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Author Topic: Is MF Digital Just Too Risky?  (Read 9553 times)
Nemo
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« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2006, 04:15:42 AM »
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I had  a very similar reaction to the "news" at Photokina. The thought of buying into the  HY6 camera  system from a cobbled together  group of companies , with the lead being taken on the camera front by a company---Rollei--- with little marketing capabilities, a marginal record of customer service in North America, and economic fortunes that seem to always be on the edge, does not engender in me a  sense of confidence about plunking down $50K. And, it's not even around for probably another year.
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I agree. The presentation of the Hy6 has been a marketing disaster.

Rollei is nothing in the actual market. They must to explain what are the strong points of this new "open" platform and what are the compromises assumed with potential clients. What are you offering, why it is a good offer, what problems and demands of clients are you serving better, what are the new possibilities that this system brings and competitors cannot offer, how strong is the involvement of the different companies (and their future plans...).

The Hy6 present more unknowns than responses at this moment. To make things worse, Leica buys Sinar to Jenoptik. Why they did it? What is the role of Leica and Jenoptik in the MF market? Leaf camera was a last minute idea. It was not planned a Leaf clon of the Rollei camera.

This is not a open and public standard, like the 4/3 system is. This is a de facto semi-open platform based on internal (secret) agreements among several companies. We don't know the terms of those agreements. Rollei developed the camera based on the 6000 series, but we don't know if Sinar participated in it. We don't know who paid the bills. We don't know who is the owner of the patents. We don't know if Phase One will be invited or blocked. We know nothing about the "openess" of this "system". We don't know if Schneider and Zeiss are involved in the project, and if Leica will offer lenses or not (Sinar was involved in it before Leica purchased them... What is Leica thinking about the Hy6? Is it a mere collateral "accident" of the puchase?).

Hasselblad has a stronger position in the MF market, only challenged by Canon (from "outside"). Mamiya is in trouble. Pentax will try. They will offer "closed" MF solutions. Say bye-bye to the other contenders (digital backs manufacturers like Sinar, Leaf, Phase One...).

So... there is an opportunity for a new contender that offers a better solution than Hasselblad (more open, more friendly to photographers) and good (modern, full of features) enough to fight against Canon. Leaf, Phase One, Sinar, Rollei... should establish a new standard, open to all, under clear and public specifications, with a clear commitment from expressely involved companies, and make public all the information in a ordered and clear form. The 4/3 consortium is an acceptable model for one such "open platform". This new "open" and well defined standard is a must, absolutely. If these companies try to go to war separated, I give them a few months of life... Things are changing, competition is stronger and the camera manufacturers are closing their cameras and providing "in house" digital solutions... it is clear to me what will happen...

This is not a question of engineering, but marketing... simple and pure market strategy.

I wish and hope these German companies wake up...
« Last Edit: October 01, 2006, 06:45:34 AM by Nemo » Logged
izaack
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« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2006, 05:36:20 AM »
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Well said, Nemo. I agree with you. Too many uncertainties with the Rollei. Too many hastily jumping on the bandwagon. They could just as easily jump off.

 Like them or hate them, at least Hasselblad were showing a real camera.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2006, 05:48:23 AM by izaack » Logged
ronno
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« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2006, 08:29:18 AM »
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Hi, I understand your points about not wanting to have the same camera as the AD who is breathing down your neck.  And I concur.
However, there are many, many ADs (at least here in Yew York) who do not care what camera you are using, even if it's a Canon.

I had a meeting with someone at Victoria's Secret (I know, it's not exactly architecture photography...) -- and they use some of the most high profile photographers and the highest paid models in the world -- some of whom command 6 figure day rates for advertising.
She told me she sees her photograhers use film cameras, Canons, Contax with $40K backs, etc. and Victoria's Secret are happy to let the photographes use whatever they are most comfortable using. For their catalogs, large in-store posters, etc. she has no complaints about the end results from any of the above systems.

While I agree that the MF setup looks more profesisonal, etc., I want to make the point that there is less and less resistance to using small format digital in the commercial marketplace, and that the end result of many projects do not take advantage of any increase in resolution or sharpness associated with a larger chip.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2006, 08:47:35 AM by ronno » Logged
sundstei
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« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2006, 09:16:21 AM »
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I had a meeting with someone at Victoria's Secret (I know, it's not exactly architecture photography...) -- and they use some of the most high profile photographers and the highest paid models in the world -- some of whom command 6 figure day rates for advertising.
She told me she sees her photograhers use film cameras, Canons, Contax with $40K backs, etc. and Victoria's Secret are happy to let the photographes use whatever they are most comfortable using. For their catalogs, large in-store posters, etc. she has no complaints about the end results from any of the above systems.

Actually, Russell James shot his "limited edition" book for VicSecret with an old 1Ds
Results seemed "adequate"  

With all the post-processing that is done on most photos these days, its very difficult to see which are actually shot on DSLRs or MF.

I used to have the "not shoot on the same cam as the AD"-sickness before, but the last year or so things have changed. Now nobody cares about what you shoot with, as Canon 1-series have become a standard for most photographers.

I am now shooting on a H1+Leaf Aptus A75, as well as changed my 1DsMkII to a 5D (for even more portability). I also have the EcoDigital H1 to RZ adapter so i can shoot on my trusty old RZ. The RZ with huge lens shade, grip, motor, AE finder etc looks like a monster compared to my little 5D. I used it before to "show off" when I thought i needed it... now its not really used any more. I find myself just grabbing the H1 with 50-110 (which does not look much more advanced and impressive than the 1Ds+70-200mm) and shoot.

Personal slogan for 2006; "shut up and shoot" ;-)
What happens in front of the lens is a lot more important than what happens behind it...

Svein Erik
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ronno
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« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2006, 09:47:41 AM »
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Actually, Russell James shot his "limited edition" book for VicSecret with an old 1Ds
Results seemed "adequate"   

With all the post-processing that is done on most photos these days, its very difficult to see which are actually shot on DSLRs or MF.

Svein Erik
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Hi Svein, do you know if and where that book can be purchased?
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pss
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« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2006, 12:40:34 PM »
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This is not a open and public standard, like the 4/3 system is. This is a de facto semi-open platform based on internal (secret) agreements among several companies. We don't know the terms of those agreements. Rollei developed the camera based on the 6000 series, but we don't know if Sinar participated in it. We don't know who paid the bills. We don't know who is the owner of the patents. We don't know if Phase One will be invited or blocked. We know nothing about the "openess" of this "system". We don't know if Schneider and Zeiss are involved in the project, and if Leica will offer lenses or not (Sinar was involved in it before Leica purchased them... What is Leica thinking about the Hy6? Is it a mere collateral "accident" of the puchase?).

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the camera is made by franke&heidecke (holds the patents) which builds it for leaf, sinar or whoever wants it...there are more lenses available for this camera then any other camera ever made..already available..with more coming...the open system that you are unsure about is called MF and has been around for quite some time, absolutely nothing new about a 6x6 with a rotating back...
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izaack
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« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2006, 01:03:44 PM »
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the camera is made by franke&heidecke (holds the patents) which builds it for leaf, sinar or whoever wants it...there are more lenses available for this camera then any other camera ever made..already available..with more coming...the open system that you are unsure about is called MF and has been around for quite some time, absolutely nothing new about a 6x6 with a rotating back...
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 It is still early days yet and nothing is set in concrete. Don't be too sanguine that between its showing at Photokina 2006 and its projected delivery in April 07, things won't change. Leaf jumped in at the last minute and F&H whipped one up for them.

It is my hunch that we won't ever see a Rolleiflex Hy6. F&H is turning itself into a contract manufacturer for anyone who wishes to re-brand its products. I see Sinar, Leaf and PhaseOne taking the Hasselblad approach in making their systems integrated, closed and proprietary. I suspect that the only things that are interchangeable will be the Rollei-manufactured lenses and accessories. I don't think the backs will be. That is to say, for example, you buy a Sinar Hy6, it will only take Sinar backs and not Leaf's nor PhaseOne's. At the request of the client, Rollei may even change the lens mount and make it proprietary to that client. You cannot discount it and say that it won't happen. Check out Franke & Heidecke's website; so far not a peep about the Rolleiflex Hy6 after Kina 06. What does that tell you?

This is about business and grabbing market share. It is not about altruism in making a platform as general as possible for the sake of photographers everywhere. As far as business decisions go, sometimes you're right and sometimes you're wrong. I don't think the participants of this forum represent the median profile of all photographers.

We are going to see more 'closed' integrated systems, not fewer. Sinar won't want you to consider switching over to Leaf once you have bought into its system and neither would Leaf and PhaseOne. The only way to do that is to lock you in as Hasselblad has done.

Will I be proved wrong? How will the market react? This is in the hands of the marketing men. Let us wait for April 07 to see how the plot unfolds.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2006, 01:05:00 PM by izaack » Logged
Fritzer
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« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2006, 01:16:20 PM »
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So... there is an opportunity for a new contender that offers a better solution than Hasselblad (more open, more friendly to photographers) and good (modern, full of features) enough to fight against Canon. Leaf, Phase One, Sinar, Rollei... should establish a new standard, open to all, under clear and public specifications, with a clear commitment from expressely involved companies, and make public all the information in a ordered and clear form. The 4/3 consortium is an acceptable model for one such "open platform". This new "open" and well defined standard is a must, absolutely. If these companies try to go to war separated, I give them a few months of life... Things are changing, competition is stronger and the camera manufacturers are closing their cameras and providing "in house" digital solutions... it is clear to me what will happen...

This is not a question of engineering, but marketing... simple and pure market strategy.

I wish and hope these German companies wake up...
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Good points made; I hope you are right here, I sure agree...
What the marketing people might miss is how uncomfortable many photographers feel about being forced into using a certain DB/ software, just because it is compatible with only one particular camera system.

Just imagine a camera system working only with a certain type of film, which can only be processed at a few selected labs. Who would buy into that, if there were alternatives ?

I think the Rollei concept, which is basically open platform - the recent announcments are just that, nothing written in stone yet - could be a lot more future-proof than Hasselblad's attempt to become 'king of the hill' .
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sundstei
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« Reply #28 on: October 01, 2006, 01:32:08 PM »
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Hi Svein, do you know if and where that book can be purchased?
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Its "limited edition" and only given away by VC to selected customers/dealers/whatever. I know Russell James, Raphael Mazzucco and Ellen von Unwerth each made a book, and its bundled together as "SEXY". Maybe you get lucky on eBay. There should also be a DVD in the kit.
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hcubell
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« Reply #29 on: October 01, 2006, 03:10:30 PM »
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Just imagine a camera system working only with a certain type of film, which can only be processed at a few selected labs. Who would buy into that, if there were alternatives ?

I would, if, for example, it offered  certain capabilities that others did not, such a a T/S lens that had any optical aberrations automatically corrected in camera and  the workflow and file quality were there.
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pss
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« Reply #30 on: October 01, 2006, 08:17:17 PM »
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hands on report with the Hy6:
here
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cescx
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« Reply #31 on: October 03, 2006, 03:27:03 AM »
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It seems like any medium format digital purchase is incredibly risky at the moment.  After the news of the last year and from Photokina who knows what other shock announcements are possible?

-Kodak may decide MF sensors isn't a business with a future

-The new Hy6 may never reach production

-Even worse the Hy6 may be launched but then discontinued (in one or all of its guises) if it fails to reach viable sales levels, leaving owners high and dry.

-Phase One may get absorbed within Mamiya.

-As above, but Mamiya then goes bump and takes Phase One down with them.

-Canon's deeper R&D pockets may trump the MF quality advantage in the 35mm arena, finishing off the entire MF market.

-Pentax or Mamiya may uncercut MF digital prices to such an extent that Hasselblad and Sinar/Rollei/Leaf bail out.

If I sat down and scratched my head I'm sure I could come up with many more doomsday scenarios that would leave a photographer holding an expensive white elephant. Given all this uncertainty what's the smart photographer's strategy for digital medium format?
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I agree with you, Gary.

The MF and the BF digital market is an old system, more of 15 years old, but never has matured, the first leaf DB, created in 1992, and the othes like sinar and but late, the hass and phase, they have maintained always an ascending price. I believe that all our doubts would go if a MFDB be to sold for 6000$, instead of for 30000$.

I believe also that the MF-makers take advantage of the photographers that we see us inevitably forced to acquire these equipment, by the evident one each time more, shortage of film of some types and, to the demands of our clients.  

I believe, already firmly, that the MF-makers have a secret pact, and that is the same hand the one that moves Hass, Leaf, sinar... and that splits of that pact is the sale price, if not because the prices are identical among all the manufacturers by the same number of pixels, or product line? because Leaf (subsidiary of Kodak) buy to dalsa, and theoretically their competence Hass, purchase To Kodak their CMOS? .....  

I think, that the strategy, was to eliminate the competence in MF, that already has been obtained, obtaining a total egemony in the market, being distributed to the owners between alone two options, they are the same, alone one that with a different color.  

But I think that should not be the photographer who pay that immaturity, the not to have obtained a functional, low cost product, by the one that do not we have that be alert of an investment that can be lost, to remain obsolete, or to be stop manufacturing.  Our work, or hobby, is something very serious, and of they are taking advantage of us and of our needs.
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Francesc Costa
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« Reply #32 on: October 08, 2006, 05:49:46 PM »
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It seems like any medium format digital purchase is incredibly risky at the moment. 

Given all this uncertainty what's the smart photographer's strategy for digital medium format?
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This is a question that I faced recently. I recently dipped my toe in the DMF world. I’ve been shooting weddings for years. The largest I print is 16x20, so a DSLR is fine for that. I also have a massive investment in 35mm gear.

But I was looking for a way to change the way I look at my photography. My decision was less about what the MF file size could give me or bowing down to some useless art director’s requirements.

The problem with the American MBA influence is that everything comes down to ROI. For me it was less about ROI in the short term, but about vision. And in my business, vision separates the wheat from the chaff.
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« Reply #33 on: October 08, 2006, 07:44:13 PM »
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I've been told the Hy6 will only be a reality if Phase One will come on board!
The market is otherwise to small to cater only for Leaf and Sinar.

Think of it this way,all those Phase One owners would love to be able to use their backs on a new camera system like the Hy6!

Also with the new software from Phase,C4 coming out soon and their new + backs,
I feel there will be a lot of new Phase One users out there!

After reading M.Kravits problems I'm now switching camps towards the Phase again!

Please note that I don't have a MF system yet,but it will be the Hy6 when it will be released.

Cheers,
Willem
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Willem Rethmeier
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« Reply #34 on: October 08, 2006, 07:51:46 PM »
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I've been told the Hy6 will only be a reality if Phase One will come on board!

Who told you this? Just curious.

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The market is otherwise to small to cater only for Leaf and Sinar.
Think of it this way,all those Phase One owners would love to be able to use their backs on a new camera system like the Hy6!

I doubt it will make any difference. *If* the Hy6 comes out with optional rear mounts to cater for existing backs, then it won't matter if it's a Leaf or PhaseOne back using the mount. This would seem like a smart move.

If the Hy6 has it's own proprietary mount, and no adaptation then I agree that PhaseOne's participation will be important, but what choice do they have? If it's an open platform then they are free to design backs for the Hy6, and they have just been shut out of the Hass H market so they will welcome the extra market.
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« Reply #35 on: October 08, 2006, 09:54:38 PM »
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For most of my work the 5D has been more than adequate.

I find that in *some jobs I could use, want, more resolution and color depth. Specially when shooting clothing where i want the texture perfect and products up to cars where maximum detail is esential.

But since I dont work in a huge market I cant justify the back. I wouldnt get much more jobs with it than I do now if any just by having a better camera.

MF is still waaaay to risky. I mean look at some of the issues people rae having with $30,000 backs, just absurd.

Seems to me although it seems selfish and antagonistic at first, Hasselblads chose path might be the right one.

For some reason I havent seen many reviews on the H2D-22 or 39
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mkravit
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« Reply #36 on: October 08, 2006, 10:06:34 PM »
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After reading M.Kravits problems I'm now switching camps towards the Phase again!

Please note that I don't have a MF system yet,but it will be the Hy6 when it will be released.

Cheers,
Willem
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If you don't own a MF digital back and don't intend to get one until the Hy6 becomes available then what do you mean by switching camps? have you used a Leaf?, a Phase?, A Hasselblad CF-39?

I have used Phase and Leaf. I prefer the look of the Leaf file as JR has stated many times. The ONLY issue I have is that of teh centerfold issue and only when I am shooting my Alpa 12 with wide digitars using rise or shift.

Leaf is working on the problem. They call and write me weekly to let me know of their progress. I know I have been vocal, but in no way am I demeaning the product. I suggest that before you or anyone else "switch camps" you work with the back first.

On my H2 the Leaf Aptus 75 has been a wonderful tool. I am now using a loaner Aptus 22 and it has been perfect. I finished a 3 day shoot yesterday and have been doing post all day. The files shot with the Aptus 22 and the Alpa 12 SWA & Schneider Digitar 35/5.6 are friggen amazing!
« Last Edit: October 08, 2006, 10:07:39 PM by mkravit » Logged
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« Reply #37 on: October 09, 2006, 01:24:22 AM »
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Michael,
I will make sure I get to test all the relevant backs etc.
I just have this feeling when Capture One V4 comes out ,it will certainly rock!

It's clear now all backs have their issues,however what is clear is that the Dalsa and the Kodak sensors both  need some kind of correction with tilt and shift and with the extreme wides.


The look of the files is a personal matter,therefore I'll try before I buy!

Cheers,
Willem.
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Willem Rethmeier
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« Reply #38 on: October 09, 2006, 07:15:38 AM »
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I'd just like to add my name to those using the A75 who have NOT had the centerfold issue. I use it with 24, 35 + 47 digitars on a Cambo WDS. I see slight colour shifts with the 24 but thats all, and to be expected I think with such a wide lens on these large sensors.

I would also second Michaels, and others, comments that the A75 with 35xl Digitar produces some amazing results.

Matt
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