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Thread: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

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    Senior Member PSon's Avatar
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    Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    The recent medium format digital back fever has caused many members/colleagues/friends to move to a new direction and start to sell off some of their great 35 mm optics (RF and SLR). I feel that sometimes we start something new we forget what we actually already own. I believe it is great that we should try new frontier to expand our experiences and as one of my friend (Woody) would say, knowledge + experience = wisdom. However, I feel a balance is needed in our juggling of gears in the transitioning process to a new format.

    Personally from my own experiences I find that some of the best optics belong to the 35 mm format systems. The medium format offers us a different looks with less spatial compression and it also has some really great optics. I hope this thread will find you all well.

    Best Regards,
    -Son
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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Here are some samples of the Leica Apo Summicron-R 2.0/180







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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Son i had this lens for a bit and really liked it. What is the minimum focusing distance? There was some talk on another forum but using this as an alternative to the leica 100mm apo 2.8 macro but i think these two are different beasts.

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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Son,

    Love this lens and it's a good example of just how good it can get with the right optics.

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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Dr. Kay,
    The lens has a minimum focus distance of 1.5 meter (<4.9 feet) marked on the lens. However, it actually can focus even closer than this marking.

    David,
    I agree that the right optics facilitate the whole process of acquiring high standard of quality.

    -Son
    ALPA (MAX, STC, TC) | CAMBO (Actus DB2, WRS-AE) | CONTAX | HASSELBLAD | LEICA | DB (CFV-16, CFV-39, IQ180, IQ360, IQ3100, P45+) | Lens (Canon, Fujinon, Leica, Nikon, Pentax, Rodenstock, Schneider, Zeiss)

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    Senior Member EH21's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Yeah its a great lens but have to say how surprised I am that I am not at all wowed by it after shooting my Rollei. Images have unreal color and lack the pop I am now used to - is it the 1Ds3's fault?

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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Quote Originally Posted by EH21 View Post
    Yeah its a great lens but have to say how surprised I am that I am not at all wowed by it after shooting my Rollei. Images have unreal color and lack the pop I am now used to - is it the 1Ds3's fault?
    With post processing I think you can get pretty much any look you want from this combo. Also, noticed that these were not converted to sRGB before posting.

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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    David and Son.. I also noticed these are not in sRGB but interestingly even on my calibrated monitors---- the web embedded images are pretty close to what i get when i download the images, which surprised me.

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    Senior Member Graham Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    I think there are a few special lenses which can't be replaced by medium format lenses. Here's a sample of a Voigtländer Nokton 35mm f1.2, wide open, courtesy of www.ilktac.com

    Lovely wide angle with narrow DOF. MF equivalent would have to be something like a 50mm f1.7.




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    Senior Member Graham Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Quote Originally Posted by mark1958 View Post
    David and Son.. I also noticed these are not in sRGB but interestingly even on my calibrated monitors---- the web embedded images are pretty close to what i get when i download the images, which surprised me.
    Some browsers are ICC compliant. If you are using Firefox 3, it is now properly colour managed.

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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Been thinking about a 80 1.9 old mamiya lens
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Guy, I had the same thought a couple of days ago. I picked up a cheap copy at KEH to give a whirl. I'll be able to snap a few images when the back arrives. Hard to beat the $200 price to try a lens that supposedly performs well.
    Last edited by KurtKamka; 3rd June 2008 at 12:12.

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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    The thing that is strange is that i do see a difference using firefox and safari. THe safari image looks like it has a tad too much yellow, while the firefox has better skin tones. However, when i open the downloaded image in CS3- calibrated monitor x 2, I get colors that are almost identical to the safari image.

    Quote Originally Posted by foto-z View Post
    Some browsers are ICC compliant. If you are using Firefox 3, it is now properly colour managed.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Quote Originally Posted by KurtKamka View Post
    Guy, I had the same thought a couple of days ago. I picked up a cheap copy at KEH to give a whirl. I'll be able to snap a few images when the back arrives. Hard to beat the $200 price to try a lens that supposedly performs well.
    Yes let me know how it looks
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    My understanding is that Safari is color managed.

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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Quote Originally Posted by cmb_ View Post
    My understanding is that Safari is color managed.
    That is true.
    Safari will observe a color profile if embedded.
    If it is not embedded, it will interpret as sRGB.
    -bob

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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Quote Originally Posted by Pham Minh Son View Post
    The recent medium format digital back fever has caused many members/colleagues/friends to move to a new direction and start to sell off some of their great 35 mm optics (RF and SLR). I feel that sometimes we start something new we forget what we actually already own. I believe it is great that we should try new frontier to expand our experiences and as one of my friend (Woody) would say, knowledge + experience = wisdom. However, I feel a balance is needed in our juggling of gears in the transitioning process to a new format.

    Personally from my own experiences I find that some of the best optics belong to the 35 mm format systems. The medium format offers us a different looks with less spatial compression and it also has some really great optics. I hope this thread will find you all well.

    Best Regards,
    -Son
    HI Son
    Lovely portraits.
    It seemed to me that you were saying that one shouldn't throw the baby out with the bathwater. That the rushed sale of 35mm equipment to move to MF is just that . . . rushed.

    I've bought enough equipment twice to know exactly what you're saying. MF has real benefits and a different look and feel, but other systems have real benefits as well.

    Nobody else seems to have picked up on your point, they've simply agreed that the lens produces lovely results.

    Oh Well.

    Just this guy you know

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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Jono, I completely understand (and I'm certain that most others also get the point). The entry ticket for admission to MF can be steep.

    If I had access to unlimited funds, there would be quite a few lenses that would still be in my possession. It has certainly been very painful to let them go (Leica 180/2R; 80/1.4R; Noctilux; 75luxM; Nikon 24-70; Nikon Noct to name a few.) But, personally I like trying different optics and systems to understand them. I also like to see what works best for me in personal work style, etc. I'll repurchase a few lenses down the line when I have the funds. But for now, I try to remain detached as I explore a few of the alternatives out there.

    Kurt

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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    I am struggling with some of this stuff, but I think I am being sensible as does almost everyone.
    All the Nikon dx lenses have gone,
    I am selling some older Nikon lenses I really don't use, such as the 35-105

    As for the Leica stuff I note that I have very little space in the lens cabinet and a degree of focal length redundancy some of which I want to hold on to.
    Bit I am inclined to drop bits I have no real fondness for such as the 90-APO ASPH since I like the 90-pre better and I may pick up a 90 summarit to take its place in my travel kit.
    The WATE is also possibly on my cut list only because I can't seem to pat my head and rub my tummy without getting confused. It is a handy lens but a bit too
    The 35 lux is off to DAG for its "last chance" to see if it can be salvaged for M8 work.
    Anyway, I have some lenses that WILL NOT be on the block such as the 28/2, the 50/1,4-pre the 90/2-pre and the 12/2.8
    I haven't made up my mind on the 24. I really like it, but somehow it doesn't get to go out much.

    The 50/2.5 is small and a great IR performer so it is a keeper
    The CV12 is in, maybe the CV15 is out, and the CV75/2.5 will probably sell since it is redundant to the 75/2APO.
    So it is not that I am in a rush to sell off ALL my 35 gear, just shifting the Nikon side to FX and on the Leica side just trying to rationalize what I have got.
    -bob

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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Well, I am trying to be a little practical in the migration to MF with my other gear.

    My M8 & M7 are both staying as I really love the camera for its size, file quality, and works great for personal or event work. The M8 gets all the color work and the M7 gets fun personal stuff with Acros 100 and the new TMax 400. However, on the lens side a lot of pairing down did occur. I'm only keeping the 28 Cron ASPH, 35 Cron ASHP, 50 Lux ASPH, and 90 Elmarit. These four are the ones which got the lions share of the all the photos. The mix depended on the subject and camera (film or 1.3 crop).

    The Nikon system did take a complete hit in bodies, Nikon glass, and Zeiss glass. The Nikon is what I actually brought to Puerto Rico, which should have probably been the M8 in its place (but live and learn). The Nikon was a really great system, but I needed more for product photography and Nascar event work (the race work is garage, pits, drivers, and set-up stills, not the telephoto track stuff). Based on what I really needed for a second camera system, MF just does meet my needs better. Being surprised by a a crop that gets blown up into a two page center of a magazine or a banner, just didn't work with the Nikon files. The other advantage is that MF gets me a better rate for the photos and appears that it will get me more work. (On the personal side, I just love the MFDB results from many aspects and it makes me happier when I do photography.) Isn't that a big part of why we do this.

    I completely understand the original direction of this thread, and hope that I truly went in a direction that works for me without having given up something that I will want back.

    My advantage in the M system has been that I have owned or been loaned every Leica or Zeiss lens that is recent and kept what I like and use. I had the same opportunity with the Nikon system and built up what was a great system for my use, until the MF bug bit me and showed me what difference in quality was really available.

    My MF decision was also based on use of the Phase/Mamiya & Hassy systems (cameras/lenses) prior to purchase. Currently, I'm going to limit the MF system to a 45-55/50 depending on system, an 80 (plus small extension tube), and a 150.

    Now, I'm acquiring all the little pieces such as quick release plates, cable releases, flash adaptors, etc...

    I am also going to try these focus / DOF programs to see if they can meet my needs vs. going the full view camera route.

    Best,

    Ray

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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Son:

    The 180mm APO Summicron probably has better bokeh than even the Noctilux. I measured the image circle of my 180mm APO summicron and it was 38-40mm, so you may even be able to use it with a MFDB if you could find the right adapters. It would have to be mounted for a camera without a mirror box and focused with Live view.

    Here is a Noctilux shot from a few days ago, shot at F1. Everytime I think about selling my Noctilux, I get results like this, which make me want to keep it.


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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Rob:
    Through thick and thin I noticed you have always been solid like a rock in which I respect. I thought hard about putting this thread up but I felt it was important to do so especially from someone who loves medium format system like myself. When I first put up the thread and started to prepare some 35 mm photos to display on the medium format forum at 6:00 AM in pacific time (still trying to get use to the late west coast time), I thought of your name and how you appreciate the long relationship you have with your 35 mm lens and the images you have kindly shared with us over the years like the one above. In fact your curiosity of how the Leica Apo Summicron-R 2.0/180 performs with larger image circle sensor provoked me through these time to find a way to capture the first image through the eye of this lens on a medium format digital back. I hope to find the solution and putting the lens on the P30+ one day.

    In any rate I know that Guy and Jack and others have kindly shared many information with folks who are interested in the medium format digital system, which is much more supports than when I and other folks like Graham and David first started our medium format introduction. In addition, I also noticed Kurt and others diligently studied and prepared for their entry into the medium format digital system. Thus, I am sure everyone is ready for a new frontier with great excitement and my brief notes here is just a small step back reminder for them before/during their great leap to the new digital format. I wish them well and looking forward to see great results from everyone.

    Best Wishes,
    -Son
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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Been thinking about a 80 1.9 old mamiya lens
    I've got one that I don't use.... I had been using it on my canon and leica systems with tilt/shift with very interesting results.

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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Rob,
    You of all people should never sell the Noct. You get better results with it than most folks and when it works it's very special. I gave up on it but wouldn't have if I were getting shots like this.

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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Quote Originally Posted by EH21 View Post
    I've got one that I don't use.... I had been using it on my canon and leica systems with tilt/shift with very interesting results.
    Can you expand on that? I'm very interested in using MF lenses for stitching using shift on DSLR's, I'm talking to a major manufacturer about a better (easier to use, better looking, cheaper) version of the Zeork adaptor but I would love to hear what you are doing and how.

    Can anyone here tell about which MF optics are in 35mm resolution territory? It may be nice to stitch and shift with MF lenses but if the resolution doesn't come up to scratch on a DSLR then I might as well stitch using rotational stitching...
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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Can you expand on that? I'm very interested in using MF lenses for stitching using shift on DSLR's, I'm talking to a major manufacturer about a better (easier to use, better looking, cheaper) version of the Zeork adaptor but I would love to hear what you are doing and how.

    Can anyone here tell about which MF optics are in 35mm resolution territory? It may be nice to stitch and shift with MF lenses but if the resolution doesn't come up to scratch on a DSLR then I might as well stitch using rotational stitching...
    1. Hasselblad Planar T* 2.0/110 F/FE

    2. Hasselblad Superachromat 5.6/350 C/CF/CFi/CFE

    3. Hasselblad Superachromat 2.8/300 FE

    4. Hasselblad Distagon T* 4.0/40 CFE IF

    There are others but these are the most easy to adapt on other system and are among the sharpest lens you will find in the medium format optics.
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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Can you expand on that? I'm very interested in using MF lenses for stitching using shift on DSLR's, I'm talking to a major manufacturer about a better (easier to use, better looking, cheaper) version of the Zeork adaptor but I would love to hear what you are doing and how.

    Can anyone here tell about which MF optics are in 35mm resolution territory? It may be nice to stitch and shift with MF lenses but if the resolution doesn't come up to scratch on a DSLR then I might as well stitch using rotational stitching...
    Ben,
    Why use MF optics when you can use enlarger lenses like the apo rodagon which are smaller lighter and better optically and might even be cheaper? The only reason I went to the mamiya 80mm f/1.9 is that its compact and very fast. Of course with the enlarger lenses its hard to get a good wide, but schneider makes a very nice tilt shift 28mm and oly and nikon both make nice t/s that can be fit. Anyhow, if you really need a lot of shift you might want to check out one of the many different sliding backs for view camera type work. There are quite a few options, and now several on ebay for only $300. Just seach for digital back and they will come up. If you really just want to adapt MF lense to DSLR for tilt/shift then check out the Mirex adapters - they make ones to adapt either mamiya or hasselblad to nearly every 135mm camera mount.
    Eric
    Last edited by EH21; 4th June 2008 at 09:44.

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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Hi Eric,

    I had the Camera Fusion adaptor for large format, it just didn't work for my uses though if anyone wants to know about them I have never in my life worked with a company that has had better customer service!

    How do you use an enlarger lens on a DSLR?

    I need a t/s lens substitute not a sliding back, I thought that the excess of incredibly affordable MF lenses would give a wealth of opportunity for someone to come up with a shift adaptor that could enable the use of alternative MF lens solutions together with shift ability. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive or heavy, just a simple solution. The Zoerk adaptor would have worked but they are expensive and rather undermachined.

    I've actually just found this site: http://www.stitchpix.com/options.html which I'm working my way through, didn't realise there were so many solutions for 35mm. I have to admit that the Mirex does look tasty! Are there any Mamiya 645 optics that are worth looking at on a DSLR, what about the 55mm?
    Last edited by Ben Rubinstein; 4th June 2008 at 12:08.
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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Quote Originally Posted by Pham Minh Son View Post
    1. Hasselblad Planar T* 2.0/110 F/FE

    2. Hasselblad Superachromat 5.6/350 C/CF/CFi/CFE

    3. Hasselblad Superachromat 2.8/300 FE

    4. Hasselblad Distagon T* 4.0/40 CFE IF

    There are others but these are the most easy to adapt on other system and are among the sharpest lens you will find in the medium format optics.
    Are there any affordable ones Pham?

    I'm looking for a ~50mm solution that can match my canon 50mm for resolution at an affordable price, does it exist?
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    I'll toss one out for Son to comment on - 50/4 FLE. $100 from KEH, cheaper on Street. If you want truly value-priced at 50mm, maybe look at one of the Mamiya manual focus 50s?

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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    I read an old post on FM that said that the Mamiya C 55mm was sharper than the FLE, cummon, where are all the guys who shoot MF glass on their Canons?
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Senior Member EH21's Avatar
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    Re: Keeping the Balance MFDB Vs 35mm Optics

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Hi Eric,

    I had the Camera Fusion adaptor for large format, it just didn't work for my uses though if anyone wants to know about them I have never in my life worked with a company that has had better customer service!

    How do you use an enlarger lens on a DSLR?

    I need a t/s lens substitute not a sliding back, I thought that the excess of incredibly affordable MF lenses would give a wealth of opportunity for someone to come up with a shift adaptor that could enable the use of alternative MF lens solutions together with shift ability. Nothing fancy, nothing expensive or heavy, just a simple solution. The Zoerk adaptor would have worked but they are expensive and rather undermachined.

    I've actually just found this site: http://www.stitchpix.com/options.html which I'm working my way through, didn't realise there were so many solutions for 35mm. I have to admit that the Mirex does look tasty! Are there any Mamiya 645 optics that are worth looking at on a DSLR, what about the 55mm?
    Ben,
    I use the zork MFS system on my Canon and Leica cameras - but this solution only provides tilt and only works with enlarger lenses longer than 80mm. You can add the panorama adapter to get shift. I also use the zork on my Rollei 6008, but only for macro work. I have done a lot of experimenting with soft focus and very fast custom optics with the zork. The zork has served me well I guess but in all honestly its a bit fiddly. I'm not sure there is a perfect solution.

    Mirex seems like a good solution to get wider lenses on your DSLR and I have seen some very nice wide samples with the mirex and mamiya optics (was it 35mm?). There are a few people with this set-up posting to photo.net and if I recall also fredmiranda so hopefully you can uncover that with a google search.

    Eric

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