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Thread: Leaf Q's for repro work

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    Leaf Q's for repro work

    Hi folks!

    Never thought I'd be posting a thread on this board, I'm way too poor!

    I've been doing work for an organistation which privately owns a huge collection of handwritten Jewish literature spanning back 500 years and beyond. They are interested in photographing this work, page by page (they have around 10,000 books and documents!) and as I'm their resident photographer they contacted me. It's well timed for me as this would be a perfect job for me as my wedding business dries up to around the Death Valley level. The budget is about $35K including lights, copy stands, computer setup and enough memory and backup for 2 years of work.

    I contacted Yair Shachar who put me in touch with Yad Vashem the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem where they have a reproduction studio using a Leaf back on an AFI camera. I visited them and they were incredibly nice people only too happy to show and demonstrate everything. I went back again yesterday and they photographed a sample I'd brought of the material which we would be shooting so I could get an idea of the workflow and quality.

    I've written to Yair about my conclusions but as he's out of the office for another week I thought I'd pick some minds here if that's ok. Firstly I'm going Leaf due to the support network in this country, there are apparently only some 3 Hasselblad's in the entire country and Phase is only starting now to trickle in since they bought Leaf. As such it makes sense to buy Leaf.

    Secondly the back they were using, a 22 megapixel back, isn't enough. Oh it's sharp enough and beats the daylights out of a 1DsIII for example however these documents are very old, the writing very faded and there is an incredible amount of damage with a high percentage of them, they had not been archively kept until the past 20 years and there is serious woodworm damage and generally many are falling to peices. Although the 22 megapixels was a lot and very sharp, I think the 28 or 33 megapixel back would be a better bet and the photographer in Yad Vashem agreed with me.

    Speed is not an issue, even 2 seconds between shots doesn't bother me. Ditto crop factor, the camera will be on a repro stand and a big one. Cameras are an issue. Leaf still sell the AFI apparently but the photographer there told me that they are limited to using a single 80mm lens because the cost of the 55mm he would love could buy a new back! Yair suggested a Mamiya RZ and having seen the setup in Yad Vashem I'd agree that a WLF is essential for copy work when you are recomposing and refocusing every time you change the book or document size on the copy table or even every 20 pages or so when photographing through an entire book. I thought about Hasselblad, the older bodies are very cheap these days and the lenses are the same vintage as the RZ. Although I realise a P1 camera gives more modern lens options but without a WLF they are not in the running. I can buy a lightly used RZ with spare, motor drive, 3 lenses, etc for the price of a single AFI lens methinks. I have to check though whether the back would need to be shimmed to an RZ, it's a pain in the neck I'd prefer not to have to bother with.

    Lighting. The studio there just changed from continuous lighting banks to Profoto D1's. The continuous light wasn't accurate enough between banks and were causing colour shifts. The D1's are nice lights, should I look any further keeping in mind perfect shot to shot accuracy and balance?

    Backs. As neither the speed or the crop bother me, would I be gaining much by spending the extra for the 33 megapixels over the 28? Seems rather moot to me to be honest. Another question is with a fixed studio setup shooting tethered at iso 50, why not get the previous generation 33 megapixel back, the 75s and save a fortune which could be better spent on superior lighting or a better copy table or a faster computer? I've read of center fold issues with that back but I've no idea if it was just history with more modern software.

    Software. Leaf seems to be upgrading their software though locking out older backs. With a setup like this I don't see a huge need for anything over complicated though. In their studio they were shooting tethered with an old version of Leaf Capture, applying a default, cropping then sending to their workstation and doing the rest in lightroom with the tiff's and I can see why.

    Having compared the files from Leaf Capture and the raw files processed in C1 6.2 that I downloaded for the occasion (I don't have 6 yet myself) there is no doubt in my mind that Leaf Capture does a far superior job with micro contrast. I know C1 quite well and the sharpening just doesn't quite get there in side by side images. Colour isn't quite as accurate either. I'm surprised actually as P1 now own Leaf and support their backs and tethering (though interestingly they don't allow you to work with Leaf files without a license though you can do that with P1 files). Seems to me that with a setup where the lighting is fixed, low contrast and static, it won't make any difference which software I use to tether, if Leaf Capture gives superior results then I'll stick to it.

    In any case while I wait for Yair to give me the number of the local dealer, thoughts please people?
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Ben -
    An interesting post for many reasons. You seem to have done much of your homework already. The AFI and 80 is a fine combination, and yes, the 33 mp back may give you more, especially if its more up to date. The newer software is nice, but by no means necessary. The older software works just fine and has for years.

    While a big fan of the AFI system and the 80 mm lens is a killer lens, perhaps consider another option a higher res back on a less expensive platform. As much of your work is tech'l and studio based, could you get away with a tech camera and a single lens and a higher res back?

    Not sure its cheaper, as the precise tech'l cameras and their lenses are not budget items either, but maybe to check out?

    Good luck with your project. Have you confirmed Leaf Capture vs. C1 in print, or on screen?

    Geoff

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    On screen where it's pretty apparent actually, the output for this work is not print at least not for 99% of the work, it's screen viewing. The idea is to have maximum quality for transcription of these ancient and much damages scripts by multiple people. That and being able to archieve these documents and books but given the amount print is very much on the backburner.

    AFI would be nice but I'd have to look at the pricing as we'd need both the 80mm and the 50mm. Having a look on ebay at RZ stuff I could get two lenses and two bodies for 2/3 of the price of just that 50mm...

    Yair just emailed me to tell me that he's back in Israel and gave me his cell phone number to call him on Sunday to make a meeting with the local leaf dealer. That guy is dedicated!
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Hmmm, didn't realise that Leaf backs have live view when tethered. That technically opens up the camera side of things, I won't necessarily need WLF. Though to be honest the RZ solution is still the cheapest by a long stretch.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Senior Member Graham Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    As much as I like the AFi camera and lenses, for the work you are doing you might be better off with a view camera because the lenses are even better and you will not need all the features of an SLR. I imagine you will be setting up something like a copy stand, with the pages lying flat on the horizontal surface. In fact, if all the pages are approximately similar size, you might only need one lens too. If my assumptions are correct, go for a the highest resolution back and best lens you can afford. The Leaf Aptus II 12 would be ideal if you can afford it. Any form of live view could be very useful. (The Phase IQ series are much more expensive due to various extra features which you would not be using.)

    If, on the other hand, you do need an SLR-style camera, the AFi seems like a great bet. See if you can get some samples taken with the 90mm macro lens - it is very highly regarded.

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    If I can't afford the 50mm from Rollei then I'm hardly likely to be able to afford the lenses from a view camera setup .

    It isn't just pages of similar size, the books are all different sizes and as you work through the pages the focus changes as pages go from left to right or visa versa and the depth changes. I watched the photographer yesterday having to climb on a ladder to focus through his WLF as we shot an A3 sized document, he begged me to buy a system where I could afford more than one lens as he would have given his right arm for a wider angle lens, with a view camera you would have had to be spiderman to have used the GG! A view camera had until now sounded like a nightmare though that is of course not true if you have live view, however the price difference is still very true.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Senior Member Graham Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    If I can't afford the 50mm from Rollei then I'm hardly likely to be able to afford the lenses from a view camera setup .
    The difference is that the view camera itself can be bought used and just needs to be simple and well-built. You won't need any movements so you won't have to pay for the highest quality gear controls, etc. You won't even need a sliding back or any viewfinder options. You don't even need lenses with a large image circle (as you won't be using movements) or fast lenses. It's worth looking into.

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    I do reproduction work for an archive. I recently finished an exhibition catalog of illustrated books from the 16th century on.

    For flat single pages, a scanner is going to do a better job than a camera. We use an Epson XL10000 which has an A3 size bed.

    For books, we have a Linhof M679 view camera, 55mm and 90mm Rodenstock lenses, and a Phase One P25+ back. I agree there is no practical difference between 28MP and 33MP. For this project I did not using standard copy lighting as we were making the books look like objects--I was also designing the catalog and had specific spread designs in mind. Because of the thickness of the books, everything was shot at f/22. and no, diffraction was not an issue. At f/16, the books were just not sharp from page to spine. Smaller books were shot with the 90mm, larger books with the 55mm, as in the example. Our camera is mounted on a studio stand. You can also save height issues by having the book on the floor rather than a table. View camera movements were nice when photographing a single page in a bound book as it was easier to adjust the camera rather than the book. I only had 40 or so books and so I could take time with movements and such. I don't think I would want them for the volume you are doing.

    The book is of Ovid's stories and from the Bates College Muskie Archives and Special Collections

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Ben, I think nothing will make as much difference to extracting subtle detail from damaged documents as multishot. Have you considered renting a 39MS setup for a month or so and attacking the pile?

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    BTW, I would not be that fixated about the MP count. The difference in resolution between 24MP and 28MP is only 8%. I would focus on the quality of the optics. If you are looking for more resolution, how about a scanning back?
    Last edited by Shashin; 27th May 2011 at 10:02.

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    Senior Member routlaw's Avatar
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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Ben

    Have you considered the Betterlight scan back and LF solution to your project? I use this system almost daily to copy works of art and other things. If used correctly it has no peers in image quality. I did consider the H3D II MS also at the time I purchased the Betterlight system, but still felt the scan back produced a more natural looking image. The MS cameras as good as they are still exhibit a tad bit of artifacts. Nothing wrong with the MFD solution but understand it is interpolated color which will also exhibit a certain amount of artifacting around text and similar situations, the scan back not so.

    You can get a system like this, LF camera, lens, scan back and lights (depending upon which ones) for under $20 grand USD.

    Just a thought.

    Rob

  12. #12
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    If you do decide to go leaf and mamiya... the proIID shares a similar mount as the AFD series cameras (and DF). Just know that the RZ (non-D) takes a V-mount back via adapter... so going with an RZ-IID leaves the option of using the same back on a 645 camera available as well. Food for thought if you are trying to get maximum utility out of the back.

    I'm a leaf guy, now (28mp)... and love the back. In my limited experience, I agree that LC has some sort of special sauce that I've not been able to replicate in C1 yet... BUT I'm a total newbie with C1.

    The Hassie CF Backs (I think) also use those clever iAdapters that allow for using the same back on almost any platform (given the purchase of the very affordable i adapters).

    Lights... Broncolor and Elinchrom come to mind when I think of accuracy, but the D1's are no slouch either. Elinchrom could be a less expensive solution (than Profoto) that would still provide great accuracy.

    Good luck!

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Ben, I've worked with most all of this stuff, including for copying art work and shooting fabric samples with very subtile details that had to be dead-on accurate in color.

    I had a 22 meg Leaf back that I upgraded to a 33 meg Aptus 75S ... which I used on a Mamiya RZ Pro-II. Because of moiré issues, I then moved to a Hasselblad CF39 MultiShot (which cost me about $15K two years ago, and I suspect can be had for less now). I was able to also use the Multi-Shot on the RZ. Unlike the previous posts, I never had any issues with MS artifacts or anything like that. Clean as a whistle files.

    Mamiya makes a Pro-IID kit with the 33 meg Leaf back branded Mamiya already set up as a package. This D version eliminates the need for any sync cords and is preferable. The same kit can be assembled using a Leaf branded back. The best lens in the RZ line-up for this kind of critical detail work is the 210 APO, which is probably to long for your applications. The rotating back of the RZ is a critical feature for this kind of application and if you look at a Rollei make sure it can be equipped with a rotating back or get the Leaf back with the rotating sensor.

    Be sure to get a demo of the live view feature to determine if it is accurate enough for your work. If you use strobes, remember that live view will depend on the modeling lights for viewing. I found Live view okay for composition but with manual focus lenses you'll need to look through the viewfinder anyway. My H cameras using Phocus software allows me to use the software focus assist graph with audio feedback so I could hear it from the camera position when using manual focus lenses ... with AF lenses I can focus at the computer using +/- buttons on screen for micro adjustments of the AF lenses.

    BTW, scan backs need continuous lighting, and really good HMI lighting for reasonable consistency for your critical application is very expensive.

    Profoto strobes are very consistent shot to shot, which was critical for using my 4 shot MS back.

    PM me with any questions,

    -Marc

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Firstly thanks everyone!

    Although I agree a Betterlight or MS back would be ideal there is zero support for me at all here in this country from either company so that counts that out.

    Colour accuracy is actually not that important but what is important is colour consistency shot to shot so I can shoot an entire book page by page and batch the lot under one setting.

    I have a budget of approx $35K to include camera, lenses, back, high end copy table (Kaiser rePRO), lighting, computer & software and 2 years worth of data storage including backup. As the back is about $15K of that I'm having to save money where I can, the data storage is worrying me somewhat.

    The Leaf people in the UK told me that for colour consistency Bron are far better than Profoto however if I'm happy with the Kaiser strip lights then the Kaiser plus LCC in C1 or indeed LCC in camera which is now supported with the new GUI for Leaf would provide an admirable solution.

    Here is a sample of the material which I will be working with though the vast majority will be books or pamphlets. This is from the Leaf with no sharpening added.


    crop of same:

    Last edited by Ben Rubinstein; 28th May 2011 at 13:19.
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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Here is a book, quite big (over A4 size), this one was processed through C1 then sharpened in LR.



    crop:

    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    This was a shot of a vintage full size blueprint (not much contrast) from about 8' away with AFI II 7 (33 mp) and 80 mm lens with 1.4 tele-extender. Minor color correction in PP.

    These are downsized about from 300 dpi to 72 dpi, the TIFFs are better yet. While more pixels are always nice, the line definition was good enough for me.
    Last edited by Geoff; 5th March 2013 at 04:39.

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    I'm possibly the only Betterlight user in Japan, and there are only a couple of others in India. I've been using it for the past six years. Mike Collette answers emails in great detail, and helps you get going very quickly. There's very little to go wrong with the Betterlight, and if anything does need attention, it is handled very quickly and professionally. A second hand 6K-2 unit runs about 8,000 USD, a rigid camera like the Cambo WDS and an Apo-Macro Sironar 120mm or 180mm another 2,000 USD. With the other items needed, you would be well within your budget.

    Kumar

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Hi Ben.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Lighting. The studio there just changed from continuous lighting banks to Profoto D1's. The continuous light wasn't accurate enough between banks and were causing colour shifts. The D1's are nice lights, should I look any further keeping in mind perfect shot to shot accuracy and balance?
    Continuous light is usually very harsh on delicate materials like this. Strobes are much better. However, if you only really care about consistency, and not about color accuracy, LED lights may be an option. Colors can be funky, but hardly anything beats it for consistency.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Software. Leaf seems to be upgrading their software though locking out older backs. With a setup like this I don't see a huge need for anything over complicated though. In their studio they were shooting tethered with an old version of Leaf Capture, applying a default, cropping then sending to their workstation and doing the rest in lightroom with the tiff's and I can see why.
    Well, I think the wording "locked out" is too harsh. It is a matter of utilizing the available resources. I think all Leaf customers should be extremely happy about the investment that brought them these upgrades. How many companies would just have shipped the new firmware as a mark-II, Aptus-III or another random-marketing-name, possibly offering a paid upgrade?

    I do not think many people realize the cost of an upgrade like this. The opportunity cost to the ecosystem surrounding Leaf is likely to dwarf the cost of developing the firmware and Leaf Capture.

    Leaf customers should be happy indeed. They got a big, expensive and unanticipated upgrade for free.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Having compared the files from Leaf Capture and the raw files processed in C1 6.2 that I downloaded for the occasion (I don't have 6 yet myself) there is no doubt in my mind that Leaf Capture does a far superior job with micro contrast. I know C1 quite well and the sharpening just doesn't quite get there in side by side images. Colour isn't quite as accurate either. I'm surprised actually as P1 now own Leaf and support their backs and tethering (though interestingly they don't allow you to work with Leaf files without a license though you can do that with P1 files). Seems to me that with a setup where the lighting is fixed, low contrast and static, it won't make any difference which software I use to tether, if Leaf Capture gives superior results then I'll stick to it.?
    Too bad you do not like the files from Capture One. It actually have a few nifty tricks for exactly for this situation.

    In Capture One, you can create an LCC of the copy stand directly. That is, you just take a photo of the neutral/white background on the stand and create the LCC without using the opal plate. The LCC will then even out the differences in lighting. This feature was developed as a successor of the Uniform Light Tool in the software for the PowerPhase FX - a system that refuses to die gracefully, primarily because of this feature.

    Note: one trick used by some people was to defocus the lens before the shot, but that affects the scale of the image and is not necessary in Capture One. I do not think you can do something similar in Leaf Capture, but you could try .

    Also, since books like what you describe can rarely tolerate much handling, it is usually best to take photos of the left and right sides in separate runs. Capture One have a pretty convenient facility to get the a correct counter in the image file in this situation. Of course, a robust rename utility or a bit of scripting can do this as well.

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    The new software for the Leaf can actually do LCC corrections from a file in camera! Yair Shahar wrote an article on LL about it just yesterday.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    The new software for the Leaf can actually do LCC corrections from a file in camera! Yair Shahar wrote an article on LL about it just yesterday.
    Yes, I am aware of that. However, you still need an opal plate to create the LCC if I am not mistaken. This is good for correcting casts resulting from lens/sensor interaction. However, this will not capture differences in lighting the subject itself. Getting a completely flat lighting on a copy stand is an exercise in frustration in my experience.

    Disclosure: I am an engineer and not a photographer. I suck at setting up lights.

    While I agree that applying an LCC in the back can be a nice feature, I would actually think that your case would be the one least affected by the (admittedly somewhat clumsy) workflow in Capture One. After all, you just need to apply a LCC to a long series of images.

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Just spent half an hour on the phone to Yair, he's setting me up with the Leaf representative here. Just have to say, incredible kudos to Yair, he took the time out on his vacation and working in what isn't really his patch to talk me through options!
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Hi Ben,

    I personally installed a multi shot system at the National Library in Jerusalem.

    It was sold to them by our excellent representative abs.co.il.

    They are using the H4D50MS for exactly the work you describe.

    I am sure they will be happy to discuss with you if you would like to know their opinion.

    David

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Thank you for that David! Is a mutishot back comparable in pricing to the Aptus 8 which I was playing with today which is already overkill megapixel wise? I have to admit a Hd4 does sound like a much nicer solution than the RZ I was using today and probably better than the DF we also used which was a complete washout.

    EDIT, I'm afraid the kit at B&H is more than my entire budget and I'd be paying 15% VAT on top of that.
    Last edited by Ben Rubinstein; 31st May 2011 at 09:05.
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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    OK, just back from spending some 3 hours with the Leaf representative.

    We worked with the Aptus II 8 back on an RZ and a DF camera.

    First and foremost the live view is nice! Far from perfect but certainly nice. Having spent some time with the files I believe that 40 megapixels is overkill for our needs, 28 (Aptus 6) should be fine.

    We tried working with the DF but the lenses focus drooped when put on the copy stand unless held by the AF motor, it was impossible to manually focus them! This was with the 80mm shneider and digital versions. As this is going to be the most used focal length it washed the camera straight out. Having to rely solely on AF is unacceptable for our needs.

    The RZ actually turned out files which were arguably as sharp and contrasty as the shneider lenses (perhaps because the AF wasn't quite as accurate?) which was very surprising given the older lenses! It certainly seems to be the correct choice in our case given the WLF, sharp lenses and price!

    Wasn't there a packaged RZ with leaf back deal that I remember seeing? Would make sense but I can't see it anywhere anymore. Perhaps it was pre-DF and no longer exists. Shame. (edit, I see it only on the Mamiya US site, have to look into whether it's available in Europe and at what price).
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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Wasn't there a packaged RZ with leaf back deal that I remember seeing? Would make sense but I can't see it anywhere anymore. Perhaps it was pre-DF and no longer exists. Shame. (edit, I see it only on the Mamiya US site, have to look into whether it's available in Europe and at what price).
    There was here is one on ebay item number 280598495715 its from a seller in taiwan, i have seen an advert in one of my magazines for a shop here in the uk selling the RZ Pro 11D body for under 1k sterling new.
    When i find the advert i will let you know which shop it is?

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    That would be incredible, Calumet have them for over 2 grand...
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Right i found the advert, Mifsuds is the shop. I had a quick look but their site isnt showing them at the moment.
    www. mifsuds. com - without the spaces (hope i'm not breaking any rules)
    Last time i linked to a shop my post wasnt allowed.

    email - [email protected] misfsuds. com

    The shop is open 10am - 5pm monday to friday
    9am - 5pm saturday
    10am - 1pm sunday

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Thank you for that David! Is a mutishot back comparable in pricing to the Aptus 8 which I was playing with today which is already overkill megapixel wise? I have to admit a Hd4 does sound like a much nicer solution than the RZ I was using today and probably better than the DF we also used which was a complete washout.

    EDIT, I'm afraid the kit at B&H is more than my entire budget and I'd be paying 15% VAT on top of that.
    Hi Ben,

    The Leaf isn't multi shot of course so why not discuss with our dealer what your other options are?

    I attach a document about Hasselblad for reproduction. Its a bit out of date - I need to update it - but it gives you an idea where I strengths lie.

    David

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Ben, you need not buy a new Multi-Shot camera or back, and you do not need the H4D. My H2F/39 and certified pre-owned CF 39 Multi-Shot with warranty was under $20K. I did not need MS for every image, but it was killer when I did.

    That said, you seem well on your way to a Mamiya RZ/Leaf kit. Most certainly the Mamiya kit will be the most economical camera system with an endless array of lenses and accessories should other applications become necessary. The reason many of the RZ lenses hold their own is that you are using the center "sweet spot" due to the much larger image circle AND there is no focusing system in the lenses (focusing is bellows on the camera itself). I'd still recommend the 33 meg Leaf back.

    The alternative to the RZ is a Hasselblad V 500 series camera which has a broad selection of viewfinder hoods including "chimney" type magnifiers with built-in diopters. When mounted straight downward for copy work I used this type of finder on my 503CW (the lenses didn't drift). The V cameras take almost any digital back ever made. The Hasselblad V camera is much easier to handle than the RZ, and there are a billion of them out there. To this day the 65 and 100 mm Zeiss lenses bark with the big dogs. The motorized digital version is the 555ELD which is much tougher for production work than the RZ Pro-II with a motor ... or there is the CW winder for the 503CW which comes with a wireless release (which is what I used).

    An alternative back on the 503CW would be the CFV39 which is fully integrated requiring no sync cords or adapters ... capture can be set to 39 meg rectangle or a Square in the Phocus software, which yields a 29 meg file. All Zeiss V lenses are fully corrected in Phocus with one mouse click. Also an economical high performance set up.

    -Marc

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    All excellent advice from Marc.

    Thankyou!

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    David, I took your advice and called the company here. I had been led to believe that there was no support for 'blad here though apparently that had been true until a year ago, there is now a fully fledged support network with an installed base of cameras including as you mention the prestigious National Library here in Jerusalem.

    I spoke to the representative here, he's sending me a quote through by friday and we are meeting in the National Library on Thursday of next week for him to show me the backs we discussed in a copy setup.

    What did get my attention was that he was offering a 40 megapixel back on a full H4D system including lens for just 1000 Euro more than the Leaf 28 megapixel back on its own. That's quite an incentive, especially as the DF system is worthless for our needs while an H4D would probably be at it's most underused state sitting on a copy stand given how much more advanced it is than the DF. If you gave me the choice between the Leaf 28 plus 2nd hand RZ gear or a 40 megapixel back on an H4D with full warranty on the body, and costing less, on paper at least it seems obvious.

    Leaf UK are running a promotion on the 28 megapixel back which would more than equal out the difference, I have to ask Leaf here whether the same promotion is on the cards however I will be seeing the 'blad in action, have a look at their workflow/software and hopefully get enough information to bring the choices to the organisation with my recommendation either way.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Ben - maybe some more hints you should think about:
    I am doing the consulting for the Workflow of the Bavarian State Library who run one of the largest digitization departments in Europe. They have a Hasselblad 50MS as well as about 20 Zeutschel and Kruse large format scanning systems, plus 3 treventus automated bookscanners to use exactly for the task you describe.

    http://www.zeutschel.de/produkte_scanner.html

    http://www.crusescanner.com/index.ph...e&NavID=100007

    http://www.treventus.com/bookscanner_pageturner.html
    http://www.treventus.com/products/sc...ds/videos.html


    It all depends on the number of pictures you need to take. If you are in the some thousands to maybe 10-20 thousand images you may get by with a camera based system. If you are planning to digitze 100dreds of thousands of pages or even millions, then there is no way around dedicated highend document scanners.
    Their software is very specialized ,batchable, database connected and workflow optimized. For example the BSB is running a Treventus scan system which does about 800-1000 AN HOUR semiauto for old and difficult books (- up to 3500 pages for new and flat books), with a maximum opening angle of 60 degrees, which is a must for old books. I saw you had the pages opened 180 degrees, this is an absolute no go for such old Books and papers, they will break in their bindings !
    So if you do not have single sheets as on the other sample, for books you also need a special book holder which enables you to limit the opening angle and keep the pages from flipping during exposure. There are several devices, the best I know is the so called Grazer Buchtisch (made by Mr. Mayer from the University of Graz)- you can get a portable device which is suitable for sizes up to A3. you can take a look at this here:

    http://www.hab.de/bibliothek/wdb/mas...alisierung.htm

    http://www.gutenbergdigital.de/technik.html

    you could use Google to translate the links from German to English.

    a Link to the BSB you´ll find here:

    http://www.bsb-muenchen.de/Aktuelles...thek.14.0.html there are a lot of books online where these techniques were used. All in all 10 million pages online and growing steadily.

    Greetings from Munich

    Stefan Steib - Hartblei.de
    Last edited by Stefan Steib; 1st June 2011 at 14:45.

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    David, I took your advice and called the company here. I had been led to believe that there was no support for 'blad here though apparently that had been true until a year ago, there is now a fully fledged support network with an installed base of cameras including as you mention the prestigious National Library here in Jerusalem.

    I spoke to the representative here, he's sending me a quote through by friday and we are meeting in the National Library on Thursday of next week for him to show me the backs we discussed in a copy setup.

    What did get my attention was that he was offering a 40 megapixel back on a full H4D system including lens for just 1000 Euro more than the Leaf 28 megapixel back on its own. That's quite an incentive, especially as the DF system is worthless for our needs while an H4D would probably be at it's most underused state sitting on a copy stand given how much more advanced it is than the DF. If you gave me the choice between the Leaf 28 plus 2nd hand RZ gear or a 40 megapixel back on an H4D with full warranty on the body, and costing less, on paper at least it seems obvious.

    Leaf UK are running a promotion on the 28 megapixel back which would more than equal out the difference, I have to ask Leaf here whether the same promotion is on the cards however I will be seeing the 'blad in action, have a look at their workflow/software and hopefully get enough information to bring the choices to the organisation with my recommendation either way.
    Hi Ben,

    I am thrilled! ABS will take good care of you.

    The H4D is great for copy work, simply because you can control all the functions from the computer, including the focussing. Very useful if your copy stand height is very high!

    Enjoy your time at the library.

    David

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Quote Originally Posted by David Grover / Hasselblad View Post
    Hi Ben,

    I am thrilled! ABS will take good care of you.

    The H4D is great for copy work, simply because you can control all the functions from the computer, including the focussing. Very useful if your copy stand height is very high!

    Enjoy your time at the library.

    David
    Ben, to add to this ...

    When you are testing, have the dealer demo the sound feedback/graph focus aid. If manually focusing at the camera, you can actually hear the frequency changes as you refine critical focus. While I rarely ever have needed this and haven't for a long time, we did use it to calibrate and shim my Rodenstock and Schneider view camera lenses for use on the Rollei Xact-2 that I sometimes use.

    I can also attest to the focusing at the computer feature using a simple toggle buttons which I do use very often in studio shooting ... it focuses in micro-steps as much or as little as you want.

    RE: lenses ... if you get a 50mm be sure it is the latest version 2. BTW, the crop factor of the H4D/40 is 1.3X, so take that into account.

    IMO, if you can afford the HCD 35-90 zoom, you would not need any other lens for your application, and wouldn't need to change camera height to accommodate various sized subjects which would allow you to fill the frame for every shot using live view as a guide. This zoom is as good or better than any of the fixed focal lengths it covers, and the zoom doesn't drift when pointed downward (at least mine doesn't). See if the dealer can have one for you to see as an option.

    Best of luck on your choice whatever it ends up being.

    -Marc

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Stefan, I spoke to the Yad Vashem guy about the opening flat problem you mentioned, he mentioned the solution they use as a Kaiser 'book cradle' and photographing each side seperately. I can't see however how that would help for photographing the book when you reach the centre of the book. Thank you for bringing that to my attention, I have to give it some thought especially given that the organisation has such a small budget, the entire budget is about 1/3 of the cost of those scanners for example and they need to copy A3+ stuff as well.
    Last edited by Ben Rubinstein; 2nd June 2011 at 03:34.
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    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    Stefan, I spoke to the Yad Vashem guy about the opening flat problem you mentioned, he mentioned the solution they use as a Kaiser 'book cradle' apparently and photographing each side seperately. I can't see however how that would help for photographing the book when you reach the centre of the book. Thank you for bringing that to my attention, I have to give it some thought.
    Given the materials you describe, I don't think it is a good idea to assume the books can tolerate being fully opened. You probably need to place them in a book support wedge. For really delicate books, you may only be able to open them up a bit more than 90 degrees without damaging the material. This also helps keeping the pages flat BTW.

    In that case you are best off photographing the sides separately.

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    The problem with a wedge is how to keep the page flat for copying without glass to push it down is it not? Currently I'm thinking of using the Kaiser Book Holder http://www.kaiser-fototechnik.de/en/...ge.asp?nr=5904 and only putting in one side of the book under the glass while using a wedge to push up the other side of the book outside of the glass so as to keep the photographed page always flat but never putting the whole book inside which would flatten the spine. Does that make sense?
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Quote Originally Posted by Ben Rubinstein View Post
    The problem with a wedge is how to keep the page flat for copying without glass to push it down is it not? Currently I'm thinking of using the Kaiser Book Holder http://www.kaiser-fototechnik.de/en/...ge.asp?nr=5904 and only putting in one side of the book under the glass while wedging up the other side outside of the glass so as to keep the photographed page always flat but never putting the whole book inside which would flatten the spine. Does that make sense?
    Sure. It depend a lot on how brittle the material is. If you are sure it is OK to flatten the pages with a glass plate everything is a lot easier. I would be damn sure to check with the client in advance whether this is OK for all the materials, or how much of it where you need other techniques.

    BTW, what you describe is still quite a hassle. It makes it a lot easier to get the image, but handling the glass (on and off and ensuring everything is flat) is rather annoying. Triple this if you are frightened that you might hurt this invaluable ancient document if you push the plate a bit too hard.

    If you can arrange a wedge with the camera facing a page straight on I think the workflow will be a lot easier. Usually reflections in these documents is not an issue.

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    The problem is they want flat copies. I need the page to be flat not bowed out. Hence my 'hassle' solution which will keep the individual page flat but never flattening the spine. The book shown above was shot with this Kaiser book holder but was put in completely then flattened down by glass which would damage the spine in an older book. Reflections are actually an issue (the Leaf test shoot was done without the glass on top) but more than that focus/DOF became an issue with a page which wasn't flat, neither did it look very good as it wasn't a flat field words became distorted with the bowing of the page.

    Of course I will make sure that I'm not flattening anything that can't be flattened!
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Ben - for this there are so called plexi glass fingers attached to the edges of the page,
    the opposite side is held back by a special side arm and also by positioning the book so to be able to use gravity(you can see this in the links I have posted for the Grazer Book cradle) actually the price for the so called traveller solution is not much higher than the Kaiser but the stand is much more versatile, has a complete Lighting already attached (white LED´s which do not harm the books), works up to A3 and can be transported completely in one suitcase. Forget about using glass, even this will harm the real old books and as such I see your items/samples. You will need some accessory black foam parts to support the differing heights, lead balls covered in black satin, formed as snakes and the forementioned Plexi fingers.
    Tried, tested and used on millions of pages. This works !

    Greetings from Munich
    Stefan

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    I've had a look at the Grazer unit. A huge factor for us is not just price but also ease of use and very strong local support, especially with this kind of outlay, we can't afford to lose even days due to equipment not working and the only replacement being some 1500 miles away. We couldn't really consider buying that entire huge rig, table, lighting, etc without local support. Or do you think I'm wrong?

    Do you have contact details for someone I could talk to about bying and import of the Grazer Book Cradle but also some better photos of exactly what it is and what it does? It's getting quite urgent as the sponsers are pushing me for final quotes already.

    Just a reminder, my entire budget for camera, back, lighting, copy stand and table, computer, software and memory storage is just $35,000. It does make more 'exotic' solutions very problematic.

    As the Hasselbad guy said to me on the phone, 'first we'll discuss what solution is correct then we'll work out how much compromise we need for your budget!'

    Thanks!
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Ben:

    no problem - here is the email address of Manfred Mayer in Graz:
    Manfred Mayer - Uni Graz <[email protected]>

    The traveller repro stand is probably what you need- it´s in your budget, fits in a suitcase, does A3, is completely portable, comes with built in lights and costs only some thousand (I think around 3k € if I remember right).
    Handling is straightforward and easy, if you want to do best, add a flight to Graz, get an intro and workshop as well and you´re perfectly set.

    Contact Mr. Mayer- he can tell you the exact prices.
    Tell him greetings from me.

    Regards
    Stefan

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Writing him an email now Stefan!
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Found this thread interesting despite the fact that I've never done this kind of work. Just wanted to commend those that have made the effort to be helpful to a fellow photographer. Truly the forum at it's best...

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Amen!
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    All of this takes me back many years when one of my advertising clients was University Microfilms International (UMI), located in Ann Arbor Michigan which had one of the largest publicly accessible library's in the world. I believe they now make any stored document available in digital form. I loved reading newspapers printed during the American Revolution.

    Among their considerable library assets was an archival division which I once toured. It was quite large and set up like a computer clean room, and they had special cameras/lenses that allowed pages of a book to be captured by only opening it a slight crack. At the time of my visit, they were photographing a large book that archeologists had uncovered in a Monastery. Now that I am more into photography, I'd love to know what that technology was ... some special form of anthropomorphic lens I suspect.

    I wonder what is done with digital images that all of these archival places are now capturing? How are the data stored long-term?

    -Marc

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    More than just a good question with RAW files of 50mb and Tiffs of triple that...
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Don´t laugh - there are companies in Switzerland and some more countries that put the digital data back to Microfilm. Then these Microfilms are stored in Atomic blast safe shelters built into mountains. And all this costs a lot _ I mean A LOT ! of money.......
    Alternatively there are Datastorage bunkers (did you see pictures of the one Wkileak uses in Sweden ?), with all kind of storage safety technology.
    Both parties struggle about truth and how and when the other technology will be obsolete, it´s a little bit like the hen and the egg.
    But it´s a very interesting business.

    Greetings from Munich
    Stefan

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    I just had an email from Manfred Mayer with a quote for their travel unit, it's about twice the cost of the Kaiser and way out of our budget eventhough it is a georgous looking unit that I have no doubt I would dream of owning after a week or so of working!

    Stefan, can I pick your brain a bit please? You wrote:

    You will need some accessory black foam parts to support the differing heights, lead balls covered in black satin, formed as snakes and the forementioned Plexi fingers.
    I can use cheap angled book supports to photograph books using a flat photographed page while keeping the book at an appropriate angle without flattening the book. My problem is photographing the page flat without using glass on top of it. I think the tools you mention above are what you are suggesting to use for this task but I have no idea what they are or how they would be used. Could you elaborate please?

    Next question for both yourself and everyone. Data storage. What file format? Saving proprietory RAWs uses up a huge amount of storage space and to be honest, is not hugely archival. Tiffs are 4 times the size. Jpgs are small, small enough to be able to use cloud backup as secondry backup and to be honest with files which are mainly black text on white pages should not have a lack of information if they are the final result of proper processing, they are just text, they will not ever need further processing. However they are jpgs! One of the museums here has taken a radical approach of using jpgs as a file format for long term storage, what would your opinion be?
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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    Re: Leaf Q's for repro work

    Hi Ben

    I just wonder about the price of the traveller.....

    Ok- the problem with the books keeping them straight while working trough in an 90 degree opened status is that there are several parameters changing:
    the pages get changed from one side to the other as such one side of the book becomes thinner, the other one thicker. Also the back moves from straight up to straight down .next because of this the middle of the book (your page border reference) will move- which you have to compensate. The pro book digitzation systems have a so called wedge where the book supporting sides are moved by a parallelogram against each other connected (which mimics the movement the book does). Also to keep the sizes stable there are focus support systems to keep the height of the photographed page constant. This is extremly important as otherwise , if you only use Autofocus and go through a thick book, your pages will become smaller and smaller which is inacceptable. This twice as you have recto and verso pages (even and uneven /front - back).
    the wedge also keeps the position of the book stable in an angle where you can use gravity to support/keep the pages open. Assisting to that you will need tools for extremly large/ small /unflexible/ uneven pages/Books.
    The Foam blocks, the plexi fingers, the lead snakes (as weigths).
    Every page on old and sensitive material may need more or less manual support, this also needs traing and experience. Very hard to explain in some sentences.
    Now to do this completely manually you may invest worktime to adjust the nparameters, but I tell you this is by far more expensive than doing this with the right tools.
    I would do this for maybe 50 maybe 100 shots but more than this will drive you crazy, take a book and try yourself, you will quickly see what I mean.

    The format for lossless storage is original 8 or even 16 bit Tiff with tagged ICC. Storage volume is the cheapest part in this chain, what does a terrabyte cost today ? An online offer can either be rendered on the fly to jpg/sRGB or held as a parallel jpg image database.

    Greetings from Munich
    Stefan Steib - Hartblei.de

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