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Author Topic: Help me choosing medium format camera! 20 - 25K  (Read 14574 times)
gerald.d
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« Reply #40 on: February 12, 2013, 11:38:36 AM »
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My Pentax 645D does better than any high ISO film in low light. No question about that. While it is limited to ISO 1600, it is doing just as well at 1600 as a 35mm DSLR.

Although, I agree a tech camera is an interesting choice.

Thanks for the correction - I wasn't aware that the Pentax was so good at high ISO compared with film (although I guess the look would be different?).

It would probably be useful to know what kind of ISO Natalia is expecting to be able to utilise. Could be pretty key to the whole decision.

Regards,

Gerald.
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theguywitha645d
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« Reply #41 on: February 12, 2013, 12:04:22 PM »
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The Pentax is like the ugly cousin in the MFD world dominate by Phase and Leaf. Pentax was able to really update MFD camera to today's standards. Phase and Leaf backs are nice, but they are really limited. I think we kind of forget about Pentax when we talk about MFD.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #42 on: February 12, 2013, 12:13:57 PM »
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Hi,

I have shot a lot of MF (Pentax 67) film and I never considered anything above ISO 100 useful.

My experience is essentially that 24 MP digital (Sony Alpha in my case) is superior to 120 film (Velvia and Ektar 100) in all aspects except resolution for high contrast subjects. I have used a semi pro CCD scanner, drum scanning can push the envelope a bit further.

MF digital has a weakness that the CCD sensors they are using has high readout noise. Modern CMOS based sensors can achieve very low readout noise at base ISO. Some other CMOS sensors (Canon, Nikon D3s and D4) can reach relatively low readout noise at relatively high ISOs. This is the main reason that CCDs are limited for high ISO work.

Weather anyone prefers film over digital or not has a lot to do with taste and perception.

Best regards
Erik


Thanks for the correction - I wasn't aware that the Pentax was so good at high ISO compared with film (although I guess the look would be different?).

It would probably be useful to know what kind of ISO Natalia is expecting to be able to utilise. Could be pretty key to the whole decision.

Regards,

Gerald.
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FredBGG
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« Reply #43 on: February 12, 2013, 04:48:53 PM »
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Quality, compact, fun to shoot (obviously very subjective), unique.



At -50 degrees?

Fiddling around with focusing with the types of back she could afford on a tech camera???

Try setting up a leaf shutter in -50 weather and gloves....



Tech cameras are slow and the last thing you want to be dealing with in -50 degrees is anything slow...

Not a good option at all.

Nearly everyone here forgets that she is going to need redundancy..... going to the arctic to shoot with one used digital back or even a new one?

There are also many weather protection camera covers designed for DSLRs as well as blimps that can also be used to keep a camera protected and warmer,
such as the light weight Aquatech blimp



Just look at use in Space these days... you won't find MF up there anymore.



Aerospace use requires light weight, extreme temperature handling, reliability, redundancy and general ruggedness.

Clothing has it's similarities too when it comes to space and -50 in the arctic...



Even these "locals" have it figured out


« Last Edit: February 12, 2013, 05:38:22 PM by FredBGG » Logged
HarperPhotos
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« Reply #44 on: February 12, 2013, 05:00:06 PM »
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Hi Natalia,

What about the Mamiya RZ system?

http://www.mamiya.co.jp/home/camera/eng/products/index.html

Cheers

Simon
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Ed Foster, Jr.
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« Reply #45 on: February 12, 2013, 07:52:32 PM »
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Hi,

I've been waiting for this moment for a long time... I am ready to buy a medium format.
Because for the last 10 years I've been using 35mm, I am overwhelmed with the information I find on the Internet and on forums. I would really appreciate your advice here.

My budget: around 20 - 25K

The conditions I shoot and type of photography I do:

- I mostly do photojournalistic and art work. (snip)
Natalia,
You've already received a ton of comments, but I thought I weigh in any way.

You mention two critical uses, photojournalism and fine art. I began a long career in photojournalism and still catch a few assignment today, but have moved into portrait, editorial, limited advertising, architectural and fine art. So I have a lot of professional hands on, practical experience in the areas you mention. I shoot film, Medium Format Digital and 35mm film and digital. I use Nikons and Hasselblads.

The Nikon D800 series are excellent cameras, however, for fast moving photojournalism, I really prefer the D3s. The sensor on the D800 series is too large and hence too critical for that type of work unless you really need the large file size. I enjoy my D800 and have used it on PJ assignments, but it's not the one I grab first for that type of work.

I enjoy the handling of the H4D and the aesthetic look of the files from the Kodak CCD sensor. As you probably know, Hasselblad's optics, IMHO, are excellent. Personally, I would prefer the file quality of the Hasselblad digital for all of my work, but again, for photojournalism, I find it mostly impractical.

Before going with MFD, I tried others, except for the Rollei. What I have researched on them, they are superb too.

Your own idea to try a few and that of others is intelligent and, no matter what you settle on, a good dealer is invaluable as well. Second hand may also be a good option for you as there is a lot of value to be had there.

Good Luck in your search.

Ed

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sgilbert
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« Reply #46 on: February 12, 2013, 08:15:01 PM »
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"My advice would be to not ask for advice on a forum, especially this one...." 

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bcooter
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« Reply #47 on: February 13, 2013, 01:52:08 AM »
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"My advice would be to not ask for advice on a forum, especially this one...." 

+

NOBODY can answer for you.

Reason is

1. You want to step up to a more professional camera which usually means medium format.

2.  You have some very unique circumstances, cold weather, shoot photojournalistic style (sometimes), need a film solution.

3.  It's really your call.  What matters most is what will let you get the shot and secondly what will give you the experience and results your after.

4. Your going to spend a lot of money and money is important so nobody can really tell you what to do.

Knowing this..............

I use Contax, have for a long time, will continue to, though under your brief description they are not cameras I would want to use in -50c conditions.

They're great cameras, shoot film and take digital, very sharp and slightly over crisp lenses and can be quite robust.

Flip side is they  use a lot of batteries, can be finicky if not cleaned with regularity and are not the lightest cameras for carrying a long time.

A lot of people are going to suggest the Nikon d800 and it seems a good camera, though I'm not the biggest fan of modern cmos sensors.  I find them very subject and lighting dependent in color and tone.

I like ccd cameras, just because I think the images are more predictable and look to me to be sharper and cleaner.  (just my opinion).

I should add that my Phase backs are 100% bulletproof.  Never an issue and I use the heck out of them in all kind of conditions, (except -50c)  I won't do -50c heck I hardly will do Moscow in the winter, next to a heated grip truck.

If you want to shoot a ccd I would suggest three cameras I don't use. 

The Pentax because it is robust, the lenses are lightweight, and that Kodak 40mpx sensor does fairly high iso well.  An extra Pentax film body would weigh little and cost very little.  It also uses film inserts that let's you preload with less weight than loaded multiple film backs.

Also I believe the Pentax uses lithium batteries which I would think would be a deal breaker in the weather your shooting in.

Then a tie between the H4d 40 (same sensor as the Pentax) and the Phase 40mpx because the Phase does pixel binning and allow you to go to higher iso.

I wish you the best of luck, hope your trip is profitable and enjoyable.



IMO

BC
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #48 on: February 13, 2013, 02:06:55 AM »
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Hi,

BC has a lot of good points as usual.

I would perhaps just add that Miles Hecker who shoots Pentax 645D in Wyoming may have some experience to share on cold weather performance.

Bernard does mountaineering with his D800 and may have experience with bad and cold weather, probably not down to -50C, though.

Note: The statement below is revoked, after a professional user clealy stating that D800/D800E are built tp "professional standards".
The Nikon D800/D800E is not really a "pro camera", in the sense that it is intended to be dropped on the floor. Nikon has the D4 for that.  Bernard has used D3X and switched to D800. I think he is quite happy, and I also think he is quite demanding of his stuff.

Best regards
Erik

NOBODY can answer for you.

Reason is

1. You want to step up to a more professional camera which usually means medium format.

2.  You have some very unique circumstances, cold weather, shoot photojournalistic style (sometimes), need a film solution.

3.  It's really your call.  What matters most is what will let you get the shot and secondly what will give you the experience and results your after.

4. Your going to spend a lot of money and money is important so nobody can really tell you what to do.

Knowing this..............

I use Contax, have for a long time, will continue to, though under your brief description they are not cameras I would want to use in -50c conditions.

They're great cameras, shoot film and take digital, very sharp and slightly over crisp lenses and can be quite robust.

Flip side is they  use a lot of batteries, can be finicky if not cleaned with regularity and are not the lightest cameras for carrying a long time.

A lot of people are going to suggest the Nikon d800 and it seems a good camera, though I'm not the biggest fan of modern cmos sensors.  I find them very subject and lighting dependent in color and tone.

I like ccd cameras, just because I think the images are more predictable and look to me to be sharper and cleaner.  (just my opinion).

I should add that my Phase backs are 100% bulletproof.  Never an issue and I use the heck out of them in all kind of conditions, (except -50c)  I won't do -50c heck I hardly will do Moscow in the winter, next to a heated grip truck.

If you want to shoot a ccd I would suggest three cameras I don't use.  

The Pentax because it is robust, the lenses are lightweight, and that Kodak 40mpx sensor does fairly high iso well.  An extra Pentax film body would weigh little and cost very little.  It also uses film inserts that let's you preload with less weight than loaded multiple film backs.

Also I believe the Pentax uses lithium batteries which I would think would be a deal breaker in the weather your shooting in.

Then a tie between the H4d 40 (same sensor as the Pentax) and the Phase 40mpx because the Phase does pixel binning and allow you to go to higher iso.

I wish you the best of luck, hope your trip is profitable and enjoyable.



IMO

BC

« Last Edit: February 13, 2013, 02:39:20 PM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #49 on: February 13, 2013, 02:36:36 AM »
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Bernard does mountaineering with his D800 and may have experience with bad and cold weather, probably not down to -50C, though.

The Nikon D800/D800E is not really a "pro camera", in the sense that it is intended to be dropped on the floor. Nikon has the D4 for that.  Bernard has used D3X and switched to D800. I think he is quite happy, and I also think he is quite demanding of his stuff.

Erik,

I have unfortunately a lot less opportunities to do mountaineering for a year or so because of a combination of factors.

So I do not have as much experience with the D800 as I had with the D3x. I have enough to know that the small battery of the D800 offers a lot less autonomy than that of the D3x in cold weather, which is why I suggested a D800 with the vertical release since it can take larger batteries.

Image quality wise, both are excellent, but the D800 is clearly even better.

Cheers,
Bernard
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torger
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« Reply #50 on: February 13, 2013, 03:33:11 AM »
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At -50 degrees?

I'd say that a tech cam works comfortably down to -15 Celcius (5 Fahrenheit). Colder than that the gearing starts becoming stiff (hard to do movements), and fiddling around with the tiny controls on the copal shutter becomes uncomfortable. The slower workflow becomes a problem too, because you easily starts to freeze. I can use the tech camera in colder than -15, but would I face extreme cold for an extended period of time I'd use a system which you can operate quicker and with mittens on, which I can with my Canon system. When I can I use my tech cam though, because I like to shoot with it and it suits my style.
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #51 on: February 13, 2013, 08:38:29 AM »
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Fred: have you ever personally shot a digital back on a tech camera?

I absolutely agree the mechanical controls on a tech camera is a disadvantage for -50c. EVERY camera is going to have some disadvantages for use in this temperature. I've been on workshops with tech cameras and digital backs on the top of winter mountains pre-dawn with windchills that I'm not entirely convinced I ever recovered from. I was genuinely worried one of the attendees had gotten frost bite.

But I'd rather take that disadvantage than the potential for electronic failure on a dSLR-type body in such extreme temperatures. A digital back with moderate protection (a la Ken's shower cap) and a tech camera is an extremely durable machine which has very very few points of likely failure even in crazy weather.

What you probably don't know since you don't actually shoot this equipment is that you rarely have to change any setting other than shutter speed and recocking the lens, both of which can be done with gloves on. Your ideal shooting aperture and focus can be set in advance and provide an extreme confidence of correct hyerfocal focusing which can be very difficult to achieve (with such precision and with so little work) on any other kind of camera.

It's worth noting that with a Nikon or Canon if you want tilt/swing or rise/fall/shift your only option (which would be practical in this use-case) would be TS lenses which have tiny knobs for adjustment. If anything the tilt-knob on an Arca Factum and the rise/fall/shift knobs on an Arca/Cambo/Alpa are significantly easier to use with gloves on.

Is it slower? Absolutely, but even in -50c the idea is (for many people) to get one great image which justifies the human cost of being out there in such cold. Being able to racket off a dozen frames is not the point (for many people) but rather to be able to compose and confidently capture one frame of extreme quality.

You can be forgiven for not really having a good working knowledge of this equipment you don't use. But I find it strange you would make your assertion "Not a good option at all." regarding equipment you've never used in practice.
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #52 on: February 13, 2013, 08:41:31 AM »
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I'd say that a tech cam works comfortably down to -15 Celcius (5 Fahrenheit). Colder than that the gearing starts becoming stiff (hard to do movements), and fiddling around with the tiny controls on the copal shutter becomes uncomfortable. The slower workflow becomes a problem too, because you easily starts to freeze. I can use the tech camera in colder than -15, but would I face extreme cold for an extended period of time I'd use a system which you can operate quicker and with mittens on, which I can with my Canon system. When I can I use my tech cam though, because I like to shoot with it and it suits my style.

There are some special accommodations that can be made regarding the oil/grease used throughout a tech camera system, that would provide more fluid mechanical operation at very low temperatures.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #53 on: February 13, 2013, 08:54:37 AM »
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Hi,

As a general comment, I have the impression that there have been quite a few Phase One kits on Michael Reichmann's Antartic expedition, but I cannot recall any reports of failures on Phase.

Something like 5-6 canon 5DII going kerplonk and some Leica M's.

Best regards
Erik

Fred: have you ever personally shot a digital back on a tech camera?

I absolutely agree the mechanical controls on a tech camera is a disadvantage for -50c. EVERY camera is going to have some disadvantages for use in this temperature. I've been on workshops with tech cameras and digital backs on the top of winter mountains pre-dawn with windchills that I'm not entirely convinced I ever recovered from. I was genuinely worried one of the attendees had gotten frost bite.

But I'd rather take that disadvantage than the potential for electronic failure on a dSLR-type body in such extreme temperatures. A digital back with moderate protection (a la Ken's shower cap) and a tech camera is an extremely durable machine which has very very few points of likely failure even in crazy weather.

What you probably don't know since you don't actually shoot this equipment is that you rarely have to change any setting other than shutter speed and recocking the lens, both of which can be done with gloves on. Your ideal shooting aperture and focus can be set in advance and provide an extreme confidence of correct hyerfocal focusing which can be very difficult to achieve (with such precision and with so little work) on any other kind of camera.

It's worth noting that with a Nikon or Canon if you want tilt/swing or rise/fall/shift your only option (which would be practical in this use-case) would be TS lenses which have tiny knobs for adjustment. If anything the tilt-knob on an Arca Factum and the rise/fall/shift knobs on an Arca/Cambo/Alpa are significantly easier to use with gloves on.

Is it slower? Absolutely, but even in -50c the idea is (for many people) to get one great image which justifies the human cost of being out there in such cold. Being able to racket off a dozen frames is not the point (for many people) but rather to be able to compose and confidently capture one frame of extreme quality.

You can be forgiven for not really having a good working knowledge of this equipment you don't use. But I find it strange you would make your assertion "Not a good option at all." regarding equipment you've never used in practice.
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #54 on: February 13, 2013, 09:02:58 AM »
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Hi,

As a general comment, I have the impression that there have been quite a few Phase One kits on Michael Reichmann's Antartic expedition, but I cannot recall any reports of failures on Phase.

Something like 5-6 canon 5DII going kerplonk and some Leica M's.

I think a Hassy H body (an SLR style body) had a lens issue at some point on one of his workshops. But I can't recall any reports of issues with a back.
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Sareesh Sudhakaran
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« Reply #55 on: February 13, 2013, 09:14:36 AM »
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I started with 3 zooms 21-35/3.5, 28-90/2.8-4.0, 70-200/4.0 with the 28-90 being outstanding
Then I added several primes 90/2.0 great bokeh, 180/3.4 razor sharp and the 280/4.0 razor sharp
the 3 zooms make a nice landscape set, same coatings, same "look" reasonable size and weight to carry around
Marc

ps Leitax adapters

Thanks a lot!
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gerald.d
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« Reply #56 on: February 13, 2013, 09:41:10 AM »
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You can be forgiven for not really having a good working knowledge of this equipment you don't use. But I find it strange you would make your assertion "Not a good option at all." regarding equipment you've never used in practice.

I've never owned a Ferrari, but I know one would be useless for bringing home a wardrobe from Ikea.
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sgilbert
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« Reply #57 on: February 13, 2013, 10:21:47 AM »
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"I've never owned a Ferrari, but I know one would be useless for bringing home a wardrobe from Ikea."

No, you'd want a Nikon or a Fuji for that.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #58 on: February 13, 2013, 10:55:49 AM »
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Hi,

He lost the front group on a zoom lens on his Hasselblad H, rendering his P65 pretty useless as the zoom was the only lens he had. He was not happy. He was not alone, he found I think about 15 others who also had a similar issue. At that time I got the impression that Hasselblad put the blame on the users, they should not carry the camera with the lens pointing down.

Best regards
Erik


I think a Hassy H body (an SLR style body) had a lens issue at some point on one of his workshops. But I can't recall any reports of issues with a back.
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« Reply #59 on: February 13, 2013, 11:04:40 AM »
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Really? Again the generell discussion about MFDB vs DSLR?

Of course this is part of the question but in my opinion the main question will be with technique will survive -50C for a longer period of time? For which camera is a suited and warming case availeable?

Concerning ISO: As far as I know, you Natalia will be in the Antarktis during a time when polarday could be possible (depending on her position) so IMO ISO shouldn't be a problem as low ISO would be recomended, or am I wrong at this point?

So for me it comes down to protecting the equipment and keeping it alive for the time of the journey.

Best regards,

Johannes
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