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Author Topic: Looking into buying a MF digital  (Read 3753 times)
KhaledA
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« on: September 10, 2013, 12:47:31 AM »
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I'm at that point where I'm starting to think about upgrading to MF digital (although probably only a year or two from now, but it doesn't hurt to be informed). Currently I'm shooting Canon system, with a 5DIII, and Hasselblad V with several Zeiss glass.
I am a still life photographer, mainly shooting food and products in the studio, with the occasional model added to the mix.

Now, I'm not really sure which MF digital I should get, but it seems that Leica S2 is a bit too expensive (body alone costs over $30k and lenses are about $10k each here in Israel), and lacks any tilt shift options. Pentax isn't even available here, which leaves me with either Mamiya/Leaf or Hasselblad, which are most common here. I never shot with the Mamiya, but I did rent a Hasselblad H3DII-39 several times, and it was just a pleasure to shoot with, and I liked Phocus a lot.
What I'm really looking for is tilt shift options, and hopefully a waist level finder, which from what I can see, only Hasselblad gives me.

I'm aiming to buy used, and hopefully later on upgrade to a better model if need be, but this has to at least last me 2-3 years.

I shoot mostly tethered, and 90% of the time I use manual focus, so something like true focus isn't a deal breaker to me, although it would be nice to have. I aim for about 40ish MPs. Knowing that, does the newer models offer noticeable improvement in image quality? I'm looking to either buy the H3DII 39 or the H4D 40, is it worth the extra cash for the H4D?
How well does the new Fuji glass stack to the older Zeiss glass? for the time being, I'm looking at buying the CF adapter, and use my Zeiss glass with it. How well will it sync with the body and back? Any known bugs (I've tried the CFV with my current camera, and it was hell trying to make it all work)? and most importantly, can I use the Zeiss glass with the HTS 1.5 tilt shift adapter?

Other recommendations are welcome as well, since I don't really know much about MFD.

And, most importantly, anyone know which sites I can stalk for good deals (bearing in mind I live in Israel), other than eBay and Capture Integration?

Thanks,
Khaled
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #1 on: September 10, 2013, 01:10:48 AM »
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Hi,

I presently use a P45+ back on a Hasselblad 555ELD.

My plan is to buy a Hartblei HCam in the future and use it with my existing Hasselblad lenses using a Mirex T&S adapter.

http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/76-my-medium-format-digital-journey
http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/77-two-months-of-mfd-looking-back

Samples (with raw files):

http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Articles/MFDJourney/RawImages/Samples/

http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Articles/MFDJourney/RawImages/Samples2/

New samples from a trip to the Dolomites is coming in a few days or weeks...


Regarding Fuji glass it is probably better than Zeiss glass. The MTF data is definitively better, but I think the Zeiss glass is good enough. Zeiss made some really excellent designs lately, like 40/4 FLE IF, 100/3.5 and possibly some more. Those lenses are probably world class.


Best regards
Erik



I'm at that point where I'm starting to think about upgrading to MF digital (although probably only a year or two from now, but it doesn't hurt to be informed). Currently I'm shooting Canon system, with a 5DIII, and Hasselblad V with several Zeiss glass.
I am a still life photographer, mainly shooting food and products in the studio, with the occasional model added to the mix.

Now, I'm not really sure which MF digital I should get, but it seems that Leica S2 is a bit too expensive (body alone costs over $30k and lenses are about $10k each here in Israel), and lacks any tilt shift options. Pentax isn't even available here, which leaves me with either Mamiya/Leaf or Hasselblad, which are most common here. I never shot with the Mamiya, but I did rent a Hasselblad H3DII-39 several times, and it was just a pleasure to shoot with, and I liked Phocus a lot.
What I'm really looking for is tilt shift options, and hopefully a waist level finder, which from what I can see, only Hasselblad gives me.

I'm aiming to buy used, and hopefully later on upgrade to a better model if need be, but this has to at least last me 2-3 years.

I shoot mostly tethered, and 90% of the time I use manual focus, so something like true focus isn't a deal breaker to me, although it would be nice to have. I aim for about 40ish MPs. Knowing that, does the newer models offer noticeable improvement in image quality? I'm looking to either buy the H3DII 39 or the H4D 40, is it worth the extra cash for the H4D?
How well does the new Fuji glass stack to the older Zeiss glass? for the time being, I'm looking at buying the CF adapter, and use my Zeiss glass with it. How well will it sync with the body and back? Any known bugs (I've tried the CFV with my current camera, and it was hell trying to make it all work)? and most importantly, can I use the Zeiss glass with the HTS 1.5 tilt shift adapter?

Other recommendations are welcome as well, since I don't really know much about MFD.

And, most importantly, anyone know which sites I can stalk for good deals (bearing in mind I live in Israel), other than eBay and Capture Integration?

Thanks,
Khaled
« Last Edit: September 10, 2013, 01:14:18 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

Rob Whitehead
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« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2013, 01:50:23 AM »
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I'm a 5DMk3 shooter who recently transitioned to shooting with MFDB. I'm using a P65+ with the Phase system.

For me, the main concern was to make sure that image quality is definitely better than the 35mm system I was coming from. The P65+ achieves that for me, I wasn't so sure about a P40 in that respect. To make sense it has to not just be better but significantly better - these MF cameras are far less user friendly (and indeed functional) than the state of the art from Canon/Nikon m(live view, high ISO, wide apertures, user interface).

I can say that, a couple of weeks in, so far I'm very happy with the decision to invest in MF digital. But I didn't take the 5DMk3 on a recent trip and I must say I'll pack it in future - I missed a fair few shots through not having the Canon on hand.
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KhaledA
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« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2013, 02:12:19 AM »
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Hi,

The Phase One backs aren't supported in Israel, only the Mamiya/Leaf and the Hasselblad.
I would really like to know the differences between the H3D, H3DII and H4D bodies, or if there is another company that offers tilt shift options as well as a waist level finder.

Thanks.
Khaled
« Last Edit: September 10, 2013, 02:17:52 AM by KhaledA » Logged
HarperPhotos
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« Reply #4 on: September 10, 2013, 02:34:30 AM »
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Hi Khaled,

If you go for a Mamiya /Phase 645 and you what tilt, shift capabilities for your still life work I have the perfect piece of camera gear for you.

http://www.ebay.com/itm/221277392803?ssPageName=STRK:MESELX:IT&_trksid=p3984.m1555.l2649

Cheers

Simon
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Simon Harper
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jerome_m
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« Reply #5 on: September 10, 2013, 03:29:43 AM »
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If you do food and product photo, the HTS system will save you lots of time. Hasselblad designed it with this kind of use in mind and you'll benefit from automatic lens corrections, etc... The only other solutions with tilt and shift involve technical cameras or adapting older analog cameras with movements, and are considerably less convenient for this kind of use (they may be more convenient for other kind of uses, like architecture for example).

If you do food and product photo in MF without movements, you will find out that the more limited depth of field of MF versus 24x36 is a real problem.

The question on whether old lenses can be adapted to the HTS is not important, because the HC 80mm which comes standard with H cameras works so well with the HTS for product photo that you would be a fool not to use it.
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KhaledA
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« Reply #6 on: September 10, 2013, 04:18:12 AM »
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If you do food and product photo, the HTS system will save you lots of time. Hasselblad designed it with this kind of use in mind and you'll benefit from automatic lens corrections, etc... The only other solutions with tilt and shift involve technical cameras or adapting older analog cameras with movements, and are considerably less convenient for this kind of use (they may be more convenient for other kind of uses, like architecture for example).

If you do food and product photo in MF without movements, you will find out that the more limited depth of field of MF versus 24x36 is a real problem.

The question on whether old lenses can be adapted to the HTS is not important, because the HC 80mm which comes standard with H cameras works so well with the HTS for product photo that you would be a fool not to use it.

Thanks for the input.
The HTS is the reason I'm considering Hasselblad as opposed to other brands.

That is quite interesting about the HC 80mm, I will be buying the kit used, so it might not include that lens, but if it's that good, I will buy it. How well does that lens work with smaller subjects such as jewelry and such (small rings in particular)? does it have enough magnification?

Any input on which body would suit my needs best? used H3D 39 or H3DII 39 is all I can afford since I'm going to get the HTS and a lens with it as well, but if it's that much better I can save a bit more for the H4D 40.


@Simon: Thanks, that looks rather interesting, I'll keep it in mind.
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jerome_m
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« Reply #7 on: September 10, 2013, 04:39:32 AM »
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That is quite interesting about the HC 80mm, I will be buying the kit used, so it might not include that lens, but if it's that good, I will buy it. How well does that lens work with smaller subjects such as jewelry and such (small rings in particular)? does it have enough magnification?

No, but you can use extension tubes with the 80mm. Also, keep in mind that the HTS increases focal length by 1.5, making the 80mm a 120mm.

Quote
Any input on which body would suit my needs best? used H3D 39 or H3DII 39 is all I can afford since I'm going to get the HTS and a lens with it as well, but if it's that much better I can save a bit more for the H4D 40.

There should not be much difference in quality between the H3D and H4D, but consider that the H3D-39 cannot be repaired any more. There was an announcement to that effect, search the forum.
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Manoli
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« Reply #8 on: September 10, 2013, 04:41:26 AM »
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There should not be much difference in quality between the H3D and H4D, but consider that the H3D-39 cannot be repaired any more. There was an announcement to that effect, search the forum.

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?topic=80964.msg653364#msg653364
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KhaledA
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« Reply #9 on: September 10, 2013, 05:19:33 AM »
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Thanks for the help.

That's a bit disappointing about the H3D not being repaired anymore. Hopefully though that would lead to their prices plummeting on the used market (hopefully!), if not, then I guess it's either H3DII or H4D for me.

Any sites I can stalk for good deals besides eBay and Capture Integration?

Thanks,
Khaled
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #10 on: September 10, 2013, 05:43:45 AM »
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Hi,

A gentleman called MR. Rib is selling a H2D with an Aptus back for a reasonable price, 6500USD i think, here on LuLa. I was considering it before buying the P45+, which I also bought from Mr. Rib.

Best regards
Erik


Thanks for the help.

That's a bit disappointing about the H3D not being repaired anymore. Hopefully though that would lead to their prices plummeting on the used market (hopefully!), if not, then I guess it's either H3DII or H4D for me.

Any sites I can stalk for good deals besides eBay and Capture Integration?

Thanks,
Khaled
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jerome_m
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« Reply #11 on: September 10, 2013, 05:47:14 AM »
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That's a bit disappointing about the H3D not being repaired anymore.

Only the H3D-22 and H3D-39. The H3D-31 can still be repaired.

This being said, the 22 and 31 mpix backs are probably not sufficient to make a big difference with smaller formats for the kind of uses you are thinking about. And I hate to write that, but if you shoot mainly small objects like jewelry, a D800 may be a better choice for your business.
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KhaledA
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« Reply #12 on: September 10, 2013, 06:22:41 AM »
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Only the H3D-22 and H3D-39. The H3D-31 can still be repaired.

This being said, the 22 and 31 mpix backs are probably not sufficient to make a big difference with smaller formats for the kind of uses you are thinking about. And I hate to write that, but if you shoot mainly small objects like jewelry, a D800 may be a better choice for your business.

Yeah, I'm looking more into the 40-50 MP range.
Jewelry is only a small part of what I shoot. My shots range from simple food photography, to something as big as a car. (this is the sort of shots I usually make shot 1 shot 2 )
Any particular reason why the Nikon is better for jewelry though? I did shoot with it for a few weeks (well, the D800E, along with Zeiss 100 makro), thinking of jumping to Nikon at the time, but I simply didn't like it (too soft past f/5.6), and bought the Canon 5DIII (for the cleaner high ISO), with upgrading to Hasselblad sometime in the future.
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Kolor-Pikker
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« Reply #13 on: September 10, 2013, 07:05:22 AM »
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Leica S2 is a bit too expensive (body alone costs over $30k and lenses are about $10k each here in Israel), and lacks any tilt shift options.

And, most importantly, anyone know which sites I can stalk for good deals (bearing in mind I live in Israel), other than eBay and Capture Integration?

Thanks,
Khaled
Ok, this combination of statements is kind of weird, you say that the Leica S(2) is really expensive in Israel (assuming new), but then you also talk about eBay as a viable option, where you can get a used S2 for $8000 or the new S for under $20k. Even with international shipping, it's certainly going to be significantly cheaper.

You also mention that there are no T/S options, when the S actually has a decent 120mm f/5.6 TS and also a Hasselblad adapter that will let you use the HTS system, as well as any other H lens with full AF, aperture and leaf shutter. There are also adapters for Hasselblad V, Phase/Mamiya 645, Pentax 67 and Contax.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2013, 07:13:17 AM by Kolor-Pikker » Logged
jerome_m
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« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2013, 07:06:23 AM »
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Any particular reason why the Nikon is better for jewelry though?

Any smaller sensor is easier to use with tiny objects, because larger sensors make it more difficult to get a usable depth of field in macro. I cited the D800, because it has many pixels and has a 24x36 sensor.

For the size of objects you presented (soda bottle and watch box), medium format cameras are in wide use.
« Last Edit: September 10, 2013, 07:11:29 AM by jerome_m » Logged
jerome_m
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« Reply #15 on: September 10, 2013, 07:12:45 AM »
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Ok, this combination of statements is kind of weird, you say that the Leica S(2) is really expensive in Israel (assuming new), but then you also talk about eBay as a viable option, where you can get a used S2 for $8000 or the new S for under $20k. Even with international shipping, it's certainly going to be significantly cheaper.

I suspect that Israel has stiff import taxes on this kind of equipment.
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Kolor-Pikker
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« Reply #16 on: September 10, 2013, 07:16:17 AM »
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I suspect that Israel has stiff import taxes on this kind of equipment.
I can see import tax being applied for new products, but used? I'm not really savvy with this subject since I've never had to pay import tax for anything. For the prices talked about here, one might as well fly to the US and buy it there, the trip will pay for itself.
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Ken R
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« Reply #17 on: September 10, 2013, 07:18:31 AM »
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Hi, If you are looking into a big improvement in resolution compared a top DSLR like the Nikon D800/E you need to look into a 60-80mp back. The 40mp backs have the same or just a notch more res. BUT, where the MFDBs absolutely rule is in color depth, color accuracy and consistency, no mater the pixel count. Also the tethered workflow with software like Phase's Capture One Pro is just superb with digital backs. A digital back is also very versatile in that you can mount it to a wide variety of camera systems. I use my digital back on a Arca Swiss Rm3Di for landscape and on a Hasselblad H1 for studio and people work. Also if you travel you can take the digital back with you and just rent a camera body and lenses as you need them.
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jerome_m
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« Reply #18 on: September 10, 2013, 07:34:34 AM »
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I can see import tax being applied for new products, but used? I'm not really savvy with this subject since I've never had to pay import tax for anything. For the prices talked about here, one might as well fly to the US and buy it there, the trip will pay for itself.

I don't know about Israel, but in the European Community, import taxes and VAT are levied on new and used products and even if you import them yourself while traveling. It is obviously possible to try to hide stuff in one's luggage but:
-this is illegal and you'll be prosecuted if you get caught
-it is probably not a clever idea to run a business with illegally obtained goods.
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Kolor-Pikker
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« Reply #19 on: September 10, 2013, 07:58:38 AM »
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I don't know about Israel, but in the European Community, import taxes and VAT are levied on new and used products and even if you import them yourself while traveling. It is obviously possible to try to hide stuff in one's luggage but:
-this is illegal and you'll be prosecuted if you get caught
-it is probably not a clever idea to run a business with illegally obtained goods.

Wow, I've never heard so much bullshit rules in one go before, like since grade school... if something's out of it's original box, it's not a product anymore, period. You don't even have to hide the stuff or anything, just put into your camera bag and say "it's my camera", does anyone honestly track what you left and came back with?

I'm glad Russia isn't part of the EU.
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