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Thread: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

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    First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Hi everyone. I'm sorry if this has been covered before but a search for previous threads proved a little fruitless.

    I'm looking to move away from my 4x5 Ebony to a Cambo Wrs for landscapes, interiors and architectural work.
    Currently have a 5dmk2 and 24mm ts-e II as well that I use for a lot of commercial projects, but I find I'm not always happy with the look of the files and feel that what I've seen from MFD on this forum is a lot more like what I get from scanned 4x5 Portra.

    What I'd like is suggestions for a good entry level back. So far I've looked at -

    Aptus 22 - Currently watching one on Ebay with a Mamiya 645 AFD II, 80mm and 55-110mm

    Aptus II 5 - as I understand it's the same image quality as the 22 but a newer package. (and Dan L has some awesome shots off one on here )

    P25+ - Looks to be a good option with long exposure ability.

    P40+ - Seems to be an interesting outside choice that has good res bump over the 5D, high dynamic range and tech cam friendly sensor. I'm not fussed to much about the smaller sensor size as I would just stitch a wider view. Possibly good prices as its not a 'sort after' back from what I gather.

    What are peoples thoughts

    Chances are I'll go for either the Cambo 1250 or 400, depending on if I decide I need two planes of shift or not. I need to get down to London to try them though. No dealers anywhere near Liverpool. Lens wise I reckon it'll be the 35mm XL.


    Cheers for the help.

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    The Aptus are great (as long as you don't work in freezing temperatures where it may get problems). I have an Aptus 75 myself, also seen some Aptus 22 files and they look great. If you appreciate accurate color and not needing a wakeup procedure the Aptus series is nicer than P25+. The P25+ can do long exposures though and can be more reliable in cold conditions.

    The 22 megapixel backs are prone to moiré which can be a mess when shooting architecture. It's personal how irritating you will find that though, some really hate it, and others think it's quite easy to manage.

    As far as I know P40+ is not so friendly concerning symmetric wide angles like the Schneider 35mm XL you are looking at, ie having quite heavy color cast. Personally I also think a 48x36/49x37mm sensor size is better balanced concerning movements inside a 90mm image circle than a 44x33mm sensor.

    You can also look at an Aptus 75 or newer version of that, 33 megapixel 48x36mm, on the second hand market one of the best price/performance backs there is I'd say and not too hard to find. When long exposures is not needed I prefer it over the 39 megapixel P45+ thanks to more accurate color rendition, and can be had much cheaper. Some think that the Kodak sensors of P25+ and P45+ while not as accurate gives a nicer film-like look.

    To match your 4x5" film quality in terms of grain-free(ish) resolution ~40 megapixels seems to be the break-even point... an Aptus 75 will come close, a 22 megapixel back will be a little bit behind.

    I'd look into Aptus if you can deal with it's limitations - longest shutter time 32 seconds, and possibly not so reliable in freezing temperatures. If you need long exposure and tough condition work I'd look into P25+ (if you can deal with moiré and limited resolution) or P45+ (if you can deal with the cost :-)), but not P40+ due to color cast and smallish size.

    A unique(?) feature of the older Aptus backs compared to other older generation backs is that their 100% focus check actually works for checking sharpness. From what I've heard even the newer P+ backs cannot do that.

    Hasselblad also has a number of offerings, if you can accept to mess around with external batteries and stuff a H3D-39 can sometimes be had cheaply, but synch issues with tech cameras can occur in some older versions I've heard, it's a bit of a minefield, preferably test before buy. As Hasselblad's prices are lower new they are often a bit lower than the other brands second hand too.

    There are lots of 22 megapixel backs using the KAF-22000 sensor in P25+ and all have very similar image quality, but few/none can do long exposures as P25+ can. If you can do with shorter exposures you can if lucky find really oldies but goodies like a Hasselblad CF22 at very attractive price point. Buying really old backs is a risk of course in terms of repair needs and nearing of support termination, but can be a good starting point if you want in cheap.

    If you're totally new to medium format digital, plan to buy second hand, and are used to DSLRs you might find my guide to second hand digital backs useful:
    http://www.ludd.ltu.se/~torger/photo...fdb-guide.html it's something I wrote thinking about what I self would have liked to know before buying my first digital back, being used to work with a DSLR, a 5Dmk2 actually. Compared to a modern DSLR an older generation back has it's quirks and twists that can be good to know before buying... Should be said that I'm quite pleased with the look out of the 5Dmk2 too, so I'm not using MFD for "the look", but rather because I like using a tech cam and movements.
    Last edited by torger; 8th April 2013 at 04:11.

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Be aware though that if you get in this way you get in a lot cheaper than you would if buying a new current generation back. Using old electronics that might fail at any point and where the support is near termination is risky but with the associated low price it can be a good way for an amateur (like myself) to play around with these wonderful things, but I would not recommend it to a professional, then it's better to calculate with the full cost to stay updated in the forefront.

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Craig,

    There's a long "fat pixel" back thread here: http://www.getdpi.com/forum/medium-f...tal-backs.html

    Steve

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    The Aptus are great (as long as you don't work in freezing temperatures where it may get problems). I have an Aptus 75 myself, also seen some Aptus 22 files and they look great. If you appreciate accurate color and not needing a wakeup procedure the Aptus series is nicer than P25+. The P25+ can do long exposures though and can be more reliable in cold conditions.

    The 22 megapixel backs are prone to moiré which can be a mess when shooting architecture. It's personal how irritating you will find that though, some really hate it, and others think it's quite easy to manage.

    As far as I know P40+ is not so friendly concerning symmetric wide angles like the Schneider 35mm XL you are looking at, ie having quite heavy color cast. Personally I also think a 48x36/49x37mm sensor size is better balanced concerning movements inside a 90mm image circle than a 44x33mm sensor.

    You can also look at an Aptus 75 or newer version of that, 33 megapixel 48x36mm, on the second hand market one of the best price/performance backs there is I'd say and not too hard to find. When long exposures is not needed I prefer it over the 39 megapixel P45+ thanks to more accurate color rendition, and can be had much cheaper. Some think that the Kodak sensors of P25+ and P45+ while not as accurate gives a nicer film-like look.

    To match your 4x5" film quality in terms of grain-free(ish) resolution ~40 megapixels seems to be the break-even point... an Aptus 75 will come close, a 22 megapixel back will be a little bit behind.

    I'd look into Aptus if you can deal with it's limitations - longest shutter time 32 seconds, and possibly not so reliable in freezing temperatures. If you need long exposure and tough condition work I'd look into P25+ (if you can deal with moiré and limited resolution) or P45+ (if you can deal with the cost :-)), but not P40+ due to color cast and smallish size.

    A unique(?) feature of the older Aptus backs compared to other older generation backs is that their 100% focus check actually works for checking sharpness. From what I've heard even the newer P+ backs cannot do that.

    Hasselblad also has a number of offerings, if you can accept to mess around with external batteries and stuff a H3D-39 can sometimes be had cheaply, but synch issues with tech cameras can occur in some older versions I've heard, it's a bit of a minefield, preferably test before buy. As Hasselblad's prices are lower new they are often a bit lower than the other brands second hand too.

    There are lots of 22 megapixel backs using the KAF-22000 sensor in P25+ and all have very similar image quality, but few/none can do long exposures as P25+ can. If you can do with shorter exposures you can if lucky find really oldies but goodies like a Hasselblad CF22 at very attractive price point. Buying really old backs is a risk of course in terms of repair needs and nearing of support termination, but can be a good starting point if you want in cheap.

    If you're totally new to medium format digital, plan to buy second hand, and are used to DSLRs you might find my guide to second hand digital backs useful:
    Guide to second hand medium format digital backs it's something I wrote thinking about what I self would have liked to know before buying my first digital back, being used to work with a DSLR, a 5Dmk2 actually. Compared to a modern DSLR an older generation back has it's quirks and twists that can be good to know before buying... Should be said that I'm quite pleased with the look out of the 5Dmk2 too, so I'm not using MFD for "the look", but rather because I like using a tech cam and movements.

    Actually the 35 XL works just fine with the P40 plus with no real color cast issue. You have a generous amount of movements.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Honestly I think the P40 is maybe the best entry level back now. It's got the latest 6 micron sensor which is the same as the IQ 140, IQ 160 and P65 only in a crop sensor is the only real difference. I shot it a long time both with a DF and tech cam . From a dealer they are about 9 K and you can get a Cambo and a 35XL for a very good price. Also they are nice for upgrade paths to the future and built like a tank. I have many outstanding ( quality wise )
    images posted here from it. Mainly all posted in the fun with MF threads
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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Mostly all p40 images and looking for more

    P40+ - GetDPI Image Gallery

    Another workshop of p40 images

    http://www.getdpi.com/gallery/browseimages.php?c=290
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Actually the 35 XL works just fine with the P40 plus with no real color cast issue. You have a generous amount of movements.
    Thanks for correcting, was not really sure about that. Surely puts it in another light. Personally I have a hard time accepting the 44x33mm size, despite that it's not far from my favourite 48x36/49x37 . It means that I tend to look away from those alternatives, but it's not really rational, so sure the P40+ may be one of the best alternatives.

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    It does and I admit I maybe a little bias on the P40 plus since I used it longer than the rest of my backs and I really did love that back. But coming from the ZD, P25 9 micron. p30 7.8 micron ? Maybe it was 9 micron. Can't remember but anyway I think the nicest backs are the 6 micron and I had three of those in IQ 140, 160 and P40 so I really like that sensor. Files are very neutral and has great tonality to them with really nice DR. So yes I am bias to the 6 micron backs and honestly all the folks I recommended it to never complained about it. Now Leaf does have that sensor too and I think it starts with the Aptus 7 but check that and you can look at those. Yair our neighborhood Leaf guy can advise you on them better than I can.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Bang for the buck I think the P40+ is the best tech cam option going out there provided you are okay with the resulting focal length of a 1.3 crop with whatever lenses you intend on getting.

    This link shows you the resulting image of various sensor and lens combinations.
    http://www.digitaltransitions.com/vi...isualizer.html

    A 2-shot stitch (moving the back within the image circle not the lens or rotating the body) with a P40+ leaves you with a large effective sensor size and a very high resolution. Obviously only suitable when on a tripod and when the subject matter isn't moving very fast (e.g. not suitable for stitching a shot of grand central station at rush hour, but perfectly fine for moderately fast moving clouds and tree branches gently blowing in the wind).
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    The Aptus 7 is the 33 megapixel back, 7.2 um pixels, same as Aptus 75, Aptus 75s, DM33, Aputs-II 7 etc. It's the sensor I got and I really like it. The older generations can be had really cheap for what you get, and they are quite "often" up for sale.

    The cold weather issues I'm having with mine despite replaced e-box and difficulties to get proper Leaf support in Sweden/Europe is driving me nuts though, so I think it's a bit risky back for anyone that's going to work in tougher conditions. Based on all user experiences I've seen in this and other forums I would guess that the P+ series is about the most robust and reliable thing you can get in the MFD world, even more robust than the newer IQ series.

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Torger, given your pretty horrid experience buying a defective private-sold digital back and finding minimal support in addressing the situation do you still stand by this statement in your guide "If you are used to buy second hand gear you probably prefer to take some risk in exchange for the considerably lower price. This suggestion not to buy from a dealer but rather from an individual may be a bit controversal. However, while dealers can do a great job with supporting their customers the model is designed for professional users and for amateurs it may simply cost too much."

    I don't think I've ever come across someone that I wish had purchased from us more. Your long and tortured tale of buying used from a private individual, finding it not working for your needs, going through an expensive repair process, and still (months and a lot of money and grief later) not having a solution you're happy with simply would not have happened if you purchased from us.

    You're the poster boy for why someone should buy from a dealer.

    I also don't understood your continued insistance that dealers focus only on professionals, despite extensive evidence from this forum and other medium format forums. From where do you get that impression?? A good chunk of our customers are enthusiasts or non-professional artists, in some months upward of 40-50%. Working with enthusiasts is one of the most rewarding parts of my job; all they care about is the image and process of making it.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    Torger, given your pretty horrid experience buying a defective private-sold digital back and finding minimal support in addressing the situation do you still stand by this statement in your guide "If you are used to buy second hand gear you probably prefer to take some risk in exchange for the considerably lower price. This suggestion not to buy from a dealer but rather from an individual may be a bit controversal. However, while dealers can do a great job with supporting their customers the model is designed for professional users and for amateurs it may simply cost too much."

    I don't think I've ever come across someone that I wish had purchased from us more. Your long and tortured tale of buying used from a private individual, finding it not working for your needs, going through an expensive repair process, and still (months and a lot of money and grief later) not having a solution you're happy with simply would not have happened if you purchased from us.

    You're the poster boy for why someone should buy from a dealer.

    I also don't understood your continued insistance that dealers focus only on professionals, despite extensive evidence from this forum and other medium format forums. From where do you get that impression?? A good chunk of our customers are enthusiasts or non-professional artists, in some months upward of 40-50%. Working with enthusiasts is one of the most rewarding parts of my job; all they care about is the image and process of making it.
    The thing is, Doug, you're typically not going to hear on here from the people who have purchased their backs privately and had no issues whatsoever. Because they don't have a problem to complain about.

    But, since I'm here...

    I bought an IQ180 from a private individual half-way across the world last year. That individual had purchased an additional 1 years warranty on the back through his dealer, and that warranty was transferable to me. I have a slight issue with the back at the moment, and following discussion with my local dealer here, it will be going back to Phase One later this month to be looked at. Under warranty.

    I bought that back for $27,500 just over a year ago. Care to share what you were selling IQ180's for back then?

    I believe that someone here has just sold an IQ180 for $22.5K, with 3 years of so balance of the value added warranty.

    Care to share what you'd price such a back at?

    Or how about what you'd pay for one?

    The fact of the matter is that there are many, many people who have successfully bought and sold backs privately.

    Many people buy and sell them on this very forum.

    Your continual seeding of FUD (that's "fear, uncertainty, doubt" for those not familiar with tried and tested sales methodologies) really isn't called for.

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    Torger, given your pretty horrid experience buying a defective private-sold digital back and finding minimal support in addressing the situation do you still stand by this statement in your guide "If you are used to buy second hand gear you probably prefer to take some risk in exchange for the considerably lower price. This suggestion not to buy from a dealer but rather from an individual may be a bit controversal. However, while dealers can do a great job with supporting their customers the model is designed for professional users and for amateurs it may simply cost too much."

    I don't think I've ever come across someone that I wish had purchased from us more. Your long and tortured tale of buying used from a private individual, finding it not working for your needs, going through an expensive repair process, and still (months and a lot of money and grief later) not having a solution you're happy with simply would not have happened if you purchased from us.

    You're the poster boy for why someone should buy from a dealer.

    I also don't understood your continued insistance that dealers focus only on professionals, despite extensive evidence from this forum and other medium format forums. From where do you get that impression?? A good chunk of our customers are enthusiasts or non-professional artists, in some months upward of 40-50%. Working with enthusiasts is one of the most rewarding parts of my job; all they care about is the image and process of making it.
    Don't get me started . Maybe will sound angry/upset below, but I'm actually quite cool, and it's okay with me that you give your view on my case.

    I do. I update that page when I have learnt new things. You must understand that I write from an European perspective. The kind of deals that can be found at dealers in the US are quite okay or even good but they don't exist around here. The kind of deals you get around here is a pre-owned P25+ for €5500+25%VAT, that's not particularly good in my book. In fact, the kind of dealers that seem to exist in the US don't exist around here. Leaf dealers are like one-man companies which run around and do lots of other side stuff and don't have much time to support their customers. The amount of amateur users of medium format is much lower in Europe than in the US too, there are simply fewer wealthy people in this market, hence the focus on professionals. Haven't found a single company around here that will rent gear to a private individual, you need to be a company to test out the gear.

    I have essentially a new back now (shot count is less than 500) with warranty through a dealer - a dealer which has good reputation and knowledgeable, but the experience is still not exactly smooth, because they don't have time to respond when issues arise, and they have. Phase One web support answers quickly but says the back isn't supposed to work any better. Exactly the opposite what the dealer said, and Yair etc. The first recommended dealer was the Swedish one, that did not even know the Leaf price list and caused me to do an unnecessary service cost of €500.

    If I'm a poster boy, I'm a poster boy that say you shouldn't buy Leaf at all if you are an European user. The problems I have currently is not due to that I bought privately in the first place, it is due to that I bought Leaf. Had I turned to a Leaf dealer I would have got a Leaf back, they would have said it was reliable (I did my homework and asked around among users, dealers and even Yair), and potentially ended up in the exact same position. It would possibly have been easier to revert the buy and get out though, I can give you that. Not entirely sure though, the official guarantee is only 0-40C (like for nearly all cameras, also journalist DSLRs), so they could refuse to take it back.

    Anyway, I will be able to sell this back too, as all points towards it is a normal working Aptus back (it's a type of back that just can't do cold weather very well unless you are lucky), and otherwise I will eventually get it fixed within warranty, and then I can sell to a user that uses it in more friendly conditions (where it will work fine) and not lose too much money. It's surely messier and riskier to deal privately, but the European market needs to come up with better deals to make it not worth taking the risk for many of us. The use of tech cameras seems to be very small in Europe too, Leaf dealers I've been in contact with seem to know less than me about how their backs work with technical cameras... my current best guess is that the problems I have now is mainly due to the quirk that the fan runs full speed always in tech cam mode, which makes it much more sensitive to colder weather than it is mounted to an SLR body with temp-controlled fan. Rather than selling the back I may actually come up with an isolation solution, but I shall see the support issue to the end first. Still waiting on dealer response etc.

    I don't have stats on the european market so I cannot know for sure if it is the way I think it is. I have got my impression through the personal contacts with 3-4 dealers I've head via mail and phone, on the numerous web sites I've visited, and a bit of knowledge of how the fragmented European market works.
    Last edited by torger; 8th April 2013 at 09:41.

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    No need to get ancy Gerald , just sharing my point of view. Naturally the vast majority of purchasers by any means have no problems, private or via a good dealer. Though I would argue strongly the percentage of those with significant issues that aren't immediately/fully resolved is much lower via dealers.

    FUD is highly derogatory. Should we simply never comment on anything bad that ever happens in the world? When your job, and a good fraction of your persona life, is devoted to helping people make high-end photo purchases and then get the most out of them with the least hassle - you end up emotionally tied to the outcomes. Torger genuinely loves and wants to be part of the medium format experience, and watching his relatively tortured progress is just painful. Having seen many such cases on the forums (though you're right that the majority of the "went fine" cases don't end up on the forums) it's worth discussing.

    And yes, we gladly share pricing (usually within minutes or hours) of any serious inquirer. You did get a great deal (not necessarily representative of what one should expect the average difference to be) and you were comfortable with the medium through which you got it; nothing but great feelings headed your way .

    The pros and cons of purchasing methods, for someone new to MF posting a thread asking for advice, is a discussion very much worth having, and I welcome your side of that discussion, as I would hope you would welcome mine. Buying a used back privately is a one such option to explore with it's own positives and negatives. As is buying from a dealer.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    And now back to Craigosh's question....

    All good, brilliant suggestions here. My response is bias since I've been using a WRS for several years now; beginning with a P45+ before switching to a P65 and now an IQ160. My lens lineup has been (all Schneider) 35, 72 and 120 and just this year after more than 4 years decided to drop the 35 in favor of the Rodenstock 40 t/s.

    There's a lot of flux going on with the introduction of new digital backs - much more than when I first entered the market for one. My suggestion is take as much of advantage of that flux as you can. People are trading in their older P45, P65 and in some cases IQ backs for the much newer IQ2 series.

    From a strictly personal point of view/experience - The P45/P65 both will work well for you giving you what you need; near to full frame image at great quality. The draw back on either back is that you'll need to work just a little harder to get the files. It's been my feeling that Phase made the IQ more for the tech cam shooter than anyone else. The screen is huge, you've got much more controls over what you can see/do with the IQ than with the older backs like focus mask. However. Don't forget about the new/improved groundglass/loupe that Cambo has come out with. Using the groundglass/loupe in conjunction with either a P45 or P65 while slow, will do wonders for your workflow.

    Speaking of workflow. The SK35mm is a great lens to use; make certain you get the centerfilter as well. This lens will most certainly work well with just about any back under IQ180/280. Irregardless of the les/back you will still need to do a certain amount of lens caste correction and it's just easier for your workflow if you do it all the time. Stops nasty problems from cropping up after you've driven away.

    I'd suggest getting the WRS1250 over the 400 as for the movements. I've seen the 400 and while "nice" it wouldn't be my first choice of an only camera body - instead it's more than a great companion body.

    Good luck with whatever you decide and welcome to the infernal.

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    I won't get into the "dealer vs private" discussion as I purchase most of my gear privately and have not had an issue in decades. Just lucky I guess.

    I use the cambo wrs and wds. Both are used with Leaf Aptus 65s and I absolutely love them. My favorite lens is the current IQ Back whipping boy, the 35xl.

    You can get a kit with wds, lens and back plate for a heck of a lot less than current product and the image quality is spectacular.

    As the leaf aptus products on the used market are almost considered the "poor cousins" to the Phase product, they can be had at ridiculously low investment.

    My own method is to use the wrs, 35xl, Aptus 65s. for interiors I add one simple item; an old Apple G4 13" laptop to tether to. The old Leaf Capture to run the tether allows me to check critical focus and the G4 fire wire outlet has more than enough power to run the back without the need for repeaters. While I understand that this is a larger setup than the IQ, a small shelf on my tripod allows me to work in small compact footprint and the G4 has a swappable battery. Yes I am aware it will not run Capture 7.

    I think you are getting into MDF at a time when it has never been this cheap (relatively speaking). And if you can resist the very heavy pull of all the fancy gear in this forum and the constant barrage of drool worthy pictures from many of the enablers; you will be VERY happy with the results.

    Hope you find what you are looking for and "join the club".

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    We do give quite a clear fair warning. You have entered Dante's Inferno. Nothing is sacred. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Thanks for the info everyone.
    I'll look at those galleries a little later Guy, going to ring round a few dealers about P40's tomorrow.

    Got a good question for you all.
    I shoot a lot of bars and clubs with colored lighting details. Usually LED light washes or animated walls, and one client that use's a lot of back lit decoration that features red perspex and florescent tubes.

    The 5d never renders any of these details correctly. I find the LED features always clip out to near white close to the source, then the fall off of light has really ugly posterization. Sometimes with slight color shifts. Walls lit with primary blue LED's actually lose some detail now and then!!

    As for the back lit decoration, while it looks solid red to the eye. I can actually see the placement of the tubes on the 5d, as they show as an ugly orange highlight, not even close in color to the red.

    I've not found any raw convertors that can compensate for the errors. So usually I have to retouch these errors by hand if I can. The LED artifacts are a nightmare to fix.

    On film the LED's have a properly colored hotspot and the fall off is smooth. The back lit features look solid red.
    While clients don't usually mention the LED artifacts, some have in the past and generally I just find it ugly and annoying! The client with the light boxes always has me edit the shots.

    Soooo I'm just wondering do the MFDB backs suffer the same issue? or do they have better response to the artificial colored light?

    Just to add examples -
    5d http://www.flickr.com/photos/craigma...n/photostream/
    4x5 Portra http://www.flickr.com/photos/craigma...n/photostream/

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Quote Originally Posted by craigosh View Post
    Got a good question for you all.
    I shoot a lot of bars and clubs with colored lighting details. Usually LED light washes or animated walls, and one client that use's a lot of back lit decoration that features red perspex and florescent tubes.

    The 5d never renders any of these details correctly. I find the LED features always clip out to near white close to the source, then the fall off of light has really ugly posterization. Sometimes with slight color shifts. Walls lit with primary blue LED's actually lose some detail now and then!!

    As for the back lit decoration, while it looks solid red to the eye. I can actually see the placement of the tubes on the 5d, as they show as an ugly orange highlight, not even close in color to the red.

    I've not found any raw convertors that can compensate for the errors. So usually I have to retouch these errors by hand if I can. The LED artifacts are a nightmare to fix.

    On film the LED's have a properly colored hotspot and the fall off is smooth. The back lit features look solid red.
    While clients don't usually mention the LED artifacts, some have in the past and generally I just find it ugly and annoying! The client with the light boxes always has me edit the shots.

    Soooo I'm just wondering do the MFDB backs suffer the same issue? or do they have better response to the artificial colored light?
    High saturation reds/purples are a nightmare on a 5DII/III.

    I am highly confident you will find a good digital back, coupled with it's raw processor, handles such gamut extremities much better. You will of course need a good monitor to accurately view the range of color the digital back is capturing (and a good workflow for deciding how to reign those objects back into a smaller gamut like sRGB or most printer gamuts).

    I say this having worked as a digital tech to a photographer in Las Vegas who shot a Phase One P45+ and Capture One side by side with a Canon (sorry, can't share images, they aren't mine to share), and from my participation in the beta testing of Capture One v7 which contains some new math for dealing with extremities within the capture gamut.

    There will be, for sure, some scenes/subjects/shades which even the digital back cannot handle gracefully. However, they should be far less frequent, and easier to deal with when they do.

    But ideally you'd want to confirm this, and qualify/quantify it yourself by your own hands on testing.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Thanks Doug, yeah I need to check this all for myself with a real world test.

    I'm pretty picky about my color management so no problems there

    Strangely, mixed LED colors never look as bad. Purples, yellows, cyans etc all look better than the primary red, green and blue.

    Oddly, it seems nobody has a problem with these errors as Google searches have always proven fruitless for answers!

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Hi Craig,

    Cambo UK are based in Manchester and they are also a Mamiya Leaf dealer so should be able to help you with trying out some kit

    website

    Hope this helps

    Yair
    Yair Shahar | Product Manager | Phase One | Mamiya Leaf
    e: [email protected] | m: +44(0)77 8992 8199 | yaya's blog

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Quote Originally Posted by craigosh View Post
    Thanks for the info everyone.
    Just to add examples -
    5d BaaBar Fleet St - 5dmk2 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    4x5 Portra BaaBar Fleet St - 4x5 | Flickr - Photo Sharing!
    What I think is seen in the 5Dmk2 photo is not wrong color response, but color space clipping, and possibly a clipped red channel. Digital sensors don't handle clipping as well as film do, as they just cut right off. I have a 5Dmk2 myself and I'm quite sure that it can do better than that.

    Very saturated colors are a bit tricky to deal with, they might cause overexposure of a single channel (and still not show any highlight clipping blinkies in the camera as they look at luminance channel generally, which may not be clipped). You can also have a file that has no clipping, but get color space clipping in the raw converter depending on the processing parameters.

    Set the camera to AdobeRGB color space to get previews closer to the raw capability, and then when you get this problem you can try to underexpose a little until the saturated colors look right (and then push in post). How to avoid color space clipping in the raw converter depends on which raw converter you have. That bright saturated colors become distorted is a quite common problem in digital processing due to color space limitations. You can check with the color picker and see that the red channel is at 255 (max value), and when the raw converter tries to make an even brighter color it then has to desaturate it and then you get a hue shift, eventually ending at white (255 255 255). Highlight reconstruction in the raw converter can solve the problem (or make it worse, depends on raw converter).

    If I had been an expert I would have known if it is about color space clipping in raw converter or clipped red channel in the raw file. Now I can only guess, and I think it is more about clipped red channel than raw converter issue, but it could be the other way around or both. Experiment with underexposure and see what happens.

    Digital backs also clip right off, so they are no different in principle. But color filters are different and dynamic range better than the old 5Dmk2 for sure (and new 5Dmk3 too, Canon is still a bit behind in base ISO DR, unlike Nikon/Sony) so you may very well get better results. But in any case, film does handle highlights better than digital, so don't expect MFDB to do magic. As Canon is a little bit behind the rest of the pack in base ISO image quality it is thankful for MFDBs to compare against that. Bring out a D800 or even better a Sony A99 and the competition is much tougher, but then you don't have access to the excellent TS-E lenses. And of course, the lens lineup available for tech cameras gives far more opportunities than currently available in DSLRs, that's one of the main reasons I chose MFDB+tech camera (I have also kept my 5Dmk2 though).
    Last edited by torger; 9th April 2013 at 01:03.

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Thanks Yair. I had no idea they where only in Manchester, hopefully I can get a demo through them.

    I'm not so convinced Torger. When I've dropped the exposure down to try and rectify the problem I've had to go around 3-4stops lower and even then it doesn't look quite right still. The bits that are the 'correct' red end up way to dark then. If I meter the boxes against the usual ambient they are around 1 stop over, not much light actually comes out of them.

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Quote Originally Posted by craigosh View Post
    Strangely, mixed LED colors never look as bad. Purples, yellows, cyans etc all look better than the primary red, green and blue.
    This makes sense. The camera sensors have red green and blue channels, and computer files are also mixed with these colors. It's a much larger likelihood that you get a hue shift (either due to clipping in the raw file, or in the post-processing) for pure red, green and blue colors than for a mixed color.

    I'm no expert so I cannot respond to exactly why mixed colors will not as likely cause a hue shift, but my guess is that with a pure color you have only one channel clipped and two that moves towards brigther (=large hue shift) while in a mixed color you have two channels clipped and only one that moves towards brigther (=small hue shift).

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Quote Originally Posted by craigosh View Post
    Thanks Yair. I had no idea they where only in Manchester, hopefully I can get a demo through them.

    Could well be a clip in the color space, or over saturation but I've been unable to compensate for it. I've always used the cameras on Adobe 98. When I have tried underexposing to bring the color back its required 3-4 stops reduction to get looking closer. That just makes the rest of the plastic to dark though and still doesn't get it quite perfect.
    Do you have any raw files left from that scene? I could try to see what I could do with them if you want to. The best would be if you have a series of exposures with different amount of underexposure so I have both files with the red channel clipped and one without. You can send me a private message if you want me to try.

    (In these tricky scenes I think it can be worthwhile to use the "universal white balance" trick, where you set a special white balance and AdobeRGB in camera which is close to the sensor response, it helps out to get an optimised exposure. The problem with most DSLRs is that they show histogram of the generated JPEG not the RAW file, the idea of uniWB is to make the JPEG look as close as possible to what the sensor actually captures. MFDBs generally show the true RAW histogram by the way.)

  27. #27
    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    For the money (new), the Aptus II 5 is imho unbeatable, depending ofcourse you use it to its strengths. Mine has performed without any problems, also in subzero temperatures. I like the rendering and colour fidelity, good size sensor also allows for selective focus even with slowish tech lenses. No, or very little, issues with colour casts allowing for big movements.

    Yes, moire appears sometimes but Capture One sorts it out nicely so it is not an issue.

    The main problem I face is my typical interior shot in ambient light with Aptus II 5 and Schneider 28XL. Base iso 25, need f8 for lens to perform well, add centrefilter 2 stops and throw into the mix that noise appears already after 12-15 seconds. It is a challange. This is where the Credo 60 is totally superior.

    But still.....I really really like the Aptus, for exterior architecture and for all kinds of landscapes. The texture is delightful and maybe more filmlike than the big guns. A long hike with minimum weight needed I can absolutely see myself using the Alpa TC, SK 35XL and the Aptus! A smaller package I doubt can be had and yet lovely lovely results from out in the wild!

    I would not hesitate to recomend it, as long as you are aware of the shortcomings...imo great value.

    Thanks for your compliment!
    Alpa FPS • MAX • TC | Alpagon 32Hr | Helvetar 75 | Schneider 120N | Leaf Aptus II 5 • Leaf Credo 60 | www.danlindberg.com
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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Well I had a little demo courtesy of Charles @ Cambo UK, of a WRS with the Aptus II 7 and Credo 40 along with 35mm and 43mm Schneider.

    I'm totally sold on MFDB now.

    Think I actually slightly prefer the images from the Aptus, look a little more like what I get from 4x5 and my Imacon. Think its the slightly bigger pixels.

    But found the Credo a real joy to use and could easily see me just using the back with live view for composition and focus. Amazed at the DOF at f11.

    Only thing I've not understood from the test shots though. I took two shots to stitch using just the vertical shift, and they don't line up perfectly! Stitch really well using automerge in PS, but I was under the impression that if you use back movements the images will just overlap perfectly!?

    SO! who wants to buy an Ebony, Alfa 159, kidney, leg.....

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Quote Originally Posted by craigosh View Post
    Only thing I've not understood from the test shots though. I took two shots to stitch using just the vertical shift, and they don't line up perfectly! Stitch really well using automerge in PS, but I was under the impression that if you use back movements the images will just overlap perfectly!?
    Often the first time someone is using the system (or a sales person doing a demonstration rather than taking artistic pictures) they will manhandle the body while doing the rise, or won't tighten the body onto it's quickrelease plate hard enough, such that during the actuation of the rise/fall the body itself moves slightly (rotates around it's mounting point, is bumped forward or backward minutely etc).

    With moderate care taken in making the rise/fall you should have images that line up perfectly at a zoom-to-fit level.

    In practice you'll still use the automerge in PS (set to "reposition" not to geometrically distort the image together) because alignment down to the last pixel (when you have upwards of 10,000 pixels in one direction) can be disrupted by the moons of jupiter.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    I think I must have made the error somewhere with the shift Doug, as the camera was on a sturdy studio stand and firmly attached, so maybe I moved the right/left a little by accident. I was pretty careful not to move anything to roughly, as I didn't want to break anything.

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Quote Originally Posted by craigosh View Post
    Hi everyone. I'm sorry if this has been covered before but a search for previous threads proved a little fruitless.

    I'm looking to move away from my 4x5 Ebony to a Cambo Wrs for landscapes, interiors and architectural work.
    Currently have a 5dmk2 and 24mm ts-e II as well that I use for a lot of commercial projects, but I find I'm not always happy with the look of the files and feel that what I've seen from MFD on this forum is a lot more like what I get from scanned 4x5 Portra.

    What I'd like is suggestions for a good entry level back. So far I've looked at -

    Aptus 22 - Currently watching one on Ebay with a Mamiya 645 AFD II, 80mm and 55-110mm

    Aptus II 5 - as I understand it's the same image quality as the 22 but a newer package. (and Dan L has some awesome shots off one on here )

    P25+ - Looks to be a good option with long exposure ability.

    P40+ - Seems to be an interesting outside choice that has good res bump over the 5D, high dynamic range and tech cam friendly sensor. I'm not fussed to much about the smaller sensor size as I would just stitch a wider view. Possibly good prices as its not a 'sort after' back from what I gather.

    What are peoples thoughts

    Chances are I'll go for either the Cambo 1250 or 400, depending on if I decide I need two planes of shift or not. I need to get down to London to try them though. No dealers anywhere near Liverpool. Lens wise I reckon it'll be the 35mm XL.


    Cheers for the help.
    Honestly, for Landscape and Architecture/Interiors, if you want to significantly improve on DSLR Image Quality you are better served by at least a P40+ back, preferably a P65+ (or similar Leaf). Wide Angle Landscape images are the most demanding in regards to resolution, dynamic range and color range. In architecture I am usually mostly concerned with dynamic range and wide angle coverage.

    To get it all you really need the larger sensor backs since there are really no tech camera lenses specifically made for the smaller sensors.

    With a P40+ the 24mm Schneider is basically mandatory for architecture and interiors. The dream lens for that is the 23mm HR since with it you can shift and use stitching for a bit more coverage.

    For landscape it all depends on your style. Generally my mainstay lens for landscape is the 24mm TS-E on full frame 35mm dslr's.

    On a P40+ or similar that means a 28mm Schneider or Rodenstock HR or a 32mm HR. Both very expensive lenses. The 35mm XL might do but you loose some wide angle coverage.

    If you use mostly longer lenses for landscape then you avoid having to tap into the very expensive range of lenses.

    From what I could gather online, with some of the larger sensor backs yes, you can't really or shouldn't use some lenses due to heavy lens cast, but, a 35mm XL might be wide enough for architecture and even interiors. And if you eventually get a 23mm HR then you would have amazing wide angle coverage.

    But, only the Rodenstock HR lenses are recommended for use with the 80mp backs and whatever the future holds. So if you upgrade your back in the future the wide angle schneider lenses are basically useless.

    If you need wide angle coverage and cant afford the wider tech camera lenses and one of the newer larger sensor backs then I would check out the D800e. It really has much more resolution, dynamic range and overall better Image Quality at low iso than any Canon DSLR ever made. Its not close. Ive done tests side by side.

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Thanks for the reply Ken.
    I tried a D800, nice images, but felt really fiddly to use. Also found the 24mm PC lens to be really quite bad, so that put me off straight away.

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Quote Originally Posted by craigosh View Post
    Thanks for the reply Ken.
    I tried a D800, nice images, but felt really fiddly to use. Also found the 24mm PC lens to be really quite bad, so that put me off straight away.
    I did not like using the D800e either.

    Yea, there really is no substitute for high quality tech camera lenses. The Canon TS-E's are good but the sensor is not up to snuff. The Nikon has a great sensor but the body is, meh, and the PC-E lenses need an update. Lenses looking for a sensor or sensor looking for lenses, take your pick

    With the tech cameras you can get lenses that really outresolve even the 80mp backs and with image circles large enough to do lots of movement.

    You can also build a tech camera system basically tailor made to what you want.

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_R View Post
    I did not like using the D800e either.

    "....With the tech cameras you can get lenses that really outresolve even the 80mp backs and with image circles large enough to do lots of movement.
    You can also build a tech camera system basically tailor made to what you want."
    Be careful! You are falling into a trap

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Quote Originally Posted by Landscapelover View Post
    Be careful! You are falling into a trap

    Pramote
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    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Quote Originally Posted by Ken_R View Post
    Honestly, for Landscape and Architecture/Interiors, if you want to significantly improve on DSLR Image Quality you are better served by at least a P40+ back, preferably a P65+ (or similar Leaf). Wide Angle Landscape images are the most demanding in regards to resolution, dynamic range and color range. In architecture I am usually mostly concerned with dynamic range and wide angle coverage.

    To get it all you really need the larger sensor backs since there are really no tech camera lenses specifically made for the smaller sensors.

    With a P40+ the 24mm Schneider is basically mandatory for architecture and interiors. The dream lens for that is the 23mm HR since with it you can shift and use stitching for a bit more coverage.

    For landscape it all depends on your style. Generally my mainstay lens for landscape is the 24mm TS-E on full frame 35mm dslr's.

    On a P40+ or similar that means a 28mm Schneider or Rodenstock HR or a 32mm HR. Both very expensive lenses. The 35mm XL might do but you loose some wide angle coverage.
    Take a look at our URL="https://www.digitaltransitions.com/page/tech-camera-visualizers"]Tech Camera Visualization Tools [/URL] to explore all of your lens/sensor size options. Also we have updated our Tech Camera Pages for comprehensive information on Arca-Swiss and Cambo solutions we offer.

    With this tool you can select a sensor size (or multiple ones to compare), then select your lens choices and you can even go one step further by clicking on the square box next to your selection to see your stitching options, image circle size is located within the color circle to the left.
    Also the boxes that represent the sensors are able to grabbed and re-positioned, and in the lower left hand corner you will see the shift/rise measurements.
    Here is an example for a 33x44mm sensor (40MP) and the 23HR and 28XL:


    Lance
    LANCE SCHAD - Digital Transitions - Phase One,Mamiya | Leaf,Arca-Swiss,Cambo, Profoto
    direct/cell:610-496-5586 office:877-367-8537x224
    http://www.digitaltransitions.com email:[email protected]

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    So I'm still thinking. I know that MF is the inevitable next step for tool wise, but just trying to decide if I can afford to do it or if I should wait a little longer.

    So currently looking at -

    Aptus 75 - Teamwork have one in, along with a Cambo DS/35mm xl combo. The back is £5400. With the cambo I'm looking at £8300ish which is pretty reasonable amount for me to lease over 3 years. I'm just concerned that the back is what !? 6 years old? Concerned about it lasting the three years of the lease. Also it is Contax fit. Now I want an SLR setup as well as the tech cam. I know the Contax is a great quality system but it's also a dead system, so concerned about picking up a good Contax body and lens.

    Hasselblad H3DII-39 - Ok I know this needs an external battery pack for Tech camera usage. But I can have a complete SLR for £7194 from the Pro Center. Which is again an easy amount for me to lease. I could hopefully sell the 4x5 camera kit to fun the Cambo from Teamwork. What are peoples thoughts on using these in the field?? Enda Cavanagh uses the earlier version of this back and produces some amazing images, so it can't be bad back!!

    Or should I hold out for a p40+??

    Cheers

    Craig

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Craig,

    If it were me starting out I'd be looking for the best back that provides image review feedback and ease of use. I'd also look very carefully at which system you want to buy in to long term because it'll cripple you financially if you decide to change later. Personally, that would rule out Contax as you're basically stuck with that DSLR system (albeit an excellent system btw!).

    I wouldn't hesitate to go with either a Phase One/Mamiya or Hasselblad H/V mount. Both have good DSLR systems with a wide variety of lens options. The V mount has a lot of versatility for older systems and all can pretty much use the glass. For technical cameras, I'd be sure to try out a back that requires a tethered battery pack to see how that works for you. For some people it is not a concern but others find the extra module a pain to use in the field. You'd just have to find out for yourself by trying it.

    I know that if a tornado or flood swept away all of my gear today and I had to start again from scratch I'd be sorely tempted to get a Leaf Aptus II back in Mamiya or AFi mount (I like the Hy6 system) with a Cambo technical camera. I do love my Alpa but I think that the Cambo is the better bang for the buck. The glass ultimately is the same and they are all well made systems. The Leaf UI works extremely well for technical camera work and the colour rendering is superb IMHO. I'm a big fan and kept my Aptus 65 because of the colour support.

    As regards holding out for a P40+? If by that you mean that you really want the P40+ but are tempted by immediate opportunities or lack the funds right now, then yes, I'd hold out for the back that you really want. The P40+ is a great back and almost the 'goldilocks' back in many ways. I.e. not too much resolution, not too little. The slightly cropped sensor is more forgiving with affordable technical camera and DSLR glass. The Dalsa colour rendering is excellent plus it has the flexibility of Sensor+ for higher ISO support. It is a very, very good back.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Thanks for that reply Graham.
    I agree with you over the Contax, would like one but probably not the wisest buy.

    I'm keen on the P40+ because as you say it is that 'goldilocks' kind of back.
    The apparently good high iso performance, from what I've seen from a sample file on CI's site, also means I could also use it for a few jobs I'd normally do on the 5dmk2. Just at £10,200 (inc vat) for a refurb, if you can get one, its out of my budget really for now.

    I did really like the Aptus-II 7 that Cambo uk showed me and have found an Ex-demo for £7100 (inc vat) so maybe that could be an option (just about on budget for me). What is the higher ISO performance like though? I'm assuming terrible!?

    However as I say, I can have a complete H3dII-39 for the price of that Aptus back! and from what I hear the H system is more robust than the Mamiya. I'm not to concerned with having to use an external power source as I could leave it in the backpack, which I usually attach to the tripod anyway when shooting to weigh it down a little. I'm assuming though I can get a relatively light LIPO power pack!? Don't want to be hiking with a lead acid or big nimh pack really. Of course for doing interiors I could always tether to my MBP.

    I think I need to try and get a few more demos and see what the SLR's are like, especially the H as I've never even handled one. I have held the MAFD, but it was like 6-7 years ago when they first came out.

    Or there is always an ex-demo Aptus-II 5 back for less than £5k (inc vat)

    Thanks for the help guys, I'm terrible at making my mind up when serious money is involved.. It took me a year to decide which car to change to, and then I went and bought an Alfa 159

  40. #40
    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Quote Originally Posted by craigosh View Post
    Thanks for the help guys, I'm terrible at making my mind up when serious money is involved.. It took me a year to decide which car to change to, and then I went and bought an Alfa 159
    Well, I see no problem as you clearly demonstrate good taste in motor cars
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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

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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Hi!

    Thx to DT I just got my first ever tech cam/mfdb setup.

    Yes, its not a bargain setup by any stretch. (Arca Rm3Di / 40mm HR / IQ160).

    The resolution wipes the floor silly with the D800E and even beats the 645D (mainly due to the lens but also the higher MP count). It is not a close call. I expected this but with so much bullcrud on the net about how there is not a huge diff between a D800E and a IQ180 one might have small doubts. Don't. (that is given equally good technique when making comparisons)

    That said, what really impressed me the most is how well the screen and Live View of the IQ back helps in composing images. It all makes using a tech cam a joy. Without those features its trial and error. It really must be used to be appreciated. The focus mask also works very well.

    For anyone going the tech cam route the IQ backs are a must IMHO. Yes, even the IQ140 is worthy. So if you can stretch your budget for an IQ back you wont be sorry.
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    Re: First back suggestions for Tech cam (and possible MF SLR)

    Nice

    Folks who've never seen nor used tech camera lenses and mfdb really don t appreciate how good these systems are. If you enjoy using a technical camera it's hard to use something else.

    Now you just need to sell a couple of kidneys and get the 23HR and 90HR to fill out the system
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