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Thread: Phase DF and focusing

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    Super Duper
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    Phase DF and focusing




    80mm f/8 1/125 ISO50

    As many of you already know I switched using a Leica M9 returning to the Phase DF as my walk around camera November last year. It's 7-months and countless images later (although if you really must know I can provide a near exact total). Up until March I had been using 3-lenses as a primary setup to compliment my 3-lens Cambo WRS kit of 35, 72, and 120mm with a Phase 80, 150 and Mamiya 300. March I added a wonderful Mamiya 120 MF macro lens. Side note is that the entire kit was provided by my dealer Capture Integration. That is after testing, I then paid for it.



    80mm f/2.8 1/250 ISO50

    There's been a few here who for whatever the reason think digital medium format isn't any good and I seen a long list of complaints of how the DF just isn't any good. I don't know about others however after 7-months and close to 50GB of images I'm just as pleased now as I was when it was delivered to test.




    80mm f/2.8 1/250 ISO50

    I added the new battery in the DF while visiting Dave Gallagher in March and that very same battery is still sitting in the body. I haven't needed to charge it and have had no issues using it.

    I will confess to doing a stupid thing on my part. I use the P65 on both my WRS and DF and I switch the shutter settings according to the camera. I spent last week in Jackson WY in meetings and shooting landscape switching back and forth between the 2-systems and forgot to change my setting which when moving back to the DF caused a problem which in turn almost caused me a meltdown until I stopped and thought it out. Just goes to prove you really need to know and be familiar with your gear.



    80mm f/2.8 1/250 ISO50

    All this brings me to the topic of focusing with the DF. We had stopped by Jenny Lake in the Grand Teton Nation Park our last shooting day. I had the P65 reattached to the DF and had the Phase One 80mm lens. We stopped and walked by a rock outcropping where we found the little guy included here. No processing has been down other than to resize each original file to fit into a Jpeg and then including a 100% crop of the original image. I'll readily agree that the first image sucks. Call it buck fever. You can also call it operator error. Anyway look at the samples and I think you can see there's little to no problems focusing. I'm within 3-feet of the little guy and he refused to stop moving, darting back and forth in the rock crevasse behind him.



    80mm f/2.8 1/250 ISO50

    I almost forgot to add - these were all auto focus.

    Don

    I'll be the first to say that not all of these are super clear/sharp. I'll also add that I could of fudged a couple of images and done some processing which would have sharpen them however I wanted as always to share real world actual hands on experience vs anecdotal.
    Don Libby
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    Senior Member malmac's Avatar
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    Re: Phase DF and focusing

    Don


    I admit I am a member who has in the past expressed a level of dis-satisfaction with the AF on the DF camera. After some time with the camera I have adopted an approach of deciding when to use AF and when to use MF and all the other strategies one uses to secure image quality.

    Here is an image taken about six weeks ago, hand held using auto focus. I agree that the camera has probably copped more flack than it deserves, but I guess what is good about the forum is that all different views are expressed and we have the opportunity to consider the merits and applicability of the views.

    If anyone shoot DF has good suggestions on how to improve the performance of the AF in various situations, I am all ears.


    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/member...377-detail.jpg
    100% crop. No post production on this image.

    Mal

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    Senior Member malmac's Avatar
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    Re: Phase DF and focusing



    Here is the 100% crop

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Phase DF and focusing

    Here is the secret handshake on focusing. Double tap. Hit focus release tap again shoot
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Phase DF and focusing

    Guy's remark reminded me what I learned shooting the M9. I added a button on the shutter release of the M9 which allowed me (at least in my mind) better control over slower speeds. I screwed the button into the shutter release of the DF and found I felt the same level of control as the M9.
    Don Libby
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    Subscriber and Workshop Member MGrayson's Avatar
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    Re: Phase DF and focusing

    I'd love to have better control of my kids. Would that button work on children?

    --Matt
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    Re: Phase DF and focusing

    To be candid, I feel that this set of images reflects very poorly on the accuracy/effectiveness of the AF in the DF. There is only one image in the series with a close up of the chipmunk that has what I would consider acceptable sharpness: Number 8.

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    Member Aryan Aqajani's Avatar
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    Re: Phase DF and focusing

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    Guy's remark reminded me what I learned shooting the M9. I added a button on the shutter release of the M9 which allowed me (at least in my mind) better control over slower speeds. I screwed the button into the shutter release of the DF and found I felt the same level of control as the M9.
    I do agree with you Don! I did the same thing the moment I had my hands on my 645 AFD III body! Very useful!
    Aryan Aqajani - Photographer in Melbourne, Australia
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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Phase DF and focusing

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    Guy's remark reminded me what I learned shooting the M9. I added a button on the shutter release of the M9 which allowed me (at least in my mind) better control over slower speeds. I screwed the button into the shutter release of the DF and found I felt the same level of control as the M9.
    You mean that "camera nipple?" Eh, I'm still playing with one on my DF, and don't really like it. Maybe not the same nipple as on your M9. I haven't found the nipple button to help me with shooting at slower shutter speeds or with focusing, but then again, I've been shooting with this camera body since the original Mamiya 645AF was released, and am very familiar with this camera system.

    I guess that just goes to show, there's no substitute for really knowing your equipment, except for maybe a camera nipple.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Phase DF and focusing

    Ken's right as usual and I agree there's no substitution for knowing your equipment. I normally spend a week or more getting to know something before I take it out for real and definitely before I share my thoughts on it.

    We all have different shooting styles and needs and it comes to no real surprise that he's having a hard time with his camera nipple. He shoots more indoors in his studio and I shoot 100% outdoors. I've found the nipple (okay there's a name to this thing I just forgot it) to give me a slightly better feeling of the shutter especially when wearing gloves.

    I also agree that #8 close up may be the sharpest however there's a couple others that are close enough that a little post will bring them up.

    Don
    Don Libby
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    Re: Phase DF and focusing

    For me, I love the Phase One back, but I hate the DF camera. For the last year, I mostly used the camera for landscapes, so sturdy tripods, cable releases, stopped down lenses and mostly manual focus was the norm. But lately, I've been doing a series of photos of local artists and entertainers and relying on auto-focus most of the time.

    Yes, I can get good focus from it, but I sometimes also get bad focus. I can show plenty of examples where it focused correctly, but I also have some lost shots where it was off. I have focus set to accurate, and I use the double or triple tap routine Guy describes, and it still misses at times.

    So, combine unreliable auto focus with occasional lockups, especially when using mirror lockup, and I really dislike the camera! (I'm still waiting for the firmware update Phase One promised last fall and expected to have before the end of the year.) Its only redeeming value is that it connects good lenses to a fantastic back. Otherwise, a $600 Canon or Nikon entry-level dSLR easily outperforms the DF in features, reliability and quality.

    Just my opinion, yours may be different.
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    Member padams's Avatar
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    Re: Phase DF and focusing

    I use the DF for pretty much everything (events, portraits, landscapes etc.). Other than the "double tap" that Guy talks about, the other thing I did to greatly improve my focusing was to switch the focus area from "Multi" to "spot". (page 32 in the manual).

    I've found that with the larger multi focus area, the DF would "miss" more often than not. When shooting portraits it would miss the eyes and pick up an ear, etc. But after switching to the smaller spot focus area I can pinpoint what I want in focus (usually the eyes) and then re-position.

    I pray that the next version of the DF has reposition-able spot focusing zones like Canon and Nikon do.

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    Member Jay Emm's Avatar
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    Re: Phase DF and focusing

    Quote Originally Posted by padams View Post
    ...I pray that the next version of the DF has reposition-able spot focusing zones like Canon and Nikon do...
    If I was you, I would pray for something better than this. What I mean is that the "True Focus" system inside the H4-D has for me, proved remarkable. You focus with the single centre spot then re-compose, and the pan/tilt sensors work out how to correct the focus as quickly as you can take the picture. Time after time I get razor sharp eyes that are away from the centre of the frame after re-composing.

    I'm told that Phase One have patents on various uses of the tilt and pan sensors inside the camera, so maybe a new P1 body will use this data in a similar or even better way than the H4D does. To me, True Focus is a wonder of technology, and better for me that reposition-able focus points on my Nikon.

    (the attached example isn't particularly far off the centre point, and the pics have been had some sharpening and retouching - but you can't sharpen a blurry image so they remain a good demonstration of true-focus doing it's thing as I focused the single focus point on his right eye, re-composed, and took the shot. As you can see, that eye remains sharp. And it's not all DOF helping me here - this was at f/6.8 and the falloff starts on his cheek with sideburns already out of the plane of focus. Anyway, fingers crossed that P1 come up with something along similar lines - it's very clever technology)
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    Senior Member Nathan W. Lediard's Avatar
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    Re: Phase DF and focusing

    Jay, that is exactly what I was going to say... the true focus on the hassy is amazing, even hand held wide open f2.8 close up and personal.. nails it every time... for people photography the Hassy is th ebees knees, and I rarely get an out of focus shot, I was used to canon 1 series AF and this is way better, like light years better, slower yes, but more accurate and for portraits i will take that every time thankyou.
    I looked at the phase/DF solution when getting the Hassy, but the accuracy of the true focus sold it for me.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Phase DF and focusing

    Depends on the lens as well, takes me about 5 shots to get accurate focus with the 120 Macro (outside of macro zone) but the 80mm Schneider seems to get it right pretty much first time.
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

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