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Author Topic: Intelligent move to Medium Format System  (Read 10864 times)
DavidStephen
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« on: June 19, 2009, 08:35:40 AM »
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The world of DSLR technology was confusing enough, but I managed through, only to find the depth and dimension it provides doesn't match my ambitions as a photographer.  I didn't realize the huge gaps in digital technology, quality and potential from body to body, and, over a period of 2 years invested in at least six camera bodies and plenty of lens.  It was a great, but steep learning path.  I have no regrets, but want to move ahead.

I'm going to invest in Medium format equipment, and realize doing this will require (some) rethinking / retooling of my studio equipment.

After some consideration I am considering a H3D11-31 or 39.  A big step for a beginner.  

I want to start on solid ground - ground upon which I can continue building not only my studio, but moreover, my photographic skills.  

I'm looking for anyone willing to offer basic, overall guidelines / suggestions / advice that I can follow, from camera to print.  

In advance,
Thanks,
DS

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situgrrl
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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2009, 02:03:16 PM »
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Quote from: DavidStephen
The world of DSLR technology was confusing enough, but I managed through, only to find the depth and dimension it provides doesn't match my ambitions as a photographer.

What are your ambitions as a photographer exactly?  Pardon my thinking, but having been serious about photography since the age of 11. I sold my first photograph aged 14 and having spent two years working professionally before opting for another career path 7 years ago, I have never needed anything more than 35mm film. (6mp equiv - for the sake of argument).  This would provide for enlargement up to 12x16 using careful technique and good glass.  There were many times when I would rather have used MF but couldn't afford it.

Last week, I was printing some shots for my portfolio.  They were shot with a 30D, 85mm 1.8 @ ISO 800.  They printed at 13x19 quite happily and if I had a 17" printer, I'm sure I could have gone 17x24 without problem.

What is it that you think 30-40mp is going to give you that the 25mp of a Sony A900 will not?  How big are you printing?  Can you post examples of w photo where you think the equipment is the limiting factor?
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DarkPenguin
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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2009, 03:14:06 PM »
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Try the MFDB forum up a couple from this one.  Can I ask why you feel the need to go MFDB?
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Plekto
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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2009, 04:01:49 PM »
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If you are doing personal/art type work and not anything commercial or that requires speed and large numbers of shots, then you might also consider ignoring the whole thing and just straight to large format.  

Enormous difference.  Words can't really describe how much quality you can get for the money versus MF digital if you are willing to put up with the slower pace and bigger equipment.  A typical piece of 4x5  negative film costs... well, you'd need thousands and thousands of shots to get to the price of a good DB.
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DavidStephen
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« Reply #4 on: June 21, 2009, 06:51:19 AM »
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The work is all personal.  I have no intentions of working commercially, with the exception of specific commissions that interest me from an aesthetic point of view.
Print size in square formats is best, for what I'm doing, at a minimum of 36" square, and up to 72".  Horizontal and vertical should only be limited by current, studio size technology.

My goals are simple - to exploit digital photographic technology as a tool, and only a tool, to express the soul of subject matter.  I am resisting the temptation to become hypnotized by the technology itself - not an easy task.

Photography, for me, is all about mining the depth of emotion available in the world around me, and communicating it back to the world through photographic images.  

For me, dslr cmos technology is incapable of capturing, and communicating the details I see, and feel.  This is a purely personal experience.  

I am aware of, and have deep respect for incredibly beautiful, skillfully composed and crafted dslr based images.  Many are so beautiful I would never attempt to produce them myself - it's a different world - my genius/interests lies elsewhere, as it does for each of us.

Large Format may hold interest one day.  However, there's another twist - I am a long-distance adventure-touring motorcyclist.  My equipment has to be fitted to carry on two wheels.  

I'm only a beginner, but I move fast!  www.davidshatzman.com
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Jack Flesher
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« Reply #5 on: June 21, 2009, 11:10:27 AM »
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It is pretty clear from your first post, you've given this more than cursory thought, and the expenditure itself is not a major concern to you.

That said, MF digital is a good way to go for making large prints from direct capture.  The pitfall is going to be learning a good digital workflow -- without that, you will be dead in the water before starting...  

So you have two main things and a sub-item to consider when choosing an MF digital system: the camera system, and the digital back system, and then software(s) required to utilize said digital back.  Also, you'll need a good processing computer since the files are large, and you'll probably want a good desktop with big monitors for editing in your studio, and a good laptop to quick-edit and/or tether to while on the road or on location.

Cameras: Any of the current major brands are capable of generating stunning images. Some have a broader selection of lenses to choose from, others have more sophisticated body controls, some are leaf-shutter systems, others are focal plane shutters, some excel inside a studio environment and some excel in outdoor environments --- and essentially none of them do it all best, so it is an exercise in choosing a set of tradeoffs that best integrates to YOUR shooting style and subject matter

Backs: again, any of the current popular brands are capable of generating stunning images -- the best in each brand, say 30MP and up,  nearly equal 4x5 film in detail captured and exceed it in color accuracy and dynamic range.  (And you'll want at least 30MP to regularly enlarge to 36"...)  The biggest differences in the backs are the control button UI's and the software(s) used to convert the raw file to your final working image. (Software is pluralized because some manufacturers require multiple pieces of software be employed to fully convert a raw file into a standard working file format.)   After that, the differences between backs are more subtle, such as color palette or smoothness or noise renderings, and not really significant to the final product, but clearly personal preferences may dictate preference for one over the other.    

Dealer: With MF digital, having a quality dealer support is very beneficial, so I'd keep that one on your short list of choice decisions too.

Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress,
« Last Edit: June 21, 2009, 11:14:20 AM by Jack Flesher » Logged

Plekto
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« Reply #6 on: June 21, 2009, 11:46:56 AM »
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Quote from: DavidStephen
I am aware of, and have deep respect for incredibly beautiful, skillfully composed and crafted dslr based images.  Many are so beautiful I would never attempt to produce them myself - it's a different world - my genius/interests lies elsewhere, as it does for each of us.

Large Format may hold interest one day.  However, there's another twist - I am a long-distance adventure-touring motorcyclist.  My equipment has to be fitted to carry on two wheels.  

I'm only a beginner, but I move fast!  www.davidshatzman.com

http://www.fotomancamera.com/product_list.asp?id=335
If you don't need tilt/shift capabilities, you can get large format models that are quite light.  $800/2.4 lbs.  The only issue would be a bag or case to cushion it from the myriad of vibrations a motorcycle would create.  But any camera would suffer a bit here I think...   Their 6x9 camera is also interesting as it's basically a large format camera that uses medium format film.

http://www.fotomancamera.com/product_list.asp?id=338
That's actually almost tiny.  A small metal 1.37lb "brick".  

But, IMO, you really need the ability to move the image around on the film.
http://www.toyoview.com/LargeFrmtTech/lgformat.html
They kind of explain it here - it seems cumbersome at first to move the lens in all 6 axis, but you can get perfect results almost every time. If you have enough time to compose the shot, that is.  5+ minutes per shot isn't uncommon unpacking/setup/compose/take down time.  Scenery fans, though, often spend this much time anyways getting a shot "right", so it's not a huge deal to many people.  Then again, 95% of people don't need a system with massive movement.  There are some interesting folding and ultra-compact designs out there.  Large format is experiencing a small resurgence lately.

http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/toho.htm
This is one of the smaller monorail systems made.  What's nice is that it comes apart.  This means that vibration in transit isn't as huge of a concern, since the moving parts and the main body are separated in transit.  Good review, IMO - he uses it for backpacking and fits it all in one padded backpack.

http://www.toyoview.com/Products/45CF/45CF.html
Other manufacturers also do this or their cameras fold up into a small brick.

http://www.shutterbug.com/equipmentreviews...t/1102sb_first/
A quick review on it.

One last thing - film is great for backpacking or long trips like you plan to do because there are no batteries or other issues.
« Last Edit: June 21, 2009, 12:01:41 PM by Plekto » Logged
DavidStephen
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« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2009, 06:39:16 AM »
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Quote from: Jack Flesher
It is pretty clear from your first post, you've given this more than cursory thought, and the expenditure itself is not a major concern to you.

That said, MF digital is a good way to go for making large prints from direct capture.  The pitfall is going to be learning a good digital workflow -- without that, you will be dead in the water before starting...  

So you have two main things and a sub-item to consider when choosing an MF digital system: the camera system, and the digital back system, and then software(s) required to utilize said digital back.  Also, you'll need a good processing computer since the files are large, and you'll probably want a good desktop with big monitors for editing in your studio, and a good laptop to quick-edit and/or tether to while on the road or on location.

Cameras: Any of the current major brands are capable of generating stunning images. Some have a broader selection of lenses to choose from, others have more sophisticated body controls, some are leaf-shutter systems, others are focal plane shutters, some excel inside a studio environment and some excel in outdoor environments --- and essentially none of them do it all best, so it is an exercise in choosing a set of tradeoffs that best integrates to YOUR shooting style and subject matter

Backs: again, any of the current popular brands are capable of generating stunning images -- the best in each brand, say 30MP and up,  nearly equal 4x5 film in detail captured and exceed it in color accuracy and dynamic range.  (And you'll want at least 30MP to regularly enlarge to 36"...)  The biggest differences in the backs are the control button UI's and the software(s) used to convert the raw file to your final working image. (Software is pluralized because some manufacturers require multiple pieces of software be employed to fully convert a raw file into a standard working file format.)   After that, the differences between backs are more subtle, such as color palette or smoothness or noise renderings, and not really significant to the final product, but clearly personal preferences may dictate preference for one over the other.    

Dealer: With MF digital, having a quality dealer support is very beneficial, so I'd keep that one on your short list of choice decisions too.

Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress,


Jack,

Over the weekend I met with a Hassablad rep and spent time exploring a H3D11-50. Also, looking at various images printed at tremendous sizes. Both the H3 and images were impressive. I used the camera in and out of his office, then processed the images in Hasselblads Phocus software and subsequently in CS4. We used a MAC desktop with, average sized dual monitors ( Lacie for image / HP for tools ). I didn't ask about the computing capacity of the machine. Most of the equipment looked up to date, but not necessarily fresh from the box. I'd say his set-up was average.

The camera operation was straightforward and although different in body design technically familiar. The biggest challenge handling the camera are the overall dimensions and weight. Although, I'm not sure that it's much heavier than my Nikon with 14-24, just a different "shape" / mass. A small consideration considering I rarely shoot handheld. Image production was impressive. I think I can "get-along" with this camera system.

The rep is just that, in addition to being an accomplished shooter and owning a print operation. I can purchase Hasselblad through him, however I'm not sure of his capacity to assist me in case of service needs.
Competent, patient, and compassionate dealers are hard to find where I live (South Florida). Even with Nikon I found myself buying most of my equipment from California dealers, who were informed, and in the case of service requirements, very helpful. With the step to MF technology, the serious investment, and "brave-new-world" of MF shooting having solid support may be very important.

In general: Although proven wrong at time, I tend to think manufactures of sophisticated technical, mechanical or other design intensive products, who invest heavily in R&D, know what their doing, and how their products preform. In this regard I tend to isolate the products I believe will preform the desired task, and commit to the brand. I rarely introduce aftermarket products unless their design specific to the core product, and have a proven reliability record. While it is a concern to some that Hasselblad is becoming a closed system, it has appeal, since it appears they calibrate each component, including post capture processing, to work together symbiotically. ( That's the best way I can put it}. After All, my prime concern is the image.

The cost is no joke. With sums of this size other manufactures are in the running. ALPA contends, but seems a bit complicated for my beginners blood. The new system has to be easy.

Thanks for your post. It was very helpful.

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DavidStephen
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« Reply #8 on: June 22, 2009, 06:49:31 AM »
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Quote from: Plekto
http://www.fotomancamera.com/product_list.asp?id=335
If you don't need tilt/shift capabilities, you can get large format models that are quite light.  $800/2.4 lbs.  The only issue would be a bag or case to cushion it from the myriad of vibrations a motorcycle would create.  But any camera would suffer a bit here I think...   Their 6x9 camera is also interesting as it's basically a large format camera that uses medium format film.

http://www.fotomancamera.com/product_list.asp?id=338
That's actually almost tiny.  A small metal 1.37lb "brick".  

But, IMO, you really need the ability to move the image around on the film.
http://www.toyoview.com/LargeFrmtTech/lgformat.html
They kind of explain it here - it seems cumbersome at first to move the lens in all 6 axis, but you can get perfect results almost every time. If you have enough time to compose the shot, that is.  5+ minutes per shot isn't uncommon unpacking/setup/compose/take down time.  Scenery fans, though, often spend this much time anyways getting a shot "right", so it's not a huge deal to many people.  Then again, 95% of people don't need a system with massive movement.  There are some interesting folding and ultra-compact designs out there.  Large format is experiencing a small resurgence lately.

http://www.thalmann.com/largeformat/toho.htm
This is one of the smaller monorail systems made.  What's nice is that it comes apart.  This means that vibration in transit isn't as huge of a concern, since the moving parts and the main body are separated in transit.  Good review, IMO - he uses it for backpacking and fits it all in one padded backpack.

http://www.toyoview.com/Products/45CF/45CF.html
Other manufacturers also do this or their cameras fold up into a small brick.

http://www.shutterbug.com/equipmentreviews...t/1102sb_first/
A quick review on it.

One last thing - film is great for backpacking or long trips like you plan to do because there are no batteries or other issues.


Plekto,

Thanks for the great information.  I reviewed the sites and found much  it helpful.  

LF is something I'd like to consider in the future. Perhaps in studio, when I'm older.   For now it's beyond my needs and, probably patience level.

Film, in my mind ( something I change from time to time) requires a meditative approach and although I can be calm, and thoughtful, I tend to think fast and desire spontaneous gratification.  Honestly,
if advanced digital hadn't come along I would not have been as enthusiastic about photography.  The same can be said for how I worked before, and after PC technology.  PC technology was like a breath of fresh air to a suffocating mind - Digital is the same.  Yes, I'm actually old enough to have straddled pre & post PC Technology worlds!  You can't imagine how grateful I am that technology has begun to catch up with our capacity to think.  Only begun.

I've bookmarked the pages you sent, and will refer to them from time to time.

THanks again,
DS
« Last Edit: June 22, 2009, 06:53:05 AM by DavidStephen » Logged
Jack Flesher
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« Reply #9 on: June 22, 2009, 12:09:28 PM »
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Quote from: DavidStephen
Jack,

Over the weekend I met with a Hassablad rep and spent time exploring a H3D11-50. Also, looking at various images printed at tremendous sizes. Both the H3 and images were impressive. I used the camera in and out of his office, then processed the images in Hasselblads Phocus software and subsequently in CS4. We used a MAC desktop with, average sized dual monitors ( Lacie for image / HP for tools ). I didn't ask about the computing capacity of the machine. Most of the equipment looked up to date, but not necessarily fresh from the box. I'd say his set-up was average.

The camera operation was straightforward and although different in body design technically familiar. The biggest challenge handling the camera are the overall dimensions and weight. Although, I'm not sure that it's much heavier than my Nikon with 14-24, just a different "shape" / mass. A small consideration considering I rarely shoot handheld. Image production was impressive. I think I can "get-along" with this camera system.

The rep is just that, in addition to being an accomplished shooter and owning a print operation. I can purchase Hasselblad through him, however I'm not sure of his capacity to assist me in case of service needs.
Competent, patient, and compassionate dealers are hard to find where I live (South Florida). Even with Nikon I found myself buying most of my equipment from California dealers, who were informed, and in the case of service requirements, very helpful. With the step to MF technology, the serious investment, and "brave-new-world" of MF shooting having solid support may be very important.

In general: Although proven wrong at time, I tend to think manufactures of sophisticated technical, mechanical or other design intensive products, who invest heavily in R&D, know what their doing, and how their products preform. In this regard I tend to isolate the products I believe will preform the desired task, and commit to the brand. I rarely introduce aftermarket products unless their design specific to the core product, and have a proven reliability record. While it is a concern to some that Hasselblad is becoming a closed system, it has appeal, since it appears they calibrate each component, including post capture processing, to work together symbiotically. ( That's the best way I can put it}. After All, my prime concern is the image.

The cost is no joke. With sums of this size other manufactures are in the running. ALPA contends, but seems a bit complicated for my beginners blood. The new system has to be easy.

Thanks for your post. It was very helpful.

Hi David:

For sure the Hassy is a good system and capable of generating excellent images.  However, it is relatively heavier than the Mamiya for example primarily the lenses due to the leaf shutters.

I shoot Phase/Mamiya and ironically I live in California but my preferred Phase/Mamiya dealer is located in South Florida!  Capture Integration in Miami and they are pretty visible in the MF forum on this site. Might be worth contacting them for a demo before you make your final decision.

Cheers,
« Last Edit: June 22, 2009, 12:10:30 PM by Jack Flesher » Logged

Doug Peterson
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« Reply #10 on: June 22, 2009, 12:42:56 PM »
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Quote from: DavidStephen
Competent, patient, and compassionate dealers are hard to find where I live (South Florida). Even with Nikon I found myself buying most of my equipment from California dealers, who were informed, and in the case of service requirements, very helpful. With the step to MF technology, the serious investment, and "brave-new-world" of MF shooting having solid support may be very important.

Hasselblad makes a good systems. If you haven't looked at Phase One I would strongly (though with a great deal of stated bias) suggest you evaluate a Phase One system in person as well. We have a test studio in South Beach. We would be honored to have you there to evaluate the many options (backs/bodies/lenses) you have as well as do a real world shoot so you can evaluate the total workflow (capture, editing, processing, printing).

Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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Plekto
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« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2009, 12:11:17 AM »
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Quote from: DavidStephen
Film, in my mind ( something I change from time to time) requires a meditative approach and although I can be calm, and thoughtful, I tend to think fast and desire spontaneous gratification.  Honestly,
if advanced digital hadn't come along I would not have been as enthusiastic about photography.  The same can be said for how I worked before, and after PC technology.  PC technology was like a breath of fresh air to a suffocating mind - Digital is the same.  Yes, I'm actually old enough to have straddled pre & post PC Technology worlds!  You can't imagine how grateful I am that technology has begun to catch up with our capacity to think.  Only begun.

Thanks.  There's no problem with it, really.  Large format is very much an artist's technology, and well, you want to do things faster, that's OK.  So do I, as well.

That said, there are tons of options for MF film as well that are as quick and "spontaneous" as digital.  Or you can cheat and get a 24-25mp DSLR and be matching the best 645 cameras out there.  Not too bad for $2500-$3000.  

Me?  I have an old Rollei that works great.  It's small, quick, and does gorgeous things with black and white film.  Some of the newer more pricey models are DB compatible and a couple even have auto-focus for those of us with aging eyes. (though to be honest, with a huge viewfinder, glasses work fine - one advantage of a waist-level finder, IMO)
« Last Edit: June 23, 2009, 12:17:55 AM by Plekto » Logged
Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #12 on: June 23, 2009, 05:49:36 AM »
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Quote from: DavidStephen
I'm going to invest in Medium format equipment, and realize doing this will require (some) rethinking / retooling of my studio equipment.
After some consideration I am considering a H3D11-31 or 39.  A big step for a beginner.  
Thanks,DS
Having 3 analog Hasselblads and 3 Sinars, never having had a DSLR, I went straight to a H3D11-50 and a Sinar P3, and a set of Apo-digitars, and there is a great deal to learn... Where are you?
Quote from: situgrrl
What is it that you think 30-40mp is going to give you that the 25mp of a Sony A900 will not?  How big are you printing?
You can avoid comments like the above by posting questions in the Medium format/large sensor section.
Quote from: DavidStephen
Print size in square formats is best, for what I'm doing, at a minimum of 36" square, and up to 72".  Horizontal and vertical should only be limited by current, studio size technology.
If you are printing that big, then 60Mpx or a sliding stitching back would give you the res you need and squareish format.

Some decade soon someone might make a good, small, light, MFDVC with plenty of movements for shift, tilt and stitch. The attempts so far to address this market are not much lighter than a Sinar, with very limited movements. Sinar P3 lensboard compatibility would be great, so I could use the same lenses in the same lensboards on the Sinar.
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Hasselblad H4, Sinar P3 monorail view camera, Schneider Apo-digitar lenses
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« Reply #13 on: June 24, 2009, 06:52:19 AM »
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The field widens.
Sinar, Cambo, Hasselblad, ALPA, and seemingly infinite combinations.
I’ve looked at everyone’s comments, sites, and, when possible, images.
Very good info and knowledge.
Pricing for any of the above is in the same general range to start, 25-30K.

Using motorcycling as an analogy, I believe my decision will come down to innate familiarity and comfort.  Although I have not always ridden BMW, once I discovered the brand I didn’t stray.  Even within the model range, after several ownerships, I return to the same model, and setup, for the same reasons – I can count on it to do what I want it to do, no matter where I go.  

The same is likely true for most shooters with their camera gear.  All of the above mentioned technology works beautifully, and although there may be some differences in design, I imagine there’s only marginal difference in performance & output.  The real difference is most likely in seeing, and what you do after you capture the shot.  In other words, there’s no perfect solution, only good ones – the ones that work for the shooter.  Of course, every brand loyalist will want to share their enthusiasm, and good experiences – one of the finer qualities of human beings.

It’s becoming apparent moving forward with MF will be a greater challenge than I initially thought.  The challenge, of course, is deciding on brand and set-up.  Once there, the challenge will be getting out shooting – the fun stuff.    

Perhaps I should follow the advise of an old friend, who getting advise from an older friend was told, “The best is enemy of the good”, and throw the dart, see where it lands, and take the plunge.  

In any case, regardless of the direction I take, the challenge of aperture, exposure, and lens selection, etc, will be the same.

Gentlemen,
Thanks for your comments and suggestions.  I derived enough info to find my way to the rabbit hole, and stepped deep enough in to know there’s no end in sight – just what I look for in any adventure!

DS
« Last Edit: June 24, 2009, 06:54:18 AM by DavidStephen » Logged
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« Reply #14 on: June 24, 2009, 09:05:15 AM »
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Quote from: DavidStephen
The field widens.
Sinar, Cambo, Hasselblad, ALPA, and seemingly infinite combinations.
DS
My system is complicated and heavy, but if you can stick with one manufacturer and supplier, if it does not work, you know who to blame. The Sinar P3 is versatile and heavy, and the Sinar F3 is lighter, and more compact, and takes the same lensboards... so you could have a P3, and F3 and a box of lenses.
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Hasselblad H4, Sinar P3 monorail view camera, Schneider Apo-digitar lenses
Plekto
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« Reply #15 on: June 24, 2009, 10:02:59 AM »
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Quote from: DavidStephen
The field widens.
Sinar, Cambo, Hasselblad, ALPA, and seemingly infinite combinations.
I’ve looked at everyone’s comments, sites, and, when possible, images.
Very good info and knowledge.
Pricing for any of the above is in the same general range to start, 25-30K.
I really suggest you start with film and something that can later accept a DB before deciding to jump in with this much cost attached.  Me, I have an old Rollei SL66.  Really old-school.  Bought to replace my last MF camera, a Rollei TLR, for a little under $1000 about a year ago.  Since I shoot black and white scenery and trust a real light meter more than the one built into any camera, this was a good decision that saved me a lot of money.  25-30K is just a horrendous amount to spend on anything unless it's something you need for your work/you need it as a professional photographer.

It's compact, quiet, and a true artist's tool.  I find it to be a lot like the "big daddy" of a rangefinder.  Of course, the modern version of this would be um.. a 6003, IIRC?... because you want the DB maybe in the future.  A lot of photographers also like that they can ditch the DB and use film on a trip or just walking about town.  They might not say so online, though...  

Quote
The same is likely true for most shooters with their camera gear.  All of the above mentioned technology works beautifully, and although there may be some differences in design, I imagine there’s only marginal difference in performance & output.
True in theory, but all of the reviews and discussions about what one is better aside, most of us really use the least expensive tool for the job that we can.  The reason I suggest film to start is because a DB is a lot of cost - thousands and thousands of shots to break even.  Everything in digital costs about the same as film other than processing, when you do a serious cost analysis.  25K in developing plus a computer and software would take me a decade or two to recover at my casual pace.

I'm an original techno-worshiper who's been using computers and electronics since the 70s.  Yet there's no cost benefit to me going purely digital.  And despite the views of the review sites and a lot of people online, a scanner works pretty well most of the time.  A scanner and a computer is still "technology" - heh.  It satisfies the geek in me just fine, because it's identical once the file is in the computer.  Scan or plug in a CF card... whatever.  The real magic happens when I throw the myriad of programs and tools that I have at the thing.(slightly evil grin)

That said, there are three main choices.  Hasselblad, Rollei, and Mamiya.  I like Rollei because they are still making old-school cameras and there are a LOT of them around.  You can also get used Rollei gear probably for the least money as a result, though you have to really be careful what you buy and that it will work 100% with a DB.    Mamiya is probably the least expensive "system" to buy as a whole kit all at once.  Hassselblad is fantastic as well - I think a better system, but used gear is a bit pricey/holds its value a bit too well.
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Dick Roadnight
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« Reply #16 on: June 24, 2009, 10:26:47 AM »
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Quote from: Plekto
I'm an original techno-worshiper who's been using computers and electronics since the 70s.  Yet there's no cost benefit to me going purely digital.
He has stated that he wants digital. For landscapes I could have stuck to Sheet/roll film, but I want the immediate feedback of digital (for difficult subjects like glass) and the compactness, and image quality, and the lab-independence...
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Hasselblad H4, Sinar P3 monorail view camera, Schneider Apo-digitar lenses
MichaelAlanBielat
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« Reply #17 on: June 24, 2009, 02:15:01 PM »
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Quote from: Jack Flesher
Hi David:

For sure the Hassy is a good system and capable of generating excellent images.  However, it is relatively heavier than the Mamiya for example primarily the lenses due to the leaf shutters.

...The weight is not because of having leaf shutters. The HC/HCD lenses use metal, not plastic, wherever possible and don't skimp out on their optics.

Don't forget, Hasselblad has their HCD 35-90 aspherical lens. If you compared with their HC 50-110mm lens, you get a wider view, it's thinner and about a 1/3rd lighter without sacrificing any flexibility or optical quality. Having that apsherical lens means they can use less lens elements to lighten things up.
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Plekto
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« Reply #18 on: June 24, 2009, 03:41:53 PM »
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Quote from: Dick Roadnight
He has stated that he wants digital. For landscapes I could have stuck to Sheet/roll film, but I want the immediate feedback of digital (for difficult subjects like glass) and the compactness, and image quality, and the lab-independence...

True.  Then he should be looking at something that can accept a DB without the horrendous cost.  I bet he can get 16MP or so DBs for really cheap.  Of course, if he can wait until this fall, things will get interesting, since the new Canon and a few other DLSRs are coming out which might put a huge dent in the DB market.
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tho_mas
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« Reply #19 on: June 24, 2009, 06:36:20 PM »
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Quote from: DavidStephen
The field widens.
Sinar, Cambo, Hasselblad, ALPA, and seemingly infinite combinations.
As far as I see what you are up to... why not buy a used camera in mint condition and a refurbished back? The Contax' are really great cameras with nice lenses and you'll find everything you need within short time. Or a Mamiya... or any MF camera you like and that is an "open" platform.
Take a refurbished Phase, Sinar or Leaf back ... done.

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