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Author Topic: Michaels hot new system.  (Read 17181 times)
bob mccarthy
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« on: March 08, 2006, 04:14:17 PM »
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I can feel your excitement in the way you wrote the new system. Jealous, you betcha I am.

I used a 4x5 Technikardan some years back. I still rue the day I sold it. The folding feature was very useful for transport to the field.

The do produce a medium format version. I keep thinking a digital varient is in my future.

Congrat's

bob
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2006, 04:31:56 PM »
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That system shames and frightens me.  I think I'm going to go with the key fob camera.
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Quentin
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« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2006, 04:44:55 PM »
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Great system, but the cost is prohibitive for most at the moment.  Being at the leading edge has costs consequences.  Nice system though  

My recent decision has been more retro - I am buyng a 10x8 field camera and shooting more sheet film while I bide my time and wait for the digital back market to shake out a little more.   Heck, its a view camera, but a big one, and there is something I miss about the look of film - and I have a drum scanner to do the scans so it sort of makes sense.

Quentin
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Quentin Bargate, ARPS, Author, photographer entrepreneur and senior partner of Bargate Murray, Law Firm of the Year 2013
Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2006, 05:01:49 PM »
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Hey, Michael! Wanna trade your spiffy new system for my FunkyCam? It's easier to lug around 'cuz you don't have to carry all those heavy pixels.    

Eric
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Kenneth Sky
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« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2006, 05:10:31 PM »
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I expect an evangelical report on the actual count of those angels on the head of a pin
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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2006, 05:19:35 PM »
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That kind of comment doesn't suit the purpose of the article or the investment it represents.

Just think of the very large panoramic photographs with outstanding depth and clarity this system will enable in places like the California forests and the landscapes of Namibia, to name just two that are relevant here.

This is exciting technology enabling yesterday's dreams - in the right hands - to become today's reality.

I much appreciated the exposition of the logical thinking that went into the construction of this system. The approach explained here is, in a number of ways both technical and financial, even useful to many of us making much less consequential and daunting purchase decisions.

Thanks Michael. Extremely interesting and looking forward to seeing the real meat from the field work.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
Gary Ferguson
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« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2006, 06:11:03 PM »
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Quote
I have found that all of my lenses with the exception of the 35mm Rodenstock HR have a big enough image circle to accomplish this without any vignetting, even with the back in the horizontal position, thus yielding a distortion free 2.2:1 aspect ratio image of stunning quality and extreeme enlargability.

Michael, thanks for a fascinating review. I'm also an M679 user, although in my case just with a P25. I was intrigued by your quote above regarding stitching. Has the Linhof sliding back changed since I got mine about three years ago? On my version there's no option to use the P25 in the horizontal position with the sliding back, if you did so it would extend beyond the "film gate". Consequently my ground glass is engraved only for two vertical 37x49mm frames to be stitched together to give a 49x71mm horizontal image.

I have made bigger stitched images, but not with the sliding back. I did it by using the geared movements and produced four shot composites. By the way, I've also found that when the wind gets up the sliding back can become a bit of handful, added to the bag bellows there's about as much wind resistance as you'd find in the average spinnaker!

Incidentally, you mentioned the problem of fitting the Schneider 35mm XL to the M679, they're supposedly releasing a new lens board and mount at Photokina which will allow it to be used on the M679 with infinity focus. Sounds like the holy grail, HR lens performance but with an extended image circle.
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2006, 07:28:03 PM »
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Michael:

First off, my compliments on assembling a truly state-of-the-art DREAM digital imaging system!  You will come to LOVE those Rodenstock HR lenses  

One comment: In one paragraph, you admit that achieving perfect focus is difficult at best -- and anybody who has shot with high-res digital backs knows what you mean.  However, in another you shun the scanning back because of the required tether...  I think one issue that should be clarified is the ability to electronically focus while tethered. I assume the P45 has this ability too.  

In the case of the BetterLight, the focus software is so sensitive you can see focus change just by applying finger pressure to the camera -- no doubt sensing the slight movement imparted to the camera!  I am amazed at how the slightest adjustment to the focus knob -- I am talking the slightest fractional twist -- imparts a direct and visible change to focus.  Of course this is as equally valuable a tool to confirm focus when adding tilts or swings to alter the PoF...

Moreover, in the case of the BetterLight software, you can view focus changes in the R, G and B channels independently. What is really surprising is that by using this feature you can actually see in real-time different focus points in the independent R, B and G channels, and thus see that even some of the most popular "APO" lenses are not truly APO!  

Cheers,
« Last Edit: March 08, 2006, 07:32:59 PM by Jack Flesher » Logged

hcubell
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« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2006, 08:32:31 PM »
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Very well thought out and well written article on your path to configuring your ultimate digital capture system, Michael.  However, I predict that you will stray from your chosen path and purchase a Hasselblad H1 for your P45 within 3-6 months. Except for obvious applications requiring the use of movements(e.g., architecture), my guess is the Linhof will wind up gathering dust.  You will probably find the differences between the Rodenstock glass and the Hasselblad/Fuji glass to be insignificant in even large prints, and the process of setting up, composing , focusing and taking down a large format system will unacceptably cramp your "style" of shooting.
I also think we will see a 50-60 MP back within 18-24 months. The 2006 PMA REport at Let's Go Digital's web site has an interview with Kevin Raber of Phase who intimates as much.
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michael
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« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2006, 08:36:36 PM »
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The P45 and similar backs can be used tethered, and a 100% magnification preview can be seen on-screen within a few seconds of taking a shot.

Working tethered in the field can be a pain, I've done it several times, but it is a joy in the studio.

I will be traveling with my 12" Powerbook and doing some tethered shooting on both the Redwoods and Namibia shoots, but likely not that often. Working with a view camera slows one down enough as it is.

Michael
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2006, 09:01:09 PM »
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Quote
Working with a view camera slows one down enough as it is.

True.  But that's not necessarily a bad thing
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michael
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« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2006, 09:24:16 PM »
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Howard,

You may be right about the H1 or H2, but the Linhof will be an important tool because of the architectural commission that I wrote about. I've been shooting 4X5" on and off both professionally and personally my entire carear, so it isn't as if I don't know what I'm letting myself in for.

When I'm shooting with Bill Atkinson next week, he'll be using a P45 and a complete compliment of Fuji lenses, so inevitably we'll be doing some side by side comparisons between them and my Rodesnstocks. Film (err... bits) at 11.

Gary – Not sure what the difference bwtween your Linhof back and mine is, but stitches work like a charm with the back in horizontal position. There's a smidge of vignetting at the sides which can either be cropped, or dealt with in Photoshop.

Michael
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macgyver
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« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2006, 12:17:06 AM »
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Michael, I really enjoyed your latest writing, but I'm left with one question.  How durrable is something like that system in the field in less than stellar conditions?
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Leping
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« Reply #13 on: March 09, 2006, 01:06:00 AM »
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Congradulations Michael -- and your recent articles are really more
than a joy to read!

We believe you are absolutely right that the limiting factor of the
DSLRs are not the sensors, and nothing compares to the real thing
especially at wide angle.

Wish you some great time shooting with Charlie and Bill, and
the next time you go to China please let me find you some right
connections -- to the local members of the Chinese Photographer
Association -- not the largest (because pear recommondation and
approval is required) but with no question the best, the official,
and the only one to deal with.  For examples they will open up
areas for you that are not open to general public, besides many
other things since it is still a contry governed by relationships not
the law.  I was in the Yellow Mountains a bit later than your trip
last year and heard a lot of stories.

http://www.chinaphotocenter.com/

Best regards,
Leping Zha
San Mateo, CA, USA
http://www.lepingzha.com
« Last Edit: March 09, 2006, 01:08:39 AM by LEPING » Logged

michael
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« Reply #14 on: March 09, 2006, 02:54:26 AM »
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Quote
Michael, I really enjoyed your latest writing, but I'm left with one question.  How durrable is something like that system in the field in less than stellar conditions?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=59855\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

How durable is which part?

My P25 was used in rain and snow (including Antarctica) for more than a year without missing a beat.

The Linhof is simply a view camera. Other than tearing a bellow, 9that's what gaffer tae is for) what can break? No instant return mirror, no autodiaphram, no motor, no meter, not nothing. It's simply a hunk of metal and plastic, and a pretty solid one at that.

Large format lenses are, well, lenses. Other than a Copal shutter, no moving parts.

In fact I'd say that this system is likely as rugged for field use as any I've ever had. The sliding back makes it a bit bulky (and can catch the wind, as Gary points out) but that's all.

The biggest danger that I see is losing the expensive KaptureGroup synchro cable (I have a backup).

Michael
« Last Edit: March 09, 2006, 02:54:49 AM by michael » Logged
bob mccarthy
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« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2006, 03:11:49 AM »
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I find it interesting that the Zeiss lenses were not up to snuff and the possibility that the Fuji lenses are.

I look forward to your further writing on the subject.

bob
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PIsaacs
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« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2006, 06:37:42 AM »
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Being an artist first and a photographer second (only coming to photography recently) I see the fascination with the “perfect” technique as a stylistic choice and not a 'ne plus ultra'. Raphael vs. Rubens, or perhaps better Van Eyck vs. Fra Angelico. It’s true that the apparatus of camera and lens pushes us towards Van Eyck. But I don’t think any photographer would say that a camera lens sees the same way as the human eye does. So it is an interpretation of reality like any art, and has its ideals like any art. The fact that a certain image from the “Funky” cam was so compelling as to be MR’s best recent image, according to his wife, is indicative that a broader view is necessary. We’re all looking for a great image that will say something special about seeing and life. But does it have to be so wrapped up in a technique of sharpness and resolution and high contrast? This may be the age of the technical. Yet there are plenty of great photographs otherwise.
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Kenneth Sky
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« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2006, 08:02:18 AM »
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Michael
I realize we're entering into the field of psychology but this setup begs the question "how fine a perceptual difference will this equipment make to the viewer of the finished print?" It would be interesting to have "double blind" comparison of prints made with this equipment and say an H1 with P25 back and Canon MkII in exhibition type viewing area by some knowlegeable critics. I realize that this equipment is primarily designed for poster size prints but for the more usual size art photography print will the be a noticeable difference?
Ken
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michael
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« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2006, 08:10:53 AM »
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All I can suggest is that you visit my current exhibition at the Pikto gallery in Toronto. (Runs through the end of March).

Pikto

There are 14 large framed prints on the wall, ranging in size from about 18 X 24" to 30 X 36". These are typical print sizes for gallery prints of landscape work.

Thirteen were shot with either a Canon 1Ds MKII or a Canon 5D. The 14th was shot with a Cambo Wide DS, P25 back, and Schneider Digitar lens.

Visit the gallery and tell me which one it is.  

I rest my case.

Michael
« Last Edit: March 09, 2006, 08:13:57 AM by michael » Logged
Kenneth Sky
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« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2006, 08:53:11 AM »
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Michael
I was there opening night andcouldn't tell when I came up within six inches let alone six feet. As you've stated many times we're reaching a plateau in technology. If there is an exponential cost ( in dollars, time, and effort) for a just noticeable difference in print quality, what is the point? I love the quality of the prints in your exhibition. Could they have been improved upon with this new equipment? That's a rhetorical question we will all have to wait answered at your next exhibition. Thanks for your Herculean effort. Let's hope it doesn't become Sysyphean.  
Ken
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