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Thread: MFD first impressions and starting wish list

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    MFD first impressions and starting wish list

    I am new to MF digital but not to MF. I started with 35mm and have used 645, 6x7, 617, and 4x5. I then went to digital with a Canon 1DsII system. I loved that system but was never happy with the size of the files versus MF or LF film. I finally took the plunge and have had my P45 refurb on an AFDII body now for a few weeks (Thanks Chris). I looked at all the MFD systems out there and settled on the Phamiya for many reasons. It was close between Phase One and Hassy. None of the others were in the running. I was impressed with the Hassy body but have always thought the lenses and accessories were very overpriced versus Pentax, Mamiya and Contax (yes I have owned all four systems). All have some stellar lenses and some dogs.

    I have been testing my kit in the field in preparation for a trip to Big Sur in a couple weeks. I own the 35mm, 55-110, 105-210 and the 300MF ULD. I have been very pleased with the lenses and particularly the 35mm after using lens corrections in C1. The images from the P45 are wonderful and I provide excellent tonality and detail compared to my 1DsII. Overall I am very satisfied with all the equipment except the body.

    I shoot almost everything (landscapes and macros) using manual focus and mirror lockup. I always shoot bracketed images for blending or even HDR. In the past I did this using auto bracketing 2 over/under on my Canon with mirror lockup enabled and using a remote release. Sometimes I shot 7 auto-bracketed shots depending in light and intended processing. My AFDII ( and to my understanding the AFDIII/Phase One) only allow you to auto-bracket +1/-1 with a max of 3 shots! That may have made sense with the limited dynamic range of velvia but not for digital files. The mirror lockup only works one shot at a time and must be reset before each auto bracketed shot by pressing the mirror up button ( I know the AFDIII does it by pressing the shutter button). In quickly changing light this adds time to get the shots and you have to touch the camera multiple times. In the past I often used a beanbag on the camera to minimize vibration. Since the auto-bracket only works =1 or -1 I have to use the exposure comp dial. While this works well most of the time I have had test shots where my touching the camera between shots resulted in minute movement of the body between images which made it difficult to blend later. I can't use the beanbag since I have to access the topside controls between each shot

    Just venting here so take this all with a grain of salt. However, I will not be buying the next version of the Phamiya without these features. They should be simple as they are all software based functions. I know these complaints seem like whining but I had really come to rely on these features to operate quickly in the field and have lost a couple shots for later blending due to movement. They seem like minor deficiencies but have made a big impact on my technique in the field and seem like basic functions for an automated digital camera. And please, no suggestions for a technical camera. I have tried them and do not like them for my shooting style. Thanks for listening everyone...That includes you too Phase One/Mamiya

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: MFD first impressions and starting wish list

    So Scott bottom line is expand the auto bracket 2 stops on both sides and have mirror lockup stay on mirror lock up until you take it off. Seems both of those could be firmware and just need to add that one option on mirror lockup to stay there until taken off as a menu option for it. The auto bracket is already in menu but expand that to 2 stops on either side. So really add a option on that menu item to give a added choice of two stops. Let me know if this is the case and i will send that suggestion to the Phase firmware folks which several of us here have worked with on firmware 1.4.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: MFD first impressions and starting wish list

    Yes, that would be a good start. I would say expand it to more than 2 stops for HDR purposes and allow up to 7 exposures. Similar to existing Canon/Nikon SLRs. A simple capabilty that I did not realize was such a staple of how I work. Some shots with HDR in mind are better off using 5 to 7 shots at 1 stop increments. Most of my work involves 2 to 3 shots at 2 stop increments depending on if I intend to blend or do HDR. I no longer carry GND filters. The mirror up should remain up when in Autobracket mode, ala Canon, until the autobracket sequence is complete. That way the camera can be set and you will not need to touch the controls until the sequence is done. Less vibration and less chance of movement. If a software fix was made for the Phase One body to enable this functionality I would upgrade quickly. I am hoping the rumored (for later this year) new Phase One body will have this capability.

    Of course I forgot to mention use upgradable firmware as a needed feature. I do not like the idea of having to pay big $$ for shipping and insurance just to have firmware updated. I am perfectly happy with the other features/functions of the current bodies. My only other wish for capability would be better matrix metering and having a few focus points spread further apart in the finder. I don't use autofocus but find my self using focus confirmation to ID near/far focus points for depth of field.

    Hopefully I will start posting some results in a few week. I was going to post some of my Focus Blending and pans but they are all using Canons. One day I hope to meet some of you on my visits to the Arizona/Utah area.

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    Re: MFD first impressions and starting wish list

    Scott,
    the Hy6 keeps the mirror up when you bracket and hes the option for 5 steps. I can confirm that specially the fact when the mirror stays up is really usefull. It allows to bracket quite fast and use bracketing even when handholding without loosing the framing.
    I dont know if the Mamiya allows mirror up and bracketing and self timer at the same time? The Hy6 does not (the d3x does not either) and I asked Sinar/Francke-Heidecke if they can not include this in the firmware so I could just leave my "cable trigger" at home.
    Sometimes one wonders that the camera makers included 1000 functions nobody needs but then "forget" to included some really logical things.
    By the way I would like to have bracketing in my M8
    Cheers, Tom

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: MFD first impressions and starting wish list

    Mirror up and self timer work together , never tried the auto bracket
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: MFD first impressions and starting wish list

    My understanding (from dealer discussions) is the mirror does not stay up between shots in autobracket mode on the Phase One. I did not test the body once I found out it did not offer bracketing more than 1stop. I chose to go with a good deal on a low mileage AFDII. In hindsite the AFDI with its manual mirror up would have been a better choice.

    My dream body? A combination of features/functions from the Phase, Leaf and Hassy systems in a Contax body able to mount Contax, Pentax 645 and Mamiya lenses (no leaf shutters) and using a single high capacity batter to power all.

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    Re: MFD first impressions and starting wish list

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Mirror up and self timer work together , never tried the auto bracket
    mirror up and self time without bracketing also work with the Hy6.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: MFD first impressions and starting wish list

    Quote Originally Posted by smhoer View Post
    My understanding (from dealer discussions)
    My dream body? A combination of features/functions from the Phase, Leaf and Hassy systems in a Contax body able to mount Contax, Pentax 645 and Mamiya lenses (no leaf shutters) and using a single high capacity batter to power all.
    My dream body: a digital Leica M with a MF-sized sensor. I wouldnt mind if it became Mamiya7 size.

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: MFD first impressions and starting wish list

    Thanks Tom I need to see what auto bracket does with the AFD III and 1.4 firmware with regards to mirror up. Will try it soon here when I get everyone off to school and work. Morning madness. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: MFD first impressions and starting wish list

    Guy, thanks for checking on this. I will very interested in the results. Funny, I just assumed things worked as they have in the past (with the AFD and AFD II) and am now curious. Given that the AFD changed from manual to electronic mirror up, this will provide important results.

    I too hope for more than 1 stop on bracketing. I would imagine it's a firmware change. I'd love 2 stops and have the ability to do this over 5 (or even 7) shots. Not needed often, but would be great to have to use/play with when the conditions seem right.

    Josh

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: MFD first impressions and starting wish list

    Okay the Mirror in lockup comes down after each exposure . So you have to hit the release to lock up mirror, than self timer works here with it than second release to activate the release or self timer to shoot. It does go one stop over and under plus normal. So the limits are the 1 stop either way and the mirror does not stay up all the time when set on the Mirror lockup position. That part would be nice to set it up in the menu to stay up if you want or release after the shot if you want. Maybe a easy firmware option to have put in and the exposure comp could also be expanded. I will at least send the data forward.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: MFD first impressions and starting wish list

    If I had to prioritize the requested features I would vote for the ability to autobracket 2 or more stops with 5 or more exposures.

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