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Thread: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

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    Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    I don't want to start a war here, but being ignorant of the MFDB world, I wonder if there are any more or less agreed characteristics of Digital Backs. I think many could characterize Canon, Nikon, Leica, and Olympus. Can the same be done for MFDBs?

    I'm especially interested in Phase, Sinar and Leaf.

    Any help greatly appreciated.

    Best,

    Mitchell

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    It's actually a great question and newbies like myself and no freaking information out there worth a damn . I'm serious , been pounding the pavement just for something that says yes Guy buy this one. LOL
    But really there are a lot of new folks wanting to jump in and there just is NOT enough data for a 20 K or more purchase. This is serious money and folks want answers and great opinions. i challenge the ones that have gone before us. Show us the way.

    This is your chance to get me back after i have spent 10's of thousands of your money giving you all advice , my turn burn my 20 k.

    Time for pay back.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  3. #3
    thsinar
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Any time, any question you wish to be answered, Guy.

    And I won't just tell you that "Yes, the Sinarbacks are great, buy one"!

    Best regards,
    Thierry

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    It's actually a great question and newbies like myself and no freaking information out there worth a damn . I'm serious , been pounding the pavement just for something that says yes Guy buy this one. LOL
    But really there are a lot of new folks wanting to jump in and there just is NOT enough data for a 20 K or more purchase. This is serious money and folks want answers and great opinions. i challenge the ones that have gone before us. Show us the way.

    This is your chance to get me back after i have spent 10's of thousands of your money giving you all advice , my turn burn my 20 k.

    Time for pay back.

  4. #4
    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    I think those who have multiple backs can help here. I have had only Kodak and Phase (25, 45 45+) I can tell you the Phase backs are excellent in resolution and the processing in C1 (free with the back) is one of the best. That said, there are not, from test samples I have seen, the highest IOSO.

    But Let's remember, most p[ros use lighting, and do NOT rely on ambient. For most, high ISO (even 200) is a non issue. The 50 of Phase backs produces unbelievable quality.

    Now, I HAVE played with a half dozen or so RAW files from both Leaf Aptus and Sinar.
    Here is what I have found.

    1. All three produce very good to excellent resulution (DUH, sort of :-)
    2. The APtus files are a bit more film-like and saturated out of raw, but do not have the detail of the Phase. Likely a DR and processing result. Some like others (like me) feel you can add 'looks' in post process. I want the sensor to get the detail and color right; I will add the 'look'
    3. Sinar backs seem to have the high ISO edge. They have not the Phase reso;lution (P45+ vs 74LV is 39 vs 33 MP) BTW the extra resolution translates often to less need for sharpening.

    The bottom line, is that I would likely STILL buy the P45+ for my COntax 645 but I am seriously considering the Sinar for areas (inside travel, churches, caves etc.) where no flash possible, but can photograph. The files are quite good at 800 even with pushing 3 stops. This is a net 4 stop advantage. However useful less than 10% of the time. On the other hand the resolution give up is small.

    Hope this helps.

    There are many threads here with Sinar raw files and I am sure a few Aptus (though I received mine from individuals and cannot post.)

    regards
    Victor

    PS I would be happy to offer Phase 25, 45 or 45+ files (out takes) for you to play with. C1 4 beta or trial are free for 30 days so you can try. Otherwise, ACR will open all three. (Sinar is DNG)

    PPS There are differences when using view cameras. The SInar is always on, the Phase requires a wake up. I have an Alpa with a cord that works fine. The 'wake up' in Phase alleviates the need for a fan, so helps battery life and noise.
    Last edited by gogopix; 12th May 2008 at 06:23.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Victor that was awesome thanks that gives some idea's to think about.


    Thierry I kind of forced Davids hand to bring the Sinar to San Juan so Jack and I can get a good look at it and play with it also. Nothing like getting a feel for these to figure it out
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member Graham Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    I just tried the 54LV on a view camera for the first time. When running tethered, you get a whole image preview on the computer to compose the frame, then you can pick areas of the image to zoom into and view at 100% to get the focus perfect. Using this, you don't even need a focus screen on the camera or even to shift the back (which is nice for a couple of reasons).

    I had made a simple adapter to fix the back to the camera, but I was waiting for Live View to make it useful.




  7. #7
    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Graham

    That would be fantastic. Now, for the Alpa, I assume there is no need for an adapter, since I can get a Contax adapter.

    Good news on the LV (sounds better than the 'other guys' live view!)

    I assume you just need to make sure the back is locked stable. Since you can focus, I also assume there is really no issue with shims etc. It is
    WYSIWYG

    Victor

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    Senior Member Graham Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    Graham

    I assume you just need to make sure the back is locked stable. Since you can focus, I also assume there is really no issue with shims etc. It is
    WYSIWYG

    Victor
    Exactly, there is no concern about calibrating a focus screen to the back's sensor. When it is in focus in Live View, you are ready to capture and the focus will be identical.

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    Subscriber Member Chuck Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitchell View Post
    I don't want to start a war here, but being ignorant of the MFDB world, I wonder if there are any more or less agreed characteristics of Digital Backs. I think many could characterize Canon, Nikon, Leica, and Olympus. Can the same be done for MFDBs?

    I'm especially interested in Phase, Sinar and Leaf.

    Any help greatly appreciated.

    Best,

    Mitchell
    Mitchell, almost all of the MF backs you can work up the files using post processing to get just about the same end look, at least the three brands you mention specifically above. Each of the backs have particular features that lend themselves more to an individual shooting style, more so I feel than a final result. In other words, a Chevy and a Ferrari will both get you to grandmas house for dinner, just how many speeding tickets can you live with getting there

    Tonal range and smoothness are better from a Dalsa sensor, due to the full 14 bit analog to digital conversion. The Kodak chips are all 12 bit internal, or were just a couple years ago when I did the research. The Kodak chip also is a real power monger, and loves to eat batteries. That is why they turn the chip off with the Phase backs and use a "wake up" cable. Do NOT forget to buy a couple spare wake up cables if you go that direction. The Kodak sensor does give you a long exposure capability though, which depending upon what you shoot can be a real advantage. For architecture shooters, the P45+ is probably the first choice just for that reason alone. Also for view camera use, the P45+ does an excellent job. I've shot images with a friends back using over 20 degrees of movement without a problem. Do NOT try that same stunt with the P30+ though, due to the micro-lenses. I'm also going to toss the Hassy backs in here as well, since they also are a fine product that uses the Kodak chips. Nothing works better on a Hasselblad body than the Hasselblad backs, again just in my subjective opinion.

    The differentiation between the Leaf Aptus and Sinar are more subtle. Both of these backs use the same Dalsa sensor, with it's internal 14 bit buss and Analog to digital converters. The way this chip is implemented though by the two manufacturers is very different. Leaf is concentrating on high throughput, and fast frame rates. Sinar (Jenoptik) was focused on flexibility and wide platform support, and had not implemented an ISO speed higher than 400 when I last evaluated their backs. This has changed though with their newer offering, so I clearly need to re-evaluate the Sinar product and give it another hard look. But knowing the Dalsa sensor well, and it's strengths and weaknesses, my likely conclusion would be that if you must have the best high ISO back, the Kodak chips should deliver this in a superior way to the Dalsa chipped backs. If you are fine with lower ISO, and what that baby smooth tonal range, then the Dalsa chip wins in my own opinion.

    As far as resolution goes, don't get hung up on which is the larger sensor with more megapixels. You won't notice the difference between any of the top line products from any of these four manufacturers. They will all give you resolution that is mind blowing, using the right lenses with them. I should also say that megapixel count is also a very over rated topic. I have an Eyelike M11 back that shot in multi-shot mode will positively blow away ANY of these high megapixel single shot backs in the resolution department. And it is only 11 megapixels. Once you are over about 10 megapixels, more only gets you room for extreme crops, provided there isn't an AA filter in the image path.

    So to boil it down as you asked Mitchell, look to the Kodak sensor products if you need higher ISO and longer exposure, but at the cost of higher power consumption and greater noise. Look to the Dalsa sensor backs if what you are after is smoother color transitions and a wider pallet, but knowing that you are going to give up something in shooting low light and long exposures.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Graham Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by Chuck Jones View Post
    , my likely conclusion would be that if you must have the best high ISO back, the Kodak chips should deliver this in a superior way to the Dalsa chipped backs.
    Have you seen this thread?
    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=1683

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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Here's what I've owned and used extensively:

    Square Kodak Sensor, 36.7 X 36.7, 16.8 meg., 9X9 micron pixel Backs with 1.5X lens multiplication factor:

    12 bit., Kodak ProBack for a Hasselblad 555 ELD and Mamiya RZ Pro-II using a Kapture Group V to Mamiya adapter. Files directly supported by Adobe Camera RAW. ISO 100. Needed to be tethered to a Quantum battery for mobile work.

    12 bit, Kodak ProBack 645C on a Contax 645. Dedicated mount. (Same ACR support as above.) ISO 100 to 400. Self contained, underslung battery.

    16 bit, Imacon 96C on Hasselblad 500 series V cameras. Dedicated V mount. Needed Flexcolor Software, but could convert to DNGs for Adobe use. ISO 100 to 400 (but 400 was not very good.) Needed to be tethered to a Image Bank for mobile capture.

    16 bit, Hasselblad CFV on Hasselblad on both 200 and 500 series V cameras. (Same file support as above.) Firewire 800 connections. ISO 50 to 400 (soon to be 800)

    Rectangle Sensor, 16 bit, 36.7 X 49.0, 22 meg., 9X9 Micron pixel backs with 1.1X lens factor on 645 cameras:

    Leaf Aptus 22 Dalsa (slightly smaller sensor Valeo upgrade), CMOS RAW files Directly supported by Adobe Camera RAW. ISO 25 to 200. Underslung battery.

    Hasselblad H2D/22, Kodak sensor (which produced DNG RAW files right from the camera with no conversion of propritary software needed.) No film back useage. ISO 50 to 400. Integrated Grip battery.

    Hasselblad H2D/22, Kodak sensor. Later model that reverted to use of Hasselblad's 3F file format, still allowed DNG conversions, but now also allowed use of film backs. ISO 50 to 400 (soon to be 800), Integrated Grip battery.

    Rectangle Dalsa sensor, 16 bit, 36 X 48, 33 meg, 7.2 X 7.2 Micron pixels. 1.13X lens factor on 645 camera:

    Leaf Aptus 75 with dedicated Mamiya mount for AFD-II, and used on an RZ Pro-II with adapter. Underslung battery.

    Leaf Aptus 75s same mount (differed from above in capture speed and now was Firewire 800.) ISO 50 to 800.

    Rectangle Kodak sensor, 16 bit, 33.1X 44.2, 31 meg, 6.8 X 6.8 Micron pixels with micro-lenses. 1.3X lens factor on 645 cameras.

    Hasselblad H3D/31 dedicated back on H3 camera, ISO 100 to 800 (soon to be 1600), accepts film backs. Grip battery.

    Rectangle Kodak sensor, 16 bit, 36.7 X 49, 6.8 X 6.8 Micron pixels, lens factor of 1.1X on 645 camera:

    Hasselblad H3D/39, active cooling via fan, 2.5" LCD, grip battery, Integrated camera system, no film back use.

    Hasselblad H3D-II/39, my current camera/back. Differs from above with new button configurations, heat sink cooling, and 3" HD LCD.

    In addition, I've hired professional photographers in my job as a Creative Director for ad agencies. The most used digital backs in that extensive experience were Phase One P25s and P45s, distantly followed by Hasselblad H2s with 39 meg backs, and a few Multishot Hasselblad CF backs on all kinds of cameras from Hasselblad Hs and V to Contax and Mamiya to view cameras.

    Sadly I cannot lay claim to seeing any Sinar backs in action. It's a hole in my direct working experience, so any conclusions I make here are sans that input.

    I'm not selling anything here. I made my choice based on experience and MY needs, no one else's.

    IMO, they are all so similar it's mute to argue about it. The IQ is there on all of them ... in spades!

    I think for a Contax 645 the way to go is Phase One. It's like the their backs were made for that camera.

    I think for Mamiya, the Leaf Aptus Backs are a perfect match. Phase One is now in league with Mamiya, so that may change dramatically. But until that solidifies, I'll stick with my experiences.

    Hasselblad has gone it's own way. Either you love it or hate it. I love it ... love it enough to drop mega bucks into it and an Xact system to use the back on. I will say that categorizing it as a "studio camera" is news to me, Hasselblad H users world wide, and to Hasselblad. Enough said.

    HY6.

    I'm a visual person. I think Sinar industrial design needs updating. The Leaf AFi Hy6 is beautifully integrated industrial design. I DO NOT know anything first hand about the functionality of a Sinar back or their Hy6 camera system. I DO know Leaf functionality, plus their service, durability and software is excellent. I have no doubt that Sinar's is also, but I have no direct experience with it.

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    Member Clawery's Avatar
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Mitchell,

    Just as Thierry stated, I along with Lance Schad, are always available for any of your questions. Feel free to call or e-mail either of us.

    Chris Lawery
    Sales Manager
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    Capture Integration, Phase One Dealer of the Year

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mitchell View Post
    I don't want to start a war here, but being ignorant of the MFDB world, I wonder if there are any more or less agreed characteristics of Digital Backs. I think many could characterize Canon, Nikon, Leica, and Olympus. Can the same be done for MFDBs?

    I'm especially interested in Phase, Sinar and Leaf.

    Any help greatly appreciated.

    Best,

    Mitchell

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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    One has to take this in context of the digital back, camera/lens, and software. Any results discussed will be dependent on all three. I have used the Hasselbald H system with the Leaf Aptus 65 and the Hasselblad H3DII-31. I had both systems for direct comparison for about a week. In my mind at low isos, the final IQ was not significantly different between the two but dependent on the software used to process. Resolution and dynamic range were close. The Hasselblad H3D sometimes gave some moire that I did not see with an equivalent Leaf shots. The H3DII-31 gives the best high, iso 400 or 800 images I have ever seen. Very little noise with tremendous detail. THis is one of the major selling points for me.

    There are other issues as well. THe leaf/hasselblad requires two battery systems and all the problems having two independent systems have to be considered but clearly not the major issue.

    IN the end, except for the iso issue, both gave extremely outstanding images and I feel you could not go wrong with either choice.

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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    This is a very helpful topic, Mitchell. Thank you for posting it.

    I'm reading as much as I can on this topic and for those of us not engaged in an evolving process, such as one might experience as a commercial photographer moving to digital from film, I think that this is even more daunting. In my case, I'm trying to learn whether medium format is the next best step for the kind of photography I do, but I find little info regarding this. Perhaps someone can speak to MFDBs being used for non-commercial, non-studio work, i.e. "field work".

    I do almost no studio work (even sold my Elinchroms) and now just enjoy field and street stuff. I love the detail and depth we see in the best MF files, but is there a system that might be most appropriate for one who wants to schlep around and do landscapes, field macros, street stuff (where a large camera won't mess up the situation)? I'm thinking of durability, dust, dirt, moisture, etc.

    Most of the examples I see are in a commercial application. What cameras and backs might you suggest to one who is wanting to get closer to view camera results in the field without using a DB on a view camera?

    Sorry for this rambling post. Not a great first post I guess. I hope the intended question is decipherable in there somewhere.

  15. #15
    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Marc,
    Can the HB H3dII back be used on an alpa? that is, does it operate as an "H" back?

    thx
    Victor

  16. #16
    DougDolde
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    I am sure all the reps for Leaf, Hasselblad, Phase and Sinar will put in their $.02 in this thread. But might they all be biased?

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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Thanks everybody. There are really helpful posts here. I hope the discussion keeps going.

    I'm like Dale. I'll probably use whatever I get almost exclusively outside, landscape and nature.

    Everybody seems to agree the IQ is great with all of them.

    Most of the time, I will be shooting on a tripod. I wonder if that makes high ISO advantage of Phase a non-factor? Any thoughts on this.




    Best,

    Mitchell

  18. #18
    ddk
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    The bottom line, is that I would likely STILL buy the P45+ for my COntax 645 but I am seriously considering the Sinar for areas (inside travel, churches, caves etc.) where no flash possible, but can photograph. The files are quite good at 800 even with pushing 3 stops. This is a net 4 stop advantage. However useful less than 10% of the time. On the other hand the resolution give up is small.

    regards
    Victor
    Victor, I was under the impression that the long exposure capabilities of the Phase+ backs would make them ideal for this kind of photography. I'm asking because my experience is limited to the older P20 & P25.

    david

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    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    well, in you deliberations dont forget the camera
    here's a comparison for you!

    SOME MF cameras are REALLY protable LOL

    Victor
    Last edited by gogopix; 25th January 2015 at 17:22.

  20. #20
    JEM_DTG
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Viktor,
    The Hasselblad H3D/H3DII digital back can be used on any ALPA 12 camera with the appropriate H-Mount back adapter. It can also be used with other super-wide / technical cameras, and large format cameras (ie. ARCA-SWISS, Horseman, Silvestri, Linhof, etc.). Bear in mind, to do this, you will need to provide power via FireWire to the digital back. Once the back is removed from the H3D Body, it can no longer get power via the body's battery grip, and must be powered via FireWire. This can be accomplished by shooting tethered to a Mac / PC while running Phocus or FlexColor, or by using the ImageBank II with its snap-on battery.

    Regards,

    Jordan Miller
    DTG

  21. #21
    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by JEM_DTG View Post
    Viktor,
    The Hasselblad H3D/H3DII digital back can be used on any ALPA 12 camera with the appropriate H-Mount back adapter. It can also be used with other super-wide / technical cameras, and large format cameras (ie. ARCA-SWISS, Horseman, Silvestri, Linhof, etc.). Bear in mind, to do this, you will need to provide power via FireWire to the digital back. Once the back is removed from the H3D Body, it can no longer get power via the body's battery grip, and must be powered via FireWire. This can be accomplished by shooting tethered to a Mac / PC while running Phocus or FlexColor, or by using the ImageBank II with its snap-on battery.

    Regards,

    Jordan Miller
    DTG
    Sounds clumsy compared to using the Phase with contax. THAT combination is unbelievably small and compact on the Alpa 12 TC
    Last edited by gogopix; 25th January 2015 at 17:22.

  22. #22
    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Now THAT's a Point and Shoot!
    Last edited by gogopix; 25th January 2015 at 17:22.

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    Senior Member Steve Hendrix's Avatar
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    Sounds clumsy compared to using the Phase with contax. THAT combination is unbelievably small and compact on the Alpa 12 TC
    It can be. But for those who want an H3DII, and also want to utilize the digital magazine of the H3DII and its 3" best in class LCD screen on the Alpa, it may be worth the bit of clumsiness. Remember, the 100GB ImageBank can fit in your pocket and will record over 1000 images non-stop.

    Otherwise, Hasselblad makes the CF digital backs, which now have a 2.5" TFT screen, and come with their own battery, so they don't require the ImageBank for power.

    Steve Hendrix
    www.ppratlanta.com/digital.php

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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post
    Marc,
    Can the HB H3dII back be used on an alpa? that is, does it operate as an "H" back?

    thx
    Victor
    It draws power from the camera grip, so when removed from the H3D-II camera it needs to be hooked up to the Image bank that supplies power.

    The better Hasselblad choice is a 2HF with a CF back that has it's own battery and can be used on any number of cameras.

    However, I think on an ALPA, a compact BLACK back with a self-contained battery such as the Phase One P39+ is the way to go. I like how the Phase battery snugs flush inside the body, yet the whole thing remains quite small.

  25. #25
    thsinar
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    I have avoided to jump in until now, but have a look at a high ISO (800) sample out of a Sinarback eMotion 75 here:

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showth...?t=1683&page=6

    Does it not make your statement and this belief below becoming "relative"?

    Best regards,
    Thierry

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitchell View Post
    I wonder if that makes high ISO advantage of Phase a non-factor? Any thoughts on this.
    Mitchell

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    Subscriber gogopix's Avatar
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    From what I can see the ISO advantage today goes to Sinar 75LV with the new board. Whatever it does, it seems to provide virtually noiseless files at 800 that can be 'pushes' in post 3 stops. Two of us did it.

    To be verified, as it was only one file. However, I can say that the P45+ is several stops slower (for comparable noise). I want to see a raw P30+ file. It goes to 1600, but pushing has not been tested.

    Tom, you have a P30+. Would you be willing to share a slightlyt underexposed file?

    Or Lance?

    Regards
    Victor

    PS If the P30+ gets close, remember is is considerably cheaper. But I am not sure it DOES get close. For me the speed is where it's at now.

    PPS Yes, the Phase has great long exposure capability, but that presumes you have a stable target.

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    Workshop Member lance_schad's Avatar
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Will work on getting you file in PR.
    Lance

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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Great information in this thread. Thank you.

    So here's a question for those of you with experience with MFDBs: If you were to purchase a body and back with the idea that you were looking for an improvement over full-frame 135 format for field work (i.e. not commercial, studio, product, etc.), which would you choose? When I say "an improvement" I mean without moving to a view camera and 4x5 film, but for making fine prints of about 24x36" or 30x40", etc.

    I don't mind if reps are biased in their responses – we're all grown-ups (sort of) and we'll work through it. In fact it would be very helpful for reps to point us in the correct direction within their own lines if they feel their product is well suited to the usage I've described.

    In my case, I'd like to find a combination that would make sense for short hiking trips, road trips, national parks, local outdoor stuff (you know, all the stuff that makes the uber-pros gag ). I don't do many portraits, but those that I do make are of the travel type mostly. Most of my work is not cropped at all so I will have to change my practice at times since I find the more square formats less desirable at times (personal taste and a phobia for throwing out pixels ). Many years ago I worked in a photo equipment shop and pro lab so I have handled or used many of the predecessors to what we currently have available (in terms of ergonomics and such). I love what I'm seeing in the Sinar ISO 800 thread that Thierry posted, but I doubt that I'd jump in with a 75s right off (unless that's the appropriate tier for this purpose), so info on the 54xx line would be great.

    So if you don't want to shoot tethered, don't do fashion or commercial product or portraits, which components would YOU choose? We're talking working from a pack, outdoor light on the LCD, etc.

    Thank you very much for any guidance.

    Dale
    Last edited by Dale Allyn; 12th May 2008 at 21:12.

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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    "In my case, I'd like to find a combination that would make sense for short hiking trips, road trips, national parks, local outdoor stuff (you know, all the stuff that makes the uber-pros gag )"

    I like those disposable water proof cameras which you buy and have processing included.
    Last edited by PeterA; 12th May 2008 at 22:35.

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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Peter,

    Thanks, but I was thinking of something with a bit more panache. I appreciate the thought though.

    (BTW: In my post I was making fun of myself for being an amateur, not making fun of pros – hence the grin.)

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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Allyn View Post
    Great information in this thread. Thank you.

    So here's a question for those of you with experience with MFDBs: If you were to purchase a body and back with the idea that you were looking for an improvement over full-frame 135 format for field work (i.e. not commercial, studio, product, etc.), which would you choose? When I say "an improvement" I mean without moving to a view camera and 4x5 film, but for making fine prints of about 24x36" or 30x40", etc.

    I don't mind if reps are biased in their responses we're all grown-ups (sort of) and we'll work through it. In fact it would be very helpful for reps to point us in the correct direction within their own lines if they feel their product is well suited to the usage I've described.

    In my case, I'd like to find a combination that would make sense for short hiking trips, road trips, national parks, local outdoor stuff (you know, all the stuff that makes the uber-pros gag ). I don't do many portraits, but those that I do make are of the travel type mostly. Most of my work is not cropped at all so I will have to change my practice at times since I find the more square formats less desirable at times (personal taste and a phobia for throwing out pixels ). Many years ago I worked in a photo equipment shop and pro lab so I have handled or used many of the predecessors to what we currently have available (in terms of ergonomics and such). I love what I'm seeing in the Sinar ISO 800 thread that Thierry posted, but I doubt that I'd jump in with a 75s right off (unless that's the appropriate tier for this purpose), so info on the 54xx line would be great.

    So if you don't want to shoot tethered, don't do fashion or commercial product or portraits, which components would YOU choose? We're talking working from a pack, outdoor light on the LCD, etc.

    Thank you very much for any guidance.

    Dale
    For that specific application I'd select one of the portable cameras sporting digital APO view camera lenses ... top of the line being the uber expensive ALPA, but certainly not the only choice. I'd select a 39 meg PhaseOne P45+ for it's compactness and versatility. Discounting long exposure ability as being for motionless subjects is dismissing a whole category of photography some people engage in. So, it depends on application.

    NONE of the MF lens selections compare in IQ to the digital APO view camera lenses now available. If the P45+ is to rich for a start, then a P25+ and upgrade later... or a refurb P45 which is LOT less costly. With such lenses you will realize the true potential of the higher meg backs.

    Since discriminatory bias is now permitted, I will say I do NOT like the IQ of the ISO 800 files from the Sinar that were posted ... and it served to sell me off the back for now... they are just to plastic looking for my tastes. Perfect for pixel peepers, but to my eye it feels like it sucks the dimensional character out of the image.

    The 800 files I've seen (and made) from the Aptus 75s are more to my liking. And I can subjectively say for sure that I agree with Mark K that the Hasselblad 800 files are better than both, and the camera has the best LCD.

    However, for the application you mention, and use on a small portable view camera, I still think a Phase One is the best all-around choice.

    It's all so subjective. Unfortunately, one needs to live with these different solutions in order to realize their full potential. So anything concerning the Sinar application IQ is based on hearsay either way. I just think it is a big back compared to other portable solutions with just as good IQ ... or better depending on your personal tastes.

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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    NONE of the MF lens selections compare in IQ to the digital APO view camera lenses now available. If the P45+ is to rich for a start, then a P25+ and upgrade later... or a refurb P45 which is LOT less costly. With such lenses you will realize the true potential of the higher meg backs.

    Since discriminatory bias is now permitted, I will say I do NOT like the IQ of the ISO 800 files from the Sinar that were posted ... and it served to sell me off the back for now... they are just to plastic looking for my tastes. Perfect for pixel peepers, but to my eye it feels like it sucks the dimensional character out of the image.

    The 800 files I've seen (and made) from the Aptus 75s are more to my liking. And I can subjectively say for sure that I agree with Mark K that the Hasselblad 800 files are better than both, and the camera has the best LCD.

    However, for the application you mention, and use on a small portable view camera, I still think a Phase One is the best all-around choice.

    It's all so subjective. Unfortunately, one needs to live with these different solutions in order to realize their full potential. So anything concerning the Sinar application IQ is based on hearsay either way. I just think it is a big back compared to other portable solutions with just as good IQ ... or better depending on your personal tastes.
    Thank you for the reply. It's very helpful.

    Funny, I studied the Sinar 800 ISO prints with an eye to noise only. I'll look again at other characteristics. I think ideally I'll need to capture and process my own images to draw conclusions with regard to other aspects. I'm not looking for a back for the sole purpose of shooting at ISO 800, but it would be nice to not be locked to ISO 50 or 100 for certain projects. And long exposures are important to me.

    I've been looking at the Phase backs and I just wasn't sure I was ready to bite off the whole piece of the P45+, but it sure is appealing. But so are the other backs in that class.

    I'm still not certain which camera body would be the best approach (not referring to a view camera). I've always liked Contax and I'm thinking that may be the right choice; I don't know much about the Hy6; and Mamiya gets lots of options and is affordable. I can't justify top-shelf just now and hope to find a good intro into MF digital for the sort of photography I enjoy so that I can get my feet wet before getting in over my head.

    Cheers,

    Dale

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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Allyn View Post
    Thank you for the reply. It's very helpful.

    Funny, I studied the Sinar 800 ISO prints with an eye to noise only. I'll look again at other characteristics. I think ideally I'll need to capture and process my own images to draw conclusions with regard to other aspects. I'm not looking for a back for the sole purpose of shooting at ISO 800, but it would be nice to not be locked to ISO 50 or 100 for certain projects. And long exposures are important to me.

    I've been looking at the Phase backs and I just wasn't sure I was ready to bite off the whole piece of the P45+, but it sure is appealing. But so are the other backs in that class.

    I'm still not certain which camera body would be the best approach (not referring to a view camera). I've always liked Contax and I'm thinking that may be the right choice; I don't know much about the Hy6; and Mamiya gets lots of options and is affordable. I can't justify top-shelf just now and hope to find a good intro into MF digital for the sort of photography I enjoy so that I can get my feet wet before getting in over my head.

    Cheers,

    Dale
    Dale, the difference is between a Focal Plane shutter camera and a Leaf Shutter camera. ContaxAF & MamiyaAFD are 645 focal plane shutter cameras with a low flash sync speed, but a high top shutter speed. The Hy6 and Hasselblad H1/2/3 are Leaf Shutter cameras with flash sync at all shutter speeds, but top out at 1/800th/1/1000th.

    Your applications can help decide which is better for you. For example, a high flash sync speed is important for my applications because I shoot with strobes or fill flash 90% of the time when using a MF camera... so I selected Hasselbald. But not everyone needs that.

    Take a look at Irakly Shandize's work with a Contax 645 and P25 back. His entire digital MF system (camera, finder, multiple lenses and digital back, cost less than some of these backs alone. Doesn't seem to hurt his images

  34. #34
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Dear Marc,

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post

    Since discriminatory bias is now permitted,
    Since when?

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I will say I do NOT like the IQ of the ISO 800 files from the Sinar that were posted ... and it served to sell me off the back for now... they are just to plastic looking for my tastes. Perfect for pixel peepers, but to my eye it feels like it sucks the dimensional character out of the image.
    Quite a puzzling comment: can you define the word "plastic"? I could (or anybody else) easily make it look different and more tastable for your eye, but the purpose was not that, but to give an idea what ISO 800 looks like with an eMotion 75.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    The 800 files I've seen (and made) from the Aptus 75s are more to my liking. And I can subjectively say for sure that I agree with Mark K that the Hasselblad 800 files are better than both, and the camera has the best LCD.
    It would be nice to see such ISO files taken with other backs: can you please share for our own judgement?

    Thanks and best regards,
    Thierry

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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by thsinar View Post
    Dear Marc,



    Since when?



    Quite a puzzling comment: can you define the word "plastic"? I could (or anybody else) easily make it look different and more tastable for your eye, but the purpose was not that, but to give an idea what ISO 800 looks like with an eMotion 75.



    It would be nice to see such ISO files taken with other backs: can you please share for our own judgement?

    Thanks and best regards,
    Thierry
    Since when? LOL.

    Plastic looking, waxy. As in made of Plastic. It's stricty a subjective POV. Subjective, as in my opinion. Others may love it, strive for it. Live for it ... I do not ... and I do not care if I am dead alone in this opinion.

    Sorry, when it comes to my work I don't care about your judgement, or any one else's for that matter ... except those who pay me for it

    No need to worry about me, or my opinion. There are plenty of avocates and supporters here. You can't win over everyone ... it's the nature of art.

  36. #36
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Marc

    Your comment goes right to the heart of what I mean when I request the raw image. The noise is there; in film is was really bad compared to digital. But to me, IQ has much more to do with what you (and I in the past) have called dimensionality.
    We lack the vocabulary (as audio people did) for these qualitative aspects that are judgments. But we don't buy low noise any more than we buy low harmonic distortion as the sole criterion. Whether 'presence' or 3-D, or dimensionality (and I could give a slightly different connotation to each) it come down to this; is the image 'alive' in some sense.
    Cartier-Bresson didnt worry, Avedon didnt woryy (and half his stuff is really OOF!) what I look for to appreciate in art and in photopgraphy is that communication of a point in time that is so great to see. In pedestrian images, it sometimes means even OOF or ill lit, but it is still interesting.

    What the backs do would NOT seem to contribute; glass, processing, yes. SO in looking at backs and saying 'plasticky' (Oh, I know what you mean, and it is usually over-noise reduced low level posterizing) THAT is what must be broken down here; is the 75LV got the goods, that is, low noise, without killing the dimensionality, or is there some hidden conversion.

    If NOT then it is a clear winner (pending my look at the P30+)

    If it is, then Phase is for me! and I will live with the noise (or more likely, find a way to add light)

    or, go back and look at the Leaf (the images I saw actually looked a little plasticky, but that may have been the glass or processing)

    (I have recently added a few Profoto monos to my arsenal and yet, trekking to some church village in the basgue region is not in the cards! Noise lowering is still an issue for me)

    I would like to see more comments, esp by professionals and semi-pros (say, how much money do you have to make before you can migrate from serious amateur to semi-pro?) of the QUALITATIVE aspects of images. I think we understand the noise - and the synch speeds and the whatever measurable stuff. We need to judge the 'life' of an image.

    Why, at the end of the day do we reach for certain lenses and cameras? (for me Zeiss and Leica) and for all the hoopla, we get tired of the Canikon glass pretty fast.

    Yes some of the D3, 105 shots were good, but.. [oops that's for another forrum

    Anyway, Thanks, Marc, and I hope others with a good eye pipe in

    regards
    Victor

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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Victor,
    You may just want to maybe rent a P30+ for a bit and put it through its paces using your own shooting style. I think you will be very satisfied with its high iso performance. There have also been improvements in the processing of the RAW files in CaptureOne Pro 4.x .
    I will try to get a file up when I get down to the workshop to hold you over.
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    it's not about winning anything here, Marc.

    I was simply wondering how you can judge a file/image to be "plastic", or this or that, when you have not been there to see and compare with the scene itself: that seems a bit difficult for me to do.
    But I respect your judgement and didn't mean to contradict you.

    Best regards,
    Thierry

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Since when? LOL.

    Plastic looking, waxy. As in made of Plastic. It's stricty a subjective POV. Subjective, as in my opinion. Others may love it, strive for it. Live for it ... I do not ... and I do not care if I am dead alone in this opinion.

    Sorry, when it comes to my work I don't care about your judgement, or any one else's for that matter ... except those who pay me for it

    No need to worry about me, or my opinion. There are plenty of avocates and supporters here. You can't win over everyone ... it's the nature of art.

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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    I was only half joking about the utility and potential in the one use disposables..

    anyway Victor I dont have a good eye - I have a great eye..so here is a great eyes opinion about ALL things photographic..ready?

    man photography is ALWAYS about the LIGHT baby...
    the 2 great opposing forces in photography boil down to how much light do I have and how fast/slow can I shoot given this desired content/subject mater /treatment/purpose/aim/objective etc etc..???

    the content you show in your shot is an outcome of the photographers choice in equipment and technique - which has to balance how much light against the limitations of any capture device

    MFD backs require a LOT of LIGHT to deliver what their DESIGN intent is..HIGH IQ.<...thats a full stop. Sure they are improving higher ISO capabilities but each step UP in ISO is a STEP AWAY from OPTIMAL ISO for highest quality - you are over revving the MFD engine stretching it into something OTHER CAMERAS can do BETTER.

    silly high ISO experiments ( no offence to anyone please) - are poor imitators of what 35mm ALREADY delivers - and the worst reason to buy ANY MFD back.

    So i asked in a different thread that people SPECIFY what their needs are so that responses can be matched to needs.. eg

    your hand held church interior shots interest is NOT the intent or purpose of a MFD back - any one of them. none of them ..nada ..the fact that one can MAKE an ok shot using hand held higher ISO is NOT the same as a QUALITY WELL LIT properly executed architectural shot or capture..LOL

    sorry am I being too didactic?

    You already have a great walk around system - probably the best high quality pure photographer device money can buy - an Alpa with a Phase One back on it.

    why a Phase One? well both Leaf and Hasselblad require external batteries hanging off bottom ( Leaf or via hardrive Hasselblad.)

    yes Thierry I can hear you from here !! ( SINAR has battery INside camera body too)

    Victor I keep telling you -you already own the best system for YOUR uses LOL
    congratulations!

    Petey.

  40. #40
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Victor,

    I can assure you that there is NOTHING happening in the conversion to DNG then a normal conversion, NO noise reduction at all. that simply does not happen in the Sinar file at this stage, believe it or not.
    What happens during DNG conversion, like with any other digital back (I suppose), is that the "Ref. File" to the particular back is applied (called it also Blemish files, etc ...), this to correct the "un-eveness" or particularity of each single sensor in each back.

    The NR applied was done in ACR, as I had mentioned it already, with a "25" setting of the "Color Noise", not more and not less. I don't think this adds to "plasticity" or whatever it is called.
    Actually you could check it out by yourself, if you have downloaded the sample DNG from my ftp.

    Best regards,
    Thierry

    Quote Originally Posted by gogopix View Post

    What the backs do would NOT seem to contribute; glass, processing, yes. SO in looking at backs and saying 'plasticky' (Oh, I know what you mean, and it is usually over-noise reduced low level posterizing) THAT is what must be broken down here; is the 75LV got the goods, that is, low noise, without killing the dimensionality, or is there some hidden conversion.

    If NOT then it is a clear winner (pending my look at the P30+)

    regards
    Victor

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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    I was only half joking about the utility and potential in the one use disposables..

    anyway Victor I dont have a good eye - I have a great eye..so here is a great eyes opinion about ALL things photographic..ready?


    Victor I keep telling you -you already own the best system for YOUR uses LOL
    congratulations!

    Petey.
    I agree on seeing the LIGHT! It's why I invested (and am learning) to use studio light etc. Even try to balance by borrowing a white card for reflected light etc when traveling.. MF is VERY demanding.

    I also have an M8 and DMR that I take depending my mood.

    However, when I get back and want to zoom in it is nice to have the MF resolution. There is also a different look. Can't explain.

    NOW, why looking? I often set up tripods for wildlife with BIG lenses and frankly I am getting too lazy (and fumble fingered) to change. I figured this was an opportunity to ad a back and have some flexibility.

    It is also fun to 'be in the game' rather than an observer.

    Do I really NEED anything....

    hmmm...well... sort of, but well, hmmmm..

    ok......maybe,.................

    NOT

    regards
    Victor

    PS But I'm still gonna look
    Last edited by gogopix; 13th May 2008 at 07:10.

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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Say just a quick example of when NR is NOT good (at least for me.)

    Here is a P45+ at 800. handheld, in a tunnel of a very interesting fort in Villefranche. Had the C645 P45+ so, no other option. Wanted to capture the feel of the place (wasn't too successful, but again the light SUCKED!! and was a gas with a greenish alien look

    first, yes noisy so what. I kind of like it...it seems real (and hard to tell the noise, and BOY is it noisy, from the DIRT

    the second, made with toy car material.

    and no Thierry this isnt aimed at the 75lv. If it pans out I will buy it! (I like tthe option of the Dalsa if only to play

    What I REALLY want, is the top image WITHOUT THE NOISE
    Last edited by gogopix; 25th January 2015 at 17:22.

  43. #43
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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    I'll have to jump into the fray here too and state that I also thought that while the lack of noise was really impressive with the e75 ISO 800 file, the file lacked texture. I mean it was just really amazing to look at that file and push the exposure 2 stops and not get ugly's but still the file had a look that said, "This is a photograph, not real". Of course this is just my own opinion based only on the one sample image and a few posted over at the OPF by Nicolas Claris.

    Here's an open question - I have read that while some cameras loose DR with each increase of ISO away from their base sensitivity, other's do not. Is that true and if so then which backs hold their DR? Because to me the key in making a believable file is high DR. Another way to ask the question is then which backs have the highest DR? At iso 100, at iso 400 and 800?

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    Re: Strengths and Weaknesses of Various Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Dale, the difference is between a Focal Plane shutter camera and a Leaf Shutter camera. ContaxAF & MamiyaAFD are 645 focal plane shutter cameras with a low flash sync speed, but a high top shutter speed. The Hy6 and Hasselblad H1/2/3 are Leaf Shutter cameras with flash sync at all shutter speeds, but top out at 1/800th/1/1000th.

    Your applications can help decide which is better for you. For example, a high flash sync speed is important for my applications because I shoot with strobes or fill flash 90% of the time when using a MF camera... so I selected Hasselbald. But not everyone needs that.

    Take a look at Irakly Shandize's work with a Contax 645 and P25 back. His entire digital MF system (camera, finder, multiple lenses and digital back, cost less than some of these backs alone. Doesn't seem to hurt his images
    Thanks for this.

    Sync speed is not an issue for me, as the only studio/product stuff I currently do uses cold light from fiber optic bundles (always on) still life setups for my business. I'm not a strobe guy.

    Really I'm looking for something for nature or street stuff and mostly with wider to medium focal length lenses. I'm leaning towards a Contax 645 because of the glass and compactness (perhaps Mamiya), though still uncertain about the backs.

    I'll look further at Irakly's work, and I'd like to better understand the Sinar less expensive solutions as well (54xx).

    I'm not in a location where I can experiment with this stuff easily, so I appreciate the comments from all here as I try to get a grip on this before going to where I can handle them.

    Thanks,

    Dale

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