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

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

    There are all kinds of threads here on different MF digital subjects, cameras, backs, software and adaptability. I thought it might be useful to start a thread to discuss all this in one place as a central resource.

    First, I'd state an opinion: Nothing in the 35 DSLR world even approaches the IQ abilities of these MF backs. I do not think that will change unless there is some incredible technological breakthrough in imaging ... and one would presuppose that breakthrough could also be applied to MF ... it seems "size will always matter" just as it did with film.

    WHAT CAMERA/BACK SYSTEM?

    I think one of the most important subjects being discussed is digital back platform compatibility. Broadly speaking, there seems to be two digital camps: "Cross Platform" (probably best personified by Sinar), and "Dedicated" (probably best personified by Hasselblad H3/3-II.)

    I freely admit that this subject is confusing to me. For example, to this day Hasselblad still offers CF and CF/MS digital backs that use iAdapters (many with direct electronic data bus connections) to fit the Contax 645, Rollei 6000 series, Mamiya 645AFD & Pro, Mamiya RZ & RB, Fuji GX680 ... plus every Hasselblad camera ever made including the 200 series using C type lenses (Sinar is the only one that supports the 200 series with FE optics).

    CAMERAS: I've owned and used everything MF out there except an ALPA & Hy6 (which I've used briefly). To my way of thinking there are just two broad categories of MF cameras: "Leaf Shutter", and "Focal Plane Shutter". In more recent years AF was added as a feature in both "shutter type" categories ... Contax 645, Mamiya AFD (& recently Mamiya/PhaseOne) ... AND Hasselblad H, Rollei AF leading to the Hy6. Older "legacy" manual focus systems like the Hasselblad V, Rollei manual, Mamiya RZ Pro-II and even Bronica are still out there trucking along with digital backs. I'm not differentiating here based on 645 verses 6X6 or 6X7 because there are no digital sensors larger than 645 and speculating on that future possibility just confuses the current decision issues even more. Currently 645 is where it's at because the wide angle lenses are wide angle.

    Now, here's another point of confusion: Digital backs with dedicated mounts like Phase One, Leaf Aptus, and older Hasselbald/Imacon could be configured with the so called "Universal V" mount ... which, with the use of adapters, could be used on a number of platforms: Hasselblad 500 series, Mamiya RZ, Fuji, Bronica, ALPA, and virtually every view camera made. Not quite the versatility of Sinar or Hasselblad CF backs which seem to adapt to even more platforms, but pretty good coverage.

    I think the versatility issue revolves around the desire to use one of these VERY expensive digital backs with both MF shutter systems ... like on a Contax 645 and a Mamiya RZ or Hassey 503CW. Contax was suppose to come out with come leaf shutter lenses (never did) and the new PhaseOne/Mamiya AFD are also suppose to.

    THE ROLE OPTICS PLAY IN THE DECISION PROCESS:

    Many of us are influenced by optical choices and have a bias. That argument is one that can't be won. Besides, on most of these MF cameras you can adapt different lenses systems, so it's often a mute argument.

    In fact, I considered Hasselbald H only after they offered the CF adapter which allowed use of my entire CFi, and CFE lens line-up with full aperture metering and focusing ... while taking advantage of the in-viewfinder focus confirmation.

    SOFTWARE:

    Another mute point IMO. If the software isn't what is needed to be competitive it soon will be. C1 is excellent, Phocus promises to also be excellent, Sinar is here with new processing software, Leaf has always been supported by Adobe as is the ZD. By mid year all this will be sorted out, and I doubt software will be a deciding point any longer.

    CONCLUSION:

    you really can't go wrong with any approach. If you want to continue using 5 different MF camera systems there are excellent choices. If you want a dedicated and integrated system, there are equally excellent choices.

    Personally, I wasn't interested in versatility despite owing 2 Hasselblad V systems (500 & 200), a Contax 645, and a complete RZ Pro-II system ... then a Mamiya AFD-II with a Leaf back ... it was getting ridiculously expensive to maintain it all ... plus, I have to have 2 digital backs no matter what. Clinging to past legacy systems or dead-end ones seemed to be a path to ruin. So, I decided on the H system and using them with H/C AF lenses as well as all ready paid for CFi & CFE optics. I prefer the whole H handling experience and integrated approach which I've now used under fire, on the job, job after job.

    Swapping systems has gotten outrageously, mind numbingly expensive, and from a business POV is not justifiable. I will not do it again. If I want to use my old legacy cameras I may get a used Sinar ... but frankly, it's an idiosyncratic extravagance that in the real world is neither needed nor justifiable. My best move would be to just sell it all off except the CFi and CFE lenses. Watch the F/S forum, it may soon "Fatten Up" with some pretty good MF deals : -)

    Your thoughts?

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

    It's moot, not mute.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Another mute point IMO.

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

    Thanks. Irritating because spell-check doesn't catch misused words ... besides, how would IT know?

    More coffee please.

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

    This is interesting since it covers some territory I've been avoiding simply because it seems so complex (which you have proven to a certain degree), and also because it doesn't seem to be a direction I am likely to follow.

    But I have a question from the the standpoint of an interested observer. How are the digital MF systems being used and who is using them? By that I mean, are they more prevalent in certain fields of speciality within professional photography than others?

    When I was making a living as a photographer back in the late 70s and early 80s, a general format-to-market segment existed (or so it seemed to me). An oversimplified description of how the formats were being used might be something like: 35mm was primarily used for photo journalism and informal event (i.e. grip and grin) shooting. Medium format was for portraiture, wedding, fashion, and some higher-end location work. Large format was the format of choice for product photography and fine art photography.

    Since I no longer travel in a world populated by pros, I'm not sure if that sort of format-to-market segment still holds up. But one thing seems clear (and I could be wrong about this), MF is too expensive and cumbersome for anyone BUT a Professional. Which doesn't mean I'm not curious about it and its advantages.

    Please feel free to disabuse me of my misconceptions. And thanks for your run down of the systems.

    Tim

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

    Keep me plugged in Marc.
    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?

    Nicely stated Marc!

    First off, I agree whole-heartedly with your initial premise: MF digital, even 22MP, surpasses (and significantly) all 35mm digital capabilities. This includes not only resolution, but tonal range and color fidelity as well.

    I also agree with your comments on the two basic camera types being foremost considerations. Leaf shutter or focal plane, the benefit to offset ratios depend largely on what type of imaging you do.

    As I see it, the main benefits of leaf shutter are 1) flash sync at all shutter speeds giving more aperture choices in studio settings and 2) less shutter vibration, especially relevant at slow speeds when working hand-held, leading to "crisper" slow shutter images. The only real offsets are 1) the top speeds are limited generally to something under 1/1000th; which in turn means fast lenses cannot be used in bright light unless one adds an ND filter -- not a huge issue, though at times may be inconvenient, as when moving in and out of bright and dim areas. 2) you generally are stuck to using only lenses within your camera brand due to the mechanical and electronic linkage required, meaning less overall flexibility in lens choice...

    Focal plane generates basically the opposite weightings: Plusses, 1) high top shutter speeds allow using fast glass wide open in bright light; 2) many other brands of lenses can be adapted for use, though most of the auto functions will be disabled -- IOW manual focus and stop-down metering. The minuses are 1) limited flash sync speeds and 2) more shutter vibration.

    So I think depending on what you normally shoot, there are reasons to choose one over the other, or potentially both -- primarily studio, then leaf shutter; primarily location/available light, probably focal plane. I agree that maintaining two complete systems is a chore, especially when transporting gear for shooting on location -- let's face it, it's bad enough carrying one system around and deciding what to take... OTOH, the second system, assuming it's the opposite shutter type to your main, certainly adds flexibility. And of course cost..

    In the end, I'm not sure there is an easy answer for everybody, but I can say this having only owned the Mamiya AFD and Hassy 110 Planar for less than a week: Whatever system I end up with, I will almost certainly always have one that can utilize the 110 Planar!

    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?

    Tim,

    I think system costs have defined many of the usage categories. For example, Wedding and Event work, once the domain of "life time" purchases into Hasselblad and Bronica MF gear, is now dominated by 35mm DSLRs. I use a H3D/31 at weddings, but not to the exclusion of my Canon 1 series cameras ... and can safely say I'm a rarity in this respect.

    On the other hand, a lot of commercial work, once done with 4X5 view cameras, RZs, and to some degree 6X6, is going to the MF digital backs on 6X8 view cameras, 6X6 and 645 cameras. This can be manifested both by studio ownership or rental units. The advantages of MF digital for commercial work are legion ... least of which is instant approval of shots while the product set-up is intact, and/or the models are still there, (i.e., no reshoots or call backs.) I purchase a great deal of commercial photography for my ad agency, and only had one "editorial" type job shot on film in the past 6 years. Catalog shooters involved with fabrics mostly use MF digital, as do car shooters, fashion, high end jewelry and many food photographers. One reason for this is the wide size array of client usage for the images ... from digest sized ads ... to spreads in tabloid sized glossy publications ... to outdoor and close viewed in-store posters ... all using the same key visual.

    I've also noted a number of landscape shooters migrating to MF Digital capture. Some portrait shooters are looking at the smaller, more affordable digital backs like the Mamiya ZD and Hasselblad CFV to use on existing legacy systems they already own. Also, some who document art objects use these backs. According to some sales people I know, there are many "institutions" who buy MF digital backs in multiples.

    Then there are the well heeled non-professionals that "know and go" for the best. There are a few on this forum like that.

    Jack,

    Your analysis is spot on. For years I used 2 Kodak Probacks ... one on a RZ (leaf Shutter), and the other on a Contax 645 (focal Plane shutter). The Contax had some fast aperture glass and the 1/4000th top shutter speed allowed use of lenses wide open in bright conditions. I also used FE lenses like the 110/2 on that camera. The RZ was for strobe work in studio. When Hasselblad brought up the H system sync speed to 1/800th, and provided ISO 50 it helped a little ... allowing use of the H/C 1OO/2.2 in all but the brightest conditions without resorting to NDs. While not quite the optic that the Planar is, it's pretty close with a beautiful bokeh ... the difference with the H/C has been very accurate AF when using a DOF that is wafer thin. My hit ratio went way up with the 100/2.2 ... in fact, I rarely miss with it.

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    fotografz: thanks for that explanation. Digital has changed things, and what you describe as the current pro landscape makes perfect sense. Appreciate it.
    Tim

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

    After making my post about Leica R in the other forum, I came to a bit of an epiphany about medium format digital. While it is a very high initial cost, it is in some ways a better deal than what I have currently been experiencing. I bought almost all of my Leica R stuff used, other than the DMR, but when I add up its value, it is more than the cost of many of the medium format digital backs now available. I am mostly using the DMR for portraiture and landscape, something that I could do as well or better with MF digital. Since I already shoot with the Rollei 6008 and Hassie 203 for film (I don't have complete systems, but I have a wide, normal and tele in each), it would seem to make sense to sell the expensive Leica R gear and just get either a Sinar or Hasselblad CF back so that I can use digital on the MF gear I already own. I am already familiar with FlexColor, so it seems like Hasselblad might be a good way to go.

    Anyway, as much as I love Leica, I use the M8 for most of my general photography, and I don't think it makes much sense to have two 35mm digital systems. Having a light, 35mm digital platform like the M8 combined with a heavy duty MF digital system might be a better combo than the M8 and DMR. Well, who knows, I am just brain storming here...I need to find out exactly how much this would all cost, how much I could get for my Leica R stuff and other random things I don't use much to see whether or not it makes sense.

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

    Good points Stuart.

    I came to a similar conclusion regarding quality 35mm DSLR --- at the end of the day, the R10 (vaporware) or 1Ds3 or even a new D3 and the best wide, normal and short tele lenses is not much different in total outlay than a Mamiya 645 ZD outfit and a similar set of lenses. Yet as already pointed out, the IQ is far superior.

    I too use my M8 for most of my general photography, street and travel (and even casual sports!), and will continue to do so -- it's just too much fun not to! The MF outfit covers my more serious landscape and studio work. I still have a 4x5 view camera as well, and don't plan on selling it -- they are relatively inexpensive to get into and own, only the per-shot costs are high.

    However, I still see value/need or a quality DSLR, at least for many applications, like sports, wildlife and event. But... I don't really do enough of any of those to warrant a high-end DSLR system, hence my decision to bypass waiting for an R10 and go straight to entry-level MF...

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

    Frankly guys and girls . i feel like chucking it all away today and go sell used cars. I need three systems and this just flat out bites the big dog for me. I love my M8's and now i have a nikon system which as much as i wanted to avoid the DSLR's i can't , just can't do it. Too much work is calling for it , today i leave for a job in Kansas. Here is the shot list I have to do. Product shots for a brochure , Cockpits of three not one but three general aviation aircraft. Than let's do shots of them sitting on runway, oh and BTW how about take off's and landing of the three aircraft. Okay my head is spinning and there is no way out . Need a T/S lens for the cockpits and will have to stitch for the quality. Need at least a 180 mm or more for the flying stuff. On the ground is easy stuff and products is somewhat easy also. This is the stuff i face a lot , I need everything and no one bloody system is going to cut it. So now you need a 100 k in just gear to get work done and the MF system for me is my ultimate goal and getting into this is just putting my bank account on fire. Sorry I am venting just in a rotten mood today. Ignore me
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Oh, don't get me wrong, I completely understand the need of some people to have multiple systems! With the state of imaging these days and the economy the way it is, most photographers have to do all the work they can get their hands on -- portraiture, weddings, events, architecture, commerical and product...the smaller the market, the more versatile they have to be. For these people a good 35mm DSLR from Nikon or Canon will give them super wides to super telephotos, macros, and tilt shift lenses....all at quite good quality. On the other hand, some fine art photographers are happy to do all their work with a 4x5 camera and a 210 lens. I fall in between. Most of the work I get and/or sell is portraiture, landscape or street photography (broadly stated). I primarily do it with 35mm and MF rangefinders for the street and landscape, and 35mm digital or MF SLR for the portraiture and other types of the landscape stuff. For me, the blazing fast AF, super high ISO and super telephotos, and 1:1 macros are not very important, so it makes sense that I consolidate into 35mm rangefinder and MF digital SLR. Anyway, I think I would probably be best like Jack is talking about...mostly the M8 and MF, and then if I find that I am missing an aspect, then get an entry level DSLR to do super telephoto, fast AF and ISO 6400.
    Sorry if I am derailing the thread here...

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

    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.

    But to add to this thread in a positive way is these MF OEM's run into more guys like me that need to be so spread out gear wise they need to figure ways to get us in the door better than outputting 30k on a back and body only. We still need glass. The prices or the gear has to fit into reality of more normal shooter. Not just the specialized shooters that may only need MF to do there work. I just can't justify 30k
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    I think a few things have happened in recent times ...

    the AF has gotten much better in some of these MF cameras ... not "sports: level but most certainly an increase in speed and accuracy of single focus. My old Contax 645 AF was close to unusable in low light ... but this is less the case with the H3D, and I suspect the same with new Mamiya/Phase camera ... plus there is new generation of Hy6 AF.

    Some of these cameras are the equal to or superior to many DSLRs in terms of controls and ergonomics .. at least I think so. I am now very fast when adjusting the H3D and can do most of it without removing the camera from eye level. The flash controls are also very accurate ... much better than the fancy Pants Canon approach.

    In the more recent MF iterations of firmware and software, ISO has improved greatly. ISO 800 is very good now, and things are nicely moving toward 1600 in some models. Again, not exotic speeds like Canon & Nikon, but in a range more commonly used.

    Guy, you are hampered by your love and attachment to the M8. Nothing you are shooting couldn't be done with a solid DSLR kit and a MF system.

    But I get it, and suffer from the same M disease : -)

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

    Your right Marc , no question. I may cut the M8 system down some more. Freaking disease. LOL
    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?

    A slightly different take on things for me..... Personally, I would love to only shoot 35mm for my action/sports stuff and MF for all the other cool stuff. The M8 is just too addictive and somewhat discrete to NOT use more often. The bigger issue that comes into play, and this is where I think Guy gets his skivvies in a knot, is that there is no single system or platform that can deliver it all. This gets compounded by trying to recreate these duplicate equipment cadres that really do not exist. To me, the tools should fit the need, and one should not try to make them do everything all the time.

    So, if you need to cover a lot of imagery types, and for many uses, you have little choice than to work with at least a full-blown DSLR system and a MF for specific product shots, and other preferences. One can do it all with a Nikon or Canon DSLR system, but gets into trouble when individual expectations (shooter, not client most of the time) for certain "looks" or resolution come into play. One can make a higher end Canon or Nikon do everything they need. All of it may not be as great as one might like or want, but you can push a single system to get things done. We cannot do that with just the M8 or MF systems. They are not designed for a whole range of things, yet we try to press them further into service in each area because we have invested so much in great glass, love the image files, need the resolution, etc.

    This gets to some of the issues raised by Stuart, and they are very on point. Photogs have a hard time saying "no" to jobs, especially in tougher economic climates like now, so they will agree to undertake an extremely broad range of things that requires a broad range of tools. Guy's latest gig is a good example. Truth is, all of those shots could easily be handled by a Canon or Nikon DSLR with 3-4 lenses max. Problem is there would be some "sacrifice" in the overall IQ for some shots, not many, but some. This all boils down to how the client is really going to use the shots. If nothing more than an annual report, or something, IQ is not critical. If it was a big ad campaign, then I would shoot as much as possible with MF to get the IQ needed for multiple uses, and blow off shooting with anything else. Not the easiest nor cheapest to do from an equipment standpoint, so it comes back to picking and choosing what kind of work you really are going to shoot, and setting yourself up to handle that the best. We all fall into the pit of wanting to be able to do it all, and that means a lot of very expensive gear. Funny how the guys doing high fashion work do not really concern themselves with this as much. They get a Hassie and lenses, and throw in a 1DsMkx and a couple of portrait length lenses, and that is it. They do not even try to get the jets taking off or landing. They may do a few close-ups, but anything beyond what their kit is set up for, they just do not bother doing. Not saying that is optimal, but it works for many of them. All about the niche of shooting for our style and budget.

    I have been very tempted to jump back into MF, but as Marc and others have pointed out, lots of very expensive options with uncertainty about paths forward. Until that gets better sorted for me, I will stick with my Canons and Leica and shoot what I can as best as I can with them. Not going to chase high fashion or product work where MF gear shines. Not going to agree to work that is beyond what I can reasonably cover with my present gear. I will start to "retire" some gear as I focus more on certain types of things more, but I will not try to outfit myself in every format to do everything. Way too expensive, and not really allowing the development of a signature look for any one type of shooting.

    Sorry for the ramble, but this is a very interesting topic that I do think about. Just a matter of getting my "wants and wishes" sorted out from practical realities. If I was shooting mainly stuff that was the purview of MF, I would probably not even bother with a DSLR, and would keep the M8 and 3 or so lenses more for personal use only. I shoot action stuff now, and there is no MF system that can handle that. Once I move away from chasing horses, I will change gear. If my portrait business starts booming more, I may ditch a lot of the DSLR in favor of MF. (However, last three shoots were done only with the M8!)

    LJ

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

    Round two.... Guy's comments about costs of gear got me thinking again. The MF costs are so astronomically high for several reasons, but the biggest one is the huge developmental costs that must be offset by the lower volume of sales. Those big sensors are not cheap to make, and it is hard to defray costs when you do not sell too many of them. The thing that is making all of this harder right now is that there are several makers all competing for a share of the market. The competition is good for pushing development and addressing feature needs, but it is only going to kick in with lowered prices IF the volumes of MF kits starts to go way up. If there are not a lot of backs being sold, their prices will remain quite high. The gamble that Mamyia ZD is trying out is to get a high volume with a lowered entry price point. This is a huge gamble, but it could pay off. If all of the backs had a much lower entry cost point, there probably would be some significant market growth in this segment, thus increasing volumes to help offset development costs.

    The approach of so many different backs, systems, compatibilities, is not going to help sort that market out much, and will not do a lot to lower entry prices due to lower overall volume sales. When Hasselblad closed their present system, they helped force this issue. Too soon to tell if it will be a good move for them or not, but when one looks over the rest of the landscape, it is a bit of a nightmare playing mix and match with bodies, lenses and backs. The new Phase One backs that do fit more cameras more easily is a more attractive approach, but until the rest of those systems get further along with updates and features for lenses and bodies, there will be a struggle, and prices will remain high. Competition can be good for many things, but it can also eliminate some things from markets before they get a chance to take hold.

    If one has been shooting MF film and has a fairly complete kit, the MFDB choices are still costly, but within being managed. If one is looking to migrate to MF, the entry costs are very high at this point for most things, unless one is willing to compromise with older bodies and lenses that do not have some of the more modern features and options. All this tends to underscore some of my earlier comments about making tough choices on what gear to have and use, and what kinds of work to chase.

    If one is doing or targeting commercial, fine art, fashion and other MF type work, they should concentrate there and stop wasting money and time with DSLR systems or anything else, except for more personal or "fill-in" work only. If one is really trying to be more of the all-around shoot everything type of person, stick with a DSLR system and resist the others. The M8 creates more of a dilemma for most of us because it is so much more fun to shoot and delivers superb images. It just has such a high price tag on it that it makes dabbling in the others difficult without some severe limitations.

    If the M8 was more in line with some of the DSLRs, I think more folks that are thinking about MF would jump in there also. It is just too costly to maintain the M8, DSLR system and MF all at once for most folks. Jack's approach of M8 + MF is a great strategy for many, but does not really support lots of action/sports stuff. If my present work did not have so much of that now, I would ditch most of my DSLR gear, get a MF system and trim back my M8 stuff a bit. Best images for most needs.

    LJ

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

    This thread as helped push me to something of an epiphany as well. The more I ponder my longer-term upgrade path (strictly as a hobbyist), the more it keeps pointing to a MF starter kit (ZD or CWD).

    Be it Nikon, Canon, Sony or the hoped-for R10, the laws of diminishing return for the user and of noise abatement for the camera are the same.

    To go the uber-DSLR route, you're going to have to:
    ---------------------------------------------------------
    1. Invest what would amount to an try-level MF system for modestly more MP.

    2. Lower your clean & sharp ISO expectations as sensors bump into their own law of diminishing returns. Being able to get 21MP+ pics at ISO X is one thing, being able to get clean and sharp high-rez pics at those levels is another.

    3. Cull/enhance your lens collection to the best of the best to get the best from that costly new sensor. This costly house-cleaning will most certainly, with the possible exception of the R10?, require stop-down usage of Zeiss, Leica or MF Zeiss/Schneider glass anyway.

    4. Do 1-3 while limiting yourself to a 24x36mm sensor

    When you look at the above and do a pros/cons vs. entry-level MF, the more the preceding makes little sense (business requirements blissfully ignored):

    MF Cons:
    ----------
    1. Big $$,. True, but see above
    2. Limiting ISO performance. True, but will get better - see above again.
    3. Need to revamp glass. Yup, but see above. Also will be able, unlike Nikon and likely Leica to use a wide-variety of Hassy/Zeiss, Mamiya, Rollei/Scheider, etc., glass.

    The more I keep looking at it, the more it seems time, much like moving from APSC to FF, to hit the 'reset button' as to where my next (long-term) step may be.

    For MF vendors, even Hassy, to prosper, they will have to continue to offer lower-cost entry systems in an ever-increasing MP bracket, starting at 16-22 MB, to get that initial 'hook' into users.

    The Crack-Dealer School of Business - "....come on, just a taste, it's not addictive...."
    Last edited by robmac; 31st March 2008 at 13:59.

  19. #19
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    I have a slightly different take on all this from experience shooting a pretty wide array of work with MF digital cameras.

    First of all I think many people have a residual impression of MF cameras that's a bit dated. These cameras are NOT your father's Hasselblad. They are far more like DSLRs than they are like MF gear of the past. The Mamiya/Phase, Hasselblad H, and Hy6 are faster, easier to use, and more automated (if you want). They can be thoughtful and plodding, or swift and intuitive.

    All it takes is practice and living with the camera in hand for a bit of time.

    For example, one day I can shoot a wedding ... not a tripod bound old school MF wedding approach ... an on the move, candid journalistic approach. I use a hand strap, and on camera fill with a Metz & diffuser and mirror delay for slower shutter speeds so I can drag the shutter. I have a Boda lens bag with a couple of H/C lenses. 50, 100 & 150 does the job.

    Another day, I have a location job shooting running horses for a rain gear company. Since they will be doing 6' prints for a trade show booth, it's the H3D/31 and H/C300/4.5 on a monopod. Rapidly shooting hundreds and hundreds of shots, so I connect up the thousand shot Image Bank-II and let her rip. The prints are amazing.

    Next day, its a table top food shoot. Pop the back off the H3D and hook it up to the Rollei Xact-II and shoot live view directly to the computer. Tilt/Shifts, amazing lenses.

    Next is a portrait, mount the CF adapter on the H3 and use Zeiss glass fully automated. On my H3D/31, I can pop off the digital back and mount a film back to shoot some B&W.

    In reality, THIS is the primary system and all the others are ancillary systems that can be paired down to a few pieces or eliminated. What I need and what I want are two completely different issues : -)

    Once you get the hang of it, you get sucked in by the images. Stuff from other tools become less and less "impressive." It's the worst disease of them all : -)

    Prices?

    Horrifying NEW, a lot easier if not new. These backs are tanks. They are built to shoot and shoot and shoot.

    Example: last year I bought like new H2D/22 with a 120/4 macro and a film back in a hard case for $15,000. Sold the Macro for $2,200 since I already had one. Added an H2D/22 for $12,800. Used it to upgrade to the H3D/31.

    Refurb units from qualified dealers net big price reductions for the previous model. Buying from some folks here can save a bundle. Where there's a will, there's a way.

    Sorry for the evangelical post. But this stuff delivers over a broad range of applications, and it's getting better everyday regardless of system or brand.

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

    Once you get the hang of it, you get sucked in by the images. Stuff from other tools become less and less "impressive." It's the worst disease of them all : -)
    That was perhaps the most telling single paragraph written yet... And then of course, my own personal favorite motto, at least when I really want something:

    Where there's a will, there's a way.
    But it can sting a bit, at least initially...

    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?

    Greetings Marc and Jack,

    Long time no chat. But you guys can STOP this anytime now !!!! You're killing me !! If you keep it up, even Guy will beat me to it!! Still waiting to see how the new HY6 sytems shake out before jumping in. Hoping Phase will be able to attach to one of them, but currently that seems unlikely. Everyone's points on all these threads are right on the mark and VERY civil I might add as compared to a couple other forums that are filled with such vitriolic crap.

    Image quality IS unsurpassed, but the $$$$ are BIG therefore most don't want to make a mistake as many have already suggested. Son's Hassy 205TCC sale is pretty interesting also. Looks like Peter could have his eyes on it. I had that system and guess I should have kept it....but, being a gearhead, a change HAD to be made !!

    Keep the info coming,

    Cheers,

    Jim

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

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    That was perhaps the most telling single paragraph written yet... And then of course, my own personal favorite motto, at least when I really want something:

    But it can sting a bit, at least initially...

    Sting? Come on you guys (including Guy: -), I've followed your acquisitions of rarified gear for awhile now... swapping systems as often as a baby needs fresh diapers ... LOL.

    I know, it's the initial big nut that's so ... well ... horrifying. But a M8 and passel of good glass isn't exactly chicken feed. $5,500 here, and $4,000 there ... pretty soon you're right up there.

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

    Very interesting thoughts Marc. Just a couple of reinforcing points I'd make as one of those non-pro weirdos who buy this stuff.

    1. IQ is from MFDB: - in my opinion the step up difference between 35.. and MF in digital is FAR greater than same in film... ( do you NEED this?)

    2. You get a lot of value in MFDB IF you employ a careful workflow - in practise that means tripod/monopod in the filed MATED to very careful post processing according to subject matter - if you haev sloppy workflow or lazy 35mm approach - then your results will likely be far worse than a JPEG out of any 35mm 10 megapixel camera. ( are you prepared to be careful and disciplined ?)

    3. 35mm land delivers portablity and quality eg M* plus a few lenses or similar in SLR. MFDB + cameras and lenses are bigger dont kid yourself you can take this stuff anywhere anytime as a happy holiday snapper ( will you USE this gear as much as your CaNikon/M8 etc ? - REALLY?)

    4. I will say that the your relationship with the dealer who supports your purchase ins MORE important than teh brand.

    Comment on 'cost' - I don't understand people talking 'cost' and 'value' as IF these were absolutes. Don't even think about cost - if you cant easily afford something - DONT DO IT. The 'value' of MFDB goes DOWN from a LARGER entry point cost wise - take Marc's advice and consider refurbished gear - which often is as good as the new model from a practical point of view.

    Pete

  24. #24
    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    This all makes a strange kind of sense. Which is both great and very scary. Although honestly, I wouldn't consider buying a MF outfit unless I could earn with it.

    Which doesn't make me any less curious about it. I would very much like to see some examples of work done with MF. Not the stuff you see on the mfg.'s web sites, but real work being done by pros in actual work situations.

    Can anyone point to a site(s) with examples/portfolios of MF commercial work? Or, maybe we need a thread here on this forum for pictures a la the "fun with an M8" thread?

    Thanks,
    Tim

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

    1. Yes I need this, because once you have it, it's hard to go back (depending on the the subject matter : -) Even on the street, most people think the H is a video camera.

    2. Depends on technique. If I shoot candid wedding work handheld, I have to mindful of proper shutter speeds for each format and focal length ... however, the variable mirror timing on my MF camera has opened that up a bit more. Obviously, no mirror works even better ... as with the M8.

    3. Depends on the 35mm. My 1DsMKIII is as big and almost as heavy. The M is the best Holiday snapper ... which is what I usually take ... but I've been known to take a 203FE and 3 lenses on holiday, so the more demure H is no problem ... LOL. Depends on what you're after. Most the time a Digilux 3 in pocket is good for that happy snapper stuff. With a HD I sometimes get stuff that I can sell, and pay for the holiday : -)

    4. Absolutely.

    All in all, you're right Peter, "Horses for courses"

  26. #26
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Sting? Come on you guys (including Guy: -), I've followed your acquisitions of rarified gear for awhile now... swapping systems as often as a baby needs fresh diapers ... LOL.

    I know, it's the initial big nut that's so ... well ... horrifying. But a M8 and passel of good glass isn't exactly chicken feed. $5,500 here, and $4,000 there ... pretty soon you're right up there.
    Just shot me and put me out of this misery. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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

    Guy, cheer up... I may be upgrading my ZD back sooner than anticipated and so the ZD already has your name on it. I am such a good friend...

    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

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

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

    3 systems to support is just going to kill me. I know myself much too much . i will always keep trying to climb the ladder to the next level on all three. No matter how I slice it the M8 system is going to take a major hit again. This is one system I really got attached too. The Nikon setup needs a D3 but i need to see a major improvement over the D300 in image. i don't care about FF and 6400 ISO's and 9fps. Money is a object too. My wife would just throw gasoline on me and light my butt up, no question about it.
    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
    Guy, cheer up... I may be upgrading my ZD back sooner than anticipated and so the ZD already has your name on it. I am such a good friend...
    If this happens within the next few weeks I win a bet

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

    Damn I need to sell a M8,12 and 21mm just to swing it all. Scary thing is I have a Hassy 40mm and 120 hassy macro at my disposal. There goes the D3, Guess i would have to get a second D300. Back to a freaking roller bag. I'm applying for a used car salesman job when I get home.
    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 PeterA View Post
    Comment on 'cost' - I don't understand people talking 'cost' and 'value' as IF these were absolutes. Don't even think about cost - if you cant easily afford something - DONT DO IT.
    Pete
    That advice is about as likely to succeed with this group as Nancy Regan's "Just Say NO" anti-drug campaign I think it's a safe bet that a good percentage of this forum's members are IQ driven. Why else put up with the limitations and foibles of the DMR and M8 unless it was to use the best glass possible and get some really special images. If you're that kind of person (I know I am) then moving to MF has a very strong attraction. As Peter said (and as James Russell has posted elsewhere many times) it doesn't have to be prohibitively expensive. It's only the latest and greatest gear that's up there in the stratosphere. A 22 MP back from Mamiya or Phase, a body and a couple of lenses really doesn't have to be that much more than a Canon 1Ds MkIII and some L glass. It's likely not much more (maybe even less) than some of us have invested in a Leica DMR or M8.

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

    You guys crack me up.

  33. #33
    DougDolde
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    IQ that is it for sure. And the reason I have bothered with 4x5 film for this long. It's getting to be such a pain though getting good scans. Plus I miss a lot of shots with set up time being so limited when the light is good. I do get some very good results though, like this one:

    http://www.painted-with-light.com/NE...2008_LARGE.jpg

  34. #34
    thsinar
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Some Sinar MF digital back users:

    - www.sarahsilver.com
    - www.justincooper.net
    - www.tangential.de

    Best regards,
    Thierry



    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post

    Can anyone point to a site(s) with examples/portfolios of MF commercial work? Or, maybe we need a thread here on this forum for pictures a la the "fun with an M8" thread?

    Thanks,
    Tim

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

    TRSmith - luminous landscape's medium format forum has a running thread where users post, when able, samples of their latest work.

    Some of them are getting into a spitting contest of late over if they should restrict it only to MF, but it's primarily commercial stuff with a wide variety of gear and bloody amazing. IIRC it was well over 20 pages and counting in length.
    Last edited by robmac; 1st April 2008 at 04:42.

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

    could someone post a quick summary of the various MF back options with some general comments, like versatility, limitations, cost, available used, what bodies it will fit, etc.?

  37. #37
    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    ...No matter how I slice it the M8 system is going to take a major hit again.

    I'm already salivating at the thought of Guy's fire sale on Leica M lenses.


    thsinar and robmac: Thank you for those links! The degree of excellence shown there is an inspiration. It's easy to get lost in my own amateur wanderings and forget the talent and vision that many working pros exhibit on every job.

  38. #38
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Well that is a great question. Tell me what you need. The whole issue here for me is what my business dictates and what I want is the constant head butting. The idea for me is bring the M8 down to workshops , travel and personal . Than I need a D3 for the D300 to have a complete Nikon system to handle all this commercial work they need to back each other up. The MF fits in what I want but not being dictated by clients per say. Honestly it's a really tough call and like I said maybe better off selling used cars. The other problem is what is Photokinia bringing in MF. The ZD sounds nice and i can get Jack's for very little cost . My issue is I want the Aptus 75s too. See that is my problem. I want the best there is or don't bother. Well need to go work and make money . I feel my pants on fire no matter what I do.
    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?

    Thanks for the link robmac - I read the whole 28 pages

    People interested in MFDB should read this link and compare pics ( admittedly only internet) but to me what comes out is that LIGHTING is the most important part of the equation for most shots ( not to go into the quality of the model or make-up etc)

    even with studio lighting, you still see a LOT of post processing
    you see a lot of HDR and composite work

    so I guess not to disagree with Guy - but IMHO there is no such thing as the best choice for everyone..Some of the best work was done with 22 megapixel backs and Mamiya lenses ..

  40. #40
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    This has turned into a very interesting and thought provoking discussion. Nice to see so many ideas, suggestions and perspectives shared. Really appreciate some of the comments from Marc, links and thoughts from Rob and Thierry, and others. I keep coming back to my original thoughts about needs and use, versus wants. The IQ and use options from MF are clearly several cuts above anything else most of us work with. It also has its own "addiction" that does pull one in. This is great stuff.

    Putting the entry costs aside (yeah, right....like they do not matter too much), there is a very different kind of shooting transformation that folks would also go through on the MF side of the world. Just thinking back about how many snaps folks take and share now with the M8 or other cameras, and reading through some of the discussions about image management, processing, etc., there are very different approaches and learning curves folks should consider. I think Peter was commenting about how much post processing and lighting that goes into a lot of the shots for MF, and I tend to agree. Not saying that one cannot get great stuff right out of the camera to start, as that is always desired to start, but the effort levels between "grip and grin" shooting, tourist snaps, street shooting, etc., and finished images for commercial use from MF systems are not in the same category. I love seeing some of the final images, and that does suck me in more and more toward MF. I also am not afraid to spend the time planning and prepping a shoot, and then processing later. The difference comes into play with the client base one serves, or if not a pro shooter, the desired purpose of one's shooting. Folks doing commercial, fashion, product, high-end portrait, fine art, etc., type shooting seem the natural fit for MF. Folks doing more event, PR, casual portrait, most weddings, and tourist type shooting seem to fit nicely with things like the M8 and most DSLRs. Folks engaged mostly in sports/action, or a wider variety of shooting seem to have a best fit with DSLRs. Not saying one could not cross over into any other area using any format or system, as we know that is possible and is done all the time. My point is more to think about what one really wants their photography to be or accomplish for them.

    In my thinking, digital MF is head and shoulders above everything else for IQ, but it also is much more limited for some things. Marc's points about just using it as one would any other system are excellent, and I embrace the concept. There still are situations where MF is still not going to deliver as easily/quickly/cheaply/effectively as some other tools. If those kinds of shooting are a big part of one's work/choice/preferences, then MF may not be the first nor best choice. Having said that, I find myself preferring to think more about using MF and changing what and how I shoot instead. (I shoot a lot of polo that requires 400mm+ fast lenses, and 8+fps speeds to capture those moments. Nothing in the MF world that I have seen will get that kind of coverage for me.....nor could I realistically manage thousands of MF frames per shooting, even if the camera could deliver it.) That being said, it gets me into thinking more about changing the "what I shoot" part, and that is a hugely scary thing at times. That is why this entire discussion around gear and its capabilities is so useful. It is getting me to think differently about image capture and use. It is getting me to think more about the total image quality, more than the unique capture that DSLRs permit for me now. Starting to be one of those "been there, done that" moments before moving on to that next challenge and probably an entirely new set of clients. Yikes!

    Bottom line....when I figure out the best way to overcome the MF entry hurdles again, but now on the digital side, I will, and probably never look back, except keeping the M8 and a few select lenses for personal shooting. I will not worry about insanely high ISO needs for high shutter speeds to stop 40mph horses running past me in after-sunset light conditions, and not using any flash.

    O.K., who was it that was asking for a "selection matrix" of sorts to really get this stuff figured out? I applaud that creation and tool. Objectivity is important, but wrapped with a bit of passion is good also ;-)

    LJ

  41. #41
    Senior Member PSon's Avatar
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Experience is the best teacher and limiting factor is the barrier to one's growth. How strong is your passion and what will it takes to deliver? Life is full of sacrifices and in doing so it gives us the chance to succeed, whichever it may means to us. Despite we are artists in our own ways and some may misunderstood us for being gear head, we all stand for progress and it is part of us since we first begun and it is why we are here.

    -Son
    Last edited by PSon; 1st April 2008 at 09:11.
    ALPA (MAX, STC, TC) | CAMBO (Actus DB2, WRS-AE) | CONTAX | HASSELBLAD | LEICA | DB (CFV-16, CFV-39, IQ180, IQ360, IQ3100, P45+) | Lens (Canon, Fujinon, Leica, Nikon, Pentax, Rodenstock, Schneider, Zeiss)

  42. #42
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Son, excellent points
    ANy commitment to MFDB should be made with some care. I didn't do it for many years, until the kodak back came out. I had the Contx for film so it was a natural to stick there. I have acquired lenses et al over a 6 yr period.

    for digital, since I started with a 'discounted' 10,500 for the kodak, each step has been 12-15k. NOT a $30K+ slug at once.

    Look for a good platform and a back that will be part of an upgrade program for a while. For most 22MP is MORE than enough, and you WILL be diappointed by the low light capability, so use where there is planty of light, or you can make light.

    As far as a system is concerned, I picked the C645 and would buy it today if I were starting out (if I won the lottery, I would buy the Hasselblad!).

    I started with Kpodak/Phase and would do it again. But that is a lot less clear. I could slip to Sinar or Leaf if an important feature came out (e.g. usable live preview!)

    Jack can likely confirm that MF is a learning curve, but a rewarding one. However, ANY MFDB will be quite a step up, if fed enough LIGHT!

    regards
    Victor

  43. #43
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post

    Jack can likely confirm that MF is a learning curve, but a rewarding one.
    Jack shot three years ago with the Kodak DCS back on a complete C645 outfit (including the not so impressive Contax zoom), then 2 years ago with the Betterlight scanning back on my 4x5. I personally did not find the learning curve that steep, but then I had been shooting LF adn MF film for some years and working on large digital files at the same time; drum-scanned 4x5 and MF film...

    The biggest learning curve is learning to accept the shallower DOF for any given aperture --- what you shot at f8 on 35mm needs f16 or 22 on MF and f32 or 45 plus tilts on 4x5, let alone when you shoot 8x10! There is a reason Ansel and friends named their group "f64"

    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?

    Quote Originally Posted by Pham Minh Son View Post
    Experience is the best teacher and limiting factor is the barrier to one's growth. How strong is your passion and what will it takes to deliver? Life is full of sacrifices and in doing so it gives us the chance to succeed, whichever it may means to us. Despite we are artists in our own ways and some may misunderstood us for being gear head, we all stand for progress and it is part of us since we first begun and it is why we are here.

    -Son
    This "Gear Head" title is such nonsense. In my 35+ year experience as a career Art Director I've worked with some of the best photographers in the world. They were all gear heads. One very successful NYC shooter I've used for editorial type work is the one who infected me with "gear disease." He had 3 copies of the M Noctilux and swore each had it's own specific set of characteristics ... LOL.

  45. #45
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Hi Everyone
    Marc - thank you for starting this thread (not sure that I really mean that).
    All the D300 / D3 talk I find easy to resist - been there, and I don't wish to reinhabit that minefield. I get good quality images from my M8 system, and I have a nice 4/3 system for those dSLR moments. I shoot mostly nature and landscape, together with a little pr work and a wedding or two when I can't possibly avoid it. I'm not professional, although there have been years when I've made a profit from my photography!
    Medium format has always been something which has tempted / frightened / confused in that order, so I've kept clear.
    Still, I need a new challenge, and it seems that it's possible to pick up a new Mamiya AFDII with a ZD back and an 80mm lens in the UK for a very reasonable price (like only a little more than a 1DS MkIII body).
    Is this a sensible 'first step' ? - the Mamiya lenses look reasonably priced, and a wide angle plus a longer macro would seem like something to get goin on.
    Any help would be gratefully received

    Just this guy you know

  46. #46
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    Hi Everyone
    Marc - thank you for starting this thread (not sure that I really mean that).
    All the D300 / D3 talk I find easy to resist - been there, and I don't wish to reinhabit that minefield. I get good quality images from my M8 system, and I have a nice 4/3 system for those dSLR moments. I shoot mostly nature and landscape, together with a little pr work and a wedding or two when I can't possibly avoid it. I'm not professional, although there have been years when I've made a profit from my photography!
    Medium format has always been something which has tempted / frightened / confused in that order, so I've kept clear.
    Still, I need a new challenge, and it seems that it's possible to pick up a new Mamiya AFDII with a ZD back and an 80mm lens in the UK for a very reasonable price (like only a little more than a 1DS MkIII body).
    Is this a sensible 'first step' ? - the Mamiya lenses look reasonably priced, and a wide angle plus a longer macro would seem like something to get goin on.
    Any help would be gratefully received
    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,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

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

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    Senior Member PSon's Avatar
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    Re: The Changing MF Landscape: What's a Mother to do?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    This "Gear Head" title is such nonsense. In my 35+ year experience as a career Art Director I've worked with some of the best photographers in the world. They were all gear heads. One very successful NYC shooter I've used for editorial type work is the one who infected me with "gear disease." He had 3 copies of the M Noctilux and swore each had it's own specific set of characteristics ... LOL.
    Marc, you are among the few photographers with all kind of tools to do your work. Your experiences and mentorship set you apart and without being "gear head" I feel it will not be possible for your success.

    Best Regards,
    -Son
    ALPA (MAX, STC, TC) | CAMBO (Actus DB2, WRS-AE) | CONTAX | HASSELBLAD | LEICA | DB (CFV-16, CFV-39, IQ180, IQ360, IQ3100, P45+) | Lens (Canon, Fujinon, Leica, Nikon, Pentax, Rodenstock, Schneider, Zeiss)

  48. #48
    Senior Member PSon's Avatar
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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,
    Jack, I cannot agree more.

    If you want it to be even lighter go with the Contax 645 body, waist level finder and the Distagon T* 3.5/55 lens. The adapters for the Hasselblad to Contax 645 system is well developed and ready to use without the hassel.

    Son
    Last edited by PSon; 3rd April 2008 at 08:49.
    ALPA (MAX, STC, TC) | CAMBO (Actus DB2, WRS-AE) | CONTAX | HASSELBLAD | LEICA | DB (CFV-16, CFV-39, IQ180, IQ360, IQ3100, P45+) | Lens (Canon, Fujinon, Leica, Nikon, Pentax, Rodenstock, Schneider, Zeiss)

  49. #49
    Workshop Member Woody Campbell's Avatar
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    Watch out for this forum

    I stopped by this forum the day before yesterday to check for M8 and GRD news - instead I read this thread and got into trouble. Many of the posters articluated truths that I have known for some time, but have been ducking. So . . I found a H3D 39 on Ebay from Kurland Photo for well under $20k, and I jumped at it. I picked it up yesterday (together with a HCD f4.0 28 mm and some batteries).

    I'll save detailed reactions for a later posts. For now: the files are simply amazing. Web-friendly jpegs and crops can't come close to expressing it. The H3D demands accurate exposure and good technique. The workflow is quirky but beats loading 4x5 film holders.

    The 28mm on a 36x49 sensor is roughly comparable to the Hasselblad Superwide C (38mm on 6x6) - an all time favorite of mine from film days. Hasselblad's digital correction technology actually delivers a distortion and vignetting free image (Hasselblad says it also corrects for CA but I couldn't find any in the uncorrected images). This really demonstrates the advantages of glass that is designed from scratch for digital (according to Hasselblad the 28 is not backward compatible with film) and integrating lens and software design.

    I'd appreciate hearing about any experieince with Hasselblad HCD lenses. The 35, 50 and 100 might be of interest to me. Reviews of this gear are scarce, probably because the market is small and it's expensive. Is there an an online community that focuses on this stuff? I looked at the 120 macro at Kurland - it might produce lovely images but for a guy coming from the Leica world it's just too big.

  50. #50
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Watch out for this forum

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Campbell View Post
    Is there an an online community that focuses on this stuff?
    You're in it

    And congrats on a wonderful system!
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

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

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