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Author Topic: Horseman LD quick review  (Read 5056 times)
BernardLanguillier
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« on: May 15, 2006, 02:11:13 AM »
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After having spent more time this weekend playing with the Horseman LD with my D2x, here are some comments:

TEST SET UP

Lenses used: Mamiya 45 f2.8 for 645, and Schneider 110 mm XL 5.6 for LF,
Body used: Nikon D2x
LF camera: Horseman LD with F mount adapter,

PHYSICAL CONSIDERATIONS

- The unit is well built and as a consequence pretty heavy (around 4 kgs if I recall),

- It is rather bulky, and I would find it pretty challenging to pack the LD in my usual backpack for trekking without un-mounting the standarts. Need to think more on this,

- Mounting the d2x on the LD isn't that hard, but it takes a bit of practise before becoming able to do it quickly. Unfortunately, it appears to be impossible to mount the D2x on the LD when the RRS L bracket is in place because of an interference between the LD and RRs backets when mounting the body. I need to confirm this.

- Although the front and read standards are correctly calibrated vertically, it appears that the sensor of the D2x is not centered with a lens for which the front standard would have been set a zero (no lateral shift). There is a need to apply a 8-10 mm side shift to bring the lens center in alignement with the sensor center. Without doing this, vignetting appears faster on one side than on the other when doing lateral back shift.

- MF lenses are mounted thanks to a special metallic recessed board made available by Horseman in Mamiya and Hassy mounts,

- LF lenses on a Linhof lens board can be mounted readily to the front standard thanks to a Sinar to Linhof holder. The shape of this adapter appears to be such that the center line of MF and LF lenses are the same,

- When working with a lens like the Mamiya 45 f2.8 that I have tried, the applicable amount of tilt is very limited because of how close the DSLR is from the front standard. Typically only +/- 5 degrees in tilt. Down looking tilt of the rear standard (very rarely used for landscape) is almost impossible (2.5 degrees only),

- It is difficult to use the D2x in portrait mode because of an intereference between the support bracket of the LD, and the cable release connector. No problem if you don't use a cable release (but that is kind of mandatory I feel),

- Since there is of course no coupling between the lens and the body, you'll need to stop down the lens manually before shooting. Pretty usual stuff for LF shooters, easy to forget when you shoot with a DSLR...

- There is a need to focus MF lenses near infinity to be able to focus the whole thing at all, at least for wide lenses like the Mamiya 45 f2.8. Since the distance between the prism of the D2x and the front standart is only 2-3 mm when focused at infinity, it is better to adjust focussing using the lens focussing ring instead of standards movement. Indeed, it is very easy to move the rear standard too close to the front one, therefore causing the prism of the DSLR to touch the front standard, which induces an unwanted slight tilt... This might in fact only happen when applying an upward shift to the rear standard... go figure why some of your flat stitched images are suddenly blurred... :

It took me a while to figure out myself.

SHOOTING EXPERIENCE

- Achieving critical focus proved to be easier than I had anticipated. At least, the results are sharp when the lens is stopped down to f11-f16,

- The main limitation is physical vignetting induced by the DSLR lens mount and internal structural elements and the LD's below itself. Lens image circle doesn't appear to be the limiting factor, even with MF lenses designed to cover 6*6. Even then, I got very good results with lateral shift

-- With the Mamiya 45 mm: up to +/- 20 mm and vertical shift up to +/- 10 mm (perhaps even a bit more),

-> This results in a perfect stitch that is about 10.000 pixels wide by 5000 wide in 8-images. These 8 images can be taken very quickly, I would say in 8 * (exposure time + 2 sec). There must be some light fall off towards the corners of the scene, but I didn't notice any with my test subject.

-- With a Schneider 110 mm: there is even a bit more room for shift, but I don't have the exact figures. The difference is not so big, and mostly result from the difference in size and location of the lens rear elements, not its image circle from what I could see.

- With both of these lenses, the resulting images are sharp, probably not 100% as sharp as those I get from my D2x with good old AFocused Nikkors at f11, but close enough to be very decent,

- Using the movements of the LD to increase DoF by using the scheimpflug rule is a lot more difficult than when working with 4*5 because of how small the DSLR viewfinder ends up being. The impact of subtle movements is very difficult to assess without taking a picture zooming at 100% on screen, which makes the process slow and cumbersome.

- Flat stiching using Stitcher 5.1 was OK, but a bug in the software prevented fully automated stitching. I had to use the semi automatic stitch mode, still fast, but not as fast as I would like.

CONCLUSION

Today, I still believe that cylindrical stitching with a good spherical head and PTgui has more future, but the LD's potential is starting to show.

I am actually thinking of writing a review covering this in more details.

Best regards,
Bernard
« Last Edit: May 15, 2006, 02:26:31 AM by BernardLanguillier » Logged

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SeanBK
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2006, 11:46:29 AM »
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Bernard, thanks for such a detailed explanation. I have been reading up & following your advice. I received my RRS ultimate-pro omni pivot  & BH-55 ballhead last week. I am using it with D2X(later on w/my H1). I have been impressed with quality of both RRS pieces. I haven't decided whether to go with PTgui or hugin. I've shot interiors 5wide & 2rows. There are some flaws in my work, but overall impressive. Would love to hear more of your LF review.
« Last Edit: May 15, 2006, 11:48:15 AM by SeanBK » Logged
BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2006, 04:32:50 PM »
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Bernard, thanks for such a detailed explanation. I have been reading up & following your advice. I received my RRS ultimate-pro omni pivot  & BH-55 ballhead last week. I am using it with D2X(later on w/my H1). I have been impressed with quality of both RRS pieces. I haven't decided whether to go with PTgui or hugin. I've shot interiors 5wide & 2rows. There are some flaws in my work, but overall impressive. Would love to hear more of your LF review.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=65551\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Glad to read that you like the RRS head.

Locating the lens nodal point accurately is a must for high quality results.

Cheers,
Bernard
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piksi
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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2006, 09:22:02 AM »
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Thanks for the review!

Things are starting to clear at least for me. LD has its downsides and same downsides will be present if I purchase a P2/P3 with adapter (the difficulty of aligning and restrictions in tilt and shift).

For a while I considered the Fuji GX680 III (please inform me if any of you has any information or if you own the camera, i'm still interested), but I soon noticed that fuji has 12 months ago stopped manufacturing the camera, and it's very hard to find even on ebay (there are some taiwan sellers with rip-off prices). I started to doubt the Fuji purchase after hearing about camera shake *even* with mirror lockup.

A medium format camera with shift and tilt and studio capabilities tempts me but I will not bother getting it if I need a 100kg tripod made of iron to keep it stable ;-) A possibility to use it on location would be a big plus.

Right now it seems like my only chance is to get separate equipment for studio and outdoors.... How have you solved this dilemma?
I prefer to keep the amount of bodies to minimum (less repair costs and investment) and buy different lenses which can be mounted to preferably all of the bodies I intent to use.
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SeanBK
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« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2006, 10:37:40 AM »
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Have either of of you guys tried out or have an opinion @ D2X with Cambo Ultima?
http://www.calumetphoto.com/resources/imag...a35Brochure.pdf
 That with Schneider lens rather expensive, but is it a good proposition??
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piksi
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« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2006, 01:56:45 PM »
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Have either of of you guys tried out or have an opinion @ D2X with Cambo Ultima?
http://www.calumetphoto.com/resources/imag...a35Brochure.pdf
 That with Schneider lens rather expensive, but is it a good proposition??
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=65794\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Yeah, I've been thinking about Ultima 35 for a long time, especially in my last thread where I searched for answers regarding horseman LD vs. Cambo 35 vs. Sinar P2 with adapter.

I see the solution quite clearly now, I personally need:

- One set for studio. Until I earn the money for a digital back I'm gonna adapt my EOS DSLRs to a Sinar P2 or P3 monorail with rodenstock lenses. And of course shoot 120/220 film. The lightset has been ready for a long time already (a set of Elinchrom 500 and Prolinca 400 flash heads)

- One set for travelling, this will be my EOS DSLR set because I really can't think of any other as portable, versatile and durable set to bring along with.

- One set for outdoor shooting. This is the point where I lost the direction. Fuji GX680 III seemed like a perfect solution thanks to the lens movements (I shoot a lot of architecture outdoors, so it's a MUST), and it is WAY MORE portable than any of the monorail systems.

Can anyone give me advices on where to find a suitable set? The canon tilt and shift lenses just arent enough, I have tried them and they are only sufficent for product shoots, not real architecture photography. In the Tech. University of Helsinki where I study architecture they use extensively Sinar 8x10 big monorails for architecture.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2006, 08:18:47 PM »
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Thanks for the review!

For a while I considered the Fuji GX680 III (please inform me if any of you has any information or if you own the camera, i'm still interested), but I soon noticed that fuji has 12 months ago stopped manufacturing the camera, and it's very hard to find even on ebay (there are some taiwan sellers with rip-off prices). I started to doubt the Fuji purchase after hearing about camera shake *even* with mirror lockup.

[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

If you intend to use your Fuji GX680 with film... then I would personnally suggest you to consider also other options like a 6*9 view camera.

The Ebony SW23S (see [a href=\"http://www.ebonycamera.com/cam.html)]http://www.ebonycamera.com/cam.html)[/url] with their optional roll film back slider (http://www.ebonycamera.com/acc.html) would appear to be a great option for instance.

At 1.6 kg, it is also much lighter and compact than then Fuji and will enable you to use any LF lenses down to 35 mm.

Regards,
Bernard
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2006, 08:26:57 PM »
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Have either of of you guys tried out or have an opinion @ D2X with Cambo Ultima?
http://www.calumetphoto.com/resources/imag...a35Brochure.pdf
 That with Schneider lens rather expensive, but is it a good proposition??
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=65794\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Sorry, no info here.

Cheers,
Bernard
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #8 on: May 17, 2006, 09:56:08 PM »
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If you intend to use your Fuji GX680 with film... then I would personnally suggest you to consider also other options like a 6*9 view camera.

The Ebony SW23S (see http://www.ebonycamera.com/cam.html) with their optional roll film back slider (http://www.ebonycamera.com/acc.html) would appear to be a great option for instance.

At 1.6 kg, it is also much lighter and compact than then Fuji and will enable you to use any LF lenses down to 35 mm.

Regards,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=65849\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

What an interesting 404 page that is.  I suspect the trailing ')' does not belong in the url.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #9 on: May 17, 2006, 11:11:23 PM »
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What an interesting 404 page that is.  I suspect the trailing ')' does not belong in the url.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=65860\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

And I suspect that you are right to suspect so.

Cheers,
Bernard
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piksi
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« Reply #10 on: May 18, 2006, 10:47:02 AM »
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If you intend to use your Fuji GX680 with film... then I would personnally suggest you to consider also other options like a 6*9 view camera.

The Ebony SW23S (see http://www.ebonycamera.com/cam.html) with their optional roll film back slider (http://www.ebonycamera.com/acc.html) would appear to be a great option for instance.

At 1.6 kg, it is also much lighter and compact than then Fuji and will enable you to use any LF lenses down to 35 mm.

Thanks for the hint on Ebony, I'll have to consider that one too. I'm excited about the possibilities that view cameras offer (In the department of architecture i'm studying at they use Sinar 4x5 and 8x10 bodies for shooting architecture), but I'm scared of the size and weight of those things. Ebony might just do it.

Btw, could you tell how wide were you able to go with the horseman LD on one shot photos? If I have understood it right, getting a 35mm LF lens and focusing it as close to the D2X/5D sensor as possible (so that the draw circle would be diagonally as large as with 35mm glasses) would the FoV be also 35mm in 35mm terms? What is generally the range of focal lenghts achieved with LF-lenses on 35mm bodies with one shot?
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #11 on: May 18, 2006, 05:08:01 PM »
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Btw, could you tell how wide were you able to go with the horseman LD on one shot photos? If I have understood it right, getting a 35mm LF lens and focusing it as close to the D2X/5D sensor as possible (so that the draw circle would be diagonally as large as with 35mm glasses) would the FoV be also 35mm in 35mm terms? What is generally the range of focal lenghts achieved with LF-lenses on 35mm bodies with one shot?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=65921\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The widest lens I own for the LD is a Mamiya 45 mm.

When shooting a single frame, it does indeed behave like a normal 45 mm on a D2x, and is therefore as wide as a 67 mm in traditional 35 mm terms. It would be a genuine 45 mm on a 5D.

Now, if you use back shift to flat stitch images, you can go significanly wider lateraly, a bit wider vertically. I'd have to check more to provide exact figures of how wide a lens is corresponds to. I'd say that the lateral angle corresponds roughly at least to what you would get with a 18-20 mm lens, vertically probably a 30-35 mm lens.

In the end, the limitation being physical vignetting induced by the lens mount/internal elements of the body, you might not be able to go as wide in 35 mm angle equiavalent with a 5D as you will with a d2x.

Indeed, the sensor of the D2x being smaller, light rays coming from the lens rear element will be able to reach the sensor without interference from the lens mount even if the sensor is shifted further sidewise. This is just a theoretical prediction, it would have to be confirmed with actual bodies.

Regards,
Bernard
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piksi
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« Reply #12 on: May 19, 2006, 02:56:38 PM »
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Thanks Bernard!

This clears it up. I will get a sinar p because of the expandability and modularity and use the eoses and 120/220 film backs with it in the studio and on field (though the sinar combo weighs about 6kg it's about as much with my canon gear (the lenses) so it's not really that bad.

I intent to get a rb67 / rz67 body to use the lenses with the sinar (in addition to rodenstock and schneider lenses). rb67 is familiar to me and it is light enough for longer journeys and field work. Whenever i need shift/tilts I'm going to bring the sinar combo.
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SJM
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« Reply #13 on: June 28, 2006, 04:27:27 PM »
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This is perhaps a slight diversion from the LD piece.

I did consider the LD but looking at the price I opted to make my own back for my Ebony.

It was very easy to do. Made out of seasoned Ash and the only cost was an EOS adapter (20 or $40). The only drawback was that the weight of the camera (a 1D MkII) was just a tad to much for the ebony, nonetheless still usable. I think the coverage was also greater than the LD but don't qoute me. A sturdier LF camera may be better able to take the weight of the Canon DSLR's. In the end I didn't use it that much because of changes in light, etc., between shots. I've stuck to using good old film, much easier.

A DIY is worth considering if you have an LF camera. Just copy the dimensions from whatever film back you use, find the appropriate seasoned wood that won't warp, then get the plane, saw and router out (or get someone else to do it for you).

SJM.
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