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Thread: Best resources to prove MFDB > DSLR

  1. #1
    pet3r
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    Best resources to prove MFDB > DSLR

    I'm new to the forum, exciting to see such an active base of users that know a LOT more than I do about MF digital

    I'm not new to photography, but have a recent upcoming personal project that will likely take 6 months to 12 months to complete. I'm extremely familiar with the Canon system, mainly because what I shoot is portraits. I do shoot architectural commissions from time to time, and am familiar with stitching multiple photos (with TS-E lenses or non) and for the most part am very happy with this approach.

    Since this project is a personal one, and more a labor of love, and a different subject matter as well (landscapes + buildings), I'm looking for the best image quality, then resolution.

    While my 5D2 + stitching is great for standard use, this project will likely end up in a very nice fine-art book, and possibly even in a gallery at some point. Not HUGE huge prints, but, I'm not looking into MFDB for resolution . . . it just happens to be a benefit.

    I've long known the qualities and advantages of the Phase One backs, but have never had ANY real world experience with the files, or with using the system.

    The purpose of this post is to hopefully acquire some additional resources to prove to my "financial" brain that the jump to a P45+ would be a wise move for this project. I'm looking for the best, cleanest file quality, a significant step-up from the dynamic range that Canon is offering, and the best lenses. I just don't know where to look, where to get some sample files (RAW files, although I do not have Capture1), anything that will help me with my decision.

    I'm in AZ, and don't know of anywhere that I could test out any of the PhaseOne backs and cameras. I'm definitely a hands-on person, and being able to make tests on my own would be the best way for me to better understand, but just not sure how to go about doing it.

    Does Phase make it fairly easy to test their products?

    If I do go the MFDB route, I don't have a preference on camera body, not a huge deal to me, but any recommendations would be helpful. I'm very familiar with Contax (still have a kit), same with Mamiya, and from what I understand Phase's cameras are about the same.

    I'll likely be buying a back that is used. I don't really have the means to jump into anything $20k+, so anything new isn't really in the equation.

    Any help, links, resources would be much appreciated.

  2. #2
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Best resources to prove MFDB > DSLR

    Funny I'm from Arizona and right now doing a workshop in Arizona. Lots to tell you here but for right now since I am busy with workshop attendees you may just want to follow this thread since all of it is Phase MF digital backs. Oops we do have a Leaf in in here as well.
    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=23543

    Might want to check my Gallery as well. They are also mostly all MF Phase backs.
    http://forum.getdpi.com/gallery/brow...user=11&page=6

    Also check out our digital review forum
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  3. #3
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Best resources to prove MFDB > DSLR

    BTW the MF vs the 35mm DSLR debate is an ongoing circle of nothing discussion. It's usually falls in a couple of arguments. People defending what they just bought or don't see the need to spend more. Bottom line just like film bigger is better. A unavoidable fact.

    These debates between the two are more for lessor forums.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  4. #4
    Senior Member yaya's Avatar
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    Re: Best resources to prove MFDB > DSLR

    If leaf is on your radar I can help with raw files etc.

    Capture One is a free download that it "trial-able" for 30 days and a fully functional PRO version or if you just need it for viewing Phase or Leaf files you can use the DB version which is free. Leaf Capture is also a free unlimited download.

    Yair
    Yair Shahar | Product Manager | Phase One | Mamiya Leaf
    e: [email protected] | m: +44(0)77 8992 8199 | yaya's blog

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    Re: Best resources to prove MFDB > DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by pet3r View Post
    I do shoot architectural commissions from time to time, and am familiar with stitching multiple photos (with TS-E lenses or non) and for the most part am very happy with this approach.

    Since this project is a personal one, and more a labor of love, and a different subject matter as well (landscapes + buildings), I'm looking for the best image quality, then resolution.
    You use T/S lenses - are you thinking of tackling this project without movements?

    View cameras (e.g. and old Sinar) are good value for this type of work, especially if you have not purchased a set of MFDSLR lenses.

    Bear in mind the the leaders in the field are (or include) Hasselblad and Sinar.

    ...and if you want to prove "MFDB > DSLR", use your kitchen scales!

  6. #6
    Ronan
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    Re: Best resources to prove MFDB > DSLR

    Depends what you use it for...

    If clean High ISO is your game, DSLR beats MFDB.
    If portability is your game, DSLR beats MFDB.
    If price is your game, DSLR beats MFDB.
    If IQ is your game, the latest MFDB beats DSLR.

    It's really what YOU need that will dictate the best gear for YOU.

    But you can't go wrong with a DSLR AND a MFDB

  7. #7
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    Re: Best resources to prove MFDB > DSLR

    Quote Originally Posted by pet3r View Post
    If I do go the MFDB route, I don't have a preference on camera body, not a huge deal to me, but any recommendations would be helpful. I'm very familiar with Contax (still have a kit), same with Mamiya, and from what I understand Phase's cameras are about the same.
    I don't know where in Arizona you live, but I live in Scottsdale and have a P30+ with a Contax mount that I will happily make available to you to play with on your body. Not quite the same as a P45+, of course -- I'm looking for a used one of those, btw, so if anybody reading this has one for sale, feel free to drop me a note! -- but it'll provide you with an initial data point, if nothing else.

  8. #8
    pet3r
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    Re: Best resources to prove MFDB > DSLR

    Thank you for the replies everyone, much appreciated.

    At the moment, I'm already confident that MFD is MUCH better than 35mm. But before I just buy into a system, I'm trying to convince my practical side of the brain to prevent buyers remorse I've played with a RAW file from a P45+ once, but that was years ago.

    Here is what I'll using it for:
    -landscapes with buildings (not cityscapes, more of architectural photographs that include the nature context around it)
    -rise/fall/tilt/shift are not necessary, but would be nice if I could/had a technical camera to mount it to (Cambo Wide DS?)
    -lenses would need to include a wide, standard and a moderate telephoto (ie: equivalent to 85mm on 35mm), I know this gets expensive too

  9. #9
    Ronan
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    Re: Best resources to prove MFDB > DSLR

    Sounds like your need and want are screaming mfdb.

  10. #10
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    Re: Best resources to prove MFDB > DSLR

    One simple answer is you don't need it. Financically, on a cost/benefit analysis, DSLR's offer better value. End of story.

    That is, until you look at IQ and prioritize that issue. Until you do that, the rest of it is pushing deck chairs around....

    This is not an attempt to be glib or patronizing, but rather to point out that many things of quality do not provide enough benefit to justify themselves economically..... until you realize that they are key to satisfaction with your work. MFDB are not cheaper, faster, lighter or smaller. They are, for better or worse, simply better.

    Whether that "better" is enough is for you to decide. Are the difficulties with MFDB (more investment, depreciation, bigger, etc) tolerable? The costs have gotten less, and the operations improved, so the entry pain is much less now than it was. However, no logic can make the choice rational - until IQ becomes a key part of the determination.

  11. #11
    Senior Member Steve Hendrix's Avatar
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    Re: Best resources to prove MFDB > DSLR

    This is hanging in the front foyer of our building. It is a 12' pano of the city of Chicago. Shot with Phase One P45+, DF Camera and 80mm/2.8 D Lens. It encompassed 60 shots. Without doing the math, the same shot and equivalent focal length would have taken somewhere between 300-400 shots with 35mm.

    I feel that for most photographers, 35mm DSLR cameras are essential equipment. Most of our MFDB clients also have 35mm DSLR. It is not necessarily one or the other, and if it is, it is usually a reflection of the work, the needs, and/or the available budget.


    Steve Hendrix
    Steve Hendrix, Sales Manager, www.captureintegration.com (e-mail Me)
    Digital Cam: Phase One | Leaf | Leica | Sinar Authorized Reseller
    TechCam: Alpa | Cambo | Arca Swiss | Sinar Authorized Reseller

  12. #12
    Subscriber Member Chuck Jones's Avatar
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    Re: Best resources to prove MFDB > DSLR

    Given you still own a Contax 645, you may like the results you would get picking up a used Leaf Aptus 75s as a starting out point, and see if you like what that combination does for you. I used that combo myself for several years, and found it to do about everything I could ask from it, save for very low ambient lighting conditions. The A75s is a fantastic back IQ wise, and in my opinion a better choice than many of the current crop of new products. Buying a used one in Contax mount is possible, but you'll need to look around a bit probably to find one.

    Yair and Steve Hendrix both are great resources, both of whom I highly recommend you get to know. I bought my A75s from Steve and can assure you his support is second to none. Between the two of them, they may even be able to find you a used one.

  13. #13
    Administrator Bob's Avatar
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    Re: Best resources to prove MFDB > DSLR

    Step 1.
    Find a good dealer
    Step 2.
    Borrow / rent what you are considering.
    Step 3.
    Shoot with it
    Step 4.
    Get processing advice from the dealer
    Step 5
    Evaluate what you got out of the rig

    It is then either worth it to YOU or not.
    -bob

  14. #14
    Super Duper
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    Re: Best resources to prove MFDB > DSLR

    Right on, Bob. Good advice as usual,
    Bill

  15. #15
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    Re: Best resources to prove MFDB > DSLR

    It is difficult to get most MFD dealers to take you seriously until you have spent 20k on digital... where are you?

    There are about 6 MF dealers within three hours drive of here, including YaYa Leaf, Edwin Sinar, Paula Linhof, Calumet, Hasselblad etc.

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