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Thread: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

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    Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    I was doing a test HDR panorama at dusk in a park near my house today, and using the M8 since I haven't got a DB for my Contax 645 yet, and was shocked to find that my longest exposure time was 32 seconds, and I wasn't even really getting the shadows, it wasn't fully dark yet, and this at the M8's base ISO of 160.

    The back I am planning to buy is the Sinar eMotion 54 LV, but it has a longest exposure time of 32s, which today would not have been enough. I am now wondering if I have done something wrong, or if there is some way to get around this.

    I was shooting three images of each location, in a 360 degree panorama, one at 1s, one at 4s, and I was supposed to shoot one at 32s for the darker areas ( but not the shadows in those areas), but I didn't have a stopwatch nor a cable release, so I settled for 4s at ISO 640, and was hoping that the HDR blend would iron out some of the minor noise this would introduce. This was at f8 with the 28 Cron, at dusk, in a park with a view of the three streets surrounding it, with restaurants and cafés. Annoyingly my battery conked out about 1/2 way through the last pass, so I was never able to complete it, but this was a dry-run anyway, in anticipation of the panorama work I will do soon with the kit I have ordered.

    So, given the above information, is there some way I could have worked around the darkness, with a maximum exposure time of 32s? Should I just have accepted the noise resulting from jacking up the ISO to 200 for the last sweep? How do you guys do the long exposures on a camera which doesn't allow setting a speed of slower than 8s (Contax 645)?
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Hi Carsten,

    This issue came up with me and the M8 at the recent Moab workshop. I tried increasing the ISO, but the noise was too much in the light I had. Ultimately, Guy borrowed Jack's cable release and I timed the shot on the B setting, which worked fine. Others here know far more than I do, but we weren't able to get past 32 sec without the cable release; we couldn't find a setting to bypass the limit.

    Thanks, steve

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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    So, this would be the same problem with a DB with a 32s max exposure time. My fear is that it wasn't even that dark, and I was already hitting the limit with the M8 at ISO 160. With a DB with 32s max exposure time, and a base ISO of 50, I would have to boost the ISO to 200 to get the exposure at all, and fiddle with the resulting noise. As mentioned, this was at dusk, and I can easily imagine wanting to do exposures at later times.

    For those of you with Phase One backs who do city nighttime panoramas, how often do you find yourself doing long exposures? 32s used to seem like a really long time to me, but when doing panoramas, it might be quite easy to hit it, because it is always dark *somewhere*, even if it isn't the main subject of interest.

    Which back were you using, by the way?
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Bulb , Cable release and say a pray you don't get noise and lot's of it. Most sensors will not handle long exposures and outside the Phase backs maybe a minute is the limit for any 35mm or MF backs. Heat is one reason, dark frames is another. I don't know all the tech reasons but you will be limited and your Sinar back you are planning on is 32 seconds unless something has changed. If this is really important than you need evaluate all your needs here.
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Carsten:

    While the M8 can go longer than 32 seconds by going to B with a cable release, you'll start to see a *bunch* of noise pile up in a hurry. Also yes, all digital backs except the Phase are going to be limited to 30 seconds or one minute, depending on the back. (Though I have heard a rumor that Hassy may be adding a 2 minute setting in the next firmware.) So to answer your basic question, yes that image capture would have been an impossible task with the Sinar back you mentioned...

    Now, as to how often I go beyond 30 seconds with my Mamiya... I actually know the answer because 30 seconds is the max limit for exposures on my Mamiya before I have to go to bulb. I shoot landscape and am usually out well before sunrise and well after susnest, and as such find myself going beyond 30 seconds fairly regularly at those times of day. But as a percentage of total images captured, it's going to be fairly low -- a few frames out of every few hundred, so call it 1% of the time. But then the images you get with those longer than 30 second exposures are fairly uncommon too

    Here are two recent examples, both from our workshop. The first one is obvious, and a total of 30 minutes:



    The next was only around 40 seconds IIRC so in all honesty probably cold have made it work at 30:



    Best,
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Ouch, I was hoping this wasn't the case. I'll have to do more tests and see what I really need here. I was really looking forward to getting the Sinar, with adapters for Contax and Hasselblad V. I don't suppose there is any way to use a Phase back in the same way, switching back and forth?
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    I don't suppose there is any way to use a Phase back in the same way, switching back and forth?
    Nope. Easy to do between your main MFSLR body and a tech camera like the Alpa or Cambo as you can swap mounts on them, but not going to be practical swapping between differing MFSLR bodies with a Phase back...
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Sigh. So, I have the choice of staying with the Sinar, and not being able to some of the HDR panoramas which are part of the reason I wanted to move to MF in the first place, or going with a Phase, and not being able to use my V equipment, which I was also looking forward to. Damned if I do, damned if I don't.

    As I understand it, the P-series only has a max exposure time of "several minutes". What does that mean, and how does the IQ at these times compare to the P+ series?
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    But via the appropriate LENS adapter, you CAN use your V glass on the Contax to the exact same image result -- and what's so bad about that?

    P non-plus are rated to 60 seconds but you can usually eek 120 or so in cooler weather without hitting a noise issue. However, the plus series can do 60 minutes in moderate temperatures, even more in cooler temps.

    It should also be mentioned lest you aren't aware that there is a black-frame subtraction, so any long exposure is effectively doubled for total capture time --- IOW a 30 minute exposure will need an added 30 minutes to process before the camera is ready to fire again...
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Okay. That is the same as the M8 and other cameras I know, with long exposures, so I am familiar with that. So a P+ back would be the only one which could do what I want. Does anyone know what a used or refurbished P25+ back would set me back at the moment (Contax mount)?
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Carsten if you want to use the Contax body it can take a variety of glass I am pretty sure with adapters . Can the Contax do bulb or a T setting. Also on the market right now is a P30 plus for Contax I saw on LL for a decent price. The P30 plus can do a one hour exposure and you can use your V lenses. Plus all those Contax and Hassy lenses are in C1 for there lens corrections. Personally I still think C1 rocks.
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    How do you guys do the long exposures on a camera which doesn't allow setting a speed of slower than 8s (Contax 645)?
    You can use our Multi-Pop / Long Exposure Device with a Phase One digital back (link) to take longer than 32s exposures on the Contax. You'll need a very heavy duty tripod and diligent workflow to ensure zero movement between exposures (then again, you need such a tripod for most any very long exposure).

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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    I know of a P25+ back that *may* be for sale as well, but it is in Mamiya mount. Obviously this would mean you'd need to switch to Mamiya as the main system, but could still use your hassy V glass on it.
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Guy, I have a V-lens adapter for the Contax, and originally bought the FE110/2 to use this way, but I liked the lens so much that I picked up a 2000FC/M to use with it, for film. I was hoping to somehow also be able to use it with a back, but in the end, I guess it is not such a big deal. Just a bit disappointing.

    The Contax 645 has bulb, and a mechanical as well as electronic coupling for cable releases, which is very nice, as it doesn't need battery when used with the mechanical relelase.

    Doug, does the multi-pop/long exposure device work with the mechanical release socket? I don't have a heavy-duty tripod yet (I have a Manfrotto 055C and was planning to test it to see how it goes), but I just ordered a BH-55, so I guess the head is covered. I might pick up a Berlebach tripod if the 055C is not good enough. The workflow is something I plan to learn

    What are some rough current prices for P25+ and P30+ backs, used and refurbished, just to get an idea?
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Jack, I am quite enamoured with the Contax, and have a waist-level finder for it, which I plan to use for some things. Thanks in any case. Oh, and I don't have the money at this time, but hope to have it saved for later this spring
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    There is always a way to change a mount to Contax
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Is that your P25+, by the way? I have the feeling from reading your recent posts that you are considering the P45+. Anyway, I understand that Phase doesn't actually change mounts, but gets the back on hand, and waits for one with the correct mount to come in, and then swaps them. I am not sure I would want to wait around for that, as for the less common Contax (in the Phase/Mamiya world) it could take some time. I have heard of people waiting months...

    I already have 35mm/3.5, 80mm/2, 120mm/4 Macro, Hartblei 45mm/3.5 and a fun Arsat 30mm/3.5, all in Contax mount, so switching to any other system at this point looks distinctly unattractive. Apart from that, I really like the system.

    The 35mm lens is 35mm-equivalent to a 21mm on 645 FF, 25mm on a P25+ and a 28mm on the P30+, all of which seem reasonable for my uses. 25mm is preferable over 28mm, but of course, 31MP is preferable to 22MP. Hmm.
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Guy, the guy who is selling the P30+ is including a camera kit, and won't sell outside the States in any case. Additionally, I still don't have the money yet Once I do, if he didn't sell yet, maybe at that point he is desperate enough to consider a European sale, or maybe I could hop on a plane and pick it up. Anyway, time to save some money.

    All this is just me planning ahead, getting the kit together bit by bit. I still probably will need a better tripod, maybe some more pano components for multi-row, and then the back, plus perhaps some cable releases, like the multi-pop or something else (great name, by the way ).
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    "You can use our Multi-Pop / Long Exposure Device with a Phase One digital back"

    Doug,

    Have you tried this? I have never been able to use the B setting on my Contax 645 with a P45 because of some error between the electronics in the Contax grip and the P45. 32 seconds on auto is the longest I have ever been able to utilize. Does the multi-pop device counteract this?

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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Argh, more roadblocks! Are there other Contax users here who can chime in about long exposures with Phase P+ backs?
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Quote Originally Posted by Mark_Tuttle View Post
    "You can use our Multi-Pop / Long Exposure Device with a Phase One digital back"

    Doug,

    Have you tried this? I have never been able to use the B setting on my Contax 645 with a P45 because of some error between the electronics in the Contax grip and the P45. 32 seconds on auto is the longest I have ever been able to utilize. Does the multi-pop device counteract this?

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Doug, does the multi-pop/long exposure device work with the mechanical release socket? I don't have a heavy-duty tripod yet (I have a Manfrotto 055C and was planning to test it to see how it goes), but I just ordered a BH-55, so I guess the head is covered. I might pick up a Berlebach tripod if the 055C is not good enough. The workflow is something I plan to learn
    The device works by fully decoupling the body and back from eachother so that you can actuate the shutter in whatever way, and as many times, as you would like. The digital back becomes just like a traditional film back set on multi-exposure (no advance after shutter release); you turn it on (remove the dark slide) and turn it off (put in the dark slide).

    So yes, your mechanical release socket would work fine. And yes, it does allow any mix/match of shutter releases and shutter durations.

    Or another way of thinking about it: Whatever you can do with no back attached you can do with a P or P+ back and this device.


    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Is that your P25+, by the way? I have the feeling from reading your recent posts that you are considering the P45+. Anyway, I understand that Phase doesn't actually change mounts, but gets the back on hand, and waits for one with the correct mount to come in, and then swaps them. I am not sure I would want to wait around for that, as for the less common Contax (in the Phase/Mamiya world) it could take some time. I have heard of people waiting months...
    In general the swap time is very quick. There were a few customers who had to wait unusually long after there was a seachange of users switching to the Mamiya mount after Phase One and Mamiya began their partnership. You keep the back which is being swapped until the replacement is ready.

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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpetersonci View Post
    The device works by fully decoupling the body and back from eachother so that you can actuate the shutter in whatever way, and as many times, as you would like. The digital back becomes just like a traditional film back set on multi-exposure (no advance after shutter release); you turn it on (remove the dark slide) and turn it off (put in the dark slide).

    So yes, your mechanical release socket would work fine. And yes, it does allow any mix/match of shutter releases and shutter durations.
    So, I would turn on the back, "open" it, activate the camera's shutter with bulb and the cable release, and when done, "close" the back again, i.e. stop measuring light? It is a bit disappointing that it doesn't work directly with the camera without assistance, since I thought the Contax 645 had the proper communication for this type of thing, but I suppose it is usable.

    In general the swap time is very quick. There were a few customers who had to wait unusually long after there was a seachange of users switching to the Mamiya mount after Phase One and Mamiya began their partnership. You keep the back which is being swapped until the replacement is ready.
    Well, I have no use for a Mamiya-mount back, so it doesn't actually matter to me where it sits. Is there some way to find out in advance, i.e. before buying, how long it will take exactly? I presume Phase keeps a few backs on hand of the various mounts, and can say if they have one in stock at a given time?
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    So, I would turn on the back, "open" it, activate the camera's shutter with bulb and the cable release, and when done, "close" the back again, i.e. stop measuring light? It is a bit disappointing that it doesn't work directly with the camera without assistance, since I thought the Contax 645 had the proper communication for this type of thing, but I suppose it is usable.
    You got it right with the workflow. Kind of annoying that it's not an integrated workflow, but if you want a digital back to exceed 30 seconds on a Contax then a Phase back with this device is the only way to go. And I can earnestly say it's not that big a deal; after all, anytime you're shooting more than 30 seconds you're on a tripod and usually have both hands available.

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Well, I have no use for a Mamiya-mount back, so it doesn't actually matter to me where it sits. Is there some way to find out in advance, i.e. before buying, how long it will take exactly? I presume Phase keeps a few backs on hand of the various mounts, and can say if they have one in stock at a given time?
    Yeah, no problem. If you call Chris or Dave at the office in Atlanta 877-217-9870 then they can check on the current estimated times for you so there wouldn't be any guess work.

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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Okay, that's nice to know; thanks. I will not bother them until I have some money together. Speaking of which, if you were to get in a used or refurbished P25+, what is the sort of price range that it would go for at the moment? I would want the basic warranty for sure, but maybe not the 3-year deal.
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Is that your P25+, by the way? I have the feeling from reading your recent posts that you are considering the P45+. Anyway, I understand that Phase doesn't actually change mounts, but gets the back on hand, and waits for one with the correct mount to come in, and then swaps them. I am not sure I would want to wait around for that, as for the less common Contax (in the Phase/Mamiya world) it could take some time. I have heard of people waiting months...

    I already have 35mm/3.5, 80mm/2, 120mm/4 Macro, Hartblei 45mm/3.5 and a fun Arsat 30mm/3.5, all in Contax mount, so switching to any other system at this point looks distinctly unattractive. Apart from that, I really like the system.

    The 35mm lens is 35mm-equivalent to a 21mm on 645 FF, 25mm on a P25+ and a 28mm on the P30+, all of which seem reasonable for my uses. 25mm is preferable over 28mm, but of course, 31MP is preferable to 22MP. Hmm.

    Lets see on my back my 28 is a 21 FF 35mm. Yes i maybe selling mine and not in a big hurry anyway. When your ready and interested i maybe able to get a mount swap. There is a lens conversion table on the CI site you can check. If not mine you can always work through the folks at CI with Dave and Chris , one way or another we can get you a Contax mount Phase Back. If I sell mine I am buying from them anyway, we are all good friends.
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Thanks, Doug.

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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Carsten, at what f-stop did you shoot the images?
    So far I have never run into exposure longer than 30 seconds with my M8 at dusk/dawn, but than again I also usually dont close the f-stop that much.
    Here is one with the M8, 640ISO, 1/16, handhold, which would translate into 1/4 at 160 ISO. IN reality it was even a little darker than the image looks like.
    I dont believe that its possible to have details in shaddows at night and to get a nicely exposed sky at the same time. I often dial in minus exposure compensation when I shoot landscapes in dawn.
    However I can see how it is allways better to have an option, even if you only use it here and then (or maybe only once), vs not having the option and maybe wanting it later on.
    I also have to say that I would not want to unscrew/screw the Sinar adapter all the time. Yes, it is simple, and I could see it to do it maybe once a month but not all the time. So IMO its better to have a plan where you could leave one adapter on the back most of the time.

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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    That's a really beautiful shot, Tom. I was shooting at f/8. f/5.6 might have been enough, but it was a bit later than in this shot, because I wanted the deep blue skies combined with the lights in all the restaurants.

    HDR Panoramas are different than normal evening shooting, for which 32s might well be enough. I was shooting 3 passes, which ideally should have been at 1s, 8s, and 64s, but due to not having a shutter release cable, I shot at 1s, 4s, and 4s at ISO 640, which is less than ideal already. The 64s second frame is meant to get the clean shadows which can then be brought up for a gentle HDR look where the entire frame is visible, with detail. The thing about HDR panoramas is that the interesting bits are rarely so dark, but there is always something in between various frames which is. In fact, looking over the partial results, the noise in the shadows is too high, and they are clearly underexposed, so 64s might not even have been enough. And this is at dusk, in a city. Imagine after dusk, outside the city, or in an area with less lights.

    Thierry is probably right in that almost all night captures can be done with a 32s exposure (although not Jack's star trails), but HDR panoramas put different demands on the captures.

    If I just wanted to do one or two such panoramas, I would get the Sinar, which really appeals to me, and just forget about them, but this is one of the major reasons why I want to move to MF, given that the M8, in spite of its generally high IQ, doesn't have that great noise characteristics in the shadows. I am hoping to make a body of work consisting of high-quality, high-res dusk city panoramas, and possibly market them.
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    I guess that if this is your target I also would look for a phase back, maybe a P30+ if you can live with the crop.

    Besides the maximum exposure time there is also the question how well the image results are at long exposures and maybe I am wrong but Ithink to remember that this is not the strongest side of Sinar Emotion backs (I could be wrong)-think to remember a thread where somebody compared Sinar-shots of polar light with those from a D3 and the D3 images were much better in his opinion.

    Personally I am not a such big fan of HDR, most I have seen so far look somewhat artificial to me but I know some people who like it a lot.

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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Yes, I am considering the P30+, but the sensor is smaller, and the inability to use it with a tech camera weighs on my mind, although I don't have one. I didn't see the Sinar/D3 comparison shots, I don't think, but that is interesting. I didn't know that.

    I don't like the very fake-looking HDR images either, but that is not what I am after. If you stand in the evening in a park next to a street, you will see detail in the shadows in the park, yet the lights from the street will not look over-exposed. I am looking to use HDR techniques to approach reality, not depart from it. I might go on the other side of reality from what cameras currently give us, but only slightly, to give an enhanced but believable look at the evening world.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Hey Carsten,

    I helped my friend, Robert Kerian on this problem for his motorcycle shoots for Ducati. I sold him one of my multipops that I've been making and instructed him to physically tape the gold leads on his P45+ so that the camera could not "sense" what was connected to it. Because the signal from the camera to the back is now severed, you can now utilize the bulb mode setting on your Contax. So, all you have to do is wake the back on with the multipop and flip the switch to the "on" position to start capturing. Once that's done, just actuate the shutter with a cable release and keep it open as long as you want, then flip the multipop to the "off" setting to end the capture and close the shutter.

    Not too sure if you already found your answer, but I wanted to chime in!

    Andrew

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    So, I would turn on the back, "open" it, activate the camera's shutter with bulb and the cable release, and when done, "close" the back again, i.e. stop measuring light? It is a bit disappointing that it doesn't work directly with the camera without assistance, since I thought the Contax 645 had the proper communication for this type of thing, but I suppose it is usable.



    Well, I have no use for a Mamiya-mount back, so it doesn't actually matter to me where it sits. Is there some way to find out in advance, i.e. before buying, how long it will take exactly? I presume Phase keeps a few backs on hand of the various mounts, and can say if they have one in stock at a given time?

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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Thanks for the info. Hopefully I won't need to tape the contacts though.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Comparing exposure times with those of the M8 isn't really appropriate IMO because the DoF is some much shallower with the MF sensor. I find myself hitting 30 seconds far more frequently with my Mamiya/Phase than I would ever do so with FF DSLR, let alone a smaller sensor. To achieve acceptable DoF I find myself often shooting at f/8.0 to f/16 and beyond quite frequently. ISO 100 or 200 at f/16 or so equates to 30 seconds or longer exposures more than one might think.

    I think it's fortunate that you're studying this now, Carsten, so as not to be caught off-guard after getting your back.

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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Yes, that only emphasizes the conclusion, unfortunately: I really need a Phase One P+ back to do this kind of work. I am very happy that I did this dry-run before purchasing. I was reassured some time ago that 32s was enough for almost all uses, but although it certainly is, it doesn't suffice for this use which is quite important to me.

    Although the price of a used or refurbished P25+/P30+ appears to be a closely guarded secret (I asked a couple of times for a ballpark figure, but was met with silence), poking around on the CI website seems to indicate that it will be more expensive than a Sinar e54LV. Sigh. I often wonder if for my uses a Sony A900 with a couple of Zeiss lenses wouldn't get me close enough.
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Carsten:

    I feel for you, I really do... The move to MF digital capture is a big one and there is no single clear path -- every choice has its own set of advantages and disadvantages. In the end however, the images you get from MF digital capture even with 2 generation old backs are so superior to *ANY* state of the art DSLR -- and I mean any of them -- that IMHO the expense to get there is well worth it.

    That settled, all you need to do is gut up and make the purchase. Prices are as attractive now as they have ever been.

    Good luck,
    Jack
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Yes, that only emphasizes the conclusion, unfortunately: I really need a Phase One P+ back to do this kind of work. I am very happy that I did this dry-run before purchasing. I was reassured some time ago that 32s was enough for almost all uses, but although it certainly is, it doesn't suffice for this use which is quite important to me.

    Although the price of a used or refurbished P25+/P30+ appears to be a closely guarded secret (I asked a couple of times for a ballpark figure, but was met with silence), poking around on the CI website seems to indicate that it will be more expensive than a Sinar e54LV. Sigh. I often wonder if for my uses a Sony A900 with a couple of Zeiss lenses wouldn't get me close enough.
    From the price I could find when I purchased my back the prices for phase backs were slightly higher than Sinar. I still believe that the Emotion54LV is priced very attractive-but it doesnt fullfill your needs so its out.
    The "problem" is that most brands offer very attractive sets if you buy a back you get body and lenses for nice prices, however if you buy a back only this doesnt help you.
    As far as I know phase offers also very nice bundles with a horseman or a cambo camera.
    If you are patient you might find a good deal for a used back. My feeling is that it is harder to find used backs here in Europe compared to the US.

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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Although the price of a used or refurbished P25+/P30+ appears to be a closely guarded secret (I asked a couple of times for a ballpark figure, but was met with silence), poking around on the CI website seems to indicate that it will be more expensive than a Sinar e54LV.
    That must be frustrating from your point of view. Let me explain and attempt to raise the transparency.

    We generally do not post pricing on the boards, for many reasons. Prices vary by country and by package (one person may need an adapter/accessory/etc while someone else does not). Also, GetDPI has a commercial vendor section and this is not it and we want to be good board citizens. Also to avoid future viewers' confusion we would have to go back and edit all posts on all boards in case the price changes. You have no idea how often I get called asking for a special or a price which was discontinued/changed/improved more than a year ago. Apparently if you see it on the internet it must be true as-of-today.

    Also to be fully frank when you post pricing on new products people begin comparing systems based on a particular number regardless of other differences. It's similar to how people compare a 1Ds III to a P25+ because they have similar resolution numerals next to them. Our price may include something that another system does not include or vice versa. They also begin comparing the price for a new warrantied back, with new accessories, dealer supported back with used prices they found on eBay or a FS board.

    Anyway, I've sent you a PM with all the info. And anyone who wants pricing on any MFD product should find that any dealer on this forum or outside of this forum will be happy to send them pricing ASAP. My apologies on a day or two delay on responding to your request on this particular thread as there is a new price promotion which was in the midst of being finalized yesterday.

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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Thanks Doug, that is very kind of you, except that... err... I don't have a PM?

    I would be perfectly happy with a statement like "we would sell a refurbished P25+ for around $10000 these days, but no promises for the future" or anything of that nature. I am simply looking for a ballpark figure.

    For example, I know that the Sinar 54LV is being sold for about 8500 Euro by sinar.de in their online shop, and that if I went directly to the factory and bought there, which I can, it would cost around 7000 Euro. Second-hand it costs around 5000-6000 depending on warranty, packaging, etc. For the Phase back I cannot find this kind of information.
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Thanks Doug, that is very kind of you, except that... err... I don't have a PM?
    Oops. Looks like I PM'd t_streng. Can't seem to do anything right today!

    Doug

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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    I am sure he is getting a good laugh out of that.

    Okay, the price for the P25+ is much higher than the e54LV (not quite double for the same kind of deal, without giving too much away), which puts it firmly out of my reach for now. I guess I will have to consider other options for the next year or two, and then maybe reconsider later again. Too bad, I was really looking forward to getting going with MF, but not being able to use a back I can afford, and not being able to afford a back I can use, is just game over for me for now.

    Thanks everyone for their help anyway.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Carsten

    The P30+ and P30 backs are both wonderful backs. I would still have my P30+ (and money) had I not decided to go the technical camera route. So if you don't think you'd be going the TC route anytime soon I'd suggest the P30 with an upgrade path to the P45. Just thinking out loud here...

    Good luck

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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Carsten -- I would definitely not get a 54LV to do long night exposures. I have one, and even on a night with absolutely clear, full moon and snow, 32 seconds at 400 and f/2 was underexposed by over 2 stops. The 54LV is listed as ISO 50, but it is actually 25 (it was originally 25, and the back has not changed, just the label of the ISO...this is what it says in the firmware update that changed it from 25 to 50). Maybe a phase back that can do 60 minutes would be a better choice, but honestly, the D3 is SO much better for this type of work. I would say take a serious look at a D3x, D3 or 5D mark 2 for this kind of work. Your exposure times will be shorter, and frankly, the files look better. Medium format does a lot of things really well, but this is definitely not one of them (at least with my back).

    This is 32 seconds at ISO 400 and f/2 on a sinar back. At 100% it is noisy and soft (either from the lens or from the ISO smearing)



    Here is a similar shot with a D3 at 30 seconds or so.

    At 100%, it is sharper, there is less noise, and the color saturation is much better.
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Don, getting a P30 or any other non+ Phase back would not really help me; it would be a compromise, and I would only be able to do half the stuff I want with it. For that much money, and considering how much of a compromise working with MF already is (apart from the IQ, naturally), I would be quite unhappy to spend that much money and end up with such a limited workflow. I think at this point that I understand that only the Phase P+ backs would make me happy, yet I won't have that kind of money for a while, so I will just wait. I might have to wait a year, maybe two, but on the other hand, the prices will come down in the meantime. Who knows, maybe the S2 will be cheaper than expected and I can go that route. Haha.

    Stuart, I like the Nikon bodies, but I am less keen on many of the Nikon lenses, apart from a few stellar zooms, like the 14-24 and the 24-70. I love primes, but Nikon has really stagnated here in the last few years, apart from their T/S lenses, and the occasional DX lens. Besides, 12MP is not enough of an advantage over my M8 to really make 4000 Euro worth it. I mean, that is almost as much as a used Sinar back, and the D3x is even more expensive. I don't like Canon cameras much, nor do I like their lenses, so I am not going that route.

    If I would go DSLR, I would probably at this point pick up a Sony A900 with the Zeiss 24-70, and perhaps the 16-35, and then shoot at ISO 100 for max IQ, and just make the best of it. I can pick up an A900 in Britain for about £1600, which is really amazingly cheap, so I am considering this. I could add the 85/1.4 Zeiss and 135/1.8 Zeiss with time, to play with modern primes.

    Or, I just sit tight, put money in the bank, and pile up the various bits and pieces in the meantime which I need, like the pano kit I just ordered, and the leveling base too, and whatever else I need. Maybe a more stable tripod. And an Epson V750 and I play with my M8 for digital, and my Hasselblad 2000FC/M and Contax 645 for film, and scan.

    At the moment I am inclined to do the latter. The realization that the Sinar wouldn't do what I need, and that the Phase was too expensive for now was just a one-two punch which took the air out of me a bit, so I am really re-thinking what I want to do.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    I don't expect the German Phase P+ prices are low enough to get them into the range of a used e54LV, but if they are, I would be happy to have the info.

    Regarding Nikon primes, essentially I am looking to duplicate my favorite Leica M primes, and maybe add a wide-angle zoom. The 14-24 is clearly great, and the 17-35 is also meant to be very good, maybe not quite as good. But the lenses like 35/1.4 or 35/2, 50/1.4, 85/1.4 and so on are mostly either very old, or very budget, lack silent wave motors, and so on. The 28/1.4 has not been made for some time. Some have plastic mounts! I just don't think that Nikon takes these lenses seriously. The pro is probably mostly happy with zooms, a portrait lens, some T/S lenses, and maybe a long lens or two, but that isn't what I do. Sony gives the Zeiss lens range, modern and sharp, with less CA and much better boke, often. This appeals. I also quite like the slightly odd, but somehow very focused buttons on the A900. The Nikons, and the Canons even more, often feel like computers more than cameras. So many buttons and options, many of them very esoteric, and not just shutterspeed, aperture, metering mode, ISO and so on, but all kinds of other things. I read a review recently where a long-time Nikon user spontaneously forgot where to find some function or other for a while, and was just totally lost. Canons are even worse, with buttons often being dual-purpose. This is not a problem for everyone, but I really like the minimalism of my Leica M8, and find the A900 somehow simpler than the competition. It is 24MP, which is double that of the camera in the Nikon range which it most closely equals in cost, the D700.

    I agree about MF for meditation I will shoot film for that, which in some ways is even better than digital in this respect.
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Carsten,
    I think it uld be the non + phase backs which would be in the price range of a 54LV. Maybe you find a good deal for a used one.
    If the Zeiss lenses give you the range you want and if you are happy to work with lower ISO the Sony sounds great.
    I just read again and again about old the old Nikon designs and I think it is often overseen that it includes some really nice lenses. Old doesnt necesrly mean bad. (for example the 85/1.4 is nice, the 105DC is very nice - I would even compare it woth a 75 Summilux on the M8, the 35/2.0 is not bad) and then there are some very nice new lenses, like the 14-24,24-70, the 24PCE (I like this lens not only if I need T or S but also for its rendering and sharpness), the new 50/1.4 AFS is not bad (however I personally prefer the Sigma 50/1.4 which is a very nice lens) etc etc.
    However I admit from a cost point of view and from the size if the body I also might go the Sony route, with maybe a wide angle zoom, the Zeiss standard zoom and a 135/1.8. What I might eventually miss would be a nice T/S lens.
    However if your goal is to often photograph in dust / dawn it wouldnt hurt if you could increase ISO here and then. Even if you photograph landscape and non moving things you might run in to situations where you might want to shoot something including people or moving things.
    I use 1600 ISO with my D3x quite often.
    Cheers, Tom

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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Well, I have a tripod and I am willing to use it I prefer the best possible quality to the convenience of high ISO. Anyway, for now I am happy to just watch the market evolve and use what I've got. I ordered an Epson V750 and will scan film for a while, as well as use the M8, which is really quite good for most things.

    With time, some money should become available, and the P+ backs will probably drop in price with time as well, so somewhere in the middle we will meet. I will only go the A900 route if I get totally desperate.
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    I asked myself for the last weeks why would Carsten not use his MF-gear with film until he owns a digital back.
    I have not scanned much since I allways thought it was a lot of work and time and big files-BUT if we talk about slowing down with MF gear, and taking less but maybe more carefull images, then why not take the time to scan the best ones and work that way.

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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Yes, well, it is not what I was hoping to do, but now I have to I have already bought the chemicals and have the equipment to develop my own B&W, and have already done a dry-run with a film of test shots, so soon I will have everything I need to get this going. I look forward to it in a strange kind of way.
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    I think you will find that film has some really redeeming qualities. You might want to check out the "more and more fun with film, something other than Leica M" thread. It has an ungainly name, but there are a lot of good photos there...particularly check out emmawest's photos.
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    Re: Base ISO, long exposure times, and nighttime panoramas

    Old thread, but there is some catching up to do.

    In the end, I bought the not-so-old Sinar eMotion 54 LV from a member here, and used it for a few months with pleasure. Then I really re-discovered film, specifically Adox CHS 25 and 50, and ended up using it exclusively for my first long-term project, the cemetaries of Berlin (ongoing). At this point, I pretty much stopped using the back again, and it sat mostly idle on my shelf for several months.

    Now I have decided that this makes little sense, and have sold/traded it with a member on this forum (keeping it in the family). I got a Zeiss ZF 21mm f/2.8, as well as a grip and a spare film back for my Contax 645, and some money. He got a Sinar eMotion 54 LV, the case, accessories, and an extra battery. We are both very happy I have ordered a Nikon D3, which should be here next week, coincidentally at the same time as my Linhof Master Technika.

    I will be using my Leica M8 for events and travel, the D3 for action (my daughter), animal photography (zoo and travel), as well as HDR work and panoramas, and the occasional commercial task. My Hasselblad film system will be for portraits and perhaps some landscape, with the Contax 645 and Linhof MT for long-term artsy-fartsy projects, and the Linhof also for some portrait work.

    I will contribute some MF film images to the image thread here, from time to time, but will likely otherwise mostly stay quiet in this forum (to the great jubilation of Phase and Hasselblad fans ).

    I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone for the knowledge and help I have received while going through my brief MFDB phase. I learned a hell of a lot in a short time, and would not rule out a future return, if life should change yet again.
    Last edited by carstenw; 20th March 2010 at 09:36.
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