Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: [1]   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: Landscape Photography - Todays Ideal Camera?  (Read 7808 times)
Lust4Life
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 429


WWW
« on: September 14, 2008, 01:22:48 PM »
ReplyReply

What a revolution in digital technology in the last 5 years for the Landscape Photographer!

For anyone just entering the realm of Landscape Photography, the choices are both extensive and expensive.  They could go for the Canon 1DsMKIII/Nikon D3 and a host of manual focus Zeiss lenses, or to the Cambo/Alpa/Arca tech cameras, or try the Hasselblad/Leaf Sinar tools!  So many options.

And now we site on the edge of PhotoKina anxiously awaiting the "new and better" gear announcements from the ranks of gear tenders.

With that is mind, and ignoring what you have already invested in, let's assume that YOU were starting from scratch but with the knowledge you've gained to this point from your past purchases, be they wise or otherwise purchases.


Staying in the realm of digital, what would you purchase - camera/back, and why for your Landscape work?
« Last Edit: September 14, 2008, 01:23:30 PM by Lust4Life » Logged

Curt
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 60


WWW
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2008, 03:52:52 PM »
ReplyReply

I have been in the landscape category for 30 years. Before digital I settled on the Pentax 67 w/ appropriate lenses. Started w/Fuji S2 as my first serious digital camera. Than Nikon D70, D2X, D200, now a D700. I also photograph weddings so have Hasselblad as well & naturally tried that for landscapes. Also a Fuji 645(lightweight fixed lens rangefinder) for the backpacking.

Since you specify digital only I won't tell ya that the Pentax or most any 6x7 is probably best.

I am very happy with the digital Nikons & currently feel that the D700 w/20mm to 105mm lenses may be the way to go. Remember you need to carry this stuff in a backpack unless you are a roadside photographer. I have great 16x20 prints from the D2X. The great equalizer is a good tripod & good light. Camera system is important, but a practiced eye is the best investment.
Same opinions for Canon system, but I happened to start w/Nikon.
Logged
Anders_HK
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1001



WWW
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2008, 04:07:26 PM »
ReplyReply

My first real camera was a Canon AV-1 which I had during 20 years. Digital frustrates me in that it is difficult find camera with sensor to last long time!

As a serious amateur I shot F100 with Fuji Velvia 50 before (5 years). Difficultues in getting slides processed when living overseas led me to into digital. First with a D50 which I sold after two months. After research I settled for D200 with arguably more resolution than 35mm film... but sigh for colors to my critical eye (15 months). Then to Mamiya ZD for larger format and more respectable number of pixels for better detail in large prints... but ZD has problems... so about six months and loss.

I am now very happy with a Leaf Aptus 65 digital back. Colors are already good when I open at default settings in Camera RAW, and I am reading and learning lots more of processing too . Digital medium format is slower and leads to more planned shooting, that is great!

The Aptus would lend itself to flat stitching. That lead me into view cameras... only to realizing that such will be lots easier with SLIDE FILM:

http://www.shen-hao.com/TFC45IIB.html seem an excellent one, and good priced!

If I find a very good and well priced 65mm or 75mm Schneider or Rodenstock...

but... there is more to life than gear. One can take photos also  

Regards
Anders
Logged
petermarrek
Full Member
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 212



« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2008, 10:15:59 AM »
ReplyReply

I have resisted the siren call of medium format back quality. After years of lugging 4x5 and 4x10 gear, I traded unlimited quality for acceptable (D2x )  but I get to use lenses ( WA ) that are simply not available for larger cameras. What is the use of technically great prints when you cannot take the photograph u want? For my work, the super wide zooms are nirvana, once you learn what not to do with them. For landscapes, the sweeping vistas obtained with these lenses give me an edge that I couldn't dream about a few years ago. 30x40in. prints from a D2x on watercolour paper with a gloss laquer coating may not meet the standards of some members of this forum but to me the buyer of the print is the ultimate critic, the guy with the pen signing the cheque. I try very hard to produce a quality print but ultimately content is king. Peter
« Last Edit: September 15, 2008, 01:08:41 PM by petermarrek » Logged
Geoff Wittig
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1017


« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2008, 08:06:47 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
What a revolution in digital technology in the last 5 years for the Landscape Photographer!

staying in the realm of digital, what would you purchase - camera/back, and why for your Landscape work?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=221407\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


The best camera is always the one you have with you. Digital SLR's have advanced to the point where any decent 10+ mp camera on a solid tripod with good techique will produce a really excellent 13x19" print. And you can go as large as you want with stitching and a little patience. Beyond that it's whatever you wallet can bear. The incremental gain with each jump up the image quality ladder is a little smaller, for a bunch more cash.

I started off with Canon digital when the original Eos-1Ds came out, and it still produces a really nice image with the right post-capture processing. Yes, the newer mk III does beat it in resolution, noise control and overall usability, and I love mine. But getting out there and soaking up the landscape, then working to get a really fine capture in perfect light, count for more than precisely which piece of  gear you're shooting it with.
Logged
dalethorn
Guest
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2008, 02:20:58 PM »
ReplyReply

All of these "does a fine job" and "looks really great" are OK when you're looking at a given print, not comparing.  But when you put that miniature camera print next to a top-quality MF print of the same or similar scene, and note the muddy appearance in details with the little camera's print, well that's a big comedown, like the realization that you can't get what you want even if you do have the money.
Logged
framah
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1179



« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2008, 02:50:04 PM »
ReplyReply

Right now it's my 4x5 view camera with a Betterlight scanback and a pano adapter. A straight shot gives me an image slightly smaller than 4x5 with a 140mp file.
Logged

"It took a  lifetime of suffering and personal sacrifice to develop my keen aesthetic sense."
Paul Sumi
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1217


« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2008, 03:05:27 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Beyond that it's whatever you wallet can bear. The incremental gain with each jump up the image quality ladder is a little smaller, for a bunch more cash.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=221870\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

There's an analgous proposition in automobile racing, where the question "how fast do you want to go?" is answered with "how much do you want to spend?"

Paul
Logged

Paul Sumi
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1217


« Reply #8 on: September 17, 2008, 03:28:15 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Staying in the realm of digital, what would you purchase - camera/back, and why for your Landscape work?
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=221407\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Lots of questions...

What's your budget?

Is this setup meant to be purely for landscape photography or for other uses as well (e.g., architecture, studio, event/weddings, street/candid, family, etc)?

What's the anticipated end use of the images?  Is this purely for your own enjoyment or commercial/stock/editorial/fine art sales?

Are physical prints important, and how big?

Which is more important, portability or ultimate image quality or something in-between?

What are the typical sorts of locations at which you anticipate photographing?

Etc....

Paul
« Last Edit: September 17, 2008, 03:42:02 PM by PaulS » Logged

dalethorn
Guest
« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2008, 04:25:13 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Lots of questions...
What's your budget?
Is this setup meant to be purely for landscape photography or for other uses as well (e.g., architecture, studio, event/weddings, street/candid, family, etc)?
What's the anticipated end use of the images?  Is this purely for your own enjoyment or commercial/stock/editorial/fine art sales?
Are physical prints important, and how big?
Which is more important, portability or ultimate image quality or something in-between?
What are the typical sorts of locations at which you anticipate photographing?
Paul
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=222161\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Budget $80k for one camera and one lens. Use for landscape with foliage. Prints up to approx. 26 inch wide. Portability n/a. These would be show prints, possible sell to walk-in customers. What I want most is to see good leaf detail on the trees at a reasonable distance, say 150 yards.
Logged
framah
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1179



« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2008, 06:00:53 PM »
ReplyReply

I'll sell you my setup for only 60k and you'll have 20 left over to buy a nice Smart car!!
Logged

"It took a  lifetime of suffering and personal sacrifice to develop my keen aesthetic sense."
Wayne Fox
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2823



WWW
« Reply #11 on: September 23, 2008, 11:58:09 PM »
ReplyReply

Quote
Budget $80k for one camera and one lens. Use for landscape with foliage. Prints up to approx. 26 inch wide. Portability n/a. These would be show prints, possible sell to walk-in customers. What I want most is to see good leaf detail on the trees at a reasonable distance, say 150 yards.
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]


 I don't think you need to spend 80k.  If 26" is pretty much your limit, my guess is the new Canon 5d Mark II may be more than enough.

However, with that budget, sounds like you may prefer going MF.  I currently use a PhaseOne p45+ and the detail it can capture is pretty amazing - easily handle leave detail at that distance and further.Of course, even the new P65 would be in your budget ... 60mp captures would be pretty impressive.

My goal is putting my back on the Linhof67 ... I suggest this article by Michael.  

[a href=\"http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/digital-view.shtml]http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/...ital-view.shtml[/url]

I'm waiting to evaluate the P65+ to decide whether to upgrade, or try the Linhof system.
« Last Edit: September 30, 2008, 01:56:58 PM by Wayne Fox » Logged

Lust4Life
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 429


WWW
« Reply #12 on: September 24, 2008, 07:01:55 AM »
ReplyReply

Some interesting comments, and very diverse directions, posted so far on this topic.

I personally shot Hasselblad 503cw/CFI lenses and 4x5/Rodenstock/Schneider lenses with film and scanned on my Howtek Hi-Resolve 8,000 drum scanner.  I developed my own film, Fuji Acros mainly, in my Photo-Therm processor that I had tweaked.

When the P45 came on the scene I tested it against the best film and the P45 matched, and in most cases exceeded the dynamic range of my film setup.

Well, that's all I needed - I purchased the P45 with a V mount for the 503cw and sold everything else.  

Good solution - great results and the low cost of my 503cw/lenses was a real plus.

Then the H1 arrives on the scene and I jump for it when the P45+ came out.  I ordered the Plus with the H mount and sold all of my 503cw gear.  Found that the H2 was released shortly after my purchase and I upgraded to it as well.

Sold all about 2 months ago.

REFLECTIONS - If only I had known then what I know now:
For the best image, which is also the most cost effective solution, I should have stuck with the 503cw and the P45.  I actually got sharper and better contrast images with the CFi lenses than with the H series lenses.  The difference between the P45 and the P45+ are not enough to warrant the cost increase when purchasing new.

DIRECTION:
Today, I'm wrestling with a complete rebuild of my system.  Todays selection criteria are, in order of importance:
1.  Image quality - I've learned I need no more than 39MP, and could possible do fine with 33MP.
2.  Weight - I'm 62 years young - back packing trails around the globe is not quite as easy as 10 years ago.
3.  Cost - I think we are headed into a real nasty recession, at best, and want to conserve cash.  As my photography obsession has never been a positive cash flow situation, and I doubt that it ever will be, the cost of entry and depreciation is very important.
4.  Ideally - rise and tilt.  Shift is optional and not really needed as I use the RRS Pan contraption for multi-row shots.

CANDIDATES, as of the moment:
SLR is out - no contest when compared to what I can do with MFD - I'm after Schneider/Rodenstock quality glass and the larger sensor sites of a MFDB.

MF SLR
Hasselblad 503cw - not out of the question to return to it, but I do miss rise and lens tilt.  I've been there and would have thousand more still in the bank if I had just stayed there.  I could have added a Tech camera for the times I want rise/tilt.

Contax - possible candidate but it's lacking in many of the aforesaid features I can get with a tech camera.  It's advantage is it can double as my street camera, but big disadvantage is that it was discontinued 5 years ago.  However, very cost effective due to that fact.

Phase/Mamiya - tested it - just did not feel right in my hand.  I also found the corners/edges of the 28mm lens to be softer than I want.  The 150 was outstanding and the 80 was adequate.  But the 28 would be a lens I'd use frequently and it has to be perfect, and it just isn't.  Also, the controls were not placed well for my size hand and the camera strap connectors required that the camera be carried in a horizontal axis rather than verticle.  There are many times when I'm walking an easy trail and I just have the camera hanging on my shoulder, and the Phase just would not work.  HOWEVER, it is very cost effective when link to a Phase back for purchase.

Technical/Pan Cameras - to get rise/tilt that I miss with the 503cw:
Camera body -
   Alpa 12Max & TC - very nice equipment, precise movements (but more precise than I need for landscape work), EXPENSIVE to my pocket book.  A bit heavier than I'd like and no lens tilt, but that's not a deal breaker, just would be nice to have as it's the one feature of my Ebony 4x5 that I miss the most.  

   Cambo WRS1000 - Far more cost effective than the Alpa for either body or their lenses.  I've recently tested the WDS and found it very adequate but bulky and the movements were not very precise for the first 3mm of any axis.  Frankly, that is not a particular problem for me, I can live with it considering how much less the unit cost than the Alpa - gotta give something up.  I'm told that the initial precision of movements in the WRS is going to be better. (Once I got past the first few mm of movement, I found the WDS to be fine for accuracy.)

   Linhof - I appreciate the comments of Wayne Fox.  The Linhof M67cs is a seductive solution, as is the new Techno introduced at 'kina.  Will be a lot to evaluate between these two configurations but the advantage is initially with the Techno due to it's substantially lighter weight.

   Arca RM3d - I've been watching this camera for well over a year and that in itself has turned me off on Arca.  Vapor it has been, info in the USA is poor at best, and I see no price incentive to further consider it.  

I've looked at other technical cameras but the Alpa, Cambo and Linhof above are the candidates I've settled on for numerous reasons.  Open to suggestions, but must have a logical and financial foundation to be considered.

Digital Back - Only two candidates in my FOV.
Phase One - I'm leaning toward the P45 purchase as a demo unit.  As stated earlier, the cost increase of the P45+ is hard for me to visually justify, and I never need ultra long exposures.  However, that will not keep me from trying to beat up a dealer into letting his P45+ demo go for just a couple grand more that the P45!  :-)  I've been pleased in particular with my Phase One dealer, Chris Snipes of Image Production, St. Petersburg, FL.  He has been supportive beyond the norm and just great to work with.  Thus Phase has the advantage at the moment.

Leaf - I'll be testing the Leaf linked to the AFi next week.  Very anxious to see how the images compare in detail of foliage and dynamic range to the work I've done with the P45/P45+ in the past.  Also curious to see if the AFi would be nimble enough to use as my "street" camera.   However, I find it concerning that the Leaf's street price is thousands higher than the Phase and for substantially fewer pixels.  I'm hoping there must be some strong basis for the price difference that can be seen in the digital file, but I'll not know that till the end of next week.

In closing, this is a study in progress and the function of this post is to share some of my opinions/finding with others that may be going through the same evaluations.  I'll add to this my findings after testing the Leaf AFi next week for those interested.
Logged

Don Libby
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 724


Iron Creek Photography


WWW
« Reply #13 on: September 24, 2008, 02:37:26 PM »
ReplyReply

Hi Jack

I think your original question has a lot of merit and I particularly like your comments/analysis of today.

I began taking landscape images in 35mm format before deciding that while the images looked okay I felt I could do better thus went the way of medium format (Mamiya & P30+).  Iím now in the position where I want more; more resolution, larger files, easier method(s) of obtaining multiple row/column images for panoramas just to mention a couple items.  Thanks to Chris at Capture Integration Iím about to test a Cambo WDS and P45 at the North Rim of the Grand Canyon which just may become my new ultimate landscape camera.

BTW, it was good reading both Michaels and your review of the Cambo.


don
Logged

Pages: [1]   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad