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Thread: M8 or MF?

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    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    M8 or MF?

    Maybe a crazy question, and I know my budget is screaming from the back room (at least I'm divorced so only the checkbook complains). The short story is that I recently gave up track racing because I was bleeding cash ($10K for a transmission rebuild) and it was eating up too much time that was boring to my 11 year old son. I've gotten him in to photgraphy as I've dove in headfirst. Historically if I'm going to do something, it is worth doing to excess (divorced twice...not sure why ).

    My style has evolved rather quickly over the past year or two (so say my artist friends) and pictures aren't my day job (though digital media is, so peripherally I suppose it qualifies). I tend towards street shots and abstract, am enjoying shifting to B&W, and care about the end product, not really the specs. That being said, I totally appreciate quality workmanship in my tools (hence the 10K rebuild).

    After cutting my teeth on a variety of P&S and a D70, and a distant past doing audio and dissolve programming for multi projector slide shows in the late 70's and early 80's, I'm currently shooting a Leica D Lux 3 (mostly street) and Pentax K20d with a handful on lenses (the 77mm ltd is sublime). I likely will pick up a Ricoh GRD2 for street and macro-on-the-go as I like the way small sensors draw some of what I see.

    The dslr is a great all-around tool, but I kinda feel like it is a middle ground compromise. I don't really end up getting the "street' look from it, and it lacks the resolution to make Burtynsky-like studies. Kind of like a necessary tool to have around to cover various bases.

    It seems like both the M8 and MF like the ZD/645 setup are on another level, albeit for different things. I have a tough time rationalizing spending 10-15K on another system, but things are looking up with some image licensing on the horizon and hopefully a gallery show or two this summer.

    No way I can afford to go for both. As it stands if I get another system I'll be giving up my planned motorcycle purchase but after a nasty crash 1.5 years ago maybe that is for the best. I know this is the M8 forum but I also know that many here have multiple systems and are level headed bunch (except constantly craving more Leica glass ).

    Thoughts and/or advice? I could just keep shooting the snot out of what I've got, but gotta consider my options.

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    Subscriber Member jaapv's Avatar
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Two different beasts altogether I would say. Which one you can handle in the street depends on the bulge of your muscles I suppose...The ZD wins hands down on resolution, the M8 on unobtrusivity.
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Buy my M8 for 3800 with all the parts already . Magnifier, Grip, extra battery and 2 S cards. Ready to go and shoot . Still under warranty until November and I will deal with any repair needed under warranty until than. It's in very nice condition had the hardware change and also fixed for SDS . Minor scratches here and there but it runs good. Has some mileage as you know.

    I can shoot some photos Friday of it. On the road .
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Subscriber Member jaapv's Avatar
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Ready to shoot without lens Guy???
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    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by jaapv View Post
    Ready to shoot without lens Guy???
    I got some spare plexiglass and duct tape in the garage

    Let me ponder that. Re-read most of Seans articles last night and he mentioned "MF-like quality" and "M8" in the same breath at low iso and "film-like grain" at hi iso. Was looking at Cameraquest and can get some Voigtlander glass for reasonable prices...

    Ack!

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    For street and travel as primary, landscape and fine art as secondary, the M8 and at least three lenses, 21, 28/35, 50/75. Total cost if all bought used ~~ $10K, less if you get a CV or Zeiss instead of Leica.

    For landscape or fine art as primary, go MF. A Mamiya ZD kit (camera, 80mm lens and ZD back) is tough to find used, but there are a few demos available if you hunt for $1000 of new price of $10K. Add two or three Mamiya MF lenses AND the 110 Planar, and you are set for around $15K...

    BUT, street and travel with an MF system requires a certain amount of photo-dedication; it is not a casual exercise. OTOH, my Mamiya AFD/ZD with 80mm lens does not weigh any more than a Canon 1-series body with 50mm lens. Add 2 more MF lenses and you are at about a pro DSLR with 2 zooms or a zoom and 3 primes... By comparison, in less total weight I can carry 2 M8's and 5 M lenses, all in a bag that would barely hold either pro camera with one lens...

    Cheers,
    Jack
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Voigtländer glass is just wonderful. There's no way I could ever afford Leica glass, and honestly, I don't miss it.

    (Of course, there are those who think my photos look awful and inept, so YMMV.)

  8. #8
    Sean_Reid
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
    I got some spare plexiglass and duct tape in the garage

    Let me ponder that. Re-read most of Seans articles last night and he mentioned "MF-like quality" and "M8" in the same breath at low iso and "film-like grain" at hi iso. Was looking at Cameraquest and can get some Voigtlander glass for reasonable prices...

    Ack!
    In a nutshell, the M8 files at low ISO are a good match for drum scanned MF film negs. MF digital capture can mean even higher res, etc.

    I can say that I've been working exclusively with the M8 since the first week of March for work that I'll be printing quite large. For me, the M8 is still the digital "Texas Leica". See David Adamson's piece in one of my M8 articles for another perspective (in the same vein).

    Most of the Zeiss lenses, as a rule, are excellent. They are not "lesser" lenses compared to the current Leicas. The best of the CV lenses, but not all of them, are also excellent. I just now published part one of my CV 35/1.4 review, in fact.

    Cheers,

    Sean

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    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    I have to admit that I'm more run and gun than meticulous technician. I go out and just shoot what I see (and hopefully see what I shoot). I never use flash or shoot in a studio...well unless it is an artist friend's studio but that is different. Sounds like mf maybe isn't a fit for my current style. Have to go play with a rf to feel the vibe.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
    I have to admit that I'm more run and gun than meticulous technician.
    The classic M shooter
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maggie O View Post

    (Of course, there are those who think my photos look awful and inept, so YMMV.)
    Who thinks that Maggie?
    Just post me an email and I'll get them dealt with.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
    Maybe a crazy question,

    Thoughts and/or advice? I could just keep shooting the snot out of what I've got, but gotta consider my options.
    HI There
    Not a crazy question at all (at least, I don't think so).
    My M8 IS my MF kit . . . . sure, it isn't quite a Hassie HD3, but it produces lovely detailed files.

    I do a lot of landscape, and I KNOW I should use an MF camera and tripod etc. etc., but when I do that, by the time I'm set up I've forgotten why I'm there, let alone that glimpse of a good shot I got in the corner of my brain.

    The M8 does a lovely job, you can lean it against something if you need to, hand hold it at silly speeds and always get fine files as a result.

    I have a mix of lenses, and I like Leica glass, but I have some fine CV and Zeiss lenses as well - you don't have to go bankrupt!

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Who thinks that Maggie?
    Just post me an email and I'll get them dealt with.
    Oh, I was referring to the guy on another forum that slagged my work- I mentioned him in the thinking thread.

    He's a drunk with bad taste and dubious ideas, like "if you shoot tittie photos, you are a pro."

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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maggie O View Post

    He's a drunk with bad taste and dubious ideas, like "if you shoot tittie photos, you are a pro."
    erm. I'm sure that I never slagged you off Maggie (after all, I can't take a contract out on myself).

    Just this guy you know

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by Maggie O View Post
    Oh, I was referring to the guy on another forum that slagged my work- I mentioned him in the thinking thread.

    He's a drunk with bad taste and dubious ideas, like "if you shoot tittie photos, you are a pro."

    What is it with those guys? Hey, if you need a posse, sign me up.

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    Re: M8 or MF?

    To the question "nostatic" asked, I would rephrase it from ""M8 or MF?", to "M8 + MF!", more in line with what Jack has been thinking/doing lately, as well as following on the interesting discussion thread in the MF forum section.

    If one is really after the image quality, only MF will satisfy that. If one is really trying to do the most with the least, but not sacrificing too much, then the M8 can hit the high notes there, for the most part. If one really wants to pursue image quality in the most shooting circumstances, then it becomes M8 + MF. For most, the M8 can deliver all they need, as many prove all the time on this forum and in many other places. For those needing bigger, superb files to get even further, MF is the ticket. Most of us, myself included, get "trapped" in the DSLR world as it presents the greatest number of options for all the compromises. (How is that for "left-handed compliment" to the gear that pays the bills right now?)

    I think Jono is right....used with some care, the M8 will get you more and more often, plus it is just fun to use. And Jack and others are also right when they melt working with wonderful MF files. So, if you have the means, time and interest, do BOTH of them. If you just want to always have something for those "corner of the mind shots" that Jono talks about, get the M8 and never leave it behind.

    LJ

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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    If you just want to always have something for those "corner of the mind shots" that Jono talks about, get the M8 and never leave it behind.

    LJ
    How nicely put: . . . corner of the mind . . . . I must remember that.
    Trouble is, that's about all that's left of my mind!

    Still, it's true. When I find something really good, I take one shot, then I stop and think (assuming it's still there); recompose, think about the exposure, brace or use a tripod, get the perfect lens out . . . . . .
    And when I get home, that first ranging shot is ALWAYS the best one: Instinct counts for a lot (with me at least), and it's difficult for it to seep through big setups.

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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Jono,
    Sounds like you also cross back and forth over my other imaginary "boundary".

    I frequently ask myself the question:
    "Are you looking to shoot something, or shooting to find something?"

    Either one works, but it helps me gain a perspective. Many times I start with the first part, and then hope for the second part while reviewing images back home. Lately, I have been trying to focus more on the second part, and that is where having the M8 really opens things up.

    LJ

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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post

    I frequently ask myself the question:
    "Are you looking to shoot something, or shooting to find something?"
    Well, I'm just looking.

    The truth is that I don't arrange life (it always becomes simplistic), and the minute I start arranging photos they become simplistic as well. I see things, then I take pictures of them, but it isn't quite the same as 'looking to shoot something'.

    I guess the artisan in me is good enough to get properly exposed and composed shots which are sharp, but the artist in me (if there is one), is very much outside my control!

    here is a case in point . . . I couldn't have worked this one out, my brain just isn't like that . . . I could see it though

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    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Jono,
    Great mortar and pestle shot!
    -bob

    nothing to do with your picture, but I wonder what screen they use on billboards?

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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Great stuff, Jono, and exactly what I am talking about. Some folks "look to shoot". That drives a lot of work for many, including most of the stuff pro photogs do all the time. They go out with an idea or assignment or requirement and do whatever it takes to bring back something acceptable. The "shooting to find something" part is more about releasing the artistic expression. You are already doing that wonderfully, so enjoy it. The mortar and pestle you present could be conceived and arranged and lit by somebody looking to shoot. Might not be you nor me at first blush, but there are many superb shooters out their that do this, and a lot of them get into the MF world just to do it more or better. There is a pronounced artistic expression, and it may take days to achieve for some.

    My comments were more about how folks can spend their time looking for that artistic expression or style or whatever one wants to call it. That is a discovery process, if you are not more naturally blessed with it. I think that is where many struggle the most. They have seen beauty/art and they want to do the same. Sometimes tools can help, but not if one gets caught up in the gear and mechanics before they have the mental image of what they want.

    The M8 is a bit more unique in some ways. It is a tool that can get out of your way enough to be more expressive, or it can be used more purposefully to deliver the art. One could say all cameras are like this, but I am not sure they are. Marc's points about being one with the tool help a lot. Could a MFDB have taken your shot any better? Maybe not, but if that shot were planned and thought out, it would be impressive is some other and maybe subtle ways. Not criticizing or anything like that. My interests, and what I have expressed to "nostatic" reflect some of my own decision process. Moving from casual to purposeful creation of art. All of it is good, and that is why I think both tools have their place. Not needed by everyone, or all the time, but it sure is nice to see them both come into harmony and create some wonderful stuff.

    LJ

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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    Great stuff, Jono, and exactly what I am talking about. Some folks "look to shoot". That drives a lot of work for many, including most of the stuff pro photogs do all the time. They go out with an idea or assignment or requirement and do whatever it takes to bring back something acceptable. The "shooting to find something" part is more about releasing the artistic expression. You are already doing that wonderfully, so enjoy it. The mortar and pestle you present could be conceived and arranged and lit by somebody looking to shoot. Might not be you nor me at first blush, but there are many superb shooters out their that do this, and a lot of them get into the MF world just to do it more or better. There is a pronounced artistic expression, and it may take days to achieve for some.

    My comments were more about how folks can spend their time looking for that artistic expression or style or whatever one wants to call it. That is a discovery process, if you are not more naturally blessed with it. I think that is where many struggle the most. They have seen beauty/art and they want to do the same. Sometimes tools can help, but not if one gets caught up in the gear and mechanics before they have the mental image of what they want.

    The M8 is a bit more unique in some ways. It is a tool that can get out of your way enough to be more expressive, or it can be used more purposefully to deliver the art. One could say all cameras are like this, but I am not sure they are. Marc's points about being one with the tool help a lot. Could a MFDB have taken your shot any better? Maybe not, but if that shot were planned and thought out, it would be impressive is some other and maybe subtle ways.
    Of course I take your point here, and this photo could certainly be better - but first you would have to have thought of it, and this is my point: nobody 'thought of it' it simply existed, in all it's complexity/unsatisfactoryness; I just decided to catch it. Incidentally, it was sunlight through a window, and it was gone in seconds.

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    My interests, and what I have expressed to "nostatic" reflect some of my own decision process. Moving from casual to purposeful creation of art. All of it is good, and that is why I think both tools have their place. Not needed by everyone, or all the time, but it sure is nice to see them both come into harmony and create some wonderful stuff.

    LJ
    Well, perhaps casual is an unfortunate word, I think that one can shoot detail/landscape/still life in much the same was as one shoots street. One get's glancing impressions, some of which can be very powerful, but they really are ephemeral; grab them or they're gone, not just the subject, but the impression.

    For me this is where photography really comes into it's own - as a means of capturing the ephemeral, unpredictable moments of life. If I'm going to lug around a xkg camera and tripod I'm only fit to take pictures of what I've preconceived (and compared to the multiplicity of chance my preconceptions are pretty lame!).

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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post
    Jono,
    Great mortar and pestle shot!
    -bob

    nothing to do with your picture, but I wonder what screen they use on billboards?
    Bob,
    Depending on the size, location and viewing distance, the screening can be very, very coarse.....like 4dpi or less. So, although high res files are always sought for that kind of commercial display, one can get pretty far with lower res files, depending upon the use, and there are some very effective tools that can up-res things quite nicely to help the process along.

    LJ

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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Jono,
    Your points are well taken, and I was not disputing what you were saying, nor criticizing what you presented. Quite the contrary. It is this sort of imagery that fills the corners of the mind for folks that do go out to shoot this kind of stuff on purpose. You are absolutely correct....the moment was there, the image came into view, you captured it splendidly. This sort of stuff feeds the creative soul of folks like me. It helps with that purposeful creation part at some later date.....I hope ;-)

    When I said "casual", it was not meant in a disparaging way at all, and yes, it may be the unfortunate word. I probably should have used spontaneous or opportunistic or aware, or something more apropos. I completely agree with you that carrying around a huge, heavy rig is not fun. This is exactly why I stopped using my big Canon cameras for anything other than planned shooting, and why I carry the M8 everywhere. I have gone back to places to shoot things I first "discovered" with the M8, and yes, it is never that exact moment or set of conditions, but the idea was enough to encourage recreating things for another use. That is the best of both worlds for me.

    LJ

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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    Jono,
    Your points are well taken, and I was not disputing what you were saying, nor criticizing what you presented. Quite the contrary. It is this sort of imagery that fills the corners of the mind for folks that do go out to shoot this kind of stuff on purpose. You are absolutely correct....the moment was there, the image came into view, you captured it splendidly. This sort of stuff feeds the creative soul of folks like me. It helps with that purposeful creation part at some later date.....I hope ;-)

    When I said "casual", it was not meant in a disparaging way at all, and yes, it may be the unfortunate word. I probably should have used spontaneous or opportunistic or aware, or something more apropos. I completely agree with you that carrying around a huge, heavy rig is not fun. This is exactly why I stopped using my big Canon cameras for anything other than planned shooting, and why I carry the M8 everywhere. I have gone back to places to shoot things I first "discovered" with the M8, and yes, it is never that exact moment or set of conditions, but the idea was enough to encourage recreating things for another use. That is the best of both worlds for me.

    LJ


    I didn't feel disparaged, although I do prefer spontaneous to casual. I also understand the idea of going back and formalising a 'discovered' idea at a later date, and of course, it reflects on my skill and determination that on the occasions I've tried this the result never quite has the zing of the original.

    If I wanted to be less self deprecating, then of course I could own up to the fact that I go back to previous revelations and look for new ones, and that of course they do appear. What I haven't yet done is to invest in an MF digital and gone about it a bit more deliberately. Partly because I'm lazy, and partly because I have a suspicion that the more effort I put in the more subtlety I lose.

    Mind you, it's very tempting, there are days I think I'll ditch all kit and simply get myself an MF kit and try harder!

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: M8 or MF?

    How you use most any camera depends on your mind-set and how deeply you have involved yourself with the gear.

    I shoot street stuff with MF all the time ... even though I have an M8. MF is just different. I like "different" because it offers a new perspective. However, I've been using a MF camera for all kinds of work not usually associated with it for decades.

    I think the M8 is great. The files are very nice. They are NOT MF quality. It's not opinion, just physics. Big file right out of the camera (see Hand held MF shot below).

    That said, my advice for what you want to do would be to get the M8.
    Last edited by fotografz; 20th May 2008 at 16:52.

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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Wow! Great shots and great info! Thanks for sharing!
    This is why I spend time in these forums!

  28. #28
    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    I was reading the thread in the MF forum...that is part of what prompted my most recent inquiry into other formats. It's funny because this place is what pushed me towards the M8 via the small sensor forum, so one never knows where the inspiration and bad influences (wrt budget) will come.

    I need to go handle an M8 and see how it feels. My hunch is that like other various creative tools I use, I'll either feel it or I won't. The variable though is that sometimes there is a certain curve that needs to be scaled in order to really understand wtf is going on.

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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
    I was reading the thread in the MF forum...that is part of what prompted my most recent inquiry into other formats. It's funny because this place is what pushed me towards the M8 via the small sensor forum, so one never knows where the inspiration and bad influences (wrt budget) will come.

    I need to go handle an M8 and see how it feels. My hunch is that like other various creative tools I use, I'll either feel it or I won't. The variable though is that sometimes there is a certain curve that needs to be scaled in order to really understand wtf is going on.
    I couldn't agree more - most of the cameras available now take good pictures, but I work best when I'm comfortable with what I'm shooting.

    Good luck with your quest!

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I couldn't agree more - most of the cameras available now take good pictures, but I work best when I'm comfortable with what I'm shooting.

    Good luck with your quest!
    I have recently gone back to shooting my Mamiya 7II, a system with a 43mm lens which is as good as it gets IMHO. I decided to do this with film to do a sanity check before even imagining paying upwards of $25K for a digital back. I loved working with the 7II and am sure the 645AFD II would be a trip but damn, this is an expensive experiment so I am going work 6x7 film for awhile and see how the results compare to my 35mm digital work before plunking down such serious cash.

    Any advice from you much more experienced folks would be welcomed for sure.

    Best

    Woody

  31. #31
    Senior Member nostatic's Avatar
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    I"m certainly in the "shoot what I find" camp. I don't light anything, or set anything up. Almost all my shots are things I stumble across while wandering around. Just whatever strikes my fancy. That being said, I will sometimes get a spontaneous "series" that comes out. For instance I was in Yosemite the past few days. While I took the obligatory "falls" shots (hard to not be cliche), maybe my favorite was a bunch of shots taken in the tunnel while driving (Pentax K20d):












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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by nostatic View Post
    I was reading the thread in the MF forum...that is part of what prompted my most recent inquiry into other formats. It's funny because this place is what pushed me towards the M8 via the small sensor forum, so one never knows where the inspiration and bad influences (wrt budget) will come.

    I need to go handle an M8 and see how it feels. My hunch is that like other various creative tools I use, I'll either feel it or I won't. The variable though is that sometimes there is a certain curve that needs to be scaled in order to really understand wtf is going on.
    That's exactly what you need to do and did myself before the M8 came out I went to a local store and just played with a M6 and 7 to get the feel of it, I was hooked on it fast. If it is not there with feel than you will know it immediately. It either works in your head or does not.

    Honestly no camera is worth a damn if you can't wrap your head around it first with feel and comfort.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  33. #33
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    i switched from a mamiya RZ, 465afdII phase P30 kit to the m8 about 5 months ago..actually i bought an m8 and then sold the MF kit....and bought another m8 and more lenses....i am in no way saying that the m8 is equal to a P30....but up to a 11x14 i have a really hard time telling the difference...and shooting, focus, handling, speed,....i notice a BIG difference....
    i have owned and used pretty much everything analog and digital...nikons, fujis, sigma, canons (incl dsmkII), kodak (14n anyone?), to leaf valeo and phase P20 and P30....i was always frustrated with dslrs and i mostly blamed that on lenses and pixel depth (lack of shadow detail)....from my experience 10mpix is a sweetspot from which good files can be interpolated up to almost everything...for commercial use....for a fine art 30x40 print...get the P45 or even better get an 8x10.....
    i never really liked the canon files and the ZD back to me is very similar...a lot of pixels, but something missing....i would look into a P20 (or even better a P21) instead of a ZD....16bit, much better higher iso...the pixel count is not everything....
    the m8 files somehow remind me of mini phase files (which i guess they are, kodak ccds) but the m8 handles mixed light (natural plus flash) better then any other camera...
    there are plenty of drawbacks to the m8 and if you can't deal with RF, just forget it altogether....
    i really, really like the camera...supersmall, light, shoots fast (enough for me, but then again i am still used to phase backs)...so far i only have CV lenses which just make me laugh every time i buy one...just got the 15...amazing!.....also bought a ton of SD cards, so i have every shoot on the computer and on the cards until i transfer the files to my array....
    just shot a double spread b&w beauty ad...the file was cropped!
    i don't do sports and i never print larger then 16x20 (although i just made a fun 16x30 print from 3 m8 files, stitched from 3 horizontals...uprezzed in GF...simply amazing....) for my work i never need more then double spread and the 10mpix file can easily handle that and billboard have fist sized dots anyway....
    just my experience...i am sure everybody wants to find out for themselves and everybody has different needs....

  34. #34
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by pss View Post
    i switched from a mamiya RZ, 465afdII phase P30 kit to the m8 about 5 months ago..actually i bought an m8 and then sold the MF kit....and bought another m8 and more lenses....i am in no way saying that the m8 is equal to a P30....but up to a 11x14 i have a really hard time telling the difference...and shooting, focus, handling, speed,....i notice a BIG difference....
    i have owned and used pretty much everything analog and digital...nikons, fujis, sigma, canons (incl dsmkII), kodak (14n anyone?), to leaf valeo and phase P20 and P30....i was always frustrated with dslrs and i mostly blamed that on lenses and pixel depth (lack of shadow detail)....from my experience 10mpix is a sweetspot from which good files can be interpolated up to almost everything...for commercial use....for a fine art 30x40 print...get the P45 or even better get an 8x10.....
    Thank you - you've just given me a reality check and saved me a great deal of money!
    AS for the 14n - yes, loved it; I did beta testing on the firmware with Kodak, it was all exciting and fun (Italian flags, moire and all).

    I was contemplating going for a ZD back, but I also love my M8 files, and they print fine up to A2 (and probably larger).
    What was I thinking of!

    Just this guy you know

  35. #35
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by pss View Post
    but up to a 11x14 i have a really hard time telling the difference...and shooting, focus, handling, speed,....i notice a BIG difference....

    ....for a fine art 30x40 print...get the P45 or even better get an 8x10.....
    i never really liked the canon files and the ZD back to me is very similar...a lot of pixels, but something missing....
    Agree on the print sizes, disagree on the pixels To my eye, the ZD back is just like having 2 M8 sensors side-by-side, only greater dynamic range and better overall tonlity...

    FWIW, the M8's and the Mamiya are the only two systems I have now, Canon is all gone. (And I do NOT miss it!)

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  36. #36
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Jono and pss,
    Like you guys, I have decided to pause for a bit in my MF thinking/quest. It was the M8 that started to "drive" me to looking for that more unique capture and output in the first place, and MF seemed like the most logical step from there. I still think that to be the case, but until I can get all the confusion (both in my own mind and among the myriad of MF offerings) settled a bit more, no point in plunging in just yet.

    There is something about the more 3D look and feel coming from the M8 and that is so much more intense in some of the MF renderings. That has been very hard to reproduce with my Canon files, even with great glass. It may be the shadow details, the DR, the characteristics of the lenses, other things, and all of the above. Whatever it is, it is very pleasing, hence my quest for that next level of delivery in MF. I still think it to be worth pursuing, but the MF landscape is still more uncertain and at time daunting to figure out.

    Jono, like you, I started to consider the ZD as an excellent starter/re-entry point. And like pss has said, the files just do not seem all that exciting....at least compared to other backs. I am sure folks will differ and argue that point, but my observations are not convincing me that my 1DsMkII cannot deliver something very similar already for most uses, and neither seem to have that same look of the M8 at this point. Not talking only about resolution and number of pixels, but about all those other things that come into play additionally.

    LJ

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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Agree on the print sizes, disagree on the pixels To my eye, the ZD back is just like having 2 M8 sensors side-by-side, only greater dynamic range and better overall tonality...

    FWIW, the M8's and the Mamiya are the only two systems I have now, Canon is all gone. (And I do NOT miss it!)

    Cheers,
    Sadly, I still use Canon ... I just need that AF speed and ISO 1600 to 3200 from time-to-time. Have 2 M8s also ... and MF back. Have to agree with Jack here ... dynamic range and tonal gradations are noticeably better with the MF backs. I can see it in an 8x10 let alone a 30X40. Plus, I love being able to crop with little to no penalty. But, to each his or her own.

  38. #38
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Agree on the print sizes, disagree on the pixels To my eye, the ZD back is just like having 2 M8 sensors side-by-side, only greater dynamic range and better overall tonlity...

    FWIW, the M8's and the Mamiya are the only two systems I have now, Canon is all gone. (And I do NOT miss it!)

    Cheers,
    Jack,
    What you are describing is how I started to look at things also, with respect to ditching the Canon gear and going M8 and MF. I still think that is going to happen at some point not too far away for me. However, even though the Mamiya glass is quite good, and the AFDII body may work, I am not sure that the ZD back would be my preference. Yes, the files are bigger and better than the 1DsMkII and maybe the MkIII also, but they still do not have the depth and other things that I have seen from other backs like the P45+. Sure, that is a lot more pixels and stuff, and it should deliver more....and it does. Not putting the ZD back down, as I do think it would can deliver a lot of very good stuff. My personal feelings are that if/when I make the jump, my expectations may be for more than it will deliver. I may be totally wrong and crazy about this, but that is my wrestling match at this point ;-)

    I think your choices and reasons are very good, and I have seriously considered doing the same myself. I still may, but I can already see the desire to move to an even higher performing back, so I may just do that jump instead of hopping the ZD first. (I am still liking the H3D system also, and that is partly what is causing me some pause.....I need to get my thoughts around that more.)

    LJ

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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Sadly, I still use Canon ... I just need that AF speed and ISO 1600 to 3200 from time-to-time. Have 2 M8s also ... and MF back. Have to agree with Jack here ... dynamic range and tonal gradations are noticeably better with the MF backs. I can see it in an 8x10 let alone a 30X40. Plus, I love being able to crop with little to no penalty. But, to each his or her own.
    Marc,
    That is mainly why I have not yet abandoned my Canon gear.....there are still things it does that nothing else quite can at this point. I agree with you and Jack about the look in prints, and that is what I am driving toward myself. I do think that MF is the thing that will deliver on that best, but not yet for some of those things I still am shooting, so the big Canon has to hang around for them. Oh to have the MF start hitting those higher ISOs as cleanly but without losing the details, and to have more of the handling of some of the DSLRs for AF and speed. Nirvana.

    LJ

  40. #40
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Sadly, I still use Canon ... I just need that AF speed and ISO 1600 to 3200 from time-to-time. Have 2 M8s also ... and MF back. Have to agree with Jack here ... dynamic range and tonal gradations are noticeably better with the MF backs. I can see it in an 8x10 let alone a 30X40. Plus, I love being able to crop with little to no penalty. But, to each his or her own.
    Marc, if I shot everything you shoot, I would still own all my Canon gear and then some too and probably the 1Ds3 to boot, and for all the same reasons you still have yours...

    ,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  41. #41
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    I am not sure that the ZD back would be my preference.
    LJ:

    Allow me to explain my longer-term plan: IIRC without going back to find it, somewhere in this thread somebody mentioned back-up, and how a 1Ds3 and raft of lenses might be the option since owning a second MF outfit is cost-prohibitive...

    Well, in my case, I look at my current AFD-II body and ZD as my future back-up. Fact is, I paid LESS for them than I would have for a 1Ds3 body. At this point I'm entering MF digital and have a system I can use that generates significantly better files than the 1Ds3 can ever hope to, in both detail and color fidelity. Period. My next set-up will likely be the AFD-III body and Aptus 75S back. At that time, I have so little in the AFD-II and ZD it is more valuable as a back-up than it is as a trade in. Moreover, I have a few peices of specialty glass where the resolution difference won't make a difference in the image; like my recently acquired Mamiya manual focus 145 soft-focus lens. This lens produces a gorgeous SF effect like not other I've seen, and is totally adjustable, yet more than 22MP is going to be wasted by it. Heck, more than 11MP may be wasted, but the look is still great! I can see it left permanently attached to the AFDII/ZD

    Another point that I think Marc may have alluded to briefly: If you are hand-holding these cameras under ambient light at speeds under 1/500th, I doubt you are going to get more than 22MP of resolution data into the file anyway. Under strobes hand-held or on a tripod, different story; improved tonality and DR with the newer/larger backs also a different story, so there are certainly reasons for owning the better backs.

    Howeverbut... This does not solve the leaf-shutter, working under studio lighting scenario for me. The good news for me here, is 1) I rarely do this type of shooting anymore and 2) the studio I use whenever I need to do studio shoots, has a full compliment of Hassy H bodies and my choice of Leaf Aptus 75 or Hassy H39 backs at my disposal to borrow... (Yes, I know that's a sweet deal.) So for me, I kind of have the best of both worlds without having to actually own the two completely different systems...

    Lastly, Mamiya actually made 4 leaf-shutter lenses to be used on their manual 645 system; a 55, 70, 80 and 150. They are manual focus lenses and a cluge to use -- double cocking, special cable release, limited to 1/30th through 1/500th -- but for static subjects like table-top or mixed lighting interiors, a cheap way for Mamiya owners to solve the leaf-shutter/flash sync issue.

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  42. #42
    Senior Member vieri's Avatar
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    AS for the 14n - yes, loved it; I did beta testing on the firmware with Kodak, it was all exciting and fun (Italian flags, moire and all).
    Jono, I didn't know you got some 14n experience too! I am glad you enjoyed the Italian flag, I never understood why people using the 14n would complain about it, don't we all love our beautiful flag? I suppose mexicans and hungarians would share their appreciation as well

    -- sorry, couldn't resist it -- back to serious now...

    btw, I got your email, am trying to write something meaningful, you'll get it soon hopefully
    Vieri Bottazzini
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  43. #43
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    Jack,
    I do follow your logic. (It was probably me that brought up the "back-up" issue anyway.)

    Your longer range planning, as well as access to additional gear and a studio easily, does fit your choices. I wish my own plans and directions were a fraction as clear ;-) Your comments about handholding and shutter speeds and resolution are also all critical things that I am still sorting myself. I shoot a lot of action. I shoot a lot of that in low light. However, as I keep transitioning my own work and business, I am having my own struggle with my present/past, and what I think I would like my forward/future stuff to work like. (Again, that is my own wrestling match, and I may be guilty of overthinking or overplanning some of this stuff, but that is my nature.)

    I think the AFDII and ZD solution may be perfect for your plans, and that is why I am trying to not sound contrary too much. For me, it may still be a great tool in that same sort of planning thing, and I have not ruled it out for those reasons. I just know how impatient or frustrated I can get at times. (Honestly, the M8 was a superb training tool for me in that regard. It came loaded with all its issues, and I just HAD to patiently work through them with everybody else that jumped in early. No real regrets on my side for that. I still love what it does immensely, and do not think I could ever give it up.) I know I would want and expect "more" once I started down the path, just as I do now after shooting the M8 for a year and half or so. This is an addiction....I am sure of that ;-)

    Worst part of this see-saw for me is that just yesterday, I was looking at the ADFII and ZD back kit. I had also just gotten off the phone with a guy looking to sell his H3DII 39 and the 80/2.8, 150/3.2 and 300/4.5 lenses for what is probably a pretty good deal. And during all of this, I kept looking at some great stuff that Nic Claris was shooting with a loaner Hy6 and Rollei Super-Angulon 40/3.5 PQ with the eMotion 75LV back. Talk about setting some unreal expectations for myself, the gear, and my budget!!! It was maddening and thrilling at the same time.

    So, these threads have been and continue to be a great source of inspiration, planning and thought. They also bring some sobriety to expectations and budgets. All of that is very good. The suggestions and solutions being offered are all good, and as a reader/participant, I have to keep reminding myself of my own situation, direction, desire, etc., and sometimes that feels less comfortable, especially if parts of it are unknown.

    Not to worry....I am going to keep plugging away at this. I may make some steps and missteps at times, but one thing for sure......MF is now delivering some of the most exciting digital images and files of anything, and other cameras and systems, such as the Leica M8 and Canon's big stuff, still have their place and use. The test for me and probably others is to figure out what places we are going to play in the most.

    On that note, I have to say that Marc just makes me sick....with envy....in a very good way ;-) He has built an incredible career of very interesting work, and has the joy and pain of working with so many great tools to support and advance that. Kudos to him for sure. (Secretly, his thoughts and perspectives keep me in this entire thing at this point. I do respect his experience and offerings, just as I do from so many others that contribute.)

    Thanks again for the perspectives, explanations, and encouragements. This ain't over until its over ;-)

    LJ

  44. #44
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    LJ: Clearly we all have different needs, desires and tastes, so what works for me is not necessarily going to work for you, or Victor or Marc; in fact I think if anything, we've PROVEN that to be the case in these threads I offer my logic only as data to help guide you on your own. As Marc has said, it's all good; as Victor pointed out, its also about personal tastes...

    At the end of the day, as certain as I am for my current plans I am nearly as CERTAIN those plans do NOT coincide with the gear I will own 5 years from now!

    We're lucky because we have so many choices, and at the same time doomed because there is no single perfect choice...

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  45. #45
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    Re: M8 or MF?

    there are quite a few options out there right now and i know that phase, leaf, hass and sinar backs can all produce great files....and all provide superior files to the dslrs.....but i have worked with files from the ZD back and i find the files from the smaller backs (even the P20) better....as always the pixel count is only half the story...pixel depth is more important IMO...a P21 is 18mpix, shoots 1f/sec, 100-800....zero noise at 100....just a great back...and both those backs are in the ZD price range.....
    of course the P30 has the extra pixels and being able to crop more aggressively is a big plus...but it really comes down to print size and what the images are used for....

    just talked to one of my assistants...he just played with GF for the first time and could not believe what he was able to blow up from a 5mpix p&s file....his key finding: never sharpen anything until you are ready to print...sharpen according to the print size...

    either way there are so many variables starting with camera, lenses, imager, software, retouching and finally print or output.....after being digital for 15 years i think i am getting there...
    my dream imager would be a 14-16 mpix imager 16 bit 50-1600 clean iso (no miracles but no software smudging either), 1.5f/sec no buffer....

    and actually i think that the FF/m9/?? should be pretty close to that....(except for the 50 iso...i don't think that will happen...nobody and nothing is perfect...)

    the key is to experiment a lot and play with all the toys, everybody is different and needs and want different things.....

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