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Author Topic: PMA Trip Report  (Read 21519 times)
bradleygibson
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« on: February 02, 2008, 09:23:34 PM »
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I saw on Franke & Heidecke's website that they were going to be at PMA.  As many of you know I've been trying to figure out a way to get my Phase One P45+ back onto a Hy6 for quite some time now, and thought I'd go talk to them in person to learn more about if and when this would become a reality.

I only spent one day at the show, and here are my impressions.

Franke & Heidecke
============
I was able to play with the 90/4 Makro (unusual design and silky smooth focusing barrel), the 180/2.8 (just about pure glass--sexy!), the 80/2.8 as well as the Rollei 6008AF with a db20p 16Mpxl digital back and of course, the Hy6.
 
This was my first time handling the Rollei 6008AF.  As it is the only alternative available for putting a Phase back behind Rollei glass, I assumed that this would be my camera for the forseeable future.  Unfortunately, after holding it for some time while talking with F&H I simply found it to be too heavy for the field work that I do (and this was with the 80/2.Cool.  It has a heavy-duty built-in motor for rapid film advance which I obviously don't need to carry around and power.  But it was a very solid, heavy piece of metal, and I knew I wouldn't be particularly comfortable traipsing through the wilderness with this camera at the ready.  I am comfortable doing so with a Canon 1D Mk II and a 300/2.8, so I can only assume the ergonomics of this older design were making it less than comfortable to hold.  The "pinch" position I had to hold my fingers in to fire the shutter was also not especially comfortable.

Franke & Heidecke really impressed me with the Hy6. I spoke with them for over an hour where we discussed everything from company history to principles of lens design and reasons why they went one way with some feature versus another.  I came away with newfound respect for the work and passion they put into their product.

The ergonomics of this camera were spot on.  Everything from mirror lockup through AF-Stop or AF-start were very intelligently located.  The camera was much lighter, and the grip fit my hand so well it only seemed to make it lighter still.

But as for putting a Phase back onto this camera from everything I can piece together from Phase, F&H and other players, it doesn't appear likely any time soon.  I'm very sad about this because I feel a Rollei/Phase pairing would be the dream team of MF digital photography.

I am determined to use Schneider, Rodenstock or Zeiss glass for the consistently best possible quality in my photography, so I'll have to keep looking for solutions.

I also saw the new 45-degree Hy6 finder.  I like 45-degree finders, but I found that this one could have used more eye relief (I wear glasses).  I found that either the exposure information at the top was occluded or part of the the bottom of the viewfinder was.  I love the big, spacious views MF affords (cue LF snickering, but I come from small format!  ).
 
Sony
===
I think about Sony and photography about as often as I think about Wal-Mart and photography.  But the morning I left, Sony showed their semiconductor prowess by announcing a 24.8Mpxl 35mm full-frame sensor, promising a pro-spec camera while at the same time announcing a new 24-70/2.8 Zeiss zoom for the platform.  When I thought about it a bit more, I realized that Sony's ergonomics might be the best in the business if they haven't messed with Minolta's layout too much (I started on a Minolta, and still felt they had the best ergonomics in small format, for me, at least).  Combine that with the promise of their new sensor, pro-spec camera and a filled out lineup of Zeiss glass, and I think that's a compelling story.

I was chatting with their rep about the effectiveness of their in-body stabilization and telephoto lenses.  The rep was claiming 4 stops with the 300/2.8, so I popped my CF card in and put him to the test.  I haven't pored over the files yet, but at 15x magnification on the back of the camera, I wasn't seeing obvious blur from shooting handheld at 1/30th of a second.  I have the raw files and I'm sure I'll find it, but I'm already sure it's good for at least two stops--with a tele!

I thought about it--they're offering image-stabilized AF Zeiss glass with round aperture blades for ideal bokeh.

I've learned my lesson about waiting for announced camera platforms, and I'm not about to abandon my MF aspirations just yet, but it is great to see amazing new tools on the horizon such as this.  I found myself going away from their booth shaking my head... "Sony??"  Nice job, so far, guys.

Sony also had prototypes of their top-spec (non-Zeiss) glass on display, some of which looked like a 400 or 500mm lens, perhaps a tele zoom, and a few others (they were not labelled).  It is clear Sony intends to make themselves a viable alternative to Canon and Nikon in every way.

Nikon
====
Nikon had their superteles out in full force (actually all of the companies did).  All hooked up on pedestals to D3's and Wimberly gimbal setups.

I have to hand it to Nikon, their VR has come a long, long way.  Originally it sounded like marbles rolling around in a can.  Now it's just a soft whirr.  The supertele's AF-S focusing was a tad slower than Canons, but still lightning fast compared to anything in MF.

Canon
====
Similarly, Canon had their lenses out.  The 200/2 IS and 800/5.6 IS were there too, but under glass.  The 800/5.6 didn't look like the monster (for definition of "monster", see Sigma, below) I thought it would.  It's apparently going to cost $12K USD, so I guess I'll be digging for change in my sofa for a bit.  

Sigma
====
200-500 2.8 Zoom anyone?  Of course I couldn't resist playing with it.  With dedicated 2x teleconverter (they don't call it a teleconverter, though) it can become a 400-1000/5.6.  It weighs 16kg (~35lbs), and uses power to zoom.  I'm not sure what the market is for this lens, but everyone sure smiled when they saw it.

Epson
====
Epson was displaying gorgeous 50 and 60-inch prints around their booth from all their printers, but notably the 11880.  I am still not sure how neutrally it will print black and white without a RIP, but the hung images they showed (some were B&W) were all flawless (and were printed without a RIP).  If anyone is interested in one of these (11880's) that has been used for just the three days of the show for about a $1500 discount, PM or e-mail me in the next day and I'll put you in touch with the vendor who let me know they were selling theirs.  (I have no affiliation with them).

Between seeing all the camera pr0n and a couple of meetings, it was a pretty full day.  Glad to be back, though. Vegas is... well... Vegas.  

Best regards,
Brad
« Last Edit: February 03, 2008, 11:27:33 AM by bradleygibson » Logged

AndrewDyer
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« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2008, 04:10:30 AM »
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Thanks for taking the time to post all your information Brad... some interesting points.
cheers.
A
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digitaldog
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« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2008, 10:03:25 AM »
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I am still not sure how neutrally it will print black and white without a RIP, but the hung images they showed (some where B&W) were all flawless (and were printed without a RIP).

Right, printed (most often by Mac Holbert of Nash Editions) using the Advanced B&W. Also, Epson is smart about presentation. They use Solux in the booth (they may not be able to fully compensate for the crap lighting in a convention center, but they try).

I've got a 7880, basically the same "engine" and the B&W's are as you say flawless. I had a few good teachers too <g>.
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« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2008, 10:38:41 AM »
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Thanks for the report, Brad. The Leaf rep was at my local dealer this past week and brought his AFD 180mm and the 45 Finder for the AFi. The 180 was nice, probably close to the weight of the Hassey HC 50-110, with no lens mount, and pretty heavy for hand-held. I loved the bright 45 reflective Finder! Handheld with the camera grip in the vertical orientation it forces elbows to your sides (The 'pinched" position?). It offers a very comfy and stable hand-held shooting position. I don't much pay attention to the data reads within the viewfinder. With the 80mm and 45 Finder, the AFi was a very light hand-held system. I heard reports that the AFD 60-140mm optics is great, huge and heavy, but does have a lens barrel mount.

David
« Last Edit: February 03, 2008, 10:55:24 AM by H1/A75 Guy » Logged
bradleygibson
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2008, 10:53:38 AM »
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You're welcome, guys.

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(The 'pinched" position?).
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=171996\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
I really liked the handle's ability to move positions.  The Hy6's handle was the right size for me had all the controls in very natural positions and felt very sturdy.

The 'pinch' position I mentioned is only with the 6008AF--the position ones index finger and thumb have to assume to trigger the handle-based shutter release on the 6008AF.  The Hy6 has a round shutter release button in much the same place you'd expect to find it on any modern camera.  The Hy6 has solved that problem.

The position the 6008AF required is basically what you have when you make a fist, then touch the very tip of your index finger to the very tip of your thumb.  Not too comfortable for me,but maybe that's because I have long fingers.

-Brad
« Last Edit: February 03, 2008, 10:55:17 AM by bradleygibson » Logged

billy
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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2008, 03:06:00 PM »
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"But as for putting a Phase back onto this camera from everything I can piece together from Phase, F&H and other players, it doesn't appear likely any time soon. I'm very sad about this because I feel a Rollei/Phase pairing would be the dream team of MF digital photography."


Did they say it was ever going to be possible at all?
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Gigi
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« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2008, 04:29:01 PM »
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As to the shutter button on the 6008 - I have found on the 6003 (same with handle) that it works out pretty well. But if it doesn't, there is also the second shutter button down on the base of the camera, in a more traditional position.

In conversations, Phase indicated that they will support the Hy6, at some point. When and how, no one knows or is telling at this time.

The reality seems to be that getting the Hy6 to market, either by Rollei, Sinar or Leaf, is not so easy. It is probably a complex camera, and is taking some time to get right. My guess is they'll probably get it right, but only after it gets to market, and succeeds at some level, will we see what Phase and/or the other players finally work out.

Geoff
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Geoff
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« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2008, 05:24:16 PM »
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As to the shutter button on the 6008 - I have found on the 6003 (same with handle) that it works out pretty well. But if it doesn't, there is also the second shutter button down on the base of the camera, in a more traditional position.

In conversations, Phase indicated that they will support the Hy6, at some point. When and how, no one knows or is telling at this time.

The reality seems to be that getting the Hy6 to market, either by Rollei, Sinar or Leaf, is not so easy. It is probably a complex camera, and is taking some time to get right. My guess is they'll probably get it right, but only after it gets to market, and succeeds at some level, will we see what Phase and/or the other players finally work out.

Geoff
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=172069\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hi
I know the Sinar/Leaf agent here in Australia very well. When it comes to Phase they are not part of the Hy6 project. The Hy6 was to increase market share of Sinar & they asked Leaf to be on board. We have three camps now hasselblad, sinar/leaf ( Hy6 ) & Phase/mamiya. With Mamiya still being the only open platform. I still think Phase should put the 39 mp chip in a ZDII body & sell it at good price. The body is built & how much R&D would it take to put in a 3" screen & fast buffer? Then sell it for $10-15k USD.
Denis
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bradleygibson
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« Reply #8 on: February 03, 2008, 11:16:01 PM »
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"But as for putting a Phase back onto this camera from everything I can piece together from Phase, F&H and other players, it doesn't appear likely any time soon. I'm very sad about this because I feel a Rollei/Phase pairing would be the dream team of MF digital photography."
Did they say it was ever going to be possible at all?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=172049\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

The people I was speaking with were in product development, and took pains to point out that they were not familiar with the nitty gritty details of the contract with Jenoptik.  It's worth pointing out that F&H isn't the one who needs to let Phase in, it's an issue for Jenoptik and Phase to work through.

So, with that in mind, it seems that it is possible for anyone to physically mount their back to the Hy6 without permission from Jenoptik.  So that would mean one could see a cable-based solution if Phase or some third party felt that was a viable strategy.

To fully integrate, one would need access to the digital protocol.  But the protocol is Jenoptik proprietary, and isn't being published.  Looking at this conundrum, I can only guess that a fully integrated solution is a ways away, although I do hope I'm wrong...

-Brad
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« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2008, 11:42:09 PM »
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Thanks Brad, to confirm what we are saying and what has been stated since the beginning: I guess that it is always better it comes from a user/photographer to be believed.

Best regards
Thierry

Quote
The people I was speaking with were in product development, and took pains to point out that they were not familiar with the nitty gritty details of the contract with Jenoptik.  It's worth pointing out that F&H isn't the one who needs to let Phase in, it's an issue for Jenoptik and Phase to work through.

So, with that in mind, it seems that it is possible for anyone to physically mount their back to the Hy6 without permission from Jenoptik.  So that would mean one could see a cable-based solution if Phase or some third party felt that was a viable strategy.

To fully integrate, one would need access to the digital protocol.  But the protocol is Jenoptik proprietary, and isn't being published.  Looking at this conundrum, I can only guess that a fully integrated solution is a ways away, although I do hope I'm wrong...

-Brad
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Thierry Hagenauer
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« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2008, 02:05:59 AM »
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So in other words, the Hy6 Afi is infact just as closed as is Hasselblad H...
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thsinar
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« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2008, 02:51:32 AM »
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... we will not start this again, right?

Thierry

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So in other words, the Hy6 Afi is infact just as closed as is Hasselblad H...
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« Reply #12 on: February 04, 2008, 02:59:07 AM »
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... we will not start this again, right?

Thierry
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Sorry Thierry, no intention or interest to start again but in reality  it seems the way it is going to be (wich is perfectly understandable if one wants to survive) .And on the Hy6 versions you can choose between sinar and leaf, but for the hasselblad there are thousends of nice priced (2nd hand) lenses available. I am really looking forward to the new phase body.... also closed I suppose.
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Carl Glover
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« Reply #13 on: February 04, 2008, 04:13:17 AM »
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There's loads of nice priced second hand Rollei lenses too...
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ixpressraf
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« Reply #14 on: February 04, 2008, 04:25:22 AM »
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yes i know, but only manual focus. My first portable  digital camera was a rollei 6008 with imacon flexframe 4040, later ixpress 384. very nice but in now way comparable to the conveniance of a modrn AF camera. I even have a special 135mm Tilt lens for the rollei 6008 wich is the only thing i miss on my hassie H3.
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« Reply #15 on: February 04, 2008, 02:49:56 PM »
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Ok, let's give bonus points to Mamiya, the only presently manufactured camera which will accept backs from any maker.

Edmund

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So in other words, the Hy6 Afi is infact just as closed as is Hasselblad H...
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Leonardo Barreto
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« Reply #16 on: February 25, 2008, 09:07:53 AM »
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And don't forget that they announced the "acceptance" of a mystery "European" lens maker on AFD mount.

There are two main complaints against Mamiya, one is the need of some photographers to potentially mount lenses with the equivalent of BMW and Benz brand names in their camera bags. (And the other one is the fast flash speed)

Mamiya also said that the Phase 1 system will exist parallel to the AFD 645 and that the lens and back mounts will be compatible. For people considering long term system commitment this will probably be attractive considering that pre owned lenses are plentiful on eBay.

It will be interesting to see who dears to drop film support out of MF. The gain would be a more energy and weight efficient body. The Hy6 went exactly the opposite. Even the name uses the H for Hybrid as in film/digital system making it -in my opinion - slow down for the "drag" of serving the needs of film as well as digital.

I used to love the series "Wings" that talked to the last details of airplanes and think that the Hy6, if analyzed in the context of the tv program it would be as a plane that wants to be a bomber and interceptor at the same time not being able to out perform (and survive) one from the enemy that was committed to being ether a bomber or an interceptor...

Quote
Ok, let's give bonus points to Mamiya, the only presently manufactured camera which will accept backs from any maker.

Edmund
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« Reply #17 on: February 25, 2008, 09:38:08 AM »
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It will be interesting to see who dears to drop film support out of MF. The gain would be a more energy and weight efficient body. The Hy6 went exactly the opposite.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=177225\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Actually the Hy6's motor drive for film is in the optional film back not the camera body, so you won't be carrying that weight around unless you are shooting film anyway.
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Leonardo Barreto
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« Reply #18 on: February 25, 2008, 09:08:43 PM »
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That is really good, the best of two worlds. But I'm yet to understand the idea behind a 6x6 format, what do you think the it is/was?

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Actually the Hy6's motor drive for film is in the optional film back not the camera body, so you won't be carrying that weight around unless you are shooting film anyway.
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« Last Edit: February 25, 2008, 09:09:32 PM by Leonardo Barreto » Logged

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« Reply #19 on: February 25, 2008, 11:16:45 PM »
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That is really good, the best of two worlds. But I'm yet to understand the idea behind a 6x6 format, what do you think the it is/was?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=177398\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


Leonardo,
I really like the square format for portraits and fine art work.  It's can actually be great for architecture and landscapes too.   If you haven't tried it you should!

Also 6x6 has more real estate to work with without too much extra bulk in the camera and that means in the future a larger back can be fit, or you can shoot a bigger film.   That affords many possible crops, etc.  If you shoot square you never have to rotate either :-)

Eric
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