Site Sponsors
Results 1 to 6 of 6

Thread: Making the Jump

  1. #1
    PaulDng
    Guest

    Question Making the Jump

    Hi Everyone,

    A long time lurker and first time poster looking for a little advice.

    Iím looking at making the jump to MFD, almost ready to ďAbandon HopeĒ as the forum sub-title says . I havenít quite made the decision yet but Iím getting very close.

    I shoot landscapes with 4x5 film and occasionally a Canon 5DMk II, for various reasons Iím looking to replace the 4x5 system and maybe the Canon. Currently I have the budget to get started with a used back and SLR, if this works out then Iíd partly fund a digital view camera system by selling the 4x5 gear and some Canon glass.

    Iíve found a couple of used packages which Iím considering.

    1: Phase One P65+ with 645 DF and 80mm LS lens.
    2: Leaf Aptus-II 12 with 645 DF Ė body only.

    The P65+ system is 2K cheaper than the Aptus and includes a lens so more spare cash for other bits and bobs. 60MP will be plenty for me, 80MP might be nice but itís not really a factor in my decision.

    So, some questions

    The Aptus is tempting being newer tech and 80MP with a larger LCD but apart from the extra expense Iím worried about weatherproofing, it rains a lot here in the UK and I like to shoot seascapes often in stormy conditions where salt spray might be a problem, how weatherproof is the Aptus compared to the P65+?

    Iím currently leaning towards the P65+, from what Iíve seen itís built like a tank and does everything I need, the only slight concern is the small LCD, is it usable for checking focus?

    Lens choice, an 80mm lens makes sense as Iíll want a normal perspective but Iíll need to add a wide angle, I find I use a 90mm maybe 80% of the time on 4x5 (24mm when I shoot with the 35mm system) so something roughly equivalent for 645 MF would be needed. I was wondering if anybody has any recommendations.

    Many thanks and I apologies if this has all been covered a hundred times,
    Paul.

  2. #2
    Member Richard Osbourne's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    Location
    Norfolk
    Posts
    74
    Post Thanks / Like

    Re: Making the Jump

    Hi Paul

    I made the move from 35mm digital about 6 months ago and though I can't compare the two systems as I haven't tried the Leaf, I can tell you my experience with a P45+. It's similar in terms of functionality to the P65, though slightly smaller sensor and older tech.

    I bought a Cambo Wide DS with a Schneider 35XL (and a 24XL) - roughly equivalent to a 24mm on DSLR. The step-up in image quality using a technical camera from 1DsIII/5DII was extraordinary. This was not too expensive used and I'd certainly recommend it for landscape use. The biggest surprise was the sharpness of the lenses and depth of field - I hardly bother focusing as once set just to one side of the infinity focus, it's almost complete front to back sharpness. Bit of experimenting found that point.

    I also bought a Mamiya AFD and a few lenses. It took me a long time to get used to this system as it's just so antiquated. However, most of the lenses, even the old ones, are pretty sharp and the more I've used it the more in love with the image quality I've fallen. There's a Mamiya 35 F3.5 lens which is not too bad. Not as good as the tech cams though.

    My latest trick for landscapes is to use Helicon Focus software to put two different focus AFD files to get maximum DOF. It's working perfectly so no tilt but still huge DOF.

    I've found the Phase back has been ok in all weathers (I'm in the UK too and recently took it to Iceland in some v.wild weather - no problem at all). The only issue I have had - and it's occasionally stopped me taking images - is that the previous owner had used it tethered exclusively. So it had real trouble recognising CF cards at first. I think the contacts were oxidised or something. Even now after a lot of use it's occasionally troublesome. I'd check the history of the back to make sure that you have no problems with it.

    As regards the screen and focusing, well, it's OK but only just and a horrible let-down after the 5DII. I had to wean myself off that lovely screen. I bought a cheap loupe for DSLR screens on ebay just to shade the screen in bright sun. Mostly I use infinity focusing techniques - it's not much use for macro work though. I've found the AFD can't be focused manually on anything close up without tethering and the back is hopeless for checking focus-critical shots, so I use an AF lens - the 75-150, an amazing lens, for grab shots. The AF is just about ok for things that don't move too much!

    Capture One 7, just released, has made image quality take another jump up. It's rendering even old images significantly sharper, with lower noise and better colours than anything else I've used.

    You'll be more than pleased with the results with either back, though from what I can gather, Leaf are often praised for their skin tones, so used by fashion and studio shooters more? Phase seem to be used by a lot of landscape shooters partly because of the robustness.

    I actually have trouble believing the difference from DSLR even after 6 months use. It's still a huge thrill to be using such high quality gear.

    Good luck!
    Richard
    Likes 1 Member(s) liked this post

  3. #3
    Workshop Member
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    NYC
    Posts
    3,274
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    7

    Re: Making the Jump

    Hi Paul,

    First, since you are a first time poster, please make sure to see my signature to know my biases - I do not hide them. Though I do try very hard to provide fair useful advice.

    On to your question: no matter what you end up with the investment in the system will be quite heavy. The financial investment is obvious, the time/effort/energy investment may be less obvious, but once the check has cleared it will become a very significant part of the total investment. With this in mind I very strongly encourage you to change your overall strategy. Right now, like many before you, the search has started by looking for deals and evaluating whether the deal is for equipment which is right for you.

    I suggest you first evaluate which equipment is right for you and THEN look for a deal on it. Unless you need this equipment tomorrow you can find a good deal on any desired equipment. So take your time, start by evaluating what your priorities are and what equipment will best fit those priorities. THEN search for a deal.

    I'd also you to consider the following elements in what qualifies as a good deal:
    - Level of transactional stress/risk (e.g. how easy it is to buy and how confident you are of the process). At one end of the spectrum would be an Craiglist or eBay purchase (see this recent example). At the other end would be a purchase through a well-respected dealer.
    - Level of support, warranty, service, and training. A good dealer will make sure that you get the right equipment for what you want to do, will make sure you know how to use it, will help you with any questions (there will be many, especially for a first time user of medium format) and can provide you training on the software which makes these files sing.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulDng View Post
    Hi Everyone,
    I shoot landscapes with 4x5 film and occasionally a Canon 5DMk II, for various reasons I’m looking to replace the 4x5 system and maybe the Canon. Currently I have the budget to get started with a used back and SLR, if this works out then I’d partly fund a digital view camera system by selling the 4x5 gear and some Canon glass.
    Depending on your specific needs you may find a digital view camera is less expensive than an SLR solution. We have a Cambo Wide DS for instance which is $1250, less than we sell a Phase One DF for.

    Of course a tech camera and SLR are VERY different systems in quality, workflow, style, and substance. A great deal of evaluation is required to decide between them for your desires, needs, and budget.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulDng View Post
    The P65+ system is 2K cheaper than the Aptus and includes a lens so more spare cash for other bits and bobs. 60MP will be plenty for me, 80MP might be nice but it’s not really a factor in my decision.
    80mp vs. 60mp is the most obvious difference between the Aptus and 65+, but as it turns out there are many differences. The Aptus will have:
    - a bit more more DR
    - a bit more smoother tonality
    - a bit more improved color differentiation
    - moderately more problems with wide angle tech lenses (specifically the Schneider 28XL and 35XL)

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulDng View Post
    The Aptus is tempting being newer tech and 80MP with a larger LCD but apart from the extra expense I’m worried about weatherproofing, it rains a lot here in the UK and I like to shoot seascapes often in stormy conditions where salt spray might be a problem, how weatherproof is the Aptus compared to the P65+?
    I'd put the 65+ slightly ahead of the Aptus for weather proofing. However, the difference is, in my opinion, smaller than you might think.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulDng View Post
    I’m currently leaning towards the P65+, from what I’ve seen it’s built like a tank and does everything I need, the only slight concern is the small LCD, is it usable for checking focus?
    No.

    The 65+ LCD will allow you to zoom in on the image, but the ability to check critical focus is minimal. The Aptus' 100% review is much better in addition to being on a larger (though slightly dimmer) LCD. It's not super fast, but for landscape it's more than good enough.

    Quote Originally Posted by PaulDng View Post
    Lens choice, an 80mm lens makes sense as I’ll want a normal perspective but I’ll need to add a wide angle, I find I use a 90mm maybe 80% of the time on 4x5 (24mm when I shoot with the 35mm system) so something roughly equivalent for 645 MF would be needed. I was wondering if anybody has any recommendations.
    We have a visualization tool that shows you the relative focal lengths for each camera (not internet explorer compatible, use firefox/safari/chrome):
    Phase One & Mamiya/Leaf Digital Solutions - Visualizer

    The equivalent is a 35mm ish lens. The Mamiya/Phase 35mm is good, but not great. For this length I'd recommend a tech camera lens every time - the difference is night and day.
    Last edited by dougpeterson; 22nd November 2012 at 16:31.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

  4. #4
    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Vancouver, WA
    Posts
    5,800
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    564

    Re: Making the Jump

    Richard and Doug sum things up pretty well with their recent experience and in Doug's case solid, sage commercial advice. If landscape with 4x5 is your thing today then I'd also tend to agree with the suggestion of looking seriously at a technical camera system. As Doug states, the difference between the rendering of the wide glass really is like night & day vs your canon and arguably even a step up these days compared with your 4x5. The choice of back once your've decided to go technical camera or MF DSLR would follow on based on your budget but in any case I'll wager that even a similar megapixel back to your current canon will be a noticeable step up in quality.
    Last edited by GrahamWelland; 23rd November 2012 at 10:47.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

  5. #5
    Senior Member yaya's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    London, UK
    Posts
    1,168
    Post Thanks / Like
    Images
    38

    Re: Making the Jump

    Hi Paul, welcome on board!

    Graham ,Richard and Doug have covered pretty much everything you need to know.

    I live in the UK and I've been using Aptus backs since the end of 2004 in all sorts of weather conditions.
    If it's a drizzle then the camera (tech or SLR) is also going to get wet at some point and they are not watertight and neither is the back so if I know that I'm going to be shooting in wet conditions I'll use a plastic bag of some sort as a cover.

    If it rains hard then I just stay inside;-)

    If you're on the coast then a good clean after the shoot is a good habit to remove any salty moisture.

    If the II 12 is a stretch then you can look at the II 10 which is very popular for Landscape due to its unique sensor size and shape (56x36mm)

    All Aptus models play nicely on view cameras as they only require a single sync cable from the lens to the back. Also you can use different size batteries or an external battery (like Quantum Turbo etc.) as we make a DC-FW800 adapter for the backs.

    Let me know if you'd like to see files from these backs

    As everyone else said you should try the backs before you commit to a purchase. The dealer should be able to help you test them on your 4x5 as well and get the correct lenses for it if needed

    If you're up north perhaps you can join us next Tuesday in Manchester at Cambo's open day? We'll have a couple of Aptus-II 12's there and some other backs inc. Credo so that might be a good opportunity to have a closer look?

    More Info

    Cheers

    Yair
    Last edited by yaya; 23rd November 2012 at 07:37.
    Yair Shahar | Product Manager | Phase One | Mamiya Leaf
    e: [email protected] | m: +44(0)77 8992 8199 | yaya's blog

  6. #6
    PaulDng
    Guest

    Re: Making the Jump

    Many thanks everyone, you've all given me a lot to think about.

    I'm not rushing into this so it may be a while before I make my decision but this has been very helpful.

    Paul.

Tags for this Thread

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •