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Author Topic: Need Digital Medium Format Help!  (Read 7947 times)
Steve Hendrix
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« Reply #40 on: July 19, 2010, 11:23:43 PM »
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Quote from: Geoffrey
With all due respect, getting into an AFI is not easy and not for the casual observer. +1 on Doug's suggestion of working closely with a dealer. MFDB are not easy to get into - there are lots of subtleties one needs to know and learn.WIth an MFDB, I'm getting the hang of getting results I love out of it - after about two months. There are a lot of pieces to the puzzle, regardless of whose back/camera/lens you use.

We all learn and then learn some more.


I rented my car before I bought it. True story. When I bought it I knew everything about it that I liked and was aware of the things I didn't like (most of them). I have no regrets.

Rush in, buy uninformed - you take your chances. Maybe you luck out, maybe you don't. It's a lot of money. Due diligence has it's rewards.



Steve Hendrix
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Steve Hendrix
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bcooter
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« Reply #41 on: July 20, 2010, 12:57:26 PM »
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Quote from: Steve Hendrix
I rented my car before I bought it. ..........snio..........Due diligence has it's rewards.

Where's the fun in that?

I think what most people are asking here is simple . . . is the RZ still being manufactured?  

Anyway, In commercial image making today . . . it's about concept, style, how/what/when you deliver, low on set drama, relationships and of course costs.

How this relates to cameras is everyone's personal preference.  If a photographer loves his/her RZ,D,B,C AFD one two or three, Hasselblad H 30, 40, 50, 60, a still or video camera,  etc. etc. then great, go with it because if the camera makes you feel good then you might shoot a little better, but overall at the end of the day nobody a photographer wants to work with talks about cameras or really cares.

They say it's the economy stupid, but in image making it's the idea, the execution, the creativity.  Today more than ever because the world of  presentation, media has been so democratized that only an outstanding idea will survive the glut of data that flies at us by the second.

There was a period where I thought God help us if it becomes a 5d world, but today, I see the camera choices "I" make as liberating because as good as  cameras are from $3,000 to $30,000 and the small differences the camera  makes in the final image,  photography is now more of a level playing field than anytime in the history of the profession, which should allow great IDEAS to spew out like water.  

Now we can shoot about anything, anywhere, anytime and what will make the difference in what you produce is not the logo on the camera, but what resides between your ears and your ability to get it shown.

For anybody starting out or struggling to go forward they should remember that even 10 hours of thought and resource put into a camera choice and learning curve is 10 hours they didn't spend on concept, style, how/what/when you deliver, relationships and of course costs.

Today, in the commercial world,  it's all about having everything in the proper priority.  

This spot for Levi's by Weiden, illustrates that better than anything I can write   It could have been shot with a $300,000 panaflex or a $3,000 5d2.   It's all about the ideas and the final execution.  It's not about pixels, RZ's or micro detail.

Everybody keeps telling me the good ol' days are gone, but if artists open their minds to the possibilities before us, we can produce imagery that we never dreamed of before, with almost any equipment.*

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=635XItRDU7g...player_embedded

IMO

BC


*note.  Obviously this spot costs money and probably had large crew, but the ideas, the style, the core message is the creativity.
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Steve Hendrix
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« Reply #42 on: July 20, 2010, 01:25:57 PM »
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Quote from: bcooter
Where's the fun in that?

I think what most people are asking here is simple . . . is the RZ still being manufactured?  

Anyway, In commercial image making today . . . it's about concept, style, how/what/when you deliver, low on set drama, relationships and of course costs.

How this relates to cameras is everyone's personal preference.  If a photographer loves his/her RZ,D,B,C AFD one two or three, Hasselblad H 30, 40, 50, 60, a still or video camera,  etc. etc. then great, go with it because if the camera makes you feel good then you might shoot a little better, but overall at the end of the day nobody a photographer wants to work with talks about cameras or really cares.

They say it's the economy stupid, but in image making it's the idea, the execution, the creativity.  Today more than ever because the world of  presentation, media has been so democratized that only an outstanding idea will survive the glut of data that flies at us by the second.

There was a period where I thought God help us if it becomes a 5d world, but today, I see the camera choices "I" make as liberating because as good as  cameras are from $3,000 to $30,000 and the small differences the camera  makes in the final image,  photography is now more of a level playing field than anytime in the history of the profession, which should allow great IDEAS to spew out like water.  

Now we can shoot about anything, anywhere, anytime and what will make the difference in what you produce is not the logo on the camera, but what resides between your ears and your ability to get it shown.

For anybody starting out or struggling to go forward they should remember that even 10 hours of thought and resource put into a camera choice and learning curve is 10 hours they didn't spend on concept, style, how/what/when you deliver, relationships and of course costs.

Today, in the commercial world,  it's all about having everything in the proper priority.  

This spot for Levi's by Weiden, illustrates that better than anything I can write   It could have been shot with a $300,000 panaflex or a $3,000 5d2.   It's all about the ideas and the final execution.  It's not about pixels, RZ's or micro detail.

Everybody keeps telling me the good ol' days are gone, but if artists open their minds to the possibilities before us, we can produce imagery that we never dreamed of before, with almost any equipment.*

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=635XItRDU7g...player_embedded

IMO

BC


*note.  Obviously this spot costs money and probably had large crew, but the ideas, the style, the core message is the creativity.



Agree with everything you say, 100%, and if I was a photographer trying to make my mark, I'd take everything you said to heart and burn it in there.

Our intent is to make sure that the choices one makes are as informed as possible. This can take a little time or a lot. We get feedback on a constant basis from end users concerning there likes and dislikes - some of which aren't apparent until after they've bought, but many that are. We can't control everything, but knowing more about a product than less is a good thing. And unfortunately with medium format, issues that come up after the purchase - regardless of how large or small - grate.

No, renting my car wasn't fun, but it was enjoyable. I didn't purposely rent it, I just needed to rent a car, but was also in the market, and had test-driven a bunch of others, had little issues with all of them and liked this one. I felt pleased as I discovered what I really liked about it that separated it from the other cars I was considering (I do hate car analogies, but I guess I brought it up).

Affirmative, the RZ is still being manufactured.


Steve Hendrix
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BrianWoolf
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« Reply #43 on: July 20, 2010, 08:49:04 PM »
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I have worked with a Leaf Valeo 17wi in the studio, since 2003 and I bought a used Leaf Aptus 22 for my personal use last year. In buying the Leaf Valeo 17wi in 2003, we tested it against a Phase One back and all three photographers liked the Leaf better. The Leaf went to the jewelry photographer with the strobes. Since that time I have used a Betterlight 6K II scanning back, with hot lights, until moving to a studio with bouncy wooden floors forced me to get rid of the Betterlight and I bought a used Phase One H25(it was available for what the Betterlight sold for). One day I tested the Leaf against the Phase One, on the same camera, with the same lens, I just switched backs. With the Leaf, I used live view to focus and then switched in the Phase H25, using the same focus, plus I did 3 manual focuses with the Phase H25. The final result was that the Leaf rendered fine detail(the weave of a Ferragamo tie) better than the Phase no matter what I did to the Phase files.

   I did use the basic/default sharpening that each backs software provided. My reasoning was, I don't care if unsharpened files look exactly the same, if one software produced better files - I wanted that software. The Leaf Valeo 17wi consistently shows the dot screen(the printer's rosette) of any packaging I photograph, it's how I know I'm in focus, I am a still life - product guy. In the six months that I used the Phase One H25, I never achieved that level of sharpness with the Phase. The photos were still good with the Phase and at 50% on the monitor both backs image quality looked excellent, just at 100% the leaf pulled away.

   Is this a good thing, well yes if fine detail is important to you, but maybe not if you photograph people, some photographers might prefer a smoother skin tone for instance. Both backs produce quality images, the Phase will do lot longer exposures than the Leaf. There are basic choices to be made.

   I never liked waking the Phase back up and I shoot still life, that is not going anywhere. The Leaf was an always on back, used a fan to cool it. After 5 years, the one problem we had with the Leaf 17wi(this is a tethered back) was the fan stopped working, the back overheated and the firewire board burned out. I probably contributed to this as I left the firewire cable plugged in a lot the week before aftere I was finished shooting. To compound the problem, the studio was very hot in the New York City winters, 20 degrees outside and I needed to open the window a foot, I was so hot - too much heat. So it cost $1100 or so for a new firewire board.

   I purchased a Leaf Aptus 22, last september, to use outside for my personal work - landscape and urban. I have had a few problems. I figured that I would need to use it on a tripod most of the time, 80 or 90% but thought I could use it in bright sun handheld. That didn't work out, as pressing the shutter release on a Hasselblad 503 softly, fired the camera but not the back, you needed a very firm pull, actually a jerk, so I got camera movement. That's a great way to destroy fine detail. Well Yair from Leaf came to the rescue, he said I should set the 'camera used' in the Aptus software to large format and that cured the problem.
   So the Aptus 22 provides all the incredible detail that I am used to in the studio, but I find it lacking in the way I prefer to work outside. I compose in the viewfinder, with my Nikon D300, I see something, put the camera to my eye and say yes it looks good or no somethings not right. I can zoom in or out trying to solve my problem. With the Hassy/Leaf and the 50mm lens, my feet are the zoom and that gets me nothing as the shot I am after is the perspective from where I am standing, not 10 feet forward and 4feet lower. I tired using the leaf like a big net, taking everything in and cropping it later, but I never knew if I had a photo, that left the professional side of me very uncomfortable.
   Another way of looking at this problem is 'keepers' or good photos. Lets say on a good photo day, I might have 10 good images, three quite good and seven acceptably good with a 35mm type DSLR but with the Hassy/Leaf combo, I figure that I might only get 3 good photos. It also was obvious to me that these 3 photos might be in the seven acceptably good from the 35mm. I would be missing out on the best Images I could take with the Hassy/Leaf combo more often than not, a keeper rate of only 30% compared to my Nikon, not really acceptable. Who knew I would not be a happy camper.

   Hope this helps, don't know anything about the high megapixels backs the leaf valeo 17wi just does a beautiful job day after day in the studio with strobes.

Brian
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Phil Indeblanc
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« Reply #44 on: July 21, 2010, 12:26:44 AM »
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Hi Brian,

Interesting....  
-Did the pixel size to lens ratio play a big factor in critical focus/sharpness ? I think the Phase 22mp is a 11 micron pixelwhats the Leaf?
-What lens are you using?

Mr. MR of LL did this test, and I purchased the CD with RAW files some years back.  If I remember it right, it was a fireplace or crop of an image of a mantel (I think I focused in on a shiny metal wood pick)..I forget. I remember seeing the Leaf maybe a bit more sharp, but the difference was sooooo small, that I convinced myself that post sharpening would easily make up any difference, which I think it would (not tested)....I might have even read Michaels review saying something about it also...I read a lot of things, so pardon if I am off.

With my use...the Phase does create some tack sharp images using a Macro Rod lens of 210, and I am sure the newer lens' would be even more sharp. But I find it tap out at around 16 stop. And even a front standard tilt forward doesn't make up for the shallow DOF at 16.  So its a tough thing to balance.  I am not sure how the newer Schneider HR or other digi specific lenses would do vs some older ones in this regard?

If you have any images to share, even a crop , would be interesting to see.

I still use this Phase back, and I am not sure what hot means in NY, but I have easily had it on for hours ...maybe 8 or more(I guess sleeping sometimes), and even awake for hours in desert heat temps of 90F(indoors), and had no issues.  

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Geoffrey
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« Reply #45 on: July 21, 2010, 09:39:54 AM »
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FWIW, I've been comparing an older Phase back, P20 with the newer Leaf back, AFI II 7. One is 16 mp, the other 33. The older one has 9 mu pixels, the newer (I think) is 6 mu.

At the risk of PO everyone with newer backs, it seems the differences are not quite as significant as one might think. The newer Leaf is more flexible, maybe a stop or two better (400 ISO = older Phase's  200 ISO). 200 ISO on the Leaf is a fine all around ISO to use.

Again, these are subjective observations. As someone else said, the gains in quality achieved in the later Leaf are partially given up with the small pixels and the hunt for more resolution.

THe biggest gains are in usability - in ease of use. That isn't minor, but its worth noting that there is still significant quality to be found in older MFDB that were once regarded as quite good. Those 9 mu backs have something very nice about them. For me, the newer software, and general integration with a camera body is much better with the newer gear, but for a studio or more restrained use, one could find some good deals in older gear.
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BrianWoolf
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« Reply #46 on: July 21, 2010, 07:36:19 PM »
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Phil,
   You asked about the Leaf's pixel size, sorry can't find that info - not in the Leaf manual, nor in pdf spec sheets for that back.

   The lens used was a Schneider Apo-Symmar 150mm f5.6 multicoated - a film lens but a good one.

   Got the LL megapixel disc myself, hard to make real clear conclusions from the files, I just don't know what they did.
   
   The 'HOT' comment was a full disclosure type statement. While both backs Phase and Leaf will work very well under very hot conditions, the way Leaf cools its backs, via a fan that has moving parts. If the fan fails the Leaf back can overheat and you might lose the firewire board. Just something to be aware of if you wish to purchase a Leaf back.

   I think I can locate the 'tie' files, this weekend and post some crops. I did this test because a client noticed a problem.
   When looking for the pixel size of the Leaf17wi, I came across a test of the Leaf 17wi and a Phase P20. The photog was shooting a hamburger on a bun and comparing the seeds on the bun and his opinion was that the Phase back was sharper. Not sure I agree with him, the phase file looked over cooked a bit, to my eye.

Brian Woolf
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Phil Indeblanc
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« Reply #47 on: July 21, 2010, 09:53:29 PM »
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Quote from: BrianWoolf
Phil,
   You asked about the Leaf's pixel size, sorry can't find that info - not in the Leaf manual, nor in pdf spec sheets for that back.

   The lens used was a Schneider Apo-Symmar 150mm f5.6 multicoated - a film lens but a good one.

   Got the LL megapixel disc myself, hard to make real clear conclusions from the files, I just don't know what they did.
   
   When looking for the pixel size of the Leaf17wi, I came across a test of the Leaf 17wi and a Phase P20. The photog was shooting a hamburger on a bun and comparing the seeds on the bun and his opinion was that the Phase back was sharper. Not sure I agree with him, the phase file looked over cooked a bit, to my eye.

Brian Woolf

Yeah, I think even the camera's were switched out, but it was the only thing available since I didn't know Doug (Phase rep) back then :-)

A bun seed is ok, but the best way to tell for me is reflective metals, facet stones and such ...Thats why I think the digitar or HR lenes might be a good chunk better? I have no clue?  I know that the Macro apo I use is very sharp, but like I said the dof comes into play.  I have tried on RZ with 140 TS adapt and it is nice, but still suffers
the dof, and limited TS to about 12degree if I remember it right.

Besides, you mention that you care more for the processing SW rather than the RAW, and sometimes I wonder as some 35mm DSLR's have some processing to the files as they are created RAW.  so maybe and likely MFdB's also have some processing.  



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ondebanks
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« Reply #48 on: July 22, 2010, 07:40:54 AM »
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Quote from: Phil Indeblanc
....sometimes I wonder as some 35mm DSLR's have some processing to the files as they are created RAW.  so maybe and likely MFdB's also have some processing.

As I just explained here (http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=44770), Nikons DO have manipulation of the RAWs; thankfully Canons, and apparently Pentax, don't.

My old Kodak DCS645M produces unprocessed RAWs - as they should be. I can't speak for other MFDB brands, but I would greatly doubt that they manipulate the RAWs - it would be hard to hide evidence of this in a sensor without an AA filter.
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Phil Indeblanc
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« Reply #49 on: July 22, 2010, 12:42:01 PM »
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Quote from: ondebanks
As I just explained here (http://luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=44770), Nikons DO have manipulation of the RAWs; thankfully Canons, and apparently Pentax, don't.

My old Kodak DCS645M produces unprocessed RAWs - as they should be. I can't speak for other MFDB brands, but I would greatly doubt that they manipulate the RAWs - it would be hard to hide evidence of this in a sensor without an AA filter.


makes sense. and thanks for clearing Canon of this.
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« Reply #50 on: July 24, 2010, 10:07:07 AM »
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Quote from: BrianWoolf
Phil,
   You asked about the Leaf's pixel size, sorry can't find that info - not in the Leaf manual, nor in pdf spec sheets for that back.

....................................
Brian Woolf


Sinar / Leaf etc use the same ccd's

active area is also a factor so sinar use subpixel sampling in the multishot camerabacks which essentially take an image from the nonactive area of the ccd midway between adjacent pixels
the evolution 75h 33 mpixels cameraback can capture either In 1-shot mode an image file size (RAW) of 68 MB. In  4-shot mode 260 MB with 7.2micron pixel size
Edwin
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BrianWoolf
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« Reply #51 on: July 25, 2010, 07:49:07 AM »
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A test between a Phase One H25 (22 megapixel back) and a Leaf Valeo 17wi (17 megapixel back) in Aug.2007
Rendering very fine detail - the weave of a tie.

This test was caused by a client, On the third day, he brought me 2-3 more ties to shoot. I finished them in a couple hours and gave him a disc. He was back in a hour, saying "Like yesterday, please!" The thing is, I wasn't in yesterday (the second day) but out at the doctor for tests. The other photographer, the jewelry guy with the Leaf Valeo 17wi back filled in for me, they liked what I did the first day, with the Phase H25 back, that they brought 20 more ties in and he did them on my set with his (the Leaf) back. I went and looked at the files he did yesterday and realized that I could not match them with the Phase H25 and a 135mm Nikkor lens that I was using. So I borrowed his back and lens. I did know that the 150mm Schneider Apo-Symmar was the best lens we had, that is why he was using it for jewelry.

The Test
The tie was hung over a pole and clipped together at the top. The sinar p 4x5 with a 150mm Schneider Apo-Symmar F5.6 was level and parallel to the tie and the camera was not moved, the backs were switched. With the Leaf, I used the Leaf LiveView to focus, just one focus and a few exposures of that focus to get a proper exposure. LiveView on the Leaf is ugly, sort of grainy, bad b&w but it does work well for a focus. I then switched in the Phase back and took 1 exposure with the Leaf LiveView focus, then did three manual focuses with the Phase back. I made the tie very out of focus and refocused each time with the loupe, As I recall, three of those focuses looked equally sharp and one was out of focus, I used one of the sharp Phase focuses, just not sure which one. Both backs were set at their default lowest (best quality) asa/iso setting. for the Phase it was 50 and the Leaf was one stop lower at 25 asa/iso. The Phase 50asa/iso seemed accurate but the Leaf back was 1 and 1/2 stops darker than the Phase, making it's asa/iso closer to 16, in my opinion. I was only interested in the best quality from each back and had no interest in raising the Leaf back asa/iso to 50 to match the Phase H25. Each was processed in their respective digital back software. The Leaf Capture 8.2.4 software was used at their factory default setting which applies sharpening. The Phase DB software (I think I recall) does not apply sharpening so I did activated a modest/midlevel sharpening in their software. The tie is (or should be) exactly the same size in each image, as the camera was not moved and only a focus applied. All that was done in Photoshop was to butt the two images together and lighten one to get the closest possible match on the tie and I think some color correction was applied to the Phase image to match the actual tie.

What I see in the Images - the Phase H25 is on the left and the Leaf Valeo 17wi is on the right.
[attachment=23310:Sharp_test_small.jpg]


The Leaf image looks very clean and ordered, i can easily see the very even rows of stitching, they look natural and correct.
In the Phase image, I can still see the stitching but it looks choppy and there seems to be something not quite right with the image. It does not appear to be as sharp or as clear as the Leaf image, but it still is pretty sharp.
I figured that this difference was caused by the software, I thought that the Leaf engineers just did a better job.

Which image would you want to send to a client?
The choice was easy for me - sharper image, easier focus, I went with the Leaf.
If you were to do a test like this with different materials, like silverplate place settings (knives and forks), the results might be quite different. In this case, the Leaf Valeo 17wi did an excellent job with very fine detail.

Brian Woolf
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Phil Indeblanc
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« Reply #52 on: July 26, 2010, 11:00:22 AM »
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Quote from: BrianWoolf
A test between a Phase One H25 (22 megapixel back) and a Leaf Valeo 17wi (17 megapixel back) in Aug.2007
Rendering very fine detail - the weave of a tie.

The Test

What I see in the Images - the Phase H25 is on the left and the Leaf Valeo 17wi is on the right.


Thanks for this Brian.

The Leaf does look more sharp and contrasty.  You did pick maybe the hardest subject matter to test. a textured fabric with a "painted" print. I see the softness of the Phase. I do wonder as you say the post is something you took in great consideration, not just the raw file. Makes practicle sense, as long as the file is processed to its best in C1.


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