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Thread: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

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    Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    Hey Everyone,
    I heard that I can get a good amount of information about medium format here. I currently have a D3X but have been looking into medium format for a while. I really don't know which route to take. I have seen some great deals out there. Some being an h1 body and phase one p30+ digital back (dent on digital back) for 7K. I have also seen h3d ii 31 going for around 7.5K and a h3d ii 39 for around 11K all with the bodies and stock 80mm lens. Obviously I'm trying to find a good deal, but have no problem paying a little more for something that is quality and is going to last.

    What do you guys recommend in terms of hasselblad vs. phase one or mamiya etc. Do any of the deals above sound really good?

    Also about lenses. I currently use a 24-70 and a 70-200 2.8 VR II as my lenses. I like zooms because it makes my work easier. But I have heard that the medium format zooms are very heavy and very expensive. Is it worth it to get 1 zoom for everything? Or should I have a normal lens, telephoto (possibly macro telephoto) and a wide angle? What lenses are good?

    I've also heard that phase one has a great hand-in program for older backs. So I figured I could always get one and then later on down the road hand it in for a newer one? Any more info at all would be awesome! I'm very excited to give medium format a shot and I know I will be happy with the results!

    Thank You,
    Eric DosSantos
    Last edited by shortpballer; 10th July 2010 at 22:02.

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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    First off, welcome to GetDPI! Second, any of the systems you mentioned above will be excellent, and can provide upgrade paths. My suggestions are you first go handle both systems and shoot some frames with them. This will give you a feel for how the cameras handle and should steer you one direction. Next, look at the entire imaging process from getting the files off the card, converted, adjusted, and finally output to whatever format you prefer. Ideally, once you've zeroed in on a choice, rent, beg or borrow it for a day of shooting. Then rent, beg or borrow its counterpart for a day of shooting. A good dealer will probably have an assortment of outfits you can rent, and some will credit you back any rental fees toward your purchase.

    I cannot speak directly about Hassy's trade in program, but I'm sure some of our Hassy folks here will address their specifics. Phase definitely has a trade-up on now and it's actually pretty extraordinary, as well as an equally excellent back/body/3-lens kit "package" deal.

    Re zooms, both Hassy's 50-110 and Mamiya's 75-150 are quite good. Hassy recently released a 35-90 and I'm hearing good things about it too.
    Jack
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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    Eric, welcome to a great forum.

    I agree with what Jack has offered so far. You really must try these systems for yourself to see which is right for you; a lot of that is how does it fit and feel in your hands. I believe the separation between the systems is growing smaller however it will always come down to a personal approach as to what's right for you and your particular workflow.

    Of equal importance is the dealer. While there will always be deals available you need to insure your dealer will be there to help you out as you grow into medium format; I've always felt a good dealer is much like a silent partner standing there behind you waiting to help.

    In short, you'll get a hundred different answers from as many people all saying why they like/use a particular brand; much the same as with vehicles however don't make a buying decision until you get an actual chance to use the system yourself.

    As for me, I used Mamiya bodies and glass with great success as well as the (then) new Phase One AFD prior to moving completely to a technical camera and the Cambo WRS1000 and Schneider lens however that's another topic all together.

    You don't mention where you're located however I', sure there's a dealer close to you.

    Best of luck and keep us posted.


    Don
    Don Libby
    Iron Creek Photography
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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    I'm located in San Diego. I'm not a fan of renting as I feel its always money thrown out the door.

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    Eric, welcome to a great forum.

    I agree with what Jack has offered so far. You really must try these systems for yourself to see which is right for you; a lot of that is how does it fit and feel in your hands. I believe the separation between the systems is growing smaller however it will always come down to a personal approach as to what's right for you and your particular workflow.

    Of equal importance is the dealer. While there will always be deals available you need to insure your dealer will be there to help you out as you grow into medium format; I've always felt a good dealer is much like a silent partner standing there behind you waiting to help.

    In short, you'll get a hundred different answers from as many people all saying why they like/use a particular brand; much the same as with vehicles however don't make a buying decision until you get an actual chance to use the system yourself.

    As for me, I used Mamiya bodies and glass with great success as well as the (then) new Phase One AFD prior to moving completely to a technical camera and the Cambo WRS1000 and Schneider lens however that's another topic all together.

    You don't mention where you're located however I', sure there's a dealer close to you.

    Best of luck and keep us posted.


    Don

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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    ...its always money thrown out the door.

    oh my god!

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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    ...its always money thrown out the door.

    oh my god!
    What is that supposed to mean? It is, you pay, you get it for said time, you return it and your out $300 or whatever it costs. If you buy one and don't like it, if you get a good deal, you can always re-sell it for the same price, and you can play with it for more than a day.

    Eric

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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    Eric, I dream of being able to sell gear for the same price as I paid. It's only ever happened to me once. How do you do it?

    I would expect to borrow any gear that I was buying and not pay rental but Australia my be different to the US.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
    www.jeff-grant.com

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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by shortpballer View Post
    What is that supposed to mean? It is, you pay, you get it for said time, you return it and your out $300 or whatever it costs. If you buy one and don't like it, if you get a good deal, you can always re-sell it for the same price, and you can play with it for more than a day.

    Eric
    Buying and selling MF gear is NOT the same thing as buying and selling Canon and Nikon gear -- it's more like buying and selling wooden boats or obscure English cars... In that, any rental fee you have to eat on a piece of gear you end up not really liking actually represents money SAVED, not lost. I'm pretty sure that's what JLM's reaction meant...
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    sorry to be cryptic, but consider the " abandon hope, all ye who enter" welcome.

    in my experience, everything purchased in MF will result in negative cash flow after re-sale, trades, trade-ins, up-grades, etc. your market is much smaller, the gear is highly priced to begin with, depreciates like crazy, and gets quickly deposed by mfg's offering new gear at such attractive prices your old gear has even more limited re-sale.

    If you are worried about possibly wasting money by rental to try our MF you are titling at the wrong windmill

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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by shortpballer View Post
    Hey Everyone,
    I heard that I can get a good amount of information about medium format here. I currently have a D3X but have been looking into medium format for a while. I really don't know which route to take. I have seen some great deals out there. Some being an h1 body and phase one p30+ digital back (dent on digital back) for 7K. I have also seen h3d ii 31 going for around 7.5K and a h3d ii 39 for around 11K all with the bodies and stock 80mm lens. Obviously I'm trying to find a good deal, but have no problem paying a little more for something that is quality and is going to last.

    What do you guys recommend in terms of hasselblad vs. phase one or mamiya etc. Do any of the deals above sound really good?

    Also about lenses. I currently use a 24-70 and a 70-200 2.8 VR II as my lenses. I like zooms because it makes my work easier. But I have heard that the medium format zooms are very heavy and very expensive. Is it worth it to get 1 zoom for everything? Or should I have a normal lens, telephoto (possibly macro telephoto) and a wide angle? What lenses are good?

    I've also heard that phase one has a great hand-in program for older backs. So I figured I could always get one and then later on down the road hand it in for a newer one? Any more info at all would be awesome! I'm very excited to give medium format a shot and I know I will be happy with the results!

    Thank You,
    Eric DosSantos




    Welcome Eric:

    I wanted to follow up on your comment about trade in values on current camera like Phase One P30/P30+. There is currently a new special just released. e also have Leaf specials too.


    Trade in a P30/P30+ or P45/P45+ towards a new P65+ for $19,990

    That is $20,000 trade value. Classic Warranty



    Trade a P25/P25+ or P30/P30+ towards a new P40+ for $9,990

    That is a $10,000 trade value. Classic Warranty



    Buy a new P65+ for $39,990 and get a free Phase One DF camera body and 80mm LS Lens Free. Plus pick any 2 Phase One lenses free. That would be a very good saving if you were looking for that package.

    So some really good trade values out there,

    Please let me know if I can answer any questions for you.




    Sincerely,

    Chris Snipes
    Sales Manager, Florida
    Capture Integration
    http://www.captureintegration.com

    Phase One, Leaf, Leica, Cambo, Canon, Apple, Profoto, Eizo & More

    404.522.7662 Atlanta
    305.350.9900 Miami
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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    Renting is maybe the best way other than hands on experience perhaps at a sponsored event.
    Personally, once I tried out the gear I got hooked, there is no way back for me.
    -bob

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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by shortpballer View Post
    Hey Everyone,
    I heard that I can get a good amount of information about medium format here. I currently have a D3X but have been looking into medium format for a while. I really don't know which route to take. I have seen some great deals out there. Some being an h1 body and phase one p30+ digital back (dent on digital back) for 7K. I have also seen h3d ii 31 going for around 7.5K and a h3d ii 39 for around 11K all with the bodies and stock 80mm lens. Obviously I'm trying to find a good deal, but have no problem paying a little more for something that is quality and is going to last.

    What do you guys recommend in terms of hasselblad vs. phase one or mamiya etc. Do any of the deals above sound really good?

    Also about lenses. I currently use a 24-70 and a 70-200 2.8 VR II as my lenses. I like zooms because it makes my work easier. But I have heard that the medium format zooms are very heavy and very expensive. Is it worth it to get 1 zoom for everything? Or should I have a normal lens, telephoto (possibly macro telephoto) and a wide angle? What lenses are good?

    I've also heard that phase one has a great hand-in program for older backs. So I figured I could always get one and then later on down the road hand it in for a newer one? Any more info at all would be awesome! I'm very excited to give medium format a shot and I know I will be happy with the results!

    Thank You,
    Eric DosSantos
    Hi Eric,

    The trick to MFD is to select carefully based on your needs and applications using a long term investment in making photos mentality, not a financial investment mindset.

    I understand your notion of buying carefully and being able to sell with little to no loss should it not be your cup of tea. This works with used gear that is in demand. It works less well with used MFD gear (but is possible) and it does not work well with new MFD gear at all. But you were mentioning used gear.

    In reality, any of the used 31 or 39 meg medium format systems will be more than enough for almost anything most people shoot. Beyond that is getting into some pretty rarified needs and demands. Only you can determine if you are in that rarified territory.

    Even if Nikon went to a 35 meg DSLR, it still isn't the same because 35mm DSLRs are limited to a small sensor compared to those in a MFD camera. I dumped my Nikon D3X and shoot with a H4D/40. No comparison when it comes to image quality.

    In reality there are two basic, well supported systems to select from ... Phase One/Leaf and Hasselblad. Lots of good spirited rivalry ... but they are fundamentally very similar in the final output. The biggest difference is the Phase-One/Mamiya kit is primarily a focal plane camera with a few leaf shutter lenses becoming available, and the Hasselblad is strictly a Leaf Shutter system. If you do not use flash very much, or not at all, I'd seriously look at the Phase One kits.

    -Marc

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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    That's some great advice by Marc. I in fact, just picked up a H3DII-31 because that's the only hassy we could afford and we use a lot of flash. So the 1/800 is highly desirable for us. We did look at Phase One, but ultimately, the closed system actually appealed to us, as it's our primary means of income.

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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Hi Eric,

    The trick to MFD is to select carefully based on your needs and applications using a long term investment in making photos mentality, not a financial investment mindset.

    I understand your notion of buying carefully and being able to sell with little to no loss should it not be your cup of tea. This works with used gear that is in demand. It works less well with used MFD gear (but is possible) and it does not work well with new MFD gear at all. But you were mentioning used gear.

    In reality, any of the used 31 or 39 meg medium format systems will be more than enough for almost anything most people shoot. Beyond that is getting into some pretty rarified needs and demands. Only you can determine if you are in that rarified territory.

    Even if Nikon went to a 35 meg DSLR, it still isn't the same because 35mm DSLRs are limited to a small sensor compared to those in a MFD camera. I dumped my Nikon D3X and shoot with a H4D/40. No comparison when it comes to image quality.

    In reality there are two basic, well supported systems to select from ... Phase One/Leaf and Hasselblad. Lots of good spirited rivalry ... but they are fundamentally very similar in the final output. The biggest difference is the Phase-One/Mamiya kit is primarily a focal plane camera with a few leaf shutter lenses becoming available, and the Hasselblad is strictly a Leaf Shutter system. If you do not use flash very much, or not at all, I'd seriously look at the Phase One kits.

    -Marc

    There are as many opinions about medium format as there are opinions about....I guess the closest example might be BBQ?

    And I have my own unique perspective. I've been employed by Imacon (before the Hasselblad merger), Sinar, Phase One, and have years of extensive experience selling all of the digital back offerings at the dealer level, including Leaf/Mamiya.

    I used to take the approach that image quality was the least significant difference between all these products, but as I've gotten to work with so many varied types of users and applications, I don't think I would say that any element is insignificant, and that goes for image quality as well. There are differences in out of the box quality and rendering, as well as differences in the assortment and effectiveness of tools used to repair and modify image quality issues. While all of the medium format products produce amazing image quality, they are differences in how they get to the final image and what it looks like.

    What means nothing to one user could mean everything to another. The user experience is not a similar experience where everyone generally winds up IMO. It is different for everyone.

    To that end, I would say that determining exactly what the detailed differences are between these products is extremely important. It is surprising how a little detail can either be a step forward every time you use a product or a friggin pain in the *** every time you use it or even an obstacle to a type of photography you're turning towards.

    Due diligence has many rewards. Buying without knowing everything about that product, the history of that product, and the future of that product is a risk you're taking. Getting that product into your hands and comparing it to your other choices is imperative because there are differences, don't underestimate them.

    I feel strongly about this only because while some users may be satisfied with their purchase, others can be very unsatisfied with their purchase when something unanticipated comes up in their workflow that was overlooked in the buying process. It's a very expensive purchase. It pays to treat it that way before you buy.

    FYI - to provide some more details on "a few Leaf shutter lenses becoming available" for the Phase One camera, there are specifically 3 Schneider lenses (55mm, 80mm, 110mm), all with 2.8 maximum apertures that have been shipping in quantity for some time.


    Steve Hendrix
    Steve Hendrix, Sales Manager, www.captureintegration.com (e-mail Me)
    Digital Cam: Phase One | Leaf | Leica | Sinar Authorized Reseller
    TechCam: Alpa | Cambo | Arca Swiss | Sinar Authorized Reseller

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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Hi Eric,

    The trick to MFD is to select carefully based on your needs and applications using a long term investment in making photos mentality, not a financial investment mindset.

    I understand your notion of buying carefully and being able to sell with little to no loss should it not be your cup of tea. This works with used gear that is in demand. It works less well with used MFD gear (but is possible) and it does not work well with new MFD gear at all. But you were mentioning used gear.

    In reality, any of the used 31 or 39 meg medium format systems will be more than enough for almost anything most people shoot. Beyond that is getting into some pretty rarified needs and demands. Only you can determine if you are in that rarified territory.

    Even if Nikon went to a 35 meg DSLR, it still isn't the same because 35mm DSLRs are limited to a small sensor compared to those in a MFD camera. I dumped my Nikon D3X and shoot with a H4D/40. No comparison when it comes to image quality.

    In reality there are two basic, well supported systems to select from ... Phase One/Leaf and Hasselblad. Lots of good spirited rivalry ... but they are fundamentally very similar in the final output. The biggest difference is the Phase-One/Mamiya kit is primarily a focal plane camera with a few leaf shutter lenses becoming available, and the Hasselblad is strictly a Leaf Shutter system. If you do not use flash very much, or not at all, I'd seriously look at the Phase One kits.

    -Marc

    There are as many opinions about medium format as there are opinions about....I guess the closest example might be BBQ?

    And I have my own unique perspective. I've been employed by Imacon (before the Hasselblad merger), Sinar, Phase One, and have years of extensive experience selling all of the digital back offerings at the dealer level, including Leaf/Mamiya.

    I used to take the approach that image quality was the least significant difference between all these products, but as I've gotten to work with so many varied types of users and applications, I don't think I would say that any element is insignificant, and that goes for image quality as well. There are differences in out of the box quality and rendering, as well as differences in the assortment and effectiveness of tools used to repair and modify image quality issues. While all of the medium format products produce amazing image quality, they are differences in how they get to the final image and what it looks like.

    What means nothing to one user could mean everything to another. The user experience is not a similar experience where everyone generally winds up IMO. It is different for everyone.

    To that end, I would say that determining exactly what the detailed differences are between these products is extremely important. It is surprising how a little detail can either be a step forward every time you use a product or a friggin pain in the *** every time you use it or even an obstacle to a type of photography you're turning towards.

    Due diligence has many rewards. Buying without knowing everything about that product, the history of that product, and the future of that product is a risk you're taking. Getting that product into your hands and comparing it to your other choices is imperative because there are differences, don't underestimate them.

    I feel strongly about this only because while some users may be satisfied with their purchase, others can be very unsatisfied with their purchase when something unanticipated comes up in their workflow that was overlooked in the buying process. It's a very expensive purchase. It pays to treat it that way before you buy.

    I would also say that when you do your due diligence, you should do it with someone who A) knows the detailed differences between these products and B) has an eye for the negative. You need to hear about the bad. It's just human nature that expensive and very capable products like medium format digital products are praised. Someone who provides the "bad things digital backs do" information is someone who can potentially turn your user experience into a happier one.

    FYI - to provide some more details on "a few Leaf shutter lenses becoming available" for the Phase One camera, there are specifically 3 Schneider lenses (55mm/2.8, 80mm/2.8, 110mm2.8), that can shoot up to a 1/1600th sync speed that have been shipping in quantity for some time.


    Steve Hendrix
    Steve Hendrix, Sales Manager, www.captureintegration.com (e-mail Me)
    Digital Cam: Phase One | Leaf | Leica | Sinar Authorized Reseller
    TechCam: Alpa | Cambo | Arca Swiss | Sinar Authorized Reseller

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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    To paraphrase one of the old Wall Street saws: "It's not hard to make a small fortune buying and selling MF gear... the key is to start with a large fortune".

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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hendrix View Post
    There are as many opinions about medium format as there are opinions about....I guess the closest example might be BBQ?

    And I have my own unique perspective. I've been employed by Imacon (before the Hasselblad merger), Sinar, Phase One, and have years of extensive experience selling all of the digital back offerings at the dealer level, including Leaf/Mamiya.

    I used to take the approach that image quality was the least significant difference between all these products, but as I've gotten to work with so many varied types of users and applications, I don't think I would say that any element is insignificant, and that goes for image quality as well. There are differences in out of the box quality and rendering, as well as differences in the assortment and effectiveness of tools used to repair and modify image quality issues. While all of the medium format products produce amazing image quality, they are differences in how they get to the final image and what it looks like.

    What means nothing to one user could mean everything to another. The user experience is not a similar experience where everyone generally winds up IMO. It is different for everyone.

    To that end, I would say that determining exactly what the detailed differences are between these products is extremely important. It is surprising how a little detail can either be a step forward every time you use a product or a friggin pain in the *** every time you use it or even an obstacle to a type of photography you're turning towards.

    Due diligence has many rewards. Buying without knowing everything about that product, the history of that product, and the future of that product is a risk you're taking. Getting that product into your hands and comparing it to your other choices is imperative because there are differences, don't underestimate them.

    I feel strongly about this only because while some users may be satisfied with their purchase, others can be very unsatisfied with their purchase when something unanticipated comes up in their workflow that was overlooked in the buying process. It's a very expensive purchase. It pays to treat it that way before you buy.

    FYI - to provide some more details on "a few Leaf shutter lenses becoming available" for the Phase One camera, there are specifically 3 Schneider lenses (55mm, 80mm, 110mm), all with 2.8 maximum apertures that have been shipping in quantity for some time.


    Steve Hendrix
    Good advice for the most part. Experiences differ ... that is one thing that is for sure. So, perspectives will also differ.

    Personally, given MFD tools with similar specifications, I've still yet to see any significant differences in the end product regarding image quality as applied by photographers with different and distinct styles. What product they chose seems to deliver the goods as determined by them.

    This different perspective is not gleaned from selling MFD products (which is obviously a valid perspective), but from buying a LOT of photography as an advertising Art Director/Creative Director ... and literally supervising thousands of real world shoots with a lot at stake every single time. In that capacity, I've seen the same photographer use any number of MFD products and yet produce the same distinct style or feel to their work. That has much more to do with other elements of their photographic talents and abilities then it does which specific MFD tool they may have used. Of that I am VERY sure.

    Frankly, as a buyer of photography, I didn't care what they used to get there, just as long as they got there. With few exceptions they all did ... using all sorts of different MFD products.

    So, I'd take some issue with downplaying the ability of experienced shooters and/or their tech assistants to evaluate their needs, and determine what tool may be best to achieve that based on input from other users and the various knowledgable suppliers of MFD solutions ... which is what makes this forum, and others dedicated to specific products, invaluable. In fact, my advice is don't listen to the photographer, listen to their tech assistant ...

    User advocates of the various MFD solutions will naturally tout their choices ... but over the years, I've come to cast a wary eye on these enthusiastic pronouncements, and try to separate their purchase justifications, or specific feature benefits that don't align with my needs ... and study what they are actually producing. Endless talk is one thing, seeing the work is a whole different perspective.

    If there are user surprises in work-flow or some other characteristic after the fact, then something wasn't clearly communicated .... or the user was lazy in his/her investigations.

    I also do not understand how one would determine the "future" of a product ... the future of MFD has brought many folks many surprises that no one predicted. I suppose one could study the history as an indication, but I find most history is revisionist, or leaves out certain parts ... so, in reality, this is a difficult task at best, and of limited value for those in need to produce photographs now. If any given MFD product was the end all, there would be no need for upgrade paths and R&D would come to a halt. As we have all seen in the past, the best solution for your needs isn't always the one that thrives and survives in the marketplace.

    I still hold that the camera systems themselves offer the most clear choices, or differences. As I've stated in past, my basic choice was based on wanting/needing higher flash sync for ALL my focal lengths. I use from 28mm to 510mm with strobes ... 11 focal length choices + a 1.7 X extender, and a HT/S adapter, as opposed to 3 leaf shutter focal lengths (which to be clear, are only recent additions). I also require a waist level finder. So, starting from scratch today, I'd still make the same choice. Not everyone's needs to be sure, but most certainly my specific needs. Others may need longer exposures, or prefer focal plane type gear to meet their requirements.

    -Marc

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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    Just a heads-up folks: The OP for this thread has posted similarly over at LL and does not seem to be paying any attention to advices given, nor has he responded other than to say he's recently purchased two stystems he doen't want...
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    Shame I had a lot of PM's with him and did exactly opposite of the advice given.

    You can lead a horse to water but ....................

    Hopefully others will gain from the knowledge given here.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Shame I had a lot of PM's with him and did exactly opposite of the advice given.

    You can lead a horse to water but ....................

    Hopefully others will gain from the knowledge given here.
    Guy, I always think that to be true. The advice given here from all perspectives is invaluable to a lot more folks than just the person asking the initial question.

    What often perplexes me is when someone orders one of these systems from a big box store when it is so obvious that the dealer reps from all the makers that frequent this, and other forums, are so dedicated to their clients.

    -Marc

  21. #21
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    I have to agree Marc. I simply don't understand going around the dealers when it come to MF. There is a lot of money on the table and trying to take shortcuts to save money with e-bay and such can actually cost you dearly. Here is a case that you can buy from a trusted forum member on used gear or go to a dealer and feel very comfortable about your choice, your warranty, your service, your mount change and any help you need. E-bay is like dropping your pants and running naked through a sports event hoping you won't get caught with your pants down. You will get caught and you will pay the price on many levels. BTW this has nothing to do with any brand at all just good common buying sense and risk taken. I will never risk a purchase over 2k, that is my e-bay comfort zone and even that maybe to high.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  22. #22
    Senior Member Steve Hendrix's Avatar
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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Good advice for the most part. Experiences differ ... that is one thing that is for sure. So, perspectives will also differ.

    Personally, given MFD tools with similar specifications, I've still yet to see any significant differences in the end product regarding image quality as applied by photographers with different and distinct styles. What product they chose seems to deliver the goods as determined by them.

    This different perspective is not gleaned from selling MFD products (which is obviously a valid perspective), but from buying a LOT of photography as an advertising Art Director/Creative Director ... and literally supervising thousands of real world shoots with a lot at stake every single time. In that capacity, I've seen the same photographer use any number of MFD products and yet produce the same distinct style or feel to their work. That has much more to do with other elements of their photographic talents and abilities then it does which specific MFD tool they may have used. Of that I am VERY sure.

    Frankly, as a buyer of photography, I didn't care what they used to get there, just as long as they got there. With few exceptions they all did ... using all sorts of different MFD products.

    So, I'd take some issue with downplaying the ability of experienced shooters and/or their tech assistants to evaluate their needs, and determine what tool may be best to achieve that based on input from other users and the various knowledgable suppliers of MFD solutions ... which is what makes this forum, and others dedicated to specific products, invaluable. In fact, my advice is don't listen to the photographer, listen to their tech assistant ...

    User advocates of the various MFD solutions will naturally tout their choices ... but over the years, I've come to cast a wary eye on these enthusiastic pronouncements, and try to separate their purchase justifications, or specific feature benefits that don't align with my needs ... and study what they are actually producing. Endless talk is one thing, seeing the work is a whole different perspective.

    If there are user surprises in work-flow or some other characteristic after the fact, then something wasn't clearly communicated .... or the user was lazy in his/her investigations.

    I also do not understand how one would determine the "future" of a product ... the future of MFD has brought many folks many surprises that no one predicted. I suppose one could study the history as an indication, but I find most history is revisionist, or leaves out certain parts ... so, in reality, this is a difficult task at best, and of limited value for those in need to produce photographs now. If any given MFD product was the end all, there would be no need for upgrade paths and R&D would come to a halt. As we have all seen in the past, the best solution for your needs isn't always the one that thrives and survives in the marketplace.

    I still hold that the camera systems themselves offer the most clear choices, or differences. As I've stated in past, my basic choice was based on wanting/needing higher flash sync for ALL my focal lengths. I use from 28mm to 510mm with strobes ... 11 focal length choices + a 1.7 X extender, and a HT/S adapter, as opposed to 3 leaf shutter focal lengths (which to be clear, are only recent additions). I also require a waist level finder. So, starting from scratch today, I'd still make the same choice. Not everyone's needs to be sure, but most certainly my specific needs. Others may need longer exposures, or prefer focal plane type gear to meet their requirements.

    -Marc
    This is a great place for knowledge - from end users as well as manufacturers and dealers.

    To pare down my point a bit more specifically, yes, for the most part a similar image can be arrived at from all the mfdb products. But the path to that final image can be quite different. For the recipient of the image, no it doesn't particularly matter how the photographer got there. But for the photographer, it can matter a great deal. That speaks to the essence of the user experience. I am not minimizing the abilities or talents of the photographer in any way. In fact these talents are the key in producing the final image (and sometimes overcoming the limitations or deficiencies that a product presents).

    An important differentiator between our perspective and the perspective of an end user is that we have hands-on experience with the lineage of mfdb's. This means we are thoroughly familiar with a product's historic strengths and weaknesses over time and across models and generations. This is relevant to how the product performs today and the pace of development that the company provides historically gives an insight into the future of that company and of that product. Many other factors play into the perception of the future. And perhaps "future" is too strong a word. But sometimes you're betting on horses, whether it's a company or a product. The more informed, the better. Knowing the legacy of a product and it's development and performance is an asset to making a choice with an eye on future potential or direction. So, no, the future can't be predicted and history is strewn with wrong guesses. But knowing where products/companies have been and where they are as we do, is a benefit. Do we have access to proprietary information? Sometimes we do, yes.

    Critically, we also understand how these competitive products compare relative to each other currently (and historically). Yes, all of these products - generally - can get you to a similar end result (though not necessarily), but the process of getting there can be very different, better, easier, more effective,...or not. If you're going to spend $15,000 - $45,000 or more on a camera system, our perspective is that you should understand in detail how your choices and their capabilities and deficiencies compare.

    We try and make these products do bad things and then we try and fix them. We take many, many processes and we break them down and we compare them. For some, not being able to batch rename in the raw conversion program, while not a deal breaker, could be a thorny itch that you have to scratch again and again and again, much to your exasperation each time. Having to move your mouse to zoom into an image without a shortcut could produce a similar emotion.

    How noise and color and tone and exposure are handled - how effectively, how productively, are all different with these products. Is any one issue a deal breaker? For many, no, for some yes. You want to know if you are that one.

    So, our key benefit, and one that is typically out of reach for an end user, is our daily experience with these competitive products that goes back years. It is a perspective that generally is not nearly as available coming from an end user. An end user may try out some competitive products and compare them at a given time, typically when they're in the market to purchase. But that is usually one of the few moments in time they will spend any significant amount of time comparing products. By contrast we spend every day with these competitive products and we have the experience of thousands of end users who rely on us for supporting technical issues and providing development input to engineers and product managers. And thousands of photographers using these products in different ways, with different techniques and processes and different needs as a result. We come into contact with many more photographers who use mfdb's than any end user.

    Not taking anything away from end user feedback and information - I feel that is just one more really important element to the evaluation equation. But I don't know that our perspective is clearly understood in terms of the benefits.


    Steve Hendrix
    Steve Hendrix, Sales Manager, www.captureintegration.com (e-mail Me)
    Digital Cam: Phase One | Leaf | Leica | Sinar Authorized Reseller
    TechCam: Alpa | Cambo | Arca Swiss | Sinar Authorized Reseller

  23. #23
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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    I personally feel the evaluation process of medium format is a multiple point process consisting of the manufacture as well as the dealer. The manufacture must be able to provide a product that will suit the hands that will use it. Will it have the dynamic range you need, what about speed, noise, format, etc. That all needs to be evaluated by the person who will be using the system.

    Just as important is the dealer. Does he just want to make a quick sale and move on to the next or does he really care about the end user? What testing, training, technical services does he offer. This is the one area where I'd put some stock into what others say; what's the reputation of the dealer? I feel strongly that the relationship between the end user and dealer should be more like a partnership than salesperson - buyer. Can you say your dealer is a friend and not someone just after a sale?

    I agree with Steve on his point that the buyer "should understand in detail how your choices and their capabilities and deficiencies compare". The buyer must also be willing to spend a little more in the beginning in order to save money and time later on. We've all heard stories of people jumping into MF with what they thought was a great deal only to end up spending even more money to correct a problem that could of been avoided by going to a dealer.

    Stepping into medium format is not for the faint of heart. There's a huge investment that includes much more than just money. Step slowly and wisely.


    Don
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  24. #24
    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Need Digital Medium Format Advice

    Exactly the dealer relationship was the final decision factor for my MFD choice. I went for Hasselblad, because the dealer in Austria really cared, had always time to talk to me and listen to my multiple iterations till the final decision. Unfortunately this was not the case with Phase in Austria and Leica just closed their direct rep before the introduction of the S2.

    So it is definitely a combination of manufacturer and dealer and of course SW support. But dealer is and was the most important for me!

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