger computer, learning new processing software, etc. You might be able to limp along with your current computer however, if you haven't mastered the software you'll never be satisfied with your results.

Just some random thoughts on a subject that keeps popping up here and elsewhere.
 

ErikKaffehr

Well-known member
Hi,

You are wellcome to check my work here: echophoto

The images here are intended as sample images and thus accompanied by raw images:
http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Articles/Shoots/BernardSamples/

To elaborate a little bit on my previous postings:

I cannot compare with other images, as it is pretty rare that MF images are posted in raw format.

I am doing my processing in Lightroom although I own both Capture One 7 and 8 versions, but that software doesn't work for me.

With regard to my equipment, I have been trough 2 Sonnars 150/4, Planar 80/2.8, Distagon 40/4, Distagon 50/4, Distagon 60/3.5, 2 Planar 120/4 and a Sonnar 180/4. So I don't think it is probable that all would be substandard. To that comes possible lack of focusing skills, but it seems that I have more problems with moiré than most and that arises only when the lens outresolves the sensor.

I am essentially processing my MFD images identically to my Sony images. So that is a proper comparison. On the other hand I want realistic colour, and I don't want to oversharpen my images.

Capture One clearly oversharpens the images from the Planar 100/3.5, for instance at default settings. How I know, simply because I measured MTF and it was way above 100% at low frequencies.

Anyway, I do very similar processing on both Sony and P45+, so my lack of processing skills affects both systems similarly.

One subtle point to make is that the price of an IQ 150 back you can buy the following stuff:

A Sony A7rII
All three Zeiss Otus lenses
Canon 17/4 TSE L
Canon 24/3.5 TSE LII

So, it is clearly possible to build a very qualified system for just the price of the back. I don't know how such a system compares with a Phase One system. Both systems use a similar sensor made by the same vendor. I have taken the Sony A7rII as an example, because it is what I own and because it enables me to use T&S with many of my lenses.

I could of course taken a Canon 5DsR or a Nikon D810 instead of the Sony A7rII, but Nikon cannot take Canon T&S lenses.

Now, I don't think there is any issue with MFD. Indeed, if > 50 MP is needed MFD is the only option. But I don't think there is a compelling reason to go to MFD especially if we exclude resulution which was the question the OP posted. Keep in mind that sensors are essentially the same and the hard part of the work is made by Sony. Vendors can play some tricks on raw files, but any of those tricks can be applied to a proper raw file in the post.

Interestingly, I am aware of two well know architecture photographers who converted from MFD to A7rII, namely Chris Barret who went from Phase One IQ-260 (AFAIK) to Sony A7r on Arca Swiss Universalis, which he uses with quite a few of the same lenses I have.

The other one is Rainer Viertlböck, a German architecture photographer who has been heavily involved in the development of the Sinar Arctec. Rainer is now on A7r using a lot of different lenses with Mirex T&S adapters, like I do. :) Yeah, I know that using same gear doesn't turn me into a great architecture photographer :) But it sort of shows that folks who have been there and done that find smaller formats a practical replacement.

Best regards
Erik


I'm intrigued. I'll have to take a look at Erik's work.
 
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Abstraction

Active member
Hi,

You are wellcome to check my work here: echophoto

The images here are intended as sample images and thus accompanied by raw images:
http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Articles/Shoots/BernardSamples/

I cannot compare with other images, as it is pretty rare that MF images are posted in raw format.

I am doing my processing in Lightroom although I own both Capture One 7 and 8 versions, but that software doesn't work for me.

Best regards
Erik
Thanks, Erik! I'll check the stuff out.
 

Transposure

New member
I replied to this thread earlier without any comments in regard to my post. In light of the recent additions, I will offer this, in line with some of my original comments...

To me, medium format offers other functional assets THAT SIMPLY CANNOT BE ACHIEVED WITH A DSLR. The three most notable are:


  1. Syncing with high powered studio strobes up to 1/1600s. This is achieved through leaf shutters (not available on 35mm DSLR's) and through the Profoto Air Sync wizardry (speed of signal). This allows a SINGLE strobe to provide enough fill light to shoot an individual in the bright sun on any day at f2.8 and have a beautifully diffuse background. You cannot do that with a DSLR. Period. Maximum flash sync for a DSLR is 1/125s - 1/250s, in general 3+ stops less. The amount of light that you can add as fill is ALOT more than speedlites, even ganged together (which I have done many times). To do this with a DSLR, you would first need to use an f2.0 DSLR lens to equal the look of the f2.8 MF lens and you would have to use a lot of speedlites. And the further you want to move the speedlites away from your subject, to allow for more latitude with framing your shot, the more of them you would need. More to handle, more batteries, more risk, more to go wrong.
  2. Triggering your strobes with a radio transmitter that is actually built-in to the camera. Turn it on and shoot. Done. You cannot do that with a DSLR. Period. Therefore, no risk of loss or damage to your transmitter. No batteries to worry about. Easy. Convenient.
  3. Resolution can be changed easily based on needs. With a DSLR, you have to change the entire body to something different to go from 20MP to 50MP (the max at this point in time). With MFD, you change the back. Need more resolution for a project or a use? Rent a 100MP back. Need less? Use the one you already own or rent a different one. The body and lenses stay the same. Your use of them is routine since you are accustomed to their operation.

The focus seems to continue to be on the capture and that will be debated until the end of time. Sometimes I agree and sometimes I disagree. It depends on so many factors from the techniques used from capture to print that the discussion is largely pointless. But, when you are working with your gear, it is indisputable that each system, under certain circumstances, shines over the other from a functional perspective. I have simply pointed out where the MFD system shines for me. Oh, and my DSLR is 18MP and my MFD is 60MP, so although resolution was supposed to have been left out of the discussion, that is IMHO not a reasonable constraint to artificially apply to the discussion. The reason being, medium format offers something that DSLR's cannot provide, (namely 60MP, 80MP and 100MP image capture devices). And THAT is very relevant.

Below is a screenshot example of my point #1...
 

Attachments

Abstraction

Active member
I replied to this thread earlier without any comments in regard to my post. In light of the recent additions, I will offer this, in line with some of my original comments...

To me, medium format offers other functional assets THAT SIMPLY CANNOT BE ACHIEVED WITH A DSLR. The three most notable are:


  1. Syncing with high powered studio strobes up to 1/1600s. This is achieved through leaf shutters (not available on 35mm DSLR's) and through the Profoto Air Sync wizardry (speed of signal). This allows a SINGLE strobe to provide enough fill light to shoot an individual in the bright sun on any day at f2.8 and have a beautifully diffuse background. You cannot do that with a DSLR. Period. Maximum flash sync for a DSLR is 1/125s - 1/250s, in general 3+ stops less. The amount of light that you can add as fill is ALOT more than speedlites, even ganged together (which I have done many times). To do this with a DSLR, you would first need to use an f2.0 DSLR lens to equal the look of the f2.8 MF lens and you would have to use a lot of speedlites. And the further you want to move the speedlites away from your subject, to allow for more latitude with framing your shot, the more of them you would need. More to handle, more batteries, more risk, more to go wrong.
  2. Triggering your strobes with a radio transmitter that is actually built-in to the camera. Turn it on and shoot. Done. You cannot do that with a DSLR. Period. Therefore, no risk of loss or damage to your transmitter. No batteries to worry about. Easy. Convenient.
  3. Resolution can be changed easily based on needs. With a DSLR, you have to change the entire body to something different to go from 20MP to 50MP (the max at this point in time). With MFD, you change the back. Need more resolution for a project or a use? Rent a 100MP back. Need less? Use the one you already own or rent a different one. The body and lenses stay the same. Your use of them is routine since you are accustomed to their operation.

The focus seems to continue to be on the capture and that will be debated until the end of time. Sometimes I agree and sometimes I disagree. It depends on so many factors from the techniques used from capture to print that the discussion is largely pointless. But, when you are working with your gear, it is indisputable that each system, under certain circumstances, shines over the other from a functional perspective. I have simply pointed out where the MFD system shines for me. Oh, and my DSLR is 18MP and my MFD is 60MP, so although resolution was supposed to have been left out of the discussion, that is IMHO not a reasonable constraint to artificially apply to the discussion. The reason being, medium format offers something that DSLR's cannot provide, (namely 60MP, 80MP and 100MP image capture devices). And THAT is very relevant.

Below is a screenshot example of my point #1...

I completely agree with you. I should have qualified my criteria a bit more. In order to compare apples to apples, I wanted to limit the discussion to high resolution full frame cameras ranging from Nikon 810 to Canon 5DSr and Sony in between and MF ranging from Leica to Phase/Credo 60mp backs. Obviously, once you get significantly past 60mp, resolution will come into play and in a very big way.

BTW, that's a beautiful shot.
 
M

mjr

Guest
By way of balance to Ken's beauty, here's a nothing special, handheld shot at ISO800 with the Leica S, not all pixels are created equal, 37mp and I promise you, the tonal transitions and depth of this shot are impossible to achieve with the Nikon, I used a D800 and D800E setup for 2 years with the best Zeiss glass and could never get the same feel as I could with the Leica, I have many thousands of portrait shots to prove it. It's not necessary to look at 100%, you just need to look at the image as a whole to see the differences.

 

ErikKaffehr

Well-known member
Hi,

I don't really see the reason to compare 18 MP on DSLR to 80 MP on MFD. State of the art in DSLRs is 36-50 MP for low ISO shooting.

Regarding short sync times, it is clearly an advantage of leaf shutter technology over focal plane shutter. It is important for some kinds of shooting, but for a lot of shooting it is not very important. Just to make a counter argument, no MFD offers contrast detect AF in live view or 10 FPS per second or dozens of AF points. Being able to do accurate focus over a large part of the image area also plays a role. Horses for the courses…

What is pretty obvious today, with all MFD makers except Leica having CMOS sensors developed by Sony, is that MFD sensors are on the same development curve as smaller formats. That means that they can fully play the format advantage, just like in film days. Digital sensors are incredibly good, so making best use of them is more critical than ever. Just as an example, a digital sensor is flat. Film always had some curvature except on some Contax cameras with a vacuum plate.

So, MFD will give a significant resolution advantage, but only in a single plane of focus. So, technical cameras make a lot of sense as they can achieve extended focus for a single plane without stopping down, utilising the Scheimpflug principle.

MFD will also have something like 1.5 stop in ISO speed advantage. An IQ-3-100MP will have the same noise at 4500 ISO as a Sony A7rII/Nikon D810/Canon 5DsR at 1600 ISO. MFD being a high ISO champ? Yes, with recent CMOS sensors.

On the other hand, if you need to stop down for DoF the playing field will be much more level. With MFD you need to stop down 1.5 stop more for same DoF. That will eat up the ISO advantage and also the resolution advantage as diffraction will take it's toll (*).

Getting back to flash sync speeds, that has always been an advantage of leaf shutters. There is no reason that we have FP shutters with 24x36mm, except economics and fast shutter times being a sales argument. But, market did not ask for leaf shutters in 24x36.

Best regards
Erik

(*) For most aspects, exposure time and diameter of the aperture decides the image quality. Say that you shoot f/9.1 on an 80 mm lens and f/5.6 on a 50 mm lens. Aperture diameter in both cases is around 8.8 mm, so resolution and diffraction will be the same when printed at the same size, excellent lenses assumed.


I replied to this thread earlier without any comments in regard to my post. In light of the recent additions, I will offer this, in line with some of my original comments...

To me, medium format offers other functional assets THAT SIMPLY CANNOT BE ACHIEVED WITH A DSLR. The three most notable are:


  1. Syncing with high powered studio strobes up to 1/1600s. This is achieved through leaf shutters (not available on 35mm DSLR's) and through the Profoto Air Sync wizardry (speed of signal). This allows a SINGLE strobe to provide enough fill light to shoot an individual in the bright sun on any day at f2.8 and have a beautifully diffuse background. You cannot do that with a DSLR. Period. Maximum flash sync for a DSLR is 1/125s - 1/250s, in general 3+ stops less. The amount of light that you can add as fill is ALOT more than speedlites, even ganged together (which I have done many times). To do this with a DSLR, you would first need to use an f2.0 DSLR lens to equal the look of the f2.8 MF lens and you would have to use a lot of speedlites. And the further you want to move the speedlites away from your subject, to allow for more latitude with framing your shot, the more of them you would need. More to handle, more batteries, more risk, more to go wrong.
  2. Triggering your strobes with a radio transmitter that is actually built-in to the camera. Turn it on and shoot. Done. You cannot do that with a DSLR. Period. Therefore, no risk of loss or damage to your transmitter. No batteries to worry about. Easy. Convenient.
  3. Resolution can be changed easily based on needs. With a DSLR, you have to change the entire body to something different to go from 20MP to 50MP (the max at this point in time). With MFD, you change the back. Need more resolution for a project or a use? Rent a 100MP back. Need less? Use the one you already own or rent a different one. The body and lenses stay the same. Your use of them is routine since you are accustomed to their operation.

The focus seems to continue to be on the capture and that will be debated until the end of time. Sometimes I agree and sometimes I disagree. It depends on so many factors from the techniques used from capture to print that the discussion is largely pointless. But, when you are working with your gear, it is indisputable that each system, under certain circumstances, shines over the other from a functional perspective. I have simply pointed out where the MFD system shines for me. Oh, and my DSLR is 18MP and my MFD is 60MP, so although resolution was supposed to have been left out of the discussion, that is IMHO not a reasonable constraint to artificially apply to the discussion. The reason being, medium format offers something that DSLR's cannot provide, (namely 60MP, 80MP and 100MP image capture devices). And THAT is very relevant.

Below is a screenshot example of my point #1...
 
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ErikKaffehr

Well-known member
Hi,

Just a few comments:

1) Using strobe at high speeds is an advantage if there is a a lot of ambient light you want to get rid of. Many folks shoot mostly in ambient light. Yes, leaf shutters have advantages.

2) Great respect for Schneider (who now left the MFD business), although they still work with Phase One on lens design. But, almost any decent lens resolves to well above 100 lp/mm at least in the sweet spot. Erwin Puts measured something like six older 50 mm lenses from Canon, Nikon, Leica and Contax and all resolved above 200 lp/mm albeit with low contrast. To make use of those 100 lp/mm you need a 0.005 micron sensor, the 60 MP sensors resolve 83 lp/mm while the IQ-180/280/380 resolves 97 lp/mm (that is pretty close to 100 lp/mm). Sony A7rII resolves 110 lp/mm and Canon 5DsR resolves 121 lp/mm

3,4,5,6) An MF DSLR will not give you tilt and swings. Arca and Cambo seem to make decent business selling optical bench cameras with full movements utilising the A7xx sensors. T&S adapters from Mirex, HCam and Kipon give a decent amount of shift and tilt and they are pocket size.

7) A7rII has fully electronic shutter, totally vibration free at any shutter speeds. It has also an electronic first shutter curtain that essentially eliminates vibration s at long shutter speeds as the shutter opens electronically. The shutter closes mechanically but does it in less than 1/300s. Vibrations are an issue on the original A7r. I am pretty sure both Canon and Nikon have electronic first shutter curtain on their latest cameras.

8) I tend to agree that the 4:3 has an advantage to 3:2 in many cases but in many other cases 3:2 has advantages, in real world both formats need to be cropped.

9) Built in lens profiles in C1 is no advantage for Pentax 645, Leica S or Hassy users, but C1 has lens profiles for many other lenses including Canon.

10) The capture profiles built in C1 are also there for Canon, Nikon and others, the ones intended for team phase one backs are probably better than others. You can use C1 with 24x35 mm cameras but not with non Team Phase One cameras.

As a side note, Hasselblad offers T&S using the HTS adapter. The HTS records shifts and tilts in the raw file and Phocus applies corrections automatically. I have noticed that IQ3-100MP raw files seem to have fields for tilt and shift, so a similar technique may come to Phase One.

So, as you see, many of those compelling points are not valid for MFD in general, just for an MFD used on a technical camera, and nothing precludes using a mirrorless 24x36 mm system with a technical camera. Capture One does not support non Team Phase One cameras/backs but supports most leading 24x36 mm and smaller format cameras. MFD is more than just the Team Phase One echo system. Hasselblad, Pentax and Leica are other major players.

Now, I am perfectly sure that MFD systems are great stuff. I have an older MF system and I enjoy shooting with it, but it doesn't really have a T&S capability that I would call usable in the field (I have a Hasselblad Flexbody and a P45+). T&S was actually the major reason I bought the A7rII. For the cost of an IQ-150 back alone I can buy an A7rII, both Canon T&S wides (24 and 17 mm) and all three Otus lenses. A couple hundred $ more also gives me a TS-adapter.

Best regards
Erik

No, I don't think it would be fair or accurate to say that.

Aside from resolution or the medium format look there are many other reasons. I can mention a few:

  1. Possibility to use leaf-shutters and strobes for ambient light control
  2. Possibility of using some of the finest lenses available with up to 100 line pairs/mm (Rodenstock/Schneider)
  3. Ability to achieve perfect composition in camera via rise/fall/shift
  4. Ability to stay within the optimal aperture range of the lens via use of tilt
  5. Ability to achieve focus in unique situations via swing
  6. Ability to achieve perfect stitches by using the far larger image circles of the MF lenses
  7. No worries about shutter vibration when using slower shutter speeds
  8. 4:3 aspect ratio over 3:2
  9. Built-in lens profiles in Capture One
  10. Beautiful color profiles in Capture One

Some of these are technical camera specific since that is how I use my digital back.
Whether some/any of these are important for you is for you to decide.
The point is that there ARE many other compelling reasons.
 
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gavincato

New member
abstraction - the reason people got annoyed with you is that despite your claims that you are just researching, you are clearly looking for people to say what you want to hear.

erik - I'm using a 645z so I fit into your sceptic bracket :) tell me, honestly do you think a a7r2 would compete with a 645z with a good lens. When I compared the 645z to a 5dsr the MF files were so superior the difference was striking. I'm sure in a studio the canon would do ok - but when we tested them outdoors the MF files smoked the canon.

Have a look at these shots last week I took. Please note I'm not a landscape guy, just a wedding photographer who went on a hike in new zealand with a 645z and a few lenses. All handheld. The good ones are the mountain shots roughly halfway down. These are the new 35/3.5 at f10'ish.

Happy Snaps from NZ! | Wollongong, Illawarra, Southern Highlands, Sydney & Destination wedding photography

exif info is intact (the couple with no info are the Blad 110/2). the ones with the 35mm - the full size raws are just so much sharper & detailed than anything i've seen from any 35 system. i'm just baffled that anyone could be skeptical there isn't much or any advantage in terms of pure IQ.
 

Pelorus

Member
Gavin, those are great, evocative shots of the Mackenzie Country and the mountains. They are so quintessentially about the place. Congratulations.

abstraction - the reason people got annoyed with you is that despite your claims that you are just researching, you are clearly looking for people to say what you want to hear.

erik - I'm using a 645z so I fit into your sceptic bracket :) tell me, honestly do you think a a7r2 would compete with a 645z with a good lens. When I compared the 645z to a 5dsr the MF files were so superior the difference was striking. I'm sure in a studio the canon would do ok - but when we tested them outdoors the MF files smoked the canon.

Have a look at these shots last week I took. Please note I'm not a landscape guy, just a wedding photographer who went on a hike in new zealand with a 645z and a few lenses. All handheld. The good ones are the mountain shots roughly halfway down. These are the new 35/3.5 at f10'ish.

Happy Snaps from NZ! | Wollongong, Illawarra, Southern Highlands, Sydney & Destination wedding photography

exif info is intact (the couple with no info are the Blad 110/2). the ones with the 35mm - the full size raws are just so much sharper & detailed than anything i've seen from any 35 system. i'm just baffled that anyone could be skeptical there isn't much or any advantage in terms of pure IQ.
 

fotografz

Well-known member
Hi,

Just a few comments:

1) Using strobe at high speeds is an advantage if there is a a lot of ambient light you want to get rid of. Many folks shoot mostly in ambient light. Yes, leaf shutters have advantages.

2) Great respect for Schneider (who now left the MFD business), although they still work with Phase One on lens design. But, almost any decent lens resolves to well above 100 lp/mm at least in the sweet spot. Erwin Puts measured something like six older 50 mm lenses from Canon, Nikon, Leica and Contax and all resolved above 200 lp/mm albeit with low contrast. To make use of those 100 lp/mm you need a 0.005 micron sensor, the 60 MP sensors resolve 83 lp/mm while the IQ-180/280/380 resolves 97 lp/mm (that is pretty close to 100 lp/mm). Sony A7rII resolves 110 lp/mm and Canon 5DsR resolves 121 lp/mm

3,4,5,6) An MF DSLR will not give you tilt and swings. Arca and Cambo seem to make decent business selling optical bench cameras with full movements utilising the A7xx sensors. T&S adapters from Mirex, HCam and Kipon give a decent amount of shift and tilt and they are pocket size.

7) A7rII has fully electronic shutter, totally vibration free at any shutter speeds. It has also an electronic first shutter curtain that essentially eliminates vibration s at long shutter speeds as the shutter opens electronically. The shutter closes mechanically but does it in less than 1/300s. Vibrations are an issue on the original A7r. I am pretty sure both Canon and Nikon have electronic first shutter curtain on their latest cameras.

8) I tend to agree that the 4:3 has an advantage to 3:2 in many cases but in many other cases 3:2 has advantages, in real world both formats need to be cropped.

9) Built in lens profiles in C1 is no advantage for Pentax 645, Leica S or Hassy users, but C1 has lens profiles for many other lenses including Canon.

10) The capture profiles built in C1 are also there for Canon, Nikon and others, the ones intended for team phase one backs are probably better than others. You can use C1 with 24x35 mm cameras but not with non Team Phase One cameras.

As a side note, Hasselblad offers T&S using the HTS adapter. The HTS records shifts and tilts in the raw file and Phocus applies corrections automatically. I have noticed that IQ3-100MP raw files seem to have fields for tilt and shift, so a similar technique may come to Phase One.

So, as you see, many of those compelling points are not valid for MFD in general, just for an MFD used on a technical camera, and nothing precludes using a mirrorless 24x36 mm system with a technical camera. Capture One does not support non Team Phase One cameras/backs but supports most leading 24x36 mm and smaller format cameras. MFD is more than just the Team Phase One echo system. Hasselblad, Pentax and Leica are other major players.

Now, I am perfectly sure that MFD systems are great stuff. I have an older MF system and I enjoy shooting with it, but it doesn't really have a T&S capability that I would call usable in the field (I have a Hasselblad Flexbody and a P45+). T&S was actually the major reason I bought the A7rII. For the cost of an IQ-150 back alone I can buy an A7rII, both Canon T&S wides (24 and 17 mm) and all three Otus lenses. A couple hundred $ more also gives me a TS-adapter.

Best regards
Erik
In my general experience, photographers select MFD for 5 reasons based on primary need 1) Resolution from larger meg backs for either reproduction/documentation, large printing, diverse cropping ability (frequent in commercial repurposing of images); 2) T/S work using a fully articulated studio camera with a hi res back; 3) High speed sync strobe use with any meg back (which is more prevalent than most here may think); 4) Some specialty applications like Multi-shot, and aerial or industrial cameras 5) subjective preference for the look and feel of MFD "system" output (complete image chain).

Your remarks above are pretty comprehensive and presumably speaks to your specific needs. Like with any argument, it is skewed by damning with faint praise, while omitting the deficiencies of the favored opinion. Again, you seem to be comparing experiences with the latest 35mm tech to your older MFD tech.

A few responses:

1) Top sync speed with full strobe output on my Leica S is 1/1000 with no vignetting. It was 1/800th with my previous Hasselblad H. The Sony A7R-II is only 1/180 and the A7R-II doesn't even have a PC sync port to hard wire anything to it when shooting with a speed-light for fill.

While higher sync has a clear advantage in controlling ambient, it isn't just "... in a lot of ambient" ... it is ANY ambient. I've used it to kill distracting backgrounds indoors for example, including indoor locations infected by ambient I have no control over other than higher sync speed... or to lessen mixed lighting effects in areas where the subject/background metering is in no-man's-land.

The unmentioned additional high sync advantages are: ability to control unwanted motion in brighter backgrounds not effected by the subject lighting flash duration. 1/1000 shutter beats 1/180 all day long. I can also shoot @ 1/1000 with a wider open aperture with flash without blowing out a brighter background.

3,4,5,6) A MF DSLR doesn't need to provide T/S ... the removable backs from Phase, Leaf, Sinar and Hasselblad do. Allowing you the choice of a wide variety of technical cameras ... I used a Rollie Xact-II for full front back movements in studio with a fixed back and a M/S back, could remove it and put it on a mobile ALPA type camera if I wanted, then back to SLR use.

BTW, I also used Hasselblad's HT/S on my Leica S camera to excellent effect. The S electronically allows full function use of HC & HCD lenses and Contax 645 lenses including Contax's excellent T/S bellows unit. The disadvantage is the HT/S is the 1.5X magnification factor making the widest FOV 36mm (28mm in 35mm terms).

All that said, were I in need of T/S today (I'm not) ... I'd go exactly the same route you did (or rent what I needed) because for me the call for it isn't that demanding anymore, and not worth the expense of owning a hi res MFD T/S solution or a 35mm one for that matter. BTW, Otis lenses would not be part of my mix since they are manual and negate the A7R-II advantage of advanced AF ... and are as big as many MFD lenses on a tiny body.

7) Yes, the A7R-II virtually fixed the shutter slap issues of the A7R (or I would never have bought my A7R-II). How is the A7R-II a fully electronic shutter while also having an "electronic first shutter?" Also, isn't there some limitation attached to EFS?

8) What many other cases does 3:2 have an advantage over 4:3? Certainly available print paper sizes aren't one of them especially consumer selected sizes, neither are most publication or commercial printing formats. While one may have to crop either format, 4:3 requires far less in most applications ... effectively trashing more resolution from the 3:2 verses the 4:3. This was very apparent to me when I switched from Hasselblad H to the Leica S which is 3:2.

9, 10) Specific C1 comments may well be valid, however, Hasselblad has excellent lens profiles in their software Phocus, and provided them to Adobe for use with PS/LR ... including profiles for older Zeiss lenses. Leica chose Adobe LR as their DNG software, and those profiles are very good. Same for capture profiles.

IMO, other contemporary MFD advantages (as well as Nikon & Canon) include mature and consistant systems components when compared to the Sony A7R-II. I'm sure they will get there.

In the final analysis I use my Leica S because of the high sync speed advantages, and I like the look of my S files from the S image chain better than anything I can get from my Sony A7R-II with any lens mounted to it. Not that they are bad in any way, just I prefer the S files every time. I've shot some stuff with the Sony only to wish I had shot it with the Leica. What can I say ... that's all folks!


- Marc
 

GrahamWelland

Subscriber & Workshop Member
I've shot some stuff with the Sony only to wish I had shot it with the Leica. What can I say ... that's all folks!


- Marc
That pretty much sums up my experience with MF Digital vs my smaller format gear. I like what I get from my Sonys, and others before them, but I almost always end up wishing that I'd shot the images with my digital back.
 

ErikKaffehr

Well-known member
Hi,

Regarding shutter modes of the A7rII there are three:

1) Mechanical shutter, no limitations but has vibrations. Needs to be closed before exposure, inducing significant exposure lag.

2) Electronic First Curtain. Not recommended for highest shutter speeds (like above 1/2000s) may not work with legacy lenses that don't stop down fast enough.

3) Fully electronic shutter. Slow travel time but totally silent. Forces 12-bit mode.

So Electronic First Curtain is mostly best option.

I think you are a bit over agitated just because a few persons have different needs than yours. Please, just keep in mind that many photographers don't use flash at all. You would need a nuke to illuminate a landscape.

Also a lot of shooting is done in ambient light. So for many users long exposure capability and great dynamic range matters more than capability for flash sync at 1/800.

As I mentioned some well known MFD users switched from MFD to A7r. One of them, Rainer Viertlblöck was involved with development of the Sinar ArcTec, it was made for him, but he now uses the A7rII 95% of the time. His own words. I don't know why they switched, but good enough and more efficient workflow are words that have been mentioned.

I think that anyone going into MFD should analyse their needs and select what is most appropriate for those needs taking economy into account. Doing that it is nice to be aware of the alternatives. Don't you think so?

I am not so sure that MF automatically means a high end digital back. First time users may start with a camera like the Pentax 645Z, that has neither leaf shutter or a removable back or the Leica S that you mentioned that also doesn't have a removable back. So MFD doesn't automagically give you all the advantages you discuss. You need to choose between back or built in sensor. If you need LS you need to buy LS lenses.

Best regards
Erik


In my general experience, photographers select MFD for 5 reasons based on primary need 1) Resolution from larger meg backs for either reproduction/documentation, large printing, diverse cropping ability (frequent in commercial repurposing of images); 2) T/S work using a fully articulated studio camera with a hi res back; 3) High speed sync strobe use with any meg back (which is more prevalent than most here may think); 4) Some specialty applications like Multi-shot, and aerial or industrial cameras 5) subjective preference for the look and feel of MFD "system" output (complete image chain).

Your remarks above are pretty comprehensive and presumably speaks to your specific needs. Like with any argument, it is skewed by damning with faint praise, while omitting the deficiencies of the favored opinion. Again, you seem to be comparing experiences with the latest 35mm tech to your older MFD tech.

A few responses:

1) Top sync speed with full strobe output on my Leica S is 1/1000 with no vignetting. It was 1/800th with my previous Hasselblad H. The Sony A7R-II is only 1/180 and the A7R-II doesn't even have a PC sync port to hard wire anything to it when shooting with a speed-light for fill.

While higher sync has a clear advantage in controlling ambient, it isn't just "... in a lot of ambient" ... it is ANY ambient. I've used it to kill distracting backgrounds indoors for example, including indoor locations infected by ambient I have no control over other than higher sync speed... or to lessen mixed lighting effects in areas where the subject/background metering is in no-man's-land.

The unmentioned additional high sync advantages are: ability to control unwanted motion in brighter backgrounds not effected by the subject lighting flash duration. 1/1000 shutter beats 1/180 all day long. I can also shoot @ 1/1000 with a wider open aperture with flash without blowing out a brighter background.

3,4,5,6) A MF DSLR doesn't need to provide T/S ... the removable backs from Phase, Leaf, Sinar and Hasselblad do. Allowing you the choice of a wide variety of technical cameras ... I used a Rollie Xact-II for full front back movements in studio with a fixed back and a M/S back, could remove it and put it on a mobile ALPA type camera if I wanted, then back to SLR use.

BTW, I also used Hasselblad's HT/S on my Leica S camera to excellent effect. The S electronically allows full function use of HC & HCD lenses and Contax 645 lenses including Contax's excellent T/S bellows unit. The disadvantage is the HT/S is the 1.5X magnification factor making the widest FOV 36mm (28mm in 35mm terms).

All that said, were I in need of T/S today (I'm not) ... I'd go exactly the same route you did (or rent what I needed) because for me the call for it isn't that demanding anymore, and not worth the expense of owning a hi res MFD T/S solution or a 35mm one for that matter. BTW, Otis lenses would not be part of my mix since they are manual and negate the A7R-II advantage of advanced AF ... and are as big as many MFD lenses on a tiny body.

7) Yes, the A7R-II virtually fixed the shutter slap issues of the A7R (or I would never have bought my A7R-II). How is the A7R-II a fully electronic shutter while also having an "electronic first shutter?" Also, isn't there some limitation attached to EFS?

8) What many other cases does 3:2 have an advantage over 4:3? Certainly available print paper sizes aren't one of them especially consumer selected sizes, neither are most publication or commercial printing formats. While one may have to crop either format, 4:3 requires far less in most applications ... effectively trashing more resolution from the 3:2 verses the 4:3. This was very apparent to me when I switched from Hasselblad H to the Leica S which is 3:2.

9, 10) Specific C1 comments may well be valid, however, Hasselblad has excellent lens profiles in their software Phocus, and provided them to Adobe for use with PS/LR ... including profiles for older Zeiss lenses. Leica chose Adobe LR as their DNG software, and those profiles are very good. Same for capture profiles.

IMO, other contemporary MFD advantages (as well as Nikon & Canon) include mature and consistant systems components when compared to the Sony A7R-II. I'm sure they will get there.

In the final analysis I use my Leica S because of the high sync speed advantages, and I like the look of my S files from the S image chain better than anything I can get from my Sony A7R-II with any lens mounted to it. Not that they are bad in any way, just I prefer the S files every time. I've shot some stuff with the Sony only to wish I had shot it with the Leica. What can I say ... that's all folks!


- Marc
 

CSP

New member
erik, you can never win here with arguments mf is like homeopathy you must believe it otherwise you can not experience the miracle advantage
 

ErikKaffehr

Well-known member
Hi,

It is not about winning an argument. It is about sharing experience and presenting an alternate view. It may be a good thing to discuss the options? Information is always a good thing…

Oh, by the way I seem to be pretty alone in sharing some raw images. I wish we would have seen more of that.

The tests posted by Digital Transitions and Capture Integration were both informative and impressive, BTW.

Best regards
Erik


Hi,

Regarding shutter modes of the A7rII there are three:

1) Mechanical shutter, no limitations but has vibrations. Needs to be closed before exposure, inducing significant exposure lag.

2) Electronic First Curtain. Not recommended for highest shutter speeds (like above 1/2000s) may not work with legacy lenses that don't stop down fast enough.

3) Fully electronic shutter. Slow travel time but totally silent. Forces 12-bit mode.

So Electronic First Curtain is mostly best option.

I think you are a bit over agitated just because a few persons have different needs than yours. Please, just keep in mind that many photographers don't use flash at all. You would need a nuke to illuminate a landscape.

Also a lot of shooting is done in ambient light. So for many users long exposure capability and great dynamic range matters more than capability for flash sync at 1/800.

As I mentioned some well known MFD users switched from MFD to A7r. One of them, Rainer Viertlblöck was involved with development of the Sinar ArcTec, it was made for him, but he now uses the A7rII 95% of the time. His own words. I don't know why they switched, but good enough and more efficient workflow are words that have been mentioned.

I think that anyone going into MFD should analyse their needs and select what is most appropriate for those needs taking economy into account. Doing that it is nice to be aware of the alternatives. Don't you think so?

I am not so sure that MF automatically means a high end digital back. First time users may start with a camera like the Pentax 645Z, that has neither leaf shutter or a removable back or the Leica S that you mentioned that also doesn't have a removable back. So MFD doesn't automagically give you all the advantages you discuss. You need to choose between back or built in sensor. If you need LS you need to buy LS lenses.

Best regards
Erik
 
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