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Author Topic: Making the jump to Medium Format - Newbie Questions  (Read 6786 times)
SethDAugust
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« on: February 18, 2014, 11:48:06 AM »
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Hello all, name is Seth and I am a commercial photog about to jump into the MF world. There is a lot of info out there, unfortunately that makes it hard to sift through to find answers so I am coming here for some more direct answers to questions and suggestions to help me find what I need.

I've looked through several "newbie" thread here and elsewhere to tell you to first go rent or test out the various camera systems and then make an informed decision based upon that. I have shot a few MF bodies previously and I am leaning towards a Hasselblad system because of comfort - to be honest pretty much anything will be higher IQ than my 5DmkII at this point. MP count isn't entirely important but I would like to make a step upward from where I am working at currently, so something in the 30-40MP range would be perfect. I realize it's not everything but I do want to leave some room to grow in the next few years as (hopefully) my work gets used in larger sizes.

I shoot almost everything - portrait, fashion/glamour, landscapes for art sales, product and food, automotive, weddings... I am looking for something I can also possibly start to attach onto a large format 4x5 Cambo system for some of the product/food studio work I do (and hopefully get more of). I realize I need an adapter for that but want to make sure I am buying the right back for it as well. From what I have seen mostly everything has an adapter for this use. However, what about if I wanted to try an older film camera like a Rollei 6008 or Mamiya 645 AF with a digital back. I am wondering how something like an H4D-31 (what I am leaning towards buying both out of liking the feel/images and budget) would be able to fit on one of those. Looking around there are different mounts obviously and I am confused as to what can be converted to fit other backs. Even though my first priority is to upgrade to deliver great images, I think it would be fun to use an older, less expensive MF camera system as a back up body too.

Anyway, that's where I will start. I do have more questions/recommendations I will need to address once I get over this first hump but I very much appreciate everyone's help.

Thanks
-Seth
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-Seth
Rob Whitehead
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« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2014, 11:56:18 AM »
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You'll probably have more luck with a Phase back on some of those cameras - eg the mamiya 645 af. But bodies are not that expensive, go a generation newer and get a Mamiya/Phase DF - about 3K.
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SethDAugust
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« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2014, 11:58:37 AM »
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And what back would you suggest that would be comparable to that of the one on an H4D-31?
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-Seth
Doug Peterson
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« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2014, 12:02:43 PM »
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And what back would you suggest that would be comparable to that of the one on an H4D-31?

P30+ is the closest direct comparison.

P21, P21+, P30, P40+, IQ140, Credo 40 are also in the same general ballpark. At a different range of pricing, features, resolution etc.
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DOUG PETERSON (dep@digitaltransitions.com), Digital Transitions
Dealer for Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Profoto
Office: 877.367.8537
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Phase One IQ250 FAQ
SethDAugust
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« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2014, 12:07:25 PM »
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P30+ is the closest direct comparison.

P21, P21+, P30, P40+, IQ140, Credo 40 are also in the same general ballpark. At a different range of pricing, features, resolution etc.

I have looked around a bit at P30+ and P40+

Question is if I do opt for this route and am inclined to stick with the Hasselblad H body as my main, what would be the downside of going with an H3D or even H2D? It seems H4D and H3DII body only without the Hasselblad back units are harder to come by.

Obviously if I just when with a 645DF then the issue of using other systems with a P30/40+ back is solved but I now I'm not buying the camera I felt most comfortable using.
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-Seth
Theodoros
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« Reply #5 on: February 18, 2014, 12:13:20 PM »
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I suggest to prefer an H2 than an H3 since one is an "open" camera while the other is "closed". If using the back on a view camera is among your aims, I would highly recommend the Aptus 7II… Larger sensor from the earlier suggested too…
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SethDAugust
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« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2014, 12:18:16 PM »
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I suggest to prefer an H2 than an H3 since one is an "open" camera while the other is "closed". If using the back on a view camera is among your aims, I would highly recommend the Aptus 7II… Larger sensor from the earlier suggested too…

So you're saying more options to be had with an H2 than the H3 system. Interesting, I would have almost thought the opposite.

The Aptus ii 7 was initially among my choices but it's just too far out of the price range I need to keep in when adding bodies and lenses into the system.

I would consider an Aptus 65 or 75 but not sure how those compare to the newer ones other than in similar MP range.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2014, 12:20:44 PM by SethDAugust » Logged

-Seth
Theodoros
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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2014, 12:47:01 PM »
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So you're saying more options to be had with an H2 than the H3 system. Interesting, I would have almost thought the opposite.

The Aptus ii 7 was initially among my choices but it's just too far out of the price range I need to keep in when adding bodies and lenses into the system.

I would consider an Aptus 65 or 75 but not sure how those compare to the newer ones other than in similar MP range.
Aptus 75 is great…. IQ difference from 7 is nothing worth considering… I doubt you'll ever change the back if you get one of these…. Larger image area than 65.
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SethDAugust
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« Reply #8 on: February 18, 2014, 12:52:00 PM »
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Aptus 75 is great…. IQ difference from 7 is nothing worth considering… I doubt you'll ever change the back if you get one of these…. Larger image area than 65.

great thanks for that info.
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-Seth
douglevy
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« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2014, 12:59:56 PM »
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You can't put a phase body on the H3/4/5, you can on the H1/H2 though, and (only) if you have an H1 or H2, can trade them in for a H4X, which will also take a phase back, but you can't buy them direct retail. I'm in a similar boat as you, I loved the Hassy ergonomics and feel, and recently bought an H1 with p25+.
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #10 on: February 18, 2014, 01:05:02 PM »
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you can on the H1/H2 though, and (only) if you have an H1 or H2, can trade them in for a H4X

Working with a good dealer means you do not need to own an H1 or H2 to purchase an H4X. We sell P1 kits with H4X bodies to customers without such onerous ownership requirements.
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DOUG PETERSON (dep@digitaltransitions.com), Digital Transitions
Dealer for Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Profoto
Office: 877.367.8537
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Phase One IQ250 FAQ
JV
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« Reply #11 on: February 18, 2014, 01:07:33 PM »
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Please note that the Leaf Aptus II backs do not work with the H4x.  

I have never heard of there being any issues with the Leaf Aptus 75 but it is definitely recommended to double-check before buying.

I also cannot find the H4X page anymore on the Hasselblad USA website.  It makes me wonder whether the H4X is still being offered as an upgrade.

Perhaps one of the dealers can confirm whether it is still available or not.
« Last Edit: February 18, 2014, 01:13:51 PM by JV » Logged
Theodoros
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« Reply #12 on: February 18, 2014, 01:50:37 PM »
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You can't put a phase body on the H3/4/5, you can on the H1/H2 though, and (only) if you have an H1 or H2, can trade them in for a H4X, which will also take a phase back, but you can't buy them direct retail. I'm in a similar boat as you, I loved the Hassy ergonomics and feel, and recently bought an H1 with p25+.
The same applies for all backs… not for Phase One only...
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jerome_m
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« Reply #13 on: February 18, 2014, 02:12:55 PM »
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I am not a pro, but I got an H3D-31 some time ago so maybe I can answer some of your questions.

First: as far as pixel count or sharpness is, the 31 mpix backs are not much better than a D800e. The H lenses are better than the Nikon lenses, not necessarily on pure sharpness but rather on the way they "draw" the subject. The differences are relatively small, though. If you want to make a difference, I would choose a 40 or 50 mpix back.

Second: all this only makes sense if you want to print big.

Third: 31 and 40 mpix backs (all brands) are not adapted to view or technical cameras but are twice as sensitive than other ccd backs. 31 and 40 mpix backs also use a smaller sensor than the rest.

Fourth: I don't think that mounting a H back on a Rollei 6008 or Mamiya 645 is possible (I am not sure), because the physical mount is different. But it does not make sense anyway, because the H is a better camera. Phase backs mount natively on Mamiya 645 cameras.

Five: For product photography, the Hasselblad HTS is probably more convenient than the Cambo. But you can use the H back on the Cambo, tethered.

Feel free to ask more questions as they come.
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Nick-T
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« Reply #14 on: February 18, 2014, 02:52:36 PM »
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Hi Seth
I have a 5D2 a D800 and H3d31 and and H4d40. They are all great cameras but I would say the Canon is the weakest of the three for image quality.

I suggest you get in touch with Steve at Capture Integration (I bought my H4D40 -Factory refurb- from them) and their service is excellent.

https://captureintegration.com

Happy to answer any questions you might have here.
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Joe Towner
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« Reply #15 on: February 18, 2014, 03:24:54 PM »
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I am not a pro, but I got an H3D-31 some time ago so maybe I can answer some of your questions.

All of Jerome's info is legit.  Don't waste your time trying to put a Hasselblad back on a Mamiya or Rollie - it's not designed to work.  It comes down to what you are trying to do.  I would consider heavily what your output is going to be.  Lots of clients are all about the MP at this point, so you should consider what a A7r with the Metabones adapter will give you (plus native lenses) or the D800e.  If you're going to look at a Cambo setup, make sure you have a non-microlens back - the rule of thumb I heard on LL was a base ISO of 100 means microlenses (and limited tilt/shift ability).

If you can't up your pricing and have to do this out of pocket, don't half ass it with a less than 40MP size.  Consider a used Pentax 645D as the cheapest way to get to 40MP, with the rumors on the v2 being a 50MP product.  That should get you going for under $10k, while a used -40, -50 or a P40+/45+/IQ140 will be closer to $15-20k.

Welcome to club, choose your product and dealer wisely.  Changing them can be extremely expensive.
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SethDAugust
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« Reply #16 on: February 18, 2014, 04:48:15 PM »
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Thanks for the info everyone.

Very much appreciated. After talking with Doug I am going to test drive an Mamiya DF+ and see how that goes. I loved the feel of the Hasselblad in my hand but maybe if the Mamiya grows on me it will be a better choice financially and also to be able to use on multiple systems down the road.
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-Seth
synn
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« Reply #17 on: February 18, 2014, 04:53:14 PM »
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Thanks for the info everyone.

Very much appreciated. After talking with Doug I am going to test drive an Mamiya DF+ and see how that goes. I loved the feel of the Hasselblad in my hand but maybe if the Mamiya grows on me it will be a better choice financially and also to be able to use on multiple systems down the road.

The DF+ pleasantly surprised me. I am not a fan of the older Mamiya bodies, but there are some subtle, but very effective tweaks made to the DF+ that makes it a very useful body. Not to say that it's miles better than a a Hassy body or anything. Everyone has their own preferences.
One thing the Phase IQ/ Leaf Credo backs have that the Hassy backs don't is an amazing display. It makes life a lot  easier when shooting untethered.
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Ken R
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« Reply #18 on: February 18, 2014, 09:03:08 PM »
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Hello all, name is Seth and I am a commercial photog about to jump into the MF world. There is a lot of info out there, unfortunately that makes it hard to sift through to find answers so I am coming here for some more direct answers to questions and suggestions to help me find what I need.

I've looked through several "newbie" thread here and elsewhere to tell you to first go rent or test out the various camera systems and then make an informed decision based upon that. I have shot a few MF bodies previously and I am leaning towards a Hasselblad system because of comfort - to be honest pretty much anything will be higher IQ than my 5DmkII at this point. MP count isn't entirely important but I would like to make a step upward from where I am working at currently, so something in the 30-40MP range would be perfect. I realize it's not everything but I do want to leave some room to grow in the next few years as (hopefully) my work gets used in larger sizes.

I shoot almost everything - portrait, fashion/glamour, landscapes for art sales, product and food, automotive, weddings... I am looking for something I can also possibly start to attach onto a large format 4x5 Cambo system for some of the product/food studio work I do (and hopefully get more of). I realize I need an adapter for that but want to make sure I am buying the right back for it as well. From what I have seen mostly everything has an adapter for this use. However, what about if I wanted to try an older film camera like a Rollei 6008 or Mamiya 645 AF with a digital back. I am wondering how something like an H4D-31 (what I am leaning towards buying both out of liking the feel/images and budget) would be able to fit on one of those. Looking around there are different mounts obviously and I am confused as to what can be converted to fit other backs. Even though my first priority is to upgrade to deliver great images, I think it would be fun to use an older, less expensive MF camera system as a back up body too.

Anyway, that's where I will start. I do have more questions/recommendations I will need to address once I get over this first hump but I very much appreciate everyone's help.

Thanks
-Seth

Hi, I highly recommend the PhaseOne IQ1/2 series. (The Credo also, it only lacks a few features but the outstanding chassis and screen are the same as the IQ). I own an IQ160 and is an extremely versatile piece of equipment. I use it mainly on a technical camera (Arca Swiss Rm3Di) but also mount it on a Hasselblad H1 on occasion to make portraits (the Medium Format Viewfinders are awesome, much larger than any in 35mm). The Sensor + feature on the IQ backs works great for higher volume shoots where you want the flexibility to use higher iso and the lower file size is an asset (but it is still a RAW file, just smaller) while still having the same look of the full medium format sensor. The tethering ease and performance/reliability is also superb. Great for supervised shoots. I did not enjoy the expense but after the fact I forgot about it and just enjoy using the system. Just a superb photographic tool. I have done quite a bit of paid work with it and have made some amazing prints. I sell them at a premium over the ones made with 35mm digital gear for a reason. At 30x40in sizes and larger the print from the 60MP back and Rodenstock HR lenses is just a cut above, way above. Working with the files is truly a joy. Very very malleable.

The most important thing is that you get a system that is right for the way you work and what you want it to use it for. Medium Format Digital is a great alternative. It has a different look and feel. I love it.

Yes, the Sony A7R and D800E have great sensor (a similar one is available in larger form on the new Phase1 IQ250) but they are still 35mm full frame CMOS camera systems. The A7R does allow the use of a wide range of lenses through adapters which is great though and although it lacks an optical viewfinder the EVF it has is nice. Still, working with medium format is a much different experience and digital backs are extremely versatile in that you can use them in a wide range of systems.
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SethDAugust
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« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2014, 07:35:25 AM »
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Great info, thanks Ken!
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-Seth
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