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Author Topic: Medium Format Digital Vs. Large Sensor DSLR  (Read 22161 times)
MarkoMijailovic
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« on: January 30, 2012, 09:33:37 PM »
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Apologies if this has been asked before or if it's a silly question, but it entered my mind and I just have to ask... Please keep in mind I know virtually nothing about the technicalities behind all this stuff.

Lets say there's a DSLR (like the rumored Nikon D800) that boasts a 36 megapixel sensor. Wouldn't said camera rival the medium format digital stuff out there like, for example, a Hasselblad H4D 40 in terms of image quality and retaining detail? I'm not quite sure what the advantages at that point would be to medium format digital. If anything, I'd think the DSLR would have advantages to it, such as: far superior noise performance, faster frame rates, HD video (if you're into that), reduced weight, significantly reduced cost, bigger variety of lenses, weather proofing, much faster AF system, etc. Perhaps the optics of medium format systems are, arguably, the only area in which medium format would have these 35mm based cameras beat? I'm not even sure I understand what I'm asking... perhaps I'm just confusing resolution with sensor size... A camera can still have a 35mm sized sensor and have 36 megapixels on it while another can have a 6x4.5,6x6,6x7, etc. sized one and have say, 21 megapixels...

I'm a lover of medium format and don't intend on having a DSLR replace my Mamiya RZ 67 system, but I just had to ask... Is there something I'm missing?
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Kagetsu
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« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2012, 09:56:49 PM »
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It's an interesting point, but there are significant differences that can make or break a camera for a task.

I've only recently gone to MFD, but my experience has been interesting and enjoyable though fraught with interesting challenges along the way.

There were a few main reasons for my switch.

- Leaf Shutter
- Resolution (though not necessarily key)
- Usability (I have the 645DF and IQ160)
- Modular back (for eventually using with technical camera's).
- The AA filter (or lack of in MFD)
- ISO50

You can nit pick between them a lot.

One can also argue in the case of studio work (My primary focus) good quality flash gear in 90% of the cases will negate the need for a leaf shutter (say the Scoro packs etc).

What I'd like to comment on is the lack of quality review out there for real world use on the camera's... DPReview is okay, but at the end of the day it ends up showing us little in the way of raw use. We see these great high iso numbers (100,000+) these days and while that's fine and dandy, my personal experience has been that while the noise control has been getting better, it's often over inflated by people only testing it in JPG.

When it comes down to it in RAW, we seldom get more then a stop advantage over the previous generation. From my first DSLR the 20D I went to the 5D then the 1DS3 and 5D2. Personally while these camera's may well get to ISO1600, I wouldn't want to shoot at those levels still.

I dont' know... the 5D2 is the newest DSLR I own, so it may have changed more recently, but the words spoken of the new camera's ISO capabilities aren't different to what was spoken when the 5D came out. I'm sure it's better, and yes, it'd probably beat the pants of my 160 at equivalent ISO's (except low down), but it's not my thing, and will have a DSLR on the back burner anyway for that.

That said, 36mp compared to the likes of their previous highest 24 and their night performance camera's at 12 and now 16mp... I just don't see how they can with the current level of advancement make it any better at low ISO. I'm happy to be proven wrong, but it's just getting crazy.

In addition to that, with the processing and transfer power of the D4 and the 1Dx (they're around the same) you won't see more then 5 frames a second, and chances are slower then that.

And lets look at the other thing. Glass. We don't need to go into the old adage of good glass better pictures, but lets be realistic here. At 24mp's we're in many cases pushing the majority of glass to its limit... and if high resolution on the DSLR lenses is what we're after something else must be sacrificed. Personally I think the first thing to go will be the AA filter. I'd imagine a big change to the bayer filter (don't ask me how, I'm not an engineer). and unless they make the entire 'sensel' area edge to edge, I just don't see how else they could improve the light without sacrificing the resolution.

I'm still in the camp the 36mp is either fake, or there's a catch to it (think of the multi layer thing with Sigma).

EDIT:

And just to point out. Pentax have now had their MFDSLR out for over a year, but it really didn't impact as much on either industry as people hoped it would.
« Last Edit: January 30, 2012, 09:59:23 PM by Kagetsu » Logged
ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #2 on: January 30, 2012, 10:12:21 PM »
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Hi,

There is always some advantage with larger formats. For one, they collect more photons which is good for keeping down shot noise (which depends on photon statistics). The second great advantage larger formats have is that MTF on a detail of given size will be better all other factors assumed to be comparable.

Unfortunately there are not great many properly made comparisons between MF and DSLRs.

Here are two comparisons I have made from raw files made by other photographers:

http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/51-a-closer-look-at-pentax-645d-image-quality

http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/38-observations-on-leica-s2-raw-images

You could also check this thread: http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=50977.0

More info from Miles Hecker:

http://wyofoto.com/Pentax_645D/Pentax_645D_review_pt1.html
http://wyofoto.com/Pentax_645D/Pentax_645D_review_pt2.html

Regarding 36 MP FF DSLRs, I would make the point that they are comparable to present day 16 MP APS-C. So you can shoot with a cropped frame DSLR to estimate the image quality.

If you print an APS-C image at 20" and a full frame image at 30" the central crop of the larger image would exactly correspond to the small camera crop.

Best regards
Erik


Apologies if this has been asked before or if it's a silly question, but it entered my mind and I just have to ask... Please keep in mind I know virtually nothing about the technicalities behind all this stuff.

Lets say there's a DSLR (like the rumored Nikon D800) that boasts a 36 megapixel sensor. Wouldn't said camera rival the medium format digital stuff out there like, for example, a Hasselblad H4D 40 in terms of image quality and retaining detail? I'm not quite sure what the advantages at that point would be to medium format digital. If anything, I'd think the DSLR would have advantages to it, such as: far superior noise performance, faster frame rates, HD video (if you're into that), reduced weight, significantly reduced cost, bigger variety of lenses, weather proofing, much faster AF system, etc. Perhaps the optics of medium format systems are, arguably, the only area in which medium format would have these 35mm based cameras beat? I'm not even sure I understand what I'm asking... perhaps I'm just confusing resolution with sensor size... A camera can still have a 35mm sized sensor and have 36 megapixels on it while another can have a 6x4.5,6x6,6x7, etc. sized one and have say, 21 megapixels...

I'm a lover of medium format and don't intend on having a DSLR replace my Mamiya RZ 67 system, but I just had to ask... Is there something I'm missing?

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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2012, 10:23:24 PM »
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Hi,

You are probably correct about the high ISO performance. I'd say we are quite close to theoretical limits.

DxO figures certainly indicate a more modest improvement. Obviously, increasing sensor size, like Canon did moving from D1III to D1X helps a lot.

Best regards
Erik





It's an interesting point, but there are significant differences that can make or break a camera for a task.

I've only recently gone to MFD, but my experience has been interesting and enjoyable though fraught with interesting challenges along the way.

There were a few main reasons for my switch.

- Leaf Shutter
- Resolution (though not necessarily key)
- Usability (I have the 645DF and IQ160)
- Modular back (for eventually using with technical camera's).
- The AA filter (or lack of in MFD)
- ISO50

You can nit pick between them a lot.

One can also argue in the case of studio work (My primary focus) good quality flash gear in 90% of the cases will negate the need for a leaf shutter (say the Scoro packs etc).

What I'd like to comment on is the lack of quality review out there for real world use on the camera's... DPReview is okay, but at the end of the day it ends up showing us little in the way of raw use. We see these great high iso numbers (100,000+) these days and while that's fine and dandy, my personal experience has been that while the noise control has been getting better, it's often over inflated by people only testing it in JPG.

When it comes down to it in RAW, we seldom get more then a stop advantage over the previous generation. From my first DSLR the 20D I went to the 5D then the 1DS3 and 5D2. Personally while these camera's may well get to ISO1600, I wouldn't want to shoot at those levels still.

I dont' know... the 5D2 is the newest DSLR I own, so it may have changed more recently, but the words spoken of the new camera's ISO capabilities aren't different to what was spoken when the 5D came out. I'm sure it's better, and yes, it'd probably beat the pants of my 160 at equivalent ISO's (except low down), but it's not my thing, and will have a DSLR on the back burner anyway for that.

That said, 36mp compared to the likes of their previous highest 24 and their night performance camera's at 12 and now 16mp... I just don't see how they can with the current level of advancement make it any better at low ISO. I'm happy to be proven wrong, but it's just getting crazy.

In addition to that, with the processing and transfer power of the D4 and the 1Dx (they're around the same) you won't see more then 5 frames a second, and chances are slower then that.

And lets look at the other thing. Glass. We don't need to go into the old adage of good glass better pictures, but lets be realistic here. At 24mp's we're in many cases pushing the majority of glass to its limit... and if high resolution on the DSLR lenses is what we're after something else must be sacrificed. Personally I think the first thing to go will be the AA filter. I'd imagine a big change to the bayer filter (don't ask me how, I'm not an engineer). and unless they make the entire 'sensel' area edge to edge, I just don't see how else they could improve the light without sacrificing the resolution.

I'm still in the camp the 36mp is either fake, or there's a catch to it (think of the multi layer thing with Sigma).

EDIT:

And just to point out. Pentax have now had their MFDSLR out for over a year, but it really didn't impact as much on either industry as people hoped it would.
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ced
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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2012, 04:34:50 AM »
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Marko here is a link for you to get your teeth into and enjoy too, the fine test was made about a month ago.
The testers tackled this gigantic task from a few angles and the results were well documented.
http://www.onlandscape.co.uk/2011/12/big-camera-comparison/
http://www.onlandscape.co.uk/2011/12/big-camera-comparison-comments/
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Gary Ferguson
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« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2012, 09:04:38 AM »
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And lets look at the other thing. Glass. We don't need to go into the old adage of good glass better pictures, but lets be realistic here. At 24mp's we're in many cases pushing the majority of glass to its limit

I frequently find moire with a Leica M9, even with the less stellar Leica lenses like the 28/35/50 Tri-Elmar.

I occasionally find moire with a P65+ with Mamiya/Phase One and Rodenstock lenses.

I can't ever remember finding moire with a Canon 5D MkII or Canon 1Ds MkIII, even when using their best resolving lenses.

Doesn't that suggest that Leica and Phase One could offer higher pixel count sensors, where as Canon should concentrate on improving their optics? Or is it all about Canon's AA filters?
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Roskav
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« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2012, 10:58:16 AM »
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He He I like the first post here Marko.  I have used MFD on a technical camera since 2006 and whereas it was so much easier to use and better than my old Sinar 4/5,  I get frustrated by the vulnerability of the sync lead in the whole setup... I curse when the sun goes in half way through a stitcher shot which needs a calibration file for every position of the lens... I yawn as I wait for the image to appear after a 10s exposure.... and I despair when I get ghosting/smearing of bright windows in an interior shot.  On the other hand .. the odd time I have used my D3 to do a quick shoot I am struck by how much easier it is to use a dslr in comparison.  Better iso performance ... (I can use speedlights in a room if I need to).   I have been amazed at how a 12MP camera can do such a good job... seeing the D3's A3 prints side by side with the Aptus 75 in a brochure.  (Note not proper prints)  With the d800 reportedly having the option of no AA filter and coming in at 36mp I am very interested.  One caveat,  I have tried some lenses 24-70, 14- 24 on the D3X in the shop and it suffers from CA and fringing against bright areas (as far as I could make out) ... And I wouldn't think that the 24mm TS is good enough to replace my Rodenstock 35 and Schneider 47 ... (especially the 47)  I would be very keen to the see how the d800 works though.  It would be so nice to have a lighter rig with all of the benefits of a dslr.  It's funny how the point and shoots of this world have so many features to make taking photos easier but when you go up the line the intent of the technology is very conservative ... in that vein it's nice to see face recognition in the D4.  I hope to do a test in the shop with the D800 with a 24 mm TS and the Aptus 75 with a Rodenstock 35 and see how they fare.
R
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2012, 12:19:30 PM »
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Hi,

It's all about AA-filters. My Sony Alpha 55 SLT shows moiré frequently although it's resolution corresponds to 36 MP on full frame.

Yes, increasing resolution would reduce Moiré. The AA-filter is carefully optimized for the sensor, so increasing resolution would also make the AA-filter thinner.

Best regards
Erik


I frequently find moire with a Leica M9, even with the less stellar Leica lenses like the 28/35/50 Tri-Elmar.

I occasionally find moire with a P65+ with Mamiya/Phase One and Rodenstock lenses.

I can't ever remember finding moire with a Canon 5D MkII or Canon 1Ds MkIII, even when using their best resolving lenses.

Doesn't that suggest that Leica and Phase One could offer higher pixel count sensors, where as Canon should concentrate on improving their optics? Or is it all about Canon's AA filters?
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mmurph
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« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2012, 03:03:13 PM »
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Quote
Regarding 36 MP FF DSLRs, I would make the point that they are comparable to present day 16 MP APS-C. So you can shoot with a cropped frame DSLR to estimate the image quality.

I did exactly this when the Canon 20d (I think) came out to estimate ther quality of the 1DsII.  Same processors, etc. Was that in 2004 maybe?


I printed a number of 20D images at 180dpi native size (no upsizing, etc.)  That equated to something like a 27x18 print for a "base" or default large print size on the 1DsII.

I was happy with the results, and I could live with that as a standard print size for 90% of my day-to-day work. So I bought in and sold most of my medium format film equipment at the time (Mamiya 7II and Pentax 645N.) 

I kept my 4x5 film equipment for the 10% of work taht required larger prints, that were needed less often, rather than going to a MFDB at that point in time.


And so it goes with each year/generation.  Better sensors, well size, different AA filters or strategies, better unloading techniques, better/faster/more powerful processors, more memory, faster writing to card, new software algorithms. 

Every generation is better, for both the smaller and larger cameras.  The question comes down to:

1) How do you work, what do you shoot,

2) What are your pririoties and goals (final destination, acceptible print size, manipulation requirements, etc.) and

3) Where is the point where the marginal gains do not justify the costs **for you**


I started with analyzing my average spending per year. Then determing what I could "buy" with that, more or less, using an amortized (depreciated) cost per year to use the equipment (buy cost - sell cost at 1 year, 2 years, etc):

* Canon 1DsII with depreciation at, $1,500 a year, plus

* 300 sheets of 4x5 at $5 per sheet = $1,500

* etc.


We are just seeing the next generation of Canon and Nikon now.  It will be interesting to see what their full frame releases look like. 

Then we go though it all again.  Even if you are happy with what you have, it is probably wortgh estimating the cost to hold (current value - predicted future value in 1 year, etc) vs. to upgade (purchase cost of new equip - current value of equipment - sales price of new equip in 1 year, etc)
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2012, 06:22:35 AM »
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If anything, I'd think the DSLR would have advantages to it, such as: far superior noise performance, faster frame rates, HD video (if you're into that), reduced weight, significantly reduced cost, bigger variety of lenses, weather proofing, much faster AF system, etc.

You may be forgetting some of the most important ones:
- usable live view enabling perfect focus 100% of the time and results in superior real life image quality for landscape work (especially in low light or for infinity focus),
- much longer battery life in cold weather enabling real off the road shooting,
- better long exposure image quality,
- much wider raw converter options, for instance DxO enabling instant removal of most image aberrations,
- wide availability makes repair/rental of a compatible camera much easier/faster,
- reasonable price makes it possible to take the camera to less safe places where you may not want to bring a 40,000 US$ MF system because of the risk of theft (think most of Western Europe to start with),
- more DoF enables shorter exposure times for a given DoF, which makes panoramic shooting possible in low lights,
- reduced cost makes it a reasonable option to own a real back up,

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
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« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2012, 03:49:59 PM »
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If the current 16MP chip in the D7000/ D5100 is indeed the same design then I would not expect the next FF camera to present any threat to current MF backs in terms of image quality at low iso

As much as I love my Nikon (and I do think that image quality is very good) it is NOT my weapon of choice when I'm after the best image quality or when I need to carefully control DOF, perspective, distortion etc.

Yair
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MrSmith
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« Reply #11 on: February 01, 2012, 05:35:35 PM »
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As much as I love my Nikon (and I do think that image quality is very good) it is NOT my weapon of choice when I'm after the best image quality or when I need to carefully control DOF, perspective, distortion etc.

Yair

remind me what the tilt shift options are for medium format again?  the way i see it to get the DOF and perspective control available with a 17-24-90mm ts-e lens in medium format (i'll skip the 45 as it's mediocre) you need a view camera setup that's neither as portable or fast to use and poor at high iso needing longer exposures too.

there's no denying the quality is there in medium format but it's limitations are seriously er limiting for a lot of photographers.
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Anders_HK
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« Reply #12 on: February 01, 2012, 10:36:30 PM »
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Without doubt you can read many posts from people using DSLR who keep senseless arguing that DSLR is reaching image quality of MFDB. Is it garbage? In some senses yes. Lets bear in mind that the first MFDB that came to the market had around 6MP, but that was many years ago... (also that point and shoots and mobile phone cameras are catching up on DSLRs...). There is more than pixels of course. A DSLR and its sensor is made for more general use than a MFDB. A DSLR have a wider ISO range with higher ISO capability and a higher base ISO. If that is what you need, then that should be your tool of choice. For ultimate file and image quality at lower ISO, no current DSLR beats current MFDB. The image data from MFDB is amazing in its image quality and how it can be pushed around.

The other part is that the cameras for MFDB are simpler and with much less automation than DSLRs, less buttons to confuse all of which that slows you down in the process of taking an image. Slowing down is good for focusing on how you capture the image and yields in less shots but your keepers are far better. There is the larger format which gives a different rendering and DOF. And a LARGER area of sensor to capture more light.

The latest 80MP MFDB from Leaf and Phase One are impressive. It is not first most the pixels that impress, but the accurate and good colors, there are more colors, a finer gradation of colors, a broad DR, amazing recovery of highlights and low lights details. The more pixels helps of course.

I use latest 80MP Leaf AFi-II 12 digital back on a Rolleiflex Hy6. That camera is of very high preciseness in focus and no more weight than a DSLR, and a 6cm x 6cm LARGE & BRIGHT focus screen in folding waist level viewfinder for seeing large and bright when taking a photo. Same quality go for lenses that are super sharp by Schneider and Carl Zeiss. There is no chance I will switch to any 36MP or higher DSLR and put money in the bank. Though as an amateur I sure could use that money elsewhere I very much value the image quality I get from Leaf. Not only that, you saw the post from "Yaya" Yair above. He is Leaf's product manager worldwide. Leaf has stellar support. None of that from DSLRs... Leaf products are also very durable and built to stand professional and heavy use. They last and do not have problems. Pretty much same should go for the other MFDBs. If at any time a back needs help (or us with it), help is around the corner and FAST.

Best regards,
Anders
« Last Edit: February 01, 2012, 10:45:27 PM by Anders_HK » Logged
ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #13 on: February 02, 2012, 12:09:25 AM »
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Hi,

It seems to me that there are plenty of TS options with an MFDB, as you can put it on a technical or optical bench cameras.

With the recently developed high resolution lenses from Schneider and Rodenstock that are optimized for digital capture (high MTF over a small image circle) there are plenty of options for super sharp systems.

It is possible to use MFDBs with Canon TS lenses on the Hartblei H series with MFDBs, but I don't know how much T/S options that gives. Using the central 24x36 crop on a Hartblei with a high resolution back would give the same amount of T/S control with a Canon T/S lens as on the full frame Canon. Of course everything, except the lens having a much higher price.

I guess that DSLR type cameras weather MF or not are faster to use than technical cameras, but with an MFDB the photographer decides what to put in the front of the sensor.

Best regards
Erik


remind me what the tilt shift options are for medium format again?  the way i see it to get the DOF and perspective control available with a 17-24-90mm ts-e lens in medium format (i'll skip the 45 as it's mediocre) you need a view camera setup that's neither as portable or fast to use and poor at high iso needing longer exposures too.

there's no denying the quality is there in medium format but it's limitations are seriously er limiting for a lot of photographers.
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Gary Ferguson
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« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2012, 05:13:59 AM »
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It seems to me that there are plenty of TS options with an MFDB

I think I've tried most of them!

I bought a Phase One/Hartblei 45mm T&S even though my Pahse One dealer advised against it (saying every one he'd sold had subsequently been returned). Well, he was right and I was wrong, it was an appalling lens and I also ended up returning it. I see Phase One has now discontinued it.

I was lucky enough to pick up a Schneider 55mm T&S in a Mamiya/Phase One mount and that's an absolute gem of a lens. The Schneider 55mm were mainly available in a Rollei and a Bronica mount, but a very very few were made in Hasselblad V and Mamiya 645 mounts.

I've tried the Mamiya 50mm shift lens and it's not bad, no tilt of course and it does get soft in the corners even at f11 and f16 when shifted, but at least it doesn't go "smeary" around the edges and the corners like the Hartblei.

I've also spent the last few years struggling with various Phase One backs on a Linhof M679cs with a range of lenses. The inherent problems of focusing with camera tilts on a tiny 645 ground glass means this is currently a compromised solution. In my opinion medium format digital backs on technical cameras won't really come of age until we have true live view, which in turn means CMOS sensors. The Phase One dealers that I talk to say that this is imminent and the next generation of Phase One backs will be CMOS based. We'll see, but if this really is the future then I for one will be delighted.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #15 on: February 02, 2012, 05:33:16 AM »
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There are many good reasons to use an MF camera, no doubt.

MF makes sense because:
- the high level of competence of the VARs selling and supporting the backs,
- excellent thethered shooting,
- higher resolutions in one shot,
- larger viewfinder,
- the possibility to use the back on different styles of cameras, including large format,
- it delivers a different look thanks mostly to different lenses and a different aspect ratio,
- the ownership of legacy lenses,
- the UI of the cameras is different, not because they are MF, simply because they are different makes,
- the desire to show clients/friends that one uses high end equipment,
- ...

A DSLR and its sensor is made for more general use than a MFDB. A DSLR have a wider ISO range with higher ISO capability and a higher base ISO. If that is what you need, then that should be your tool of choice. For ultimate file and image quality at lower ISO, no current DSLR beats current MFDB. The image data from MFDB is amazing in its image quality and how it can be pushed around.

A few obvious points:
- Not all DSLRs are equal, very far from it,
- Not all MFDB are equal either. Although there was probably less progress compared to DSLRs, you will have to admit that the current generation of backs is in a totally different league compared to the 22 and 39 mp generation of backs. An obvious side effect of this is that even if the very latest backs are clearly superior to all DSLRs, this simply not true when comparing a bit older backs to recent DSLRs.

So in essence, a generic discussion about MDFB vs DSLR makes little sense. We need to speak about concrete examples of each and to measure the objective performance of the devices, which can easily be done. When comparing to DSLRS, the current best offering, the D3x, should be used as a reference point. Not because I used to own one, because it has been the highest performance DSLR out there for more than 3 years... and will remain so for another 5 days.

The other part is that the cameras for MFDB are simpler and with much less automation than DSLRs, less buttons to confuse all of which that slows you down in the process of taking an image. Slowing down is good for focusing on how you capture the image and yields in less shots but your keepers are far better.

As a former Hassy H1 and Mamiya ZD owner, I have never found their UI to be simpler than that of the DSLRs I have used, on the contrary. The ergonomics of the DSLRs is overall superior, and I would argue that DSLRs can be set very easily to a full automated mode included finely tuned Auto-ISO that very much reduces the user operation to framing only.

So yes, clunky UIs force you to be slow... but I find it amusing to quote this as a plus.  Cheesy Being slow is a mindset, I'd rather use gear that enables me to be fast when I need to.

The key is really to have a user experience that makes it possible to focus on image creation. There is a personal preference coming at play here and this really isn't about MF vs 35mm. You seem to prefer the UI of your MF camera, from general comments on this forum you probably belong to a small minority.

There is the larger format which gives a different rendering and DOF. And a LARGER area of sensor to capture more light.

The latest 80MP MFDB from Leaf and Phase One are impressive. It is not first most the pixels that impress, but the accurate and good colors, there are more colors, a finer gradation of colors, a broad DR, amazing recovery of highlights and low lights details. The more pixels helps of course.

Knowing that highlight recovery is in fact only systematic under-exposure by more than one stop, I would actually look at this as a downside since it makes ETTR more difficult to achieve.

Regarding colors, this is a topic worth discussing in depth. It seems obvious that more spatial information (higher resolution) will result in more color information being present at a given print size. But this is just a re-phrasing of higher resolution, the very same phenomenon is at play when stitching for example.

The question is whether there is something else at play. All DSLRs can be measured to be totally color accurate relative to standard charts, so there should be little difference there.

Still, there could be 2 things happening:
- the ability of the sensor to differentiate real life colors, meaning to associate more or less different RGB values for 2 different colors/illuminations,
- the gammut it can handle.

Do we have factual data showing that the CCD of a given back behaves differently than the CMOS of a given DSLR?

I use latest 80MP Leaf AFi-II 12 digital back on a Rolleiflex Hy6. That camera is of very high preciseness in focus and no more weight than a DSLR, and a 6cm x 6cm LARGE & BRIGHT focus screen in folding waist level viewfinder for seeing large and bright when taking a photo. Same quality go for lenses that are super sharp by Schneider and Carl Zeiss. There is no chance I will switch to any 36MP or higher DSLR and put money in the bank. Though as an amateur I sure could use that money elsewhere I very much value the image quality I get from Leaf. Not only that, you saw the post from "Yaya" Yair above. He is Leaf's product manager worldwide. Leaf has stellar support. None of that from DSLRs... Leaf products are also very durable and built to stand professional and heavy use. They last and do not have problems. Pretty much same should go for the other MFDBs. If at any time a back needs help (or us with it), help is around the corner and FAST.

Some good points here: viewfinder, good lenses, the VAR system is probably the highest value proposal of the MF systems. Now, this only works for city shooting in a small number of places and... you pay for that right? Have you ever tried asking a leading VAR whether they would be willing to support your DSLR usage against a fee. I bet they would be more than happy to help you.

As far as durability goes, I find your comment surprising. The MF platforms are a lot less reliable and durable than pro grade DSLRs. They are not even in the same league. I am sure it has improved, but I can't remember how many times my H1 froze on me... I have never had a single software bug or freeze with any of my nikons over probably in excess of one million frames over the years.

As far as support/availability goes... The best support is not needing support, right? For landscape applications across the globe, the DSLRs have a huge advantage in terms of:
- possibility to buy and use a real back up camera with specs identical to your main one. That is again critical if you engage at all in once in a life time photographic activities where you just cannot afford to stop shooting because your main camera has a problem,
- local support in the unlikely event something breaks down (that has never happened to me in 20 years of using my Nikons in super though outdoor environments with zero pro-active care from me),
-  purchase of a replacement in the unlikely event that both your cameras dies. Who will always be able to buy an EOS digital anywhere and still be able to use your lenses and bring images back home,

Cheers,
Bernard
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ondebanks
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« Reply #16 on: February 02, 2012, 06:04:09 AM »
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The Phase One dealers that I talk to say that this is imminent and the next generation of Phase One backs will be CMOS based. We'll see, but if this really is the future then I for one will be delighted.

I wonder just how "imminent" this is. If or when it does happen, it will be the biggest leap forward in MFD in a decade!

Catching up to the same per-pixel level of sensor performance as in DSLRs, will enable MFD to re-establish the lead over smaller formats that characterised it in the film era.

A roll of Velvia 50 or Delta 3200 in a Mamiya 645 gave 2.7 times the image quality of a roll of Velvia 50 or Delta 3200 in a Nikon or Canon - in all shooting circumstances.

Nowadays, a 60MP medium format back gives 2.5 - 2.8 times the image quality of a D3X or 5DII - but only in good light. Low light, higher ISO, long exposures, live view focusing, time-limited sensitivity (how much shadow detail can you capture in a limited amount of time - which is the essence of most astrophotography) - forget it!

But with a good CMOS implementation, that universality of Medium Format will be restored: "it works just the same as what you have, but the image is much bigger and hence better", as we used to say when snappers enquired about those curious big old cameras we toted around.

Ray
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #17 on: February 02, 2012, 07:16:10 AM »
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But with a good CMOS implementation, that universality of Medium Format will be restored: "it works just the same as what you have, but the image is much bigger and hence better", as we used to say when snappers enquired about those curious big old cameras we toted around.

Boy, that Pentax 645D MKII is going to be an appealing camera!  Grin

Cheers,
Bernard
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Martin Kristiansen
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« Reply #18 on: February 02, 2012, 08:03:25 AM »
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Not sure about other MFDB but the consistent and sensible upgrade path from Leaf is a huge help running a business. Every 3 years or so I upgrade my back, get a decent trade in and simply plug the back into my existing 2 systems that support it and I am good to go.

DSLR has been difficult in this regard.

In fairness when making comparisons, which are anyway odious, current generation DSLR should only be compared to current generation MFDB.

Is it also not about time we saw a few threads on how current generation cell phone cameras are almost as good as DSLR? After all if you do a stitch off your iPhone you can match the resolution of the D3 whatever and then once you make a print who will know?
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hjulenissen
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« Reply #19 on: February 02, 2012, 08:15:03 AM »
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In fairness when making comparisons, which are anyway odious, current generation DSLR should only be compared to current generation MFDB.
If the claim is that "MFDB will give you better pictures than DSLR", I think it is fair to compare different generations of DSLR vs MF to see if it is true (I believe that such a claim is too broad).

If anyone wants to spend $4000 on a camera, I think it makes sense to compare whatever camera-generations fits within that budget?
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Is it also not about time we saw a few threads on how current generation cell phone cameras are almost as good as DSLR? After all if you do a stitch off your iPhone you can match the resolution of the D3 whatever and then once you make a print who will know?
Under the right circumstances, perhaps that is true.

Stitching iPhone images to compete with a DSLR, or stitching DSLR images to compete with MF does present its own issues, though.

-h
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