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Author Topic: Wide landscape lenses for Phase One - what do you like?  (Read 3677 times)
Rob Whitehead
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« on: August 08, 2013, 09:46:24 AM »
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Well, I'm in. To celebrate a decade of LuLa membership - and my tenth post - I thought I'd acquire a P65+. 

Of course, anyone who reads these forums knows that a LOT of people aren't crazy about the wide lenses in the Phase One system. My question is - what have you actually shot for wide (less than 80mm) landscapes? How did it go?

I know a tech camera is sharper in the corners - but I don't really have a feel for just how bad the Phase lenses are. As mentioned, I'm going to be using a full-frame back and am really asking about use for landscape, rather than brick walls etc.

Right now, for wides I own the Phase One 28mm D, the Mamiya non-D 35mm and the Phase One 45mm D. I shoot a lot of running water (gorges), but I haven't sorted out how to get an ND filter in front of the 28mm yet. I've got polarisers and NDs to fit the Mamiya 35mm already but I don't hear great things about it (the forum member who sold me this one reckons it's a relatively good copy). And I'm not entirely clear about the 45mm D - I'm hoping it has fairly low distortion and I can stitch some panoramas with it.

Don't have the camera or the back yet (soon!). But would be really interested to hear your thoughts about the real-world usability of the Phase One DF system for gallery-print level quality when applied to landscapes. Good enough or is the Cambo/Arca/Alpa a must?
 
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #1 on: August 08, 2013, 10:14:27 AM »
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Well, I'm in. To celebrate a decade of LuLa membership - and my tenth post - I thought I'd acquire a P65+.  

Of course, anyone who reads these forums knows that a LOT of people aren't crazy about the wide lenses in the Phase One system. My question is - what have you actually shot for wide (less than 80mm) landscapes? How did it go?

I know a tech camera is sharper in the corners - but I don't really have a feel for just how bad the Phase lenses are. As mentioned, I'm going to be using a full-frame back and am really asking about use for landscape, rather than brick walls etc.

Right now, for wides I own the Phase One 28mm D, the Mamiya non-D 35mm and the Phase One 45mm D. I shoot a lot of running water (gorges), but I haven't sorted out how to get an ND filter in front of the 28mm yet. I've got polarisers and NDs to fit the Mamiya 35mm already but I don't hear great things about it (the forum member who sold me this one reckons it's a relatively good copy). And I'm not entirely clear about the 45mm D - I'm hoping it has fairly low distortion and I can stitch some panoramas with it.

Don't have the camera or the back yet (soon!). But would be really interested to hear your thoughts about the real-world usability of the Phase One DF system for gallery-print level quality when applied to landscapes. Good enough or is the Cambo/Arca/Alpa a must?

"Good enough" will be a question you'll have to answer for yourself. There is, for sure, a difference. Here for instance is our testing of the 28D and 28LS on a DF+ vs a 32HR on a Cambo:
http://www.digitaltransitions.com/blog/dt-testing/28mm-32mm-test

I'd suggest you select and work with a dealer that can arrange to send you raw files of landscape images taken with whatever relevant lenses you're looking at, can arrange for you to evaluate them in person, or rent them with the rental cost counting towards purchase if you find the lens useful for your needs.

In general I find with a 65+ and 28mm that for high quality gallery prints you'll probably want to crop out the last 5% of the corners (maybe more or less depending on what your personal requirements are for the print). Often this can take the form of cropping a horizontal 2:3 from the original 4:3 such that you're not losing any width, just the extreme corners.

I'm not a huge fan of the 35mm. It's an okay lens, but I'd just as soon have the 28mm and crop a bit to get to the angle of view of a 35mm. After all, you do have 60mp now - you can spare a few mp Smiley.

For the 45D I find that, when stopped down to typical landscape apertures, the lens performs well, and the relatively low amount of distortion is perfectly corrected in Capture One's lens correction tab.

For the 55LS likewise I find stopped down corner performance to be very good compared to other mid-wides for medium format SLRs.

But NOTHING in the SLR world can compare to the quality of the modern Rodenstock and Schneider lenses (not to mention you gain the ability to do a flat stitch, add perspective control and/or tilt-swing with a tech camera). These tech camera lenses are designed without a mirror box which allows them to be either fully symmetrical or only modestly retrofocus rather than the severe retrofocus design required when designing around a fixed mirror box size. See this article about retrofocus design.

You may find our lens visualizer helpful in establishing which lenses will provide which effective angle of view and our phase one lens online store for quick reference to pricing for each lens.
« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 10:16:30 AM by Doug Peterson » Logged

DOUG PETERSON (dep@digitaltransitions.com), Digital Transitions
Dealer for Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Profoto
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Rob Whitehead
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« Reply #2 on: August 08, 2013, 12:55:19 PM »
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G'day Doug,

Thanks for the reply.

My situation is a little different from most in terms of dealers and trying out gear, as Port Hedland is a looong way from civilisation. Downside is I'm always going to be buying gear I've never tested personally, upside I guess is Australia's northwest is a pretty awesome place to photograph. It does make me more reliant on online opinions, though, compared to those who live in the big smoke.

Thanks for the links to the 28mm/tech camera comparison - I've done enough reading around that I'd previously found that page. The links don't work for me - just a 404 error. If you can repost, that would be great - I would really love to see the difference between those 3 lenses.

Part of the problem with the Mamiya 35mm seems to be field curvature, if I'm not mistaken. I'm wondering how much the corner problems can be improved with focus stacking. After reading just about everything I can on the net, I went with the older 645AF (ie. non-D) version as I haven't heard anyone talk this lens up. The reason I didn't just stick to the 28mm and crop is filters - the 35mm has my favourite size, 77mm, and the 28mm D has - nothing (much). A lot of my photography (such as slot canyons with running water) needs a polariser and an ND stacked. By the way, I asked the guys at Lee about filter holder mods for this lens - apparently they're selling a 'bespoke' filter holder for the 28D thru Phase dealers?

I'm glad you sound a bit positive about the 45mm. I've got the D version of this lens. I hear mutterings about it being pretty good (or OK) for landscapes, but there's really very little data about it on the 'net.

I'm very tempted by the tech camera idea, as ultimate image quality is what I'm after at the end of the day. My concerns are really about usability - mainly focusing. How sharp is the focus really going to be (compared to viewfinder or AF on the DF)? If your colleagues could hurry up and bring out the CMOS back with proper live view, I'd 100% be shooting tech. But at the moment, I worry that I'd be shooting more slowly with the changing light and possibly giving up most of the optical sharpness due to focus difficulties.

I don't have any useful tech camera experience to base my opinions on - though I do have a Sears and Roebuck 4x5 so perhaps I can use the P65 with that? (with some gaffer tape to hold the back on as I doubt P1 make an adapter). Smiley

Anyway, thanks for the info - and if anyone else has more data points to add they'll be greatly appreciated.
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Paul2660
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« Reply #3 on: August 08, 2013, 01:21:28 PM »
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Phase one 28mm LS or non LS is nice 35mm due to need to crop.  Phase one announced a filter holder over a year ago for the 28mm that fits over the tulip lens shade.  Don't know if it ever went into production but it looked like it worked like the Lee setup for the Nikon 14-24.

Mamyia or Phase One 35mm F 3.5 is generally soft in the corners until around F 11.  I was never impressed with the 45mm non D model.  Some report the 45mm D to be very good. 

Mamiya 55mm very good lens.  Shallow DOF.

In 2011 I switched to the tech camera route due to the lack of good wides.  I can't add much to Doug's comments except that I agree 100%. 

The Rodenstock 28mm will run  circles around the Phase or Mamiya 28mm. 

Tech camera work flow is much different and has many pitfalls.  End resulting images are worth it for me.

Paul Caldwell

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Paul Caldwell
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2013, 01:25:24 PM »
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It's a beautiful country. I lived in Brisbane for six months and had a vacation up to the north coast for scuba diving and rainforest hiking. Just gorgeous.

I've fixed the links, but it will take a while for the files to upload back to the position I've linked.

My suggestion (albeit an obviously self interested one) is to stop buying bit-by-bit using advice from the internet. Plan a trip, whether it's to us in New York (nice place to visit) or Texas (bit like home) or one of the other dealers in the world. Gather all your questions, and do all your advance research, and organize with the dealer to have one of everything you're considering. Then go to town with testing, and when you've figured out what you want to buy, you can pick it up right then and there (or return home know what you want once you have saved up for it), and - best yet - you can then go through thorough training on those components. Your concerns about tech cameras for instance are legit, but I have a strong feeling if we sat down with a tech camera for a couple hours you wouldn't be worried about them; you're making assumptions about the method of focus used (i.e. sounds like you're assuming ground glass focus which only a very small number of our customers do) and workflow that don't correlate to the actual experience of shooting a tech camera. That's not to say shooting a tech camera is "simple" or that you won't find areas of concern once you get your actual hands on one, but they will likely be different than you'd think based on internet-only research.

It'd make a fun trip Smiley.

Anyway, if you do try to make all the decisions from an armchair I hope our JPGs (once back up in a few minutes) help out, online charts, and the myriad posts we've made on medium format help!

edit: 2 of the 3 jpgs are back up, third should be any minute
« Last Edit: August 08, 2013, 01:30:14 PM by Doug Peterson » Logged

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tim wolcott
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« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2013, 12:15:36 AM »
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I have all of them.  The best one is the one that works best for the shot you have carefully lined up.  I don't believe that question can really be answered.  Thats why I have them all.  I also stitch with every one so I have even a wider selection to choose from.  This is why I designed my own stitching head.  Sometimes you have the right lens to cover your shot you want but then you get some distortion.  For instance if the shot is covered by using a 45mm but the distortion is too much or the detail is small and far away from the camera this can be over compensated by using my stitching head and using  the 80 mm lens stitching like 4-5 images together and you get a better shot. 

But something cannot be stitched.  Tim Wolcott
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HarperPhotos
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« Reply #6 on: August 09, 2013, 12:23:54 AM »
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Hello,

When I owned a Mamiya 645AFDII and Leaf Aptus 75 the Mamiya 645 50mm shift lens was my all time favorite lens for landscape photography.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mamiya-Sekor-Shift-C-50mm-f4-Perspective-Control-Lens-for-645-Cameras-AV-/190872106470?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item2c70dd35e6

Also the Mamiya 24mm fisheye is a great lens

http://www.keh.com/camera/Mamiya-645-Manual-Focus-Fixed-Focal-Length-Lenses/1/sku-MS06000700268N?r=FE

Ciao

Simon


« Last Edit: August 09, 2013, 12:29:00 AM by HarperPhotos » Logged

Simon Harper
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« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2013, 02:57:56 AM »
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Hey Whitey

I'm originally from Perth, so it's great to see someone posting from The North West.  I'm now based in London (last 15years) and work as a commercial photographer here.

I've owned view cameras for digital, Linhof 679csII, with good lenses the results are amazing, however I wasn't using the system enough to justify keeping it, as we mostly shoot people on location and this setup was just too big/slow for our work.

I see you've got the 28DS, we had this before the LS and given what it was doing in terms of coverage it was pretty impressive.

 We own a bunch of Lee Kit and it's very good, however have you thought about maybe using a cine style Matt box and then using filters from someone like Formatt? I'm pretty sure they make filters way bigger/wider then Lee do. You could combine this with a wide angle cine style Matt box. The filters are glass so you'd have no quality issues.

Check out some of the Wide angle Matt boxes from True Lens Services in the UK, they have an incredible machine shop and can make almost anything Lens/Matt box wise you can think of. You could also run  a large polariser with a Matt Box, this would be a big piece of Square/rectangular glass that would go into a rotating filter tray on the Matt Box. Colin at True Lens Service could possibly make an adapter ring so you could use a cine style Matt box attached to the front of the 28mm, or you could pick up some cheap 15mm rails to mount the Box on.

If quality is really your thing, then have you had a look at some of the Arca Swiss or Silvestri cameras for wide angle work, small and great to hike with.  These will yield an extraordinary result, we do find however the 28LS to be extremely good for our work.

We don't have anything in between 28 to 55 as Phase don't (yet) make an LS lens at that focal length, besides with 80meg we can usually crop if needed.

Warmest wishes from London

Adrian Weinbrecht.

www.adrianweinbrecht.com
« Last Edit: August 09, 2013, 03:13:11 AM by awphoto » Logged
ondebanks
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« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2013, 10:29:04 AM »
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Part of the problem with the Mamiya 35mm seems to be field curvature, if I'm not mistaken. I'm wondering how much the corner problems can be improved with focus stacking.

Focus stacking can't help here, unfortunately - since the field curvature at the edges makes the focal surface correspond to nearby objects, even when the lens is racked in fully to infinity. In other words, there is no setting of the focus ring which can possibly bring further away objects into focus, near the frame edges. The only solution is to stop down a lot and rely on DOF to get more distant off-axis objects into acceptable focus.

BTW I agree with Simon, the 24mm fisheye is wonderfully sharp.

Ray
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Rob Whitehead
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« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2013, 10:27:26 AM »
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Doug - thanks for reposting the images. I definitely see the difference as being significant. Still not sure on the tradeoff of image quality vs useability. I mentioned the New York trip idea to the GF and she was pretty impressed with the concept – less so with the idea that I ‘needed’ another camera as the kind of expensive one I’d just bought was  ‘rubbish for wide angle shooting’. 
Shooting with the 28mm D and cropping is attractive, except that so many of my shots use polarisers and/or neutral density filters. Hence the 35mm and 45mm lenses, for ease of filter use. I’ve been talking with dealers and others this week about the filter issue. Sounds like the existing filter P1 sells is for the 28mm LS and is not adequate on the 28mm D – but word on the street is that a proper filter holder for the 28mm D is coming in a couple of months. Not sure if you have a comment on that?

Paul – I perhaps will have to try out the 55mm at some stage. I’m guessing you mean the older Mamiya lens? The LS version seems well regarded though I don’t think I’ve seen any landcapes shot with it. In terms of tech camera workflow, I’m pretty sure I’ll be giving it a try some time soon, I just wonder if you ultimately miss too many shots with the changing light.

Tim – at this stage I’m figuring on stitching, probably with the P1 45mm  or the 80mm LS. I use the RRS pano head and a nodal point slider. Any comments on best stitching lenses?

Simon – 24mm fisheye has my interest after this comment and the other thread. Will go the 28mm initially but I think the 24mm fisheye would be great for aerials and shooting inside slot canyons.

Adrian – G’day there. The Northwest is crying out to be shot with a MFDB, I think. As a local, I imagine you know Karijini. That’s where my P65+ is going to live…drop in when you’re back in WA and we'll shoot it!

Ray – yes, you are of course right about the focus stacking. Not the solution for me. As for 35mm corners – I’ll be comparing it to my current 35mm favourite, the Zeiss 21mm – so will be interesting to see how it stacks up.

Was hoping to have the P65+ in my hands today, now it’s going to be Thursday. I’m shooting a concert on the weekend but I’m not sure that’s the best venue to break in the Phase One (the 5DMk3 can have one more outing I guess). After that, however, it’s time to put the small-formay stuff away and hit the outback with the new MF gear to see what can be done.


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« Reply #10 on: August 19, 2013, 11:17:19 AM »
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Hello,

When I owned a Mamiya 645AFDII and Leaf Aptus 75 the Mamiya 645 50mm shift lens was my all time favorite lens for landscape photography.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/Mamiya-Sekor-Shift-C-50mm-f4-Perspective-Control-Lens-for-645-Cameras-AV-/190872106470?pt=Camera_Lenses&hash=item2c70dd35e6

Also the Mamiya 24mm fisheye is a great lens

http://www.keh.com/camera/Mamiya-645-Manual-Focus-Fixed-Focal-Length-Lenses/1/sku-MS06000700268N?r=FE

Ciao

Simon




Absolutely echo this.

Both of these old Mamiya lenses are excellent if you're looking to stick with the Phase One body.

I have the 35 too, but I shot once with it and it won't get used  ever again. Maybe a bad copy?  Who knows.

Don't fall for this "best to work with a dealer" nonsense. Pick up a decent copy of the 50 shift and 24 fisheye from KEH and/or eBay for relative peanuts and enjoy.

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tim wolcott
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« Reply #11 on: August 19, 2013, 01:02:07 PM »
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whitey, all of them stitch.  But I built my own stitching head since they all seem to lack precision and speed.  I stitch every lens but its based on the scene and what the land dictates.  You just have to get it right.  Every scene has a certain lens that makes it work.  BUt stitching is also how you approach it.  BY the way you don't need shift lenses.  You just need to spend more time and maybe a ladder will help.   Oh yes I do carry a ladder and 12 foot tripod out in the woods.  Oh hers some say I'm crazy.  Tim
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Don Libby
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« Reply #12 on: August 19, 2013, 02:01:51 PM »
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The widest I've used was several years, several bodies, and several backs ago.  I used a Mamiya 28mm along with a P30+ and got excellent results.  Then came the P45 and with it less of a crop and while I like it I wasn't as much in love with it as I had been.  I also made a major move to a tech camera and got rid of everything not tech related for several years.  While I still have the same tech camera I've also gotten back into the DF.  I also no longer have the P45 and am now shooting the IQ160 (with a brief layover using the P65).  Long winded response to say that the widest lens I use with the DF is a 55mm.

Good luck getting a filter attached to the 28 as I tried several things and failing.  Beautiful lens except the filter placement or lack there of.  The newer ones "might" have fixed the filter problem.

I feel the answer is much more a personal opinion than anything else.  What is wide enough for me might not be for you I like Tim Wolcott's response; "The best one is the one that works best for you..."  I used to shoot a 35mm on my tech cam however not that much and replaced it with a 40mm. Just to give you an idea of what I've been using: Phase DF, 55, 80, 120, 150 and 300 then with the Cambo WRS I use a 40, 72 and 120.

One of my best sellers was captured with a Mamiya AFDII/Phase P30+ and the Mamiya 28mm.  Two-shot panorama printed 30x60.  So the answer of whether or not you need to run out and get a tech camera for "gallery-print level quality" is in my opinion no. 

I primarily shoot landscape with some nature and wildlife thrown in.  I used to do a lot of work in Australia however the furthest north I ever made it was Townsville.

Hope this helps

Don
 
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« Reply #13 on: August 19, 2013, 02:02:58 PM »
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whitey, all of them stitch.      Tim

Correct!  I sitich with all my lenses.
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« Reply #14 on: August 19, 2013, 04:59:25 PM »
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Hi Don,

I have a few landscape projects in mind and I was wondering if you could kindly recommend a pano head and any other platforms you feel are needed for pano stitching with the DF body?

Thank you,
Jeffery
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Jeffery Salter
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« Reply #15 on: August 19, 2013, 07:26:07 PM »
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Hi Don,

I have a few landscape projects in mind and I was wondering if you could kindly recommend a pano head and any other platforms you feel are needed for pano stitching with the DF body?

Thank you,
Jeffery

My personal favorite when I was doing them with the Phase body was Really Right Stuff.  I don't stitch enough with the DF any more to warrant the setup as all my stitching is done with my Cambo.

Don
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« Reply #16 on: August 19, 2013, 07:31:15 PM »
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Jeffery,

Like Don, I've moved onto Cambo for most all my landscape work, though I still use the DF.  But when I used the DF for stitching simple single row panos, I used a RRS L-bracket, Cube (or other head), and RRS pano rail.  http://reallyrightstuff.com/ProductDesc.aspx?code=MPR-CL-II&type=0&eq=MPR-CL-II-002&desc=MPR-CL-II%3a-MPR-with-integral-clamp&key=ait

ken
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« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2013, 07:30:36 AM »
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I use an Arca Swiss Rm3di with a Rodenstock 32mm - unbelievable combination.  At f8 or 9.5 the results edge to edge are phenomenal, sharpest optics/camera combination I've ever used.  I've done a direct comparison with the same scene photographed on the Phase camera system and their 28mm - results?  For the center 1/3 to 1/2 of the image, the results were similar.  Beyond that to the edges, the comparison was unequivocally obvious. If you are making prints 16 x 20 or smaller, it's a non issue.  Larger than that, it becomes a significant consideration.
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« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2013, 08:06:09 AM »
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 Thanks Don + Ken.  Your link and advice was very helpful.  The RRS site has a great section on Pano equipment.   
 
  Sorry for going off topic.

J

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« Reply #19 on: August 20, 2013, 10:17:57 AM »
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I also went with an Arca Swiss Rm3Di for my landscape work. I only have two Rodenstock lenses the 40mm HR and the 70mm HR. They are superb. Both allow significant shift for stitching so it feels like I have more lenses. Both are very easy to filter (67mm and 58mm filter thread respectively). Most SLR wide angles are huge in comparison to these lenses. I was told the 35mm Digitar is also a very nice lens for backs under 60MP. There are many options out there.

Also, the Arca allows tilt with every lens which is absolutely essential to achieve desirable depth of field in a lot of situations since full frame medium format has a much shallower depth of field compared to 35mm DSLRs.
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