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Thread: Medium Format Opinions

  1. #1
    TheReason
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    Medium Format Opinions

    I have a familiar choice to make as an investment for my photography business... Which system to purchaser as I decide to step into the MF systems available. I have done thorough research so here are my options, I appreciate all the responses and advice in advance!

    I have demoed both systems and have quotes for both that are close enough for me to even be considering the comparison. (Getting a used P65+) If I decide to get a new P45+ it is only 1K less...

    OPTION 1: Hasselblad H4D-40 with 80mm & 28mm Lenses.

    PROS:
    New Firmware upgrade is a PLUS. Makes the LCD High Res
    New Promo allows me 50% off my second lens
    True Focus
    Wide Angle Lens that Accepts front mount filters (key to my landscapes)
    TS Adapter in lineup (also great for Landscapes)
    One battery for system
    All Lenses LS. LS only Body. Less moving parts should be more reliable...
    Superior Viewfinder
    Optional Waist Level Viewfinder (bonus for Landscapes)

    OPTION 2: Phase One 645DF with P65+ 80mm LS Schnieder & Phase One 28mm Lenses

    PROS:
    Full Frame Sensor (superior for landscapes)
    20 More MP
    Open System gives more options/allows for a backup Body
    Options for more lenses (FP shutter lenses if desired)
    Vertical Grip works with all my Profoto gear and allows new LS lenses to sync up to 1/1600
    Trade in Program seems superior, may protect the investment better over time
    Future Products (IQ series) seem superior to Hasselblad, makes me percieve PhaseOne as a better investment looking forward...

    That is what I have in front of me. WHat does everyone think? What would you decide to do?
    [/COLOR]
    Last edited by TheReason; 29th November 2011 at 14:09.

  2. #2
    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: Medium Format Opinions

    My first suggestion is that you opt for white text when posting. Your post is very difficult to read.

  3. #3
    TheReason
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    Re: Medium Format Opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by stephengilbert View Post
    My first suggestion is that you opt for white text when posting. Your post is very difficult to read.
    Fixed! Can you read it now and respond? My apologies for the issue.

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    Re: Medium Format Opinions

    Man, no offense, but I hope not that many people respond to your question. This is an open invitation to start a war between owners of the two systems. Most of us have heard enough of that! When it comes down to it, you are the only one who can make a decision that suits your needs and wants. If you are near a rental house, it would be in your interest to rent both systems for enough time to make a reasoned and thoughtful comparison of both systems. During that period you should have time to make tests that will also give you a feel for what system you like best. I have an opinion that I could give you here, but I would be blasted with both barrels by the opposing side. So I am not going to be the one to start the war. Good luck with your decision, and I wish you the best in your process. If you want to get my opinion via PM, I will be happy to respond.

    Greg

  5. #5
    TheReason
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    Re: Medium Format Opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by BANKER1 View Post
    Man, no offense, but I hope not that many people respond to your question. This is an open invitation to start a war between owners of the two systems. Most of us have heard enough of that! When it comes down to it, you are the only one who can make a decision that suits your needs and wants. If you are near a rental house, it would be in your interest to rent both systems for enough time to make a reasoned and thoughtful comparison of both systems. During that period you should have time to make tests that will also give you a feel for what system you like best. I have an opinion that I could give you here, but I would be blasted with both barrels by the opposing side. So I am not going to be the one to start the war. Good luck with your decision, and I wish you the best in your process. If you want to get my opinion via PM, I will be happy to respond.

    Greg
    Thanks... I think. I have done thorough research and in no way am I trying to start a pissing match on the forum. Rather I am trying to garnish a response from respected professionals. Everyone if you are to bothered by your peers and their opinions, feel free to Direct Message me a reply.

    [email protected]

  6. #6
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Medium Format Opinions

    Lol hell we ain't that bad. I like Phase but that is what I shoot and I get great results without to much compromise in the system . End of day they will both output great files. Now in your comparison you should also include the raw processing as that is a big part if the process. Now I have a IQ 160 and can't say enough good about the sensor. But on the same hand I'm sure the Hassy will produce as well. What I look at outside the system itself is the company and all that it does well and how they are progressing both financially and the growth that comes from within. Seriously don't leave anything out here, your spending a good chunk of money and you need to get past the DEALS and see what works best for you. Honestly put the money aside as it clouds judgement . Compare what works for you as a system and product you want to invest in first than run the numbers. Too many go by price only and than I get the email asking for help or advice but its after the fact. Get your needs first.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  7. #7
    TheReason
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    Re: Medium Format Opinions

    Great advice, Guy! I appreciate the reply. I agree as well. If price is no issue, I go with the Phase One IQ system. No question. I know the P65+ has the same sensor as your IQ160, I like the results as I just demoed the camera yesterday. It is impressive. thinking ahead, I have to weigh the options as an investment (as you stated) The Hassy has my confidence with the Wide angle lens... Can you tell me more about the Maminya/Phase 28mm? I was unable to use it in my demo

  8. #8
    TheReason
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    Re: Medium Format Opinions

    Thanks Guy!

    I agree with all your statements. I would Love to have the IQ series if cost was no issue, I would be purchasing that. The Hasselblad System has my interest still though specifically because of the wide angle (28mm Lens) that can accept front end filters. How is the Mamiya/Phase 28mm lens in your experience? I know it cannot take front mounted filters...

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    Re: Medium Format Opinions

    Don't forget the software part of the equation...just saying it is an important piece.

  10. #10
    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: Medium Format Opinions

    I'm not sure those first two responses are representative of the community as a whole.

    Those are good questions and many here should be able to offer their experiences. I've owned and used both systems, both in the field and studio. While both offer amazing results, I personally prefer lens (leaf) shutter cameras. The Phase DF has an established lock up issue, that's apparently being worked on, but enough of an issue that it should be noted.
    Leaf shutter only cameras are also much more vibration free, especially when used with MLU, something to consider with longer lenses. Flash sync at any speed with leaf shutters, is a plus, but certain Phase LS lenses and DB's at 1/1600 is intriguing. Long exposures also are better with the Phase P45+/65, but for me, 2 min. produced great results - for some this is important and valid, but it also adds to the exposure time, 30 min exposure= 30 min. dark frame. While upgrade paths are an important part of the investment, it seems that planned obsolescence always dictates future value, and that's hard to predict. MFD camera prices don't hold their value either, look at historical values for popular models in the last couple of years! Crop factors in DB's favor portrait scenarios, but can negate the wide angle lens aspect for landscapes, but if this is an issue outdoors, I just compensate with distance. Filters holders will probably vignette on the HCD 28mm, but its resolution is outstanding!

    I use the ProfotoAir for sync, and it works perfect up to almost 900 feet! You can even adjust the output from that distance. Hasselblad has also announced the release of the H4x, that has done away with the closed system, and allowed any DB to be used. The caveat is, that one must use an upgrade path from the earlier H1/H2's to purchase. Personally, I think Hasselblad will soon allow anyone to purchase this model, because of its obvious ability to expand. The H4x, allows use of a film back, and can be used as a back up. The DF does not allow use of film.

    This is the fun part and it's obvious you've done your homework, take your time, and enjoy. When a camera becomes an extension of your creativity, and thus, second nature, it allows for great photography!

    My vote is for the H4D.

  11. #11
    TheReason
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    Re: Medium Format Opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnygoesdigital View Post
    I'm not sure those first two responses are representative of the community as a whole.

    Those are good questions and many here should be able to offer their experiences. I've owned and used both systems, both in the field and studio. While both offer amazing results, I personally prefer lens (leaf) shutter cameras. The Phase DF has an established lock up issue, that's apparently being worked on, but enough of an issue that it should be noted.
    Leaf shutter only cameras are also much more vibration free, especially when used with MLU, something to consider with longer lenses. Flash sync at any speed with leaf shutters, is a plus, but certain Phase LS lenses and DB's at 1/1600 is intriguing. Long exposures also are better with the Phase P45+/65, but for me, 2 min. produced great results - for some this is important and valid, but it also adds to the exposure time, 30 min exposure= 30 min. dark frame. While upgrade paths are an important part of the investment, it seems that planned obsolescence always dictates future value, and that's hard to predict. MFD camera prices don't hold their value either, look at historical values for popular models in the last couple of years! Crop factors in DB's favor portrait scenarios, but can negate the wide angle lens aspect for landscapes, but if this is an issue outdoors, I just compensate with distance. Filters holders will probably vignette on the HCD 28mm, but its resolution is outstanding!

    I use the ProfotoAir for sync, and it works perfect up to almost 900 feet! You can even adjust the output from that distance. Hasselblad has also announced the release of the H4x, that has done away with the closed system, and allowed any DB to be used. The caveat is, that one must use an upgrade path from the earlier H1/H2's to purchase. Personally, I think Hasselblad will soon allow anyone to purchase this model, because of its obvious ability to expand. The H4x, allows use of a film back, and can be used as a back up. The DF does not allow use of film.

    This is the fun part and it's obvious you've done your homework, take your time, and enjoy. When a camera becomes an extension of your creativity, and thus, second nature, it allows for great photography!

    My vote is for the H4D.
    Thank you for the response. Great insight here.

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    Re: Medium Format Opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by TheReason View Post
    ...I would Love to have the IQ series if cost was no issue, I would be purchasing that.
    Maybe worth considering the IQ140 - I love mine. It's the same sensor as the IQ160, but cropped. But that has advantages as well, the sweet spot on lenses as well as less issues with wide angle lenses on tech cameras.

    We don't really know much about your typical work, you mention landscapes, but also proPhoto studio work, so it's hard to guide. As other have said, testing out the system in person is paramount.

    Good luck with your decision.

    Cheers, -Peter

  13. #13
    TheReason
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    Re: Medium Format Opinions

    Peter,

    I will look into the IQ140 now that I am seeing the wisdom in the cropped sensor for many applications... My work is diverse, I shoot Landscape & many Portraits on location/environment. Does the IQ back support Live view function? That could be big for me on location (hiking out without acces to a tether/power) My studio work is very minor. I should post a link to my work you can view it here:

    www.thereason.us

  14. #14
    Senior Member Steve Hendrix's Avatar
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    Re: Medium Format Opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by TheReason View Post
    Peter,

    I will look into the IQ140 now that I am seeing the wisdom in the cropped sensor for many applications... My work is diverse, I shoot Landscape & many Portraits on location/environment. Does the IQ back support Live view function? That could be big for me on location (hiking out without acces to a tether/power) My studio work is very minor. I should post a link to my work you can view it here:

    www.thereason.us

    Hi Chris -

    Yes, a cropped sensor will hit the sweet spot of the lens, but on many cameras, you will be limited to that coverage, without convenient stitching options. For example, a 28mm lens on P65+ becomes 18mm (35mm equivalent) or 64mm (4x5 equivalent), while the same lens on H4D-40 or IQ140 is 22mm/78mm. Perhaps not a deal breaker for most, but certainly a consideration. A 45mm becomes a 35mm/126mm on H4D40/IQ140, while on P65+ it is 29mm/102mm.

    Yes, the IQ140 has Live View in camera (the IQ products are the only digital back that offer this). Just be aware that it is not 5DMK-II quality, though I will say it is more useful than I expected (in the right conditions).

    One other note - it was mentioned that the P45+/65+ perform excellent 2 minute exposures. While this is true for the P45+ (actually one could perform a far longer exposure easily), this is not the case with the P65+. My threshold for long exposure with the P65+ might extend to about 45 seconds at ISO 50.


    Steve Hendrix
    Steve Hendrix, Sales Manager, www.captureintegration.com (e-mail Me)
    Digital Cam: Phase One | Leaf | Leica | Sinar Authorized Reseller
    TechCam: Alpa | Cambo | Arca Swiss | Sinar Authorized Reseller

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Medium Format Opinions

    Comparing a used P65+ to a new H4D/40 seems apples and oranges. Look at comparing a used or demo H4D/40.

    If I did a new H4D/40 today, I grab one of the killer stainless steel special edition bodies that now sells for $17,999. I'd skip the 80mm and get the fabulous HC100/2.2 which provides a super bright viewfinder and is optically excellent even wide open. One of the fastest MFD lenses out there.

    Depending on application, but I liked the H4D/40 because it does an excellent ISO 1600 at full resolution.

    The HCD28 does indeed take front filters. I use a thin mount version on mine and a $14. Lens Coat rather than a lens cap.

    Not sure how many lenses you need. The H system has a 28, 35, 35-90, 50-II, 50-110, 80, 100, 120 Macro, 150N, 210, 300 and a 1.7X extender ... all leaf shutter, all integrated and profiled in both Phocus and Lightroom ... and with the CF adapter for the H camera takes all C, CF, CFi and CFE Zeiss lenses from a Zeiss fisheye all the way to the Zeiss super APO teles.

    -Marc

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    Member Lee Love's Avatar
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    Re: Medium Format Opinions

    I also suggest you consider a Mamiya / Leaf solution

    The 645 DF with the Leaf back is an excellent solution and would not only give you the open platform and features you want but at a signification savings. The difference in price could pay for a boat load of new glass.

    Don't get me wrong the PO is very good back but if you are not shooting 30 minute exposures, the image quality of the Leaf is fantastic and is a bargain.

    I doubt anyone here would complain about Leaf captures like those of Gabe Farnsworth .






  17. #17
    Senior Member malmac's Avatar
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    Re: Medium Format Opinions

    Less than a year ago I was asking exactly the same questions as you are.

    I did opt for the Phase system over the Hasselblad system.

    Why did I choose Phase One at the time?
    I really liked the concept of being able to use the IQ back I was buying on a new camera - if Phase One ever brings one out - and also I liked the fact that Phase One has a focal plane shutter and a leaf shutter (more flexibility) - I felt that having a leaf shutter only was perhaps a little limiting.

    What did I love about the Hasselblad?
    I loved the view through the viewfinder and the ergonomics of the camera.
    Basically loved the camera except for, no focal plane shutter option and any upgrade would require a whole new camera and back - i felt the back was the really expensive bit and it would have been great to be able to upgrade camera without having to take big depreciation on the back.

    8 months down the track how does my decision making stack up?
    Well never bought the H4D60 so don't have any gripes there.
    What do I love about the new IQ180?
    Image quality when the focus and exposure is nailed.
    The user interface is certainly very easy to like.

    What is my major gripe?
    Auto focus on the 645DF is very poor in my opinion?
    If auto focus is important to you then I would seriously test the Hasselblad, Leica S2 and the Pentax 645 - I would hope these systems have a better auto focus system than Phase One.

    These are only my experience, obviously others have a different take - but when I was in your position I was looking for the widest range of questions to ask - I am sure you are then able to find an answer to your question which does not end in buyer remorse.


    Cheers.


    Mal

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    Re: Medium Format Opinions

    It's personal.

    I am a long time H camera user, I shoot mostly people.
    When the time came to move into MF I choose H. But I tried Phase for a few days and also tested the H for a week.
    It is up to you, but for me it was only prudent to test each system for a few days. Get the hands on time with the camera and process the files, after the experience you will choose one.
    In my case history with the H system did sway me, but for hand held use shooting people the H system works for me. But I still use the Canon some days because there is no one tool for the job, no mater what some say.

    Opinions, everyone has one...

  19. #19
    Member Analog6's Avatar
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    Re: Medium Format Opinions

    Quote Originally Posted by malmac View Post
    Less than a year ago I was asking exactly the same questions as you are.

    I did opt for the Phase system over the Hasselblad system.

    Why did I choose Phase One at the time?
    I really liked the concept of being able to use the IQ back I was buying on a new camera - if Phase One ever brings one out - and also I liked the fact that Phase One has a focal plane shutter and a leaf shutter (more flexibility) - I felt that having a leaf shutter only was perhaps a little limiting.

    What did I love about the Hasselblad?
    I loved the view through the viewfinder and the ergonomics of the camera.
    Basically loved the camera except for, no focal plane shutter option and any upgrade would require a whole new camera and back - i felt the back was the really expensive bit and it would have been great to be able to upgrade camera without having to take big depreciation on the back.

    8 months down the track how does my decision making stack up?
    Well never bought the H4D60 so don't have any gripes there.
    What do I love about the new IQ180?
    Image quality when the focus and exposure is nailed.
    The user interface is certainly very easy to like.

    What is my major gripe?
    Auto focus on the 645DF is very poor in my opinion?
    If auto focus is important to you then I would seriously test the Hasselblad, Leica S2 and the Pentax 645 - I would hope these systems have a better auto focus system than Phase One.

    These are only my experience, obviously others have a different take - but when I was in your position I was looking for the widest range of questions to ask - I am sure you are then able to find an answer to your question which does not end in buyer remorse.


    Cheers.


    Mal
    That's an interesting bit of knowledge about the autofocus, Mal. I was considering (if I ever got the money for another camera) PhaseOne - due to focal plane shutter capabilities and changeable backs, but the auto focus is important to me, my eyes are not what they used to be.
    Odille

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

  20. #20
    Senior Member malmac's Avatar
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    Re: Medium Format Opinions

    Odile

    Look if you get to the point where you are serious about looking at Phase One, give me a call and we can arrange for you to have a really good test with our camera and lenses.

    The IQ180 images are just fantastic, and to get that, I am often using manual focus - even went and had my optomistrist make me special bifocal glasses to nail the focus.
    Also I have found that MF depth of field is narrow when compared to 35mm, and with four times the resolution of my 5DMk2, when the focus is off, then it shows when you really look closely at the image.

    The autofocus works, however in my opinion, it takes too much of the view into consideration - I would like to see the focus point deal with one degree of the scene where as at present it may be dealing with 10 percent or some such figure. Leaving room for other objects to give unintended results.

    Lets face it Canon and Nikon have set a pretty high standard for auto focus - I want that level of precision.

    Cheers Mal

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