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Thread: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

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    Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    Hi,
    I'ld like to begin by saying what a great resource this place is. I spent every evening for the past month on this forum researching medium format kits and found tonnes of useful info.

    I'm located in Canada, pretty far from the nearest dealer. I shoot a little bit of everything, mostly focusing on weddings and especially portraits. I'ld like to add MF kit to my gear list. Basically I'm looking for a general use camera kit for 10K, not more.

    I'll be shooting tethered almost exclusively, accept for weddings of course.
    What I'm looking for in MF back, besides quality, is high flash sync speed for thinner DOF even in mid day. My location lighting is Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed AS (1100 W/sec) with one "S" head. I trigger with Pocket Wizard Mini or Flex TT5. I'm planning on using MF camera for all formals at weddings, and 35mm for prep/receptions.

    I'm getting DF+ body with LS lens (probably 80mm Schneider) and still not sure about the back I need. My first 2 options were P25+ and Leaf Aptus II 5. Resolution of these two backs is more than enough for me, and both deliver great files, but honestly I prefer how Leaf's files look.
    And I also started considering refurbished P30+.

    1. Should I be concerned with P30+ being crop sensor? I remember going from DX to FX on 35mm camera and the difference was incredible. Is difference in level of image detail as noticeable with MF backs?

    2. Aptus II 5 will sync at up to 1/6000th with DF body and LS lens. Was anyone successful at 1/1600th or 1/800th? Any issues?

    3. How fast can P25+ and P30+ sync with flash, is it 1/800th for both of them?
    Were there other improvements done to image quality of P30+ comparing to P25+ besides resolution?

    I'm also trying to think long term. I heard Phase One has some very attractive offers for upgrades. Does Leaf have similar schemes?

    I appreciate any of your help.
    Sasha.

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    Welcome Sasha. First, since you are new, please note the bias evident in my signature - I make no effort to mask that bias. That said I also try to deliver consistently useful, fair, and honest advice.

    1. Should I be concerned with P30+ being crop sensor? I remember going from DX to FX on 35mm camera and the difference was incredible. Is difference in level of image detail as noticeable with MF backs?

    Generally speaking in the dSLR world the crop sensor cameras are also targeted at a somewhat lower-end consumer. This is not always the case of course and there are some very good crop sensor dSLRs, but in general the experience of moving from crop-sensor to FF in dSLR also means you're stepping into a more quality-conscience part of the market.

    In the world of medium format I don't think necessarily holds true. While, for sure, the full frame sensors have been the "king of the hill" within the niche of medium format, I think it's also very fair to say that there has never been a Phase One or Leaf back that was targeted at anything other than the quality-conscience market.

    In practice I find a P30+ to perform as well or better than a P25+ in every image quality category. So your consideration would be for other factors such as:
    - P30+ cannot be used on a technical camera or view camera
    - P30+ cannot show as shallow DOF as a P25+ since the lenses are the same, but the sensor is smaller
    - P30+ can shoot at higher ISOs much more cleanly. ISO1600 on a P30+ has gained new life with (the very new) Capture One 7* and I would now say it is fully usable (grainy but beautiful). There is around a 1.5 stop advantage in my experience between the P30+ and the P25+
    - P25+ can shoot at ISO50; useful for knocking the sun down when syncing at high shutter speeds. The P30+ min ISO is 100.
    - viewfinder crop on the P30+ is 1.3, viewfinder crop on the P25+ is 1.1. You can see what this means regarding focal length equivalents and get a direct viewfinder crop comparison using the our Visualizer that I wrote.
    - P30+ shoots a bit faster (frames per minute), though neither are speed demons
    - P30+ is less likely to moire on fabric and other repeating patterns
    - P30+ is higher resolution (more detail, but slightly slower to work with in raw, and significantly slower to work with in 16 bit TIFF processed files assuming you process to 100% resolution)

    2. Aptus II 5 will sync at up to 1/1600th with DF body and LS lens. Was anyone successful at 1/1600th or 1/800th? Any issues? [I corrected your typo]

    To get the full flash power you'll need a strobe or flash with a fast flash duration. If you have a slower flash duration then you lose some light (e.g. your flash meter will read f/11 but you'll only get f/8 light). You also need a trigger system that can handle that fast a sync. Profoto Air can do this wirelessly without hassle; a hard-wired sync cable can as well (though we always recommend wireless whenever possible).

    But yes, it does work; sync at 1/1600th with strobes of any kind. This allows some crazy levels of control over ambient lighting.

    3. How fast can P25+ and P30+ sync with flash, is it 1/800th for both of them?
    Were there other improvements done to image quality of P30+ comparing to P25+ besides resolution?

    1/800th for both. The later P40+ and P65+ and all IQ backs sync at 1/1600th like the Aptus-II and Credo (but these are out of your budget).

    P30+ vs P25+ I wrote about above; I noted many differences. But per-pixel quality at base ISO is essentially the same.

    I'm also trying to think long term. I heard Phase One has some very attractive offers for upgrades. Does Leaf have similar schemes?

    If you buy from a good dealer you'll very likely find the upgrade path on either brand is very attractive. Note that Leaf is now owned by Team Phase One.

    *worth noting for a newcomer that version 7 is at 7.0 as of today. That means, like any .0 software, that it's not 100% stable/ready. But I'd expect the standard bug-fix releases in the next several weeks to address most such issues.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183
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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    There are many more questions that should be asked before you decide. But based on your introductory post I'm quite convinced a DM33 or P30+ are your best bets, leaning towards the P30+ if I had to pick one.

    As a fellow wedding photographer I would emphasize the better mid and high ISO, the faster shooting rate, the much lower chance of moire, and the very good quality-to-price of the P30+. Hard to imagine a better fit.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    Doug speaks good words! If you prefer the Leaf (I do), the DM33 (DF/A-II 33) would be a great system under your budget these days on the used market.

    The older aptus backs (non II's) will not sync past 1/800th flash. Some very early II's won't either without a slight modification and FW update which I think would be covered by the manufacturer to do at no cost.

    Along with the profoto trans, the Alien Bee cybersyncs can handle the 1/1600 no problem.

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    Thank you all very much for your answers!

    I'm worried that files from P30+/DM33 may be too big for me to handle and slow down my workflow (it's slow enough already), but I think I can work it out.

    Doug, you mentioned DOF on P30+, and that's something I didn't consider at all. Is there way to tell how much of DOF I loose on P30+ compared to full frame P25+/Aptus II5?

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    I like my P25+. It is a crop sensor, like most MFD sensors, but you soon learn the format. For any given angle of view at a given aperture, the smaller sensor has greater DoF.

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    Isn't P25+ full frame?
    Is there some sort of a formula to compare DOF of full frame sensor and crop sensor? Like, for example, f8 on P25+ will have similar DOF as, for example, f4 on P30+, or something like that?

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    No, the p25+ has a crop factor of 1.16.

    An easy way to compare DoF changes with a particular focal length is simply square the crop factor to give the change in stops. So a crop factor of 2 is 4 which is equal to two stops. So the DoF at f/11 on the original format would look like f/5.6 on the cropped format--you notice the angle of view is also going to be different.

    As far as the 1.16 crop factor from 6x4.5, it really is not a lot.

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    So, in other words, with both cameras set to f11, P30+ will have much greater DOF than P25+? Am I understanding this right?

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    Quote Originally Posted by kravetzphoto View Post
    So, in other words, with both cameras set to f11, P30+ will have much greater DOF than P25+? Am I understanding this right?
    Slightly more DoF but I wouldn't say MUCH more.
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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrahamWelland View Post
    Slightly more DoF but I wouldn't say MUCH more.
    That really is relative to what you are shooting. In landscape, I would guess the DOF difference is very minimal. For example, if you are shooting people with a 110 mm lens and filling the frame, you can generally get both eyes sharp at f5.6 on a 1.3x back and f8 on full frame. F5.6 on full frame is razor thin.

    Whether that is good, bad or irrelevant is up to you.

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    Quote Originally Posted by kravetzphoto View Post
    So, in other words, with both cameras set to f11, P30+ will have much greater DOF than P25+? Am I understanding this right?
    The smaller sensor given the same focal length will have less DoF.

    The smaller sensor given the same angle of view will have more DoF.

    The difference is not dramatic, however.

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    The smaller sensor given the same focal length will have less DoF.

    The smaller sensor given the same angle of view will have more DoF.

    The difference is not dramatic, however.
    DoF is only influenced by the distance to subject, aperture and focal length used. The size of the sensor has no effect on DoF. But with a smaller sensor you are likely to be farther away from your subject resulting in a greater DoF.

    Comparing sensor sizes of a P30+ and Aptus II 5 or P25+, you are very likely to see minimal difference. You should much rather figure out whether you can live with the crop in the viewfinder. So even if the difference between a 48x36 and 44x33 sensor is small, the thing with the viewfinder can be annoying.

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxKi▀ler View Post
    DoF is only influenced by the distance to subject, aperture and focal length used. The size of the sensor has no effect on DoF. But with a smaller sensor you are likely to be farther away from your subject resulting in a greater DoF.

    Since the permissible circle of confusion is based on format, the size of the sensor does, in fact, change the DoF. DoF is our perception of sharpness and not something inherent in the image, optically speaking. This is pretty basic stuff and you can find references to it on the web.

    DoF is influenced by:

    Focal length
    Object distance
    Aperture
    Format
    Magnification
    Viewing distance

    Zeiss has a good pdf on the subject:

    http://www.zeiss.com/c12567a8003b8b6f/embedtitelintern/cln_35_bokeh_en/$file/cln35_bokeh_en.pdf

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Since the permissible circle of confusion is based on format, the size of the sensor does, in fact, change the DoF. DoF is our perception of sharpness and not something inherent in the image, optically speaking. This is pretty basic stuff and you can find references to it on the web.

    DoF is influenced by:

    Focal length
    Object distance
    Aperture
    Format
    Magnification
    Viewing distance
    I partially agree with you here and only replied since I think your statement "The smaller sensor given the same focal length will have less DoF." is kind of confusing. It's too generic to make sense.

    I agree with you on magnification and viewing distance. I think format has a huge impact on general sharpness but why on DoF? I mean if we have the same FL, object distance and aperture the smaller sensor will recreate a smaller piece of a scene than a larger sensor if the image circle permits it but DoF would be the same wouldn't it?

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxKi▀ler View Post
    I partially agree with you here and only replied since I think your statement "The smaller sensor given the same focal length will have less DoF." is kind of confusing. It's too generic to make sense.

    I agree with you on magnification and viewing distance. I think format has a huge impact on general sharpness but why on DoF? I mean if we have the same FL, object distance and aperture the smaller sensor will recreate a smaller piece of a scene than a larger sensor if the image circle permits it but DoF would be the same wouldn't it?


    If you put a 100mm lens on a 35mm camera and a micro four thirds camera, the field of view is different. Which image goes through more magnification to reach display size? The permissible circle of confusion, which defines DoF, needs to be smaller with the smaller format--details in the larger format that are just within the tolerance for the CoC used for DoF, will not appear acceptably sharp on the smaller format because they go through a greater enlargement to reach the display size.

    You can think of it in another way. If photo quality for an 8x10 print is 300dpi, that would make a sharp circle of confusion 1/3000th of the width of the print. It means the smaller the format, the smaller the circle of confusion is needed to reach that target--it needs to be 1/3000th the format length. (Zeiss defines the permissible circle of confusion as 1/1500th the format diagonal.)

    This is really an extension of the viewing distance/magnification effects on DoF.

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    If you put a 100mm lens on a 35mm camera and a micro four thirds camera, the field of view is different. Which image goes through more magnification to reach display size? The permissible circle of confusion, which defines DoF, needs to be smaller with the smaller format--details in the larger format that are just within the tolerance for the CoC used for DoF, will not appear acceptably sharp on the smaller format because they go through a greater enlargement to reach the display size.

    You can think of it in another way. If photo quality for an 8x10 print is 300dpi, that would make a sharp circle of confusion 1/3000th of the width of the print. It means the smaller the format, the smaller the circle of confusion is needed to reach that target--it needs to be 1/3000th the format length. (Zeiss defines the permissible circle of confusion as 1/1500th the format diagonal.)

    This is really an extension of the viewing distance/magnification effects on DoF.
    This is kind of like an apples to oranges comparision. The angle of view would be different and therefore the image itself. All I'm saying is, if we enlarge both negatives/files to a certain size and aim to have two identical images there should not be a difference in DoF.

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    Quote Originally Posted by MaxKi▀ler View Post
    This is kind of like an apples to oranges comparision. The angle of view would be different and therefore the image itself. All I'm saying is, if we enlarge both negatives/files to a certain size and aim to have two identical images there should not be a difference in DoF.
    Well, you can never have an apples to apples comparison. You either have the same focal length and different angles of view (some people use optics they already own on different formats) or you have the same angle of view and different focal lengths (some folks buy new optics to achieve a certain perspective). When made to the same display size, neither situation will produce two images with the same DoF--assuming the same aperture. That is why I clarified those two relationships in my original post.
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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    In this example I think that you'll need to compare the standard Phase/Mamiya glass focal lengths. Combined with the different sensors there will be a small difference in FoV and DoF but not huge. As mentioned, pick a portrait lens and see what gives you the look and and DoF you want at the specific f stop. It may only be a single stop of difference.

    The general CoC / DoF / viewing distance is a horrible rat hole that never ends well ...
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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Well, you can never have an apples to apples comparison. You either have the same focal length and different angles of view (some people use optics they already own on different formats) or you have the same angle of view and different focal lengths (some folks buy new optics to achieve a certain perspective). When made to the same display size, neither situation will produce two images with the same DoF--assuming the same aperture. That is why I clarified those two relationships in my original post.
    You actually can have an apples to apples comparison. I might have not phrased it well enough. It should have been like this: If we enlarge both negatives or files to a certain size and take the exact crop of the smaller medium out of the larger one because we aim to get two identical images (with the same angle of view) there should not be a difference in depth of field. Next question: Does it make any sense to do so?


    To get back to topic and to practice, you can generalize that you'll get more DoF with a smaller sensor simply because you are likely to be farther away from your subject in order to fill the frame with the same FLs.

    Sasha, this isn't necessarily a bad thing. Some people prefer a greater distance to their subjects when shooting portraits for example. It's already hard enough to nail focus wide open so a tad more DoF certainly doesn't hurt. You might even find an 80mm usable for headshots as you'll be farther away and therefore get less distorted faces etc. Try for yourself. In the end, the crop difference between the backs you mentioned is relatively insignificiant (1.16 to 1.28 for 6x4.5 / 0,717 to 0,782 for 35mm).
    Last edited by MaxKi▀ler; 19th November 2012 at 06:36.

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    I went from an Aptus 22 to a P30+ about two years ago and never really noticed the difference between full frame and 1.3 crop. I shoot mostly portraits, so the 35mm lens is plenty wide for my shoots. I never really noticed a DOF difference. I'm sure for some people/types of shooting there is one. But I didn't worry about it. I just set up my shot as I normally would and didn't even think about it. It's much different than the 35mm DSLR crop sensors. Also, I really didn't shoot above ISO 100 with the Aptus. 200 was ok, but It's just not a clean file above that. The P30+ has been great outdoors. Especially for those late afternoon portraits where the sun starts to fade. Or shooting in shade or backlit wide open. It's really the most versatile back out there, as long as you aren't shooting with a tec cam. You also may want to consider a Hasselblad H4x with a 100 f/2 lens. It's really a great combo.

    In terms of your sync speed... You really need to test the camera/back out with your elinchrom kit. I found it really hard to sync above 1/640 with the DF. I tested it at lowest power with w bi-tube head. It never gave me a full flash exposure. So make sure to test it the way you will normally use it.

    Have fun!

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshMerwin View Post
    In terms of your sync speed... You really need to test the camera/back out with your elinchrom kit. I found it really hard to sync above 1/640 with the DF. I tested it at lowest power with w bi-tube head. It never gave me a full flash exposure. So make sure to test it the way you will normally use it.
    Was this with a sync cable or wireless flash sync? I'd fully expect the bitube to sync fully at 1/1600th.
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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    I tried everything, but it was over two years ago. I don't have the same setup anymore.

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    Quote Originally Posted by JoshMerwin View Post
    I went from an Aptus 22 to a P30+ about two years ago and never really noticed the difference between full frame and 1.3 crop. I shoot mostly portraits, so the 35mm lens is plenty wide for my shoots. I never really noticed a DOF difference. I'm sure for some people/types of shooting there is one. But I didn't worry about it. I just set up my shot as I normally would and didn't even think about it. It's much different than the 35mm DSLR crop sensors. Also, I really didn't shoot above ISO 100 with the Aptus. 200 was ok, but It's just not a clean file above that. The P30+ has been great outdoors. Especially for those late afternoon portraits where the sun starts to fade. Or shooting in shade or backlit wide open. It's really the most versatile back out there, as long as you aren't shooting with a tec cam. You also may want to consider a Hasselblad H4x with a 100 f/2 lens. It's really a great combo.

    In terms of your sync speed... You really need to test the camera/back out with your elinchrom kit. I found it really hard to sync above 1/640 with the DF. I tested it at lowest power with w bi-tube head. It never gave me a full flash exposure. So make sure to test it the way you will normally use it.

    Have fun!
    Thanks Josh. I guess this is what I wanted to hear.

    Thank you to all for your comments. I didn't realize there was so much I didn't know about DoF!

    So, I completely eliminated Aptus II5 from my list because of very low ISO, and started thinking of Aptus II6 instead, or maybe even Aptus II7, but that's a very long shot. I am not going to use it on tech cameras.
    The only reasons why I consider Aptus is its file quality and ability to sync at up to 1/1600th. I don't mind touch screen. The way battery attaches bothers me a bit and I hear that thunderbolt doesn't provide enough power to the back when shooting tethered to newer MacBooks and iMacs. This may be an issue in case I have to upgrade my computers during next few years. But image quality - I like. But, it could be because I didn't get a chance to look at P30+ files yet. Maybe I'll change my mind again.

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    crap, just wrote a long post and it erased it...ugh!!!!
    ok, here we go again... I tested all of these for a long weekend before my purchase. Aptus II 40, H4D-40, P65, IQ160 and my Aptus 22 that I had at the time. I thought the Aptus I screen was barely usable to review images, only used it for histogram. The Aptus II screen was somewhat better, but not what I consider good enough for the amount the back costs. Now I'm talking about using it outside, trying to see the ratio of ambient to daylight in the sun. I just wasn't happy with it. The files are great and when shooting indoors I'm tethered 99% of the time. The IQ screen is amazing. The hassy screen was good and the P30+ screen was good enough. I can zoom in and check the focus, see the ambient/flash exposure just fine. I was really happy with all the files from every camera/back at base ISO. I had a minor color cast with the H4d-40, so I kind of ruled that out. But I ended up going with Hassy as my camera system. I'm hands down happier with the H4x, than the phase cameras. I ended up buying the P30+ without shooting it. I got a ton of great feedback and advice from Steve at CI and Rich at Fotocare. Once I went through all my options, I saw one listed here in the B&S for a price that was too good to pass up. It looked mint, had 100K exposures, which doesn't really affect anything on these backs, as long as they are treated well. (The IR filter had been replaced fairly recently by the seller) I was taking a little risk, but used my credit card to buy it, which has some protection. It was in perfect condition, no issues. If the price was anywhere close to what one of the dealers had it for, I would have bought it from them. The idea was really to use it for a year or two, then upgrade to an IQ or Credo back. But I'm so happy with it, I don't think I'll upgrade right now. If Phase or Leaf had come out with a new back with micro lenses, I probably would have upgraded. I think they really missed a great opportunity to have an IQ130 with the P30+ sensor at an entry level price point. Or the ability for us to upgrade with our sensor in an IQ body. I really need a back that can shoot full res at 400/800.

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    Thanks Josh, that's great information. I really need to get my hands on some Hassys to try out.

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    So, I bought P30+ with DF and 80mm LS lens kit.
    First of all, thank you all for your input. It was great help!

    B3K Digital in Toronto sent me their demo kit with 20k actuations on it to test out with no charge and after couple of test shoots and working with the files I decided to keep it.

    I only used it in studio conditions, tethered. Files are just spectacular. So much detail and tones. I was worried that retouching may take longer, but it really doesn't, and working with files is pure pleasure (I'm coming from Nikon D700).

    I need to practice more and figure out how to focus and recompose. Also, nailing focus with available light only seems difficult too. Any tips on how to focus more successfully or just point me towards right threads?

    Even resized for web MF files have this totally different quality to them. Amazing. I wanted to post one image from one of the test shoots, but it didn't really work. When I post it as an attachment and preview the post, it enlarges the image by a lot. How do I do it?

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?


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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    Here is another try:
    Attachment 67184

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    Re: Adding MF kit. P25+, P30+ or Aptus II 5?

    I have a P30+ for sale for 4,600 plus shipping if you are interested

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