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Author Topic: Testing backs for use in architectural photography  (Read 11258 times)
M_M
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« on: October 01, 2007, 10:27:15 AM »
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Hello,

Later his week I will be doing a side-by-side test of all high MP backs and I hope this will help me select a “best” back for my work. I specialize in architecture and interiors and I will mainly concentrate on color uniformity, highlight / shadow detail / noise, long exposure performance, workflow and rear screen usability. Higher ISO performance is not that important, however if one back’s less than stellar long exposure capability can be overcome by increasing sensitivity with acceptable side effects – I will look at it as well.

To make the test as simple as possible, I requested a Cambo WDS with just one lens, a 35mmXL Digitar (for its large image circle). I have a couple of setups in mind under different lighting conditions and will simply swap the backs to capture the same scene. For this test I will be using an Aptus 75s, Hasselblad H3D,  eMotion 75lv and a Phase P45+.

I would like to hear from current MFB users as well as company reps their suggestions and ideas for this test. I know that all these backs are capable of producing beautiful files, but as everything else in life none of them is perfect. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. I simply want to conduct a test to identify those strengths and weaknesses and select a back based on my needs. Your help and suggestions will be greatly appreciated.  

Some of the frequent posters on this forum have already been very helpful and generous with their time answering my questions off line and I want to use this opportunity to thank you again.

Thanks

Mariusz
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Natasa Stojsic
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« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2007, 10:55:25 AM »
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Quote
Hello,

Later his week I will be doing a side-by-side test of all high MP backs and I hope this will help me select a “best” back for my work. I specialize in architecture and interiors and I will mainly concentrate on color uniformity, highlight / shadow detail / noise, long exposure performance, workflow and rear screen usability. Higher ISO performance is not that important, however if one back’s less than stellar long exposure capability can be overcome by increasing sensitivity with acceptable side effects – I will look at it as well.

To make the test as simple as possible, I requested a Cambo WDS with just one lens, a 35mmXL Digitar (for its large image circle). I have a couple of setups in mind under different lighting conditions and will simply swap the backs to capture the same scene. For this test I will be using an Aptus 75s, Hasselblad H3D,  eMotion 75lv and a Phase P45+.

I would like to hear from current MFB users as well as company reps their suggestions and ideas for this test. I know that all these backs are capable of producing beautiful files, but as everything else in life none of them is perfect. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. I simply want to conduct a test to identify those strengths and weaknesses and select a back based on my needs. Your help and suggestions will be greatly appreciated. 

Some of the frequent posters on this forum have already been very helpful and generous with their time answering my questions off line and I want to use this opportunity to thank you again.

Thanks

Mariusz
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=143159\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


[span style=\'font-size:11pt;line-height:100%\']I hope you are going to post the outcome of your results?[/span]
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[span style='font-size:11pt;line-height:100%'][span style='color:black']N a t a s a   S t o j s i c[/span][/span][span style='color:gray']  .......................................................................................................................................... [/span]
[span style='color:gray']PHASE[/span][span style='color:skyblue']ONE[/span] [span style='color:gray']P30[span style='font-size:7pt;line-height:100%']+[/span][/span]| [span style='color:red']MAMIYA[/span] [span style='color:gray']645 AFD II [/span]  [span style='font-family:impact'][span style='font-size:8pt;line-height:100%'][span style='color:#98AFC7'] | 28mm f4.5 D. AF | 35mm f3.5 AF | 55-110mm f4.5 AF Zoom | 80mm f2.8 AF | 120mm f4.0 MF Macro | 150mm f3.5 AF[/span][/span][/span]
stewarthemley
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« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2007, 11:05:32 AM »
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Sounds like an interesting day. Don't forget the importance of workflow after you've taken the shots.

Look forward to hearing your verdict. But be aware of the angst you'll create with owners of the backs you don't select!
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godtfred
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« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2007, 11:20:24 AM »
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Quote
Hello,

Later his week I will be doing a side-by-side test of all high MP backs and I hope this will help me select a “best” back for my work. I specialize in architecture and interiors and I will mainly concentrate on color uniformity, highlight / shadow detail / noise, long exposure performance, workflow and rear screen usability. Higher ISO performance is not that important, however if one back’s less than stellar long exposure capability can be overcome by increasing sensitivity with acceptable side effects – I will look at it as well.

To make the test as simple as possible, I requested a Cambo WDS with just one lens, a 35mmXL Digitar (for its large image circle). I have a couple of setups in mind under different lighting conditions and will simply swap the backs to capture the same scene. For this test I will be using an Aptus 75s, Hasselblad H3D,  eMotion 75lv and a Phase P45+.

I would like to hear from current MFB users as well as company reps their suggestions and ideas for this test. I know that all these backs are capable of producing beautiful files, but as everything else in life none of them is perfect. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. I simply want to conduct a test to identify those strengths and weaknesses and select a back based on my needs. Your help and suggestions will be greatly appreciated. 

Some of the frequent posters on this forum have already been very helpful and generous with their time answering my questions off line and I want to use this opportunity to thank you again.

Thanks

Mariusz
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=143159\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Ask your hasselblad rep if you can test one of the backs with the new IR filters, and if you're after using the rear screen and not shooting tethered, you might be better off with a CF39 instead of a H3D (should you choose the HB route like i did...)

-axel
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Axel Bauer
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pprdigital
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« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2007, 11:29:20 AM »
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Hello,


I would like to hear from current MFB users as well as company reps their suggestions and ideas for this test. I know that all these backs are capable of producing beautiful files, but as everything else in life none of them is perfect. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. I simply want to conduct a test to identify those strengths and weaknesses and select a back based on my needs. Your help and suggestions will be greatly appreciated. 

Thanks

Mariusz
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=143159\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Make sure you have someone truly knowledgeable about each product so that you are capturing as if you have already been using the system and know all the ins and outs. Many users make purchase decisions based on how intuitive a product might be the first time using it to get the results you want.

In my mind, this is a flawed approach. Regardless of the complexity of a solution, after purchase you'll gain confidence in using it over and over and learn the best ways to get the best results. And that will be ultimately what you're buying.

So make sure you have someone there who knows what they're doing with each product. Good luck.

Steve Hendrix
www.ppratlanta.com/digital.php
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Steve Hendrix
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« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2007, 01:07:37 PM »
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Thanks guys for your replies so far. The test was really meant for me, but I will try to share my findings with you. I’m afraid the result will be my personal opinion and not a scientific study. I certainly do not want to turn this into a war between manufacturers and end users, as this would not be beneficial to anyone.

As you all know, each one of us has different needs and we perceive things differently, so something that could work for me might be totally unacceptable for you and vice versa. That is why I’m looking for suggestions and ideas for simple tests that could be helpful to most of us, tests that would show strengths and weaknesses of digital backs for use in architectural photography.

I have not used any of the backs I will be testing, so I will have to rely on the dealer’s knowledge. I will try to make sure the software for each back has sharpening and noise reduction turned off, but that does not mean that there are some adjustments that are applied and cannot be controlled by the end user. That is why it would also be helpful to hear test suggestions from reps. You guys know the good and bad sides of your product, I do not expect you to tell me about the latter, but you could share with me how to test for the former.

Thanks again.

Mariusz
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rainer_v
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« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2007, 03:53:14 PM »
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regarding the emotion75 i  suggest you use the brumbaer tools to write dng files with it and process them with any dng compatible software.

you should shoot before every shot, where you change the shift amount or the focus, a white reference with some transparent plexi, as you probably will use it also with the other backs.

 usually i write these white files in the brumbaer converter with denoise "on" and destitch "on". also you should make a color calibration, which is done fast if you have a 24 field gretag table. use the help file in brumbaer tools to make it, this is very important to get best colors.
be sure to select an app. right color temperature in the pulldown menue of the programm.

you can expose very high till you have the red overexposure warning blinking in clouds e.g. highlights are very good hold if you use brumbaer tools.
the results are very different as if you use the sinar software, it seems as this are two different backs, so i suggest you should not avoid to test the unit with this program from stephan.
you get it here as freeware:

http://www.brumbaer.de/Tools/Brumbaer_Tools.html
« Last Edit: October 01, 2007, 03:53:33 PM by rainer_v » Logged

rainer viertlböck
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« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2007, 04:14:05 PM »
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Quote
regarding the emotion75 i  suggest you use the brumbaer tools to write dng files with it and process them with any dng compatible software.

you should shoot before every shot, where you change the shift amount or the focus, a white reference with some transparent plexi, as you probably will use it also with the other backs.

 usually i write these white files in the brumbaer converter with denoise "on" and destitch "on". also you should make a color calibration, which is done fast if you have a 24 field gretag table. use the help file in brumbaer tools to make it, this is very important to get best colors.
be sure to select an app. right color temperature in the pulldown menue of the programm.

you can expose very high till you have the red overexposure warning blinking in clouds e.g. highlights are very good hold if you use brumbaer tools.
the results are very different as if you use the sinar software, it seems as this are two different backs, so i suggest you should not avoid to test the unit with this program from stephan.
you get it here as freeware:

http://www.brumbaer.de/Tools/Brumbaer_Tools.html
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=143224\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Rainer,

That is very helpful. Thanks again.

I have just one question:
- When shooting tethered, which of the tools should I use to display a corrected file?

Thanks.

Mariusz
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thsinar
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« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2007, 09:45:58 PM »
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hi Mariusz,

In addition to Rainer's remarks and suggestions about the Brumbaer tools:

- set the eMotion's "White Blance" to "Manual" (in the Menu "SETTINGS" of the back)

- as suggested by Rainer, take a shot of a Macbeth Colour chart 24

- shoot "White Reference" files even if not shifting/tilting/swinging: this will increase "dramatically" the colour uniformity: shoot at least one "White Ref" with the plexi in front of the lens (with an exposure time about 2 stops longer) at least for each of your different lens f-stop used, or for each different camera setting (shift/tilt/swing/focus): these can then  be applied to other files shot under the same f-stop and camera settings conditions.

- But the fastest and most efficient workflow is when you shoot the "white ref" just before the actual shot and with the same camera/lens settings: that will give you the minimal work (none actually) afterwards.

- as mentioned by Rainer, you can really go "high" to the right side of the histogram with the highlights, until the warning shows up. The Brumbaer dng Converter, depending on the situations, will recover at least more than 1 f-stop, sometimes 2 or even 3. So the red warning in the clouds or other highlights does not harm the details in this area, when exposing like this.

- when doing a "long exposure" I would suggest to "Manually" make a "Black Reference" before the actual shot: go to the "OK/MENU", and there use the arrows in the pull down menu to select "Blackreference" ---> "NEXT IMAGE". This will make sure that residual noise is eliminated.

- don't forget to set the right camera body used in the "SETTINGS" ---> Body"

- Since shooting at high ISOs is not important for you, use ISO 50.

Don't hesitate to ask if you have any other request.

Best regards,
Thierry

Quote
regarding the emotion75 i  suggest you use the brumbaer tools to write dng files with it and process them with any dng compatible software.

you should shoot before every shot, where you change the shift amount or the focus, a white reference with some transparent plexi, as you probably will use it also with the other backs.

 usually i write these white files in the brumbaer converter with denoise "on" and destitch "on". also you should make a color calibration, which is done fast if you have a 24 field gretag table. use the help file in brumbaer tools to make it, this is very important to get best colors.
be sure to select an app. right color temperature in the pulldown menue of the programm.

you can expose very high till you have the red overexposure warning blinking in clouds e.g. highlights are very good hold if you use brumbaer tools.
the results are very different as if you use the sinar software, it seems as this are two different backs, so i suggest you should not avoid to test the unit with this program from stephan.
you get it here as freeware:

http://www.brumbaer.de/Tools/Brumbaer_Tools.html
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=143224\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
« Last Edit: October 02, 2007, 03:32:21 AM by thsinar » Logged

Thierry Hagenauer
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« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2007, 10:58:22 PM »
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Thierry – thanks for your detailed post and PM. This is exactly what I’m looking for. I’m searching for suggestions for my test, but I want to make sure I get the best out of each back.
 
Is there a way to incorporate the Brumbaer Tools in tethered workflow? For exterior work I will most likely work untethered, but it would be nice to see corrected previews for interiors or when being tethered is not a problem.

I hope that other users and reps can give me similar info for Leaf, Phase and Hasselblad. I’m assuming that the person showing me the backs will know each product and the appropriate workflow to get the best results, but I would not be surprised if he did not. After all, these backs are not widely used for architecture or at least not in the same numbers as for people and product. So just in case, it would be nice to have a cheat sheet for every back to make sure that all the necessary steps are taken.

Thanks in advance and I apologize if it takes me a bit longer to respond; I’m a bit busy working, but will try my best.

Mariusz
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thsinar
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« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2007, 11:28:29 PM »
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Mariusz,

Yes, you can use another Brumbaer tool to shoot tethered, the "Brumbaer eMotion Tethered". I don't know if Stefan has already reeased this, but I have it and it works nicely. It is a simple tool, the images poping up as a preview, with the possibility to "white balance" them (pipette) and select the folder where you want them to be archived.

give me your email contact and I'll send it to you: it is only a few kb's.

edited for ADDENDUM and IMPORTANT remark: BTW, depending on the Mac used, you might perhaps have problems to connect the back. Use a 4.5m FW cable and put a full-charged battery in the eMotion back. This helps.

Best regards,
Thierry

Quote
Thierry – thanks for your detailed post and PM. This is exactly what I’m looking for. I’m searching for suggestions for my test, but I want to make sure I get the best out of each back.
 
Is there a way to incorporate the Brumbaer Tools in tethered workflow? For exterior work I will most likely work untethered, but it would be nice to see corrected previews for interiors or when being tethered is not a problem.

I hope that other users and reps can give me similar info for Leaf, Phase and Hasselblad. I’m assuming that the person showing me the backs will know each product and the appropriate workflow to get the best results, but I would not be surprised if he did not. After all, these backs are not widely used for architecture or at least not in the same numbers as for people and product. So just in case, it would be nice to have a cheat sheet for every back to make sure that all the necessary steps are taken.

Thanks in advance and I apologize if it takes me a bit longer to respond; I’m a bit busy working, but will try my best.

Mariusz
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« Last Edit: October 01, 2007, 11:35:46 PM by thsinar » Logged

Thierry Hagenauer
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« Reply #11 on: October 02, 2007, 12:40:21 AM »
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Another thing to think about with the Leaf back is the Gain Adjuster. I am not sure anyone else has something to correct lens fall off with wide angle lenses. The one draw back is Leaf still needs to make it work with V11 software.
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thsinar
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« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2007, 01:03:50 AM »
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Dear John,

Yes, Sinar does have such a "lens fall off correction possibility", long before the existence of the "Gain Adjuster".

That's what I was explaining in my previous post to Mariusz. It is called "White Reference" and can be applied automatically in batch process on as many files as wanted. Automatically means here that the software will recognize which "White Reference" belongs to which image and apply it. Just "drop" your images in the converter, or entire folders, and the software will do it for you. This avoids applying it separately and manually to each file and does save hours of work in a job.

Best regards,
Thierry

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I am not sure anyone else has something to correct lens fall off with wide angle lenses.

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Thierry Hagenauer
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josayeruk
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« Reply #13 on: October 02, 2007, 01:51:33 AM »
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Hello,

Later his week I will be doing a side-by-side test of all high MP backs and I hope this will help me select a “best” back for my work. I specialize in architecture and interiors and I will mainly concentrate on color uniformity, highlight / shadow detail / noise, long exposure performance, workflow and rear screen usability. Higher ISO performance is not that important, however if one back’s less than stellar long exposure capability can be overcome by increasing sensitivity with acceptable side effects – I will look at it as well.

[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=143159\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hopefully MM you will have knowledgable dealers on each product as Steve Hendrix says.  It would be sad to make an important purchasing decision if you had some duff demos.

If you are doing architecture then probably the CF back is good to test compared to the H3D as then you can connect electronically with shutters from Schneider and Rollei.  If you intend to work with the H body as well then certainly the H3D would make more sense.

Take a look through the HCD28 - its a cracking lens.  Also look closely at the lens corrections in FlexColor in conjunction with this lens.  Look at the image before and after and see just how well corrected it is.  That could be a very valuable lens for your kind of work.

I would also compare how good the tethered workflow is between systems.  And in this respect I mean how simple it is from start to finish to deliver a near finished file.

Enjoy the test!

Jo S. x
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Dustbak
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« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2007, 02:13:39 AM »
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I don't know how long you will test. I do know it takes some time to get into different backs.

I have owned various by now and every time I needed time (varying from a couple of days to a couple of weeks) to get up to speed with it.

To get to the ins & outs of the systems I needed lots more time.

Are you just testing backs and already have a system and lenses that you will be using with this back? If that is the case you can narrow down your testing to just the backs in conjunction with the desired system.

If you have not and also have to choose for a particular system I would suggest taking enough time.

Just an example of what I have been experiencing with some of my backs. I use my CF39 on a DigiFlex II. I have had problems with sync differences between back and camera. It took me a couple of weeks of tweaking to find out what the right settings were, meanwhile I had days of work to color correct. I have severe problems with indoor shooting, mixed light with some specific lenses. this results in magenta/green casts. This took me a while to find out which lenses suffer more or less.

My Leaf Aptus I also used on a true wide body with the Nikkor 85PC. In some images I found a hotspot in the center and a lightring around it. This was caused by the combination of the lens coating & reflection on the IR glass of the Aptus (we think).

These are examples that are not easily found but can be a major setback if it happens to your preferred setup. I do belief every back has these kind of anomalies. You have to look out for those not to be confronted with one that forms a major obstacle for your usage.

Test any system exactly the way you will be using it for most of the time and be rigorous. Time your workflow process afterwards (when you come back from shooting till the moment you have send your completed files to your client). An hour of extra work at the end of the day can make a big difference.

MFDB's are great tools, they are like really hot mistresses with an attitude. Treat them right and you will be rewarded. Be sloppy and they can be really bitchy.

Oh... another thing. I am still figuring out how to use my CF back on a Flexbody. No problems with my Aptus but the CF only produces weird white/magenta surreal abstract forms as images. Another of those things that you just run into. It should work but it doesn't (yet).
« Last Edit: October 02, 2007, 02:20:25 AM by Dustbak » Logged
TorbenEskerod
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« Reply #15 on: October 02, 2007, 02:39:41 AM »
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xx
« Last Edit: January 20, 2008, 05:58:42 AM by TorbenEskerod » Logged
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« Reply #16 on: October 02, 2007, 03:17:22 AM »
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Dear Torben,

I take the "our" as being addressed to me and my comments or posts.

I did not say that our ISO 50 is in reality ISO 100, but that when you shoot side by side you would find out that you need to set another back 1 stop higher to get the same density/exposure, whatever this means. It is simply something which has happened to me each time when I had a side by side test. And it is mentioned and confirmed by others as well, in this particular tread (and they are not Sinar users), as well by other photographers I have met.

Also, the highlight recovery was not claimed as being much better, simply that it works well. I did simply allow myself to mention it, because I have tested it out many times with astonishing results, lately in AU with some landscape shots where details were recovered in completely burned out clouds. That's the reason why I wrote "at least 1 f-stop recovery". And in my opinion this is an important tool and possibility when shooting landscapes and architecture.

I don't think that I did wrong by mentioning this, but correct me if I am wrong. After all I am here to give details about Sinar products and all the necessary information to use them at the maximum of their possibilities.

I'm sorry if I have offended you by doing so.

Best regards,
Thierry

Quote
I did not test the Sinar backs (because they always have different parameters than the other backs: our 50 ISO is really 100 ISO and our highlight recovery is so much better, and bla. bla. bla.)
Torben

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« Last Edit: October 02, 2007, 03:19:10 AM by thsinar » Logged

Thierry Hagenauer
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« Reply #17 on: October 02, 2007, 04:54:19 AM »
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xx
« Last Edit: January 20, 2008, 05:58:55 AM by TorbenEskerod » Logged
thsinar
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« Reply #18 on: October 02, 2007, 05:07:15 AM »
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No harm Torben!

I guess that our tech guys will leave the ISO setting, for the time being: may be the others will correct it, you're right! That would save us some work.

 

Best regards,
Thierry

Quote
Dear Thierry

No I am not offended at all - I was actually trying to tease you a bit, sorry if you got it the other way around.

It should be easy to correct the ISO setting with a firmware update for Sinar backs

Oh no I forgot it is the other back brands that needs to do the update   

Cheers

Torben
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Thierry Hagenauer
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« Reply #19 on: October 02, 2007, 02:23:17 PM »
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Oh... another thing. I am still figuring out how to use my CF back on a Flexbody. No problems with my Aptus but the CF only produces weird white/magenta surreal abstract forms as images. Another of those things that you just run into. It should work but it doesn't (yet).
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=143326\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


I have several customers using a Flexbody with an Imacon or Hasselblad back successfully.
Make sure your exposure (shutter speed) setting in Flexcolor is at least 1 stop slower than your actual shutter speed.

This is not an issue with Leaf as there is no accessible shutter control in the software with that camera configuration.

Steve Hendrix
www.ppratlanta.com/digital.php
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Steve Hendrix
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