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Thread: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Evening all!

    As some may know I took delivery last week of a P45+ mounted on a Phase One/Mamiya ('Phamiya') 645 body with a Phase One 80mm F2.8 AF lens.

    I was considering a Hassy 3DII39 but decided against it for a number of reasons, most important of which was the fact that the P1 system has a much higher max shutter speed and much longer max exposures, though there were other reasons relating to my own workflow and practice.

    This thread is intended to document the experience in a way that might be useful for other people trying to make decisions in this area. It will also likely raise questions that I'd appreciate help with from other more experienced users.

    In the next post I'll document early experience and thoughts and then I'll add further posts as time passes. If anyone's interested!

    Tim

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    We are all interested. Let it rip
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    First impressions, thrills and irritations

    The kit (the non-value-added kit, i.e. with a shorter warranty and fewer 'extras') comes in a small, non-wheely Peli type case with foam inserts. There's only one battery but my dealer, Lawrence at Teamwork in London, gave me another FOC.

    Unlike the value added deal, the case can't really be repurposed as a system case since the foam is not reconfigurable to take further lenses etc. But you could probably put it in the hold of a plane if you locked it.

    Initial Good Things:

    1) It all feels solid, classy and fun at first. Nice packaging and a groovy little memory stick with the manuals on.
    2) That's all.


    Initial Irritations:

    *) The battery charger, a Hahnel jobbie, looks expensive but feels cheap and has a nasty snap-open action that is hard to judge. Mine made one full charge of both batteries before giving up. It now shows occaisional interest in one of the batteries but none in the other, and only one of its lights comes on. I have so far taken less than a hundred shots. At this price I want better and certainly more reliable kit.

    2) The camera shipped with Firmware 1.2 on the very day that 1.4 was released. Firmware updates, unbelievably, can't be done by the user. The body has to go back to the dealer (at least) and quite possibly to Denmark. Things that are fixed in FW1.4 appear to be basic stuff like whether the flash sync works reliably and what the mirror up and mirror up metering behaviours are. But since P1 makes no mention of this on their websites I am reduced to here-say. This is all tacky beyond belief IMO.

    3) There's no paper manual, just PDFs on the memory stick and these PDFs are pitiful. Truly. It is not possible from them to discern such basic procedure as how to set AF points or which of a range of ambiguous LCD symbols represents which metering method. There are errors and omissions throughout.

    4) There are 36 custom functions, and these are not usable without either an elephantine memory or reference to a PDF or printed guide since the camera body LCD is too small to carry any useful guide or description and no data is fed to the back's LCD for viewing thereon.

    5) You have to turn the back on with one button and the body with another. The back is powered from a battery pack, the body from a set of six AA's that go in a clip in the handgrip.

    6) The back's LCD is crap, and I do mean CRAP. Whatever the engineering, heat dispersion or power saving considerations, there is no excuse at this price for this travesty of a screen. None.

    So, the thrill of the unpacking is mitigated pretty quickly by the fact that this is a kit cobbled together from bits and pieces made by third parties. The price of Open Systems is Lack of Integration and Cobbled Components.

    Now this all sounds churlish. Surely, anyone this disappointed would just pack it all up and get a refund.

    Well... I bought it because I want to make very high quality, very large prints. If having a handful of Heath Robinson is the only way to get the job done, I'll put up with it. I might feel ripped off, and I will likely develop bugger all brand loyalty but I will judge the system foremost by the results.

    Which I'll start to talk about in the next post.

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    The Pictures, first thoughts

    My very first reactions were mild disappointment tempered by the memory of my first evening with an M8 - a salutary lesson in how not to judge a camera too quickly. That M8 turned out to be the best camera, all-in, that I have ever used, though it is also flawed in some ways.

    So I decided to blame me and not the camera and I am still in that process of discernment, based on the fact that so very many extremely good photographers rate this setup so highly.

    The initial disappointment was based around a sense that the kit lens is rather soft. To be honest, I have yet to work out if it is

    a) Not a great lens or
    b) Pretty good unless you're used to Leica M glass or
    c) A well designed lens of which I have a poor example or
    d) A fine piece of glass which I have yet to learn to use properly.

    What was disappointing?

    The corners.

    Most of the shots I have taken, at most apertures up to and including F7.1, have been soft in the corners. This is outside of a lab and in poor weather and low light, it's hard to be specific about it but if I am charitable I'll say that it's to do with my need to adjust to the shallower DOF on this format.

    Today I used a tripod and shot a patterned internal wall from 4 meters at F2.8 thru F16 and I would say that the corners were sub-par up to F5.6 at least. Now this might be due to a range of factors, and I do really need to rest it more rigorously, but my feeling is this: if a camera can't do relatively noise-free exposures at ISO 800 then it needs lenses that can do sharp corners at F2.8 because you're forced into wide apertures by the ISO and noise trade off.

    Otherwise you have to crop until you reach the sharp bits of the image. Which means throwing away pixels (i.e. effective resolution) and this is exactly what you just paid a fortune for.

    So my take on this is that I will give it more time and more shots but I am suspicious. I don't really want a large, heavy, expensive, slow camera that, with its supplied lens, has to be fed bright sunlight or flash to realize its potential. I hope to discover that my focus and DOF technique thus far has not yet adjusted. I hope not to discover that the kit lens is a 'kit lens' and that the sensor's demands are such that the kit lens was money badly spent.

    The good news is, however, very good indeed.

    When the wind is in the right direction, the sheer joy of the files is immense. There is detail beyond reason, subtle and marvelous tonality and great dynamic range.

    Take this shot: ISO 50, 1/8th second on a tripod, F7.1

    Attachment 9018

    and if you click here
    http://tashley1.zenfolio.com/img/v4/p1032031644.jpg
    there's a larger JPEG that you can zoom into for some detail.

    Or take this one, shot handheld at 1/40th second and F2.8 at ISO 400
    Attachment 9027

    click here
    http://tashley1.zenfolio.com/img/v4/p753922652.jpg
    for a full-res JPEG and look at the drop of water on the wireframe rack above the back wheel of the bike with the orange bag on the saddle.

    SO: bad weather, low light and other engagements have stopped me from really scoping this kit out but so far, whatever the irritations, I am hooked.

    I'll make some big prints when I get back to base in the next week or so, and then I'll really know for sure whether I have found the Grail! And I will report back here...

    All feedback and responses gratefully received!

    Tim
    Last edited by tashley; 10th November 2008 at 17:30.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Tim what raw processor are you using. LR stinks on Phase files. Don't forget to adjust the diopter for your eye too
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  6. #6
    jmvdigital
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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Unfortunately, I have to agree with most of your 1-6 assessments. My battery charger works fine, but the build quality is questionable. The firmware send out is stupid. The PDF manuals are indeed lacking in detail. The custom functions are a bugger; I printed out the little cheat-sheet table with them, but still, on the body's LCD it's pretty lame. The two power buttons doesn't bother me so much. I'll take that over Hassy's solution of buying a $2k harddrive/power supply if you take the back off the camera. The LCD on the P+ series is lame. It's coarse, the tonality and color reproduction is terrible, and it's tiny. It gets the job done, but just barely. I appreciate the long exposure capabilities, supposedly made possible in part by this dinky screen, but the overall user experience and everyday shooting is severely handicapped IMHO. It's impossible to judge exposre, especially when you get near clipping, as the histogram is not accurate in this regard either. I often end up under-exposing because the "blinkies" or the histogram scream blow out, when in fact, none such has occurred at all. I also had a few hardware quirks, going through two P30+ backs before settling on a third that functions great.

    All that negativity out of the way... it produces fantastic images. Any disappointment in my images at this point is due to my own error. I find the sharpness of the 80D, 150D, and 45mm to be fantastic. I am perhaps a little less demanding about my corners than others, but I come from a long history of pixel peeping with Canon's shoddy L-glass, and I am always floored with the up close details. I have yet to make any prints (shall we start a thread of issues about the Z3100? Haha), but I anticipate them to be phenomenal. I leased my equipment, so I look forward to Phase introducing future goodies (I'm dreaming a la AFi 10 screen) and will upgrade, until then, I bid my time and make this most of the great equipment I have now.

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by jmvdigital View Post
    Unfortunately, I have to agree with most of your 1-6 assessments. My battery charger works fine, but the build quality is questionable. The firmware send out is stupid. The PDF manuals are indeed lacking in detail. The custom functions are a bugger; I printed out the little cheat-sheet table with them, but still, on the body's LCD it's pretty lame. The two power buttons doesn't bother me so much. I'll take that over Hassy's solution of buying a $2k harddrive/power supply if you take the back off the camera. The LCD on the P+ series is lame. It's coarse, the tonality and color reproduction is terrible, and it's tiny. It gets the job done, but just barely. I appreciate the long exposure capabilities, supposedly made possible in part by this dinky screen, but the overall user experience and everyday shooting is severely handicapped IMHO. It's impossible to judge exposre, especially when you get near clipping, as the histogram is not accurate in this regard either. I often end up under-exposing because the "blinkies" or the histogram scream blow out, when in fact, none such has occurred at all. I also had a few hardware quirks, going through two P30+ backs before settling on a third that functions great.

    All that negativity out of the way... it produces fantastic images. Any disappointment in my images at this point is due to my own error. I find the sharpness of the 80D, 150D, and 45mm to be fantastic. I am perhaps a little less demanding about my corners than others, but I come from a long history of pixel peeping with Canon's shoddy L-glass, and I am always floored with the up close details. I have yet to make any prints (shall we start a thread of issues about the Z3100? Haha), but I anticipate them to be phenomenal. I leased my equipment, so I look forward to Phase introducing future goodies (I'm dreaming a la AFi 10 screen) and will upgrade, until then, I bid my time and make this most of the great equipment I have now.
    Justin, we must be twins: I have a Z3100 too and have a mostly love but sometimes hate relationship with it!

    Thanks for the histogram tips...

    T

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Tim what raw processor are you using. LR stinks on Phase files. Don't forget to adjust the diopter for your eye too
    Hi Guy,

    I use both Phase and LR and take what is best from both though I have to say that for good files with no high ISO/noise or lens-specific issues, I'm fine with LR and there are people who insist that LR does the better job. In all I really really dislike C1 workflow but will use it where the files seems to me to need it, as with the M8!

    Diopter wise I'm fine - I have good specs and anyway I made a black and white target for the centre of my test zone and used AF on it!

    Best

    T

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Tahsley,
    your impression sounds a little frustrated.
    I am a Leica M8 shooter as well and have recently started to use a ZD-camera with also Mamiya glass and so far havent felt a problem with corners.
    But I have to add that I havent really shot any subjects where the corners would be critical and my experience is limited so far.
    As I am evaluating for which system to go in a long term your experiences are very interesting for me.
    I agree that if one spends that much money and if one accepts all the compromises of MF (slow AF, big, heavy, obstrusive, not that weather resistant, moreoften tripod needed because of need to use lower ISO and shallower DOF compared to 35mm-format, not as nice form factor, worse user interface) that one wants at least not to compromise in IQ.
    Please continue posting your experiences and images.
    Cheers, Tom

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    Re: The Pictures, first thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    What was disappointing?

    The corners.

    Most of the shots I have taken, at most apertures up to and including F7.1, have been soft in the corners. This is outside of a lab and in poor weather and low light, it's hard to be specific about it but if I am charitable I'll say that it's to do with my need to adjust to the shallower DOF on this format.
    Tim, in the leaf shot, I see that the bottom right corner is significantly softer than the top right corner, for example. Are you sure that the camera was completely vertical for that shot, and that the leaves were lying in a flat plane? Is your 80mm the D variant? Could it be a flatness of field issue, rather than outright softness? Three of the four corners look relatively good, good enough for most purposes I would think, but the bottom right corner is really, really soft, and I would ask to have the lens looked at or exchanged. Note that it is hard to judge from the leaf shot, since it isn't full resolution.

    In your wall shots, are you sure that the camera was parallel to the wall?
    Carsten - Website

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: The Pictures, first thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Tim, in the leaf shot, I see that the bottom right corner is significantly softer than the top right corner, for example. Are you sure that the camera was completely vertical for that shot, and that the leaves were lying in a flat plane? Is your 80mm the D variant? Could it be a flatness of field issue, rather than outright softness? Three of the four corners look relatively good, good enough for most purposes I would think, but the bottom right corner is really, really soft, and I would ask to have the lens looked at or exchanged. Note that it is hard to judge from the leaf shot, since it isn't full resolution.

    In your wall shots, are you sure that the camera was parallel to the wall?
    Hi Carsten,

    The leaf shot was not intended to display corner sharpness or softness - it was intended to show how much lovely detail there is but for some reason Zenfolio (which is where the large version is hosted) was not accepting full res uploads last night so though you can get an idea of the detail, you can't see it all. But you are totally correct and I was aware of this: the camera was mounted on a tripod for the shot and it was not possible to keep the tripod feet out of the frame without tilting the sensor frame relative to the subject plane. That's why I didn't use that shot in a critical way because the soft corner(s) was my fault! Here's the shot again, full size, but at 75% JPEG compression. You'll see that only one corner is sharp, and that is clearly an image plane/DOF thing.

    http://tashley1.zenfolio.com/img/v4/p873773283.jpg

    With the wall shots. yes I'm, fairly sure. In fact today I shot another series from more like 5 metres of a wall with much more detail on it (bricks) and I would say that even at F5.6 the corners are not acceptably sharp (to me). I estimate that at F5.6, if I were to crop to where the sharp zone starts, I'd have approximately a 27mp camera.

    I can't post all the comparisons now because it'll take me a while to process/crop/upload but I will do so in the next day or so.

    In the meantime, anyone else who has experience with this lens/back combo please please tell us what you think!

    Tim
    Last edited by tashley; 11th November 2008 at 04:56.

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    Re: The Pictures, first thoughts

    Is it the D version of that lens?
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Tim I will check my 80mm. 5.6 should be pretty good in the corners
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: The Pictures, first thoughts

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Is it the D version of that lens?
    Its exact description is Phase One Digital 80mm F2.8 lens.

    It's the standard one that comes with the current kits.

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    That would be a D lens than
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  16. #16
    jmvdigital
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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    I haven't noticed any corner issues either. I worry about those "brick wall" tests and the many others that we shooters put ourselves through before we can be happy with our gear. A lot of times I find that in those situations we are looking for problems, and when you look for problems you often find something. If you were out shooting on a regular day, you'd never never notice. I'm guilty of this myself. It's a fine line; sometimes those imperfections in the gear impact an image and it's definitely a problem, other times, the problem is only manifest under certain aggravated situations.

    I'm not discounting your corner softness problem at all. But aside from the f5.6 wall shots, has the corner sharpness been a problem in your real world shooting?

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    I knew I shot at least one 80mm shot yesterday ISO 400 5.6 with a Metz flash. Looks pretty sharp all across the frame
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    I suspect Tim's lens could be defective, possibly a de-centered element. Might be worth comparing to a fresh one?

    Cheers,
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Chaps,

    I have to say that I am being picky, for sure: that's because of all the M and R glass I have shot with, where you would expect good corner sharpness from any aperture one stop tighter than wide open. And I do think that it is not unreasonable therefore to expect the same standards from all high-end gear though clearly in many cases one doesn't get it!

    My point is that if I want to print landscapes 1 metre high, there will be plenty of times when the corners are lost in sky and foreground but also plenty of times when it really does matter. High resolution across the frame should be a defining characteristic of work shot with professional gear in this price range. I don't expect it at F2.8 but I do at F4 onwards! So though my real world experience with the new system is so far rather limited, I carry out this sort of test routinely in advance of wasting good exposures on potentially bad gear!

    I'll do more tests tomorrow and post the wall shots, I really do think they show effects that will matter in the non-wall world!

    Guy: that's a great shot but I have no idea, from that size image, how it would look printed very large?!

    Best

    Tim


    I'll

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    I know Tim it is hard to tell on the web but this one would go pretty darn big. Your expectations are fine and i think everyone here tends to agree with you but I think your limits are too low for corners. I tend to think maybe underestimating the DOF issue slightly. These things you just need to stop down compared to the M8 glass which we all know are very very good wide open even to the corners with the Crons in particular. You can certainly get there in MF but i think with any system here for corners with a 80mm than 5.6 maybe the real f stop and maybe F4 . Wide open with a 80mm in MF is like shooting a 75 lux in terms of Dof even that lens F4 is what it will take. Let me see if i can dig up some more 80mm shots and Jack maybe correct that something maybe off on your 80mm. It should be no issues to replace that with Phase, there very good about this stuff.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Tim here is one at F14 and the reason I am showing it is look how fast the DOF falls off maybe even 3 ft past the people. Now it is sharper than i can possible tell you on them but see how fast the DOF just goes very quickly and this is at F14 about maybe 10 ft away from them. Now 35mm would certainly go a lot further with F14 and DOF. This is the part of MF that gets some getting used too and was hard for me when i got mine .I was shooting at 5.6 wondering the same thing you are
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Now the same token across the street at F16 1/8 on a ladder with the 80mm about 150 feet away all is in the DOF range. So distance plays a big role as well as you know
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Last one just to show the falloff. Here the 150mm at F11 and look how fast the DOF just goes out very fast. So when testing keep this stuff in mind
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    You folks have covered lots of good points here, and I also agree with Justin's comments regarding how the "tests" relate to the photo making process.

    Case in point: I bought the Mamiya 35mm lens, knowing that it would be a bit soft in the corners. When it arrived I wanted to see just how soft so I went to my driveway, set up tripod, leveled and paralleled everything, and shot my garage door as well as my brick wall. Well, I wanted to vomit. The corners were soft (as promised) and the barrel distortion was much more than I expected (and had not read anyone comment on). Now I'm not saying my 35mm lens is a bad copy, 'cuz it isn't. I just hoped that the reports would be a bit harsh instead of simply fair, as they were fair.

    I took the 35mm lens to the American River the next day and shot some scenes that included rocks and boulders in the corners, processed them for printing, and the images are great for prints to just about any size I'd like. This is by far the softest of all of my Mamiya lenses, and in most shots the corners are useable for large prints if I get the rest right. I'd love it to be better, but it's serviceable.

    My 80mm is sharper, for sure, (all of my lenses are), but my brick wall or garage door tests always disappoint me. In fact, I have never done a lens test, other than with macro lenses, that have left me feeling good. I now only do cursory test of lenses (especially since the 35mm) and then go and shoot various subjects to see how the lens works real-world.

    In practical application (for landscape type work) I find the biggest hurdle with MFDB is getting the DoF right (deep enough). In my shots I come up against DoF issues long before I hit lens issues.

    I hope that Tim find's the source of the problem and fixes it to his satisfaction. Like others have suggested, I would likely ask to compare another copy of the 80mm.

    Best,

    Dale

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Dale you know in C1 they have corner softness control and lens distortion control for the 35mm now and it works a charm.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Yes, Guy, thanks. I'm looking forward to using it. I've not upgraded to 4.5.x yet. The new updates (and issues) were being wrung out while I was traveling and I've just recently returned to the States. I need to upgrade my Mac to take advantage of the new version and haven't had time to address the whole thing yet.

    edit: I guess I could install the new version on my laptop, but I don't do my editing there.
    Last edited by Dale Allyn; 11th November 2008 at 09:26.

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    When you do the 35mm will make you happen again. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    I'm looking forward to it, for sure. It's okay now, but I do shoot with it's strengths and weakness in mind. The lens correction in C-1 should make the process less limiting for me.

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    To follow-up in hopes of adding a data point for Tim: I just shot my 80mm @ f/5.6, f/8.0, f/11.0 to be sure that I had not assumed my 80 was better than it is. The subject is my back fence (wooden) with an old European lav. fixture hanging and surrounded by ivy. Wind was calm, light soft, etc. The lens is sharp to the corners – sharp enough for good printing, though I can't say how it would appear to you, Tim. There's a bit of a funky loss of contrast in the upper right-hand corner possibly due to some flare as we have some fog here and the light was changing as the fog was floating and sunlight was peaking from that direction.

    Shot from about 3.3 meters, mirror up, timer (too lazy to get my cable release). The 80mm is the older, and supposedly inferior, version of the lens. The back is the P25+. If you'd like the RAW files for comparison I'll be happy to arrange that for you. I should be able to zip them and make them available via ftp. Perhaps this would offer a theoretical "worse-case" point of reference.

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    One think that hit me pretty hard when moving to a P45+ back was the diffraction limit.
    Now I have o warn you that I am a pixel peeper, so in general I am not happy with sharpness unless it looks very sharp at 1:1.
    What I found was that a 39Mpix back is still diffraction limited at f/11 or so when pixel peeping. So when I tried to compensate for the MF:M8 DOF loss (more like three stops actually) by stopping down, I hit the Airy disk fuzzies. On the other hand, a print equivalent of 60 inches wide seemed very sharp at a one meter viewing distance. I am slowly learning to not evaluate my sharpness at 100-200% anymore, rather to scale it more reasonably based on the intended image use. It seems that for the sharpest possible images, I will need to shoot at f/8 and live with the DOF results, or stop down more and live with th diffraction softness.
    -bob

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    The upload took too long to add a download link by editing the above message, so I'm adding it here. I didn't bother to style the web page, so forgive the barren look of the page.

    http://www.daleallynphoto.com/getdpi/

    Click the link labeled P25+_test_80mm to download the files. FYI: the .zip is about 80 MB.

    HTH

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Bob, those are good comments. I have really struggled with this topic (the subject of your post) to the point of questioning the tools for what I want to do. I'm still struggling with it. Still, as one who shoots with output to print as the goal, I have had to adjust my evaluation process. Viewing prints in normal settings is proving more rewarding than pixel peeping for me. I'm not saying that pixel peeping MFDB has no rewards, but that my expectations were (are?) at times unrealistic, as well as not necessary to achieve my goals.

    All that said, I think that I will eventually look to a camera that offers some movements to address the issues of DoF and diffraction.

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Just a FWIW comment for you to try out. If you print, and are curious as to how the print will look on close inspection, try viewing your print-sized image onscreen at 50%. While I realize this is not the same magnification as viewing at print size, for whatever reason I find it generates a very good screen-approximation of how the final print will look on detail, focus, DoF, and even anomalies like CA included...
    Jack
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    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Jack, I agree. I check all of my images for print output at 50%. Something about the way the screen displays the image seems most accurate at 50% for estimating print results.

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Once again I buy a nice 3800 Epson and have not even gotten through the first tank full of ink. I just don't print often , maybe i should sell the darn thing. But I do agree 50 percent seems like the sweet spot on screen
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    @Tim (et al): I have now uploaded two more RAW files taken with the non-D 80mm and P25+. In this case the wonderful image is of a brick barbecue complete with a few spider webs and peeling, failed masonry sealant. Same set up: camera level, tripod, mirror up, timer. No weird flare this time. I would think that if your samples are coming out worse than this then you might have alignment lens issue or other defect to look into.

    It's not that I felt you really needed these (especially since it's the 80mm version prior to yours), but I guess I'm not in the mood to do real work today.

    Oh, and please don't show these last two files to my wife 'cuz I don't want to spend the next two days fixing the barbecue. I promise to have it all cleaned up by the time y'all come by for steak, shrimp and halibut.

    Same link: http://www.daleallynphoto.com/getdpi/

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Notwithstanding all of the above, I am keen to find out if my lens is a dud or whether my expectations of it are just too high; so here are the wall shots.

    A few words first:

    1) A wall shot IS real world. It is not MTF charts in a lab, it's the sort of subject matter that crops up in many situations - it's about 13-15 feet away, it has detail, it is more or less planar. It might be the trunk of a tree, a stone or rock surface, a person on the periphery of a shot, whatever. If a wall is soft in the corners when it should be sharp then so too will those things be.

    2) About DOF. I do understand this. I have been shooting with a 4 x 5 field camera this year, amongst other things. I would also add that in my understanding (and Carsten might well correct me here) as long as the wall and the sensor are parallel then the test is fine except for the fact that clearly the edges of the frame are further away than the centre of the frame. At a distance of 15 feet and f2.8 I would intuitively expect about an eighteen inch DOF. My rudimentary calculations indicate that the distance by which the corner is further away than the the centre might well take the corners out of the DOF range and that might explain the effect. In other words, were I to set up the sensor at the dead centre of a sphere printed with a wall pattern and take the same shots again, I might get sharp to the corners. On the other hand, maybe lens designers correct for that sort of thing?

    3) About the 'view on screen at 50%' idea: I know a lot of people buy it but I don't. On my 30" Apple Cinema display, that equates to the same physical size as a print of 36x27" - in other words just a little larger than I can print on my Z3100. A 32x24" print from a full frame of these wall shots clearly show edge softness. I have only printed the f5.6 version but the effect is there without a doubt, at normal viewing distance. I have shots from a Canon 1DS III taken with primes and even zooms that are sharp to the corners at mid apertures at this print size (though I can't do an exact comparative test cos I sold the Canon, perhaps too soon!). The reason I sold the Canon was so I could make bigger prints - up to 50" wide, which I thought I would be able to do with this P1 kit.

    4) SO: do I have a dodgy lens, or is this performance just what 'goes with the territory'? If it does go with the territory, is there a sweet spot of aperture where I get sharp corners without handing back overall sharpness to diffraction effects?

    Answers on a (sharply printed) postcard please!


    First, the scene and two centre crops and two edge crops; next post, more edges at a range of apertures. All processed at defaults in LR with minor exposure adjustments to match the changing light. The centre crops are not exactly centre (they're to the immediate left of the window).

    Attachment 9062
    Attachment 9063
    Attachment 9064
    Attachment 9065
    Attachment 9066
    Last edited by tashley; 12th November 2008 at 06:10.

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.


    Dud or something.
    Those look real bad. Mine is a LOT better than that, ...no that is not strong enough.
    Even the center is way not sharp.
    This is not a little bit, this a whole lot bad!
    Was this AF?
    I wonder if it is a bit front focused. Are the window bars sharper than the center bricks?
    I see that this was taken at 1/250, but was it set on a tripod? (should not matter this much)
    -bob
    Last edited by Bob; 12th November 2008 at 05:46.

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Dale Allyn View Post
    @Tim (et al): I have now uploaded two more RAW files taken with the non-D 80mm and P25+. In this case the wonderful image is of a brick barbecue complete with a few spider webs and peeling, failed masonry sealant. Same set up: camera level, tripod, mirror up, timer. No weird flare this time. I would think that if your samples are coming out worse than this then you might have alignment lens issue or other defect to look into.

    It's not that I felt you really needed these (especially since it's the 80mm version prior to yours), but I guess I'm not in the mood to do real work today.

    Oh, and please don't show these last two files to my wife 'cuz I don't want to spend the next two days fixing the barbecue. I promise to have it all cleaned up by the time y'all come by for steak, shrimp and halibut.

    Same link: http://www.daleallynphoto.com/getdpi/
    Dayle, thank you for that: it is genuinely useful. If my lens was giving results that sharp at those apertures I would not think of questioning it!

    I know yours is the previous lens and that the sensors are different but you do have very good corner sharpness - and I clearly don't!

    Thanks for taking the time to post these.

    Tim

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by Bob View Post

    Dud or something.
    Those look real bad. Mine is a LOT better than that, ...no that is not strong enough.
    Even the center is way not sharp.
    This is not a little bit, this a whole lot bad!
    Was this AF?
    I wonder if it is a bit front focused. Are the window bars sharper than the center bricks?
    I see that this was taken at 1/250, but was it set on a tripod? (should not matter this much)
    -bob
    Hi Bob,

    All shots were taken on a tripod with MUP and timer and my technique was to AF and then check with MF. With no zoomable live preview that's about as good as it gets. For the test I did the day before inside at home, I put a B&W lettered piece of paper in the centre frame so as to focus exactly and the corner results were very similar.

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    Hi Bob,

    All shots were taken on a tripod with MUP and timer and my technique was to AF and then check with MF. With no zoomable live preview that's about as good as it gets. For the test I did the day before inside at home, I put a B&W lettered piece of paper in the centre frame so as to focus exactly and the corner results were very similar.
    Well, the center sharpness does not look too good to me either, not to mention the corners.
    -bob

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Time for a focus accuracy test? Maybe a bunch of beer bottles along a wall running away from you is most appropriate... So, firmware installed two versions old, and a lens which yields unsharp results. At what point do you send it back and ask for a real one? I would personally be freaking out about now if I had paid that much for those results.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Nothing to freak out about just ask for another lens. I would send it back or ask to send out another to test against. They do NOT look right.
    Look the firmware is only two version old in your mind . 1.3 never hit the streets to start with and it went from 1.3 to 1.4 in a matter of a day. Some of us have been working with Phase the whole time on version 1.3 behind the scenes. Dealers did not even know it existed in any version until a couple days ago.It is not his dealers fault nor is it Phase fault, this stuff is behind the scenes like anyone else if WE did not say it out LOUD no one would have known anyway until his dealer and all our dealers told us about which would be right about now they are going public. Tim simply got caught in a transition period just like anyone else buying a camera a day before the public knows about a firmware update. There are 5 folks on THIS forum that had any knowledge Phase was even working on the firmware to begin with. Trust me I beta tested firmware for Leica had had firmware weeks before the public had any idea what was coming. This is normal, my suspicion is either has a bad lens or Tim is doing something wrong but looking at the results it certainly leans towards a lens out of alignment
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    I didn't mean to insinuate any conspiracy theory, just that the results are shocking in this price range.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    I didn't mean to insinuate any conspiracy theory, just that the results are shocking in this price range.
    I should tell you the story sometime about by BMW 750.
    Drove it home, and the next morning all the coolant had run out.
    QA escapes, that is the problem with the theory behind statistical quality control. Somebody has to be on the bad part of the curve.
    -bob

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Time for a focus accuracy test? Maybe a bunch of beer bottles along a wall running away from you is most appropriate... So, firmware installed two versions old, and a lens which yields unsharp results. At what point do you send it back and ask for a real one? I would personally be freaking out about now if I had paid that much for those results.
    I am freaking out in a calm sort of a way!

    I just re-shot the tests, this time on much better light with a more interesting subject, my best tripod and MUP with a cable release and, having paid particular attention to focus, the results are the same. So I called my dealer and I'll need to provide RAW files as evidence but he'll swap it out for a loaner until P1 replace it. The trouble is I won't be anywhere near the dealer for another week so for now, the saga ends here and having traded in my 1DSIII I can't do any high res work for a while.

    We all know that QC is no respecter of price point but I do think that a company selling to professionals should be careful about the reputation it establishes.

    Back to the M8!

    Tim
    Last edited by tashley; 12th November 2008 at 07:43.

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    I didn't mean to insinuate any conspiracy theory, just that the results are shocking in this price range.
    I know i actually edited that out before I saw your post, sorry. But truthfully the story is this Phase One contacted me months ago asking what i thought and my input of the Phase body i responded by adding 5 or 6 folks on this forum to give input on the camera and it's operation. We have been working with the Phase engineers in identifying some area's of concern and actually they corrected all of them from memory which in reality this has been a wonderful exchange between all of us and has lead to some great idea's for the future as well. Anyway as a beta tester myself for Leica these things take sometime to develop and the public simply does not know and either do the dealers and Tim's dealer just did not know of the update until after the fact. Now with regards to the lens he should call his dealer and they should have him send it in for a replacement or loaner for repair. No matter what you hear on the forums Phase customer service is excellent.
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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    Quote Originally Posted by tashley View Post
    ... The trouble is I won't be anywhere near the dealer for another week so for now,...

    Tim
    FedEx is your friend. Can you receive an overnight package where you are (once your dealer receives the raw file)? One can upload the file to YouSendIt.com if it's too large to e-mail, etc.

    Hope you get it worked out soon. The files will meet your requirements when the wrinkles are straightened out.

    If it's any consolation, I'm usually the guy who gets the statistical QA problem that keeps everyone else safe from it. Unfortunately, that same statistical rarity doesn't seem to work with lottery tickets for me.

    I (we, as a group actually) really do understand your frustration. It's almost heart-breaking to agonize over a system (or any item) that is this costly and then end up with the rare fluke that doesn't perform. You'll get the kit fixed and make great files with it.
    Last edited by Dale Allyn; 12th November 2008 at 08:19. Reason: typo

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    Re: P45+ back, body & lens kit: learning curve thread.

    I agree we all share the frustration . MF is hard enough having a wonky lens does not help the cause
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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