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Thread: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

  1. #101
    Member Frits's Avatar
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    I'm going to add on one very important fact of life with MF. Folks this is real work, like strapping on your tool belt and go banging some nails. This is not pick up the camera and let it do your mindless thinking when you shoot where the camera does it all for you. Far from it although many things are very good like AF and metering and such but think of it this way take a 8x10 view camera and blend it with a 35mm Nikon. You will get some automation but you better be prepared to work at getting images and putting your mind to work. Some may say it is slower working, I kind of don't like that description myself. I would prefer if folks said they are out working deliberate images.
    The reality is this you are thinking more and working to get the best you can from it's abilities. This takes some time and if you get frustrated than just give it more time as MF can take a couple months to really get the hang of working differently but a lot smarter. I love it and I love the challenge.
    Spot on Guy. This is actually one of the aspects I like about MF.
    Frits

  2. #102
    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    I'm going to add on one very important fact of life with MF. Folks this is real work, like strapping on your tool belt and go banging some nails. This is not pick up the camera and let it do your mindless thinking when you shoot where the camera does it all for you. Far from it although many things are very good like AF and metering and such but think of it this way take a 8x10 view camera and blend it with a 35mm Nikon. You will get some automation but you better be prepared to work at getting images and putting your mind to work. Some may say it is slower working, I kind of don't like that description myself. I would prefer if folks said they are out working deliberate images.
    The reality is this you are thinking more and working to get the best you can from it's abilities. This takes some time and if you get frustrated than just give it more time as MF can take a couple months to really get the hang of working differently but a lot smarter. I love it and I love the challenge.
    Great post.

    I think sometime we forget that these mf digital cameras are world class. They have the potential to take world class images and produce world class files. Just compare the files of your mfd to your Canon or Nikon or even your Leica in "35mm" format and you understand that.

    I'm finding myself a bit frustrated doing high school seniors lately because I look at the files of my Canon 5dmk2 and know if I had taken the same image with my Hassie, for example, I'd see those eyelashes instead of having to retouch them in. Might not make a very noticeable difference in final print order as usually not a wall print, taking the lead from Guy, when you strap on that tool belt, you want to pound those nails really straight. (And truly there is something really nice about using a Swingline hammer compared to the $3.99 generic model at Home Depot, same as using mf compared to dslr.)

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Quote Originally Posted by David Schneider View Post
    Great post.

    I think sometime we forget that these mf digital cameras are world class. They have the potential to take world class images and produce world class files. Just compare the files of your mfd to your Canon or Nikon or even your Leica in "35mm" format and you understand that.
    Very true; as much as I love the output from my Leica M9 (which really is a superb machine with the modern lenses...), I am always surprised how much better the quality is from my Sinar 33MP digital back - but it is so ONLY if I make the effort (tripod, mirror pre-release, cable release, very deliberate focusing), and that "only" is not always what I want/can be bothered/can afford to do; neither are all subjects necessarily demanding of the "MF treatment" in my mind. I always wonder why many of the guys on the various forums post images of their kids/pets/family taken with the latest and greatest MF digiback or the S2 when such images would look equally great and would have the same sentimental value if taken with a Lumix GF1, for instance...; the bottom line being that I reserve my MF digital efforts to more "pre-planned projects", images that I have previewed in my mind, after some research and deliberation, and shoot my everyday "snaps" with all the other lovely/"lowly" cameras, like the M9, the GF1 or a Canon DSLR, that are so much more convenient and so much easier to use.

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    I think that Guy has made a very strong point which people considering buying into MFD should read carefully. The backs be they 25 or 80 megapixels all require careful attention to shooting technique. Even in the fattest light - less than very careful technique will totally remove the IQ and resolution benefits you can get from MFD backs ie if you dnt take care you wont get the benefits.

    This is why ( IMHO) each person must make sure that the camera erogonomics suit their personal preferences - especially in hand held use.

    Also understand that what landscape photographers want and need isnt necesarilly what everyone needs. For example I know I dont need 80 megapixels or even 60 in a single shot camera - and if I needed multishot - really there is only one choice if you want the best - but then you better have the studio environment to use it properly!

    Final note - I really don't think that MFD is moving up or trading up. In many situaitons it is just as accurate to understand one is actually trading down - when it comes to functionality..

    horses for courses is a very important factor - an M9 will give me more keepers in hand held use than any MF camera system - a D3 will give me much better high ISO as well as much better telephoto than any MF camera system.

    So I dont expect a MF system to do it all for me - but rather I use each system for its strengths - and have ended up happier - even though with less cash in the bank...

  5. #105
    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Peter is correct. You have to be a better technical photographer using mf than smaller format. And the right tool for the right job.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post

    Final note - I really don't think that MFD is moving up or trading up. In many situaitons it is just as accurate to understand one is actually trading down - when it comes to functionality..
    I couldn't agree more. Certainly with Phase One/Mamiya it's a step backwards from 35mm DSLRs although you definitely do get out what you put in - as you mention, sloppy technique will bite you.

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    horses for courses is a very important factor - an M9 will give me more keepers in hand held use than any MF camera system - a D3 will give me much better high ISO as well as much better telephoto than any MF camera system.

    So I dont expect a MF system to do it all for me - but rather I use each system for its strengths - and have ended up happier - even though with less cash in the bank...
    Peter, again these are pearls of wisdom that apply to system use overall. Like you, I get more keepers with both my M9 and Nikon gear for just the reasons you cite. I bring my M9 along whenever I shoot with my MFDB and it's also my travel camera of choice. If I only have one chance of capturing an image such as with wildlife or high ISO situations then my D3s is the system of choice (or whatever your flavor of DSLR obviously). For landscape though, where I don't have to hurry, I prefer to make the investment of time and technique with MF digital and preferably with the least amount of automation possible. (Actually, when I'm shooting on my own I'm an annoyingly slow & considered shooter! Almost glacial at times )
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

  7. #107
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    I set up a studio for my center with a Linhof medium-format camera and Phase P25 back. It was quite easy to move to medium-format digital from film. One term was confusing at first, but once I figured out "lens cast" was actually vignetting or a product of it, it was a lot easier--film cameras also had a color shift caused by vignetting, but just different colors. It has been a lot of fun shooting tethered in a studio--we have the camera hooked up to a 30" monitor. It does create strange behavior--the models turn to the monitor after each time the strobes fire. Maybe I should get a smaller monitor.

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    I learned that you never have as much light as you'd like when handholding a MF camera nor have a lens with enough reach. I am carrying my Hassy with an 80mm and 28mm with me through SE Asia along with a Nikon DSLR. I love the images on the Hassy but I more often reach for the Nikon simply because of clean high ISO and long lens.

    I tried trekking with the Hassy, and I learned that I needed a massage to work out the aches and pain in my shoulder from carrying the hassy all day. I need to figure out how to trek with a MF camera better.

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Quote Originally Posted by sflxn View Post
    I need to figure out how to trek with a MF camera better.
    I trek with my MF gear quite a bit. You will want the weight to be symmetric (no one-shoulder bags) and on your hips. In short, the best way that I have found is a good backpack that fits both your gear and your body well.

  10. #110
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    I also carry my MF gear (before Hy6 now S2) quite a bit and Ialso prefer backpacks (but for 2 hours slingtype works too).
    Still the S2 is even a step forward in potability for me. Not that much lighter than other MF but smaller.
    A S2 and 70mm is lighter than a Nikon DSLR + 24-70 (not lighter than a 50mm prime though).
    For me one "trick" is to think before which lenses I would need mostly and then I often bring only 2 lenses.

  11. #111
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Actually I heard the magic word here bags. I have many setups for what I am doing. Client work usually I use my Streetwalker pro and throw everything in and go. Here is it usually predetermined what i am going to do and need. Lets call this one the safe bet since you are prepared for it. In the field this one is interesting. When doing our workshops we mostly work from the car. Here i leave the Streetwalker home and use a TT 3lens changer bag over my shoulder. I can actually get 4 lenses in it with filters and extra batteries. Now the Body/back and one lens either does one of two things. If i have my laptop than I use a TT Urban Disguise 50 which hold my laptop and Phase one lens kit. I would normally grab the Phase stick it on the tripod and run leaving that bag in the car. So now I am pretty nimble with just a 3 lens bag slung over my shoulder. Now I use a Domke F5 bag I will use when I don't have the laptop so than I can use the 3 lens bag throw the Phase One lens in the domke and go do my thing. One trick I learned is actually keep the Domke in the car which gives me the option of either walking with cam on tripod or walking with it in a small bag on the other shoulder.

    Key here is I given up on the backpack when I am just out and about. This is one way to come up with game plans on how you handle your gear in different shooting situations..

    Now i teach workshops so I obviously see what everyone brings and bottom line they all bring too much and bags are to big. I know they are all going to curse me for saying that but again the trick is keep it simple. The last thing you want is struggling with stupids bags instead of getting images. Its bad enough when your dealing with time like sunrises and sunsets and your rushing to get your gear together. Than bad **** happens.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    I agree with most of you guys on the bag problem. I'm currently traveling, and I use a Computrekker to carry my MF with 2 lenses, a small dslr with 2 lenses, and a macbook air. The bag is used to carry all my photo and computing equipment to my hotel. I then used a cheap REI shoulder bag to carry one camera, one lens when I'm out and about. I usually hate shoulder bags due to the shoulder ache problem.

    I think I am going to move to a 2 camera bag solution. Instead of carrying everything in one bag to carry to the hotel, I will have one bag for the DSLR and one bag for the MF. That way, I can just grab one bag when I go out. The only question is the laptop situation.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    I agree with the principle of the two bag system. The need to carry the full load for travel is different to the need to carry the required lenses and equipment for the day or shooting location. I think also though that the proximity of your base, be it home, your hotel or your vehicle also has an impact upon what amount of gear you will actually take into the field with you.

    For example, if you are going to be quite a way away from your car on a trip then the need to carry some form of backup or extra equipment is different than if you will only be a few minutes away. What it comes down to for me is the goldilocks factor - I.e. Finding something that is neither too large & overloaded vs traveling too light and unable to react to unexpected opportunities or in case **** does happen. The secret is to find the "right" size bag and equipment selection for the day.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    LOL. I have spent so much time on the internet searching for the "right" size bag. This is probably the biggest annoyance in photography today. I'm looking at the problem of long travel trips overseas. I once carried a pelican 1510 through India. I thought it was the "right" size case till I got on propeller plane. The jet prop plane is one of the reason for the two small bag idea. I'm terrified about the day when they try to force me to check in my camera bag. They've tried before and failed.

    The backup equipment is an issue. I've been going without when I go out and about. Years of DSLRs have given me a false sense of security. I probably should backup my MF with something small.

    Let's just face it, we will never find a "right" size bag. It's just a series of "wrong" size bags to the next series of "wrong" size bags. I'm pretty much resigned to that idea.

  15. #115
    Hikari
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Photography is not about having the right bag, camera, or lens. Just the right attitude, an open mind, and just a bit of luck.

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Quote Originally Posted by Hikari View Post
    Photography is not about having the right bag, camera, or lens. Just the right attitude, an open mind, and just a bit of luck.
    C**p.. Photography is about being in the right place at the right time with the right kit.

    It can be a mistake to spend money of a kit bag before you realize how much gear you will need.
    Last edited by dick; 10th March 2011 at 02:06. Reason: typos

  17. #117
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    C**p.. Photography is about being in the right place at the right time with the right kit.

    I can be a mistake to spend money of a kit beg before you realize how much gear you will need.
    The photo manufacturers are going to love you. They have a solution to sell you for every place and time. And if you don't get your shot, that is just an indication of a bad purchase.

    I have found good photography is the product of the photographer, not the camera. While the camera is not incidental, there is no such thing as the "right kit."

    Naturally, blaming the equipment is much easier...

    What a friendly forum.

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Over the past four or five years, I've switched digital medium format systems *seven* times. I've basically flushed a not-so-small fortune down the toilet getting to the right system for me. The upshot of that experience?

    Using the right gear for the right job.

    Of course there is subjectivity in that, and while there is certainly room for personal preference nobody would seriously choose to fight a forest fire with a water pistol. Put another way, if you feel you've got the wrong gear for the job, yes, gear matters a whole helluva lot.

    Once you've solved that problem at least to a sufficient degree, your gear does not get in the way of your creative vision or business needs, then the world is different, and you have much more ability to focus on the tasks at hand.

    I've learned that this is why it is very important to handle and use your prospective gear before you buy, as ergonomics and performance vary *much* more widely with medium format than they do with small format.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    I agree Brad , one very important part of gear is it really needs to be comfortable within yourself or your just fighting a endless battle. Sure photography is no question about the space between your ears but if you cloud that space with something not feeling right than it just simply gets in the way. Bags are gear and having a comfortable /workable bag may mean a lot in the shooting. Just like a grip that may not feel good as you are fighting it. Everything just needs to work and work within yourself so when you finally do put the eyecup to your eye you can focus on what is in front of you not some piece of gear that is just bugging the crap out of you. I have been through more systems than I can count much less remember but in the end it has to feel good first.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  20. #120
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Quote Originally Posted by Hikari View Post
    Naturally, blaming the equipment is much easier...

    What a friendly forum.
    Hey Hikari... don't let that single comment sully your image of this forum. Hang around and you'll find it's one of the nicest, most easy going places on the net.

    Comments like that aren't tolerated long around here.

  21. #121
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Well, in my career, I have not always had the luxury of having the cash or time because, at a particular moment, I did not have the "right" gear. That never prevented me from being successful. I have also found that with specialized equipment, you are going to have to meet the gear halfway--no piece of equipment is perfect, and the more unusual, the more quirks.

    Naturally, there are very specialized form of photography that are very gear dependent--I can't get from a macro lens what a compound microscope can give me. But the difference in ergonomics between a Hasselblad and Mamiya or a Linhof and Alpa is not going to prevent me from doing the same work no matter what annoying foibles those models may have. I have even used a Linhof to do the work more suited to a Mamiya. While I agree that having the "perfect" gear (very subjective) is ideal, I can't really bring myself to blame the equipment if I cannot do my job--that would be my failure in skill, experience, or imagination.

    Naturally, it brings up the related question--what is the right gear? What if I am going to be halfway up Tuckerman Ravine on Saturday at 10:34am. What should I have? I cannot be ready for every possible event. Nor could I get a bag that would let me carry all that stuff. But I would do what I always do, shoot with what I have. My skill will be the determining factor on whether I can make a successful image or not.

  22. #122
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    Hey Hikari... don't let that single comment sully your image of this forum. Hang around and you'll find it's one of the nicest, most easy going places on the net.

    Comments like that aren't tolerated long around here.
    Thanks.

  23. #123
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    No question it is about skill and agree not much i can't shoot with anything but it does help when things feel good in your hand and you not fighting a gear battle in the field. Obviously as Pros we get paid to come home with the goods , I think we all can see we will do that with confidence but it is a freer environment to work in when you are comfortable with that gear. I shot stuff i absolute hate gear wise and stuff I love but just would not do everything I need Leica M8 for instance. We will also find those workarounds but some gear is very uncomfortable to work with also and finding what fits you well is important I believe especially for the hobbyist since they have enough on there plate to get images.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Hikari,
    I don't think it is so much about "blaming the equipment" as it is enjoying the process more vs. less because of how a system works for or against me.

    Most people say it is all about the image. Not for me. My enjoyment comes from the process of photographing in the field. As Dewitt Jones says, "Noticing, appreciating, celebrating" the outdoors. Sure I love coming away with a good image once in a while.

    But if a camera system stays out of the way when I want it to and gets in the way when I want it to, then I'm a happier camper. And I believe my images are better.

    Dave

  25. #125
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Guy, as someone posting on a medium-format digital photography format, I would hardly argue the gear is irrelevant. But the "right" gear thing has one big problem for me--right for whom? I have quite a bit of experience, but I still own (collected) four tripods and seven camera bags. I think someone starting out has a lot of experience to collect before he or she can really judge what is "right." And I think implying that you need the "right" gear to get the "perfect" shot is really a barrier--it can lead to being a shopper rather than a photographer. I have a lot of bags collecting dust as testament of how hard it is to find the "right" stuff. I certainly appreciate the nuanced insight/feeling to gear that works well for me.

    As this thread is for folks entering medium-format digital, I think it is important to say the fundamentals of photography have not changed and the greatest asset to good results is the photographer. Go out and take pictures and gain experience, along the way you can tweak your approach and equipment. But without the experience, it is really hard to judge what is the "right" gear.

    So folks, run out and buy that $75,000 Phase One system. If you are falling, dive.

  26. #126
    Hikari
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Quote Originally Posted by dchew View Post
    Hikari,
    I don't think it is so much about "blaming the equipment" as it is enjoying the process more vs. less because of how a system works for or against me.
    You will get no argument from me. But I am not really talking about the nuanced relationship with the equipment--no one really gets into medium-format digital because it is the easiest way to work.

  27. #127
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Quote Originally Posted by Hikari View Post
    Guy, as someone posting on a medium-format digital photography format, I would hardly argue the gear is irrelevant. But the "right" gear thing has one big problem for me--right for whom? I have quite a bit of experience, but I still own (collected) four tripods and seven camera bags. I think someone starting out has a lot of experience to collect before he or she can really judge what is "right." And I think implying that you need the "right" gear to get the "perfect" shot is really a barrier--it can lead to being a shopper rather than a photographer. I have a lot of bags collecting dust as testament of how hard it is to find the "right" stuff. I certainly appreciate the nuanced insight/feeling to gear that works well for me.

    As this thread is for folks entering medium-format digital, I think it is important to say the fundamentals of photography have not changed and the greatest asset to good results is the photographer. Go out and take pictures and gain experience, along the way you can tweak your approach and equipment. But without the experience, it is really hard to judge what is the "right" gear.

    So folks, run out and buy that $75,000 Phase One system. If you are falling, dive.
    I agree and good points also. Bags are buy them and try them which will certainly create a collection for sure. Obviously on the hard gear I strongly encourage go try them before buying them especially whole systems with back and lenses . Folks need to get a feel for them and see if it fits there style.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  28. #128
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    It usually takes more than 16 posts to develop an attitude. Congratulations.

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    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Quote Originally Posted by stephengilbert View Post
    It usually takes more than 16 posts to develop an attitude. Congratulations.


    Be nice, Stephen

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Quote Originally Posted by BradleyGibson View Post
    Over the past four or five years, I've switched digital medium format systems *seven* times. I've basically flushed a not-so-small fortune down the toilet getting to the right system for me. The upshot of that experience?

    Using the right gear for the right job.
    I am, fortunately, on my first Digital MF system... my first DMF camera if you do not count the planned upgrade.

    It is an MFDSLR system, which I could expand to include a back more suited for ambient hand-held, or a multi-shot back for use with the Sinar kit I have been accumulating from eBay for several years.

    No kit can be ideal for everything, but I aim to accumulate versatile kit.

    ... now where can I get a Sinar P3 lensboard compatible lightweight view camera?

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    People collect/buy / sell cameras and lenses for all sorts of reasons. They are fetish objects for some, working tools for others and an experiential project for everyone.

    all the platitudes about it isnt the camera /lens it is the photographer are at true and at the same time irrelevant.

    if you want to look in the mirror - go visit some high end hi-fi forums - that scene is scary - I visited a Lin dealership on the weekend and the guy (straight faced ) tried to sell me on a two speaker 10 monoblock system - for a lazy $400,000 ..before the incidentals..like transport/DAC/turntable/NAS system/cables/Power supplies etc etc..

    I have said it before - cameras are cheap thrills compared to a lot of hobbies. I have friends who think my camera hobby is silly - but own boats - big boats ..shall we start talking boats?? At least with a camera you get to make a happy snap occassionally!


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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    I agree Brad , one very important part of gear is it really needs to be comfortable within yourself or your just fighting a endless battle. Sure photography is no question about the space between your ears but if you cloud that space with something not feeling right than it just simply gets in the way. Bags are gear and having a comfortable /workable bag may mean a lot in the shooting. Just like a grip that may not feel good as you are fighting it. Everything just needs to work and work within yourself so when you finally do put the eyecup to your eye you can focus on what is in front of you not some piece of gear that is just bugging the crap out of you. I have been through more systems than I can count much less remember but in the end it has to feel good first.
    Amen to that!! I couldn't express it any simpler or clearer myself. It's not the gear per se that makes shooting better, but equipment that gets in the way of the creative process definitely is a factor that can drive you to distraction.

    Like a few others here, I'm lucky enough to only shoot for my own satisfaction and not have the constraints of making a living doing it. That changes your perspective of equipment and the act of shooting vs having to get the shot with whatever you have to hand.

    With respect to MF digital, I find that that the backs are at a much higher level of functionality and capability than the bodies and other associated componentry. The fact of the matter is that sloppy technique is also viciously punished and you simply have to work harder to get the results - but, oh what results when everything comes together.

    Quote Originally Posted by stephengilbert View Post
    It usually takes more than 16 posts to develop an attitude. Congratulations.
    I confess that you almost got my iPad sprayed with coffee with this one


    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    I have said it before - cameras are cheap thrills compared to a lot of hobbies. I have friends who think my camera hobby is silly - but own boats - big boats ..shall we start talking boats?? At least with a camera you get to make a happy snap occassionally!

    Ditto. I've been through the automobile equivalent with names beginning with F/P/L/J etc and can heartily agree that shooting MF digital is relatively inexpensive by comparison and getting you out into the field shooting is much better for you too.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Re-draft...

    IMHO, photography is about being in the right place at the right time with the right kit.

    Knowing, technically, how to get the best out of/use the kit you have with you helps.

    Knowing what is worth photographing, and how to create a good picture maybe more art than photography.

    How ever gifted you are, you cannot go out without a camera, visualize a picture and find it on your hard drive when you get home! (Painters have and advantage over photographers here.)



    If you have walked for half a day to get to the top of a mountain, and you do not have the ideal 15kg? MFD kit with you, you might be able to pan-and-stitch with a lightweight system, down res by a factor of 9 and get an acceptable picture.

    I have three tripods, I bought the Gitzo carbon-fibre after carrying the 10 kg Manfrotto (and a P2) up a Welsh hill on a workshop. I also have a Manfrotto Agnoscope, which weighs about 40Kg and extends to 10m!

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Some very wise comments here. For my part, I see photography much like driving a car. Is it about the destination or the drive? If I were a pro it would be all about beating the competition, getting to the destination (picture), and getting paid for it. The car or camera is just a tool that I need to be completely comfortable with. As a hobbyist on a nice afternoon, its about using a fine machine on a tricky course. The tool and learning how to get the best out of it is a big part of the enjoyment.

    To extend the analogy beyond comfort, most detinations and photos are pretty much the same. I usually delete my photos unless they show me something I have learned or some fresh interpretation. Sadly, precious few fresh and interesting shots have come from my hands but I still love the journey.

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Quote Originally Posted by cunim View Post
    Some very wise comments here. For my part, I see photography much like driving a car. Is it about the destination or the drive? If I were a pro it would be all about beating the competition, getting to the destination (picture), and getting paid for it. The car or camera is just a tool that I need to be completely comfortable with. As a hobbyist on a nice afternoon, its about using a fine machine on a tricky course. The tool and learning how to get the best out of it is a big part of the enjoyment.

    To extend the analogy beyond comfort, most detinations and photos are pretty much the same. I usually delete my photos unless they show me something I have learned or some fresh interpretation. Sadly, precious few fresh and interesting shots have come from my hands but I still love the journey.

    Very good description of hobbyist. As a person who enjoys two wheels, four wheels, and photography tools and having no talent for either competitive driving or photography, I understand the concept of the "drive'.

    STEVE

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Quote Originally Posted by cunim View Post
    Some very wise comments here. For my part, I see photography much like driving a car. Is it about the destination or the drive? If I were a pro it would be all about beating the competition, getting to the destination (picture), and getting paid for it. The car or camera is just a tool that I need to be completely comfortable with. As a hobbyist on a nice afternoon, its about using a fine machine on a tricky course. The tool and learning how to get the best out of it is a big part of the enjoyment.

    To extend the analogy beyond comfort, most detinations and photos are pretty much the same. I usually delete my photos unless they show me something I have learned or some fresh interpretation. Sadly, precious few fresh and interesting shots have come from my hands but I still love the journey.
    You have summarised how I approach photography and what it means to me as well as the typical result - perfectly.

    Perhaps I am an extreme eccentric - but I really couldn't care less if I never print another shot I make. What I like doing is looking through a viewfinder and framing a slice of time and place. Afterwards I look at this. Sometimes I play with the results. Sometimes I save them - rarely do I print or even care to show.

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Quote Originally Posted by Hikari View Post
    Guy, as someone posting on a medium-format digital photography format, I would hardly argue the gear is irrelevant. But the "right" gear thing has one big problem for me--right for whom?
    It has to be right for you, of course. Because that is (obviously) subjective, it really isn't quantifiable in anything but general terms, at least until we being discussing a particular individual's specific needs.

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    MF kit..
    Quote Originally Posted by BradleyGibson View Post
    It has to be right for you, of course. Because that is (obviously) subjective, it really isn't quantifiable in anything but general terms, at least until we being discussing a particular individual's specific needs.
    We cannot all afford several digibacks, but an individual might have a 60/80Mpx back for hand-held studio flash, a 50Mpx MS back for static studio and architecture and a 40Mpx back for hand-held ambient - I think that there is not a single back that will do all these jobs well. One might use all these backs on a tech camera as well as MFDSLR, but the Sinar 86H is not good for non-retro 47XL lenses, due to the multi-microprisms.

  39. #139
    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    As has been pointed out, dof is dramatically reduced and auto focus isn't the best. In studio yesterday I had a high school guy dancer doing some jumps and break dance moves. Auto focus wasn't reliable so I did a manual pre-focus on a spot and dancer tried to have peak action at the spot. Obviously, that didn't always happen and when I looked at some of the images, they seemed a tad soft compared to those where focus was spot on. Then I realized that many of those that were a tad soft actually looked just the same as if I had taken them with my Canon and it focused on him perfectly.

    I also hadn't realized how much longer the shutter delay is compared to my Canon's. It took me awhile to get the timing down to nail the jumps. And certainly not as easy or predictable as a reasonably responsive dslr.

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Quote Originally Posted by David Schneider View Post
    As has been pointed out, dof is dramatically reduced and auto focus isn't the best. In studio yesterday I had a high school guy dancer doing some jumps and break dance moves. Auto focus wasn't reliable so I did a manual pre-focus on a spot and dancer tried to have peak action at the spot. Obviously, that didn't always happen and when I looked at some of the images, they seemed a tad soft compared to those where focus was spot on. Then I realized that many of those that were a tad soft actually looked just the same as if I had taken them with my Canon and it focused on him perfectly.

    I also hadn't realized how much longer the shutter delay is compared to my Canon's. It took me awhile to get the timing down to nail the jumps. And certainly not as easy or predictable as a reasonably responsive dslr.
    David,

    I wonder if short duration strobe would freeze the action and allow you a better capture rate...combined with a more generous DOF at smaller aperature.

    Bob

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Hi

    I am not yet a MFD owner but that is likely to change fairly soon. Have been looking at MFD for about 18 months and this forum, Hasselblad forum and Luminous Landscapes have all been useful sources of information.

    However it was not until this week that I had a serious opportunity to take some images with both the H4D 40 and 50 and with a P45+.

    First impressions for those of you who have not as yet had this opportunity.

    The H4D camera is a joy to hold in the hand. The view through the viewfinder was splendid and the controls with maybe the exception of the mirror up button readily accessible. I must addmit that I ruined most of my shots by holding onto the tripod, for fear of the camera coming to grief. The end result was a degree of transferred camera shake - not visibible on the review screen but visible on the computer monitor. I found the 1/800 shutter speed limiting in the bright Australian sunshine without using a ND filter.

    The Phase One camera did hark back to my Canon 50D on steroids, but it worked well and I had learned my lesson re the tripod, so the images aew really good. One lesson was the size of the central focus - so when photographing a large flowering plant, the focus just ducked around the flowers to the wall behind and the bricks were in perfect focus - should have slipped the lens into manual focus mode.

    This coming week we will make a decision -

    Thank you to everyone on the forum who have generously shared their experience.


    mal

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Quote Originally Posted by malmac View Post
    Hi

    I found the 1/800 shutter speed limiting in the bright Australian sunshine without using a ND filter.


    mal
    What are you doing that needs 1/800th?

    Australia was not that bright when I was there in the 1970s!

    I am thinking of getting Sinar eShutters, which have a top speed of 1/250th, which is a vast improvement on the 1/60th? of the Schneider electronic shutter, but I thought that 1/250th would be adequate for taming Euro sun when using a 50 ISO back.

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Bob,

    A small advantage of mf in studio is I can go to higher shutter speed and stop action or slow it down to get a little blur on hands and feet, depending on jump or movement. With dlsr, limited to high end of about 1/160th. Here I went to 1/500th and everything is stopped.

    Too much dof and I'll have more background wrinkles, especially since there's more dof in back of subject than in front of them.

    Of course, in full res image you can easily read Fruit of the Loom on his shorts. That's not happening with my Canon.
    Attachment 41925

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    This is the David Schneider with a Hasselblad H3D-II/39 ... right? I'll assume it is, if not ignore this post:

    RE: shutter delay ... What focus mode are you using and are you using the shutter button to focus/shoot or the rear thumb button? (I assume manual exposure is being used). What drive mode was used?

    Also, What amount of mirror delay is set on that camera? If it is still my previous H3D-II/39 it was set for hand-held work in low light, so the mirror delay would make it seem like shutter lag when shooting critically timed action shots.

    I agree on the use of strobes as the key light source to gain a bit of DOF and further freeze the action using flash duration rather than shutter speeds. Slightly reduced power from a strobe will further decrease the flash duration to increase the "freeze effect." Check the spec's of your strobes to see what flash duration is possible at what settings. For example, a Profoto D1 500w/s monolight duration ranges from 1/1,000 at full power to 1/2,600 at minimum settings ... any of which is faster than the top shutter-speed of the camera.

    If you do try strobes and want to eliminate all ambient, hard-wire the lights to the camera sync port so you can go to a full 1/800th sync. Radio systems tend to have shutter speed limitations depending on which ones are being used. Common PWs top out at 1/500th with leaf-shutters (which I question, feeling it is more like 1/400th or so), and some radios like Micro-Sync are even less.

    -Marc

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post

    RE: shutter delay ... What focus mode are you using and are you using the shutter button to focus/shoot or the rear thumb button? (I assume manual exposure is being used). What drive mode was used?
    When you ave paid mega-bucks for a high-end MFDSLR, you like to use auto-focus, but it probably would not work here.

    Manual pre-focus can make focus hit-and-miss ...or using a small aperture gives you diffraction. Put a mark on the floor and tell the subject that that is where they need to be.
    Also, What amount of mirror delay is set on that camera? If it is still my previous H3D-II/39 it was set for hand-held work in low light, so the mirror delay would make it seem like shutter lag when shooting critically timed action shots.
    I would use MLU (or a tech camera with electronic shutters) to eliminate mirror-delay, probably with a shutter-beam... and decide what focal length and viewing distance you need before you start... a shutter-beam would help you catch the pose right and get the subject in the frame.

    I agree on the use of strobes as the key light source to gain a bit of DOF and further freeze the action using flash duration rather than shutter speeds. Slightly reduced power from a strobe will further decrease the flash duration to increase the "freeze effect." Check the spec's of your strobes to see what flash duration is possible at what settings. For example, a Profoto D1 500w/s monolight duration ranges from 1/1,000 at full power to 1/2,600 at minimum settings ... any of which is faster than the top shutter-speed of the camera.

    If you do try strobes and want to eliminate all ambient, hard-wire the lights to the camera sync port so you can go to a full 1/800th sync. Radio systems tend to have shutter speed limitations depending on which ones are being used. Common PWs top out at 1/500th with leaf-shutters (which I question, feeling it is more like 1/400th or so), and some radios like Micro-Sync are even less.

    -Marc
    This pose should be balanced, without much movement... but for many dance or gymnastic shots a little blur to indicate movement is desirable - I am thinking of using the strobe option (many small flashes in a fraction of a second) on my Metzs for this.

    When photographing a ballerina in a classic "T" balance (with one leg horizontal), if the subject is a child who cannot hold the pose, a shutter-beam would be ideal, as you can easily set it to fire when the leg is horizontal... I have shutter-beams, but last time I had to do this I did not have a remotely-trigger-able digital camera.

    (My wife has a ballet school, and I do occasionally have to produce photographs of ballerinas in standard poses to accompany applications for admission to ballet school... she also teaches gymnastics.)

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Interesting thread. I have had my P40+ for less than a week and find myself learning so much every day...coming from Nikon D200 and D300, and LR3 and CS5 to C1 is a bigger leap than I anticipated. That and having old eyes so I need the autofocus as much as possible. DOF was a surprise to me, but just means that these cameras eat light all day long. So I will be buying lights for what I do, and that will be another learning curve. That said, the learning curve of digital and printing was a tad awesome in the beginning, and I know the quality of my work is improving and I am convinced that MF will take it to another level. Headed to Death Valley (an annual pilgrimage) to shoot things I have shot over the past years and then to Yosemite where I actually lived for five years (shooting for the NPS). I am aiming to try to replicate some of my favorite images in MF, and assume that I will learn a lot trying to do so.

    One thing that needs to be said. Finding this site came after I made the commitment to go to MF. It is a pleasure to come visit and learn from what is posted here. And very much appreciated....

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    May update:

    What have I learned? Do not read or listen to the Phase One IQ experiences and reviews from Jack or Guy ... at least unless you're already independently wealthy or in receipt of a trust fund
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Most medium format cameras are not for people with small hands.

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Graham, you nailed it!

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    Re: MF digital newbies, so what have you learned

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    May update:

    What have I learned? Do not read or listen to the Phase One IQ experiences and reviews from Jack or Guy ... at least unless you're already independently wealthy or in receipt of a trust fund
    What I learned don't take my own advice without proper ski mask attire. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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