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Thread: Building a System with Movements

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    Question Building a System with Movements

    Hi All,

    I'll confess out of the gate I'm a newb to MF digital, I don't own anything at this point but I'd like to move in that direction. I'm a hobbyist at this point with kids, mortgage, yada, yada, etc. so I need to go slowly. I have some thoughts and wanted to to see what more experienced folks have to say and what advice you could offer.

    I need a camera with movements because I'd be using this setup for architecture and landscape. I know that points to technical camera, however, they are very expensive from what I've seen so far. Are there any available for around a $1000 price point?

    Is it possible to use a digital back with a 6x9 view camera? or is the precision just not there?

    For backs at this point my goal is a Phase One P30. These are expensive but not out of reach however, there will likely be a gap between purchasing the back and the camera. My though was if I buy the camera first, and since the back is a Hassy V mount, is it possible to use a tech camera with Hassy film backs? This would at least allow me to use the camera until I can get the digital back.

    Are the digital lenses a requirement or will modern coated LF lenses produce good results?

    I know this may sound like I want a $250 answer to a $10,000 question, that's not the case. I'm not being naive about this, I'm just being realistic to my situation. I realize that what I'm asking may be the wrong way to go about this, that's what I'd like to find out.

    Also I know some would suggest a 4x5 but I'm not interested in going that route. I currently have a 2x3 Century Graphic setup with roll film backs. It works OK but as much as I love film, the extra time factor for processing and scanning really slows me down as I have limited time to work at my photography so the instant nature of digital is a real advantage to me, in addition I have Rheumatoid Arthritis and it affects my hands so faffing about with sheet film is not a very satisfactory enterprise, so I'd like to move my whole operation in the direction of digital, even if it means a brief stop with a film/tech camera combo on the way there, I'd still be moving in that direction.

    Any advice if much appreciated.

    Best,

    Jim

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    Re: Building a System with Movements

    Though it's movements are limited to rear rise and fall and rear tilt, the Hasselblad Flexbody may be an option for you. I use my MFDB with it and love it. You can find them used from another Atlanta firm for a very reasonable price. Just make sure you get all the bits and pieces with it.
    Bob

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    Re: Building a System with Movements

    here is a reality check:

    you could get a cambo WRS, which has two axes of shift and one tilt swing lens with a mount for a back for ...say $7k. then find a used back for 6-9k. so can you forkover $15k?

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    Re: Building a System with Movements

    Quote Originally Posted by rga View Post
    Though it's movements are limited to rear rise and fall and rear tilt, the Hasselblad Flexbody may be an option for you. I use my MFDB with it and love it. You can find them used from another Atlanta firm for a very reasonable price. Just make sure you get all the bits and pieces with it.
    Bob

    Thanks Bob, I've never considered the Flexbody, I'll have to look into that.

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    Re: Building a System with Movements

    Quote Originally Posted by rga View Post
    Though it's movements are limited to rear rise and fall and rear tilt, the Hasselblad Flexbody may be an option for you. I use my MFDB with it and love it. You can find them used from another Atlanta firm for a very reasonable price. Just make sure you get all the bits and pieces with it.
    Bob
    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    here is a reality check:

    you could get a cambo WRS, which has two axes of shift and one tilt swing lens with a mount for a back for ...say $7k. then find a used back for 6-9k. so can you forkover $15k?
    Hi Jim,

    Honestly, I can't. Reality checks are part of the reason I posted this thread. Like I said I'm a noob at this and I'm not afraid of reality but I also don't have a good grasp on it when it comes to this stuff. As I said I'm not naively hoping for a cheap and quick answer, but I wanted to see if my thinking was flawed or not.

    Thanks,

    Jim

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    Re: Building a System with Movements

    Jim,
    I was looking into this recently with the same intent: a reasonably priced camera with movements for my digital back. One camera I stumbled upon is the Fuji GX680. With the proper hardware (Kapture Group) and cables, a digital back can be attached. It is a large camera and there are technical issues. There is actually one of these cameras for sale here at GetDPI.com. Without the back, I estimated that the investment would be about $3000. - Christopher

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    Re: Building a System with Movements

    Hi Jim,
    You could currently use:
    Linhof Technika 6x9 camera: between 700 to 1000 with movements
    Linhof to Hasselblad Movable adapter plate: 250 to 300
    A Phase One P25+ ( better with movements, no micro-lens ): 7000 to 8000
    With patience, total in for under 9k with a great back.
    Or find a cheaper Sinar back to take the cost down further.
    Not sure it gets much cheaper and still have movements.
    Jonmo

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    Re: Building a System with Movements

    Jim,
    Do you have Hassy lenses and film backs? I had assumed that from your original post.
    Bob

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    Re: Building a System with Movements

    Quote Originally Posted by rga View Post
    Jim,
    Do you have Hassy lenses and film backs? I had assumed that from your original post.
    Bob
    Hi Bob,

    I don't have any Hassy gear right now. I mention Hassy in my initial post because it seems that many of the backs that I've come across are set ip for a Hassy V mount. I'm not committed to a system at this point yet.

    Take care,

    Jim

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    Re: Building a System with Movements

    I have been collecting Hasselblad and Sinar equipment for some time, and I have a Flexbody but no V sys compatible back.

    Hasselblad V lenses are "adequate" at the entry level, but expensive if you have to buy them - LF lenses might be adequate initially, but I have bought several Schneider Apo-Digitar lanes on eBay for realistic money.

    You need to work out what system you (eventually) want before you start spending money... and remember that little things like adapters can cost as much as lenses.

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    Re: Building a System with Movements

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    I have been collecting Hasselblad and Sinar equipment for some time, and I have a Flexbody but no V sys compatible back.

    Hasselblad V lenses are "adequate" at the entry level, but expensive if you have to buy them - LF lenses might be adequate initially, but I have bought several Schneider Apo-Digitar lanes on eBay for realistic money.

    You need to work out what system you (eventually) want before you start spending money... and remember that little things like adapters can cost as much as lenses.

    Can you run down the common systems with movements for me? Which Sinar are you using?

    Thanks,

    Jim

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    Re: Building a System with Movements

    Quote Originally Posted by jmooney View Post
    Can you run down the common systems with movements for me? Which Sinar are you using?

    Thanks,

    Jim
    I have a Sinar (monorail) P, a P2 (5 * 4) and another P2 which I have converted to P3 (MF), and assorted additional components.

    There are many systems with movements ... the (other) old 5*4 monorails, which used the Sinar standard 5 * 4 or 5 * 7 or 10 * 8 sheet film. Linhoff and many others made cameras of this type.

    The Folding 5 * 4 cameras, starting with the Speed Graphic.

    ...and the modern medium format digital technical cameras, which are expensive and limited in the movements they provide, but popular.

    Linhoff
    Arca-swiss
    Sinar Artec,
    Monalith

    doubtless other contributors will add to this list.

    Nobody makes a good, light, versatile, compact camera with a good range of movements - but I do not expect many to agree with this statement... and I expect others to suggest cameras that, they think, do, to some degree, match this description!

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    Re: Building a System with Movements

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    The Folding 5 * 4 cameras, starting with the Speed Graphic.
    after trying it - raise and wee tilt arent much of movement


    But then again - in reality - how much of it most people do use?

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    Re: Building a System with Movements

    Thanks again Bob and Sergei.

    So let's say I get a Horseman SW-DII Pro body and lens with the Hassy V adapter plate. Could I use a film back on it or is there something in the way it's designed that would prevent it from working?

    Jim

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    Re: Building a System with Movements

    Just to bring it back to the Flexbody for a moment. The Flexbody is relatively light compared to most HV components. The rise/fall is a total of 28mm. I have used it extensively for film landscapes primarily using the rear tilt (which I prefer over front tilt as you do not have to recompose, refocus, recompose etc.). It also has extending bellows for closeup photography.

    With the P back and Hassy mount on the Flex, I can do stitching using the 80mm/2,8 using 3 images. The 80mm has an image circle of 23mm. So you can use full rise/fall.

    So for landscape orientated shots, put the sensor in a landscape orientation. Focus with tilt at the extreme ends of the rise and fall. Stitch 3 shots, starting at the top or bottom and rise/fall 8mm each shot. Stitch.

    Though some say that the quality isn't the best you can get (and per test charts they are probably right) I say it's pretty hot:
    http://www.rgaphoto.com/2011Yosemite...e_1_large.html
    http://www.rgaphoto.com/2011Yosemite...ter_large.html

    So a Flex for about $1400, an 80/2,8 for about $500 and a film back for about $250.
    Add a 22MP back and you're digital MF...
    These 3 shots are with an Aptus 22:
    http://www.rgaphoto.com/sierras/cont...TER_large.html
    http://www.rgaphoto.com/sierras/cont...TER_large.html
    http://www.rgaphoto.com/sierras/cont...ER2_large.html

    I'm just trying to get back to your inexpensive solution. This setup will be lasting me quite some time until I see a lighter weight system that has full front an back movement created for digital MFB. I don't really think that exists at this point; it's getting there...

    IMO,
    Bob

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    Re: Building a System with Movements

    Hi Jim,

    If you can drive to whatever it is you're shooting (and thus if weight isn't a big deal), then you have a lot of options. If you're looking to carry this setup out into the woods in a backpack, you have to spend a bit more coin. What are your limitations in terms of weight/size/flexibility?

    As engel001 mentioned, the Fuji GX680III system is a great cross between medium format ease and large format tilt/shift/swing capabilities, since it offers compound movements but also reflex viewing, along with a reasonably good number of options for digital backs. Also, it's a cheap system to get into, but has really high quality output.

    I'm trying to be brief so that I don't come across as self-serving, as I'm one of the ones with a GX680 system up for sale here on getdpi.com right now... but I can only give feedback on what I've actually used. It's not a small/light system, though it still beats most monorail 4x5 options, and it's a joy to shoot with. If you have any questions about it, feel free to PM me.

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    Re: Building a System with Movements

    Hi Jim,
    I have another camera option for you to consider, a Cambo Ultima. They are very expensive new but sell for between $1000-2000 used depending on how they are equipped. There are three versions of this camera with the only difference being the front and rear standards. For each configuration the base rail and “adjustment” parts stay the same. You could start with one version, and convert it to another in minutes using only an Allen wrench.

    Overall this is a modular mono-rail system with full movements on both the front and rear standard.

    The best fit for your application is the Ultima 23. It has smaller front and rear standards suitable for mounting MF digital lenses up front and a MFDB in the back. You can get a pleated bellows or a bag bellow for using shorter focal length lenses.

    Cambo makes 23 series adapters for ten film and digital backs including Hasselblad V. They also have sliding ground glass backs with index stops for digital stitching. So, yes you can start off with using film.

    There is another version called the Ultima 35 that uses the same smaller front standards as the 23, but then it accepts a special mount to hold a digital SLR camera body on the rear. In this case the DSLR acts as the rear standard. A bag bellows connects the DSLR camera mount to the front standard. This is the version I use with a D3x. The precision required to work effectively with my “small” full frame 35mm sensor (compared to a MFDB) is very, very high. I find the Cambo is easily up to the task. I can make very small adjustments in any direction and my camera has no slop or stiction. All the movements are buttery smooth. This is a beautifully made and very solid camera system.

    The final version is the 4x5. This has larger front and rear standard to hold LF lenses up front and accept a 4x5 sheet film holder in the back.

    You could look for a used or dealer demo 23. Another option would be to pick up a used Ultima 35 or 4x5 and then get the conversion kit to turn it into a 23. With the parts in hand, you can swap the front and rear standards in all of two to three minutes.

    The requirements of today’s high resolution digital sensors are in a whole different league compared to LF glass when it comes to the demands of resolution, contrast, and color correction. I have a Schneider APO Digitar 90mm for my Ultima 35 setup and its performance is really stunning. I suggest you get high quality digital lenses to go with your P30. LF lenses are great on 4x5 and 8x10 film, but are really stressed by the small pixel pitch of digital sensors. Like the other poster, I found my Digitar used on E-bay for a very good price.

    I looked at a number of options to get a camera that provides full movements and had the precision and flexibility I needed for digital. There are a lot of really great cameras out there, but for me a used Cambo was a great deal and the performance has exceeded my expectations. If I get a MFDB, all I will need to do is swap out one part, my rear DSLR camera holder for a Model 23 rear standard! :-)

    Because you are not in a hurry you have time to hunt up some nice used gear at a good price.

    Good luck with your search.
    Paul
    Last edited by Paul T; 6th April 2011 at 05:18.

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    Re: Building a System with Movements

    Quote Originally Posted by rga View Post
    This setup will be lasting me quite some time until I see a lighter weight system that has full front an back movement created for digital MFB. I don't really think that exists at this point; it's getting there...

    IMO,
    Bob
    I wanted to do this with my Flexbody at the time I had one. You might want to search for the 'Bendyblad'.

    http://www.owenphotographicrepairs.com/bendybladg.htm

    I once found a place which would make it for you at a reasonable price but I never came around doing it (another one of those projects ).

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