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Thread: MF resources

  1. #1
    PaulD
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    MF resources

    Hi,

    I'm new,and from Belgium of all places!

    I stranded here, because this seems to be one of the very few forums , where you are not labeled as an idiot, when you ask a question about MF digital cams. (Am I right?)

    My path has been minolta 4mp, Canon 20d, 5D, 5d mkii. I do not regret buying any of these cams. I do not need convincing that MF is even better.

    So now when things start to move on the MF scene: Pentax, Mamiya, I wonder if this should be my next step. But resources , reviews, even test pics seem to be few and far between, especially for the Pentax en the Mamiyas (eg. Mamiya m31).

    I found Ken Rockwell who thinks the Mamiya is ugly and the Pentax has too many buttons. But those are not my main decision criteria. If I do make the plunge to MF, I do not want to make a mistake, because expensive it is! . IQ is my main concern. And I only need a good portrait lens, something like a 85mm on FF

    So where do you guys turn to find the truth ?

    thx,

    Paul

  2. #2
    Super Duper
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    Re: MF resources

    Paul,
    Welcome to the forum. I think you will find the people here to be a good resource for you. I am new to medium format as well...I'm sure a lot of people will give you good advice about the different systems.

    Again, welcome and good luck.

  3. #3
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    Re: MF resources

    The difference apart from image size between your 5DII any any current MFDB is not all that massive. Yes, the quality is better, no doubt but the expense involved does not translate to the IQ gains so make sure you get a good ROI. The second hand Market could be a good way into MFD land.

    With regards to tests etc, you'll find there is virtually no difference between all the different backs in respect to IQ. Dalsa or Kodak is a bit like BMW or Audi. They are all extremely good and IMO the only thing to separate them is the camera bodies and system. The best way to decide is to ask for a demo of the ones your interested in.

    I've been a Phase one shooter for over 10 years but recently tested an Hasselblad H4D and that camera (please note I said camera) and their leaf shutter lenses are absolutely fantastic. If it takes a system to be locked (what ever that means) to be that good then I'm all for it.

    Food for thought.

    Gareth.
    Last edited by gazwas; 25th September 2010 at 06:24.

  4. #4
    tetsrfun
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    Re: MF resources

    So where do you guys turn to find the truth ?
    ********
    I am just a hobbyist, both DSLR and MF, but do a lot of reading. I won't get into the "What is truth" question but for what you are asking, this forum is the best that I have found. I think that the major difference is that many (most?) of the photographers that post here are professionals not "photo-gear fan boys". Their thoughts about "gear" are based on what is best, at this particular time, for them to earn a living.

    My "take" from reading about MF here is that, at least for the "big two" manufactures, is that you can't go wrong with either and that the choice ends up being what works for you as an individual.

    Steve

  5. #5
    Senior Member Graham Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: MF resources

    If you are a landscape shooter, then any camera will do the job - you should probably select your platform by the lenses.

    However if you need fast flash sync, or viewfinder options, or fast autofocus or very long exposures or any other non-basic feature, the choices become more limited. Perhaps you could describe your needs.

  6. #6
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    Re: MF resources

    Graham brings up some good points. and I'll try to add a few (in no particular order)


    Decide what you want to shoot with in MF; or at least the primary purpose

    Look at the lens selection available to your need

    Decide on the platform for your needs and what you might want to grow into. By this I mean DSLR type 645 then eventually a technical camera

    Look at software that you'll need to get the best finished product

    Look at your dealer support after the sale. Every dealer will want to make the initial sale however it's the dealer that will still talk to you long after the sale is made that you should be interested in.

    Very important is how does it feel in your hands and does it feel natural to your eyes?

    The actual digital back. We all have our favorites much like automobiles. Any car will get you there just as any digital back will capture an image. It can boil down to pixel size, sensor, and more important closed vs open system.

    You can figure in the end your money will go in the following order ...

    Most expensive - The digital back
    Next expensive - Lenses
    Less expensive - The actual camera body.

    Good luck and welcome to the club.

    Don
    Don Libby
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  7. #7
    PaulD
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    Re: MF resources

    Hi,

    Ok, thanks for the responses so far, but I do have my act together and I'm pretty sure of why I might want to upgrade to MF.

    I want to use it for studio and strobist model photography. That is 95% of my work. I also print these results on paper: A3/A2/sometimes lager formats.
    My hope is that the end result will look better than FF dslr. So better prints, higher dynamic range, more detail.

    @Graham: from an earlier, shared, forum life you should know that MF also means the opposite of AF. That is where we met before.
    Obviously "fast AF" or 10 fps/sec are meaningless to me. (I use a lot of "old" lenses" on my 5D mkii)

    I'm here to find out what the best Med.format Cam is for me, price/performance wise. I cannot find enough info on the internet and one of the big riddles to me is: why is everybody talking about the new Pentax, which almost nobody has seen (except in Japan), while I can go today to my local calumet shop, and buy a Mamiya DM33 with a schneider kreuznach 110mm lens, and walk home and start shooting.

    Doesn't anybody use the Mamiya? What's wrong with it?

    Paul

  8. #8
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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulD View Post
    Hi,

    Ok, thanks for the responses so far, but I do have my act together and I'm pretty sure of why I might want to upgrade to MF.

    I want to use it for studio and strobist model photography. That is 95% of my work. I also print these results on paper: A3/A2/sometimes lager formats.
    My hope is that the end result will look better than FF dslr. So better prints, higher dynamic range, more detail.

    @Graham: from an earlier, shared, forum life you should know that MF also means the opposite of AF. That is where we met before.
    Obviously "fast AF" or 10 fps/sec are meaningless to me. (I use a lot of "old" lenses" on my 5D mkii)

    I'm here to find out what the best Med.format Cam is for me, price/performance wise. I cannot find enough info on the internet and one of the big riddles to me is: why is everybody talking about the new Pentax, which almost nobody has seen (except in Japan), while I can go today to my local calumet shop, and buy a Mamiya DM33 with a schneider kreuznach 110mm lens, and walk home and start shooting.

    Doesn't anybody use the Mamiya? What's wrong with it?

    Paul
    Everyone is talking about the Pentax because it is the newest kid on the block. It is VERY reasonably priced with well thought out features that are a lure for 35mm DSLR users looking to move up in image quality. In addition, it has been a long time in coming, and Pentax users/lovers are quite excited about it.

    There is nothing wrong with the Mamiya DM33 ... Compared to the Pentax, it is a more expensive entry to MFD with a state-of-the art body and a reasonably well tested, and well liked Leaf digital back. While the combination of the components (body,lenses,back) is new, each component is not a "new kid on the block" because they have already been much discussed on forums. The other similarly priced option is the Phase One DF camera with a 40 meg P40+ digital back, which features the latest sensor technologies from Phase One

    BTW, I'm pretty sure adding the Schneider 110mm lens to the DM33 will drive the cost up beyond the advertised price of $19,990. which is close to 2X the price of the Pentax and H4D/31.

    Same for the recently introduced Hasselblad H4D/31. This is also designed as a more reasonable entry into MFD priced colser to the Pentax than the DM33. The latest H4 camera technology coupled with a well loved, and tested back that has been a favorite of fashion shooters for years. The step up from that more entry level MFD camera is the new H4D/40 using Hasselbald's latest sensor technology.

    As far as your specific needs are concerned ... I'd recommend looking at a Mamiya DM or a Phase One DF version of the camera, with Leaf shutter lenses ... or the H4 series of cameras where all lenses are leaf shutters. In either case, they will give you the higher sync speeds for studio flash and outdoor strobist works.

    Higher sync speeds of leaf shutter lenses will open up new creative areas for you compared to the more limited sync speed of 35mm DSLRs ... which provides an additional incentive to go with MFD beyond the improved image quality.

    Hands on is the best way to determine what fits you best. Moving to MFD is a big step in terms of money and time learning a new system and its software. I'd also highly recommend contacting one of the Phase, Leaf or Hasselblad reps and advisors on this forum to secure your system ... After sale support is an important part of the MFD experience.

    BTW, if you buy a MFD camera and start shooting that day, you may or may not feel immediately justified in moving from a high end DSLR ... like anything worthwhile, it will take a little time to master the potential of MFD ... and the software that is such an important part of the MFD image chain.

    -Marc



  9. #9
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    Re: MF resources

    Hi Paul,
    I'll share my last years experience, for what it'worth.
    I was a Canon user (ending with a 1dsmkIII) and bought a used Hasselblad H3DII-22 system - mainly because I love good sharpness and purity in my pictures. I never felt happy with the Canon system, even with using the best lenses (200mm f2,0for instance). Files were always flat, blurry in a certain way.
    The blad gave me an entirely other level of IQ, with rich tones, very sharp images and lots of density mostly in the 0 to 128 part of the histogram, where the Canon files look like crap (just my opinion of course).
    I was using those systems for street shooting, landscape, studio, etc (I'm no pro).
    A friend who is a art reproduction photographer ( using a multishot mfdb system) told me for years that I should come along and test the Nikon D3x. It is a really good camera he said. 3 months ago I finally made that test. A week later I did it again but not comparing my Canon gear againstnthe Nikon but comparing my Hasselblad system against that Nikon.
    The quick conclusion is that my Canon gear was sold 2 weeks later and my Hasselblad system a month ago.

    The D3x for me is that good. It has a bit more pixels that the Canon but also seems to have a way better AA filter. Pictures look sharper, AF is more reliable, grey tones are much richer than the Canon. So the Canon is out.

    The Nikon is close to the Blad regarding resolution - but the IQ of the Blad is there immediately. Nikon files need carefull sharpness and local contrast to approach the Blad files.
    I found out then that the zeiss lenses really give that 3D look to the Nikon files (100mm f2 is really good at f2). This look is not a medium format only caracteristic anymore. The bokeh of the zeiss are superb, then again no more advantage to the Blad. Using top quality pola filters (from Kasemann) help giving deep colors to the Nikon files, even with bright sunshine.
    Finally the use of Raw developer instead of Lightroom for developping the Nikon raw files gives IQ results really close to the Phocus + Blad files.

    There was no reason for me to still keep the Blad system.

    But for portrait use with strobe - and compared to a Canon dslr - I personnaly think that a leaf shutter system, with true focus assistance could make a huge difference. It looks to me that your needs make you a perfect H4D-31 buyer.

    The fast sync speed, the accuracy of the true focus and the use of a 100mm f2,2 lens from Blad could be enough to justify the investment.

    Personaly, I'll be back in the medium format world when a company will be able to offer one system without serious flows (give a back with 40mpix that has a good lcd screen, works in live view mode and is able to send a jpeg file to an Ipad) and my money you will get !

  10. #10
    PaulD
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    Re: MF resources

    Hi,

    Thanks for all that info guys.
    Things are shaping up:

    H4D -31 looks interesting, of course bespoke Hassy backs
    So does Phase One DF 30: much more versatile, but more expensive
    Pentax still a mystery, and why did they decide to use SD cards ?

    Taking advantage of leaf shutters would be a real plus with my strobist interests.

    Going out to shops is the next move, finding knowledgeable salesmen will be a challenge.

    Two more questions:
    - what about using pre-digital lenses on these backs?
    - is there a formula that will convert MF lens millimetres into 35 mm equivalent, given sensor size and a certain crop factor (mostly 1.3, I guess)

    Paul

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    Re: MF resources

    Hi Paul

    Here you can download a focal length calculator provided by Capture Integration.
    http://www.captureintegration.com/?s...gth+calculator

  12. #12
    PaulD
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    Re: MF resources

    Hi,

    I've done some more reading on the subject, found several dslr-MF comparisons on the internet, visited the MF dealers, etc..

    The half-truth comments that you get about their systems and the competition make me feel uneasy. I've been a software salesmen myself and I can notice red herrings when they come along. "High speed sync, yes sir, 1/1600 or more". (Yes but you need extra equipment to do that) etc...

    My conclusion is that all tests on the internet are presented with 900 pixel images and the difference between MF and top-dslrs is marginal. In any case not proportional to the minimum 10x cost difference.

    In one test (interview) a pro said: "my clients want the look of an MF image". That sounds like the famous "Leica image feel" of olden days. I want to see an exhibition with mixed images MF and top dslr, and the guy who can discern between them. Then I will believe, although this is not a "digital" (based on test results), but analog ("based on perception") criterium.

    The dslr manufacturers are not idle either, they are talking also 30+ mpixels on a 35mm sensor in 2011.

    But , the one thing that remains a "?" is a direct comparison in printout quality and that is my main reason to examine MF. By definition this is a physical thing and I should now look for a pro who has both systems and can compare prints.

    A salesman should help a client to spend his money and feel happy, so far they have been unsuccesful with me.

    One thing seems to be obvious however, they did convince me that Capture one is better than Lightroom, but the darn thing can't print. And I want prints!


    Paul
    Last edited by PaulD; 27th September 2010 at 23:57.

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    Re: MF resources

    How large are your prints going to be?
    My feeling is uprezzing works better with files based on non AA-filtered cameras (MF, M9 etc.). But I also think as long as we are talking about prints below 1 meter on the long side every current camera will do fine for most subjects (assumed the capture is good enough... technically).
    As to printing out of Lightroom I really question the usefulness of that feature without the ability to softproof. In any case printing is just a matter of post workflow and shouldn't affect the buying decission of the camera...

  14. #14
    PaulD
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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    How large are your prints going to be?
    My feeling is uprezzing works better with files based on non AA-filtered cameras (MF, M9 etc.). But I also think as long as we are talking about prints below 1 meter on the long side every current camera will do fine for most subjects (assumed the capture is good enough... technically).
    1 meter is indeed about the max. size.
    How many members here go larger than that on a regular basis ?

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    In any case printing is just a matter of post workflow and shouldn't affect the buying decission of the camera...
    Of course not, but they do have a version of Capture One for Canon. :-)

    Paul
    Last edited by PaulD; 28th September 2010 at 02:43.

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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulD View Post
    1 meter is indeed about the max. size.
    and you don't get there with your 5D-II???
    To get 1 meter on the long side 200% enlargement @ 300dpi is all you need (210% actually...) with your 5D-II. 200% is actually a joke, you don't even need a sophisticated workflow for that... you could in fact simply output at 200% straight from the RAW software with very, very good results.
    Things get a bit more complicated at 300% enlargement and above ... IMO... but of course this is still doable with excellent results. You can also print at lower printer resolution (200dpi, 240dpi ... depending on the printer) so that you don't have to enlarge the actual pixel-file that much. But, again, at 200% things should look very good.
    So... are you actually printing and if so what exactly are you missing in your prints... quality-wise?

  16. #16
    Super Duper
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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    and you don't get there with your 5D-II???
    To get 1 meter on the long side 200% enlargement @ 300dpi is all you need (210% actually...) with your 5D-II. 200% is actually a joke, you don't even need a sophisticated workflow for that... you could in fact simply output at 200% straight from the RAW software with very, very good results.
    Things get a bit more complicated at 300% enlargement and above ... IMO... but of course this is still doable with excellent results. You can also print at lower printer resolution (200dpi, 240dpi ... depending on the printer) so that you don't have to enlarge the actual pixel-file that much. But, again, at 200% things should look very good.
    So... are you actually printing and if so what exactly are you missing in your prints... quality-wise?
    I'm using a 25 meg Sony A900 with Zeiss lenses, and my second shooter uses a 5D-II with L lenses ... as well as using my a H4D/40 MFD.

    What is very apparent when doing even 17" X 22" prints shot in the exact same conditions is how the tonal graduations, dynamic range, and focus fall-off looks better with MFD. The bigger the print, the more this becomes readily apparent. 1 meter prints reveal a significant difference in my experience. Above that ... there is no question at all.


    One other consideration I've found advantageous with MFD for closer work is that I can back-off the camera to mitigate less DOF, and provide more working room for lighting , etc., without losing much in terms of working resolution. Not to mention the variety of TS solutions available with full movements and lenses that no DSLR or MFD system can compete with.

    MFD isn't for everyone, but it sure is for me ... I could never go back now ... it's too late ... it spoils you

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    Re: MF resources

    I think there is something very tricky with the MF world:
    when you have no experience in it you have great expectations.
    'Best quality systems', 'professional use', 'legendary companies' terms feed that.
    When you see a demo or start using your brand new system you can immediately see the extraordinary file quality 'out of the box'. They really look beautiful in their raw developer and there is often not much to change/correct.
    It is a great selling factor comparing to the dslr files that always need to be sharpened, boosted in colour, local contrast etc.
    The color accuracy and overall natural feel of the image is better, even for unexperienced eyes (my wife was rarely fooled during 'blind'... dslr/mfdb comparison).

    These too general and pesonal statements aren't true anymore after Photoshop. There is a lot that can be saved with the dslr files (selective color and hue/sat tools to improve color accuracy, high pass at different levels to boost local contrast, etc). I used comparison files between both systems to save actions in photoshop that can easily close the gap between them.

    Of course it is very difficult/impossible to recover certain kind of informations (some color shades are simply not there, deep black are poorer although already rich enough for many recovery jobs).

    IMO 22mp back IQ is too close from D3X to justify an investment.
    I only see a justification in the following points:
    * need at least 40mpix for large prints
    * need specific use (leaf shutter, technical cam)
    * need very large DR (pushing the blacks a lot)
    * being able to see the real IQ of a picture
    Regarding the last point, I think photography is a bit like high end hifi systems.
    Trying to hear differences between a 10.000eur and a 25.000eur system is not that easy for unexperienced listeners.

  18. #18
    PaulD
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    Re: MF resources

    Hi ,

    I know I can get to 1 meter with 5d mkii, and with enough dpi. Been there, done it.

    But the 21 mpixels are in the wrong configuration.
    They are 2 x 3, and I do a lot of 1x1 pics, so to start out I loose 30 %.

    So a 4x3 config of 31 mp has almost double the pixels...for me.

    But then canon is rumoured to go 30+mp in 2011...

    What "fotografz" says is exactly what my print shop told me last time I showed up with a 1mx1meter print. "The pixels from an MF can are "better" pixels.

    I'm lost.

    Paul

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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulD View Post
    My conclusion is that all tests on the internet are presented with 900 pixel images and the difference between MF and top-dslrs is marginal. In any case not proportional to the minimum 10x cost difference.

    ... SKIP ...

    But , the one thing that remains a "?" is a direct comparison in printout quality and that is my main reason to examine MF. By definition this is a physical thing and I should now look for a pro who has both systems and can compare prints.
    Make sure you find a pro who is truly unbiased and knows DSLR very well and is using the native camera raw convertor to tweak the image. Also make the image the best you can in both workflows, don't set both to defaults... I never understood that. The workflow is part of the testing...

    When all is said and done you should find MFD to have more detail at larger outputs, preferred by retouchers, appropriate for large gallery sized printing, and a sucky workflow. Everything else is a red herring. Remember DSLR only has one shortcoming.

    The question you have to ask yourself is it worth it for business reasons? The answer is usually no. However, for personal reasons the answer is often yes.

  20. #20
    PaulD
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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by pcunite View Post
    The question you have to ask yourself is it worth it for business reasons? The answer is usually no. However, for personal reasons the answer is often yes.
    Business reasons: meet the first client that sees the difference.
    Probably the editor of Vogue can see it, the rest of the world doesn't.

    Personal reasons: whatever gave that idea ?

    Paul

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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    What is very apparent when doing even 17" X 22" prints shot in the exact same conditions is how the tonal graduations, dynamic range, and focus fall-off looks better with MFD. The bigger the print, the more this becomes readily apparent. 1 meter prints reveal a significant difference in my experience. Above that ... there is no question at all.
    Marc, I agree with you. But as Paul talked about a future DSLR with 30+ pixel I thought it's just about the print size, i.e. the pixel count...

    I do not agree with "anGy" re 22MP MFD... when it comes to the "look" (whatever...) of the files I'd certainly prefer a 22MP MF back over a 24 or 30+ DSLR...

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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    I do not agree with "anGy" re 22MP MFD... when it comes to the "look" (whatever...) of the files I'd certainly prefer a 22MP MF back over a 24 or 30+ DSLR...
    My preference also goes to the 22mp back. But since I'm using the D3x + zeiss lenses + raw developer + carefull photoshoping combination, I really am convinced that the gap is way too close for keeping or investing in a 'small' MFDB system. Too many drawbacks that can only be balanced by a real resolution difference or specific need.
    My advice to Paul would be to avoid low resolution MFDB but instead go for high-end backs or stay with DSLR.

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    Re: MF resources

    Mamiya ZD with a couple of lenses goes for less than 3500 euro, so that is way less than a D3x and still smokes the D3x when it comes to the specific MF look and pixelsmoothness at base ISO.

  24. #24
    PaulD
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    Re: MF resources

    Hi,

    These last few posts seem to converge to a conclusion for me:
    -Either go really high end MF
    -or stay with top-dslrs.

    The suggestion to get one of them second hand ZD's and dabble around with it in the studio is well-noted. I'll read up on what LuLa had to say on that some time ago.

    MF remains an option, yes it does, but I'll be patient and follow the market closely. (And thanks for the help).

    Paul

    Now let me think, if I'm not buying an MF system, what else could I...

  25. #25
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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by anGy View Post
    My preference also goes to the 22mp back. But since I'm using the D3x + zeiss lenses + raw developer + careful photoshoping combination, I really am convinced that the gap is way too close for keeping or investing in a 'small' MFDB system. Too many drawbacks that can only be balanced by a real resolution difference or specific need.
    My advice to Paul would be to avoid low resolution MFDB but instead go for high-end backs or stay with DSLR.
    One has to live with a MFD system for a little time to make clear competitive determinations as to over-all quality assertions. Same for any high end DSLR.

    Here are my experiences with both high-end 35mm DSLRs and MFD used concurrently ... for what they are worth to those considering adding MFD to their capabilities: Forgive the long post ... wedding season is coming to a close and I have time on my hands ...

    I know the D3X very well ... I used one for 20 wedding shoots with AFS Nano coated lenses, and just about all of the Zeiss ZF optics before moving to the Sony A900 to take advantage of that Zeiss look, but in AF, and the Sony's color right out of the camera. Processing up to 1,000 images a weekend gives you a clear insight as to image qualities and performance aspects. Prior to that, weddings were done with a Canon 1DsMKIII and all L lenses ... along with some adapted Leica R and Zeiss/Contax lenses including the Zeiss 50/1.2 and 85/1.2. Anniversary models.

    I also have lived with a broad range of MFD gear concurrent with the above high-end 35mm DSLR cameras. These included a full Hasselblad 203FE system coupled with a CFV/16 square digital back, a Mamiya AFD system with a couple of different Leaf Aptus backs which I upgraded from 22 meg to a 33 meg Leaf Aptus 75s ... on to the Hasselblad H system ranging from 22 meg H2D, to H3D/31-II and H3D/39-II to my current H4D/40 and CF/39 Multi-Shot on a H2F.

    People making a decision today need not go through the upgrade paths that we early adopters did with MFD. They can benefit from the experience of those who went before them when determining what level of MFD will provide the most distance from 35mm DSLRs available now and in the next few years.

    The primary difference between the two types of capture systems in terms of image quality (not handling and performance) is that the 35mm DSLRs are at best 14 bit CMOS capture ... where the MFDs are 16 bit CCD capture,
    and the old competitive stand-by "real estate". It isn't just meg count, it's more about pure data captured, and by what, on what sized sensor. MFDs are also usually less filtered captures compared to 35mm DSLRs which are trying to be everything to everyone with ultra high ISO performance in a relatively tiny pixel packed confined space ... the more meg these DSLRs go to, the more minuscule the pixel size will become. To date, that has usually resulted in even more filtered images.

    My standard advice to anyone considering MFD is to "Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar's". In other word's do not compromise in your choice to select a "jack of all trades and master of none". If it takes time to do that ... allow yourself the time. Patience is a virtue.

    If your needs are diverse:

    I'd select a 35mm DSLR dedicated to performance and high ISO captures which they do better than most anything out there. For example, a Nikon D700 or more capable Nikon D3S Full frame with fat pixels and mind-boggling ISO performance, speed of capture and lightening quick AF ... add a few carefully selected optics to enhance those performance characteristics. "Render unto Nikon, that which is Nikon's" (Or Canon's if that's your preference).

    For pure image quality go MFD. In today's marketplace MFD development and turn over has opened up terrific opportunities for those looking for ultra high image quality. As rarified gear comes on the market like the 60 and 80 meg MFD backs, highly capable MFD cameras become available at or below the cost of a high-end 35mm DSLR. I just sold a H3D/39-II with 4 lenses for under $14K. That means the camera was less than a D3X body alone. New H3D-II/31's are now under $10K. One need not wait for 35mm DSLRs to get to 30+ meg ... previous MFDs are already there in much larger sensor sizes that 35mm DSLRs will never get to, ever. "Render unto MFD that which is MFD's"

    I'd also strongly advise NOT relying on post processing to correct the ... "Master of none" deficiencies in a system. Post should enhance and be dedicated to that which the system is a master of. It is very difficult, boring and tedious to artificially fix images in post ... and most people are pretty bad at it despite claims to the contrary.

    -Marc
    Last edited by fotografz; 29th September 2010 at 02:04.

  26. #26
    PaulD
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    Re: MF resources

    Ok guys, this is the plan.

    I will do a test, and it is going to cost considerable money, but I want to convince myself, with my own gear, with my own workflow and my own arguments.

    I will rent a modern MF cam in the 21 mp range with a 110mm lens and take exactly the same pics with my Canon 5d mkii with the 85mm 1.8.

    Why not a 65+ mp MF cam, because I have no intention whatsoever to buy one.

    I will take some shots in the forest on a sunny day and some studio shots.

    I'll look for high DR shots, lowest cam ISO possible
    I'll do them on f 5.6- f8 to eliminate lens issues
    I'll do tripod -MLU
    And the final proof of the pudding, open them in LR 3.2, do a MINIMAL workflow and print them on an Epson 3800 on Epson lustre A2 format (16"x23")

    And then we'll see...or not..

    Anybody who has some good suggestions, now is the time...here is the place.
    Paul

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    Re: MF resources

    One suggestions is to not use Lightroom 3.2 for the MFD processing. Use Phocus / C1 Pro, depending on back manufacturer. LR3 is not optimized for Hasselblad or Phase.

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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulD View Post
    Ok guys, this is the plan.

    I will do a test, and it is going to cost considerable money, but I want to convince myself, with my own gear, with my own workflow and my own arguments.

    I will rent a modern MF cam in the 21 mp range with a 110mm lens and take exactly the same pics with my Canon 5d mkii with the 85mm 1.8.

    Why not a 65+ mp MF cam, because I have no intention whatsoever to buy one.

    I will take some shots in the forest on a sunny day and some studio shots.

    I'll look for high DR shots, lowest cam ISO possible
    I'll do them on f 5.6- f8 to eliminate lens issues
    I'll do tripod -MLU
    And the final proof of the pudding, open them in LR 3.2, do a MINIMAL workflow and print them on an Epson 3800 on Epson lustre A2 format (16"x23")

    And then we'll see...or not..

    Anybody who has some good suggestions, now is the time...here is the place.
    Paul
    "Open in LR3.2 and do minimial workflow"? Sounds like a lazy test to me. Wouldn't going for the optimal final file be more revealing?

    If the final proof of the pudding is "easiness", why not add a P&S to the mix? Maybe that'll knock off the 5D ...

    Doesn't need to be a P65+. Why not a 31, 33, or 39 which can be had quite reasonably these days?

    I doubt you'll get good at processing MFD files in Phocus or C1 Pro overnight, while I presume you are already good at the Canon you already shoot.

    Do what you want, it's your decision to make ... lots of others have already done it, and the results were crystal clear.

    To each his own.

    -Marc

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    Re: MF resources

    PaulD,
    Make sure you optimize both RAW files using the correct convertors. This means DPP for Canon, and for Hasselblad this means Phocus.

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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulD View Post
    Ok guys, this is the plan.

    I will do a test, and it is going to cost considerable money, but I want to convince myself, with my own gear, with my own workflow and my own arguments.

    I will rent a modern MF cam in the 21 mp range with a 110mm lens and take exactly the same pics with my Canon 5d mkii with the 85mm 1.8.

    Why not a 65+ mp MF cam, because I have no intention whatsoever to buy one.

    I will take some shots in the forest on a sunny day and some studio shots.

    I'll look for high DR shots, lowest cam ISO possible
    I'll do them on f 5.6- f8 to eliminate lens issues
    I'll do tripod -MLU
    And the final proof of the pudding, open them in LR 3.2, do a MINIMAL workflow and print them on an Epson 3800 on Epson lustre A2 format (16"x23")

    And then we'll see...or not..

    Anybody who has some good suggestions, now is the time...here is the place.
    Paul
    If you do this on your own, rather than alongside a knowledgeable use or dealer I can almost guarantee you'll be wasting your money. I've seen this over and over again. The first few times you use a system your chance of making an error (that is not apparent right away) is very very high.

    For instance as pointed out above there is no chance you should do this using LightRoom - at least only Lightroom. Each manufacturer puts a lot of time on their software and the hardware/software teams work very closely together to ensure the best final-quality. While some manufacturer software (*cough* DPP) is - at best - somewhat of a pain to use, software like Capture One (Phase One) is really great.

    Thereafter you have to know where and how some of the "tricks" are - and one thread online is never going to cover all of them, only an experienced user or dealer would know.

    Why don't you fly/drive out to a dealer - I can't speak for every dealer, especially as I'm a continent away, but if you were in the US we (Capture Integration) and, if I may speak for them, Optech (also active on this board), would be glad to work with you and provide you the gear for your test at no charge and stay with you during the test, eliminating insurance requirements and providing you that expertise to prevent an easy error that would completely screw up the results of your test. Surely there is a dealer within a cheap flight of you that could play this role for you, and the cost of the flight may well be less than the cost of the rental, assuming the dealer provides the gear to test for free.

    Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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  31. #31
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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by Graham Mitchell View Post
    If you are a landscape shooter, then any camera will do the job - you should probably select your platform by the lenses.

    However if you need fast flash sync, or viewfinder options, or fast autofocus or very long exposures or any other non-basic feature, the choices become more limited. Perhaps you could describe your needs.
    Welcome, Paul.

    As a landscape shooter, I'm going to politely disagree with Graham on that first point.

    I've purchased quite a number of different digital medium format systems looking for the right gear--I've found major differences in operation, weight, availability of key items (such as longer lenses), vibration and usability.

    I do agree though, that it would help to better understand what you would like to do with your system.

    I see you're planning a shootout between the Canon and a 21MP MF back. It's good that you're doing your own testing. Some quick points:

    * Above posters are correct that you'll see best quality using the "native" raw converters for your gear--that's DPP for Canon and Capture One for Phase.

    * You mentioned that you wanted to test the workflow--if you have no intention of using DPP (understandable!) or Capture One in your workflow, then I do think it is reasonable to test using a LR 3.2 workflow. If you do so, you will likely get most (or all) the detail, but your colors will likely not be as accurate. No worries, though, as these are easily adjusted, (and new defaults can be set). Simply be prepared for a little additional setup work for your workflow.

    * The MF digital back is going to win hands down when it comes to IQ. Not only because of the back, but the lenses. You're doing a low-ISO test, presumably on a tripod--MF really shines here. If this is how you plan to do all your work, then it is a good test. But if you plan to shoot handheld, at dawn/dusk (when perhaps lowest possible ISO isn't practical due to low light), etc., then you might want to add some real-world shooting conditions to your test. I think you'll find that MF is quite a bit more light hungry and demanding of a higher shutter speed to get that crisp shot than you might expect.

    All in all, I think you're going about it the right way by getting your hands on the gear, and trying it out in the ways and places you'll be shooting.

    Looking forward to hearing how it went!

    Best regards,
    Last edited by BradleyGibson; 3rd October 2010 at 07:04.

  32. #32
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    Re: MF resources

    I'm touched to see this much concern, but:

    a) I do have C1pro rel.5.2 on my PC.
    C1Pro seems a little on the return since Michael Johnsson turned to Rawshooter and is now assisting Adobe in making LR.

    b)And I won't go for the Hasselblad

    c)It makes me feel uneasy that the difference in quality between raw files should be visible only through a sophisticared PP. KISS.

    d)Bespoke raw converter, I agree.

    e) As for going to dealers , I find them all bad listeners. They want to sell their product and not to solve my problem. The good ones should make these 2 objectives converge.

    If you look at the answers I got in this thread, they do strike me as odd...

    First some say MF is way better, others say "< 1mx1m you won't notice the difference". Then I want to test : "Oh no, not on your own, wasting your money"...

    Are you all afraid of what I might find ?

    Paul

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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulD View Post
    I'm touched to see this much concern, but:

    a) I do have C1pro rel.5.2 on my PC.
    C1Pro seems a little on the return since Michael Johnsson turned to Rawshooter and is now assisting Adobe in making LR.

    b)And I won't go for the Hasselblad

    c)It makes me feel uneasy that the difference in quality between raw files should be visible only through a sophisticared PP. KISS.

    d)Bespoke raw converter, I agree.

    e) As for going to dealers , I find them all bad listeners. They want to sell their product and not to solve my problem. The good ones should make these 2 objectives converge.

    If you look at the answers I got in this thread, they do strike me as odd...

    First some say MF is way better, others say "< 1mx1m you won't notice the difference". Then I want to test : "Oh no, not on your own, wasting your money"...

    Are you all afraid of what I might find ?

    Paul
    Paul,

    a bit nervous about that you might finally find the MF system you bought is the wrong one?

    I can assure you, this will always become the case again. So there will always be another system (Phase, Leaf, Hasselblad or Leica) which will be better for certain photographic applications.

    My advice - test the systems you would likely consider, all are meanwhile available at different dealers of course and then look also into the support and knowledge of the dealer. And then make up your mind.

    You will not get the SINGLE answer here, as this single answer does not exist.

  34. #34
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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by ptomsu View Post
    Paul,

    a bit nervous about that you might finally find the MF system you bought is the wrong one?

    You will not get the SINGLE answer here, as this single answer does not exist.
    a)No, I rarely suffer from buyer's remorse, I'll live with my decision.

    b) I'll tell you what I hope to find: that the technical quality of the pics (never mind the artistic) is sooo much better that it is a no brainer.

    But it may be like deciding between an EF 85mm 1.8 and the 1.2. You need a magnifying glass the see the difference in the end result. The latter sets you back an extra 1.000$.

    And I do not buy things like "the Leica look", "the MF look", the "3D look" etc. Those arguments are the things you say to justify an investment you really did not need. I'll go and see Avatar when I want a 3D look.

    Am I doing a good job making myself popular here?

    Paul

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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulD View Post
    a)No, I rarely suffer from buyer's remorse, I'll live with my decision.

    b) I'll tell you what I hope to find: that the technical quality of the pics (never mind the artistic) is sooo much better that it is a no brainer.

    But it may be like deciding between an EF 85mm 1.8 and the 1.2. You need a magnifying glass the see the difference in the end result. The latter sets you back an extra 1.000$.

    And I do not buy things like "the Leica look", "the MF look", the "3D look" etc. Those arguments are the things you say to justify an investment you really did not need. I'll go and see Avatar when I want a 3D look.

    Am I doing a good job making myself popular here?

    Paul
    Paul, if you haven't noticed, this is a pretty cordial and helpful forum. Lots of very experienced people here who freely share their knowledge, experience and ... yes ... their subjective opinions. Feel free to disagree, but don't expect to goad someone into a flame war.

    If you can't see the differences between certain things, doesn't mean others can't. There are some people here with pretty discriminating eyes that see differences others can't see.

    It depends on one's personal criteria, creative intent, and how educated their eye may be to what sometimes amounts to subtile differences. They are not motivated by what others can or cannot see, it is a personal quest for excellence in their own work ... be it professional or amateur.

    MFD is no different. Personal criteria and how discriminating one's eye is plays a huge role in making decisions. To some people the differences are subtile and not worth the price. For others it is a big difference, and well worth it to accomplish ever higher personal standards of image quality.

    One thing is for sure, the general playing field is at a very high level these days due to relentless advancements in digital imaging. So, incremental improvements are relatively expensive.

    -Marc

    BTW, for example, I could see a difference between the Canon 85/1.8 and 85/1.2L every time I ever used it at f/1.4 or f/1.2 ... which is what I paid for. That and the more robust L build for professional applications. Well worth the additional $1,000. when shooting available light wedding photography.

  36. #36
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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    If you can't see the differences between certain things, doesn't mean others can't. There are some people here with pretty discriminating eyes that see differences others can't see.
    I'm not inducing anybody into anything, I just don't give in easily.. I want to find out wether effects are true or largely hype. And you are a friendly bunch who have been very patient with me so far.

    But I will only pay for differences that I , or my peers can see, without knowing the technique used. Many of the so called differences are due to an effect you could label "positioning".

    "I've done this pic with a Leica, can you see the special leica-look?"...
    Of course you see it, but only after you've been told it is done with a Leica.

    I think we are way off-topic, let me continue my efforts to become a believer.

    Paul

  37. #37
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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulD View Post
    I'm not inducing anybody into anything, I just don't give in easily.. I want to find out wether effects are true or largely hype. And you are a friendly bunch who have been very patient with me so far.

    But I will only pay for differences that I , or my peers can see, without knowing the technique used. Many of the so called differences are due to an effect you could label "positioning".

    "I've done this pic with a Leica, can you see the special leica-look?"...
    Of course you see it, but only after you've been told it is done with a Leica.

    I think we are way off-topic, let me continue my efforts to become a believer.

    Paul
    Understood.

    I have a friend that tried MFD, and while he could see a side-by-side difference, he felt the trade-offs from a high end DSLR weren't worth it. That's the personal criteria I mentioned.

    Personally, I don't care if my peers can or cannot see something. That even extends to clients in many cases. The more you shoot, the more you become your own worst critic. The quest then becomes very personal, as does the search for ways to improve creatively, technically, and in some cases professionally.

    Admittedly, this is not a practical point-of-view ... if I settled for what others think, I'd have more cash in the bank ... but would think less of myself for not trying based on my own criteria for improvement. Whether that goal is obtainable is doubtful ... the target keeps moving ... hopefully upwards

    As I said, to each his own.

    -Marc

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    Re: MF resources

    Just three quick points..

    1. Photography is an idiosyncratic pursuit, pastime and profession. teh more experienced one gets the more idiosyncratic one's attitude becmes to preferences. I'd prefer that my Leica M9 had autofocus - but wouldn't like it in any different body and I wouldn't wish the lenses to be any bigger than they are !!! So everyone has their own twist on whats what - same goes for every set of tools ever made fr any hobby, craft or profession you choose to pick....

    2. The Jpeg on the screen in front of everyone is a real 'leveler'

    There is a lot of pixel peeping discussion on the net -because hey - with a Jpeg what do you think you can see anyway - hence teh 100% crops and the this and the that..

    My CFV11 is a 16 megapixel back- but in fat light conditions and good processing will smoke any 35mm camera including the M9 for what I care about - tonality (just more info to process) don't know if the 80+ megapixel backs are going to add much to a 40 megapixel back regarding tonality - I do know they will massively up the anti regarding resolution - matched to the right lens at the right aperture pointed at the right object on the right tripod etc etc - what do you care abut regarding you choice of back - and why? These are personal issues.

    3. It is all about what float your boat and makes it fun or easier or better
    the easiest way
    to have buyer's regret is to not try as much as you can - before you buy. ie what everyone will tell you.

    Still no MFD camera made today - except for perhaps the Leica S2 is going to give you that hand held feeling a 35mm dslr will give you - you will have to use faster shutter speeds at any ISO in order to get a sharp shot - or use a tripod and mirror up.


    good luck

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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulD View Post
    I'm not inducing anybody into anything, I just don't give in easily..
    The problem is your refusal to give in easily is going to guarantee you do NOT get optimal results from you MF back. So let me save you some time and effort --- If you are NOT going to bother to learn the dedicated conversion software for either Hassy or Phase, and are going to rely 100% on LR or ACR, then stick with your Nikon, since I can almost guarantee you won't see enough advantage in a 22MP back to make the swap.

    However, if you actually listen to the advice YOU ASKED FOR, and use the dedicated converters PROPERLY (which will take a few weeks of working with it on your own, or a few hours of 1-on-1 with somebody who knows the software), then I can virtually guarantee you WILL see obvious advantages to the 22MP back over your Nikon.

    As Peter said, it's your choices and your experiences that count, and whether you make the most of them or not is up to you

    Cheers,
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  40. #40
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    Re: MF resources

    If you can't see the difference, thank your lucky stars. Your pocketbook will remain healthy, your work flow simpler, your overall investment and learning curve simpler, backup requirements simpler, and the time spent to get the nuances reduced.

    So.... don't give in. Not at all. Stay pat on simpler answers. And we'll all be envious.

  41. #41
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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    Just three quick points..
    ....
    My CFV11 is a 16 megapixel back- but in fat light conditions and good processing will smoke any 35mm camera including the M9 for what I care about - tonality (
    You give me hope.
    My command of the queen's English is not all that bad, but enlighten me on what "fat light" is. A weight watcher's thing maybe? I did do some plus-models recently.

    Is "fat light" = enough light, like studio condtions, because that is exactly what I want.

    Update: It would seem that Calumet people are always a tad friendlier that the rest of the vendors, so a lady is coming into my studio to demo some equipment like Phase One or Mamiya. For Free. Next question, what should I put up to photograph, a martini rosso-bottle like in DPreview?

    Paul

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    Re: MF resources

    I am guessing you know what fat light is...it s the stuff that the little bottles on the digi chip on your camera "drink" before a bunch of fancy applied maths is applied to invent colour and deliver an image.

    If you want to shoot a bottle because you do product then do so..

    If you want to make a photograph of a person/model - then do so..but be aware that the resolution of these things will bring out every blemish and every wrinkle etc etc..and since you are going to be testing a CCD chip with no anti aliasing filter and (relatively) little intervention on the part of the coders regarding smoothing and de-noising in the box so to say ...be ready for butt ugly reality in all its glory!

    none of these MFD cameras are going to be as user friendly as a CaNikon.

    but many blokes prefer to use Japanese chisels when they hand cut their dovetails -

    a typical tradie wont cut a dovetail and will spend 5 bucks on a cheap throwaway chisel made in some place that hasn't figured out that you need a certain amount of nickel and zinc added to the iron ore in the right way at the right time - in order to make steel that will last a few lifetimes.

    on a pure utilitarian basis - a Canon 20D made ten years ago will do the job of most so called pro shooters.


    you choose.
    but it is hard to describe music to a deaf person if you get my drift.

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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    However, if you actually listen to the advice YOU ASKED FOR, and use the dedicated converters PROPERLY (which will take a few weeks of working with it on your own, or a few hours of 1-on-1 with somebody who knows the software), then I can virtually guarantee you WILL see obvious advantages to the 22MP back over your Nikon.
    if this would be true I would never recommend to use Capture One to someone. Everyone who knows how to work with decent imaging software should be able to work also with C1 from the start.
    Too, if a lot of sophisticated editing is required to show the potential of a P25+ file, than there is something wrong. C1's defaults should display the file in a fairly pleasant way - the only thing to check is maybe noise reduction as it is actually too high at defaults and to set the correct input profile.
    Of course it takes some time to get used to the workflow in C1 and to learn how to squeeze out the best out of the captures of a certain camera... however, again, even at defaults a P25+ file should look good enough to show the difference to the Nikon file ... assumed both captures are technically okay (i.e accurate focus, no motion blur due to camera shake etc.).
    There is nothing magic about MF files - normally they smoke any DSLR capture right from the start.

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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulD View Post

    Now let me think, if I'm not buying an MF system, what else could I...
    High end lighting gear... and I'm only partially kidding when I say so. I think you mentioned in your original post that all you need is a good portrait lens. Have you thought about shooting, say, the Hasselblad 110/2 via adapter on your existing kit or maybe converting one of the Leica R lenses like the 80 lux for use on your DSLR. Back in the day a lot of us here got started down the slippery slope using alternative lenses on our DSLR's. That was more years and more money ago than I like to remember but there's still, IMHO, some merit to that approach. I'm also in the camp that thinks the single most significant gear change that will enable you to produce an image that differentiates you from the competition is top notch lighting. YMMV.

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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by David K View Post
    High end lighting gear... and I'm only partially kidding when I say so. I think you mentioned in your original post that all you need is a good portrait lens. Have you thought about shooting, say, the Hasselblad 110/2 via adapter on your existing kit or maybe converting one of the Leica R lenses like the 80 lux for use on your DSLR. Back in the day a lot of us here got started down the slippery slope using alternative lenses on our DSLR's. That was more years and more money ago than I like to remember but there's still, IMHO, some merit to that approach. I'm also in the camp that thinks the single most significant gear change that will enable you to produce an image that differentiates you from the competition is top notch lighting. YMMV.


    And the patience to learn how to use it ... oh wait, that's the same as with MFD

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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    Of course it takes some time to get used to the workflow in C1 and to learn how to squeeze out the best out of the captures
    Exactly -- and which can take several days of dorking around with it by yourself or a few hours with somebody who can show you how to use it.

    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  47. #47
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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Exactly -- and which can take several days of dorking around with it by yourself or a few hours with somebody who can show you how to use it.
    again: is C1 really that difficult to use and is sophisticated editing required to get a good idea about a P25+ file?
    If so, we should talk to Phase One seriously about a radical re-design of the application.

  48. #48
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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    again: is C1 really that difficult to use and is sophisticated editing required to get a good idea about a P25+ file?
    If so, we should talk to Phase One seriously about a radical re-design of the application.
    I was a long time user of C1 (from the beginning). When they moved to v4 they did a complete redesign. Before that, it was a breeze to use. So, there is no chance they will change (it took them over a version to put back the keyboard shortcuts).

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    Re: MF resources

    Quote Originally Posted by Valentin View Post
    I was a long time user of C1 (from the beginning). When they moved to v4 they did a complete redesign. Before that, it was a breeze to use. So, there is no chance they will change (it took them over a version to put back the keyboard shortcuts).
    as far as I am concerned there is no redesign required (I am just missing some features) ... as it is basically easy to use. I mean... white balance is white balance, levels are levels, curves are curves... and so on. There is nothing particularily complicated for basic image editing. Vice versa I have absolutely no trouble to use RAW Developer or Phocus ... I am just not that fast working with these softwares as I am not used to the workflow...
    So the only thing that needs some pratice in C1 is a fast and fluent workflow. But this also goes for any other software.
    Finally if you discover for instance the power of C1's Color Editor this will take you one step further. But that doesn't neccessarily mean that it is required to use the full potential of the Color Editor to get a decent image out of a P25+ file...

  50. #50
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    Re: MF resources

    Thomas, you obviously have your point of view and that's fine.

    However my opinion differs and is based on my experience from TEACHING C1 to a range of experienced through inexperienced folks at photo editing, where I find that MOST folks have difficulty with C1 out of the gate. This ranges from issues with finding optimal sharpening and NR settings to being confused by the film curve and camera profile selection options. Finally you have the menu layout itself, which can be daunting to even the most editing proficient photographers out there. To wit, I once spent an hour on the phone with a friend -- who happens to be a very well known color science guru and excellent photographer in his own right -- just explaining where the different adjustments were located! As a result, I never ASSUME a newbie will get "great" (or even good) results out of the gate with any converter.

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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