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Author Topic: The end of medium format ?  (Read 32299 times)
gerald.d
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« Reply #60 on: December 04, 2012, 12:58:14 PM »
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And lots of people turn and look at auto accidents when driving by, because they want to see the carnage.



And then you get those who stop their car by the side of the road,  grab a pen and paper, walk over to the crash site, and leave a note on one of the windscreens admonishing the driver.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #61 on: December 04, 2012, 01:24:42 PM »
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Hi,

In the film days I was shooting both MF and 135. I often made a 135 trip and an MF trip to the same place. One day in France I run out of 135 film, but still had 120 with me, so I was using the MF camera to shoot 135 stuff. The results were 135 like.

Best regards
Erik


Camera tests tend to focus on 2 objective criteria : definition and high iso performance.
Regarding these 2 points, that relate to sensor performance, dslr are closing the gap with MF or can be better.

Some remarks nevertheless :

- at the time of film, sensors were the same (velvia, provia, ...) but still the pictures were not the same with slr and MF. Not systematically obvious, but still a different look in many cases. So even if sensors become dientical in digital slr & MF, I continue to think that the look differences of the format remain. Those are more subjective and possibly more or less important upon the subject (I find major differences in portraits for example)

- high iso performance is great to have, but I choose a camera according to its best IQ potential, not upon the minimization of its defaults. The pictures that really impress me are always done in base iso with a great light (including low light on tripod).
That's just me, I can understand that it matters much more for many photography domains (wedding, street, ...). Also the subject really matters and for example some great street photographs were made with poor performing cameras.

- I still find a significant advantage for MF regarding color accuracy, nuances. On my calbrated NEC screen, I have much more pleasure looking at pictures from MF.

- When looking at pictures on the web, I often cannot tell which were made from MF or from DSLR. I am more often impressed by those made by MF, but it is mostly related to the photographer I think. Difficult also to see differences on papers.

- I prefer the use of the MF and the pleasure in using the camera does impact the results (but many photographers who use dslr do better pictures than mine).

- cost : a D800 +2 lenses is 5500 euros, a used contax 645+2 lenses + 1 used back is 7000 euros, an used alpa TC + 2 lenses + 1 used back is 10 k€. (Then there are more expensive sets in MF) ... if I had 5500 euros to invest today, I would spare 1500 more and buy the contax. Or wait a bit more and buy the ALpa. (well I have them already). I dream I will buy a P65+ or IQ160, I do not dream of a D800.

Oliver
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bcooter
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« Reply #62 on: December 04, 2012, 01:44:27 PM »
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The camera doesn't make the photographer.

We all know that.

Then again professional equipment can and will enhance your business and art.

I know the world has changed . . . I know that people want more for less in all spectrums of society, but turning a healthy profit for yourself and clients is not a dirty word.

I personally want my suppliers to have success because if they don't they won't be around. 

Throughout my career we've invested in our business.  Studios, vehicles, equipment.  For a lot of years I had a simple rule that when I produce a large project I would buy something substantial, something that would last.

In a way it was my rainy day fund and when I look at the equipment I own, my medium format backs have lasted longer than anything I use, except some lighting and grip.

What this allowed me to do when budgets contracted I could use the equipment I preferred without having to toss profit to a rental house.

Sure the Nikon is close to medium format in spec, but then again when I bought my backs, there was no 30 mpx 35mm cameras and even today when tethering 35mm hits the buffer, my phase backs don't, 35mm has very limited software suites, my phase backs have robust professional suites and are more viable today than they were when I bought them.

Does that mean everyone should buy a medium format back?  No.  But does that mean that medium format is obsolete.  No.

I do know that commercial clients expect professional equipment.  They might not know a profoto from a Alien Bee, but they do know if the photographer is well equipped enough to produce their project.

They know when lights stop working, or something stops the project.

They know when a camera loses connection in tethering, when a file isn't large enough or deep enough to work in post with options, when skin tones look bright orange instead of beautiful brown.

Lately we get a lot of projects that have the "real" word as the driver of the creative brief.  I always ask a client to send me a visual reference of what they consider "real" and every time its a heavily produced image with a lot of post production.

It may look "real" in their view, but knowing what it takes to produce a comprehensive project, I know that it takes  real professional equipment and crew. 

It's a cute idea to think that real is instigram and that will do, but that is rarely the case. 

When I mentioned the race to the bottom, it's not about quality or effort.  It's just about price.  As I said everyone wants to pay less, but I've yet to meet a client that wants less effort or investment from our studios regardless of price.

That's why we invested long ago and continue to.

What is completely left off of these discussions is what equipment I use for professional work.  I find it interesting that when I go through the portfolio we present, 40%  is shot with CCD based cameras, mostly medium format, though in the broader scheme, probably 80% of what we shoot is done with 35mm.

What I also find interesting that when we shoot something for ourselves, or for editorial (which is really for ourself), we rarely use a 35mm dslr.   

Personal work is the most important thing we do, because this is the work that eventually gets us booked.

Now I'm not married to any camera or equipment and if I need a D800 I'll buy one in a moment, but so far I don't because I invested a long time ago.

But when it comes to investment all I can go from is the past.  In the time I've owned my Phase backs, I've also owned three sets of Nikons and two sets of Canons.

That doesn't mean any of these cameras or bad or not useful, but for me (and I only speak for me) the digital backs have had a much longer life span.

But as I keep saying, don't take my word for it, try everything yourself and look at the world in worst case scenario.

I own Nikons(3), Lecia(1), Canons(3), REDs(3) and a Sony handicam (1) and I can promise that when issues arise (and issues always arise) my Phase dealer gives me information anytime of day or night.  When I previously owned a Leaf I could reach them direct anytime, from any time zone. 

The others don't.

IMO

BC
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #63 on: December 04, 2012, 01:55:18 PM »
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I'd prefer a product that doesn't need great customer service but still has CPS 3 day turn around and a huge internet information base to a product that has great dealers but boy do you need them. Our Phase One DF and Leaf Back have required more returns to base and/or dealer support in 6 months than my Canon 5Dc's needed in 7 hard years of commercial and wedding photography. I've never had a DSLR crash on me mid shoot, wish I could say the same for the MFDB gear...
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FredBGG
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« Reply #64 on: December 04, 2012, 02:48:57 PM »
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I'd prefer a product that doesn't need great customer service but still has CPS 3 day turn around and a huge internet information base to a product that has great dealers but boy do you need them. Our Phase One DF and Leaf Back have required more returns to base and/or dealer support in 6 months than my Canon 5Dc's needed in 7 hard years of commercial and wedding photography. I've never had a DSLR crash on me mid shoot, wish I could say the same for the MFDB gear...

That was my tipping point. Taking the camera apart, removing the battery to reboot the camera in front of the client one to many times.
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EricWHiss
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« Reply #65 on: December 04, 2012, 04:28:30 PM »
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That was my tipping point. Taking the camera apart, removing the battery to reboot the camera in front of the client one to many times.

I guess you don't shoot tethered with your DSLR? 
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FredBGG
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« Reply #66 on: December 04, 2012, 04:48:59 PM »
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I guess you don't shoot tethered with your DSLR? 

What problems are you having and with what software?
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Paul Ozzello
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« Reply #67 on: December 04, 2012, 04:51:02 PM »
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Hi,

In the film days I was shooting both MF and 135. I often made a 135 trip and an MF trip to the same place. One day in France I run out of 135 film, but still had 120 with me, so I was using the MF camera to shoot 135 stuff. The results were 135 like.

Best regards
Erik


I can't speak for medium format digital but in the film days there was no comparison between the two, medium format film blows away 135 every time in terms of IQ.
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EricWHiss
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« Reply #68 on: December 04, 2012, 07:51:57 PM »
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What problems are you having and with what software?

Ah, well you have answered my question on if you shoot tethered with DSLR or not.   Wink    Cause you'd know if you did.     
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #69 on: December 04, 2012, 08:11:05 PM »
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Hi BC,

There might be a problem for MF. As you point out MF can be a good investment, because the stuff lasts for ever. You also say that resolution does not really matter.

If MF equipment has a very long lifetime, it may mean that the market would shrink, if existing customers don't upgrade. That may be one of the reasons that Phase and perhaps also Hasselblad work on aerial photography, finding new markets.

Best regards
Erik

The camera doesn't make the photographer.

We all know that.

Then again professional equipment can and will enhance your business and art.

I know the world has changed . . . I know that people want more for less in all spectrums of society, but turning a healthy profit for yourself and clients is not a dirty word.

I personally want my suppliers to have success because if they don't they won't be around. 

Throughout my career we've invested in our business.  Studios, vehicles, equipment.  For a lot of years I had a simple rule that when I produce a large project I would buy something substantial, something that would last.

In a way it was my rainy day fund and when I look at the equipment I own, my medium format backs have lasted longer than anything I use, except some lighting and grip.

What this allowed me to do when budgets contracted I could use the equipment I preferred without having to toss profit to a rental house.

Sure the Nikon is close to medium format in spec, but then again when I bought my backs, there was no 30 mpx 35mm cameras and even today when tethering 35mm hits the buffer, my phase backs don't, 35mm has very limited software suites, my phase backs have robust professional suites and are more viable today than they were when I bought them.

Does that mean everyone should buy a medium format back?  No.  But does that mean that medium format is obsolete.  No.

I do know that commercial clients expect professional equipment.  They might not know a profoto from a Alien Bee, but they do know if the photographer is well equipped enough to produce their project.

They know when lights stop working, or something stops the project.

They know when a camera loses connection in tethering, when a file isn't large enough or deep enough to work in post with options, when skin tones look bright orange instead of beautiful brown.

Lately we get a lot of projects that have the "real" word as the driver of the creative brief.  I always ask a client to send me a visual reference of what they consider "real" and every time its a heavily produced image with a lot of post production.

It may look "real" in their view, but knowing what it takes to produce a comprehensive project, I know that it takes  real professional equipment and crew. 

It's a cute idea to think that real is instigram and that will do, but that is rarely the case. 

When I mentioned the race to the bottom, it's not about quality or effort.  It's just about price.  As I said everyone wants to pay less, but I've yet to meet a client that wants less effort or investment from our studios regardless of price.

That's why we invested long ago and continue to.

What is completely left off of these discussions is what equipment I use for professional work.  I find it interesting that when I go through the portfolio we present, 40%  is shot with CCD based cameras, mostly medium format, though in the broader scheme, probably 80% of what we shoot is done with 35mm.

What I also find interesting that when we shoot something for ourselves, or for editorial (which is really for ourself), we rarely use a 35mm dslr.   

Personal work is the most important thing we do, because this is the work that eventually gets us booked.

Now I'm not married to any camera or equipment and if I need a D800 I'll buy one in a moment, but so far I don't because I invested a long time ago.

But when it comes to investment all I can go from is the past.  In the time I've owned my Phase backs, I've also owned three sets of Nikons and two sets of Canons.

That doesn't mean any of these cameras or bad or not useful, but for me (and I only speak for me) the digital backs have had a much longer life span.

But as I keep saying, don't take my word for it, try everything yourself and look at the world in worst case scenario.

I own Nikons(3), Lecia(1), Canons(3), REDs(3) and a Sony handicam (1) and I can promise that when issues arise (and issues always arise) my Phase dealer gives me information anytime of day or night.  When I previously owned a Leaf I could reach them direct anytime, from any time zone. 

The others don't.

IMO

BC

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bcooter
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« Reply #70 on: December 04, 2012, 08:29:09 PM »
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I'd prefer a product that doesn't need great customer service but still has CPS 3 day turn around and......snip


I agree, though my experience with the C brand is we've blown 3 or 4 shutters, 1 sensor replaced and the corrupt file issue with the mk2.

Then again , I still use Canon as they make a fine product, so does Nikon, so does Phase, Leaf and a lot of other brands.

When I look at Simon's work with the D800 it looks great and since he's talented and professional it should, but . . .

Once again, I don't think buying a camera is always an either or proposition, at least not for my work and though I'd love to find the perfect camera, I haven't yet.

Maybe a camera that autofocuses as well as a D3, the skin tones of an H4d and 1ds Mk1, the software of Phase, the D3 lcd, the Leaf interface, the p series phase reliability, The lcd stays on while tethering like the Canons and Phase,  the ability to shoot a raw 4k video file like the RED, the Leaf shutter sync of the H series and certain Phase lenses, the . . .

IMO

BC
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #71 on: December 04, 2012, 08:57:04 PM »
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Hi,

If you shoot Velvia on both yes, but if you shoot Tri-X on 120 and T-MAX on 135 that may be a different case. With 120 you need to stop down two steps more for same DoF. In general I found handling of DoF a major issue with 120. I was mostly shooting 120 on film for a long time, but I used it on tripod mostly.

Regarding MF digital vs. 135 digital it is a slightly different case. Obviously MF has a format advantage and can produce higher resolution images. On the other hand, modern CMOS sensors are very good at keeping noise down. It also seems that for many purpose 12MP - 40MP is quite good enough, and it seems that very good image quality can be achieved on DSLRs (like the D800/D800E) with carefully chosen lenses.

I have written a bit around the issue here: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/71-mf-digital-myths-or-facts

A interesting response to that article was:

"Moving to the MF article, I mostly agree, especially about bit-depth and colour rendition. But on the issue of detail in re-sampled files I am less convinced: myself and quite a few people I know who have gone from IQ180 or IQ160 or P65+ but who rarely print over 24 x 36 have largely not looked back: we get easily enough resolution and, correctly captured and processed, the D800E files give us such a high degree of the MF 'feel' (excepting focus falloff characteristics) that we are happy with the transition. My IQ180 is at my dealer pending sale, so I can't run my own comparison, but in print at up to 24" on the long side, I think it would be pretty hard to tell the difference without a loupe and up to 36" hard at 'normal' viewing distance. For me, the extra DR is worth a lot more than the resolution advantage…."


Best regards
Erik

I can't speak for medium format digital but in the film days there was no comparison between the two, medium format film blows away 135 every time in terms of IQ.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2012, 11:35:06 PM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

HarperPhotos
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« Reply #72 on: December 04, 2012, 09:52:28 PM »
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Hi James,

Thanks for the complement you made this Maori boy blush.

Cheers

Simon
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Simon Harper
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #73 on: December 04, 2012, 11:36:13 PM »
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Hi,

No reasons to blush;-) Keep up with the good postings, please!

Best regards
Erik

Hi James,

Thanks for the complement you made this Maori boy blush.

Cheers

Simon
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Ben Rubinstein
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« Reply #74 on: December 05, 2012, 01:48:41 AM »
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Ah, well you have answered my question on if you shoot tethered with DSLR or not.   Wink    Cause you'd know if you did.     


Funny that, we've had non stop problems with tethering our Leaf back to C1. That is what causes all the crashes. We have the firewire card Leaf recommend, their powered FW repeater, we still have to reboot the back and camera once every 200 frames or so. I found the tethering of a 5D with a powered USB extension to be pretty solid. Shot for 3 hours that way yesterday to a netbook (!), didn't fail once.
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bcooter
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« Reply #75 on: December 05, 2012, 02:44:44 AM »
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Simon, my pleasure, but your work speaks for itself.

You cross a lot of territory and genres and do it all very well.

I love to see your success.

BC
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JoeKitchen
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« Reply #76 on: December 05, 2012, 09:04:11 AM »
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In my opinion, I think there would be a nice sized market for a company to produce backs made with cheaper and easier to make CMOS sensors.  With how close CMOS has come to CCD, I doubt many would be upset with the IQ.  One could probably make a back with a CMOS sensor for half the price.  And I am sure this would help out companies like Arca, Alpa, Rollei, etc sale more cameras and be better capitalized. 
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Joe Kitchen
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« Reply #77 on: December 05, 2012, 10:14:44 AM »
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Hi,

CMOS sensors have better image quality than CCD but they are more expensive to make. The purported advantages of CCDs is one of the myths lingering around.

Color is not dependent on circuit design. The chips are actually B&W the color is added by a grid in front of the sensor called CGA (Color Grid Array).

The best CMOS sensors today have about one fourth of the readout noise of the Dalsa chip used in the IQ180.

MF sensor have the advantage of size. It is also possible that MF-sensors have better CGA design than other sensors, but it has nothing to do with CCD vs. CMOS.

Best regards
Erik
In my opinion, I think there would be a nice sized market for a company to produce backs made with cheaper and easier to make CMOS sensors.  With how close CMOS has come to CCD, I doubt many would be upset with the IQ.  One could probably make a back with a CMOS sensor for half the price.  And I am sure this would help out companies like Arca, Alpa, Rollei, etc sale more cameras and be better capitalized. 
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JoeKitchen
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« Reply #78 on: December 05, 2012, 10:56:41 AM »
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I was always under the impression that CCDs are much more difficult to make with more waste than a CMOS.  This could be wrong info.  But in any case, due to the much larger production of CMOS sensors worldwide, I would think it would be cheaper to contract the making of a 645 CMOS.  

For CCDs, there are only two players, Dalsa and Kodak.  For CMOS, we have Nikon, Canon, Sony, etc.  Any of those players have a higher output than Dalsa.  Also, with more companies, this could lead to more competitiveness for who gets the contract, helping to lower price.  

In any event, I still would like to see a CMOS 645 back.  With all factors combined, I think this would be cheaper, thus furthering the use and availability of MF.  It just seems that the current model is precluding entry into this market until you are an established higher end photographer.  By than, most younger shooters will already be dedicated to a system and reluctant to change.  Also, having it cheaper would increase use by schools, making the teaching of technical cameras more applicable; now it seems to be "here is a film tech camera that you will never use professional and you will probably never be able to afford the digital version, so why bother to really learn how to use the thing."  

I mean in the film days we had options.  Not everyone could afford a Linhof, so Toyo View was a the way to go, espicially when starting out.  Not it's $40K+, take it or leave it. 


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EricWHiss
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« Reply #79 on: December 05, 2012, 10:58:31 AM »
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Funny that, we've had non stop problems with tethering our Leaf back to C1. That is what causes all the crashes. We have the firewire card Leaf recommend, their powered FW repeater, we still have to reboot the back and camera once every 200 frames or so. I found the tethering of a 5D with a powered USB extension to be pretty solid. Shot for 3 hours that way yesterday to a netbook (!), didn't fail once.

Yes Ben, the point I am making is that all the cameras have issues.  My experience has been largely the opposite.  I have more issues with the DSLR.  I think its noteworthy that not everyone's experience is the same.  
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