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Author Topic: 22MP MFDB vs. D800 or 5DIII  (Read 14961 times)
EinstStein
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« on: May 05, 2012, 02:44:52 PM »
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If you happen to have close experiences with both 22MP MFDB and Nikon D800(E), what's your opinion? Comments of Canon 5DIII vs, 22MP MFDB are welcome too. Please also state whether your are professional or enthusiastics, as I think it also largely depends on the business model and the style of hobbies.
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mr purdy
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« Reply #1 on: May 05, 2012, 08:17:42 PM »
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For what purpose?
What are you shooting?
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EinstStein
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« Reply #2 on: May 05, 2012, 09:24:15 PM »
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Just tell us what you think from your usage.
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MrSmith
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« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2012, 05:52:58 AM »
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Professional opinion (see my website for the kind of work i shoot):
i work with 22mp phase files and 5dII files all the time, when a good lens is used on a 5dII i see no difference apart from slightly cleaner deep shadow tones with MFD, that difference disappears when printed or reduced in size for web use.
if you don't use a tripod then forget a MFD as you are never going to get the best out of it, but then tripod use and live-view is essential for 35mm to give you good files, only on really sunny days do i contemplate not using one. essentially i treat the cameras the same way.
you could argue that working this way just makes the 35mm camera like an MFD but you do get the option to shoot at a higher iso with available light and deliver a usable result with 35mm.
also the issue of tethering, the screens on MFD's are next to useless i wouldn't contemplate shooting without a laptop.

no experience of the d800 (yet) but one 'issue' that doesn't seem to be talked about much is that if you are handholding your shutter speed is going to be way higher than you think you can get away with for critical sharpness, this is also relevant to the lower mp canon but having talked to a colleague who shoots corporate work the mkIII has a far better shutter action and you no longer feel the body jump in your hands as you shoot, i tried one in a shop and it certainly feels a lot better damped, he gets 9/10 keepers shooting at 1.4 compared to the mkII (3/10) the AF is vastly improved

no idea what you want the camera for? that's going to be the deciding factor.
 
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David Watson
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« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2012, 06:57:58 AM »
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I have shot with 22, 31, 39 and now 60mp MFD (Hasselblad).  I also have a D800E.

No question that the utility and convenience of 35mm is way better than that possible with a Hasselbald.

Both cameras must be on a tripod (and that has to be a very good one) to get the best results but acceptable hand held results can be obtained by keeping shutter speeds above 250.

Liveview and image stabilisation are big pluses for 35mm

Personal view?  If I am hiking or walking a lot then I take my 35mm kit.  All other times I take my MFD system. 22MFD is now quite old technology and looking at tests shots (see below) I think the D800E has the edge.
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David Watson ARPS
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« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2012, 09:10:32 AM »
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A photographer wrote to me the other day and asked my opinion on the 22MP MFD cameras/backs. I gave him my thoughts but said if he liked the small format DSLRs then he should seriously consider the Nikon D800/D800E, he'd end up with a far more flexible system.

The reality is the two systems are entirely different and to base the choice on any differences in image quality would be a mistake.

Disclaimer:

I own and use a Hasselblad H3D11-22 and love it. I loathe the Canon/Nikon DSLRs. The working methodology of the Hasselblad suits my work to a tee. I love the 4:3 format. The viewfinder is a delight and benefits my vision - both physically and conceptually. I don't believe for a moment it would suit the majority of users.
« Last Edit: May 06, 2012, 09:37:39 AM by KLaban » Logged

David Watson
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« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2012, 11:05:41 AM »
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A photographer wrote to me the other day and asked my opinion on the 22MP MFD cameras/backs. I gave him my thoughts but said if he liked the small format DSLRs then he should seriously consider the Nikon D800/D800E, he'd end up with a far more flexible system.

The reality is the two systems are entirely different and to base the choice on any differences in image quality would be a mistake.

Disclaimer:

I own and use a Hasselblad H3D11-22 and love it. I loathe the Canon/Nikon DSLRs. The working methodology of the Hasselblad suits my work to a tee. I love the 4:3 format. The viewfinder is a delight and benefits my vision - both physically and conceptually. I don't believe for a moment it would suit the majority of users.

I quite agree in that I love working with MFD - don't quite agree about the loathing 35mm but I can understand where Keith is coming from having used MF for 35 years.  I too personally prefer to work with my Hasselblad but sometimes practicality (weather proofing, weight, long lenses etc) force me to use my 35mm outfit.  Generally I have always been happy with my MFD kit but notwithstanding the obvious merits of the new D800E still find 35mm slightly irritating to use.  One big reason is that I just know that I will get a better result from the bigger camera and the slower way of working. When I am forced to use 35mm and review the images my first thought, even if the images are okay, how much better they would be on the MF system.

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David Watson ARPS
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« Reply #7 on: May 07, 2012, 04:38:26 AM »
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I quite agree in that I love working with MFD - don't quite agree about the loathing 35mm but I can understand where Keith is coming from having used MF for 35 years.

David, yes, on reflection perhaps loathing was a tad too strong.

To be more accurate I dislike them. Try as I might they don't make me want to pick them up and use them.
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EinstStein
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« Reply #8 on: May 09, 2012, 01:51:18 AM »
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Tried 5DIII and D800. My impression:
1. With 400mm~600mm, Gee, 5DIII is like a machine gun, super fast and super accurate.
2. On the other extremes, 17mm or 24mm, T&S. 5DIII rules again. It's unique.
3. In the middle, 50mm/1.2, 5DIII performs better than D800 but with standard zooms, 24-70 and 70-200, it's the other way.
   But in this range, M9 stands out. M9 does not go beyond 135mm, but it makes 130mm ~ 200mm irrelevant.

My impressions: It's M9 for 24~135mm, and beyond these range, it'd be 5DIII. D800 is a very good body, but need lenses to match it.   
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #9 on: May 09, 2012, 04:11:14 AM »
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Tried 5DIII and D800. My impression:

D800 is a very good body, but need lenses to match it.   

What lenses did you try the D800 with?

Cheers,
Bernard
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EinstStein
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« Reply #10 on: May 10, 2012, 12:57:15 AM »
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I tried D800 with the primes between  24~85, maybe also 105mm, PC-E included; 24-70 and 70-200 zoom, and a super tele, 500mm or 600mm, don't remember (not very impressive). The zooms are good.
I didn't try Carl Zeiss. I'm sure that may change some of my conclusions between 5DIII and D800. It's irrelevant anyway after comparing with Leica M9. 
But D800 and 5DIII's Af are very shining, especially when 5DIII combined with super tele and TS-E, no matching in Leica M or Carl Zeiss.
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BJL
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« Reply #11 on: May 10, 2012, 08:00:42 AM »
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I tried D800 with the primes between  24~85, maybe also 105mm, PC-E included; 24-70 and 70-200 zoom, and a super tele, 500mm or 600mm, don't remember ...
That's an impressive collection of lenses you put together and tested with a system that, it seems, you do not normally use or like. Can you post some of the comparison shots that show the clear superiority of the Leica M9 over the D800 with the best of those Nikon lenses?
« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 10:23:03 AM by BJL » Logged
ndevlin
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« Reply #12 on: May 10, 2012, 10:20:23 AM »
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For me, the D800E caused me to sell not only my 645D but my M9 as well (though not the lenses).  At working apertures, the better Nikkor primes on the 800E match the "M" glass , except with twice the pixels, more accurate focus and usable high ISO.  Besides, you can buy a 24 f1.4, 35 f1.4, 50 f1.4 and 85 f1.8 for the new price of a single Leica lens.  That's gotta count at some point. Size is the Nikkors' only shortcoming.

Fwiw, I tried the much-vaunted Zeiss 21 f2.8 and found it to be crap. Er, um, I mean a non flat-field lens. Bitingly sharp in the centre, it was mushy on the edges at f8, at a middle-distance, focussed by liveview.  No excuse for that. Interestingly, the 16-35 VR matched it in the centre at f8 and kicked its ass on the edges. 

- N.
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Nick Devlin   @onelittlecamera
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« Reply #13 on: May 10, 2012, 02:32:55 PM »
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I shoot a lot of weddings and recently started to shoot some of the formals of the coupld with the hassy + P25 back.

The images from the P25 are much much clearer and detailed over the 5D3, the colour seem to pop more on the 5D3 however the MFDB looks more realistic.

I'd like to try some of the newer backs to compare colour output but primarily I'd like to go back to leaf.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #14 on: May 10, 2012, 07:46:55 PM »
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I tried D800 with the primes between  24~85, maybe also 105mm, PC-E included; 24-70 and 70-200 zoom, and a super tele, 500mm or 600mm, don't remember (not very impressive).

If you did test the D800 a few days ago for more than a few seconds and cannot remember whether you tested it with a 500 or 600mm lense, in all seriousness, I would seek medical advise. I am afraid this may indicate the onset of some neurological issues that are better caught as early as possible.

Those lense are very different.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: May 10, 2012, 09:15:38 PM by BernardLanguillier » Logged

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Lightsmith
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« Reply #15 on: May 26, 2012, 05:45:59 PM »
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I expected that with the D800 I would need much faster shutter speeds to get sharp images with the camera. It turns out I was wrong - completely. With the 70-200mm f2.8 VR II lens on the D800 I get extremely sharp pictures at 1/200s hand held. The VR helps but it also shows how a large and long and heavy lens counterbalances and dampens the shutter mechanism.

One of my complaints with the DSLR evolution is that in order to gain high fps shooting rates which I don't care all that much about, I have had increasingly noisy shutter and mirror mechanisms and more slap with lightweight bodies like that of the D300. I have found and no doubt others have as well that the heavier the camera the slower the shutter speed that can be used while shooting hand held. I had a Pentax 645 and I never had a problem with image sharpness at 1/30s.

The D800 has the quietest shutter/mirror mechanism of any Nikon I have used since the D1x and comparable to Canon cameras. It has a moderate fps rate that is a function of the lower voltage supplied to the motors, etc. but benefits the vibration dampening for the mirror.

While it is to be expected than people are comparing the D800 to the Canon 5D Mark III and the various MF and digital backs it is shortsighted to do so. I need a camera with fast and accurate autofocus as my top priority, noise controlled at ISO 3200 as my second priority, total system in terms of lenses and their performance, flash system, durability, and resolution. I could make decent large prints from a D1x RAW file and others have sold 20 x 30 gallery prints made with images from the D1h.   

Jim Brandenburg after a month of shooting with the D800 compared the prints he was able to make from its files as being better than MF and approaching that of a 4x5. I can see his point in part because I took some JPEGs with the D800 at the "basic" setting which produces 4-5MP files. When I looked at the images on a monitor I was struck by the fact that I could enlarge them nearly as much as the RAW files produced by the D3 before the details started to fall apart.
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c.james
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« Reply #16 on: June 05, 2012, 02:57:34 PM »
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For me, the D800E caused me to sell not only my 645D but my M9 as well (though not the lenses).  At working apertures, the better Nikkor primes on the 800E match the "M" glass , except with twice the pixels, more accurate focus and usable high ISO.  Besides, you can buy a 24 f1.4, 35 f1.4, 50 f1.4 and 85 f1.8 for the new price of a single Leica lens.  That's gotta count at some point. Size is the Nikkors' only shortcoming.

Fwiw, I tried the much-vaunted Zeiss 21 f2.8 and found it to be crap. Er, um, I mean a non flat-field lens. Bitingly sharp in the centre, it was mushy on the edges at f8, at a middle-distance, focussed by liveview.  No excuse for that. Interestingly, the 16-35 VR matched it in the centre at f8 and kicked its ass on the edges. 

- N.


I completely agree win this. I tested a D800 side by side with my leaf aptus 75 and have since sold my whole leaf kit in favor of the D800E that should be coming in anytime!
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torger
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« Reply #17 on: June 06, 2012, 06:04:09 AM »
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Low end MFDBs are hard to justify these days. There are two ways - if you want to use a technical camera and are not really happy with the available tilt-shift options on the D800 an MFDB + tech camera is better, or if you are a portrait photographer and like the special DOF-look of MFDB that some claim to be a big difference.
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FredBGG
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« Reply #18 on: July 10, 2012, 11:19:08 PM »
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To answer the OP... I'm a professional photographer. Fashion and Celebrity. (Landscape for fun too and sometimes as part of Fashion books)

I have shot most formats for about 30 years. Film and digital... (also shot with 22 MP MFDB)

When I tested a D800 and D800E I decided I would not need MFD anymore.
The main advantage I saw in MFD was dynamic range. This is because I come from film and still shoot film.
Well the D800 was announced and described as a high dynamic range camera I said to my self "yea yea I've heard that before".
The first sample images that came out didn't look that good and led me to believe it was a bit of hype.
After testing it it was clear to me that the d800 had better dynamic range especially in the blacks and was a big leap forward for 35mm digital.
The newer phase One IQ backs do still have a fraction more color depth, but it is a very small difference and the D800 is no slouch when it comes to color.

While I love medium and large format film, medium format digital was never in my eyes the "real thing"
when it comes to medium format. Medium format digital is sub 60x45mm and I always liked the look of larger formats like 6x8cm film and
larger. Medium format digital is really at the bottom of medium format size and only scratched the surface of the look of medium and larger format.

The difference in this look between a FF 24x36mm and a MF sensor at this point is very subtle and IMO does not justify the
limitations of the Phase One and Hasselblad H cameras. This is even more the case when comparing these limitations to both 35mm Digital and "proper" medium format film.

As a result I have dropped medium format digital in favor of the combination of 35mm digital and medium format film plus large format 8x10 film and direct to paper.

Cons of medium format digital IMO

Not reliable. The backs are really quite good, but the cameras are terrible.
Less so for Hasselblad H, Phase One AF and DF bodies are simply not reliable enough.

Limited lenses.
Extremely limited tilt shift lenses. Limited fast lenses, no image stabilization.
Some of the lenses are very nice, but while for example the Schnieder Phase One lenses have leaf shutters for some silly reason
they have a 5 blade iris resulting in unpleasant bokeh on high contrast subjects if stopped down even one stop.
The cheap (in comparison) Nikon 85mm 1.4G has a 9 blade round iris.
My large format lenses have perfectly round irises.

5 blade:



Proper round iris:



Here is a comparison between three MF lenses... as you can see the old Mamiya RZ 110mm is far nicer



Bokeh is simply nicer on the older lenses and the newest best 35mm lenses like the Nikon 85mm 1.4 or Canon 85mm 1.2

Here are a couple of images I found on flickr that shows this....





A lot more with this combo on his flickr pages:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/-451/


Focusing issues
While the sensors and lenses are very sharp the focusing, both manual and auto are very limited and in many ways inadequate.
While MF does have nice shallow depth of field it is difficult to get a high hit rate when shooting wide open.
Both the Hasselblad and Phase One DF do not have high magnification viefinders for manual focusing.
While Hasselblad has a waist level finder it can pretty much only be used for horizontal framing.
Mamiya does still make the RZ with a waist level finder and rotating backs, but the finder is not make for a digital back crop
so the magnification is not adequate.
I mainly used digital backs on a Fuji GX680 due to the much better viewfinders and full line of tilt shift lenses from 50mm to 500mm.

Hasselblad does have true focus that compensates when focusing at the center of the frame and re framing, but its just better to be able to focus without
re framing.

No more film support
Phase One has totally dropped film support for it 645 cameras.
Hasselblad only has film and digital support with the HVX, but you can only buy it through some wonky upgrade deal.
Film creatively is still a very valid medium. Dropping it on a camera system that is a heavy investment is just illogical.

So anyway my point is that if you don't need to make 40x60inch prints that need to be viewed very close up MFD
just is not necessary anymore.

Here is a link to a comparison done by the owner of an IQ180 80MP flagship MFDB.

http://www.circleofconfusion.ie/d800e-vs-phase-one-iq180/

In conclusion here are a few images to illustrate my point of using a combination of 35mm digital and larger MF film.

Here is a shot taken with care wide open with a "vintage" Canon 1ds 11 MP with an inexpensive 100mm f2




and a crop to show the fine detail:



My D800 is sharper than this.

And here are a couple of examples of 6x8 film:


Higher res here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/46355539@N08/5458121808/sizes/o/in/photostream/





Crop:





Crop

« Last Edit: July 10, 2012, 11:31:27 PM by FredBGG » Logged
FredBGG
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« Reply #19 on: July 10, 2012, 11:34:48 PM »
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Comments of Canon 5DIII vs, 22MP MFDB are welcome too.

I switched reluctantly from Canon when I saw almost no gain in Dynamic range in the Canon 5D mark III.
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