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Thread: Almost ready to take the plunge..

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    Senior Member GMB's Avatar
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    Almost ready to take the plunge..

    I have been lurking around here for quite a while and a few months already once indicated that I might be prepared to jump into the MFDB world. Guy warned me and reminded me of the subtitle of this forum—but to no avail .

    I am not a professional and I don’t intend to make a living out of photography. It’s a hobby and my day job fortunately allows me to indulge in some nice gear. I shoot mostly travel, landscape (including seascapes and cityscapes), some abstracts, and portraits of friends and family. May main system is the Leica M (first M8 and now M9).

    The reason I want to go into MFDB is that I like big prints, in particular if they are sharp and reveal a lot of detail. I find the size adds a totally different dimension to the visual impact of certain photos. For example, I was fascinated by the visual impact of some Burtinsky and Ronald Fisher prints (I know that they are not only strong because they are big but also because these are dammed good photographers, but their large prints have a very different impact than the same print but smaller).

    I looked at the various systems available and I think I am decided to go fort the H4D40 unless it turns out that I have an issue with the ergonomics of that camera (I live in Brussels and, believe it or not, there is no Hassi dealer in the capital of Europe , so I still need to make the trip to Antwerp or Paris). I thought about the P1 40+ but I think I’d prefer the H4D. I find the True Focus and also the TS adapter pretty nifty and innovative concepts. I also thought hard about the S2 and in the beginning was thinking/hoping that that could be the right system. But then there are simply too many issues with that camera and while money is not the key driver behind my decision-making, the lenses (if and when available) are simply in a different price league altogether.

    I would not be posting this if there were not still a few issues on which I hope to get some guidance from the collective wisdom of this forum.

    1. This may sound insane, but I wonder whether 40MP are enough if one wants to print say 1.5mx1.8 meters (60”x70”). How much would one gain if one goes to 50 or 60MP? (I know one gains 25% and 50% more pixels but what difference does that make as regards the print)?
    2. I am inclined to now go for the H4D40 and then decide on a upgrade if and when I think it does not have enough MP. Any reason why that could be a stupid idea?
    3. I have used a Nodal Ninja 5 for the Leica. Have some of you used it with a Hassy or P1 and what was your experience?
    4. What lens set up could you recommend?
    • I am inclined to get the 28 for landscape but I wonder whether it could be to wide as the sole landscape lens.
    • What is the best portrait lens? I am looking for something with a large format like transition from focus to out of focus area (a bit similar to the 75 lux for the M9) (I have seen some shots by David Farkas with the 70mm on the S2 who had that look and that almost made me revisit my decision as regards the S2).
    • What could you recommend for macro work (flowers etc.)?
    • Finally, how useful / good are the zooms? For those who have them, how often and for what applications do you use them. FYI, before moving to the M system a few years ago, I was shooting almost only zooms for many years and giving up zooms was one of my main worries. Now I don’t miss them and often go out with only one lens to keep things simple.


    5. I am also still asking myself the question whether I should go for tech camera rather than a Hassi or P1 camera. What advantage as regards image quality does a tech camera have over the Hassi (other than that it allows tilt and shift)? Can you get something like this with a Hassi (in particular number 3 and 4) http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/newthr...ewthread&f=10?

    Sorry for asking so many questions and many thanks in advance for your help.

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Your questions about MP/resolution with regard to printing cannot be answered without knowing your target print resolution. How much resolution do you wish to see in the print and at what viewing distance? Without knowing this basic and essential information, you are basically "lost". There is a big difference in required resolution and MP between a 60x70 print viewed at 20 feet versus being viewed at 10 inches. Of course, it also depends on how much detail you wish to capture. There are many beautiful images with almost no high resolution detail (e.g., some sunrises/sunsets over water or mountains) and are all about the color tonality, and not the resolution. Does your photographic style demand high resolution or maybe not?

    As for your lens questions, there is not enough space here to address what you perceive to be a "simple" question. There is no "best" lens, period. Every lens has a distinct signature and a useful purpose. Photographers sometimes like old lenses, often hazy, out of alignment and even scratched, just because they give a very unique look. Most amateurs buy lenses according to published MTF specs and seek out the highest contrast lenses, and later ask themselves why their pictures still don't look great (since they tend to shoot in high contrast lighting situations, e.g. bright sun). So, you really have to understand what you want to shoot, at what distances, and under what lighting conditions. There is a good reason why most photographers need to carry an assortment of lenses on an assignment.

    Lastly, you seem to have identified a H4D as a possible camera for you. While it is a very good camera system, it does have limitations. One of the most critical is shutter speed range. Are you aware that the H4D body does not have any shutter, and that the shutters are part of the lenses, and that the maximum shutter speed is 1/800? The latest P1 645DF and Leica S2 camera systems offer shutters in their bodies (as well as lenses with shutters) with speeds up to 1/4000. This exposure range capability may be more important to you than something like "TrueFocus" or TS.

  3. #3
    Senior Member GMB's Avatar
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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    David--Many thanks.

    On MP resolution: Fair point. I probably need to reflect more on this. I think I am somewhere between 10 inches and 20 feet distance. More close to the 3-6 feet distance.

    On the lens question, I think I specified what I am looking for. I am shooting under a variety of light natural light situations; i.e., no studio set up. As I said, I like the 75 lux for the M9 wide open, which tends to be on the soft side (unless stepped down). But for some situations I also like the more contrasty lenses. So may be one portrait lens won't do.

    I knew that the H4D has no shutter and that the shutters are part of the lenses but I had indeed not focused on the 1/800 limit of the shutter speed. For the Leica I like the higher speed, in particular as it allows me shoot fast lenses wide open in bright light. I would be interested in hearing from Hassi users whether they consider the 1/800 to be a constraint.

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    GMB, sounds like we have some in common

    H4D40 you are considering is has a different aspect ratio 4:3 compared to 3:2 of Leica.
    This is a consideration not only for your composition style but also when trying to extrapolate from your M9 experience regarding focal length. It seems that very roughly, the 75mm lux would correspond to 95mm something. The closest HC lens is the 100mm f2.2. This is a lovely lens indeed, for outdoors in particular.

    The "standard" 80mm f2.8 HC lens is very light and small, by MF standards that is. On H4D40 it would be somewhat similar to 65mm on M9: right in between 50mm and 75mm.

    I do not know if you use flash. Actually, if you move into MF, I suspect you might end up using it quite a bit, for portraits at least. My favorite lens for that is HC 120mm macro lens. It is very, very sharp so one needs to decide if that's a desired quality for a particular subject. Some ladies might be upset if they see the unprocessed photos.

    For the wide end, HC 28mm is roughly 21mm on M9. In conjunction with Phocus it produces truly nice results. For me, getting this lens was a no-brainer. It is also surprisingly light. MF light that is.

    I have no experience with the zooms. I did order the 35-90mm, it is coming next week.
    By all accounts it handles much better than the older 50-110mm and may even be a bit better in IQ, at least on H4D40. It remains to be seen if H4D40 with the zoom can be a viable walking camera.

    Finally, as a friendly suggestion, you may consider getting S2 as well. You see, S2 is really a better camera to take along for a walk. It is noticeably lighter, it is very pleasant to shoot with, it is much less conspicuous: just like another DSLR. "Both" lenses are very good, I hope that the 35mm one is as good. To go on a trip, I will probably choose S2 over Hassy every time. For a studio shot, I'd pick up Hassy.

    Crazy enough?

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Hi GMB -- I just thought I would address your question on print size. I have a small photo lab and printing service. I recently printed some exhibition prints for a local museum. They were taken from 35mm and 6x9cm film, and printed to 1m by 80cm. These were photos taken in the 70s on much grainier film than we now have. The 6x9 looked great and the 35mm looked fine. Certainly grainy, but fine. I know this is not what you asked, but my point would be to say that 40mp is more than enough to print to as big as you want. More megapixels will mean more detail, but you have to think about how much really matters, particularly to anyone but yourself. 99% of people would not notice a difference between say a 18-24mp DSLR and a 60mp MFDB assuming technique is good. Sure, they might notice the difference if you stand behind them pointing out the difference in dynamic range and depth of field etc (after you explained what they are!), but the point is that all current pro cameras are good enough to print huge when used correctly. More MP is more resolution, but you get to a point where the normal viewing distance of the print is far enough away that difference in MP is only apparent when you are right up next to the print. I am not saying MFDB is not worth it, or you should stick with 35mm -- just that having enough resolution for large prints is the least of your worries. I think you are better off worrying about how solid your tripod is and what the best apertures are for your lenses rather than about whether 40mp versus 50-60mp is enough.
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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    First off let me say that Guy gave you some good advice about not starting down the slope but if you've made your decision to come to MF land I think it's an awfully good time to enter. Having said that, it's not easy for an MF newbie to make the right choice. (Just look at how many systems Guy has gone through before finding happiness with his P40+.) I'd urge you to shoot with as many of the cameras as you can before deciding. Aside from the specs you may find you're more comfortable handling and shooting with one system over another. Is a WLF an important consideration for you...if so only the Hassy offers it among the brands you're considering. I'd also suggest you get some test files and play with each camera's proprietary software. This has become an increasingly important consideration and you may like one better than the other. Lot's of things to consider but the good news is that all the new offerings are stellar.

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    You've received some very good information already. Here are some additional thoughts:

    1) If you want to print that big on a regular basis, and unless it's for a billboard advert viewed from several meters distance, there's simply not going to be any replacement for megapixels; the more the better period.

    2) see #1 above and #4 below.

    3) No experience with Nodal Ninja.

    4) Not enough personal experience with Hassy H lenses to address specifics, however this is another issue directly related to initial sensor choice. Problem with starting with one dimension sensor (talking physical sensor dimensions not MP count) and going to a dimensionally larger or smaller one is all your effective focal lengths change.

    5) I would recommend starting with the manufacturers SLR body and adding a tech camera after you have really zeroed in on focals you prefer and developed your shooting pattern/style with it. HOWEVER, the fact you want to use your back on a tech camera means you should very definitely take that into consideration during initial brand selection and make sure you understand the process of using the different back options on a tech camera.
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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Quote Originally Posted by GMB View Post
    I have been lurking around here for quite a while and a few months already once indicated that I might be prepared to jump into the MFDB world. Guy warned me and reminded me of the subtitle of this forum—but to no avail .

    I am not a professional and I don’t intend to make a living out of photography. It’s a hobby and my day job fortunately allows me to indulge in some nice gear. I shoot mostly travel, landscape (including seascapes and cityscapes), some abstracts, and portraits of friends and family. May main system is the Leica M (first M8 and now M9).

    The reason I want to go into MFDB is that I like big prints, in particular if they are sharp and reveal a lot of detail. I find the size adds a totally different dimension to the visual impact of certain photos. For example, I was fascinated by the visual impact of some Burtinsky and Ronald Fisher prints (I know that they are not only strong because they are big but also because these are dammed good photographers, but their large prints have a very different impact than the same print but smaller).

    I looked at the various systems available and I think I am decided to go fort the H4D40 unless it turns out that I have an issue with the ergonomics of that camera (I live in Brussels and, believe it or not, there is no Hassi dealer in the capital of Europe , so I still need to make the trip to Antwerp or Paris). I thought about the P1 40+ but I think I’d prefer the H4D. I find the True Focus and also the TS adapter pretty nifty and innovative concepts. I also thought hard about the S2 and in the beginning was thinking/hoping that that could be the right system. But then there are simply too many issues with that camera and while money is not the key driver behind my decision-making, the lenses (if and when available) are simply in a different price league altogether.

    I would not be posting this if there were not still a few issues on which I hope to get some guidance from the collective wisdom of this forum.

    1. This may sound insane, but I wonder whether 40MP are enough if one wants to print say 1.5mx1.8 meters (60”x70”). How much would one gain if one goes to 50 or 60MP? (I know one gains 25% and 50% more pixels but what difference does that make as regards the print)?
    2. I am inclined to now go for the H4D40 and then decide on a upgrade if and when I think it does not have enough MP. Any reason why that could be a stupid idea?
    3. I have used a Nodal Ninja 5 for the Leica. Have some of you used it with a Hassy or P1 and what was your experience?
    4. What lens set up could you recommend?
    • I am inclined to get the 28 for landscape but I wonder whether it could be to wide as the sole landscape lens.
    • What is the best portrait lens? I am looking for something with a large format like transition from focus to out of focus area (a bit similar to the 75 lux for the M9) (I have seen some shots by David Farkas with the 70mm on the S2 who had that look and that almost made me revisit my decision as regards the S2).
    • What could you recommend for macro work (flowers etc.)?
    • Finally, how useful / good are the zooms? For those who have them, how often and for what applications do you use them. FYI, before moving to the M system a few years ago, I was shooting almost only zooms for many years and giving up zooms was one of my main worries. Now I don’t miss them and often go out with only one lens to keep things simple.


    5. I am also still asking myself the question whether I should go for tech camera rather than a Hassi or P1 camera. What advantage as regards image quality does a tech camera have over the Hassi (other than that it allows tilt and shift)? Can you get something like this with a Hassi (in particular number 3 and 4) http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/newthr...ewthread&f=10?

    Sorry for asking so many questions and many thanks in advance for your help.
    I think I understand what you are looking for in Medium Format. We'll see ...

    1) Is 40 meg enough? This depends on whether you tend to severely crop a lot, and then print large. Otherwise, yes it is plenty because the current 37 to 40 meg offerings from Leica, Hasselbad and Phase One are the latest in sensor advancements.

    Please understand it is not JUST about how many megs for detail ... it is also about the larger physical size of the sensor itself that produces tonal subtleties and less harsh transitions compared to smaller sensor cameras.

    2) See number one.

    3) If you do decide on Hasselblad, and hearing your applications, I would select the H4D/50 over the H4D/40. The Camera works exactly the same with True Focus and all that, but the sensor is a bit larger, and the ISO range is 50 to 800 compared to the H4D's 100 to 1600. Different cameras for different uses. ISO 50 helps with the shutter speed in bright ambient a little bit.

    4a) On the Hasselblad: for landscapes the 28 and/or the 35-90. On the H4D/40 the 1.3X lens factor cuts the wide end of the 28, on the H4D/50 it doesn't. The 35-90 on the 50 is where I would start for landscapes. If you need wider, then add the 28. If you go for the H4D/40, I'd start with the 28.

    4b) For portraits the H/C 100/2.2 and 210/4. I recently shot a quick portrait session outdoors in bright conditions using the H4D/40 with the 100/2.2 and the Leica M9 with the 75/1.4. I scrimmed the harshly dappled light, and then shot with one camera after the other. When we opened all the images in Lightroom no one could tell which-was-which without looking at the exif information. The only way to tell the difference was to take both to 200% on the computer screen where the resolution of the Hasselblad file was breathtaking. I LOVE the HC/100/2.2 because it feels like my 75 Lux, but produces a larger file with slightly less abrupt transitions in the skin tones.

    (I've attached two shots ... the Hassleblad version is a large crop from portrait orientation to landscape orientation in order to roughly match the Leica M9 shot).

    5) Tech camera verses a MFD camera? Except for the Leica S2, you can do both. The MF digital backs work on tech cameras. I have a Rollei Xact2, but it is getting less use now that I secured the HTS/1.5. However, when it comes to pure IQ nothing from Hasselblad, Mamiya or even Leica matches the digital view camera lenses. So, I'll keep the Rollei for those times I need that kind of retina slicing detail.

    Finally, as to the difference between a leaf shutter and focal plane shutter camera ... only you can determine that. I rarely run out of shutter speed at ISO 50 or 100, but I also do not shoot many shots in harsh lighting conditions unless forced to ... in which case I can use a ND filter. I carry one but have never used it yet. On the other hand, I prefer having a high sync speed for outdoor fill flash when shooting portraits in bright, backlit, or harsh light.

    Here are those two outdoor ambient light shots I mentioned (click on the image to see it larger) ... more difficult to tell with web compressed files, but when printed to 11" X 14" they are remarkably similar.

    -Marc

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Quote Originally Posted by GMB View Post
    2. I am inclined to now go for the H4D40 and then decide on a upgrade if and when I think it does not have enough MP. Any reason why that could be a stupid idea?

    If you do decide to go for the H4D40 (or for that matter whatever system or configuration you choose) then be sure to have a good conversation with your dealer on the upgrade options available to you and associated costs. Your dealer should understand your concerns regarding printing sizes and 40 vs 50 vs 60 Megapixels and hopefully be willing to lay out some options for you for future upgrades. Just a thought.

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    One key difference between the two camera systems you mention (Hassy H and Phase) is the type of lens used. This is often overlooked by first time buyers but is a really important consideration as the two types of lenses are fundamentally different and once you invest in one of the two systems it's financially challenging to completely change.

    As a review:
    Hasselblad H and V bodies have no body shutter and use a leaf shutter in each lens
    Phase One AF bodies have a body shutter and cannot use leaf shutter lenses
    Phase One DF bodies have a body shutter and can use three leaf shutter lenses (available today, more in the pipeline)

    Advantages of leaf shutter lenses:
    - sync with flash at high shutter speeds
    - less shutter bounce***

    Disadvantages of leaf shutter lenses:
    - larger/heavier physical lens design
    - added manufacturing expense
    - limited lifetime of each lens
    - limited maximum shutter speed
    - diffraction is shown at lower f-stops (minor difference)

    Advantages of dual systems
    - purchase/ larger/heavier/more-expensive-to-manufacturer lenses as needed, lighter/small/less-expensive-to-manufacture lenses when you don't

    Advantages of body shutter systems:
    - use of "alternative glass" includes anything that can be physically mounted whether by adapter or by gaffe tape (see my experiments with microscope lenses, holga lenses, etc etc)
    - use of legacy lenses include leaf shutter lenses and non leaf shutter lenses

    Disadvantage of lens shutter only systems:
    - legacy or third party glass is limited to lenses with leaf shutters that have an adapter to trigger the leaf shutter (AFAIK the H can only accept H and V series lenses)

    *owing to a technical detail regarding what happens to the design of the lens when you have to place a shutter mechanism towards the rear of the design
    **unlikely to effect low-volume shooters but still effects the used market
    ***the "less shutter bounce" is more important when comparing to a body with a lot of shutter bounce. As guy/jack have documented through thorough testing the AF body has notable though not extreme shutter bounce at speeds around 1/8-1/30 of a second and the DF has far less.

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Quote Originally Posted by GMB View Post
    I am inclined to now go for the H4D40 and then decide on a upgrade if and when I think it does not have enough MP. Any reason why that could be a stupid idea?
    Note that the only higher resolution system currently available from Hasselblad is a 50 megapixel unit. The 60 megapixel unit they initially announced to be released in April of 2009 has not been released. I don't think it is unfair of me to point that out given that the OP is specifically asking about upgrades down the road.

    I actually think though that it's a moot point. If you found yourself craving more resolution you would be far better off with a tech camera and tech-camera-stitching which I'll address in my next post.

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Why not do like Burtynsky does and shoot film? Depending on what you want to shoot you can get a LOT more megapixels drum scanning MF or 4X5 (he shoots Linhof and Mamiya 6/7 I believe). Unless you are doing lots of production and commercial work MFD seems to be an expensive path to go down.

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Quote Originally Posted by GMB View Post
    5. I am also still asking myself the question whether I should go for tech camera rather than a Hassi or P1 camera. What advantage as regards image quality does a tech camera have over the Hassi (other than that it allows tilt and shift)? Can you get something like this with a Hassi (in particular number 3 and 4) http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/newthr...ewthread&f=10?
    A tech camera is without a doubt a whole other level of imaging. There are three major advantages:
    -glass from extremely good glass companies: Schneider and Rodenstock
    -wide angle lenses designed without the constraint of a mirror box
    -image circles that often allow 2, 4, or even 6 frames of stitching one continuous image

    Attached is a chart showing:
    -P40+ single frame
    -P40+ four frame stitch
    -Schneider 47mm
    -Schneider 35mm[/LIST]

    This illustrates the amazing power of technical cameras. The P40+ which is "only" 40 megapixels can be used to create a 120 megapixel image from a 6x7cm effective sensor size. In fact you go even a bit bigger with 6-frames with a few of the lenses (Schneider 43/47 come to mind).

    You can use the technical camera with either the P40+ or Hasselblad H4D, but keep in mind that the 40+ has an internal battery slot whereas the H4D would need an external power supply and a firewire cable leading to it. Also the P40+ uses a Dalsa sensor which handles extreme angles of light with a bit more grace (less cast/falloff) though in fairness we have many customers using Kodak sensors (P25+/P45+) with much luck and happiness.

    There are also fundamental differences in the color, tonality, and response curve of the Kodak and Dalsa sensors. Like you would expect this is mostly subjective and should be evaluated on your own.

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Finally: software.

    You owe it to yourself to download the free trial of Phase One's Capture One Pro which can process your M8/M9 files as well as files from Phase One backs and Hassleblad's Phocus 2.5 which uses the OSX/iPhoto/Aperture rendering engine to allow processing your M8/M9 files as well as those from Hasselblad's digital back.

    You'll be spending a lot of time in either Phocus or Capture One as based on your description of yourself you would not want to process a single one of your files through anything but the manufacturers software.

    If you find C1's default user interface to be a bit much to take in all in one go (there are a lot of powerful tools that you won't find elsewhere like lens correction to remove the purple fringing from the wide angle shots from your M9 files) then go to Window > Workspace > Simplified which will hide a lot of the advanced tools and simplify the interface.

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Quick question: what do you use to process your M9 files? Have you ever processed one of your M9 files through C1?

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Really interesting thread given that I am in process of switching to buy MF Digital (Phase One 645DF with P45+) and Linhof Techno as my Phase Two.... having been using 5x4 film for a few years.

    Doug what back was used for the stitching pattern in your attachment please? Once funds are replenished and the Ebony 45SU has been sold, I'm intending to get the Techno and not sure which sliding back to use.

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Quote Originally Posted by baxter View Post
    Really interesting thread given that I am in process of switching to buy MF Digital (Phase One 645DF with P45+) and Linhof Techno as my Phase Two.... having been using 5x4 film for a few years.

    Doug what back was used for the stitching pattern in your attachment please? Once funds are replenished and the Ebony 45SU has been sold, I'm intending to get the Techno and not sure which sliding back to use.

    I believe this is with the KaptureGroup Stitching Back.


    Steve Hendrix
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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    for all the potential gains, the tech camera is frustrating. the taking sequence is similar to 4x5: compose on ground glass: your back is off the camera, maybe on a slider. unfortunately, the image is tiny, not even 2-1/4 sq, so seeing the effect of tilts is difficult and accurate focus is tough, even a loupe is hard to get in there. Then put on the back, close shutter click once to wake up back, take shot. unfortunately, the image on the back's LCD is useless for judging anything except the histogram.
    one option is just leave the back in place, focus by the numbers and use the attached viewfinder.

    once you get this under control, it works fine and shifts for stitching are easy enough

    the obvious solution is shooting tethered, but that has it's own problems

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Thanks Steve. Just looked it up, great flexibility, but not cheap and a bit of a monstrosity in terms of sail area on a windy beach or cliff top! Will need to do some more research on getting the right back.

    Yes jlm, I am concerned about tiny size of GG compared to what I'm used to. However I have a 10x loupe, lots of enthusiasm and am heartened by results I see from other users. Just need to up my skill level - nothing like a new challenge and adventure!

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    I really don't think GG is a viable option anymore. But of course I am just one data point and others are happy to use it.

    Regardless the point is ABSOLUTELY solid and despite the length of my posts I was a bit rushed. Normally I would be very careful to point out the incredible slower and more difficult workflow that a tech camera comes with. It opens up a new world of quality but at the price of working at absolute best half as fast (probably more often closer to 10-20% as fast) which means occasional or frequent "missed" shots, a long break-in period where you can't focus properly on the art because you're still getting used to the method/mechanics, and less total shots from any given location/day/trip.

    When I shoot tech cameras 90% of the frames are shot with a pretested/known/recorded combination of focus-point, aperture, and tilt. While this seems limiting it is also very freeing - the rest of the shooting is simply composition and mechanical shooting and being freed of focus the use of the rangefinder for pretty decent rough composition and the LCD for final composition I do not miss a ground glass one iota.

    The reward of a 100 megapixel, sharp corner-to-corner, tactile, 3D looking image which can be printed essentially any size because few if any viewers have ever seen a print created with more detail captured will be easily worth it for some photographers and sound crazy to other photographers.

    The diversity of tech cameras on the market SHOCKED me when I first got into this area of the market. Three from Cambo, Six from Alpa, others from Arca Swiss / Horseman / Silvestri / Sinar. I couldn't believe it. This is an area of photography that is hidden from even most photographers but is a world of options, workflow challenges, image quality benefits, and attention to detail that is hard to fully understand when you first come across it. Being a Leica owner I think you likely will appreciate the beauty of the core tennet of this area of the market - a focus on final quality at (nearly) any cost (of time or $).

    Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Quote Originally Posted by charlesphoto View Post
    Why not do like Burtynsky does and shoot film? Depending on what you want to shoot you can get a LOT more megapixels drum scanning MF or 4X5 (he shoots Linhof and Mamiya 6/7 I believe). Unless you are doing lots of production and commercial work MFD seems to be an expensive path to go down.
    Just as an FYI Ed Brutynsky has moved on to the H4D-50 currently while waiting for the H4D-60.
    Looks like everyone eventually slides down the slope
    am

  22. #22
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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    "1. This may sound insane, but I wonder whether 40MP are enough if one wants to print say 1.5mx1.8 meters (60”x70”). How much would one gain if one goes to 50 or 60MP? (I know one gains 25% and 50% more pixels but what difference does that make as regards the print)?"

    That's a very big print. I'd want nothing less than a P65 if I was printing that big. Even then you're only getting about 100 dpi without any upsizing. But I only print 24x30 so the 33 megapixels of my Aptus 75S is plenty.

  23. #23
    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    In practice I found that 40MP are far enough to produce stunning prints even larger than 2m x 1.5m.

    Have done numerous of these from my X5 scanner (approx. 40MP in highest res) as well as my H3D39.

    Of course more is always better. But in the final print - even if it is high quality - nobody will see the difference.

    Just my 5c experience

    PS: actually I asked the similar question last year several times in different fora and nobody could really give an answer to that
    Last edited by ptomsu; 20th May 2010 at 21:00.

  24. #24
    Senior Member GMB's Avatar
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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Many thanks to all of your for having taken the time to provide such thoughtful responses. This is really helpful and shows what a great forum this is.

    I did use C1 in the past (it came with my M8) but then switched to LR (even before getting the M9) mostly because I found it much more convenient to manage your files. Also, LR allowed you to print without first having to develop your Raw file. I frankly don't think that switching back to C1 using Phocus would be such a big deal.

    I will take a hard look at how one would use a Hassy back on a tech camera because I sense that sooner or later I will head down that route for certain things I want to shoot. I know that it is likely to be very slow but I think it will also be a rather rewarding process of taking images. However, I guess I better take one step after the other and get used to MF first.

    I will certainly also reflect a bit more about the advantages / disadvantages of leaf shutter lenses but from what I read so far I don't think that will be the decisive factor.

    I liked the suggestion by vsadov to get the S2 and the Hassy . However, that's not only financially crazy but I also won't have the time to use both systems appropriately. I also do not intend to give up the M9 as my walk-around and travel camera (because I actually think it is damm good!).

    Georg

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Interesting read for sure. Not sure i can add anything but I certainly would buy my P40+ again in a heart beat. Now having a Epson 7900 printer on hand, I can confirm 24 x30 are just flat out amazing from the P40+ as a single capture and could easily jump up to 44 x 60 or so size and i have printed several pano stitches fairly big that seem to never end on the IQ side. I'm extremely happy with those panos now going really really big I'm just not sure how a single capture would compare but I know a stitch would get there. This is big stuff but my educated guess and what I have seen so far off my printer it is 40 mpx or more but as mentioned if i printed that big everyday than a P65 would be in my sights. Now if using a tech camera was the main use no question I would go Phase since it is easier and more efficient in the field with internal battery but thats me and i also like c1 and if I had a M9 also it would even more confirm my choice for a Phase back. See my M9 review but I always used and loved my Leica files out of c1 much more than LR. I'm a firm believer in dedicated software and outside of that i am gun shy on these generic raw processors like LR . They are good but nothing beats dedicated software tuned to the back. Here your choices are Phocus, Phase , Leaf Capture and Sinars software. 4 backs with dedicated software to there backs.
    If your serious about MF than i would put LR more on the back burner and think dedicated software to these backs so pick very wisely. Nothing will process a Hassy file better than Phocus and the same with Phase nothing will process a Phase file better than C1 this I can guarantee you.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Stitching with the H4D/40 and HTS/1.5 using shifts (and some tilt for DOF when needed), yields mammoth files that can be printed really large. Here's a test I did when I first got the HTS: scroll down to entries by fotografz.

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15947

  27. #27
    Senior Member GMB's Avatar
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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Quote Originally Posted by vsadov View Post



    Finally, as a friendly suggestion, you may consider getting S2 as well. You see, S2 is really a better camera to take along for a walk. It is noticeably lighter, it is very pleasant to shoot with, it is much less conspicuous: just like another DSLR. "Both" lenses are very good, I hope that the 35mm one is as good. To go on a trip, I will probably choose S2 over Hassy every time. For a studio shot, I'd pick up Hassy.

    Crazy enough?
    Well, during a business trip earlier this week I went to a shop which had both the Hassy and the S2. No offense to any one, but compared to the S2 the Hassy is a pretty ugly bitch. In fact, while getting both is absolutely no option, I am seriously reconsidering my position vis-a-vis the S2. Interestingly, when I asked the dealer which of the two cameras he would get, he immediately pointed to the S2, because of what he considered the better glass and the better ergonomics (and he had shot the Hassy on many occasions and said that this was clearly an outstanding camera) . He also offered to arrange a shoot where I could shoot both cameras (as well as my M9) and to compare prints and not only on the screen. I certainly will take up that offer.

    For the time being, I could live with a system that has the 70mm and the 35 mm + (soon) the 120 for portraits and macro. Sure, a really wide would be nice but I can wait and until then do some stitching.

    There is of course the issue of costs, and this is an issue not be neglected. Each S2 lens is about 2-3k Euros more expensive than the Hassy lenses, and there also are no promotions.

    OTOH, life is too short to not have the camera you enjoy most. I do not have to make money with shooting and I do not have a customer to please, so having fun using the camera is an important factor for me. And from all I have read and seen, it is rather my (limited) ability as a photographer which will be the limiting factor of the image quality rather than the camera. Bot the S2 and the Hassy (as well as the Phase) are surely capable of producing excellent results.

    Georg

    PS: It is interesting that both the dealer I visited as well as another dealer I called had sold several S2. In other words, there seem to be quite a few S2 shooter out there but they do not seem to be posting either here or on the LUF. Too bad--I would love to see more results.

  28. #28
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Not sure you read the review Jack and I did on the S2 but hopefully it will give you some more insight on it.

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12243
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    the review Jack and I did on the S2 but hopefully it will give you some more insight on it.
    Not to muddy the waters but after reading the review that Guy and Jack did I lost a bit of interest in the S2.

    As far a a camera to walk around with...Here are a few shots from my OLD OLD OLD H3D II 39 ( almost embarrassed to mention it! )

    First is ISO 400



    Next ISO 800



    Bridge



    Old Oak



    Reflections



    Bob

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Quote Originally Posted by docmoore View Post
    Not to muddy the waters but after reading the review that Guy and Jack did I lost a bit of interest in the S2.
    LOL I bought the P40+ in the middle of that testing. Guess that says something.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  31. #31
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Georg a small bit of advice and I will take some heat for this so no offense to any dealer out there. But here is the scenario you walk into a dealer and point to product A than point to Product B than ask the dealer which one to buy. I can assure you they will point to the one that cost more most times than not. It's called a commission and the MORE you spend the more money goes into his pocket. Just ask any car salesman working on commission. Now obviously there are dealers that are not like that and I don't know your dealer at all or even what name they go by. Just be careful on what you put your faith in. Do your own testing and do your own processing of the files to see what works best for you. What I buy or what anyone else buy's on this forum is not always going to help you and your style.

    I think you owe yourself some homework and trying these things out before making that decision. Not only does this forum have this subtitle "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here." (Dante)

    It also has the biggest underlining one and that is Try before you Buy.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    I can assure you they will point to the one that cost more most times than not. It's called a commission and the MORE you spend the more money goes into his pocket.
    My dealer .... who sold me the H3D II 39 has a love affair with the Leica S2.....unrelated to the quality of the final output. Hasselblad has dumped on their dealers and their sales reps. more than once. Leica has cultivated relationships with dealers...so they tend to gravitate to the product that feels right...more a reflection at times of relationship than commission.

    In spite of this the other medium format backs and systems may offer a marginally better file. Buyer beware...after the initial excitement has wained one is left with a long term relationship. Pick a full system or the promise of a system down the road.

    Bottom line is what you are comfortable with...to whom do you want to give your money? As much as I love my M8.2 I have not been convinced that the S2 represents the best of Leica and its heritage....maybe with a better processor, more lenses and an adequate raw file processor it will begin to approach its true potential. So are you a beta tester or not?

    The fact that the majority of the pros here have resisted the call of the S2 makes one hesitate. Best file wins...not sure it is in Leica's corner at the present time.

    Bob

  33. #33
    Senior Member GMB's Avatar
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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Not sure you read the review Jack and I did on the S2 but hopefully it will give you some more insight on it.

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12243
    Guy, ask my wife, who thinks I am spending my entire time reading S2 and other reviews. The one you and Jack produced was particularly helpful. But correct me if I am wrong, I think that you and Jack came out the way that there are basically two main issues: (1) system not yet complete and (2) no dedicated software. (1) is not a problem form me and (2) I will have to see but I am pretty sure it will be solved sooner rather than later and that there will be dedicated LR profiles.

    Other issues are (3) costs; (4) no ability to use on tech cam; (5) sensor cleaning; (6) cost of back up.

    (6) is a non-issue for me and (3), (4), and (5) have to be weighed against the benefits.

    Also, i do not currently have a MF system so for me it is a fresh start. Sure, my considerations would be different were I sitting on a cam, a back, and tons of glass from Phase or Hassy or whoever.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Georg a small bit of advice and I will take some heat for this so no offense to any dealer out there. But here is the scenario you walk into a dealer and point to product A than point to Product B than ask the dealer which one to buy. I can assure you they will point to the one that cost more most times than not. It's called a commission and the MORE you spend the more money goes into his pocket. Just ask any car salesman working on commission. Now obviously there are dealers that are not like that and I don't know your dealer at all or even what name they go by.
    I am glad you qualified your statement. I think talking to a dealer for almost an hour, knowing about the shop and its philosophy allows you to judge whether the dealer is in for the quick buck or whether he is there to offer honest and serious advice. Also, he offered to set up a shoot for me and not only show me the results on the screen but actually print them.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    What I buy or what anyone else buy's on this forum is not always going to help you and your style.

    I think you owe yourself some homework and trying these things out before making that decision. Not only does this forum have this subtitle "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here." (Dante)

    It also has the biggest underlining one and that is Try before you Buy.
    And that's what I will do. And to give some comfort to those who prefer Phase, I will try to try out this system as well--if on only Phase One Germany in Cologne would either pick up the phone when I call or at least return my emails. To bad that they have such a poor dealer network over here (there are only 3 distributers listed for Germany compared to at least a dozen for Hassy (and the one close to where I live is Phase One Germany in Cologne).

  34. #34
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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Yep, already owning a complete MFD system, and starting from scratch are two completely different scenarios. However, it points up that if a swap where to happen, then you get really serious about whether you would gain or lose anything in IQ. Emotions run high about these MFD choices, but when you are laying out YOUR big wade of cash, things get really personal and sober. This is true for any ultra-expensive system swap, not just swapping out for an S2.

    This emphasizes the need to try before you buy. However, there is even a caveat to that trial exploration ... both big players in this field, Hassey and Phase/Leaf, have proprietary software which is widely acknowledged as being part and parcel of the system to achieve the best IQ. IMO, it is VERY difficult to properly utilize these software solutions in a quick cursory examination unless you have prior mastery of them. Once at least partially mastered, these software solutions are as important (if not more important) than the camera system itself.

    So, complete, relatively unbiased reviews like the one Jack and Guy did are absolutely invaluable.

    As to dealers, again, almost as important as the hardware. The best bet may be to locate previous buyers of any given system in YOUR area and see what their service experiences have been. Not some brand new buyer that will justify their recent purchase decision, but someone that's been a user for some time (it need not be a user of the latest-greatest version either .... service is service, and at some time in future what you buy today will NOT be the latest-greatest). That may be more difficult with a new system like the S2 for two reasons ... 1) there are fewer users and they haven't had the camera very long ... 2) Leica could well concentrate on any issues like crazy during the Honeymoon phase of the new launch .... but long term service support and updates is what you really need to know.

    In the end I didn't want to be a beta tester for the camera system, and more importantly I didn't want to be an alpha tester for the service .... which has been less than stellar in the past with Leica's flagship bread & butter product ... the M. Could well be a completely different story with the S2, but I'll let someone else find that out.

    -Marc

  35. #35
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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Interesting discussion. It'd be interesting to find out how large the software development teams are for the 'proprietary' systems. Size does not necessarily equate to results ... but it does point to the availability of resources and best practices learned as an organization to move solutions forward. While one can't discount the effort, passion and dedication each 'proprietary' team puts into the software products that support those medium format solutions, I'm not certain that it is fair to so easily dismiss the efforts a company like Adobe may put into fine-tuning a software solution for cameras linked to its products.

    Kurt

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Quote Originally Posted by KurtKamka View Post
    Interesting discussion. It'd be interesting to find out how large the software development teams are for the 'proprietary' systems. Size does not necessarily equate to results ... but it does point to the availability of resources and best practices learned as an organization to move solutions forward. While one can't discount the effort, passion and dedication each 'proprietary' team puts into the software products that support those medium format solutions, I'm not certain that it is fair to so easily dismiss the efforts a company like Adobe may put into fine-tuning a software solution for cameras linked to its products.

    Kurt
    Kurt, I am on record as an avid fan of PS and LR ... but to date I personally find it quite easy to question Adobe efforts compared to C1 and Phocus who are dedicated to their product's synergistic performance on a competitive scale with-in their market segment. IMO, Adobe has less motivation to ramp up brain power for such a small amount of users.

    Besides, who knows better all the little aspects that allow you to squeeze every bit of IQ possible out of a MFD system? The designer/maker of the system, or an uninvolved 3rd party?

    This is especially true if you shoot tethered ... which a huge amount of MFD users do.

    That said, I would LOVE to use just Lightroom and PS for all processing from all my different cameras. Lightroom in particular sets the standard for speed and
    inter-face with PS ... neither of which can be used when shooting tethered.

    -Marc

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Quote Originally Posted by KurtKamka View Post
    Size does not necessarily equate to results ...
    Kurt
    This has certainly been my experience with the Sinar files which could previously be converted with a tiny little program called Brumbaer tools. Also, Raw Developer, authored by Brian Griffith, is widely regarded as a top notch converter albeit with a somewhat less than ideal workflow.

  38. #38
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Well it's not like Adobe is bad in any way and lets be clear of that also. It does come down to can Adobe take every camera it supports and fine tune for each one. Now things like noise, tonal range, DR etc etc. are not always easy to make for each and every type of file. I know Phase files look like crap and Hassy files fall short in some area's as well. Plus we get dedicated corrections for each lens in our systems. Even the 70mm S2 lens as we have seen here on the forum was distorting and had some falloff. And this is there marketing that corrections are built in, well maybe the are but we are seeing differently. Not saying Leica is telling us something it has not done but we go by results and I have tried everything with my Phase files and honestly nothing comes close .

    I know Marc uses LR for his hassy files for his weddings but I think he will be the first to tell you it is more out of convenience of grouping all his image from different cams together. But for his Ad work he is using Phocus to draw the best out of those files or make corrections he can't do in LR.

    LR is a good program but it is also considered a generic program to process every thing thrown at it and it does do a good job, the question remains how much are you leaving behind. In the case of the S2 it is better than C1 right now and that may change. But it still is not perfect and if Leica did make a dedicated raw , tethering software ala C1 for it's S2 than it would most likely be the best package for it's files. I can attest with convection nothing is better with a Phase file than C1 NOTHING.

    Now going back to Georg's situation and for the hobbyist that has time to wait and does not have pressure on it to perform to its max and a system that can build sure it is a great cam to buy. But it has a couple downsides that people need to understand. In this case Georg seems to understand some of them and that is good. Personally for me and my experience not to mention as a honest shoot from the hip kind of guy , I want folks to understand all of this without prejudice before they start unfolding there wad of cash. I get those oh **** i bought the wrong system e-mails and i should have paid attention more to what you guys are saying comments. Frankly love the folks e-mailing me but this is a e-mail i would rather not see in the first place if you know what I mean.
    From my seat and my dedication to this industry, I just want people walking in with eyes fully opened and knowing exactly what they are getting before the shop door opens in the morning to go purchase.
    That is why this forum is so great , we have members that care about other members and offer that guidance.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  39. #39
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Now I should talk about the dealer issue I brought up and to clarify a little. I have a awesome dealer in Capture Integration and they actually sell both the S2 and Phase gear. Now from my personal experience these are the kind of dealers you want to work with, they care what you buy, support what you buy and also give you the chance to try and evaluate what you want to buy before you do buy. Plus all that they are great all around folks. I use there name as an example of what you should look for and the end of the day as a Pro i want someone watching my back and I have turned to them when in need and the are there for me. My reference was more to the Mom and Pop place where money is king and hopefully you won't come back and complain kind of place. You get the idea


    BTW great discussion folks
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  40. #40
    Senior Member GMB's Avatar
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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    That is why this forum is so great , we have members that care about other members and offer that guidance.
    Exactly

    And many thanks for all the thoughtful comments. I may be back with further questions...

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    I would be interested in hearing from someone that really knows the various software products. From my perspective ...which could be entirely off ....there are five elements to the proprietary that provide points of differentiation:

    1. The initial raw conversion from the raw file as presented by the camera.

    2. The profile that maps the colors and their densities into the converted file.
    3. The lens corrections another form of profiling?
    4. The presets that are or are not built into the conversion...curves,sharpening,noise etc.

    5. the workflow elements that assist in capture through output.

    First discard the workflow considerations as these are productivity not IQ aspects . They are very important but assume that MF is about superior IQ.

    It has always been my assumption that the initial raw conversion is the part that can t easily be duplicated. The profiles ,lens corrections and presets all contribute to that perfect ..right out the camera look but can lead you to incorrect conclusions regarding the raw conversion or ultimate IQ of a system.

    I am sure the devil is in the details ...and I don t have a clue how adobe is improving the raw conversion portion of their software. This really gets to the heart of the issue and that is will adobe really tune the raw conversion for a S2 file or are we talking about profiles,presets etc and if not can an S2 file ever be optimized without a proprietary solution.

    Guy has stated many times that Leica needs a proprietary solution but the ensuing discussion seems to encompass profiles,presets etc . and the "raw conversion" gets lost.

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    We all look forward to try and answer them for you.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    I would be interested in hearing from someone that really knows the various software products. From my perspective ...which could be entirely off ....there are five elements to the proprietary that provide points of differentiation:

    1. The initial raw conversion from the raw file as presented by the camera.

    2. The profile that maps the colors and their densities into the converted file.
    3. The lens corrections another form of profiling?
    4. The presets that are or are not built into the conversion...curves,sharpening,noise etc.

    5. the workflow elements that assist in capture through output.

    First discard the workflow considerations as these are productivity not IQ aspects . They are very important but assume that MF is about superior IQ.

    It has always been my assumption that the initial raw conversion is the part that can t easily be duplicated. The profiles ,lens corrections and presets all contribute to that perfect ..right out the camera look but can lead you to incorrect conclusions regarding the raw conversion or ultimate IQ of a system.

    I am sure the devil is in the details ...and I don t have a clue how adobe is improving the raw conversion portion of their software. This really gets to the heart of the issue and that is will adobe really tune the raw conversion for a S2 file or are we talking about profiles,presets etc and if not can an S2 file ever be optimized without a proprietary solution.

    Guy has stated many times that Leica needs a proprietary solution but the ensuing discussion seems to encompass profiles,presets etc . and the "raw conversion" gets lost.
    Well said Roger . I think folks like David Grover from Hassy and Doug or a Phase software engineer would be a invaluable resource right now as you are asking for the heart of the matter. Lets' see if we can get them to offer there expertise.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    I made my comments based on my experience as a C1 user. It's been my go-to choice as a raw converter for the last 4-5 years.

    That said, I'm fascinated by Leica's choice not to use them for the S2. I don't know what went on behind the scenes, but I'm certain there is a story there. It appears that they took on some of the raw conversion development internally and conferred with Adobe to finalize integration. In the end, it'll be interesting to see how it'll continue to shake out as I have an appreciation for how they view ultimate image quality no matter the vendor they've chosen.

    Kurt

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    I would be interested in hearing from someone that really knows the various software products. From my perspective ...which could be entirely off ....there are five elements to the proprietary that provide points of differentiation:

    1. The initial raw conversion from the raw file as presented by the camera.

    2. The profile that maps the colors and their densities into the converted file.
    3. The lens corrections another form of profiling?
    4. The presets that are or are not built into the conversion...curves,sharpening,noise etc.
    5. the workflow elements that assist in capture through output.

    First discard the workflow considerations as these are productivity not IQ aspects . They are very important but assume that MF is about superior IQ.
    I should make it clear up front that I am not an imaging-science PHD. I know quite a bit and I'm lucky to speak with some of the insanely smart people who not only understand, but actually invent/improve the math behind the below theory.

    I would argue that any given raw processing software has three legs of quality:
    1) the quality of the generic math
    2) the extent to which the processing is catered to a given camera
    3) how well the tools/workflow allow the user to access the theoretically available quality

    1) Some program's fundamental math is simply better and all programs that I have tracked have improved their math over time/versions.

    2) Allowing the conversion of a particular raw format can be as basic as adding 'support'. However, much much more can be done.
    - lens profiles: mapping of distortion, chromatic aberration characteristics, purple fringing, vignette, color cast
    - noise profiles noise reduction algorithms benefit enormously from knowing the KIND of noise that a camera generates in which situations
    - proprietary data: such as the dark frame readout, sensor-temperature readings, etc
    - color profiles: accurate ICC profiles for a variety of illumination sources (daylight, flash, tungsten etc); for anyone shooting in non-daylight sources this is the hugely important. Really accurate tungsten profiles are VERY hard to create correctly as a consumer compared to the manufacturer with industrial quality profiling equipment
    - sensor particulars: each sensor has it's own particular quirks. I don't pretend to fully understand this one and I have a feeling only the imaging-science PHDs really do, but I'm told that this has especially large impact on shadow color accuracy and highlight/shadow detail recovery

    3) I would also say that even if you're only concerned with image quality that workflow still matters. The easier it is to use the program to edit and adjust your image the more likely you will select the best image, and will find that special way of adjusting it that really brings out the most

    Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    The quality of the generic math is one of the characteristics that separates various raw developers. But its generic and there would appear to be a benefit to any of the software providers to supply a good solution. I think Adobe has been at a real disadvantage for a while simply because they have been focused on either competitive capabilities. The new camera raw and LR3 conversions are better ..I think at the base level conversion.

    Its much harder to evaluate the impact of profiles for color,aberrations ,noise etc. And presets for curves,sharpening ,noise etc.

    This is were any evaluation tends to break down because I can t tell if its the software or the fact that the user just hasn t tuned their process. . Maybe an example will help. If I compare a C1 processed M9 file with a LR3 M9 file with no adjustments and using the software supplied profiles ....the C1 rendering is better . But If I work the LR3 conversion and the C1 conversion they look pretty close. I am sure I am the weak link at this point.

    Leica should have fixed these differences by now ..if Adobe is the new standard. They need their version of AMG that tunes Mercedes .

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    This is were any evaluation tends to break down because I can t tell if its the software or the fact that the user just hasn t tuned their process. . Maybe an example will help. If I compare a C1 processed M9 file with a LR3 M9 file with no adjustments and using the software supplied profiles ....the C1 rendering is better . But If I work the LR3 conversion and the C1 conversion they look pretty close. I am sure I am the weak link at this point.
    Have you done any side by side comparisons of the following:
    - quantity and aesthetics of noise in high ISO M9 files
    - color accuracy in shadows as you push the file or recover shadows
    - the ability to remove purple fringing in the corner of wide angle shots*
    - transitions from deep shadow into quartertones

    *It's definitely possible to do this in Photoshop by hand, but there is a pretty big advantage to being able to remove it at the raw stage on one or a thousand files in seconds.

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpetersonci View Post
    I should make it clear up front that I am not an imaging-science PHD. I know quite a bit and I'm lucky to speak with some of the insanely smart people who not only understand, but actually invent/improve the math behind the below theory.

    I would argue that any given raw processing software has three legs of quality:
    1) the quality of the generic math
    2) the extent to which the processing is catered to a given camera
    3) how well the tools/workflow allow the user to access the theoretically available quality

    1) Some program's fundamental math is simply better and all programs that I have tracked have improved their math over time/versions.

    2) Allowing the conversion of a particular raw format can be as basic as adding 'support'. However, much much more can be done.
    - lens profiles: mapping of distortion, chromatic aberration characteristics, purple fringing, vignette, color cast
    - noise profiles noise reduction algorithms benefit enormously from knowing the KIND of noise that a camera generates in which situations
    - proprietary data: such as the dark frame readout, sensor-temperature readings, etc
    - color profiles: accurate ICC profiles for a variety of illumination sources (daylight, flash, tungsten etc); for anyone shooting in non-daylight sources this is the hugely important. Really accurate tungsten profiles are VERY hard to create correctly as a consumer compared to the manufacturer with industrial quality profiling equipment
    - sensor particulars: each sensor has it's own particular quirks. I don't pretend to fully understand this one and I have a feeling only the imaging-science PHDs really do, but I'm told that this has especially large impact on shadow color accuracy and highlight/shadow detail recovery

    3) I would also say that even if you're only concerned with image quality that workflow still matters. The easier it is to use the program to edit and adjust your image the more likely you will select the best image, and will find that special way of adjusting it that really brings out the most

    Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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    Kudos for such a clear and pointed explanation of a complex set of interactive factors Doug. Glad you addressed the workflow issue also.

    -Marc

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Doug

    I understand your points but am unable to reach a conclusion regarding the Leica S2. Several of the members that tried the S2 and converted in LR mentioned that they didn t feel they were getting the best out of the files. Since you sell the S2 as well as the Phase One products ..what is the your preferred conversion of the S2 files?

    Guy has indicated that the S2 conversions need the refinement of better profiles,presets etc.
    But I wonder if its more than that and without a proprietary raw conversion will they be able to achieve competitive results. I am not sure I see a way to get a competitive solution with LR but then I am asking a question.

    Roger

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    Re: Almost ready to take the plunge..

    Quote Originally Posted by glenerrolrd View Post
    Doug

    I understand your points but am unable to reach a conclusion regarding the Leica S2. Several of the members that tried the S2 and converted in LR mentioned that they didn t feel they were getting the best out of the files. Since you sell the S2 as well as the Phase One products ..what is the your preferred conversion of the S2 files?

    Guy has indicated that the S2 conversions need the refinement of better profiles,presets etc.
    But I wonder if its more than that and without a proprietary raw conversion will they be able to achieve competitive results. I am not sure I see a way to get a competitive solution with LR but then I am asking a question.

    Roger

    Roger,

    I know others here have expressed otherwise, but I've found Lightroom conversions from S2 files to be excellent..... And even better once one knows the best settings (subject to personal taste, of course). I've been working with S2 raw files for the better part of nine months now and have developed my own presets and best practices for LR. I freely share these with my S2 customers or anyone for that matter. Nothing secret, just the results of my own process.

    After creating my own ICC profile for C1, I did find the color in C1 to be much better (no purple skies, etc.), but the overall image rendering is still better in LR. Again, I've posted ts profile for anyone to use.

    Adobe and Leica have actually entered into a pretty extensive relationship, beyond mere "support for...". Consider that all new Leica digital products ship with bundled Adobe software. S2, M9 and X1 all come with Lightroom. The new V-lux 20 comes with Photoshop Elements 8. We are talking about over 100,000 licenses. This is not insignificant. Leica chose to walk away from a similar relationship with Phase One (and one we could surmise was a profitable one for Phase). Many could speculate on the reasons, but the bottom line is that Phase is a hardware competitor and Adobe is a software company who happens to make industry standard software.

    I'd be happy to work with you one-on-one to show you what can be done with the S2 and LR. We have a few demo S2 systems so you could try one for yourself in the field rather than just in a store and we can work together to process the files.

    David
    David Farkas
    Leica Store Miami

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