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Thread: Considering Medium Format

  1. #1
    petermacc
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    Considering Medium Format

    I am considering jumping to medium format to do architecture and real estate photography for a few local real estate offices. I am getting a lot of people asking me to do virtual tours for them and they are requesting high resolution tours since many of the real estate offices deal with British citizens on holiday. What would you suggest using besides the typical tilt shift lenses and 28mm choices?

    What companies do you think are the most secure choices for long term stability?

    The ones with the best cameras seems to be the Hy6, H3D II and the Phase one Camera. What has been your experiences with them? Most of the photographers in my town that are advertising their services are simply using D70's or on the rare occasion a D300 or Canon equivalent. We have homes that the real estate agents have listed in the 500K to 10 million dollar range in my town and the area is really not well handled.

    Also coming from using a DSLR, I have done a lot of available light shooting and would like to continue, does anyone have any suggestions as to how to continue doing that with medium format?

    Peter

  2. #2
    petermacc
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    I am also concerned about Hasselblad. Is it true they eliminated their trade in to newer gear upgrade paths? I don't want to be stuck with a 20 value% trade in 12 months later!

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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Hi Peter, and welcome to the forum!

    If you peruse our MF forum, you will find answers to many of your questions already discussed.

    Aside from that, here are a few points I would offer to anybody contemplating the move to MF digital for any reason:

    1) First, deciding on the brand of back you want may help to focus the decision on which camera platform to adopt. All the current backs are capable of producing excellent images, so the main differentiators will probably be the software, the size and resolution of the rear LCD, UI, tethered operability/functionality (again software), and finally if long exposure capability is a concern, some of the backs are limited to 60 second exposure maximum. Finally, dealer or manufacturer responsiveness, support and service and even "upgrade paths" are probably worth considering.

    2) Assuming you get the back choice narrowed down to a few, then start looking at the camera platform. Here, at least IMHO, the first consideration is leaf shutter lenses (higher flash synch) or focal plane shutter body (higher maximum shutter speeds). At present no company offers both in one body, but a few have rumored future options in that direction. After that it will likely boil down to body features, ergonomics, lens quality, lens line depth and availability, and finally pricing. And of course again, dealer service and support.

    3) You mentioned architecture, so you may want to use your back with digital-specific lenses on a shift-camera like the Alpa, Cambo, Horseman, or a tilt-shift camera like the Silvestri or Sinar, or even a view camera. Most any of the contemporary backs will couple to most of these cameras, though some ofer only proprietary mounts and interfaces, so it is worthwhile to consider these options carefully.

    4) I'll add in a 4th consideration to any/all of the above -- resale-ability. Definitely a consideration for an investment of this size.

    I suspect if you create a decision matrix with the important criteria for you, the right solution will ultimately surface. However be forewarned that there is no ideal all-in-one solution, and every current combination of choices will have its own set of compromises for any given task.

    Again welcome, and let us know how you progress!
    Jack
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Peter besides Jacks excellent points you have to decide also what you want to accomplish. Since others in the area are doing it with small format 35mm will moving to MF give you a competitive advantage. Now for me wanting to do more of this myself , my answer is yes but i already have a system and use it for all my work. So it was natural for me to adapt to MF for this stuff also. In my case i went with a Mamiya 28mm to handle it without going down the tech camera path and it is working out. Now to make that point to have a MF system already only two OEM's have 28mm as there lenses. Mamiya and Hassy both have these ultra wide 28mm in there lineup which is about a 21mm in MF depending on sensor size. I have not shot the Hassy myself but i do hear it is a nice lens and nice corrections for it in there software Phocus. I will let the Hassy shooters describe that lens more to you. I shoot the Mamiya 28mm with a P25 Plus back. Now instead Of talking about it here is a thread that shows what the 28mm can do for interiors. One thing to point out is in all of these images i am using lighting and you have to decide this also. If you want to do available light only you are going to run into things that are impossible to avoid and one is blowing out any daylight coming in. But here is a good thread that walks you through a lot of this and may explain doing interiors with MF better than me just talking about it. I would rather show you what I do. Now you could apply some of this to the Hassy 28mm as well. Hopefully this helps

    http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=3856
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  5. #5
    petermacc
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    I read your excellent post on interior shooting a few days back I have been lurking around in here the last four days. That is exactly the kind of look in the photos I am looking for. I am looking at getting a panning kit from Really right stuff to do virtual tours and am obviously going to have to pick up some tilt shift lenses. What do you consider a necessary lighting kit for your work?

    Also I would love to hear from anyone using Hasselblad, as they are very tough to find people who are using them on a daily basis. Has anyone used both Hy6 and the phase one camera and which do they prefer and why?
    Last edited by petermacc; 28th December 2008 at 14:26.

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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Peter

    Hasselblad cancelled their trade in programs when they reduced virtually all of their prices by 20%. That was for bodies only but during the holiday season they also reduced the prices for their lenses by 25%. I doubt they could both reduce the prices by these amounts and then provide a generous trade in program as well. (Of course you can always negotiate with your dealer to get a good trade in and then just see where it goes.)

    It is unlikely that you will suffer a loss as many of us who bought the Hassy before the price reduction did. In my case I bought my system about 4 weeks before the announcement and was offered nothing to retain my good will. However I am glad for the industry and the shooters that they can get such a great system at these prices. ($21K for an H3DII-39 with 80mm lens!) I paid $28K for the same combo.

    From a shooting perspective it is hard to beat the Hassy. I really like the ergonomics but some folks really prefer the more DSLR feel of the Phase. The phocus software is very good and gives you the software DAC corrections which are really important for the 28mm as it was designed with software rather than optical corrections for distortion, color aberrations and vignetting. If you prefer other raw software you can simply bring the 3FR files into Phocus and then immediately export as a DNG which then can be used in all the other converters of your preference. However with the 28mm lens the DAC corrections are not included in the DNG file. So you would export these files as TIFFs which again can be used with other programs e.g. ACR, Lightroom etc. Lots of choices.

    Finally the issue comes as to whether you want to shoot with a leaf shutter system (Hassy) or a focal plane system (Phase). This basically comes down to a preference for high speed flash sync with the Hassy central leaf shutters or the high speed of the Phase system with flash sync limited to a much lower speed (I think 1/60 of a second but it may be 1/125. You'll have to ask the Phase shooters about that one.) Neither system is well done as to weather sealing for harsh weather. However people use both for architectural shoots and I can't believe it only occurs during bright sunny days.

    From a lens standpoint both systems provide very high quality options. The Phase system works with a long history of Mamiya lenses and the Hassy system with all of the legacy Zeiss V system lenses using an adapter provided by Hasselblad. So both systems provide options from 28MM to 300MM which is about the whole deal for medium format.

    One other difference is use of a waist level finder. WLF. This is possible with the Hassy and not for the Phase. However even the Hassy approach is a little non-conventional using a finder which you have to bring your eye down to the camera to use. It works well but is not what I would love to have for a WLF. To get a conventional WLF you are best served by a Sinar or the Leaf system as well. If you only use the WLF occasionally then the hassy approach is just fine. But if you are used to the conventional WLF approach from, say, the Hassy 500 system or you use it constantly I would go for probably an HY6.

    Sorry for the long and rambling answer but I wanted to provide as much completeness as I could to help you with your purchasing process.

    Best

    Woody

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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Well said Woody . Just a small correction the sync on the Phase is 1/125 and i should add in C1 lens corrections are possible with the 28mm, distortion, CA, Vignetting, purple fringing and light falloff. Not sure but I think Phocus may do more on there Hassy 28mm. Both great systems
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Both Hasselblad and Phase make good products. Check out the Hasselblad HTS attachment for use with 28/35/50/80 and 100 lenses it delivers tilt and shift with digital calibration in built via sensors and DAC software - with extension tubes , you can even do closeups. I am happy with the H series system - even though I bought before the massive price reduction. ( he says through gritted teeth and strained smile muscles).

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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    I know you are asking about support, so this is probably not an option for you, but I just wanted to mention it: The Contax 645 system is really great, with several amazing lenses, including the Distagon 35mm, which is the MF equivalent to the famous Contax 21mm Distagon, as well as the 120mm Macro lens, which is supposedly the sharpest MF macro lens. Everything can be found at really good prices, including a backup body, still for less than any of the other systems, and it is very popular, even among some professionals, and has great support from all the back manufacturers, except Hasselblad (I am not sure about Leaf). It has a true waist-level finder, as well as a spot- and matrix-metering prism.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    I know you are asking about support, so this is probably not an option for you, but I just wanted to mention it: The Contax 645 system is really great, with several amazing lenses, including [...] the 120mm Macro lens, which is supposedly the sharpest MF macro lens.
    The Hasselblad HC 120mm, Mamiya 120mm D, and the Contax 120mm are all razor sharp lenses. If one is sharper than the others it is only a on-paper sharpenss; in practice they are all about as sharp as you can get for everything up to and including the P65+.

    The Contax system is a great system though and worth at least looking at. The main issue is that there won't be any future development and support/repair/replacement is strained (but possible).

    Doug Peterson, Head of Technical Services
    Capture Integration, Phase One & Canon Dealer | Personal Portfolio

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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyspedden View Post
    From a lens standpoint both systems provide very high quality options. The Phase system works with a long history of Mamiya lenses and the Hassy system with all of the legacy Zeiss V system lenses using an adapter provided by Hasselblad. So both systems provide options from 28MM to 300MM which is about the whole deal for medium format.
    [...]
    Woody
    Just a quick note that the Phase system can use all of the Hasselblad V system lenses as well as the legacy Mamiya lenses. In addition it can accept Pentax 6 glass.

    I hope you're prepared to enter the inferno. As exhibited by the input of several people on this thread there are very few poor choices to be had in medium format digital. I sell Phase and believe very strongly in that product and could talk for ages about why we are a better choice than this brand or that brand (hey hassy: why can we do an hour exposure with the same sensor that you can't go past a minute with... o smack! ) BUT I'll be the first to admit that Hasselblad, Leaf, and Sinar also make good systems.

    Your post here indicates that you're doing the appropriate amount of due-diligence. Make sure to actually shoot each of the products you're considering and take at least one picture all the way through to print. Software, workflow, raw-file flexibility and compatibility are almost as important as hardware (you'll spend at least half your time in your digital darkroom). This might mean a flight to sunny South Beach Florida (where we are) or to Moab where GetDPI's next workshop is (you could see a LOT of gear there).

    Doug

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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Peter,

    The DB is THE most important part of your decision overall, but it is only part of the overall purchase. Pay close attention to the prices of the additional lenses and peripheral items that you might need. The Hy6 lenses are quite high in price considering what Mamiya/ Phase and even Hasselblad offer.
    A Hy6 150mm f/4 is $5,609.00 (found online 12/29/08) and a Mamiya is only $3,339.00.

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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by Clawery View Post
    Peter,

    The DB is THE most important part of your decision overall, but it is only part of the overall purchase. Pay close attention to the prices of the additional lenses and peripheral items that you might need. The Hy6 lenses are quite high in price considering what Mamiya/ Phase and even Hasselblad offer.
    A Hy6 150mm f/4 is $5,609.00 (found online 12/29/08) and a Mamiya is only $3,339.00.

    Chris Lawery
    Chris is even being modest. Since the Phase system accepts the manual focus legacy Mamiya glass (as well as the newer Phase One lenses, Mamiya D Lenses Hassy V, Pentax 6 lenses, and the Hartblei TS) you can find very very inexpensive versions of the lenses which won't be your primary workhorses but that you'd like to have for completeness/flexibility/variety.

    - The 150mm AF f/2.8 Mamiya D is $3,339.00. [no CA and really sharp even at f/2.8]
    - The 150mm AF f/3.5 version is $500 used* [modest CA and sharp at f/5.6 and up]
    - The 150mm f/3.5 manual focus is $100 used* [medium CA and sharp at f/5.6 and up]

    The f/2.8 lens is so free of CA and is so sharp even wide open and with such pleasant fall off that it's well worth the extra money IF that's going to be one of the lenses you use most often (e.g. for portrait photographers). But if for example you mostly shoot landscape then you can spend our big $$$ on the latest wide-angle lenses and pick up the 150 f/3.5 MF for $100. That lens won't look great when compared head to head with the newer f/2.8, but judged on it's own merit it's pretty darn good. And it's $100!

    *Excellent Condition from KEH

    Doug Peterson, Head of Technical Services
    Capture Integration, Phase One & Canon Dealer | Personal Portfolio

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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Chris, I would think that it would be possible to get them closer together in price than that. Anyway, the Rollei system has been around a long time, and it is possible to find many lenses second-hand for much better prices. Foto-Z would be able to provide some feedback there. Additionally, the Mamiya and Schneider/Zeiss lenses are not always of the same quality, depending on the lenses you compare, which is important to consider in the price, just like Leica vs. Canon, and so on.

    The Contax 645 also takes Hasselblad lenses with adapters. I just picked up a really nice copy of the 110mm f/2, for example, but V lenses also work.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpetersonci View Post
    - The 150mm f/3.5 manual focus is $100 used* [medium CA and sharp at f/5.6 and up]
    Okay, it's a bit of a cheap shot I admit, and not entirely fair so take it mostly as a post for gee-whiz humor's sake, but it does say a little something about total-cost-of-ownership.

    Rollei Lens Hood for 180mm lens: $244
    Rollei Lens Hood for 80mm lens: $120

    Replacement Mamiya hoods are generally in the $30-$50 range (45,55,80,120,150mm) though the 200mm/500mm hoods are $140, and $600 respectively.

    Doug Peterson, Head of Technical Services
    Capture Integration, Phase One & Canon Dealer | Personal Portfolio

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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Wow, I've posted entirely too many times on this thread. I'll shut up for a while now.

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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    (As a Hy6-Sinar54r user (just for a few weeks) I would lile to throw in some points about this system:
    Since the Hy6 is a 6x6-system you can use a rotating back and switch from vertical to horicontal very fast and convenient. If Waist level finder might be of interest this makes the camera very well for wasit level finder use. If you shoot the Hy6 with other finders the rotating back is still great because you will not need any vertical grips and still have a very good grip of the camera.

    On the other side the lenses for 6x6 are somwhat bigger and heavier compared to 645 lenses.
    I would think the higher weight is not only needed for the bigger format and the leaf-shutter-also feel mecanically very nice and solid.
    I dont have enough experience to comment on the optical quality-but what I see so far from the 40 Schneider, the 80 Xenotar and the 150Zeiss looks pretty good to me.
    The prices for new lenses are high but you can get used samples for reaonable prices (for example I paid 470 € for the 150) -still higher than used mamiya lenses.

    Personally I find the camera and lenses at least as important as the back.
    The back will maybe be replaced when sensors are further developped, but if you have good lenses and a camera with a good user interface you might keep it for a longer time (eventually )

    So here are the factors I would want to add to the ones which were allready mentioned:
    -evaluate if WLF might be something you want to use sometimes
    -would a rotating back be helpfull if you switch often between vertical and horicontal
    -weight and size of the systems (do you want to use it as only system, or together with a smaller SLR?, do you want more DSLR feel or more traditional medium format feel-personally I am happy with a bigger MF-system since I also use a Nikon and a M8 system-this might be different if it was my only system)
    -lenses: The range of Hy6 lenses is somewhat limited but than again there is some really great glass included.
    Cheers, Tom

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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Regarding prices.
    Mamiya used prices are great but might also indicate how things keep the value. First I was shocked about the Rollei lens prices - but even though the Rollei lenses keep their value a little better you can get them used for quite less than for new. I love the internet for that reason.
    And if it was $ per gramm the Rollei lenses might even be lower in price than Mamiya

    I dont want to say one is better than the other I just would want to not let list-prices of hoods influence your decision too much.

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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Prices for accessories are also highly variable, and it is likely that with time, more time for some bits, you will find a good deal. I got impatient with my Contax 645 35mm Distagon hood, and paid $200, but I also just picked up a Hasselblad 110mm f/2 hood in very good condition for 39 Euro, so you win some, you lose some.

    I think that it is important that if you don't have millions, there is a healthy second-hand market where you are. The Rollei second-hand market in Europe is decent, but in the States it might be harder to find a good deal, and perhaps vice versa. I have never seen a Mamiya in the flesh, but perhaps that is because I currently live in Germany
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    And if it was $ per gramm the Rollei lenses might even be lower in price than Mamiya

    I dont want to say one is better than the other I just would want to not let list-prices of hoods influence your decision too much.

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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by woodyspedden View Post
    From a shooting perspective it is hard to beat the Hassy. I really like the ergonomics but some folks really prefer the more DSLR feel of the Phase.
    Woody, I am not familiar with the Hasselblad H. What is it about it which is less DSLR-like than the Mamiya?
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    (As a Hy6-Sinar54r user (just for a few weeks) I would lile to throw in some points about this system:
    Since the Hy6 is a 6x6-system you can use a rotating back and switch from vertical to horicontal very fast and convenient. If Waist level finder might be of interest this makes the camera very well for wasit level finder use. If you shoot the Hy6 with other finders the rotating back is still great because you will not need any vertical grips and still have a very good grip of the camera.

    On the other side the lenses for 6x6 are somwhat bigger and heavier compared to 645 lenses.
    I would think the higher weight is not only needed for the bigger format and the leaf-shutter-also feel mecanically very nice and solid.
    I dont have enough experience to comment on the optical quality-but what I see so far from the 40 Schneider, the 80 Xenotar and the 150Zeiss looks pretty good to me.
    The prices for new lenses are high but you can get used samples for reaonable prices (for example I paid 470 € for the 150) -still higher than used mamiya lenses.

    Personally I find the camera and lenses at least as important as the back.
    The back will maybe be replaced when sensors are further developped, but if you have good lenses and a camera with a good user interface you might keep it for a longer time (eventually )

    So here are the factors I would want to add to the ones which were allready mentioned:
    -evaluate if WLF might be something you want to use sometimes
    -would a rotating back be helpfull if you switch often between vertical and horicontal
    -weight and size of the systems (do you want to use it as only system, or together with a smaller SLR?, do you want more DSLR feel or more traditional medium format feel-personally I am happy with a bigger MF-system since I also use a Nikon and a M8 system-this might be different if it was my only system)
    -lenses: The range of Hy6 lenses is somewhat limited but than again there is some really great glass included.
    Cheers, Tom
    It's posts like this that make me so proud to be on this forum. That's some really A+ advice.

    Doug Peterson, Head of Technical Services
    Capture Integration, Phase One & Canon Dealer | Personal Portfolio

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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by petermacc View Post
    I am considering jumping to medium format to do architecture and real estate photography for a few local real estate offices. I am getting a lot of people asking me to do virtual tours for them and they are requesting high resolution tours since many of the real estate offices deal with British citizens on holiday. What would you suggest using besides the typical tilt shift lenses and 28mm choices?

    What companies do you think are the most secure choices for long term stability?

    The ones with the best cameras seems to be the Hy6, H3D II and the Phase one Camera. What has been your experiences with them? Most of the photographers in my town that are advertising their services are simply using D70's or on the rare occasion a D300 or Canon equivalent. We have homes that the real estate agents have listed in the 500K to 10 million dollar range in my town and the area is really not well handled.

    Also coming from using a DSLR, I have done a lot of available light shooting and would like to continue, does anyone have any suggestions as to how to continue doing that with medium format?

    Peter
    I've read this entire thread, and in the "selling frenzy" no one has asked EXACTLY what you will be doing with this gear. I understand high-end architectural shots, but to what end as it relates to local real estate offices? How will they be used and viewed? What does high resolution "virtual tours" mean? How will they be used? Virtual tours as produced for most end users (especially real estate) most certainly doesn't require anything near a MF Digital solution ... you have to downsize everything or have 50 gigs of RAM to produce it ... and then no one on the receiving end would be able to view the end result.

    IMHO, a Canon 5D-MKII and some T/S lenses would do the job splendidly. Better to spend the cash on lighting systems which is where the difference between mediocre and great really is.

    Depending on the deeper answers, just keeping it real.

  24. #24
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    From one former Michigander to current one. They are looking for being able to use the photos to create 10x14 and larger view books to show off the homes which are on the LOW end 650K-1 mil end up to 6 million in the town. Lots of homes with more than 6 bed 6 bath and looking to do a higher quality than OBEO quality in a java or quicktime format for the virtual tours, since most of the tours that are done with canons or nikons so far tend to be a bit soft in the details. I also have not found many good tilt shift lens in the wide angle in 35mm format. The widest I found in 35mm was Canon at 24mm at a 3.5 aperture. Also you get tons of people using prosumer equipment in the area but are charging the long dollar and delivering images that depending on how the realtor uses them (ie cropping for a ad in the paper or real estate magazines) wind up only being 2 megapixels by the time they are cropped to show what they want in the image.

    The images online they are looking to be able to send to people over in england as links via a program like zoomify where they may be selling a multi million dollar home to someone and to get them to spend the money on a ticket over they want to show the most detail in the photos.

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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    I asked ,I did, I did, I did. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Guy did ask, I remember him asking. To the extent as far as lighting goes some of these places they want to show off I think bracketing your exposures would be an alternative as well as a nice supplement of adding addition light sources since there wouldn't always be a way to have lights in the smaller rooms etc.

  27. #27
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Woody, I am not familiar with the Hasselblad H. What is it about it which is less DSLR-like than the Mamiya?
    Hi Carsten

    The Mamiya or Phase (same camera) looks and feels like a typical 35mm DSLR. The Hasselblad, on the other hand, has a profile which is quite different from the Mamiya or Phase. I find the ergonomics of the Hassy to be superior but that is just my opinion. The viewfinder is quite a bit brighter. You must use the wrist strap to be able to shoot handheld but that is no big deal. Once you learn the position of the various (little) buttons and use the viewfinder you can do almost anything without taking the viewfinder away from your eyes.Love it.

    This is, of course, very subjective, so you must take it all with a grain of salt. I love mine and others hate it. So you have to go to your dealer and experience it for yourself. Try it and see if it works for you

    Best

    Woody

  28. #28
    petermacc
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Is there any way to do a trial of a H3D II 39 mp? I found a dealer that would let me do a trial of a Phase One camera. Has anyone ever bought from KEH?

  29. #29
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by petermacc View Post
    From one former Michigander to current one. They are looking for being able to use the photos to create 10x14 and larger view books to show off the homes which are on the LOW end 650K-1 mil end up to 6 million in the town. Lots of homes with more than 6 bed 6 bath and looking to do a higher quality than OBEO quality in a java or quicktime format for the virtual tours, since most of the tours that are done with canons or nikons so far tend to be a bit soft in the details. I also have not found many good tilt shift lens in the wide angle in 35mm format. The widest I found in 35mm was Canon at 24mm at a 3.5 aperture. Also you get tons of people using prosumer equipment in the area but are charging the long dollar and delivering images that depending on how the realtor uses them (ie cropping for a ad in the paper or real estate magazines) wind up only being 2 megapixels by the time they are cropped to show what they want in the image.

    The images online they are looking to be able to send to people over in england as links via a program like zoomify where they may be selling a multi million dollar home to someone and to get them to spend the money on a ticket over they want to show the most detail in the photos.
    Hmmm, I have a friend that does those "virtual tours" with a Pentax digital camera (and doesn't even use a T/S lens) and they are not soft in the details at all ... it would seem that Java and QT resolutions are the limiting aspects, not the cameras or lenses.

  30. #30
    petermacc
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    In order to justify the cost to them they have to see a better result visible. A lot of it is strictly setting the bar higher than the competition can compete with. A large portion of it is also them requesting images that can be cropped and still be 10+ megapixels. I am not going to argue with potential clients. I say "if you want that is fine." This is not just virtual tours but their portfolios to do with what they desire. I don't ask why they want the specs they do, I show up and do my job better than the competition.

    Most of the stuff that is online via OBEO or ipix is really low quality out there. As long as the competition buys consumer grade slrs, my plan is to do the job even better and with higher quality. You could shoot multiple focusing depth of field and stack them in photoshop to produce a deep DOF as a work around but the way I see it is that if I do it right outside the camera it requires less work in post processing. The more efficient I am the more jobs I can do and start paying off the equipment faster.
    Last edited by petermacc; 29th December 2008 at 17:51.

  31. #31
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by petermacc View Post
    In order to justify the cost to them they have to see a better result visible. A lot of it is strictly setting the bar higher than the competition can compete with. A large portion of it is also them requesting images that can be cropped and still be 10+ megapixels. I am not going to argue with potential clients. I say "if you want that is fine." This is not just virtual tours but their portfolios to do with what they desire. I don't ask why they want the specs they do, I show up and do my job better than the competition.

    Most of the stuff that is online via OBEO or ipix is really low quality out there. As long as the competition buys consumer grade slrs, my plan is to do the job even better and with higher quality. You could shoot multiple focusing depth of field and stack them in photoshop to produce a deep DOF as a work around but the way I see it is that if I do it right outside the camera it requires less work in post processing. The more efficient I am the more jobs I can do and start paying off the equipment faster.
    Yep, understand the concept of out gunning the competition and selling that capability to potential clients. I was just applying the "Horses for Courses" principle to what appears to be a low resolution "Virtual Tour" end product no matter what camera you use. But for other uses, and the ability to use the files in more aggressive crops and so on, MFD indeed IS an excellent selling feature and unmatched in IQ by any 35mm DSLR.

    BTW, another application that wows the clients socks off is doing stitched panoramics with a MF digital camera.

    As far as where to buy, may I suggest contacting any of the professional MFD dealers that have posted on this thread as opposed to a regular camera dealer. I think most owners of these cameras will agree that after purchase service/support is more important with Medium Format Digital than it is with any 35mm type DSLRs.

    I've owned and/or used most all of the MFD systems and they are all very good with relatively small differences in end quality. So shooting preferences are basically what it comes down to in the end when selecting which way to go. Others have outlined their preferences for Phase One and some Sinar possibilities. My current preference is for the Hasselblad H3D-II/39 because I need/want the high sync speed, and a fully integrated system ... including the new HT/S adapter with programed electronic corrections for tilt/shift location work with the 28, 35, 50, 80 and 100mm lenses ... and I have a full compliment of Zeiss V 500 series lenses that sync to 1/500 and work fully "auto stop down" when mounted on an H camera via the CF adapter.


    No matter what way you go, best of luck, and welcome to the MFD club.

  32. #32
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Quote Originally Posted by petermacc View Post
    In order to justify the cost to them they have to see a better result visible. A lot of it is strictly setting the bar higher than the competition can compete with. A large portion of it is also them requesting images that can be cropped and still be 10+ megapixels. I am not going to argue with potential clients. I say "if you want that is fine." This is not just virtual tours but their portfolios to do with what they desire. I don't ask why they want the specs they do, I show up and do my job better than the competition.

    Most of the stuff that is online via OBEO or ipix is really low quality out there. As long as the competition buys consumer grade slrs, my plan is to do the job even better and with higher quality. You could shoot multiple focusing depth of field and stack them in photoshop to produce a deep DOF as a work around but the way I see it is that if I do it right outside the camera it requires less work in post processing. The more efficient I am the more jobs I can do and start paying off the equipment faster.
    Yep, understand the concept of out gunning the competition and selling that capability to potential clients. I was just applying the "Horses for Courses" principle to what appears to be a low resolution "Virtual Tour" end product no matter what camera you use. But for other uses, and the ability to use the files in more aggressive crops and so on, MFD indeed IS an excellent selling feature and unmatched in IQ by any 35mm DSLR.

    BTW, another application that wows the clients socks off is doing stitched panoramics with a MF digital camera.

    As far as where to buy, may I suggest contacting any of the professional MFD dealers that have posted on this thread as opposed to a regular camera dealer. I think most owners of these cameras will agree that after purchase service/support is more important with Medium Format Digital than it is with any 35mm type DSLRs.

    I've owned and/or used most all of the MFD systems and they are all very good with relatively small differences in end quality. So shooting preferences are basically what it comes down to in the end when selecting which way to go. Others have outlined their preferences for Phase One and some Sinar possibilities. My current preference is for the Hasselblad H3D-II/39 because I need/want the high sync speed, and a fully integrated system ... including the new HT/S adapter with programed electronic corrections for tilt/shift location work with the 28, 35, 50, 80 and 100mm lenses ... and I have a full compliment of Zeiss V 500 series lenses that sync to 1/500 and work fully "auto stop down" when mounted on an H camera via the ingenious Hasselblad CF adapter ... and is the only 645D system that does so.


    No matter which way you go, best of luck, and welcome to the MFD club

  33. #33
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Well I am in the camp of hitting clients with the biggest gun I can find or afford. Another reason i went MF is any client can buy a 5D and try and do stuff themselves and they do. But when they need talent and big files than I am a phone call away. Plus i can provide better than the local competition. Really you want a edge in these hard times, so yes if you can justify it and provide that edge than you will recoup the investment.

    I also agree with Marc regardless of what system you chose find a dealer that you can work with. Service and support I have found to be invaluable in MF and frankly i want my hand held and not having to try and get something from B&H or going through the OEM's directly for service. Not that there bad but a quick phone call on a question or issue makes life just a little easier on you.

    Now lighting is another area that will come into play. Here is the secret on lighting, don't buy the crap stuff. i know that was pretty blunt but lighting is something that you buy to last awhile and not as disposable as camera's are. They can last as much as 5 years or longer without any major changes to the system. Look at some of the better ones that are still affordable.Profoto, Hensel, Elinchrom, Dynalite and a few others that are not going to kill the bank account but still provide quality and constant color temp in output. Home interiors i find the Monolights slightly better because you are not tied into a pack and can spread them from room to room. I also have a Elinchrom Ranger Battery at 1100 ws that i find very useful inside and out. Check out the lighting forum. Some nice idea's on lighting there. Look at lighting as a real investment because of there long life in use
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  34. #34
    Theo
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Hi there,
    all I can say is that after having made the change to the Hy6, I will never look back!
    The Schenider and Zeiss glass is my favorite anyway, and the Sinar back is a dream. Also my dealer is giving me good trade-in/trade-up value with new Sinar backs, so I am no complaining there either.
    I have not used the Sinar Artec camera yet, but just played with it at the show. It looks to be a real find for architectural photography, and if I were you, I would certainly take a close look at it.
    Good luck with your choices!
    Theo

  35. #35
    petermacc
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Well I am in the camp of hitting clients with the biggest gun I can find or afford. Another reason i went MF is any client can buy a 5D and try and do stuff themselves and they do. But when they need talent and big files than I am a phone call away."

    Most of the people locally here have been using their little P+S, I have a different acronym for most of them.

    I also agree with Marc regardless of what system you chose find a dealer that you can work with. Service and support I have found to be invaluable in MF and frankly i want my hand held and not having to try and get something from B&H or going through the OEM's directly for service. Not that there bad but a quick phone call on a question or issue makes life just a little easier on you.

    Guy, I agree with you there. I got a lot of really good info from you here as well and this place is a treasure trove of information, not to mention artistic!

    The closest town to me that deals with Phase One or Medium format is Tampa so I am going to speak with them more about this after the holidays are over at Image Productions. I also think being able to drive to get something rented, fixed or spur of the moment purchase is a good idea. Well, not so much the spur of the moment as a good idea. That could really be a double edged sword!

    I can't imagine buying any of these cameras without trying them out. The local shops in town have expressed no interest in selling equipment for medium format shooting.

    I was rather frustrated a few weeks ago when I went into the local camera shop in the area of FL I live and was asked "Why the heck would you want to buy a camera that will cost you 40K minimum? You can buy a D3 or D3x for less than 25% of that cost." Never mind that you can get into medium format a lot cheaper than that and closer to the costs of the Pro Nikon bodies or insert canon for nikon depending on your position. I was even told that Mamiya is out of the camera business by several people. It is a side of the camera world that is really hard for people to understand these days so forums like this and honest reputable dealers are a godsend.


    Now lighting is another area that will come into play. Here is the secret on lighting, don't buy the crap stuff. i know that was pretty blunt but lighting is something that you buy to last awhile and not as disposable as camera's are. They can last as much as 5 years or longer without any major changes to the system. Look at some of the better ones that are still affordable.Profoto, Hensel, Elinchrom, Dynalite and a few others that are not going to kill the bank account but still provide quality and constant color temp in output. Home interiors i find the Monolights slightly better because you are not tied into a pack and can spread them from room to room. I also have a Elinchrom Ranger Battery at 1100 ws that i find very useful inside and out. Check out the lighting forum. Some nice idea's on lighting there. Look at lighting as a real investment because of there long life in use


    Lighting definitely seems to be an interesting place to look next since it is the foundation of all photography. I have found that anytime you stop gap on your purchases for work reasons you pay twice easily.

  36. #36
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    STAY OUT OF CAMERA SHOPS. Except for a select few that are here and we talk about, they will always try to sell you what they have or can get. LOL

    There are exceptions of course . David at Dale and Sean at Camera West are dear friends and great retailers. Plus some of the Samy's and B&H where pro sales are made your dealing with what they know and that is ultimately what they sell. MF stuff is generally not stocked on shelves nor will they give you the service and support your after. I also like your thoughts on the lighting , yes do it once and get it over with and make sure it will last a long time and is good stuff.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  37. #37
    petermacc
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Guy,

    what do you think of the Bowen's company?

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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Hi Peter

    I’ve just re-read the excellent points brought here by Jack and Guy as well as others and wanted to add a couple comments as well.

    The first thing to consider in medium format is it isn’t cheap and in many ways it shouldn’t be. The other consideration is how the body feels to me in my hands might be completely opposite in yours. You really need to try out the various bodies before you spend the cash that’ll be needed (consider the cost of a good used car vs. the cost of the gear).

    It’s the camera body that’ll be in your hands and up to your eyes and if it doesn’t “fit” then you’ll have a problem. I think simply put the camera body has to do something for you (there’s a car commercial in the States that goes like this – “When you turn your car on does it return the favor?”).

    I’ll explain my thought process when I switched to medium format.

    The body:

    I tried two bodies, Hasselblad and Mamiya and went with a Mamiya 645 AFDII (later upgraded to a Phase One 645 III) as I liked the way the Mamiya felt in my hands. Part of this “feeling” was that I felt almost no difference between the Canon 1Ds II that I had shot my landscapes with and the AFD.

    The lens:

    In choosing the Mamiya I also found that I was able to get excellent lens at an affordable price something I had no experience with while using the Canon.

    The back:

    The final piece of the puzzle was the digital back. After doing my due diligence, I picked Phase One as the company (I have since completely forgot who else was in the running and have never looked back). My first digital back was the P30+ which I used with great success, producing outstanding images that have not only been published but more importantly sold.

    I have only recently added a technical camera to my kit bag (had to get another to fit it all) and choose the Cambo RS 1000. The major factor in deciding the RS1000 over the Cambo WDS was that Cambo designed the RS 1000 for digital. The RS has all the movements on the rear plus it has geared movements making repeatability great when applying multiple movements. While I plan to use the Cambo RS 1000 as my main landscape camera I’ll be keeping the AFD III for those times when I need or want a “point and shoot”.

    The last comment I want to add is the need to find the best dealer you can; in this case price isn’t everything. Having a great dealer is much like having a good marriage. There are a couple of great posts here from two people that I consider friends from one company that you should consider contacting.

    I don’t want to turn this into a sales pitch for either a dealer or camera kit; my final suggestion is to keep doing what you are doing, that is research. Don’t be influenced by anything or anyone other than yourself as in the end the entire kit must not only fit your hands and style but your checkbook.

    Almost forgot to add this. Regarding KEH – I’ve brought and sold to them in the past – consider KEH as the Carmax for camera goods. I’ve always found them to be fair when selling to them and I’ve found their ratings for good received to be under-rated (meaning if they say the condition is a “9” it will more than likely be “like new”.

    These have been my incoherent ramblings and I’ll get off my soapbox now and wish you good luck and happy hunting.

    don
    Don Libby
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    something to bear in mind when shooting architecturals:

    shift is very useful for perspective correction. usually it is only found with Nikon or canon TS or PC lenses in 35mm format and even harder to find in MF without using a special body like the Horseman SW or equivalent. if you need to eliminate converging verticals you will need to look into this. (Guy likes the 12' step ladder) check out some of Jim collum's posts using the Horseman, for example

    wide angle: MF lens availability and the crop factor makes it tough to get really wide; again shifting will help or pano's and stitching

  40. #40
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Little trick I do with my tripod is I get it perfect level with a Pano clamp than i put the camera on and raise it to where I need to be. So many times i will be on a short ladder , hey I am short what can i say but I get the tripod to where i think I want it than make that level adjustment than put the camera on. This way i know immediately I am all square. I also shoot tethered and do NOT underestimate that ability about the best thing since sliced bread. You know EXACTLY what you have before packing those bags. Trust me software is more important than anyone thinks. Usually this will save your bacon knowing you got what you need.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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  41. #41
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    BTW folks excellent advice here.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  42. #42
    petermacc
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Jim,

    Very true. I have a little Giant XE ladder that goes up to 22 feet and can convert to a scaffolding for ease of use. Ladders are wonderful for getting that unseen visual in the photo.

  43. #43
    petermacc
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Guy,

    What do you think of this rig? http://reallyrightstuff.com/pano/07.html

  44. #44
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Nice rig . I have the Pano Clamp and a rail . Jack has the big gun or had it
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  45. #45
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Just to add my 2 cents … I’ve got their Ultimate Omni-Pivot package and wouldn’t think of doing a panorama or any other type of stitching with my AFD without it.

    don
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  46. #46
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    What is with this character posting this nonsense (brass air fittings)in every thread?
    V/r John

  47. #47
    petermacc
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Brass?

  48. #48
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Jack must have got to them all.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  49. #49
    petermacc
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    I clearly missed something. LOL

  50. #50
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    Re: Considering Medium Format

    Me too but it was some spammer
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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