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Thread: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

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    Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    After dealing with the lack of reliability (camera lockups and erratic behavior, Phase One), the primitive bodies and the lousy viewfinder/auto focus combination I absolutely had enough of medium format digital. You can add to that poor customer service from Phase One.

    Several things brought me to this decision and I'd like to share it here.

    I needed a small replacement part from Phase One. The little plastic spacer/guide that fits between the Phase One Body and the vertical grip.

    After nearly a month of trying to get it from Phase One or Mamiya I still do not have either the part or an answer. Multiple phone calls to phase one and various dealers got me no where. Phase one just went and sent me the wrong part to get rid of me. Keep in mind I had sent them a photograph of the part I needed..... so I am having the part machined and made out of metal instead of plastic.

    In comparison I needed to service an out of production Hasselblad V lens. Three days and it was on it's way back home, despite needing replacement parts.

    I won't go into the flakey performance of the Phase One DF. Both mine and rented ones. The Phase One AF was slightly better.

    The final decision was after shooting once with a Nikon D800, the 50mm 1.4, the 85mm 1.4G and the 85mm TS. The quality and ergonomics of this camera is quite something. Shadow performance beats even MF digital. The difference is more than I expected. Resolution is so good it's almost ridiculous that it comes out of a little camera you can swing around your neck. It's not quite what I have seen from a higher end MFD, but the sharpest MFD lenses while being very very sharp, they don't have anywhere near the beautiful out of focus rendering of the Nikon 85mm 1.4 or the 85mm TS.
    Shooting wide open with the Nikon is a breeze with either live view (best for the tilt shift lens) or the reflex viewfinder.
    Shooting tilt shift fashion and portraits with live view from the D800 on an 11 inch tablet screen makes MFD feel like something from last century.
    Shooting ultra shallow depth of field on MFD with a subject moving around is just too much of a pain in the *** and just not reliable enough if the feature you want in focus is not in the center of the frame.
    In comparison I get a close to 90% hit rate manually focusing an old waist level viewfinder MF film camera, with film or a digital back.

    One other really nice thing with the D800 is running video into an HDMI monitor to finely tune optical effects such as shooting with desired lens flare or through partial diffusion or through out of focus foreground elements.
    Priceless. The client was very impressed with the rig. Camera and monitor mounted on a movie rig. Using video, not live view is better for absolute high quality image preview. Best of all you don't even have to shut down the video feed to shoot a still.

    35mm DSLR digital and true large medium format with film IMHO is a much more powerful combination that Medium format digital. The combination covers a larger range of performance and visual quality than MF digital. The combination also costs about 1/4 of the price. Looks like I might have to buy another car or designer furniture for the office for a tax write off. Actually I'll be putting the investment that ws going to go into the latest and greatest MF digital into a production van and "pied a terre" in Europe.

    Arrivederci MFD.... oops actually Adios...

    See you in the Nikon section further down the road with some examples....

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    Senior Member EH21's Avatar
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Interesting perspective and I think a D800 is in my future, but its both for me, not one or the other. I already determined a mamiya DF will not be and actually IMHO that camera poorly represents what MF is about. To me MF is about a nice big viewfinder ... WLF or prism that you can compose with, high speed sync, and a look that's different from smaller formats.
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    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Medium format (MF) is not for everyone, and with the experience you describe, I can understand how your frustration led you to your decision. I prefer to shoot MF with a technical body (Alpa Max) and view camera lenses because it is closer to the large format experience that I prefer. I also prefer the simplest design to my camera box. If I can keep the box on my tripod clean and simple and the gadgetry minimized, content comes easier for me to see.

    Now your displeasure with the manufacturer and dealer is something readers should pay attention to IMO. There is nothing more frustrating than putting out a lot of money for top-of-the-line gear, only to feel neglected when repair or replacement is needed. I myself would leave that camera design, manufacturer, dealer, etc. like they left me: empty-handed.

    I am happy to hear you have found reprise with the D800. I own a D700 and will eventually replace it with a D800, but it will never replace my MF gear.

    Good luck to you!
    Darr
    "Creativity takes courage." ~ Henri Matisse
    Darlene Almeda, photoscapes.com

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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Hi Jim

    I agree with you about the different look. However that different look is not that different anymore. The faster turnaround in new lens development in the 35mm field has narrowed "the look" gap. Also I personally find that the difference in look between a full frame 35mm sensor and a MF sensor is no where nearly like the difference between 24x36 and 60x80cm of larger medium format film. Then if I compare to 4x5 or 8x10.... well it's another world.

    If film is not practical having both 35mm DSLR and medium format digital has it's place.

    Fortunately I am close to two of the best labs in the country and the biggest film analogue photography outfit is just down the road.

    One thing I have been messing around with is shooting 8x10 right to photopaper. Developing it and scanning it to produce a positive file. They results look really nice and the whole process it dirt cheap. Only limitation is loooooow ISO... it's about 6.

    Cool thing is you can use panchromatic paper or paper not sensitive to red.
    With regular paper you can even observe the developing.

    I am looking for an camera larger than 8x10... should be interesting.

    I can't post any of mine as they are for an unpublished project.

    Here is an example shot by another guy I found on flickr.


    Photo by Morten Bentzon

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/



    It's sort of like shooting 8x10 polaroids again..... well sort of...

    Here are some 8x10 Polaroids I have shot.... the look of 8x10 for portraits is very nice.





    Last edited by FredBGG; 4th May 2012 at 12:24.
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Can't say I'm surprised.

    This only underscores the need to have a reputable dealer instead of trying to save a buck and buying elsewhere.

    Best of luck to you.
    Don Libby
    Iron Creek Photography
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    It is funny I was scanning some of my 8x10 paper negatives while reading this. I love the look of the paper neg. I found the ISO to be closer to 4, but, it is slow. I think that the halation and blue sensitivity gives for a Noir effect that cannot be duplicated.I at this moment use a d700 for my dslr and will be adding a d800 for primarily tripod work in the future. But I like what I can do on 4x5 with a 6x9 back, when a soft focus lens or t/s becomes crucial. I have used p/c lenses on 35mm and found them too limited. I have not used the new t/s 24mm Nikon lens I am curious about it, but it is a bit esoteric for the few times that I actually need that function. The tool just gets us where we want to go with as little frustration as is possible. Joe

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    Senior Member Chris Giles's Avatar
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    You know Fred, I'd love to have access to a D800 to try it out compared to my Hassy, In fact I may see if somewhere local has one.

    Too many people are singing it's praises in the realm of ISO at low ISO.

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    Senior Member Steve Hendrix's Avatar
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Well, don't be so sure things will be perfectly smooth and easy with new 35mm DSLR's....

    Nikon tells PDN it is looking for a fix for D800 and D4 lock-up bug: Digital Photography Review

    http://www.nikonusa.com/Service-And-...-Advisory.html


    I'm only half serious - I would never expect, nor more importantly, communicate the expectation that medium format is a nice, smooth ride and any perception of ripples is an exaggeration. It's not as easy, and it's not for everyone. Though I suspect that as the envelope gets pushed harder with 35mm DSLR, products "that just work" may become less the norm. This Nikon "bug" seems like something that years ago would have been unheard of.


    Steve Hendrix
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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Fred,

    I too, gave up MFD in favor of MF film and 35mm digital. I was so frustrated with the constant malfunctions in several camera's. While that was frustrating enough, what I didn't expect, was the nasty tone from a few GetDPI members about my complaints. I find that you've been quite respectful in your posts, and judging from your photography, i'd say MFD(Phase One) is going to regret not earning your loyalty...really good work!

    If and when MFD gets more realistic with it's pricing, reliability, and functionality, I might think about a demo, but for now the D800 is a game changer.

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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Interesting read and looking forward to see your work with the new D800.
    Rick Rose
    www.RickrPhoto.com
    HasselPhase

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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Best of luck with your new approach Fred.

    Cameras have to get out of the way, and if they don't work for you, then new action is most warranted.

    Nothing much more to say than that.

    -Marc
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    another side of the coin is that you have to like your camera, even be excited by it and how it works
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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    Cameras have to get out of the way ...
    A perfect tagline for every piece of photo gear we own!

    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Hendrix View Post
    Well, don't be so sure things will be perfectly smooth and easy with new 35mm DSLR's....

    Nikon tells PDN it is looking for a fix for D800 and D4 lock-up bug: Digital Photography Review

    Service Advisory


    I'm only half serious - I would never expect, nor more importantly, communicate the expectation that medium format is a nice, smooth ride and any perception of ripples is an exaggeration. It's not as easy, and it's not for everyone. Though I suspect that as the envelope gets pushed harder with 35mm DSLR, products "that just work" may become less the norm. This Nikon "bug" seems like something that years ago would have been unheard of.


    Steve Hendrix
    There is a very big difference between a product released a few days ago and a product that was released years ago being buggy.
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    Can't say I'm surprised.

    This only underscores the need to have a reputable dealer instead of trying to save a buck and buying elsewhere.

    Best of luck to you.
    This has nothing to do with having a reputable dealer or not.

    Problems have been with owned and rental gear. My decision was also based on the experience of others.

    Not being able to get a part of a current model camera from the manufacturer or through dealers is just plain ridiculous if you are dealing with high end professional gear.

    The irony is that I was on the verge of making an investment in more MF gear due to the fact that my celebrity portrait work is starting to pay back big time with advertising work. It seems that more and more is revolving around celebrity endorsement and editorials. When the client has deep pockets for the celebrity endorsements they also have deeper pockets for the photographer.

    I also like the idea of shooting with the same type of camera my client swings around his neck... makes it more about the photographer than the gear.
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by jsf View Post
    It is funny I was scanning some of my 8x10 paper negatives while reading this. I love the look of the paper neg. I found the ISO to be closer to 4, but, it is slow.
    Yup the iso is slooooow.

    I still have my 6,000 w/s flash heads and a battery of AS3000 Elinchrom packs from my 8x10 polaroid days.

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    Member JonMo's Avatar
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    I can understand your frustration.

    I never bought the DF, stuck with an old AFDIII and never used it much.

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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    I just got into MF tech cameras with a Cambo RS and a couple of Schneider lenses and was thinking of selling away my Nikon d700 and a whole array of lenses, I guess I shall hold on to the 24TSE and maybe the D800E will be a good match.
    I am an architectural photographer and am happy with my 5Dm2 and the 17/24TSE's, the move to MF was to get back to the ways of shooting on LF slowing down the entire process which may hopefully result in better pictures visually and not so much technically. I am still keeping my canon gear!!

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    "I also like the idea of shooting with the same type of camera my client swings around his neck... makes it more about the photographer than the gear."


    Exactly!

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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by harshdreams View Post
    I just got into MF tech cameras with a Cambo RS and a couple of Schneider lenses and was thinking of selling away my Nikon d700 and a whole array of lenses, I guess I shall hold on to the 24TSE and maybe the D800E will be a good match.
    I am an architectural photographer and am happy with my 5Dm2 and the 17/24TSE's, the move to MF was to get back to the ways of shooting on LF slowing down the entire process which may hopefully result in better pictures visually and not so much technically. I am still keeping my canon gear!!
    You don't need a camera to slow yourself down. There are times where I will do a shoot with 35mm DSLR and shoot only 20 shots over the whole shoot taking my time to make each shot count. Same thing even with MF polaroids.

    Here for example I did a complete portrait shoot with 5 8x8 cm polaroids.

    Here are 3 final shots used.








    I did a portrait shoot with Tommy Chong. I only took 12 shots for the whole sitting.... taking my time. Canon DSLR capable of several shots per second

    Here is the result:



    Same thing with Larry King



    Pretty much the same thing with the other 300 or so celebrity portraits I've done.

    Never let the top speed of your camera determine the rhythm of your shoot.
    If it can do 12 frames per second it is capable of doing 1 per minute too.
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    Here for example I did a complete portrait shoot with 5 8x8 cm polaroids.

    Here are 3 final shots used.





    These are fantastic! Which RZ lenses did you use for these shots Fred?

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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Never let the top speed of your camera determine the rhythm of your shoot.
    If it can do 12 frames per second it is capable of doing 1 per minute too.
    Thank you, wise words.. Shall remember that, brilliant work Fred!!

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    Senior Member Chris Giles's Avatar
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    Same thing with Larry King



    Pretty much the same thing with the other 300 or so celebrity portraits I've done.

    Never let the top speed of your camera determine the rhythm of your shoot.
    If it can do 12 frames per second it is capable of doing 1 per minute too.
    Now you're just showing off

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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by homeiss View Post
    These are fantastic! Which RZ lenses did you use for these shots Fred?
    Its 8 x 8 cm pola, so I would think its Fuji GX680 lenses .-)

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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnygoesdigital View Post
    Fred,

    I too, gave up MFD in favor of MF film and 35mm digital. I was so frustrated with the constant malfunctions in several camera's. While that was frustrating enough, what I didn't expect, was the nasty tone from a few GetDPI members about my complaints. I find that you've been quite respectful in your posts, and judging from your photography, i'd say MFD(Phase One) is going to regret not earning your loyalty...really good work!

    If and when MFD gets more realistic with it's pricing, reliability, and functionality, I might think about a demo, but for now the D800 is a game changer.
    Perhaps just a natural reaction based on counter experiences?

    To paint a whole category of photographic tools with anecdotal experiences feels a bit vindictive and maybe a tad self-righteous regardless of tone or the esteem of the photographer. While no one wants bad experiences, and we all have them eventually regardless of brand or category of tools ... it seems odd to repeatedly post specific threads that excruciatingly condemns in one breath while lauding new choices in the next.

    In short, we get it. We got it many threads ago. MFD doesn't work for everyone, and other choices may work better. Reporting frustrations in search of solutions is one thing, but to repeatedly post them is another.

    When I switched from an all Nikon system to Sony, I didn't post a "Goodbye Nikon" thread in the Nikon section recounting, in minute detail, all of the failures, horrible service experiences, and difficult post processing issues I had endured ... all in support of my new choice. And then repeat it all over and over and over and over in the Nikon section. What's the point of that?

    Suffice it to say that Nikon didn't work for me and now Sony does ... and I can say that AFTER 3 years of use, not speculating on it about a camera I had just chose to replace the Nikon. The personal justification came after years of proof, not a couple of days.

    Just a thought to lessen the inflammatory rhetoric and get on with exploring new tools without repeatedly condemning other tools that have worked, and continue to work, perfectly well for a good number of folks.

    -Marc
    Last edited by fotografz; 5th May 2012 at 05:58.
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    I think another frustrating reality for all of us is the inherent variability in much of the product we buy. This in addition to the wide variations in customer service we get. I have lenses that "everyone" knows should be dogs that are tac sharp and vice-versa! We do our best to research our equipment before purchase but in the end it's the sample we have that makes for our own experience.

    I agree the D800 looks to be a game changer and I have one on order. On the other hand, I don't expect an 80mp dslr anytime soon, either, so for high res landscape work MF still seems to be the best choice for me with a technical camera.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Hey if there was ONE camera system this forum would not have about 10 diffrent brands listed in it. It's really simple what works for one may not work for another. Also for every 1 compliant there could be hundreds of very satisfied folks as well. The problem is we are all individuals with different needs and styles we shoot everyday. One thing I learned in photography is never say never cause even myself I have bought Nikon on three totally separate time periods. I have both MF and 35 they serve diffrent things and for me having the tech cam and back is pure perfection in shooting. Than I have the D800 to do all the stuff the tech cam dont. Is it perfect far from it but very good. I worked 35 years to get to the tech cam level of perfection I personally am not giving that up. I may make adjustments as we all do but Im not very religious about gear anymore. Whatever works than go with it but really the true answer here is this whatever compromise your willing to accept is the one for you since there is not ONE system that can do it all. I have not had many issues with my MF kit over the years but sure I ran into a few frustrating moments. Frankly that's Murphy's law just spitting at you sometimes deal with it or get out. No shame in either. I will say I do care about folks getting in and out of MF because I do care about the format

    Fred good luck in your next setup.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Senior Member johnnygoesdigital's Avatar
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Forums are about exchanging ideas, questions and experiences. I make no excuse for my comments. I was dismayed at the quality and performance of those MFD cameras. I will not capitulate to an ideology because it's unpopular, or expensive. Perhaps, I lacked wisdom and judgement in my assessment of photographers whose opinions I thought I respected... that is, until they're offended. The curtain was pulled back to reveal more politics and a particular governance of ideas, whose comments towards me, seem more self serving than useful. Fred's expression and application of skill, and imagination with his lighting, and carefully selected models resonates with my idea of portraiture. Naturally, I wanted to know why he's giving up MFD. His reasons are the same as mine. I've toned down my frustration considerably and have tried to contribute in a useful way, but this topic is relevant to my past experience. I would appreciate it Marc, if you could consider this, as my admiration for your countless contributions to understanding photography and technique have elevated many to an awareness with intellect. I thank you for that.

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    Senior Member Steve Hendrix's Avatar
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    There is a very big difference between a product released a few days ago and a product that was released years ago being buggy.

    I know Fred. I agree. I wasn't making an argument, only a very small point. That I expect 35mm to lose some of its "never had any issues" perceived legacy as they push harder on that format. I also expect them to resolve those issues faster than medium format ever will.

    I agree with others that the bottom line on the thread is that shooting medium format can be difficult in numerous ways - compared to 35mm. For some, that difficulty vs how far they'll get with 35mm quality isn't worth the effort. I don't think anyone has any argument with that. But not everyone will agree with going down that path either.


    Steve Hendrix
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    After dealing with the lack of reliability (camera lockups and erratic behavior, Phase One), the primitive bodies and the lousy viewfinder/auto focus combination I absolutely had enough of medium format digital. You can add to that poor customer service from Phase One.

    In comparison I needed to service an out of production Hasselblad V lens. Three days and it was on it's way back home, despite needing replacement parts.

    I won't go into the flakey performance of the Phase One DF. Both mine and rented ones. The Phase One AF was slightly better.
    Why not get a Hasselblad or Sinar back for your Hasselblad?

    ...there is more to MFD than Phase!

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    I think one of Fred's points that got bypassed is the relative ease of use. Anybody who has shot MF digital of any sort can tell you it is not usually as simple as picking up your camera and shooting. Correction -- it can be that simple but you won't generally get the optimal result unless you pay attention to a few details, details that may vary by system chosen. Anyway, by comparison, picking up a DSLR and just shooting and getting great results is pretty common. The separator I see here is we now have that DSLR convenience, speed and light-weight portability in a package that generates 36MP of essentially MF caliber image quality. Moreover, you can own an entire outfit for about the same cost as a naked body (no back) and a single lens from P, M or H.

    Couple the convenience with the cost and the D800 is a compelling argument to say the least. But if you need the ultimate image quality regardless of workflow and price, MF digital is where you will end up. OTOH, if you can live with results that are say 85% of that ultimate MF IQ, and/or are willing to accept that level to gain the added convenience, then things get murky.

    Sometimes "good enough" is, and for those folks MF now seems a much tougher sale...
    Jack
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    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    It seems quality lenses for the D800 are the weak link in the chain at the moment. The Zeiss lenses are not even enough according to some reviews. But as Jack says, what is good enough for some, makes others turn towards MF.

    It is an exciting time to be in photography!
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Well we are all different but I have not had a problem with my H4D-50 since I purchased it nearly two years ago and regard it as head and shoulders above any 35mm digital camera I have owned or used. On the other hand, I have not tried a D800 (moved to Sony when the A900 came out) but the samples look great.
    Quentin Bargate
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    In fairness, the DB's themselves were never the issue - It was always the bundled camera itself. MFD will gain a huge market share...again, if the camera's are up to par with the rest of the technology.

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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Having gone to MFDB a couple of years ago, I share the frustrations that others have had - any interruption in work, no matter how infrequent, is upsetting. That said, the quality is so good that any interest in lesser setups has disappeared. I keep looking for some way to get both ease of use/portability/smaller size with the IQ of MFDB. Still looking. The D800 goes a long long way to that, as does an M9. Not sure if there are others, but perhaps they will emerge.

    And yes, MFDB isn't always forgiving: you have to be willing to get smacked by the gear every once in a while, and some shots just don't make it. Its part of the challenge.

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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Fred

    I remember a time when MF was easy. This was when I used my Pentax 6x7 and it was nearly as fast as my minoltas I used back then. But then came Digital. In the beginning there were tethered backs only. After some years they got off the leash and now after roughly 17 years we are at a workflowpoint where digital KB has been maybe 7-5 years ago. There is a simple reason: the R&D budgets of a Canon or Nikon operation are probably 10 or more times larger per year than what was spent for MF on all makers for the last ten years. Of course because they sell several 100000 x more cameras (though at a smaller price)than MF.
    If this would not show it would be crazy- or all Japanese Engineers would be stupid. They are not and no matter what can be done from a creative side and clever marketing for MF there is a point which was to come, and this was the appearance of the D800. This is only the first one, it will not be the last one and the ones to come will be even better.

    As I have said "some" times before, it was clear it would happen.
    Nobody wanted to hear it. Well there still are the large backs and the best resolution. This will work for some more time. But when the current technical devellopment will continue, there are about a 2-3 years maximum left.

    Hartblei makes lenses that feed these 35mm chips with what they need. I already see what the responses are. We also offer outstanding wideangle capabilities that will help to keep MF alive. But there must be more.

    If the MF Backmakers do not wake up now - SOON - this will be lethal.

    I welcome that this thread was started. You are a working Pro and you show that this matters to you. Now lets hope, our scandinavian friends do listen - and - react soon.

    Regards
    Stefan
    because photography is more than technology - and " as we have done this all the time "
    facebook:hcam.de - www.hcam.de - www.hartblei.de
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnygoesdigital View Post
    Forums are about exchanging ideas, questions and experiences. I make no excuse for my comments. I was dismayed at the quality and performance of those MFD cameras. I will not capitulate to an ideology because it's unpopular, or expensive. Perhaps, I lacked wisdom and judgement in my assessment of photographers whose opinions I thought I respected... that is, until they're offended. The curtain was pulled back to reveal more politics and a particular governance of ideas, whose comments towards me, seem more self serving than useful. Fred's expression and application of skill, and imagination with his lighting, and carefully selected models resonates with my idea of portraiture. Naturally, I wanted to know why he's giving up MFD. His reasons are the same as mine. I've toned down my frustration considerably and have tried to contribute in a useful way, but this topic is relevant to my past experience. I would appreciate it Marc, if you could consider this, as my admiration for your countless contributions to understanding photography and technique have elevated many to an awareness with intellect. I thank you for that.
    Again, I do appreciate that you had a frustrating experience, in turn you should recognize that those that do not agree aren't going to just sit there mute. Did you actually expect that to happen?

    Mostly that is because others haven't had such experiences, but of course you don't see "Why I am sticking with MFD" threads mashing Nikon in the Nikon section either, do you?

    I've worked with my H MFD gear for many years now, they have paid for themselves and earned their keep, performed flawlessly with few exceptions. Clients love the results, and don't care what I use ... they trust I'll use what is correct for the job. I just finished 3 HD TV commercials using MFD stills and some very creative editing where we went to the limits of push-ins, tight crops and pans. Client bought it on the first edit, which is pretty rare.

    That is my experience in a nut-shell. I don't need to disparage something else to support that.

    I see little evidence of an "Ideological conspiracy", maybe some passion in what one believes, based on what they see with their eyes as opposed to a passel of words.

    You admire Fred's work, good for you. I admire about 10,000 photographer's work, and don't care what gear they use. Using their gear choices isn't going to make me them.

    My favorite photograph of Jack's was shot on film, and damned if can remember what camera or lens he used ... nor does it matter The most creative and inventive photographer I know, and I know quite a few, uses a Contax 645 and 22 meg Phase back, or a Leica M9 .... that is all he ever uses. Etc. etc., etc.

    When I think of that, it makes these sort of debates seem rather silly.

    -Marc
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by Willow View Post
    Its 8 x 8 cm pola, so I would think its Fuji GX680 lenses .-)
    That's right.

    Fuji Gx680IIIs with the 180mm 3.2 shot @ 3.2

    Here is another shot taken with the 180mm 3.2
    This was processed deliberately for strong grain
    and inmo still makes the lens shine....



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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by dick View Post
    Why not get a Hasselblad or Sinar back for your Hasselblad?

    ...there is more to MFD than Phase!
    Sold my Hasselblad V System years ago.

    Used the Hasselblad 110mm F2 on my Phase One cameras.

    The lens is fantastic and was the most stable on the Phase One cameras..... rather ironic.

    For the type of look I got with the 110mm I prefer to shoot film with the Fuji gx680 and the 180 3.2 or if I'm going digital I can get a similar look with the D800 and 85mm 1.4 or the 85mm PC-E

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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by Stefan Steib View Post
    Fred

    I remember a time when MF was easy. This was when I used my Pentax 6x7 and it was nearly as fast as my minoltas I used back then. But then came Digital. In the beginning there were tethered backs only. After some years they got off the leash and now after roughly 17 years we are at a workflowpoint where digital KB has been maybe 7-5 years ago. There is a simple reason: the R&D budgets of a Canon or Nikon operation are probably 10 or more times larger per year than what was spent for MF on all makers for the last ten years. Of course because they sell several 100000 x more cameras (though at a smaller price)than MF.
    If this would not show it would be crazy- or all Japanese Engineers would be stupid. They are not and no matter what can be done from a creative side and clever marketing for MF there is a point which was to come, and this was the appearance of the D800. This is only the first one, it will not be the last one and the ones to come will be even better.

    As I have said "some" times before, it was clear it would happen.
    Nobody wanted to hear it. Well there still are the large backs and the best resolution. This will work for some more time. But when the current technical devellopment will continue, there are about a 2-3 years maximum left.

    Hartblei makes lenses that feed these 35mm chips with what they need. I already see what the responses are. We also offer outstanding wideangle capabilities that will help to keep MF alive. But there must be more.

    If the MF Backmakers do not wake up now - SOON - this will be lethal.

    I welcome that this thread was started. You are a working Pro and you show that this matters to you. Now lets hope, our scandinavian friends do listen - and - react soon.

    Regards
    Stefan
    Stefan, I think this is somewhat unfair assessment of the achievements made by MFD companies, which largely depends on applications.

    For me, moving to 35mm as the sole platform, no matter what meg, is a non-option ... I can't hack 1/250 top sync speed. Where are leaf-shutter lenses for 35mm cameras? I can put my back on a tech camera with full movements and no compromise optics, that has never worked very well with 35mm versions. I work with a waist-level finder, those don't exist for 35mm anymore. I do not like working all day looking though a squiny viewfinder ... been there done that, and so on.

    It also surmises that sensor makers like Dalsa are asleep at the wheel, and the same abilities can't be placed in a larger sensor.

    There is a lot of hype about the IQ of the D800 ... which I admit I am having a very difficult time seeing, even downloading files and playing with them. I'm sure it is there, I just can't see it. That worries me more than the future of MFD or anything else My old H3D/31 files look better to me ...

    Heck, maybe it's time to move from the Sony since I don't like where they are going with their EVF technologies, and get a D800 and a couple of the better lenses ... if I could get one that is, seems everyone here bought them all

    -Marc

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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    After dealing with the lack of reliability (camera lockups and erratic behavior, Phase One), the primitive bodies and the lousy viewfinder/auto focus combination I absolutely had enough of medium format digital. You can add to that poor customer service from Phase One.

    Several things brought me to this decision and I'd like to share it here.

    I needed a small replacement part from Phase One. The little plastic spacer/guide that fits between the Phase One Body and the vertical grip.

    After nearly a month of trying to get it from Phase One or Mamiya I still do not have either the part or an answer. Multiple phone calls to phase one and various dealers got me no where. Phase one just went and sent me the wrong part to get rid of me. Keep in mind I had sent them a photograph of the part I needed..... so I am having the part machined and made out of metal instead of plastic.

    In comparison I needed to service an out of production Hasselblad V lens. Three days and it was on it's way back home, despite needing replacement parts.

    I won't go into the flakey performance of the Phase One DF. Both mine and rented ones. The Phase One AF was slightly better.

    The final decision was after shooting once with a Nikon D800, the 50mm 1.4, the 85mm 1.4G and the 85mm TS. The quality and ergonomics of this camera is quite something. Shadow performance beats even MF digital. The difference is more than I expected. Resolution is so good it's almost ridiculous that it comes out of a little camera you can swing around your neck. It's not quite what I have seen from a higher end MFD, but the sharpest MFD lenses while being very very sharp, they don't have anywhere near the beautiful out of focus rendering of the Nikon 85mm 1.4 or the 85mm TS.
    Shooting wide open with the Nikon is a breeze with either live view (best for the tilt shift lens) or the reflex viewfinder.
    Shooting tilt shift fashion and portraits with live view from the D800 on an 11 inch tablet screen makes MFD feel like something from last century.
    Shooting ultra shallow depth of field on MFD with a subject moving around is just too much of a pain in the *** and just not reliable enough if the feature you want in focus is not in the center of the frame.
    In comparison I get a close to 90% hit rate manually focusing an old waist level viewfinder MF film camera, with film or a digital back.

    One other really nice thing with the D800 is running video into an HDMI monitor to finely tune optical effects such as shooting with desired lens flare or through partial diffusion or through out of focus foreground elements.
    Priceless. The client was very impressed with the rig. Camera and monitor mounted on a movie rig. Using video, not live view is better for absolute high quality image preview. Best of all you don't even have to shut down the video feed to shoot a still.

    35mm DSLR digital and true large medium format with film IMHO is a much more powerful combination that Medium format digital. The combination covers a larger range of performance and visual quality than MF digital. The combination also costs about 1/4 of the price. Looks like I might have to buy another car or designer furniture for the office for a tax write off. Actually I'll be putting the investment that ws going to go into the latest and greatest MF digital into a production van and "pied a terre" in Europe.

    Arrivederci MFD.... oops actually Adios...

    See you in the Nikon section further down the road with some examples....
    Fred,
    I believe satisfaction and frustration are very close together.

    You needed a plastic part and didnt get response for 4 weeks.
    I have a digital MF-camera which would allready be out of guarantee and still get it repaired without charge. And even better I received a replacement camera which I can use until I get mine back. I never received such a good service for any 35mm camera.

    But overall I am sure that the Nikon bodies would be debugged better than MF-cameras - if you think how many Nikon camera bodies are sold and how few MF-cameras.

    I can not share you statemnt regaring lenses though. I am still missing a 50mm lens for Nikon which draws anything close to a 80mm Xenonar or 70mm S-Leica lens. And while the 105DC Nikon or the 85/1.4 are very fine lenses I dont see how they would be better (for my taste) than a Zeiss 110/2.0, Leica 120/2.5 or a Mamiya 150mm lens.
    Of course there are much more lenses available for 35mm.

    I still can understand your reaction. Sometimes its just too much and then one has to make a decision or a change.

    Adn no question that what we see from the D800 looks very good.

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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by darr View Post
    It seems quality lenses for the D800 are the weak link in the chain at the moment. The Zeiss lenses are not even enough according to some reviews. But as Jack says, what is good enough for some, makes others turn towards MF.

    It is an exciting time to be in photography!
    Nikon and Canon have made significant progress in lens design. Just take a look at the look and results of the Nikon 85mm 1.4g with nanocrystal coatings. Nikon has been very upfront on lens recommendations for the D800.

    Some very out standing phase one lenses. The 150mm 2.8 mamiya being absolutly extrodinary despite quite a bit of vignetting wide open

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    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    Nikon and Canon have made significant progress in lens design. Just take a look at the look and results of the Nikon 85mm 1.4g with nanocrystal coatings. Nikon has been very upfront on lens recommendations for the D800.

    Some very out standing phase one lenses. The 150mm 2.8 mamiya being absolutly extrodinary despite strong vignetting wide open
    Thanks Fred for the info. I will be upgrading to the D800 as soon as the rush to buy slows.
    "Creativity takes courage." ~ Henri Matisse
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I work with a waist-level finder, those don't exist for 35mm anymore. I do not like working all day looking though a squiny viewfinder ... been there done that, and so on.....

    ....... My old H3D/31 files look better to me ...

    -Marc
    And how exactly does the waist level finder work when shooting vertical shots?

    I have found that the viewfinder of 645 cameras are a bit of a squinting deal whatever you use. 645 is just a bigger postage stamp.

    I do like going to and from a pentaprism and a waist level finder. With the new 35mm DSLR cameras you also have the option of massive viewfinder by using live view with realistic color.

    My favorite view finder of them all is the Fuji gx680 that offered so many options and looking through the mirror prism and the large eyepiece with a brightscreen installed is hard to beat. My assistant calls it the IMax viewfinder. Nicest thing about this viewfinder is that you do not either have to hunch over a waist level finder or shove your nose into your digital back.



    I would love a 6x8 sensor for the Fuji.....

  45. #45
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    And how exactly does the waist level finder work when shooting vertical shots?

    I have found that the viewfinder of 645 cameras are a bit of a squinting deal whatever you use. 645 is just a bigger postage stamp.

    I do like going to and from a pentaprism and a waist level finder. With the new 35mm DSLR cameras you also have the option of massive viewfinder by using live view with realistic color.

    My favorite view finder of them all is the Fuji gx680 that offered so many options and looking through the mirror prism and the large eyepiece with a brightscreen installed is hard to beat. My assistant calls it the IMax viewfinder. Nicest thing about this viewfinder is that you do not either have to hunch over a waist level finder or shove your nose into your digital back.



    I would love a 6x8 sensor for the Fuji.....
    Yep, that Fuji is awesome! My buddy uses one in his studio all the time. I wonder if all this hub-bub will spur on development of a larger sensor? A 56 X 56 sensor for the HY6 would have been something else. I fear that all the bigger medium format cameras except the RZ are on the endangered list or gone.

    Nope, the WLF doesn't work in close portrait mode but I like it for environmental portraits, and it is a life saver when the camera is very low, or if it is up high, pointed straight down on a product shot ... not everything is a close portrait shoot.

    I know live view on 35mm DSLRs. I don't like shooting with the camera at arms length, and I have to put on glasses to see it ... but it's good on a tripod for zoom in manual focus ... still have to put my glasses on to do that also. My preview in the studio isn't 3" it is a 30 screen ... with exactly the colors seen at size.

    Different this different that. Whatever works for you.

    -Marc

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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnygoesdigital View Post
    Fred,

    I too, gave up MFD in favor of MF film and 35mm digital. I was so frustrated with the constant malfunctions in several camera's. While that was frustrating enough, what I didn't expect, was the nasty tone from a few GetDPI members about my complaints. I find that you've been quite respectful in your posts, and judging from your photography, i'd say MFD(Phase One) is going to regret not earning your loyalty...really good work!

    If and when MFD gets more realistic with it's pricing, reliability, and functionality, I might think about a demo, but for now the D800 is a game changer.
    I couldn't agree more.
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    You know, until about a year ago, I chased after the best camera Nikon had to offer every 2 years. When I got the D3S, I felt the camera I needed had arrived and to this day for weddings, I firmly believe it's the best camera for my style of shooting with the perfect amount of pixels. With portraits, I decided to take the leap to MFD in December first with an H1 P25+ (Awesome setup, but I hated using Capture One). I got a great deal on an H3D 22 and finally felt like I found a camera that worked with me. I feel so much more connected with my subjects now and it's forced me to slow down considerably. The results are better for me be cause the overall user experience is more enjoyable. Hasselblad has been truly amazing to me and helped me every step of the way to get comfortable with the system. The HC II 120 f/4 is the only lens I decided to keep for my work and it's been thrilling. Through limited testing the D800 is revolutionary. The images are stunning as well, but I don't enjoy the experience nearly as much as standing behind my hasselblad system. Hopefully it stays that way. I just wish I could attach my 22 DB to an H4D =)

    Shoot what works for you folks. that's what matters most in my honest opinion.

    Cheers,
    Jeff

    This is from my first session in my new studio this past Friday.
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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Hello everyone!

    A bit off-topic, but I'm about to get myself a Mamiya DF to replace my AFD III. Is it really that buggy of a camera? I'd appreciate comments that go either way...


    TIA!

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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by Willow View Post
    Its 8 x 8 cm pola, so I would think its Fuji GX680 lenses .-)
    Quote Originally Posted by FredBGG View Post
    That's right.

    Fuji Gx680IIIs with the 180mm 3.2 shot @ 3.2
    Thanks Willow and Fred. I missed the 8x8 cm part. I just saw the cropped corners and immediately thought RZ.

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    Re: Good bye to Medium Format Digital...

    Quote Originally Posted by JasonQuibilan View Post
    Hello everyone!

    A bit off-topic, but I'm about to get myself a Mamiya DF to replace my AFD III. Is it really that buggy of a camera? I'd appreciate comments that go either way...


    TIA!
    I've found mine to be "fairly" reliable.

    I've had two issues, one a sticky shutter issue in the LS lenses that turned out to be a firmware issue that was solved...I have to say though, it took a lot of effort on my part to find the problem, neither my dealer or phase one admitted what it was, and when I wanted to send the camera in for them to find the problem, phase one refused to even look at the camera unless I payed for the replacement of the leaf shutters (in two lenses) in advance!
    I refused, as I found quite a few people with similar problems that all turned out to be firmware problems. I found that issue to be very frustrating and I lost quite a bit of trust in phase ones way of dealing with their customers.

    the second issue was the camera shutter that blew out two weeks after the warranty on the camera body expired. bad luck on my part? maybe, I don't know anyone else who's camera shutter went out on them.

    otherwise, no problems with the camera...knocking on wood.

    best-

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