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Thread: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

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    A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Many of you on this forum are pros or have large format experience in your past....I don't and thought this might be useful to others that don't. In addition, I've been going all through the different sites reading up on the new Rm3d and there isn't a ton of info available and thought maybe this thread could start a discussion and help others considering this system.

    This all started quite innocently. I asked Guy and Jack if they could possibly get a back and tech camera for me to demo at the upcoming Yosemite workshop.

    At the same time I was pointed in the direction of a virtually brand new P40+ kit on ebay. At first I brushed it off but the next morning curiosity got the better of me and I checked to see where the auction was. With only a few minutes left, I was pretty surprised there were still no bids (it was being sold by a very reputable dealer). So, after a bit of consultation I placed a bid at the very last minute - actually in the last 30 seconds. The bid confirm and the "congratulations you won" arrived in my inbox simultaneously. Yikes! What had I done!

    So now it was time to start down the path of deciding on a tech camera solution. Bob graciously sent his Cambo to try out while I was in AZ under Guy's tutelage and supervision. In addition, Rod Klukas at Photomark in Phoenix had the Arca Swiss Rm3d in the store for us to demo (in the store). I was a goner with the Arca in a few minutes. It took Guy and I a whole two shots to understand the focus system and the whole thing just felt right to me. We spent about two hours with Rod learning various facets of the camera and spent some time with a laser measuring and focusing (at pretty close range) and were both impressed with how accurate we could be (with more than just a wide angle lens). We also did a few shots with shifts for stitching.

    So, I ended up buying the Rm3d that afternoon (with Schneider 35mm Apo-Digitar XL). I know this is a pretty major system for a newbie but like tripods I didn't want to try a bunch and end up where I just should have started in the first place. Also, if I hated it I knew some others interested in the system

    Deciding Factor:
    Focusing is fantastic

    Other positives:
    Great viewfinder/mask system

    Today the Arca arrived and Jack got to do the grand unboxing with me. Sorry there are no youtube videos posted of this event! But alas shortly after that I needed to do some work (to actually afford this stuff). I finally got out for about an hour late this afternoon.

    These are just some of my TEST shots (so if you hate people posting test shots you can stop now). I was not using the viewfinder and looking to get great framing. I was simply getting the workflow ingrained. These are essentially straight from the camera and resized.

    figure out exposure/focus/cock shutter/wake back/fire

    Again this was not an exercise in framing.



    crop



    Used a laser to measure the distance to the pole and was going to try and snap people as they walked by that area. My shutter speed was a bit slow but the laser in combination with the focus distance chart (supplied with each lens) gave me a sharp pole





    I know not the ideal shot direction time of day combo



    crop


    I knew he was going to leave the beach so I dialed in the my new estimated distance and was very quickly able to get him in pretty decent focus.




    If you've read this far.... if you thought the cube instructions were pretty funny considering the product price....be prepared the Rm3d instructions are very similarly presented.
    Last edited by Terry; 1st September 2010 at 22:47.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Very nice Terry! Looks like you are having a lot of fun.
    I know what you mean about arca manuals.
    "Please find enclosed your camera. Have a nice day"
    -bob

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Congratulations Terry - looking forward to your camera porn shots -

    I would love to see how you use a laser to get focus accurate and how you convert a laser distance reading to the Schneider lens scale

    the RM3D looks very sexy.

    Oh and does the P40+ require a wake-up cable? If not the P40+ and 65+ become far more interesting to me for tech shooting.

    enjoy!

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Congratulations Terry.

    I just got an Alpa Max myself - instructions? What instructions? Luckily I used to shoot with a 4x5 view camera for a while and also a Fotoman 45PS and this stuff is like riding a bicycle - you never fully forget. Just remember the sequence, particularly if you use the ground glass and will be composing/filtering off that. At least also with digital there's no dark slide to forget either!

    Have fun.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    would love to see how you use a laser to get focus accurate and how you convert a laser distance reading to the Schneider lens scale
    on the Rm3D there is no scale as they are normally provided in helical focus mount. The Rm3D has its own scaling (with super fine increments). Too, the scaling is linear (not logarithmic) - so once you've figured out the deviation for your particular sensor you can use that offset all the time (i.e. on the Rm3D you don't have to shim the back or to adjust the infinity setting on the lens). I am finding this a briliant design.

    Terry - have fun!

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Wow, Terry, you have gone over the edge! When I got your email and came here to read the thread, I had to go to Google first just to see what the heck a Rm3d was, lol! Amazing looking camera, congratulations!! Hope you have a lot of fun with it!
    Regards,
    Joan

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Cool Terry!
    I find this a very interesting camera. Keep us posted how you like it and how you get along.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Peter,
    In addition to what Thomas answered, each lens comes with a little card that converts your distance to the focus point to a number. For instance, (I'm just making these numbers up) if your subject is 22 feet away then the number on the card says 8, you turn the focus dial to 8 and you are dead on. At 50 feet you might be at number 2 (closer to infinity). In addition on the viewfinder there are also scales so can figure out what will be in focus on the near end and far end. On a wide angle lens like the 35mm the spread of numeric focus values isn't huge and you will essentially know them pretty quickly without the card.

    Also, once you get good at judging distances (knowing when something is 15 feet or 25 feet in front of you) the need for a laser essentially disappears. For instance the only time I used a laser on the shots posted above was to get an exact distance to the light pole. I'm playing a little game with myself to at least guess a distance before lasering the spot to get better at guessing.

    The P40+ and P65+ do not require a wake up cable on zero latency. That is the good news. The bad new is it drains the battery faster and leaving the sensor on all the time can lead to more noise in the file. I shot that way with Guy on Friday. Yesterday, Jack lent me two different cables which both included a way to wake the sensor so I switched to normal latency and was waking up the back. One of the reasons I liked the P40+ was that it didn't need to be woken up. However, I didn't find shooting with waking it up to be problematic. I actually liked the cheaper of Jack's cable better for waking the back because could see exactly when to release the shutter (the back has a countdown). I will carry both a simple synch cord and one with a wakeup in my bag and can decide which way I want to shoot.
    Last edited by Terry; 2nd September 2010 at 02:42.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    on the Rm3D there is no scale as they are normally provided in helical focus mount. The Rm3D has its own scaling (with super fine increments). Too, the scaling is linear (not logarithmic) - so once you've figured out the deviation for your particular sensor you can use that offset all the time (i.e. on the Rm3D you don't have to shim the back or to adjust the infinity setting on the lens). I am finding this a briliant design.

    Terry - have fun!
    I wanted to just get out and play yesterday afternoon so I haven't gone through this calibration step yet. I think the best/easiest way to do it would be tethered.

    For those that want to better understand what you here are the instructions I was given, pick an item far enough away to be almost at infinity (I was told like power lines about a half mile away). Go outside and take a picture of something with fine detail say 1/2 mile away like a power line. Take it a '0', '1', and '2' on the numbers. Take your card out and look at it on the computer at 200% at least. If '1' or '2' is sharper, then shoot again at .5 above or below
    whichever number was the sharpest. Now check again as before and decide
    which is sharper then repeat and refine by .2 on either side of the sharpest.
    Check on computer again and refine by .1 on either side. When the focus is sharpest note the difference from '0' and that is your factor.

    From that point forward you always know how much to add to the indicated number on the focus ring.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Hey Terry, which laser are you using?

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Looking great Terry. I'm just a little jealous here. In reality I was very concerned that a tech cam would be too much for her in some ways. Lets face it Terry has been too many of our workshops and she has grown in leaps and bounds with regard to her shooting abilities and frankly has gotten damn good. This I thought without shooting MF first with the Phase body would be tough but after a hour working with this cam and it's actually ability to nail focus instead of a wishful guess i fell head over heels with it. The focusing is a brillant design from Arca. They deserve a lot of credit on this one. Never seen anything like it and built like a tank. Yea my GAS has been raised several points myself.

    Now i do know the folks at Photomark here in Phoenix and Rod is a good guy for sure. What I did not know was my own dealer Capture Integration also sells Arca cams and can hook us up with these amazing tech cams as well. I'm a big Arca fan and Also a big Alpa fan which Paul at Optechs sells Alpa. So do look at these dealers for some of this stuff. These are folks that are not only great memebers on this forum but great dealers as well and I always like to help them as they help us out on a daily basis with great information for us to learn.

    This is one sweet system but it is also not a low budget one either so again pick these systems wisely.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Ernst View Post
    Hey Terry, which laser are you using?
    I sprang for the Leica Disto D5. I found a place on line (CPO Leica) that had factory refurbs for significantly cheaper (only difference being one year vs three year warranty).

    The cool feature on this laser is the viewfinder. You have a lcd screen that is essentially a live view image of what you are measuring so even if you can't see the red dot you can still get an accurate idea of what you are measuring.

    http://www.leica-geosystems.us/en/Le...O-D5_74709.htm

    Link to factory refurb...
    http://www.cpoleica-geosystems.com/l...d=leica-distos

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    OK, thanks Terry. I've got an Alpa arriving in the next day or two so will get to go through the same fun that you just started.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Ernst View Post
    OK, thanks Terry. I've got an Alpa arriving in the next day or two so will get to go through the same fun that you just started.
    Congratulations and good luck with it.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    here is a camera that could make use of a tethered Ipad...may you be the first!

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    I sprang for the Leica Disto D5. I found a place on line (CPO Leica) that had factory refurbs for significantly cheaper (only difference being one year vs three year warranty).

    The cool feature on this laser is the viewfinder. You have a lcd screen that is essentially a live view image of what you are measuring so even if you can't see the red dot you can still get an accurate idea of what you are measuring.
    yeah, the D5 is great. I think I have to get one of those, too. I do have a small Leica Disto A3 and it actually works really good. But it doesn't work in bright sunlight at wider distances... and, of course, in very bright light you won't see the red laser spot with the A3.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post

    What I did not know was my own dealer Capture Integration also sells Arca cams and can hook us up with these amazing tech cams as well.....These are folks that are not only great memebers on this forum but great dealers as well and I always like to help them as they help us out on a daily basis with great information for us to learn.

    This is one sweet system but it is also not a low budget one either so again pick these systems wisely.
    Yeah....it certainly was a DUH!!! moment not realizing CI also dealt with the camera. Dave, Doug, etc have been really helpful to me at previous workshops and with other products like my cube.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    I wanted to just get out and play yesterday afternoon so I haven't gone through this calibration step yet. I think the best/easiest way to do it would be tethered.
    definitely yes!

    pick an item far enough away to be almost at infinity (I was told like power lines about a half mile away).
    I am finding this impractical as you you don't see where the actual focus spot is. A row of houses or so shot from an appropriate angle is better as you can always see if you get "back"- or "front"-focus. The whole process simply goes faster like this.

    On the Rm3D - as far as my understanding goes - you can also set up the camera to a subject that is, say, 5 meters away (exactly 5 meters). Now set the lens to the respective value and take a capture. See if focus hits the right spot. If not, figure out how to compensate... If the compensation is, say, 5 steps more (or less) you can use those plus/minus 5 steps for all distances and all lenses (as long as they are accurately adjusted ex factory).

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Yes Thomas you can actually nail focus under infinity which really got me very excited about the system.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Yes Thomas you can actually nail focus under infinity which really got me very excited about the system.
    this is really a great strength of this camera!

    However it's not impossible to hit focus with other tech cameras...
    At closer distances focussing on the ground glass works really accurate for me. The real challenge are farther distances close but not quite ininity.
    I came up with this workaround ... the increments are still quite rough but it works really well... as long as my laser distometer works.
    (in case that the snapshot is too soft... I taped additional indications on the lens and listed them on the side of the lens panel. In this case 4 indications for 12, 16, 27 and 50 meters distances on the 70HR lens).

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    I really like the idea of the use of the Lasers. I tried to guess a few times and I am pretty good at short distances . I was off more times than not. The Leica Disto 5 looks like a photographers friend to me.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    this is really a great strength of this camera!

    However it's not impossible to hit focus with other tech cameras...
    At closer distances focussing on the ground glass works really accurate for me. The real challenge are farther distances close but not quite ininity.
    I came up with this workaround ... the increments are still quite rough but it works really well... as long as my laser distometer works.
    (in case that the snapshot is too soft... I taped additional indications on the lens and listed them on the side of the lens panel. In this case 4 indications for 12, 16, 27 and 50 meters distances on the 70HR lens).
    Very nice idea here very nice indeed
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Very nice idea here very nice indeed
    thanks! just a "classical" workaround.
    You can also make indications for DOF... i.e. an indication from where on infinity is sharp at f11 or f16 or so (on the 70HR my 50 meters indication also works like this).

    I am curious about the new Alpa focus rings that will be introduced at Photokina. I guess they will adress the issue with the too wide and too inaccurate focus indications on the traditional focus rings.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Yes looking forward to Alpa's announcements as well and see what they have up there sleeve. I want to get a system someday and maybe end of the year I can pull the trigger on something.

    What I am impressed about this one is Terry never using one of these before already able to get going so fast. Threads like this make my day.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    BTW... Terry, make sure to download the "Alpa Lens Corrector" (it's free!).
    There is a profile for your P40+ & 35XL.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Welcome to the wonderful world of technical camera photography; I love using mine and I certain you will too.

    I can't help but feel using a technical camera has helped me getting better landscape images as these aren't the type of camera where you simply pick up point and shoot.

    Best of luck and keep sharing the images!

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post

    On the Rm3D - as far as my understanding goes - you can also set up the camera to a subject that is, say, 5 meters away (exactly 5 meters). Now set the lens to the respective value and take a capture. See if focus hits the right spot. If not, figure out how to compensate... If the compensation is, say, 5 steps more (or less) you can use those plus/minus 5 steps for all distances and all lenses (as long as they are accurately adjusted ex factory).
    Exactly -- the distance you use to calibrate is irrelevant, since the scale is linear. If it's plus one point off at 3 meters, it will be plus one point off at infinity.

    Sidebar note: The helical itself is about 4-1/2 inches in diameter and scaled with 34 index points each about 1CM apart. Hence "estimating" the 0.1 point increments is pretty easy as each one is basically 1mm of travel on the ring...
    Jack
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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    BTW... Terry, make sure to download the "Alpa Lens Corrector" (it's free!).
    There is a profile for your P40+ & 35XL.
    Her lens came packaged with a flash drive with the correction software on it direct from Schneider -- However, it's virtually irrelevant if using C1 and LCC...
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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    If you've read this far.... if you thought the cube instructions were pretty funny considering the product price....be prepared the Rm3d instructions are very similarly presented.
    Considering the Cube instructions and having the Cube seemingly fall apart in my hands on adjusting one of the screws a half-turn too much----I can't imagine the angst of turning an adjustment screw and having the Rm3d completely implode.... Did it come with a nice black corrugated cardboard box?

    Congratulations----you certainly didn't waste anytime on acquiring two great platforms!

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Her lens came packaged with a flash drive with the correction software on it direct from Schneider -- However, it's virtually irrelevant if using C1 and LCC...
    Jack, the Alpa Lens Corrector doesn't correct light falloff and/or color cast. It corrects distortion. It can also correct distortion on captures taken with shift (consequently you can also use it when you are stitching multiple images). IQ is outstanding - you see literally no image degradation.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Okay, got it.
    Jack
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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Terry, best of luck with your new kit. You've come a long way, baby !!!

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Learning Day Two -
    Have to work on framing. Not used a viewfinder that sits so high....I need a step!
    The fog rolled in a little too much to make a good effort at the lighthouse itself....then a quarter mile down the road where I couldn't turn around the light was amazing LOL



    And some close focus practice (four feet to the vertical on the anchor)


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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Oh and I learned a lesson in Phase WB yesterday....I had it on auto from the night before when I was playing with settings and seeing how it did in my apartment on Tungsten vs Auto...lesson....don't use auto. I've cleaned up the color on my shots from yesterday and they are a lot better now.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Quote Originally Posted by TEBnewyork View Post
    And some close focus practice (four feet to the vertical on the anchor)
    Terry, to my eyes (based on that web image) you got back focus in this image.
    Focus seems to be behind the anchor...

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Thomas. I may have grabbed the wrong file. I did a series at different points. However, since posting last night I've made my way from San Francisco to Philadelphia and can't check anything until Monday.

    Edit - I was on my iPhone before and didn't see your red circles. When I was in C1 and looked at focus (using the function where you can see the best contrast, on most of them the area in your left circle was showing up in focus but so was the ice plant surrounding the "vertical" portion of the anchor. Again, I will have a look when I get back to SF also I still need to go through my calibration process. Next weekend I should have two full days to concentrate on it instead of an hour here and there for the last two days at work.

    Very excited with using the whole setup....
    Last edited by Terry; 3rd September 2010 at 04:29.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Nice One Terry!

    Be sure to master the LCC process as this will help you get even cleaner results, colour wise

    yair

  38. #38
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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Wow! Well that certainly explains why you were selling off all that gear.

    Congratulations! Now we just need to get you a 6X9 film back for that puppy.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Quote Originally Posted by tokengirl View Post
    Wow! Well that certainly explains why you were selling off all that gear.

    Congratulations! Now we just need to get you a 6X9 film back for that puppy.

    that was just the random gear. Waiting for all Photokina announcements to figure out if my small system is M4/3 or NEX. Then there will be a whole new round of purging.

    Film what is that????? Won't happen!

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    It takes some time to figure this or that out with a totally new system...
    all the bells and whistles that go with these cameras - control over time gets added to the pure joy of using such great examples of industrial technology ..

    I am fascinated by the Arca - it is a pity down here that I can't get my hands on one to compare against the artec. that being said - I have my Alpa gear for hyperfocal focussing using wides which is plenty easy for me anyway - and will probably go with artec for the inbuilt ground glass for wide and longer ...

    ultimately the limit of using the shifts and tilts is the small viewing area on gound glass ..getting to know and feel this gear is a steep learnign curve..

    looking forward to your images and journey TEB! ( maybe a tech camera forum makes sense?!!)

    cheers.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Hey, I'm new to MFD too and was interested in these tech cameras. Where can I learn more about them? Specifically, which ones will work for my camera body. I have an H4D and know they present additional problems due to the batteries. Any websites I can use?

    I have to add that I am absolutely blown away by the Hassy. I expected this camera to be so heavy and unwieldy to use. In actuality, it's lighter and more ergonomic than my D3 + 24-70. I was considering a D3x over the Hassy. I am so glad I didn't -- from an ergonomic standpoint.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    There are reviews of the Arca and ALPAs on Luminous Landscape (http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/), and ALPA videos at Optechs Digital's website. (http://www.optechsdigital.com/Videos.html)

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    this excellent post by Jack will also be of interest for you:
    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=13238

    which H4D are you using?
    with the H4D40 you won't have fun using it on a tech camera with wide angle lenses as the sensor is microlensed

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    [quote=PeterA; ( maybe a tech camera forum makes sense?!!)

    cheers.[/quote]

    What a great idea - then again I might be just a tad biased towards them
    Don Libby
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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    and here is some information about the technical and workflow advantages:
    http://www.captureintegration.com/so...l-view-camera/

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Thanks all for the links. Will study them. I have an H4D-50 so no microlenses.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    just saw this

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZtK9Q0mChg

    simply emulate those movements

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    just saw this

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NZtK9Q0mChg

    simply emulate those movements
    I had seen the pictures but not video to bring the movements to life.

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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    My first big shoot. One lens for the whole week so everything was the perfect shot for a 35mm . A lot of great instruction from Guy and Jack on the workshop!!!! A lot of jealous people wanting an Arca. Ask Jack or Guy if I like the camera .

    A small sampling.










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    Re: A medium format and tech camera newbie gets started (P40+ and Rm3D)

    Way to go Terry - nicely done!

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