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Thread: My Journey from 35mm Digital to MFD and a Technical Camera

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    Member Richard Osbourne's Avatar
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    My Journey from 35mm Digital to MFD and a Technical Camera

    Hello GetDPI Folks!

    I've been a lurker for a while, wondering whether to move from my Canons. All your contributions have been immensely helpful in the maze of technicalities - thanks to all of you.

    I figured I could give something back, so here's an account of my recent journey from 35mm digital to MFD.

    Richard Osbourne Art Images | A New Camera! The Odyssey from 35mm Digital to Medium Format Digital Photography

    Hope it alleviates some pain for those still sitting on the fence.

    best wishes

    Richard
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    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: My Journey from 35mm Digital to MFD and a Technical Camera

    Welcome to the world of MFD Richard!
    Interesting article to say the least. Your experience with some of the gear is worthy of sharing for sure!

    Kind regards,
    Darr ~ an Alpa Max user
    "Creativity takes courage." ~ Henri Matisse
    Darlene Almeda, photoscapes.com
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    Re: My Journey from 35mm Digital to MFD and a Technical Camera

    Hi Richard and welcome to GetDpi. I too made a switch from shooting landscape/nature with a Canon (1DsII) to medium format. So far I've used a P30+, P45+ P65+ and now an IQ160.


    Don
    Don Libby
    Iron Creek Photography
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    Member Richard Osbourne's Avatar
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    Re: My Journey from 35mm Digital to MFD and a Technical Camera

    Thanks Darr, Don

    Yes, it's certainly been an intense journey. And not over yet either - it's an ongoing consideration, though I don't want to keep changing as the workflow implications are a bit overwhelming. Once I've mastered C1 and technical camera working generally, I'm sure it'll be a bit easier.



    Quote Originally Posted by darr View Post
    Welcome to the world of MFD Richard!
    Interesting article to say the least. Your experience with some of the gear is worthy of sharing for sure!

    Kind regards,
    Darr ~ an Alpa Max user

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    Re: My Journey from 35mm Digital to MFD and a Technical Camera

    Good read!
    I am not a painter, nor an artist. Therefore I can see straight, and that may be my undoing. - Alfred Stieglitz

    Website: http://www.timelessjewishart.com
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    Re: My Journey from 35mm Digital to MFD and a Technical Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    Hi Richard and welcome to GetDpi. I too made a switch from shooting landscape/nature with a Canon (1DsII) to medium format. So far I've used a P30+, P45+ P65+ and now an IQ160.


    Don
    I'm right behind you Don! My P65+ arrived today!!
    www.rgaphoto.com
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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: My Journey from 35mm Digital to MFD and a Technical Camera

    I just spent a week shooting two D800's full time - one my full spectrum Astro converted D800 and the other a standard D800, both with Zeiss ZF.2 glass. This was a long exposure / night shooting trip and so these were my weapons of choice vs my IQ160 & DF/Alpa that I'd rather be using.

    Bottom line for me was this - the D800 is a very very competent 35mm camera system with extreme versatility. The Zeiss glass is gorgeous (IMHO). The images were technically great with superb detail, nice colour and super resolution.

    However, truthfully, I really hated going back to using 2:3 image ratio and I just didn't "gel" with the D800 at all. Maybe that's a format thing because I much preferred the D4 I got to try (I've always been a D1/D2x/D3/D3s/D3x guy ....).

    On my way home I spent some time shooting with my DF/IQ160 again and it was so much nicer composing 4:3 ratio, using the DF (which I normally loathe) and Phase glass, and generally shooting with the bigger camera. Sure it doesn't have a fraction of the capabilities for long exposure, high ISO and lens flexibility of the Nikon but it was so much "nicer" to use and the images seem less 'digital' to me.

    I didn't have time to shoot the Alpa this trip but even the DF outfit was so much more pleasurable to use. Normally I avoid using my DF when I can shoot with the Alpa!

    These may seem very emotional terms for the shooting experience but this thread reminded me of my own journey to medium format which I can't currently contemplate changing. I'll continue to use the D800 outfit and maybe it'll grow on me more but I somehow doubt it. I bought it for specific uses and for those it is superb but my true love is still shooting with my MFDB.

    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"
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    Member Richard Osbourne's Avatar
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    Re: My Journey from 35mm Digital to MFD and a Technical Camera

    Hello Graham

    Very interesting to hear your thoughts about the D800. I'd have to agree with everything you said about format and about the camera style - I used all the 1Ds cameras and loved them to bits, but have not enjoyed using the 5DII (used for weight reasons, plus better low light capability).

    I'm currently in a major dilemma about the way to proceed with all the other shots that the Cambo/P45+ can't do - telephoto details, grab shots, macro, night shots, live-view, low light, auto-focus work. Do I sell ALL the Canon gear and just bite the bullet on a D800E and new glass (with all the expense, exhaustive set-up and field tests), knowing it can do pretty much everything very competently, or do I try to make it work with a 645AF system with all its extensive limitations? The colours from the P45+, the sharpness and the format are all so much better than DSLR's but, like you, I don't feel like I'm taking a proper photograph with D800 size cameras - they're like electronic toys.

    Decisions, decisions. If you have any direct comparisons at full-size you can share, I'd love to see them, as it's weighing heavily on me.

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    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: My Journey from 35mm Digital to MFD and a Technical Camera

    Richard, why not have more than one tool?

    I use an Alpa MFD as my choice for everything except portraiture and macro. I use a D700 for portraits and an Arca Swiss ML 2 for table top/macro studio stuff. I honestly could not use one system for everything. My D700 gets the less use of any of my cameras -- I had a portrait studio for 15 years so guess what I gravitate away from since closing the studio and moving on to other projects -- bingo, portrait work!

    I read Graham's post and I totally relate with him. The process I share with my Alpa Max is I guess akin to why some people fish, etc. I am "one" with that camera. Not everyone gets this, but there are some that do. (I highly recommend the book: Sparks of Genius: The Thirteen Thinking Tools of the World's Most Creative People for those that want to understand it better).

    When I gave up 4x5 after the demise of Polaroid 55, I tried returning to the Hasselblad 500 series since I shot that system for 20 years, but it was not the same. I returned to 4x5 again, but tried in-house film processing and scanning to help fill the void I was feeling. Eventually the scanning and film processing brought it to a tearful dread (I am female) . Then I realized it was the lenses and the process I shared with the 4x5 that I was craving. This is how I came into MFD and it was just the fix I needed.
    "Creativity takes courage." ~ Henri Matisse
    Darlene Almeda, photoscapes.com

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    Member Richard Osbourne's Avatar
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    Re: My Journey from 35mm Digital to MFD and a Technical Camera

    Darr,
    I had exactly that - one excellent tool that covered everything - with the 1DsIII. Unfortunately, my needs changed and so did the gear. The trouble with being a landscape photographer is that there's only so much you can travel with and carry. I'm happy to have 2 systems with me, but 3 is getting a little bit much, know what I mean? :-)

    At one point I really loved using a Pentax 67 and a Fotoman 617 - two systems, one type of film, all fairly light and no post-processing. Ah, heaven! Just send the trannies off for drum scanning after a quick tour on the lightbox. I saw a video of Joe Cornish with his Linhof Techno and IQ180 recently - he said one of the main reasons he got it was to reduce post-processing. I'm still working on that with Capture 1. But I don't think there's any way back for me into film, so I have to find a way to capture the magic with new systems.

    I've got one sorted out. Just a question of what the other will be. I *really* wish Canon had an answer to the D800 on the way.

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: My Journey from 35mm Digital to MFD and a Technical Camera

    I'm with Darr - horses for courses.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Osbourne View Post
    Darr,
    I had exactly that - one excellent tool that covered everything - with the 1DsIII. Unfortunately, my needs changed and so did the gear. The trouble with being a landscape photographer is that there's only so much you can travel with and carry. I'm happy to have 2 systems with me, but 3 is getting a little bit much, know what I mean? :-)
    This is the problem for me too. Luckily most of the time I don't fly with all my gear and can load up the Land Rover (aka camera bag). However, I originally sold my Nikon gear when I went to MF tech and DSLRs because of the fact that it sat idle most of the time and I had a MF alternative for almost every need.

    I recently got more in to long exposure/night work and it's here where the IQ back can't cut it at all. Thus I've acquired a D800 & Zeiss system to fill the gap, plus it'll be a better travel option vs DF outfit that fills a medium sized Pelican case.

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Osbourne View Post
    I've got one sorted out. Just a question of what the other will be. I *really* wish Canon had an answer to the D800 on the way.
    You know it's just a question of when vs if ... switching lens systems is expensive and seldom productive in the long run. If you can wait and keep your Canon glass I'm sure that it would be a better long term investment (I'm an amateur so different rules apply - for you it's real bottom line cash).
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"
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    Re: My Journey from 35mm Digital to MFD and a Technical Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Osbourne View Post
    Hello Graham

    I'm currently in a major dilemma about the way to proceed with all the other shots that the Cambo/P45+ can't do - telephoto details, grab shots, macro, night shots, live-view, low light, auto-focus work. Do I sell ALL the Canon gear and just bite the bullet on a D800E and new glass (with all the expense, exhaustive set-up and field tests), knowing it can do pretty much everything very competently, or do I try to make it work with a 645AF system with all its extensive limitations? The colours from the P45+, the sharpness and the format are all so much better than DSLR's but, like you, I don't feel like I'm taking a proper photograph with D800 size cameras - they're like electronic toys.
    Richard, coming from a 1DsII to a then Mamiya back and P30+ I too missed the extra long lenses that had been available and ended up shooting a 300 as the longest. Then one morning I woke to a thought that my landscape photography would benefit if I went slightly old school and use a tech camera. Which I did. Ended up using a Cambo WRS since the fall of 2008 which in camera years is a very long time. My three WRS lenses have been 35, 72 and 120 and I've actually just now begun to rethink the 35.

    Anyway I went a couple years shooting nothing but the WRS and a P45+ before I added a Leica M9 as a walk around. As good as the M9 is it left me with two slight problems/concerns; the major was print size limitation while the other was long lens availability at 135 max. I ended up using the M9 for 18-months selling a couple images buy never really having that true warm and fuzzy feeling (very close to it).

    Last year I ended up trading my Leica gear to get back into true medium format and now have a Phase DF, 80, 120, 150 and 300.

    This is a rather long around the neighborhood way of saying I felt the same way. As good as the Cambo/P45 is it nevertheless isn't the end all of cameras. Actually I doubt there is one on the market.

    Darr is spot on - "why not have more than one tool?". The great thing is that the main capture tool can be switched back and forth between the tech camera and DSLR. I never felt the desire to actually do that while I used the P45+; it wasn't until I switched to the P65 that those thoughts began.

    Bottom line think of 2-systems that can do everything you want/need while using the same digital back which in the end is the most expensive part.

    Don
    Don Libby
    Iron Creek Photography
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    Re: My Journey from 35mm Digital to MFD and a Technical Camera

    Quote Originally Posted by Richard Osbourne View Post
    I've got one sorted out. Just a question of what the other will be. I *really* wish Canon had an answer to the D800 on the way.
    The major flaw is that even if Canon stepped up to the plate it would still be a 35mm sensor.

    Don

    And to keep this (me) honest, Sandy, my wife and shooting partner still uses a 1DsIII and is waiting to see what if anything Canon is doing.
    Don Libby
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    Member Richard Osbourne's Avatar
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    Re: My Journey from 35mm Digital to MFD and a Technical Camera

    This is exactly my thoughts: a DF and full set of lenses is huge and heavy, whereas a D800 and a few lenses - say from 35mm to 400mm F5.6 isn't so bad. And it can do night shots, live view, AF, high ISO.

    Most of the time I'm working from the back of the car too but I'm travelling further now and will have to settle on a system soon.

    Points taken about swapping systems and 'when' Canon deliver (though even if they announce soon, it won't be available for a year on recent form).

    I should mention that I do a lot of stitching to create panoramic images. I found that the Cambo and P45+ with 5,000 pixels vertically (using the short side of the sensor) was way sharper than a double row of Canon images with 9,000 pixels! So that's the third option of course: buy a 47mm lens for the Cambo so I can stitch properly, keeping the Canons for the tricky shots.

    Thanks for your thoughts - there's some clarity emerging I think.




    QUOTE:
    This is the problem for me too. Luckily most of the time I don't fly with all my gear and can load up the Land Rover (aka camera bag). However, I originally sold my Nikon gear when I went to MF tech and DSLRs because of the fact that it sat idle most of the time and I had a MF alternative for almost every need.

    I recently got more in to long exposure/night work and it's here where the IQ back can't cut it at all. Thus I've acquired a D800 & Zeiss system to fill the gap, plus it'll be a better travel option vs DF outfit that fills a medium sized Pelican case.

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    Member Richard Osbourne's Avatar
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    Re: My Journey from 35mm Digital to MFD and a Technical Camera

    Yes, agreed. I've hit the buffers with 35mm sensors too, Don.


    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    The major flaw is that even if Canon stepped up to the plate it would still be a 35mm sensor.

    Don

    And to keep this (me) honest, Sandy, my wife and shooting partner still uses a 1DsIII and is waiting to see what if anything Canon is doing.

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