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Thread: Wanting to go into Digital MF

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    Wanting to go into Digital MF

    Hi Guys,

    Background: I've been a 35mm DSLR for sometime. D700, 5Dmk2, and even the Leica M9.
    I know I might not even qualify to ask here, since I'm not a professional Photographer, but I am a digital artist of a different kind, and imagery or the quality of it, especially in photography, I have become somewhat snobbish of it (my own photos) and am fairly demanding of the quality of the images I see. So for whatever the reasons, please entertain me, since photography is a passion of mine. Oh and I enjoy shooting landscape and people.

    Premise: I've read in various threads here talk about Dalsa and Kodak sensors, crop and full frame, dynamic range, ALPA tech cams, 645 and hassys and costs even. However, if you are willing to carry a full DLR kit with lenses say a D3 with three lenses, that is a considerable weight already, however once set up you maybe able to shoot fairly quickly.

    Now the question, this isn't so much a single question but for someone thinking about going to MF with serious consideration and want to know about the experience: How much of a shock would it be to someone like me changing to to MF and how much would I be slowing down, please explain. Could I be dissappointed in the image quality still?

    Most asked question and most difficult to answer, if lenses also determine the best system, which one? I love all the talk about the IQ systems and interested in the H4d for a closed package and somewhat tempted my the S2 quality of glass. However, I read about back focus issues and how serious is that, would I be buying into many glass and choosing the best of each?

    I know Guy talks about about the whole service as well, such as backend support, replacement, upgrades, etc. Please let me know how this has been with the different brands/vendor.

    Again, sorry for such wide question!

  2. #2
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Wanting to go into Digital MF

    Honestly the weight difference is really not that much different than carrying a full Nikon/canon system. Some parts maybe bulkier like the bodies for sure but heck a 24-70 is no small lens in 35mm either.

    Seriously and I am not joking here and it is not said as a advertisement but sign up for a workshop and try these out. We can talk till we are blue in the face but until you really get your hands on one to try for a couple days you will certainly know if you like them or not. They are amazing and the quality will knock your socks off but they are more demanding of you and they take time to master. You just need some FaceTime with guidance from folks that work with them and can explain it in person. Okay now for the ad one spot left for NE workshop. LOL

    That was unfair I know but really I think it is something to consider I wish more people took the time to work these before they bought them. The nice part is you learn a ton about them while your working with them and seeing what results you are getting. Its a three month program jumping into these and getting them under your belt. If your serious than jump start yourself.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Wanting to go into Digital MF

    BTW you have every right to ask questions here. No one cares if your a Pro or not. All are welcome to this round table
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Wanting to go into Digital MF

    Guy, personally I would love to, and have long thought about it, However, I'm afraid I will end up taking another mortgage as soon as the workshop is over. I'm still resisting

    Reading you guys go all out with the ALPA and your IQ160, made my entire weekend on the internet already!

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Wanting to go into Digital MF

    Lots to read here and immerse yourself . Lots of wonderful members here contributing to the "Abandon all Hope" cause.

    Believe me you can get in the door at less than you think and still get a great setup. If you ever need help than contact me.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Wanting to go into Digital MF

    As a dealer specialized in medium format and large format digital photography these sorts of questions is literally 90% of my day every day.

    A good place to start is to tell us what you've found positive and negative about your existing gear. Especially the M9 vs. the other dSLRs you mentioned. The M9 sort of sits between a dSLR and a medium format camera. If you've noticed and enjoyed the step from e.g. a D700 to an M9 then very roughly speaking you'd enjoy another step from that to a medium format system.

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    Re: Wanting to go into Digital MF

    Hi Doug,

    Am I talking to sales already , but anyways to answer some of your questions:
    I actually had a reverse experience, I'm sure some of you will frown upon. The issue I had with the M9 wasn't so much the Manual Focus lenses or the focusing method. My problem was the software which made me feel the that the M9 was slow or sluggish. So much so it didn't justify that I had locked up significant money into the system. I liked the images I took with the 50cron, but the 35lux were only okay! I just didn't love the system, but I did like a lot of the images from a quality point of view, although colors were never right but was fine because of Lightroom. So I can tell you a smart system matters to me.

    With the Nikon and Canon systems, also heavily invested, I felt the image process from start middle and finish very pleasant and size even with Zoom lenses was never a real factor on my Nikon and on Canon I mostly use primes, which is my preferred lighter system. Now I do love having AF, I wouldn't say that I prefer Manual focusing over Auto, but I absolutely don't mind it if the handling of the camera feels right. Yes I do pixel peep, I do because I like to see the photo I just took! I no longer own the M9 and lenses and nor do I own the D700 anymore but kept the glass. I felt the 5D2 was a comfort zone, although it nowhere had the AF system the D700 had, but focus, recompose is very comfortable and I love shooting wide open at f1.2! (Cheesy huh) This is mostly because I started here in the DSLR days!

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    Re: Wanting to go into Digital MF

    I won't frown at any of that!

    Your answers perfectly illustrate why I think it's best to start by asking what you do and don't like about the equipment you own (or owned). You can't have speed, flexibility, features, quality, price, and weight all at the same time - the system that has the right balance for you depends entirely on your needs/priorities. In other words - there is no perfect camera, just the perfect camera for you.

    If you liked the m9 but found it too slow to work with and you missed the availability of AF then you'll need to evaluate each systems' shooting speed, simplicity of interface, speed-of-review and speed/reliability of autofocus. In this regard I don't think anything can touch a Phase One DF and IQ back. However, it's something you'll really need to pick up and try for yourself. Some bodies just don't suit some people. Things like the molding of the hand grip and the balance of the weight may be perfect for one person, and awful for another. Some users shoot vertical a lot - and therefore the availability of a vertical grip on the S2 and DF bodies is a big deal - some users rarely shoot any verticals and therefore could care less about a vertical grip.

    You also mentioned you like the weight/portability of primes on the Canon then weight/size of the MF kit has to be part of the equation. You need to look at the weight and size of a standard kit from each of the major players. Compare the size of the Phase 35mm, Hassy 35mm, and Leica S2 35mm - very different sizes and weights - the Phase is by far the lightest and smallest. This is true of many focal lengths but not all - with other focal lengths the difference is smaller or balances the other way (the Hassy 28mm is slightly lighter and a good bit smaller than the Phase 28mm, though does not cover their largest sensor). So you'd want to look to see what the size/weight (and price/quality) of the lenses you're most likely to lust after would be. It should be said here as well that the S2 is the smallest body/sensor combo in medium format so if you're sure you'll never want to use a technical camera or view camera then that is a plus in the category of the S2.

    As a side note, you mention the colors of the M9. I'd encourage you to dig up a few of your favorite M9 raw files and put them through Capture One rather than LR. I think you'll find, as many M9 owners here and elsewhere have found that C1 renders the colors much more nicely. Of course color is subjective and I'm biased - so do your own testing :-). Capture One is the software you'd be using most if you had a Leaf or Phase One camera. Phocus is the software you'd be using most if you go with Hassy. So make sure to include at least a few hours of image editing / adjusting etc on each piece of software - ideally guided by someone who knows the software well so that you spend your time evaluating rather than stumbling to find how to do something.

    Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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    Re: Wanting to go into Digital MF

    Thanks Doug, that was a great reply you ha given me. I've given the IQ series a lot of thought. Seconds to the S2 and H4d systems.

    I was going to bite the bullet with C1 a few weeks back, but didn't feel the need yet since most of what I've been shooting recently have been with my Canon, and LR has just been fine. There doesn't seem to be a lot of people arguing on the Hassy side of the ring, is there a fundamental reason for this?

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    Re: Wanting to go into Digital MF

    I'd like to second Doug's advice - most of us in MF gear have taken a while to get here (there?). Its not just the investment, but also it has taken time to discern what is really important and what we can let go. Its kind of like the last 2% - once you realize its importance, you'll give up all sorts of things to get there. And perhaps even worse, you won't go back....

    It seems that you are on your way, but perhaps want to take some more time to see what is most important to you. MF rarely competes with DSLR realm in speed, ease, compactness and to some degree, ease of the whole work flow. That said, once you become proficient in LR or C1, it moves very well along.

    Where it excels is in quality - and not just the lens, pixels, and file size, but sheer robustness. its like the files are elastic - you can really move them around, and get the precise look you want and were looking for. Remember the darkroom days and a really good negative? That's what its like.

    If that's an interest, and a passionate one, then its worthwhile. Else, there are easier, more economical and simpler ways to go for sure. That said - Doug's mentioning the S2, and perhaps the Hassy's, is right on. Get one of those puppies in your hand and it can be pretty seductive!

    Good luck.

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    Re: Wanting to go into Digital MF

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpetersonci View Post
    You can't have speed, flexibility, features, quality, price, and weight all at the same time - the system that has the right balance for you depends entirely on your needs/priorities. In other words - there is no perfect camera, just the perfect camera for you."
    First off, I agree 100% with you Doug. But I would like to modify that last sentence to, "...there is no perfect camera system, just the system with the best set of options for you."

    Of course system implies not only the camera body and lens choices available, but the raw file conversion and tethering software as well; and then to top it off, dealer relationship and support is also a pretty significant consideration.

    My .02 only...

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

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Wanting to go into Digital MF

    Can I modify both of you. LOL

    There is no perfect system just the one you can actually sleep with given the compromises .
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Wanting to go into Digital MF

    Haha, enough with the modifying! :P

    Now back to the hardware somewhat, what are the main features that you like with your back and also camera? Also what are your choice lenses for this system, if I dare ask?

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