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Thread: T/S and Medium Format - help.

  1. #1
    Shelby Lewis
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    T/S and Medium Format - help.

    Hey all,

    Ok... so for about 2 years I've been exploring a move to medium format with the accompanying "I'm about to make the leap" posts... but It's either been 1) too expensive or 2) not the right tool for my current workload. I've looked into Rollei (still enamored with those cameras and glass!), Contax, and Phase as my main interests... pretty much in that order. It seems as though the phase backs will be my best bet here in the Southeastern US (dealer support and all).

    I'm at a point where I'm phasing out weddings and moving into a strictly portrait (hs seniors and families) as well as a pretty ambitious fine art gig. So mf is back on the table, especially with prices continuing to fall. That said.... I'm still saving for it. My canon stuff will stay in use for many situations where I don't need the mf stuff.

    So, here's my dilema... I need t/s for an upcoming project that involves some selective-focus portraits.... and I need the swath of in-focus to be deadly-sharp, with accompanying cleanliness in the deep shadows. This will be studio work and reproduction will be pretty big (square format prints probably printed on inkjet at roughly 3'x3' or 4'x4'). As a canon shooter (hate it) in my day-to-day work, I thought about going with a dsIII and one of the t/s canon lenses, but I really believe even a modest 22mp back would be way better for my project. I'm thinking a p25 might be perfect.

    t/s is the prob.

    Unless I seemingly invest heavily in hassy (and I do not have that kind of capital), I haven't found a good t/s solution. I thought a 6x9 view camera might be a possibility, but i'd really like more utility out of the rig. Has anyone here tried the rz with the t/s adapter and the short barrel lenses? It's about the only system that i know of that might allow for some more utility (especially if I pick up a 645 later to use along side). I have to admit that I still love the rollei system. Complicated, huh?

    Thanks all. Much appreciated.
    My Website

  2. #2
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: T/S and Medium Format - help.

    Oh... and I've been looking at the sony a900 as well and find the IQ pretty appealing... but the missing t/s lenses are a deal killer for me (presently)

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    Re: T/S and Medium Format - help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post

    [...]

    It seems as though the phase backs will be my best bet here in the Southeastern US (dealer support and all).

    t/s is the prob.
    [...]

    Has anyone here tried the rz with the t/s adapter and the short barrel lenses? It's about the only system that i know of that might allow for some more utility (especially if I pick up a 645 later to use along side).
    My Website
    We have an RZ Tilt-Shift Adapter and 75SB lens. I've used in on a number of occasions. It's a nice rig, though it is physically heavy.

    You'd be welcome to come play with it anytime. We have a seminar coming up on the 24th in Atlanta and the 25th in South Beach which would work well. Or by appointment any day of the week. Just make sure to call a few days ahead of time so we make sure to have it on hand at the location of your choice.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: T/S and Medium Format - help.

    Unfortunately, TS capabilities are rather limited with current MFSLR systems.

    There are two RZ short base lenses, a 75 and a 180. But the T/S adapter only tilts 15 degrees and I'm not sure that will be enough to throw your background the way you want with a 180 focused portrait close... It's also heavy and kind of slow to use, but faster for sure than a view camera.

    You just missed my sale of a 127 portrait Ektar mounted to an older model Mamiya 645 bellows. That bellows allows 15 degrees of tilt or swing and will focus a 120 from infinity to almost 1:1, and IMO 120 is a more ideal portrait length on the current DB's than 75 or 180. You might want to consider assembling one of those as an option.
    Jack
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    Re: T/S and Medium Format - help.

    There is the Hartblei 45mm f3.5 Super Rotator T/S lens, which is apparently quite good even on digital, in its sweet spot, but I am not sure that it qualifies as razor-sharp. I have one, but don't have a digital back yet, nor a proper film scanner, so I cannot show you much. Tim Ashley (tashley) has one and uses it with a Mamiya and a Phase One P45+. He started a thread here recently, so perhaps you can look in that to see if the sharpness is what you require.
    Carsten - Website

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: T/S and Medium Format - help.

    I'm a Phamiya/P45+ shooter. I so never thought I'd hear myself say this but after months of teeing around with all sorts of stuff I've decided that outside of the really serious tech cam solutions, the only tilt that can be done on anything like a reasonable budget that I have yet discovered is with a good copy of a Hartblei. I got mine for around $500 second hand and after a certain amount of careful practice I can now get focus sort of where I want it varying from everywhere to almost nowhere. However, you can't really do it with tethered shooting preview because despite the hype Phase's tethered preview is of pretty limited use iMHO.

    So I'd use a P-something with a Hartblei, do some practice on human guinea pigs in the setup you intend to use until you have the setup off pat, and Bob's your uncle.

    I have, by the way, tried the two other obvious products for tilt, the Silvestri bicam and flexicam, and for one reason or another (relating to their not working as advertised) had to return both. Some people have been luckier.

    Hope that helps

    T

  7. #7
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: T/S and Medium Format - help.

    Thanks all... I'm glad I was at least in the ballpark with my expectations.

    Really... for the upcoming art project, an arca 6x9/p25 combo would be perfect... but beyond that I'm not sure.

    I'll continue looking into the hartblei solution, but I'd really need to see some proof that it's worth it. Even with the price being low, I'd hate to spend on a DB and have the "edge" taken off by lower quality optics.

    Anyone have any thoughts on the IQ of the RZ + 75SB + t/s adpater? I'm usually ok with "soft and smooth" (ie, my canon stuff ) but for this upcoming project i want the area of focus to really bite.

    Looks like a trip to Atlanta may be in order.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: T/S and Medium Format - help.

    The RZ 75 shift lens is very sharp.
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

  9. #9
    Howard Cubell
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    Re: T/S and Medium Format - help.

    Another option to consider given the amazing pricing are the second hand Hasselblad H3D-39 cameras available in the UK at www.procentre.com.uk. for about US $8,500. Wow! Add in a HTS tilt/shift device and you can mount Hasselblad lenses from 28mm to 100m(with a 1.5 multilplier factor).

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    Re: T/S and Medium Format - help.

    2 cents worth: I've got the Rollei setup with the dp20 (old Phase square back) and the 55 PCS t/s lens. I'm quite impressed with the sharpness of this lens. The sharpness carries to all corners.

    I have used also it to photograph framed art work (off center), so as to avoid reflections in framing glass. If you want, I can send you some images.

    Also, look out for the issue of color shift in t/s lenses. Not sure how big a deal it is, but I have occasionally seen evidence of it.

    Of course, the Hassy post just above does sound attractive, but the t/s kit isn't cheap either.
    Last edited by Geoff; 16th March 2009 at 18:51. Reason: added info

  11. #11
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: T/S and Medium Format - help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Howard Cubell View Post
    Another option to consider given the amazing pricing are the second hand Hasselblad H3D-39 cameras available in the UK at www.procentre.com.uk. for about US $8,500. Wow! Add in a HTS tilt/shift device and you can mount Hasselblad lenses from 28mm to 100m(with a 1.5 multilplier factor).
    Those prices are EU, right... even so, pretty amazing. I'll keep digging. THANKS!

  12. #12
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: T/S and Medium Format - help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    2 cents worth: I've got the Rollei setup with the dp20 (old Phase square back) and the 55 PCS t/s lens. I'm quite impressed with the sharpness of this lens. The sharpness carries to all corners.

    I have used also it to photograph framed art work (off center), so as to avoid reflections in framing glass. If you want, I can send you some images.

    Also, look out for the issue of color shift in t/s lenses. Not sure how big a deal it is, but I have occasionally seen evidence of it.

    Of course, the Hassy post just above does sound attractive, but the t/s kit isn't cheap either.
    Geoff... thanks for chiming in. Do you know what the field of view of the 55mm is while using the dp20? Also... how large do you feel you can print comfortably. The DP20 is 18mp, right? I absolutely love the look of the schneider glass as well as the high sync speed of the pq and pqs lenses (which is why i hold hope for Rollei).

    Sure... I'd be interested in seeing files if you have the time.

  13. #13
    Howard Cubell
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    Re: T/S and Medium Format - help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    Those prices are EU, right... even so, pretty amazing. I'll keep digging. THANKS!
    The prices on their website are in UK sterling. The current exchange rate is around US $1.40 to 1 UK pound sterling. As you can see, the UK pound has collapsed, leading to some amazing opportunities.

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    Super Duper
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    Re: T/S and Medium Format - help.

    Without recommending anything specific here's my experiences and opinion:

    The RZ is killer and specifically is really special in concert with a Leaf Aptus back ... there's just something about that combination that's distinctive and kicks booty for portrait work IMO. As Jack says the Mamiya T/S adapter may not be severe enough to achieve what you need ... depending on the type of distances you'll be shooting from. There are two short barrel lenses to use on the T/S adapter that allow infinity focus: 75mm and 180mm. However, you can use any of the lenses if you'll be shooting up close and personal and do not need infinity focus. In that case, you may get what you are looking for. For that the 210 APO would be an interesting choice (I'll have to try that to make sure it works). The image circle of these lenses covers larger than 6X7 so T/S with a 645 back should be no problem. There are some REALLY good deals on Leaf products listed in the F/S vendor section of this forum. And Mamiya RZ stuff can be had for a song compared to almost anything out there ... which is a shame because it's spectacular!

    For the Hasselblad H with HTS 1.5 unit, I suggest the 100/2.2 which is bitingly sharp in the focused areas with a beautiful gradual fall off and super creamy Bokeh. That lens would factor to a 150mm with very shallow DOF further enhanced and controlled by the T/S. The characteristics of this lens is reminiscent of the Zeiss 110/2 for Hasselblad FE and Rollei cameras. As far as a digital back is concerned, a refurbed CF39 is about $13,500. and works on any H1, H2, or the new H2F. The CF back can be used on any MF camera, not just a Hasselblad H. Sinar also makes backs that fit a H camera but can be used on most any other MF camera.

    For 35mm DSLR choices, I'd tend to lean to the Nikon D3X ( same sensor as the Sony, but is 14 bit instead of 12 and also has a bit better noise control at higher ISOs) ... and the whole array of new, improved Nikon T/S lenses ... in particular the Nikon 85/2.8 PC-E Macro is worth a look. That lens is spectacular IMO ... a real achievement on top of the previous PC which was excellent itself. Obviously this would provide the most mobility and versatility ... but not quite the IQ you'd get from a MFD solution. But nothing to sneeze at either. Pricey for a 35mm DSLR, and the lenses aren't pocket change either.

    BTW, I have a Sony A900 and agree with you concerning the look of the files ... but until someone comes up with an adapter to use the Nikon PC-E lenses, it's off the table for what you are looking for I think.

    If considering a 6X9 view camera, check that the longer lenses you'd want to use for portraits will allow enough tilt. My Rollei Xact2 maxes out at about 150mm depending on distance to subject, and restricts some movements.

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    Subscriber Member tashley's Avatar
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    Re: T/S and Medium Format - help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    Thanks all... I'm glad I was at least in the ballpark with my expectations.

    Really... for the upcoming art project, an arca 6x9/p25 combo would be perfect... but beyond that I'm not sure.

    I'll continue looking into the hartblei solution, but I'd really need to see some proof that it's worth it. Even with the price being low, I'd hate to spend on a DB and have the "edge" taken off by lower quality optics.

    Anyone have any thoughts on the IQ of the RZ + 75SB + t/s adpater? I'm usually ok with "soft and smooth" (ie, my canon stuff ) but for this upcoming project i want the area of focus to really bite.

    Looks like a trip to Atlanta may be in order.
    Take a look at my Hartblei threads... mine is very sharp indeed: as sharp as my 80D to all intents and purposes. It might be a little fuzzy at the extreme edges but less so by fat than the famous 28D and when you apply C1 lens corrections, that disappears in any event.

    I use mine as a prime when I need that focal length. As long as you find the characteristics of your individual lens you'll be OK, assuming you don't get a dog, and they do exist as many have experienced...

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    Re: T/S and Medium Format - help.

    I just tried the RZ with the 210 and T/S adapter and IMO it won't get you there. The tilt just isn't enough. And the digital back adapter needs the trigger connection on the front which restricts the ability to get back far enough anyway. It'd be okay for close-up product work for increasing DOF, but not portraits like you want to do. Plus you can't do horizontal tilts for some head shots anyway ... the Mamiya T/S doesn't rotate.

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    Re: T/S and Medium Format - help.

    Here are some shots from the 55 PCS on a Rollei 6008 AF, dp20. The lighting is both artificial and natural, so the colors are off. The focus plane is on the handrail and beyond.

    The first two shots are shifted max up and then max down. The crops are (I hope) 100%, and are from the top of the max up, center of max down, and then bottom of max down.

    Note the corners and hand rail detail. In the original file, you can see pretty clearly the screw heads in the bottom of the stair treads in the max up shot.

    They stitch pretty well in b/w. In color, there is some shifting going on. Not sure why that was.

    Geoff
    Last edited by Geoff; 24th July 2012 at 15:42.

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    Re: T/S and Medium Format - help.

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I just tried the RZ with the 210 and T/S adapter and IMO it won't get you there. The tilt just isn't enough. And the digital back adapter needs the trigger connection on the front which restricts the ability to get back far enough anyway. It'd be okay for close-up product work for increasing DOF, but not portraits like you want to do. Plus you can't do horizontal tilts for some head shots anyway ... the Mamiya T/S doesn't rotate.
    Two comments:

    1) The RZ TS adapter I had definitely DID rotate and

    2) If you use the RZ ProII D with ZD adapter plate, you do not need any cables...

    Cheers,
    Jack
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  19. #19
    Shelby Lewis
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    Re: T/S and Medium Format - help.

    wow... what a wealth of info. MUCH appreciated. So many options... none of them perfect, but many of them quite good (and leagues better than my current gear)

    d3x? It's funny, I was just thinking about that this morning... but I'm pretty far into canon-land... so it' would take some serious thought to change (even though I like Nikon's current products much better).

    The more I think about it... the more I like the idea of a ProIID and and AFD as partners. I'm leaning towards a p25 or similar... but have a bit before the money's in the bank. I'm actually wondering if I could begin to use occasional MF on my high-school senior portrait work on-location... the afd could be useful as a hand-held cam and the higher sync-speed and t/s could be used to offer something (photographically) different than my competitors...

    Hmmm... decisions, decisions, decisions.

    OK... dumb question here. I'm not going to have the budget for a back, an rz, and the latest afd/phamiya. Anyone out there happy with the afdI or afdII... just for occasional use. Canon would be my main on-location gear... rz for the studio... afdI or II as a "tweener".

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    Re: T/S and Medium Format - help.

    Quote Originally Posted by Shelby Lewis View Post
    OK... dumb question here. I'm not going to have the budget for a back, an rz, and the latest afd/phamiya. Anyone out there happy with the afdI or afdII... just for occasional use. Canon would be my main on-location gear... rz for the studio... afdI or II as a "tweener".
    The AFD, AFD II, and AFD III vary mostly by the speed and accuracy of the Autofocus and the amount of shutter lag. On the AFD I the AF speed is medicore and hunts in tough situations and the shutter lag is pretty bad, on the AFD III the AF is very good and the shutter lag is nearly non-existent. So if you're willing to accept those things then the AFD I or II is a great bargain.

    Build quality, button position, the type and behavior of the mirror lockup, behavior of the AF-lock button, and accuracy of the battery life indicator are also smaller changes.

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    Re: T/S and Medium Format - help.

    While I there are no illusions they would compete with even a low-MP MFDB for max IQ, if you wanted a couple of lower-budget DSLR-based options to consider:

    1. As JF mentioned, an M645 bellows kit + LF or Hassy/M645 lens and adapter for a Nikon or Canon body (both easily done); or a Nikon PB-4 bellows system (tilt if bellows rotated) with a Nikon or Canon body (via adapter) using, again, M645/Hassy glass.

    2. Use of a Canon body with a Mirex TS adapter and M645 or (IIRC) Hassy lenses such as the 80/4 Macro, 120/4 Macro (APO) or the Hassy 120/4, etc. I also believe, but don't quote me, that Mirex makes a Hassy-Nikon kit. I couldn't tell you how the TS ranges of the two system would compare.

    I have no idea which Canon body you currently shoot with, but the #2 approach is popular with many folks over on the FM Alternate Lens forum if you want to research it further.

    There is also this recent thread discussing a 5DII using a PB-4 bellows kit+Rodenstock 75/4 APO (for macro work) that has some nice samples.

    http://www.fredmiranda.com/forum/topic/747695

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