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Thread: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

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    My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    I had originally begun this as a response to Paul from Optechs Digital, responding to his excellent series of videos. It soon became apparent to me this response was going way far away from a simple response regarding being a traditionalist and the use of software. Not wanting to take away from Paul's post I decided to separate this to a thread by itself. I'm still uncertain what to title this (venting?) and may just call it an editorial if I may all the while knowing I'm not in the same league as Jack or Guy nor am I connected in anyway other than being a mere member so the use of the term editorial is a stretch.

    I'm somewhat traditional myself to a point. Being a landscape photographer this allows me a certain amount of leeway in what I do and how I do it. I used a t/s lens for a short time while I was still shooting 35mm then went away from that when I moved to MF. Now I'm shooting strictly with a technical camera and using a combination of hardware and software to achieve my goals.

    Change is good and needed however I now have a difficult time wrapping my head around what camera manufactures are doing in order to achieve a tilt/shift/swing. Maybe I'm just too dense (just ask my wife) however there's got to be a better solution to this problem than what is being currently offered. In every case I've seen (speaking strictly technical camera) the solution at first blush appears to be simple till you dig deeper; change lenses to short barrel or retrofitting the lensboard - all of which is going to cost a lot more money. Reminds me of the cure being worse than the cause...

    I no longer feel the need nor desire to have a T/S capability for what I do. Maybe this is partially due to the fact that if I take my time, plan it out, I can produce an image where it is in focus from my toenails to infinity; yes that requires several frames and a kickass imagery software program to put everything together but it simply works. Period.

    I also admit there are photographic applications (such as architectural) photography where you might really need the ability to tilt/shift.

    What I'd like to caution folks against is running out and jumping into the deep end of the pool just because your technical camera manufacture has suddenly brought out the latest and greatest for tilt/shift because with proper planning (reminds me of the 6-P Principle) you can do almost the same effect and save a bundle of money.

    There I've had my say and will kindly craw back under my rock ...

    Don
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Don,

    I had a similar reaction to the T/S video. It ignores the fact that the ALPA T/S adapter is about $2000, and requires short barrel lenses that cost three or four thousand dollars each, and are no shorter than 80mm. I thought it'd be fun to play with if someone else paid for it.

    Steve

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    ....I was thinking that after you've dropped about 2K on the Cube, dropping a couple more on a nice T/S adapter would be peanuts....

    I very much understand Don's way of thinking (that alone is a scary proposition) but it doesn't stop me from wanting a good t/s alternative. I recognize Helicon focus offers an alternative to some, but for some reason it (software solution) just does not seem as satisfying....

    Eleanor Brown was so kind to share with me a quick down and dirty image she took with her H2 and P65+ outfitted with the HTS 1.5. And I was impressed. Certainly better than a spit-shined Hartblei.... I wish the Phase platform had something like this.

    The better alternative, of course, is a technical camera. And having t/s---it's just sexy.... I've spent too much this year already.....but I would love to have a technical camera with a t/s option--- Cambo or Alpa...

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    I tried the Cambo Ultima and liked it other than the humongous weight. The trick would be to have a WRS/WDS size body with the same movements of the Ultima bellows.

    The same time I wrote the above I also figured it just wouldn't matter what gizmo whiz-bang attachment we come up with as it would still require a change of lens.

    Oh well ...

    Don
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Don,
    I feel you mix to questions in one answer:
    1. question: do we want/need tilt
    2.question: is the way Alpa or Cambo achieve it price wise and handling wise interesting/ appealing

    1.In the end I believe that you can use tilt either to get a very shallow DOF and you can play with this effect, or you can use the lens at its peak f-stop (which is usually not f22) and still get a very deep DOF.
    Howoften does one need it- I am too unexperienced yet to answer this question.

    2. I also saw the video and thought - wow - thats kind of strange to have different lenses. And I was kind of disappointed that the Cambo tilt adapter has to be mounted for each lens (as far as I understood).
    In the end I believe that the Sinar Artec offers 2 significant advantages: the built in tilt, and the sliding adapter which allows you to judge the image through the loupe and then just quickly change to the back. What you give up is handholding the camera.
    Maybe Alpa and Cambo would rather come up with another body instead of trying to offer pricy adapter solutions.

    As great as heliofocus in software might work, personally I prefer to achieve optically as much as possible rather than melting images later in software.

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    You can't fix everything in post. Working with Helcion focus is limited.
    We have to wait for the prices of the Cambo TS adapter. It will be clearly less pricy as Alpas solution and at the same time works for much wider lenses as the 80mm for the Alpa (with Rodenstocks from 28mm with Digitars from 47mm). Cambo's approach here is that one would rarely need all lenses with TS. You need maybe two lenses with TS (say the 47XL and a 70mm or 90mm). For the Digitar 35XL and wider you actually don't need TS as DOF is already quite wide. And if you look at the prices of TS lenses for DSLRs they are much more expensive as the respective focal length without TS. So actually you decide if you buy a regular, say, 47XL or a 47XL-TS... and the TS version is more pricy of course.
    One might share Cambo's approach or not. But at least it's a doable solution without redesigning the cameras. And at the same time the actual camera body is kept at a reduced rate (compared e.g. to the arTec) for those who don't need (or want) TS. I payed something around €5K for the WRS body, interface, groundglass, flexible lens hood, finder with extension and mask and the 47XL with lens panel. So compared to the arTec there is still a very nice lens in the budget. Or a case with some TS adapers ;-)

    Tom: yes, with the 47XL I'd sometimes like to have slightly more DOF.
    Last edited by thomas; 15th July 2009 at 00:22.

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    I payed something around 5K for the WRS body, interface, groundglass, flexible lens hood, finder with extension and mask and the 47XL with lens panel. So compared to the arTec there is still a very nice lens in the budget. Or a case with some TS adapers ;-)
    Wow, I thought the Cambo body alone was around 2k and the lens around 3k +vat.

    I bought the arTec as a Set with a lens and digital back so it wasnt really much more money compared to the Cambo or Alpa solutions.

    I am not saying one is better than the other
    and - yes-you dont need tilt in all lenses. it doesnt hurt though to have it in the body instead of having it in the lens.

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    I am not saying one is better than the other
    .. nor do I ;-) ...
    Quote Originally Posted by t_streng View Post
    it doesnt hurt though to have it in the body instead of having it in the lens.
    I agree - the arTec was designed with TS from the very beginning. The Cambos originally were not. So they offer TS now as an additional option. As long as implementation will be fine (I do not doubt it will be) it's a useful addition. If you buy a new camera and TS is essential to you then the Cambos probably wouldn't be first choice. Arca Swiss Rm3d probably or the arTec...

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    I often think I detect a subtle bias in what people write, for the Arca Rm3d and against the arTec, although it is never blatant. I personally find the arTec more compelling, and I am wondering if I missed something. Does the Arca have some advantage over the arTec?
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    I often think I detect a subtle bias in what people write, for the Arca Rm3d and against the arTec, although it is never blatant. I personally find the arTec more compelling, and I am wondering if I missed something. Does the Arca have some advantage over the arTec?
    Carsten, yes, I am biased - the arTec would probably be MY camera and from the capabilities it is by far the most advanced and best thought out camera especially for the things I shoot. I just mentioned the Rm3d as its dimensions and basic concept is quite similar to the WRS. Size and weight matter as well for me personally so I am not totally sure about the arTec yet, but I think it would not be too heavy and too big for me.
    Anyway... no compatibility by now with my Contax mount Phase backs (and Schneider lenses). And at this particular point I am biased as well: I find the "politics" of compatibility especially regarding Sinar totally reprehensible. Apart from this I find the products extremely good.

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    I'd like to know how the T/S users can see what they are attempting to do in the tiny ground glass image; tethering can deal with this, but i doubt that is used much outdoors

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    In case you missed it Cambo has announced a Tilt-Shift solution set for its Cambo Wide series (DS, RS, Compact).

    http://www.captureintegration.com/20...ift-mechanism/

    This solution will start at 47mm for the Schneider XL series and at the 28mm in the Rodenstock series. It can be retroactively added to existing lenses for around $1300 (final price TBD) or ordered on new lenses.

    IMO, a Schneider 47mm XL or Rodenstock 28mm with tilt on a Cambo Wide RS (which has generous shift) with a Phase One back is, on paper, the best tilt-shift solution ever made. Needless to say we are VERY excited for this product to start shipping. The Sinar solution, of course, is also nice but they have locked out any backs not made for the Hy6 or Hasselblad V mount and the price is astronomical. The HTS is a great system, but basing a tilt-shift lens on SLR glass by means of adding 6 new elements of glass rather than a mechanical only design using large format lenses is a major compromise.

    My foreseen usage personally would be to find and mark the 1-shot and 2-shot hyperfocal points for f/11.5 with (e.g.) 5 degrees of tilt. This would fudge me a little extra depth of field and, once I do the initial hour or so of experimentation I would have a point-and-shoot solution which gains additional DOF in most landscape situations, along with a relatively point-and-shoot solution for taking two pictures for DOF-stacking.

    Really, really, really cool. Hope it all pans out; Cambo is one of the few MF companies that has a pretty good history of not promoting vaporware.

    Doug, Head of Technical Services
    Captureintegration.com

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by stephengilbert View Post
    Don,

    I had a similar reaction to the T/S video. It ignores the fact that the ALPA T/S adapter is about $2000, and requires short barrel lenses that cost three or four thousand dollars each, and are no shorter than 80mm. I thought it'd be fun to play with if someone else paid for it.

    Steve
    The "no shorter than 80mm" lens is what dooms it for me. There are few applications that desire tilt-shift without a easy/fast Through-The-Lens viewing system. In fact I find it hard to think of something other than Landscape.

    While portraits, still life / product, architecture can all use tilt/shift they really require through-the-lens focusing. In these situations a viewcamera with a sliding back or a system like the HTS or the Phase 45mm T/S lens are much better choices than a tech camera with a T/S.

    So where exactly is the market for an 80mm and longer tilt-shift solution on an Alpa??

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    I'd like to know how the T/S users can see what they are attempting to do in the tiny ground glass image; tethering can deal with this, but i doubt that is used much outdoors
    Exactly. If the degrees of tilt are simply factored into your previously established hyperfocal points at your desired shooting aperture then you can use it without thought/effort. This method only works on things like landscape, but for landscape works really really well.

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    I'm pleased to see my thoughts have been well received and not dismissed as ravings from a lunatic.

    Breaking down the anticipated price of the Cambo of $1300 shows that the t/s solution is around $300 as they normally charge $1000 to change/fit a lensboard. This makes me wonder what the price (after all the dust settles) of a lens with the t/s will be if bought directly from Cambo? Will it only be an extra couple hundred dollars? If so great.

    I feel better taking in the above scenario of buying a lens with the t/s lensboard for a couple hundred dollars more vs sending a lens in to be retrofitted. If that turns out to be the case then I just might have to see about where I can fit yet another lens in my kit.


    Don
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpetersonci View Post
    Exactly. If the degrees of tilt are simply factored into your previously established hyperfocal points at your desired shooting aperture then you can use it without thought/effort. This method only works on things like landscape, but for landscape works really really well.
    You beat me to this!
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Carsten - I'll admit to having a bias which at times is not all that subtle. I've tested three different Cambo systems (Ultima, WDS, WRS) and like everyone. I'd go with an Ultima in a heartbeat if I could only find someone to carry it for miles so I could use it. In my opinion the WRS is the next best option followed by the WDS.

    As far as digital backs go there simply isn't anything better than a Phase One - how's that for subtle bias?

    Don
    Last edited by Don Libby; 15th July 2009 at 08:13. Reason: typo
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    I often think I detect a subtle bias in what people write, for the Arca Rm3d and against the arTec, although it is never blatant. I personally find the arTec more compelling, and I am wondering if I missed something. Does the Arca have some advantage over the arTec?
    My bias is easy: IMO both are essentially vaporware. So show me a dealer who has IN STOCK a complete RM3D OR ArTec outfit with lenses and the sliding back that I can buy today. Not special order, but take home TODAY...
    Jack
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    I'd like to know how the T/S users can see what they are attempting to do in the tiny ground glass image; tethering can deal with this, but i doubt that is used much outdoors
    am not quite sure as I am not experienced with tilt yet. Regarding DOF to a certain degree you can judge about it on the groundglass.
    Actually I guess DOF... based on my pre-experience of similar or comparable shots with the same lens. I think I would do the same with tilt as I would use it primarly for wider DOF at f11 or f16. So I think I would end up with similar settings frequently... if not always the same settings.

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpetersonci View Post
    It can be retroactively added to existing lenses for around $1300 (final price TBD) or ordered on new lenses.
    I've heard different prices. Over $1K would be too pricy... but let's wait for the final prodcut.

    The Sinar solution, of course, is also nice but .... the price is astronomical.
    actually if you sum up all the parts it's not that astronimical. The arTec price includes a lot of things you have to buy serparately at Cambo. The WRS is still less pricy but it has no sliding back and the finder of the arTec (GG and loupe and magnetic masks) - honor to whom honor is due - is simply better. Too, the tilt board is included in the arTec and as long as your price of $1300 will be the final price you can add $1300 or $2600 on the Cambo price and then the arTec is nearly a steal. But then again, of course, the HR lenses are more expensive than the Digitars... so finally it's all quite close depending on the actual setup you assemble.

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Creek View Post
    Carsten - I'll admit to having a bias which at times is not all that subtle. I've tested three different Cambo systems (Ultima, WDS, WRS) and like everyone.
    Don - which other tech cameras did you take in your hands or looked through?

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Don,

    I thought I'd wait for a few other answers before responding myself. Let me begin by simply saying I agree with what you wrote above.

    My landscape course ran from a start with the 35mm SLR, then though various MF cameras, then to a wide variety of view cameras including 4x5 through 8x10. I even used a digital scanning back on a 4x5 to get there. With that in mind, I was very aware of the limitations of each system to begin with: 35 was too small a neg for holding lots of detail in a larger print; then with MF you got better detail for larger prints but now very often could not get enough DoF. Enter the view camera. Here I got the image detail and control of DoF and perspectives I wanted, although it wasn't very portable and certainly forced you to pick and choose your compositions with care due to time and media constraints.

    Now enter digital and I *assumed* I wanted the same view movements and shooting techniques I had with film. However, I knew from LF days that adjusting the 8x10 for perspective and DoF was a magnitude of order easier than doing the same with 4x5, and then 4x5 was a magnitude of order easier than doing the same with a MF view camera, I realized MF digital with movements might be more problematic than for MF view, and eons more problematic than 4x5; as we all know, precise alignment is hyper critical with high res MF digital so anything "off dead true zero" is going to show in the final. I proved this once again with the scanning back -- even with the relatively large 3x4 inch scanning area, you needed digital focus confirmation to get precise focus, and no way you hit it exactly even using a 10x loupe on a perfectly aligned groundglass...

    So as I've learned to compensate for lack of camera movements by adjusting for perspective in post, learning to focus stack for added DoF and learned to blend exposures for DR (eliminating the need for SND filters), my desire for a full movement digital MF tech camera has essentially gone away. At least until they make one I can zero out *perfectly* and set all movements precisely with AND is as totally rigid and precise as my SLR. And to date, I have not seen that camera. In the meantime, I am additionally waiting for a true un-tethered live focus built into a back. When I get that camera and back together, I will have the ultimate rig. Until then, I'll stick with my current back and camera because it works as well as anything else I've seen, at least for MY uses...
    Jack
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    At least until they make one I can zero out *perfectly* and set all movements precisely with AND is as totally rigid and precise as my SLR.
    Jack, I really think that tolerances and variances are more a problem of the DBs, not necessarily of the cameras. At least that is my experience with 3 different cameras and 4 different backs mounted on each of them.
    So tolerances will be the same on the MF body. Of course they become more obvious whith larger movements.

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    Jack, I really think that tolerances and variances are more a problem of the DBs, not necessarily of the cameras. At least that is my experience with 3 different cameras and 4 different backs mounted on each of them.
    So tolerances will be the same on the MF body. Of course they become more obvious whith larger movements.
    I have to respectfully disagree, at least given my experience.

    I have used across four different Mamiya bodies -- an AFD1, AFD2, and [email protected] -- a Mamiya ZD back, a P25+ back, a P30+ back, a P45+ back and a P65+ back and every one of the combinations focused perfectly using the camera's built-in AF... Moreover, when CI, Guy, and I tested the P65+, we did several comparison shots by swapping out the P25+, P45+ and P65+ backs on one of our bodies -- didn't matter which at the time -- without refocusing and had *perfect* results. IOW regardless of which three bodies we chose and/or combo of backs, we had no issues. I have even swapped out my Phase back with Jim Collum who shoots a Mamiya mount Leaf 75s, and we have not seen any problems.

    Surely if camera or back tolerance were a serious issue, I would have seen it on at least one of the above occasions, and I simply have not...

    Cheers,
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    That's fine and I do not doubt it!
    But my personal experience is different. Tendentially more like J. Holmes' experiences (regarding tolerances of backs I mean...)

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Thomas,

    Just curious, but how many "bad" backs have you had, which models exactly, and how did you determine it was the back versus the camera?

    I know that early on Joe got a bad P45 non-plus back, though also remarked on several of us he knows who got good backs out of the gate (). (Admittedly, there seemed to be more of an issue with Phase non-plus backs of a few years back than we see now.) He also had a few assorted lens issues, but most of these were with Tech camera lenses and not his Mamiya glass. While he's had some focusing screen issues, I know of no specific camera body issue I recall him mentioning (FWIW Joe shoots Mamiya mount)...
    Jack
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    How many "bad" backs did you have, which models exactly
    3.
    A P45 refurbished (they exchanged the sensor mount and re-adjustet it and since then it's really great).
    And I returned 2 new P21+ each on the first day. The third was okay.

    and how did you determine it was the back versus the camera?
    when the backs do exactly the same on three different cameras (2 Contax', 1 WRS) I am quite sure that the 3 cameras are okay (they are as they work good with the P45 and the 3rd P21+).

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    Don - which other tech cameras did you take in your hands or looked through?
    Thomas - very good question and a simple answer. Just the Cambo. I did my research on line with various manufactures as well as reading the thoughts and viewpoint of those who came before me. If Cambo had not come out with the WRS I might be using another body. However Cambo did release the WRS and I felt it was a perfect fit for me, for the way I work and for what I want to capture. This is not to say that there aren't better cameras out there most costing more however once I had it in my hands I knew.

    I also knew almost from the start which one I wouldn't consider even through it would have saved a bundle of cash as it did offer the working solutions I required.

    So again the answer must be none others were tested or handled - just the Cambo. I've never had one second of buyers remorse.

    Don
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Jack - It's always scary when we start a conversation as we thing a lot alike.

    I went from 35mm to MF to MFTC and have yet to take it to the next step. I've got a large format camera sitting in a storage box in the closet of my studio that belonged to a very dear friend who got me back into photography shortly before his death. It would be the most logical step for me to go if I decide to take the route - time will tell.

    Returning to the subject at hand - I have the groundglass for the WRS and use it - however not for focus as I hadn't brought it for that intention. I use it when I'm working with filters and alignment to a certain degree.

    I believe there's a lot of compromising in any photographic effort and none more truer than in digital. There's a big however here - most of what we are looking to achieve can be accomplished in post. However you need a spanking sharp image to begin with.

    I've used a Mamiya AFD I, II and Phase One III as well as a Phase One P30+, a P45+ and can't forget the Kodak I brought from Ken that started me on this trip. I've used lenses from 28mm to 300mm and in every case I was fortunate enough to get tack sharp images so long as I did my part.

    I was very concerned about the switch to a technical camera (ask Chris or Ken). Was I "smart enough" could I be able to grasp the proper workflow? I was very concerned about using a camera system where I couldn't look through the lens and see what I was about to capture. I found out early on within the first day of testing the system that all my concerns were just a bunch of bunk. This is not to say there hasn't been some problems with critical focusing on close in subjects; then I learned and started using focus stacking to achieve exactly what I was after.

    I agree in principle with what you ask for in un-tethered live focus I don't see that happening without a cost to something else.

    I also feel you may have stated my case better than I and I like your final sentence. I'll stick with my Cambo/Phase combination "because it works as anything else I've seen, at least for MY uses..."

    Don
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    My bias is easy: IMO both are essentially vaporware. So show me a dealer who has IN STOCK a complete RM3D OR ArTec outfit with lenses and the sliding back that I can buy today. Not special order, but take home TODAY...
    I have no data on the Arca, but Tom ordered an arTec and had it in short order. It is a bit disingenuous to ask where it is in stock, because these are specialty items not usually in stock anywhere. Delivery times are very short, on the order of 1-2 weeks, from what I have heard. It might be different in different countries though.
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Disingenuous???

    Carsten, with all due respect I think ANY dealer should be willing to demo a complete kit (of either) to me BEFORE I have to order one! The idea of having to order and pay in full for anything before I've had my hands on it for a test drive is ludicrous!

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

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Oookkkk...now that my name has been mentioned ..smiles....I will offer you all the link to the download Ken is talking about. I didn't post it before because the image is sooo, "boring" and, as I told Ken, I have fully intended to shoot a "better image" to show, which so far I haven't done. So if any are interested here's the download link..but keep in mind that this is a full res jpg from the 65+ with hts 1.5 with my 50mm lens. At the time I was relegated to working off my small laptop so to make the file more manageable I cropped off the sides...not because they were sharp or blurry (I didn't take time to notice honestly) but just to reduce the huge file size on my very slow MacBook Air processor. Here's the link! Eleanor
    http://files.me.com/eleanorbrown/5i5dbf




    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    ....I was thinking that after you've dropped about 2K on the Cube, dropping a couple more on a nice T/S adapter would be peanuts....

    I very much understand Don's way of thinking (that alone is a scary proposition) but it doesn't stop me from wanting a good t/s alternative. I recognize Helicon focus offers an alternative to some, but for some reason it (software solution) just does not seem as satisfying....

    Eleanor Brown was so kind to share with me a quick down and dirty image she took with her H2 and P65+ outfitted with the HTS 1.5. And I was impressed. Certainly better than a spit-shined Hartblei.... I wish the Phase platform had something like this.

    The better alternative, of course, is a technical camera. And having t/s---it's just sexy.... I've spent too much this year already.....but I would love to have a technical camera with a t/s option--- Cambo or Alpa...

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    I feel I need to put a caveat here for those who may not know - much like standing up in front of a group of people and saying Hi my name is Don and I'm a landscape photographer..

    I really thought I "needed" a viewfinder and sliding back to do "proper" photography - ended up not needing either.

    The viewfinder would come handy so little and cost so much that I now know I don't need it. My normal capture workflow is to look over top of the camera as it faces "down range" and visualize the area the lens will be picking up. Call if a cone for lack of a better term. I also spend many days testing getting used to a new lens prior to taking it out for anything real (I've shared some of this in past posts). Once you know what your tolls are capable of giving you the rest is easy. I am not so full of myself as to say I always get exactly what I'm after however once I do a spot check on the LCD I'll know I either have it or need to add another image for additional movement (I don't move the camera rather I add whatever additional amount of movements I feel is necessary and correct in post). I have never taken an image where I've completely failed. There's been some discussion here regarding the use of viewfinders and I think I remember a couple of people saying that while they have viewfinders they've stopped using them.

    Sliding back is the other item that was on my original must have list. Sure it looks good but does it "fit my workflow need"? The answer quickly came up no. Let's face it there simply isn't a decent groundglass available for MF. Add to the fact I now wear tri-focals. Yes it would be "nice" to have a better way to check on filter alignment other than removing the back and adapter put the groundglass on then remove that and replace it with the adapter and back. However I'm unwilling to give up the other things I love about the WRS in order to save a little bit of time.

    Simply put if you like to run and gun then you don't want to be with me when I'm photography landscape. Time stands still.. It will often take me in excess of 5 minutes before I hit the first shutter release. Once I have the camera ready I'll often times pause to allow me to take everything in at the same time allowing for my heart rate to settle back down. I even try to release the shutter in between heart beats. Okay maybe not that bad but you get the point.

    I guess the point I'm trying to get across is not all the wiz bang gizmos are needed or even necessary for everyone. The recommendation I would make is to slow down and think before you buy as it's harder to sell it after you find you really don't need it.

    I'll step down from my soap box now...
    Don Libby
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    I have no data on the Arca, but Tom ordered an arTec and had it in short order. It is a bit disingenuous to ask where it is in stock, because these are specialty items not usually in stock anywhere. Delivery times are very short, on the order of 1-2 weeks, from what I have heard. It might be different in different countries though.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Disingenuous???
    Carsten, with all due respect I think ANY dealer should be willing to demo a complete kit (of either) to me BEFORE I have to order one! The idea of having to order and pay in full for anything before I've had my hands on it for a test drive is ludicrous!
    Cheers,
    In stock for purchase is a bit much to ask for these specialty items. Having a demo unit however is not out of line to expect so that potential buyers can actually shoot images with the $5k+ kit they are considering buying.

    Also, speed has many aspects: shipping times, repair times, service times, and even answering simple questions by email are all slow as molasses from Arca Swiss. Cambo is just all around easier to deal with. Which is not a comment on their products: everything from the Cube to their Viewcameras are really solid products.
    Last edited by dougpeterson; 15th July 2009 at 14:02.

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Disingenuous???

    Carsten, with all due respect I think ANY dealer should be willing to demo a complete kit (of either) to me BEFORE I have to order one! The idea of having to order and pay in full for anything before I've had my hands on it for a test drive is ludicrous!

    Cheers,
    Spot on Jack - much like buying a vehicle without the opportunity to test it. A camera dealer might not have the specific model I'm after but he/she should sure as hell be able to obtain a copy of it for me to evaluate it otherwise goodbye.
    Don Libby
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpetersonci View Post
    In stock for purchase is a bit much to ask for these specialty items. Having a demo unit however is not out of line to expect so that potential buyers can actually shoot images with the $5k+ kit they are considering buying.
    God! I'd love it if the things I lusted after only cost $5K
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpetersonci View Post
    In stock for purchase is a bit much to ask for these specialty items. Having a demo unit however is not out of line to expect so that potential buyers can actually shoot images with the $5k+ kit they are considering buying.
    Agreed on in stock versus demo copy...

    But that $5K only gets me the LENS I want!!!

    (LOL! Don beat me to it!)
    Jack
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Disingenuous???

    Carsten, with all due respect I think ANY dealer should be willing to demo a complete kit (of either) to me BEFORE I have to order one! The idea of having to order and pay in full for anything before I've had my hands on it for a test drive is ludicrous!
    Okay, I take back disingenuous and maybe give you unrealistic instead. In every category you care to mention there are items that a dealer doesn't stock, because they are special. Not only expensive items. I mean, you don't take hard drives out for a test drive either, right? And where can you test-drive a Canon 600mm f/4? And there are cars you can't test drive, at the top end. The arTec is no different. Don't expect to find one at your dealers. On the other hand, Tom was able to ask Sinar directly for a test drive, and IIRC got one shipped to him for a few days. I don't know what Arca does.
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    Agreed on in stock versus demo copy...

    But that $5K only gets me the LENS I want!!!

    (LOL! Don beat me to it!)
    $5k gets me half the lens I want Guess the lens
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Okay, I take back disingenuous and maybe give you unrealistic instead. In every category you care to mention there are items that a dealer doesn't stock, because they are special. Not only expensive items. I mean, you don't take hard drives out for a test drive either, right? And where can you test-drive a Canon 600mm f/4? And there are cars you can't test drive, at the top end. The arTec is no different. Don't expect to find one at your dealers. On the other hand, Tom was able to ask Sinar directly for a test drive, and IIRC got one shipped to him for a few days. I don't know what Arca does.
    If I buy a hard drive from any dealer I regularly visit, I can return ir for an immediate replacement or refund if defective.

    Yes, I can go test drive a Canon 600mm f4 IS lens right now at my local dealer that is less than a 15 minute drive for me.

    I can even go test drive a Tessla in less than 20 minutes. The Vanquish I'd love to own is more like a one hour drive away, and I can drive virtually any Ferrari I might consider if I take a one-hour flight.

    So yeah, I'd expect to be able to demo or "test drive" ANY camera I was seriously thinking about buying...
    Jack
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    $5k gets me half the lens I want Guess the lens
    Noctislut, er lust... er I mean lux!

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

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Hehe, bingo. That'll be the day though. Heck of a price.

    Go test drive a Bugatti Veyron and write here about it, please.
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack Flesher View Post
    If I buy a hard drive from any dealer I regularly visit, I can return ir for an immediate replacement or refund if defective.

    Yes, I can go test drive a Canon 600mm f4 IS lens right now at my local dealer that is less than a 15 minute drive for me.

    I can even go test drive a Tessla in less than 20 minutes. The Vanquish I'd love to own is more like a one hour drive away, and I can drive virtually any Ferrari I might consider if I take a one-hour flight.

    So yeah, I'd expect to be able to demo or "test drive" ANY camera I was seriously thinking about buying...

    Wait a minute - do you mean you can actually fit in a Ferrari! I guess it helps only being 6'-6"!
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Creek View Post
    I really thought I "needed" a viewfinder and sliding back to do "proper" photography - ended up not needing either.
    ...
    once I do a spot check on the LCD I'll know I either have it or need to add another image for additional movement (I don't move the camera rather I add whatever additional amount of movements I feel is necessary and correct in post).

    Sliding back is the other item that was on my original must have list. Sure it looks good but does it "fit my workflow need"? The answer quickly came up no. Let's face it there simply isn't a decent groundglass available for MF.
    Don, sorry, honestly... you walk through the landscape place your camera anywhere, imagine a rough picture of what you will get, take a shot and check it on the LCD (on the LCD of the P45+ notabene). Afterwards you crop what you like.
    That's nice and that's doable but it's certainly not what I'd call composition.
    Do you know the ammount of shift in millimeters and what it means to sharpness fall off by estimation? No, not if you don't use the groundglass where you can see the movements in millimeters. The sliding back and groundglass are not only to focus, these are great tools for compostion. I fight for millimeters... i.e. move the tripod a meter forward... another half meter forward... another 20cm forward... all the time checking lateral and vertical movements.
    It's okay that you don't compose with the camera but instead with the computer... but that's not a well balanced reason to discard tools like finders, groundglasses, sliding backs (and if you would work with groundglass for composition - rather than focussing - you would understand the value of a sliding back).
    Again, it's okay that you don't need these tools or don't want these tools. But there is a certain justification for each of these tools - no doubt!

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by eleanorbrown View Post
    At the time I was relegated to working off my small laptop so to make the file more manageable I cropped off the sides...
    so you cropped the most interessting part
    still looks blury so i I would have cut the edges as well probably...

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by carstenw View Post
    Okay, I take back disingenuous and maybe give you unrealistic instead. In every category you care to mention there are items that a dealer doesn't stock, because they are special. Not only expensive items. I mean, you don't take hard drives out for a test drive either, right? And where can you test-drive a Canon 600mm f/4? And there are cars you can't test drive, at the top end. The arTec is no different. Don't expect to find one at your dealers. On the other hand, Tom was able to ask Sinar directly for a test drive, and IIRC got one shipped to him for a few days. I don't know what Arca does.
    Jack,

    Reading over this again, what I am writing is beginning to drift from the point I originally made, which was specifically addressing an earlier post of yours where you stated that a dealer should have an item in stock for you to consider not to be vapourware. In the case of specialty items, they may well not be in stock all the time, but I agree with you: a dealer should be able to arrange a full demo. In the case of the Sinar arTec, Sinar will arrange it directly, for people in certain places in Europe at least.
    Carsten - Website

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by thomas View Post
    Don, sorry, honestly... you walk through the landscape place your camera anywhere, imagine a rough picture of what you will get, take a shot and check it on the LCD (on the LCD of the P45+ notabene). Afterwards you crop what you like.
    That's nice and that's doable but it's certainly not what I'd call composition.
    Do you know the ammount of shift in millimeters and what it means to sharpness fall off by estimation? No, not if you don't use the groundglass where you can see the movements in millimeters. The sliding back and groundglass are not only to focus, these are great tools for compostion. I fight for millimeters... i.e. move the tripod a meter forward... another half meter forward... another 20cm forward... all the time checking lateral and vertical movements.
    It's okay that you don't compose with the camera but instead with the computer... but that's not a well balanced reason to discard tools like finders, groundglasses, sliding backs (and if you would work with groundglass for composition - rather than focussing - you would understand the value of a sliding back).
    Again, it's okay that you don't need these tools or don't want these tools. But there is a certain justification for each of these tools - no doubt!
    It's slightly more complicated that what you said in the first couple sentences.

    While I don't always use the full frame of an image I never did even when I was shooting 35mm. I feel that just because the sensor captured a full frame it doesn't necessarily mean I have to use it as I'm a firm believer of an image within an image. If you held my feet to the fire I'd say that I crop less than 35% of a single image capture.

    My normal landscape subject is vast stretches where I need movements to capture all I want to take in. Once I have the images stitched together I then evaluate it to see if it is pleasing by itself or in need of cropping (too much sky too much foreground etc.)

    Regarding knowing the amount of sharpness fall off per amount of movements - I know by the time I go out what the particular lens is capable of producing at a given f/stop and amount of movement so there's little guesswork involved. I am also beginning to use the groundglass more and more when setting the shot up as I normally use filters and in doing do I also look at what the effects of movements/filters will be before taking the capture. What I don't attempt to do is critical focus as I've found I normally don't need it in my work (shooting 99.99% infinity) and I've had no problems prior to getting the groundglass. This all may change if I decide to move to the P65 however for me right now it works.

    I take my time setting up for the shot by looking at the best placement for the tripod often times moving more than once before the image is taken. You may think differently and that's fine by me however I use my camera and knowledge of what it can do for me in composition not a computer. I learned early on that you can't rely on a computer or a piece of software to make a crappy image look better. You had better have a good image first otherwise all you have is crap. Here I believe we are in agreement.

    In speaking from my experience I addressed what I've learned regarding finders, groundglass and sliding backs. The point I was hoping to get across and apparently failed is to not jump in with both feet thinking that all these tools will make a person a better photographer. There are very valid points for the usage of all these tools however I've found either through workarounds of experience I didn't need all of them for what I do. Now if I did something else besides landscape say architectural or product work then I'd be all over them.

    I'm very comfortable with my workflow to the point I know for my applications I don't need a viewfinder.

    I've used a sliding back once and that was on the Ultima and liked it. Would I use it if somehow it became available for a WRS? I can't really answer that. Part of me says yes as it would be easier to use the groundglass and I might use it more often.

    Speaking of groundglass - I have one. Still new to me so I haven't gotten a lot of use out of it but what little I've used it I like it. However it's a PIA. Is it the panacea of all things wrong? Hell no. The major reason I got the groundglass was I need it to work with filters and I had a little extra cash so I figured why not. Am I happy I have it? Yes. The biggest problem I have is the additional steps involved in using it. I hope that Cambo will answer my prayers and come up with a cover to fit the adapter so that the back and adapter can be removed as one instead of separately.

    So there it is. I certainly hope this clears up any misconception I may have given regarding cropping and tools.

    Cheers!
    Don Libby
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    My fingers hurt from all the typing. Okay one finger of each hand
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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Creek View Post
    Regarding knowing the amount of sharpness fall off per amount of movements - I know by the time I go out what the particular lens is capable of producing at a given f/stop and amount of movement so there's little guesswork involved.
    I didn't refer to the sharpness fall off of a certain lens in general but the movements with regard to the composition. If you want to have a certain motif within a certain sharpness you can only see it on the GG. When I do stitching I capture a wider range as well but I know that I am going to cut the image at the point of, say, +/-15mm shift so that I am sure that the respective part of the motif is really sharp.
    I don't think that you can guess the frame in millimeters... without GG you can't even know the accurate center point of the image (note: photography has something to do with central perspective).

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    from what i have seen by Don, whatever method he is using is producing some outstanding images. He certainly doesn't need a lecture on the methods of composition.

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    Re: My thoughts on T/S for techical cameras

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    from what i have seen by Don, whatever method he is using is producing some outstanding images. He certainly doesn't need a lecture on the methods of composition.
    Be that is may. If it makes sense to him that's okay - no objection here.
    There are different purposes and there are different approaches.
    Reading some advices or suggestions here and a valuation of certain features, asseccories or capabilities of certain cameras I think the point of view is a bit restricted if you reduce everything to the needs of a certain style of landscape photography. And if every valuation is based on the experince with one camera.
    Naturally we always tend to judge about gear with regard to the things we shoot (me included, of course). But that does not necessarily mean that other purposes are non existant.
    Too, my impression is that a huge part of assessments here is very much based on the particular gear that is used and on its brand. I shoot Cambo and Phase stuff as well. A lot. And I like it. A lot!
    Nevertheless I see the limitations of my gear and think about the approaches of the products other manufacturers offer. That doesn't mean that I swap my gear next week. But it may mean that I talk e.g. to Cambo to let them know what I miss.
    Maybe I see it a bit too critcal as Don actually talks about his needs. On the other hand e.g. a sentence like this: "Let's face it there simply isn't a decent groundglass available for MF." is simply not true. Look at the arTec. Take a Fresnel. Or order a GG with split screen (but you'll need fast lenses then).
    Or use the GG for composition only and not for foccussing. Then again I can focus (within some limitations) on my GG (without split).

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