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Thread: Will the MF systems work for me?

  1. #1
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Will the MF systems work for me?

    I think this is probably the biggest question that we keep spinning around in our heads and all the months of soul searching for to find some of the answers. We ask a lot of questions on the forum to gather data to make smart gear decisions and such. It is what we do and a very important part of what we shoot. But the bottom line in all of this is the logic that we need to understand is if this will do all that you want it to do and I think that is the biggest struggle in any gear we buy. Now i can't speak for everyone and never would so i have to take this journey into my little world and make it logical and have it make sense to me.

    So with that here is my story or better yet my thought process for the last couple months. First i came from medium format analogue, so this is no stranger to me. But for the last several years i struggled hard to get the most out of 35mm and certainly in the last couple years found some bliss with Leica. But the last couple months was a decision process that i need to take and see what MF can do for me and more important than anything else how far can i use it to do all my work. i do a lot of different things and not a specialist in one area. I chose this path because i enjoy it all but that brings in gear issues and having several systems to cover it all.

    As i made that decision back in Carmel to jump in it came with a lot of nervous anxiety. I knew exactly what would come next and how i would move forward with it, now I did not think I would upgrade so fast but after seeing what i was seeing it gets to be a drug. No question it is better image wise , the bigger question is how much can it really do. I have been playing around with this now for a month or so and really have not pressed it into service. Now there is one aspect actually a couple that had me on pins and needles. One of them is what i shot this morning. Nothing fancy or in the advertising stuff that I know MF will excel at for me. But how a bout a little pressure cooker get a hour to shoot and turn the files to the client via FTP within a 1 or so after the shoot.

    Now i decided this morning sink , swim or call it a day. i don't have time to play around and make mistakes if it don't work it is gone, we all know how i am . i have ice in my veins when it comes to gear an if it does not give me a smile it is toast. Yes I am ruthless with this stuff and nothing is sacred . Anyway this morning came and here was the setup , go into a corporate client and shoot a customer support area. Lot's of folks sitting at desks in low lighting and shoot a big area. Well okay what to do. i decide that ISO 400 was a given and don't fight it. Bring two Dynalite Twinkles 400 watt monolights and lets get to work. My worries DOF and enough juice. Well it was a piece of cake . i was shooting with a SB 800 with Stofen and the two Monolights and getting F13, more than I thought I could possible get. Drag the shutter a little and be on a tripod which honestly i would have done with any camera given the setup.

    Now this told me a whole story on this with just this one setup. First thing is I can do this comfortable just like i could with any DSLR, the files are God knows how many times better and I did NOT have to struggle. This is all good and answered my several questions can I do this type of work easily because i do a lot of this at times and also events which will be my next acid test. Now i am not worried about landscape or advertising work and stuff that is deliberate and i can work on it with anything i need . This is hit and run get in get out and deliver good files a DSLR kind of job but now with more file. Now i did the cardinal sin today was left the Nikon home in it's bag and forgot the backup. Well i forgot on purpose. LOL It was put up and get it done with this thing. Happy to say it worked it worked great and ISO 400 is amazingly good. So tonight I feel better this was nagging at me for awhile. I won't call it a gimme yet but it did proof it's worth and I still want to press it into different things and see how it does .I think a slow approach in fitting this into everything i do is important and may just keep pushing those Nikons out of my bag and into the street. But i want more results and see how it handles tougher situations. It like any of my gear has to pass my torture tests.

    Anyway i would love to hear how this works for you, we talk about the gear but what about the work which really at the end of the day is the most important. Is MF doing it for you?
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  2. #2
    SecondFocus
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    Re: Will the MF systems work for me?

    At the end of the day, MF has been the best thing I have done, no question! Both film and digital, it has helped me to produce the images I really want to create whether it is for assignments or my personal work.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Will the MF systems work for me?

    Just a couple quick shots i took . Nothing great in my mind because there hit and runs . But the client was thrilled. The noise on these is really really good and very impressed at them . i shot these mostly with the Mamiya 35mm
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  4. #4
    SecondFocus
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    Re: Will the MF systems work for me?

    Mamiya 35mm ??

    Great photos by the way.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Will the MF systems work for me?

    Thanks Ian , the only thing I did was play it a little safe with the 35mm lens just wanted to be sure to carry the DOF but i do have a 55mm but I think a 45mm would be really nice so i can keep some of the converging lines down a little and step back. The one nice thing with the mamiya glass even though not built like our all metal construction they actually produce which is for there cost is amazingly good.

    Oops yes the AFD body and the Mamiya 35mm LENS
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Will the MF systems work for me?

    Guy, I have the 45mm and I think it's a nice lens, for the money. I don't have a 55mm to compare it to, and I have read that the 55 may be a bit better, but for what little I've shot the 45mm so far I'm liking it. I'll shoot it more this weekend to better analyze it. I don't see as much of an issue with converging lines with it in comparison to the 35mm.

    It's nice to have decent kit for not so much money.

    Oh, and nice photos by the way.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Will the MF systems work for me?

    Thanks Dale i think for the little money they are I can have all 3 lenses that are pretty close. The 35mm was just a touch to wide and the 55 was not wide enough. The 45mm sounds to close that gap. I don't mind having several wide angles I use them a lot compared to the long stuff. I'm still a lens whore though. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Will the MF systems work for me?

    Guy, lenses are difficult to resist. It's not such a bad vice.

    As you know, this kit is new to me, but I've just packed the AFD II, P 25+, 80mm, 150mm and 45mm in a shoulder bag and it's one of the lightest kits I've carried in a while. (I don't have an M8 kit.)

    I'm used to carrying an 85 f/1.2, 24-70, etc., etc. and I can see that my shooting and kit requirements are going to change a bit with this new system. I will add the 35 for sure, and I'm interested in the 28 too, but these lenses are pretty packable. The 120 macro is on my short list too, but I'm in re-coup mode right now.

    Now the problem will come in when I start to consider (already started, ugh) the new 45-90mm "D". It sounds very useful, a bit heavy and oh so pricey.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Will the MF systems work for me?

    I want the new 150 mm 2.8 D come hell or high water that sucker will make it to my bag. I will sell all the nikons just for that. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Will the MF systems work for me?

    Yes, I think that a few of the new lenses are going to be desirable. But I have to stay with the modest Mamiya lenses for a while first. After all, I convinced myself that this was a cheap way to play in the MF field, so I need to stick to my story for a while longer. Once I forget that I told myself that, I can slip a few of the new lenses into the kit.

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    Re: Will the MF systems work for me?

    Nice! Thanks for sharing. BTW, terrific job on the lighting, guy. Very nicely done given the environment!

    -Brad

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Will the MF systems work for me?

    Is MF doing it for you?

    Yes and no.

    Yes, for much of what I do. No, not for ALL of what I to do.

    I don't subscribe to the "One Fits All" scenario even though I've tried to make it work on occasion. I'm still in the "Horses for Courses" camp.

    However, like you Guy, I do subscribe to the same ruthless philosophy of "It Delivers or It's Gone."*

    AND, like you, I don't specialize in one or two types of work.

    On any given day I can be and have been called on to: do some Industrial parts shots for American Axel ... or wheels for a car company; shoot some environmental shots (like those you posted) for a Cosmetic Dentist or High End Spa; do a 6AM shoot in the woods and a river for a horse back riders Rain Gear company; Shoot a CEO who gives me 10 minutes in-between meetings; do a full blown food shoot; a Senior Portrait Session for a kid that doesn't want the formulaic studio shots; an 8 hour wedding with candid and formal shots; some before-and-after in home shots for a Interior Designer; shoot a photomatic for testing a TV spot before actual filming; shoot the 2010 Camaro for an ad; shoot a landscape/sky library for use later as backgrounds in ads ... etc. Last year I even spent the full year documenting a Historic Landmark Cemetery through all 4 seasons.

    In no way would I attempt to shoot a wedding with just a MFD camera. In fact, the MF system is supplemental gear that I can take or leave. A 35mm DSLR is the standard tool. None of these MFD cameras can AF fast enough in the low light that's the rule rather than the exception, or offer the high ISO often needed. Nor am I particularly interested in processing 500 39 meg RAW files from a wedding. The Nikons are the champs here.

    Most "advertising" stuff is done with a MFD because clients are multi-purposing images, and will use it on anything from the internet to a 8' display poster ... or crop the crap out of it. Big files are needed.

    One thing you touch on is the need for an array of focal lengths. So many people think you can do this stuff with a few lenses ... which is true if you are doing limited work. But even portrait work benefits from different lens draw for different faces.

    *RE: It earns it's keep or it's gone: My biggest struggle was holding onto the DMR/9 and Leica R optics. The camera is now gone, and all those beautiful lenses will follow ... very, very nice images, but not MFD quality, and not fast enough to hold its own against the Nikon/Canon ... for instances where getting the shot is primary, IQ is secondary.

    I have two personal "Loves" that I hang onto that have no real practical value in terms of a "Ruthless Commercial Mentality": My Hasselblad 203FE system, and my Leica M8 system. Neither of these could displace the MFD or DSLR in terms of practical application. They are just passions, and there is always room for passion. However, IF there were some revolutionary development in MF sensor technology that could impact my business ... they would go on the sacrificial alter in a NY heartbeat. Fact is, they both have been in serious danger ever since I started eyeballing a Hasselblad CF/39 meg Multi-Shot.


    Then there is the odd request: a photographer pal stops by the studio with a friend of his that wants to meet me and discuss work. They're on a time line, and just before leaving my pal remembers he wanted me to shoot an "Ugly" portrait of him to match a sample "horror image" tear sheet for an elaborate joke he's planning for a VIP client of his ... I have 15 minutes left to do it ... What a pal

    I grab the new H3D-II/31 and HC/150 for an acid test ... set him up in natural light, have the other guy hold a black flat to kill the light on one side ... the light needs ISO 800, and even then it's 1/60th shutter with a 150mm lens, my monopod is in my car which my wife took ... I quickly punch in the millisecond mirror delay feature and shoot hand-held. He walks with the image below. I could've done it with the D3 and should have ... but like you, I like to torture stuff in non-paying jobs to see what it'll do.
    Last edited by fotografz; 23rd July 2008 at 02:29.

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