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Thread: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

  1. #1
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    The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Here is a an opportunity to build a virtual “dream kit” for MF. There is so much incredible information within these threads, plus tons of anecdotal stuff, but it is more than a challenge to sift through things at times. This exercise can be a benefit for all....folks looking to migrate to MF and build a kit (me), folks now working seriously with MF and thinking about what to get/change for their growing needs, manufacturer reps to understand more about needs and directions plus help guide folks a bit, and just for other readers wanting to explore things in greater depth and gain more understanding.

    That may be asking a lot from contributors, and there are so many wonderfully experienced and generous folks on this forum, but it could also be a great learning tool for them also. (Yes, a lot of the info may be buried in other threads, but bringing things to one spot in a somewhat concise way may be helpful also.) If this flies, Jack or somebody may want to make this a “sticky” thread.

    To keep things from going totally crazy, I offer up some guidelines to consider.
    - just a couple of categories (explained below)
    - suspend the cost discussions, unless they really are important in choices
    - suspend existing gear discussions also, unless a system is important or something
    - provide a Target Use, Equipment Selection, and Reasons for Choices
    - offer any images or perspectives to keep things interesting and fun

    For Categories, a suggestion for a couple, not trying to be restrictive, but simple:
    Minimalist Kit - This would be a more “bare bones” configuration to suit several interests, such as entry level, travel/weight, ease of use/set-up, etc. Keep it to a minimum number of components (body, back, lens(es), important accessories). Think about forward planning for growth/diversity if important (Reasons for Choice section).
    Heavy Lifting Kit - This would be a more involved selection of things to cover a wider range of work and interest. Trying to avoid the “pro” versus “non-pro” debate, as there are many serious shooters that do a lot of serious work for their own interest. This is about tools to best accomplish a variety of shooting needs.
    No Holds Barred Kit - This is pretty much what it sounds like. Assume no limits, but please do explain the reasons for the selections and their target use, rather than just listing everything and the kitchen sink.

    An example of a good Minimalist Kit might be something like:
    Target Use: all around shooting, available light mostly
    Equipment Selection: Mamiya AFDII with 22MP ZD back and 80mm f2.8 AF lens
    Reason for Choices: good entry level with room to grow; compact kit; sufficient resolution for most shooting; focal plane shutter for DOF control in bright light shooting with fast lenses; good high ISO performance; large variety of available lens options, etc.

    Or another Minimalist Kit:
    Target Use: fine art, portrait, travel, and some commercial shooting
    Equipment Selection: Sinar Hy6 with eMotion 75LV back, Schneider Super-Angulon 35/4 PQ and HC 110/2 w/adapters
    Reason for Choices: versatile, light, fast camera with leaf shutter for higher speed syncs as needed; great studio or location use; option for using film back if needed; high resolution back for commercial or enlargement needs with variety of mounting options to other cameras with adapters; fast, sharp WA lens with low flare and excellent colors for shooting interiors, landscapes and panos; sharp, fast short tele for portraits with excellent bokeh

    You get the idea. The above descriptions may be a bit too short, but they get the points across, and could generate some good added side discussions or point to other useful threads/links if they are known. Again, this is not to be definitive, but a chance to work with a clean slate and pull a few thoughts together for the kinds of things that may make for a useful kit for others also. Some folks may be refining their own kits or finding some things that are not quite what they thought. Please feel free to share those thoughts too. Let's see what we can build

    LJ

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    you may find many choices in one band of capability. MF is also a longer term investment (since almost all back makers have upgrade programsa.

    It may come down to preference of 'look'
    Phase vs Aptus; phase a little cooler but more accurate
    Cointax, vs Mamiysa vs Hy6 may be cost and which primary glass you like, if AF matters at all. or event hassey V with ANY back
    but remember hassey lenses will go on anything.

    I know several who have gone contax/Phase P25 but the free mamiya may change your mind (unless, like me, you prefer Zeiss glass.)

    The new Hy6 with sinar has one advantage if you want two bodies, since Phase is for one where sinar adapts to the body.

    If you have preferences, like glass, MF vs AF or 'look' that should narrow you down. I would bet in the end you could make any set come within 10% of any other.

    regards
    Victor

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Victor,
    All good points, and what I would hope folks would consider and talk about in their selection. The choices are pretty amazing, and there is so much mix and match opportunity. Just saying buy a Phase solution, or a Hasselblad solution is fine, but what would be the main components and for what reason? There could be several kits within a system, or across a system. The idea of a specific "look" or style comes into play also, and folks should mention that too. I stayed away from the entire processing discussion, as that is somewhat tangential, but lenses do impart a particular look, and some are better than others for consideration. Lots of options to think about for sure.

    LJ

  4. #4
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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    with all due respect to Phase One and Leaf, as well as to you, Victor:

    I do not agree with your claim "phase a little cooler but more accurate": one should definitively and eventually come away from those believes like "more accurate, "more this" or "more that".

    All is a question of the RAWs produced and how much they are modified (I would say twicked) from the very original RAW, by default and by the manufacturer, BEFORE they come out on your screen: for example, one can apply tonal curves (affecting only the shadows, or only the highlights, or ...), one can clip the highlights, one can apply some sharpening, one can apply profiles, one can apply noise reduction filters or other artifacts filters, etc ... All this without the user even noticing it, but all of these having a tremendous influence on the look of the produced files.

    From that, the question is then to ask ourselves what is the most natural/original "look". From this perspective, the Sinar files (since they have not been mentioned) have among the most natural "look" or visual impression: nothing much is done/applied to the files, they come out with a linear tonal curve which looks flat and un-contrasty but is exactly what is captured by the sensor. Also, no noise reduction filtering or whatsoever, no sharpening or other twicking applied to those produced raw images.

    It leaves the user with the full freedom to create his own "look", with his own profiles (depending on the subject and light conditions), to apply his own tonal/contrast curves (again depending on the subject and light conditions), to make color corrections in PP, to apply sharpening (depending on output size and subject) by his own wish and need.

    Therefore the term "more accurate" is very relative, IMO: basically, you can create the same accuracy and the same look with any file, coming from the same sensor(s). It is the way how you get it and the choices and freedom of choices to achieve it which makes the differences.

    Best regards,
    Thierry

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    It may come down to preference of 'look'
    Phase vs Aptus; phase a little cooler but more accurate

    The new Hy6 with sinar has one advantage if you want two bodies, since Phase is for one where sinar adapts to the body.

    If you have preferences, like glass, MF vs AF or 'look' that should narrow you down. I would bet in the end you could make any set come within 10% of any other.

    regards
    Victor

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    LJ,

    Your request cannot really be answered in any meaningful way. This is because every MF vendor has more than adequate solutions. There are minimalist and no holds barred solutions from every vendor. And, they are all capable of supporting most professionals in their work. I know of one wedding photographer who is able to run his business with just one lens (45-90 zoom), and another that shoots for stock image companies with nothing more than a standard 80mm lens. There are also solutions for architectural work, catalog work, copy work, etc., all with different solutions and capable by every MFDB manufacturer.

    Most people are governed by their respective budgets. I recommend that you start with whatever you feel comfortable in your initial investment budget, and then grow from there, once you spend more time and develop a better understanding of what you personally like and does the job for you.

    I would be willing to say that ANY MFDB system will provide you with such incredible images that it really does not matter where you start (unless you have very specific needs, in which case you would already know the answer to your thread). Just start shooting MF, and eventually you will find what you need and prefer.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    LJ,

    Since the digital back will most likely be the biggest decision for you, I will share my experiences. I own or have owned the following backs:

    Kodak DCS 645 (9um, 16MP)
    Hasselblad CF22 (9um, 22MP)
    Sinar 54H (9um, 22MP - 88MP)
    Leaf Aptus 65 (7.2um, 28MP)
    Phase P30+ (6.8um, 31MP)
    Sinar eMotion 75LV (7.2um, 33 MP)

    In addition, before my purchases above, I have also examined files from the following backs:

    Leaf Aptus 22 (9um, 22MP)
    Sinar 54M (9um, 22MP)
    Phase P25 (9um, 22MP)
    Leaf Aptus 75 (7.2um, 33MP)
    Phase P45 and P45+ (6.8um, 39MP)
    Hasselblad HD39 (6.8um, 39MP)

    Having worked with so many backs and images, I have found a very generic pattern as far as image "quality". Here are my own findings:

    1. ALL backs produce stunning images, period.
    2. The larger 9um pixel backs have the highest signal/noise ratio (no surprise), and richest colors. However, except for the 54H, all of them suffer from moire much more than the other backs. The 54H is the only back that is moire-free in single shot mode, but it is a tethered-only back.
    3. To reduce the moire issues and strive for more resolution, the MFDB makers attempt to go to smaller pixel sizes. However, this results in a reduction of the signal/noise ratio.
    4. At 6.8um pixel size, it is EXTREMELY difficult to produce "accurate" colors. Noise is still a problem and limits the maximum ISO capability of these backs.
    5. To address these color and noise issues, some backs are now offered with microlenses (e.g., P30+ and H3DII-31) which give great color and much higher ISO....but then this causes issues with ultra-wide lenses and lens movements.
    6. To avoid adding microlenses, some back makers just use slightly larger pixels (7.2um). Right now, this seems to be the best compromise for "best" sensor quality, in terms of sensor size, resolution, ISO (signal/noise ratio), color richness, and moire reduction.

    Please, please no flames. I am only sharing my own personal journey. Again, for the record, let me state that ALL of the MF backs produce incredible images and are ALL capable of the highest professional work.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    David,
    Thank you for your thoughts on this. I understand what you are saying. This thread was not really meant to be just for my interests and selection, but to offer up some ideas for others to consider also. Yes, budget cannot be ignored, but there are some pieces that really fit together nicely for certain kinds of use, just as you have commented on about your colleagues. It does depend upon one's shooting preferences and kinds of things they chasing for sure, and nearly all manufactures offer a broad range of options for almost all needs.

    That being said, my thinking about this thread to for folks to really think about some combinations of things, whether they have and use them themselves, or are on their own "wish list" for various reasons. To me, even with the overlap of performance in shooting, things like the Mamiya with its focal plane shutter seem better suited to some applications than maybe a Hasselblad, Sinar, etc., with a leaf shutter. That in turn impacts some lens choices and maybe some back choices also. I may be totally off base in this thinking, and that is good to consider also, as some of these preconceptions may need to be debunked a bit for some folks, myself included. I used to shoot Hasselblad film cameras many years ago in the studio only. Today's Hassies seem more capable than before, but older 200 and other models can take a variety of backs, but may still lack other useful features for some things (e.g, AF).

    And with respect to the budget again, there is an absolute treasure trove of knowledge and information out there from folks that know what really works with what and how, and is worth seeking solutions, such as the HC 110/2.0 F or FE mentioned. Not something one might look for at first blush if they were thinking a new Sinar system for example.

    Not trying to be defensive, nor asking for the impossible. Just thought that this would be a very interesting and useful exercise for folks to think about. Not really any different than folks thinking about the lens selections for the M8 or any other camera for that matter. Lots of opinions and wishes, as well as hopefully some reasons why some things are worth thinking about. (I selected a Zeiss Distagon 25/2.8 for my M8 over the more traditional Leica 24/2.8, and made the mount swap etc., because I think is produced a sharper image with higher contrast, and is ideal for street shooting. Just a case where some folks may not even consider the Zeiss because the lensmount needs to be changed to bring up proper framelines in the viewfinder, yet it can be a dream lens in a kit for some folks.)

    That is sort of the same kind of thing I am hoping folks might consider here. There may be dozens of "kits" based on what folks think they are best for. The Mamiya RZ Pro can do some incredible stuff and handle just about everything, but it is all manual, and quite substantial as a camera goes, and may not be a "dream kit" choice for folks traveling a lot and only wanting to shoot street scenes.

    Give it some thought....that is a great part of the fun of this, and it can help folks think about things differently than they may have, including systems, budgets and uses.

    LJ

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    David,
    Our messages crossed:

    P.S. I was typing this while you were typing your second response, so there may be some overlap of thoughts. Your experiences are important and valuable, and should get folks thinking about the purpose and planned use, and how to deal with some behaviors of various imagers. Your example of the 54H is a good one, but shooting tethered could be a problem for some kinds of shooting, but not others. This is great stuff.

    LJ

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    kit advce - lessons I have learned the hard way..

    Every back maker is offering good products which in the hands of a knowledgeable user deliver outstanding results. Each one of these backs in the hands of a user who doesn't know how to extract the quality is a waste of time and money.

    Some backs deliver files which look 'better' straight out of the camera versus others - but the reality is that all files from all manufacturers are great. These backs are NOT designed to be point and shoot systems capapble delivering average acceptable files under shooting conditions. You need to knwo what you are doing under different conditions.

    There is no such thing as a bad MF lens - buy what you need and buy second hand if you can.

    Spend money on good lighting - because that is where you will get the most of the benefit from these systems - shooting in good light be it artificial or natural.

    Which back you buy at which price point from which dealer depends on at the margin uses and individual preferences - try and do business with people who have technical knowledge and arent just box shifters.

    You will hear people say positive things and negative things about any and all backs and camera bodies and lenses - ignore strong biases for or against this or that it is BS.

    Be careful about total work flow (in particular software) - one person's great raw processing work flow is another person's disaster.

    NONE of these cameras is going to make you a better photographer.

  10. #10
    thsinar
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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Peter,

    all thoughts/experiences which to I absolutely agree.

    Best regards,
    Thierry

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    kit advce - lessons I have learned the hard way..

    Every back maker is offering good products which in the hands of a knowledgeable user deliver outstanding results. Each one of these backs in the hands of a user who doesn't know how to extract the quality is a waste of time and money.

    Some backs deliver files which look 'better' straight out of the camera versus others - but the reality is that all files from all manufacturers are great. These backs are NOT designed to be point and shoot systems capapble delivering average acceptable files under shooting conditions. You need to knwo what you are doing under different conditions.

    There is no such thing as a bad MF lens - buy what you need and buy second hand if you can.

    Spend money on good lighting - because that is where you will get the most of the benefit from these systems - shooting in good light be it artificial or natural.

    Which back you buy at which price point from which dealer depends on at the margin uses and individual preferences - try and do business with people who have technical knowledge and arent just box shifters.

    You will hear people say positive things and negative things about any and all backs and camera bodies and lenses - ignore strong biases for or against this or that it is BS.

    Be careful about total work flow (in particular software) - one person's great raw processing work flow is another person's disaster.

    NONE of these cameras is going to make you a better photographer.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Personally I haven't and don't make my MFDB decisions based on the more technical aspects... they are just way over my head. I generally work backwards from my choice of glass, to the camera body I prefer to the back that allows me to use it. In this regard I think Sinar's flexibility with adapters offers ME the best option. Then there's the software issue which many have said, and I agree, has as much or more to do with what the final image will look like as the back. The gear you choose may not make you a better photographer but it can certainly impact your ability to realize your own potential... in the words of the US Army... "To be all that you can be..."

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by David K View Post
    Personally I haven't and don't make my MFDB decisions based on the more technical aspects... they are just way over my head. I generally work backwards from my choice of glass, to the camera body I prefer to the back that allows me to use it. In this regard I think Sinar's flexibility with adapters offers ME the best option. Then there's the software issue which many have said, and I agree, has as much or more to do with what the final image will look like as the back. The gear you choose may not make you a better photographer but it can certainly impact your ability to realize your own potential... in the words of the US Army... "To be all that you can be..."
    David,
    This is kind of the thinking I had starting this thread. As Peter and others point out, and most of us should be aware, the gear is not going to make one a better photog. However, the selection of that gear, how it works with other pieces, software, etc., can have an impact on one's work, I believe. When I am shooting polo, I know that I can get some very good shots for publication use with any of my gear, but if I want something more outstanding, I know to press the 1DsMkII and 400mm f2.8L IS into service more, and then I also change processing for better conversion.

    That is sort of my carryover thinking about some aspects of MF....all sensors and all lenses and all bodies are capable of delivering great output, especially in the hands of someone skilled at their use. But some lenses, bodies and backs may be able to work better in concert for certain kinds of shooting to permit more flexibility, or get out of your way, or actually help the composition and capture process. Maybe my thinking is wrong here, but my other experiences suggest that there are some tools that are better suited for some kinds of jobs. That was sort of the thinking going into asking folks to think about the Target Use part, and back it up with thoughts and reasons for the choices.

    This is good to think about....some folks build from the back, others from the glass, others from the handling of the body. My thoughts were to explore some of the how and whys of those selection choices that seem to work more for specific kinds of shooting situations.

    LJ

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    I think Peter nicely sums up the issues with MF systems.

    I would like to add one more comment regarding lenses. While there may not be a bad MF lens, it turns out that some lenses are much better than others.

    For example, I would caution you about CA control. The color fringing due to poorly controlled CA in some lenses can be VERY annoying. It is an optical issue which is exacerbated by digital capture. Some of the MF manufacturers (lke Hasselblad) are able to deal with such issues in their total system by tightly integrating their software with the camera, lens and back.

    Without an automatic software solution, you will have to deal with CA in your post-processing which can slow down your workflow considerably.

    Another option is to seek out lenses that are optically corrected for CA, the so-called APO (or even Super-achromat) lenses. All MF lens makers offer at least some APO corrected lenses in their lineup. Digital LF lenses, like the Rodenstock HR APO series might also be an option for you, especially if you need lenses that also minimize distortion optically. Such lenses can make a real difference for you.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by David K View Post
    ... I generally work backwards from my choice of glass, to the camera body I prefer to the back that allows me to use it. In this regard I think Sinar's flexibility with adapters offers ME the best option...."
    This is the current state of my journey...I am a Sinar user now. The flexibility of the back to accommodate different cameras is a big plus for me.

    Like DavidK, I end up remaining loyal to my glass, as they are what primarily determines the look of an image that I want. I view the camera body itself more or less like an adapter that simply connects the lens to the back.

    This way, I am free to use the strengths of the different lenses and bodies from Hasselblad, Contax, Rollei, and Mamiya. With Sinar, you are not locked into one camera line or a single lens lineup.

    The key to managing these different systems is to base your workflow on the standard DNG file format. That way, once your images are in DNG, you can have a common workflow for them.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Well, LJL, you have stimulated some interesting discussion.

    In terms of a 'kit' from scratch, very few have that option, and when they do, they have little personal experience. I think we raise here items that will affect MF kit for that person. The two that seem to be driven in the comments here, are
    1a. Glass
    1b. Body feel

    However, even these are not issues for older lenses of hasselblad; all have adapters

    the glass that drives are the AF Contax, Rollei and Mamiya AF just cant work (without extensive fooling, or shooting wide open)

    For those that want to switch glass tied to bodies, Sinar is the only choice unless you want buy two! (WIth due respect to Lance, and the other Phase and Leaf proponents; FTR, I have owned and still do, the Phase backs! As I said, it is all about your history. Thierry, have a good swap deal?))

    1b, on body is personal preference. I find my Contax actually MORE co0mfortable than my R9/DMR setup. Feel for a serious amateur, spending 8-9 hours for two weeks while travelling and trekking is a pretty 'professional' workout! However, for studio (and I found this out in a calendar shoot I did; 9 hours of moving lights! and rarely touched the camera.)
    Here, ity seems having AF is good, and then you flat out need to make you Body/glass combo choice.

    On back and software, as Thierry points out, much CAN be handled post precess, but you may like the 'look' right out of the raw, so to speak. I have only firect experience with phase and leaf raw (thierry, if you have a raw file or two, I would relly like to see what the Sinar can do. Although I am a Phase user, the switchable back issue is comming to be a real problem. As someone said; it's all about the files.)

    So, maybe these longer winded discussion can help people think in some sequence. Were I to choose Contax/P45 today.......??

    regards
    Victor
    Last edited by gogopix; 10th April 2008 at 09:17.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    From what I have seen SO far (not had sinar or Hy6;tried all others) the answer is...

    yes .... but...

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by David Klepacki View Post
    LJ,

    Since the digital back will most likely be the biggest decision for you, I will share my experiences. I own or have owned the following backs:

    Kodak DCS 645 (9um, 16MP)
    Hasselblad CF22 (9um, 22MP)
    Sinar 54H (9um, 22MP - 88MP)
    Leaf Aptus 65 (7.2um, 28MP)
    Phase P30+ (6.8um, 31MP)
    Sinar eMotion 75LV (7.2um, 33 MP)

    In addition, before my purchases above, I have also examined files from the following backs:

    Leaf Aptus 22 (9um, 22MP)
    Sinar 54M (9um, 22MP)
    Phase P25 (9um, 22MP)
    Leaf Aptus 75 (7.2um, 33MP)
    Phase P45 and P45+ (6.8um, 39MP)
    Hasselblad HD39 (6.8um, 39MP)

    Having worked with so many backs and images, I have found a very generic pattern as far as image "quality". Here are my own findings:

    1. ALL backs produce stunning images, period.
    2. The larger 9um pixel backs have the highest signal/noise ratio (no surprise), and richest colors. However, except for the 54H, all of them suffer from moire much more than the other backs. The 54H is the only back that is moire-free in single shot mode, but it is a tethered-only back.
    3. To reduce the moire issues and strive for more resolution, the MFDB makers attempt to go to smaller pixel sizes. However, this results in a reduction of the signal/noise ratio.
    4. At 6.8um pixel size, it is EXTREMELY difficult to produce "accurate" colors. Noise is still a problem and limits the maximum ISO capability of these backs.
    5. To address these color and noise issues, some backs are now offered with microlenses (e.g., P30+ and H3DII-31) which give great color and much higher ISO....but then this causes issues with ultra-wide lenses and lens movements.
    6. To avoid adding microlenses, some back makers just use slightly larger pixels (7.2um). Right now, this seems to be the best compromise for "best" sensor quality, in terms of sensor size, resolution, ISO (signal/noise ratio), color richness, and moire reduction.

    Please, please no flames. I am only sharing my own personal journey. Again, for the record, let me state that ALL of the MF backs produce incredible images and are ALL capable of the highest professional work.
    I've also used, or owed/still own, most of the backs mentioned. As I understand it some of the most recent high meg backs have addressed signal/noise ratio by reducing the electronic channels between the light gathering wells allowing the wells to be larger therefore the Pixel Pitch numbers can be misleading. As it was explained to me the H3D-II 39 is one of these ... and I may be wrong, but I'd assume that to be also true for Phase One P+ backs since both are made by Kodak.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Yes, the latest generation of backs have much improved electronics that attempt to boost the signal/noise, but the results are marginal in comparison to the more aggressive approach of adding microlenses. That is why Hasselblad supplements its product line with the 31MP option using microlenses. Their 31MP camera is able to boost to ISO 800, whereas their 39MP cameras are limited to ISO 400. Similarly, Phase provides a microlens solution, the P30+, that can go to ISO 1600, and their non-microlens offering can go to ISO 800. However, there is no free lunch, and I see differences in color rendition between the P30+ and the P45+. Whether or not these color differences are meaningful or not is of course a totally subjective thing.

    The approach from Sinar using the Dalsa sensor is somewhat different, and they are able to produce a back that can go to ISO 800 without adding microlenses or sacrificing color rendition.

    For me, the H3D-II system does not give me enough ISO speed, not to mention not being able to shoot faster than 1/800. The sinar 75LV offers me the right compromise in ISO speed, chip size, etc., and allows me to mount on various cameras, some with 1/1000 flash sync, and others with 1/4000 shutter speed.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by David Klepacki View Post
    Yes, the latest generation of backs have much improved electronics that attempt to boost the signal/noise, but the results are marginal in comparison to the more aggressive approach of adding microlenses. That is why Hasselblad supplements its product line with the 31MP option using microlenses. Their 31MP camera is able to boost to ISO 800, whereas their 39MP cameras are limited to ISO 400. Similarly, Phase provides a microlens solution, the P30+, that can go to ISO 1600, and their non-microlens offering can go to ISO 800. However, there is no free lunch, and I see differences in color rendition between the P30+ and the P45+. Whether or not these color differences are meaningful or not is of course a totally subjective thing.

    The approach from Sinar using the Dalsa sensor is somewhat different, and they are able to produce a back that can go to ISO 800 without adding microlenses or sacrificing color rendition.

    For me, the H3D-II system does not give me enough ISO speed, not to mention not being able to shoot faster than 1/800. The sinar 75LV offers me the right compromise in ISO speed, chip size, etc., and allows me to mount on various cameras, some with 1/1000 flash sync, and others with 1/4000 shutter speed.
    FYI, when Phocus is finalized and new firmware attached, the ISO on all Hasselblad backs will jump a stop ... so 400 backs will be 800 without microlenses, and the H3D/31 goes to 1600.

    In addition to shooting quite a bit with a Dalsa sensored Aptus 75 (which suffered from centerfolding until a software patch came along, especially at ISO 800), I've worked extensively the H3D/31 and H3D/39, often side-by-side on the same job ... and unlike your observation of the Phase Backs, I see no difference in color rendition between the two.

    When working with microlens sensors using severe T/S, many pros have worked out some interesting color balance techniques to swiftly correct any color shifts that may happen. A bit to technical for me, but made for interesting reading.

  20. #20
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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by David Klepacki View Post
    The approach from Sinar using the Dalsa sensor is somewhat different, and they are able to produce a back that can go to ISO 800 without adding microlenses or sacrificing color rendition.

    .
    Dear David,
    Short renting a sinar back is there any source of raw images? Phase and leaf users have offered but I have not yet seen an offer of raw from a sinar.

    (and BTW, THierry, is there a place in the washington DC area to rent a sinar back, preferably the 33MP, with Contax adapter?)

    regards
    Victor

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    First, I ended up criticizing the H3D in an unintentional manner, so I apologize for how that came out. I did not mean to imply that it was inferior. I only meant to share my reasons for choosing what I did. When I had dedicated backs, I always felt somewhat limited. The deciding factor for me moving to the Sinarback is really the additional flexibility and freedom to choose different tools for different jobs. As I mentioned earlier, I think all the MF systems do such an incredible job with image quality in general, we are probably nit-picking here.

    Victor, save your money. I really appreciate you sending me some of your own P45+ files, so I will save you a lot of time and perhaps expense. In terms of raw resolution, the P45+ cannot be beat (and the H3DII is most likely in the same league). Most of the time, the color differences are very very subtle, and mostly in the red end of the spectrum. In fact, the biggest color discrepancy that I have seen was actually posted by Capture Integration on their website. I am not sure it is there any more (the one shooting the "red" brick wall with fence in front).

    After being such a long time Phase user, I think you will not be happy going to the Sinarback, unless you wish to use more than one camera system. The reason I say this is that the Sinar philosophy is much different than Phase in the handling of their raw files. Sinar gives you the pure unadulterated raw image data (well ... as pure as possible). So, you must develop your own "styles" for handling noise, contrast, and tone curve. In the beginning, it is somewhat time consuming and perhaps frustrating, but that's what happens when you are given total freedom over the image data.

    On the other hand, Phase (and again, like Hasselblad) makes it so easy to get a perfect image with minimal processing, sometimes only a few mouse clicks and you are done. They seem to take a different approach, knowing that you will have to clean up the noise and improve contrast anyway, so they do some processing of the raw image data before actually presenting it to you (and it also seems like there is hidden metadata in the images which C1 can use, that Lightroom cannot see).

    For me, I had to spend a lot of time working with the Sinar images. Initially I was frustrated after coming from C1 and the P30+, but then once I was able to work with the sinar files, I don't mind the extra work, and I have a little more creative control over the images.

    So, bottom line, if you just enjoy getting your images ready to print/display as quickly as possible, AND you are happy with a single back/camera system, then you should stay with the P45+. In fact, like you, I am a huge Contax/Zeiss fan, and if I could stick with just one camera and back, it would be the Contax 645 and either the P30+ or P45+.

    Once I got the Sinarback, I added a Hy6 to my aresenal, basically for the Zeiss and Schneider leaf shutter lenses so that I could use higher flash sync. I also added a Hasselblad body because manually stopping down the Zeiss V lenses on the Contax became a chore, which I could eliminate by just shooting them on a genuine Hasselblad body. And, with the Hasselblad interface, I can pretty much use most view cameras with a digital back now (Horseman, Arca, Linhof, etc.). So this choice of back gives me so much freedom.

    BTW, if I can figure out how to upload an image here, I can show you a sample from the Hy6 and e75LV, which hopefully conveys its look and feel.

  22. #22
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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by David Klepacki View Post
    First, I ended up criticizing the H3D in an unintentional manner, so I apologize for how that came out. I did not mean to imply that it was inferior. I only meant to share my reasons for choosing what I did. When I had dedicated backs, I always felt somewhat limited. The deciding factor for me moving to the Sinarback is really the additional flexibility and freedom to choose different tools for different jobs. As I mentioned earlier, I think all the MF systems do such an incredible job with image quality in general, we are probably nit-picking here.

    Victor, save your money. I really appreciate you sending me some of your own P45+ files, so I will save you a lot of time and perhaps expense. In terms of raw resolution, the P45+ cannot be beat (and the H3DII is most likely in the same league). Most of the time, the color differences are very very subtle, and mostly in the red end of the spectrum. In fact, the biggest color discrepancy that I have seen was actually posted by Capture Integration on their website. I am not sure it is there any more (the one shooting the "red" brick wall with fence in front).

    After being such a long time Phase user, I think you will not be happy going to the Sinarback, unless you wish to use more than one camera system. The reason I say this is that the Sinar philosophy is much different than Phase in the handling of their raw files. Sinar gives you the pure unadulterated raw image data (well ... as pure as possible). So, you must develop your own "styles" for handling noise, contrast, and tone curve. In the beginning, it is somewhat time consuming and perhaps frustrating, but that's what happens when you are given total freedom over the image data.

    On the other hand, Phase (and again, like Hasselblad) makes it so easy to get a perfect image with minimal processing, sometimes only a few mouse clicks and you are done. They seem to take a different approach, knowing that you will have to clean up the noise and improve contrast anyway, so they do some processing of the raw image data before actually presenting it to you (and it also seems like there is hidden metadata in the images which C1 can use, that Lightroom cannot see).

    For me, I had to spend a lot of time working with the Sinar images. Initially I was frustrated after coming from C1 and the P30+, but then once I was able to work with the sinar files, I don't mind the extra work, and I have a little more creative control over the images.

    So, bottom line, if you just enjoy getting your images ready to print/display as quickly as possible, AND you are happy with a single back/camera system, then you should stay with the P45+. In fact, like you, I am a huge Contax/Zeiss fan, and if I could stick with just one camera and back, it would be the Contax 645 and either the P30+ or P45+.

    Once I got the Sinarback, I added a Hy6 to my aresenal, basically for the Zeiss and Schneider leaf shutter lenses so that I could use higher flash sync. I also added a Hasselblad body because manually stopping down the Zeiss V lenses on the Contax became a chore, which I could eliminate by just shooting them on a genuine Hasselblad body. And, with the Hasselblad interface, I can pretty much use most view cameras with a digital back now (Horseman, Arca, Linhof, etc.). So this choice of back gives me so much freedom.

    BTW, if I can figure out how to upload an image here, I can show you a sample from the Hy6 and e75LV, which hopefully conveys its look and feel.
    David
    Thank you for your frankness. I try always to be open minded, but as may may sense, I also am slow to change; then, I add rather than swap. That said, There are interesting prospects in the future to add to the context platform,; I am esp interested in you experience (and files, if you have one to share) as I have been asked several times for my Contax setup. It is quite a collection. I did consider swapping several times, but backed off, as the incremental benefit was not there-yet! what I wonder is what happens when the eyes and reflexes get too slow; the contax AF is 'very ok' if you know what I mean.
    It will be interesting to see where the whole 'backs' crowd go. Will pase move to higher ISO/ or 60MP. I am already frustrated by having 6 TB of Lacie just for the damn raw files (pared only 1/2, need to blow up more!) and the devoped files, wow, only 4 images per GB!)
    The group here seems to be exploring different approaches, and are quite thoughtful, and parochial only to a point. Maybe the MF crowd is just a tad more sophisticated (watch out guys for the small nuclear weapon lobbed here when one of the 35mm crowd reads THAT!)



    regards
    Victor

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    David (Klepacki),
    Thanks for sharing your impressions and experiences here. I was getting this same impression from Thierry, but it is also good to hear it directly from a user. (No offense, Thierry.....I was not challenging your comments. It is just nice to hear how others see it and their experiences.) I use several different RAW converters, depending upon what I want to achieve or which camera I am using, so the learning curves and setting up some profiles does take time, but the flexibility is really nice also.

    This is creating a bit of optioning that I was thinking about, but was not quite sure the best route to take. There are some pluses to having some flexibility with something like the Sinar backs, and just adding a different body if needed for something more specific. My concerns here are around the H3DII system that does not permit that. The H3D would be the option, but is there anything that has been handicapped on that, or seriously missing compared to the H3DII that would cause one to pause a bit?

    Hasselblad has some great older lenses, and the newer Fuji glass also looks outstanding. (Marc's shots with the 300/4 and 110/2.2 posted in the other thread are awesome. Not seeing any problems with his captures at all!) I was thinking about the newer HCD 28/4 that is only for H3D(II) cameras. Anybody used this one yet and have impressions?

    It would also be nice to see a couple of straight up shots on the e75LV back compared to the P45+, shot with similar rigs, if possible. I am sure we will be struggling to see any differences, but maybe not ;-)

    This is a very informative discussion, and I really appreciate folks contributing. Hope others are getting some value also.

    LJ
    Last edited by LJL; 10th April 2008 at 16:23.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    David

    It will be interesting to see where the whole 'backs' crowd go. Will pase move to higher ISO/ or 60MP.
    regards
    Victor
    Victor,
    This is something else that caused me to think a bit more also. Hasselblad talks about "full frame" as a future, and that is 48x48, while Sinar has hinted/suggested or whatever, that their backs are designed for 56x56 as a possible "full frame". (Thierry, please correct me if I have misread this someplace.)

    Honestly, those sizes would be staggering either way, and neither sensor yet exists in anything other than closely guarded testing or planning right now, so the issue is not one to worry about in the nearest future.....or is it?

    LJ

  25. #25
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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Dear Victor,

    I will try to make a Sinar DNG available: will a landscape image be alright? Let me some days, since am in Seoul right now and for the rest of the week until monday.

    Please also find all Sinar dealers under following link:

    http://swpp.co.uk/trade/goto/rd.cgi?....sinarbron.com

    Our main and exclusive distributor is SBI (Sinarbron) and one can contact as well Greg King there and speak with him ([email protected])

    Best regards,
    Thierry

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    Dear David,
    Short renting a sinar back is there any source of raw images? Phase and leaf users have offered but I have not yet seen an offer of raw from a sinar.

    (and BTW, THierry, is there a place in the washington DC area to rent a sinar back, preferably the 33MP, with Contax adapter?)

    regards
    Victor

  26. #26
    thsinar
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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    I fully agree with your comments and findings, David.

    Best regards,
    Thierry

    Quote Originally Posted by David Klepacki View Post

    ... the Sinar philosophy is much different than Phase in the handling of their raw files. Sinar gives you the pure unadulterated raw image data (well ... as pure as possible). So, you must develop your own "styles" for handling noise, contrast, and tone curve. In the beginning, it is somewhat time consuming and perhaps frustrating, but that's what happens when you are given total freedom over the image data.

    For me, I had to spend a lot of time working with the Sinar images. Initially I was frustrated after coming from C1 and the P30+, but then once I was able to work with the sinar files, I don't mind the extra work, and I have a little more creative control over the images.

    BTW, if I can figure out how to upload an image here, I can show you a sample from the Hy6 and e75LV, which hopefully conveys its look and feel.

  27. #27
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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    David (Klepacki),
    Thanks for sharing your impressions and experiences here. I was getting this same impression from Thierry, but it is also good to hear it directly from a user. (No offense, Thierry.....I was not challenging your comments. It is just nice to hear how others see it and their experiences.) I use several different RAW converters, depending upon what I want to achieve or which camera I am using, so the learning curves and setting up some profiles does take time, but the flexibility is really nice also.

    This is creating a bit of optioning that I was thinking about, but was not quite sure the best route to take. There are some pluses to having some flexibility with something like the Sinar backs, and just adding a different body if needed for something more specific. My concerns here are around the H3DII system that does not permit that. The H3D would be the option, but is there anything that has been handicapped on that, or seriously missing compared to the H3DII that would cause one to pause a bit?

    Hasselblad has some great older lenses, and the newer Fuji glass also looks outstanding. (Marc's shots with the 300/4 and 110/2.2 posted in the other thread are awesome. Not seeing any problems with his captures at all!) I was thinking about the newer HCD 28/4 that is only for H3D(II) cameras. Anybody used this one yet and have impressions?

    It would also be nice to see a couple of straight up shots on the e75LV back compared to the P45+, shot with similar rigs, if possible. I am sure we will be struggling to see any differences, but maybe not ;-)

    This is a very informative discussion, and I really appreciate folks contributing. Hope others are getting some value also.

    LJ
    The HCD 28 is wonderful ... partly because of the DAC corrections applied in Flexcolor and now Phocus.

    I do not want to come across as defending Hasselblad or any other brand. They are all stunning image makers and I've either used all of them, or have owned them. The least amount of experience has been with Sinar, the most with Hasselblad. So my information is naturally going to gravitate to clarifying statements counter to those experiences.

    Sinar is NOT the only maker that offer backs that will fit a number of camera platforms. The Hasselblad CF and CF Multi Shot line of backs uses iAdapters to mount on most MF cameras. Even the new H2F film camera accepts CF backs and provides the ability to use the HCD 28.

    http://www.hasselbladusa.com/media/1...tasheet_v2.pdf

    The versatility of the Hasselblad "integrated" H3 series is also greater than implied. I use the H/C lenses for AF work, and by means of the fully automatic CF adapter can use every Zeiss C,CF,CFi and CFE ever made from fisheye to 500mm. The CFE lenses with the data bus contacts communicate with the camera automatically ... all others are selected in the grip menu LCD. Since I had an extensive collection of Zeiss leaf shutter lenses it was a no brainer decision to select the more integrated H3 system verses their CF system. It wasn't the different camera I wanted access to ... it was the huge range of Zeiss lens choices. I also use the same back on a Rollei Xact-II for a third set of digitally corrected optics.

    Personally, that's enough for me ... at least for now ... LOL.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    I should have clarified the primary difference with the multiple adapter systems. Hasselblad also offers a line of "open" backs to support other cameras. Ironically, they do not support their own 200 series cameras, and their excellent and fast FE lenses. On the other hand, Sinar DOES support the Hasselblad 200 series. For example, with the 203FE, you can shoot every Hasselblad V lens ever made, both leaf shutter C/CF/CFi/CFE and F/FE lenses using its 1/2000 focal plane shutter (and with a spot meter!). This is not possible with the Hasselblad digital backs or their H system cameras.

    The lack of a high speed focal plane shutter ability from Hasselblad was a serious limitation for me.
    Last edited by David Klepacki; 10th April 2008 at 18:24.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    The HCD 28 is wonderful ... partly because of the DAC corrections applied in Flexcolor and now Phocus.

    I do not want to come across as defending Hasselblad or any other brand. They are all stunning image makers and I've either used all of them, or have owned them.

    Personally, that's enough for me ... at least for now ... LOL.
    Thanks, Marc. Never thought you were defending or disparaging any line or system.

    Quick follow-up on the HCD 28/4..... You mention its wonderful performance partly due to the DAC and Phocus software. I can understand that in the Hasselblad line, and it fits with the things we have been discussing. Do you or anybody else have an impression of the lens's performance on any other camera/back combo? I am assuming it is possible, but thought to ask. Just curious how it looks without corrections. It is a very interesting lens, and could have a lot of application for things I am thinking about at some point.

    LJ

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    OK, Here is a sample shot that (hopefully) shows the tonality and low contrast portraiture that the Hy6/e75LV is capable.
    Last edited by David Klepacki; 30th June 2013 at 21:29.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    Quick follow-up on the HCD 28/4..... You mention its wonderful performance partly due to the DAC and Phocus software. I can understand that in the Hasselblad line, and it fits with the things we have been discussing. Do you or anybody else have an impression of the lens's performance on any other camera/back combo? I am assuming it is possible, but thought to ask. Just curious how it looks without corrections. It is a very interesting lens, and could have a lot of application for things I am thinking about at some point.

    LJ
    The HCD 28/4 lens can only be used on the Hasselblad H3D series cameras.

    If you need 28mm D lens in a MF SLR, then your only other option right now is the Phase or Mamiya 645 AFD. The fundamental difference of this lens compared to the Hasselblad lens is that it is full frame, and so it can be used with film backs as well as digital. The Mamiya lens also does not use a leaf shutter, and so can be used with shutter speeds up to 1/4000 with the Mamiya (or now Phase) bodies.

    If you need wider than 28mm, you will have to go to a rangefinder or LF system (like Alpa, Cambo, Horseman, etc.)

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by David Klepacki View Post
    The HCD 28/4 lens can only be used on the Hasselblad H3D series cameras.

    If you need 28mm D lens in a MF SLR, then your only other option right now is the Phase or Mamiya 645 AFD. The fundamental difference of this lens compared to the Hasselblad lens is that it is full frame, and so it can be used with film backs as well as digital. The Mamiya lens also does not use a leaf shutter, and so can be used with shutter speeds up to 1/4000 with the Mamiya (or now Phase) bodies.

    If you need wider than 28mm, you will have to go to a rangefinder or LF system (like Alpa, Cambo, Horseman, etc.)
    Thanks, David. This was something that I was suspecting. (By way of comparison, it is a bit like the "digital" lenses that were developed for the 35mm crop sensor cameras, but now in MF.) Well, the H3D is still a possible contender in my book, and it does have some flexibility in backs uses, unlike the H3DII which only takes the Hasselblad backs, and not even film.

    LJ

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    Thanks, Marc. Never thought you were defending or disparaging any line or system.

    Quick follow-up on the HCD 28/4..... You mention its wonderful performance partly due to the DAC and Phocus software. I can understand that in the Hasselblad line, and it fits with the things we have been discussing. Do you or anybody else have an impression of the lens's performance on any other camera/back combo? I am assuming it is possible, but thought to ask. Just curious how it looks without corrections. It is a very interesting lens, and could have a lot of application for things I am thinking about at some point.

    LJ
    The H/C 28 is a digital only leaf shutter lens for Hasselblad H3D, and H3D-II cameras... and contrary to David's post also can be used on the H2F camera in support of any and all CF and CFH digital backs ever made, past and present.

    I have no knowledge of any adapter that allows application on another camera. If I were looking for a 28mm for multiple camera applications via adapters, the new Mamiya 28 full frame coverage lens would be a candidate. At $5000. it's a bit pricy.
    Last edited by fotografz; 11th April 2008 at 01:16.

  34. #34
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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by David Klepacki View Post
    I should have clarified the primary difference with the multiple adapter systems. Hasselblad also offers a line of "open" backs to support other cameras. Ironically, they do not support their own 200 series cameras, and their excellent and fast FE lenses. On the other hand, Sinar DOES support the Hasselblad 200 series. For example, with the 203FE, you can shoot every Hasselblad V lens ever made, both leaf shutter C/CF/CFi/CFE and F/FE lenses using its 1/2000 focal plane shutter (and with a spot meter!). This is not possible with the Hasselblad digital backs or their H system cameras.

    The lack of a high speed focal plane shutter ability from Hasselblad was a serious limitation for me.
    Hope this doesn't sound like a pissing contest, but I'm just trying to keep it real.

    David, Hasselblad does indeed make a digital back for the discontinued 200 series focal plane cameras, the CFV, and it is the only fully portable back shooting to a CF card that doesn't require sync cords, complex triggering devices, or being tethering to a computer.

    People keep saying that the Sinar backs will work on my 203FE, which is of great interest to me since I own an extensive 200 system ... but the published information on the Sinar web site indicates that only the non-portable tethered backs will work, the portable ones using untethered CF card capture clearly do NOT list the 200 series ... only the Hasselblad 500 series leaf shutter system ... which most every manufacturer supports.

    Even tethered digital operation on a 200 series camera is not a Sinar exclusive, in fact it is a limitation compared to the use of a Imacon or Hasselblad CF back with a V mount iAdapter on a 200 series camera. Devices such as the Kapture Group One Shot Cable Release (Cat#-HA-001) allow use of those backs tethered or untethered while shooting to a CF card. The limitation is that the camera would have to be tripod mounted for cable release type shooting ... but the CF back need not be tethered to a computer for field work.

    In fact, this is the solution I am currently considering, one CF back for use on a H2F, my 500 series cameras, and 200 series cameras. The only pause I have is to continue supporting aging, non integrated MF platforms.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by thsinar View Post
    with all due respect to Phase One and Leaf, as well as to you, Victor:

    I do not agree with your claim "phase a little cooler but more accurate": one should definitively and eventually come away from those believes like "more accurate, "more this" or "more that".

    All is a question of the RAWs produced and how much they are modified (I would say twicked) from the very original RAW, by default and by the manufacturer, BEFORE they come out on your screen: for example, one can apply tonal curves (affecting only the shadows, or only the highlights, or ...), one can clip the highlights, one can apply some sharpening, one can apply profiles, one can apply noise reduction filters or other artifacts filters, etc ... All this without the user even noticing it, but all of these having a tremendous influence on the look of the produced files.

    From that, the question is then to ask ourselves what is the most natural/original "look". From this perspective, the Sinar files (since they have not been mentioned) have among the most natural "look" or visual impression: nothing much is done/applied to the files, they come out with a linear tonal curve which looks flat and un-contrasty but is exactly what is captured by the sensor. Also, no noise reduction filtering or whatsoever, no sharpening or other twicking applied to those produced raw images.

    It leaves the user with the full freedom to create his own "look", with his own profiles (depending on the subject and light conditions), to apply his own tonal/contrast curves (again depending on the subject and light conditions), to make color corrections in PP, to apply sharpening (depending on output size and subject) by his own wish and need.

    Therefore the term "more accurate" is very relative, IMO: basically, you can create the same accuracy and the same look with any file, coming from the same sensor(s). It is the way how you get it and the choices and freedom of choices to achieve it which makes the differences.

    Best regards,
    Thierry
    I have to support Thierry on this point. While I own and operated Hasselblad gear, my main job is as an Advertising Creative Director doing print and TV for national ads. My extensive experience shooting with professional still photographers is that the Phase One backs are the most prolific backs out there ... so I've seen them in action quite a bit. How backs render color is far more a function of how the software preferences and color profiles are set up. The objective of every digital technician I've ever worked with in professional studios is to accomplish a neutral color base. It is then up to the photographer and Art Director to determine any variance in the degree of warmth or coolness in the capture.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    David,
    This is kind of the thinking I had starting this thread. As Peter and others point out, and most of us should be aware, the gear is not going to make one a better photog. However, the selection of that gear, how it works with other pieces, software, etc., can have an impact on one's work, I believe. When I am shooting polo, I know that I can get some very good shots for publication use with any of my gear, but if I want something more outstanding, I know to press the 1DsMkII and 400mm f2.8L IS into service more, and then I also change processing for better conversion.

    That is sort of my carryover thinking about some aspects of MF....all sensors and all lenses and all bodies are capable of delivering great output, especially in the hands of someone skilled at their use. But some lenses, bodies and backs may be able to work better in concert for certain kinds of shooting to permit more flexibility, or get out of your way, or actually help the composition and capture process. Maybe my thinking is wrong here, but my other experiences suggest that there are some tools that are better suited for some kinds of jobs. That was sort of the thinking going into asking folks to think about the Target Use part, and back it up with thoughts and reasons for the choices.

    This is good to think about....some folks build from the back, others from the glass, others from the handling of the body. My thoughts were to explore some of the how and whys of those selection choices that seem to work more for specific kinds of shooting situations.

    LJ
    Here's a thought or two to consider.

    Many people bring their habits and preferences from 35mm DSLR work to MFD capture. The idea that with MF Digital capture, you build from the lens backwards is one I would dispute (but only to some degree.) By far, the digital back will be the most expensive choice you'll have to make. Directly connected to that is how well that back works with the camera, and in turn how well the software from that system enables you to realize the digital backs' potential.

    All those things being equal, I would offer that most folks would be hard pressed to distinguish any makers APO or Digital spec lenses from one another. Yes, there are certain characteristics and aspects we grow fond of from certain lenses, but a sober study of the array available from most popular manufacturers provides outstanding solutions from all of them. Some manufacturers are playing catch-up ... like Mamiya with their new digital lenses, but that is a less expensive proposition than swapping MF digital back and camera solutions.

    We want to drag our old prejudices into MF Digital, but I'd offer that many of those prejudices are baseless in reality. I dragged the Zeiss prejudice with me to the H camera system, and still suffer from it to some degree. But a rational in-studio test we did between the HC 120/4 Macro and the Zeiss 120/4 CFE shattered those preconceptions. In every area of performance one looks for in a Macro lens, the H/C Macro was visibly superior.

    What's fast becoming apparent, and some folks are loath to accept, is that the MF digital landscape is changing because of firmware and software solutions as much as what sensor you use or what lens you slap up front. If you'll take note, the prime activity in the MFD arena has been firmware and software development. The fact is that the existing backs and sensors have NOT yet reached their maximum potential. IMO, Phase's C1 set the drum beat here, and the other back makers were playing catch up.
    But the new software from Sinar looks promising, Leaf has made quantum leaps forward with Capture 11 (or what ever number they are on now), and I can tell you from direct experience that Phocus from Hasselblad is a whole new ball game.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by David Klepacki View Post
    This is the current state of my journey...I am a Sinar user now. The flexibility of the back to accommodate different cameras is a big plus for me.

    Like DavidK, I end up remaining loyal to my glass, as they are what primarily determines the look of an image that I want. I view the camera body itself more or less like an adapter that simply connects the lens to the back.

    This way, I am free to use the strengths of the different lenses and bodies from Hasselblad, Contax, Rollei, and Mamiya. With Sinar, you are not locked into one camera line or a single lens lineup.

    The key to managing these different systems is to base your workflow on the standard DNG file format. That way, once your images are in DNG, you can have a common workflow for them.
    David, does the Sinar software corrections you make migrate with the file to be applied to the DNG file for use in other post processing programs?

    My experience has been that the manufacturer's Processing programs are maximized for their backs. Leaf Capture, and Hasselblad Flexcolor/Phocus offer DNG conversions (don't know if Phase C1 does.) ... but all the other RAW processing programs pale in comparison to what can be extracted from the native software.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Marc,
    Your last couple of posts get me back to some thinking that I have been wondering about. Let's go with the idea that the Kodak and Dalsa sensors have not yet been fully exploited, and that all of the MF backs may have capabilities that will continue to be realized with improving software. That IS a bit different than the present 35mm DSLR world to some degree, though folks will argue that the software created by the camera manufacturer outperforms other RAW conversions, since there is access to some "secret sauce" information in the RAW file. Not really wanting to debate that part, but one can see great conversions with Canon's DPP that does not quite come out with some other conversions, unless one creates custom camera profiles and tweaks the heck out of things. Same can be said for Nikon. Only issue really becomes that the OEM software generally sucks with respect to workflow and processing performance. Big downside when shooting a lot and having to do all that processing. That is why other conversions have become successful to some degree....ACR comes with PS, and creates workflow opportunities that others generally do not (Aperture and Lightroom excepted). Problem is that ACR, though good, still kinds sucks with some files and conversions. So that takes some of us back to alternative workflows and processing options, in order to get better RAW conversion.

    Holding that thread a minute, and shifting back to the MF world, it seems like there is a similar struggle brewing around backs and software, but here it may make a lot more difference. (The DAC stuff for the Hasselblad HCD lenses comes to mind.) So, though MF backs may all be about the same in what they capture, and some may be more adaptable to more body platforms, one should be considering how the RAW files are able to be converted. This gets to your question to David about what happens with the generation of DNG files (maybe more universal format for conversion) from Sinar, and what data is contained and usable. (You may recall that this was a huge discussion when Adobe created DNG, and the OEMs keep fighting it by limiting or handicapping how data gets written to or accessed in files, Nikon in particular, but all raised questions.)

    This is getting back to some of my original questions/requests about creating some "dream kits" for folks to consider. I expressly wanted to keep the software discussion to the side, but that may not be so possible, given some of the recent advances in gear and how software is being used to better exploit those. After reading a lot of stuff, and especially the further discussions here, I started to think in my own mind that a Sinar back might be a preferred choice, as it seems to allow the greatest flexibility to connect to lots of other bodies/systems through adapters (expensive adapters, but it beats the dedicated design, unless one only has a single body). My thoughts there were that something like the Hy6 body would offer good options, and if needed, an H3D body could be brought into play and still use that Sinar back, but have access to the HC lenses, like the HCD 28/4 (just an example here.....not married to the concept). That is sounding like it might work, BUT (and this is the question to ponder) will that combo be able to really exploit the lenses with the back, IF there is so much riding on the software part?

    We were getting wound up a bit about the image look from the Phase v Sinar backs, and Thierry kept us on track with Sinar's philosophy of delivering a perfectly (as best as possible) neutral file that allows greatest utility. My question now shifts to whether that file will best exploit the other parts of things? If I placed a Sinar back on an H3D body with that HCD 28/4 lens, would I get or be able to use the same kinds of corrections and exploitation as if I used a Hasselblad back instead?

    Is this the new direction that we will have to start thinking about, rather than JUST the labyrinth of which lenses/bodies/backs/adapters/cables work together and under what conditions?

    LJ

    P.S. Really not trying to overanalyze this, but since all of the gear has some hefty price tags associated with it, one's choices may need more careful consideration, unless there is a closet full of older gear and folks are just trying to rearrange things for use. Even for folks like me that will be shopping new and used, trying to figure out a workable set of things is looking a bit more complicated, based upon what I would want to be shooting. This does get back to my original thoughts about the Target Use, what gear and why. The assumption that all things are about the same with respect to backs and bodies and lenses may need some further thought if software and its ability to exploit the gear plays a bigger role. Make sense?
    Last edited by LJL; 11th April 2008 at 04:48.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    This is a great thread... lots of good information from knowledgeable people who don't have an ax to grind. I can't help but think how daunting a task it must be for someone contemplating getting into an MFDB to absorb all of this and make an informed decision. Choosing which 35mm DSLR to buy is a piece of cake compared to this.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    The H/C 28 is a digital only leaf shutter lens for Hasselblad H3D, and H3D-II cameras... and contrary to David's post also can be used on the H2F camera in support of any and all CF and CFH digital backs ever made, past and present.

    I have no knowledge of any adapter that allows application on another camera. If I were looking for a 28mm for multiple camera applications via adapters, the new Mamiya 28 full frame coverage lens would be a candidate. At $5000. it's a bit pricy.
    Yes, I stand corrected on this matter. It turns out that the Hasselblad HC28 will indeed work with the H2F.

    Again, the trade-off to consider is whether you need to use such a lens at higher shutter speeds and on different bodies via adapters.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    Marc,
    Your last couple of posts get me back to some thinking that I have been wondering about. Let's go with the idea that the Kodak and Dalsa sensors have not yet been fully exploited, and that all of the MF backs may have capabilities that will continue to be realized with improving software. That IS a bit different than the present 35mm DSLR world to some degree, though folks will argue that the software created by the camera manufacturer outperforms other RAW conversions, since there is access to some "secret sauce" information in the RAW file. Not really wanting to debate that part, but one can see great conversions with Canon's DPP that does not quite come out with some other conversions, unless one creates custom camera profiles and tweaks the heck out of things. Same can be said for Nikon. Only issue really becomes that the OEM software generally sucks with respect to workflow and processing performance. Big downside when shooting a lot and having to do all that processing. That is why other conversions have become successful to some degree....ACR comes with PS, and creates workflow opportunities that others generally do not (Aperture and Lightroom excepted). Problem is that ACR, though good, still kinds sucks with some files and conversions. So that takes some of us back to alternative workflows and processing options, in order to get better RAW conversion.

    Holding that thread a minute, and shifting back to the MF world, it seems like there is a similar struggle brewing around backs and software, but here it may make a lot more difference. (The DAC stuff for the Hasselblad HCD lenses comes to mind.) So, though MF backs may all be about the same in what they capture, and some may be more adaptable to more body platforms, one should be considering how the RAW files are able to be converted. This gets to your question to David about what happens with the generation of DNG files (maybe more universal format for conversion) from Sinar, and what data is contained and usable. (You may recall that this was a huge discussion when Adobe created DNG, and the OEMs keep fighting it by limiting or handicapping how data gets written to or accessed in files, Nikon in particular, but all raised questions.)

    This is getting back to some of my original questions/requests about creating some "dream kits" for folks to consider. I expressly wanted to keep the software discussion to the side, but that may not be so possible, given some of the recent advances in gear and how software is being used to better exploit those. After reading a lot of stuff, and especially the further discussions here, I started to think in my own mind that a Sinar back might be a preferred choice, as it seems to allow the greatest flexibility to connect to lots of other bodies/systems through adapters (expensive adapters, but it beats the dedicated design, unless one only has a single body). My thoughts there were that something like the Hy6 body would offer good options, and if needed, an H3D body could be brought into play and still use that Sinar back, but have access to the HC lenses, like the HCD 28/4 (just an example here.....not married to the concept). That is sounding like it might work, BUT (and this is the question to ponder) will that combo be able to really exploit the lenses with the back, IF there is so much riding on the software part?

    We were getting wound up a bit about the image look from the Phase v Sinar backs, and Thierry kept us on track with Sinar's philosophy of delivering a perfectly (as best as possible) neutral file that allows greatest utility. My question now shifts to whether that file will best exploit the other parts of things? If I placed a Sinar back on an H3D body with that HCD 28/4 lens, would I get or be able to use the same kinds of corrections and exploitation as if I used a Hasselblad back instead?

    Is this the new direction that we will have to start thinking about, rather than JUST the labyrinth of which lenses/bodies/backs/adapters/cables work together and under what conditions?

    LJ

    P.S. Really not trying to overanalyze this, but since all of the gear has some hefty price tags associated with it, one's choices may need more careful consideration, unless there is a closet full of older gear and folks are just trying to rearrange things for use. Even for folks like me that will be shopping new and used, trying to figure out a workable set of things is looking a bit more complicated, based upon what I would want to be shooting. This does get back to my original thoughts about the Target Use, what gear and why. The assumption that all things are about the same with respect to backs and bodies and lenses may need some further thought if software and its ability to exploit the gear plays a bigger role. Make sense?
    Actually, you can over analyze this, but something this expensive does have to be studied carefully.

    NO, you can't you get all the benefits of a H/C 28 using a different back. It's the integration of back, camera, lens, firmware and software that makes the DAC corrections work. And it's apparent to me that we are seeing just the beginning of benefits from this more complete integration.

    If you recall my previous post, we all have a basic decision that has to be made. Do you want a Leaf Shutter System or a Focal Plane System? If you want both, then you must support 2 or 3 systems of lenses and accessories ... however, with choices from Sinar and Hasselblad CF you can purchase one back to work on both ... with the penalty of losing the image improvements fast coming on line from the more integrated systems ... some of which we don't even know about yet.

    IMO, and experience, the greatest utility is with the leaf shutter integrated systems like Hasselblad H3D or the Hy6. But that's my utility. Very little that I have to do, am asked to do, or can think of doing that isn't accommodated by my current selection. I've already demonstrated in pictures not words, that the lenses work, that there are fast lenses, and that the AF is state of the art for MF. So, I've personally accepted the idea of letting go of the past and all the legacy systems that cost so much to maintain in the ever changing digital world. I've kept some like my Zeiss 500 lenses to use on the H, and the 203FE system so I can shoot film and scan on our 949 ... but the Contax 645 is gone, the Leica M7s are gone, I'm selling off the Mamiya RZ and will eventually sell the 203FE and 503CW bodies and some of the lenses. Some of these systems are discontinued and I figured that eventually it would rear up and bite me ... like the $60. little battery drawer I lost for the 203FE. Adapters here, sync cords there. Big PITA IMO. One clean system that does what I need done. Make money, be happy.

    In the end you have to make your own way. I did, and life is getting easier.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Hope this doesn't sound like a pissing contest, but I'm just trying to keep it real.

    David, Hasselblad does indeed make a digital back for the discontinued 200 series focal plane cameras, the CFV, and it is the only fully portable back shooting to a CF card that doesn't require sync cords, complex triggering devices, or being tethering to a computer.

    People keep saying that the Sinar backs will work on my 203FE, which is of great interest to me since I own an extensive 200 system ... but the published information on the Sinar web site indicates that only the non-portable tethered backs will work, the portable ones using untethered CF card capture clearly do NOT list the 200 series ... only the Hasselblad 500 series leaf shutter system ... which most every manufacturer supports.

    Even tethered digital operation on a 200 series camera is not a Sinar exclusive, in fact it is a limitation compared to the use of a Imacon or Hasselblad CF back with a V mount iAdapter on a 200 series camera. Devices such as the Kapture Group One Shot Cable Release (Cat#-HA-001) allow use of those backs tethered or untethered while shooting to a CF card. The limitation is that the camera would have to be tripod mounted for cable release type shooting ... but the CF back need not be tethered to a computer for field work.

    In fact, this is the solution I am currently considering, one CF back for use on a H2F, my 500 series cameras, and 200 series cameras. The only pause I have is to continue supporting aging, non integrated MF platforms.
    Marc, no offense taken here. We both have different knowledge and experiences, and so it will be impossible to be completely unbiased. I am not trying to challenge you or anyone else, but only sharing my thinking openly. I really appreciate your insights, in this thread and elsewhere.

    As to the 200 series Hasselblad, technically you are correct about the 16MP CFV backs being a Hasselblad "solution" for it. That chip and technology is about as old as the Kodak back though, and I do not think the images are competitive with current MF backs using 33 and higher megapixels, although I agree that is subjective and debatable according to the demands of the output medium. Some people claim that the new Nikon D3 with similar pixel size and number outperforms (or performs equally well) the CFV back, but I cannot support this claim personally.

    Regarding the use of the Sinar backs on the Hasselblad 200 cameras. It is true that their website does not explicitly indicate support of the 200 series, but they do. There is only one tiny cable, maybe five or six inches long that needs to be used. I can confirm that it works hand-held, untethered, and without anything extra like the cable release from Kapture Group.

    Marc, I know you love the Hasselblad, and your images prove that you can get the best from it. But, I think it could be a mistake to go with a single CF back to drive your 500 and 200 series cameras, since you will be hampered by its cumbersome/restricted usage on the 200 series. The Sinarbacks have no such restrictions. And, you will have the benefit to explore new camera bodies with minimal incremental investment by adding other camera adapters.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    David, does the Sinar software corrections you make migrate with the file to be applied to the DNG file for use in other post processing programs?

    My experience has been that the manufacturer's Processing programs are maximized for their backs. Leaf Capture, and Hasselblad Flexcolor/Phocus offer DNG conversions (don't know if Phase C1 does.) ... but all the other RAW processing programs pale in comparison to what can be extracted from the native software.
    First, the Sinar software is so poor that I cannot deal with it. Even their new eXposure software is ... not great... to be polite. Basically, I get the file into DNG format and take it immediately to another program. Once in DNG, you can use Lightroom, ACR, or .... even Capture One! (I get a kick out of using Phase One software to improve Sinar images.)

    Oh, forgot to answer your question. Yes, Sinar's optimized data gets integrated into the DNG, so it can be used by the other programs.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Well my dream kit is any back on my Alpa for wide shooting (I use Leaf Aptus 75) and a Hasselblad back on an H series body using H series lenses or CF/CFE lenses on same via adaptor which Hasselblad supplies....I just bought a nice used one from Marc.

    I am amused by people raving on about how good this lens is versus that lens. Really my experience is that all MF lenses are good.

    My testing using my work flow sees me prefer H series lenses above any other make for IQ reasons - I like my lenses to be very sharp/high contrast and deliver lovely bokeh - the Fujiblad lenses deliver the same look as my Leica lenses deliver - and thats what i like.

    If I want softer look I just use my Hasselblad V to H adaptor and put on a CF or CFE lens and use that. but I hardly ever feel like doing this when the best lenses are my Fujiblads..

    there is a reason Hasselblad bodies and lenses dominate the market - they work

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by LJL View Post
    ... My question now shifts to whether that file will best exploit the other parts of things? If I placed a Sinar back on an H3D body with that HCD 28/4 lens, would I get or be able to use the same kinds of corrections and exploitation as if I used a Hasselblad back instead?

    Is this the new direction that we will have to start thinking about, rather than JUST the labyrinth of which lenses/bodies/backs/adapters/cables work together and under what conditions? ...
    You bring up a great point. I also would like to know if the Hasselblad DAC corrections can be applied and then carried with the DNG file for other programs to use. If not, this is somewhat counter to what the DNG "standard" is all about. The basic philosophy is that once in DNG format, the image becomes immortal in the sense that it can be decoded/converted at any future point in time, whether or not Hasselblad or anyone still exists....sort of like film. Once in DNG, it should not have a dependency on ANY other software.

    This issue is especially important, since none of the Fujiblad lenses are APO or corrected for CA optically. To get maximum benefit from these lenses, the Hasselblad software MUST be used. It would be a shame if these corrections could not be folded into the DNG.
    Last edited by David Klepacki; 11th April 2008 at 07:57.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by David Klepacki View Post
    Marc, no offense taken here. We both have different knowledge and experiences, and so it will be impossible to be completely unbiased. I am not trying to challenge you or anyone else, but only sharing my thinking openly. I really appreciate your insights, in this thread and elsewhere.

    As to the 200 series Hasselblad, technically you are correct about the 16MP CFV backs being a Hasselblad "solution" for it. That chip and technology is about as old as the Kodak back though, and I do not think the images are competitive with current MF backs using 33 and higher megapixels, although I agree that is subjective and debatable according to the demands of the output medium. Some people claim that the new Nikon D3 with similar pixel size and number outperforms (or performs equally well) the CFV back, but I cannot support this claim personally.

    Regarding the use of the Sinar backs on the Hasselblad 200 cameras. It is true that their website does not explicitly indicate support of the 200 series, but they do. There is only one tiny cable, maybe five or six inches long that needs to be used. I can confirm that it works hand-held, untethered, and without anything extra like the cable release from Kapture Group.

    Marc, I know you love the Hasselblad, and your images prove that you can get the best from it. But, I think it could be a mistake to go with a single CF back to drive your 500 and 200 series cameras, since you will be hampered by its cumbersome/restricted usage on the 200 series. The Sinarbacks have no such restrictions. And, you will have the benefit to explore new camera bodies with minimal incremental investment by adding other camera adapters.
    Now that is good intel David. Sinar should update their information. I don't want to continue supporting legacy systems any longer ... but the 203FE is the exception to that. It was, and still is one of my favorite MF cameras and I use the lenses on a Canon 1DsMKIII from time to time.

    BTW, the old Kodak back is/was no match for the CFV. The Kodak back was 12 bit and the CFV is 16. Plus, the CFV has benefited greatly from firmware and software upgrades, where the Kodak back is dead to that kind of improvement. As to the Nikon D3 owners claims ... in their dreams. I have the D3, it's great ... IQ is not even close to that of the CFV which I recently sold but used extensively. The D3 has close to 9X9 micron pixels? How'd they do that in a 35mm space with 12.1 megs? ... the CFV sensor is much larger and is less than 4 megs more. The math doesn't work.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Marc,
    Like Canon, Nikon and others have figured out that both microlenses and reducing the space between pixels really helps a lot. Yet as you point out, while the results are really pretty decent on the 35mm digital front, they still are not coming up close to the MF front, which appears to be poised for more gallops forward soon. (Sorry, could not resist the horsey thing.)

    LJ

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    ... My testing using my work flow sees me prefer H series lenses above any other make for IQ reasons - I like my lenses to be very sharp/high contrast and deliver lovely bokeh - the Fujiblad lenses deliver the same look as my Leica lenses deliver - and thats what i like.
    Peter, I do not think you tested thoroughly enough. Since you like very sharp/high contrast and lovely bokeh, AND Hasselblad glass....you must have missed testing the Hasselblad 300/2.8 Superachromat. This lens cannot be used on the Hasselblad H cameras. And, I do not think there is anything for the H cameras that can shoot 300mm at F2.8.

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    why cant the 300/ 2.8 (and 1.7) be used?? I assumne you are talking about the $25,000 system. it is just another V lens, so the adapter should work, yes?

    Also, I have a Schneider-Kreutznach 300mm/2.0 (yes, really!) weighs 16 lbs. Made for the military, and has a hasselblad mount. I haven't even tried it yet (bought it about a year ago) on my Contax with MAM-1. It turns out it is too wide for the Wemberley, so I had to get the Joba from Canada (I think it is almost 8" diameter, at the waist!

    But I am intrigued by the new H2F camera. It will take all the HC and HCD lenses, V and SHOULD take other backs. I may try to change my mount on the P45+

    Victor

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    Re: The MF kit...ideas and reasons...

    Marc,

    David is right: it works this way.

    However, we do purposely not mention about the eMotion backs on the 200 series and these configurations are officially not supported by Sinar, mainly because of timing issues.

    Best regards,
    Thierry

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Now that is good intel David. Sinar should update their information.

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