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Author Topic: Alpa or Ebony for DB Interiors?  (Read 15043 times)
benedmonson
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« on: September 28, 2006, 07:28:49 PM »
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I shoot tons of interiors with my Ebony SW45, but am forced to go digital. Currently looking to stitch shots with my 5D and 35 F1.4 lens, but know this only temporary until I can buy a digital back. With all of the new stuff coming out I'm more confused than ever.
That said, I would love to use my Ebony SW45 which can take a 35mm lens with a small amount of movements. Can the DB's in the market fit onto my Ebony? Am I better off for shooting interiors digitally getting an Alpa, they just seem so damned exspensive, are they worth it. I shoot enough to justify the exspense, they just seem really overpriced.
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Nick Rains
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« Reply #1 on: September 28, 2006, 08:41:41 PM »
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I shoot tons of interiors with my Ebony SW45, but am forced to go digital. Currently looking to stitch shots with my 5D and 35 F1.4 lens, but know this only temporary until I can buy a digital back. With all of the new stuff coming out I'm more confused than ever.
That said, I would love to use my Ebony SW45 which can take a 35mm lens with a small amount of movements. Can the DB's in the market fit onto my Ebony? Am I better off for shooting interiors digitally getting an Alpa, they just seem so damned exspensive, are they worth it. I shoot enough to justify the exspense, they just seem really overpriced.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=78219\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Have you looked at the Horseman SW-D? It's very neat and takes 24mm lenses. The Phase One backs fit it and the results are excellent.
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Nick Rains
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benedmonson
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« Reply #2 on: September 28, 2006, 10:15:58 PM »
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Have you looked at the Horseman SW-D? It's very neat and takes 24mm lenses. The Phase One backs fit it and the results are excellent.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=78226\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Nick,
Great website, very inspiring! Love it that you shoot the Ebony also, terrific cameras. I will look at the horseman SW-D closely. i already use 3 horseman backs on my Ebony and never a single problem. It's amazing how flat the horseman 6x12 back holds the film. Are you using digital at all now?
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ericstaud
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« Reply #3 on: September 28, 2006, 11:05:01 PM »
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I have an Alpa 12SWA, 24mm, 35mm, 47mm, and 60mm lenses.  I use it with an Aptus 75.  The combination is great.  I bought the Alpa over the Horseman and Cambo because of Dealer support.  

In May, when I bought the camera, I could find very little information about the Cambo or Horseman.  The Horseman only had 4 lenses available.  The Calumet website was a mess.  Often it listed lenses for the cambo as having a 3 month wait time.

The Alpa website had a wealth of information.  Badger Graphics listed prices for everything.  I ended up buying from Fotocare in New York.  Jeff is very knowledgeable and helpful.  With anything Alpa I wanted to buy from him, he either had in stock, or had it to me, from Europe in 3 days.

Architects like putting large prints on their walls.  I would not be afraid to put a 30" x 40" print from this system next to a print from 4x5 film.
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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #4 on: September 29, 2006, 01:44:45 AM »
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"I shoot tons of interiors with my Ebony SW45, but am forced to go digital. Currently looking to stitch shots with my 5D and 35 F1.4 lens, but know this only temporary until I can buy a digital back."

..."Alpa is Expensive"

So I read..

a) Budget is a consideration

B ) I guess that you subject matter is fairly Static - you have time to use 54

c) Mainly operating inside shooting tethered will not be out of the question

d) I assume you dont have a 35mm lense as it wont cover Film

FIRST I would try 'flat plane stitching' where you use a view camera to create many exposures moving the 5d camera keeping the lense still - these images stitch perfectly

Try a cambo ultima 35 -although there are costs in buyinng it but  you can get your longer lenses re boarded so the cost will be comparitively minimal, you will proably need to buy one more wide lense too 35 or 47 (47 has big image circle)
Cost $5000 total?

NEXT I would consider a second hand thethered only screenless back (hass V mount)

Such as the EyelikeM22 or Imacons  - find/get made a suitable way of attaching to your ebony, buy a wider lense and use that
COst $8000 total?

Maybe a 'digital view camera' with suitablly fine adjust ment like linhof would be the thing (with a tethered back)

Again to keep costs down you could investigate ALPA or Hoseman and one lense for ultra wide with a 645 system like Mamiya that has a 55 shift lense and regular longer lenses where movements may be less critical

--------------------

ALPA is a dream system BUT

-Apart from the XY you cant use it to stitch images so you are limited to an image the size of your sensor - so you can actually get bigger files with a 5d and a view camera

-movements are limited

-Due to it relying on a helicoid on each lense all old View camera lenses go in the bin and imply huge costs 're lensing'

The lack of focus aid means you might end up shooting thethered which negates the protability factor

Given the above theoretical problems I still think ALPA may win in the real world - if you are under commercial shooting pressures stitching etc can be too much of a pain
« Last Edit: September 29, 2006, 01:46:18 AM by Morgan_Moore » Logged

Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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Gary Ferguson
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« Reply #5 on: September 29, 2006, 03:24:59 AM »
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For architectural exteriors I use a Linhof M679 with a P25. It's a bit bulky for interiors because you really need wide, clear access right around any view camera to operate it efficiently, and if you're backed up into a corner in order to get lens coverage it can be a slow and clumsy experience.

So for interiors I sometimes use a Canon 5D or 1Ds MkII DSLR with the three Canon tilt & shift lenses. It's a fast, fairly compact solution, and gives pretty good results. But, if you want waist level viewing on the Canon you have to use their cheap and nasty angle-finder. Personally I usually shoot interiors (dometic or commercial, not industrial) with a camera height of about 3.0 to 4.5 feet, and I llke to spend a long time scrutinisinging the scene in the viewfinder, letting my eye adjust to the brightness level and making that mental transistion from 3-D to 2-D. The Canon just isn't a good tool for this way of working.

Most times for interiors I use the P25 on both a Hasselblad 903 SWC (with a ground glass focusing screen) and a Hasselblad Flexbody with regular Hasselblad lenses.

The Hasselblad Acute-Matte focusing screens are a joy compared with the screens on either the Canon or the Linhof, especially with the dedicated x3.3 magnification finder that gives a big, bright and upright image. You can see right into the deepest shadows so just it's like looking at the shot on a lightbox. The 38mm Biogon on the 903SWC has zero distortion and is extremely sharp, there's some vignetting but that's easily cleaned up in Photoshop. For movements the Flexbody offers about 15mm rise and fall and well over 20 degrees of tilt operated from the rear standard.

The Flexbody's other main advantage is that it's a great tool for close-ups, with a 22mm built in bellows extension. So if you tend to shoot a combination of wide establishing shots of a room together with close-up details then it's a viable and competent solution.

Still, everything in photography is a compromise and the Flexbody's main shortcoming IMO is it doesn't allow side and vertical shift in combination. It's also discontinued, but there's plenty on Ebay and they usually sell for under 1,000.
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free1000
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« Reply #6 on: September 29, 2006, 09:38:15 AM »
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I just got kitted out with digital. The big lesson I learned is don't buy anything without seeing *exactly* what you are buying working in your shooting situation.

I was given this exact same advice and while I did not ignore it, let the difficulty of getting a proper trial stop me. In the end things are working, but its been quite a long learning curve.

Wides like the 35mm are not that wide when they are on a chip with a slight magnification factor. When you put a wide like a 35 on a VC platform and try to use them in an exacting way with architectural subjects, all view cameras are hard to get in focus. Thats why cameras like the Alpa are so sought after.

I bought the Cambo Wide and it does the job very well. But its important to pick the right lens units and build quality can be variable. I also use my DB on my Ebony with 72mm, and 150mm lenses. This works quite well but is far slower than working with the Cambo Wide.

As for 1DsII. Yes, I have used that on quite a lot of jobs. The other day I opened up a file that I took for a client 2 years ago. My thought... what a shame I didn't take it on the Cambo and Aptus 75!  Once you see a file from a 33Mp back taken through a 35XL digitar there ain't no going back.
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Eric Zepeda
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« Reply #7 on: September 29, 2006, 09:52:44 AM »
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Once you see a file from a 33Mp back taken through a 35XL digitar there ain't no going back.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=78265\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

How true. Even with my lowly P25's 22mp files you can see it. For me, the Cambo WDS with the 35xl is a very capable solution, and very fast as well.
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Gary Ferguson
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« Reply #8 on: September 29, 2006, 01:21:17 PM »
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Wides like the 35mm are not that wide when they are on a chip with a slight magnification factor. When you put a wide like a 35 on a VC platform and try to use them in an exacting way with architectural subjects, all view cameras are hard to get in focus. Thats why cameras like the Alpa are so sought after.

Good point, I regularly find there's no alternative to using the sliding carriage on the Linhof to stitch two frames together using either a 45mm Rodenstock Digital, or even the 35mm Rodenstock Digital. But in either case the precision required to set up the camera is at the very limits of practicality. The Linhof M679 has geared everything, and I've been using LF for thirty years. But it's sobering just how long it took to adjust my working style to the far greater level of exactitude needed with digital, the results I get today are noticeably better than those I was getting two years ago with the same equipment, mainly because I'm now spending twice as long setting up the focus and camera movements for each shot with digital as I did with 4x5 film.
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pixjohn
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« Reply #9 on: September 29, 2006, 01:27:05 PM »
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I use a Cambo wide DS with a Leaf Aptus 75 back. The Cambo is a very fast and easy camera to set up and shoot on location. I use live video when I need it or just shoot a few frames to get the camera in position. I get slowed down with the Aptus 75 and having to shoot a gain file to solve the center line issue (leaf Center Line). I shoot with a 24xl 35xl and 47xl on the Cambo wide DS. If I need a longer lens I shoot with a 58xl on my Cambo Master pc. I would like a lens in between the 24xl and 35xl.
« Last Edit: September 29, 2006, 01:28:52 PM by pixjohn » Logged
ericstaud
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« Reply #10 on: September 29, 2006, 04:01:10 PM »
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"As for 1DsII. Yes, I have used that on quite a lot of jobs. The other day I opened up a file that I took for a client 2 years ago. My thought... what a shame I didn't take it on the Cambo and Aptus 75! Once you see a file from a 33Mp back taken through a 35XL digitar there ain't no going back."

This is my experience except for that my files come from a D2x as well as the Mk II.

The Aptus 75 costs about $600.00/day to rent.  Charge that to you clients.  It is less than they used to pay for film.  The Loan I have ($45,000.00 for the 75, Alpa, and 4 digitars) cost less on a per month basis than I used to spend on 4x5 film, processing, and polaroid.  I am saving money by shooting digital.

Also, I feel there a real danger for architecture shooters to talk their clients into the advantages of 35mm digital.  It may be hard to go back and say " I know last year I charged you $300.00 a day for shooting with my Canon, but this year thats not good enough and you need to pay $600.00 a day for my new digital camera."  It the end this makes you look bad.

One more thing.... with the Alpa-Aptus setup I spend less than half the time retouching than I did with the Nikon or Canon.
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benedmonson
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« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2006, 08:17:09 PM »
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I have an Alpa 12SWA, 24mm, 35mm, 47mm, and 60mm lenses.  I use it with an Aptus 75.  The combination is great.  I bought the Alpa over the Horseman and Cambo because of Dealer support. 

In May, when I bought the camera, I could find very little information about the Cambo or Horseman.  The Horseman only had 4 lenses available.  The Calumet website was a mess.  Often it listed lenses for the cambo as having a 3 month wait time.

The Alpa website had a wealth of information.  Badger Graphics listed prices for everything.  I ended up buying from Fotocare in New York.  Jeff is very knowledgeable and helpful.  With anything Alpa I wanted to buy from him, he either had in stock, or had it to me, from Europe in 3 days.

Architects like putting large prints on their walls.  I would not be afraid to put a 30" x 40" print from this system next to a print from 4x5 film.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=78232\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Eric,
Thanks for real world information. Your setup is my dream machine. Dealer support is a very important issue when dealing with this stuff. How is distortion when using the 24mm lens with objects at the top or edge of the frame?
Also, now with the new Alpa XY our, would you consider it over the 12SWA, which I might add is a very sexy looking camera!!!
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rueyloon
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« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2006, 08:17:18 PM »
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hmm....

why isn't a smaller view camera a solution ? for example the arca swiss 6x9 with a DB. You can still use all the digitar lenses on it (can you ?) but still get more movement compared to the alpa... just wondering.
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benedmonson
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« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2006, 08:32:11 PM »
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"I shoot tons of interiors with my Ebony SW45, but am forced to go digital. Currently looking to stitch shots with my 5D and 35 F1.4 lens, but know this only temporary until I can buy a digital back."

..."Alpa is Expensive"

So I read..

a) Budget is a consideration

B ) I guess that you subject matter is fairly Static - you have time to use 54

c) Mainly operating inside shooting tethered will not be out of the question

d) I assume you dont have a 35mm lense as it wont cover Film

FIRST I would try 'flat plane stitching' where you use a view camera to create many exposures moving the 5d camera keeping the lense still - these images stitch perfectly

Try a cambo ultima 35 -although there are costs in buyinng it but  you can get your longer lenses re boarded so the cost will be comparitively minimal, you will proably need to buy one more wide lense too 35 or 47 (47 has big image circle)
Cost $5000 total?

NEXT I would consider a second hand thethered only screenless back (hass V mount)

Such as the EyelikeM22 or Imacons  - find/get made a suitable way of attaching to your ebony, buy a wider lense and use that
COst $8000 total?

Maybe a 'digital view camera' with suitablly fine adjust ment like linhof would be the thing (with a tethered back)

Again to keep costs down you could investigate ALPA or Hoseman and one lense for ultra wide with a 645 system like Mamiya that has a 55 shift lense and regular longer lenses where movements may be less critical

--------------------

ALPA is a dream system BUT

-Apart from the XY you cant use it to stitch images so you are limited to an image the size of your sensor - so you can actually get bigger files with a 5d and a view camera

-movements are limited

-Due to it relying on a helicoid on each lense all old View camera lenses go in the bin and imply huge costs 're lensing'

The lack of focus aid means you might end up shooting thethered which negates the protability factor

Given the above theoretical problems I still think ALPA may win in the real world - if you are under commercial shooting pressures stitching etc can be too much of a pain
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=78236\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Morgan,
Thanks for the great info., exactly the line I've been thinking on. Shooting tethered not a problem as I used to do it with the Canon 1Ds and 24TSE lens hooked up to my G4 laptop. I eventurally went back to 4x5 and med. format film scanned when I got tired of the poor performance of the Canon WA lens. I'm very excited to use the flat stitching method this next week with my new RRS Pano rail and 35 F1.4 prime. I already had the Gitzo 1325 lege with the leveling base and B1 ballhead so the investment was minimal to try stitching until I decide on which camera system and DB to buy.
I think for now 22mp would be enough and may look into one of the screenless backs. As far as the Ultima 35 package I think I'll pass, have already explored this package and would rather spend that cash toward Alpa or other system.
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benedmonson
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« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2006, 08:37:31 PM »
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How true. Even with my lowly P25's 22mp files you can see it. For me, the Cambo WDS with the 35xl is a very capable solution, and very fast as well.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=78268\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Eric,
with your combo how wide does it relate in 35mm terms? 24mm?? I use the 90mm mostly on 4x5 and love the look it gives, hate using really wide lens, but there is not choice with such small sensors!!! I guess you can't have your cake and eat it to...
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Morgan_Moore
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« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2006, 12:19:09 AM »
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benedmonson..

By flat stitching I mean using a view camera where the lens stays still and the DSLR sensor is moved around behind this

This is not what happens with the RRS gismos

I dont think they can create the same effect

---------------

Ultima 35 - no I wouldnt spend the money either but try to make something on using the same principal (using an old SINAR or Cambo)

BUT it is cheap if it allows you NOT to buy a MFDB

---------------
rueyloon (mini view camera V alpa)

I think ALPAs theory is if you can get away with just rise/fall then introducing a view camera system with tilt just adds more bits that will 'flop around' (in terms of 1000ths of a MM) creating a risk of the image being a bit tilted when you want a straight one

One disadvantage of a mini view camera is it is unlikely to have space to stitch two images

For architecture I would aim for a rise fall system only

-------------------
It is a quaestion of balancing your budget, required movements, speed of operation etc

-------------------

For your information I purchased a SinarP2, Linhof sliding back and Digitar 47 Lense which seemed to me to be the Best combo of ease, quality and COST
(you can get a 44mp file from this)

My depressing reality  is that due to client pressures (speed) I tend to use my H1 and 35HC and attempt to correct its weakensses (CA and no movements) in PS


Dont disregard a MF SLR system especially one that has a 55 shift lens (mam rolei??)

-------------------

One comment on 22MP being 'enough' I would say that cropped to 'post box size' 6.17 format it is not 'enough'
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Sam Morgan Moore Cornwall
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ericstaud
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« Reply #16 on: September 30, 2006, 01:28:26 AM »
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Here is some more Jibber Jabber about the Alpa...

I got these numbers from an Excel document on the Alpa website...
The first number is for the Aptus 75, 2nd for Full frame 35mm, and the 3rd for 4x5.

24mm Digitar = 17mm 135 = 65mm on 4x5
35mm Digitar = 25mm 135 = 95mm on 4x5
47mm Digitar = 34mm 135 = 120mm on 4x5
60mm Digitar = 42mm 135 = 150mm on 4x5

So its only $13,000.00 to replace your one 17-40mm $1200.00 Canon zoom lens.  The prices between Alpa, Cambo, and Horseman are similar, but can vary alot from item to item.  You have to price the entire system.. Camera, lenses, viewfinder, groundglass, back adapter.... because on one item you will save several hundred dollars and on the next you will loose that much.


http://www.alpa.ch/en/solutions/solutions.html
http://www.alpa.ch/en/faq/knowhow/ALPA-CFL-Calc.xls

A few weeks ago I walked for two days in New York City with the Alpa-Aptus 75 and 4 lenses in a messenger back. I carried a small Gitzo 1258 carbon fiber tripod in a separate bag.  When I travel the enitre system fits in the Think Tank Airport Extreme bag and can be carried onto a plane.  The messenger bag then gets used for the laptop (which I did not carry in the city).  I cannot imagine doing this with my 4x5 or even with a Linhof M679cs.  There is a certain amount of my work where I would benefit from the  Linhof having swings, tilts, and lateral shifts, but I felt like the trade for greater portability was worth it.

I have read that there is great difficulty using swings and tilts with MFDB's and large format lenses.  The movements required for a 24 or 35mm lens are soo small that you really need a precision geared camera such as the Linhof.  My guess would be that an Ebony or other manual view camera could be near impossible to control.

-Eric
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ericstaud
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« Reply #17 on: September 30, 2006, 01:39:58 AM »
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Eric,
Thanks for real world information. Your setup is my dream machine. Dealer support is a very important issue when dealing with this stuff. How is distortion when using the 24mm lens with objects at the top or edge of the frame?
Also, now with the new Alpa XY our, would you consider it over the 12SWA, which I might add is a very sexy looking camera!!!
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=78336\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Here is a sample from the 24.  There is no distortion with any of the Digitars.   The perspective with such a wide lens becomes extreme, but all the lines stay very straight.

[attachment=998:attachment]
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pixjohn
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« Reply #18 on: September 30, 2006, 02:11:58 AM »
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I know Eric likes his Alpha as much as I like my Cambo Wide DS. I have no problem getting parts or lens with calumet. Either camera will get the job done efficiently.  I just wish Schneider had a few more lens to work with. I guess they  have a few more lenses this week  New Lenses I would like to see a 30mm lens

Cambo Wide
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« Reply #19 on: September 30, 2006, 11:23:11 AM »
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Most times for interiors I use the P25 on both a Hasselblad 903 SWC (with a ground glass focusing screen) and a Hasselblad Flexbody with regular Hasselblad lenses.

The Hasselblad Acute-Matte focusing screens are a joy compared with the screens on either the Canon or the Linhof, especially with the dedicated x3.3 magnification finder that gives a big, bright and upright image. You can see right into the deepest shadows so just it's like looking at the shot on a lightbox. The 38mm Biogon on the 903SWC has zero distortion and is extremely sharp, there's some vignetting but that's easily cleaned up in Photoshop. For movements the Flexbody offers about 15mm rise and fall and well over 20 degrees of tilt operated from the rear standard.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=78244\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Gary, with your flexbody what lenses do you use to get 15mm of shift or rise? I have heard the 40mm can not shift so is it the 50 or 60mm? It is just shift / rise / fall i am interested in..not tilts etc.

I am looking at shift options on the v system and wondering if the flexbody is shift usefull only wiht the 60mm lens am I better off using the 40mm on the pc mutar that gives the same shift with the lens becoming a 56mm. (plus it would save me on the 40mm lens!)

Thanks.
Marc
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