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Thread: Lets say you wanted to Play

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    Senior Member alajuela's Avatar
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    Lets say you wanted to Play

    Let’s say you wanted to play.
    Where I live there is an abundance of used medium and large format lens. So this is the issue, I have a IQ180 – Cambo , and finding out that I really like that form of shooting. The next step on the slippery slope is a view camera with bellows, on the theory you can mount any large format lens and focus thru GG with a sliding back. W/O costly mounts, just reusable lens boards.
    This leads to several questions, and hopefully many answers
    1. If the 180 back is a non-starter as because of the demands of the 5.2 pixels, then would a P45+, give better results with the older lenses?
    2. The camera, it seems there are several choices, again on assumption you need precision gearing and absolute alignment between the front and back standards. I would want all movements on both standards – Rise, shift, tilt and swing. I guess the candidates are below;
    a. Cambo – Ultima 23 weight 5 kg – I don’t know what the focal length restrictions are wide or long.
    b. Sinar – P2 or P3 weight 5.2 kg I would assume a P2 or P3, there does not really seem to be much difference. – I don’t know what the focal length restrictions are wide or long.
    c. ArcaSwiss – M model, Can this be configured for all movements on both standards, It seems light, – I don’t know what the focal length restrictions are wide or long.
    d. Linhof M679CS – weight 3.8 kg (but includes the tripod head). Focal lengths seem to 28mm – 240mm.

    I would buy everything second hand, and the weight would be a factor to consider, I would want to take it out side without contracting a porter. Focal length limitations are also important, after all this is to play.
    Thanks in advance.
    Phil

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    Re: Lets say you wanted to Play

    The cameras with movements on both front and back standards are designed to be used in the studio and are not so portable. However it's not impossible to carry. A friend of mine is using a Sinar X as a field camera.

    Concerning analog lenses some are quite good, I know they're being used on P65+ type of backs successfully. From what I've seen there usually a bit lower contrast and a bit lower micro contrast but very stable (ie no corner sharpness loss) so the files sharpen well. You can typically see difference between analog and digital at pixel peep, but probably hard to see in a print after proper post-processing. Schneider Digitar lenses are also often quite cheap on the second hand market (they're not too expensive new either) so you can find good deals on some digital lenses too. An advantage of those digital lenses compared to analog is that they are often smaller and lighter (due to their smaller image circle).

    For wide angles (say 50mm and shorter) you'll have to use digital lenses though, especially on the IQ180. On the wides the glass in front of the sensor will introduce chromatic aberration (due to low incoming angle of light) unless the lens is designed for it (ie digital), and you'll also get huge color cast issues on the IQ180, so there you'd need Rodenstock Digaron-W lenses if you want to do movements.

    Concerning minimum flange distance on this type of cameras it's generally not a problem, there are strongly recessed boards and as said you won't be using ultra-short flange distances either as they won't perform well on the IQ180. A retrofocus 32mm Digaron-W has almost twice the flange distance to a 35mm Digitar.

    If I could choose of the above cameras I'd go for the Linhof M679CS with the new bright ground glass and 12x silvestri loupe. As view cameras are generally used tethered in the studio few have cared to make the best ground glass and loupe systems to be able to use them successfully in the field. Linhof has a field view camera (the Techno, which I own myself) which is generally not used in tethered mode and has therefore refined their ground glass composition and focusing solution, which also is available on the M679CS. The typical problem with view cameras when working in the field un-tethered is low magnification in the loupes and dark ground glass. Still, being able to verify sharpness on the back screen as you can on the IQ180 (but not really on the P45+) I think is a welcome feature for a view camera user, although you can do without, it's much about confidence .

    You can take the Digaron-S 23mm on the M679CS, using the 3x recessed board (part number 1175). In fact I think all the cameras you mention would take all wide lenses, but be sure to check.

    The total weight of this type of camera system is not too bad compared to field technical cameras, about 2-3 kg more to carry, say 12 kg in total (camera, back, lenses, tripod) instead of 9 kg. They can be difficult to pack though due to their shape, so finding a suitable backpack can be a challenge.

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    Senior Member alajuela's Avatar
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    Re: Lets say you wanted to Play

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    The cameras with movements on both front and back standards are designed to be used in the studio and are not so portable. However it's not impossible to carry. A friend of mine is using a Sinar X as a field camera.

    Concerning analog lenses some are quite good, I know they're being used on P65+ type of backs successfully. From what I've seen there usually a bit lower contrast and a bit lower micro contrast but very stable (ie no corner sharpness loss) so the files sharpen well. You can typically see difference between analog and digital at pixel peep, but probably hard to see in a print after proper post-processing. Schneider Digitar lenses are also often quite cheap on the second hand market (they're not too expensive new either) so you can find good deals on some digital lenses too. An advantage of those digital lenses compared to analog is that they are often smaller and lighter (due to their smaller image circle).

    For wide angles (say 50mm and shorter) you'll have to use digital lenses though, especially on the IQ180. On the wides the glass in front of the sensor will introduce chromatic aberration (due to low incoming angle of light) unless the lens is designed for it (ie digital), and you'll also get huge color cast issues on the IQ180, so there you'd need Rodenstock Digaron-W lenses if you want to do movements.

    Concerning minimum flange distance on this type of cameras it's generally not a problem, there are strongly recessed boards and as said you won't be using ultra-short flange distances either as they won't perform well on the IQ180. A retrofocus 32mm Digaron-W has almost twice the flange distance to a 35mm Digitar.

    If I could choose of the above cameras I'd go for the Linhof M679CS with the new bright ground glass and 12x silvestri loupe. As view cameras are generally used tethered in the studio few have cared to make the best ground glass and loupe systems to be able to use them successfully in the field. Linhof has a field view camera (the Techno, which I own myself) which is generally not used in tethered mode and has therefore refined their ground glass composition and focusing solution, which also is available on the M679CS. The typical problem with view cameras when working in the field un-tethered is low magnification in the loupes and dark ground glass. Still, being able to verify sharpness on the back screen as you can on the IQ180 (but not really on the P45+) I think is a welcome feature for a view camera user, although you can do without, it's much about confidence .

    You can take the Digaron-S 23mm on the M679CS, using the 3x recessed board (part number 1175). In fact I think all the cameras you mention would take all wide lenses, but be sure to check.

    The total weight of this type of camera system is not too bad compared to field technical cameras, about 2-3 kg more to carry, say 12 kg in total (camera, back, lenses, tripod) instead of 9 kg. They can be difficult to pack though due to their shape, so finding a suitable backpack can be a challenge.
    Thank you Torger

    I think the M679Cs (or possibly the arca swiss) is the one to look for as it is 2 kg lighter than the Sinar and Cambo,
    My thinking on the P45+ was that more lenses would be available, and would be interesting to see how they would work, using the P45 with its larger pixels and cropped size, should mean we are really dead on center of the image circle, even with movements. I was unaware that the screen on the P45 is not useful for checking focus when you review the shot. Is the resolution on the screen not sharp when you take it up to 100%?
    Is really to see and take advantage of the fact that there are so many used LF lenses here, and the idea of have a system to mount them in a lens board, seems like a cool and easy thing to do.
    Best

    Philip

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    Re: Lets say you wanted to Play

    Quote Originally Posted by alajuela View Post
    I was unaware that the screen on the P45 is not useful for checking focus when you review the shot. Is the resolution on the screen not sharp when you take it up to 100%?
    I have not used a P+ series back personally up close so I'm only repeating what I have heard.

    The problem is usually not the screen, I think the P+ have 320x240 pixels, and you can do with even less than that. What decides if it can be done or not is how the built-in picture viewer renders the image at 100%. Many of the older backs have a fast but fuzzy demosaicer so at 100% you see a quite fuzzy image, so it's impossible to see a difference between a tack sharp and a slightly-out-of-focus image. The Leaf Aptus series of backs is quite unique in that even the old backs have workable focus check, and it's not the screen (the old Aptus screens are worse than the P+, poor in direct sunlight or when viewed at an angle, Aptus-II screen is better), but that the demosaicer is sharp (a bit slow though) so you can actually see if it's sharp.

    Also note that the P45+ is needs a wakeup trigger which can feel a bit awkward, ie you need to send a wakeup signal just before you take the shot. The Dalsa-based backs (like Aptus) don't need a wakeup trigger. The older Hasselblad backs like CFV-39 generally don't need it either (except for very short shutter speeds) despite Kodak sensors. The advantages of the P45+ is that's very robust, has no fan, and can do long exposures.

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    Re: Lets say you wanted to Play

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    I have not used a P+ series back personally up close so I'm only repeating what I have heard.

    The problem is usually not the screen, I think the P+ have 320x240 pixels, and you can do with even less than that. What decides if it can be done or not is how the built-in picture viewer renders the image at 100%. Many of the older backs have a fast but fuzzy demosaicer so at 100% you see a quite fuzzy image, so it's impossible to see a difference between a tack sharp and a slightly-out-of-focus image. The Leaf Aptus series of backs is quite unique in that even the old backs have workable focus check, and it's not the screen (the old Aptus screens are worse than the P+, poor in direct sunlight or when viewed at an angle, Aptus-II screen is better), but that the demosaicer is sharp (a bit slow though) so you can actually see if it's sharp.
    Thanks - I had not considered the Aptus II. Will check into that.

    Best

    Phil

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    Senior Member ondebanks's Avatar
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    Re: Lets say you wanted to Play

    Quote Originally Posted by alajuela View Post
    Letís say you wanted to play.
    1. If the 180 back is a non-starter as because of the demands of the 5.2 pixels, then would a P45+, give better results with the older lenses?
    Forget the pixel size and pixel count; what matters here is the sensor size. You want to mop up as much of the LF lens image circle as possible, so that you have to enlarge the image less for a given composition, and reveal the lens limitations less in the final photograph. On that reckoning, both backs very good, but the IQ180 is that little bit larger and hence better than the P45+.

    Obviously if you pixel-peep at 100%, you may get the impression that the P45+ is more suitable when the lenses are not so optimal. But overall image quality is going to be predicated on sensor size...the rest is just a difference in sampling. Put it this way: you could downsize the IQ180 image by a factor of 6.8/5.2 to equalize the pixel sizes, and then it is a straight sensor size fight, which the IQ180 just wins.

    Ray
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    Re: Lets say you wanted to Play

    Remember that with a smaller pixel size it's harder to nail 100% sharpness but you will never capture less actual real-world detail than with a larger pixel (as shown in a print of a given size or in uprezing/downrezing to the same resolution after the fact.

    Some old lenses are surprisingly sharp. Others are not, but still give a beautiful look and many old lenses are shockingly inexpensive nowadays.

    Also don't forget the IQ180 can use sensor+ to drop resolution in favor of ISO and shooting/editing speed. When using a lens which isn't especially sharp you'll resolve around the same actual detail with a soft 80mp full res capture or a 20mp sensor+ capture, but won't have to deal with needless file size and you'll gain two stops of ISO.

    I'd suggest an IQ260 as an alternative. Wider range of lens choices and amounts of movements. Still full frame, and either 60mp (full res) or 15mp (sensor+).
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
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    Re: Lets say you wanted to Play

    I have the Linhof M679C with 55mm and 90mm lenses--you will need a bag bellows with short-focal length lenses and recessed lens boards. I also have a sliding back. The optical bench can tilt down to about 45 degrees. If you want to point it straight down, it is awkward if on a tripod--you will have to mount it on another head.

    I use my camera in the studio. It really is not a small nor light camera if you are carrying this in the field. The plus side, it would be a very stable camera in the wind. The sliding back would be a bit of a sail.

    I am with Ray, the pixel pitch has nothing to do with difficulty in focus or anything else--you are winning with a larger sensor. Folks are taken back with the coarseness of the ground glass, but you learn to focus with it soon enough. I would probably go for a 60MP back rather than an 80MP though. The 80MP backs seem a little more temperamental with lens casts and the difference in resolution is not that great. You can save some drive space too.

    I have fairly old lenses on this camera. The 90mm Rodenstock Sironar is very nice and has a fairly large and usable image circle. The 55mm which is the rebadged Grandagon is also sharp, but the image circle os not as usable with extreme movements--it gets soft and CA becomes very apparent.

    The Linhof is a nice camera. It really is a studio camera, rather than a location one. I would say it is transportable rather than portable. My version is the one without the built-in shifts (there are shifts, Linhof made a very elegant design, but I think photographers could not get their mind around how the camera works). Still, the latest model makes shifting more straight forward.

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    Re: Lets say you wanted to Play

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    I have the Linhof M679C with 55mm and 90mm lenses--you will need a bag bellows with short-focal length lenses and recessed lens boards. I also have a sliding back. The optical bench can tilt down to about 45 degrees. If you want to point it straight down, it is awkward if on a tripod--you will have to mount it on another head.

    I use my camera in the studio. It really is not a small nor light camera if you are carrying this in the field. The plus side, it would be a very stable camera in the wind. The sliding back would be a bit of a sail.

    I am with Ray, the pixel pitch has nothing to do with difficulty in focus or anything else--you are winning with a larger sensor. Folks are taken back with the coarseness of the ground glass, but you learn to focus with it soon enough. I would probably go for a 60MP back rather than an 80MP though. The 80MP backs seem a little more temperamental with lens casts and the difference in resolution is not that great. You can save some drive space too.

    I have fairly old lenses on this camera. The 90mm Rodenstock Sironar is very nice and has a fairly large and usable image circle. The 55mm which is the rebadged Grandagon is also sharp, but the image circle os not as usable with extreme movements--it gets soft and CA becomes very apparent.

    The Linhof is a nice camera. It really is a studio camera, rather than a location one. I would say it is transportable rather than portable. My version is the one without the built-in shifts (there are shifts, Linhof made a very elegant design, but I think photographers could not get their mind around how the camera works). Still, the latest model makes shifting more straight forward.

    Thank you Doug and Shashin, Very helpful to focus the mind, I think I will concentrate on looking for the camera, either Arca Swiss or Linhoff. as they appear to be the best choices, due to weight and precision. On the back I'll start with my IQ 180, I appreciate the comments, I was under a misunderstanding. Then have fun looking in the second hand stores for some old LF lenses.
    Best
    Phil

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    Re: Lets say you wanted to Play

    I just built my first LF set up for IQ160, so few observations.
    Since you said you just want to play ( I'm doing the same for now, till I see if the setup suits my needs, then I could invest in more serious parts), I guess you don't want to spend much money. Camera bodies you mentioned are not cheap at all, even second hand ( around 4 or 5000$). I bought almost the cheapest possible body Cambo SCX(great camera, great movements, by the way) and invested in a digital lens (you'll be surprised how small the price difference between digital and non digital lenses can be on second hand market). For your IQ180 you really need good lenses to start with, otherwise you'll get disappointed before even starting).

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    Re: Lets say you wanted to Play

    I went through a similar evaluation process. Tried the M679CS and liked it very much, especially the ease with which it does tabletop. Did not care as much for the shift capability - tiny knob and no graduations if I remember correctly. It's been a while.

    Settled on the AS M. Not as well finished or compact as the Linhof, but more flexible for my work. It is wonderful to be able to add any lens by just mounting it in a lens board. I have 70 HR, 120 Rodie macro sironar, and 135 apo sironars in Rollei shutters. A 210 apo digitar in Copal handles the long end. All are giving me excellent results with the IQ180, in the studio. Sure wouldn't want to take it places. What is noteworthy here is that the 120, 135 and 210 were all purchased used and cost less as a group than a single mounted Alpa lens.

    Of course, going wider becomes an issue. At 70mm, the AS has limited tilts/swings because the standards are fairly close. I think you could mount 50mm but, given that all you could do is shifts, that would be much easier on a tech camera.

    Haven't tried LF lenses on this. Don't think any of the 8 x 10 glass would look very good, even if they could be mounted, and I have nothing for smaller formats. I'll be interested to see your results.

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    Re: Lets say you wanted to Play

    I've used a Rollie Xact-II for many years ... last with a Hasselblad H4/60 back using a sliding back and Hasselblad-V FX finder that just slides right in the slots on the sliding back.

    Very precise locking movments.

    The Rodenstock 90 mentioned above is very good.

    -Marc

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    Senior Member alajuela's Avatar
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    Re: Lets say you wanted to Play

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I've used a Rollie Xact-II for many years ... last with a Hasselblad H4/60 back using a sliding back and Hasselblad-V FX finder that just slides right in the slots on the sliding back.

    Very precise locking movments.

    The Rodenstock 90 mentioned above is very good.

    -Marc
    Thanks Marc and Cunim,

    Good information, I think now I will concentrate on the camera, I think the idea is sound, and got the back. I will keep you guys posted
    Best
    Phil

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    Re: Lets say you wanted to Play

    You're welcome.

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    Re: Lets say you wanted to Play

    Quote Originally Posted by Pics2 View Post
    I just built my first LF set up for IQ160, so few observations.
    Since you said you just want to play ( I'm doing the same for now, till I see if the setup suits my needs, then I could invest in more serious parts), I guess you don't want to spend much money. Camera bodies you mentioned are not cheap at all, even second hand ( around 4 or 5000$). I bought almost the cheapest possible body Cambo SCX(great camera, great movements, by the way) and invested in a digital lens (you'll be surprised how small the price difference between digital and non digital lenses can be on second hand market). For your IQ180 you really need good lenses to start with, otherwise you'll get disappointed before even starting).
    Sorry Thought I replied - I will let you know what the lenes go for around here, there are many second hand stores and also when I get to Hong Kong, I'll check it out also.
    Are you happy with your results, so far? Did you get a sliding back?

    Thanks

    Phil

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    Re: Lets say you wanted to Play

    Just joking, of course. You've got too much info at the same time.
    It's really exciting adventure to go LF digital.
    I decided to go with Live view solution from Kapture Group, not a sliding back. After all, why not take advantage of IQ Live View. For my workflow, composing and focusing with IQ LV is good enough. I even find focusing more accurate and easier than looking through DF body viewfinder. Focus mask helps, too. I have Rodenstock Apo Sironar Digital 105mm and the results with IQ160 are just amazing. I don't have the two shot cable yet. I set IQ at zero latency and shoot that way.

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    Re: Lets say you wanted to Play

    Hello Hello

    An update - got an AS monorail camera!!! , I am excited, it came with regular lenses, Been scouting out old lenses and looking forward to playing with the "vintage" ones. Will follow the collective advice and stay with the full size 80 sensor.

    I am assuming this will be a great learning process, when looking at old photos taken with the older lenses, The vintage look has to be divided into 3 parts to say nothing of the technique. These three make up the whole. I am not talking about a Vignette and toning.

    1. The actual way the lens "paints" --- This should stay constant.

    2. The capture and development, The emulsion on the film, and the chemicals and time used to develop the negative. --- Here the best I can do is control the exposure as I am shooting digital

    3. The print, the enlarging lens, the contrasts of papers and chemicals used time etc. and anyway without your own darkroom, you are not really 100% in control and romanticism aside I don't have the time or space, and access to chemicals from the turn of the 20th century . ---- Here I feel there is some present day control, using raw converters, and PS, and then putting into a controlled work flow, with modern RIP and papers. This should help refine the image and look.

    After all - the common and constant thread in photography is - we try our best to the best of our ability and then some

    Anyway I am off on an adventure, I will write home.

    Thanks guys

    Phil

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    Senior Member alajuela's Avatar
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    Re: Lets say you wanted to Play

    Quote Originally Posted by Pics2 View Post
    Just joking, of course. You've got too much info at the same time.
    It's really exciting adventure to go LF digital.
    I decided to go with Live view solution from Kapture Group, not a sliding back. After all, why not take advantage of IQ Live View. For my workflow, composing and focusing with IQ LV is good enough. I even find focusing more accurate and easier than looking through DF body viewfinder. Focus mask helps, too. I have Rodenstock Apo Sironar Digital 105mm and the results with IQ160 are just amazing. I don't have the two shot cable yet. I set IQ at zero latency and shoot that way.
    Hi

    What have you found about the experience - that you did not expect?

    Best

    Phil

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    Re: Lets say you wanted to Play

    Quote Originally Posted by alajuela View Post
    Hi

    What have you found about the experience - that you did not expect?

    Best

    Phil
    I haven't had time to play with the camera much lately. I'll put it in work in the next few sessions to see how it works in real life situation.
    Well, I didn't expect to build the set up and make it work so easily. I was prepared to front many challenges during the process, but surprisingly there weren't many. That was great.

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    Re: Lets say you wanted to Play

    Well - getting close - next week I pick up my view camera, now it is being given the once over by Dave and his crew at Capture Integration. CI has been fantastic, giving real world advice... and putting up with my incessant phone calls.


    This should be fun and keep me occupied at least until.........

    If anybody has any advice or any ideas on old lenses or using barrel lenses let me know.

    Thanks again

    Best

    Phil

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    Senior Member malmac's Avatar
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    Re: Lets say you wanted to Play

    Love the sense of boyish excitement in your post -

    I for one look forward to seeing the images you make while on this high.

    Regards



    Mal

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