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Thread: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

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    Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    so, always eager to rush in, I am wondering how I could ease myself into tech camera usage? I would like to look at a low cost option to begin with as I have already sold the farm to get to where I am (hello, Mastercard, I have been meaning to call you ...) Okay, its not quite that bad.

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    I would look at the used market.
    Alpa and Arca keep their price quite well, but you may want to look at the Cambo or Silvestri ( or Horseman, but it's not geared) where prices begin at 50% of the new price.
    If you know exactly what lens you want to use first, you may find a nice kit somewhere.
    Re-mounting lenses can be quite expensive

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    For me the sequence would be

    - first step the digital back ( have you one or would you shoot film? )
    - then choose your lenses ( must suitable for your sensor; a 24mm is nothing for a IQ260 )
    - and the last step should be the camera

    But before step 2 think about the system. Cambo, Arca, Alpa.
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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    Where might a person find a good comparison of camera features?

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    OK, I'm going to come out of self-enforced hibernation for this.

    You're in basically the same position I was just over a year ago, so let me give you a few pointers from experience.

    Firstly, there are NO honest objective comparisons of all of the three major tech-cam ecosystems out there. No dealer (that I know of) sells them all, and I've certainly never come across a photographer who has owned all the systems. This stuff typically doesn't get reviewed independently either.

    Would you trust a Mercedes dealer to educate you about the merits of a BMW? No. You would not. So don't rely on a dealer of any of the tech-cam brands to educate you about the competition.

    Note that I say "ecosystems". This is important - you cannot consider the camera in isolation. You have to think about what it is you want to shoot, and then work out which system (camera(s), lenses, accessories) will work best for YOU.

    Individual photographers who own any of these systems will have spent a lot of time evaluating the various options based on their own personal needs prior to shelling out a considerable amount of cash to buy into the one they believe is right for them.

    Once you're bought in, you're pretty much stuck with your original choice unless you want to take a significant hit on resale. So take your time, do the research, think about where you are as a photographer now, and - more importantly - where you want to go, and evaluate accordingly.

    Open question to the forum:

    How many people here have bought into one tech-cam system (typically Alpa, Arca, or Cambo), and then realise they made a mistake, sold it, and bought into another?

    And that's where post-purchase rationalisation will come in.

    You'll find it hard to find someone who has spent upwards of $10K just to get a camera and lens to admit that maybe they did the wrong thing. Now, I strongly suspect that the vast majority of people who get into this game do a stack load of research to make sure they make the right decision up front, but again, to stress, that will based on THEIR requirements, not YOURS.

    Don't fall for the "you have to work with a dealer" line. It's simply not true. I bought my tech cam system pretty much sight-unseen based on detailed research on this and other forums and having a clear understanding as to what it was I was after, and what I potentially wanted to do in the future.

    This is where I started:

    Instagram

    And this is where I am just one year later:

    Instagram

    (I still have the TC, it's just that it's the one thing that doesn't live in that case.)

    Welcome to Dante's inferno. It is bloody brilliant in here.
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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    Glad to see you back Gerald!

    I agree with everything Gerald says:
    - You don't HAVE to work with a dealer. Though when it comes to something that is very highly tactile, involves mechanical ergonomics, and involves a new/different shooting technique than you're used to, and also has a lot of caveats (like lens+back incompatibles, accessories that can only be used with specific lenses etc) it sure can make life easier .
    - Nobody is unbiased (certainly not dealers, and not even users). For instance we choose to sell only Arca and Cambo and (notably) not Alpa. That said our summary of the basic specs of Arca, Cambo, and Alpa is a useful place to start. For sure it should not be only your only place to do research, but again, a good starting point.

    I'd suggest the same approach as with any major buying decision. Do a very broad-spectrum search to decide which of the many options out there might be candidates. Then narrow in on those candidates with further focused research. Then when your down to a manageable number of options I'd suggest getting your hands on to each of those options to decide what works best for you.

    There is a big Photo Expo in NYC coming up where we will have Cambo and Arca bodies, Arca Swiss' US rep will be there, and you should be able to find someone with or from Alpa (if not you could go somewhere in the city that carries them separate from the shot). Alternatively you can borrow from a forum member, attend a workshop (I've been a part of several GetDPI workshops and think very highly of them, though I guess I can be considered unbiased there either eh Gerald ). If you can't or don't want to leave home you could rent from a dealer or use our Remote Demo Center for a web-based video/audio/screen/raw-file sharing experience - not the same as touching it yourself, but pretty good considering you don't have to leave home .
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
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    Senior Member Dogs857's Avatar
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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    As someone who has recently bought into the whole Tech camera scene (still buying in actually but almost there) I can relate to a lot on here. I did a hell of a lot of research and changed my mind at least 100 times trying to work it all out. I read somewhere that someone said we get to the point of not making a decision because we become afraid of making the wrong one. From what I learnt they are all great systems (the big three Alpa, Arca and Cambo) with excellent support. However I wouldn't consider any of them cheap. Even if the bodies seem reasonable, the glass will kill you.

    Hands on is my best advice. The camera I chose felt just wrong the first time I held it, but better the second time after trying some others and figuring a few things out. Advice on here is great, but almost always tainted (there are a few exceptions). The Alpa crowd love Alpa, and Arca and Cambo are the same. Dealers obviously will give you their opinions but always based on what they sell. D/T have some good base resources to compare things but numbers do not tell the whole story.

    As for a low cost entry, you really need to get the word cheap out of your mind. If you want to play in the inferno you need to bring some serious dough. There are cheaper ways of doing it, but it is like comparing the cost of a Rolls Royce to a Bently. Sure one costs a bit less but really..... I find it easier if I put the words "only" or "just" in front of the price and compare everything to a brand new IQ280 back. "It's only $20 000. A new back costs $55 000, that's a complete bargain" See how that works

    I guess the best idea is a lower MP back and find a body with one lens around the 40-50mm range. That should get you started without burning the wallet too bad. Also avoid the words "cube" or "viewfinder" for a while as well.

    Good luck
    Last edited by Dogs857; 14th September 2013 at 10:30.
    Stop chasing gear, start chasing photos instead.

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    Subscriber Member Georg Baumann's Avatar
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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    There is a big Photo Expo in NYC coming up
    Hi Doug,

    apart from Photokina, would you happen to know any other European show that you could recommend for getting in contact with tech.-cam manufacturers?

    Thanks
    G

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    Quote Originally Posted by hsteeves View Post
    Where might a person find a good comparison of camera features?
    If you're over Calgary way feel free to get in touch and drop by. I have a good selection of Alpa stuff and some Arca-Swiss you can get your hands on and see if either appeals to you...

    David
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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    Quote Originally Posted by Georg Baumann View Post
    Hi Doug,

    apart from Photokina, would you happen to know any other European show that you could recommend for getting in contact with tech.-cam manufacturers?
    There is a relatively big show in Saint Petersburg Russia. I'm not sure which manufacturers are going to that this year.

    Photo Plus and Photokina are, IMO, your best bet.

    A trip to NYC is not a hard thing to justify! Maybe we will see you here!
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    There is a relatively big show in Saint Petersburg Russia. I'm not sure which manufacturers are going to that this year.

    Photo Plus and Photokina are, IMO, your best bet.

    A trip to NYC is not a hard thing to justify! Maybe we will see you here!
    Darn, Photo Plus is late October, guess I'm not going to make it since I'm in NY till the 21st. But me and a friend will be coming over sometime tomorrow, just look for the two 6'2" guys wearing ski masks.

    No one go to Peter this time of year. At least not unless you bring wilderness survival gear. bears and all that.

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    I caught Rene Rook after-hours and he says "Cambo at this very moment is at the IBC in Amsterdam, but that is video orientated. There are no major shows planned in the next months, only November in Paris, where the French Cambo distributor will show a selection."

    I also heard back from Arca Swiss who will be at the Paris show:
    http://en.lesalondelaphoto.com/
    Last edited by dougpeterson; 17th September 2013 at 09:12.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    Quote Originally Posted by David Duffin View Post
    If you're over Calgary way feel free to get in touch and drop by. I have a good selection of Alpa stuff and some Arca-Swiss you can get your hands on and see if either appeals to you...

    David
    Hey David,

    Which Alpa/Arca cameras do you use? I'm a Cambo WRS user. Always nice to meet other local tech cam users

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    Member David Duffin's Avatar
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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    Quote Originally Posted by justinpoulsen View Post
    Hey David,

    Which Alpa/Arca cameras do you use? I'm a Cambo WRS user. Always nice to meet other local tech cam users
    I have Alpa TC, STC, SWA, and have been busy with an FPS of late. My first tech cam was an ARCA Rm2d (rise/fall, shift, no tilt) which has been sitting on the shelf here for a year or two, but only because the Alpas tend to fit my hand and my camera case better. I primarily do landscape, with an IQ180, also some fine art documentation images.

    Perhaps we'll meet someday
    David

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    I have the Alpa XY. sold the TC to partially fund it but want it back or a STC for mobility.

    This is after going through almost all kinds of medium format and tech cam gear and losing a lot of money through the years.

    My only advice would be, always get the best gear you can barely afford. Don't think along the lines of:"Buy a cheaper set to try out first, then upgrade." Because you will always end up upgrading and costing yourself much more compared to if you had gone for the best from the very beginning.

    Alpa and Linhof (now probably Arca too) would be the end of the line in terms of tech/field camera goes. Unlike consumer cameras, a good tech kit will stay with you for a long time and upgrading them can be a major pain. So choose carefully, but don't cheap out.

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    Quote Originally Posted by hsteeves View Post
    so, always eager to rush in, I am wondering how I could ease myself into tech camera usage? I would like to look at a low cost option to begin with as I have already sold the farm to get to where I am (hello, Mastercard, I have been meaning to call you ...) Okay, its not quite that bad.
    That was my entry point one Year ago too. I owned a digital back for my Hassi and wanted to try out this type of camera. I end in an used Horseman SW-D II, witch is very cheap compared to the most competitors. The only weak point is the resolution while using backs with very small pixels (i used the camera with a P45+ back).
    Now one year later i real know "this is my style of shooting". I know what i am dislike and appreciate while using a technical camera. So may be this mouth i will order my new camera that suit my needs to 100%. From this point of view the Horseman SW-D II is a good and low priced alternative.

    Best Regards
    Pascal

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    I loved shooting 4x5" for years, especially the experience of composing and focusing on ground glass. Something about the process it forced really inspired me. So, I ended up going with a Linhof Techno and have no regrets. Initially I was gunning for an Alpa STC or SWA, but in all honesty couldn't justify spending that kind of money – the body itself isn't too badly priced, but the lens mounts and accessories would have killed me. Also, I wanted lens tilt without adaptors, etc. I will say though that the GG experience isn't for everyone. And if you're into stitching, the Techno probably isn't the best choice due to lack of horizontal shift if you're not using the sliding back.

    It seems Cambo is a great option if you're into pancake cameras.

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    There are a few ways to stitch with the Techno (horiz) - with use of sliding backs from Kapture Group, Silvestri or Linhof. Had good luck with Kapture Group. The Silvestri has a few more interlocks, for safety.

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    Could the Silvestri Bicam III be an option? Silvestri cameras is generally a bit more economical than the other brands.

    I have a Linhof Techno myself and love the flexibility ("large" tilts and shifts for all lenses) and the low cost lens mounts (ie lens boards), but until decent live view arrives in the backs you'll need to live with ground glass focusing, and some find that too difficult, so it's definitely a try-before-buy camera, although I did not
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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    David, I am in Calgary right now but unfortunately am flying out tomorrow for 3 weeks until
    October 11th. I will be in town for a couple of days when i return before heading back to Saskabush. Can I get in touch with you to maybe meet up that week-end?

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    Quote Originally Posted by torger View Post
    Could the Silvestri Bicam III be an option? Silvestri cameras is generally a bit more economical than the other brands.

    I have a Linhof Techno myself and love the flexibility ("large" tilts and shifts for all lenses) and the low cost lens mounts (ie lens boards), but until decent live view arrives in the backs you'll need to live with ground glass focusing, and some find that too difficult, so it's definitely a try-before-buy camera, although I did not
    While The Flexicam is more like a mini-Linhof Techno, the Bicam has the advantage (or disadvantage) to be 2 cameras at the same time.
    You have to choose first if you want your lenses mount with a focussing mount: you can work without a bellow, even handheld, just like a Cambo, Alpa, but you won't have Tilts.
    Or you choose to mount the lenses on a simple board. Then, you use it with a bellow with all the movements the techno also has.
    You have the option of adding a sliding back to your setup, or just work with a (shiftable) viewfinder. I got rid of my sliding back when I got the IQ160, the few times I need to stitch, I use the cameras rear movements.

    Hogweed

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    Quote Originally Posted by hogweed View Post
    While The Flexicam is more like a mini-Linhof Techno, the Bicam has the advantage (or disadvantage) to be 2 cameras at the same time.
    You have to choose first if you want your lenses mount with a focussing mount: you can work without a bellow, even handheld, just like a Cambo, Alpa, but you won't have Tilts.
    Or you choose to mount the lenses on a simple board. Then, you use it with a bellow with all the movements the techno also has.
    You have the option of adding a sliding back to your setup, or just work with a (shiftable) viewfinder. I got rid of my sliding back when I got the IQ160, the few times I need to stitch, I use the cameras rear movements.

    Hogweed
    What is the widest lens you can use with the bellows on? If I understand the documentation correctly it's the SK47XL of the Schneiders (ie you can't use the 43, 35 and 28 with bellows, but you can without), and 28 Digaron-S of the Rodenstocks, not sure about the 32mm... but considering the cost of the Rodenstock Digaron wide angles I'm assuming that they are not widely used with a Bicam.

    Is it easy to take the bellows on and off? So you could out in the field remove the bellows when you want to shoot with the 35, and then reattach it to shoot with the 47, or is it very cumbersome?

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    You're right according to
    Silvestri Camera - Table Bayonets/Lenses
    But it is possible that the list is not up to date. But I don't think the Schneider designs shorter than 47mm would fit the Flexibellow. No idea about the Rodenstocks.

    Even without a bellow my 35 Digitar already sits on a really thin board with a disk-like special focussing ring.

    On the other hand, the Flexicam nearly takes all the lenses, with bellow.
    Very difficult to find the people who know that studd, Paula at Linhos Studio probably does know. Ms Silvia (Silvestri) herself too of course.

    Yes, kind of cumbersome with the bellow. You definitely need 2 hands, the bellow is fixed on the body and it's rail sits below the camera. Really something you would do, sitting down at a table, not out in the woods;-)
    I decided for myself that I would not need tilt/swing on the 35mm for my kind of work. I will get a 55 Rodi or 60 Schneider without tilt next year too.

    Btw, did you get my old 72mm you bought cleaned, does it suit you well?


    Hogweed/Tom

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    Quote Originally Posted by hogweed View Post
    You're right according to
    Btw, did you get my old 72mm you bought cleaned, does it suit you well?
    I'm not sure I got it 100% clean, but clean enough to not visibly affect image quality. It works very well, and it's now one of my most used lenses. With the new bright ground glass from Linhof it's also the brightest lens on the ground glass (of the digitars), really beautiful to work with. Very sharp and handles shifts well too. To be a little bit on topic one can say the 72mm is a great lens for a budget system, great performance, low price.

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    [off-topic]
    good to know, for me it was a bit to long
    I'm looking for something in the 55-60mm range next year (the new 60mm being a bit expensive right now anyway and not available used;-)
    [/off-topic]

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    Hi all,

    I am also thinking about joining the madness. I have been offered a "good deal" (yeah, yeah, notice I didn't say cheap) on a refurb IQ160. My goal is to go tech cam (for the possibility of using the HR32 and other wide angle landscape lenses with tilt) and I am drawn to the IQ160 (and not a "cheaper", older back) mostly because of live-view. After demoing that feature on a tech-cam (it happened to be a Linhof Techno), I am convinced that LV is the right tool for me to achieve good focus on a tech cam (doing that will require practice, but it seems doable). Of course distometers, high precision focusing marks etc are also viable, but I found LV to be very reassuring (i.e. you *see* that it's in focus, you don't need to trust calibrated measurements). Also, the fast 100% view after the pic was taken was very comforting to check the image is fine. LV on the IQ160 has it's limitations (not so good image quality, possible need for ND filter...) but it's good enough, in my opinion, to see where the focus is. Not super easy but doable.
    I am not decided yet on which tech cam I will end up getting (Arca-Swiss Factum and Alpa STC or even TC both look good), and will have to test extensively, before committing.

    Now, I am wondering if I should consider the other part of the deal, the Phase One DF+ body and 80mm kit lens. It's not very expensive (compared to the back), so in some way it's tempting.
    On the one hand, the wide angle lenses for the DF system don't seem so great (but maybe it's just a bad reputation, like the DF+ has - although I thought that it wasn't a bad body at all, felt much better in my hand than the Hassi H4D-60 which I had the opportunity to handle several times), and are expensive (not Rodenstock 32mm expensive, but not cheap either). On the other hand, the DSLR-like experience might be a good stepping stone into MF. Perhaps directly jumping into a tech cam is too much of a challenge in one go ? Also, maybe the longer P1 lenses (from 80mm upwards perhaps ? Or maybe even 50mm upwards) are actually good "enough" ? And certainly easier to use, since they autofocus.

    And what about legacy (Mamiya or even Hasselblad V, with the (expensive) adapter) lenses ? I don't mind manually focusing (since I am going to a tech cam, eventually). But are any of them good enough on an IQ160 ? I also don't mind stopping down to f/11 or something, so they wouldn't need to be stellar wide open. As I said, they don't need to be the best in the world, but more a learning tool about MF, live view focusing, and generally the IQ160.

    What do you think ?

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    I'll just talk about my reasoning of choice here: Many may disagree but I'm a artist and for me its getting the gear out of my damn way. Thats how I think , engineers like to fiddle . Seen this on 18 workshops teaching this stuff.

    Arca very well built a little big for me though speaking of the RM 3 but more important although very accurate with focusing it is completely backwards of my whole life career as the focusing on it, You basically go by numbers and figure out offsets and such. Once you get to know it than its very nice. Here was my issue with it, I am NOT in the field going to play math major and be a mathematician and count numbers. Maybe over exaggerated on my end and I have used it many times but you have to think. I dont want to think camera PERIOD. LOL

    Nice thing on Arca is you do get the tilt built in to the body so every lens you can tilt. Only tech cam that can do this.

    Alpa simply beautiful gear and for a lot of people its a engineering wonder on build quality but not the cheapest tool in the shed either. They have several bodies that do many things but not one body that really can do it all without attachments. We can argue this point till the cows come home but even the Max you want it all you have to add attachments which are costly as well. I do like the system and shot it several times the SWC that is and I did briefly own the TC which was lovely but very simple body. From me if I had a lot of money than this maybe my choice. I don't so I passed on it plus at the time and today very limited dealers but they all have very limited dealers.

    Cambo is the direction I took . One was they are pretty small and compact which was a main goal. Second it does pretty much everything without attachments. Third although a downside as the tilt is not on the body you have to buy lenses with the Tilt and Shift lens boards which add about 1200 to 1500 per lens over lets say Arca. Of course with that the bodies are less money than Alpa and Arca but in the end when you get three lenses with it the costs get back up to the Arca in total cost. I left Alpa out of the price equation here since they are more money but you need to do your homework on pricing as well. General rule and exceptions to it. First thing is you need to figure out complete system with 3 or 4 lenses and all the parts to compare pricing. Now Cambo is the only one with Tilt and Swing together. The others you have to pick one or the other and/or buy attachments.

    I went cambo as at the time Arca was impossible to get your hand on new and probably still is, sorry they are just too freaking slow for me to deliver on my schedule which is a NOW schedule. Cambo i had everything within a week in my hands ready to shoot. Alpa at the time was in the middle of the two on delivers. I'm not sure how this is today though for all of them. I had to sell everything for personal reasons and still this problem exists with my wife and her health so I see no way back in for several years. Thats life but I miss the **** out of not having a tech cam and worse i am in the process of selling one piece of art at 9 FEET x 20 FEET and 4 pieces at 4 FEET X 8FEET verticals from horizontal images. Im thrilled at selling them but at the same time scared to death they wont hold up. Luckily most of it was shot with my IQ 160 at the time and several stitched images. Yea i need to get back to MF, you know a bank I can use my ski mask on than let me know. ROTFLMAO

    Anyway I chose Cambo it did what I wanted without to much fuss. Now thats me and you can debate my choices and argue all day long about each system. Frankly Im not into that argument at all. Bottom line you cant go wrong with any of them as long as it does what you want and gets out of the way so you can work at a pace without putting to much effort into being a gear head on location if you know what I mean. Obviously like everyone else the biggest key is doing your homework finding out what system does what and what that total system brings you and how much it costs. I worked with a dealer as i always done with MF stuff but you can certainly buy used and get some nice deals . Just stay the hell away from e-bay PLEASE. I hate that place like the plague anymore. Just had to sell the same Iphone5 4 times just to get paid. 3 Chinese buyers and a Russian that got flagged every time from Paypal. It finally cleared for the Russian buyer but what a pain in the ***. Obviously do what you want but I will not ever buy from there again. We have a lot of members here selling MF gear all the time that I'm sure would be much more easier on you the buyer.

    This is strictly my opinion and the route I took it is neither right or wrong but was my best option for me. Now the koolaid drinkers can argue which system is best and thats fine but you need to find whats best for you and thats really the bottom line. Good luck on your quest but your in Dantes home and there is no way out just throw your wallet in the middle of the pile and we will do a excellent job of spending your money. Its a tradition around here. LOL

    Just FYI i am the most hated man to spouses. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    Thanks Guy for your comments, very helpful.

    I think there is no perfect tech-cam, and so I have to take the one that works for me.
    I have not had much time with ALPA at the last Photokina, but they had really nice things. Cambo, I have no real experiance.
    Arca is nice, since they have tilts on all lenses. But is tilt important on a 23mm lens ? I think it might, since it is useful in landscapes on the Canon 17mm TS-E.

    Any thoughts on the DF+ as an intermediate step vs. going directly to the tech cam ?

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    On the 23mm sure it could be useful but there is so much DOF as it is that I would not do it. I did not on my 28mm and never really ran into a big issue. You can cheat here too with focus stacking. Now longer very much so tilt us a big advantage. Here is where you can save a little money with Cambo at least and get the 1500 lens board and put towards say 40 and longer lenses. Bottom line you can cheat a little with the 23
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    I jumped into a tech cam right away. I purchased the Arca RM3di and the IQ160 along with a Rodenstock 40mm HR lens.

    The main thing I had to get used to was the focusing scale conversion with the Arca. It is really no big deal since with the 40mm lens I am at infinity most of time and when I want near-far focus I leave it at infinity and just use a bit of tilt. The Arca is a very clean design. You really do not need to add any accessories to have full functionality with every single lens. Just screw in the lens and go. You get tilt with every lens and all sliding movements are in the back. Great for stitching using shift and or rise/fall.

    The second thing I also had to get used to was doing a LCC exposure with the white plexi whenever making changes in movement, focus and/or aperture. That is a pretty big addition to the image capturing procedure if you have been using an SLR which obviously do not require it.

    The third thing to get used to, and the least bothersome really, was having to manually wake up the back and the shutter.

    There are other things like getting used to the fact that the copal shutter does not have preset shutter time values slower than 1sec so you need to use the bulb or time setting for longer exposures. No big deal really. Having to connect the shutter and sync cables every time you set up slows you down a bit also. Also not having a TTL Viewfinder makes working with the tech camera a bit slower but I have gotten used to it and I added the Arca optical viewfinder, which is excellent, when I need to work with a bit more speed. But by now I have really gotten used to the angle of view and coverage of the 40mm lens and IQ160 combo to the point that I can just stand, look at the scene and compose with my eyes and then just use live view to fine tune the composition.

    In the end the quality and flexibility the Tech camera provides is really unmatched by any DSLR. If you work with wide angles a lot like I do then a tech camera is really a must. If you generally use lenses longer than say 50-60mm then I would lean more towards an SLR.
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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    One the DF. Depending on needs and what you do. For me having a Nikon takes the DSLR role and than have the tech cam. But I need a DSLR for everyday clients for landscape with a good range if glass than no . I would do tech cam only

    Again it's really about what you shoot. I liked the DF but the tech cam was better for on landscape
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    Quote Originally Posted by miska View Post
    Hi all,

    I am also thinking about joining the madness. I have been offered a "good deal" (yeah, yeah, notice I didn't say cheap) on a refurb IQ160.
    Me too, I've been to Digital Transitions in NY and have been quoted a pretty good price for a refurb IQ160, I still don't have enough to make the jump right now, but it's certainly going to be easier than before.

    Now, I am wondering if I should consider the other part of the deal, the Phase One DF+ body and 80mm kit lens. It's not very expensive (compared to the back), so in some way it's tempting.
    I was offered $3000 extra for the body and lens as part of a kit, which is half as much as just the body alone, so if you think you may need this functionality, you can always go for it. You should think of the DF as the inverse of the tech cam, since you can more easily use lenses in the 120-240mm range or more.

    And what about legacy (Mamiya or even Hasselblad V, with the (expensive) adapter) lenses ? I don't mind manually focusing (since I am going to a tech cam, eventually). But are any of them good enough on an IQ160 ? I also don't mind stopping down to f/11 or something, so they wouldn't need to be stellar wide open. As I said, they don't need to be the best in the world, but more a learning tool about MF, live view focusing, and generally the IQ160.
    A lot of people like to adapt telephoto lenses, since they typically don't require modification to work, and offer great sharpness regardless of system.

    What do you think ?
    Lasciate ogne speranza, voi ch'entrate

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    Quote Originally Posted by miska View Post
    Arca is nice, since they have tilts on all lenses. But is tilt important on a 23mm lens ? I think it might, since it is useful in landscapes on the Canon 17mm TS-E.
    At least some find tilt on very wides on the Arca to be very useful:
    See also: Tech camera choices and back compatibility

    (full disclosure the poster I'm linking to is a customer of ours)

    The point I would emphasize (note my bias as I sell Arca), is that you don't have to decide up front how you use the system initially or how your needs might change over the comings years. You get tilt (or swing, though not both simultaneously), without additional cost, without additional accessories, on every lens with Arca. The Cambo and Alpa methods for tilt also have their perks (e.g. with Cambo you can tilt and swing simultaneously) but I think it's fair to say Arca has a net advantage when it comes to tilt.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    IMO Tilt is the one key benefit of a tech camera, and I was very happy with the Arca in this regard. The second is rise/fall
    The rest is secondary. Shifts are nice, but not as key as tilt and rise/fall.
    -bob
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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    Great info, thanks !

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    i use rise/fall in 90% of my shots, hardly ever use shift (i do panos), tilt in 20%, swing 10%
    tilt and swing maybe 2%

    if i was doing studio tabletop work numbers would change

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    I am investigating the possibility of buying used. For Tech cam use, does it matter, whether I take Hassi V or Hassi H or Phase One mount for the back ? I mean they each have their own adapter plate to the tech cam, so there shouldn't be any difference.

    Any impact of the mount type on resale value ? Since Hasselblad is not making the V bodies anymore, maybe the associated backs will depreciate faster ?
    Thanks for your collective wisdom.

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    You only need the right adapter plate for the MFDB to attach to your tech camera.

    But, if you're considering future resale of your MFDB, the market is larger for Phase/Mamiya mount MFDBs.

    ken

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    Resale value depends, an original CFV back (which has V-mount of course) has quite good resale value as they look really nice in combination with a vintage V body. A non-hassie back with V-mount is a bit less attractive, but if say a low cost 22 megapixel back might be easier to sell when it has V-mount as the buyer is likely looking at old gear where V-mount is popular.

    H-mount with non-hassie backs are a bit tricky too, for example the Aptus S and Aptus-II backs are unusable on the H4x camera as they have not implemented the protocol correctly, which will make them a bit harder to sell to someone that wants to use a hassie camera. Many buys for tech camera use though. Anyway, for Leaf and Phase an M mount would be better. An of course Contax is the worst mount for resale :-).

    Another thing to consider if you go high resolution (more than 40 megapixels) is that the more modern Hassie H and Mamiya mount is assumed to have a bit better tolerance (higher precision) than V-mount, although I'd say that the H and M is not really as good as they should be either.

    If you want to lose as little money as possible when selling it again the best thing is usually to get something cheap in the first place, ie an old back. Even if the old back would lose say 60% in resale value it's probably a substantially less amount of money than a modern back that loses 30% in resale value.

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    Re: Tech cameras ... thinking of joining the insanity

    Hi,

    Well, I got my tech cam (Arca-Swiss Factum) and the first lens (Rodie HR 50mm). Holy sharpness Batman ! :-)

    I really enjoy using the Factum. It's small and light and I actually like the shifting mechanism better than on the "full" Rm3di. On the Factum, you just push the back to move it. No screws to turn, and the centered position is "sticky" and doesn't have a chance of being knocked out.

    I use the Live view on my IQ160 for framing (I do not have a viewfinder "system" yet - exploring different options, ranging from the iPhone holder to the Chinese zooming viewfinder from eBay). Framing with LV actually works quite well: Aperture to f/32 to avoid using a neutral density filter, open the shutter, pop into Live view, frame. Done. Quite simple and fast actually. The only thing it won't be good for is nodal point panos because of the changing the aperture thing (well it works, it's just going to be really slow).

    For the moment, I just "focused" to infinity. I have a Leica Disto D5 and will experiment with that, and also with Live View for focusing. I suspect the D5 will be faster. I am also experimenting with the focus mask feature of the IQ (setting the threshold is a bit tricky and scene dependent).
    For exposure time, I use the histogram. But in a few tests, I did underexpose quite a bit (in the ETTR sense at least), so it seems that having a few blinkies is not that bad and the IQ's screen is a bit deceptive (at least for me). I increased the threshold for the blinkies to appear, so let's see if that helps.

    Man, that lens is sharp ! I only worked at f/8 for the moment (I figured it should be a good compromise between DoF and Diffraction - need to confirm that later) but the resolution is mind boggling - and it's very even across the frame - at least when not shifted. Zooming to 100% on the screen is a real treat. It's SHARP everywhere ! Individual trees look like trees, not green mush. It's not that my Hassi V lenses (50mm, 80mm, 150mm and 250mm) are coke bottles. But there is such a clear difference to the tech cam. Amazing !

    I took LCC shots, but without shift they don't seem necessary (at least it's not obvious), however I need to experiment more, do nodal point panoramas to see if there is vignetting that should be corrected with LCCs.

    I use the Phase One 2 shot cable. I thought it would be a hassle and was considering the Kapture Group single shot cable, but I actually got used to the 2 "click" system quite quickly.

    A very small detail that I don't like about the Factum / Rodie was the magnetic cable shutter release. It's very high tech and cute, but it keeps popping out of it's socket. So for the moment, I don't even use it much, and release the shutter with a finger - didn't seem to affect sharpness (but I was very careful). On the other hand, I also forgot to close the shutter (after using live view), and that prevents the shutter from actually working. So maybe with a bit more practice, the cable release will make it's come back.

    Another point that I find a bit disturbing is the lack of clicks on the aperture ring. So you can not be 100% sure you can come back to the same aperture value as previously (could be important for stitching panos), because f/8 doesn't click into place - you could be at f/7.8 or f/8.2, depending how precisely you look at the indicator when you set the aperture.

    Well, that's about it for the feedback from a first time tech cam user. I loooove the image quality, like very much the Factum and find it a joy to use. Now I need to get a lot more practice, and try more "challenging" shooting conditions. I'd like to add a bit of tilt, focus to somewhere else than infinity and so on.

    I'd like to thank the forum for providing me so much good information on how to spend my money :-)

    Also, I'd like to give Kudos to Walter at Arca-Shop.de who helped me a lot navigating the tortuous waters of the Arca system.
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