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Missing MFD and getting back into it

Bryan Stephens

Workshop Member
I have been out of the MFD field for just over a year, and already miss it, so I am giving serious contemplation to re-entering Dante's Inferno :loco::banged: (I know. I am a glutton for punishment)

For the past year I have been shooting my Canon 1dx for my sports/action and for landscape it has been a combination of my a7rII and my 5DSR. The two are extremely similar with a slight edge going to the a7rII with regards to the DR (which is still short of the MFD backs that I have been used to for the past 5 years).

In shooting the 5DSR side by side with the a7rII I can honestly say that the naysayers who have put down the Canon, it is never as bad as people claim it to be so I had to see for myself. While the DR is not on par with the MFD backs that I have used, it is not as bad as the Canon haters have stated it to be, and I found that I could bring the shadows up a lot more than I had anticipated, based on what I had read, without seeing a huge amount of noise, which is what I had come to expect. Prior to my 5DSR I had also had a Nikon D810 and the Canon was sharper due to the MP difference, but the DR was off by at least 1 stop, so I had to make sure I was a little more precise in my exposure control. I tended to fair better when I slightly overexposed the image, but enough of that.

That being said, the files are not as "fun" to play around with as the MFD files, and while they are sharp as anything, due to the 50MP, they don't have the same "POP" that the MFD files had, and since I do like to print my landscape stuff on a larger scale and like the aforementioned "POP".

My only issue now is which way to go. I have always had a Phase digital back, but have had it with different systems, be it a Hassy with my H2F, the Phase One DF+ and my tech cam. For now, I won't be going the tech cam route, but may eventually build back into that, as by going the DSLR route I will have more flexibility.

I have been reading and looking at images posted by several people with the Phase backs, as well as the Hassy CFV-50c and the Pentax 645z. The main issue I guess is the difference in my workflow since I am now used to doing my post in C1Pro and would have to re-learn lightroom, Photoshop, Phocus, etc.

I have yet to shoot the new XF but have read that it is a tremendous leap forward from the DF+, and then my question becomes which back to go into. I would presume that I would need to stay at at LEAST the 50MP level (CMOS) or go the used route and go 60 or 80 (cannot even think of the 100MP route as it is way out of my price point)

With the sale of my Canon gear , I will have enough to take a large chunk out of my initial re-investment. Any thoughts or input would be welcome. :grin:
 

torger

Active member
A new H5D-50c here in Sweden is correspondingly $15k (+VAT), the IQ150+XF is about $23k, and of course the 645z at $7k or so, I don't know what the US prices are at this time though, at B&H the 50c is still at silly $27k, is that for real? It shall be interesting to see where Hasselblad puts their 100MP CMOS offer. If price is an issue I think you should think twice about Phase One. Hasselblad has been making some interesting moves lately when it comes to pricing.

I'd play around with some old CCD files before going for second hand CCD. Maybe you've gotten used to the CMOS dynamic range and don't find the CCDs to be as good as you once thought. I'd double-check at least.

Tech cameras are in a state of flux due to the somewhat weak compatibility CMOS and wide angles, so if you don't have that strong interest in it I would suggest to stay away until it settles a bit.

One of the 50MP CMOS offers in an SLR package seems like the obvious option to me, otherwise a pre-owned 80MP CCD if you want the highest possible resolution without ruining yourself with the IQ3 100MP. If you're not in a hurry I'd wait and see what happens at least during this year.

While medium format still is expensive, there are some more economical options today.
 

Bryan Stephens

Workshop Member
The MFD backs that I have shot to date are as follows:

P40+
IQ140
H4D-60
IQ180
IQ260
All were CCD so I know the files well. I did get the opportunity to play around with an IQ250 and found the files to be excellent albeit different than the CCD files. It almost feels like there is more color saturation already in the CMOS file and the profiles are different in that I didn't need to adjust the colors to match my eye as much as the CCD. I also found that the CMOS files tended to be a bit more forgiving if I happened to forget to shoot my LCC.

Within a month of me selling my IQ260 I had regretted it, but needed the money at the time.

The Hassy H5D-50c is $19,000 if you get it with the 80mm. If you buy the kit without the lens it is $27,000. Now to me that doesn't make a whole lot of sense.

I can also do the CFV-50C back, an H5x camera and an 80 for the same price which would allow me the flexibility to use a tech cam in the future if I so decided.

I really enjoyed my Hassy camera and lenses especially compared to the 645 DF+, which is why I am wondering how much more improved the XF system is. From everything I have been reading, there is no comparison and it is a huge improvement.
 

torger

Active member
Note that the CFV-50c is a V-mount back, you can't use it with the H5x. It's quite popular in tech cam circles though, where mount is just a matter of an adapter plate, and of course among those that like the classic V system.

Hassy's pricing seems to be all over the map and varying between continents, not much logic for the moment. But it does seem like they're looking towards a lower level in the longer term.
 

Bryan Stephens

Workshop Member
Note that the CFV-50c is a V-mount back, you can't use it with the H5x. It's quite popular in tech cam circles though, where mount is just a matter of an adapter plate, and of course among those that like the classic V system.

Hassy's pricing seems to be all over the map and varying between continents, not much logic for the moment. But it does seem like they're looking towards a lower level in the longer term.
Actually I think I had asked that question and you are correct. The CFV-50c is not compatible with the H5x.
 

docmoore

Subscriber and Workshop Member
Bryan,

I recently went from MF ... film to H2D to H3D 39 and Alpa TC to a Leica S2-P ... left for a Nikon D810 with Otus Lenses and live view.

Just this month sold off everything and returned to the Leica S 006 ... after deciding that Lens Cast and slow LV on the CFV-50C ... in addition to limited lens selection without a technical camera were
more frustration than I desired. The S excels in handling DR and has wonderful lenses. Not Rodenstock but no lens cast issues
and very nice AF when needed ... almost never in my case with the best OVF in a camera.

So you have to live with 37 MP but stitching is an option ... however you can print very large with the files.

S 006 S 45 a couple of Hassy V lenses 120 makro and 160 Tessar for $16K with a 3 year warranty on the camera.

Pentax 67 Mamiya Hassy V and H and Contax lenses work with adapters.

The Leica S and S lenses are fairly weather proof.

If you step to the 007 you get CMOS and live view ... but the 006 files are wonderful.

Might behoove you to demo one prior to committing to a system.

Bob
 

GrahamWelland

Subscriber & Workshop Member
Bryan,

I'm shooting the XF with IQ150 and really enjoying the combination. On the tech camera the CMOS live view is important but not as essential (although super useful) on the XF. What is nice though is the flexibility of the sensor.

If I were shooting the XF exclusively, and bearing in mind that I'm typically shooting from a tripod for landscapes, I could easily go with a used IQ180 as my go to camera back as it has everything that epitomizes the quality of medium format CCD imagery.

Of course if you have the budget the IQ3 100 is, I have to say, absolutely the pinnacle of medium format but obviously a little rich at the moment. I know that I want one but it'll have to wait. For shooting with the XF, one of the full frame CCD backs would also be fabulous for landscape work. For more action/handheld use the IQx50 backs have the advantage due to their ISO flexibility.

For tech, CMOS all the way. Either the CFV-50c or IQx50 backs are game changers. If the traditional Hasselblad camera options appeal then the CFV-50c is a great option IMHO as you can use it with all of the great Hasselblad body systems and lenses.

Good luck! And what out for Dante' :cool::cool:
 

Bryan Stephens

Workshop Member
Graham

I am going to take a look at the XF as I have heard nothing but good things about it, so I am looking forward to it.

With regards to the back, I am up in the air, but it is between an x50, x60 and, x80 (all refurbished, etc) While the IQ3 100 is the absolute be all and end all, it would also be the end of any money I have to my name. :grin:

I know that an x50 back would do me well as I survived for a few years using first the P40+ and then the IQ140, so the crop sensor is nothing new to me, and I believe the crop is pretty much identical between the two.
 

gavincato

New member
I have been out of the MFD field for just over a year, and already miss it, so I am giving serious contemplation to re-entering Dante's Inferno :loco::banged: (I know. I am a glutton for punishment)

My take on it if you decide to get a 645z, get it now and enjoy. They are fantastic, I'm really having fun with mine for both work & play. If you are doing landscapes the 35/3.5 is a excellent lens and the old A model is cheap as chips on ebay.

If you want to go the hasselblad route, I'd wait. Almost certain they will go 100mp and when they do it'll drop the prices on the existing kit. Blad glass is awesome so might be worth the wait.
 

archivue

Active member
The MFD backs that I have shot to date are as follows:

P40+
IQ140
H4D-60
IQ180
IQ260
All were CCD so I know the files well. I did get the opportunity to play around with an IQ250 and found the files to be excellent albeit different than the CCD files. It almost feels like there is more color saturation already in the CMOS file and the profiles are different in that I didn't need to adjust the colors to match my eye as much as the CCD. I also found that the CMOS files tended to be a bit more forgiving if I happened to forget to shoot my LCC.

Within a month of me selling my IQ260
while i'd love to have live view... i still prefer IQ260's rendition over CMOS backs... and IQ260 is more friendly with lens movements !
 

GrahamWelland

Subscriber & Workshop Member
If I didn't use a tech camera and only used XF on a tripod ... CCD all the way.

that said, CMOS will get you shots you'd miss with slower CCD iso's. Consensus seems to be for my CCD / CMOS buddies that CMOS is very close to ccd for rendering but not yet 100% there. Maybe 95%+ whatever that means. However, if you're shooting MF digital the difference between 95% and 97% is noticeable. :facesmack:
 

tjv

Active member
For what it's worth–I have a Leaf Credo 60 that I use exclusively on a technical camera–and to state the obvious, I'd consider the following things:

1: What focal lengths you prefer and work backwards. E.g. if you prefer extreme wides, then crop sensor probably isn't for you. In that scenario none of the advantages of a CMOS sensor (seeing as you can only afford crop frame) will get you where you want, especially if you find stitching a bore.

2: Then I'd consider the body. I've not used the XF but have always very much liked the 'bald body and lens lineup, including the option to use the HTS 1.5x converter. I think each system is probably a wash except for...

3: Processing pipeline. I think C1 is an excellent piece of software, although I'm finding it hard to gel with. Some hate Phocus but I always found it easy to use and to get the results I wanted. Horses for courses, I guess. Suffice to say it's another personal choice.

4: CCD VS. CMOS. It's last on my list for things to consider, but it is most likely the top of most peoples concerns in terms of trade-offs / benefits. E.g. will you benefit from high ISO shooting, even if it's to squeeze that extra bit of faster shutter speed to better hand hold. Do you need good live view? Personally I don't think there is any great or even real CCD magic, but I do think that they are slightly different at base ISO.

5: Will you ever use a technical camera? I actually don't think live view is essential on a technical camera, but then again I'm one of those masochists that enjoys using a ground glass. I find it easy to achieve critical focus and dial in tilts in all except very, very dim light, where live view would certainly make things easier. I demoed the CFV-50c on my Linhof Techno and very much liked it, but the user interface was a little clunky–not horrible, just clunky–and I found that looking at the screen rather than a GG took me too much out of the moment. It's a psychologically off-putting thing looking at a small, backlit LCD, I guess. Anyway, the crop sensor of the 50c/IQX50 was just too small to get me my preferred focal lengths and the freedom of movements I wanted. I wasn't prepared to pay massive money for the 32HR and also put up with the extra bulk and fragility of the lens when on an full frame chip the 40HR would be smaller and do a better overall job.

6: Lastly, very long exposures. If you want to do this regularly then CMOS is better, although my Credo 60 does very well up to about 20 seconds in normal temps.

If I wanted to only use an SLR body, I'd personally go for the H5D-50c. The equivalent Phase models are just too expensive and Leaf can't seem to get their SH%* together to update to Credo firmware so their backs can be used on the new XF. (So much for TEAM Phase One, eh?) The Pentax 645Z is great too, obviously, but without the extensive lens selection, HTS and support networks of 'bald.

Truth be told though, if money and TIME were no object, then I'd just shoot 4x5" and be done with it.
 

Paratom

Well-known member
I use and love the Leica S-system, if it is allowed to call it medium format I dont know.
But I feel the files have the special rendering. I love it because it combines the flexibility of a DSLR with excellent AF and weatherproof lenses and the large sensor.
I did switch from CCD (S006) to CMOS (S007) and so far I am pretty happy, because I use it often handhold and now can use even ISO 3200 with such a camera is just a dream.
I dont know if 36MP is enough for you though.
 

fotografz

Well-known member
My advice would be a Hasselblad H4D/60 ... maybe a H5D/60 if you can find a nice used one.

I had the H4D/60 before downscaling to a Leica S when I semi-retired from commercial work, and found it to be a very stable system (unlike my S system that has been plagued by CS lens failures).

As you already know, it is very nearly FF 645, features True Focus APL, produces the POP you mentioned, and the new HC lenses are VERY good ... from my own experiences most notably the new 150N, and the 50-II which is probably their best lens to date.

Quite frankly, some of the older kit from most makers still hold up against all this new stuff being hard sold these days.

- Marc
 

tjv

Active member
I'd be all over the Leica S as a DSLR if it wasn't for the aspect ratio of the chip.

What's this though about reliability issues with the S enses? Is it the focus drive breaking? I ask because I'm looking to buy either a Hasselblad H or Leica S system for work, the latter being very tempting because of the stunning lenses, native Lightroom support, water proofing and form factor–a very compelling package for what it'll be used for. Personally I've had horrific experiences with Leica service, but thought those issues were now much improved and resolved.

As for the recommendation for the H5/5D-60, I reckon it's a very sound option. I really do love the H system and it seems now that the price is more attractive that competitive systems.
 

Paratom

Well-known member
I'd be all over the Leica S as a DSLR if it wasn't for the aspect ratio of the chip.

What's this though about reliability issues with the S enses? Is it the focus drive breaking? I ask because I'm looking to buy either a Hasselblad H or Leica S system for work, the latter being very tempting because of the stunning lenses, native Lightroom support, water proofing and form factor–a very compelling package for what it'll be used for. Personally I've had horrific experiences with Leica service, but thought those issues were now much improved and resolved.

As for the recommendation for the H5/5D-60, I reckon it's a very sound option. I really do love the H system and it seems now that the price is more attractive that competitive systems.
The speculation I have heard is that lately quite a few S-lenses have broken AF motors. I believe it has increased after the AF was speeded up by the later firmware upgrades, but I could be wrong.
I also think that in case the motor fails, it will be fixed by Leica (with a new verions? motor)
I have owned more than a handful of S lenses, some for 4-5 years, and no failure so far, so maybe I am lucky. It is sometimes hard to judge, how often a problem occurs, since I believe the chance people posting when a lens fails is bigger than when it doesnt fail.
I am confident that Leica fixes a lens when it fails, so I wouldnt base my decision about a system not so much in this issue.
 
I'd be all over the Leica S as a DSLR if it wasn't for the aspect ratio of the chip.

What's this though about reliability issues with the S enses? Is it the focus drive breaking? I ask because I'm looking to buy either a Hasselblad H or Leica S system for work, the latter being very tempting because of the stunning lenses, native Lightroom support, water proofing and form factor–a very compelling package for what it'll be used for. Personally I've had horrific experiences with Leica service, but thought those issues were now much improved and resolved.

As for the recommendation for the H5/5D-60, I reckon it's a very sound option. I really do love the H system and it seems now that the price is more attractive that competitive systems.
Have a look here:

33% failure rate with Leica S system - Leica S System - Leica Forum

I bought a Leica 007 system and also think that it is a very nice package. I am not sad at all, that it stayed with 37 MP as the acuity with the excellent lenses and the fat pixels is incredibly good, not even near my "old" Nikon D810 with Zeiss ZF lenses. Same holds for colors and tonality. Also I like Lightroom more now, before with Nikon I didn't like at all the processing (color, noise) so I used the native software.

As I own also a Hasselblad V system, I tried some of the Zeiss lenses I have (50/150/110), but I am not convinced, this camera shines with Leica S lenses.

Nevertheless the AF problem is troublesome (not so much in practical terms as it seems you can use the lens in MF in case it should happen … knocking on wood...), as it diminishes the confidence in the system. Leica posted that they will be repairing now and in the future all problems with this specific AF issue, without cost, independent of warranty (if that is enough …. to reestablish confidence?)
 
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Bryan Stephens

Workshop Member
I use and love the Leica S-system, if it is allowed to call it medium format I dont know.
But I feel the files have the special rendering. I love it because it combines the flexibility of a DSLR with excellent AF and weatherproof lenses and the large sensor.
I did switch from CCD (S006) to CMOS (S007) and so far I am pretty happy, because I use it often handhold and now can use even ISO 3200 with such a camera is just a dream.
I dont know if 36MP is enough for you though.
I had a chance to play around with the Leica S on one of the workshops and did really enjoy the feel of the camera, as it was the most like shooting my Nikon D810 at the time, just a little larger. The balance was the same, where the DF+ had a different balance point, but since I have large hands, neither was too much for me to handle.

Only downside is the sensor and the 37MP, and if I am going to leave my Canon system in its entirety, I am looking to make at least a lateral move.
 

Bryan Stephens

Workshop Member
For what it's worth–I have a Leaf Credo 60 that I use exclusively on a technical camera–and to state the obvious, I'd consider the following things:

1: What focal lengths you prefer and work backwards. E.g. if you prefer extreme wides, then crop sensor probably isn't for you. In that scenario none of the advantages of a CMOS sensor (seeing as you can only afford crop frame) will get you where you want, especially if you find stitching a bore.

2: Then I'd consider the body. I've not used the XF but have always very much liked the 'bald body and lens lineup, including the option to use the HTS 1.5x converter. I think each system is probably a wash except for...

3: Processing pipeline. I think C1 is an excellent piece of software, although I'm finding it hard to gel with. Some hate Phocus but I always found it easy to use and to get the results I wanted. Horses for courses, I guess. Suffice to say it's another personal choice.

4: CCD VS. CMOS. It's last on my list for things to consider, but it is most likely the top of most peoples concerns in terms of trade-offs / benefits. E.g. will you benefit from high ISO shooting, even if it's to squeeze that extra bit of faster shutter speed to better hand hold. Do you need good live view? Personally I don't think there is any great or even real CCD magic, but I do think that they are slightly different at base ISO.

5: Will you ever use a technical camera? I actually don't think live view is essential on a technical camera, but then again I'm one of those masochists that enjoys using a ground glass. I find it easy to achieve critical focus and dial in tilts in all except very, very dim light, where live view would certainly make things easier. I demoed the CFV-50c on my Linhof Techno and very much liked it, but the user interface was a little clunky–not horrible, just clunky–and I found that looking at the screen rather than a GG took me too much out of the moment. It's a psychologically off-putting thing looking at a small, backlit LCD, I guess. Anyway, the crop sensor of the 50c/IQX50 was just too small to get me my preferred focal lengths and the freedom of movements I wanted. I wasn't prepared to pay massive money for the 32HR and also put up with the extra bulk and fragility of the lens when on an full frame chip the 40HR would be smaller and do a better overall job.

6: Lastly, very long exposures. If you want to do this regularly then CMOS is better, although my Credo 60 does very well up to about 20 seconds in normal temps.

If I wanted to only use an SLR body, I'd personally go for the H5D-50c. The equivalent Phase models are just too expensive and Leaf can't seem to get their SH%* together to update to Credo firmware so their backs can be used on the new XF. (So much for TEAM Phase One, eh?) The Pentax 645Z is great too, obviously, but without the extensive lens selection, HTS and support networks of 'bald.

Truth be told though, if money and TIME were no object, then I'd just shoot 4x5" and be done with it.
I am very used to the crop sensor format having used a P40+ and IQ140 for more than half of my MFD usage time, and really didnt find it too much of a hassle since I dont mind stitching.

I am of the same thinking as you, with regards to the Hassy mainly due to the HTS adapter, and the lens lineup is more than enough (same with Phase) for what my intentions are. As far as the Credo back is concerned, I am sure that it is much along the lines that my IQ260 was, which I did enjoy quite a bit. I believe that between the IQ140, IQ180 and the IQ260, it was my favorite back as it was the most versatile, although all three were great.

If I happen to hit the megabucks lottery in the next month, its a no-brainer as I would go with the IQ3 100 as I would be getting the best of all worlds.

I used to use Phocus and didnt mind it at all, but have been using C1Pro for the past few years, and am quite used to the workflow there, and find that I am able to do a little more with C1Pro than I could with Phocus, but that could be attributed to the fact that I am using that software for a longer period of time.

As far as the question of a Tech Cam.... I used one for 5 years and really enjoyed it, but for now, I think I am looking for a system that will allow me the compromise of getting the most out of my funds. Would I consider a Tech Cam in the future? Possibly, but it is not a priority for the time being.
 

Ken_R

New member
Choosing a system is a very personal thing and without knowing you and talking to you in person it is hard to make a recommendation but ill give it a shot.

Lot's of good info has been said already and I agree with most of it.

#1 Choose your lenses and must have features then pick the system that has them.

...if more than one has them then go to

#2 Choose the one that has your preferred workflow and also has (for your location) the best service and support.

Of course you must be able to afford the gear but no MF system is cheap. The 645Z is the most affordable of the new systems but no point in spending $ on the system that is not right for you. Might as well just use what you have.

Regarding the current state of medium format systems the XF Body is stunning. It is the most recently designed body and is designed to be upgradable by firmware and the controls and the display are very customizable. It is rock solid. The PhaseOne IQ backs are also the best made and with the most modern look and feel. The H5D's are not far behind though but can't match the screen or interface (or build quality). I personally own a H1 body with an IQ160 and really like that combination but buying now I would probably pick an XF. Most likely an IQ150 with an XF body. (the IQ3 100mp if I could afford it though!). Keep in mind that with a Digital Back you can incorporate a tech camera system if you wish later on. I did the reverse, I started with the Back and a Arca Swiss System and added the Hasselblad later.

The Pentax 645Z has the best body / sensor integration since it is basically a DSLR, just larger than your typical 35mm DSLR obviously. It is weather sealed and the controls are similar to what you would find on most DSLRs. The lenses however are mostly just average and the range somewhat limited although they have the very nice 28-45mm which is perfect for landscape. You can only adapt lenses to it from larger formats so wide angle lens selection and lens adaptability is limited.
 
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