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Author Topic: Downgrading my MF  (Read 16556 times)
pjtn
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« on: October 09, 2013, 11:56:41 PM »
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I've been struggling with a decision to sell my Phase One P25+ and instead shoot landscapes with a Canon 5D MKIII.

I will be printing to only 36x24" (or 32x24" if using MF). My current camera is the Mamiya AFD and I have the old Mamiya 80mm lens attached. I don't think this lens is getting everything from the sensor.

Upgrading the camera and the lens would obviously improve the image quality, but it's extremely expensive. Plus I would like to have at least one other, wider focal length lens, which costs much more than the standard 80mm.

Stitching is not an option as I like doing long exposures.

What I'm curious about is whether the 5D MKIII might produce prints with a similar quality, using prime lenses, to what my P25+ is currently making?
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2013, 12:18:26 AM »
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Hi,

I recently looked at 30x40" (actually crops and not a full print) from my Sony Alpha 99 and from my P45+/Hasellblad V. I can see features which are sharper on the Hasselblad image but I cannot reliably tell which is which, if I am not looking for those features. This is a bit misleading due to different aspect ratio and different focal lengths. The Canon should be able to deliver the same resolution as the Sony Alpha. I would presume that Canon has better lenses.



I have posted some images shot with P45+ (39MP MF)  respectively Alpha 99 (24 MP FX) here:

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

http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Articles/MFDJourney/RawImages/MFDB_VS_DSLR2/

Here are more generic samples:

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

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


The pages above have both processed JPEGs at actual pixels and raw images. Those are real world images and not test shots. Test shots would/should be more exacting.

It is unlikely that your P25+ is limited by the old Mamiya lens, unless it is broken. Most Mamiya lenses are very good.

Image quality wise the Nikon D800/D800E has a few advantages. It has 36MP and better DR at low ISO than the Canon. Both can use Zeiss lenses. I presume that you don't own a Canon 5DIII, else you would just test, that is the reason I mention the Nikon.

Some would say that MF-files are better or more malleable than smaller format files, or have better skin tones. I cannot comment on that.


Best regards
Erik


I've been struggling with a decision to sell my Phase One P25+ and instead shoot landscapes with a Canon 5D MKIII.

I will be printing to only 36x24" (or 32x24" if using MF). My current camera is the Mamiya AFD and I have the old Mamiya 80mm lens attached. I don't think this lens is getting everything from the sensor.

Upgrading the camera and the lens would obviously improve the image quality, but it's extremely expensive. Plus I would like to have at least one other, wider focal length lens, which costs much more than the standard 80mm.

Stitching is not an option as I like doing long exposures.

What I'm curious about is whether the 5D MKIII might produce prints with a similar quality, using prime lenses, to what my P25+ is currently making?
« Last Edit: October 10, 2013, 01:00:07 AM by ErikKaffehr » Logged

torger
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« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2013, 01:57:57 AM »
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The P25+ sensor will produce better files concerning dynamic range, and possibly more pleasing color. The 5D mark III is like all Canon cameras a bit weak when it comes to shadow pushing. On the other hand this can be overcome with shooting technique and bracketing/HDR in difficult situations. Anyway, if you do lots of heavy post-processing the P25+ files will be noticeably better.

Concerning wides the TS-E 24 II is a great lens to have, so great that you might want to combine it with a 1.4x III to get ~35mm. I have a 5D mark II (and an Aptus 75 with tech cam), with the 5D I use the TS-E 24 II with 1.4x III to get 35mm, the 50/1.4 and 85/1.8 plus the 70-200/2.8 II. The 70-200 is so good that I can generally leave the 85 at home (hopefully Canon will update the 45 and 90 TS-E to newer designs soon by the way). I think that is a good landscape kit. Quality wise you can do with high end zooms on the long end (ie the 70-200/2.8 II), but prefer primes on normal to wides. The new 24-70 II should be good though, but I have not tested it. Be sure to get version II (or version III if exists) as the most recent versions of lenses are generally considerably sharper than the older revisions.

Nowadays I shoot most of my landscape with the tech cam though, but bring out the Canon when I need a quicker workflow, lighter gear, longer exposures or the environment is real tough. You might want to look into getting a second hand tech cam to your P25+, that could be about the same pricing as new Canon gear.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2013, 02:01:49 AM by torger » Logged
pjtn
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« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2013, 04:33:28 AM »
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Thanks a lot for all those links Erik! That's really helpful. Finding good samples from a DSLR like the A99 online is extremely hard, the review websites clearly don't use tripods...

The difference is very noticeable on screen between the A99 and P45+. I have to say it makes me reconsider. Are the differences less noticeable in print?

One other huge aspect is Capture One. I really don't like it one bit. My computer slows down, the image processing constantly stops working and I need to delete preference files to make it work, and in general the interface seems completely counter intuitive. Using Lightroom again yesterday was like a breath of fresh air, everything just works.

What kind of tech camera are you thinking Torger?

It's possible the Sony A99 would have more information to play with than the 5D MKIII. I was hoping they had fixed the shadow problems. My main reason for the Canon is the really nice new 24mm and 35mm lenses.
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Ken R
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« Reply #4 on: October 10, 2013, 05:20:30 AM »
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I've been struggling with a decision to sell my Phase One P25+ and instead shoot landscapes with a Canon 5D MKIII.

I will be printing to only 36x24" (or 32x24" if using MF). My current camera is the Mamiya AFD and I have the old Mamiya 80mm lens attached. I don't think this lens is getting everything from the sensor.

Upgrading the camera and the lens would obviously improve the image quality, but it's extremely expensive. Plus I would like to have at least one other, wider focal length lens, which costs much more than the standard 80mm.

Stitching is not an option as I like doing long exposures.

What I'm curious about is whether the 5D MKIII might produce prints with a similar quality, using prime lenses, to what my P25+ is currently making?

I suggest you get a D800E. You will love the image quality.

Ideally I would suggest a P45+ or a P65+ and another lens and even a tech camera but since you are on a tight budget it is not an option. 24x36" prints are possible with the Canon but it is at its limit so they can work but not as good as with the Nikon. (given equally good technique and lens)
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torger
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« Reply #5 on: October 10, 2013, 06:00:06 AM »
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What kind of tech camera are you thinking Torger?

To get an economical solution you need to be patient and creative, and also read a lot about the products and on the forums to make the right choice, as it's a bit of a jungle. Or you get help from a good dealer, but then pricing is rather different than second hand off a forum. You can build a system out of a Sinar X and analog lenses and get something real cheap, but it won't be very practical or good for wides.

The reason you would choose a tech camera with a 22 meg back instead of a Canon or Nikon would mainly be if you like the workflow and style. I use shifting and tilting a lot, and find the tilt-shift availability in the DSLRs a bit limiting. Say if you would have been a large format shooter in the film era, you'd probably like a tech cam. If you would have been a Hasselblad 500 shooter instead back then, I think a DSLR is the natural choice today, and indeed concerning image quality the D800E is the strongest, but if you intend to buy into the lens system and live long with the system you might want Canon anyway as they seem to make a bit better lenses the last few years. The TS-E 24 II and 17 are "killer" lenses. Now with the Zeiss Otus etc you can get good third-party choices as well though, and Nikon does have goodies too.

The problem with Canon is that have still been unable to show to the world that they can compete with Sony Exmor sensors (that's in the D800) in terms of base ISO image quality, so while it's quite safe to assume that a "high MP" Canon will arrive "soonish", there's nothing that indicates that it will have as good DR as the competition. The 5D mark III is only a mild improvement in image quality over the 5D mark II if we look at base ISO. Canon has always been up there with the best when it comes to the higher ISOs, and frankly I think they care a whole lot more about video features and being good at high ISO than competing in the shadow pushing game, which is a bit unfortunate for us that shoot landscapes from a tripod.

Get some 5D mark III raw files and play with in your raw converter and see how they are, the DR issue can easily be exaggerated. However, would I buy a system new from scratch today to get the most quality for the money from start I'd go with a D800 and live with the lens lineup limitations.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2013, 06:05:49 AM by torger » Logged
eronald
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« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2013, 06:11:15 AM »
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I've heard the 6D has very good DR, and it's comparatively cheap.

Re. wides for Mamiya, there are a bunch of decent old manual focus Mamiya lenses out there, which might solve your problem *very* cheaply. You could also use a cheap chinese adapter and a Hassy lens.

Edmund
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nairb
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« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2013, 06:31:32 AM »
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You may also want to consider what Sony releases in the coming weeks. It seems as though there will be a relatively inexpensive 36mp full frame mirrorless camera coming on which you would likely be able to use canon wide angles with full aperture and autofocus control through an adapter if I'm not mistaken. Though it wouldn't likely be continuous autofocus as you could find on a 5diii, it would likely use sony's focus peaking for manual focus.
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BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #8 on: October 10, 2013, 07:47:43 AM »
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It's possible the Sony A99 would have more information to play with than the 5D MKIII. I was hoping they had fixed the shadow problems. My main reason for the Canon is the really nice new 24mm and 35mm lenses.

The current best 35mm f1.4 is the Sigma, followed by the Nikkor/Zeiss and the Canon.

The 24mm f1.4 are very close.

The only lens that some consider significantly superior on Canon side is the 24mm T/S, but the reality is that the Nikkor 24mm T/S is very far from being a poor lens. Another current gap is the lack of 17mm T/S on Nikon side.

Frankly, if you have no existing Canon lenses, there is very little reason to pick the 5DIII. It is an excellent camera overall, but its sensor is 3-4 years behind at base ISO.

Another point of high importance is that Nikon mount lenses can be mounted on Canon bodies but the opposite isn't possible. For landscape applications, it makes therefore more sense to invest in F mount lenses (Nikon, Sigma, Zeiss, Leica R converted,...).

If Canon were to wake up and release a superior body I would just need to buy an adapter and start shooting without having to spend a penny on lenses.

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
BernardLanguillier
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« Reply #9 on: October 10, 2013, 07:58:14 AM »
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I've heard the 6D has very good DR, and it's comparatively cheap.

My grand aunt was saying the same thing before reading the following DxO comparison:

http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Compare-Camera-Sensors/Compare-cameras-side-by-side/(appareil1)/865|0/(brand)/Nikon/(appareil2)/836|0/(brand2)/Canon/(appareil3)/795|0/(brand3)/Canon

Note that I selected an APS body from another brand to illustrate the point. 2.25 times less sensor area... still 1.5 stop more DR.

But yes, the 6D is slightly less disastrous than the 5DIII. Both are excellent high ISO cameras though, clearly superior to any APS-C contender (but not better than other FF contenders though).

Cheers,
Bernard
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A few images online here!
Ken R
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« Reply #10 on: October 10, 2013, 08:21:02 AM »
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Yeah, Canon has not really improved base iso image quality since basically 2007 when they introduced the 1DS mk3 (which I still own). I have owned and or used the 5D, 5D2, 5D3 and 1DS3 extensively and can vouch for this fact.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #11 on: October 10, 2013, 08:26:45 AM »
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Hi,

Computer screens are around 100 DPI, so a 24 MP image on screen corresponds to a 100x150 cm print viewed from a close distance. So the difference you see is what you would see in a very large print viewed at close distance. I looked at 2000 pixel high crops in A4, something like 56x85 cm and I could see little difference. I could not say which was which without looking at clues. (Some strains of grass sharper on P45+ and the greens being  more yellow).

Tim Parkin had an article with Nikon D800 vs. Hasselblad H3D39, and the two were close. Tim also has a Sony Alpha 900 so they had some images from that camera, too. The differences were like my P45+ vs. my Alpha 99.

The P45+ arrived 2007 in the years passed MFDBs have developed a lot, it seems. The new MFDBs are very expensive. There was a very good article at Lens Rentals on choosing a camera system, I will dig it up when I have some time.

Best regards
Erik



Thanks a lot for all those links Erik! That's really helpful. Finding good samples from a DSLR like the A99 online is extremely hard, the review websites clearly don't use tripods...

The difference is very noticeable on screen between the A99 and P45+. I have to say it makes me reconsider. Are the differences less noticeable in print?

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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #12 on: October 10, 2013, 08:29:44 AM »
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Normally people have a dSLR and are considering a digital back. That makes it hard (though definitely not possible) to make their analysis based on their own hands on shooting. In such cases they normally work with a dealer to rent or borrow a back for testing.

But in this case you're considering a camera which is very broadly available. Rental for a 5DIII in NYC is around $75 for a 3-day weekend (plus $30-$50 per lens).

That's assuming you can't borrow one from a friend/colleague.

Go rent one, shoot for a weekend. Do some "direct" comparisons, but also just take and shoot each system the way each system feels best to you. Compare the results based on what you actually do (do you post 100% crops on websites or do you make prints? what kind/size of prints?) and see both the end-result. Also pay attention to how using each camera feels subjectively to you - this is completely personal: one persons "forces me to be slow and contemplative" system is another person's "painfully slow to use" system and some people (usually very loudly) insist the camera has zero influence on how they shoot.

Likewise some photographers find that shooting with a different aspect ratio is not bothersome at all and they can "crop on the fly" if they don't love the 3:2 aspect ratio of the dSLR. Others will find that composing in a long-skinny viewfinder is wonderful, still others will find it horrid.

It will cost you less than $200 (assuming you're renting in a major market) or a few beers (if you're borrowing from a friend) and will gain you a lot more insight than anything you'll get on the forum. Even outside the major markets a Canon rental is pretty easy to arrange via mail. Of course I can only really speak about the US here where there are several major rental houses that work almost exclusively via online-and-ship - not sure where you're located.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2013, 08:36:45 AM by Doug Peterson » Logged

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« Reply #13 on: October 10, 2013, 08:33:41 AM »
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One other huge aspect is Capture One. I really don't like it one bit. My computer slows down, the image processing constantly stops working and I need to delete preference files to make it work, and in general the interface seems completely counter intuitive.

Few thoughts:
- have you ever taken a class on C1? We're not talking about going back for a 10 week university course - just an hour or two capture one class taken online. The most common reaction we have after such a class is the client feels like they are "fighting" the software much less now that they understand some of the underlying philosophies of the interface design.
- have you worked with P1 Support or your dealer to troubleshoot your slow downs and process-halts? These are absolutely not normal and can definitely be fixed. It could be something very simple like not having enough ram, or using OSX 10.6 (which is supported but is known to be horridly buggy with current versions of C1).
- you do not NEED to use Capture One for a P25+. I'd argue you'll get best results using C1 rather than LR with your P25+, but I'd argue the same for your 5DIII. So the choice between C1 and LR has very little to do with your choice between a P25+ and a 5DIII.
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DOUG PETERSON (dep@digitaltransitions.com), Digital Transitions
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #14 on: October 10, 2013, 08:41:26 AM »
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My current camera is the Mamiya AFD and I have the old Mamiya 80mm lens attached. I don't think this lens is getting everything from the sensor.

Upgrading the camera and the lens would obviously improve the image quality, but it's extremely expensive. Plus I would like to have at least one other, wider focal length lens, which costs much more than the standard 80mm.

Just as a reference point we have a pre-owned DF Body for $1700 and a pre-owned Phase One 80mm D lens for $1492.

I have a lot of respect for the Phase One 45mm D which we have as a new-but-open-box for $2,290.

Everyone's idea of "extremely expensive" will definitely vary. I used to think $5 was "extremely expensive" for a beer*, before I fell in love with great beer and moved to NYC. So I thought I'd give you some specific numbers so you have a reference.

*I could get 20 beers for that on quarter-beer night at the dive bar in college!
« Last Edit: October 10, 2013, 08:52:05 AM by Doug Peterson » Logged

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« Reply #15 on: October 10, 2013, 09:02:36 AM »
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As others have said, the 5d3 is like a 5d2/1ds3, with better high ISO performance.  It is, to my mind, a small 1ds3 without the 1ds3 finder (which is really nice).  Its a steroidal 5d2, a much better camera mechanically than the 5d2, with slightly better IQ.  It is great for shooting lifestyle and portraits, and journalism.  I think it would be too far a drop from the P25+.  The D800e is a huge improvement over the 5d3 in terms of IQ, at least for landscapes, not so much for people.

The Mamiya 80AF is a very sharp, very contrasty lens.  It does well with 33 and 39mpx backs, in my experience.  You may want to check out another copy. 

I would also suggest that, for less than twohundred USD, you look at the Mamiya 55mm manual focus lens.  One of the best lenses I've ever used.  The 45mmAF is good too once its stopped down.  This lens used is in the fourhundred USD range.

Other than that, look at a D800e.  Its sharp and all that.

As to C1, if it bogs its probably due to your video card.  Runs like a champ on my 2012 iMac, 2011 MBP, and even my ancient 2006 Mac Pro, although I have a much improved video card.

Good luck!
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torger
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« Reply #16 on: October 10, 2013, 09:09:55 AM »
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Concerning raw converters, or any other software for that matter, one gets used to what one uses, and dislikes every other software that doesn't work exactly as one is used to. Given some time and patience one can usually start to like the alternatives.

The main weakness I think C1 have compared to Lightroom is the tonemapping features (highlights and shadows pushing), so if one is using those a lot with strong settings in Lightroom it will be hard to achieve the same results with C1. So featurewise I'd say Lightroom is better for landscape work, while C1 is probably better for studio work and portraits where fine-tuned color comes into play, especially with Phase One and Leaf backs. However with a bit more old-school approach to landscape post-processing (ie less tonemapping) C1 will do very good work too.
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ErikKaffehr
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« Reply #17 on: October 10, 2013, 12:40:21 PM »
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Hi,

Regarding the raw converters I am with Torger. I own C1 but don't really use it. It has probably some benefits for studio work. It also produces less aliasing artifacts as far as I can see. My major issue is the user interface and the handling highlights and shadows. The issue is really that you need to compress a wide range of luminance without making the image low contrast and boring. Lightroom 4 introduced a kind of local adaption that helps to achieve that in a natural looking way.

The article below describes a technique not needed any longer with LR4:
http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/index.php/photoarticles/61-hdr-tone-mapping-on-ordinary-image

I also feel that I want a parametric workflow and DAM facilities. Both C1 and LR offer this, but I don't think they mix well. On my platform I would say (model 2009 MacPro + 16 GByte) that C1 is faster than LR5.

Getting back to your options, I would suggest that you try to check out your technique first. Everything I have published have been shot from a very good tripod using a very good head. I also use mirror lockup and cable release (or self timer on the Alpha 99). I also have checked focusing as well a I could and use a 3X prism with a 3X monocular for exact focusing on the "Blad". Alpha 99 I use live view at 11X magnification.

After that try another lens and consider "downgrading".

Just to mention, a member on these forums (lust4life) has downgraded from Hasselblad HD4D50 to Nikon D800E and a Zeiss 21/4 lens and he seems to be superhappy. The reason he downgraded was need for lower weight.

Best regards
Erik



Concerning raw converters, or any other software for that matter, one gets used to what one uses, and dislikes every other software that doesn't work exactly as one is used to. Given some time and patience one can usually start to like the alternatives.

The main weakness I think C1 have compared to Lightroom is the tonemapping features (highlights and shadows pushing), so if one is using those a lot with strong settings in Lightroom it will be hard to achieve the same results with C1. So featurewise I'd say Lightroom is better for landscape work, while C1 is probably better for studio work and portraits where fine-tuned color comes into play, especially with Phase One and Leaf backs. However with a bit more old-school approach to landscape post-processing (ie less tonemapping) C1 will do very good work too.
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« Reply #18 on: October 10, 2013, 01:06:21 PM »
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Just as a reference point we have a pre-owned DF Body for $1700 and a pre-owned Phase One 80mm D lens for $1492.

I have a lot of respect for the Phase One 45mm D which we have as a new-but-open-box for $2,290.

Everyone's idea of "extremely expensive" will definitely vary. I used to think $5 was "extremely expensive" for a beer*, before I fell in love with great beer and moved to NYC. So I thought I'd give you some specific numbers so you have a reference.

*I could get 20 beers for that on quarter-beer night at the dive bar in college!

Doug,

 Who needs to justify the price of a Rolls Royce?
 I once had a long-distance trip in one. Guy who owned it took a wheel off on the highway to unclamp the brakes from the wheel.
 In all fairness it was a restored job, but still that was a one-off event.

Edmund
« Last Edit: October 10, 2013, 01:17:16 PM by eronald » Logged
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« Reply #19 on: October 10, 2013, 01:18:06 PM »
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I have a Canon 5DII, Nikon D800E and a Phase one IQ180/Cambo/Rodenstock Hr's
Go for the Nikon D800E and some first class lenses, I converted Leica R's to Nikkor mount and couldn't be happier!
Basically a MFDB in an SLR package!
Marc
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Marc McCalmont
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