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Thread: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

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    Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    I am still deliberating the move from med form film to digital and the choice of which camera / back / 3-4 lens combo, mostly for simple landscape photography. I may need to look at used backs.

    These are my most likely options (not in order):
    PhaseOne or Leaf back for my Contax 645 with 35, 55, 120, 250SA on adaptor
    CFV50 back for my 501CM and CFi lenses
    PhaseOne DF with P40+/45+ (lenses?) or Leaf equivalent
    H4D40 with 28or35, 100, 210 or with CF adaptor and my CFi 50, 100, 120, 250SA (may need to replace 50 with 40)

    Is there a standout? I mean, can I stop obsessing about image quality now and just pick one of these setups according to my personal likes/dislikes, useage and serviceability, because at this level they all so good?

    Many thanks for helpful replies. Particularly helpful would be your experiences, ie "I used to use....but now I am using.....because of improvements in.........", or whatever reasons you have found to exclude/prefer one over the others.
    Last edited by arionelli; 26th February 2012 at 04:23.

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    Looks like the most obvious/ practical (and probably economical) choice is your Contax with all the lenses you've already got.
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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    I'm sorry, I probably wasn't clear in my statement. I currently own both the Contax and the 501CM with their respective lenses as above (not H), and will need to flog off one or the other to help finance the back.

    Although I have drawn some conclusions about these systems from my experienes with film, I understand that there will be more stringent demands on them from these higher density digital backs, and would like to know if any shortcomings are practically evident.

    Martin

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    V system is very nice, until you put on a rectangular sensor. that body is not happy sideways. If it can work with the Leaf rotating back, I would go that way. you have the advantage of the waist level finder. has a traditional analog feel, which I loved. When i put on the CV39, rectangular, is just lost some of it's appeal. nice image quality, even with the CV16


    next option is the contax, imo

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    My only current suggestion is regardless of which back you choose you might want to think to the future. Can you place it on a tech cam at some later date?

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    V system is very nice, until you put on a rectangular sensor. that body is not happy sideways. If it can work with the Leaf rotating back, I would go that way. you have the advantage of the waist level finder. has a traditional analog feel, which I loved. When i put on the CV39, rectangular, is just lost some of it's appeal. nice image quality, even with the CV16
    Just a quick note, in addition to the Leaf rotating backs the Phase One V mount backs can all be used vertically or horizontally (just remove the back, turn it, and put it back on).


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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    Quote Originally Posted by arionelli View Post
    I am still deliberating the move from med form film to digital and the choice of which camera / back / 3-4 lens combo, mostly for simple landscape photography. I may need to look at used backs.

    These are my most likely options (not in order):
    PhaseOne or Leaf back for my Contax 645 with 35, 55, 120, 250SA on adaptor
    CFV50 back for my 501CM and CFi lenses
    PhaseOne DF with P40+/45+ (lenses?) or Leaf equivalent
    H4D40 with 28or35, 100, 210 or with CF adaptor and my CFi 50, 100, 120, 250SA (may need to replace 50 with 40)

    Is there a standout? I mean, can I stop obsessing about image quality now and just pick one of these setups according to my personal likes/dislikes, useage and serviceability, because at this level they all so good?

    Many thanks for helpful replies. Particularly helpful would be your experiences, ie "I used to use....but now I am using.....because of improvements in.........", or whatever reasons you have found to exclude/prefer one over the others.
    All of your stated options are good ones. I would probably lean towards your existing Contax over the Hassy V simply because you already own it and glass. I would however view the move to the basic Phase DF or Hassy H kits as a step up, as either allows a lot more potential for growth and expansion.
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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    Realize that this is a slippery slope where you will likely continue to evolve, invest, and wish you had something else. Since the back is the most expensive part, I would recommend buying a back that can be used on many different systems. Choosing a Phase or Leaf back would allow you to use either your Contax or Hasselblad, then migrate to a Mamiya if autofocus becomes important, or a tech camera if movements are desired. If you use your 501, there is much to be said for a back that can rotate. Using the Hasselblad sideways is a pain and manually focussing with a prism finder is a challenge. I started with a H3 using CF lenses and an adapter. As soon as I could rationalize it, I bought the auto-focus H lenses to simplify use in the field. After several years, I abandoned the Hasselblad in favor of a DF which has served me well. Of course, I now lust for a tech camera, but at least I will be able to transfer the back and continue buying more lenses! Abandon all hope...

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    All of your stated options are good ones. I would probably lean towards your existing Contax over the Hassy V simply because you already own it and glass. I would however view the move to the basic Phase DF or Hassy H kits as a step up, as either allows a lot more potential for growth and expansion.
    He already has the Hasselblad and lenses, and the V sys would give the option of using a Flexbody Hasselblad bellows camera for movements with the lenses he has.

    Is anyone using a Flexbody with MFD? I have MFD (H) and a Flexbody, and hope to pick up a V compatible back sometime.

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    Is anyone using a Flexbody with MFD? I have MFD (H) and a Flexbody, and hope to pick up a V compatible back sometime.
    Not yet, but I bought a Flexbody last fall and one of these days, I will get around to modifying it to accept my Contax mount P30+ back. I've just been too busy working to find the time to tackle a new project...

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    My goodness, there is still a good deal of support for the C645 and Hassy V...that's very nice to see.
    Don, I take your point, but what I meant by simple landscape is that for my needs a decent slr, few lenses, shade, coupla tubes and solid tripod would do it, so I'm not very interested in multiple cameras or view cams. Simple also does not mean being restricted to the least expensive range of backs.
    Jack, I think your comment has some worth wrt future-proofing my gear, and it may be that I will look at the H or DF a little more closely.
    Interestingly, I was reading an article by Hasselblad on the merits of Fuji over Zeiss lenses for the H system. Specifically, they compared the F 100/2.2 and 210 against the Z 100 and 250SA. Whilst Zeiss optimises for infinity (and why wouldn't they with NASA influencing their design specs?), Fuji's are for much nearer distances. Accompanying mtf charts show the Fuji's superiority at near distances, but the Zeiss both still retain better infinity performance, which does somewhat favour landscape shooting...sigh...another one of the many variables to consider...
    Also, Jack, I was intrigued by your post script "mantra" and searched a little for its context...didn't find much, but found another quote by that famous artist which helps as a reality check for me...

    "Go and see what others have produced, but never copy anything except nature. You would be trying to enter into a temperament that is not yours and nothing that you would do would have any character." (Pierre-Auguste Renoir)"

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    I wanted to resurrect this old thread to see if the users' opinions have significantly changed in the past 2 yrs, as in the interim I needed to sell off most of my mf gear for other financial needs. I ended up with a d800e, which I find doesn't suit me much at all (too many years with simplistic mf and 35mm film cameras) but now it's out with 2013 and I'm interested again in a relatively simple mfd camera.

    What I'd like to know, to narrow down my options, is if there is any real difference in image quality from a locked down, mirror up, lens/leaf shutter system over one with a focal plane shutter (I don't need leaf lenses for high speed flash sync). This theoretic reduction in vibration from leaf shutters has been touted by makers and users and it seems to me that this issue should be even more significant with digital's greater accuracy needs, but apart from quoting theoretics, I haven't seen anything substantial.

    Has anyone validated this to their satisfaction with observations or tests and determined that, yes, one can indeed see an improvement in the leaf shutter image, or is this just a hair-splitting issue? I know there are also other needs that determine which system I should take, but this could be something significant I need to consider.
    Last edited by arionelli; 29th December 2013 at 23:24.

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    Quote Originally Posted by arionelli View Post
    Has anyone validated this to their satisfaction with observations or tests and determined that, yes, one can indeed see an improvement in the leaf shutter image, or is this just a hair-splitting issue? I know there are also other needs that determine which system I should take, but this could be a significant one for me to take into account.
    Yes. Thoroughly tested.

    Unfortunately the answer is "it depends".

    Worst case scenario is a [focal plane only] system with a longer lens at around 1/8th of a sec (exact worst point varies based on system and support). In such a worst-case the difference is very large.

    Best to have some hands on time to choose between.
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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    What Doug said about the 1/8 sec. applies for sure to the Mamiya AF 300mm f/4.5 IF APO and the Mamiya AF 105-210mm f/4.5 ULD lenses.

    But I don't know if it also applies to the Schneider Kreuznach AF 110mm f/2.8 Leaf Shutter lens.

    I went and tried this with my Schneider Kreuznach AF 110mm f/2.8 Leaf Shutter lens. I shot pictures of a statue in pairs, with each shutter. For both pictures, I had the 645DF+ on a tripod, with mirror lock-up, self timer, and cable release. I tried 1/8 sec., 1/4 sec., and 1/30 sec. with the focal plane shutter and the leaf shutter.





    At the 3 tested shutter speeds, frames with the leaf shutter and focal plane shutter came out with the same sharpness. With the sharpening turned down to 0, I could see a little softness. The default sharpening of 25 in Lightroom made them both look good. The shutters didn't seem to make any difference.

    The crop below is 1/8 sec. at f/8, leaf shutter, default sharpening of 25.





    The crop below is 1/8 sec. at f/8, focal plane shutter, default sharpening of 25.







    My conclusion so far is, you're better off choosing sharper lenses than worrying about what shutters they have.


    --Steve.
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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    Yes. Thoroughly tested.
    Worst case scenario is a [focal plane only] system with a longer lens at around 1/8th of a sec (exact worst point varies based on system and support). In such a worst-case the difference is very large.
    Doug, thanks a lot...this info is really helpful as I like nature details and use 120-250mm at least as much as the wides.

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    Quote Originally Posted by steve_cor View Post
    What Doug said about the 1/8 sec. applies for sure to the Mamiya AF 300mm f/4.5 IF APO and the Mamiya AF 105-210mm f/4.5 ULD lenses.

    But I don't know if it also applies to the Schneider Kreuznach AF 110mm f/2.8 Leaf Shutter lens.

    I went and tried this with my Schneider Kreuznach AF 110mm f/2.8 Leaf Shutter lens. I shot pictures of a statue in pairs, with each shutter. For both pictures, I had the 645DF+ on a tripod, with mirror lock-up, self timer, and cable release. I tried 1/8 sec., 1/4 sec., and 1/30 sec. with the focal plane shutter and the leaf shutter.

    At the 3 tested shutter speeds, frames with the leaf shutter and focal plane shutter came out with the same sharpness. With the sharpening turned down to 0, I could see a little softness. The default sharpening of 25 in Lightroom made them both look good. The shutters didn't seem to make any difference.

    My conclusion so far is, you're better off choosing sharper lenses than worrying about what shutters they have.


    --Steve.
    Steve, thanks for this direct comparison...and it is reassuring to read your conclusion.

    As usual, it probably pays most to do one's own testing whenever possible with the actual tools in mind, as not all focal plane shutters are likely to be created equal.

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    Quote Originally Posted by arionelli View Post
    Steve, thanks for this direct comparison...and it is reassuring to read your conclusion.

    As usual, it probably pays most to do one's own testing whenever possible with the actual tools in mind, as not all focal plane shutters are likely to be created equal.
    If your shooting style for landscapes involves frequent usage of lenses in the 200-300mm range (medium format lenses), I would strongly suggest that you arrange to take a series of frames with a DF+ and a Hasselblad H using those lenses at a range of shutter speeds from say 1 second to 1/60 using the same digital back. I could be wrong, but I think Doug's tests just compare the Mamiya lenses against themselves. That tells you that say 1/8 second is really bad compared to 1/60, but it doesn't tell you whether all of the slower shutter speeds are significantly compromised compared to a equivalent H lens. BTW, Doug can explain better than I, but even when you use the Mamiya leaf lenses, the focal plane shutter still fires.

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    Quote Originally Posted by arionelli View Post
    I am still deliberating the move from med form film to digital and the choice of which camera / back / 3-4 lens combo, mostly for simple landscape photography. I may need to look at used backs.

    These are my most likely options (not in order):
    PhaseOne or Leaf back for my Contax 645 with 35, 55, 120, 250SA on adaptor
    CFV50 back for my 501CM and CFi lenses
    PhaseOne DF with P40+/45+ (lenses?) or Leaf equivalent
    H4D40 with 28or35, 100, 210 or with CF adaptor and my CFi 50, 100, 120, 250SA (may need to replace 50 with 40)

    Is there a standout? I mean, can I stop obsessing about image quality now and just pick one of these setups according to my personal likes/dislikes, useage and serviceability, because at this level they all so good?

    Many thanks for helpful replies. Particularly helpful would be your experiences, ie "I used to use....but now I am using.....because of improvements in.........", or whatever reasons you have found to exclude/prefer one over the others.
    Hi, for Landscape the best solution is a tech camera. Wide angles for medium format are not that great for digital and generally very wide angle of views are not available in some SLR systems like the Hasselblad V and corner to corner performance is not that great with the available wide angle lenses (wide angle of view is even bigger issue with crop sensor backs) and on top of that most are large and heavy.

    Tech camera lenses will be much smaller and lighter and much better corner to corner. Also tech cameras offer great compositional and focus control with shift and tilt available in most camera systems.

    Quick summary of the SLR systems:

    The Leica S2 system offers a great range of lenses and all can be filtered, even the 24mm, but resolution is not that much better than a D800E although color, lens performance and overall quality is, but it is not really a good value, very expensive.

    The Hasselblad H system is very complete with good 24, 28, 35 and 50mm lenses available. Again, all lenses can be filtered easily and the lens range starts at 24mm which is also nice. Lenses are not cheap though.

    The PhaseOne DF+ is also a nice camera and the lens range starts at 28mm (the lens can be filtered but not that easily, adapters are available to allow it though),35mm and 45mm are available but not regarded as great lenses. But, lot's of lenses are available for this mount, new and used, and at good prices since it is based on a mamiya 645 (if you do not require leaf shutters in all of them).

    Of these three systems the Leica is the most compact and weather sealed. The Hasselblad and the DF+ are a bit clunky.

    The Hasselbad V system is probably the worst choice for landscape. The body was made for 6x6 film and it is an old and clunky camera. Great for handled / portrait work (legendary) but not great for wide angle landscape work with a smaller than 6x6 digital sensor.

    The Contax 645 is a really good camera system. I am not sure I would invest in it for digital but since you already have it, it might work for you depending on your budget. If you have the money for a tech camera or any of the other systems that would be best.

    Again, all these comments are for Landscape use and specially with lenses wider than 80mm.

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    You should also look at the Pentax 645D. It has a very well dampened mirror/shutter plus MLU if you want it. Lots of examples of landscape work on GetDPI with the 645D. Still probably the most advanced MFD camera on the market today.

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    You should also look at the Pentax 645D. It has a very well dampened mirror/shutter plus MLU if you want it. Lots of examples of landscape work on GetDPI with the 645D. Still probably the most advanced MFD camera on the market today.
    I had one and sold it. Great camera but the warranty/support is really not there (certainly not what you would want for such an expensive piece of kit) and the lens quality is not great. The 25mm is good but way too expensive. The 55 is good. I found a really nice 35mm A. But generally the lenses are ok not really great.

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_R View Post
    I had one and sold it. Great camera but the warranty/support is really not there (certainly not what you would want for such an expensive piece of kit) and the lens quality is not great. The 25mm is good but way too expensive. The 55 is good. I found a really nice 35mm A. But generally the lenses are ok not really great.
    I have one and never sold it.

    The 25mm is expensive? Compared to what? The Hasselblad 24mm is $6,650, The Leica 24mm is $8950, The Mamiya 28mm is $5,990, and the Pentax 25mm is $4,990.

    I have not had the same experience with the lenses. And there again, compared to what? Mamiya? Leica? Mamiya lenses are not universally praised.

    Then tally up the system cost. Both will be more expensive. And lets face it, the DF has been ready for replacement for a very long time (any day now, I hear). And with all the trouble I have heard Mamiya owners post about their camera, the service better be good--you should be getting something for your money. My Pentax just works. And when you consider a Pentax body is just $1000 more expensive than a DF (body only) AND you get the 40MP sensor (nearly $20k for a DF and Credo 40MP camera), you really wonder about the value you are getting. I could buy two Pentax 645Ds for the cost of one Mamiya DF and 40MP Credo and still have money left over.

    You don't like the 645D, fine. But lets make fair comparisons.

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    Pentax is a good value. Just pray nothing happens to it. Read up, repair times are extremely lengthy and support is spotty (at least in the US). It is a shame because it is a superb DSLR. Body is well though out and everything works well. It is also weather sealed. None of the other medium format digital bodies are as good (as camera bodies per se). Not being modular helps a great deal. Again, it is the best value in medium format digital. If it just had the service and support to match. I just could not risk being without the camera for 6-8 weeks if something went wrong with it.

    The Leica is probably the worst value. (image quality per dollar)

    I also used the 645D alongside the Nikon D800E and I was giving up a bit of image quality to the Nikon in some instances. Unfortunately it takes a lot of "horsepower" to really handily beat the D800E (in the landscape situations I use the camera in), the kind that only the 60 and 80mp backs have.

    Also, I though (from looking at files) that the sensor in the IQ140 / P40+ is a little better than the one in the 645D. But it is close. There the large difference in price might be harder to justify. But again, at the prices these backs sell (even the 645D, which admittedly is at the lower end in price) people's preferences play a big role in the purchase. Again, not being high value items takes the money a wee bit out of the equation.

    For value nothing will beat a D800E or even a Sony 7R. The 645D kinda a plays into their hands, not having an outstanding lens system and having similar resolution and color depth than the Nikon/Sony.

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    I have had more problems with lenses on my D800E than my Pentax, particularly in the corners. Color is much better in the Pentax. But this is the MFD thread. We have had tons of posts about the D800/MFD debate, and the OP is not asking about a 35mm cameras--there are better forums for that.

    Well, I have never seen a direct comparison of the Pentax 645D to the P1 backs. But I also shoot with a P25+ and I don't see a great difference beyond resolution, more of a preference really. Naturally, if you wanted to shoot at ISO1600 unbinned with the IQ140, you can't. ISO1600 is very good on the Pentax. And you are limited to 1 minute exposure time with Phase--no limit to the 645D.

    This is just preference. We can play this game all day. I see nothing wrong with suggesting the OP consider the Pentax 645D.

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    Some do take it personally I'd say...
    This thread is way past its freshness date. For simple landscape get an Alpa with vibration free leaf shutters and be done with it.

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    Smile Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnygoesdigital View Post
    This thread is way past its freshness date. For simple landscape get an Alpa with vibration free leaf shutters and be done with it.
    I probably should have elaborated on the 'simple landscape mostly' part a bit more initially, JGD, in that I also do flowers, close-up details and a little portrait, and can't really afford multiple systems...that, and asked the recent Q in a new thread...my bad form.

    'Zat your chosen tool, btw? Would like to be able to afford one alongside a mfdslr.

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    If you're looking for simple landscape, don't forget about the Hassy 35-90mm. This is the main reason I went with the H system for now (and the focal range where I take most of my shots). It's excellent stopped down and carrying one lens as opposed to several has many advantages. I got mine used for way less than the price of a new one. Leica also has a similar lens for the S system but it's really expensive and relatively hard to hunt down. Hasselblad has really reasonable certified pre-owned prices on H4D bodies as well (how I bought my H4D-40). For me anyway, it was a nice entry into MFD that fits a lot of my needs without breaking the bank. Also, travel-wise, carrying one lens in my bag for the H gives me room to carry the D800E and a couple lenses for the times when I can't/don't want to use the H.

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    arionelli-

    My apologies, that wasn't meant as a criticism towards you, but more of a way to deflect the the Pentax 645D debate that always occurs when one disses another's camera. I think it's prudent to take one's time when searching for gear because of price points and considerable depreciation of new MFD gear. I shot with the H4D/40 with the 28mm. I used this extensively for landscapes, and most certainly appreciate the leaf shutters over any focal plane camera for virtually vibration free photos when used with the MU function. The H is also a fantastic portrait and macro camera. The sensor used in the H4D/40 is the same one used in the Pentax 645D. I ultimately sold my H4D/40 in favor of the H2. I can shoot film and digital with seamless integration,, albeit the HCD 28mm, but I think the H2F is compatible and H1/2's are a great buy! Personally, I think leaf shutters have the advantage.

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    Smile Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    Hi johnny...
    Now you're talking! This is the sort of commentary I find worthwhile to help me decide, tech and monetary experiences...in fact I have been leaning towards the H for reasons as you have stated, but baulking in case it is a little too much 35mm dsrlesque (as opposed to V and Contax)...I think I need a good hands-on but access and time is limited atm.
    Understood your previous motivation, btw...all good ;-)

    Happy New Year to all.
    Martin (arionelli=my kids)

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    Sashin
    I had also thought about the 645D, especially wrt its price and that it has a reported good mirror/shutter damping setup. The main detraction for me though is that I can at best only use my V lenses (I still have 3) only in stop down metered manual mode. Nevertheless, I haven't entirely dismissed it and may see how much hassle it is to get my hands on one as well as the H, since in Australia, CRKennedy deals/distributes both.

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    Re: Which choice for simple landscape mostly?

    [QUOTE=Ken_R;558831]Pentax is a good value. Just pray nothing happens to it. Read up, repair times are extremely lengthy and support is spotty (at least in the US). It is a shame because it is a superb DSLR.

    Not to sidetrack this thread, maybe someone with something to say could start another one, but is the service on the Pentax 645D really that bad? I've been wanting one of these but .....

    Thanks,
    Robert

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