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Author Topic: NEED ASSISTANCE BUYING A P1 BACK + Camera  (Read 5194 times)
Ailan
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« on: July 17, 2009, 10:27:36 PM »
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Hi, id appreciate very much any help on this. As I've already read enough spec sheets, reviews, forum discussions... and now im starting to feel as ive smell a dozen or so perfumes and lost the sense of smell.

I need to buy a camera + digital back. Will be printing this at max of 240 inches on the long side. High quality pop murals at street level that will be viewed as close as anyone would like to get to. Portraits.

Have shot this in the past with an H3DII 39 MP, and although most came out great, I felt the camera not as fast as I would of wanted. Not good in low light situations. Some with very bad noise at ISO 400, and others with less than optimum quality shooting portraits under silk frames on very bright dessert sun.

Im thinking on a combo of 645-AFD III Mamiya, and the Phase One P 45+. Dont know if I need to go as big as the 45+ for this, so any solid help would be great. And also if any solid experienced minds out there could help be figure if this would be the right combo for me, or something else any would like to suggest.

I will be shooting mostly people in interiors and exteriors, sometimes moving, or making quick movements while I shoot tethered during sunrise, sunset, but also midday dessert sun. under silk frames.

I have a Mamiya RZ67 Pro II D, but from what I read unless im wrong the 645 has autofocus, great in low light, etc.

Also wondering if I could use the back in both with proper mount adapters.

Many thanks! Id appreciate any help very much.
« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 12:54:08 AM by Ailan » Logged
aaronleitz
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« Reply #1 on: July 17, 2009, 10:48:39 PM »
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Quote from: Ailan
...I felt the camera not as fast as I would of wanted. Not good in low light situations. Some with very bad noise at ISO 400, and others with less than optimum quality shooting portraits under silk frames on very bright dessert sun.

I will be shooting mostly people in interiors and exteriors, sometimes moving, or making quick movements while I shoot tethered during sunrise, sunset, but also midday dessert sun. under silk frames.

Sounds like you should get a 5DmkII or a D3x.
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Ailan
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« Reply #2 on: July 17, 2009, 10:53:19 PM »
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Quote from: aaronleitz
Sounds like you should get a 5DmkII or a D3x.

In your personal experience the images will print tack sharp at that size (220 inches on the long side) with those cameras?

Ive read some reviews that the D3x is no good on low light situations.

Thanks!
« Last Edit: July 17, 2009, 11:26:44 PM by Ailan » Logged
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« Reply #3 on: July 18, 2009, 04:12:44 AM »
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Quote from: Ailan
Ive read some reviews that the D3x is no good on low light situations.

I doubt any medium format digital back could keep up with it in low light.
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« Reply #4 on: July 18, 2009, 07:07:49 AM »
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Quote from: Ailan
Hi, id appreciate very much any help on this. As I've already read enough spec sheets, reviews, forum discussions... and now im starting to feel as ive smell a dozen or so perfumes and lost the sense of smell.

I need to buy a camera + digital back. Will be printing this at max of 240 inches on the long side. High quality pop murals at street level that will be viewed as close as anyone would like to get to. Portraits.

Have shot this in the past with an H3DII 39 MP, and although most came out great, I felt the camera not as fast as I would of wanted. Not good in low light situations. Some with very bad noise at ISO 400, and others with less than optimum quality shooting portraits under silk frames on very bright dessert sun.

Im thinking on a combo of 645-AFD III Mamiya, and the Phase One P 45+. Dont know if I need to go as big as the 45+ for this, so any solid help would be great. And also if any solid experienced minds out there could help be figure if this would be the right combo for me, or something else any would like to suggest.

I will be shooting mostly people in interiors and exteriors, sometimes moving, or making quick movements while I shoot tethered during sunrise, sunset, but also midday dessert sun. under silk frames.

I have a Mamiya RZ67 Pro II D, but from what I read unless im wrong the 645 has autofocus, great in low light, etc.

Also wondering if I could use the back in both with proper mount adapters.

Many thanks! Id appreciate any help very much.

It depends on how low the light is, and what your image quality and speed requirements are. This is the sort of situation (large reproduction up close) where you will absolutely see the difference with medium format and medium format lenses. I think it's stupid to say "twenty feet long viewed up close? Sounds like you need a 5DII!". You really need to try the backs out for yourself on your own job and see what you think. That will cost you some rental money, but you should be able to get the dealer to apply the rentals to your purchase. If not, find another dealer. It's a big purchase, and a lot of people with strong opinions on the internet have never even worked with a medium format back. Here's my opinion, based on owning and using all of these backs, but again- try them yourself, don't make a purchase based on what people on the internet say:

I would not recommend the P45+ for what you're trying to do. The P45+ is essentially the same as the HD3 39 that you worked with- it is not particularly fast (about one frame every two seconds real-world) and the 400 ISO is pretty nasty- emergency use only.

If you need a good 400 ISO, the P30+ is the best Phase back, and the 800 is not bad at all either. It shoots much faster than the P45+, but is slightly less detailed. For people it works very well- it has a look that I compare to RZ lenses- not soft per se, but somehow sort of creamy, and generally kind of flattering.

If you need speed, the P40+ is pretty amazing- 1 frame per second and a file that is at least as crisp and detailed as the P45+, and possibly more so (subjectively, I haven't actually tested them side by side). The 400 ISO is slightly worse on the P40+ than the P30+, but way better than the P45+.

If you're going to be shooting mostly 200 or below, go for the P40+. If you're going to need 800, the P30+ is your only choice- the 800 on P40+ is nasty. If you're going to be mostly at 400, I'd say it's a close call, but personally I'd probably go for the P40+. The trade there is a tiny bit more noise for a good bit more speed. But also you can almost get two used P30+'s for the price of a new P40+.

If you get a Mamiya mount back, you can use it on the AFD III/Phase camera and also on your RZ with an adapter, if your RZ is a Pro IID. If it isn't, sell it and get one on eBay, they are about $1500 or less for a body when they come up, and they work really well with the Mamiya adapter and a Mamiya mount back. If you need speed, do not get the AFD II body- get the AFD III or Phase body- the AFD II is way slower with a digital back than the new ones. The AFD lenses are inconsistent quality-wise and vary from sample to sample. When they are good, and when you are shooting at 8-11,  they are as good as anything from anybody. When you have a bad sample they are complete dogs, and a lot of them are not great shot wide open. Test to make sure that's going to work for you in the focal lengths and apertures you need also.
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« Reply #5 on: July 18, 2009, 11:14:01 AM »
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I think if your going to compare real detail in large sizes Anton gave a pretty good guide, but keep in mind that all digital backs, not just Phase require a lot of light to get the full detail.

I've done ISO tests on the p30+ P21+ and the Aptus 22 and the phase were generally 1/2 to 1 stop better in iso (with the Kodak sensors) than the Leaf Dalsa sensor.

The interesting thing is if you have a lot of light quantity, most of these camera look ok at higher iso, though rarely do you shoot high iso with a lot of light quantity.

Once you get into those situations where the sun is falling, your working with a combination of continuous light and available light in  the streets, rooms, etc. the difference in detail between a 30mpx camera and even a 17 mpx dslr disappear quickly.

In those situations you have to also add in the slightly longer bellows factor of medium format lenses and the fact that F2.8 on a medium format camera is around f2 on a dslr, so you going to lose another stop in comparison.

This is also very subject dependent.   High iso on a high key soft lit subject with few deep shadows shows very few issues, even at 800 iso on most of these backs, but low key, medium to deep shadows will show a lot of chroma and color noise and though software can somewhat kill some of the noise effects, it does so by a lot of over smoothing of detail, almost to the point of a painterly effect and some details such as fabric weave, just blur in sections or disappear entirely.  

The only way to know is to test them exactly in the conditions your going to shoot and few people do that.  They generally do their noise tests with flash, pointed straight at some stationary subject on a white background  and then start comparing and that's rarely the situations where high iso is needed.

The very best way is to go out with a handful of cameras and shoot the same scene and then compare later in the computer with different processors.  This can be daunting and mind numbing, not to mention expensive, but the last thing you want to do is shoot an important job, thinking your 30, 40 or 50 mpx camera will carry the day and end up with cell phone like detail due to noise, or spend weeks in post production, multiple processors, blending images,  trying to fix it.  

There really is no one size fits all camera, one camera fits all styles and  unless I was just studio bound, I'd never dream of going out on the day with just a medium format back because on location in hurried pressured situations things can change quickly, or you'll see the shot of a lifetime and not be able to capture it due to slow shutter speed or blur from to moiton/mirror slap, or focus.

BC
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Ailan
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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2009, 01:43:55 PM »
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First of all thank you so much Anton and BC. I really appreciate that you took the time to share your solid experience and knowledge.

1. I will be shooting most images 2.8 to 5.6, but some of them all the way to 11. And 1/90 to 1/800, although being able to go over 1/800 in some situations would be better.

2. ISO from 100 to 400 max. Most shots at 400.

3. I wouldnt want to go over 1s per frame, and would prefer faster.

I will follow your suggestions and try both P30+ and P40+. (And youre right, two used P30's would be great to have a backup. I was planning on getting a Mamiya ZDb as backup).


Youre hit the nail BC with the low ket medium to deep shadows noise. Specially on the skin of a dark skin person. I spent hours fixing this, or better said reducing it but as you said, smoothing it and loosing detail considerably also.

There were also a couple high key situations were the grain kinda fractured. It look like big chunks or blocks of pixels with loss of detail.

That small aperture issue with the Mamiya AFD-III lenses its a turn down. Is there other good camera/lens substitute for it?

Will the P30+ or P40+ will be much better for my use than the H3DII 39 or 50? What will be the significant difference?

Youre completely right BC on the "no camera fits all" and bringing something smaller than medium f. How big viewed up close you think you can go with great detail on a D3x or 5DmII (I own this latter one) and will take it for sure?

many thanks again to both of you!

A

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« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2009, 01:58:58 PM »
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Quote from: Ailan
First of all thank you so much Anton and BC. I really appreciate that you took the time to share your solid experience and knowledge.

1. I will be shooting most images 2.8 to 5.6, but some of them all the way to 11. And 1/90 to 1/800, although being able to go over 1/800 in some situations would be better.

2. ISO from 100 to 400 max. Most shots at 400.

3. I wouldnt want to go over 1s per frame, and would prefer faster.

I will follow your suggestions and try both P30+ and P40+. (And youre right, two used P30's would be great to have a backup. I was planning on getting a Mamiya ZDb as backup).


Youre hit the nail BC with the low ket medium to deep shadows noise. Specially on the skin of a dark skin person. I spent hours fixing this, or better said reducing it but as you said, smoothing it and loosing detail considerably also.

There were also a couple high key situations were the grain kinda fractured. It look like big chunks or blocks of pixels with loss of detail.

That small aperture issue with the Mamiya AFD-III lenses its a turn down. Is there other good camera/lens substitute for it?

Will the P30+ or P40+ will be much better for my use than the H3DII 39 or 50? What will be the significant difference?

Youre completely right BC on the "no camera fits all" and bringing something smaller than medium f. How big viewed up close you think you can go with great detail on a D3x or 5DmII (I own this latter one) and will take it for sure?

many thanks again to both of you!

A


I know this won't be popular opinion on this side of the forum, but given what you say. I'd save myself a ton of money, a tone of workflow and a ton of time and just shoot the gig with a 5d2, drop a big mattbox on the front and once the images are finished in post, go to photozoon pro and uprezz them to size.  (Great software btw).

You'll have a lot more in focus, have everything you need, and I promise you if the image is compelling nobody's going to mention megapixels.

30, 40 or 50 mpx don't do anything if they're not sharp or are full of chroma noise.

IMLO.

BC
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Ailan
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« Reply #8 on: July 18, 2009, 02:42:17 PM »
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Ive thought of that almost every day. And each time I click on the "save this item to shoping cart" option.

Thanks again, BC! I sent you a message.

A
« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 03:34:30 PM by Ailan » Logged
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« Reply #9 on: July 18, 2009, 05:36:34 PM »
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IMHO -  suck in low light, and the AF is way under par compared to Canikon, etc. I'd stick w/ the RZ and film or move to Canon or nikon for low light, fast moving, etc.
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« Reply #10 on: July 18, 2009, 06:43:27 PM »
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Quote from: Ailan
I need to buy a camera + digital back. Will be printing this at max of 240 inches on the long side. High quality pop murals at street level that will be viewed as close as anyone would like to get to. Portraits.

Then what you really need is a 1000 megapixel camera. Since this is not possible today I would suggest a 39 megapixel (or even higher) back. There are many many applications which don't need, or benefit at all, from very high resolution. Very large prints which will be viewed very close up is the quintessential application for high-end backs.

Quote from: Ailan
Have shot this in the past with an H3DII 39 MP, and although most came out great, I felt the camera not as fast as I would of wanted. Not good in low light situations. Some with very bad noise at ISO 400, and others with less than optimum quality shooting portraits under silk frames on very bright dessert sun.

The same technology that allows very long noise-free exposures (heat sink design, black frame technology, wake-up architecture) allow Phase One backs to perform very well in extremely hot and humid environments. This is not at all a comment on Hasselblad; I have zero experience shooting their products in such environments. I do however have personal experience and the experience of our customers (as well as Phase's cute marketing videos) shooting Phase backs in the hot desert sun with incredibly clean files and zero hiccups.

Quote from: Ailan
I will be shooting mostly people in interiors and exteriors, sometimes moving, or making quick movements while I shoot tethered during sunrise, sunset, but also midday dessert sun. under silk frames.

You don't mention (unless I missed it) if you'll be using, or could use, flash as a supplement or if you're going 100% natural lighting. This makes a big difference. Your Pro IID can sync at high shutter speeds (as could the H3DII-##) while the 645 can only sync at 1/125 or slower. On the other hand the 645 can shoot up to 1/4000th of a second. Having the 645 and PRoIID would give you both high max shutter speed and high flash sync speed.

Quote from: Ailan
Also wondering if I could use the back in both with proper mount adapters.

Absolutely. Take it right off the 645, but it right on the RZ Pro IID. No cables, no fus. When removing the back keep the sensor oriented down (same as orienting a dSLR downward when changing lenses) to greatly minimize the chance of any dust getting on the sensor.

Quote from: Ailan
Many thanks! Id appreciate any help very much.

Good luck on your search. If Capture Integration can be of any service we'd love to help.

Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 06:45:10 PM by dougpetersonci » Logged

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« Reply #11 on: July 18, 2009, 06:44:06 PM »
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Quote from: antonyoung
You really need to try the backs out for yourself on your own job and see what you think. That will cost you some rental money, but you should be able to get the dealer to apply the rentals to your purchase. If not, find another dealer. It's a big purchase, and a lot of people with strong opinions on the internet have never even worked with a medium format back. Here's my opinion, based on owning and using all of these backs, but again- try them yourself, don't make a purchase based on what people on the internet say:

Agree on all counts. Doing your OWN tests/experimentation is the only way you'll get a final answer on any of the qualitative questions. And my company (as well as many other) dealers credit rentals towards purchases.

Quote from: antonyoung
I would not recommend the P45+ for what you're trying to do. The P45+ is essentially the same as the HD3 39 that you worked with- it is not particularly fast (about one frame every two seconds real-world) and the 400 ISO is pretty nasty- emergency use only.

Normally I would make a point to say ISO400 on a P45+ is decent. However, given that you'll be making enormous prints, AND ISO400 will be your normal, if not predominant ISO, I would agree with Anton. A 45+ is not for you.

Quote from: antonyoung
If you need a good 400 ISO, the P30+ is the best Phase back, and the 800 is not bad at all either. It shoots much faster than the P45+, but is slightly less detailed. For people it works very well- it has a look that I compare to RZ lenses- not soft per se, but somehow sort of creamy, and generally kind of flattering.

If you need speed, the P40+ is pretty amazing- 1 frame per second and a file that is at least as crisp and detailed as the P45+, and possibly more so (subjectively, I haven't actually tested them side by side). The 400 ISO is slightly worse on the P40+ than the P30+, but way better than the P45+.

I agree on all counts. I would emphasis the "slightly" in "ISO 400 is slighly worse on the P40+ than the P30+" however.

Quote from: antonyoung
If you need speed, do not get the AFD II body- get the AFD III or Phase body- the AFD II is way slower with a digital back than the new ones.

Very little ambiguity on this point. For what you're shooting (low-light, fast, with autofocus) there would be no point getting an AFDII or AFDI. Get the AFDIII and make sure that if you rent/demo one that it has v1.5 firmware (current as of July 18) as the speed/responsiveness is greatly improved from earlier firmware versions.

Quote from: antonyoung
The AFD lenses are inconsistent quality-wise and vary from sample to sample. When they are good, and when you are shooting at 8-11,  they are as good as anything from anybody. When you have a bad sample they are complete dogs.

Generally variation is very low in my broad experience. However, Anton is right that Mamiya (as well as every other lens company I've ever worked with) does have sample variation and some people do seem to have awful luck. I'd suggest getting Phase One branded lenses which come with a 3-year warranty. A good dealer will also be happy to test your lens with you (comparing to one of their own) and have it replaced/repaired if the test is not to your satisfaction.

Doug Peterson (e-mail Me)
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« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 06:45:01 PM by dougpetersonci » Logged

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« Reply #12 on: July 18, 2009, 06:44:42 PM »
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Quote from: Ailan
a lot of them are not great shot wide open. Test to make sure that's going to work for you in the focal lengths and apertures you need also.

This is absolutely true. SOME of the lenses are not great shot wide open and you need to test the focal lengths YOU need to see if they will meet your needs. As basic guidance the 28mmD, 35mm, 105-210mm are not great wide-open. For many applications their performance at wide open would be fine, but for your huge prints they would not be. The 80mmD, 120mmD, and 150mmD f/2.8 are all stellar lenses shot wide open. In fact I would go so far as to say the 150mmD f/2.8 is among the best narrow-DOF lenses on any platform.

Quote from: Ailan
Youre hit the nail BC with the low ket medium to deep shadows noise. Specially on the skin of a dark skin person. I spent hours fixing this, or better said reducing it but as you said, smoothing it and loosing detail considerably also.

Be especially mindful of which Raw Processor you use. Whether you shoot this with a Phase, or Hasselblad you'll want to process the images in their native processor for best results. The Raw Processor you use is absolutely critical for huge high-ISO images). Therefore you'll be spending a lot of time in either Phocus or Capture One. Capture One is highly regarded and used my image-quality-minded-shooters for Canon, Nikon, and Leica files as well as for Phase One shooters. This is NOT a job you'll want to process in LightRoom, which does a good-but-not-excellent job of extracting detail and dealing with noise.

Will the P30+ or P40+ will be much better for my use than the H3DII 39 or 50? What will be the significant difference?

Quote from: Ailan
Youre completely right BC on the "no camera fits all" and bringing something smaller than medium f. How big viewed up close you think you can go with great detail on a D3x or 5DmII (I own this latter one) and will take it for sure?

There is only one way to answer this question. Prepare a 240 inch file from your 5DmII and then print a crop from it (e.g. a 20x30) of a difficult section (a blue shadow with fine-detail is the worst case scenario).

The D3x and 5DII (used with good lenses from their respective lens-lines) will look VERY similar in the final print at ISO400.

Quote from: bcooter
I know this won't be popular opinion on this side of the forum, but given what you say. I'd save myself a ton of money, a tone of workflow and a ton of time and just shoot the gig with a 5d2, drop a big mattbox on the front and once the images are finished in post, go to photozoon pro and uprezz them to size.  (Great software btw).

You'll have a lot more in focus, have everything you need, and I promise you if the image is compelling nobody's going to mention megapixels.

30, 40 or 50 mpx don't do anything if they're not sharp or are full of chroma noise.

BC is of course right that megapixels won't matter at all if they are unsharp or full of (displeasing) noise.

You need to test the back/body/lens/software in the typical situation you'll face and decide if you can accomplish the shutter speeds, apertures, critical focus, and shooting comfort you'll need to create your series. If you cannot then I agree the best advice is to stick with a 5DII (I suggest buying GE stock and index mutual funds with the savings) and have it. If you find that your typical situation allows you to hit the needed shutter-speed/aperture/focus with a digital back than the gain in quality will be huge.

Excellent Compelling Imagery is much more important that Excellent Print Quality. However, having both is even better!

Doug

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« Last Edit: July 18, 2009, 06:44:52 PM by dougpetersonci » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: July 18, 2009, 06:53:34 PM »
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you're asking the impossible. the camera/ back you want does not exist to work in those conditions at those speeds for that file size

I own a P65+ and work on the street and print big, but if I were shooting your job would probably use a Nikon D3x or 5D2 and use the utmost quality converters to upres.

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Ailan
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« Reply #14 on: July 18, 2009, 08:28:31 PM »
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Greatly appreciate it Doug and Narikin. Thank you so much to both of you also.

I will be using Quantum flahes/battery packs. Although not in all shots. Some shots with natural light, and from these a few "trouble" ones in low light.

The conclusions im making in my mind now from all the great help posted here are: I would most likely take and use a camera/back for the flash and high key situations. Will try first the P30+, and test it. And shoot the low light frames with 5DmII.

Many of the shots were done with flash sync at 1/90 to 1/800. Quite a few filling in. Its about 10% of the shots the low light ones.

What convertors you recommend to upres Narikin besides Photozoom that was recommended here. I will conduct tests with them for sure. I have used genuine fractals in the past.

Doug, do you know any other camera that has autofocus, similar to 645 AFDIII, that I can also stick the p30+ in and sync at high speeds?

Narikin, when I started this thread it crossed my mind that that combo probably didnt exist. But I was positive persons like you, Doug, Anton, BC and others would share their invaluable knowledge, and with the use of this great help finally make comfortable decisions on what I need and whats available out there. Before I would just choose the film I wanted, and take my Mamiya or Hasselblad. But now with the art director sitting across in front of the computer all the time, and not wanting anything besides that, its not possible.

Thanks so much again!

A



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« Reply #15 on: July 19, 2009, 03:37:37 AM »
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Like everyone else here, I don't think the camera you need exists. Furthermore, I don't think you will find an MF camera which has a significantly better performance than the H3DII-39.

Interestingly, your scenario sounds exactly like where Leica is aiming their new S2, i.e. 35mm handling, fast lenses which are sharp wide open, both focal plane and leaf shutters, MF resolution, and an improved high ISO compared to current MF cameras. If you have some flexibility in your timing, I would keep shooting with the H3DII-39 and 5D2 and see how the S2 works out in real life, once released.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2009, 03:39:53 AM by carstenw » Logged

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« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2009, 04:03:50 AM »
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Quote from: Ailan
What convertors you recommend to upres Narikin besides Photozoom that was recommended here. I will conduct tests with them for sure. I have used genuine fractals in the past.
Photozoom does a great job. However you might compare it to "Blow Up 2" of Alien Skin (meanwhile I use it without exception).
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« Reply #17 on: July 26, 2009, 07:38:40 PM »
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Thanks Carsten,

I thought about the S2, but honestly even if it hit the market before this job, I wouldnt use it until it had been in the streets for quite a while, and had solid feedback from other people. I prefer to wait for 2 or 3.0 versions. It does look like ill stick with H3dII.

cheers
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« Reply #18 on: July 28, 2009, 06:09:40 PM »
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Quote from: Ailan
Thanks Carsten,

I thought about the S2, but honestly even if it hit the market before this job, I wouldnt use it until it had been in the streets for quite a while, and had solid feedback from other people. I prefer to wait for 2 or 3.0 versions. It does look like ill stick with H3dII.

cheers

Hi Ailan
I'm very Pro Hasselblad just so you know.
The Latest firmware has made huge improvements in ISO performance on the 'blads I would never previously have shot at 400 but am happy to now, be sure to check it out. The 'blad will sync up to 1/800 with the mamiya you are stuck at 1/125 until the leaf shutter lenses come out (there is a thread here somewhere on when that might be). For high ISO the H3D31 would be pretty much the equivalent of the P30+. The Phase backs do go out to a one hour exposure, the 'blads max out at 1 minute (but don't need a black reference).
HTH
Nick-T
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Guy Mancuso
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« Reply #19 on: July 28, 2009, 10:40:41 PM »
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Just shot about 3 thousand images with the p30+ at ISO 800. Not even remotely a issue with noise and not a issue with amount of light either. Couple examples here and most shot wide open or close to it.
http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.p...730&page=62

I have yet to run into any issues shooting medium format in any situation where I HAD to grab a 35mm instead. Maybe easier sure but never had to switch to get a gig done in the same situation.
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