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Author Topic: Mini Medium Format Shootout  (Read 29808 times)
Alan Goldhammer
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« on: November 15, 2010, 07:00:02 PM »
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Thanks to Mark Segal and Nick Devlin for an interesting and well thought out test of the cameras in question (and the Leica and Canon as well).  Interesting findings and proves to me that the differences in digital and film are significant and must be taken into account.  We don't have the luxury of stopping a lens way down the way one does with film and depth of field issues can manifest themselves if one is not careful.  As for me, I'm going to see how much a Leica M-9 costs.
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eleanorbrown
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« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2010, 08:33:29 PM »
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Fyi, I have both the M9 and a P65+ back (with H2 camera and lenses),  and I can say pixel for pixel the M9 files  next to the  65+ files are all as good and sometimes superior.  Leica has the best glass I've seen in all my years in photography.  One is only limited by print sizes with the 18 megapixel files from the M9.  And the portability of the M9 and small lenses is unparalleled.   Eleanor


Thanks to Mark Segal and Nick Devlin for an interesting and well thought out test of the cameras in question (and the Leica and Canon as well).  Interesting findings and proves to me that the differences in digital and film are significant and must be taken into account.  We don't have the luxury of stopping a lens way down the way one does with film and depth of field issues can manifest themselves if one is not careful.  As for me, I'm going to see how much a Leica M-9 costs.
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John Camp
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« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2010, 08:34:34 PM »
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Yes, an interesting report. I've never owned a Canon DSLR, but I'm aware that the Galbraith web site has demonstrated serious auto-focus problems with the 1DsIII. I don't know if the testers focused with the auto-focus or manually, but if it was with auto-focus, that might explain a bit of the problem. I've also read that most DSLR zooms (and in particular, those from Canon) demonstrate some serious sample variation, and wonder if that might be part of the problem.

Alan...I think I remember your contentious tenure on the L-Camera forum...are you sure you want to think about Leica again? ;-)

JC    
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Sheldon N
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« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2010, 09:55:43 PM »
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I think the biggest reason for the differences between the Leica and 1Ds III images was the choice of lenses. The 24-105 is a good enough lens, but doesn't hold up to glass like the 50mm Summilux, especially in the corners. Also keep in mind that at f/8 the 24-105 is only two stops down from wide open. The samples they posted are consistent with my experience for corner performance on that lens.

However it's undeniable the impact the AA filter on the 1Ds III has compared to the M9.   
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tom b
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« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2010, 10:57:35 PM »
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Phase One lenses; 75mm~150mm zoom – Price:    $3,890
Phase One lenses; 45 wide-angle – Price: $3,500
120mm Mamiya macro lens – Price: $2,290

Pentax lenses: 45-85mm zoom
Pentax lenses: 45
Pentax lenses: 120mm macro

Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux M Aspherical Manual – # Price: $3,695

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM – # Price: $1,059

Can't find the Pentax prices but the story is pretty clear that the quality of the glass is a clear factor as well as comparing primes and zooms.

Cheers,
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2010, 11:13:24 PM »
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Hi,

A zoom lens is always a bit of compromise. Although good zooms can really be excellent it's quite typical of zooms to fall of at either the short or the long end.

That said, I'm a bit of sharpness freak myself, but still find zooms much more convenient than fixed focals. I have several different lenses with overlapping range and it is seldom I use my fixed focals. On the other hand my fixed focals are not really world champion class.

Best regards
Erik


Phase One lenses; 75mm~150mm zoom – Price:    $3,890
Phase One lenses; 45 wide-angle – Price: $3,500
120mm Mamiya macro lens – Price: $2,290

Pentax lenses: 45-85mm zoom
Pentax lenses: 45
Pentax lenses: 120mm macro

Leica 50mm f/1.4 Summilux M Aspherical Manual – # Price: $3,695

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM – # Price: $1,059

Can't find the Pentax prices but the story is pretty clear that the quality of the glass is a clear factor as well as comparing primes and zooms.

Cheers,
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deejjjaaaa
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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2010, 11:28:04 PM »
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Can't find the Pentax prices but the story is pretty clear that the quality of the glass is a clear factor as well as comparing primes and zooms.

check http://www.pentaxforums.com/forums  -> The Photographer's Marketplace -> Marketplace Archives -> Sold Items

for example recent transactions (November)

Pentax FA 645 400mm f/5.6 ED IF <= USD $1150
Pentax FA 645 35mm f/3.5 AL IF <= USD $1300
Pentax FA 645 45-85mm f/4.5 Zoom  <= USD $600
Pentax FA 645 80-160mm f/4.5 Zoom <= USD $500

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DaveCurtis
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« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2010, 01:45:34 AM »
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Another great review.

I own the 1Ds Mrk3 and the 24-105. It is a good zoom but no match for a leica prime.

I must say I have been using 3 zeiss ZE primes (21mm, 35mm and 50mm MP) on the 1DsMrk3 for six months now and they take the camera into another league compared to the 24-105 zoom.
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #8 on: November 16, 2010, 02:17:50 AM »
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I'm going to add my oar into this one, having owned and shot extensively with a 1Ds mkIII and 24-105L, you kinda crippled the 1DsIII from the beginning and unfairly. It's a good 'all rounder' travel lens, it's certainly not a prime beater, even the lowly canon 50mm 1.4 which I also own,  nevermind the Leica.
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Paulo Bizarro
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« Reply #9 on: November 16, 2010, 03:27:40 AM »
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Thanks to the authors of the mini-review/essay for a good job. Very informative, even though I do not use medium format, I find these pieces very interesting. It certainly took Pentax a long way to "land" the 645D, but it seems that it will cause a significant stir. I have a soft spot for Pentax, I used to have a P30 with a 50mm lens in the old days; the advert for that camera was something like "you don't need luck, you need a Pentax"...

As for 1DsIII, well, yes, the 24-105 is far from being a stellar lens: I used to have one with the 5dMKII (same sensor), and it did not take me long to swap it for a 24-70 L, with the concurrent improvement.

But let's not forget that, in the end, in the printed result, the differences will be neglegible, as stated in the article; even with the 24-105 lens.
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Josh-H
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2010, 03:38:42 AM »
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I'm going to add my oar into this one, having owned and shot extensively with a 1Ds mkIII and 24-105L, you kinda crippled the 1DsIII from the beginning and unfairly. It's a good 'all rounder' travel lens, it's certainly not a prime beater, even the lowly canon 50mm 1.4 which I also own,  nevermind the Leica.

Agreed - the comparison is totally unfair but more importantly its irrelevant (might make MF owners feel good though, and I cant help but wonder if this was the intention). Crippling the Canon with a mediocre (and it is seriously mediocre lens [READ: BAD] compared to say something like the 85mm F1.2L) zoom was ALWAYS going to lead to said results. On top of that the Leica was fed with a 5 star lens to further widen the gap. All this ultimately proved is that stacking the deck will make one camera look very bad and one look very good. Cant help but wonder why they even bothered with this comparison. It is interesting however, that the differences so clearly visible on screen narrow so significantly in print.

I have shot with a 1DSMKIII extensively - well over 100,000 frames in more than four continents in all kinds of conditions with everything from a 17mm TSE to a 300mm F2.8L Is and just about everything in between and I can tell you that sample image in the review is just plain BAD. If that was my test image it would get deleted as it is not at all representative of what this camera is capable of - the 1DSMKIII is capable of so much better. Which leads me to either poor technique (unlikely given the reviewers experience) or poor autofocus or poor lens or a combination of the above.

That said - the MF comparison was very interesting and thoroughly enjoyable - thank you so much for this. The Pentax has certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons in terms of price. For anyone shopping for a 40MPX camera (which includes me) the Pentax simply must be on the shopping list. As someone who is seriously seriously considering the Leica S2 the Pentax has given me a lot of pause for thought - this review has only strengthened my desire to test one. Thanks to the reviewers for their efforts in the MF review (but guys, please go put a better lens on the 1DSMKIII!)
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KLaban
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« Reply #11 on: November 16, 2010, 04:27:18 AM »
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The two cameras/systems are fundamentally different.

Having said that, it is very likely that one camera will impact on the sales of the other. Will the P40+ impact the 645D sales or will the 645D sales impact the P40+ sales?

Hmm…let me think…

If I were a potential 645D owner I'd be rubbing my hands with glee. If I were a potential P40+ owner I'd be making damned sure that I really needed those things that the P40+ can do and the 645D can't. If I were a potential M9 owner I'd be scratching my head and wondering what on earth I was going to use it for. If I were a potential 1Ds MK 111 owner...no point going there.
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KLaban
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« Reply #12 on: November 16, 2010, 04:34:27 AM »
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"However, something curious was going on with both cameras for a number of the frames. With the 75-150 on the Phase, and the 80-160 on the Pentax, I found that each was sharper in different parts of the frame"...

You shot at f8?

Try f11.
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ndevlin
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« Reply #13 on: November 16, 2010, 07:09:40 AM »
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A couple of thoughts to stir the pot.

I shot frames down to f16. I think the comparison frames were at f11 (at least the ones I based my conclusions on on-screen).  The focus-plane issue was present in the entire series. I agree that two-to-three stops down is the right place to shoot. Unfortunately, difraction really does start to kick in visibly not long thereafter.

The 45mm test was the Phase 45mm versus the Pentax 45-85mm zoom. I don't own the fixed 45mm

The 75mm Pentax lens cost me $175. Seriously. That said, I know that the "list" prices on the Pentax gear will be more along the lines of its competitors when they return to our shores.  This isn't a price-for-quality issue. That might be true with the Leica S lenses, but they're a whole other kettle of fish.

The 50mm 'lux at f8 is no better than my more modest (and pre-dropped) 50mm 'cron, nor frankly a 50mm CV. By f8, the 50mm CV f1.5 I tested was really a fine lens.  I might just throw my f1.1 on the M9 and re-shoot this for kicks when I play with the S2 later this week.

I agree that the Leica is inconvenient for many applications - which is why people turn to the Canon and similar 35mm systems.

And lastly, you're right, it wasn't a fair test. I should have averted to the fine-print in Canon's EF lens brochure, where they clearly state: "The EF 24-105 is not suitable for photography of highly textured subjects. Under near-ideal conditions this lens is limited to producing a fraction of the resolution of which the Canon 1-series cameras are capable. By purchasing this lens at a list price of over $1,000, users agree to and accept the terms of Canon's "Inferior But Nonetheless "L" designated Lenses Policy" found at Appendix "B" to this brochure".

Our bad.
 Wink  Grin


- N.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2010, 08:00:33 AM by ndevlin » Logged

Nick Devlin   @onelittlecamera
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« Reply #14 on: November 16, 2010, 07:22:49 AM »
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Nick, how did you check for alignment of the backs of the cameras (all 4) with the brick wall.  When I occasionally am inspired by a brick wall or a wall of books, I find that getting level is easy, getting the film plane parallel to the wall is very hard, and requires tricks like clamping a straightedge to the back of the camera and measuring the distance to the wall from each end.  Which naturally, I don't do, using the eyeballs instead.  So really the vertical line through the middle of the picture gives accurate comparisons, the horizontal line does not.

scott
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ndevlin
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« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2010, 08:02:00 AM »
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Scott, we checked only by eye (again, the way photographers work.) 

That said, I've heard a more plausible explanation for the focus-plane issue, which I might look into and update the review with.

- N.
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Nick Devlin   @onelittlecamera
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« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2010, 08:02:19 AM »
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In many ways the more relevant and more interesting comparison would have been between the Leica S2 and the Pentax.

There again I don't think it would be worth bothering, the differences in such a test would be minimal at 100% on screen and virtually invisible in print.
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Eric Myrvaagnes
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« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2010, 08:03:39 AM »
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I found both the review and the mini-shootout enormously informative and well-written. I have the greatest respect for both Nick and Mark.

(I took the comparisons with Canon and Leica as primarily for entertainment.)

The comments about the ergonomics of the Pentax sounded very plausible to me. I used Pentaxes for about forty years (many 35s up to the 67II) before switching to Canon for digital. I sold off all my Pentax gear shortly before Pentax showed signs of taking digital seriously (alas!). One thing I always loved about the smaller and MF film Pentaxes is that the controls were just the ones I wanted and just where I wanted them, which seems to be the case with the new baby. And all my lenses were just great.

The 67II felt like an oversized SLR (I called it my "Pentax on steroids"), which made it very tempting to hand-hold it a lot, which lost a lot of IQ. I suspect the 645D will offer similar temptation. But with a tripod I expect it will have a lot of appeal for those landscape shooters who need to catch shots quickly before the light changes.

When the price gets down closer to $5000 in a few years, I just may get back into MF!

Thank you Nick and Mark!

Eric
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-Eric Myrvaagnes

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dchew
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« Reply #18 on: November 16, 2010, 08:07:03 AM »
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You make a good point.  If the company markets the lens as a high-quality lens, well, then it should be treated and used as such.  However, perhaps it is a good lens for what it is: a 4x f/4 zoom that goes from fairly wide to telephoto with IS.  Basically twice the range than any other lens in the comparison.  I had this lens but sold it because it wasn't quite there for me.  A 35 or 135 would not have changed the podium position, but it might have put the 1Ds on the same lap.

Thank you guys for doing this.  I'll be upgrading next year and this helps.  I still wish there was a MF with live-view...

Dave


...
And lastly, you're right, it wasn't a fair test. I should have averted to the fine-print in Canon's EF lens brochure, where they clearly state: "The EF 24-105 is not suitable for photography of highly textured subjects. Under near-ideal conditions this lens is limited to producing a fraction of the resolution of which the Canon 1-series cameras are capable. By purchasing this lens at a list price of over $1,000, users agree to and accept the terms of Canon's "Inferior But Nonetheless "L" designated Lenses Policy" found at Appendix "B" to this brochure".

Our bad.
 Wink  Grin




Serious users are advised to ignore the "L" designation (which the marketing department made us put on it). 

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Mark D Segal
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« Reply #19 on: November 16, 2010, 08:08:48 AM »
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Yes, an interesting report. I've never owned a Canon DSLR, but I'm aware that the Galbraith web site has demonstrated serious auto-focus problems with the 1DsIII. I don't know if the testers focused with the auto-focus or manually, but if it was with auto-focus, that might explain a bit of the problem. I've also read that most DSLR zooms (and in particular, those from Canon) demonstrate some serious sample variation, and wonder if that might be part of the problem.

Alan...I think I remember your contentious tenure on the L-Camera forum...are you sure you want to think about Leica again? ;-)

JC    

John, I've tested my 1dsIII and that particular lens with Lens Align and it looked fine. That said, in principle I fully agree with you about sample variation between lenses of the same model - especially zoom lenses.
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Mark D Segal (formerly MarkDS)
Author: "Scanning Workflows with SilverFast 8....." http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/film/scanning_workflows_with_silverfast_8.shtml
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