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Thread: Something for change ;) Medium Format & Technical Cameras : Future of High End Photo

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    Something for change ;) Medium Format & Technical Cameras : Future of High End Photo

    After seeing the endless posts regarding the nikon D800 and the end of MF. I have kept silent for the most part deciding not to participate. Instead of participating I spent my time working working with my gear, figuring out the limits of my lenses and their strengths. I am sorry to say, there is NO POSSIBLY WAY that a D800 (nor D800e) can even get CLOSE to comparing to the images that are possible with my Alpa and P65+. And before anyone gets crazy, I have used the D800e. I have just recently purchased a D3x for my fiancee as well (I prefer the D3x files over the D800 files). As with every piece of equipment, the higher end you get, the more possibilities there are to move forward. However, this works inversely as well, if you are not aware of how to use a tech camera properly, your work can actually diminish in comparison to a D800.

    These are the following (personal, artistic, and some slightly technical) reasons that 35mm will never be able to compare to MF :
    1.Razor thin depth of field - creating a special pop and 3D look that cannot be matched until they start making Large Format digital backs

    2.Out of focus rendition - those items out of focus, remain 10 times more usable than out of focus items on 35mm.

    3.Out of focus rendition look - The items out of focus resemble a painting (take a look at the crops below).

    4.Color accuracy - don't even need to refer to specifications, I see this first hand every day I shoot and with every client who looks at our work. D800 color rendition is a joke in comparison...

    5.Sharpness - Last time I used 35mm, they were basically useless wide open. Now I shoot wide open every single shot I take. I find that it provides a sharpness than cannot be matched and a sense of pop, that will NEVER be matched on 35mm.

    6.Precision - This is mainly an Alpa thing (cannot speak for other tech cameras, because I have not tried them) The precision provided by the lens mounts, back mount, etc, allows for fine adjustments that actually STAY!

    7.Tilt/Shift - I have heard great things about the new canon tilt/shifts. But from my experience, just the mechanisms involved in all other tilt shift systems I have used, they are built more like a toy than for precision. With the Alpa tilt shift, I can make very small tilt adjustments in both the x and y axis to allow for perfect precision. With the canon, nikon, schneider, or any other branded tilt/shift lens, the lens must be rotated then adjusted in just one direction. For example, if you have composed your shot with say 8 degrees tilt downward; then you decide that you want to have a slight left tilt as well you must spin the lens until it clicks in place, completely changing the focal plane (especially on a wide angle lens). Where as with the Alpa system, I can decide I want a downward tilt with some tilt slightly left, I set up my camera as so. Tilt one of my tilt adapters downward, then add a sway to the left. With the very fine adjustments, there is an infinite number of possibilities that will always be able to PERFECTLY get what you need in focus.
    ps: sorry if I did not use the technical terms properly. I am selftaught and I hope that this was not as confusing for you as it was for me to write

    8. This applies to Rodi's only - the ability to have an open aperture choice. As I am self taught, I never understood the real point of having already chosen aperture settings. Yea I get it makes it easier to find proper exposure - BUT what is proper exposure? The ability to choose f stops in between others is something that allows very fine adjustments (infinite) that could otherwise never be made. How many times did you take a photo that you knew you needed to keep the same shutter speed and iso, but wished you could have a stop in between two f-stops? I know this happened to be many times. Now, this is no longer a problem...

    9. Flexibility and Open Platform - The ability to use tilt/shift with almost all lenses. The ability to use macro with almost all lenses. The options are endless.

    10. Money - We charge for the rental of our equipment. In our current location (Paris) people are not very willing to pay a lot of money for shoots. However, when you mention that you only charge rental fee for a day of shooting, they listen. While that rental fee is still far more than what they planned on paying, they justify the price. Clients take interest in what is different. We have not done a single shoot with a client without him/her asking about the camera. They see that for us, photography is everything. They see that we put money into our business, reassuring themselves that they have spent their money well. Would you pay for someone to wax your ferrari with wax that he purchased at the gas station? I know I wouldn't...

    11. One of the most important
    What we say in France - "C'est tellement stylé"
    What we say in America - "Its badass"
    We have received numerous clients and business cards just from having a beautiful camera while at another shoot.

    Final Thoughts: With all this being said, I personally would shoot a low megapixel digital back on a tech cam before I shoot any megapixel count 35mm format.

    Now some photos from our last shoot to show everything from above. Oh yea, accidentally left my max shifted 25mm (how it is packed in my case) so 90HR can be shifted 25mm

    All photos shot wide open. NO EDITING OUTSIDE OF CAPTURE ONE - besides dust cleanup in photoshop.
    Alpa Max
    90HR Alpagon
    17mm tilt adapter
    34mm tilt adapter
    P65+
    Profoto Lighting





    This photos displays the unmatchable detail and color rendition achieved via MF.


    This image displays the razor thin depth of field. And the "painting-like" look of the out of focus portions of an image. As you see from above, from far this gives a pop that is unmatchable in 35mm format (no matter how many megapixels you have).

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    Senior Member stngoldberg's Avatar
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    Re: Something for change ;) Medium Format & Technical Cameras : Future of High End Ph

    Terrific post!

    Stanley

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    Re: Something for change ;) Medium Format & Technical Cameras : Future of High End Ph

    Very nice pictures indeed, and I'm glad that you're happy with the system.

    A couple of comments come to mind: Lenses available for 135 systems can provide thinner DoF than MF tech cam lenses. For example Leica 50/0.95, Canon 85/1.2, Nikon 85/1.4. Aperture f/4 on a P65+ corresponds to about f/2.5 on a 135 system. You may like the bokeh better from the tech cam lenses though, and I do myself like the fog-like bokeh of my tech cam lenses. I don't particularly like the aperture shape of Copal shutters though (I prefer round ones), so bokeh is best wide open if there are specular highlights in the background.

    Many 135 lenses are fuzzy in the edges wide open, as they have extremely large apertures. However when you stop them down to f/2.5 - f/2.8 which corresponds to the DoF you have in your pictures many of them can be quite sharp, but concerning resolving power the MF tech cam system is surely the king. If your clients are satisfied with 30-40 megapixels though the 135 system may have adequate resolving power. I think MF makers need to look out here and realise that in the future resolution won't be as strong selling point as it was a few years ago. The "look of lenses" and color rendition may become more important than resolution.

    When you need tilt/shift as in this type of product photography the choice of lenses is really weak in the 135 systems though. MF tech cam has a very strong advantage here. And certainly the fiddly tilt/shift controls are not that fun to play with, although I'd say that concerning precision they are "good enough". I don't think pankcake cameras are ideal for product photography either due to lack of back tilt and small tilt range, a studio view camera like Linhof M679cs or Sinar P3 is much more flexible.

    A theory I've heard which I don't know if its true is that MF bokeh is generally more pleasing as the format size allows designing less corrected lenses and still maintain resolution, i e simpler lens designs, fewer lens elements, more spherical aberrations, than you can with the 135 format. The Mamiya RZ system is often put forward as an example. As MFD has focused more and more on ultra-high resolution though these simpler designs are replaced with more complex more corrected designs with less good bokeh rendition (?).

    Color accuracy is not the same as "pleasing color", MF may very well have more pleasing color rendition (and perhaps local accuracy focused on skin colors in particular), especially when comparing default settings in Capture One, but when it comes to scientifically measured raw accuracy the D800 and P65+ is similar at base ISO. Some older backs like the P45+ is actually pretty mediocre when it comes to color accuracy, but that doesn't mean that it does not produce "pleasing color", in fact many prefer the look of old Kodak sensors ahead of the modern Dalsa thanks to a more "pleasing film-like look". If you really like color accuracy you may want to look into the Sony A99.

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    Re: Something for change ;) Medium Format & Technical Cameras : Future of High End Ph

    As a hobbyist, and from a slightly different perspective I have to agree completely. I use an RM3Di and IQ180, and also have 3 D800s (D800E/D800 full spectrum/D800 720nm). I have also used the DF/LS, Canon 1 series, Leica M etc.

    For me it was an issue application. When I want absolute precision and quality, I go for the Arca/IQ. This is the main reason my DF kit is for sale. When I want convenience and speed, one of the Nikons with some great Nikon glass I have works well. Everything in between is a compromise, which is extremely important to a lot of people due to usage, output, subject matter, portability, or finances.

    Most people making the various DSLR arguments appear to have axes to grind, I don't. I don't make money at this, instead I spend good money on it!

    So until someone starts giving me money to buy gear, I will continue to use what is best for me, and this is based on my use.

    Eric, well said in your thoughtful post.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Something for change ;) Medium Format & Technical Cameras : Future of High End Ph

    Shortpballer,

    How dare you actually spending the time LEARNING how to use your equipment AND then sharing good images taken with it! After all, DXOco has assured us of the superiority of the DZ4990 sensor to anything else out there regardless of lenses used, so you absolutely have to be mistaken! I'm equally certain your posted images look so good because they had to be downsized for web view which gives them an unfair advantage when compared to anything else -- again, DXOco ssayss so! :



    We so need a really good sarcasm emoticon

    Seriously, thanks for sharing your insights!
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

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

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    Re: Something for change ;) Medium Format & Technical Cameras : Future of High End Ph

    Jack is right, DXOco says so, so those damned fine images cannot exist. Just like all those MF wildlife photos don't really exist either because it's not possible to shoot wildlife with MF.

    Boy, do I need a pair of nice shoes. I can actually smell fresh new leather when I look at those images.

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    Re: Something for change ;) Medium Format & Technical Cameras : Future of High End Ph

    I must add one thing, for now. I will get back and respond to everyone in a little bit, after my shoot . My phase files allow me to make edits at nearly 300 percent without seeing pixillation. This may also be due to the insane sharpness of the 90HR. This is not possible with the Nikon files...Or atleast from what I have seen, someone please prove me wrong.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Something for change ;) Medium Format & Technical Cameras : Future of High End Ph



    The last one is my favorite
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com
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    Re: Something for change ;) Medium Format & Technical Cameras : Future of High End Ph

    Where do I buy these shoes?

    I'm sure the collection at Walmart is better, faster, cheaper, but I want to spend more money that I have to
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    Re: Something for change ;) Medium Format & Technical Cameras : Future of High End Ph

    Is quality linear ?
    How far is a D800 from an Alpa/P65 ?
    How far is the excellent switz white wine I am currently tasting from the "Y" of Yquem ?
    How far is Audio research from FM Acoustics ?
    How far is a Natalia Dumitrescu painting from a Braque ?
    How far is my wife from Natalie Portman and myself from Brad Pitt ?

    Passion creates distorsion.
    Objectivity sometimes creates the opposite distorsion, as one can neglect major qualitative criteria and oppose secondary measurable ones.

    This is a forum for passionates, I learned a lot here ... For example how to spend a lot in equipement (a P65 arrived yesterday).
    Eric, what your message tells, apart from the advantage of MF over dslr, is the advantage of Passion over Technique.
    Thanks !
    Last edited by OliverM; 1st March 2013 at 11:18.

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    Re: Something for change ;) Medium Format & Technical Cameras : Future of High End Ph

    It is funny how we need to justify our equipment. I shoot MFD because I want to. For no special reason, there are certain cameras I like to use. So I use them. These cameras are able to produce results that please me--that has nothing to do with technical specifications or what other cameras can do. Photography for me is not about the cheapest nor most convenient nor fastest. Art is not a logical pursuit that can be broken down on a spreadsheet. What is the value or fun and wonder and amazement?

    Personally, I prefer Muck Boots
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    Re: Something for change ;) Medium Format & Technical Cameras : Future of High End Ph

    I gave MF a try, simply stunning results even with the VERY modest ZD back, then a P30+, still in the "bush leagues" relative to a P65+

    For me, as an amateur, I'm having a lot more fun with my Fuji X-Pro one.

    The files are almost as malleable as the Phase, not quite though, the sharpness is close, but not as good.

    I made a choice that if taken to the extreme lands me with a Pink Hello Kitty PnS, but, the other benefits of Weight and Price/Quality ratio outweigh the pleasure that I got from work with the Phase.

    For me, better to shoot a bit more rather than shoot a bit less, and the size/weight/cost of the Phase was a bit limiting to me.

    Clearly the MFDB suits the OP, and my hat is off to him for his spot on post and great photos.

    great posts like the OP is why I hang out here rather than there

    Dave

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