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Author Topic: DSLR -> LFD: system questions  (Read 2945 times)
ejnewman
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« on: April 01, 2013, 11:52:48 AM »
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Thinking about making the move into large format from a DSLR and have the following questions...

I shoot mainly panoramic with a pano head, I'd like to continue shooting panos this way so I don't require movements, portability is a major factor so I have been looking at the alpa TC and the arca swiss compact solutions. I don't have any experience with LF systems, but from what I have read it seems that the digital back cannot talk to the lens/vice versa, so A) lens exif data is not passed into raw file and B) you cannot control shutter and aperture from the back.

If this is the case how would you go about shooting HDR with AEB? Important for pano work. Also how would you do multi pass shoots where you need to change exposure settings without touching the camera?

I researched the electronic shutter lenses available, which suggests this is possible, but seemingly only via a laptop tether. Phase One tell me what I am trying to achieve is only possible with a system such as the Phase One DF camera which is able to interface with the lens.

Elliot Newman

www.elliotnewman.com

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FredBGG
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« Reply #1 on: April 01, 2013, 12:17:19 PM »
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Rollei is comming out with an electronic shutter that has a control unit that it connected
to the camera via a wire. This may work for you. The controller does bracketing etc.

http://www.dhw-fototechnik.de/en/bellows-camera/lenscontrol-s.html

http://www.dhw-fototechnik.de/en/bellows-camera/electronicshutter.html
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #2 on: April 01, 2013, 12:22:20 PM »
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Have you had a chance to take actual photos with a medium format system yet? You may well find your desire/need to do HDR bracketing is greatly reduced or even eliminated when shooting with a good DB rather than a dSLR. There are tests (I'm sure Fred will be happy to jump in and post links to the 2-3 same tired tests he always does) which imply the usable dynamic range of a digital back can be matched with a dSLR. In my shooting, and in my experience working with hundreds of photographers on such dSLR>LFD transitions I can tell you this is not the case (though I'd greatly prefer to have you take your own tests to show yourself). There are scenes which still require multiple exposures to capture properly with an IQ180 for instance, but they are far less frequent than when using a standard dSLR.

All that said if you want to do AEB you will need an electronic shutter and a laptop or a MF system like the DF+. There are options out on the horizon for shutters which may allow iPhone control, but I suggest against relying on such promised/announced/possible systems; today there is no such option.

The Arca Swiss Factum by the way would provide you several advantages above and beyond the Alpa TC:
- tilt on every lens, no adapter or special lens mount required
- rise/fall for perspective correction, whether or not you plan on using lateral movement for stitching you may still enjoy the ability to offset the horizon without introducing ill-perspective
- ultra precise focusing bayonet for both precision focusing and also for highly repeatable focus presets like hyperfocal

Edit: as pointed out by Yaya there is a handheld Schneider controller which is battery powered and does not require a laptop. It's a bit bulky, the interface is a bit hokey to learn at first, but it does provide the functionality you need. We have one or two left in stock; I believe they have officially been discontinued.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2013, 10:12:32 AM by Doug Peterson » Logged

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JoeKitchen
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« Reply #3 on: April 01, 2013, 12:34:56 PM »
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I may be wrong here, but I do not think that the new shutters from DHW (Rollie) will connect to the back via an USB.  I think it still going to be a connection from the back to the sync outlet, which will only tell the back the length of the exposure.  The real advantage with these new shutters is the extra speed, more precise apature adjustments in tenth stops, and possibly 1/3 stop shutter movements.  Also, no more thick cables as the power and control for the shutters is with a mini USB connected to a computer or phone.  

BTW, the links above are for the old shutter.  A press release for the new shutters are floating around somewhere on the Internet.  They also have not been released yet; last I heard they are still working on the software. 

Currently manual Copal shutters are the only viable options for on location shooting.  As long as you have a steady hand and stable tripod, you should be able to operate the camera without it moving.  We use to do multiple exposures with 4x5 film with no problems.  
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 12:37:57 PM by JoeKitchen » Logged

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Enda Cavanagh
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« Reply #4 on: April 01, 2013, 01:03:28 PM »
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Hi Elliot
I have started shooting 360 degree shots using my digital back on a Cambo view camera. I used multiple exposures, getting about 35 to 40 different views. I fused the files using photomatix. Not HDR from tone mapped images but just used to increase the dynamic range closer to what the eye can see. I didn't use a proper panoramic head. The closest object was about 2 feet away. The furthest at times were mountains in the distance. I used the analogue exposure meter called, one one thousand, two one thousand, three one thousand etc  Cheesy You don't need an electronic exposure to achieve what you want to achieve. I am picking up an arca swiss system with a cube head and monorail next week which will make life easier re. parallax but in the photos I shot there were branches going left to right. Using PT GUI the stitches were 99% perfect re/ joins and I tweaked the rest in photoshop.

Doug made a very valid point about going for a view camera with movements. The images I shot had about 5mm rise to create a more interesting dynamic. Rather than having the horizon in the middle. I'd recommend the same

« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 01:06:59 PM by Enda Cavanagh » Logged

ejnewman
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« Reply #5 on: April 01, 2013, 02:50:56 PM »
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Thanks all.

I tend not to need movements because I shoot very wide which allows me to crop and essentially create movements in post. I can see why it would be beneficial for single row panos though, but this isn't something I need.

So for location work using, say for argument, an Arca Swiss "Fac" and manual copal shutter lenses - what would my workflow be if I wanted to shoot a pano with +/- 3 stop shutter bracketing? I see it right now that I would have to do this manually on the lens, which would soon become tiresome.

Lugging a laptop on location isn't a solution either.

From my experience, whenever you touch the camera you will have a small shift in alignment, so looking for a solution that doesn't have a mirror flapping down between each bracket (aka DSLR), I thought a technical camera would be the answer, perhaps this Rollie stuff would be, but seems it's pretty cutting edge/new tech which makes me a little more nervous... Maybe I should just wait a few more years to see what happens, seems a DSLR remains the best option for me, for what I want to do.

I was also considering a Leica M since this would not have a mirror causing vibrations but again I think I am limited in terms of remote shooting with this, and not sure how well it handles AEB, from what I read it only works in aperture priority mode and not fully manual, which again will not work for panos.

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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #6 on: April 01, 2013, 03:55:28 PM »
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Again I have to ask if you've had the chance to shoot such a system.

Your current workflow was developed around the capabilities of your current platform.

It is possible that with medium format you'll still find you want to take a dozen loose shots with three exposures each, and do all your work in post to blend and merge them. But you'd be the exception not the rule. Most users (even those very heavily focused on quality) are very happy with the quality from a single capture, or at most a 2 or 3 image stitch with no exposure blending.

Until you've taken some real world images with a LFD platform I would not make assumptions about how you will use it.
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Enda Cavanagh
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« Reply #7 on: April 01, 2013, 04:30:30 PM »
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Slug. A single image limits you to certain types of image. My panoramics have consisted of images from 80 seconds to 1/125 seconds. No camera can do that in a single shot. The Forrest shots required 80 seconds to a half second to capture dark shadow areas and sunlight grass and blue skies. Again a single image is not possible. A single image capture eliminates a whole bunch of opportunities in more challenging. Ie the very images I want to capture. Elliot the Forrest shots were captured with a 28mm (20mm in 35mm format). The rise allows you to shoot the image exactly as you want and it means you don't have to gegrade the image with corrections or cropping in photoshop. I never had an issue with image shifts from cocking the shutter. It's not really a big deal. You just don't whack the lens but a couple of weeks ago I show about 700 images for 5 360's. I think the camera moved once and that was because a screw was loose on the tripod head.
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FredBGG
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« Reply #8 on: April 01, 2013, 04:51:25 PM »
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Thanks all.

I tend not to need movements because I shoot very wide which allows me to crop and essentially create movements in post. I can see why it would be beneficial for single row panos though, but this isn't something I need.

So for location work using, say for argument, an Arca Swiss "Fac" and manual copal shutter lenses - what would my workflow be if I wanted to shoot a pano with +/- 3 stop shutter bracketing? I see it right now that I would have to do this manually on the lens, which would soon become tiresome.

Lugging a laptop on location isn't a solution either.

From my experience, whenever you touch the camera you will have a small shift in alignment, so looking for a solution that doesn't have a mirror flapping down between each bracket (aka DSLR), I thought a technical camera would be the answer, perhaps this Rollie stuff would be, but seems it's pretty cutting edge/new tech which makes me a little more nervous... Maybe I should just wait a few more years to see what happens, seems a DSLR remains the best option for me, for what I want to do.

I was also considering a Leica M since this would not have a mirror causing vibrations but again I think I am limited in terms of remote shooting with this, and not sure how well it handles AEB, from what I read it only works in aperture priority mode and not fully manual, which again will not work for panos.


The Rollei shutter is a new product, however Rollei has had in camera bracketing and focus stacking control for some time. The shutter is based on that.


With a DSLR if you want to avoid the risk of movement with the mirror there are a few options.
Shooting in live view mode locks up the mirror for multiple exposures.
You may also find this interesting:

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=76884.0

Wireless live view and camera control.


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ejnewman
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« Reply #9 on: April 01, 2013, 04:57:32 PM »
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Doug - you're right, I should try a system out and see how I get on, but first I wanted to see what was possible with a LF system, hence the post.

Enda - I am already projecting the images onto a sphere to stitch the pano, so in this regard I'm not losing any more detail by doing movements in post. If i was to do a rectilinear stitch using movements then for sure I would see why this would be preferable in camera. I am also looking to reduce bulk and weight hence why a compact solution without movements would be my preference.

So how do you go about bracketing on your LF pano shots?

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ejnewman
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« Reply #10 on: April 01, 2013, 05:04:07 PM »
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FredBGG - thanks for the link. Last time I checked on a 5D II I found the mirror still came down during LV bracketing. Are you certain of this fact?
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Enda Cavanagh
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« Reply #11 on: April 01, 2013, 05:13:04 PM »
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http://www.cambo.com/Html/products_photo/set01/english/internet/Item28497.html

If you're worried about weight than maybe an electronic shutter isn't the best option. This camera from Cambo is extremely compact by the way and has a fair amount of movements. How come you're doing a spherical pano as opposed to a cylindrical pano?
Bracketing is counting one one thousand etc when exposures are over one second (bulb is required over 1 second) its really not an issue
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FredBGG
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« Reply #12 on: April 01, 2013, 05:33:26 PM »
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FredBGG - thanks for the link. Last time I checked on a 5D II I found the mirror still came down during LV bracketing. Are you certain of this fact?

I don't have the 5D II anymore, but if I recall correctly the mirror stays up between live view shots. The shutter however does have to
re prime and open for live view and then shut to then expose the image.
Another thing... In live view mode the Canon 5DII has an electronic first curtain. This means there is no shutter movement at all at the beginning of the exposure.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=76940.0

I currently use the d800 and on it the mirror stays up for the duration of a live view set of shots.

The new Canon 5DIII has a silent mode that moves the mirror more slowly. It certainly is a whisper quiet shutter.

« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 06:07:54 PM by FredBGG » Logged
ejnewman
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« Reply #13 on: April 01, 2013, 06:07:53 PM »
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I always spherically project my panos then recompose to a rectilinear projection. This essentially allows me to "rephotograph" the scene in post.
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FredBGG
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« Reply #14 on: April 01, 2013, 06:10:14 PM »
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I always spherically project my panos then recompose to a rectilinear projection. This essentially allows me to "rephotograph" the scene in post.

Also the resolution of a large pano is so high that doing shift type correction in post still results in an extreemely high res image. Also there are no color cast issues that can be a problem
shooting with a MFDB and a shift camera.
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Enda Cavanagh
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« Reply #15 on: April 01, 2013, 06:17:51 PM »
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Fred. Since when is colour cast an issue with technical cameras. It's removed during the raw file processing workflow. If anything it ensures better colour accuracy because you also do a white balance picker on the calibration shot after removing the colour cast.
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FredBGG
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« Reply #16 on: April 01, 2013, 08:51:37 PM »
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Fred. Since when is colour cast an issue with technical cameras. It's removed during the raw file processing workflow. If anything it ensures better colour accuracy because you also do a white balance picker on the calibration shot after removing the colour cast.

It can be an issue when doing pano's LCC is a useful tool, but has it's limitations. While it does do good corrections on a single frame it is still
a correction that is stronger at the edges of the frame. When stitching these together it makes it more likely for there to be edges being seen.

That said it's not much of an issue with longer focal lengths.

However the OP did say he wanted to be able to do stitching with the tech camera and back if he gets one.

Also shooting LCC frames for each shot of a multi shot pano would double the time required to complete the pano, not to mention the problem
of moving the camera to put the opaline filter infront of the lens for the LCC shot.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 08:54:15 PM by FredBGG » Logged
FredBGG
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« Reply #17 on: April 01, 2013, 09:33:05 PM »
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There are tests (I'm sure Fred will be happy to jump in and post links to the 2-3 same tired tests he always does) which imply the usable dynamic range of a digital back can be matched with a dSLR. In my shooting, and in my experience working with hundreds of photographers on such dSLR>LFD transitions I can tell you this is not the case (though I'd greatly prefer to have you take your own tests to show yourself).

Same two or three tired tests?.....

Not all 35mm DSLRs have the same dynamic range. There are quite large differences.

Tired of the same tests... why because they show that there are some 35mm DSLRs that cam match or be slightly better than a digital back.

An image is worth a thousand words.

Anyway there are plenty of examples out there.

Here is a "fresh example"

http://www.gregorymills.com/gregorymills/2012/8/20/before-and-after.html

Even the jpeg can show the dynamic range characteristics of the d800.

Click on the image to see a higher res. Download it  and open it in camera raw.

Apply these setting:

Exposure +1.5
Shadows +80
Blacks +30

The result shows how much information there is despite the file being a highly compressed jpeg.

Then delete the file (fair use)

and here is what can be done in the highlights...



This type of dynamic range performance was previously only available in MFD, but the D800 and D800e changed this.
Similar performance also comes from other new Nikon/Sony sensors.

In landscape photography you cannot change the light. Having this kind of highlight and shadow recovery in the dynamic range of the camera
makes capturing views with very wide tonal range much easier.

With film I used to have to do a water bath process to get so much information in the shadows.... and could only do it with black and white.
« Last Edit: April 01, 2013, 09:49:19 PM by FredBGG » Logged
Enda Cavanagh
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« Reply #18 on: April 02, 2013, 04:17:51 AM »
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It can be an issue when doing pano's LCC is a useful tool, but has it's limitations. While it does do good corrections on a single frame it is still
a correction that is stronger at the edges of the frame. When stitching these together it makes it more likely for there to be edges being seen.

That said it's not much of an issue with longer focal lengths.

However the OP did say he wanted to be able to do stitching with the tech camera and back if he gets one.

Also shooting LCC frames for each shot of a multi shot pano would double the time required to complete the pano, not to mention the problem
of moving the camera to put the opaline filter infront of the lens for the LCC shot.

Why in the name of God would you want to do an LCC for every shot of a 360 if every lens movement is the same. You do one every 45 degrees or so and not  for the colour cast but as a tool to correct the white balance. You only need to do one for LCC if the rise/fall/shift doesn't change throughout the shot.

I shoot 80% panos and actually LCC isn't an "issue". It's easily corrected. If he takes multiple exposures it doesn't double his time. He is taking a calibration shot. He simply take one for every lens movement. He can change the aperture to f4.5 and take the calibration shot to reduce the exposure time further. (In my experience changing the aperture has no noticeable affect on the calibration shot) If for example you think the correction is too strong at the edges than turn off the vignetting correction or reduce it down. That's not an issue that's called using your head in the workflow. Even if I don't need to take a LCC I take a calibration shot each time the light changes say for internal architecture purely to get a perfect white balance each time. Saves me a bundle of time tweaking white balance later.


If you're talking about what the OP said maybe you should read the post heading again before you start going on about 35mm cameras.
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ejnewman
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« Reply #19 on: April 02, 2013, 04:44:18 AM »
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Yes, surely I would only need to do 1 lens cast correction per focal length, per aperture? So lens cast is a problem even when no movements are required? I would hope this is only an issue with extremely wide lenses. I have my own raw workflow and shoot distortion grids and vignette profiles myself for each camera and lens combo I own, I guess I would calibrate the LC as part of my vignette correction.

I don't bother shooting white balance cards, it's flawed anyway and I tend to creatively control WB in post to my taste.

Was looking at the rollie electronic shutter - would this be something that can be used on any system or would it only work with rollie lenses?
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