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Thread: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

  1. #1
    Ronan
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    Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Greetings everyone! First of all, really nice forum! I will try to keep this sweet & short.

    I have been shooting with the Nikon DX system for quite sometime, and recently been shooting with their FX system, the D3 and D3x. I now have the urge to check the Medium format world (thanks to a colleague that bought a Hasselblad H2 with a film and digital back...).

    I'm in the market for a medium format camera, with a right handed grip, metering, and preferably inexpensive, to wet my appetite and see if i wish to later upgrade the system and/or purchase a digital back. Medium Format Targets (for now): Still Life, Landscape, Architecture.

    I have done some research and found the following to meet my expectations in both IQ, Handling/Performance and of course current budget:


    Mamiya 645E (Cheapest Mamiya 645 that meet my need i believe?)
    Mamiya 645 Super (The one with detachable grip)
    Mamiya 645AF (The one with build in grip & viewfinder)
    Pentax 645 (Cheapest i believe?)
    Pentax 645N (AF ability)


    To follow my research, i figured i would join and ask some questions directly to users that have used them.

    Are their other systems/bodies i should consider?
    Anything that i should absolutely know about them?
    Can each be upgraded to a digital back? I believe the Pentax 645's cannot?
    What should i expect to pay for a complete system with 1 lens? Prices vary largely on the internet and in stores are quite... ridiculous.

    At the time i am NOT interested in purchasing a digital back (unless the deal is quite good, lol).

    Thank you for your time

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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    I had the Mamiya Super, the Pro is only a fraction more on the 2nd hand market, it's more compatible with accessories, I'd get that.
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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Ronan,

    If you want to go to MF digital with the Mamiya system then I'd advise looking at the 645AFD series of cameras, with preference being for a 645AFD II or newer if you can. The options for digital backs on the other manual focus 645 series cameras is VERY limited. If you go with the 645E, 645 Pro TL, etc then that investment will be sunk if you do decide to go to digital, although the flip side is that they are available very cheaply these days, including the manual focus glass. I had a 645E to start with, and then the Pro TL which is an EXCELLENT film camera.

    New prices can be quite intimidating for these systems unless you're buying a complete outfit with a digital back. It seems that they'll almost throw in the camera for free these days compared to what it would cost you new on it's own. (645DF systems are a case in point). Big price drops on used equipment so much more affordable that way.

    If you're shooting with a D3x today then you'll need to step up to a relatively recent digital back to see much benefit. (I used to shoot this too btw until very recently). For example, I would rather shoot with the D3x vs a Kodak DCS 645M or ZD back personally, even though these are probably the lowest entry cost to MF digital for the Mamiya platform. I used to shoot with the Kodak a few years back and the D3x definitely is a better imaging system! However, one of these sold complete for <$3k recently over at Luminous Landscape and no doubt on eBay too. There are often good deals on ZD backs and ZM cameras - again watch out for a dead end with the ZM unless you don't mind buying a new body/back in the future.

    Do you have a budget in mind? Getting a Mamiya 645AFD system with an 80/2.8 AF and film back is easily doable for around $1k, possibly less. With each newer generation of camera you obviously add to the cost although AFD II and onwards are definitely much better overall, particularly for interfacing to digital backs.

    If Pentax is your passion then a film based 645N II is a great platform. No digital upgrade path but a great MF camera system and nice glass. If you decide that you like it then the new Pentax 645D is the obvious upgrade path there, although it's an integrated camera vs a body/back.

    Btw, there are lots of Hasselblad options too. Not my area of experience but I'm sure that you'll get some guidance on V & H systems to consider with film initially that will provide a digital upgrade path. I'll leave that to the others that know ...

    Hope that helps.

  4. #4
    Senior Member mediumcool's Avatar
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronan View Post
    Mamiya 645E (Cheapest Mamiya 645 that meet my need i believe?)
    Mamiya 645 Super (The one with detachable grip)
    Mamiya 645AF (The one with build in grip & viewfinder)
    Pentax 645 (Cheapest i believe?)
    Pentax 645N (AF ability)
    None of these cameras will work with a recent digital back; the Mamiya 645 AF worked with very early digital rear-ends, including the Kodak Proback. These are getting old now.

    You would need an AFD or newer to use with more recent backs (I have an AFD with an Aptus 22 back); the AFD body cost me about $600 on eBay (with no film back) and the Aptus under $5K on another forum.

    Another way to look at the situation is that Pentax have maintained their mount so a MF lens will meter and stop down, but with no autofocus, while their newer AF lenses will fully function on the 645D.

    On the other hand, Mamiya went for electronic aperture management on the AF models, so older MF lenses are manual-stop-down lenses as well as manual focus.

    Score that one to Pentax.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    In the Mamiya mount I have had all 4 bodies and right now shooting the DF body but honestly because of pretty bad shutter lag I would get nothing less than the AFD III which will still shoot film and you can easily put any digital Phase or Leaf back on it at any time. When the DF came out a lot of users traded them in for a upgrade so a lot of the dealers have them on hand for a decent price. It may not be n your budget but I would encourage you to try to get enough for it as you will pass through these bodies when you get a digital back. Now I shoot all types of photography so shutter lag was a big issue for me. YMMV on this and the AFDIII focuses fast. The ultimate is the DF right now as it has really no perceivable shutter lag and very fast AF. But it will not take film
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronan View Post
    Medium Format Targets (for now): Still Life, Landscape, Architecture.
    (...)
    Are their other systems/bodies i should consider?
    Maybe the Contax645. Very nice lenses, vertical grip, waist level finder. Although discontinued it's still supported by Medium Format Digital Back makers... all the Phase One and Leaf digibacks are available in Contax mount, even the latest and greatest.
    The latter also goes for the Hassy-V.

    None of the 645 cameras is particularly suited to shoot architecture and still life... as neither the bodies nor the lenses offer movements (shift/tilt).

    Re still life maybe the new Schneider 120 T/S lens might be of interest for you... available in Mamiya mount (so usable on the Mamiya 645 AFD).

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Here is a used ad from Capture Integration if this helps pricing wise. The Phase One is the AFDIII



    Mamiya Bodies
    Used with 6 month warranty
    $899
    Phase One
    AF Refurb
    Part #fspo:71392


    -
    $699
    Mamiya
    AFD II
    Part #211-145


    -
    $399
    Mamiya
    AFD I
    Part #211-145


    -
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  8. #8
    Ronan
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    I greatly appreciate the feedback, it's making this whole... lets call it phase, much easier.

    I have looked at Contax, but could not figure out why they are going for a lot MORE than their Mamiya counterpart.

    Guy, those prices are a lot less than what i have seen around, i will look more into Capture Integration, but it seems their eStore does not work...

    Something i have been wondering, i keep hearing how film is always better than digital. From first hand experience, i have yet seen 35mm come close to Nikon FX sensors, or even their latest DX sensors IQ.

    From owning a D3x, it was mention, i really do need the latest digital backs to make MF worth it if i do work with it. This is making me second guess my choice of entering the MF world (especially considered since i am already fully setup for the Nikon system, and MF is nothing more of a hobby/phase for me).

    It seems i have some decisions to make, both in personal shooting and on contract.

    If i were to go for a inexpensive film MF, but still give me that MF IQ that is legendary, which one would you (all you guys & girls out there) chose?

    Someone asked my budget, i would say ~$500 for a basic film MF kit, and ~$1000 for a more 'pro' film MF kit that has the option of 'modern' digital backs. I do not feel more comfortable spending more at the moment until i really get my feet wet.

    Also my reason for being interested in MF, is primarily the legendary IQ i am often told about, and to see what experience/feel i would get from shooting MF.

    Thank you.

    P.S: Guy Mancuso, you remind me of someone... but i can't quite put my finger on it

    Edit: Those are the prices for kits i have seen lately (w/o shipping/taxes):
    Pentax 645 ~$400
    Pentax 645N ~$450
    Mamiya 645E ~$500
    Mamiya 645 Pro ~$600
    Mamiya 645AF ~$750
    Mamiya 645AFD ~$1300
    Mamiya 645 AFDII ~$1700

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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronan View Post
    I have looked at Contax, but could not figure out why they are going for a lot MORE than their Mamiya counterpart.
    that' an easy one: the Contax is a great camera

  10. #10
    Senior Member mediumcool's Avatar
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    that' an easy one: the Contax is a great camera
    ... with superb lenses.

    But its obsolescence (though eminently useable obsolescence), plus the pricing and rarity (particularly here in Australia), made me go for Mamiya.

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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Honestly?

    If you are already set with a D3x plus lenses, etc.. and you are not willing to spend much. I would stay away from MF. I would not read one single topic anymore on this forum area. MF will cost you and always more than you initially planned to spend. Sometimes a lot more.

    I am not making a statement one way or the other whether that is worth it or not. Fact is that you will spend much more than you are thinking of.

    MF Film? Even though it sounds inexpensive, if you want to get better results than with your D3x you are probably also looking at spending more money than you currently want to.

  12. #12
    Senior Member mediumcool's Avatar
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    ... as neither the bodies nor the lenses offer movements (shift/tilt).
    Ahem! Mamiya first offered a 50mm shift lens for the 645 many years ago. Mine should be arriving from Poland any day!

  13. #13
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronan View Post
    I greatly appreciate the feedback, it's making this whole... lets call it phase, much easier.

    I have looked at Contax, but could not figure out why they are going for a lot MORE than their Mamiya counterpart.

    Guy, those prices are a lot less than what i have seen around, i will look more into Capture Integration, but it seems their eStore does not work...

    Something i have been wondering, i keep hearing how film is always better than digital. From first hand experience, i have yet seen 35mm come close to Nikon FX sensors, or even their latest DX sensors IQ.

    From owning a D3x, it was mention, i really do need the latest digital backs to make MF worth it if i do work with it. This is making me second guess my choice of entering the MF world (especially considered since i am already fully setup for the Nikon system, and MF is nothing more of a hobby/phase for me).

    It seems i have some decisions to make, both in personal shooting and on contract.

    If i were to go for a inexpensive film MF, but still give me that MF IQ that is legendary, which one would you (all you guys & girls out there) chose?

    Someone asked my budget, i would say ~$500 for a basic film MF kit, and ~$1000 for a more 'pro' film MF kit that has the option of 'modern' digital backs. I do not feel more comfortable spending more at the moment until i really get my feet wet.

    Also my reason for being interested in MF, is primarily the legendary IQ i am often told about, and to see what experience/feel i would get from shooting MF.

    Thank you.

    P.S: Guy Mancuso, you remind me of someone... but i can't quite put my finger on it

    Edit: Those are the prices for kits i have seen lately (w/o shipping/taxes):
    Pentax 645 ~$400
    Pentax 645N ~$450
    Mamiya 645E ~$500
    Mamiya 645 Pro ~$600
    Mamiya 645AF ~$750
    Mamiya 645AFD ~$1300
    Mamiya 645 AFDII ~$1700
    E-store will not work on used but give Steve a call in Atlanta and he can help you. I still say given your budget the AFD III a 80mm D lens which are not expensive but extremely good and a film back. At any given moment when you get funds or decision together you can just buy a used back like a P30+ pretty much the cost of your D3X and you have a very capable basic kit to run with and more important the body is more modern with speed and some other features over the I and II . This way your only 1 generation behind which is nothing really in MF since it does not change as fast as the 35mm world.

    Also yes Thomas is correct the Contax is also very nice but just FYI it is not made anymore so any updates to it are not going to happen but they are nice kits.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    As Dustbank mentioned this is a very slippery slope and not a very cheap one . So you have to see what gains there are for your type of shooting. Me i love MF but i have client needs that also dictate that so just do your homework and see if it makes sense.

    Lots of good folks here that give great advice. Okay I'm off to LA check in about 9 hours . Or while I am driving. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    As Dustbank ...

    I wish that was true (even if I was kept afloat with a lot of government funding)

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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Oops sorry about that working on second espresso
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Senior Member mediumcool's Avatar
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Quote Originally Posted by Dustbak View Post
    I wish that was true (even if I was kept afloat with a lot of government funding)
    forgive him, itís probably the iPhone trying to predict spelling of usernames!

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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Quote Originally Posted by mediumcool View Post
    Ahem! Mamiya first offered a 50mm shift lens for the 645 many years ago. Mine should be arriving from Poland any day!
    sure - true! I always forget this lens.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    the Contax is also very nice but just FYI it is not made anymore so any updates to it are not going to happen but they are nice kits.
    no updates required... it's a complete system.
    Of course no one is going to improve AF or any other feature on the camera. It is what it is. But it's a full blown system with a nice range of lenses, waist level finder, vertical grip, flash bracket, bellows lens hood and you name it ...

    Whether or not it is useful to buy into a "dead" system...well, this is a difficult question. But if you are generally willing to buy into a "dead" system the Contax is certainly the most viable.... the most alive Zombie so to say :-)
    Beside the V of course...

    Anyway... I think "Dustbak" nailed the point. If you try to "outperform" a D3x with 645 film high end scans are required.
    BTW: there is also a vacuum film back for the Contax

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    If I were wanting to dabble in MF film---with the eye towards perhaps moving to digital, I would look at a used Mamiya/Phase body, like these: http://www.captureintegration.com/phase-one/buy/

    The body itself (to shoot MF film) is not so important in terms of a "future eye" towards digital, but the ability to hold onto any lenses and use them with a future digital platform is signficant. The Mamiya 645AFD/II/III and Phase AF just need a film back. Once you decide to purchase a MFDB, really the cost of a new/better camera body platform is rather negligible at that point, but being able to use lenses that you have acquired is a big plus. Obviously more recent Mamiya/Phase iterations are more expensive and also a better choice for digital.

  20. #20
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronan View Post
    Something i have been wondering, i keep hearing how film is always better than digital. From first hand experience, i have yet seen 35mm come close to Nikon FX sensors, or even their latest DX sensors IQ.
    There is a B&W microfilm available in 35mm that offers incredible image resolution that would beat even an 80 MP back in terms of image detail. But it's only black and white and we're talking about ASA 10-12 and a special developer to keep the steep contrast of the emulsion in check.
    On normal films the quality depends on how you use them. Digital sensors are very sensitive in capturing low contrast detail that often gets lost within the grain structure of the film. So most films look softer in direct comparison with a digital image of the same capture format. Digital is cleaner while film introduces a character of its own. You either like that or not. It's a matter of personal preference. Sometimes a certain mood that film delivers is more important to the image than the overall amount of image detail that could have been captured with large format or an MFD system. However, retaining that character into the digital world requires some form of high-end-scanning.
    Quote Originally Posted by Ronan View Post
    If i were to go for a inexpensive film MF, but still give me that MF IQ that is legendary, which one would you (all you guys & girls out there) chose?
    The cheapest method in getting excellent MF quality is using slide film for what it is as a projection original. You shoot it, give it to a lab for processing, set up the slide and project it on a screen. There's nothing like it in the digital world. It's an intimate experience with its very special mood as it's quite uncommon these days. You can't share it worldwide. It's just for you and maybe some friends and family.
    Of course a great MF projector can set you back $1K even on the used market. But the experience is something else. Think IMAX!

    -Dominique

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    Senior Member David Schneider's Avatar
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Since I've recently gone through this, here's a couple of factors:

    1. What's your budget? Advice isn't much good if it's out of your wallet range. If you are spending less than you paid for your D3x, you probably won't get digital results better than your D3x, especially if you need iso over 200.

    2. What do you shoot? If you are a people photographer and you're getting suggestions from landscape folks, you need to factor that in. Info needs to fit into a certain context.

    3. Return On Investment? You maybe able to get something cheap, use it and sell it for what you paid or not take a big loss. You might be able to find something at the top of your budget and it may or may not take a big hit when you upgrade, but you may have save a ton of time (which is equal to money if you are a professional) especially if you've gotten good glass which you'll hold on to. But again, if budget is less than D3x, well, I think results will be a turn off.

    Your mileage may vary.

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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    I got my feet wet in MF with a Fuji Range finder, the auto focus ones.

    Check out KEH, you can find one for right about $500, and at that price, they hold their value quite well, and the Fuji lens is great.

    From there, I decided that I needed to go digital ( don't ever forget that abandon hope thing)

    My choice was an AFD-II off this very forum. I have a 45/80/150mm kit of primes that are every bit as good as any of my Nikon glass, but I don't have the new 24-70 or the new 24 or 85 .... still the Mamiya lenses are every bit as good if not better than my Nikon 85mm 1.4 AIS and the 55 1.2 AI'd ( Lusting for Jack's 35 when he gets the new 35D )

    Now the ZD back is quite simply put a pig when it comes to speed. Both in terms of ISO and frame rate, and it does loose communication with the body at least once every studio shoot. Not a big deal, but a PITA.

    The images smoke my D300, hold up well to a D700 and for IQ, given studio lighting, will give a D3X a real run for it's money.

    However, the ZD + Mamiya has something the D300/700/3X never get, that is the medium format look and the tonal transitions that the bigger sensor gives. These things are subjective, and NOT IQ issues at all, they are perceived print quality issues, and I can see the differences even at 8x10 .... To me, that is why the slope is so slippery. The film experience hooked me on MF

    I shoot as a hobby, rarely print over 16X20, and mostly at 8X10. So a modern P25+ or Aptus 7 would solve the problems of my ZD quite nicely, but with no revenue generated and the ZD making images that are of almost the same quality IN MY SHOOTING conditions .... ISO50/100 1/125, F8-F11 with 5500K strobes I find it really hard to justify the change on anything but emotional reasons. .

    As a note, my rig cost around 5K ... INCLUDING lenses..

    YMMV ...

    Dave

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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    If I were wanting to dabble in MF film---with the eye towards perhaps moving to digital, I would look at a used Mamiya/Phase body, like these: http://www.captureintegration.com/phase-one/buy/

    The body itself (to shoot MF film) is not so important in terms of a "future eye" towards digital, but the ability to hold onto any lenses and use them with a future digital platform is signficant. The Mamiya 645AFD/II/III and Phase AF just need a film back. Once you decide to purchase a MFDB, really the cost of a new/better camera body platform is rather negligible at that point, but being able to use lenses that you have acquired is a big plus. Obviously more recent Mamiya/Phase iterations are more expensive and also a better choice for digital.

    That's exactly what I did. I can't justify current prices (ROI) but I would like to get a DB eventually. I got a Mamiya AFDII and shoot film with it. The same body will get a Phase DB without any problems.

    So, you can say I'm semi MFD since I scan the film .

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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Just wanted to chime in. Thanks to these forums ( your fault) i have finally made a leap of faith and got into medium format.
    I really did have no idea fromwhere to start and here are my 2 cents. I tought Hasselblad is the only maker till i read about mamiya pentax etc.
    I am now an owner of a Phase One Af camera, two mamiya lenses and am currently borrowing my friends ZD back. Currently looking at the prices an how the system works and the upgrade paths possible it seemed like a logical thing to do. Thanks to Dave from Capture integration and their awesome prices ( two times cheaper than on ebay) I am already happily shooting my 4th film roll and waiting for some interesting prices on second hand or refurbed backs.
    I suggest you do the same... You wont regret it.
    ( sorry about spelling and form im getting used to my ipad )

    Karlo

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    I'll offer a counterpoint to the medium format route, especially if you think that film will get you better results with your D3x. It won't. Well not unless you're prepared to put a lot more cash into the analog side of things such as a decent scanner and all of the associated workflow.

    If image quality is your goal then you might want to try to get most out of the D3x today rather than going down the MF digital route unless you've got a much larger budget. I'd put my money into the very best glass which would mean the Nikon 24/45/85 PC-E T/S lenses, 14-24/2.8 or alternatively a set of Zeiss ZF manual focus lenses. Money spent there will make more of a difference than changing camera platforms. The D3x is a great camera but it also needs to be shot carefully, locked down on a tripod with mirror lockup, remote release, and with AF fine tuned or manual focus glass. Do that and you'll find that you'll need a big jump in medium format to better it. In case you couldn't tell, I really liked my D3x and it cost a LOT of money to improve upon it (which I'm very very happy about even if my wallet isn't btw ).

    Now if you can afford the bigger jump to a more current digital solution, then the Phase / Leaf / Hassy digital backs will get you sensors without AA filters (hence sharper), full 16bit images which have richer tonality, plus the very best image processing money can buy. Whichever platform you look at you'll also need to figure on spending some money on 'digital' glass to get the best out of it. I have a range of Mamiya glass for my 645 AFD II & 645DF and the non-digital lenses, whilst good, aren't up to the sharpness and overall quality of the newer D lenses.

    Now if you really want to make an image quality leap, technical cameras and lenses are the slippery slope that'll suck you in and your wallet dry. The glass is just phenomenal but you really are in manual control territory at that point. Personally, given that I'm shooting landscapes for pleasure, it's the most rewarding experience compared to shooting with a DSLR whether 35mm digital or medium format.

    If you just want to dabble with medium format for fun, shooting some nice 120/220 slides, then any of the camera systems you mentioned will produce excellent results but remember you'll need a scanner to go with it unless you don't mind projecting slides. Better than the D3x? I very much doubt it without a scanning solution.

    There's a reason why this forum has Dante's "Abandon Hope All Ye Who Enter Here" in the title.

  26. #26
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Good MF bodies that can be used with MFD are expensive, but you could get a good lens for your budget!

    I think that Hasselblads are good value for money, or (depending on your application) you could forget about MFDSLRs and buy a technical camera.

  27. #27
    Ronan
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    If image quality is your goal then you might want to try to get most out of the D3x today rather than going down the MF digital route unless you've got a much larger budget. I'd put my money into the very best glass which would mean the Nikon 24/45/85 PC-E T/S lenses, 14-24/2.8
    I already have all the nikkor lenses i need

    14-24 2.8, 24-70 2.8, 70-200 2.8 are my workhorses. Also have a 17-55 2.8 thats on my D300, used to have a 200-400 f4 but sold it since it rarely got used. I also have a 60 and 105 micro lens and a 45mm tilt shift lens. Oh and of course a the usual 50mm and 85mm lenses with a assortment of flashes and studio heads. DSLR equipment isn't a problem, we are two in the studio, and my colleague has been around for awhile

    To everyone, i am digesting everything put, thank you

    One other thing... i have recently seen claims by a NYC photographer that he gets better results with his MF film camera than his D3x. He claims to scan the film to around 40-45 megapixel. I have tried to contact him with more information, but never received a response. Any idea whats up with that? Locally they can digitalize MF film to 16 MP at max (and at quite a cost).

    Thank You.

  28. #28
    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    When it comes to lenses, all things are not equal even when considering the Nikon "Holy Trinity" ... the new 24, 45 & 85 PC-E T/S lenses are a step up from the AF zooms, even the very best Nikons that you listed. The 14-24 is possibly the exception.

    As regards the MF film being better than the D3x, well I think that you'll need to understand better what is being used to scan the film and what type and format that film is. I'm not saying that 6x7 or 6x9 isn't outstanding but you're not going to get the best results unless you have a decent scan and that scanner is going to cost a lot more than your budget to give files comparable to D3x files. Btw, I'm not trying to start a film vs digital war - it's a Coke vs Pepsi thing in my view.

    Anyway, lot's of options and opportunities here for you. Good luck with your search.

  29. #29
    Ronan
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    When it comes to lenses, all things are not equal even when considering the Nikon "Holy Trinity" ... the new 24, 45 & 85 PC-E T/S lenses are a step up from the AF zooms, even the very best Nikons that you listed. The 14-24 is possibly the exception.

    As regards the MF film being better than the D3x, well I think that you'll need to understand better what is being used to scan the film and what type and format that film is. I'm not saying that 6x7 or 6x9 isn't outstanding but you're not going to get the best results unless you have a decent scan and that scanner is going to cost a lot more than your budget to give files comparable to D3x files. Btw, I'm not trying to start a film vs digital war - it's a Coke vs Pepsi thing in my view.

    Anyway, lot's of options and opportunities here for you. Good luck with your search.
    Coke tastes way better

    Since I'm using the Nikon system, i would never think of buying third party lenses, even Zeiss.

    Now i wouldn't mind a D4... and D4x...

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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    As Dustbank mentioned this is a very slippery slope and not a very cheap one . So you have to see what gains there are for your type of shooting. Me i love MF but i have client needs that also dictate that so just do your homework and see if it makes sense.

    Lots of good folks here that give great advice. Okay I'm off to LA check in about 9 hours . Or while I am driving. LOL
    Tell me about it...The image quality has me absolutely convince that this was the right move for in the studio for me.

  31. #31
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Quote Originally Posted by Dustbak View Post
    Honestly?

    If you are already set with a D3x plus lenses, etc.. and you are not willing to spend much. I would stay away from MF. I would not read one single topic anymore on this forum area. MF will cost you and always more than you initially planned to spend. Sometimes a lot more.

    I am not making a statement one way or the other whether that is worth it or not. Fact is that you will spend much more than you are thinking of.

    MF Film? Even though it sounds inexpensive, if you want to get better results than with your D3x you are probably also looking at spending more money than you currently want to.
    +1. The D3X sets a good high threshold. Yes, MFDB are better, but not realistically within your budget. Good meticulous technique with the D3X and careful lens selection will bring up the IQ with little cost.

    If you want to experience MF quality - try a film camera, and work the scanning side. I doubt overall it will exceed the D3X, but you will see tonal variations that may excite you. To fully exceed the D3X, as others have said, you'll need to get meticulous scans - and used Imacons (even the cheaper 343) aren't easily found. But they could work for you.

    Else, you just will be out of your budget. This stuff is really pricey, and while complex, seductive, and really cool, the costs are not reasonable in comparison to the DSLR world.

  32. #32
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Sorry Gentlemen. eStore was on the fritz for two days. Bad timing!

    http://www.captureintegration.com/st...e-accessories/

    We also rent the AFD1, AFD2, and AFD3.

    Office is closed today for inventory/planning. Everyone is back at it on Monday.

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  33. #33
    Ronan
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpetersonci View Post
    Sorry Gentlemen. eStore was on the fritz for two days. Bad timing!

    http://www.captureintegration.com/st...e-accessories/

    We also rent the AFD1, AFD2, and AFD3.

    Office is closed today for inventory/planning. Everyone is back at it on Monday.
    Your prices are AWESOME! I might grab a AFD I to get my feet wet and see where to go from there. At those prices... its kind of a win win situation!

    Also, i apologize to everyone for being late responding, i received news late last night my girlfriend's mother had a heart attack (she lives in England, pretty far from here). So for now my priorities just changed greatly.

  34. #34
    Ronan
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    I am looking at alternatives...

    What do you guys think of 6x7? I have never really looked into it much.

    I'm researching Mamiya 7, Pentax 6x7.

    What should i know (compared to 645)? Any other bodies i should look at?

    Thank You.

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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Quote Originally Posted by Ronan View Post
    I am looking at alternatives...

    What do you guys think of 6x7? I have never really looked into it much.

    I'm researching Mamiya 7, Pentax 6x7.

    What should i know (compared to 645)? Any other bodies i should look at?
    RZ67 is another option.

    Mamiya 7 is an amazing camera. However you have to accept/know two things before jumping in:
    - zero digital options
    - it's a rangefinder, not an SLR (good for some reasons, bad for others - but importantly a very different kind of camera)

  36. #36
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpetersonci View Post
    RZ67 is another option.

    Mamiya 7 is an amazing camera. However you have to accept/know two things before jumping in:
    - zero digital options
    - it's a rangefinder, not an SLR (good for some reasons, bad for others - but importantly a very different kind of camera)

    And another one: that RZ is as big as your newborn

  37. #37
    Ronan
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Thanks, i beleive i'll stick with 645, probably find a good little kit like a Mamiya 645AF/AFD or a 645 Pro TL, all depending of price.

    I would get the film scan, hopefully i can find a good place in the states or Canada.

    If i see a futur in MF for myself, i will put more funds into something modernish.

    Before i spent any money, i will put down what i have found, to make sure theirs no... surprises

    Thanks Guys

  38. #38
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    Ronan,
    I will chime in here.
    Having owned a d3x and all of nikons ts/e lens and 14-24 zoom, I would rethink your statement on 3rd party lenses in this case zeiss. My 6 month experience with the d3x was i only got stellar results with the 85mm ts/e and the 14-24mm, all of the other lenses you mention do not live up to what the d3x needs to shine. Only the zeiss and maybe the new released 24 and 35mm nikon can do the d3x justice. No if you are talking D3 thats another story. All your lens work perfect.

    I ended up selling all my nikon stuff and went MF i picked up a used H3D-39 and 4 used HCD lenses. This system smoked the D3x IMHO, yet I moved on from there because I moved to the snow and the hassy has no weather sealing so for 35mm work I do 8 went back to nikon but this time a D3s and for landscape went M9. Loving my M9 btw, again if you don't need af, IMHO the M9 smokes the D3X even when using leicas entry level lenses which I purchased all used.

    I have recently got the itch again for MF don't ask me why but went with the Pentax 645D, amazing camera for 40mp now if they can only get there lens lineup in place. To me it handles great, simple to use, weather sealing, i shot with it the other day it was 10 degrees out no problem. If you don't need WA at this point today the 75mm and longer lenses work quite well and all can be had for under 1K, now just have to wait to see if pentax can get there act together on the lens side for this what i consider a really nice camera.

    At the end of the day it all depends on what you are really looking for, and for me, I like having the 3 systems now, the m9' for its small size and amazing quality my prints i do at 18x24 look amazing. My D3s for my action stuff in low light conditions, and now my 645d, hopefully will ne making some 24x32 vertical prints soon. I love 4:3 format vertical.

    Good luck with you decision

    Steven
    Steven Kornreich
    www.kuau.com

  39. #39
    Ronan
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    Re: Medium Format, Taking The First Steps

    I have purchased a Mamiya 645AF kit, already in Canada from a fellow getdpi member (gallery7).

    I will see how it goes, i can get the film scans to 16MP, and i believe a local photographer has one of the better Nikon fillm scanner on hand.

    If i see a future in it, i will upgrade to a modern MF camera with a digital back.

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