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Thread: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

  1. #1
    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    I just picked up an Alpa TC for travel use and I was wondering what folks would select as the ultimate "travel MFDB" for it? I have my P40+ which has great sensor+ capabilities and looks ideal for this purpose. However, I thought I'd throw out the question to other folks to understand what you use & like.

    I need a new DF body while mine is off being fixed and I've been considering grabbing an Aptus II 5/DF bundle (seems like a cost effective way to pick up a new DF) and using the back as my backup but also as my travel solution. Any Aptus II 5 users out there using it this way? My only concern is the ISO support but that's kind of swayed by the great colour rendering and more forgiving 22mp & larger photo-sites. I'm looking at carrying just the Alpa TC & 24 and/or 35 XL Digitar combo.

    Thoughts?
    Last edited by GrahamWelland; 30th July 2011 at 22:49.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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    Re: Best travel back for an Alpa TC

    The Alpa TC and 24XL is an extremely compact package (kind of MF point-and-shoot). Combined with your P40+ (and future IQ140), I can't see anything wrong with this package. Only thing is, you of course have to use it in "no-latency" mode if you want to use it hand-held. This eats batteries - as I'm sure you know. Woody (here on the forum), seems to have had a lot of success using the TC hand-held with the 35XL. I'm sure he will chime in. I'm using mine with the 47XL hand-held, it's ok at iso200 for me (f11, 1/250s).

    Cheers, -Peter

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    Re: Best travel back for an Alpa TC

    Here is a pic of the TC and 24XL - from a Chinese forum on Alpa gear:

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    Re: Best travel back for an Alpa TC

    If you plant to take other gear I use the ThinkTank Street Walker Pro with my Arca. Fine with smaller lenses and the Arca is much bigger than the TC.

    With just the TC and 24 as a kit you could even use a tiny backpack like this - but I warn you this is tiny but fits a micro 4/3 kit.


    If you are looking to hold more of a DF kit then I used the Airport Antidote.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Best travel back for an Alpa TC

    A small pack looks like the way to go. Right now I use a Lowpro Slingshot 300 which holds my full STC kit although it scares the heck out of me with $40k in such a nicely stealable bag! (Thank goodness for insurance!). Definitely a smaller travel bag will be needed for just the TC/back combo.

    I suspect that I may end up keeping my P40+ for the TC or trading down for just a travel camera back - its interesting to think that you can kit out a TC outfit with a MF back like the Aptus II 5 or a similar used back for the same cost as a Leica M9-P and a current 35 summilux. (Obviously not 100% comparable but an interesting alternative!)
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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

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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Oh gheeez I read your post totally wrong !!!!! didn't realize what you are asking. Sorry.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    I just landed in Ireland with my Arca RM3D and IQ180. It all fits easily (and lightly) into a Domke J1 shoulder bag and compared to my DF kit, this was a piece of cake to travel with. Honestly, once you have a tech cam, all the backs are the same size/weight as respects travel portability. And then the only roadblocks to going all the way is finances and existing lens lineup, not physical size.
    Jack
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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    I've been in Marocco for a week, travelling with the TC / 35 mm / Aptus 75s.
    First impressions are excellent :
    - focal length is perfect in cities, esp. here with narrow streets
    - I mainly work handheld at 50 iso, f11, 1/125e, and details seem excellent (100% crop on the aptus screen)
    - small size and weight are very convenient
    - the look of the camera generates curiosity sometimes, where larger cameras or even dslr with large lenses generate kind of fear; a guy in a shop even showed to me some very old cameras he also owned ...
    - the aptus is convenient to use : easy to switch to higher iso when required (some interiors), easy to check the histogram and over/under exposed zones (a specific button, no need to use the sensitive screen to check this) and 100 % crop is easy to check also (touch screen)
    - focusing by guessing the distance is still ok with the 35 mm (I still need to confirm the actual success rate, but for the pictures I wanted to secure, I could check on the screen and adjust)
    - the small finger grip is too small. After holding the camera a while, it hurts a bit. The new larger grip seem more ergonomic. Nevertheless the cost for just this grip upgrade seems half way of the upgrade path to the STC, and before getting one, I would like to be sure that the size difference between TC and STC is significant enough. Graham, if you have both, it probably confirms that point ?
    I have such fun using this system that I am now thinking about a second lens. But still need to check what would be the maximum focal I could still use handheld at 50 iso ...
    Marc

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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    My perfect fun walk around camera on holidays is the Alpa 12WA + 35XL Schneider Digitar - for me either an Aptus or a Sinar back for no wake-up requirement is optimal - but really any back can be used and they are about the same size - and with large capacity CF cards now available even better ! You can see that it isnt that much bigger than an M9 - and retro deluxo cool.


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    Workshop Member ptomsu's Avatar
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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Peter

    that looks really great. Actually I come always more to the conclusion that I should use MFD only in combination with a tech camera and the Alpa TC is especially tempting!

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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Peter

    I have had my 12WA now for nearly 8 years. I recently acquired a Sinar artec for tech shooting with movements - that or the Arca which Jack mentions above are the best proper tech cameras. But if you wish to use hand holding as well as tripod - the 12WA and 12SWA and TC a are unmatched. I have made sharp shots down to 1/4 of a second hand held withe 12WA...

    All cameras are good these days - it is all a very personal decision.I guarantee you once you try an Alpa you will love it - very few people sell them

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    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Graham,
    When you say "travel" I take that to mean "walking around," i.e. no tripod, more spontaneous shooting. Based on that, I think there is less need for the newer "IQ" UI. Although focus mask would be the one thing that would be nice to have. I also think there is little need for high megapixels since hand-held will not eek out the details for big prints.

    So I think you are on the right track. Like you said, higher ISO performance would be nice, so sensor+ would be a benefit. The p40+ seems perfect. I will pm you about an option for the DF...

    Dave

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    Member David Duffin's Avatar
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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Graham,

    I'm curious about your decision to get the TC since you already evidently have an STC. Presumably size and weight were factors. Did you opt for two handles? Are you planning to use an Alpa viewfinder? It'll be interesting to know how it works out for walkaround use, regardless of what back you choose...

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    @David:
    I originally did a deal for the 24XL and it just happened that I had a chance to pick up the TC that it was currently sitting on. (Thanks Terry!) I'd been considering just a bare TC for a while as it appealed as a truly small walkabout outfit, not that the STC is exactly large or a bad travel outfit either btw!

    I'll be using it with my current Alpa optical finder and this TC happens to come with an Alpa left hand wake-up grip for Phase One plus a small right hand grip. I shoot my STC exclusively off a tripod, typically with a KG cable to trigger the shutter & back when I use my P40+. That KG cabling is not really conducive to handheld shooting although I have had success with using zero latency mode on the back which does reduce the cable clutter. Ditto when I use my Aptus.

    @Dave:
    I agree that the IQ UI is not essential at all for walk-about use. Ditto the resolution as you pointed out. This is partly what has made me consider something like a 22mp crop back although I do find sensor+ very helpful at times.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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

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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Graham
    I've looked at this for some while and before purchase had some good advice from this forum; in the end, as my "digital back" I went for the Linhof 6X9 film back. The reason for going this route is twofold: First from the point of view of robustness and secondly: although the Linhof is probably heavier than a digital back I won't have to carry batteries and chargers.

    I've been playing with this combination for a few weeks now and several rolls later I can only say that the results are stunning. The clarity of the negatives (Delta 100) are just simply amazing. For colour film I shall be using Ektar.

    My workflow: Develop myself, scan with an Epson V750 then chose the negatives I really want and send those off for professional scanning.

    One slight issue is that with just the finger grip my thumb seems to slip on the Linhof back and so carrying it one handed is almost impossible and certainly risky. I'll try a strap rather than the grip.

    Sorry if this is slightly off topic but I just wanted to remind people that film is still around and just having 8 exposures per roll certainly focuses the mind!

    All the best

    Dubois

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    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Dubois,

    The Camdapter Prostrap (http://www.camdapter.com/handstrap/prostrap.html) works well on a RC with the fingertip grip. There's a photo of my TC here: http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=19610

    Steve

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Graham,

    I just ordered an Alpa TC, with the 60mm Schneider and finger tip grip only. This 60mm is the smallest and lightest and makes for a great point and shoot. The 60mm is equal to about 47mm on a 35mm format, so for my style of shooting it's perfect. The P30+ DB is my choice for this set up as I don't need too wide and it's file size is perfect. Also, the higher ISO is welcomed too.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Nice choice and I'm jealous. lol

    I absolutely love the TC wish I never sold mine. I am thinking of a SWC actually as I would at minimum want rise and fall or a Cambo WRS.

    Just have a hard time committing . I work very fast so for tech cams I'm afraid it would cramp my art.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Guy, I might be on a totally different timescale, if so, please ignore. But having seen your work, I can't imagine a tech camera would cramp your style. I'm surprised at how fast it is to work with an Alpa Max and digital. Everything is so precise (and quite frankly limited compared to a 4x5). It's simple to pick out infinity focus, and with live view now, there's no messing around with a loupe and GG. You can get incredibly accurate framing by shifting the camera, or even try a few different comps by shifting, rotating the back etc. In some ways you can do more than with an SLR body.

    Just some thoughts. Paul

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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnygoesdigital View Post
    Graham,

    I just ordered an Alpa TC, with the 60mm Schneider and finger tip grip only. This 60mm is the smallest and lightest and makes for a great point and shoot. The 60mm is equal to about 47mm on a 35mm format, so for my style of shooting it's perfect. The P30+ DB is my choice for this set up as I don't need too wide and it's file size is perfect. Also, the higher ISO is welcomed too.
    I have the 60mm as well but on the 6X9 back it's more like a 24mm. Isn't that a sweet lens?

    I forgot to add that there's a nice app for iphone: DOF master which I'm finding really helpful in determining depth of field and hyperfocal distances especially in combination with the HPF ring. It's only a few dollars and well worth it.

    @Steve:- many thanks but do you fit the strap on the same side as the finger grip or on the left hand side?

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Hi rdubois,

    At some point I'd like to add the 6x9 film back, there's a Mamiya 6x7 film back too. DOF master is indeed, a cool app. I've used it many times.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Quote Originally Posted by wentbackward View Post
    Guy, I might be on a totally different timescale, if so, please ignore. But having seen your work, I can't imagine a tech camera would cramp your style. I'm surprised at how fast it is to work with an Alpa Max and digital. Everything is so precise (and quite frankly limited compared to a 4x5). It's simple to pick out infinity focus, and with live view now, there's no messing around with a loupe and GG. You can get incredibly accurate framing by shifting the camera, or even try a few different comps by shifting, rotating the back etc. In some ways you can do more than with an SLR body.

    Just some thoughts. Paul
    ThanKs Paul your probably right just need to get going and bite the bullet. The IQ 160 should make it faster too. Really getting to love this back.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Great to know you're liking the 160 guy, as I've also ordered one and fully intend to enjoy it traveling with a TC (so not too far off topic)

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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    This is very interesting, I'd heard of Alpa of course but never looked into them. So I could mount my P20 on the TC OK, from what I have read.

    is focussing all manual, and if so, which is the best viewfinder glass to have? This would be a good alternative for me as I have a good light meter, and I was thinking I could get the TC and a good wide angle lens for landscapes and still use the H2 for non wide angle stuff till I can build up Alpa lenses.

    What are they actually like to use? What would the weight be with the wake up drip, viewfinder (or iPhone viewfinder mount thingy), say a 35mm lens and the P20?
    Odille

    H2 | P20 | HC 50-110 | HC 150 f3.2 | HC 210 f4 ~ My Website

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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    A TC with a Zeiss VF, a Schneider 35mm Digitar lens, RRS plate, fingertip grip and Camdapter strap weighs a little over two pounds (1037 grams). With the ALPA VF, it's 213 grams more (285 grams for the ALPA vs. 72 for the Zeiss).

    Add the weight of your digital back.

    Focusing is manual, using the distance marks on the lens mount. A ground glass can be mounted on the camera, but its use would prevent handheld photography.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Quote Originally Posted by Analog6 View Post
    This is very interesting, I'd heard of Alpa of course but never looked into them. So I could mount my P20 on the TC OK, from what I have read.

    is focussing all manual, and if so, which is the best viewfinder glass to have? This would be a good alternative for me as I have a good light meter, and I was thinking I could get the TC and a good wide angle lens for landscapes and still use the H2 for non wide angle stuff till I can build up Alpa lenses.

    What are they actually like to use? What would the weight be with the wake up drip, viewfinder (or iPhone viewfinder mount thingy), say a 35mm lens and the P20?
    You may find this video very informative if you're just finding out about the TC. It pretty much sums up focusing in general. I'd recommend also the other videos that Paul Slotboom of Optechs Digital put together regarding shooting with and other technical aspects of the Alpa system:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kzsDJ...eature=related
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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

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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Odille, focusing is done mainly hyper focal, however you can use a range finder for close objects (optical or laser). Handheld this can be slightly challenging, but during the day, generally you can ensure enough DoF that guessing distances is fine. I believe Woody on this forum has a Hassleblad back and the 35xl, iirc. The TC is very light, you might also want to consider one of the cameras with movements, to add more flexibility.

    It's a very big decision with many pitfalls, I strongly urge you to find a good dealer to help you, even if youre only flirting with the idea.
    Paul

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    Senior Member malmac's Avatar
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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Odille

    Greetings from Toowoomba - I made the jump earlier in the year and bought a Cambo WDS. I am using a Phase One back. The transition to using a technical camera from using DSLR has been enormous but fun. I have the SK 35mm XL lens with a center filter. What are my main issues? Setting up (need a better tripod head) and DOF / Focus.

    I see the Arca Swiss RMDi focus mechanish and think, wow, if only, but I suspect that changing cameras would not instantly make me a better photographer with better images - I am staying with Cambo, not because it is the best but because that is what I have and it is much better than I am, so why change.

    I hope this adds to your stockpile of views on technicalcamera use.

    Mal

    Toowoomba

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    Senior Member Thierry's Avatar
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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Dear Odile,

    Here some details to the weight of the different Alpa parts:

    - Alpa TC camera body = 220 gr

    Alpa 12 TC Body

    - Alpa Viewfinder = 280 gr

    Alpa Viewfinder

    - ALPA adj back adapter MA645A (Phase One) = 82 gr

    ALPA adj back adapter MA645A (Phase One)

    - Schneider Apo-Digitar 5.6/35 mm XL = 319 gr

    Schneider Apo-Digitar 5.6/35 mm XL

    Best regards
    Thierry

    Quote Originally Posted by Analog6 View Post
    What are they actually like to use? What would the weight be with the wake up drip, viewfinder (or iPhone viewfinder mount thingy), say a 35mm lens and the P20?
    Thierry Hagenauer
    [email protected]

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    Workshop Member Woody Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    I have an Alpa TC that I shoot extensively with a 35mm digitar xl. I've now got about two weeks of immersion experience with my Phase One IQ 180 and I can testify that this combination is outstanding. I've just returned from two weeks in Kenya and will start a thread on the experience when I get a chance - hopefully tomorrow.

    Here's a teaser:


  31. #31
    Senior Member Thierry's Avatar
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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    hi Woody,

    That's effectively a "teaser": Butchery and Hotel - 2 separate entries ...

    What can be expected inside this place?

    Looking forward to your upcoming thread with much interest and ... fear!



    Best
    Thierry

    Quote Originally Posted by Woody Campbell View Post
    I have an Alpa TC that I shoot extensively with a 35mm digitar xl. I've now got about two weeks of immersion experience with my Phase One IQ 180 and I can testify that this combination is outstanding. I've just returned from two weeks in Kenya and will start a thread on the experience when I get a chance - hopefully tomorrow.

    Here's a teaser:

    Thierry Hagenauer
    [email protected]

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    Senior Member Thierry's Avatar
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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Oops Woody,

    have I been to fast? Or have you been afraid and took it away for the fear your image could cause?



    Thierry
    Thierry Hagenauer
    [email protected]

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    Workshop Member Woody Campbell's Avatar
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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Quote Originally Posted by TH_Alpa View Post
    Oops Woody,

    have I been to fast? Or have you been afraid and took it away for the fear your image could cause?



    Thierry
    I edited the post to switch images so I could use the one with the little hickey in the sky - a mess that the C1 spotting tool made - I've got to get better at this! The juxtaposition of butchery and lodging is a bit scary.

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    Member Analog6's Avatar
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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Thanks for all the answers folks. It's hard getting to a dealer as it's quite a distance whichever way I go. I've used technical cameras before (4 x 5 when I was doing my pro photography studies) but it was a long time ago (late 1970s).

    I'm just worried about my eyesight letting me down, I need glasses for reading but not for distance. I'm only contemplating at the moment - but that lighter weight is truly tempting, the H2/P20/50~110 combo is round 3.5 kgs - 7lbs. Big difference if you're shooting a lot!

    I'll arrange a good 'day at the dealers' if I decide to try it, and go into ti very extensively.

    Mal, do you ever get down this way? I do sometimes come to Toowoomba, maybe we could have a meet up. Can I PM you if I am going to be up your way sometime (would not be in the immediate future)?
    Odille

    H2 | P20 | HC 50-110 | HC 150 f3.2 | HC 210 f4 ~ My Website

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    Senior Member malmac's Avatar
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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Odille

    I don't get down to the coast that often but do come down now and again.

    We do have a wedding to shoot at Currimbin in March next year so have to do a rec before that.

    Send me a PM and we can be in touch. If you are coming to Toowoomba would love to catch up with you. Also happy to share my learning curve - for what it is worth - in dollar terms quite a lot.


    cheers.


    Mal

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Best travel digital back for an Alpa TC

    Well, I resolved the question for now. The best travel back for me will be either my Aptus 65 or pending IQ160

    The move to the IQ160 instead of the IQ140 I was initially thinking of going to kind of settled whether or not to get or keep a different back just for the TC (or rather, it removed the available budget!).

    In an ideal world I'd probably want to use a back with higher ISO support for handheld use. That would mean a P+ back with sensor plus. If shooting from a tripod it's not an issue obviously.

    Now if anyone has a reasonably priced Alpa mount film back they want to part with let me know ...
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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

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