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Thread: Help me spend my money

  1. #1
    New Member Plateau Light's Avatar
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    Help me spend my money

    Ha! I always wanted to say that!

    Anyhow, please help this 5x7 film guy migrate toward digital MF.
    I do have a 35mm 5DII so I am not totally green to digital, just to
    the obscure MF market that seems to have many elusive systems.

    I have been lurking in the shadows for quite some time and have seen a gamut of results that quite frankly intimidates the hell out of me whenI am about to spend 35-40K.

    I have been shooting LF for 17 yrs now and have grown accustomed to having my tilt and occasional shift. I dont really know if I would be totally happy with an slr as my only tool so I am leaning toward a system approach with an SLR and a movement capable setup.

    I have the need for large 40 x 50 enlargements that rival my 5x7 drum scans.

    Even though I don't shoot medium format I have collected several tidbits over the years that seemed like a good thing at the time.

    I have a 28mm digitar, a 40mm Hasselblad CFI IF, 47mm and a 50mm CFi FLE that I would like to be able to use. I had always thought I would buy a Flexbody as it seemed like a miniature view camera with the same back movements that I have been so used to .

    Would I not be happy with the Hassy glass on a P65+.

    Aside from the 3 above lens's I am a blank slate so please suggest how you might allocate $40K.
    Last edited by Plateau Light; 27th May 2011 at 20:48.

  2. #2
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Help me spend my money

    Some random thoughts in no particular order:

    1) You can use the older Hassy V lenses on a Phase DF body with adapter. They are of course fully manual aperture and shutter is provided by the camera -- all a-la LF.

    2) Right now there are three main back manufacturers I would consider: Hassy, Leaf and Phase. Of those, Leaf and Phase are easier or at least a little more convenient to use on a view/tech camera than Hassy due to battery pack adapter required by Hassy back.

    3) Right now, there are only two camera platforms I would consider for the SLR body end, Hassy and Phase/Mamiya.

    4) Hassy H glass is generally excellent. Phase D glass is generally excellent.

    5) Hassy H is 100% leaf shutter lenses. Phase DF is a focal-plane shutter body (why you can use other glass on it) and has 3 excellent leaf shutter lenses in the 55, 80 and 110 LS. So while Phase has more total glass options mountable to their bodies, Hassy has more Leaf shutter lenses available for their bodies. Phase however is releasing more LS lenses, most notably a 150 and 240 in the near (12 months?) future.

    6) Trade-up programs. This is where it gets tough -- historically Phase has always had very generous upgrade paths when a new back is announced. Hassy used to, but that has changed between generations, so it remains unclear what they will do in the future.

    7) Leaf and Phase tend to have the latest technology chips to market before Hassy.

    8) Final comment would be to spend some time working with each back's conversion softwares. Ask dealers for demo files from each back you are considering, and get demo copies of the software to work with. Keep in mind, you will be spending a lot of time with these components to obtain your final images, and you want that process to be both efficient and rewarding...

    I think all the possible combinations of the above systems are very viable and will insure the ultimate in image quality once you learn to utilize them fully. It is no secret where I spent my $40K so I will refrain from direct comment there other than to simply say that I am very satisfied with the path I chose for my needs, but I respect that other's opinions will vary based on their needs.

    Best of luck in your journey, and welcome to INFERNO!
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  3. #3
    Super Duper
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    Re: Help me spend my money

    Listen to what Jack offered is the first piece of advice.

    If it were I doing this: Moving from LF I would consider moving into a MF tech camera since I could bring my working knowledge over to the new platform. I've made no bones about which tech camera I use and like it very much so I won't go into that. I would just say consider a tech camera and go from there.

    Glass: Simple put, the glass used on a tech camera is IMHO far superior to any other medium format glass being offered.

    Regarding the digital back. There are many refurbished Phase One backs hitting or about to hit the market soon that have been used as trade-ups for the new IQ series. I took advantage and very recently traded my P45+ for a P65+ that had been used as a trade-up.

    Large prints: I once did a two-shot panorama using a Mamiya AFDII and P30+ that is 30x60 with great detail. Most of my prints are limited to 25 and this particular print is now at #20 (the image was captured in 2007 and not processed until 2008). I've had great success with the P45+ and look forward to using the P65+.

    Returning back to tech cameras: Just a side note here regarding the use of a tech camera and panoramas - think flat stitching. The back moves around the rear of the lens thus giving you a flat stitch instead of a typical bowtie from moving the camera/lens. No matter how careful I tried being doing multiple images for a stitch using a DSLR I still ended up with an image looking like a bowtie and loosing a lot of space. Not so with a tech camera.

    One final thought is computer power. You'll soon be processing very heavy files with the finished file in the neighborhood of over 1.5 GB. Think updating disk and RAM the more RAM the better.

    I think you can get on board the canoe to cross into the abyss and Dante's playground with your budget. Speak to one of the sponsor dealers here you'll be surprised at how helpful they are.

    Welcome to a great forum!

    Don
    Don Libby
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  4. #4
    New Member Plateau Light's Avatar
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    Re: Help me spend my money

    Thanks for the input guys.
    I really am a bit confused as to why I don't see people using something like the Arca 6x9. It is not precision enough?

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Help me spend my money

    Quote Originally Posted by Plateau Light View Post
    Thanks for the input guys.
    I really am a bit confused as to why I don't see people using something like the Arca 6x9. It is not precision enough?
    It might be due to weight, then again it all depends on what/where you shoot.

    At one time I was hot and bothered about the Cambo Ultima until I actually tried it. Great system only draw back was the weight and Sandy won't let me hire that cute French assistant....
    Don Libby
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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Help me spend my money

    Quote Originally Posted by Plateau Light View Post
    Thanks for the input guys.
    I really am a bit confused as to why I don't see people using something like the Arca 6x9. It is not precision enough?
    Look at the M-Line 2 --- it is basically a 6x9 re-worked for the specifics and rigidity requirements of direct digital capture.

    Re tech cameras for MF, there are several excellent options, all depending on what you want to do. Alpa and Arca make a few different models, Linhof, Sinar and Cambo and Horseman all have variations on the theme as well. ALL are capable of the critical accuracy required for high-resolution MF capture and get you there in slightly different fashions...
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Senior Member yaya's Avatar
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    Re: Help me spend my money

    Quote Originally Posted by Plateau Light View Post
    Thanks for the input guys.
    I really am a bit confused as to why I don't see people using something like the Arca 6x9. It is not precision enough?
    There are many people who use 6X9 or 5X4 cameras, or Flexbodies etc.

    When it comes to wide angle lenses, say 40mm and shorter, the pancake cameras mentioned above are easier/ faster for achieving accurate focusing due to their rigid nature

    Tilt/swing on the view cameras is almost impossible with wide lenses and there's no room for squeezing the standards together...
    Yair Shahar | Product Manager | Phase One | Mamiya Leaf
    e: [email protected] | m: +44(0)77 8992 8199 | yaya's blog

  8. #8
    Senior Member Graham Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: Help me spend my money

    If I were to spend $40K, I think I would build a camera properly from scratch and use the best Rodenstock/Schneider lenses rather than your existing lenses, especially if your aim is to achieve maximum image quality.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Help me spend my money

    Agreed. i would simply sell that off and start from scratch. Digital and film gear don't in general get along very well.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  10. #10
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Help me spend my money

    I'll play Dante's advocate: Sometimes it's all about the best technical performance, but other times it's about a certain look...
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Help me spend my money

    i went with the compact solution: cambo WRS, because:
    quality and price are very good;
    shifts both ways (Alpa STC only shifts one way, TC not at all, Arca both ways)
    tilt and swing are available on each lens. (Alpa has an adapter for tilt (one axis) but only for 10mm or longer; Arca has one axis of tilt built in)

    don uses it!

    more reading: your question comes up form time to time:
    http://forums.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?p=157850

  12. #12
    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: Help me spend my money

    Quote Originally Posted by Plateau Light View Post
    Thanks for the input guys.
    I really am a bit confused as to why I don't see people using something like the Arca 6x9. It is not precision enough?
    I use an Arca M2 in the studio for macro and tabletop (commercial work). I use an Alpa Max for shooting in the landscape. The M2 is an absolutely beautiful view camera that I use on a studio stand and would not break it down for outside work. Others may do that, but I find the pancake type cameras are better built for landscape work. I too would opt for a tech camera over a dslr. Main reason is the selection of lenses. I still use my Cooke PS945 (from 4x5 film days) on my M2; here is a recent example:



    Arca Swiss M2 | Cooke PS945 @ f/8 for 18 sec | P45 | Daylight + Mirrors

    Have fun spending all the dough!
    Darr
    "Creativity takes courage." ~ Henri Matisse
    Darlene Almeda, photoscapes.com

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    Re: Help me spend my money

    If I had it just laying around ...... I would seriously consider going on one of the PODAS events, perhaps one that is being taught by our kind hosts!

    I bet there would be a chance of seeing/using all three major choices. SLR/Slim body tech/Bellows tech.

    Another suggestion would be to look in the images thread as see what the images you like were shot with. Then contact the photographer, as a group we seem to be a pretty friendly bunch.

    As I'm a studio fine art nude shooter, all those movements and such really don't matter that much to me except for upgrade path if/when I get bored, and by then, I'll need to upgrade anyway. So I cannot comment directly to your question.

    I have some LF film gear, and the learning curve with that was steep. I'm going to bet that no matter what you choose, there are going to be some head banging moments.

    Hope it all works out.

    Dave

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    Re: Help me spend my money

    Quote Originally Posted by Graham Mitchell View Post
    If I were to spend $40K, I think I would build a camera properly from scratch and use the best Rodenstock/Schneider lenses rather than your existing lenses, especially if your aim is to achieve maximum image quality.
    It depends what he wants to do...

    If he wants a lightweight system with movements (Flexbody or "toy" MF tech)

    ...and a state-of-the-art MFDSLR system

    ...and a state-of the art high-end studio tech camera system

    then $40k would be about half enough.

  15. #15
    New Member Plateau Light's Avatar
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    Re: Help me spend my money

    Thanks for the input.

    In addition to this decision, my new store launch is swamping me and I really didn't get time to reply.

    I leaning toward a Hasselblad as they have the 35-90 for convenience and quality. Coupled with my 2 Digitars I already have, I think an Arca 6x9 will do.
    I didn't realize that I can have them mounted for a Cambo and that may very well work better than the Arca being they are a 28 and 47.

    I have a lot of stuff I can unload and get the rest of the system. The Hassy software is actually more appealing to me ( sorry C1 guys) as I prefer CS5 for edits. You guys seem unique as I had numerous PM's from persons genuinely interested in lending advice. Most forums are loaded with axes to grind and egos to support.

  16. #16
    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Help me spend my money

    Quote Originally Posted by darr View Post
    I use an Arca M2 in the studio for macro and tabletop (commercial work). I use an Alpa Max for shooting in the landscape. The M2 is an absolutely beautiful view camera that I use on a studio stand and would not break it down for outside work. Others may do that, but I find the pancake type cameras are better built for landscape work. I too would opt for a tech camera over a dslr. Main reason is the selection of lenses. I still use my Cooke PS945 (from 4x5 film days) on my M2; here is a recent example:



    Arca Swiss M2 | Cooke PS945 @ f/8 for 18 sec | P45 | Daylight + Mirrors

    Have fun spending all the dough!
    Darr
    Darr,

    The Cooke PS945 was one of my all time favorite lenses when I shot large format. Wide open for two or three stops it's magic. Stop it down past f16 and it's basically as sharp as any plasmat. I sold it and almost immediately regretted doing so. You are fortunate to have one. FWIW, that lens will illuminate 8x10 with a little room to spare if you're ever so inclined.
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  17. #17
    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: Help me spend my money

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Darr,

    The Cooke PS945 was one of my all time favorite lenses when I shot large format. Wide open for two or three stops it's magic. Stop it down past f16 and it's basically as sharp as any plasmat. I sold it and almost immediately regretted doing so. You are fortunate to have one. FWIW, that lens will illuminate 8x10 with a little room to spare if you're ever so inclined.
    Jack,

    I remember when you sold your PS945 through postings at the LFF. It is a beautiful lens and one reason I keep a view camera. I have never tried 8x10, but never say never.
    "Creativity takes courage." ~ Henri Matisse
    Darlene Almeda, photoscapes.com

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