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Thread: Landscapes cameras

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Landscapes cameras

    I love landscapes, cameras such as the Fuji GX617 or the Linhof 617SIII are popular for this style, but I want to be able to attach my H4D back to such a camera. I know the Horseman SWD II provides a close alternative, but can't find many samples. I don't really need T/S, as nature's lines are not as strict, as in architecture. Being somewhat portable and possibly handheld is a plus too. Does anyone have any photo samples of the SWDII, they can share?

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    I looked at Horseman cameras in 2009 as i began my migration into technical cameras and while I generally liked what I saw I had a slight concern regarding their movements. While their movements were comparable the Cambo they weren't geared which was what I wanted. I felt then and still do that geared movements would allow me a much better chance of repeatability. Thus I choose the Cambo WRS1000. While a Cambo WDS is of the same general quality it is nevertheless huge when compared to the Horseman SWD or Cambo WRS1000.

    I just finished doing a Google on Horseman and sadly the only site that I could find was in Japanese. While B&H, Adorama both sell Horseman cameras it always nice to go to the manufactures site and be able to gleam additional information that store leave out. I'm not sure whether Horseman has made their movements geared or not thus can't help in that regard so I'd still recommend the Cambo WRS1000.

    Hope this helps

    Don
    Don Libby
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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    - do you want to use a groundglass (if only occasionally) for composition or just a viewfinder?
    - will you use it mostly handhold? or mostly on a tripod but still want to shoot handhold occasionally?

    if you don't need a groundglass, I'd take a look at an Alpa TC (that doesn't provide any movements) or the new STC. Not quite sure whether or not there is GG for the STC (I guess not) but in any case it's extremely small and light and still offers some movements on 1 axis; so either lateral or vertical (when mounted/hold 90° rotated). Great little camera!
    The Cambo WRS is easily handholdable but you still can use it with a groundglass; it also provides a viewfinder so you have the choice (basically similar to the Horseman). It provide 4-way shift on the rear with quite large movements. It's a very versatile and clever designed camera.
    The Arca Rm3D might be also handholdable but the focus mount... which is absolutely great in general... is maybe a bit cumbersome to handle when handhold. On a tripod this isn't an issue of course.
    For handheld shooting IMO the quality of the attachable finders come into play. Me personally I'd rate them (in particular with regard to distortion + brightness):
    1: Arca | 2: Alpa | 3: Cambo | 4: Horseman (IMO almost unusable)

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    The ALPA ground glass works on any of their cameras, so it'll work on the STC.

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    cool - thanks for clarifying!

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Excellent start, thank you! The Alpha 12 TC seems perfect in terms of size. I don't need a ground glass, the viewfinder is perfect. How does one power the "H" back with any of these models?

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnygoesdigital View Post
    Excellent start, thank you! The Alpha 12 TC seems perfect in terms of size.
    probably unbeatable in terms of size and weight.
    You are saying you won't need shift to shoot landscapes. However I'd suggest to think about the STC (or something similar) especially for landscapes. When you move the sensor inside the large image circle of the lens you are increasing the field of view. Therefore a given lens will also cover a wider view. For instances the 47XL or 43XL will translate to the field of view of a 35mm or 28mm lens when stitching.
    Of course stitching is not always applicable ... but very often it is.
    Now... less lenses in the bag will reduce the weight (and the cost) of your kit...
    Just a thought ...

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnygoesdigital View Post
    I love landscapes, I don't really need T/S, as nature's lines are not as strict, as in architecture.
    Hills and trees do have perspective, and T/S is required to get it right,, or to enhance it (e.g. making a hill look higher / bigger / steeper).

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    I'll take another look at the STC, as these are good points about T/S. I'm new to this style and still not sure how to power the digital capture unit.

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnygoesdigital View Post
    I'll take another look at the STC, as these are good points about T/S.
    I was refering to "S" (shift). Dick to "T" (tilt). If you want Tilt with wide angle or moderate wide angle lenses Alpa is not the way to. Question is: do you really want Tilt?
    If so you should consider another camera platform. For instance the above mentioned Cambo WRS provides tilt/swing lens panels for almost all focal lengths. It's also a great camera and easily handholdable (I use one).

    still not sure how to power the digital capture unit.
    I am not familar with the Hasselblad system but AFAIK you need an external source that powers the backs through firewire. Apparently there are quite small and lightweight solutions. However it's still a separate external device - not exactly practical when shooting handheld. Phase und Leaf backs work with batteries attached to the digiback; so no trouble at all with handheld shooting.
    AFAIK - again not sure - Hasselbald will change (or have already changed) the design on their latest digibacks.

    Maybe Hasselblad photographers don't read a "Landscape Cameras"-Thread... (just kidding) ... so just start a new thread re powering Hassy backs and "fotografz" or "Nick-T" or someone else will certainly reply quickly.

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Thomas,
    Thanks for the input, I did, in fact, start a new thread. When first reading about Phase DB's using their own battery source, I thought, that's not very convenient, but now after looking at these other field cameras, how easy it must be to just swing a Phase back onto any one of the cameras I mentioned. Hmmm.

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    BTW: which H4D back are you using?

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnygoesdigital View Post
    When first reading about Phase DB's using their own battery source, I thought, that's not very convenient, but now after looking at these other field cameras, how easy it must be to just swing a Phase back onto any one of the cameras I mentioned. Hmmm.
    You might also want to look at Leaf backs too. I have both Leaf and Phase One backs and for technical cameras I'd have to say that the Leaf integration and UI is the better of the two. Number one reason is the lack of the need for a wake up signal with the Leaf (You can also do this with the Phase One back but at the expense of heat/noise build up). I mostly use a P40+ now with a Kapture Group One Shot cable but it's klunky compared to the simplicity of the Leaf bullet proof interface.

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    I have the H4D/ 40 and can't purchase a leaf at this time. Perhaps there's a firewire alternative...I'll look into that. Thanks.

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    I am not familar with the Hasselblad system but AFAIK you need an external source that powers the backs through firewire. Apparently there are quite small and lightweight solutions. However it's still a separate external device
    AFAIK - again not sure .... Hasselbald will change (or have already changed) the design on their latest digibacks.

    Maybe Hasselblad photographers don't read a "Landscape Cameras"-Thread...
    There is a battery pack (attached, external) for the Hasselblad 39, and there is (or will be) one for the 60. I do not know about other models.

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnygoesdigital View Post
    I have the H4D/ 40
    the sensor of the H4D/40 is microlensed. Basically that means this back is not really usable on a tech camera... at least limited. The digital large format lenses are sitting quite close to the sensor so the steep angle of the light hitting the sensor will introduce heavy vignetting. But it probably also depends on the focal lenghts you are using. Wide angle most likely won't work.
    Maybe the sensor of the H4D/40 is better suited for use on a tech camera than former microlensed sensors... I don't know. But I suggest to talk to your dealer to work through appropriate and proven options.

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Front T/S is generally used for focus trickery, rear T/S for perspective tweaking. That said, asymmetric rear tilt was what I used for bringing everything into focus, and it was my favourite camera movement bar none. As Joe Cornish says, using asymmetric rear tilt almost feels like cheating.

    For landscape photography we're generally looking for tack sharp images from the camera position to infinity. As much as I hate to admit it (coming from the old school world of one-shot 'forgiving' 5x4 film), to get absolutely optimal front to back sharpness in a scene using a MFDB, focus stacking is the only game in town.

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    the sensor of the H4D/40 is microlensed. Basically that means this back is not really usable on a tech camera... at least limited. The digital large format lenses are sitting quite close to the sensor so the steep angle of the light hitting the sensor will introduce heavy vignetting. But it probably also depends on the focal lenghts you are using. Wide angle most likely won't work.
    Maybe the sensor of the H4D/40 is better suited for use on a tech camera than former microlensed sensors... I don't know. But I suggest to talk to your dealer to work through appropriate and proven options.
    The Hassy 39, 50 and 60 backs are multi-micro-lens free, and the Sinar 86h has Multi-micro-lenses, but is supposed to be OK up to 35 degrees... so it would not be good for extreme (25mm) shift on an Apo-Digitar 47 XL.

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by f8orbust View Post
    focus stacking is the only game in town.
    Has anyone set up an auto-focus stacker for landscapes?

    The Stackshot system is mostly for macro, but it could be used on the rear standard of a view camera.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    Has anyone set up an auto-focus stacker for landscapes?

    The Stackshot system is mostly for macro, but it could be used on the rear standard of a view camera.
    I've used the Helicon Focus Remote application a few times to drive my Nikon both indoors and also for landscapes. It's a real pain to have to tether a laptop to drive the AF lens when outdoors but it certainly does work.

    As regards moving the standards of a view camera I guess it should work in theory but you'd need quite a beefy modified view camera with the stepper motor. I'm sure that the more you look into it the less practical it would become. With macro at least you're moving the entire camera ...

    I use focus stacking with my Alpa & Phase One kit in MF mode but that's very much a manual refocusing process. If you put in the efforts the results are excellent and somewhat negates the need for tilt/swing, at least if you're looking for lot's of DoF as opposed to more creative uses.

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    Has anyone set up an auto-focus stacker for landscapes?

    The Stackshot system is mostly for macro, but it could be used on the rear standard of a view camera.
    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post

    As regards moving the standards of a view camera I guess it should work in theory but you'd need quite a beefy modified view camera with the stepper motor. I'm sure that the more you look into it the less practical it would become.
    I have a "beefy" Sinar P2/3, it will not be necessary to modify the camera, and I am an engineer, and the more I think about it the simpler it becomes...using 2 rail clamps and two rails, with the rear standard on the rail mounted on the stepper motor.
    With macro at least you're moving the entire camera ...
    Generally with (high magnification) macro you move the subject, not the camera.

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    Generally with (high magnification) macro you move the subject, not the camera.
    Not with the stackshot which is what you referred to.

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    The Hassy 39, 50 and 60 backs are multi-micro-lens free, and the Sinar 86h has Multi-micro-lenses, but is supposed to be OK up to 35 degrees... so it would not be good for extreme (25mm) shift on an Apo-Digitar 47 XL.
    there are a lot of digibacks with non-microlensed sensors. The only relevant question here is whether or not johnny's H4D/40 will work (satisfactory) on a tech camera.

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    I have used a Horseman SW-D for 6 years, followed by an SW-DII and have recently been shooting with an ALPA STC. I am an architectural/industrial shooter and my tech cameras earn me 90% of my income, so I take them very seriously.

    If buying a Horseman, the SW-DII is a major improvement over the earlier model. It has interchangeable back mounts, so it is possible that there is a mount for the Blad HD (I thought there was an issue with Blad refusing to license their new back mount interface to third party manufacturers - check). The movements on this camera are on the back, not the front as in the SW-D. This avoids stereoscopic error when stitching (If you stitch at all).
    The lack of geared movements on this camera if often discussed to death. Frankly, its VERY nice to have (Bless you ALPA), but the camera will do the job it was designed to do without it. I found the small lock knobs on the Horseman more annoying than the lack of geared drive. The lens panels require the unscrewing of 4 separate screws to remove the lens, then screwing the next lens in. Firstly this is slow and a drag, secondly it's almost impossible to do with gloves on if it's cold. With a modern MFDB, the lack of a groundglass system is a subject for petty debate, not a reason to buy a camera or not - especially if you are using predominantly short lenses. Shoot a test frame - its one of the reasons the world went digital.
    One of the things this camera has that is a huge advantage over the Cambo, Arca etc is that it is truly small enough to handhold. I've shot everything from high-end ad campaigns worldwide to street pics in Cuba with mine. If I had a Cambo, it would have stayed at home. No sense buying a camera you don't want to carry. Same goes for the Rm3d.
    So why am I shooting with an Alpa STC if I love the Horseman, I hear you ask...
    At this point it might be worth drawing your attention to the fact the Alpa is nearly twice the price of the Horseman. Factor that into your evaluation.
    The Alpa is smaller, lighter, has geared movement (though only in one axis, where the Horseman has two axes of shift) and is a more precise piece of engineering in every way. The focus rings have zero play where the Horsemans is sloppy (this is ultra important the shorter your lenses get). The
    gear ratios on movements are very fine and therefore precise. All the controls are easily accessible and usable, even in the cold with gloves on. Removing either back or lens requires a quick flick of 2 levers only - childsplay, and more importantly, fast. It has shimmable back adapter plates. The importance of this cannot be overstated. The Horsemans focus calibration was poor. There are practical workarounds to this but it always cost time - not good. The value of the small bodyframe is high - this camera will go everywhere with me as a result. Hard to imagine, but the Alpa TC, by sacrificing shift (it has none) is actually substantially smaller than the STC. The Alpa viewfinder is also much better than the Horsemans. It's brighter, more precise in terms of its format masking. However, I disagree strongly with the earlier writer who rated it (the Horseman)as unusable. Frankly, the value of a viewfinder on a camera like this in the era of backs with LCD screens is pretty low. Parallax error due to the sightline being so far from the len's is a huge impediment to accurate composition. I often sight over the top of the camera without the viewfinder then shoot a test frame, yes, even when shooting handheld. BTW, the ALPA is also much more stable for handheld use.
    Lenses are a big issue. The Horseman has only 4 focal lengths, Alpa has 40 or so, though 8 of these are film generation lenses and probably not high enough resolution for current digi backs. The Alpa accessory range is also massive and the Horseman's non-existant.
    There you have it - the cost/benefit analysis is for you to do. The Horseman works just fine, the Alpa works exhilaratingly well. It's the Toyota vs Mercedes thing.
    If you have specific questions, PM me.

    Cheers,
    Siebel
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    www.bryansiebel.com

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    Subscriber Member jotloob's Avatar
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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by siebel View Post
    . . . . .
    At this point it might be worth drawing your attention to the fact the Alpa is nearly twice the price of the Horseman. Factor that into your evaluation.
    The Alpa is smaller, lighter, has geared movement (though only in one axis, where the Horseman has two axes of shift) and is a more precise piece of engineering in every way. The focus rings have zero play where the Horsemans is sloppy (this is ultra important the shorter your lenses get). The
    gear ratios on movements are very fine and therefore precise. All the controls are easily accessible and usable, even in the cold with gloves on. Removing either back or lens requires a quick flick of 2 levers only - childsplay, and more importantly, fast. It has shimmable back adapter plates. The importance of this cannot be overstated. The Horsemans focus calibration was poor. There are practical workarounds to this but it always cost time - not good. The value of the small bodyframe is high - this camera will go everywhere with me as a result. Hard to imagine, but the Alpa TC, by sacrificing shift (it has none) is actually substantially smaller than the STC. The Alpa viewfinder is also much better than the Horsemans. It's brighter, more precise in terms of its format masking. However, I disagree strongly with the earlier writer who rated it (the Horseman)as unusable. Frankly, the value of a viewfinder on a camera like this in the era of backs with LCD screens is pretty low. Parallax error due to the sightline being so far from the len's is a huge impediment to accurate composition. I often sight over the top of the camera without the viewfinder then shoot a test frame, yes, even when shooting handheld. BTW, the ALPA is also much more stable for handheld use.
    Lenses are a big issue. The Horseman has only 4 focal lengths, Alpa has 40 or so, though 8 of these are film generation lenses and probably not high enough resolution for current digi backs. The Alpa accessory range is also massive and the Horseman's non-existant.
    There you have it - the cost/benefit analysis is for you to do. The Horseman works just fine, the Alpa works exhilaratingly well. It's the Toyota vs Mercedes thing.
    If you have specific questions, PM me.
    Cheers,
    Bryan

    Currently , you seem to be the frist and only photographer in this forum , who uses an ALPA 12 STC and who has alreadey gained some experience .

    Contrary to the information I got yesterday , my STC seems to be on the way to my dealer .
    Looking at ALPA's product images , I wonder how and with what QR accessories the STC has to be eqipped to be used with an ARCA CUBE .
    The ALPA people recommended to use the RRS BPNS .
    I had a look to that stuff but it does not convince me .
    What do you use to put the STC onto a tripod for vertical and horizontal use ? ? ?
    I would like to leave the gear permanently mounted , but that would obviously require different plates for the base and the grip side of the camera .
    Regards . Jürgen .
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by jotloob View Post
    Looking at ALPA's product images , I wonder how and with what QR accessories the STC has to be eqipped to be used with an ARCA CUBE .
    The ALPA people recommended to use the RRS BPNS .
    I had a look to that stuff but it does not convince me .
    What do you use to put the STC onto a tripod for vertical and horizontal use ? ? ?
    I would like to leave the gear permanently mounted , but that would obviously require different plates for the base and the grip side of the camera .
    I'm kind of at a loss why you don't think that two of these plates wouldn't be acceptable. They are small, rigid & won't twist and not really going to add to the overall size of the camera. Would you rather keep putting plates on & off when you used different orientations?

    Also with the cube you can also leverage the vertical orientation if need occasionally. Not ideal certainly but doable when needed.

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    Workshop Member Woody Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Here's a link to a GetDPI thread summarizing my Horseman+ Hasselblad back experiences. Horseman thread

    In round terms the lens that you mount on the Horseman is going to be so demanding in terms of its goodness that focus and camera movement have got to be controlled carefully. There really aren't any good handheld solutions to the focus issue in the tech camera world. I used a tape. Others use laser rangefinders. Switching the back with a ground glass presents two issues: ground glass focusing isn't accurate enough for digital use (because of the ground glass's grain) and do you really want to make the switch in field conditions that are likely to produce good images. If you're considering a sliding back check out the videos on the Arca site on shimming to achieve accurate focus - and of course you still have the ground glass issue.

    In actual use the tech camera (Horseman or otherwise) may not produce better results that your Hasselblad, which focuses accurately every time and is surprisingly hand holdable.

    Which Hasselbad you have is important. On the Alpa website (which is informative and excellent) they recommend that backs with microlenses (such as the H4D-40) not be used with their cameras - I suspect that this applies to tech cameras in general.

    My bottom line is that my H4D is my landscape camera. The kind of shooting that Siebel does demands a tech camera but general landscape work really doesn't.

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by jotloob View Post
    Looking at ALPA's product images , I wonder how and with what QR accessories the STC has to be eqipped to be used with an ARCA CUBE .
    The ALPA people recommended to use the RRS BPNS .
    I had a look to that stuff but it does not convince me .
    If it's just for the cube (or another recent Arca clamp), there is a pretty small Arca plate which might be perfect (I had one on a Cambo WRS until I realized that the RRS clamps can't be used with it):

    http://www.arca-shop.de/Monoballs/Ac...x-32::926.html

    The cube takes both the older (wider) and the new format of QR plates.

    RRS offers the B22 for the Alpa 12 - isn't this ok?

    Chris

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    The BPnS plate referred to above might have been suggested because it's very thin, and might thus be a better fit for the left side of the camera for use when you want vertical movements.

    The "PnS" apparently refers to point 'n shoot.

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Campbell View Post
    Here's a link to a GetDPI thread summarizing my Horseman+ Hasselblad back experiences. Horseman thread

    In round terms the lens that you mount on the Horseman is going to be so demanding in terms of its goodness that focus and camera movement have got to be controlled carefully. There really aren't any good handheld solutions to the focus issue in the tech camera world. I used a tape. Others use laser rangefinders. Switching the back with a ground glass presents two issues: ground glass focusing isn't accurate enough for digital use (because of the ground glass's grain) and do you really want to make the switch in field conditions that are likely to produce good images. If you're considering a sliding back check out the videos on the Arca site on shimming to achieve accurate focus - and of course you still have the ground glass issue.

    In actual use the tech camera (Horseman or otherwise) may not produce better results that your Hasselblad, which focuses accurately every time and is surprisingly hand holdable.

    Which Hasselbad you have is important. On the Alpa website (which is informative and excellent) they recommend that backs with microlenses (such as the H4D-40) not be used with their cameras - I suspect that this applies to tech cameras in general.

    My bottom line is that my H4D is my landscape camera. The kind of shooting that Siebel does demands a tech camera but general landscape work really doesn't.
    Clearly, Woody, you are happy with how your Blad suits the way you shoot landscapes. This is great - and in line with my comments that you have to choose your equipment based on both how you shoot, and your image quality (IQ) expectations.

    If I was happy with a reflex camera solution, as you are, I would be shooting landscapes with my Phase One and 28, 35, or 55 mm lenses, all of which sit in my bag. Alas, this solution does not meet my expectations. The reflex lenses from BOTH Phase and Hasselblad simply sannot match the quality of tech cam lenses. The optical compromises to lens design and performance caused by the presence of a mirror box mean the SLR lenses can't match the tech cam lenses for edge to edge sharpness, low distortion (both chromatic and curvature) or contrast.They do all that AND give you movements! Don't take my word for it, do your own tests.

    My "general landscape photography" often utilises the advantages offered by my tech cam. I frequently use shift for perspective control, I sometimes shift and stitch etc. Have a look at the images on my profile here and you will see examples.

    Importantly, the ALPA STC is substantially lighter than the reflex MF cameras, whatever your brand of choice. This means it is almost always with me. Yes, focus is a bit of a drag, but generally, with practice, this is easily overcome. I mostly use my "eye"ometer to focus. A good example is the shot of the snow-covered shoreline in my album on this site. The only thing sharp is the hanging ice. I estimated the focus. One of the great things about the ALPA is that when the focus ring says 0.7 meters, that is where the point of focus is. (The new precision focussing ring they are offering is a major help in this regard and is the must-have item for Alpa owners). That was certainly NOT the case with my Horseman SW-DII.

    Woody is absolutely correct in his assertion that a groundglass is not a viable solution. The problem is not only the grain on the screen (The ALPA screen is very fine grained), but also that with wides and ultra wides, the light is striking the lens is at such an obtuse angle that even the best fresnel screen cannot bend it towards your eye or magnifier well enough for clear viewing. Thus you can only effectively focus the centre of the image. Once you are out to focal lengths of around 60mm or more, this is less of an issue, unless using extreme shifts. Remember also that as your focal length decreases, so too does your depth of focus (think of it as DOField in the image plane, not the subject plane). This is why ALPA insist on shimming to 100ths of a milimeter. Manufacturing tollerances with groundglass systems mean that getting a precise correlation between your groundglass and back is nearly impossible with wide lenses. Sliding groundglass systems add yet another layer of inaccuracy due to the tollerances required for the rail to move. This is one of the reasons I shoot tethered whenever possible.

    The microlens issue needs to be taken with a grain of salt. Earlier microlensed sensors such as the one in the P30+ throw can throw major colour casts that are beyond the capability of the software LCC (lens cast correction) to correct. Note that this is variable from back to back and some P30+ users are using their backs successfully, so I hear. The 40 and 60MP sensors from Dalsa, as found in the current Phase and Hasselblad backs are also microlensed, but use a different method that reduces the amount of colour cast. This is usually correctable easily by software LCC. I shoot with P40+, P45+ and P65+ backs daily and have only seen casts (after LCC) appear when I massively tweak the curves to exaggerate local contrast.
    There is a striping artefact that can sometimes appear with ultra wides or when using extreme shifts. It can be seen in areas of smooth tones in lighter areas. There is no solution currently to this problem. The HR Digarons are less prone to this as their semi retrofocal design means they deliver light to the sensor at a less severe angle than the symmetrical lens designs (such as the Schneiders).

    Bottom line is tech cams are capable of vastly superior IQ edge to edge than any Reflex camera, but this comes at the price of some focussing issues. Lets be clear that despite the drawbacks I've just discussed, tech cams offer major advantages in IQ and portability as well as the obvious advantage offered by camera movements.

    Once again, test lots, read widely, be careful of uninformed information passed off as fact on websites (I am not referring to you Woody, I'm generalising) and choose the camera that suits your style, methods of working, IQ expectations and type of photography. Then apply the most important data filter - the "fit to budget" filter. In my case, this is called Mrs.Siebel, also known in some circles as "The Finance Minister".

    Remember to relax. This is supposed to be FUN!

    Happy shooting!

    Cheers,
    Last edited by goesbang; 14th January 2011 at 20:14. Reason: Typo
    Siebel
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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Bryan it is refreshing to see another Alpa use comment on these focusing issues as well as the relative merits of this or that tech camera.

    As for tape measurement , laser finders - sheeeeeesh!!!

    Personally - I just don't understand what part of hyperfocal focusing people don't understand. I suspect that most who ask about focusing have failed to consult a basic DOF chart. At F11 on a 35mm Schneider - the sweet spot for the lens - you are acceptable focused between 1.5 and infinity meters..your 'guesstimate' distancing will only IMPROVE on this already HEFTY amount of COC confdence level - so one can be very relaxed. In fact with a digi back one can check for focus pretty easily and make any slight adjustment required . After a while you will find your guesstimate focusing SPOT on MOST of the time.

    if you are shooting 'landscape' - what some call - another rock another tree photography ( aRaT ) I see most people shooting at infinity - so um what is the problem?

    Well the problem is that people brought up on SLR thinking - want every camera to be an SLR with a mirror and all the associated crapola that goes along with it.

    I am very excited about the new STC from Alpa - and am glad I avoided the Max - the horizontal stitch gives me what the XPan does - except on steroids - whilst the Sinar 75LV in rotating back guise will allow for both orientations of the sensor for more flexibility. Switching the STC into vertical mode with Sinar on normal mode will give wider verticals adjusted for rise.

    The neatest portable and hand hold able solution out there. One really has to spend time using this stuff to understand the strengths and weaknesses of each maker's offerings.

    Or try this with a Hasselblad or any other 645 body - hand hold it and shoot @ an 1/8th or a 1/15th - now try waking and shooting...

    The Alpa 12 series with those large ergonomic handles is so well balanced you will find yourself making some amazing shots at ridiculously slow shutter speeds.

    Of course the price of admission is high..At least now you can buy a second hand 40 megapixel something from someone as far as backs go - that will be about the same % cost of your Alpa body and adaptor plus one lens which is a LOT cheaper than the price of entry only a few years ago.

    Pete

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Ahhhh Peter. Nice to hear someone else call it as he sees it.

    When I'm not jetting somewhere for a client, shooting architecture and industrial stuff,I'm one of those people shooting "another rock, another tree" (I love it -aRaT!) and sometimes I shoot "another tit, another butt" and sometimes I put the two together!

    Anyway, your comments re: hyperfocal distance are generally true. However, I'm one of these clowns who likes to stick something right up the left nostril in the foreground to lead the eye into the shot from. Quite often, I'm happy to let the background go slightly out of focus. Ansel Adams and the f64 group have been gone a while now. Who says a landscape shot has to all be in focus? Rules? Conventions? Bugger that! Long story short, I never have trouble focussing. By the time "Mr.Pedant with a bag full of gadgets" has set up his Arca Cube, slotted his camera in, fiddled around for his Leica disto, poked around the scene with his Sekonic multimeter, I've set up, guessed the distance and exposure, shot a few frames (maybe a couple of options on focus if I.m close to something) and I'm half a kilometer away on my way to finding the next awesome shot.
    Ok, so I have 41 years behind a camera and I make decisions pretty quickly. Even so, I think you can get so caught up in the gadget grind, you forget this is about making images and enjoying the process.
    Remember the KISS principle? Keep It Simple, Stupid!
    Your point about the grip ergonomics is entirely true. I regularly shoot images at 15th sec handheld.
    So, have you called Bruce P for your Alpa? It's 02 9906 2733.......
    Siebel
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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by cly View Post
    If it's just for the cube (or another recent Arca clamp), there is a pretty small Arca plate which might be perfect (I had one on a Cambo WRS until I realized that the RRS clamps can't be used with it):

    http://www.arca-shop.de/Monoballs/Ac...x-32::926.html

    The cube takes both the older (wider) and the new format of QR plates.

    RRS offers the B22 for the Alpa 12 - isn't this ok?

    Chris
    Sorry, can't help here. I think people who carry a Cube to go hiking with must be nuts. It is way too heavy for hiking and way more than you need to hold something as light and vibration free (no mirror) as an STC.
    I use a Manfrotto 460MG magnesium head on a small set of Gitzo carbon fibre legs when I hike. I have a small QR plate on bottom and side if I'm working fast.
    Not knocking the Cube - great head, but for romping around shooting landscapes?!!!!
    Siebel
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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by siebel View Post
    Sorry, can't help here. I think people who carry a Cube to go hiking with must be nuts. [...]
    I use a Manfrotto 460MG magnesium head on a small set of Gitzo carbon fibre legs when I hike. I have a small QR plate on bottom and side if I'm working fast.
    Not knocking the Cube - great head, but for romping around shooting landscapes?!!!!
    Oh, you are right - when responding I didn't think about landscape but, for whatever reason, about interior and wide angle and the issue of easily levelling the camera ... (I like the Arca P0 as a small and lightweight head).

    Chris

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by siebel View Post
    Ahhhh Peter. Nice to hear someone else call it as he sees it.

    When I'm not jetting somewhere for a client, shooting architecture and industrial stuff,I'm one of those people shooting "another rock, another tree" (I love it -aRaT!) and sometimes I shoot "another tit, another butt" and sometimes I put the two together!

    Anyway, your comments re: hyperfocal distance are generally true. However, I'm one of these clowns who likes to stick something right up the left nostril in the foreground to lead the eye into the shot from. Quite often, I'm happy to let the background go slightly out of focus. Ansel Adams and the f64 group have been gone a while now. Who says a landscape shot has to all be in focus? Rules? Conventions? Bugger that! Long story short, I never have trouble focussing. By the time "Mr.Pedant with a bag full of gadgets" has set up his Arca Cube, slotted his camera in, fiddled around for his Leica disto, poked around the scene with his Sekonic multimeter, I've set up, guessed the distance and exposure, shot a few frames (maybe a couple of options on focus if I.m close to something) and I'm half a kilometer away on my way to finding the next awesome shot.
    Ok, so I have 41 years behind a camera and I make decisions pretty quickly. Even so, I think you can get so caught up in the gadget grind, you forget this is about making images and enjoying the process.
    Remember the KISS principle? Keep It Simple, Stupid!
    Your point about the grip ergonomics is entirely true. I regularly shoot images at 15th sec handheld.
    So, have you called Bruce P for your Alpa? It's 02 9906 2733.......
    No disrespect to aRaT shooters Bryan ( ) and I cant say I can claim credit for the acronym either..but I suspect it is going to have legs...

    Love you work ( PS glitz an all) we should catch up for a coffee or a beer some time

    re the phone number - I bought my first Alpa from that mob and a bunch of other stuff (long story) - these days prefer to deal with OS vendors - for everything - especially those who support this site one way or another ...

    lemme see now at ISO 50-100 ( why would you shoot with higher ISO???) @ F11 umm it pretty much narrows down the shutter speeds you are going to playing with anyhow..so thats exposure done

    the throw on the Schneider says it all anyway - plenty of close up play and nothing once you get past 10 feet ...-


    Alpa shooters are purists see point click - move on.

    Pete

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    Workshop Member Woody Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by siebel View Post
    Clearly, Woody, you are happy with how your Blad suits the way you shoot landscapes. This is great - and in line with my comments that you have to choose your equipment based on both how you shoot, and your image quality (IQ) expectations.
    . . . .

    Remember to relax. This is supposed to be FUN!

    Happy shooting!

    Cheers,
    Hmmm . . . . This isn't helpful. I'm trying to talk myself out of the Alpa.

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by siebel View Post
    I'm one of those people shooting "another rock, another tree" (I love it -aRaT!) and sometimes I shoot "another tit, another butt" and sometimes I put the two together!
    In the interest of simplicity I'd suggest you rephrase to "another rack, another butt". That way one can be either an aRaT or an aRaB Just joking here... no disrespect intended to any of the middle eastern cultures.

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    :
    Quote Originally Posted by David K View Post
    In the interest of simplicity I'd suggest you rephrase to "another rack, another butt". That way one can be either an aRaT or an aRaB Just joking here... no disrespect intended to any of the middle eastern cultures.
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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    If you can't spend the bucks for the Alpa you may find the Cambo RS suitable. I am really happy with the Cambo RS. It holds the back and lens parallel, it's compact, has movements ... totally stays out of my way. I use with P40+... clamp it on my tripod and go about shooting.
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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by siebel View Post
    . . . . .
    By the time "Mr.Pedant with a bag full of gadgets" has set up his Arca Cube, slotted his camera in, fiddled around for his Leica disto, poked around the scene with his Sekonic multimeter, I've set up, guessed the distance and exposure, shot a few frames (maybe a couple of options on focus if I.m close to something) and I'm half a kilometer away on my way to finding the next awesome shot.
    Ok, so I have 41 years behind a camera and I make decisions pretty quickly. Even so, I think you can get so caught up in the gadget grind, you forget this is about making images and enjoying the process.
    Remember the KISS principle? Keep It Simple, Stupid! . . .

    This is a serious offence for all photographers , who try to use more or less of good and modern accessories to achieve very good results and to get the best out of their gear .
    This also shows a kind of arrogance . I agree , that you can achieve good results with just experience and very few tools . Not always , but sometimes , yes .
    But it is just the way , you communicate your way of (landscape) shooting .
    Arrive at the location , get the camera out , estimate distance and exposure , shoot , and away you are .
    Where are the other photographers ? ? ?
    You imply , that all photographers who don't shoot this (your) way , must be pedants , pedants expressed with a strong ironic touch . Are those , who don't shot that way , mad ? ? ?
    That contribution of yours , was not a good one .
    Regards . Jürgen .
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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by PeterA View Post
    Personally - I just don't understand what part of hyperfocal focusing people don't understand.
    Pete
    I think that many people understand that hyperfocal does not usually give optimum results - as explained in depth in Merklinger's book "The ins and outs of Focus".

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    I think that many people understand that hyperfocal does not usually give optimum results - as explained in depth in Merklinger's book "The ins and outs of Focus".
    I think that the other important point about hyperfocal and zone focusing is that you need too understand what range of acceptable focus exists with YOUR equipment configuration too. For example, with my P40+ I will use two+ stops down from typical hyperfocal settings to achieve sharpness from infinity to the foreground, i.e. if shooting at f/11 then I'll use closer to f/5.6 for my hyperfocal mark. If that's not enough then we're into focus stacking territory.

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by siebel View Post
    Sorry, can't help here. I think people who carry a Cube to go hiking with must be nuts. It is way too heavy for hiking and way more than you need to hold something as light and vibration free (no mirror) as an STC.
    I use a Manfrotto 460MG magnesium head on a small set of Gitzo carbon fibre legs when I hike. I have a small QR plate on bottom and side if I'm working fast.
    Not knocking the Cube - great head, but for romping around shooting landscapes?!!!!

    Disregarding the weight and dimension of their equipment has been a longtime landscape photographer tradition. Despite the tremendous hardship, I'm confident 90% of our Arca Swiss Cube customers are landscape shooters.


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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by jotloob View Post
    This is a serious offence for all photographers , who try to use more or less of good and modern accessories to achieve very good results and to get the best out of their gear .
    This also shows a kind of arrogance . I agree , that you can achieve good results with just experience and very few tools . Not always , but sometimes , yes .
    But it is just the way , you communicate your way of (landscape) shooting .
    Arrive at the location , get the camera out , estimate distance and exposure , shoot , and away you are .
    Where are the other photographers ? ? ?
    You imply , that all photographers who don't shoot this (your) way , must be pedants , pedants expressed with a strong ironic touch . Are those , who don't shot that way , mad ? ? ?
    That contribution of yours , was not a good one .
    Jurgen, and anyone else who may have been offended, I apologise unreservedly. I often make the mistake of assuming that the Aussie tradition to use irony, even to the extent of "taking the piss" to make a point is common elsewhere. Once again, I am reminded that it is not. Sorry.

    The point remains that simplicity is in my view a virtue. We (and I include myself in this) have a tendency to over complicate things. My attraction to the ALPA range in general, and the STC in particular is that it loudly and proudly takes the opposite approach.
    Siebel
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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    I think that many people understand that hyperfocal does not usually give optimum results - as explained in depth in Merklinger's book "The ins and outs of Focus".
    Thank you for this contribution. Very important point and a book we should all read.
    Having read it, one should then adapt ones practices to suit the shoot. I am in fact fussy about having the plane of focus where I want it. However, when working with ultrawides, the fact remains that there is a very high rate of accuracy attainable by the "eye"ometer measurement method. It's not always spot-on, which is why I use the "fucus bracket" method occasionally.
    At the risk of being called a pedant and arrogant yet again, it is my not-so-humble opinion that the guy who pulls out a Disto when shooting landscapes with a 23mm HR Digaron is just being silly.(I have in fact seen this happen).

    If you don't agree with me. don't flame me, just post your contrary view. The process is called discussion.
    Siebel
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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by jotloob View Post
    This is a serious offence for all photographers , ...
    This also shows a kind of arrogance ....
    But it is just the way , you communicate your way of (landscape) shooting .
    ....
    You imply , that all photographers who don't shoot this (your) way , must be pedants , pedants expressed with a strong ironic touch . Are those , who don't shot that way , mad ? ? ?
    That contribution of yours , was not a good one .
    Jurgen - I think you misunderstand Australian humour...it is a little different to many other cultures because we are all

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    I think that many people understand that hyperfocal does not usually give optimum results - as explained in depth in Merklinger's book "The ins and outs of Focus".
    Dick - I think you have selectively quoted to put a straw man argument together..

    Bryan - you forgot to mention that Australian males lack the physical strength to carry a cube in a back pack and require the use of a small camera like an Alpa with ALL ITS PATHETIC SHORT COMINGS - because Australian males lack the muscles to carry anything heavier and also lack the genuine interest in landscape work to bother carrying the best arsenal of high tech gadgetry that money can buy


    Also I should point out that Australians lack the intellect to read the manuals that come with absolutely necessary gear like Laser distance devices and also are pathetic in numerical calculations - therefore couldn't transfer laser readings onto scales on lenses anyway..

    Perhaps Alpa should BAN sales to Australians since they refuse to use laser measurement devices an arca cubes at all times and irrespective of situation..



    lighten up guys...people have a right to describe their work flow and preferences..readers don't have to take everything personally..

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by siebel View Post
    ...I am in fact fussy about having the plane of focus where I want it. However, when working with ultrawides, the fact remains that there is a very high rate of accuracy attainable by the "eye"ometer measurement method. It's not always spot-on, which is why I use the "fucus bracket" method occasionally.
    At the risk of being called a pedant and arrogant yet again, it is my not-so-humble opinion that the guy who pulls out a Disto when shooting landscapes with a 23mm HR Digaron is just being silly.(I have in fact seen this happen).

    If you don't agree with me. don't flame me, just post your contrary view. The process is called discussion.
    I agree that DOF is seldom a major problem with Wide-Angles, unless you want your toes in focus, or some flowers in the foreground.

    Some of us use lenses longer that 23mm... and I took this (as a DOF exercise) with a 300mm lens on a 50Mpx DSLR, f20, MLU.

    The brick building in the distance is at about 500m, and I focused so that the foreground and distance seemed equally unsharp... and the tarmac in the foreground looks sharp, and everything beyond the black car looks soft, and you cannot quite read the number plate on the white car (at about 500m)... I should have focused farther away, as suggested by Merklinger, or used DOF merge.

    I do have a Disto - I bought it to survey a garden for deed plans, thinking it might be useful for photography, and, when using longer lenses for architecture, I expect to use it to measure "J" to calculate my tilt angle.

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    lighten up guys...people have a right to describe their work flow and preferences… readers don't have to take everything personally..
    Bryan - you forgot to mention that Australian males lack the physical strength to carry a cube in a back pack and require the use of a small camera like an Alpa with ALL ITS PATHETIC SHORT COMINGS - because Australian males lack the muscles to carry anything heavier
    Is a cube any heavier than a can of Foster’s Larger?
    …and also lack the genuine interest in landscape work to bother carrying the best arsenal of high tech gadgetry that money can buy.
    I thought that you had “the best arsenal of high tech gadgetry that money can buy”, including $20K sets of lenses?
    Also I should point out that Australians lack the intellect to read the manuals that come with absolutely necessary gear like Laser distance devices and also are pathetic in numerical calculations - therefore couldn't transfer laser readings onto scales on lenses anyway..
    Please do not be ashamed to be Australian… this applies to the vast majority of photographers the world over… at least when it comes to getting the best out of full-blown technical cameras, which do not have distance scales or infinity stops.

    Most of us learned about Australian culture from Crocodile Dundee, but I have been there… I remember that on the culture tour along the Swan River in Perth, the guide used the phrase “Blessed Soul” in with reference to the brewery, not a cathedral.

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    I agree that DOF is seldom a major problem with Wide-Angles, unless you want your toes in focus, or some flowers in the foreground.

    Some of us use lenses longer that 23mm... and I took this (as a DOF exercise) with a 300mm lens on a 50Mpx DSLR, f20, MLU.

    The brick building in the distance is at about 500m, and I focused so that the foreground and distance seemed equally unsharp... and the tarmac in the foreground looks sharp, and everything beyond the black car looks soft, and you cannot quite read the number plate on the white car (at about 500m)... I should have focused farther away, as suggested by Merklinger, or used DOF merge.

    I do have a Disto - I bought it to survey a garden for deed plans, thinking it might be useful for photography, and, when using longer lenses for architecture, I expect to use it to measure "J" to calculate my tilt angle.
    Sorry - picture did not attach, as it was a bit too big... should work now.

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    Re: Landscapes cameras

    Cast my vote for Cambo RS (and Steve @ Capture Integration). Purchased as dual use for interiors and landscape coupled to demo P45+ as I need long exposure (and can't afford a P65 anyway)! Has worked out great so far, only issue is fine focusing with the Phase back on RS, but I knew that would be a problem going in. Between the long exposure dark frame and time spent in histogram mode on the back you do need a good battery supply.

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