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Thread: Studio System Difference

  1. #1
    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Studio System Difference

    I'm slowly doing my homework on getting back to mf, this time on the digital end. But I think I maybe overlooking some obvious things so could use some direction.

    The bulk of my intended use is in-studio. A significant part of my business is high school seniors during a concentrated 3 month period using Canon 5d series bodies. I'd say now 70+% of images are taken with 70-200mm, 25% with 24-105mm, and less than 5% with 17-40mm. Obviously, zoom lenses help with some speed issues as sessions are time sensitive, often back to back to back, and the more variety the better the sales for me. Additionally, most sessions include moving body and 70-200mm lens onto tripod and talking a very short walk around side of studio building for some outdoor images.

    I'm having a bit of trouble understanding which systems work best in this kind of portrait environment. (It seems any system will work better for family and group portraits than current dslr system and I don't really care about a system that will do landscapes.)

    To make matters more difficult, I'm looking more at the level of a used P25+ and body and couple of lenses, or level of used HD3ii-31 and couple of lenses, rather than P40+ or H4D-40 level.

    So.....if you are a studio-people-fashion photographer, why one system over another?

  2. #2
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    P25+ will be the worst for Moire with the bigger pixel 9 micron sensor. May want to avoid the P25+ here although a great back. The least moire will be the 6 micron which puts you right at the new Leaf backs, P40+ and H40 plus the Leica S2 all new although great deals going on right now. The 6.8 micron sensors are the older Kodak sensors like the P30+ and H31 which have been the mainstay for fashion for a long time and those prices are very good both on used and new.

    Secondly you may want leaf lenses which all Hassy are but top shutter is limited to 1/800. Phase has both focal and leaf lenses and as of today barring official announcements Phase has three leaf lenses that go up to 1/1600 with new Leaf and new Phase backs on the P30+ it will be 1/800 but you can also shoot them with focal shutter to 1/4000. The 3 Leaf lenses called LS are 55,80 and 110 mm and rumor has it a 150 coming but that is a rumor. I'm excited if that happens.

    Next is software C1 for Phase and Phocus for Hassy. Pick your poison some love C1 and some love Phocus but they both are designed for each OEM and you can do Lightroom as well. Let's not forget Leaf backs in here since they fit Contax systems, Phase systems and older Hassy H1/2 systems same for Phase backs. You can mix and match here. Hassy is dedicated to there backs or closed system as they call it each back is paired with a body.

    Lot's of stuff here and lot's of info on this forum so get some reading in and understand these systems as best you can. Also try and get a demo with a dealer we have many here that can help.

    So look towards the 6.8 micron or 6.0 micron sensors. They will serve you the best since clothing is obviously a big part of your business.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    Guy,

    Thanks. I need to understand the moire differences.

    Other thing is lens selection. It seems PhaseOne/Mamiya have the 75-150 or 105-210 zoom lenses. Even Pentax has old zoom in that range. Hassy is basically 50-110mm. Extra compression of longer lens helps with some noses (like mine) and in studio can easily boost power if I need more dof.

    And then there's the focusing accuracy. Seems best autofocus is on H4D-40, but that's out of my price range right now. Can't justify ROI. I haven't tried to see if my old eyes can manually focus as well as they once did with mf.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    Yes you will lose about 2 stops DOF with say a 150mm lens. So to get the ears to nose about F11/13 depending on how tight you are as well. This is the demo part you need to try out. Obviously the farther back you are the easier it will be to achieve better DOF but if your in really tight even F13 may lose the ears. Let me see if I have a sample of this for you so you can get a idea
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    Found a quick shot I did of a little girl shot with the 150 D lens at F13 . You will notice her ears are starting to go soft.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    Color might be bad in the conversion here. I'm on a wide gamut monitor and looks red. Does not matter though you can see that the DOF falls off very fast. If I shot this with 35mm at F13 with a lens that is of the same equal focal length that would all be sharp. So in general about 2 stops but again it's a distance thing as well
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  7. #7
    Senior Member Graham Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    As much as I enjoy the image quality of a MFDB, if I were doing a high volume of high school seniors like that, the DSLR is probably a better choice, for several reasons.

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    Re: Studio System Difference

    Quote Originally Posted by David Schneider View Post
    I'm slowly doing my homework on getting back to mf, this time on the digital end. But I think I maybe overlooking some obvious things so could use some direction.

    The bulk of my intended use is in-studio. A significant part of my business is high school seniors during a concentrated 3 month period using Canon 5d series bodies. I'd say now 70+% of images are taken with 70-200mm, 25% with 24-105mm, and less than 5% with 17-40mm. Obviously, zoom lenses help with some speed issues as sessions are time sensitive, often back to back to back, and the more variety the better the sales for me. Additionally, most sessions include moving body and 70-200mm lens onto tripod and talking a very short walk around side of studio building for some outdoor images.

    I'm having a bit of trouble understanding which systems work best in this kind of portrait environment. (It seems any system will work better for family and group portraits than current dslr system and I don't really care about a system that will do landscapes.)

    To make matters more difficult, I'm looking more at the level of a used P25+ and body and couple of lenses, or level of used HD3ii-31 and couple of lenses, rather than P40+ or H4D-40 level.

    So.....if you are a studio-people-fashion photographer, why one system over another?

    Couple more questions:
    - Do you intend on ever using flash outdoors with the system you buy?
    - What are your most common exposure settings with your current setup (which aperture / ISO / shutter speed)?
    - Which flash units do you currently own?
    - Do you do your own retouching?
    - Do you shoot tethered today?

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    Re: Studio System Difference

    Quote Originally Posted by David Schneider View Post
    And then there's the focusing accuracy. Seems best autofocus is on H4D-40, but that's out of my price range right now. Can't justify ROI. I haven't tried to see if my old eyes can manually focus as well as they once did with mf.
    We've made a promise on the forum not to comment on products we don't sell; however I can say that the Phase One DF autofocus is the best I've used.

  10. #10
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    BTW Doug mine just landed back on my door. Firmware update folks
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  11. #11
    Alexander DeVoe
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    Test, test, test. Get anything you are looking at into your hands before you think of buying. Thats the best thing I can say, coming from the perspective of a potential MFD investor as well. (I'm also looking at the H3DII-31 and the P30+/DF).

    I managed to spend a little time with the H3DII-31, P30+, and the H4D-40. Auto-focus wise, I definitely got the most consistent results from the H4D, followed by the H3DII, and lastly the DF. Last place is still really good here. I got the most usable shots from the H4D, but the DF was not far behind. The TrueFocus feature actually seemed to make a fair bit of difference in the portrait/fashion setting that I used it in. Keep in mind that these systems are all a center-point AF and recompose type of deal. I was accustomed to the multi-point system of my Nikon, so it was a bit different. All depends on how you like to work.

    VERY different camera feels between the Hasse and Phase systems. Similar to the Canon/Nikon differences. Very subjective. Very much a personal choice, feeling kinda thing. Hasse fit me, Phase didn't gel as much right away. Try them yourself.

    Keep in mind that the zoom lenses (at least for Hasse, can't speak for Phase, I didn't try those) are MUCH bigger than a comparable focal range in 35mm. They are well balanced, but heavy, and FAT. Both the 35-90mm and 50-110mm are BIG lenses. I don't think I would want to (or could!) handhold one of those all day. Monopod/Tripod would be a must for extensive shooting periods. Hand holdable for short periods though.

    Retouching a MF file is like a gift from god, compared to working with a 35mm file. Just so much more information to push around. Those pixels are good for more than just printing large. The detail, and skin texture you get in a portrait just blows me away compared to 35mm.

    Just some of my opinions, and that's all they are. All I can say is I would be a very happy camper with any MFD solution.

    Good luck in your search! Mine continues as well...
    -Alex

  12. #12
    tetsrfun
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    As a hobbyist, I know nothing about the "business" but it seems as if you already have the right tools for the job. For a lot of additional cost for camera gear, post processing and storage, I don't see the return on "investment".

    Steve

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    Re: Studio System Difference

    You might consider a Leaf Aptus 75S in the mount of your choice as well. I had one in Contax mount before switching to Sinar and loved it. Fast shooting and great with skin tones. Like a lot of the older generation MF gear it now sells for a small fraction of it's original cost but it's still a great piece of equipment.

  14. #14
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    Yes the 75S has proved itself well as many still shoot it.

    We should add Sinar here as well. Rumor has it a new back coming . Know more about all the new stuff next week
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  15. #15
    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    - Do you intend on ever using flash outdoors with the system you buy?
    Yes. I'd say 85% of the time I use some fill flash. Rest of the time might be a reflector. Rarely use more powerful flash than shoe mount type flash due to time constraints and generally working alone.

    - What are your most common exposure settings with your current setup (which aperture / ISO / shutter speed)?
    ISO 100 in-studio, f 5.6-f8 most of the time, 1/125th sec., on camera stand. My high school senior yearbook headshots are important and usually at f8, 1/125th sec, 160-185mm. Outdoors frequently ISO 250, 1/60th sec, f4-f5.6, 150-200mm on tripod.

    - Which flash units do you currently own?
    five Photogenic 1250dr, two Alien Bee 1600, one Photogenic 600, one White Lighning 1200, two Canon 550ex

    - Do you do your own retouching?
    My studio manager/retoucher/salesperson does 70-75% of the retouching, I do the rest.

    - Do you shoot tethered today?
    No.

  16. #16
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    [QUOTE=David Schneider;245898]- Do you intend on ever using flash outdoors with the system you buy?
    Yes. I'd say 85% of the time I use some fill flash. Rest of the time might be a reflector. Rarely use more powerful flash than shoe mount type flash due to time constraints and generally working alone.


    Most likely a leaf shutter will be a plus here


    - What are your most common exposure settings with your current setup (which aperture / ISO / shutter speed)?
    ISO 100 in-studio, f 5.6-f8 most of the time, 1/125th sec., on camera stand. My high school senior yearbook headshots are important and usually at f8, 1/125th sec, 160-185mm. Outdoors frequently ISO 250, 1/60th sec, f4-f5.6, 150-200mm on tripod.

    That all needs to go up about 2 stops more in aperture. DOF

    Plus you need to increase shutter speed as well and your going to need some long glass if this is what you are using today in 35mm

    - Which flash units do you currently own?
    five Photogenic 1250dr, two Alien Bee 1600, one Photogenic 600, one White Lighning 1200, two Canon 550ex

    Your going to need juice but this is actually a pretty powerful setup



    - Do you do your own retouching?
    My studio manager/retoucher/salesperson does 70-75% of the retouching, I do the rest.

    Bigger files are so nice to move around no question MF is better

    - Do you shoot tethered today?
    No.

    Well if you go MF there is basically noting better because the LCD is just okay with any system
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    Quote Originally Posted by Alexander DeVoe View Post

    Keep in mind that the zoom lenses (at least for Hasse, can't speak for Phase, I didn't try those) are MUCH bigger than a comparable focal range in 35mm. They are well balanced, but heavy, and FAT. Both the 35-90mm and 50-110mm are BIG lenses. I don't think I would want to (or could!) handhold one of those all day. Monopod/Tripod would be a must for extensive shooting periods. Hand holdable for short periods though.
    Alex,

    I haven't tested a Hassie 50-100 for feel, but looking at specs the difference in weight isn't that much between my current 70-200 f2.8 lens, just about 5-6 oz. more (I'd guess that's about 400 grams or so). I don't do much hand holding anyway so I don't see it as an issue. Those times when I do have extended out of studio use of the 70-200 are at an occasional wedding or sports event and then it's monopod time. I have hand held a Mamiya RB67 and it's not a pleasant experience, not one I'd like to have again!

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Studio System Difference


    Well if you go MF there is basically noting better because the LCD is just okay with any system
    Guy,

    I think it was a YouTube video on DM33 I saw app for iPad and iPhone. Do others have that and will that take some of the need for tethered away, other than to get the files onto computer faster?

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    Well I think Leaf has something but end of next week after all the announcements at Photokina something might come alive with someone with regards to Ipad/Iphone. Lets face it it is only a matter of time. Obviously it is worth waiting the week to see who is jumping ahead and who is looking at a blank wall of sales reports. My opinion whoever comes first will be the winner and someone better have something.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member symbolphoto's Avatar
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    I'm really hoping for a hasselblad ipad announcement next week.

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    Re: Studio System Difference

    THis is just my experience and others are free to disagree...

    But I really think that the OP's Canon + L zoom lenses is a perfect setup for shooting regular people, portraits etc. The L lenses are sharp enough but not "too sharp"...they have just about the right blend of sharpness and contrast to make for pleasing skintones (when combined with good lighting)

    I would never use any of the high end DMF systems for shooting regular people unless working with a seriously good retoucher LOL. IT takes some serious retouching skills to deal with the sharpness and detail associated with the higher end DMF in combination with regular folk.

    IT's really hard to make regular people look good...especially when there isn't the luxury of using great stylists and hair/makeup. I really think that DMF is just unforgiving for regular people. OF course, others may have a different experience....but that's mine. The last thing that regular people need is lenses that are too sharp and files with too much detail. IT's just not necessary, and can actually be a step backwards.

  22. #22
    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    Mike,

    I have to deal with super sensitive high school girls who go from 95 lbs. to 275 lbs., who don't listen to what we tell them to wear (like chubby girls wearing sleeveless), etc. My take is it's a lot easier to make regular people (and irregular people) look good now than it did just 5 years ago. There are all sorts of filters to soften skin and leave eyes and hair sharp for example.

    I understand the too sharp a file comment completely. Believe me, when I have to photograph myself the first thing I do is grab my stylus and break out the Photoshop and get rid of those wrinkles, blemishes, and tuck in my belly and jowls.

    I think one of the things that does add to the mf being so sharp is, as Guy reminded me, you have to go up a couple of f-stops to get the same dof. I don't care if it's my Canon lenses or what, just doing that will increase sharpness of image since all glass is better not wide open.

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Plus you need to increase shutter speed as well and your going to need some long glass if this is what you are using today in 35mm
    Guy,

    Why will I need to increase shutter speed in-studio when using studio strobes? Is mirror slam vibration that much of a problem? For awhile I was using lock-up on mirror on my Canon 5d on camera stand, but stopped. Didn't see enough benefit to keep using it as I'd forget to take it off. (Nice how some mf cameras have mirror lock-up button or knob on camera body rather than buried in custom functions in lcd of camera.)

  24. #24
    Alexander DeVoe
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    Quote Originally Posted by David Schneider View Post
    Alex,

    I haven't tested a Hassie 50-100 for feel, but looking at specs the difference in weight isn't that much between my current 70-200 f2.8 lens, just about 5-6 oz. more (I'd guess that's about 400 grams or so). I don't do much hand holding anyway so I don't see it as an issue. Those times when I do have extended out of studio use of the 70-200 are at an occasional wedding or sports event and then it's monopod time. I have hand held a Mamiya RB67 and it's not a pleasant experience, not one I'd like to have again!
    I've shot with the Canon 70-200mm and it is much more friendly. The difference that is most noticeable for me is simply the diameter of the lens. The cannon takes a 77mm filter and the Hasse a 95mm . I'm 6'5" and have big hands, and it was still a bit on the big side. But it sounds like hand holdability is lower on the list of crucial features for you. I got good results hand holding, but it certainly wasn't as agile as a Canon+70-200.

    Why will I need to increase shutter speed in-studio when using studio strobes? Is mirror slam vibration that much of a problem? For awhile I was using lock-up on mirror on my Canon 5d on camera stand, but stopped. Didn't see enough benefit to keep using it as I'd forget to take it off. (Nice how some mf cameras have mirror lock-up button or knob on camera body rather than buried in custom functions in lcd of camera.)
    The mirror is THAT much bigger. I noticed this right away. The hasse (I don't know about Phase) has a mirror/shutter delay function that you can custom set the length for which helps with this. I had it turned on, and I didn't notice the delay, and it did seem to help. The leaf shutters on either brand certainly make a difference as well. Just much smoother, in my opinion.

    -Alex

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    I'll chime in here as I use a MFD for shooting "regular people" all of the time ... I do weddings with one, as well as portraits, family groups, pets ... , etc. Studio, and on-location.

    "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here" is actually no joke. One thing I can say with certainty is DO NOT try one for this type of work unless you have the capital investment to get it ... because it is profoundly disappointing to go back to anything else once you see the results on the monitor I sometimes do a mix of stuff with the H4D/40 (H3D/31 prior to that), and a "back-up" Sony A900 with Zeiss glass ... and more often than not, I quip to myself that I wish I had made the Sony shots with the Hassey.

    I use a 35-90 for "environmental portraits" and groups of 3 or more ... and the 100/2.2 for waist-up portraits (dreamy Bokeh) ... plus either a 150 + 1.7X or 210 for long lens stuff. I also use a waist level finder occasionally for a lower perspective ... saves the knees ... LOL!

    No problem carrying it for a wedding shoot. One lens on the camera, two lenses and a Metz speed-light in a Think Tank lens bag for mobile work (like at a wedding or roaming locations for portraits). I use an Arca Quick Release plate with dual connectors and have a hand strap and a "bouncy" shoulder strap installed so I don't have fatigue issues even after a full wedding shoot (at least not any more than with a Pro DSLR). In low ambient I use a Monopod with a RRS QR head.

    Can't speak to other choices, but with the H cameras using a Metz speed-light or potato masher, the camera takes over all control functions and you can comp the flash without removing your eye from the viewfinder ... I've found it to be more accurate and faster than any DSLR I've ever used ... and I've used all of the latest greatest from Nikon, Canon and Sony. Plus, you can assign a user button to fire a manual WB shot for very fast changes of WB in different lighting scenarios.

    As to resolution and detail, that is more a function of lighting than how sharp the results are. Having more photo data to work with is actually a good thing when applying some of the current portrait software or modern effects so popular these days for weddings and senior portraits ... it tends to have less odd artifacts in some circumstances. Much easier to deal with in MFD in a selective manner. It is amazing what you can do in post with all that Dynamic Range and Resolution.


    -Marc

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    Member Stan Lawrence's Avatar
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    I'm also in the market for a mf digital.... my practice is limited to families on the beach, I use my studio primarily for the occasional pr portrait and sales. After using the RZ with the dm back, I realized my old eyes don't focus like they used to, so I'm leaning toward the Mamiya DM33. Since most of my business is wall portraits, the MF difference should be very helpful, not to mention the increased perception with the MF. Anyone using the this camera for location portraiture?

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Lawrence View Post
    I'm also in the market for a mf digital.... my practice is limited to families on the beach, I use my studio primarily for the occasional pr portrait and sales. After using the RZ with the dm back, I realized my old eyes don't focus like they used to, so I'm leaning toward the Mamiya DM33. Since most of my business is wall portraits, the MF difference should be very helpful, not to mention the increased perception with the MF. Anyone using the this camera for location portraiture?
    Frankly, if I were shooting that sort of beach stuff on a regular basis, I'd look at the fully weather and dust sealed Leica S2 ... IF I had the money that is ... LOL!

    -Marc

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan Lawrence View Post
    I'm also in the market for a mf digital.... my practice is limited to families on the beach, I use my studio primarily for the occasional pr portrait and sales. After using the RZ with the dm back, I realized my old eyes don't focus like they used to, so I'm leaning toward the Mamiya DM33. Since most of my business is wall portraits, the MF difference should be very helpful, not to mention the increased perception with the MF. Anyone using the this camera for location portraiture?
    Hey Stan,

    IF, and that a big if, Pentax ever got their new 654d to North America and in numbers and additional lenses, that's a thought for you as it is suppose to be weather sealed. Also has that cool horizon line that might be a help with sky/ocean line. If it's at PhotoExpo or whatever they call in in NYC next month, I'll take a look.

  29. #29
    Member Stan Lawrence's Avatar
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    Quote Originally Posted by David Schneider View Post
    Hey Stan,

    IF, and that a big if, Pentax ever got their new 654d to North America and in numbers and additional lenses, that's a thought for you as it is suppose to be weather sealed. Also has that cool horizon line that might be a help with sky/ocean line. If it's at PhotoExpo or whatever they call in in NYC next month, I'll take a look.
    David-
    Any idea on the price point? I'm guessing body and short tele/tele zoom would work, I'll keep my canons for back up......

  30. #30
    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Studio System Difference

    Stan,

    There's some reviews and videos of Pentax 645d. I've noticed over the last week or so they are popping up on eBay from Japanese sellers so that must mean there's good supply there. I'll look for them if they are at PhotoExpo in Oct.

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/re...645d-1st.shtml

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KF310...eature=related

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xd1V58LsKtc

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