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Thread: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

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    Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    ...what do you think?

    For those who came from MF and now have used the D800 for some time-what did you gain, what do you miss?
    Has the content changed in your images? Do you shoot more(successfull) dynamic subjects?
    How do you like the IQ overall. Are you happy with the switch?
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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    1) MF still reigns supreme for ultimate IQ. Period.
    2) But the gap has narrowed significantly with the D800/E.


    Ergo, the largest hurdle is now justifying the cost differentials for the gains. MF manufacturers are going to need to (significantly) reduce the pricepoint on the 40MP MF backs if they expect to sell any. Nikon has ushered in an entirely new era for high-end digital imaging.

    That said, if you need fast strobe synch speeds, want the ultimate in color integrity or regularly make 60-inch prints, then the 50-80MP MF platforms still reign king.
    Jack
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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    1) MF still reigns supreme for ultimate IQ. Period.
    2) But the gap has narrowed significantly with the D800/E.


    Ergo, the largest hurdle is now justifying the cost differentials for the gains. MF manufacturers are going to need to (significantly) reduce the pricepoint on the 40MP MF backs if they expect to sell any. Nikon has ushered in an entirely new era for high-end digital imaging.

    That said, if you need fast strobe synch speeds, want the ultimate in color integrity or regularly make 60-inch prints, then the 50-80MP MF platforms still reign king.
    In agreement. One additional feature the Nikon is easier to shoot
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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    and...
    Mostly I like the LS lenses better than most I have on the D800, and there is NO comparison with the tech camera lenses at all.
    OTOH it is a whole lot easier to carry a three lens kit around town in a shoulder bag with the D800.
    -bob

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    As an owner of a D800E and Pentax 645D, I am not getting rid of the Pentax. They are both easy to shoot with--they are both simply DSLRs after all. Ergonomics goes to the 645D hands down. Image quality is a little harder, but I feel just get a wee bit more out of the Pentax (the D800 is rather new to me and I am still find out about how it renders).

    I think it might come down to lens choice; medium-format just does not have variety. If you need ultra wides or super telephotos or 20X zooms or f/1.2 apertures, the Nikon is your boy. Although I have heard more D800 owners stress over corner sharpness than the MFD folks, but that just might be hearsay and could be down to more folks shooting FF than MFD or just 35mm lenses having larger maximum apertures.

    BTW, I am very happy with the D800E. I will not be getting rid of that either...

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    What I really con not understand that Nikon is so slow to present some new nice prime lenses. Ok -there is a great 24, 35 and 85mm lens but still no high quality 50mm lens for example. I find it a bit strange to have an ultrafast AF in the camera and then have to use manual focus lenses for certain focal lengths.
    Both Canon and Nikon present all those f4.0 medium quality zoom lenses with IS instead.

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    What I really con not understand that Nikon is so slow to present some new nice prime lenses. Ok -there is a great 24, 35 and 85mm lens but still no high quality 50mm lens for example. I find it a bit strange to have an ultrafast AF in the camera and then have to use manual focus lenses for certain focal lengths.
    Both Canon and Nikon present all those f4.0 medium quality zoom lenses with IS instead.
    It is *extremely* difficult to design "nice prime lenses" when the pixels get as small as they are now unless prices go way up -- like to beyond the cost of the body for an optically 'perfect' 50 f1.4.

    To my thinking, optical perfection is over-rated and rarely affects overall image quality to the degree we obsess about it, so I for one am learning to accept my lenses for what they can do, and just go make images with them.
    Jack
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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    There is no big difference with the advent of the D800/E vs MF.

    MF has always been, so far, in the studio realm.

    It was not an outdoor type of equipment (I am talking commercial photography for our needs and not as a blanket statement for all photography).

    Our use of MF outdoor was rather limited and it is even more so today with the D800/E.

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    New Zeiss 55mm 1.4 coming next year is supposed to be really good. Will see, but better save your penny's now.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Let's wait and see what the 55/1.4 will bring vs the Noct58 and the LeicaR 50/1.4 E60.

    I am not queuing up to buy the 55/1.4.

    The 135, is another story and very interesting.

    Same for the 15.

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    New Zeiss 55mm 1.4 coming next year is supposed to be really good. Will see, but better save your penny's now.
    55 focal length would be perfect for me. Will it be AF?

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    No and close to 3k but it will knock your socks off. It should. LOL
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    As an owner of a D800E and Pentax 645D, I am not getting rid of the Pentax. They are both easy to shoot with--they are both simply DSLRs after all. Ergonomics goes to the 645D hands down. Image quality is a little harder, but I feel just get a wee bit more out of the Pentax (the D800 is rather new to me and I am still find out about how it renders).

    I think it might come down to lens choice; medium-format just does not have variety. If you need ultra wides or super telephotos or 20X zooms or f/1.2 apertures, the Nikon is your boy. Although I have heard more D800 owners stress over corner sharpness than the MFD folks, but that just might be hearsay and could be down to more folks shooting FF than MFD or just 35mm lenses having larger maximum apertures.

    BTW, I am very happy with the D800E. I will not be getting rid of that either...
    I don't disagree with most of the opinions stated so far in this thread, but I have a slightly different take on what Shashin expressed with regards to the Pentax 645D vs. D800....especially with respect that their resolution is quite similar. When the D800E was first released, I shot many subjects with both cameras simultaniously. Of course lenses on each were different and looking back now, I wish I had also used the adapter I currently have which allows Pentax 645 lenses to be mounted and used on Nikon SLR's...for a more equitable comparison.

    There are so many variables to consider but as a general observation, I felt both color purity/accuracy and to a degree the dimensionality of the image was superior with the Pentax. This was especially noticable in large format prints. I also felt it was generally easier to acheieve edge to edge sharpness in the wide angle range with the Pentax too. I simply felt for far less of a lens investment in terms of $$, one could achieve quite exceptional performance with the Pentax that easily matched that of the Nikon, assuming one was willing to use lenses stopped down on average 2 stops from their max aperture. Of course use of the Pentax in inclement weather (with a Pentax WR lens), was a natural for the Pentax.

    With all this said, the image quality of the Nikon was superb and as Shashin mentioned, lens choices are abundent with the Nikon as well the ability to use many of these optics at more open apertures. The investment in $$ though in order to achieve optical quality approaching the Pentax with the Nikon, required significantly more financial outlay (with the Nikon) than with the Pentax.

    Each system has its strengths and weaknesses and I could make a conviencing case for both. I still feel than many 40MP MFD cameras/systems can often still outperform their 35mm DSLR counterparts when it comes to using their output for large format printing, but to achieve this superiority often requires careful attention to detail with regards to both photographic technique as well as thoughtful selection in the choice of lenses.

    Dave (D&A)
    Last edited by D&A; 13th November 2012 at 23:10.
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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Interesting comments from Shashin and Dave. Although many excellent Pentax lenses are available at inexpensive prices, I struggle with the thought of spending 5k to get the 25mm for the 645D; for the same amount, I can get a Zeiss ultra wide and a D800. Not an easy choice. I really prefer the 4:3 ratio however. Last of fall color, 120mm:
    Tom


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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    For me, the IQ on the D800E is such a knockout and DR so great that as far as I am concerned, sensor wise, unless you want really huge prints (over 40") or extreme colour fidelity (as Jack points out) then the D800 is a no-brainer at the price when compared to the backs. It is easier to use and more flexible too.

    BUT as Dave has said, getting edge to edge sharpness is harder. The lenses on offer are much wider in variety and character, a bit lighter. on average a little cheaper (though that will change) but none of them can do what a great Schneider or Rodie can do. As Jack points out, that may not matter but if, to you, it really does, then MF still has an advantage.

    My IQ180 is still on sale at my dealer and there isn't a week that doesn't pass when I consider retrieving it. The rub is, that it is only on a tech cam that the results are so clearly superior that there's a real difference in prints under 40" and my favoured tech lens, the Schneider 35XL, doesn't play well with the IQ180 so I would have to shell out $,000s for a Rodie that does. Which money I would rather conserve for D800 glass. I would add that my recent addition of the Zeiss 21mm F2.8 and the Samyang 14mm f2.8 have really swung me back in favour of the D800. On both, there are apertures and focus distances that can get everything in focus and at lovely resolution and micro contrast.

    Having said all that I still sometimes, rarely, have the urge to print to 1.5 metres and in that regard, the IQ180 is the only game in town if you want the highest quality...

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    One big difference in all of this is raw processing. If you really want the best out of your Nikon it requires more work than processing MF files. Its really that simple, you really have to be very good at it to get to the MF level in processing. The D800E can get very very close to my IQ backs but it takes real dedication to working your files and you really need to pay attention to your shooting technique and unfortunately 35mm being easy to shoot many folks get sloppy. In all honesty it will come down to user in many cases. Sure MF is better on certain counts as we all know but if your really good at shooting the Nikon and on your game with processing than the results are very good. Sorry if that offends someone but it also needs to be said. This is work and to get to the levels of MF you need to invest in really good glass. Remember the body means nothing its all about the glass and the sensor.
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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    I dont own a D800 but just a D700 which is probably far behind the D800 not only in resolution.
    But if I compare the D700 to my S2 I totally I agree about the comment regarding post processing.
    I am spcially interested in skin tones of the D800. Have you guys mastered the processing of D800 in a way that you get skin tones the way you want?

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    Now, after switching from MF to D800...


    print it BIG

    click for actual pixels size (8.8 Mb)


    Nikon D800E • Carl Zeiss Makro-Planar 2/100mm ZF • 0.7 sec at f/5.6 ISO 100 • Lightroom 4.2

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Differences to me are:

    D800.... easier to carry around, and image quality is excellent.

    Tech cam.... Image quality and dynamic range are still king, although the D800 has closed the gap.

    With regards to the comment about Nikon not having a good 50mm lens, I like the 50 1.4G a lot, and it doesnt break the bank at $475. The Zeiss 50 1.4 is supposedly a fantastic lens as well. That being said, the lenses still dont measure up to my Rodenstock tech cam lenses.
    Bryan

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    It is *extremely* difficult to design "nice prime lenses" when the pixels get as small as they are now unless prices go way up -- like to beyond the cost of the body for an optically 'perfect' 50 f1.4.

    To my thinking, optical perfection is over-rated and rarely affects overall image quality to the degree we obsess about it, so I for one am learning to accept my lenses for what they can do, and just go make images with them.
    For some part I agre and I am not one of those who checks all corners at 100%.
    But I believe the difference in IQ and look of an image is more influenced by the lens used than lets say the difference between 1 generation of cameras.
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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    One big difference in all of this is raw processing. If you really want the best out of your Nikon it requires more work than processing MF files. Its really that simple, you really have to be very good at it to get to the MF level in processing.
    I think this is worth repeating. I'm in the position of looking for my next camera/system. I got to spend a little time in a studio with a D800 and a couple MF cameras last week. I was amazed at the resolution of the D800, but I never really got the colors to look quite right. I would say that the difference between a D800 and 40 mp, 1.3 crop digital back is primarily in color fidelity, sync speed, etc. Going to a full frame sensor has a different look and feel and a D800 can not touch an IQ180 in any way, but that is a pretty silly comparison. Where I would be curious is to see how it stacks up against a Aptus 7 or P45+.

    I'm on an interior architecture shoot this week shooting with a Canon and there is one shot we got last night that needed a 25 min exposure, and I don't think there are any MFD backs aside from a P45 that could do that. I was looking at an Aptus 8 and these two recent shoots have me reconsidering.

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    It is *extremely* difficult to design "nice prime lenses" when the pixels get as small as they are now unless prices go way up -- like to beyond the cost of the body for an optically 'perfect' 50 f1.4.

    To my thinking, optical perfection is over-rated and rarely affects overall image quality to the degree we obsess about it, so I for one am learning to accept my lenses for what they can do, and just go make images with them.
    To my thinking, camera body perfection is over-rated and rarely affects overall image quality to the degree we obsess about it, so I for one am learning to accept my cameras for what they can do, and just go on making images with my carefully selected lenses

    Horses for courses, maybe: - I'll be fascinated to compare a D800E image with one from a Leica M with a 'perfect' 50 f1.4 (or even a 'perfect' 50 f2 . . . . . . . . . €6000 is it?).

    I'm actually tempted by a D800E . . . . but I always come back to realising that the lenses I'll want to use on it are mostly not Nikon lenses . . . which means manual focus . . . and I just don't think it's the perfect solution for MF lenses.

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Well again this comes down to work and effort. I have 4 Manual focus lenses and maybe going to 5 for the Nikon and I am getting excellent results from that glass but I am also on tripod and using live view. This comes down to technique , manual focus lenses like my Zeiss glass and even my Samyang 14mm are excellent on the Nikon. This is when i care about what i am shooting. When its PR stuff and handheld than I just use a Tammy 24-70 still great results but not like my Ziess and shooting on a tripod and taking my time making real images. Matter of what you are shooting and what purpose are you shooting for will dictate the effort made.

    If you just want to go about shooting in a walk about well those are the results you will get , not the best out of the system but still very good. I will wash and repeat here the effort put out will dictate the results. Medium format by itself dictates more effort made simply because its not easy to shoot.
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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Let me clarify what I meant by my optical perfection comment: sometimes, optical *IM*perfections can ENHANCE an image, other times they may not matter. Take Mandler-esque spherical aberrations for example -- when used to benefit the image, they can create a work of art where a "perfect" lens would render a blah result in comparison.

    Ugly optical anomalies are another matter and clearly we all want to avoid them as far as it's possible to do so.

    Where we probably differ (now) is in the marginally significant anomalies like resolution falloff in the corners -- some of you obsess, others of us now accept. And yes you can see them in large prints, but my comment here is that in my humble experience, soft corners don't prevent people from buying large prints from me when the image itself is good. In fact, I am surprised by how often a client chooses a technically less-perfect image over the perfect one because they like something else about it -- and I'm not certain they even notice the imperfections to begin with -- but the result is the imperfect one is still "more than good enough" for their needs.

    I know these are some near heretical comments to those of you who search out and demand perfection (I used to be one of you), so my flamesuit is now donned .
    Jack
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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    First, more pixels does not mean softer images--it means you are magnifying your image more at 100%. Second, pixel resolution places no limit on print size.

    And to echo Jack, image quality is not a one way scale pointing toward perfection, but the flavor and spice that is added to the image--"more resolution" just means "more resolution," it does not mean "better." Personally, I worry more about what is between my corners rather than the corners themselves.

    My walk around camera is MFD. Easy to use and great results.

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    Where we probably differ (now) is in the marginally significant anomalies like resolution falloff in the corners -- some of you obsess, others of us now accept. And yes you can see them in large prints, but my comment here is that in my humble experience, soft corners don't prevent people from buying large prints from me when the image itself is good.
    But Jack - I don't even slightly obsess about image quality - which is why I've never indulged in medium format . . . . but for much of my landscape work soft corners are as bad as soft middles - it depends on your requirements.

    But in my experience, and in the current climate where there are so many good cameras, a good lens is more important than a good camera body.


    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    In fact, I am surprised by how often a client chooses a technically less-perfect image over the perfect one because they like something else about it -- and I'm not certain they even notice the imperfections to begin with -- but the result is the imperfect one is still "more than good enough" for their needs.
    I couldn't agree more - the picture I've sold most was taken with an E1 in a darkened room with camera shake - go figure.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jack View Post
    I know these are some near heretical comments to those of you who search out and demand perfection (I used to be one of you), so my flamesuit is now donned .
    They aren't heretical, and I agree with everything you say . . . . . except that I think a good lens is more important than a good body

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Well again this comes down to work and effort. I have 4 Manual focus lenses and maybe going to 5 for the Nikon and I am getting excellent results from that glass but I am also on tripod and using live view. This comes down to technique , manual focus lenses like my Zeiss glass and even my Samyang 14mm are excellent on the Nikon. This is when i care about what i am shooting.
    I think that's my problem with the D800e - you really do need a tripod to use manual focus, which is not true with, for instance, a Leica M, without the mirrorslap. Or even an A99 (which I do not have) which has sensor based image stabilisation and focus peaking - and still no mirror slap..

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    When its PR stuff and handheld than I just use a Tammy 24-70 still great results but not like my Ziess and shooting on a tripod and taking my time making real images. Matter of what you are shooting and what purpose are you shooting for will dictate the effort made.

    If you just want to go about shooting in a walk about well those are the results you will get , not the best out of the system but still very good. I will wash and repeat here the effort put out will dictate the results. Medium format by itself dictates more effort made simply because its not easy to shoot.

    Well, with the Leica M and lenses you can easily make 6ft prints to be looked at from a foot - hand held - with a decent Leica lens. I agree, you couldn't do that with a manual focus lens on a D800 . . . . . which is exactly my point.

    . . . and sometimes you couldn't get that shot without doing that long walk.

    There are many ways of making images; I don't think it polarises between tripod/live view/manual focus on the one hand and expensive camera with cheap Tamron lens on the other!

    for me a 'walk about' can be an intense photographic experience - carrying xxxkg of kit and a tripod does not assist -

    For you, and certainly the conventional wisdom is that making it 'more difficult' (whether with medium format / tripod / whatever) means you concentrate more - and therefore get better pictures. For me (and others as well) making it 'more difficult' is a distraction from a concentration on the image itself and the thought processes behind it . . . and makes the image more anodyne and less interesting.

    It takes all types!

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    You kind of missed my point but Im on deadline so maybe later i can explain what i meant better. You can certainly focus a D800 on manual even better than any M camera around even without live view. For people with the most exacting needs than yes a tripod and live view is the better tool but by no means did I say you cant focus a manual lens with a D800 hand held.
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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Quote Originally Posted by jonoslack View Post
    I think that's my problem with the D800e - you really do need a tripod to use manual focus, which is not true with, for instance, a Leica M, without the mirrorslap. Or even an A99 (which I do not have) which has sensor based image stabilisation and focus peaking - and still no mirror slap..




    Well, with the Leica M and lenses you can easily make 6ft prints to be looked at from a foot - hand held - with a decent Leica lens. I agree, you couldn't do that with a manual focus lens on a D800 . . . . . which is exactly my point.

    . . . and sometimes you couldn't get that shot without doing that long walk.

    There are many ways of making images; I don't think it polarises between tripod/live view/manual focus on the one hand and expensive camera with cheap Tamron lens on the other!

    for me a 'walk about' can be an intense photographic experience - carrying xxxkg of kit and a tripod does not assist -

    For you, and certainly the conventional wisdom is that making it 'more difficult' (whether with medium format / tripod / whatever) means you concentrate more - and therefore get better pictures. For me (and others as well) making it 'more difficult' is a distraction from a concentration on the image itself and the thought processes behind it . . . and makes the image more anodyne and less interesting.

    It takes all types!
    I dont think medium format necessarly means more difficult.
    For example autofocusing with the S2 (if we can consider it MF) and framing is easier and more accurate compared to using the M (Carrying 4 lenses is not easier ) I do however agree that I find focusing anything 50mm and less easier with the M than with my D700.

    The reason why I get interest in a DSLR again is for 2 reasons: 1-fast AF for dynamic situations 2-if there is not much light

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    You kind of missed my point but Im on deadline so maybe later i can explain what i meant better. You can certainly focus a D800 on manual even better than any M camera around even without live view.
    Hi Guy
    I didn't miss your point - no need for a better explanation - I was just pointing out that there were more than two ways to make an image.

    . . but focusing a D800 on manual better than any M camera around, even without live view . . . . you mean . . .
    . . . better an M with focus peaking, focus assist . . . I don't think so!
    Last edited by jonoslack; 14th November 2012 at 13:57.

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    I think each of us has an aesthetic in mind when making photographs, and select the tools that get us as close as possible to our personal ideal. There are so many different choices now that one should be able to get a tool that satisfies our personal notions aesthetically and functionally.

    Plus, depending on the task, how much work is required to get there can play a role: either carrying the gear, how fast/accurate the tool may be, or how much post work is required after the fact. Those factors can vary widely in importance from person to person.

    Personally, no matter how hard I tried and practiced, or changed screens or added mags, I have never been able to manually focus any 35mm SLR/DSLR nearly as well as a Leica M. That Guy feels differently, doesn't alter my reality. Besides, a rangefinder represents a totally different approach to photography for me, so even if they were equal, it would be moot point.

    Since getting the S2, I've become quite attached to it. At first I worried about optical "character", but post improvements and practice makes perfect, and it has come to consistently meet my aesthetic desires with a look and feel I see as uniquely fitting what I want ... plus it is a dual shutter camera that meets far more of my needs than any 35mm DSLR can.

    My Hasselblad is now relegated back to the studio ... where it started years ago. It produces the color fidelity I have to have for the studio work I do. I should have got a Multi-Shot rather than a single shot for that very reason ... but hindsight is always 20/20

    I think the D800 is a fab camera, but no 35mm DSLR holds any interest for me what-so-ever anymore. I was informed that a A99 was available ... and as good as it seems, I passed on it. My objective is to limit or eliminate 35mm DSLRs, not add to them.

    -Marc
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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I think each of us has an aesthetic in mind when making photographs, and select the tools that get us as close as possible to our personal ideal. There are so many different choices now that one should be able to get a tool that satisfies our personal notions aesthetically and functionally.
    HI Marc
    you put it so eloquently - I actually agree with most of the rest of your post, but this is certainly the nub.

    .. . . . . . i don't seem to have a 35mm dSLR anymore either!

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    I also find the idea of being a slave to our equipment odd. The idea the only way to get the "most out of" the D800 is to weld it to a tripod, use laser sightings to get focus, and set the aperture to f/8 is a little silly. It isn't any harder to focus or hold than any other 35mm SLR. When did photography just become an exercise in maximizing MTF?
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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    I surely love the D800e files. The best shots ever were from an 8X10 welded to a tripod, use massive loops to get focus, and set the aperture to f/22. The answer to your question, "When did photography just become an exercise in maximizing MTF" is about a hundred years ago.
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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    For me, using lenses with character over lenses with optical perfection has boosted the overall impact in my images. I stopped looking for corner to corner sharpness years ago, and looked for lenses that exhibit a unique 'feel' that I can use to add an emotional edge to the image.

    This isn't something new though.. I spent decades with friends with the latest 4x5 gear, with the highest resolution lenses, and able to print perfect cibachrome or dye transfer prints.

    The result were the most perfect.. boring.. prints you can imagine.

    Guy or Jack can teach you 99.9999% of all you need to know about the technical aspects of photography in a single workshop (can probably be done in a weekend workshop).

    It isn't whether the files from an 800 are 'better' than MF.. it's knowing how to use the tools you happen to have to produce work that says 'something' (unless what you're trying to say are technically perfect, high resolution, lifeless print.. then all that matters is the gear)

    (btw.. it's an added benefit that Guy/Jack can start to convey the emotional aspect of photography in addition to the technical... and i have no affiliation to their business)
    Jim Collum
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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Quote Originally Posted by DennisHHH View Post
    The answer to your question, "When did photography just become an exercise in maximizing MTF" is about a hundred years ago.
    History would not agree with that...

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Quote Originally Posted by JimCollum View Post
    For me, using lenses with character over lenses with optical perfection has boosted the overall impact in my images. I stopped looking for corner to corner sharpness years ago, and looked for lenses that exhibit a unique 'feel' that I can use to add an emotional edge to the image.

    This isn't something new though.. I spent decades with friends with the latest 4x5 gear, with the highest resolution lenses, and able to print perfect cibachrome or dye transfer prints.

    The result were the most perfect.. boring.. prints you can imagine.

    Guy or Jack can teach you 99.9999% of all you need to know about the technical aspects of photography in a single workshop (can probably be done in a weekend workshop).

    It isn't whether the files from an 800 are 'better' than MF.. it's knowing how to use the tools you happen to have to produce work that says 'something' (unless what you're trying to say are technically perfect, high resolution, lifeless print.. then all that matters is the gear)

    (btw.. it's an added benefit that Guy/Jack can start to convey the emotional aspect of photography in addition to the technical... and i have no affiliation to their business)
    Excellent post Jim. Love your work, always have ... precisely for that emotional component reason.

    However, we have to remember that photography encompasses a wide range of objectives ... not just landscapes.

    I think there is a time and place for all types of emphasis. When shooting products in studio, especially precision oriented subjects, my view camera, 60 meg back and Rodenstock optics render exactly what is needed. In this case "clinical" is highly desirable, even mandatory. At that point these tools have no other purpose what-so-ever because most of my work is about people and the human condition.

    I also think that such rapidly advancing technology has swung the photo-focus far to much to the science side and content has suffered for it. I often wonder why we jump from lilly pad to lilly pad before we actually master a tool to the point that the technology disappears into the background, and all our efforts then become dedicated to making a meaningful image with interesting content presented in an emotive manner.

    IMO, no matter how technically astute one may be, struggling with each new tool and the challenges they present robs one of the emotional energy and focus need to dig down deep and make images of deeper meaning and engagement.

    I was struck by this when Canon Ambassador Jeff Ascough introduced living legend Don McCullin to digital capture ... who was somewhat clueless about the technology ... love his take on "chimping" the LCD.

    Canon Professional Network - Don McCullin Feature

    While I would probably be classified as a gear head, in reality I haven't altered my tools all that much ... been using the H camera now for many years, the M camera for most of my adult life, and the S2 is simply an extension of my long used R system to my way of thinking ... at least now that I have mastered the aesthetic aspects that bring the imagery in very tightly to the M9 look and feel. 35mm DSLRs have been an anomaly to that, but only because of wedding work ... I almost never use them for any other type of photography.

    The day I eliminate 35mm DSLRs from my tool box is the day I throw liberation confetti in the air ... odd words from a gear head.

    - Marc

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Hey,

    I sold my 1Ds Mk III after I upgraded to Hasselblad H4D-40 this year. Bought a X-Pro1 instead.

    After a few months:

    - I sold my X-Pro1
    (it's just a nice camera, but not usable for my kind of studio work)

    - I bought a Nikon D600
    (intention was: a smaller FF, not "the same" as my big iron)

    After a few weeks, I can clearly say, that in terms of Picture Quality, Dimensionality etc etc. the Hasselblad is by far better than the Nikon. MOre pixels will not bring more 3D into a FF-Sensor.

    I had the same finding with my old H3D-22, although the same pixels as my 1Ds Mk III, total different IQ - and oh, the Bokeh!

    Lenses are Key. And I don't want to spend a $ 3k for a Zeiss Premium Lens that still has no AF ... wtf ?

    I only own a 50mm 1.4 and the 24-70 2.8 for my Nikon - the results are wonderful, not only in terms of sharpness but also in color, usability, High-Iso (Night-Shots from a roof for example) and all the other things you get with a small camera that has a state-of-the-art sensor.

    Would I sell my Hasselblad? Never! Just put up the 50mm on the Nikon and the 80mm on the H4D - both are almost the same FOV, but at 1.4, the Nikon is a soft piece, whereas the HC 80 @ 2.8 is totally sharp - corner to corner.

    Next thing is: The files. As already mentioned, you can do things to a Hasselblad RAW that is simply not possible with a NEF-File.

    S.
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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Daguerre and Niepce were always striving for better quality and faster lenses, less field curvature, etc. The quantitative data standards of MTF, might not have been established, but its steeped in early photographic history.

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Quote Originally Posted by Stan ROX View Post
    MOre pixels will not bring more 3D into a FF-Sensor.

    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

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

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Quote Originally Posted by johnnygoesdigital View Post
    Daguerre and Niepce were always striving for better quality and faster lenses, less field curvature, etc. The quantitative data standards of MTF, might not have been established, but its steeped in early photographic history.
    No argument there, but that does not describe ALL of photographic history. For every photographer that was stressing over every technical quality, I can find one that wasn't.

    Now, if a high-level of technical perfection is part of your work, more power to you. But that does not mean that is the only successful approach to photography.

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Pixel resolution is not the first thing I look for in a camera. And with the increase in the number of pixels offered today, the less relevant it becomes. It is kind of like house prices, a $500,000 house must be twice as good as a $250,000 one...

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    No argument there, but that does not describe ALL of photographic history. For every photographer that was stressing over every technical quality, I can find one that wasn't.

    Now, if a high-level of technical perfection is part of your work, more power to you. But that does not mean that is the only successful approach to photography.
    Sometimes it sounds that "technical perfection" is making things more difficult.
    I do believe however that it can make things more simple as well. Because you know the equipment is not the weak point and you can rely on it.

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    Sometimes it sounds that "technical perfection" is making things more difficult.
    I do believe however that it can make things more simple as well. Because you know the equipment is not the weak point and you can rely on it.
    HI Tom
    I quite agree - I think it depends whether the quest for technical perfection gets in the way of the quest for a good image - if it doesn't then that's great.

    For me that's the best reason for using a good quality lens - you don't need to consider whether it's going to vignette badly wide open or whatever. I've purchased so many mediocre lenses - either because they're cheap, or because they offer a tempting zoom range . . . hoping against hope that they wouldn't be mediocre (and always being disappointed). Added to which there isn't any complication using a decent lens.

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Quote Originally Posted by Paratom View Post
    Sometimes it sounds that "technical perfection" is making things more difficult.
    I do believe however that it can make things more simple as well. Because you know the equipment is not the weak point and you can rely on it.
    Not really. Technical perfection, at least those qualities controlled by the photographer, is easy, or it should be. And knowing the equipment is even easier as you don't even need technical perfection for that--how hard is focus and exposure anyway?

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    I've had my d800 for four months and have used it about ten times as much as I expected. My plan was to use it in place of medium format—not because I think it's "as good," but because the technical camera kit I'd like to have is orders of magnitude out of my price range.

    I've been pleased with the big camera style work that I've done, although I find working with the dslr to be a bit fussy and clunky compared with working with 4x5 film (where most of my experience is).

    The big surprise is how much I've taken to using it as a small camera. I got seduced by its nimbleness and low light abilities immediately, and it suckered me into starting a project that seems almost like (gasp!) street photography. Not my usual thing, but there it is, and inspired by a stupid camera!

    I'd be harder pressed to say I've fallen in love with it, though. I'm finding it to be a very trustworthy and capable tool, but there's something about the software and all the little buttons that keeps it from really feeling like an extension of my nervous system. I don't know if this is the cameras fault, or if it's just me being a luddite ... most of my photo experience is with cameras that have big knobs, no batteries, and the basic technology of a wind-up clock.
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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Thanks Marc,

    My mind wasn't even in that direction for the post.. but you're right in that regard... commercial photography is another beast... actually, i'd consider it an art form in itself, with much greater technical craftsmanship necessary than most landscape/fine art. (i'm putting studio and architectural both in that arena)

    There are probably a dozen photographers on this forum that actually fit into that category (myself, not being one, and Marc.. you definitely in that mix). While there are probably many more here that understand that aspect of photography, and can probably do it from 'recipe'.. few actually produce that work that contains a 'signature'.. someone who's name comes up automatically when a random commercial piece is shown.

    I guess one of my points is that, other than those few dozen or so.. the time and money would better be spent in honing those skills, rather than worrying about MTF curves and pixel density of sensors. Other than just the experience of the 'joy of gear' (of which i partake as well) the differences won't be apparent in the actual work as the lack of skill in the other areas.)


    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    I think there is a time and place for all types of emphasis. When shooting products in studio, especially precision oriented subjects, my view camera, 60 meg back and Rodenstock optics render exactly what is needed. In this case "clinical" is highly desirable, even mandatory. At that point these tools have no other purpose what-so-ever because most of my work is about people and the human condition.

    I also think that such rapidly advancing technology has swung the photo-focus far to much to the science side and content has suffered for it. I often wonder why we jump from lilly pad to lilly pad before we actually master a tool to the point that the technology disappears into the background, and all our efforts then become dedicated to making a meaningful image with interesting content presented in an emotive manner.

    IMO, no matter how technically astute one may be, struggling with each new tool and the challenges they present robs one of the emotional energy and focus need to dig down deep and make images of deeper meaning and engagement.


    - Marc

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    from a 'useability' point of view, i've found (and it seems it's a common observation), the D800 to be much 'easier' to use and set up. That is probably a good thing in most cases.. but I wonder how much is lost from the forced introspection that goes on during difficult set-ups. I know you can put yourself in the same frame of mind with any camera... but most don't.. and having those extra minutes to even wonder.. should I even take a shot.. help in developing quality. I know from shooting 4x5, that the resulting images are different than I've taken with 35mm or MF. I think that has a lot less to do with lens quality and film size (sensor size), as the self censoring that goes on when you're wasting time instead of shots/film.

    I still take the 4x5 & Betterlight out.. not for better tech quality, but for the frame of mind it puts me in

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    Not really. Technical perfection, at least those qualities controlled by the photographer, is easy, or it should be. And knowing the equipment is even easier as you don't even need technical perfection for that--how hard is focus and exposure anyway?
    To answer your question, very, very hard indeed.

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    Re: Now, after switching from MF to D800...

    Quote Originally Posted by JimCollum View Post
    Thanks Marc,

    My mind wasn't even in that direction for the post.. but you're right in that regard... commercial photography is another beast... actually, i'd consider it an art form in itself, with much greater technical craftsmanship necessary than most landscape/fine art. (i'm putting studio and architectural both in that arena)

    There are probably a dozen photographers on this forum that actually fit into that category (myself, not being one, and Marc.. you definitely in that mix). While there are probably many more here that understand that aspect of photography, and can probably do it from 'recipe'.. few actually produce that work that contains a 'signature'.. someone who's name comes up automatically when a random commercial piece is shown.

    I guess one of my points is that, other than those few dozen or so.. the time and money would better be spent in honing those skills, rather than worrying about MTF curves and pixel density of sensors. Other than just the experience of the 'joy of gear' (of which i partake as well) the differences won't be apparent in the actual work as the lack of skill in the other areas.)
    Actually, I was in violent agreement with you.

    The Commercial aspect was merely a foot-note ... in fact many commercial photographers I've worked with in past were successful because of their ideas ... their tech people attended to the other stuff.

    Commercial studio work makes up maybe 10% of my shooting these days ... the remainder is spent defining some sort of visual voice that speaks to people ... if that's what you mean by signature.

    -Marc

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