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Thread: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

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    Super Duper
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    Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    I thought I'd begin a new thread where we can discuss the pros and cons on using a technical camera. At the risk of repeating myself, here's a little of my history into Dante's sub-cavern of medium format technical cameras.

    The result I see with my setup is by no means a single feat. I owe an awful lot to others who have experimented and passed on their knowledge. Anyway here goes..



    Fall of 2008 I wanted to take my landscape photography to the next level; part of the reason being I was tired of capturing spherical images to stitch into a panorama (and loosing too much information) and wanted to begin flat-stitching. I also wanted to use better lenses. As good as the Phase/Mamiya lenses I was using they weren't then and I still believe today as good as what can be used on a technical camera.

    As luck would have it I have a great camera dealer which I count both as a friend and one I trust (Capture Integration). I was talking to them saying how much I wanted to go to the next level and wanted to try a Cambo system. The first system I tried was the beautiful Cambo Ultima. I still all these years later lust after this camera. I tried it in Monument Valley and fell in love with it. What I didn't love was the weight so sadly I had to give it up.



    Then I learned of the Cambo WRS-1000; a system that Cambo had just released a couple months prior that was made specifically for digital medium format photography. I tried a new in the box WRS-1000 while at the North Rim that Fall and fell heads over heals. I was shooting the WRS with a 35mm Schneider (with center filter) and a P45+ as my current back, a P30+ wouldn't have work neared as well. In one day I was hooked and that night I began knitting my mask. I ended up keeping the kit refusing to return it, trading my P30+ instead. I ended up shooting the WRS almost exclusively for the next couple months and soon there was a huge sell-off of Mamiya/Phase bodies and lenses as I went to shoot nothing but the WRS for several years.

    Anyone who knows me knows I later added a Leica M9 as my walk around camera. I had at the time felt that the M9 was a (near) perfect companion camera to the WRS/P45+ as both had the same sensor and produced nearly the same image quality. Sadly the M9 couldn't hold up to my printing standards as I tend to print large and the resolution at the time suffered. The M9 went away to be replaced by yet another Phase camera, this time a gently used DF and a soon a host of lenses. The P45+ was upgraded to a P65 which in turn was replaced by an IQ160 which just a couple months ago was replaced by a gently used IQ180.



    During this timeframe of using the WRS-1000 (which is now more like a 1250 as I added wooden handles for easy of using with gloves) I experimented using groundglass and viewfinders. While both work to a degree the watershed event was the release of both the IQ series and getting a working USB3 port as well as the Microsoft Surface Pro 2. And like any good citizen of Dante I adopted first the SP2 and shortly afterwards the SP3 (there won't be a SP4 as it looks to be too large).

    We have several threads going that contain great information on tethering the Surface Pro as well as images of technical cameras. Likewise we have reviews of various technical cameras as well as a thread that contains images taken using various technical cameras.

    What I hope with this thread is to have an open and frank discussion on the pros and cons of using such a camera system. Let's begin with the camera itself, then move to the lenses and finally to the back.


    (this is the setup I was using last night to shoot a typical Arizona sunset and at the same time test a new filter. Taken this morning using a Sony A7r and Mitakon 50mm f/0.95 - using the right tool for the application).
    Don Libby
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Sorry I got a little long winded on the first post.

    My biggest fear as I first began using a tech camera was focus. Remember, a technical camera is a totally manual operation (and 7-years ago we weren't even aware of live view either as a system or software). Shooting landscape and nature what I quickly learned was my difficulty wasn't focusing, it turned out remembering to remove the lens cap, cocking the shutter followed by turning the back on. Once I developed a proper workflow everything fell into place.

    As I stated above, I print large (40x30, 30x60, 40x60 and larger) and using the ability to capture on a flat plane allows me to stitch flat giving me almost all the file (at least well over 98%).

    I also learned early on you need a sturdy tripod and head. It took awhile to get past the thought that my tripod and head alone is worth in excess of $3000. Any we can begin an entirely new thread just on tripods and heads but lets not as it already been covered; just search "Arca Swiss Cube".

    I've been using my WRS-1000 now since October 2008. It's never been in for service and remains as tight today as it was 74-months ago. I've used this camera in deep sand, blowing snow/sleet, hot desert and freezing temperatures of Jackson Hole and Yellowstone and will be taking it to Alaska on 2-seperate trips, first to capture fall colors and again later to shoot the aurora borealis. It's been in the surf in Oregon, hanging off a cliff in Chico Canyon as well as setup on the edge of the Grand Canyon. Not once has it ever failed me.

    I've tried other systems that Cambo has made and not found another like the WRS.

    So there you have it, at least as far as a Cambo goes.
    Don Libby
    Iron Creek Photography
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    Super Duper
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    One more thought on using a technical camera. Much like any other camera you can't just get it out of the box and expect to achieve success. You need hours of experimentation to get your perfect workflow. What works well for me might not for you so develop it yourself; I use my backyard to this.

    One last thought on what a tech camera is, at least my way of thinking. A tech camera is nothing more than a dumb piece of metal. Heck, you can even make one out of plastic or wood. This piece helps to mate a capture device to a lens. I call it dumb in that while it has moving parts such as horizontal/vertical shifts it has no electronics. Some bodies also include rise and fall while others like Cambo have that on the lens.



    Okay I'm done (finally). Lets hear from those who actually have a technical camera. Remember the rules (such as they are) require you to speak about the camera you use. Why did you get it. What do you like about it and what don't you like (if anything). Then move to the lenses you use and finally address the method of capture. What back are you using.

    Lets the games begin...


    Don


    The one thing I've learned is that there is no perfect camera
    Don Libby
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    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    No thanks. It'll just end up being about Sony sensors.
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Not funny Steve!
    Don Libby
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Since Sony sensors are banned from this thread I'm not going to talk about Live View. The main justification for me to choose a tech cam is just for sharp corners of wide angles (as well as parallax-free rectilinear stitching).

    1. Lenses:

    23HR: Widest lens with tech-cam level of corner sharpness (unmatched by Canon counterparts). Requires centerfilter.
    32HR: Another widest lens with tech-cam level of corner sharpness (but with a larger image circle than the 23HR). Also requires centerfilter. Delicate.
    40HR: More versatile. No need for centerfilter.

    2. Bodies:

    ALPA 12 SWA: purely for aesthetics reasons.
    ALPA 12 STC: light-weighted and versatile.
    ALPA 12 MAX: full functionality but not so portable.

    3. Backs:

    Phase One IQ260: fullframe, but long exposure is disappointing.
    Phase One IQ***: it's banned from this thread so let's keep it censored.

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    Member Harry's Avatar
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    What are rough price differences for the same lenses from the various tech cam manufacturers?

    Alpa - Cambo - Arca

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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Harry,

    The price differences are somewhat interesting due to the mounts and the fact that some, like the Cambo, put tilt/swing adapters on the lens whilst others like Arca and Alpa use the body or adapters.

    You need to consider the total cost of a system with identical capabilities and lenses. When you do that they end up being somewhat similar in cost overall, with the costs going from Cambo, through Arca and topped out by Alpa.
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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

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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by voidshatter View Post
    Since Sony sensors are banned from this thread I'm not going to talk about Live View. The main justification for me to choose a tech cam is just for sharp corners of wide angles (as well as parallax-free rectilinear stitching).

    1. Lenses:

    23HR: Widest lens with tech-cam level of corner sharpness (unmatched by Canon counterparts). Requires centerfilter.
    32HR: Another widest lens with tech-cam level of corner sharpness (but with a larger image circle than the 23HR). Also requires centerfilter. Delicate.
    40HR: More versatile. No need for centerfilter.

    2. Bodies:

    ALPA 12 SWA: purely for aesthetics reasons.
    ALPA 12 STC: light-weighted and versatile.
    ALPA 12 MAX: full functionality but not so portable.

    3. Backs:

    Phase One IQ260: fullframe, but long exposure is disappointing.
    Phase One IQ***: it's banned from this thread so let's keep it censored.
    You speak (all to little) on why you choose a tech cam although you left out why you choose your particular model.

    Regarding banning Sony sensors? Not entirely sure why or how you came to that conclusion unless you're just trying to be funny. Lets make a deal, if you can speak to your particular back without the use of grafts and any of the various samples of images you've already used then go ahead.

    I will warn you and everyone else that using someone else's images without their expressed permission is copyright infringement or what I like to call it theft. Anyone who does that looses all credibility.
    Don Libby
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Harry, there are two major companies (that I can think of off the top of my head) offering lenses for technical cameras; Rohenstock & Schneider, both are good. The cost factor/difference comes with the mounting. Some Schneider lenses are offered in both a static and tilt/shift lensboard and the difference is at least $1500 (at least with Cambo).

    The 3-companies you mention all make equally good system with (I believe) Alpa the more expensive and Cambo the lest. Once you get past the cost of the body the lenses will be much more expensive depending on mount and focal length. Some lenses require a center filter and some don't (Schneider 35 does the Rodenstock 40 does not).

    Equally confusing is some lenses work better on certain backs while others don't. I had been using a Schneider 35 for years using first a P45+, then P65 and then a IQ160 with great success. Sadly the lens doesn't play well with 80 megapixel IQ180. Sold the lens and replaced it with a Redenstock 40 that does.

    Contrary to popular belief using a tech camera is not an exact science. The choice of the system whether its Alpa, Arca or Cambo is more of a subjective, personal choice. The choice of lenses will depend on how/what you shoot and will to some degree require trial and error. And then there's the back. In the seven years I've been using the same body and much the same lenses I changed backs 4 times.

    All this brings me to another topic - finding the right dealer. Again there's some folks that refuse to use a dealer and they end up paying for it. My suggestion is find a dealer who not only listens to you but asks you questions as well. Find a dealer who you can trust. My dealer has also turned into a close personal friend.

    Don
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    I will warn you and everyone else that using someone else's images without their expressed permission is copyright infringement or what I like to call it theft. Anyone who does that looses all credibility.
    Yeah this is a good way to keep a thread clean without starting a flame.

    I am also a thief stealing figures and data from dxomark, sensorgen and Bill Claff's websites. Feel free to judge my credibility.

    Yes I shared some pictures posted by others at 500px where they wanted their pictures to be shared. Do I make money on their pictures? (by trying to promote and sell Sony sensors?) I take it that you are going to sue me by collecting evidence. Go ahead.

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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Fair warning my patience is getting thin here. This jumps to something even remotely out of control than make no mistake about it. I will step in and it will not be pleasant. It ALL stops now on a ALL counts and on ALL threads and posts this goes for EVERYONE. Do NOT test me.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    I have been in the position to own two different tech cameras now.

    Prior to leaping into the inferno I had used a D3x for years. I did buy a D800E but sold it as the ergonomics of that particular camera bugged me. My first foray was with an Arca Rm3di and Phase One IQ180. I had the Rodie 40mm and 70mm as my lenses and thought it was the most amazing thing I had ever used. People talk about light bulb moments in their life and, for me, using a tech camera was one such moment.

    I struggled a little with the focusing on the Arca, but only because I didn't have enough time to truly get used to it. Having tilt on every lens was quite helpful, and the glass was amazing. This was the IQ I had been wanting, flat stitching was a new world to me and the ability to print even larger was my target.

    However just as I was getting into the swing of the system I had to sell it all off for financial reasons. I consoled myself with another D800E, then sold it again, then bought a D810. I really didn't mind that camera, the files were really stunning. I do admire the ability to push the shadows, however it always left everything looking a bit flat. Plus once it was printed up it seemed to lack that immersion I got with MF.

    This could all have been in my head as well and I will readily admit that. I missed my technical camera. So I begged, borrowed and stole until I could afford to jump back into the inferno.

    This time I have a Cambo WRS-1250 and the Phase P45+. I didn't chose this combination for any particular reason except cost. It was the best I could afford. I could have gone back for a Rm3di and an even older back, but as Don points out the bodies are not the most important part of the puzzle. The 45+ gave me a long exposure ability and I was looking forward to putting that to use.

    I bought lenses second hand, 70mm Rodie (still upset I missed Johns version with T/S) 43XL and 24XL. They are all quality and fit my sensor nicely. Sure I will be in a bit of trouble should I want to upgrade (especially with the 24XL) but that will not be happening any time soon and you never know what will be released in the future. Perhaps Phase will bring out a 37mmx49mm sensor with 50mp at 6 microns that will work with SK wide angles. If so I might jump on that.

    Things that I have found about shooting tech cameras;

    There is a steep learning curve. Everything that I was allowing my camera to do for me (or for the most part anyway) I was now having to do for myself. I had always used DLSR's and even shooting manually relied on the camera to assist with a lot of functions.
    Exposure, guess, use the sunny 16 rule, embrace the zone system, shoot and test, bracket.
    Focus, hyperfocal, ground glass, laser, guess, shoot and test.
    Framing, guess, ground glass, shoot and test.

    The best thing I bought for my current setup was the Cambo ground glass and loupe (thanks Don for the excellent write up). This lets me frame more accurately the first time.

    The thing I love about this form of shooting is it makes me feel more like a photographer again. It inspires me in a way that DSLR's fail to do and makes me want to get out more and shoot. Just for the love of it, and I had been missing that for a while.

    Sure I would love Live View, and the newer backs have brought that into our realm. It will make the GG unnecessary and certainly speed up the process. I actually am looking forward to seeing what is on the horizon with MFD and feel that there are some interesting times ahead.
    Stop chasing gear, start chasing photos instead.

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    Senior Member darr's Avatar
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    Lets hear from those who actually have a technical camera. Remember the rules (such as they are) require you to speak about the camera you use. Why did you get it. What do you like about it and what don't you like (if anything). Then move to the lenses you use and finally address the method of capture. What back are you using.
    My technical camera since 2010 has been an ALPA Max. Before that, it was an Arca Swiss ML2, and then for 20+ years before, it was an array of 4x5" and 5x7" large format film cameras from Arca Swiss (A/S), Ebony, Cambo and Wisner. The probable definition of a tech camera is a box with movements, but I currently also shoot an ALPA TC and a Hasselblad 501 + macro bellows with digital backs.

    I chose the ALPA after using the ML2 for about a year. Although I 'grew-up' with large format view cameras, and a few were A/S, once I began my digital transition, I found the pancake-style camera to be more appropriate for my digital needs. The ML2 I owned was a nice camera, but I found a bit of slop in it's focusing to be annoying. Since owning the ML2, A/S designed the R line and other view cameras for digital use, but once I started with ALPA, there was no turning back. The reason the ALPA fits my shooting style, is the speed in which I can setup, make precise movements when necessary, and break down and be done with it. Another pancake-style MFD camera may work just as well for me, but I started with ALPA and feel no need to jump ship. Two things about ALPA I wish were different is the price tag and not being able to have a favorite lens (Cooke PS945) modified for use with their cameras.

    I have used Schneider, Rodenstock, Cooke and Docter lenses with film and digital. I currently use Schneider lenses with the ALPA setup because they are smaller than the Rodenstock lenses and weigh less. I do however have a few Rodenstock lenses in my gear cabinet that I may use with an upcoming camera purchase. I am not that interested in the Cambo Actus as much as I am interested in the Novoflex bellows for the ALPA.

    I initially purchased a Phase One (P1) P45 back and was happy with the captures, but not with the interface/screen. I watched the evolution of the P1 backs and was waiting for a true Live View (LV) back. When the IQ250 appeared, I started saving for a new back. I always felt LV was the missing link for MFD, and since 12/2014 I have owned a CFV50c and could not be happier. Gone are the days I have to have a light meter, ground glass and dark cloth/loupe. I am loving the freedom LV has brought, but I still stash some of those items in my bag out of habit. I am looking forward to a full frame CMOS back and will definitely buy one when they are available.

    A lot of photographers on this forum shoot landscapes with MFD, and I am probably in the minority because I do not shoot landscapes much, and when I do, I use my point and shoot Sigma Merrill cameras. But, I will never give up the technical camera because it has always been my tool of choice alongside my love for fine optics. It saddens me to read how others struggle with their gear and how the tech camera intimidates some from learning how to use it. I really do not see the tech camera being difficult; what I see difficult is trying to learn the menu of a typical dSLR.

    Kind regards,
    Darr
    "Creativity takes courage." ~ Henri Matisse
    Darlene Almeda, photoscapes.com
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    Senior Member Dogs857's Avatar
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    A couple more things;

    The lenses have a back cap, remember to take that off. If I had a dollar for every time I have shot black frames and spent ages checking everything wondering what the hell has gone wrong Take the back cap off.

    The shutter. I religiously now check my shutter is fired before I try and open the lens for framing. This is very important as you can damage them and I have been in the unfortunate position of forgetting and having my 24XL stuck in a kind of half working half not mode. Luckily I got it rectified, but it was scary. I always check now, and I only cock my shutter just before I fire. No changing settings after the shutter is cocked.

    For my back a one shot release cable is a godsend. Get one and stop whinging about how much they cost. It will save you a lot of frustration in the long run.
    Stop chasing gear, start chasing photos instead.

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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    The back cap is probably what people refer to when they say that using a tech cam is difficult.
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Question that may be more complicated to answer than i imagine:

    What is the best system (Cambo/Arca/Alpa) if I want to use a ground glass with it (i.e. most convenient to use with GG)? Sliding back perhaps?

    I've always been used to larger formats and their ground glasses, not to mention the lack of live view in most backs, so a GG would be nice. And LOL at the rear lens cap –*I realize that much earlier when I go "where's there image on the ground glass?". Problem never goes away.

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    Senior Member alajuela's Avatar
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Hi

    Another thing to drill into ones mind, is NOT change shutter speed after the shutter (Copal) is cocked.

    This will shorten the life of the shutter.

    I use Cambo tech with 280 and Rodi lenses 28, 40 , 90 Schneider 60XL and 120

    and

    Arca Swiss M and F metric with a gazillion old lenes that will take a lifetime to test, but a only a year or so of complusive buying. I am looking forward to FS electronic shutter from AS for my F and M setup.

    Throw in there my Canon and Fuji and and some old film stuff - that's it!!

    I love my camera setup, wife, kids, bikes, car and Anthony's pizza (double peperoni and double cheese) not necessarily in that order

    Phil
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    I resisted the urge to go down the tech cam route for a long time. On a practical level, I just new it would slow me down, and on emotional level, I knew it would either leave me poor or back to being single again.

    None the less, here I am. Going from SLR to tech-cam has had a bigger positive difference on my work than when I moved from 35mm FF to MFDB. Likely reason was that my biggest fear of being slowed down has actually helped me be more focused. Ironically, I also find myself spending more time thinking about technique than technology.

    I was torn between Alpa and Arca and in the end went with Arca.

    Arca provides fantastic engineering, and a level of cross-compatibility across every body and lens mount that is unique to them. I can use my tech lenses on a view camera as I can with pretty much all the bits and pieces like backs, adapter plates, etc. As others have mentioned the focussing system, though tedious at times, is precise and repeatable. The eModule cloud takes it to the next level. Tilt or shift in the body is also unique to Arca. The sliding back allows for movements with large IC lenses like the new 120mm SK ASPH that is not available in any other tech cam. The Factum is a lightweight companion that offers movements including tilt or shift. So the system as a whole is quite expansive and flexible. Lens costs are about 1-1.5K above what you'd see the "naked" lens with a Copal shutter for.

    As much as I like the Arca system, there are things in the Alpa system that I lust after. For one, the Arca is somewhat emotionless, where as the Alpa bodies, especially those with the wooden handles, have a certain sensuality that cannot be described, but certainly can be understood when you hold one. The Factum is nice and has great movements, but the TC is quite special. The Alpa sync releases are also MUCH better integrated, and I am curious about their newly released Alpa Sync Mk II. Wonder if i can get this to work in my kit.

    I think the Alpas offer a viable hand holdable technical camera, I cannot say the same about the Arca system. If I could mount R-mount lenses on Alpa, I have no doubt I would own an SWA and TC as well. But having the same tech lens in two mounts is not something that will be tolerated where I live.

    Going back to the question of why tech cams, for me, there are two main reasons:

    1. Movements - when i pickup the DF, D800 or Sony A&R, I feel restricted. I use them because I am limited by some factor - focus speed, CMOS ISO, weight, travel, kids etc., but not having the flexibility of movements really cramps me up. Same with a tripod. I used to hate them. Now I love it. I know when I set one up, I am doing something that is deliberate and thought out. With the cube, I can be setup with camera, lens, back, release cable, all levelled within a couple of minutes, likely less if I was already in "shoot" mode. So I don't find this to be something that slows me, in fact, most often it helps me get in the zone.

    2. Lenses - It is so liberating when my choices are limited to super fantastic or just fantastic. Every lens has it's own personality and capabilities. And when you spend this kind of coin on one, you spend the time to learn all about them. For instance, I love the 23HR, but she is a princess. When treated with care, the results are incredible. The 40HR is a no nonsense workhorse. The 32HR falls in between, but in flare and sharpness, better than the other two wides. The SK60XL offers an incredible level of optical quality with a huge range of framing options due to it's large IC. The 90HRSW is just stunning on any level. The SK 120A can produce a tack sharp image that is close to 5x12cm! Have the 28HR and 100HR on 110 boards, both super sharp as well, though limited by their 70mm ICs. even the older tech lenses I have like the 45/55/105 APO Sironar Digital lenses are nothing to sneeze at. The little they give up in sharpness, they make up for in massive image circles.

    The quality I get from this kit comes at the cost of convenience and time. But it has also taken me to a different mindset when it comes to my landscape work. That alone is worth it for me.

    I am looking forward to FF CMOS backs without micro lenses to make this even more friendly to use. Ultimately physics will be the limiting factor - diffraction, tolerances in materials etc., and for this reason alone, there will be a limit to the maximum number of pixels you can cram into a square inch of silicon. So I look forward to larger sensors, lenses with big image circles, and all the camera movements we can think of!
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    Senior Member Dogs857's Avatar
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by jianghai View Post
    Question that may be more complicated to answer than i imagine:

    What is the best system (Cambo/Arca/Alpa) if I want to use a ground glass with it (i.e. most convenient to use with GG)? Sliding back perhaps?

    I've always been used to larger formats and their ground glasses, not to mention the lack of live view in most backs, so a GG would be nice. And LOL at the rear lens cap –*I realize that much earlier when I go "where's there image on the ground glass?". Problem never goes away.
    Haha yeah. Since I got my GG the problem gets solved a lot earlier in the process now

    The Arca came new with a GG, the Cambo can be bought as an option. The Arca has a sliding back system and as Jagsiva pointed out is completely modular with everything else Arca makes. I believe that the Linhof Techno has a sliding back as well but I can't be sure. Torger would be the bloke to ask.

    The Cambo GG and loupe is a nice setup. It does vignette however, there is not even illumination across the frame. My 24XL makes it even worse and I can't really see the corners of the frame unless it is super bright outside. This lens needs a 2 stop centre filter though so it's not indicative of performance. Probably the worst case really. I wish the loupe was a bit more that 3x, a 6x would have been handy but it is still pretty good for everything but critical focusing. Don did a review in here somewhere.

    No idea if Alpa has a GG or not as I have never used that system or even researched it fully.

    Hope this helps.
    Stop chasing gear, start chasing photos instead.

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    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    In early 2011 there was a convergence of situations that brought me to MF and the technical camera: A relatively new EPSON 7900 that was exposing the limitations of my Canon system, Phase One’s IQ announcement, Mark Dubovoy over at Lula was waxing on about some new Alpa camera called the “STC”, and our company gave out windfall bonuses. The icing on the cake was finding a wonderful forum called “GetDPI.” Notice my join date is 2 Feb 2011; no coincidence there.

    I rented a Cambo DS, 55mm Digitar, and P65+. Then an Arca and Sinar. Ultimately I bought the Alpa STC site unseen (Dodd was not an Alpa dealer then). I’m rough on equipment (maybe not a rough as Graham ), and felt Alpa’s design had fewer parts, tabs and controls that would catch and get damaged or lost. Went to PODAS April 2011 with a camera but no digital back. Kevin Raber saw me coming 2000 miles away and the rest is, well, you know.

    I think the term technical camera is probably the most misleading description in photography. There just isn’t a whole lot of “technical” there. As Don points out in his Don-CAD drawing above, it’s just a flange that maybe can slide and/or tilt. We even call an Alpa TC a technical camera; how ridiculous is that??

    What I like most about technical cameras is the workflow in the field. Others have hinted at this above and I’ve said this in other threads: Ever since I picked up that Cambo DS for the first time it felt to me like the ball and chain was cut. No viewfinder, no light meter, no auto focus - just the freedom to think and do. To be honest though, I’m lazy. This tool forces me to not cut corners, and that is why I believe my photography is better when using a technical camera. It is definitely not for everyone. Most people think all the DSLR features are liberating; I don’t. Ironically the one thing I loved about my Canon 5DII was its live view; it was like ground glass for 35mm.

    Initially I wasn’t doing much stitching; never been much of a blender in PS. There is something magical to me about a single capture, an “event” if you will. I do stitch quite a bit more now; more on that later…

    I started with the sk43 and 100hr, and then added the 70hr and sk150. Like Don, my lens choice has been a bit of a journey. I sold the 43 and bought the 40hr when Alpa released their 17mm TS adapter and 17SB lenses. Now I have 40hr, sk60xl, 90hrsw, sk150. So between Rodi and Schneider I am an equal opportunity spender.

    I stitch quite a bit now for three reasons: First, I like the pano format, especially around that 2.25:1 ratio. That is exactly what results from a 18mm horizontal shift – 40x90mm. Second, it makes lenses more versatile. I can backpack with the 60/90 combo and have essentially a 29-58mm kit in 35mm-format terms. Third, the stitched image is well over 100mp.

    This all brings me to the ground glass. I recently started using it more, and in fact the camera is packed with the GG mounted. GG is still the only way in the field to see how a stitched image will look. I don’t focus with it; I just use it for framing. To this day I shake my head in how perfect the STC is for me. It has almost all the features I want and nothing I don’t. Since all my lenses now have short barrel mounts, the 17mm TS adapter is permanently mounted on the STC. That means the body essentially has built-in tilt or swing. I do occasionally wish I could have rise fall AND stitch capability. But I am not willing to give up the compact design of the STC to get it.

    There are a few things that bug me about the workflow: I wish sensors worked in a way that didn’t need a shutter to open and close; just tell the back how long you want it to “record” the photons. That would eliminate the connections and sync cords. As mentioned above I do miss live view with a real-time focus confirmation. But, due to the HPF ring accuracy it is only an issue when tilting. I wish the lenses were better sealed from the environment. I wish I had a razor sharp, 150-300mm f/4 zoom that weighed under 500gms! I wish my eyes could see the HPF ring numbers and GG the way they did when I was 20.

    I do still get a big kick out of people coming up to me and asking what the heck that thing is.

    Dave
    How glorious a greeting the sun gives the mountains! - John Muir

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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by dchew View Post
    Now I have 40hr, sk60xl, 90hrsw, sk150. So between Rodi and Schneider I am an equal opportunity spender.
    Great lineup, but there is a wonderful lens out there that can only add to this great set!

    WWDD (What Would Dante Do)?

    http://www.getdpi.com/forum/gear-fs-...sb34-lens.html

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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    One major reason for moving to tech cams that I missed...

    THE SHUTTER! The DF, FP shutter is massive compared to the leaf shutters in the tech lenses. The shutter induced vibrations on the DF were driving me bananas, and this was the trigger for me to even start looking at tech cams. The DF, may've been workable if there was an option to keep the FP shutter open and use only the LS when a supported lens was used, but this was not the case.
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    I went to Tech system two years ago, starting with Alpa FPS, and adapters for my Nikon and PhaseOne lenses and IQ back.
    Immersion was deepened rapidly, addiction is irreversible, and no cures are sought.

    Currently, STC has joined the FPS, with Rodenstock HR 32, then SK 90, and most recently HR 50.

    My journey began with my first camera as a child, then Nikon system for over 40 years.

    I shot mainly nature and wildlife, especially birds, and family and sailboat activities. For me, digital started with the Nikon D100 as addition to film F2, F3, F4.

    Such an outdoor life always invoked interest in Landscape, but my efforts were nearly always intensely frustrating until the D3x was launched. At long last I began to feel reasonably pleased with some of my landscape efforts.

    I started following this and Michael Reichmann’s sites, got better at composition, lighting and seeing before pushing the shutter button, but wanted even more quality from my efforts.

    Medium Format digital began to tempt on my readings of GetDpi and Lula, and I enrolled on a PODAS for introduction to MF. That was cancelled due to insufficient numbers, but I was able to transfer to the advanced course for those already using MF, a little over 3 years ago.

    So, I was in at the deep end, but what a great experience, learning from others and from Kevin Raber and his friends. Before the course finished, I had my DF with 80 and 45 mm lenses with !Q140 (not yet in production) ordered. More PODAS followed rapidly, !Q180, SK 240 LS.

    Results improved a lot with practice, seeing more, planning more, shooting less.

    The benefits spilled over into my nature and birding photography.

    I became more taken by the quality of images possible on the Phase system, but wanted the frame edges and corners to match the centre. I persuaded myself that tech was next, but as a gentle introductary route decided on the Alpa FPS with adapters for my existing lenses.

    Phase lens adapters were manual aperture only, no use with my lenses, returned and awaiting auto version.

    Nikon PC 85 mm was stunning in centre, needed aperture closed down to diffraction levels in centre for really good edges, so I wanted more, again.
    Nikon PC 24 mm IC too small for IQ180, although ok 50-60mb file.

    Next step after a few months was HR32 in FPS mount. At last, every deficiency (except mine own) was gone, further improvement in tools not possible.

    Then, I desired greater flexibility, so invested in STC with intermediate adapter so I could use the HR32. I have followed with SK 90, and more recently HR 50, both in SB34 mounts and FPS 17 mm Tilt adapter.

    I mainly use the STC now rather than the FPS.

    I just love the Alpa system and tech lenses. I work much more slowly and deliberately. Often I do not make a photograph. I look much more at my surroundings, see much more, plan much more.
    I usually put my Alpa iPhone convertor on the phone with the Efinder App open when I am looking around, with settings for my lenses to help me see and frame possible photographs.

    When I do shoot, it is nearly always on tripod with cube, but I can handhold reliably at 1/60 on both STC and FPS with HR32 and HR50, in street and at times on a boat.

    Wish list now is Alpa/Phase auto adapter for SK 240, because the slap of the DF mechanism is a real pain.
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Harry, Graham, Dog, Darr, Stephen. Phillip, Jag, Dave, & Nut (and this is the last time I'll be doing the roll call )

    This is exactly what I had envisioned when I started this thread; a web version of people sitting around a table sharing thoughts, ideas, experiences and not being afraid to ask questions. Lets see if we can keep this flow going!

    I glad I'm not the only one who had forgotten to remove the pesky rear cap. I remember being deep in a forest and about to get my first capture when I had that WTF moment. Nothing I did worked until I almost gave up thinking I broke something and began tearing down the system. That's when I saw the rear cap. Thankfully I was alone. And rest assured once that happened it has never happened again.

    Another neat "gotta-ya" is the little lever that opens and closes the shutter. I was set up somewhere with fast moving light and was in a rush when I tried to get the capture and couldn't work the shutter. I keep pressing the release without any movement until I took a breath and looked at the lens. The lever had been bumped in the bag just enough to open it slightly. Needless to say that is now one of the first things I check (and double check) as I mount the camera on the head.

    It's these "little" things that will cause you to loose sleep, and yell and scare the tourists.

    Don
    Last edited by Don Libby; 1st March 2015 at 08:27.
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Choosing a tech camera, heck any type of camera is subjective and very personal experience. What fit's me or anyone else might not for another person. Stepping back a little, I remember when I first began looking at MF. At first I thought I'd only get a Hassy until I held it and found I didn't like the way fir felt. I then tried a Mamiya and like it much more.

    And once again at the risk of repeating myself - there's was a car commercial several years ago where the spokeswoman asks the questions, does your car return the favor when you turn it on? The same should be asked of our camera equipment. We're attempting to create what is best described as a one dimensional representational image of a multiple dimensional subject while trying to explain without words what caused you to do it. If you aren't turned on by the equipment you use it's my feelings that that lack of enthusiasm will show in your work.

    Okay enough of the Zen stuff

    Don
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Coming from a large format system, I really miss the camera movements of the old cameras, especially back tilt for landscapes. I use the IQ180 back, and have tried the Alpa and Arca cameras, and owned the Arca Rm3di for a few years. The fundamental problem I encountered is focusing the image accurately; it is very hard to do with live view, or with any ground glass system. Note that Alpa does not even use a sliding GG, as they do not believe it can be accurate enough. With the Arca I used the Leica Distometer, but then you have to refer to cumbersome tables to set the focus, and the numbers have to be checked and rechecked for each lens. I considered the Linhof Techno, but read the very lengthy and excellent review on LuLa by Torger, where he contends that it is difficult to focus on the Techno ground glass with perfect accuracy. I tried to tether a Surface Pro, but found it very cumbersome too- hard to see the screen in the bright sun- not for me.
    There is no doubt that some of us are using these technologies to take excellent images.
    I guess my point is none of the systems are intuitive, or have the flow I had with large format.
    My most recent venture has been to have a 680 GX converted to adapting my IQ180 back, but that has problematic, with problems getting the ground glass in register.
    Up until recently, none of these systems allowed for back tilt; but Alpa now has the tilt adapter which can be added to the back standard.
    If I had to start over, I might try the Alpa system again, although it is ultra-expensive!
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    P.S.-
    I do agree that it is much more contemplative, and enjoyable to slow down and compose an image with a Tech Cam.
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by jianghai View Post
    Question that may be more complicated to answer than i imagine:

    What is the best system (Cambo/Arca/Alpa) if I want to use a ground glass with it (i.e. most convenient to use with GG)? Sliding back perhaps?

    I've always been used to larger formats and their ground glasses, not to mention the lack of live view in most backs, so a GG would be nice. And LOL at the rear lens cap –*I realize that much earlier when I go "where's there image on the ground glass?". Problem never goes away.
    WOW any answer is surely going to be very subjective.

    In my limited experience I'd say the best system to use a ground glass is one with a sliding back mainly due to the lack of having to remove the back and then replace it afterwards. Might work okay inside a studio however if you standing on the edge of a 500' drop not so. Again not having direct experience just antidotal, I have read that there can be issues with misalignment using a sliding back.

    Don

    Yeah, I know I didn't answer your question....
    Last edited by Don Libby; 1st March 2015 at 08:46. Reason: added thought
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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by jianghai View Post
    ...
    What is the best system (Cambo/Arca/Alpa) if I want to use a ground glass with it (i.e. most convenient to use with GG)? Sliding back perhaps?

    ....
    Personal and subjective for sure. Don't forget Sinar ArTec too.

    I think for those with USB3 enabled MFDBs, a better "ground glass" is the Surface Pro. But other MFDB users may like to go old school....

    ken

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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by jagsiva View Post
    One major reason for moving to tech cams that I missed...

    THE SHUTTER! The DF, FP shutter is massive compared to the leaf shutters in the tech lenses. The shutter induced vibrations on the DF were driving me bananas, and this was the trigger for me to even start looking at tech cams. The DF, may've been workable if there was an option to keep the FP shutter open and use only the LS when a supported lens was used, but this was not the case.
    Great comment on the shutter!

    The other aspect I like about using my tech cam is the feeling I get while using it. There's a feeling of all the greats that came before me using much larger yet similar tools and achieving a level of competency I still strive for.

    Don
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    In my limited experience I'd say the best system to use a ground glass is one with a sliding back mainly due to the lack of having to remove the back and then replace it afterwards. Might work okay inside a studio however if you standing on the edge of a 500' drop not so. Again not having direct experience just antidotal, I have read that there can be issues with misalignment using a sliding back.
    On the issue of the Arca Rotaslide Sliding Back, it is extremely precise. So much so that a slight mishap in the anodizing of the first one I had was causing problems. My dealer swapped it out immediately, and the new one that I have been using for a couple of years now is perfect. I use the Rotaslide OR the Rotamount always. The Rotaslide for me is not really for the ground glass, but more for the larger shift options it gives me. With it on the RM3Di, I can have 20mm Rise, 30mm Fall, 40mm left, 40mm right, along with +/- 5 degrees of lens tilt or swing and instant transition to portrait/landscape sensor orientation. This amounts to a lot movement flexibility in what is still a relatively small/compact kit.
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry View Post
    What are rough price differences for the same lenses from the various tech cam manufacturers?

    Alpa - Cambo - Arca
    Harry please feel free use our Technical Camera Resource Center on our site that comprehensive information on all three of the brands you mentioned.

    The Alpa and Cambo lenses are slightly more expensive since the both require a separate helical focusing mechanism for each lens, whereas the Arca-Swiss has its focusing mechanism built onto its "Tum" that not only provides the focusing for all the lenses in their 'R' mount , but also allows +/- 5mm of tilt or swing along lenses from 23mm to 240mm.

    For the Cambo you need to add about $1500 per lens for their T/S mount (not available on all focal lengths or lens types) and on the Alpa you have to purchase specific adapters and use special SB lenses in some cases.


    As far as pricing goes here is an example of pricing of similar kits:

    We are holding a tech camera centric workshop with Rod Klukas in Charleston, South Carolina next month . We will have many different Arca-Swiss Cameras available for Film and Phase One / Mamiya LeafDigital backs available for use. Also Doug Peterson will be on hand to share his technical expertise as well.

    Lance



    Lance
    LANCE SCHAD - Digital Transitions - Phase One,Mamiya | Leaf,Arca-Swiss,Cambo, Profoto
    direct/cell:610-496-5586 office:877-367-8537x224
    http://www.digitaltransitions.com email:[email protected]
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    Great comment on the shutter!

    The other aspect I like about using my tech cam is the feeling I get while using it. There's a feeling of all the greats that came before me using much larger yet similar tools and achieving a level of competency I still strive for.

    Don
    It's also one of the huge limitations, i.e. the shutter. You only have set speed increments, in full stops, 1", 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30 etc. Many times, I have felt that I could have benefited with a 1/3 or even 1/2 step increment that the focals give. This may not be as critical with CMOS as you have a bit more range per shot.

    The is a huge strength of the FPS and Alpa and I had so hoped that Arca's FS system would be a similar setup. However it came in a huge cost IMO and really has yet to ship. It's also dependent on 2 different external electronic controllers, both of them have yet to be proven in the field. The FPS has a much more traditional camera feel to it. What broke my back on the Arca FS was the need to change out all the first tubes, @500.00 per tube. 8K total for my system. it's still on my long list, but I need to see it, shoot with it and evaluate it, especially the wifi controller and the other modular piece, both of which take a cell phone battery (which I hope is easy to find).

    The FPS is simplicity in the making. The only thing I don't understand about it still:

    1. How wide a lens can be used on it and still allow movements. I would hope that I could use the 28mm and 35mm, and 40mm and still get full 15mm of movements.
    2. Shutter vibration issues, as some have complained about this in posts, and others show no problems.

    The other issue about Copals, is accuracy, which they don't have.

    1/30 on many of mine records at 1/45 (and it's 1/45 as I can tweak the shutter and eventually get 1/30). None of them give me 1/250, instead I tend to get 1/180 or 1/350. They tend to be more accurate in the 1 second, to 1/15 range.

    This may not bother most, but it's something I would prefer not to have to mess with and the FPS or Arca FS will allow more precision. Still don't know if the Arca FS is going to generate any vibration issues.

    Paul

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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    It's also one of the huge limitations, i.e. the shutter. You only have set speed increments, in full stops, 1", 1/2, 1/4, 1/8, 1/15, 1/30 etc. Many times, I have felt that I could have benefited with a 1/3 or even 1/2 step increment that the focals give. This may not be as critical with CMOS as you have a bit more range per shot.

    The is a huge strength of the FPS and Alpa and I had so hoped that Arca's FS system would be a similar setup. However it came in a huge cost IMO and really has yet to ship. It's also dependent on 2 different external electronic controllers, both of them have yet to be proven in the field. The FPS has a much more traditional camera feel to it. What broke my back on the Arca FS was the need to change out all the first tubes, @500.00 per tube. 8K total for my system. it's still on my long list, but I need to see it, shoot with it and evaluate it, especially the wifi controller and the other modular piece, both of which take a cell phone battery (which I hope is easy to find).

    The FPS is simplicity in the making. The only thing I don't understand about it still:

    1. How wide a lens can be used on it and still allow movements. I would hope that I could use the 28mm and 35mm, and 40mm and still get full 15mm of movements.
    2. Shutter vibration issues, as some have complained about this in posts, and others show no problems.

    The other issue about Copals, is accuracy, which they don't have.

    1/30 on many of mine records at 1/45 (and it's 1/45 as I can tweak the shutter and eventually get 1/30). None of them give me 1/250, instead I tend to get 1/180 or 1/350. They tend to be more accurate in the 1 second, to 1/15 range.

    This may not bother most, but it's something I would prefer not to have to mess with and the FPS or Arca FS will allow more precision. Still don't know if the Arca FS is going to generate any vibration issues.

    Paul
    Paul, for the Copal issues you discuss, is the eShutter not a more appropriate solution than the FP shutter? You now have two options with Rollei and Arca.

    I agree with you on the Arca FP shutter - too many bits and not particularly interested in getting all my lenses retrofitted. I stopped using the eModule just so I can avoid carrying another piece and another battery to charge.

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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by voidshatter View Post
    Yeah this is a good way to keep a thread clean without starting a flame.

    I am also a thief stealing figures and data from dxomark, sensorgen and Bill Claff's websites. Feel free to judge my credibility.

    Yes I shared some pictures posted by others at 500px where they wanted their pictures to be shared. Do I make money on their pictures? (by trying to promote and sell Sony sensors?) I take it that you are going to sue me by collecting evidence. Go ahead.
    This is a great opportunity to discuss copyright. First, data cannot be copyrighted, only a particular expression of data. Second, whether you make money from something does not actually define if you have violated someone's copyright.

    Yes, there is fair use under copyright. However, there is nothing preventing you from simply giving a link to that material. Since you don't have a clear understanding of copyright law, nor how it changes internationally, the easiest why to give information would be with links.

    You are also in a community of creative people, some of which produce work to try to make a living. Copyright law are one of the few laws that protect their control over their work, their source of income. Showing a little respect to that goes a long way. While the internet has been a great boon for individuals to share work, it has also been a great boon for people to exploit those people.
    Will

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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by jagsiva View Post
    Paul, for the Copal issues you discuss, is the eShutter not a more appropriate solution than the FP shutter? You now have two options with Rollei and Arca.

    I agree with you on the Arca FP shutter - too many bits and not particularly interested in getting all my lenses retrofitted. I stopped using the eModule just so I can avoid carrying another piece and another battery to charge.
    It might be and you bring up a great point. It's a big shutter however, and still needs the Arcs electronics (which need to be proven in the field).

    I have though about having my 28 Rodie converted to the shutter later this year, but need to get some more feedback on it. I believe it goes to 1/1000 of a second? and if so that is plenty for me. Even an accurate 1/500 would be enough for most stuff.

    I was sure how the conversion would work either, as most times a full shutter replacement needs to go back to the lens company to allow for a reclamation process.

    But it's a good idea for the future once they start to ship and have had some in use.

    I would love to be a beta test for either solution, FS or the LS for any of my glass.

    Paul

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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Maybe a good reason attend the CI Arca worshop with Rod K. I bet he'd have most of this stuff there.

    I think my dealer is expecting to have demos of most of the new shutters sometime in March. I'm sure I'll play with it just out of curiosity.

    On Copals, as finicky as they are, one thing I have always appreciated is my ability tinker and get them working again when something did go wrong. Also, you can swap one out (being careful of all lens shims of course) with another lens if you had to. Again, keeps it simple for me.

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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    I have had good luck with Precision Camera works, in IL US. They do great work, and when they close down it will be a big hit.

    They can rework a copal to get a much better accurate series of shutter speeds. I need to send in my 28 rode, but just don't want to risk it getting damaged or stolen.

    Paul

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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Back to Don's original post. BTW Don, I love the picture as that really nets it out.


    To me the tech camera is only an enabler, as I just don't see them as a camera, i.e. no shutter, or aperture or really anything else. (not true with an FPS).

    Reason to move:
    As a landscape only shooter, I realized that I was not pleased with the current Mamiya Phase One wides, 28mm, 35mm, and 45mm. The 55mm was excellent but has a very very shallow DOF. I also prefer movements, and knew that the Cambo had some huge movements, and offered tilt and swing albeit an extra added to the lens.

    Fears of moving:
    Focus, it's just that simple. I just did know how I would be able to get critical focus since none of the backs had Live View and at the time I had a P45+ which had a worthless LCD.
    Support, I did not know anything about this gear and knew it would have a huge learning curve.

    Camera:
    I started with Cambo and loved it, I wanted a WRS. 20mm of shift and rise and fall. I did not like the way the back was mounted on the Cambo, as it seemed to take both hands, but I figured I could get around it with time.
    Then I watched a video on how Arca did things and felt it made more sense and I liked the fact that I could have tilt on any lens that the rm3di could mount. But not swing at the same time.
    I love Alpa, but was never able to get much from any dealer at the time, help, support, price, whatever. I also did not like the fact that the Alpa only offered rise/fall tilt/shift with the Max (this may have changed now) without rotating the camera and the Max was just a bit too much for my budget. NOTE, the FPS was not around and CMOS 50MP backs were not around at the time, if they were things might have been different.
    I went with the rm3di, after a quick call with another photographer from North Carolina, I wish I could remember his name. He explained the Arca cards for focus guidelines and how easy it was to figure out hyperfocal ranges for each lens.
    I also liked the way Arca put the focus helical outside of the lens, as it IMO gives you more room and a lot more close adjustment capability. This is a great asset for wides and and a hinderance on telephoto as the number of turns of the helical become pretty extreme on 90mm and on up.
    I STILL DON'T UNDERSTAND why Arca can't make a wood grid, and give the camera a bit more personality. I also would love to have a left hand grip available, since I don't plan on moving to the module cloud. They should also included the grip extension a mandatory part of the camera as anyone with big hands, can't get a good grip on the handle as it ships.

    Lenses:
    Started with the 35XL, love it, great for sunsets/sunrises as it's not as flare prone as the Rodies. Small tight package, no weight fits in a shirt pocket. Limitations are shifts to only about 8mm due to color cast.
    The 43XL was next, but it was not that great past 12mm on the 160 and 10mm on the 180 for shifts same reasons as the 35XL, I sold it and upgraded to a 40 Rodie
    40 Rodie is a great lens, first wide that doesn't need a CF (but I still carry one for it for low light work as it does help). Will shift to 18mm, but at 15mm you hit the STUPID IC indicator which creates a hard vignette. I will never understand that, let me make the decision where the image quality falls off. Just a great all round lens and it goes everywhere.
    28mm Rodie, wonderful lens, just extremely limited to the 70mm IC. It would actually shift to 10mm maybe 12mm if not for the IC indicator. But it's an amazing lens and is very sharp with a wonderful hyperfocal range.
    60mmXL, another wonder lens, and is the shifting king. 120mm IC and will easily make 25mm most times on my 260 unless I have just pure blue sky. I know that 40mm and 60mm are very close but the Rodie 70mm won't go anywhere as far on shifts due to the STUPID IC indicator.

    If I only was working with selective focus work, I would have long ago been forced to take the financial loss to get to the 250 so I could use LiveView. I have found that Live view on the 260 works OK with a varo ND thanks to the work Wayne Fox did, but that still takes a lot of battery and does tend to heat up the back (at least in Arkansas in the summer).

    Ton, I mean ton of post work, as the LCC's never fully correct the color cast on my 40mm with a blue sky. But C1's layers help out a lot here. I hate LCC's and the need for them and sure can't figure out why Rod or Sch can't make lens that would not need to be so close and still be retrofocus or whatever. But I am sure they don't make that many of these lenses anyway.

    Would I go back to the DF+? I don't know, as having movement and tilt really make for some wonderful images for me.

    Workflow, yes it's much slower, I get less overall shots, but the shots I get, I tend of have more keepers.

    Paul
    Paul Caldwell
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Just to confuse things even more, I'd suggest the Linhof Techno and Linhof's new ultra bright GG.

    Quote Originally Posted by jianghai View Post
    Question that may be more complicated to answer than i imagine:

    What is the best system (Cambo/Arca/Alpa) if I want to use a ground glass with it (i.e. most convenient to use with GG)? Sliding back perhaps?

    I've always been used to larger formats and their ground glasses, not to mention the lack of live view in most backs, so a GG would be nice. And LOL at the rear lens cap –*I realize that much earlier when I go "where's there image on the ground glass?". Problem never goes away.

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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Sitting here in my overstuffed easy chair on a quite Sunday afternoon and I asked myself, based on what's been discussed so far, and given that I just won the mega lottery (wish I had) what changes if any would I do.

    The answer so far is an easy one - keep using the WRS as I really like it and it has more than paid for itself. Keep the IQ180 as once again I don't think there's a better back on the market (for me).

    That leaves us to the lenses. When I brought the WRS I also included a SK35 which served me well. The next lens was a SK 28 that I quickly found wouldn't allow me the movements I wanted (I had based the decision on the 28 as I had used a Mamiya 28 with great success on a P30+ and a P45+). Sold the 28 and bought a SK72 that I still have today. The other lens I got early on was a short barrel 120 that I just recently sold. So, if I had money to burn and based on my current love affair with the 180, I'd buy a HR32.

    Since I haven't won the lottery I'll add this. The advent of the IQ series being equipped with a USB port and Microsoft releasing the Surface Pro has caused a major change in using a tech cam. I have found that tethering in the field is not that difficult and has helped advanced the level of landscape photography. Phase One is now pissed at Ken Doo and myself for showing just how easy it is to tether and save a boatload of cash at the same time without the need of upgrading to the IQ-2 series.

    Regarding CMOS vs CCD technology - in my opinion only - I enjoy the files I get from CCD over and above anything I've ever gotten using CMOS. Liveview while it might be a nice to have tool could also be used as a crutch. I simply prefer a more traditional method of photography (and yes I realize tethering a SP3 flies in the face of that statement). Once again personal taste and subjective reasoning.

    Thank you all for continuing this conversation, I wish I had this amount of knowledge to draw on when I first made the move.

    Don
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Thanks for the great info everyone.
    I have had an Apla system before. The ground glass was a a real pain for me, not to mention juggling $20K backs. Every removal of the back brings dirt into the equation too. Now with the newer backs this is a non issue and really opens up a new safer world.

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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Don Libby View Post
    Sitting here in my overstuffed easy chair on a quite Sunday afternoon and I asked myself, based on what's been discussed so far, and given that I just won the mega lottery (wish I had) what changes if any would I do.
    This is a good question.

    Money no object I would keep the Cambo, it's proving to be an excellent body. I really like the indents for shift and rise. The Arca doesn't have this and I always felt that the zero setting was open the interpretation. It's not hard to line up, but I would have been a lot happier with an indent.
    Back - I'd buy the IQ180. That thing was amazing. Sure I would lose long exposure capability but it is only a very small part of what I do. I could always keep the 45+ for that anyway as I would now be super rich
    Lenses, I would need to add the 32HR and the 120XL. Probably add a 60XL for super stitching as well. While the 43XL is not supposed to play well with the 180 with a 32 in the bag my wide is covered.

    If money was an issue (far more likely scenario) I would wait for the funds to pick up a good used 180, sell the 45+, the 24XL and 43XL and pick up a HR40. With the HR40 and HR70 on the IQ180 you have most bases covered and an excellent setup.

    If money was even more of an issue I would keep what I have now and just enjoy my photography. In fact that is what I am doing
    Stop chasing gear, start chasing photos instead.

    Jeff, but my friends call me Dogs
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by lance_schad View Post
    ...as far as pricing goes here is an example of pricing of similar kits...


    Now, I wonder what systems* Digital Transitions sell? Hmm, let's see...

    With all due respect, to see a sales pitch masquerading as 'advice' doesn't do this thread any favors whatsoever.

    IMHO the spirit of the OP would be better served if dealer's removed their corporate hats before posting.

    Just my 2c.

    Jim

    *and no, the A-series doesn't count - it's just an oddly contrived 'TC+DB bundle' marketed as a 'mirrorless' camera. Go figure.
    Last edited by f8orbust; 1st March 2015 at 18:05.

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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    What wold I do differently? Not much besides get out more and take more pictures!

    I would not sell the 43xl. I almost always regret selling lenses. I never should have bought the 100hr, but now I have an f/4 portrait lens for my newly aquired TC. That and the 43 would have made a pretty good walking kit. Not related to tech cameras, but I should have bought the 9900 instead of the 7900. Go big or go home.

    Dave
    Last edited by dchew; 2nd March 2015 at 01:38.
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    (I apologize for the long post, sitting in my room at the MGM Grand a little bored, vegas really isn’t my kind of town.)

    Read through this thread and was going to quote things I agreed or disagreed with, but decided just to add my “history” and how I ended up shooting tech for most of what I do.

    I shot medium format film since I began my career as a portrait wedding photographer in 1975. My first foray into serious digital was the Kodak 560 shortly after it was introduced. I later moved to a Canon 1ds, which was a big step up, but still pretty weak for what I was after because my interest had moved away from people photography to landscape photography. So I moved to the Kodak DCS back, soon followed by the p25, p45, p45+, p65, p65+ and finally to the IQ180 which I still use.

    The point of all of this is about how deeply entrenched I was in the medium format workflow and shooting style. My first try with a tech camera was a alpa 12max with the Rodie 28, 40 and 70 and a couple of other lenses (don’t remember which). I was using the p65+ at the time. It was a disaster - I just couldn’t get my head around the workflow, focusing and composition challenges. Sold all of that and moved back to the DF where I was pretty happy, other than how heavy everything was and sharpness issues with some of the glass.

    A couple of years ago I attended a Rodney Lough workshop in Yosemite. I had met him at his Vegas gallery and seen his work in person on several occasions and the quality was impressive. He had moved to a digital back and tech combination because he could no longer buy Astia 8x10 film and didn’t like the rendering of other chrome films. During that workshop I watched him use an Arca Swiss rL3di, (he uses only 3 lenses, the 40, 70, and 180 rodenstock). He stitches almost all of his digital work, if he has to get it in one frame he will still try to use 8x10 from his diminishing supply of Astia in his freezer.

    I decided to try tech again. Because of the workshop and also equally because of Jack and other discussions of the arca on this forum I decided to try Arca ... mainly for the tilt and focusing helical. Lenses were 40 and 70 hr-w and 150. I added the Kapture Group sliding back and release system as well. I also setup to shoot panos using a Manfrotto pano rotater and a sliding assembly to get the correct nodal points centered.

    All of this showed up as I was headed to Eastern Washington (palouse). I put it all together for the first time as I setup to shoot and ended up with a very nice image (well I thinks it’s nice, you can see it here if you want. 9 shot stitch.

    What kept me going was how light the pack was. Compared to the DF system (which now included 28, 45, 55, 75-150 and 240 lenses) significantly easier to pack around. I calibrated all lenses, created my own focusing charts which included depth of field distances for various f stops and then put them into my iPhone. I tried focusing with the ground glass and really couldn’t do it well, so the ground glass was relegated to composition, and focusing was done with hyperfocal distances based on my tested settings. Since nearly everything included infinity it worked pretty well. As I became more comfortable with the workflow I found I began to work faster (although still slower than with the DF). I was still a little frustrated with focusing for anything other than infinity so I found myself using lots of focus stacking, which is easy to shoot on the arca, but doing so as part of a stitch makes it complicated and adds serious workflow time in post,

    What really changed everything for me was the addition of the variND filter and live view focusing and composition. I found I could focus quickly enough I didn’t bother with the charts any more, I found I could actually manage to use tilt effectively and quickly for depth of field when it was possible. Late last year I gave up on the sliding back and switched to the RotaMount (not to be confused with the RotaSlide). I no longer have a ground glass in the camera bag. I really like the RotaMount because I don’t ever have to take the back off the camera except when packing everything up.

    I tried the 23, decided it was too wide and finicky and switched to the 28 with center filter and really like this lens if I can’t stitch the 40. I’ve also added th 90mm Rodenstock which is really sharp and has a big image circle, 120 Schneider (also very sharp), and have the 180 Rodenstock on the way (sold the 150). If hiking in, I usually only take 3 or 4 of the lenses, depending on what I’m shooting.

    I still occasionally use the DF system, mainly when I want a little more reach, the 240 really is a nice lens. Sometimes I know there will be a ton of possible compositions and I will need to work quickly, so I may opt for the DF.

    So that is my journey, I’m very content with my current system and the quality of what I get. I also have a full Nikon d800 setup with zeiss 35, 50, and 100 lens, which is spectacular, and a Sony a7r as well but I enjoy the deliberate nature of the tech workflow now, and love the results I get.

    What would I do “different” - I guess my story already sort of relates that. I have nothing against the Alpa and based on what I now know and my current abilities would probably be just as happy, since it was more about me than the system.

    There are two things I don’t like about the Arca. One has been mentioned by another poster ... the lack of indents for 0 on the shifts. Fortunately the tilt control does have one so it’s easy to make sure it’s set right. The other is the way the lens mounts in the camera, it’s a little bit of a pain to make sure it’s aligned and on tight and correct, and it’s easy to get just a tiny bit of grit in the grooves which are a little hard to clean out.

    It’s been a long journey, and to paraphrase Steve Jobs, sometimes “the journey is part of the reward”.
    wayne
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    Senior Member dchew's Avatar
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Wayne Fox View Post
    ...120 Schneider (also very sharp), and have the 180 Rodenstock on the way (sold the 150).
    Cut it out Wayne. I know you and Jagsiva are ganging up on me to pick up the sk120 asph. Probably subsidized by some other thread lurker who is eying my sk150.

    Only out of my cold dead hands, as they say.


    Dave
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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by jianghai View Post
    Question that may be more complicated to answer than i imagine:

    What is the best system (Cambo/Arca/Alpa) if I want to use a ground glass with it (i.e. most convenient to use with GG)? Sliding back perhaps?
    i've bought an arca RM3D for that reason... and the top of it, you can use your lens on a monorail camera as well !

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    Re: Let's begin a discussion on technical cameras

    If ever there was a location ready made for a tech cam it's the Palouse. Our first visit there was last year and we plan 2-return trips this year.

    We never travel light any more since installing a "truck vault" in our Raptor. When we go out we take everything, complete WRS kit, complete DF kit and 2-Sony A7r (one converted to full spectrum) and in their own individual bags. The weight difference between the WRS and DF is amazing.

    Like Wayne and others I use my tech cam much more than any other system. The DF is used for wildlife and those situations where things are moving so fast that it's easier that the WRS. I'll also use the DF on scouting trips where we haven't been and are out walking around (like the Grand Canyon) and want to get a feel for things. This is the great thing of being able to have the same capture system on multiple cameras. The Sony FS is more of a toy camera for me, while it's now Sandys full time camera having totally left Canon.

    Don
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