Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 11 of 11

Thread: Question from a may-be MF newbie

  1. #1
    Senior Member GMB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Heart of Europe
    Posts
    396
    Post Thanks / Like

    Question from a may-be MF newbie

    As you can see from the number of posts, I am fairly new on this forum though I have been reading a lot. I am somewhat fascinated by the whole MF stuff -- including the many shots I see on this forum --, but I am not sure it is the right thing for me. So I am asking some advice -- not on specific systems (don't worry, that will come later ) but on whether to move into MF at all.

    I am not a pro. I have a job that pays me well so that I can indulge in a few expensive toys, but it also sucks up an awful lot of my time. And since I have a family and a few other interests in life, I do not have that much time to devote to photography. I shoot mostly landscape, travel, family portraits, and a bit of street. Currently, I use an M8 and an M8.2 (and I am waiting for the M9).

    I am turning 50 next year and I think a MF system (perhaps even with as many MP as my next birthday ) would make a nice present. But I have a few concerns whether that would really be a good decision. I just don't want to be disappointment having spent tons of money and than not getting what I want or, to be precise, to not be able to use the system to its full potential. My main worries moving into MF are the following:

    1. Is it much more difficult to shoot MF? How much more attention to you have to pay when setting up your gear, as compared to, say, a M8 or a good DSLR? I know that in order to get the best out of it, it means using tripods almost all of the time. What other things does one have to pay attention to.

    2. Is post processing much more difficult/cumbersome. I used C1 with the M8 but now moved to LR, and I am reasonably good in PS.

    3. Will you see the difference with, say, the M8 only in very large prints? Put differently, how big do you have to print to see a difference?

    Thanks so much in advance for your input.

    Georg

    PS: Guy -- I'd love to come to one of your workshops but being based in Europe, it's just too far away. Now, if you were ever doing one on this side of the pond, I would be in

  2. #2
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Arizona
    Posts
    23,623
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    2555

    Re: Question from a may-be MF newbie

    Well one advantage you have thinking about this is you already shoot the M8 which requires thought and working the camera. So that part is good you already know what you are up against to a certain degree. Is it that much harder well not really it is bigger and more cumbersome to deal with for sure but i hand hold a lot of stuff very often. So is a tripod needed that would be a yes but in good light not always the case and you can certainly shoot hand held. Obviously you would have to watch your speeds and in case of MF you will lose maybe two F stops of DOF and maybe 3 coming from the M8 . Shooting at 2.8 on a M8 will take you really into the 5.6 mark for approximately the same DOF. Processing will be a lot like the M8 using C1 but with more elbow room to push files around. Now if your a C1 shooter obviously you will want to look at Phase or leaf backs as choices since they do the best job in C1. Hassy uses Phocus so that is a new program although a good one but whatever back body combo you buy think software as well because the OEM software is obviously dedicated to there own system with corrections and profiles and such. Personally I love shooting MF as it is one a challenge and also a reward. Simply nothing better when it comes to the files and output. Okay Nikon and canon fans can jump all over me but it is a different type of shooting that I personally enjoy.

    Certainly recommend trying these things out the are heavy , bulky expensive and have there limits so you first want to make sure you are comfortable shooting them.

    Now a very self centered selfish thought here. Your turning 50 it happens once in life and being a married man with children myself. It's one act of kindness for yourself and hell you deserve it. LOL

    I say that laughingly but it is pretty true as well. Now that comes from a gear slut so be careful here. We did not put this in the forum heading for no reason "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here."

    It's a slippery slope but man is it fun.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  3. #3
    tetsrfun
    Guest

    Re: Question from a may-be MF newbie

    Hassy uses Phocus so that is a new program although a good one
    ********
    LR 2.5 will import Hassy files directly if having to learn a new program is an issue. Better, worse, the same as Phocus is a personal decision, obviously.

    Steve

  4. #4
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    2,338
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    52

    Re: Question from a may-be MF newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by GMB View Post
    As you can see from the number of posts, I am fairly new on this forum though I have been reading a lot. I am somewhat fascinated by the whole MF stuff -- including the many shots I see on this forum --, but I am not sure it is the right thing for me. So I am asking some advice -- not on specific systems (don't worry, that will come later ) but on whether to move into MF at all.

    Which camera to get is the easiest part of the issue - the answer being whichever dealer gives you the best service. All the cameras deliver outstnding image quality.

    I am not a pro. I have a job that pays me well so that I can indulge in a few expensive toys, but it also sucks up an awful lot of my time. And since I have a family and a few other interests in life, I do not have that much time to devote to photography. I shoot mostly landscape, travel, family portraits, and a bit of street. Currently, I use an M8 and an M8.2 (and I am waiting for the M9).

    No MFD camera system will match the versatility of the Leica M cameras you are already using - if you are getting an M9 (and arent we all?) the resolution lift opens up easier larger print sizes.

    I am turning 50 next year and I think a MF system (perhaps even with as many MP as my next birthday ) would make a nice present. But I have a few concerns whether that would really be a good decision. I just don't want to be disappointment having spent tons of money and than not getting what I want or, to be precise, to not be able to use the system to its full potential. My main worries moving into MF are the following:

    1. Is it much more difficult to shoot MF? How much more attention to you have to pay when setting up your gear, as compared to, say, a M8 or a good DSLR? I know that in order to get the best out of it, it means using tripods almost all of the time. What other things does one have to pay attention to.

    MF digital is essentially a tripod use situaiton - the more megapixels the more true this is. Two reasons for this - the physical size of the camera lens combinations you use and the higher resolutions from megapixels. Certainly, In very 'FAT' light situations - broad sunny day and studio strobes - you can certainly hand hold from 100MM down to - especially wides - however, you wont be getting any better quality in terms of sharpness and mostly a lot worse than your M camera. If you use a 180 or 200 or 300mm lens for example - for every brag look at this hand held shot - you will have 99 to throw away.


    2. Is post processing much more difficult/cumbersome. I used C1 with the M8 but now moved to LR, and I am reasonably good in PS.

    Main issue here will be size of files you get. They are large and the higher the megapixel count the larger the files are this means having a computer and digital asset management system engineered to manage the physical file size.

    You will have many choices of software - C1 /Phocus/Expose - but ultimately you will also need to use CS4 etc to finish - sama as with your M work - everyone has a 'favourite' piece of software at teh ned of the day they all do the same basic job - equally well.


    3. Will you see the difference with, say, the M8 only in very large prints? Put differently, how big do you have to print to see a difference?

    Here you adressing the whole point of MFD systems - print sizes. The larger the file - the less 'stress' you put on post shot manipulation and the less interpolation required - therefore the better at the margin clarity in large prints.

    If you are into large stitched and printed panoramas - there is a real and pressing advantage to be gained using MFD.

    If you think 2X3' is large - you will get far less 'real' benefit from a MFD back - especially if you arent using a proper capture method and workflow.

    Thanks so much in advance for your input.

    Georg

    PS: Guy -- I'd love to come to one of your workshops but being based in Europe, it's just too far away. Now, if you were ever doing one on this side of the pond, I would be in

    I think a workshop of the type that Jack and Guy run would be a perfect way for you to get hands on real world experience in these systems. The support you will get from CI bringing a bunch of cameras for you to compare and seeing other non Phase shooters and seeing the total workflow requirements will underline to you the real world fact of life regarding MFD shooting.

    For my purposes - MFD is 90% for technical camera and tripod use <------------fullstop.

    the main issue to get your head around is shooting ergonomics. Thsiis why the S2 is such a temptation for peopel who actually have shot these MF cameras for a while.


    Good Luck.
    Last edited by PeterA; 29th October 2009 at 18:12.

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Munich
    Posts
    876
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    1

    Re: Question from a may-be MF newbie

    I think if you want to print larger than, yes it makes sense, however if you don't print large than I personally would enjoy the m9. I think MFDB is for professionals, OR people who enjoy making larger prints. I don't see any real reason for shooting MFDB if you don't print large. I mean the files take a up a lot of space and you really don''t need a 50Mp file just to zoom in to 100% in lightroom.

    Hassi, Phase, Leaf, they all are more difficult to shoot, they are annoying. Especially when one comes from something simple like a Leica m8 or any other DSLR.

    I would have never thought writing the next paragraph, but for you the S2 could be very nice. Perhaps paired with the 30-90 and a 150 or 180. The camera feels a lot better than any current MFDB System. It is FUN to shoot.

  6. #6
    Workshop Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Jupiter, Fla.
    Posts
    1,967
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    2

    Re: Question from a may-be MF newbie

    Shooting MF is more work than what you're shooting now. If you are passionate about getting the best possible images then MF is the answer. I'll respectfully disagree with Christopher's comment about needing to be a professional or printing large to make MF worthwhile (although it's a valid comment and I know where he's coming from). I get tremendous enjoyment out of my MF images whether I print them or not. The gear is heavy, the learning curve is steep, the workflow can be tedious, but the end results are spectacular. If you're willing to make those tradeoffs then it's something you should seriously consider. I'll echo Peter's suggestion that you try before you buy... I'll even go one step further and suggest that, if you do decide to go forward, pick up a good condition used kit irrespective of your finances. You really need to use this stuff for a while to find out what's important to you. What you now think might be the features that are right for you may not be the same after an extended period of use. I don't think I'm alone in having made this very mistake.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Chicago
    Posts
    550
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Question from a may-be MF newbie

    Most of the above posts are right on. It is hard to replace an M camera with MFDB. There are some reasons to do so, and many more not. But if the itch is there, and you have an understanding, it can be worthwhile and very positive.

    First off, know the gear before you buy. The differences in MFDB are significant and it is truly hard to know what is going to be critical before you buy. I have a lowly (and ancient) P20 back on a Rollei, and I never thought I'd say this, but I'm thinking of an auto focus lens for the combo. I've never had any use for that, but I'm missing focus on shots that I used to nail. Maybe its 100% viewing, maybe its lens shift, maybe its my eyes, and maybe its fresnel vs. split image.

    One of the advantages of the MF setup is the ability (in some cameras) to use waist level viewing. For many people its not important, but it allows for more precise composition and vertical/horiz alignment (something v. hard to do with the M). As a result the pictures are more composed, more thoughtful and while not as spontaneous as the M, of different interest.

    Studio camera, yes. Tripod camera, yes. Limited walking around camera - can be, but depends on which one and what your expectations are. With care, you can a happy camper. With MFDB, you'll not go back to the smaller size for quality, that is for sure.

  8. #8
    Super Duper
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Germany
    Posts
    3,623
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Question from a may-be MF newbie

    From what you read Iwould say I am in a comparable position (hobby photographer with limited time, family and some other interests)-with the difference I allready own some MF gear additionally to my Leica M9 gear.

    Is there a lot differenec in small and medium size prints regarding image quality? I would say not much. Still I feel there is a different look, also a different transition between the focus plane and the oof areas and tonality. IMO smoother. However I feel the M8/M9 is getting pretty close.

    Is MF difficult to shoot? I would say not difficult but more time consuming.
    You have to be more carefull regarding shake when taking the image, lenses are a) slower and b) you get less DOF at the same f-stop, and high ISO quality is limited with MF. So understand MF as a system for a) tripod or b) very good light or c) flash

    Now for those occasions where I have the time I enjoy MF a lot, not even so much for pure IQ but also for the process of taking the image- I like WLF (I use Hy6), I like the handling, I like the big bright viewfinder, I really like some of the lenses (like the Zeiss 110/2.0 or the Schneider 50 and 180).

    For me its 80% m9 (before m8) and maybe 10-20% MF - for me its a bit like bringing out the rolls royce at the weekend while driving a smaller car during the week.

  9. #9
    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Posts
    1,383
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Question from a may-be MF newbie

    As a serious amateur and old (67), I used MF growing up and then went to 135 for the 'non DINK' years.
    I returned about 10 years ago to MF via the Contax 645, and did film, then Kodak back, the Phase backs. I also have an M8 and R9/DMR.

    I would estimate I use MF 90% for travel, with these observations;
    the C645 lens and back 'feel' about the same as the DMR
    I do not generally print larger than 8x12 but do crop a lot!
    The M8 is a LOT lighter, but the Contax is about the same feel as an older Canon mount Kodak SLR//c.

    For advantage, with P65+ and 60MP I can get 2x to 4x without telephoto. I have printed 24x72 inch panos. Other prints are just tack sharp without sharpening.

    MF, incl Mamyia, Contax are NOT that much bigger than 35nn SLR but the lenses are. My 'lite kit' with 80mm is still 5lbs!

    I just find the extra MP, dynamic range and composition of MF works better for landscape and city scape. For family snaps I use the M8.

    I would say the the work you put into learning MF will also contribute to concentrating on shots. I know it has helped me, as more of my shots get the "can I have a large print of that ' requests.

    I would also read the experience of the group here. Many have transitioned to MF right on the forum (Guy being the most obvious) but don't be put off by the "if you only print small- 8x10 or less "- sentiment. There are LOTS of reasons to go MF for look, DR and processing. The RAW files just seem to have a stregth that 35 doesn't

    regards
    Victor

  10. #10
    Senior Member GMB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    Heart of Europe
    Posts
    396
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Question from a may-be MF newbie

    Dear all,

    Thanks very much for your thoughtful responses and the valuable advice. I will continue thinking about it and follow the market -- and this forum. It seems that both Hassi and phase are turning out great stuff almost every month. I am also curious how the S2 will turn out. I plan to take a decision sometime early 2010. My biggest problem might be finding a dealer in Belgium (or close by) who can let me have the cameras for a few days to try out.

    Georg

  11. #11
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Posts
    1,347
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    12

    Re: Question from a may-be MF newbie

    Quote Originally Posted by GMB View Post
    My biggest problem might be finding a dealer in Belgium (or close by) who can let me have the cameras for a few days to try out.
    Belgium?
    Phase One is in Cologne.
    Calumet is in Düsseldorf.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •