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Thread: optimal techcam for archicture photography

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    optimal techcam for archicture photography

    Hi all,

    i rarely ever post here but i am a full time lurker for quite some years already.
    i am a photography enthusiast and some years ago i made the jump to a contax 645 system and a year later i purchased a p45+.

    until now i use the system mainly for city and landscapes in china where i reside for some year already and since i work for a achitecture company i already taken some pictures for them every once in a while.

    but i did hit a huge limitation of my current setup, i mainly use the 35mm lens of the contax system, which
    1. not extremely wide(lots of stitching)
    2. physically pretty long, so moving the setup for stitching can cause paralax errors, which even ptgui hardly can correct.

    therefore i am currently thinking about to get a techcam and a wide large format lens with big image circle.

    compact systems like the hartblei hcam and alpa fps are very interesting but seem not to offer any digital back shifting. i really dont want to move the lens a single mm.

    what options do i have? of course i plan to use the system with my existing p45+.


    oh did i mention as cheap as possible? kidding

    now hit me

    cheers

    mirko

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    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: optimal techcam for archicture photography

    You didn't mention weight. The ALPA Max has both shift and rise/fall, both of which can be used at the same time, but it's relatively heavy. There's a nice video showing its use with a P65 back here (ALPA Max P65+ stitch1 - YouTube) done by Paul Slotboom, a beloved former ALPA dealer. The smaller STC allows shift or rise/fall. Both ALPAs allow quick or geared movements, and have secure locks that prevent creep.

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    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: optimal techcam for archicture photography

    Quote Originally Posted by drevil View Post
    1. not extremely wide(lots of stitching)
    2. physically pretty long, so moving the setup for stitching can cause paralax errors, which even ptgui hardly can correct.
    Just a quick thought. True that if you need stitching the best way is to leave the lens stationary and move the back.

    But, if you have a wide enough lens so stitching is not needed (and maintain the normal format aspect ratio) - then it does not matter that you introduce your rise and fall on the lens for vertical correction on the fly!

    Then, an FPS + Tse17 + Tse 24 maybe a good solution.
    Alpa FPS MAX TC | Alpagon 32Hr | Helvetar 75 | Schneider 120N | Leaf Aptus II 5 Leaf Credo 60 | www.danlindberg.com

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    Re: optimal techcam for archicture photography

    i did own the TSE17 when i was still a canon user, its a fabulous lens, but when shifting extreme i had alot of smearing(maybe i had a bad copy, oops i said it) even stopped down on my 5DII

    and i would still love to stitch to gain higher resolution later on.

    weight should be no big issue

    btw. i did watch that video just yesterday and this is now a bit off topic but i realized that he mentions that one image results in 355mb file size, does he mention the size when opened in PS? because my p45+ rarely ever exceed 51mb. IIQ type.

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    Re: optimal techcam for archicture photography

    Quote Originally Posted by drevil View Post
    Hi all,
    but i did hit a huge limitation of my current setup, i mainly use the 35mm lens of the contax system, which
    1. not extremely wide(lots of stitching)
    2. physically pretty long, so moving the setup for stitching can cause paralax errors, which even ptgui hardly can correct.

    therefore i am currently thinking about to get a techcam and a wide large format lens with big image circle.
    Regarding 2, you shouldn't have any problems whatsoever stitching with the 35mm lens as long as you are rotating around its nodal point.

    Although without hesitation my direct answer to your question - what's the optimal techcam for architecture photography? - would be the ALPA Max, I'm not convinced you're actually making the best use of what you currently have.

    Kind regards,


    Gerald.

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    Re: optimal techcam for archicture photography

    Hi Mirko,

    Alpa announced a shift-adapter for Contax 645 lenses for the Alpa FPS at Photokina. Look at their website. They told me that they will change the design slightly - but there will be a tripod foot attachable to the adapter. So if you use this, all movements will be back shifts. Great solution if you already own the contax 645 35mm. I tried that combination on a demo - the image circle of the Contax is about 75mm. You can use the full 12mm of shift that the adapter allows - and the lens is still amazingly sharp on an IQ 250, even in the extreme corners. According to the available MTF-graphs it is not as good as the Rodenstock HR 32, but probalbly better than all other 35mm lenses for 645 format.

    I thought of investing into that system. But I was not sure if the 35mm (which corresponds to about 28 or 29mm on a Canon) is wide enough for my needs.

    Of course you could use the Canon TS-Es on the FPS too. But if you are very picky with edge to edge sharpness: unshifted you use the excellent part of their image circle. When you shift you get into the "still OK"-part of their image circle.

    If image quality and very wide angles is your absolute priority I think the HR Digaron 32 on a 54x40mm-chip is better.

    Marc

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    Re: optimal techcam for archicture photography

    Quote Originally Posted by marc aurel View Post
    If image quality and very wide angles is your absolute priority I think the HR Digaron 32 on a 54x40mm-chip is better.
    I think it's a great lense but you have to correct its distortion (that is, you have to take notes of your movements) if you do architectural photography and need straight lines :-)

    Chris

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    Re: optimal techcam for archicture photography

    Quote Originally Posted by cly View Post
    I think it's a great lense but you have to correct its distortion (that is, you have to take notes of your movements) if you do architectural photography and need straight lines :-)

    Chris
    Yes, you need to correct it. Same with the Contax 645 35mm.
    That is a real advantage of the Canon TS-Es. I hardly ever have to correct them for distortion - except when straight lines are very close to the borders of the frame.

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    Re: optimal techcam for archicture photography

    I don't see the Alpa as being the only solution. The max is by far the most expensive last time I checked and foe a digital back offers more movement than most backs can work with, considering 70mm and 90mm image circles on most digital wides.

    Consider also the Arca or Cambo solutions.

    Arca has either the rl3di or rm3di. The rl3di is larger and has 20mm of shift where as the rm3di only has 15mm. The rm3di has 30mm rise and 20mm fall I believe the rl3di has more rise and fall. Arca has tilt or swing available for all lenses but not both at the same time. Even the super wide 23mm. Arca easily adapts to a film back also.

    Cambo with the WRS offers a very compact solution with 20mm shift and I believe the same for rise and fall. Cambo offers a lens mount with both tilt and swing which can be used at the same time.

    Just some more info to consider

    Paul

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    Re: optimal techcam for archicture photography

    I'd suggest you check out our Tech Camera Overview page and get your hands on the units that sound interesting.

    What is "optimal" will depend heavily on you and your priorities and preferences.

    For instance an Arca RL3Di would have more rise/fall and more shift than a Max, and it's standard mount (an Arca Swiss mount which means you don't require a separate QR plate) allows rear only (digital back only) movements. It also features body-based tilt, a focus helical which is the most precise of any tech camera, calibration without mechanical shimming, and integration with a broad ecosystem of accessories (focus distance finder, front and rear of depth-of-field readouts, the other R bodies, their new Univeralis, and all their previous view cameras, and their new electronic focal plane shutter unit and electronic leaf shutter).

    Cambo also has several good options, and a complete kit, if you don't need tilt-swing, can be considerably less expensive.

    *Note since you're new: see my signature for obvious bias and self-interest. I always try to give useful honest advice based on real world experience, but can not claim to be objective.
    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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