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Thread: Getting The Most From Large Sensor Digital Backs

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    Getting The Most From Large Sensor Digital Backs

    I have seen references in many many posts throughout this forum about changes in technique, lens, tripods, processing etc. in order to get the maximum image quality from medium format cameras and high pixel digital backs. These posts are spread across a wide array of topics, but it seems they would be most helpful if these thoughts and concepts were contained in a single thread. I wonder if we could have posts to this thread dealing with these issues. Perhaps everyone else may feel this is adequately covered already, but it seems previous posts and comments could be fine tuned and honed by all concerned into something more readily available and in greater detail.

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    Re: Getting The Most From Large Sensor Digital Backs

    Depends what digital back you have and what you want to use it for ...

    General tips would include:

    Good tripod (or flash)
    MLU
    WB
    lighting for ideal contrast is not so important, as you can fix it quite well in post, but avoid clipping.
    Good tech camera with a full range of movements.
    Polarizing filter

    ...but if you bought an H4D-40 for ambient work, most of the above recommendations are irrelevant!

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    Senior Member Graham Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: Getting The Most From Large Sensor Digital Backs


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    Re: Getting The Most From Large Sensor Digital Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    Good tech camera with a full range of movements.
    Interesting aspect...

    Is not the key precision in depth of focus and thus lens movements will contrary make tedious at best if not difficult? Assuming no teatherd focusing is used with large display in order to achieve accurate micro precise lens movement for each shot? Of course if we leave out wide lenses the lens movements may not be an issue because depth of focus and distance sensor to lens are small for wide angle lenses.

    Regards
    Anders

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    Re: Getting The Most From Large Sensor Digital Backs

    Most that spend the money to get into MFD have at least mastered a decent skill level in the craft of making captures. The main point to remember is the high resolution and sensitivity of these systems will exaggerate any flaws in equipment and technique. You certainly don't need a tech camera to take advantage, but it does allow you to take captures to another level (at the trade off of a different style of shooting which may limit your shooting style).
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    Re: Getting The Most From Large Sensor Digital Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by Anders_HK View Post
    Interesting aspect...

    Is not the key precision in depth of focus and thus lens movements will contrary make tedious at best if not difficult? Assuming no teatherd focusing is used with large display in order to achieve accurate micro precise lens movement for each shot? Of course if we leave out wide lenses the lens movements may not be an issue because depth of focus and distance sensor to lens are small for wide angle lenses.

    Regards
    Anders
    The thread is about "Getting The Most From Large Sensor Digital Backs" not making life easy for the photographer, and perhaps, tethered focusing should be added to the list of essentials?

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    Re: Getting The Most From Large Sensor Digital Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Fox View Post
    Most that spend the money to get into MFD have at least mastered a decent skill level in the craft of making captures.
    I think a high proportion of buyers of MFD equipment believe that a good camera will do it all for them, and little skill is required.

    Readers of this forum are, of course, those that realize that there is more to it than that.

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    Re: Getting The Most From Large Sensor Digital Backs

    1) setup - that the gear is all doing what it should, and that the back, camera body, and viewing arrangement are all precisely aligned.
    2) focusing - getting the camera focused precisely on the point of interest
    3) capture - ensuring that the moment of capture is stable

    Each of these are highly critical in MFDB work and the tolerances remarkably small.
    Much smaller than probably any of us thought at the time we got into this.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Getting The Most From Large Sensor Digital Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    I think a high proportion of buyers of MFD equipment believe that a good camera will do it all for them, and little skill is required.

    Readers of this forum are, of course, those that realize that there is more to it than that.
    Absolutely. I would contend that you'll get less successful pictures with MFD than you will with full frame or cropped 35mm because of the need for good technique and appreciation of the limited DoF you'll get also. If you have good fundamental picture taking skills and understand the extra rigor involved with shooting with less forgiving equipment then you'll be ok and the potential for great images can be realized.
    Last edited by GrahamWelland; 30th April 2011 at 18:30.
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    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Getting The Most From Large Sensor Digital Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    Absolutely. I would contend that you'll get less successful pictures with MFD than you will with full frame or cropped 35mm
    Just for clarity... I'm assuming Graham means fewer numbers of successful pics, due to the technical requirements of shooting the format... not lower quality.

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    Re: Getting The Most From Large Sensor Digital Backs

    Sorry that probably wasn't clear - yes, fewer successful pictures from MFD if you don't put the effort into technique and understanding of the characteristics of medium format. Pictures you might get away with using other formats will have any flaws mercilessly exposed on a MFD system. Get it right and the results are worth all of the effort and they will definitely exhibit higher quality in terms of color, tone and detail.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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    Re: Getting The Most From Large Sensor Digital Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by cs750 View Post
    I have seen references in many many posts throughout this forum about changes in technique, lens, tripods, processing etc. in order to get the maximum image quality from medium format cameras and high pixel digital backs. These posts are spread across a wide array of topics, but it seems they would be most helpful if these thoughts and concepts were contained in a single thread. I wonder if we could have posts to this thread dealing with these issues. Perhaps everyone else may feel this is adequately covered already, but it seems previous posts and comments could be fine tuned and honed by all concerned into something more readily available and in greater detail.
    Depends on focal length. I shoot with my Alpa TC and a 36mm apo lens and a 60meg back handheld all of the time. It's demanding but doable and image quality stands up to pixel level scrutiny. I don't recommend handheld with anything longer however.

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    Re: Getting The Most From Large Sensor Digital Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    I think a high proportion of buyers of MFD equipment believe that a good camera will do it all for them, and little skill is required.

    Readers of this forum are, of course, those that realize that there is more to it than that.
    Well, I"ve met a fair number of MFDB shooters, and to be honest hardly any of them fit that description. Most of them are actually very discerning photographers who are looking for something more than they get from their high end dSLR's.

    Even those that are not photographers because they make far more money in some other profession can be passionate and very skilled.

    Yes some of them maybe just buy this stuff because they can, but I don't think that's the majority and I think they do it because that's how they buy everything they own ... cars, homes, cameras, watches ... etc.
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    Re: Getting The Most From Large Sensor Digital Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    The thread is about "Getting The Most From Large Sensor Digital Backs" not making life easy for the photographer, and perhaps, tethered focusing should be added to the list of essentials?
    I used to do a lot of tethered focusing in the days I was using P25, P45+ and P65+. However, with the awesome fosus and zoom functions and the higher-res screen, not to mention live view on the IQ180, this is pretty much redundant.
    Having said that, once I replaced my Horseman SW-D with the ALPA STC, I had a lot less problems focussing with the P65+. The ALPA HPF rings and back shimming take out a lot of error from the system.

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    Re: Getting The Most From Large Sensor Digital Backs

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Campbell View Post
    Depends on focal length. I shoot with my Alpa TC and a 36mm apo lens and a 60meg back handheld all of the time. It's demanding but doable and image quality stands up to pixel level scrutiny. I don't recommend handheld with anything longer however.
    I'm with you on this Woody. I shoot handheld with the ALPA STC and 35mm on a regular basis. It takes some practice and god tecknique, but it's certainly doable. The STC is easily my favourite walk-around camera.
    Siebel
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