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Thread: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    It's what I just did. In my limited experience, I can tell you three things:

    1) The ZD back on a Mamiya AFD with the stock 80mm lens produces WAY better files than the 1Ds mkIII with ANY lens on it.

    2) The AFD/ZD with 80 weighs about the same as the 1DsIII with a 50/1.4.

    3) You can mount up just about any older MF Mamiya 645 lens and use it in stop down mode with AF confirmation (these are bargain cheap to acquire, see KEH). You can mount up Hassy F, FE or CF lenses via a Hassy to Mamiya lens adapter and use per above and these are stellar (albeit more expensive) optics...

    Cheers,
    Thank you Jack
    I think it's looking like penny counting times (dammit).
    I might even have to sell something (anyone got a grandmother I can borrow!).

    Thank you also Son - the Contax sounds attractive (I used to use their 35mm slr stuff), but the thing about the Mamiya is the all in one deal - it's really hard to beat.

    Thinking cap on.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Another couple of forums that are good for MF discourse are: www.hasselbladinfo.com (despite name, not a company site) and Luminous Landscape.

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    Re: Watch out for this forum

    Yes Woody, there is forum called "Flexframe" dedicated/restricted to Hasselblad Digital.

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Flexframe/

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Jack: Point taken on this forum. f

    otografz and robmac: Thanks for the links - they look very promising.

    Woody

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Hello all,

    Great thread, and just wanted to add another perspective. Guy wrote:

    If I had my way it would be M8 and MF only like Jack is able to do. I just can't but I need to get my stuff down to minimum somehow to get to MF in my process.
    This is what I have found too, and why I got into the Nikon D3/D300 system end last year. I am a writer and workshop presenter, here and overseas, as some may know. But I have been a commercial photographer too, since the late 70s. I have some big clients (John Deere) and many smaller ones who are prepared to wait to fit their work around my schedule.

    The Nikon D3 plus the three new zooms, the 24/2.5 TS, and the Zeiss lenses, do everything that these clients need. Even the big enlargements required for booths and trade shows can be done on this format. And even though MF has become more 'handleable', the idea of taking one of those systems into the forest, balancing on slippery just-barked logs four feet or so from the ground amid logging debris, in the dark so you can see the machines operating at night and make a dawn shot (a recent shoot), fill me with horror. This may just be me.

    On another shoot I needed to carry all the gear I needed, for three days, again in the forests (fire restrictions made vehicle access a no-no), with a return to the hotel at night. I know size and weight of MF has come down, but on this shoot I was on the long end of the 70-200 VR plus the 1,4 extender... I don't think that would have been possible with any MF system I know.

    Anyhow, the point is that the old 'horses for courses' argument holds. I believe that if you are a commercial shooter these days, depending on your market, you will need two systems. Mine is lower end: I make do with the D3/D300 kit as mentioned above, and am waiting for the 410 + pancake and the DP-1, to see what mini-system will become my 'shoot for pleasure' tool.

    Now a comment on MF in general, in the digital age. One of my personal dilemmas, and one that I have wrestled with for years, and which I have shared with some of you on Fred's site in the DMR Bible days, is the search for IQ. The reason I sold all my gear at one point (Woody will remember this) stemmed from my on-going work with a Zen monk: he asked me, "how much quality is enough"? For me personally, I realised that this search was part of the ego's search for perfection—an abstract never able to be realised—and not really related to what my customers needed, or even wanted. The reality for me is that my work is destined for brochures to sell products, images to illustrate concepts in books, the web, DVD covers, and the like. No fine art there, even though I view part of myself as a mix of artisan and technologist.

    Once I let go of that search, to the extent of selling all my gear, I was able to re-approach the question. Fortunately for me, the D3 and the 14–24/2.8's MTF charts were announced/published at that same time. Now, 10,000 commercial images later, for the first time I am actually *satisfied* with the gear I am using: it is just a tool to get a certain result. I honestly feel a deep gratitude to Nikon for making this system. For me personally, it really is that good.

    One further digression: 'street shooting'. This can be done with a Hasselblad, I guess, but a DP-1 or something small makes better sense to me. And if we look at the kind of images that are being made and shown on the small sensor thread, it seems to me that an aesthetic is already emerging, where the limitations of the sensor become part of the look. Some great work here.

    So, conclusions? For me personally, I have decided that I don't need MF, and I am committed instead to getting the most out of the Nikon D3 system. For fun, I will use whichever of the small sensor cameras I like the most. On a job interstate last week (Pilates studio, controlled environment, strobe and natural light mix), I found myself wishing for the DOF of an MF system, as it happened. On looking at the ~1,000 images this week, all shot wide open at ƒ2.8 on the 24–70, they are completely acceptable, and with lovely soft backgrounds. They would have looked better had they been shot on MF, but they are lovely just as they are.

    But...

    I am just going to re-quote Jack's points, because I think they are spot on for anyone wanting to step up, but without killing the bank balance:

    1) The ZD back on a Mamiya AFD with the stock 80mm lens produces WAY better files than the 1Ds mkIII with ANY lens on it.

    2) The AFD/ZD with 80 weighs about the same as the 1DsIII with a 50/1.4.

    3) You can mount up just about any older MF Mamiya 645 lens and use it in stop down mode with AF confirmation (these are bargain cheap to acquire, see KEH). You can mount up Hassy F, FE or CF lenses via a Hassy to Mamiya lens adapter and use per above and these are stellar (albeit more expensive) optics...
    I wonder if Jack could start a thread on just this system, including images of it?

    Please don't flame me folks; I posted these ideas just to give us all something else to think about! Cheers to all, kl

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Art has little or nothing to do with making better sense ... at least in the convention sense of the word.

    Could it be that to many rules and convenient little sayings ... leads to the tyranny of reason?

    That a certain format shouldn't be used, or is less convenient to use for some task, could actually be the very reason to use it.

    Perhaps "Needs", or "all that I need", is a good idea until it becomes the rule ... and does it then become limiting and stifling?

    If you decide to limit your trek to that of artisan or technologist, why think the trek of others has any bearing on yours?

    If something looks lovely as is, but would be more lovely with something else, where is the desire to make more beauty rather than less?

    Just curious.

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Campbell View Post
    Jack: Point taken on this forum. f

    otografz and robmac: Thanks for the links - they look very promising.

    Woody
    I should have clarified further Woody, lest I sound snobbish LL has a very good MF section too as do a few other sites as mentioned. But the bottom line is that the Pros we have here like Marc Williams (fotografz), David Kipper, Chuck Jones and a few others, have forgotten more about photography than most folks on the other forums ever knew, including site owners... These guys were all into digital before anybody else wanted to be in digital, and in a way were the real pioneers for the rest of us. The fact they are willing to share their time with us here is a huge gift to us.

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

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

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Marc, I simply wanted to share my thoughts on the the process of making these kinds of decisions. A comment or two:

    Re. art: that is the heart's matter, not the intellect's. And tyranny of reason is exactly what prompted the process I was describing, and my work with my teacher.

    I don't feel as though I have limited myself, in any absolute sense, by making these choices, and a choice made at this time does not limit future choices. I expect to change.

    Finally, given the finitude of bank balances, one does have to make a practical choice between beauty and one's capacity to actualise this, and isn't that is where this thread began?

    For me personally, I found that questioning my deepest motives for the search for more IQ was very helpful. OTOH, I feel that all the points you have raised are perfectly reasonable, too—the basis for an interesting and meaningful discussion. Thank you, kl

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Thank you Jack
    I think it's looking like penny counting times (dammit).
    I might even have to sell something (anyone got a grandmother I can borrow!).

    Thank you also Son - the Contax sounds attractive (I used to use their 35mm slr stuff), but the thing about the Mamiya is the all in one deal - it's really hard to beat.

    Thinking cap on.
    there are a lot of us quite pleased with the contax 645 system, for mamny years. There is good float of products, parts for over 10 years, and many lenses to be used (I use Hassey, Contax and even some visoflex lenses! ALL focus confirm and AE, if you set it correctly
    Also, all back makers support the mount as well as alpa, Cambio etc.

    Good stuff lasts.

    victor

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    For me there is great resonance in what Kit alluded to regarding what is 'needed' but also and perhaps more importantly - what is 'enough'? The answer to this question is of course up to each individual.

    In similar fashion though, for me as a hobbyist, I embrace the fact that trying out new tools and new processes delivers an empirical and experiential high, which is an important aspect of this past-time for me. I am less interested in 'results' from photography and more interested in the journey. Gear is an integral part of that journey. for me.

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    This is good. Relating the links between the tool, the process, and what we do with it is heart of the matter.

    My personal take on it can be summed up with a simple observation ... when I pick up any photographic tool my first thought is "I wonder what can be done with this." That question is mitigated by previous work that shows what can be done ... so the question goes a step further ... "What can I do with this?"

    This leads to thinking about "purpose." As Peter has alluded to, sometimes "the process is the purpose." Just doing it is the reason to do it. I think most of us can agree on that aspect to some degree or another, and it defines our "personal journey."

    However, if just the process was the overriding driver, one would not need much to achieve that goal. Like an artist with a small sketch pad and pencil. No "David" or "Mona Lisa" would ever have come to light then.

    So, the question is ... what role does the end result play? Of course that is quite personal. It can vary so widely that it's almost impossible to define. But without end purpose, does the journey have any meaning? How do you gauge the tool and your use of it?

    My favorite quote on this subject came from Picasso ... "A painting kept in the closet, might as well be kept in the head."


    Now what does all that have to do with the subject at hand?

    Some of us have a built in purpose in one way or another. People like Guy, and to a lesser degree me, have an end result we know going in. I took up the unlikely role of "Wedding Photographer" for just that reason ... it gave my photographic journey some structure and purpose rather than "inventing" one. Now if I allowed the practicality of the end result to dictate the tools and my use of it, a couple of Digital Rebels and zooms would suffice ... which is exactly what many Wedding shooters limit themselves to. If you have talent and vision the clients will be quite happy with results from this. The question then becomes "will you be happy?" If you "settle" for that, then maybe. If you think there is "more lurking there," then maybe not. I reside firmly in the camp of "I know there's more" and I want to find it. It's what drives me.

    Also, much has been laid at the doorstep of "practicality." "MF is so expensive," "My pocketbook defines my limits," My clients don't need it," and so on. So a whole sector of photographic experience becomes off-limits for exploration. Like "David" being carved out of Sandstone because it's more practical than Marble.

    Again, to draw from my art experience ... I know painters struggling in anonymity who make sacrifices to work with certain tools (I was one of them.) Anyone who paints knows that certain rare earth pigments can cost as much as a Canon L lens. Yet the color is like no other. Practically speaking there are lesser substitutes that would suffice, but these painters still shun them refusing to "settle."

    Frankly, I personally think "practicality" and it's evil twin "impatience" has led to, or is leading to, the "dumbing down of beauty."

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    What a good thread.
    Peter's interesting remark about the journey being as important as the result is something I'm perpetually trying to fight against.

    My journey to photography came through painting (which I no longer had time for with a new business and young children). I mistakenly thought that photography would take up less time.

    I don't like to think of myself as a 'hobbyist'; I do enough paid work to convince the tax man that photography is truly part of the business. Truth be told though, unlike Guy and Jack and many others here, I can do what I like with my photography, I don't need it pay the bills.

    I actually feel very schizophrenic about cameras: The 'gearhead' part of me loves to learn new kit, to pixel peep, and to try and get the very best quality out of the very best equipment (I think this is why many of us are here). On the other hand, the 'artist' in me finds all this stuff very frustrating; I feel I should be concentrating on the image rather than the process, and in that context Kit's D3 message resonated very strongly. Changing gear simply gets in between me and my intentions.

    In this light the prospect of moving to MF for some of my work provokes a dual response - excitement in the 'gearhead' me, and irritation in the 'artist' me.

    Simplistically, it's obvious; the 'art' is the ONLY thing which is important . . . but then the skills which have evolved in the 'gearhead' have certainly improved the scope and success of the 'artist'.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    there are a lot of us quite pleased with the contax 645 system, for mamny years. There is good float of products, parts for over 10 years, and many lenses to be used (I use Hassey, Contax and even some visoflex lenses! ALL focus confirm and AE, if you set it correctly
    Also, all back makers support the mount as well as alpa, Cambio etc.

    Good stuff lasts.

    victor
    HI Victor
    I would really prefer to go with Contax, however with the deal available with the Mamiya in the UK, the Camera / lens / back kit is almost actually the same price as the ZD back on it's own!
    You can get secondhand Contax 645 gear for reasonable prices, but not free!

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    There is no doubt that you can make art from anything. I know a photographer that uses a P&S to do national ads for big name clients. It's a deliberate choice, and he doesn't limit himself by "gear prejudice." However, his gear closet is a wet dream come true ... with some of the most exotic stuff I've ever encountered.

    Basically, that's all I'm saying ... lack of prejudice cuts both ways.

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    HI Victor
    I would really prefer to go with Contax, however with the deal available with the Mamiya in the UK, the Camera / lens / back kit is almost actually the same price as the ZD back on it's own!
    You can get secondhand Contax 645 gear for reasonable prices, but not free!
    But as my pappy used to say 'a bargain is only a bargain if it is what nyou want!"

    Two approach; buy what is affordable at the time, or make what you want affordable!
    I am in the latter camp and have a bit of
    angst' at times but not disappointmet.

    All is trade-off

    best regards (and BTW we are talking about ALL great stuff!!)

    Victor

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    If I ever write an autobiography, it will be titled, "Confessions of a Gear Whore."

    I am probably not too dissimilar from Peter A in philosophy, however I appreciate Kit's point fully from personal experience. At the end of the day, looking back over most of my best images, I find the gear that forced me to present to the image creation process generated the best images from an aesthetic standpoint; I can't just press a button while pondering whatever while the camera does all the thinking, but rather need to be present in the moment with me doing the thinking about the image I'm trying to make. Howeverbut, my best images from a technical standpoint have always been made with the best gear. Admittedly -- and regrettably -- only rarely have I had aesthetic and technical excellence meet in the same image...

    Lastly, I will add there is a Zen-like freedom to having only one camera bag in the cabinet. If you are going out to shoot, there is no time wasted at that cabinet trying to decide which system or systems to take, just grab THE bag and go. If you've ever hauled five separate bags to a shoot, you know what I mean...

    There is no right or wrong answer on how much gear to have... You can't shoot every possible photographic situation with one camera system, but conversely, if you only do one type of photography, you can easily get by with only one system. Horse for courses

    PS: Notice I avoided "wants" versus "needs"

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

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

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Glad you avoided the wants versus needs. We have to remind each other of that everyday from confessions from the Gear Slut
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    If I ever write an autobiography, it will be titled, "Confessions of a Gear Whore.
    PS: Notice I avoided "wants" versus "needs"
    Cheers,
    JACK
    Loved your whole LONG train of thought
    & I might be a tad off course
    but I loved what Gandhi said about 'needs'
    "Satisfy Everymans Needs Not Everymans Greed"
    helen

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    I cannot tell an extentialist lie ... one camera bores me to tears. One camera and one lens is the absolute epitome of being bored to tears. Nice Zen like thought at first. Gets old fast. Then from old ... to ... well ... boring.

    Not in the "doing" mind you, I sometimes just carry a M8 and 35mm. Rather it's just the thought of it as I contemplate my trek that day. Maybe this, or maybe that ... it's like a Sumi painter grinding the ink prior to actually doing something with it.

    Frankly, I like my gear closet ... it's full of "what ifs." The "what if" could be ... what if you just took one camera and one lens? But it doesn't have to be. I'm not forced into it by some preconceived limitation.

    Similarly, little ol' exentialist me finds one format excruciatingly depressing. I like to row against the tide ... it makes me stronger. That predilection has served me well in a lifetime of creative endeavors. It blurs the lines that separate things into convenient little cubicles. This for that, and that for this ... sorry, boring!

    I'm coming to realize that I hate "horses for courses." It's like a kids' merry-go-round that only has horses on it. I want to ride the Tiger and then the Elephant and then the Bear ... LOL.

    But that's just me.

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    there is a "how many cameras is enough?" thread in the small sensor forum that I started. This forum has been eye-opening as I drop down a slippery slope. I'll admit to being a gear head over the years in my various hobbies and jobs (these days digital media and education/training, broadly construed so that means anything digital ). In music it is called GAS - gear acquisition syndrome. Once I got deeper into photo I discovered LBA (lens buying addiction). Thankfully I have gotten to a point in my life after chasing various technologies and art forms where I *know* that the nut behind the wheel is the biggest variable and contributor. Of course that doesn't prevent me from slathering over a shiny object.

    Like Jono I'm lucky in that I don't have to create images for my supper, although I am getting traction in a couple of places these days. In a thread on the M8 board (this place is a bad influence) there was the "see what you shoot or shoot what you see" question, which I think aligns with the gear questions. I understand Jack's desire of having only one tool staring at you saying, "can we go out and play?" Sometimes choice can cause paralysis. But I also find that some days I want to mix it up. Since I'm shooting for "art" and not a client, I have that freedom. Plus I don't know what I'm doing so I need to experiment.

    What I appreciate about this community (getdpi, not all photographers) is that people seem to understand that different people have different processes and needs...so there is no "best." And what is great is that said people will share not only how they do something and what they use, but often *why* they use it. To me the "why" question is key. I"m interested in the motivation and the process...even if it is just serendipity.

    Some of my favorite shots I got with an old p&s. But my best shots haven't been taken yet. Just a question of what tool I'll have with me when I "see" them. Now if you'll excuse me I need to go to the camera shop to play with an M8. And maybe a ZD. Oh, and I wonder if the 35mm ltd macro lens came in for my K20d body yet...
    Last edited by nostatic; 4th April 2008 at 09:52.

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post

    I'm coming to realize that I hate "horses for courses." It's like a kids' merry-go-round that only has horses on it. I want to ride the Tiger and then the Elephant and then the Bear ... LOL.

    But that's just me.
    And now I understand why you use your Hassy digital for street shooting, M8 for runway fashion and D-Lux 3 for billboard ads... But I now also understand why you are a far better photographic artist than I am -- you are not constrained by borders. My hat off to you...


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

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Great thread... interesting thoughts expressed here. Not only is this forum a great source of knowledge for all things photography related but it's therapeutic too. When I buy something that I really, really don't need instead of feeling bad I can come here and say "at least Guy is worse" I'm going to take the money I'm saving on a shrink and put it where it really belongs... on the front of my camera.

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by David K View Post
    Great thread... interesting thoughts expressed here. Not only is this forum a great source of knowledge for all things photography related but it's therapeutic too. When I buy something that I really, really don't need instead of feeling bad I can come here and say "at least Guy is worse" I'm going to take the money I'm saving on a shrink and put it where it really belongs... on the front of my camera.

    You're right!
    trouble is I hadn't saved any money for the shrink (does that mean I can't buy a new camera?).
    I've yet to see anyone around here say 'mine's better than yours'
    it's splendid

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    This IS a great thread and gets one thinking in some good directions.

    I would like to add one other bit that isn't necessarily relevant on an artistic evolutionary track, but is true for me and I'm not ashamed to admit it. And that would be that there is a certain "pride of ownership".

    In my teens I took great pleasure in wading into a stream loaded full of fly fishing "sports" who were decked out in thousands of dollars worth of gear and then proceeding to catch fish at their feet with my $30 Sears rod while wearing my black converse high tops. Now, I'm the old fart with all the gear. Through a succession of miracles and a little hard work, I can afford it so why the hell not have it?

    Is it true that wonderful photos can be taken with cameras costing less than a Leica battery? Yes. Is it also true that many others can afford more and even better gear than I? Yep. Nevertheless, I get a great feeling of satisfaction from the thing itself. The feel of a well made camera and the joy that a finely crafted lens can bring.

    So for me, small sensor, full-frame, medium format, large format, heck even 20x24 Polaroid--they're all fine. I find myself excited, surprised, and grateful to be here and able to contemplate using any or all of them.

  25. #75
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    What I appreciate about this community (getdpi, not all photographers) is that people seem to understand that different people have different processes and needs...so there is no "best." And what is great is that said people will share not only how they do something and what they use, but often *why* they use it. To me the "why" question is key. I"m interested in the motivation and the process...even if it is just serendipity.


    About the best comment I heard of this forum and thanks that is exactly why we are here to explore, to learn ,to understand what each one of us feels and wants to do with there photography there is no best there is no one way there is only your ability to be creative and have fun. When i get laid in the box , i just want one person to say he lived his dream and did it the way he wanted too. Nothing else matters.

    This was always a desire for me on any forum is answering the question WHY. People learn by understanding what others do, that is a rare day when you actually see it on a forum. Even though this is Jack and Guy's place it is the main reason i love it because we talk WHY. Let's never lose sight of that my friends.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Have to jump back into this discussion....very engaging and offering so many insights and ideas. I have been wrestling with all sorts of tugs lately, and Marc has hit upon some of them. While I know that I have done very well in the past with minimalist gear at times, just as Tim pointed out, there is some drive to look beyond just the gear toward some sort of result. If that result is for the sake of art alone, and I am getting to the point where I find this so much more satisfying, then all bets are off about what you choose/use to get there. If the result is more about pleasing a client and securing more business, then different interpretations fuel different drives.....getting best image quality, being more creative, opening artistic channels through non-conventional means, using conventional ways to achieve outstanding new things, etc., etc.

    My struggle is sometimes trying to figure out which master to serve when, and how. My "artist" master loves simplicity. My "gear head" master loves options and what they can help me do. My "business" master drives to the bottom line for costs, returns, blah, blah, blah. In reality, they are all part of the total package. The objective I have started to set is somewhat in line with what Kit was saying....finding a balance of these masters, at the same time just using them to keep me feeling balanced.

    Several folks have commented on how their "best" shots have different meanings and may have been taken with gear different than what they may have wanted or planned, or may have been "best" because they used a tool that could deliver what they needed and wanted better than anything else. Sometimes I want my gear to get out of my way. Other times I want to use my gear to find a way. What I have learned is that having more or less gear is not the problem, for the most part, but having gear that you know, feel comfortable with, and allows you to translate your vision into whatever result you desire is what counts. I had a portrait shoot last week at a client's home. I brought most of my "studio" along, not knowing what I would need to use, but being prepared. My plan was to shoot with a 1DsMkII and whatever lens best fit things (24-70, 85, 70-200, etc.). I got to the location to find floor to ceiling windows with perfect north light coming in. Never took out a flash or stand. Did not bother with a backdrop. Wound up taking shots that the client loved with my M8 and the Noctilux or 35. That was all that was needed to produce the result. I could not have planned that. I planned as best I could and dragged a ton of crap with me. The serenity for me was having the capability and preparedness to use, but also having the option to shoot how I felt at that moment.

    I think I really wanted to shoot that with a MF set-up, and if I had it I would have, but I am not sure it would have been any better than what I got, unless the client planned to have really huge prints made or something. I did shoot with the 1DsMkII, and did get some great shots with it also, to the point that I had trouble telling some shots apart. This was a shoot where simplicity and art came together for me, and I loved it. It also showed me that less could be more, but more could be really good too.

    My point, if I have one after reading all of this great stuff and thinking even more, is to allow myself as much creative freedom for shooting as I possibly can. That may mean more or less gear at any given time, and not being "locked into" one thing or another. I have tried the minimalist approach, and made it work. I have done the too much gear approach and made it work, so maybe there was not "too much" gear after all. Earlier I had commented that I was trying to settle onto MF, and using my M8 for personal/artistic things. My thoughts were to ditch most if not all of the Canon DSLR gear I have now to concentrate my efforts and resources. I have amended some of that thinking to embrace using what I have and adding what I think will permit development of those other creative processes for results...for me and the client. That means keeping some DSLR gear for its use, keeping the M8 for all its uses, and adding MF at some point soon to open new horizons and channels there. This is not about being a gear head or whore for me, but about pursuing what I am thinking about and using whatever gear will best help there. MF provides its own level of stunning capabilities and imaging. Damn the costs and number of gear closets or bags.....use the tools that allow you to express whatever is driving your artistic directions. If it is a business constraint/need, as it is for me, find a way to translate things. Chase the art, not the accountant ;-)

    LJ
    Last edited by LJL; 4th April 2008 at 11:09.

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    I think the key word in all of this is simply balance. Finding what works as a business , as artist , as hobbyist, as Pro and the costs and restrictions that you place on weight and bulk, style and look and what you want to get out of all of this . It really is a game of balance to me. Do i really want a Nikon system, not really but there is certain things i can and can't do without it so you balance that in your choices. Can i work a MF system in , sure i can and get great results and make clients even happier and me. Could I do without a M8, NO but reality is yes i can but I love it so i work it in. See i feel so many emotions on different levels with gear for them( Clients) and for me. I want to make them happy and as Marc said hell a Rebel may do that but really what the heck am i busting my butt for besides money. And that is to make myself happy, I am not going to have a camera like a D300 knowing i can get better results with a D3 , i will just get them both. The M8 is a classic example of damn the torpedoes i don't care what it costs i want those bloody lenses to work with. I really think it is a balance issue between making art and what you want or need to do that.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  28. #78
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post

    You're right!
    trouble is I hadn't saved any money for the shrink (does that mean I can't buy a new camera?).
    I've yet to see anyone around here say 'mine's better than yours'
    it's splendid

    Jono,

    Helmuth Newton once said his photography was his psychotherapy. So, you can spend that money on a camera. You don't need a shrink.

    "The market wants a Leica to be a Leica: the inheritor of tradition, the subject of lore, and indisputably a mark of status to own."
    Mike Johnston


  29. #79
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnastovall View Post
    Jono,

    Helmuth Newton once said his photography was his psychotherapy. So, you can spend that money on a camera. You don't need a shrink.
    Did he indeed - unfortunately I haven't saved any for psychotherapy either, and I guess the money Helmut Newton saved isn't available to me!

    Still, when I mentioned the possibility of getting hold of a Medium format setup to my wife last night she said:
    "Of course - go ahead - I've known for years that you'd do that in the end"

    Mind you, she wants a new horse box and life is full of little compromises

    Just this guy you know

  30. #80
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Jono as the saying goes: You have to pay to play and being married that is in the top 5 of the rules.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    After reading a lot more from various other forums, reviews and postings, I keep coming back to what Marc posted as the opening topic.....the MF is anything but settled or easy to figure out what to get and what works for most. There is a lot of really interesting gear out there....superb optics, interesting approaches, systems, etc. As always, the glass is a big part of the story, but so are the imagers now.

    Just about the time I started to get comfortable thinking about one approach, such as the Hasselblad H3 system, the thoughts of not having access to other backs, or other glass started to rear its ugly head. Same thing holds for the Leaf/Sinar/Rollei Hy6 route, and the Phase/Mamiya path. Still looks like there is no way to get the best of all worlds worked out, unless one drops back to discontinued models (H2), or will sacrifice some useful modern additions (AF, metering, etc.), that were less prevalent on older systems. Not saying this as a bash, but more as a lament to trying to wend my way through things. All have great things going for them. I love the size and most of the promise of the Hy6 platform, but getting solid, accurate information on availability, prices, compatibility, and future deliveries has been difficult. The Hasselblad path is not quite as bad, but there is concern over what may change next there and whether one could get stuck with things that are no longer supported and not compatible with others. The Phase/Mamiya path is not that different. To my thinking, it offers up some reasonable options, as well as some forward plans that are a bit more detailed.

    I understand the various states of evolution of the MF market and the players, but have to say, none of them are making it very easy for folks to jump into the fray. In one ideal scenario, I would opt for a Rollei Hy6 body, some Schneider lenses plus others, and maybe put on a Phase One back. No can do....yet there are rumors. In another scenario, a Mamiya AFDII with a Phase One back (supposedly the promise), and the ability to use some interesting new lenses, like the Hasselblad HCD 28/4. Again....no can do.

    While at first this does not seem all that different than the DSLR world now, because the MF market is smaller, has much higher associated costs for gear, has quite demanding (in the good way) users that are picky about optics and options and use, things also seem so much less clear, less clearly communicated, less predictable than makes sense to me. None of these folks make their own sensors. Only Dalsa and Kodak are supplying to everybody. So I can understand each coming out with their own interpretation of a digital back, but why not have greater interchangeability with other parts, like making any back fit any body? I could see having a Phase back for somethings, and possibly a Sinar back for others, but that now requires one to have too completely different systems, and any one system is hard enough to keep up with.

    Maybe I am totally missing something in all of this, but it does keep me, and others from jumping into a market that we could use and that could use us also for sales and development. I am not expecting everything to work with everything else, but it would seem so much more reasonable (not saying "practical") if there was a bit more cross utility of all of this great and rather expensive gear. Would I like the HCD 28/4 on a Sinar or Mamiya body? You betcha. Or how about the Scheider Super-Angulon 40/3.5 on the H3DII 39? Yeah, that could be nice too. Just not going to happen as things stand now. Not saying that there are not good choices in each line/system, but folks would love to mix and match things a bit more, just like putting Zeiss or Contax glass on a 5D and getting those benefits.

    Sorry if this got off the more existential thread, and we can go back to that, but some of that artistic/gear/business balance is getting forestalled for me and probably others, because the MF scene is so cloistered and confusing at times. I have a pretty good idea what I could get and do and expect if I spend $30K in the Canon or Nikon line, but I am not getting that same feeling about any of the MF paths right now. What am I missing?

    LJ

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    I don't think you are missing anything because I feel the same way , we are sitting back reading this and this is not a new script being written , your thoughts LJ have been the same as many for a long time and there not changing anytime soon. Bottom line MF reps you want us fence sitters than you need to answer the tough questions with your product lines and make them work better , faster , cheaper and give us a road map that we can purchase by which none of us feel comfortable about throwing 30k out there for what we see today without any plan for the future. I'm sorry but i have been on this fence for a long time and my nerves are not even close to being settled . I see folks buying systems at 30k and within a year they are selling for 17k. That is a huge loss in your investment. I don't car how you slice the bread that is real money from my pocket and i am simply not that comfortable. i would take a chance on a Mamiya ZD at 10 k or 15 K for a whole system because the risk is far less. I can afford maybe a 5 k loss but not a 15 k one buying Hassy or others. We first need to make sound investments than we can proceed to be creative with it. But business is business and ROI is ROI , how much can you suck up on depreciation. Is the real question folks like me have to ask. You want guys like me than you have to have some answers because we will not jump on anybody's side of the fence on blind faith. I maybe stupid but I ain't dumb either. These are the facts and until there addressed and until it makes sense , i will not buy.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  33. #83
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    LJ:

    At the end of the day, if you want to cover all the MF bases you'll need two systems; the main differences as expressed earlier are leaf-shutter lenses v focal plane shutter bodies. IF you can live with the top shutter speed of 1/800th for your work, then IMO leaf-shutter lens systems offer other benefits and should be a primary choice. OTOH, if you need higher shutter speeds or want to experiment with alternative optics, you'll need a focal-plane body system. Frankly, this was the reason I went with the Mamiya 645 -- my LAST choice for body BTW -- was it offers the most flexibility for backs and glass of any system out there, AND is relatively affordable (you can buy an entire system with several lenses used for what a single Rollei Hy6 lens will cost new).

    HOWEVER! For studio, I would invest in another, leaf-shutter system. At this point in time, that will be a Hassy H (probably the 2) or Rollei Hy6. The Sinar back will have adapter plates to mate their backs to either system, although somewhat expensive at ~$1800 each.

    HOWEVER #2, FWIW: the Mamiya RZ is a leaf-shutter system (1/400th max speed) and can use the same back as the 645 system with a relatively inexpensive adapter and is also affordable (similar used prices to the 645 above). AND the glass is outstanding, at least in the latest versions. AND that system offers a series of tilt/**** lens options that are probably the BEST MF options for t&s at the moment. BUT, it is NOT an AF system, only manual focus, the system is a tank, big and heavy; not the one you want to be using for a fast-paced model shoot under studio lighting. So yo are back to something like the Hassy H or Hy6.

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

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    This GIGANTIC post is more for me to try to set it straight in my own head. Please disregard if you like, though it does give a summary of the medium format digital options as I have been able to look at them.


    LJ -- it really is a difficult situation. I have been looking around at digital MF options and I have been a bit baffled. Here's some of what I have found:

    A demo H3D-39 is 2000 dollars cheaper than a demo CF-39, which makes 0 sense to me considering the H39 is an entire camera and back system, while the CF-39 is just a back...pretty much the same back, by the way.

    Leaf's AFi 7 is listed at 36,000 dollars (!) with no lens, while the Sinar Hy6 and emotion 75 with the 80mm lens is 32,500, though both of their 22mp backs are priced fairly similarly.

    A 22mp AFi or Hy6 is around 28,000, while the 39mp H3D is demo priced at 21500 (and someone here got one for significantly under 20,000 through Kurland Photo).

    This is a dilemma for me, because I have several Rollei lenses already that add up to a good investment...worth more now than they were when I bought them. That said, when an H3D-39 is 21,500, and a 22mp Hy6/AFi is 28,000 or so, it is difficult to stomach.

    The Sinar adapter for the Rollei 6008AF is over 2000 dollars, so there is no real point in buying a back for that camera...it is essentially the same cost to just buy a Hy6 when the package pricing and the sale of the used 6008af is factored in.

    The H3D seems nice, but I have 0 lenses for it, and none of the lenses I currently have would work on it. Given how much I like the Schneider lenses on film, I would be dubious about getting rid of them. Speaking of film, the H3D will shoot it, but you cannot see the whole 645 image...the viewfinder is cropped to "full frame 48mm"

    Mamiya would allow me to shoot with my Hasselblad FE lenses (I have 2), but it would be a no-go for the schneider stuff, and no leaf shutter availability.

    Sinar is the strongest draw for me, but they have some serious downsides -- they LCD is considered to be the worst of all current backs, their customer service is politely referred to as "an issue" even by their dealers, and their software is considered to be poor. I know Exposure is just out, so hopefully that will mitigate that last problem. Finally, the Hy6 is a lovely camera to use, but as a package, it is still very expensive compared to the other MF digital options out there. The best part would be that I could get adapters to use the back on my 203FE and actually use the lenses...they are the only manufacturer with full support for the FE lenes on the 200 series cameras. The back flexibility is a very strong draw for me, but the service issues and price remain a strong disincentive to go with them.

    Leaf does not have the back flexibility of Sinar, and they remain very expensive. On the plus side, I could use my current 6000 series lenses on the camera. They have a big, nice LCD on the rear of the camera (though I admit, I prefer the Hasselblad and Phase one approach -- smaller, simpler, with actual buttons). Their biggest draw is that their service is universally regarded as superb in the US. But the high price, and the lack of camera flexibility prove a strong disincentive for them as well.

    Hasselblad is also difficult. Their price, integration, software and service (and frankly ubiquity) are strong draws, but their closed platform architecture and record of ignoring backward compatibility are troubling. Going with hasselblad would mean that none of my current investment in medium format would have any use on the new camera. I would have to sell a bunch of glass and cameras that I am very happy with and buy a new set that is an unknown quantity for me. If I were to go the CF route and use my existing 6008AF, I could use my current system, but it is unlikely that they will offer an adapter plate for the Hy6, so I would be locked out of the latest platform for my lenses...the Hy6 has a lot of advantages over the 6008 in terms of weight reduction, ergonomics, battery life, AF speed and performance etc...using 6000 series glass, I would eventually want to make the jump, and the CF back probably would not make the jump with me. Also, the CF back is inexplicably more expensive than the entire H3D camera system.

    Mamiya and Phase seem like a good option, but I don't know enough about them. Again, no ability to use my 6000 series glass, but at least I could use the FE lenses in stop-down mode. Otherwise it would mean new lenses. Mamiya's camera system is the cheapest of the big options, but I am not sure how it compares in terms of performance. I use the Mamiya 7II, so I know that they can create superb lenses, but have they for the AFD? Phase makes good backs and has good software, but you are locked into the platform that the back was made for.


    Also, since when is the cheapest camera also the one with the most megapixels and the highest degree of camera integration? A hasselblad no less. It is a very strange time for medium format indeed!
    Last edited by Stuart Richardson; 5th April 2008 at 09:40.

  35. #85
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Just a FYI my last comments are to challenge the industry to get this on track so we can get more shooters working with MF. I often find myself in the big mouth position for the industry at large to make change and to engage companies to work with us more on better product and with less costs to get us working. Sometimes it sounds like a whine it is not , it is to get us all thinking to better make use of the gear we need.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Well, I knew I was not alone in these feelings of frustration/question/confusion, so our commiseration is good, but does not lessen the concerns.

    Jack - thanks for your thoughts. I do understand the focal plane v. leaf design, and I do agree that each has its place....sort of. Personally, I think Hasselblad and Hy6 are coming the closest to having that greater usability camera concept. My interests have to be multi-purpose, as Marc and others have commented about. I want a camera/back/lens kit that can do most of the things I would select something like a top end Canon or Nikon to do for me, save the super-tele stuff, the very high ISO and "machine gun" stuff. In other words, I need to be able to do that runway shooting as well as the formal still or portrait in the studio.

    Stuart - your "Reader's Digest" version of the MF industry and the issues is spot on. I am glad that someone did enumerate a bit more of the mess we face. I have been wrestling with the exact same kind of "lets build a kit" thoughts, and keep running into unbelievable prices and mis-match problems that defy explanation....and are even harder to get clear, accurate explanations from those MF reps/dealers that do reply. Again, not bashing anybody here, and I do appreciate folks like Thierry hanging around and keeping facts straight for Sinar as best he can. Not feeling that same love or sense of commitment from too many others. Not blaming them, but am starting to question what the heck some of these manufacturers are thinking at this point.

    Guy - as always, your anergy and lack of fear to stir the pot when needed is a very good thing. You bring up a very good point....many of us, not all, are in this for some sort of business, and we do not have unlimited budgets, regardless of how much work we try to book and how much we try to charge for that. For others that are serious, but maybe not trying to earn a living at it, their budgets are also probably not unlimited either, so some sense of roadmaps and cost structures would really help everybody out, including the manufacturers, to get some better appreciation of what their line offers, what their competition is offering, and most importantly, what their client base is needing, wanting, and able/willing to pay for.

    I do not want this to devolve into a bash, or anything of the sort. Rather, it would be so helpful to be able to get some realistic information, roadmaps, compatibility, practical usage, and other kit building tools pulled together to make some sense. I have spent a lot of time, as many have, looking over manufacturer Web sites to get answers and and information.....horrificly poor to be polite. The best info is coming from places like this forum, and a couple others, where folks are open, professional and willing to talk about these things, raise concerns, ask questions, etc. I would not even be thinking seriously about getting back into MF again were it not for places like this to actually get useful information, stripped of promise and PR hype, for the most part.

    O.K., I feel a little better about that part, but still not much closer to figuring out what I should be targeting to assemble a kit that I can use and grow with. Not asking for folks to solve that issue for me, and I am thankful for all the comments and thoughts shared. Let's keep this going, and invite or re-invite the MF makers/marketers to read this stuff and then actually do something about it.

    LJ

  37. #87
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Stuart:

    A FWIW on Mamiya 645 glass and it's performance:

    First, let me point you to this link where Mamiya reprints a lens test against COntax glass. Note center and corner numbers: http://www.mamiya.com/assets/pdfs/64...ensesChart.pdf

    Then let me add that I have been comparing Mamiya's lenses to Hasselblad F equivalents and the result has floored me. The Mamiya 55-110 ZOOM (yes, the zoom) was sharper at 55 than a clean Hassy 50 F across the apertures and across the entire field. Serious. I understand the Mamiya 45 and 55 AF are both significantly sharper than the zoom (and on par with the Mamiya 80). I tested the Mamiya 150 f3.5 AF to a Hassy 150 f2.8 F, and again, the Mamiya literally blew it away on resolution, but did show a bit more CA. The Mamiya 80 is stunning. A Mamiya 200/2.8 APO manual focus lens is as sharp as I have ever used wide open -- I read online where folks have hand-selected that particular lens to do astral photography because it is so good wide open. You can buy ANY of these Mamiya lenses for less than $1000 used. The 50 shift is also very sharp, even in the corners fully shifted. FWIW, the only Hassy lens I've seen in the same league is the 110 Planar, and it is nearly as good wide open as the 200 APO, so it is a stunner too.

    Added recently are digital specific versions that are supposed to absolutely stunning, though I have not tried these as they are priced like Hassy glass: a 28D AF, 75-150D AF and a new 120 D macro.

    The real irony is the AF lenses seem pretty cheap in build quality compared to anything else when you look at a picture of one, but they are actually very well-built when you feel them in hand. That was the main weirdness that turned me off to the system to begin with. What can I say? For all that, they're inexpensive, well built and they work very, very well...

    All FWIW,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

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

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Here was another related thought to my above post:

    P.S. On those thoughts about budgets....one of my bigger issues in this MF debate is the ability to realistically have a back-up, should something go south on a shoot. Right now, having a "second" back, or a compatible body is either not possible or prohibitively expensive. So the "solution" becomes having a 1DsMkII or MkIII and lenses to support that kit also. At that point, one does start to ask if it is not a bad choice to just stick with the Canons (and maybe Nikons if they grow a D3x at 24MP or so), and just live with that. I really would prefer the better IQ, 3D look, DR, colors and everything else that is so damn sexy and attractive on the MF side of things, but I may run out of kidneys to sell before I can assemble a kit and be able to use it as confidently as my present Canons ;-) The one "out" would be to carry film and a film back for some models (not the H3DII!!), but that still does not address a "second" body issue if that fails.

    Jack - The 645ADFII is looking better all the time as having "all around" potential to some degree. From what I understand, it is not all that zippy a rig, but good glass can make up for some things. The Hasselblads are still interesting to me, as is the Hy6 for all the mentioned reasons, but the costs and overall compatibility issues are worrisome.

    LJ
    Last edited by LJL; 5th April 2008 at 11:50.

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Stuart:

    A FWIW on Mamiya 645 glass and it's performance:

    First, let me point you to this link where Mamiya reprints a lens test against COntax glass. Note center and corner numbers: http://www.mamiya.com/assets/pdfs/64...ensesChart.pdf


    All FWIW,
    Methinks they do protest too much

    For those who have used zeiss leica and other german glass, I do not think they are going to be impressed by numbers, any more than low THD solid state audio devices sound better.
    In comparing images, the german glass just looks better. I suspect it has to do with the glass itself (expensive), the details of assembly and the design trades. The latter make it a 'taste' not 'who is better' issue.

    However, I have seen on LL the 28mm Mamyia lens, a much touted device and many were not impressed. It was then blamed on a 'bad example'

    The old addage 'you can fool some all time, all some time but not all, all the time' works in products as well. Zeiss hasn't been around for 150 years selling expensive products because of mass hysteria, (at least I don't think)

    SO, for all the curves, we have the IQ evidence from Son, top phtographers and others who think that there is something better for THEM. and they are will to pay extra.

    I don't notice M lenses selling the way the 21mm 2.8, zeiss 60 year, 35-70 2.8 Leica do.

    I think M have a role in MF just as C and N do in 35mm. But Rollei, S-K, Zeiss and Leica (fingers crossed !) are not going out of business. The high end is tough though, and in many categories the best doesn't win, the mass market does. That is why what usually get's high end into trouble is trying for mass market. It just can't be done, from a cost point of view. Andreas Kaufman got it right when he said, "If asian products were built to european standards and manner, they would be just as expensive."

    Now, when the product ITSELF is just as good, the game is up!

    I don't think we are there yet.

    Regards
    Victor

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Since we've gone back to the practical side of the thread, perhaps some clarifications and additional thoughts based on the last couple of posts. I've been doing this for some time now, and in the course of doing that, learned a thing or three.

    Since the advent of high meg 35 DSLRs, the whole MF category has become more rarified. The number of MF users has plummeted even before digital backs became available in such variety. To keep the clear ascendency of MF Digital over 35mm, the manufacturers had to go big again ... beginning with Sinar, and soon followed by others. Very expensive R&D and manufacturing costs for a smaller and smaller market. We all know economics well enough to realize what that means. Plus, each succeeding development has a huge price tag attached to it that has to be absorbed by the end user since none of these companies are philanthropic organizations. It is the buyer of the "latest-greatest" that funds all of this ... they have to, the product cycle is too short for the manufacturer to spread it out over multiple years.

    Now as to prices ... the number thrown out all the time is 30K+. This is a fallacy. There are big profitable studios that can do those costs as well as many institutions. Someone has to pay it, but it doesn't have to be you. People are bringing a truck driver's appetite to a Gourmet table. Like with their little 35 DSLR they want the latest greatest, except the latest greatest IS indeed 30K+ not 5K. If you want to be on the cutting edge, then YOU are the one funding the next MF digital R&D development.

    Here's a little secret: no matter what the manufacturer hype says, these cameras are all very close to the same in end result. There are some operational aspects and compatibility benefits that provide choice to match your needs, but the reality is: "22 meg 645 is 22 meg 645". 2 year old 22 meg 645 backs enjoy the same software improvements as the back bought new today. Paying the long dollar for a better LCD, or some other hardware change here and there, doesn't change the fact that it's a 22 meg 645.

    Here's another little secret, if you are using a legacy camera like a Contax 645, Hassey V, Mamiya AFD or RZ and the lenses made for those cameras all you need is a 22 meg back. The 9 micron pixels perform really well with those cameras/lenses ... which is why the Hassey CFV can bark with the big dogs for most print sizes. If you use a camera with digital lenses like a view camera or some MF unit with Apo glass, then the 39 & MS units are a consideration.

    What can be looked at are some of these refurbished units or used ones from a known source. Those drooling over a P45 just a year ago, can now get one for under 20K. My buddy just got a P25 for his Contax 645 for 11K. I just sold a pristine Mamiya 645AFD-II kit with a BRAND NEW 33 meg Leaf Aptus 75s for just over 20K (the back alone is over 30K new)... and I did not lose a dime due to the way I worked the system moving from one back to another over time ... I started with a 22 meg Leaf Valeo Aptus conversion. Like anything, you have to work the system, get the deals, leverage loyality discounts, snap up promotions ... last year I got the H/C 28mm lens brand new for less than I could get it used in beat-up condition due to a special promotion.

    Final Tip for those who make money with this stuff: For us it's FREE. That's right FREE! I've never paid a dime of my own money for any of this MF stuff. Here's why:

    There are two types of Pro MF users ... those who own, and those who rent. If you rent a MF camera system for a job, do you pay for it out of your own pocket? (If you do, you need an new business plan.) If not, who pays? ... the client pays ... it's a line item on every bid I've ever approved for my ad agency. It's a line item on every paying job I've ever done with a MF digital camera. No one ever paid for film and processing nor expensive scans before, why would we pay for digital capture? I get $250 a day for digital rental. Not one client has ever questioned it. A H3D 39 runs around $600.+ a day from a rental house, (and that's just the basic kit, no other lenses), so my clients are getting a deal. The H3D-II/39 camera cost me 25K ... So, factoring in depreciation and residual value, it takes me about 50 days rental over 1.5 to 2 years to pay the camera to zero ... which is about my cycle of upgrades. Cost? Zip, Nada, Zero.

    Ya gotta work the angles, play the game, as I said before ... where there's a will, there's a way.

    I just did a job today, four 2009 Corvette Wheels while my wife was at Palaties class. $125 half day rental, and a handsome photographic fee for 2 hours of fun ( I love lighting shiny stuff : -)

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    Here was another related thought to my above post:

    P.S. On those thoughts about budgets....one of my bigger issues in this MF debate is the ability to realistically have a back-up, should something go south on a shoot. Right now, having a "second" back, or a compatible body is either not possible or prohibitively expensive. So the "solution" becomes having a 1DsMkII or MkIII and lenses to support that kit also. At that point, one does start to ask if it is not a bad choice to just stick with the Canons (and maybe Nikons if they grow a D3x at 24MP or so), and just live with that. I really would prefer the better IQ, 3D look, DR, colors and everything else that is so damn sexy and attractive on the MF side of things, but I may run out of kidneys to sell before I can assemble a kit and be able to use it as confidently as my present Canons ;-) The one "out" would be to carry film and a film back for some models (not the H3DII!!), but that still does not address a "second" body issue if that fails.

    Jack - The 645ADFII is looking better all the time as having "all around" potential to some degree. From what I understand, it is not all that zippy a rig, but good glass can make up for some things. The Hasselblads are still interesting to me, as is the Hy6 for all the mentioned reasons, but the costs and overall compatibility issues are worrisome.

    LJ
    Simple: 1) Rental. 2) Cheaper second back ... $5,000. Imacon that fits your camera. Better IQ than a 1DsMKIII. 3) Hot Swap Warranty 4) read my post above about charging clients for your MF digital gear and get a second one.

    I now have 2 MF digital cameras ... both Hasselblad H3Ds. I can use Zeiss 500 series lenses on both. If I only had one H3D, I'd take along my Canon 1DsMKII and the adapter to use the same Zeiss lenses.

    The only thing I'm missing after selling my Mamiya AFD is the ability to use my FE lenses ... for that I need a focal plane shutter unit. We'll see what develops over the next months : -)

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    Well, I knew I was not alone in these feelings of frustration/question/confusion, so our commiseration is good, but does not lessen the concerns.

    Jack - thanks for your thoughts. I do understand the focal plane v. leaf design, and I do agree that each has its place....sort of. Personally, I think Hasselblad and Hy6 are coming the closest to having that greater usability camera concept. My interests have to be multi-purpose, as Marc and others have commented about. I want a camera/back/lens kit that can do most of the things I would select something like a top end Canon or Nikon to do for me, save the super-tele stuff, the very high ISO and "machine gun" stuff. In other words, I need to be able to do that runway shooting as well as the formal still or portrait in the studio.

    Stuart - your "Reader's Digest" version of the MF industry and the issues is spot on. I am glad that someone did enumerate a bit more of the mess we face. I have been wrestling with the exact same kind of "lets build a kit" thoughts, and keep running into unbelievable prices and mis-match problems that defy explanation....and are even harder to get clear, accurate explanations from those MF reps/dealers that do reply. Again, not bashing anybody here, and I do appreciate folks like Thierry hanging around and keeping facts straight for Sinar as best he can. Not feeling that same love or sense of commitment from too many others. Not blaming them, but am starting to question what the heck some of these manufacturers are thinking at this point.

    Guy - as always, your anergy and lack of fear to stir the pot when needed is a very good thing. You bring up a very good point....many of us, not all, are in this for some sort of business, and we do not have unlimited budgets, regardless of how much work we try to book and how much we try to charge for that. For others that are serious, but maybe not trying to earn a living at it, their budgets are also probably not unlimited either, so some sense of roadmaps and cost structures would really help everybody out, including the manufacturers, to get some better appreciation of what their line offers, what their competition is offering, and most importantly, what their client base is needing, wanting, and able/willing to pay for.

    I do not want this to devolve into a bash, or anything of the sort. Rather, it would be so helpful to be able to get some realistic information, roadmaps, compatibility, practical usage, and other kit building tools pulled together to make some sense. I have spent a lot of time, as many have, looking over manufacturer Web sites to get answers and and information.....horrificly poor to be polite. The best info is coming from places like this forum, and a couple others, where folks are open, professional and willing to talk about these things, raise concerns, ask questions, etc. I would not even be thinking seriously about getting back into MF again were it not for places like this to actually get useful information, stripped of promise and PR hype, for the most part.

    O.K., I feel a little better about that part, but still not much closer to figuring out what I should be targeting to assemble a kit that I can use and grow with. Not asking for folks to solve that issue for me, and I am thankful for all the comments and thoughts shared. Let's keep this going, and invite or re-invite the MF makers/marketers to read this stuff and then actually do something about it.

    LJ
    Do what about it? Just curious.

    There are choices. Yes it can be confusing, but it takes research just like with any system. None of them do everything no matter what we wish they'd do. Some come closer than others, but a jack of all trades will most likely be a master of none.

    There is a lot of miss-information flying around, and very little of that mis-information is coming from the manufacturers. If you assemble your needs in order of priority and talk directly to one of these better reps, you'll get clear answers including some you may not want to hear.

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    With all due respect Victor, I have owned and used the C645 and ALL of it's lenses -- it was my MF sytem of choice in both film and early (Kodak DCS) digital. Yes, the lenses are excellent, but more modern APO glass from anybody will kick it, sorry. I can tell you that the files I'm getting from the Mamiya 645 glass with the ZD back (same pixel pitch as the Kodak DCS) are better than what I got from the C645, but I suspect that is mostly due to improvements in the back. I agree that the Contax glass has a unique look and I agree the C645 is a great system.

    Re that look... The "Zeiss" lenses for the Contax were Kyocera/Zeiss, not German-Zeiss like the Hassy and Rollie glass... And yes, I do believe there is a difference in the look between the Kyocera Zeiss and the German Zeiss lenses. I find the Contax 645 glass to be high-contrast and tending toward an almost "brittle" look while the Hassy Zeiss is smoother. FWIW I find the current Mamiya AF glass somewhere in-between. I have not spent a lot of time with the system, but the files I have played with from a borrowed H series Hassy (Fujinon glass I think) look in-between to my eye also, very similar to the Mamiya. (Though the Hassy H zoom is pretty amazing, essentially matching the H primes in that range; SIGNIFICANTLY better than the zoom for the C645.) My .02 only on renderings, but it's after using the C645 for a very long time...

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

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuart Richardson View Post
    This GIGANTIC post is more for me to try to set it straight in my own head. Please disregard if you like, though it does give a summary of the medium format digital options as I have been able to look at them.


    LJ -- it really is a difficult situation. I have been looking around at digital MF options and I have been a bit baffled. Here's some of what I have found:

    A demo H3D-39 is 2000 dollars cheaper than a demo CF-39, which makes 0 sense to me considering the H39 is an entire camera and back system, while the CF-39 is just a back...pretty much the same back, by the way.

    Leaf's AFi 7 is listed at 36,000 dollars (!) with no lens, while the Sinar Hy6 and emotion 75 with the 80mm lens is 32,500, though both of their 22mp backs are priced fairly similarly.

    A 22mp AFi or Hy6 is around 28,000, while the 39mp H3D is demo priced at 21500 (and someone here got one for significantly under 20,000 through Kurland Photo).

    This is a dilemma for me, because I have several Rollei lenses already that add up to a good investment...worth more now than they were when I bought them. That said, when an H3D-39 is 21,500, and a 22mp Hy6/AFi is 28,000 or so, it is difficult to stomach.

    The Sinar adapter for the Rollei 6008AF is over 2000 dollars, so there is no real point in buying a back for that camera...it is essentially the same cost to just buy a Hy6 when the package pricing and the sale of the used 6008af is factored in.

    The H3D seems nice, but I have 0 lenses for it, and none of the lenses I currently have would work on it. Given how much I like the Schneider lenses on film, I would be dubious about getting rid of them. Speaking of film, the H3D will shoot it, but you cannot see the whole 645 image...the viewfinder is cropped to "full frame 48mm"

    Mamiya would allow me to shoot with my Hasselblad FE lenses (I have 2), but it would be a no-go for the schneider stuff, and no leaf shutter availability.

    Sinar is the strongest draw for me, but they have some serious downsides -- they LCD is considered to be the worst of all current backs, their customer service is politely referred to as "an issue" even by their dealers, and their software is considered to be poor. I know Exposure is just out, so hopefully that will mitigate that last problem. Finally, the Hy6 is a lovely camera to use, but as a package, it is still very expensive compared to the other MF digital options out there. The best part would be that I could get adapters to use the back on my 203FE and actually use the lenses...they are the only manufacturer with full support for the FE lenes on the 200 series cameras. The back flexibility is a very strong draw for me, but the service issues and price remain a strong disincentive to go with them.

    Leaf does not have the back flexibility of Sinar, and they remain very expensive. On the plus side, I could use my current 6000 series lenses on the camera. They have a big, nice LCD on the rear of the camera (though I admit, I prefer the Hasselblad and Phase one approach -- smaller, simpler, with actual buttons). Their biggest draw is that their service is universally regarded as superb in the US. But the high price, and the lack of camera flexibility prove a strong disincentive for them as well.

    Hasselblad is also difficult. Their price, integration, software and service (and frankly ubiquity) are strong draws, but their closed platform architecture and record of ignoring backward compatibility are troubling. Going with hasselblad would mean that none of my current investment in medium format would have any use on the new camera. I would have to sell a bunch of glass and cameras that I am very happy with and buy a new set that is an unknown quantity for me. If I were to go the CF route and use my existing 6008AF, I could use my current system, but it is unlikely that they will offer an adapter plate for the Hy6, so I would be locked out of the latest platform for my lenses...the Hy6 has a lot of advantages over the 6008 in terms of weight reduction, ergonomics, battery life, AF speed and performance etc...using 6000 series glass, I would eventually want to make the jump, and the CF back probably would not make the jump with me. Also, the CF back is inexplicably more expensive than the entire H3D camera system.

    Mamiya and Phase seem like a good option, but I don't know enough about them. Again, no ability to use my 6000 series glass, but at least I could use the FE lenses in stop-down mode. Otherwise it would mean new lenses. Mamiya's camera system is the cheapest of the big options, but I am not sure how it compares in terms of performance. I use the Mamiya 7II, so I know that they can create superb lenses, but have they for the AFD? Phase makes good backs and has good software, but you are locked into the platform that the back was made for.


    Also, since when is the cheapest camera also the one with the most megapixels and the highest degree of camera integration? A hasselblad no less. It is a very strange time for medium format indeed!
    Some answers and speculations for you Stuart:

    Hasselblad makes far less CF-39s compared to the whole kit. They bundle the whole H3D kit and keep the camera manufacturing lines running. They sell a CF-39 and it's highly likely that you aren't buying their camera. You buy their camera and you buy into the system including lenses and future upgrades. Marketing 101. Smart.

    Leaf's pricing IS a bit of a mystery... but I'll bet it's because they don't make or market cameras, and never did like Sinar & Rollei ... and they are based in Israel not Europe ... Common Market and all that, then there is the exchange rates for different currencies.

    I think ALL the Hy6 cameras systems are priced to stop your heart. However, I can guess exactly why ... huge R&D recovery in a small base market. Go for the big studios and institutions that buy this stuff multiples at a time and get your initial investment back as fast as possible.

    IMO, you can't compare a demo or used price to a new one. Read my other post. It's like comparing a 2 year old car to a new one ... of course it's more for the new one, even with less options and a smaller motor.

    Yes, you can find good deals on used and demo gear. Depends on how much a dealer wants to dump a demo or used piece at any given time. Plus, you don't know the condition of the Kurland camera, but I'd say $18,000.-$20,000. will get you a H3D.

    H3D does come with a mag viewfinder: HVD 90X. There is another viewfinder that shows full frame: HV 90X. I also have this one for my H3D/31 along with 2 film backs. There is also a waist level finder that's full frame.

    The H camera is a leaf shutter unit. Hasselblad makes a fully automatic adapter to take all 500 series Zeiss lenses, many of which are identical to Rollei Zeiss lenses. You like that look, sell the Rollei stuff and you'll have more than enough cash to outfit a Zeiss H system.

    Currently there are no focal plane shutter digital cameras with leaf shutter lenses. They've been promised forever. Still waiting. So we have to choose. It's just the way it is.

    Frankly, for a lot of what I use FE lenses for, I prefer some of my H/C glass. I like my 110/2.2 on the H3D more than I did the 110FE on the Mamiya AFD.... why? ... because with wafer thin DOF autofocus trumps any minor difference in lens character.

    The problem is that you have to make a decision ... and by definition, making a decision means you eliminate all the other possibilities.

    IMO, the only real decision that has to be made is Leaf Shutter or Focal plane shutter ... or buy two cameras ... LOL

    All the rest is nit picks. There are two sensor makers: Kodak and Dalsa. All the backs are so close in performance that it's difficult to tell the results apart (unless you're into a Multi-Shot.) But one thing is for certain, all of them absolutely blow away everything else.

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    With all due respect Victor, I have owned and used the C645 and ALL of it's lenses -- it was my MF sytem of choice in both film and early (Kodak DCS) digital. Yes, the lenses are excellent, but more modern APO glass from anybody will kick it, sorry. I can tell you that the files I'm getting from the Mamiya 645 glass with the ZD back (same pixel pitch as the Kodak DCS) are better than what I got from the C645, but I suspect that is mostly due to improvements in the back. I agree that the Contax glass has a unique look and I agree the C645 is a great system.

    Re that look... The "Zeiss" lenses for the Contax were Kyocera/Zeiss, not German-Zeiss like the Hassy and Rollie glass... And yes, I do believe there is a difference in the look between the Kyocera Zeiss and the German Zeiss lenses. I find the Contax 645 glass to be high-contrast and tending toward an almost "brittle" look while the Hassy Zeiss is smoother. FWIW I find the current Mamiya AF glass somewhere in-between. I have not spent a lot of time with the system, but the files I have played with from a borrowed H series Hassy (Fujinon glass I think) look in-between to my eye also, very similar to the Mamiya. (Though the Hassy H zoom is pretty amazing, essentially matching the H primes in that range; SIGNIFICANTLY better than the zoom for the C645.) My .02 only on renderings, but it's after using the C645 for a very long time...

    Cheers,
    well, I will take the comment at face value, and say in return that I certainly respect you comments. If fact, I would largely agree; newer glass is possibly better (but that's the one area I am not sure helps IQ; most APO lenses use formulas that aim for RGB corrections rather than dispersion due to impurities say.) Contax was made in Japan, but to Zeiss specs. I have found the 210 to be marginal, the zoom I use as a paper weight and the 120 MaKro, though testing better than even the 120 Hassey, dissappoints; it is BORING.

    Now what's left is a great camera, 35, 45, 55(sometimes) a fantastic 80/2.0and 350. and it takes those great hassey lenses; 40 (IF, of course) 110, 180, 250 Apochromatic and I even have the 30mm fisheye and 500/8.

    Now, M-S glass WAS pretty good (used with Bronica ages ago, and favored M-S!), and I would certainly put Mamiya-Sekor into the top range as all the MF if only because they are all good, and good and expensive!

    As with anything; audio, cars, clothes the difference at the high end will be quite subjective. And here you will have the M-B vs Lexus, Armani vs Boss, and Linn vs Krell arguments. (I am in 1st camps.) What strikes me is that the 1st camps, such as Mercedes likers, as with Contax/Linn etc is that the objective/quantitative criteria (MTF like curves, like THD) )don't seem to aim at what we see as the important; we go for the qualitative albeit somewhat intangible qualities. We LOOK, we LISTEN, we DRIVE; then we close our eyes and say-what did I like better.

    I do not see these disussions and posts as debates actually, but thoughts by thoughtful people. Right now I can say, for example that whereas I am still "From Missouri on Mamiya" (we should set that to music! ) in the first few examples from the Nikon I can see a clear winner, at least to my eye. If someone said today "You can have Leica and Canon, or Zeiss and Nikon " I would be in the second camp! The high ISO, great AF, even , dare I say it, a kind of 3-d look. Maybe it is back to the briar-patch- my first 'bought' camera was a Nikon on my honeymoon.

    If someone said you could have Contax and Hassey or Mamiya and Hassey , I would stay in camp #1; for now.

    Part is investment, part is taste, part is intangible; so far I just like the look more, as do others (Son seens to be in the camp, and a few others), but hey, we are all open to change, and it is through disussions in fora like these that I make my decisions (after trying! NOBODY should trust the opinions of the likes of us who prowl these pages.)

    with best regards
    Victor
    Last edited by gogopix; 5th April 2008 at 16:13.

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Since cost is obviously a major consideration when buying into one of these systems I think Marc's experience with the recent sale of his Aptus is informative. It cost him nothing to own and use his back because he's a sharp buyer. I'm not quite as sharp but I figure the cost of owning my Aptus back will be somewhere in the vicinity of $4k-$5k per year. Unfortunately, no line item rental fees for me, since I have no clients Not trying to sound like a big shot but this really isn't that big of a premium over the cost of owning a top end Canon. You still have to plunk down the big chunk of change to get in the game but once you're in it's not like owning polo ponies.

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    well, I will take the comment at face value, and say in return that I certainly respect you comments. If fact, I would largely agree; newer glass is possibly better (but that's the one area I am not sure helps IQ; most APO lenses use formulas that aim for RGB corrections rather than dispersion due to impurities say.) Contax was made in Japan, but to Zeiss specs. I have found the 210 to be marginal, the zoom I use as a paper weight and the 120 MaKro, though testing better than even the 120 Hassey, dissappoints; it is BORING.

    Now what's left is a great camera, 35, 45, 55(sometimes) a fantastic 80/2.0and 350. and it takes those great hassey lenses; 40 (IF, of course) 110, 180, 250 Apochromatic and I even have the 30mm fisheye and 500/8.

    Now, M-S glass WAS pretty good (used with Bronica ages ago, and favored M-S!), and I would certainly put Mamiya-Sekor into the top range as all the MF if only because they are all good, and good and expensive!

    As with anything; audio, cars, clothes the difference at the high end will be quite subjective. And here you will have the M-B vs Lexus, Armani vs Boss, and Linn vs Krell arguments. (I am in 1st camps.) What strikes me is that the 1st camps, such as Mercedes likers, as with Contax/Linn etc is that the objective/quantitative criteria (MTF like curves, like THD) )don't seem to aim at what we see as the important; we go for the qualitative albeit somewhat intangible qualities. We LOOK, we LISTEN, we DRIVE; then we close our eyes and say-what did I like better.

    I do not see these disussions and posts as debates actually, but thoughts by thoughtful people. Right now I can say, for example that whereas I am still "From Missouri on Mamiya" (we should set that to music! ) in the first few examples from the Nikon I can see a clear winner, at least to my eye. If someone said today "You can have Leica and Canon, or Zeiss and Nikon " I would be in the second camp! The high ISO, great AF, even , dare I say it, a kind of 3-d look. Maybe it is back to the briar-patch- my first 'bought' camera was a Nikon on my honeymoon.

    If someone said you could have Contax and Hassey or Mamiya and Hassey , I would stay in camp #1; for now.

    Part is investment, part is taste, part is intangible; so far I just like the look more, as do others (Son seens to be in the camp, and a few others), but hey, we are all open to change, and it is through disussions in fora like these that I make my decisions (after trying! NOBODY should trust the opinions of the likes of us who prowl these pages.)

    with best regards
    Victor
    It all is a matter of opinion based on a wide swath of varied experiences. I shot Contax 645 for a long time, had all the lenses and the Hassey adapter (right up until recently when I opted for the H). Film and Kodak Pro-Back 645C. Lenses were fine. I disagree on the 35. The barrel distortion was horrible on that lens. 55, wonderful front Bokeh ... something you don't see very often. 350 was great, but the H/C 300 is it's equal. One of the best 80s ever. Slow AF. Battery eater. Discontinued. Transition to the H was easy because they are similar.

    All along I also shot Mamiya RZ. Vastly underrated Camera/lenses ... but used for many famous photos, so there's something some pretty good shooters saw in it. Maybe the most important thing I learned about the RZ was how well suited to digital capture the optics are when using a high meg back. More so IMO than the Zeiss.

    I like Zeiss for film. It's suited to it for some reason. I also shoot Zeiss on my HD3 cameras along with the H/C lenses. Zeiss is okay, but mostly it's just a novelty and it fills out some focal lengths not available in the H/C series yet. I tested the Zeiss 120/4 macro against the H/C 120/4 macro ... same camera on a tripod, same studio lighting, same software settings. The H/C out performed the Zeiss in every area you shoot Macro for. Next test I'll be doing is the H/C 120/4 against a Rodenstock 120/5.6 Digital on a Rollei Xact ... same subject, same back, same lighting. Bet I know who'll end up the new "Champ."

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Next test I'll be doing is the H/C 120/4 against a Rodenstock 120/5.6 Digital on a Rollei Xact ... same subject, same back, same lighting. Bet I know who'll end up the new "Champ."
    Yes you do and it won't be a contest! I tested that lens with my BL scanning back in super-high-rez mode and it was stunning, seriously great...

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Jack

    "The Mamiya 80 is stunning" - I assume you mean the 2.8?

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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by robmac View Post
    Jack

    "The Mamiya 80 is stunning" - I assume you mean the 2.8?
    Yes I did, and actually mean the 80/2.8 AF -- sorry for not clarifying.
    Jack
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