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Thread: My conclusion

  1. #1
    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    My conclusion

    Well, after a good two months of studying the different offerings I have come to the point that I am to put in the order within the next couple of weeks. It has been tough, starting completely from scratch.

    I learned early on that there is no setup that is best in everything, there are pros and cons with just about every single component and as soon as I have found something I really really like, then there is a downside that makes it not so attractive anymore. Start again.....

    Obviously the my personal fight in choosing the right equipment for me has been a limited budget and at the same time knowing exactly what I need. It does not add up. The stuff I want costs more than I can afford. Simple fact and tough on your mind!

    I think that the first component I decided on was that I want to go with Alpa! I know, not the cheapest route.....but I figured that I limit myself to a 2 lens setup and the whole idea is that I am going to make money on it, so it is just a question of having patience. (I should add that I am an established working pro).

    The Alpa STC is a such a goodlooking piece of equipment that I cannot resist it So that decision was settled a month ago!

    Next, another quite important question. Which DB? Well, the IQ series is ofcourse extremely tempting, but it is a definite no-go because of cost. It is just impossible. That leaves me with a choice between 3 backs. Aptus 7 or 8 or a Hassy CFV 50. The Hassy slightly more costly. The Aptus 8 got out of play also for the reason that I intend to compose on groundglas. (May I add that I thouroughly enjoy composing on GG).

    In the end I am going with the Aptus 7 and this has to do with the overall value (especially now with the new GUI from Leaf). It is the cheapest way in but still can deliver very clean files and totally accepted by any size client.

    OK, I have settled on an STC coupled with an Aptus 7. Good start. Now the really difficult part comes into play. The choice of 2 lenses. This has made me toss my thoughts back and forth with numerous combinations.

    Before I go any further with my lens choice I should explain that my bread and butter for many years has been architectural photography, specialising in large residence interiors. (I have been using Canon 1ds3 and all the Tse lenses). So, I do need a wide for interiors and I need a moderate wide for exteriors, to start with.

    Now, composing with (the excellent) Alpa pro ground glass means that I really want to choose lenses as fast as possible so the image is nice and clear. Lenses that require centre filter is a no-go becasue of this. For interiors I therefore go for the Rodenstock HR-S28. Yes, the downside is it weighs tons, is really expensive and must be corrected for distortion. But, I am not into stitching, never have been, which means that on single shots from any of the Rodies they are nicely corrected with the Alpa corrector software.

    So, the slight distortion is a no issue. The HR-S28 is bright with f4.5 and requires no CF and it still translates to a 20mm lens in 35mmFF. Actually, that is my absolute favorite length for interiors. I found many times my Canon 17Tse produced nice images, but it is that little too wide to make the room look realistic. I have had clients requesting me not to use the 17, and rather shoot the 24 throughout the shoot.

    Anyway, I appreciate the f4.5 on the GG instead of the f5.6 from the HR-S23 (imagine if you also must use the CF) and the width is perfect. Ofcourse I realise that it is 'only' 70mm image circle, but for interiors I tend to use rise/fall at a lesser extent and when I do, in the real world I understand that you can get away with as much as 10mm with my DB and that is brilliant when needed.

    The second lens of my choice is the Rodenstock HR-W50. This translates into a 36mm in 35mmFF. Perfect lens for exteriors IMO. This lens I can use the full rise/fall capability of 18mm with the STC. A workhorse. On top it is a really nice f4.0 to seal the deal....nice on the GG! It is also nice to know that both these lenses are very sharp already at f5.6 and also great edge sharpness. This is more important than size and weight.

    Here the fun stops. The funds empty and I have no possiblity go further. But, what the hell, not a bad start...what do you think?

    The lens I want to buy further down the line is the HR-S100. Again, the f4.0 is great for GG and the resolution is awsome. The limited possible rise/fall of 10mm is not too bad and most of the time I would shoot this one without any shifts or a moderate 5-6mm rise. But this must wait a little.

    So, my conclusion:

    Alpa STC
    Leaf Aptus II 7
    Rodenstock HR-S28
    Rodenstock HR-W50

    Happy days
    Alpa FPS MAX TC | Alpagon 32Hr | Helvetar 75 | Schneider 120N | Leaf Aptus II 5 Leaf Credo 60 | www.danlindberg.com

  2. #2
    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: My conclusion

    Congratulations on your decisions!
    Yesterday while on a landscape architectural shoot, I was using my Alpa Max and I have to say it truly is a beautiful camera. The precision of the controls while standing behind the Max is unlike anything I have used. Every time I think about swapping it out for another system, it pulls me back. I just wish the lenses weren't so $. I hear great things about the STC. Keep us posted as you become acquainted with your new gear. BTW, I shoot with a P45 and find the 39MP and long exposure capacity still meets my needs well. I too enjoy composing via ground-glass. I think it is a telling sign of coming-up as a commercial shooter from the 4x5" film days.

    Kind regards,
    Darr
    "Creativity takes courage." ~ Henri Matisse
    Darlene Almeda, photoscapes.com

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    Re: My conclusion

    Dan,

    The body and back seem like sensible choices. I can't comment on the lens as I've never used them. Currently only have one lens on the Alpa (Rodenstock 90 W), taking my time before spending on a wide angle. Having started the digital path, I went with Alpa because of the need for more precision than LF gear can offer (it's fine for macro but difficult in the field). Also using a DM33 (Aptus 7 II back).

    The Aptus II 7 is astonishingly good. In fact I was able to compare it with the IQ160 in a studio this weekend, and to be honest the $$ you spend to get the Aptus gives you incredible value for money. The $$ difference between the Aptus and the IQ is entering laws of diminishing returns where perhaps that last 20% of quality costs 80% (I think the ratio is actually 70:30 in this case). It may also be that the IQ has tons of features you don't need. (I'm not de-bagging the IQ, having been involved in a couple of racing teams in the past, that's the price you pay to be at the top of your game, even then the people providing the tech are not necessarily making that much from it).

    I think the only thing you might be missing is something for accurate focusing. The Aptus II 7 has enough resolution to make this a problem. On the pro GG with a 4x loupe, I can't focus accurately enough to extract the detail that an Alpa, thoses lenses and that back can obtain, my eyes are pretty poor. I also like to compose on a GG but after switching in the back, a Leica Disto gives the final focus setting, a D5 is maybe $500 so not a small chunck of change.

    Paul

  4. #4
    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: My conclusion

    @ Darr - thank you Very reasuring that you still are happy with your choice. I will definitely keep you all posted

    @ Wentbackward - also nice to read about your experience with that back. yes, it seems that in terms of value for money, nothing today can beat it I am hoping that I can achieve accurate focusing with GG, having good eyesight and choosing bright lenses, but I will order the lenses with the HPF rings so a distometre will also find its place in the bag.

    Exciting times....
    Alpa FPS MAX TC | Alpagon 32Hr | Helvetar 75 | Schneider 120N | Leaf Aptus II 5 Leaf Credo 60 | www.danlindberg.com

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    Re: My conclusion

    the Aptus II 7 is a really good value for money unless you need long expose...

    "The second lens of my choice is the Rodenstock HR-W50. This translates into a 36mm in 35mmFF. Perfect lens for exteriors IMO.... "

    while i'm a big fan of that type of focal length... for extoriors, i use more my 45 than my 55 because of space... i think that you should go for a 40 !

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    Re: My conclusion

    i didn't check your conversions, but a less than full frame sensor will crop the field of view, so that needs to be considered when comparing to 35mm cameras lens formats.

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    Re: My conclusion

    Hmm. Your choices and reasoning are all very sound.
    As an architectural photographer and Alpa STC user myself, there are 2 things I'd like to share for your consideration.
    Firstly, the GG thing. As someone who shot 90% of his film era work on a 4x5, I understand the attraction of the idea. Have you done any tests with the lenses you want and the GG? It is very dim, especially away from the centre (worse as the lenses get wider)and difficult to shim perfectly consistent with the position of the sensor. It exists primarily for shooters using film, who have no other way to confirm focus and compose accurately. The screen on your back will do this quite well and if you are really wanting precision, shoot tethered. There is a third-party vendor who makes a great hood for the screen on the back. By all means use a GG if you want, just check out the limitations before you spend your hard-earned cash.
    Secondly, I echo archivue's reservations about the HR-W50. Great lens, but I suspect a touch long for a back that is less than full-framed. I tend to use my 47 a lot for my exteriors. My 55, which on my P65+ and Iq180 would be very close to the 50 on your chosen back, very rarely gets a run. I suspect the 40 and 43 might be worth checking out.Obviously, I don't know what your preferred approach is, so it's up to you to check this all out.
    Whatever decision you make, best of luck with it.
    Cheers,
    Siebel
    "In the end, it's all about the pictures"
    www.bryansiebel.com

  8. #8
    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: My conclusion

    Great input. Thanks!

    I have not had the chance to try GG composing on the STC, so that might ofcourse be more difficult than I think/hope. The concern I have is more of the sensor not being in the same place as the GG when switched, rather than being able to compose/focus (I have excellent eyesight). Anyhow, I have already prepared distometering by wanting the HPF rings on the lenses from start, but to be honest, this method is beyond my understanding how it can work for consistant focus.
    Shooting tethered is ofcourse outstanding since you focus right on the sensor and not moving it. For high profile assignments I believe this is the way to go. So, in the end I am 'hoping' GG is going to be a solid solution, but I am definitely open for all methods - except guesstimating...

    The W50, well yes, as I said, I have been back and forth about a thousand times of which combo to start with. From my Canon days with all Tse lenses and another handfull of lenses, when I did not need rise outdoors for a residence I always reached for my 35/1.4 L. That became my favorite lens and consequently I 'saw' 35mm images more easy. Obviously if space was a factor, I used a Schneider Superangulon 28 shift or the Canon 24 Tse II, but the 35 was a favorite.

    I very much appreciate your input
    Alpa FPS MAX TC | Alpagon 32Hr | Helvetar 75 | Schneider 120N | Leaf Aptus II 5 Leaf Credo 60 | www.danlindberg.com

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    Re: My conclusion

    but 24x36 is a wider ratio...

  10. #10
    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: My conclusion

    Oh yes, I shoot tethered 90% of the time, but I compose on the GG. Make sure you test your back with the STC for shimming and then you can use this technique for non-tethered shooting in the landscape. There are times when tethered shooting is not an option like when I was in Iceland last summer.

    I hear photographers use distometering and the HPF rings successfully, but I prefer not to go that route. I find tethered shooting, the hyperfocal technique (for infinity), and GG focusing (when necessary) works best for me. I try to travel as light as possible.
    "Creativity takes courage." ~ Henri Matisse
    Darlene Almeda, photoscapes.com

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    Re: My conclusion

    it is those intermediate distances that are fussy, like 30 ft or so, with a 70mm lens, where setting the focus ring at 30 ft places inf at f/16, or conversely, setting the inf at f/8, places the focus at about 1/3 of the way between 30 ft and inf....a lot of discrepancy there.

    looking at the HPF ring for the 70mm rodie, it has markings for 24.6, 32.7, 48.8, 97 ft for the five degree spacings, (with 1 degree marks in between) and 121, 161, 242, 483 ft for the last group of 1 degree spacings. that means you can set the focus much more accurately between 30 ft and inf

    ( i chose f/8 since the digital back is more demanding with regard to the hyperfocal settings on the lens)

  12. #12
    jeffacme
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    Re: My conclusion

    The newer kapture group sliders use maxwell screens which are very bright, have a mount for hasselblad prism finders, and mine is spot on though they can be shimmed if needed. With this system I have no problem with GG focussing using a variety of lenses. Just a thought.

  13. #13
    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: My conclusion

    The problem with the KG sliding backs is that they don't make them for ALPA cameras (not to mention ALPA's claim that sliding backs aren't as accurate as a GG).

    Keith at KG has talked about an ALPA sliding back for some time, but hasn't produced one yet. It'd be nice to see what he can come up with.

  14. #14
    jeffacme
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    Re: My conclusion

    Last time I spoke to Keith in Dec 2010 he mentioned he was working on it. So I apologize for adding confusion. I have found my KG slider to be dead on from GG to DB and knowing the high degree of precision Keith is capable or I believe Alpa is incorrect.

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    Senior Member Thierry's Avatar
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    Re: My conclusion

    I can assure you that this is not true, that Alpa is incorrect. It has been tested ages ago, to only find out that there isn't enough space for a removable sliding back adapter.
    It is only possible with an integrated camera model, in which the sliding adapter is part of the camera. In this case, to be at the same standard of precision as the rest of an Alpa camera and lenses, it needs roller bearings costing alone nearly USD 1'000. You can imagine how much such a camera would cost, respectively how many would still be willing to pay for it.

    Best regards
    Thierry

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffacme View Post
    ... I believe Alpa is incorrect.
    Thierry Hagenauer
    [email protected]

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  17. #17
    Senior Member Thierry's Avatar
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    Re: My conclusion

    Thanks "Archivue".

    A prototype from the Alpa SST, which proves the tests I am speaking about. It never came into production, for the reasons explained in my earlier post.

    Thierry

    edited for addendum: now if enough are interested in getting such a camera, Alpa will certainly be ready to immediately go into production of it.

    Thierry Hagenauer
    [email protected]

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: My conclusion

    Well, you know that if you built it *someone* would buy at least one.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: My conclusion

    IQ180 with live-view, GG or sliding adapter is no longer necessary.. ?? i think.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: My conclusion

    I would agree that with the new IQ technology, a GG is not really necessary. Or at least for the relatively low percentage of times it might be desired, swapping the fixed one out with the back is not a big enough deal to worry about.
    Jack
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    Re: My conclusion

    Dear Jack,

    I have been imaging, using IQ live-view for focusing and composition.

    Any idea when Phase one will have live-view update?

    best

    M






    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    I would agree that with the new IQ technology, a GG is not really necessary. Or at least for the relatively low percentage of times it might be desired, swapping the fixed one out with the back is not a big enough deal to worry about.

  22. #22
    jeffacme
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    Re: My conclusion

    While the Alpa design may preclude use of a slider the current KG version is precise enough for GG focussing.

    I have always used the GG for composition and swings, tilts, etc to pull focus as I desire. So all pictures made with my little Arca view require the use of the GG. I really do not see the point of trial and error focussing on the back display to achieve focus that can be had straight away on the GG and then confirmed by the new IQ tech.

    Swapping the GG and back adapter increases the amount of sensor exposure to dust, grime and the possibility that any mismatch in tolerances between the GG and back adapter will alter precise focus. It was just such a mismatch that always had me tweaking the focus back a bit when using my old Arca Rotaslide. With the new KG slider WYSIWYG.

    The OP seemed interested in using the GG. Of course to each his or her own and whatever works is good in my book.

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    Re: My conclusion

    i went with the RM3D and rotaslide, because i'm one of few photographers that need the GG to achieve very strict composition... but for focussing, the GG is not a reliable option with a 35XL... I rely on the focusing ring values for it !

    I've tried several times not to use the rotaslide... i've found that my pictures were not as good as usual...
    but that's really personal !

    The "big" GG of the RM3D helps a lot for stitching as well !

  24. #24
    Workshop Member lance_schad's Avatar
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    Re: My conclusion

    [QUOTE=m21apsh;337079]Dear Jack,

    I have been imaging, using IQ live-view for focusing and composition.

    Any idea when Phase one will have live-view update?

    best


    At the end of last week I heard that the IQ180 V-units will have new firmware pre-installed.

    We received some today IQ180 V mounts today , and I did not check.

    I will set one up tomorrow morning and report back.

    Lance
    LANCE SCHAD - Digital Transitions - Phase One,Mamiya | Leaf,Arca-Swiss,Cambo, Profoto
    direct/cell:610-496-5586 office:877-367-8537x224
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    Re: My conclusion

    anyway, if it's the same type of liveview than the Aptus 22 on the mac... it's nearly unusable outside...
    i'm dreaming of a liveview similar to the 5D II...

  26. #26
    jeffacme
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    Re: My conclusion

    Quote Originally Posted by archivue View Post
    i went with the RM3D and rotaslide, because i'm one of few photographers that need the GG to achieve very strict composition... but for focussing, the GG is not a reliable option with a 35XL... I rely on the focusing ring values for it !

    I've tried several times not to use the rotaslide... i've found that my pictures were not as good as usual...
    but that's really personal !

    The "big" GG of the RM3D helps a lot for stitching as well !
    For me the Rotaslide is not a workable solution. That is why I replaced it with a KG slider and Hasselblad prism. I find this system to be very accurate and precise much better than manual focus on my DF. Also with the new focus mask and 100% view the whole package comes together so I have sold my distro as well.

    I use swings and tilts often and just find it easier and more accurate to use the GG and prism finder then confirm with focus mask or 100% view.

  27. #27
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    Re: My conclusion

    i have both the Rotaslide and the KG...
    the thing is that's the KG is really dark with my 35 XL and with the RMFX you can't change the angle of the mirror... and finally, there's not enough room for the larger battery !

    Compromises...

  28. #28
    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: My conclusion

    Lance, cannot wait for that report!!
    Alpa FPS MAX TC | Alpagon 32Hr | Helvetar 75 | Schneider 120N | Leaf Aptus II 5 Leaf Credo 60 | www.danlindberg.com

  29. #29
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    Re: My conclusion

    "We received some today IQ180 V mounts "

    V mounts ? do you really think that Hasselblad V lenses are up to the task ?

    or is it only for technical cameras ?

    I'm still in love with my hasselblad 503 CW, my 501CM and my 50 Cfe and 100 Cfi... but i thought that even an IQ 160 was overkill for it...

  30. #30
    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: My conclusion

    Quote Originally Posted by archivue View Post
    "We received some today IQ180 V mounts "

    V mounts ? do you really think that Hasselblad V lenses are up to the task ?

    or is it only for technical cameras ?

    I'm still in love with my hasselblad 503 CW, my 501CM and my 50 Cfe and 100 Cfi... but i thought that even an IQ 160 was overkill for it...
    Let's not forget that resolution isn't the only benefit of the 80mp sensor - you are also gaining that smoother tonality as a side benefit which might be just as important to some folks than just the lens busting resolution.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

  31. #31
    Senior Member Steve Hendrix's Avatar
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    Re: My conclusion

    Quote Originally Posted by jeffacme View Post
    Last time I spoke to Keith in Dec 2010 he mentioned he was working on it. So I apologize for adding confusion. I have found my KG slider to be dead on from GG to DB and knowing the high degree of precision Keith is capable or I believe Alpa is incorrect.

    I have sold the KaptureGroup Sliding Backs for years and have rarely had a focusing problem. Keith's work has gotten better and better over the years. Of course, the majority of sliding backs sold in years past were for studio work, now there are more landscape/architecture shooters who capture digitally. But it's a very different equation focusing with a 35mm Digitar in an outside landscape scene compared to focusing with a 120mm lens on a table 3 feet away.

    The precision is there, but - especially with higher and higher pixel counts - the eyes struggle. The P1 IQ does solve this to a great extent, though some of our clients still opt for using the ground glass for through-the-lens composition (especially when stitching).


    Steve Hendrix
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