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Author Topic: Help please with MF Choices  (Read 9652 times)
Scotty-S
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« on: March 24, 2013, 01:41:53 AM »
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Hi all.
I have been exploring the option of purchasing a medium format system and I primarily shoot landscape images.

My current endeavours have had me looking at the Pentax 645D system and the 25/55/90mm lenses, as well as some others such as the 35mm and 150mm options as well.

Along the way I have also taken a look at the Phase One system, mainly the 40 and 60mp back options, along with the new IQ260 which looks awesome.

I have been shooting with a Leica M9 for years now and have recently sold it and ordered a new M, while using a Sony Nex6 for the duration as a substitute and quite like it.

The main reason for the post is that I may cancel my new Leica M order and get into a MF system, and continue to use a current and future Nex system for travel and any time I need a lightweight system.

My main concern with the new Leica M is that it can only shoot to a maximum exposure time of 1 minute.  I do a lot of seascapes and would like to get into a little more night work as well as some architecture work, and exposure times longer than 1 minute would be a must I feel.

So, questions to raise are as follows:

How is the long exposure on the Pentax 645D?

How is the future of the 645D looking, are we likely to see a new model soon with higher resolution and live view (mainly for more accurate landscape focusing)?

What is the quality of the Pentax lenses over those offered for the phase one 645DF body?

Anybody out there directly compared the image quality of the IQ backs to the Pentax 645D?

Is the investment of the IQ260 and associated system worth the extra $$$ over the Pentax for somebody who is not yet selling prints?  I shoot for a hobby mainly.


Any help on this would be greatly appreciated. 
Thanks, Scott
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tsjanik
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« Reply #1 on: March 24, 2013, 07:37:06 AM »
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Scott:

Iíve had a 645D for 2.5 yrs. and love the camera.  Although I have other cameras, I rarely use anything else.  Many of your questions can be answered with some searches, e.g., at this site alone:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/pentax_645d___a_first_review.shtml


http://www.luminous-landscape.com/reviews/cameras/2010_mini_medium_format_shoot_out.shtml

 The Pentax sensor is sealed in the body, which is both an advantage and disadvantage.  I donít worry about alignment or weather, but I canít use a tech camera either.

I rarely take really long exposures and when I do I use film.  I donít know what the exposure limit is on the 645D, but attached is a 100% crop from an eight minute exposure (no NR applied.)

Tom

NB In case you're unsure, these are startrails in a sky with considerable stray light from a nearby city. 
« Last Edit: March 24, 2013, 11:44:40 AM by tsjanik » Logged
theguywitha645d
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« Reply #2 on: March 24, 2013, 01:28:14 PM »
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I also use a 645D. Long exposures are very good--there is no limit. I do many multi-minute exposures. There is a dark frame after each exposure. If you are doing daylight ND exposure, you will need to make something to cover the viewfinder to stop light leaks.

I have no problem focusing landscapes manually. The viewfinder is so much bigger than a tiny 35mm viewfinder. Live View is not needed.

The lenses are very good with only a few dogs--Mamiya lenses are a mixed bag as well. The new Pentax lenses are excellent. I print 60" print from the 645D and 12' panoramas.

The only advantage to the IQ260 is the sensor size--pixel resolution is one of those overrated factors. You are getting a 22% increase in resolution over the 645D no one will notice.

There is a suggestion a new model is coming out. No one knows what it will be. So far, no one has released an MFD camera with CMOS. I doubt Pentax will be the first, but who knows...
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FredBGG
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« Reply #3 on: March 24, 2013, 02:17:36 PM »
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I have no problem focusing landscapes manually. The viewfinder is so much bigger than a tiny 35mm viewfinder. Live View is not needed.

Until you put on an ND filter, ND and polarizer or are shooting in low light and very long exposures.
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FredBGG
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« Reply #4 on: March 24, 2013, 02:52:19 PM »
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I do a lot of seascapes and would like to get into a little more night work as well as some architecture work, and exposure times longer than 1 minute would be a must I feel.

How is the future of the 645D looking, are we likely to see a new model soon with higher resolution and live view (mainly for more accurate landscape focusing)?

Thanks, Scott

If you shoot seascapes the Pentax 645D is a good MFD choice as it has the best weather sealing of all MFD. New lenses are weather sealed too.
Also Pentax doesn't mess around when it comes to weather sealing.

http://youtu.be/Eo61t5fH6Qw

As for the future of the 645D I think it is in good hands. It is clear that Ricoh wants to continue developing the system
and it is already ahead of the others in certain aspects. Most recently they were the first to introduce optical image stabilization.
This is a very good sign as something like this requires significant development costs. Most importantly Pentax has a long
history of in house lens design and manufacturing. It's also the only MFD camera that is part of a very large public company
with much deeper pockets that the others.

There is also another important aspect in my opinion. I think that the Pentax is far better positioned as a milionaires luxury
camera because it is more compact and lighter than other MF cameras and won't die with the first wine spill
at a dinner party. It's no luxury lugging around a heavy camera.

One other thing about the Pentax brand is that it is in the hands of two companies.

Ricoh for cameras and Hoya Corp for the medical and industrial divisions.
Both are $ 10B companies and both with interests in supporting the brand as well as
manufacturing that can support each other.

Another thing to consider is that Ricoh is an electronics company with IC fabrication and design
capability in house.

http://www.ricoh.com/LSI/

Ricoh like Nikon and Canon are companies with a very broad industrial capability and diversification.
This bodes well for the future.

 

« Last Edit: March 24, 2013, 02:54:23 PM by FredBGG » Logged
Ken R
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« Reply #5 on: March 24, 2013, 07:13:00 PM »
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Scotty I am also in the market for a new MFD and also shoot a lot of landscapes but also want to use the camera for my advertising and architecture shoots that are client supervised. For that I need tethering something that Im not sure the Pentax can do well. The posted long exposure crop sample looks better than anything I have seen from a MFD recently. In pure technical IQ terms I think the Phase IQ180 is the best of all and the files have incredible depth for post-production and obviously resolution is top notch. But, It cant really do long exposures. Money no object the new IQ260 should be ideal for you.

The Pentax is an integrated system and from what I could gather online a really good one at that. It a good value now and the next version should continue that. The 90mm looks awesome. It even has Vibration reduction and focuses very close (macro).

I was between the Hasselblad H4D-40 and the pentax. If I wanted the camera only for landscapes the Pentax would be my choice. But, if I had a bit more to spend the Phase One DF+ and a Phase back would get my $.
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ndevlin
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« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2013, 07:23:29 PM »
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Hi Scott,


So, questions to raise are as follows:

How is the long exposure on the Pentax 645D?

---> Just fine.  That said, there are very few applications for truly 'long' exposure. The 645D is good as any.

How is the future of the 645D looking, are we likely to see a new model soon with higher resolution and live view (mainly for more accurate landscape focusing)?

----> Ain't that the million dollar question! The whole MF industry is in a pretty tenuous, notwithstanding what some of those in it might say.  There is no such thing as a sure bet.  That said, Pentax/Ricoh did come out with the new glass as promised, which is encouraging.  The real issue is a source for a new sensor. With Kodak out of the game, all eyes go to Dalsa, unless someone else starts to fab in these sizes. I strongly suspect the price of the Pentax was, in part, the product of a large one-time buy of the chips.  The big problem in MF is the R&D cost to bring one of these beasts to market fully de-bugged.  It's damn hard and damn expensive.
   
What is the quality of the Pentax lenses over those offered for the phase one 645DF body?

----> The newer schneider/phase glass had better be a lot better than the old pentax (though I doubt in practice this would be true -- some of the Pentax 645 glass is/was awesome) but as between the new lenses, there should be little difference.


Anybody out there directly compared the image quality of the IQ backs to the Pentax 645D?

----> we compared the 645D to the P40+ here on Lula a couple of years ago. Pretty much a dead heat except the Pentax was better at high ISOs.  No one has bothered with the IQ backs because they are higher res (the current models) and will thus be 'better' in that respect alone.  The IQ 140 will be very comparable to the 645D.  The 60 and 80 chips are Dalsa, and thus have a different colour-rendering character. Some like it, some prefer Kodak.
 

Is the investment of the IQ260 and associated system worth the extra $$$ over the Pentax for somebody who is not yet selling prints?  I shoot for a hobby mainly.

----> No. But if it helps you justify a gargantuan pleasure-purchase, You're DAMN RIGHT IT DOES!!  Tongue Grin

Any help on this would be greatly appreciated. 

Good luck. Those of us afflicted with the MF Bug are probably beyond help.

Cheers!

- N.
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Nick Devlin   @onelittlecamera
theguywitha645d
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« Reply #7 on: March 24, 2013, 07:26:06 PM »
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Until you put on an ND filter, ND and polarizer or are shooting in low light and very long exposures.

Hmm, something I do that all the time. I seem to muddle through without live view.
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kdphotography
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« Reply #8 on: March 24, 2013, 08:16:06 PM »
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If you shoot seascapes the Pentax 645D is a good MFD choice as it has the best weather sealing of all MFD. New lenses are weather sealed too.
Also Pentax doesn't mess around when it comes to weather sealing.

....


Sounds like you've really fallen for all this medium format digital marketing BS.   Shocked   Grin

I shoot "seascapes" and around water all the time.  (Carmel, Monterey, PG, Big Sur is my backyard).  In over ten years of shooting with MFDBs, I've never had an issue arise from "weather" and using my Phase bodies and Phase One MFDBs.  It just take a bit of common sense.  Most all cameras despite the lack of weather sealing marketing, can perform surprisingly well during inclement weather, with a bit of care and common sense.  Here's a short article and image of my Cambo WRS with IQ180, a bit soaked from photographing Lower Proxy Falls in Oregon:  http://kendoophotography.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/photographing-oregon-with-the-cambo-wrs1050-and-phase-iq180/   I've had my Phase DF in worse conditions photographing along Shi Shi Beach in Washington.  It's simply not a problem if you use a bit of care and common sense.  If the weather gets any worse, it's just not fun anymore.   Wink
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FredBGG
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« Reply #9 on: March 24, 2013, 10:46:25 PM »
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Sounds like you've really fallen for all this medium format digital marketing BS.   Shocked   Grin

I shoot "seascapes" and around water all the time.  (Carmel, Monterey, PG, Big Sur is my backyard).  In over ten years of shooting with MFDBs, I've never had an issue arise from "weather" and using my Phase bodies and Phase One MFDBs.  It just take a bit of common sense.  Most all cameras despite the lack of weather sealing marketing, can perform surprisingly well during inclement weather, with a bit of care and common sense.  Here's a short article and image of my Cambo WRS with IQ180, a bit soaked from photographing Lower Proxy Falls in Oregon:  http://kendoophotography.wordpress.com/2012/06/21/photographing-oregon-with-the-cambo-wrs1050-and-phase-iq180/   I've had my Phase DF in worse conditions photographing along Shi Shi Beach in Washington.  It's simply not a problem if you use a bit of care and common sense.  If the weather gets any worse, it's just not fun anymore.   Wink

Ken I speak from experience having used more than one weather sealed and even waterproof Pentax camera.
I am a windsurfer, kitesurfer and that means taking pictures in 30 MPH winds with saltwater spray and sand flying all over the place.
I have even put waterproof Pentax cameras on my kites and crashed the kites at high speed into 6 foot surf totally trashing the kite and the cameras have continued filming or shooting through the whole thing.

As for your comment "It just takes a bit of common sense".... One would be using common sense to take advanced weather sealing into account when choosing a camera
for things such as seascapes. While one can get buy with cameras that are not weather sealed one would have far more freedom of movement and placement with
a really well weather sealed camera.

I know I would have been far happier with a weather sealed camera when taking this picture.



Shot with a wide angle and spray falling all around me. I did my best to protect the camera with an umbrella and by grabbing it and running if I had to.
But for me it was not a problem. It was a commercial shoot and the client had the budget to replace my camera if it got trashed.

Ken you may want to sarcastically dismiss my past as falling for MF BS, but that has nothing to do with it. Weather sealing
on Pentax products is not limited to their MF camera.

http://c2b6d376b97bcc466063-5420c200a1f030d1394a9548df6eadbd.r5.cf2.rackcdn.com/files/support/Pentax_Ricoh_WR_White_V2%20_2_.pdf

Pentax is well know for it's weather sealing and it is very well described on it's website including illustrations of where the seals are on many of their cameras.

Also weather sealing is not only about disaster prevention it is also about maintaining optimal image quality. Very fine dust creeps into non weather sealed lenses
this can lead to a loss in sharpness and contrast as well as slowly degrading the precision of the mechanical parts that include LS, iris and focusing threads.
The lenses pump back and forward moving this fine dust even into the body where it can get on the AF sensor and mirror mechanisms.

Weather sealing is an important factor and should be taken in consideration and I think it is useful to point it out. Just the extra peace of mind
makes a big difference.

A bit of spray... at least if it's fresh water is not problem, but all it takes is one slip or a bit of a splash and other cameras would be in trouble.

http://youtu.be/b_-RAzBjakk

 
« Last Edit: March 24, 2013, 11:19:47 PM by FredBGG » Logged
Rod.Klukas
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« Reply #10 on: March 25, 2013, 11:19:10 AM »
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You know that having movements such as tilt in the body and a very precise system for focusing might also be a plus.
Especially for Architecture and or landscape.
You might consider using a digital back on a technical camera such as our RM3di.
The gain is more precision in focusing and greater movement and precision than any tilt shift lens.
Anyway a suggestion to look at.
The Pentax while a nice system does not allow upgrade of the back without purchasing a new body, as well.
So something to consider when choosing.
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kdphotography
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« Reply #11 on: March 25, 2013, 10:54:59 PM »
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....

Also weather sealing is not only about disaster prevention it is also about maintaining optimal image quality. Very fine dust creeps into non weather sealed lenses
this can lead to a loss in sharpness and contrast as well as slowly degrading the precision of the mechanical parts that include LS, iris and focusing threads.
The lenses pump back and forward moving this fine dust even into the body where it can get on the AF sensor and mirror mechanisms.

Weather sealing is an important factor and should be taken in consideration and I think it is useful to point it out. Just the extra peace of mind
makes a big difference.

....


Now you're really reaching.   Roll Eyes

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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #12 on: March 25, 2013, 11:33:23 PM »
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Hi,

Weather sealing is definitively an advantage although most of have used unsealed equipment under wet conditions without issues.

Those 6 Canon 5DII that failed on the LuLa Artic expedition had improved wether sealing, so it obviously does not always help.

Best regards
Erik


Now you're really reaching.   Roll Eyes


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FredBGG
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« Reply #13 on: March 26, 2013, 12:13:40 AM »
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Hi,

Weather sealing is definitively an advantage although most of have used unsealed equipment under wet conditions without issues.

Those 6 Canon 5DII that failed on the LuLa Artic expedition had improved wether sealing, so it obviously does not always help.

Best regards
Erik



I had the Canon 5D II. It is not close to the weather sealing Pentax has and canon does not claim to have it.
Not to mention the the Canon 5D is not designed for ruggedness as the 1 series EOS cameras are.
If I were going to the arctic I would use 1 series cameras, not a 5D II
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #14 on: March 26, 2013, 01:29:45 AM »
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Sorry, my fault, I should have expressed me better!

I clearly feel that wether sealing is an advantage. On the other hand vendors say that they have improved weather sealing and I am quite clear that Canon has made that claim for the 5DII.

My understanding is that correct wether sealing needs to be designed into the camera "bottom up" and that Pentax and Olympus do that on some models.

Michael's summary of the 2009 expedition.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/antarctica-2009-worked.shtml


Best regards
Erik



I had the Canon 5D II. It is not close to the weather sealing Pentax has and canon does not claim to have it.
Not to mention the the Canon 5D is not designed for ruggedness as the 1 series EOS cameras are.
If I were going to the arctic I would use 1 series cameras, not a 5D II
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Scotty-S
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« Reply #15 on: March 26, 2013, 06:11:24 AM »
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This is all great feedback.  Thanks.

So in choosing to go with medium format, can I assume that I will get less depth of field at the same aperture as 35mm FF.

So that means stopping the lens down quite a bit more to achieve sharpness through the frame, for example f/16-f/22

Are the lenses still performing well at these apertures?

Scott
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Ken R
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« Reply #16 on: March 26, 2013, 07:16:51 AM »
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This is all great feedback.  Thanks.

So in choosing to go with medium format, can I assume that I will get less depth of field at the same aperture as 35mm FF.

So that means stopping the lens down quite a bit more to achieve sharpness through the frame, for example f/16-f/22

Are the lenses still performing well at these apertures?

Scott

From what I have been able to gather online Id say with the larger format one can stop down about 1 stop more without seeing diffraction but obviously this varies with each optic. In 35mm full frame DSLRs most lenses I have perform best at f8 but sometimes I stop down to f11 to increased DOF and have not noticed much decrease in sharpness if anything. So on MF Digital f16 should be ok.

Regarding weather sealing, when working in the field its a good feature to have. I know that on many landscape shoots, waiting for a sunrise or sunset, with the camera set on tripod I have had to endure light rain and or mist. I always try to cover the camera obviously but inevitably moisture will get on top of my gear. In several occasions I was working in 32 deg. weather and 100% humidity and condensation and even some frost was sticking to EVERYTHING. I had the camera set for a sunrise and didnt want to move it. I covered it with a cloth but still moisture was everywhere.

Sure MANY amazing images have been made in similar conditions with technical cameras and digital backs which is obviously a system that is not weather sealed at all. But, Phase One backs are the choice of most landscape photographers using tech cameras for a reason. They are extremely reliable under tough environmental conditions.
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tsjanik
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« Reply #17 on: March 26, 2013, 07:52:55 AM »
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Clearly weather sealing isn't essential, but it's certainly nice to have.  I once lost a Canon camera to a leaking water bottle; user error for sure, but weather sealing would have prevented the loss.  Here's an example taken during 2-3 in/hr snowfall.  I was using a K-5 and would not have attempted this shot with an unsealed camera.



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iluvmycam
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« Reply #18 on: March 26, 2013, 08:20:39 AM »
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I have 2 - 645D's. Have 9 lenses for it. All superb. But there are some lenses that are not as good as others.

If I had to do it again, I'd possibly buy D800's and not the 645D's. But, if the D800 would not produce the 'dreamy photo quality' of the MF, then no D800 as a replacment for MF.



Shot in harsh, direct sunlight. No flash, no reflectors, no diffusers...just 645D  and PP. The MF can offer a beautiful look to it that I have not seen in the FF DSLR's. (But I may be wrong as my experience is limited.) I would not want aything bigger than the 40mp. Enough hassle dealing with that size image.

OP, why do you you need above 40mp? Do you suffer from the mp envy disease? Stitch 2 - 40 mp 645d images together if you like.

I do lots of street pix. My favorite cam is a 12 mp m43. Some of the 'know it alls' here scoffed at my rec of the m43 as the 'greatest street cam on earth.' Many of my m43 street pix are in museums in the US and some overseas. But the 'know it alls' must know better.

I use all type of gear. I took this at a dump site last year. A lady was wandering around with her kid and I asked her to sit in the tub with crud in it. Shot with a 6mp RDs1 with a Zeiss 21mm.



It makes a nice 13 x 19. Will go to 16 x 20, but that is all the 6 mp will do. In high res, you can count the pores in her leg, so it is sharp enough. This is a low res 170kb image and a lot of the sharpness is gone.

How many of you guys are still shooting 6mp?

Here is the bottom line...

You don't make giant prints...you don't care about the 'MF dreamy look'...you don't need MF cams.


Good luck with your MF choice!
« Last Edit: March 26, 2013, 08:53:27 AM by iluvmycam » Logged
kdphotography
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« Reply #19 on: March 26, 2013, 08:39:59 AM »
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Hi,

Weather sealing is definitively an advantage although most of have used unsealed equipment under wet conditions without issues.

Those 6 Canon 5DII that failed on the LuLa Artic expedition had improved wether sealing, so it obviously does not always help.

Best regards
Erik



Since really we're talking about "MF Choices"-----sooooooo how'd all those Phase MFDBs and Phase cameras (And Hassy) do in Antarctica??

Let's talk actual users of MFDBs.  The internet forums are always full of the squeeky wheels (no offense to those who suffer from ailing equipment).  I just don't hear of the horror stories of failing MFDBs from the elements.  If there are any "horror" stories it's more from user error, and no amount of weather sealing would have prevented the mishap.  Gosh---anybody with all this horrible dust inside their 55LS from a lack of marketing BS weather sealing??   Roll Eyes

ken

p.s.  That 2009 Antarctica trip was during the Phase One P+ series generation MFDBs.  IMO, the current IQ series is "improved" with it's battery more shielded from the elements.

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