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Thread: Backs for View cameras?

  1. #1
    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Backs for View cameras?

    First of all, you guys are having way too much fun in this MF forum. In spite of a very healthy resistance to the format, I also have a growing curiosity. So I hope you don't mind a question.

    I've tried to read through most of the threads and haven't found the answer. Which doesn't mean it isn't in there, just that my eyes start to glaze over after trying to sort out the Hassyphaseleafmamiya monster you guys are in the process of taming. If this has been discussed, just link me in the right direction.

    The question: Is there a digital back capable of being mounted on a view camera in the same way an old roll film back used to be mounted? I can imagine there might be difficulties with any kind of live view or metering, but is there something (besides a scanning back) that you can use on a view camera? What are the folks who need the swings and tilts of a traditional view camera doing for digital?

    Thanks,
    Tim

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    Senior Member Graham Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    Yes, most digital backs can be used on a view cam with the right adapter. Metering is easy due to the histogram. Some backs, such as my Sinar e54LV have live view and in fact I have used this back on a view camera. The Live View feature makes composition and focus easy and removes the need for any sliding back, or swapping the back and focus screen.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    Pretty much, yes it is. The issues are rigidity, stability, ability to hold zero and focus are all far more critical with the smaller capture of MF than 4x5. This is why moist guys doing MF DB with view cameras are using specialized cameras like the Linhof 679 or Plaubel or Rollei Xact.
    Jack
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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    Excellent! Thanks. So if I'm understanding this right, if one already owned a decent view camera and set of lenses, an adapter would allow them to switch over to digital and shoot untethered in the same way previously done with film. The price of admission would essentially be the digital back. Correct?

    Have you tried this on your Chamonix Jack?

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    That's correct Tim.

    I am actually selling my entire current 4x5 Chamonix outfit, lenses and all, primarily to raise funds for the MF DB, but secondarily for the reasons mentioned above: IMO a conventional lightweight 4x5 camera is not adequate for critical MF DB use. IF I go back to a view camera with my DB, it will likely be a more rigid and precise Arca or Linhof 6x9 monorail and digital lenses...
    Jack
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    Senior Member JimCollum's Avatar
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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    Excellent! Thanks. So if I'm understanding this right, if one already owned a decent view camera and set of lenses, an adapter would allow them to switch over to digital and shoot untethered in the same way previously done with film. The price of admission would essentially be the digital back. Correct?

    Have you tried this on your Chamonix Jack?
    i've tried this on my Ebony 4x5. works well, although the area being used is pretty small (unless you use something like

    http://www.kapturegroup.com/quad/quad.html

    the leaf i'm using doesn't have live view (unless i tether it and buy the option), so i use ground glass to focus then look at 100% after a shot to verify

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    This is all good news to me. I think I've been under the impression that MF systems were limited to the body styles usually associated with that format. Now, I'm beginning to understand how wrong that impression was and maybe beginning to allow myself to get excited by the potential of returning to my first love, the view camera.

    Gulp. Uh-oh.

    What is the rate of new product development in MFDB? I realize that the market is smaller for these expensive products so it won't mirror the every-year-and-a-half-new-sensor rate of DSLRs (or whatever it actually is) but I'd be interested to know what conventional wisdom is regarding the near future.

    Again, gulp. But, on the other hand, pretty frikkin' exciting!

    p.s. Thanks for tolerating these noob questions.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    Well we are at somewhat of a technology point here , yes they can maybe make a 60 mpx back and such but given the current technology not much will change near term except software, features like LCD screens and maybe faster processors and such. Firmware and software are the key elements right now and for C1 improvements and the New Phocus improvements. I see more software and firmware improvements making any real changes than features and such. But last is the sensor unless there is a technology breakthrough for Kodak or Dalsa i would imagine a slower growth rate in changes to hardware like the DSLR market. But heck I could be wrong too
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  9. #9
    thsinar
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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    1. ... or Sinar p, Sinar p2, Sinar x

    all 4x5 view cameras which can be converted for a very little amount. The 2 (4x5") frames are changed against 2 "100mm" frames to fit the digital back adapters.

    2. ... or Sinar p3, Sinar f3

    the especially for digital built view cameras with the same movements and gears as their 4x5" counterparts.

    Using these cameras allows the "tilt" and "swing" axis to be exactly in the sensor plane and to adjust the sharpness plane with the well-known "2 points asymmetric" way = focus on tilt/swing axis and tilt/swing until the desired plane is sharp. The live video is the perfect feature to control this adjustment.

    Included on these cameras is also a DoF scale for digital sensors, which makes it easy and precise to set the focus and DoF "on the pixel" with live video.

    Thierry

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Pretty much, yes it is. The issues are rigidity, stability, ability to hold zero and focus are all far more critical with the smaller capture of MF than 4x5. This is why moist guys doing MF DB with view cameras are using specialized cameras like the Linhof 679 or Plaubel or Rollei Xact.

  10. #10
    Natasa Stojsic
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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    Tim, even if they bring 100mp DB this year, you are not to worry!!!

    Have you ever tried uploading files from any DB? it's not fun primarily because it takes so much time.... on the other hand what is important are your PRINTS.... For example, If you don't print over 40", you may never need a larger chip. However, if you do PRINT over 40", that's a different story....

    I forgot, if you shoot Landscapes you won't have over 1/2000 shots to upload... that way you don't need to worry about the speed also!!!

    PS: I don't want to underestimate stitching, that way you can print huge PANORAMAS, etc.
    Last edited by Natasa Stojsic; 3rd June 2008 at 18:06.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    Yep, most digital backs can be used on a view camera. However there are types of digital backs that can cause color shifts when T/S are employed. Generally they are the more crop frame ones such as the 31 meg Kodak Sensor versions from Phase One and Hasselblad (don't know about the Dalsa Sensors used by Leaf and Sinar.)

    The 22 meg and 39 meg versions do not suffer from this (as much), nor the 22 and 33 meg Dalsa Sensor versions.

    The other aspect of viewcamera work with a digital back is the advent of so called "Digital" lenses ... which are APO designs of very precise manufacture due to the critical IQ requirements, especially of high meg backs.

    I use a Rollei Xact2 view Camera, Hasselblad H3D-II/39 digital back, and a Kapture Group sliding back with Schneider and Rodenstock Digital lenses ... my old view camera lenses just didn't cut it. When tethered to the computer, the Phocus software allows live-view on screen, AND employs an audio feed back for zeroing in critical focus.

    It's a blast

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    Subscriber Member TRSmith's Avatar
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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    Thierry, thanks for your input. I've always been a fan of Sinar. I have to ease into this new goal however. So if it's to be a new Camera, it might have to be an X.

    Fotografz, you are like the god of gear! Truly jealous. And a bit sad that the older Schneiders won't cut it.

    Natasa, I'm honored you chose this thread for your first post. Welcome to a great forum.

    I think I need to let this sink in a little. If I get too excited too fast I can talk myself into anything.

    Best,
    Tim

  13. #13
    thsinar
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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    Absolutely right to mention, Marc:

    some sensors like the 31 MPx from Kodak do have micro-lenses on the top of the pixels, which makes them prone to very strong and most of the time unacceptable and uncorrectable colour shifts, thus not at all to be used with a view camera when shifting, tilting or swinging.

    The Dalsa sensor is less inclined to colour shifts across the sensor area, but one cannot say and claim that these sensors are without. Here the software comes to play a big role and its capability to create "white shadings" to be applied on the files and to correct those colour shifts is very important and necessary.
    But, the "white shading" does also allow to correct colour shifts due to the use of short focal lengths and the resulting (lens) fall-off/vignetting.

    And I can only and also insist on the use of so-called digital lenses when using a digital back on a view camera: the existing "large format" lenses do not have the needed resolution power to resolve the sensors pixel density. This especially the case and a MUST when using a multi-shot mode (4- and 16-shot). And here, to set the sharpness and focus plane with the ultimate precision, the live video is a must: all Sinarbacks do have the live video feature included with the back.

    Thierry

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Yep, most digital backs can be used on a view camera. However there are types of digital backs that can cause color shifts when T/S are employed. Generally they are the more crop frame ones such as the 31 meg Kodak Sensor versions from Phase One and Hasselblad (don't know about the Dalsa Sensors used by Leaf and Sinar.)

    The 22 meg and 39 meg versions do not suffer from this (as much), nor the 22 and 33 meg Dalsa Sensor versions.

    The other aspect of viewcamera work with a digital back is the advent of so called "Digital" lenses ... which are APO designs of very precise manufacture due to the critical IQ requirements, especially of high meg backs.

    I use a Rollei Xact2 view Camera, Hasselblad H3D-II/39 digital back, and a Kapture Group sliding back with Schneider and Rodenstock Digital lenses ... my old view camera lenses just didn't cut it. When tethered to the computer, the Phocus software allows live-view on screen, AND employs an audio feed back for zeroing in critical focus.

    It's a blast

  14. #14
    Natasa Stojsic
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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post

    I think I need to let this sink in a little. If I get too excited too fast I can talk myself into anything.

    Best,
    Tim
    Exactly, don't rush... on the other hand if you do, you still don't have to worry much!!!


    I have to say Hi to Thierry and Graham, you guys are amazing!!!

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    Natasa i started a thread on the Mamiya 28mm and if you would be so kind as maybe makes some comments on the 28mm in that thread. Like to hear your opinion of it also. Thanks Guy

    Here is the thread
    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2103
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  16. #16
    thsinar
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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    HI! Natasa.

    Nice to have you here.

    Thierry

    Quote Originally Posted by Natasa Stojsic View Post
    Exactly, don't rush... on the other hand if you do, you still don't have to worry much!!!


    I have to say Hi to Thierry and Graham, you guys are amazing!!!

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by TRSmith View Post
    Thierry, thanks for your input. I've always been a fan of Sinar. I have to ease into this new goal however. So if it's to be a new Camera, it might have to be an X.

    Fotografz, you are like the god of gear! Truly jealous. And a bit sad that the older Schneiders won't cut it.

    Natasa, I'm honored you chose this thread for your first post. Welcome to a great forum.

    I think I need to let this sink in a little. If I get too excited too fast I can talk myself into anything.

    Best,
    Tim
    Tim, obviously not all "older" lenses don't cut it, just some when compared to he newer digital offerings. If you already have lenses, try them first and go from there.

    I'd prefer to be thought of as a "god of images" ... it's making pictures that got me in all this trouble in the first place. Plus, I've been adding this stuff to my gear closet for longer than most.

    Hmm, that sounds like a subject for a thread.

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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    Just so I'm clear, the Live View on Sinar backs doesn't require being hooked to a laptop, correct?

    Thanks,

    Mitchell

  19. #19
    thsinar
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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    Mitchel,

    No, not correct: the live video is a function to get a live image on your computer screen and when tethered.

    and that is the case for ANY other MF digital back featuring a live video possibility.

    Best regards,
    Thierry

    Quote Originally Posted by Mitchell View Post
    Just so I'm clear, the Live View on Sinar backs doesn't require being hooked to a laptop, correct?

    Thanks,

    Mitchell

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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    Thanks Theirry.

  21. #21
    DougDolde
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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    I am so amazed with a single frame on the Aptus 75S that I really can't see any need for stitching on a view camera. I can do a rotational stitch with the Contax 645 if I need to stitch.

    There is so much data in just one frame that you really need to try it before you start thinking you need more. My fantasies about the whole shift stitch thing with a view camera has pretty much evaporated after some time in the field with the Aptus.

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    Senior Member JimCollum's Avatar
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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    Quote Originally Posted by DougDolde View Post
    I am so amazed with a single frame on the Aptus 75S that I really can't see any need for stitching on a view camera. I can do a rotational stitch with the Contax 645 if I need to stitch.

    There is so much data in just one frame that you really need to try it before you start thinking you need more. My fantasies about the whole shift stitch thing with a view camera has pretty much evaporated after some time in the field with the Aptus.
    yea. a lot of info there.. what i find i've been using the Horseman for are horizontal pano's, or to get an effective FOV greater than the 35mm lens. i don't see a need to use it on the Ebony at all.

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    Re: Backs for View cameras?

    I am shopping for the right view camera to do old fashioned still life work in a studio setting using my MFD back. I agree that using a view camera in the field for 'stitching' purposes is more efficiently accomplished with a non -view camera platform and approach.

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