Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Medium Format / Film / Digital Backs – and Large Sensor Photography => Topic started by: jani80 on August 31, 2013, 04:11:19 AM

Title: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: jani80 on August 31, 2013, 04:11:19 AM
I have owned a Pentax 645D + several lenses for 2 ˝ years now. Absolutely love the system but my warranty ended. I have had a lot of problems with my body, under warranty everything worked out fine (service center always fixed me a body for repair time) but now I can’t take a risk to be without my camera for a couple of months if something happens.

I absolutely love to shoot with MF. It has changed my style a lot and I just enjoy shooting with a slow pace.

I have been looking at a Phase One DF+ with P40+ back and a couple of lenses.  I have never used that back and have heard that iso over 400 is just crap. To make a change for Phase One I still need to invest 10.000€. My idea is to invest in a system that I can upgrade in the future.

Next week I will have a chat with my local Hasselblad dealer. I have no experience with Hasselblad cameras and do not know anything about them. So if you have good thought please let me know. I am very limited with my budget so cant invest too much >:(

I also had in mind to ask for an exchange package to a Nikon D800E + a few lenses. To this setup I probably would not have to invest so much money but it still feels like a downgrade.

If business was like before I would just invest in the first system I like, but the future is a question mark.

I would love to hear what you use and love.

I do a lot of long exposures and hate my 645D black frames, how do Hasselblad and Phase One do? How is the Nikon for long exposures?

Thank you so much for every good thought and experience you share with me
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: evgeny on August 31, 2013, 06:08:14 AM
Hasselblad H4D-40 and H5D-40 allow up to 256 seconds exposure. The rest of H4D and H5D models provide max 32 seconds exposure.

Here is a sample photo with Hasselblad H4D-40
Exposure Time: 16.0 seconds;
FNumber: f/8.0;
ISO 100;

(http://gallery.photo.net/photo/16823111-lg.jpg)
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: bcooter on August 31, 2013, 09:16:34 AM
I'm curious.  If your happy with the Pentax 645D and have an investment in lens sets, why not just buy another 645d as a primary or backup camera.  They're selling new for 7 grand which is a steal in the medium format world and since it's an all in one piece of kit, it will have less issues than most mf cameras.

For 7 grand, if that camera would tether I'd buy today.

IMO

BC
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: Ken R on August 31, 2013, 10:09:05 AM
I had the 645D and now have the IQ160 with a Arca Swiss RM3Di, two Rodenstock HR lenses (the 40mm and the 70mm) and a Hasselblad H1 body with 80mm lens.

First of, as an SLR the 645D is a much more integrated system and has cleaner high iso (full resolution) and long exposures. Also with the 645D I could put a second SD card with WiFi and transmit the JPGs to my iPad while keeping the RAWs on the other SD. No other Medium Format Digital System does this. The 645D basically feels a lot like a 35mm DSLR. No MF body / MFDB system will feel like that.

However, with the Tech camera and the wide angles the image quality with the IQ160 back is in another world. Awesome for landscapes. Color, highlight recovery, shadow recovery, detail/sharpness edge to edge. For portraits I really like the Color of the IQ back better also although both can be manipulated to extremes but the IQ holds more detail in the highlights. The live view (usable in all conditions with ND filters) in the IQ backs makes working with a technical camera a much more pleasant experience. I do not think it is a requirement for working with an slr but the screen of the IQ is worlds better of the one in the P+ backs.

One big reason I sold the Pentax was because of the service. The service and support of the Phase One backs is second to none from what I hear. Buying from a dealer also helps since you have someone that represents you in case you need service and support from Phase One or any of the other products they sell. They can also help you configure the best setup for your needs. The other reason I got the IQ160 is because of that. I wanted the versatility and the ability to use it on a system that suited my needs. The Phase Backs can be used in a wide variety of cameras and with a wide range of lenses. You can keep the back and upgrade the body or use it on a different body like I do. It is a much more open system.
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: MrSmith on August 31, 2013, 10:13:22 AM
"I just do not enjoy the DSLR fast work style with hundreds if not thousands of images from one small "

i never understand these kind of statements??? work as fast or as slow as you want, unless you suffer from the DT's and have the shutter set to continuous the speed of working is down to you.
i use a tripod, manual focus, live view and a cable release the camera doesn't dictate how fast i work or how many images i take.
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: LKaven on August 31, 2013, 11:12:28 AM
I also had in mind to ask for an exchange package to a Nikon D800E + a few lenses. To this setup I probably would not have to invest so much money but it still feels like a downgrade.  [...] How is the Nikon for long exposures?

Black frames are mandatory for the D800, since the active sensor produces thermal noise, but the results are very clean.  My only criticism of the D800 is that I wish it had the finder of the D4.
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: Paul2660 on August 31, 2013, 12:03:27 PM
On the longer exposures, Nikon, Canon, Fuji, Sony etc. all use a Black frame.  However Canon allows you to buffer the black frame to the background on certain cameras, 5D MKII, 6D, 5D MKIII I know this works for sure.  Nikon works the black frame just like Phase One in that you are totally locked out of the camera until the black frame is done.  Not so big a deal on a 1 min shot but a huge deal on say a 10min or longer shot.  I was surprised by this when I started using Nikon in my night work. 

Back to the P40+, the plus backs (except for the P45+) offer you sensor plus, so in a higher iso setting, you could shoot in sensor plus mode, however you would only have around a 10mp file.  It's a very very good 10mp file however.  I have used sensor plus on the IW160 up to iso 800 and the results were excellent. 

Don't get the P40+ confused with the P45+ as they are both listed as + backs and have basically the same MP's.  The P45+ has the up to 1 hour exposures (in ambient temp 69 degrees F or lower) and the P40+ has the sensor plus. 

Steve Hendrix from Capture Integration wrote a very nice piece on the P40+ and sensor plus.  It should still be on the Capture Integration website.

Phase One had a very attractive offer on the P40+ recently, but I am not sure it that is still in play.  The P40+ also has a 1:3 crop factor.  This can work for and against you. 

Paul Caldwell
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: jani80 on August 31, 2013, 01:32:41 PM
I'm curious.  If your happy with the Pentax 645D and have an investment in lens sets, why not just buy another 645d as a primary or backup camera.  They're selling new for 7 grand which is a steal in the medium format world and since it's an all in one piece of kit, it will have less issues than most mf cameras.

Hello Bcooter!

Frankly I haven’t even thought about that, maybe that is a sign… Actually I would love to invest in a system that is more versatile. Would also love to have a back that could be upgraded in the future if needed. I shoot a lot in the studio as well so a fast flash sync wouldn’t be wrong! I have noticed that I often use my old 75mm LS lens from Pentax with a 1/500sec.

Pentax has a software for tethered shooting. One colleague  of mine uses that and told me that it works ok.
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: jani80 on August 31, 2013, 01:44:44 PM
I had the 645D and now have the IQ160 with a Arca Swiss RM3Di, two Rodenstock HR lenses (the 40mm and the 70mm) and a Hasselblad H1 body with 80mm lens.


Thank You KenR
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: jani80 on August 31, 2013, 01:54:31 PM
i never understand these kind of statements??? work as fast or as slow as you want, unless you suffer from the DT's and have the shutter set to continuous the speed of working is down to you.
i use a tripod, manual focus, live view and a cable release the camera doesn't dictate how fast i work or how many images i take.

I am so sorry MrSmith that I do not shoot the same way you do! Maybe I don't have enough years as a professional, only 15 behind me. But for me a MF works alot better. Not for everything... but mostly :)

And I am so happy that you shared your thoughts with us. Even if you didn't help me with my case.
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: MrSmith on August 31, 2013, 02:45:02 PM
My reply does offer the suggestion that using a 35mm camera does not mean you are restricted to a machine gun approach. something that i rashly thought was relevant to the topic, i was obviously mistaken.
Sorry if that offended your sensibilities and good nature.  ???
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: jani80 on August 31, 2013, 03:35:28 PM
My reply does offer the suggestion that using a 35mm camera does not mean you are restricted to a machine gun approach. something that i rashly thought was relevant to the topic, i was obviously mistaken.
Sorry if that offended your sensibilities and good nature.  ???

I am sorry as well! English is a foreign language to me and I got very frustrated when my point was to ask about different setups and you criticized my text. Sorry.

You have a lovely website!
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: Telecaster on August 31, 2013, 03:38:24 PM
As an amateur (in the proper sense) with a handful of Pentax 645 FA lenses from a prior foray into the MF SLR world, the fairly recent 645D price drop was too great to pass up. So far I've been enjoying the heck out of it. For professional use, though, I can see the conundrum.

Shorter-term approach, economic conditions & such being what they are: do as bcooter suggests and get a second 645D.

Longer-term approach, more ambitious but also likely more economically risky: invest in a P1 system for the support...and the flexibility of having interchangeable backs & bodies.

Just my enthusiast's 2 cents.

-Dave-
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: MrSmith on August 31, 2013, 03:51:08 PM
I am sorry as well! English is a foreign language to me and I got very frustrated when my point was to ask about different setups and you criticized my text. Sorry.

You have a lovely website!

Thanks  :)
Having re-read your opening post I would maybe suggest waiting and see what's in the MF pipeline in the coming months from Pentax as you have the lenses already. By all means road-test a hassleblad and phase if only to maybe eliminate an option if there's something you don't like about them after giving them a try.
Or what about buying a d800 and a lens of your most used focal length (find the best one be it Zeiss or Nikon) you are unlikely to lose much as the lenses hold their value if you decide it's not for you after shooting with it for a bit.
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: jani80 on August 31, 2013, 03:54:55 PM
As an amateur (in the proper sense) with a handful of Pentax 645 FA lenses from a prior foray into the MF SLR world, the fairly recent 645D price drop was too great to pass up. So far I've been enjoying the heck out of it. For professional use, though, I can see the conundrum.

Shorter-term approach, economic conditions & such being what they are: do as bcooter suggests and get a second 645D.

Longer-term approach, more ambitious but also likely more economically risky: invest in a P1 system for the support...and the flexibility of having interchangeable backs & bodies.

Just my enthusiast's 2 cents.

-Dave-

Thank you Dave.

Phase One made me a relatively good deal to take my Pentax gear. So the amount I must anyways pay to get the second Pentax 645d is closet to the Phase1 deal with 2 lenses. The deal is with the P40+ back and I am not sure if I will like it. If the deal was for an IQ back i wouldn't hesitate.
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: marcmccalmont on August 31, 2013, 05:42:54 PM
The image quality of the Rodenstock and Schneider lenses are much better than what is available for the DF camera so I chose a technical camera for my IQ and a Nikon D800E to compliment it. Marc
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: rem on August 31, 2013, 06:48:25 PM
Evgeny, the H4/5D50 have 128 seconds exposure...
rem
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: leeonmaui on August 31, 2013, 06:51:26 PM
Aloha,

In an "uncertain future" getting another 645D body or an Nikon D800E might be the way to go, (Are we allowed to write that name in this section.)

Nikon has some nice lenses as well.

I shoot  with the 645D and I'm pretty bullish on it.

I am not sure you would gain noticeably enhanced image quality with a P40 or P40+ but i never shot with that system, I'm just going from the tests and reviews I have read. Maybe there are some lenses available that might benefit the way you shoot.

I have had my 645D for awhile and have not had any problems with it(hope saying that is not going to curse me!) I take care of it but don't really baby it, and I shoot in some fairly challenging environments. I would be curious if anyone else reading this has had issues with the body?

This link might interest you; http://www.dxomark.com/index.php/Cameras/Camera-Sensor-Ratings
It does not tell the whole story but it might put some things in perspective.

Even though I make my living with my camera, the investment for me in a Phase One system seems extravagant to say the least, especially in regards to what might/will be available in the future.
If you were to gain a dramatic increase in image quality equal to the investment that might be something else. Ditto for Hasselblad.

I will most likely get a D800E to convert to IR and a few lenses, "looking down" that's seems to be the best choice.

"looking up" the biggest and best from Phase might be spectacular, but add some lenses and odds and ends and I guess you would be well north of $50,000 but I have never priced that out.


    
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: bcooter on August 31, 2013, 10:16:18 PM
Hello Bcooter!

Frankly I haven’t even thought about that, maybe that is a sign… Actually I would love to invest in a system that is more versatile. Would also love to have a back that could be upgraded in the future if needed. I shoot a lot in the studio as well so a fast flash sync wouldn’t be wrong! I have noticed that I often use my old 75mm LS lens from Pentax with a 1/500sec.

Pentax has a software for tethered shooting. One colleague  of mine uses that and told me that it works ok.


Cameras are personal and I'm not trying to sway anybody any which way.  Just thought that since you like your camera, are worried about reliability a second one would do the trick.

Personally, I'm still using my phase backs when I can and if I could do only still projects without a motion image component, I would, but that's not the direction of my business.

Also, I've been using the 4:3 systems (sorry to mention anything with a small sensor) from olympus and panasonic and though I know they're not in the ultra pixel detail of ccd digital backs, I love working with the 4:3's, but bigger is a lot of times better and when I can I shoot with a p30+ and a P21+ (my favorite back ever even though it has a low pixel count) and for motion when I can I use our RED's which are 4k, so what I say today, probably will change tomorrow.

To me the GH3 is almost a perfect camera and the best all around camera I've ever used and everytime I use it I'm amazed by what it does, but I've never been one to count pixels, but the GH3 with the ultra sharp Olympus mft lenses makes a nice image and up to 800 to 1000 iso somewhat film like.

In regards to the pentax tethering software I've never used it, have a friend that did and he sold his software, so for him it didn't work as he wanted, but once again, everyone is different.

IMO

BC
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: Lacunapratum on September 01, 2013, 06:20:03 PM
I'd also consider getting a second body for $7K.  Overall, I have found the system to be fairly robust, but I have also had the occasional repair.  I own another medium format system that I can rely on in that case, but they are totally different systems.  Or I'd wait for the 645Dii, which is supposed to have a longer shutter life, perhaps translating into improved durability.  Overall, my 645D has been my #1 system in terms of reliability, especially exposure settings, autofocus, macro flash etc..  Connections, interfaces, helicoids all seem to be built to last forever.  Haven't seen such ruggedness in other systems that I have used.  But I agree, the 645D body electronics and shutter are the weak point.  However, you will discover other weak points in other systems when you use them long enough.  For example, the weak point of the Hy6 system are those exposure adjustment wheels and the autofocus mechanism in the new lenses.  They need to repaired every 5 - 10 years or so.  They fail more gently as you can still use them for a little bit with reduced function, but it comes down to the same.  On the other hand, the Hy6 factory service has recently been very reliable.  Pentax still has to work on their service issues, but that's nothing a second body cannot deal with, especially if you consider the costs of the lenses and accessories that are available in almost new condition.  If it was me and if I was to consider any of the full frame bodies, I'd wait until next year and at least check out Canon's response to the D800e.  Also Phase will have a new body next year.  But as I said, I'd give your 645D system another chance.  
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 01, 2013, 07:56:53 PM
If you like you current camera and lenses, then I would also either wait for the 645DII or buy a second hand 645D as back up and have it checked in depth by Pentax.

The rumored D4x may also be worth considering since it seems likely to have an electronically switchable low pass filter. Another key value of the D4x (and its Canon equivalent whenever they decide to invest in sensor technology) may be the ability to use next gen lenses like the Zeiss 55mm f1.4. It seems pretty unlikely that lenses of that  caliber be ever designed for MF SLR bodies. The volumes are just too low.

The story is of course different if you intend to work with technical cameras.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: sbernthal on September 02, 2013, 01:57:12 AM
If you're looking to the future to have good upgrade path and good support, I think getting a second Pentax is not the best way to go.
Pentax is a very limited system with few users and a limited growing path.
The most "live" system today is Phase One / Leaf.
It is the only system where you can upgrade any part of the system that you like independently.
Also it has the largest collection of lenses.
Look at the differences between P1 and Leaf - mostly functionality - you can get much better value with Leaf if you don't need live view.
You can get a used Leaf system and then pay $1000 per annum and be covered under warranty forever.
They still support their systems from 2005.
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 02, 2013, 05:23:42 AM
If you're looking to the future to have good upgrade path and good support, I think getting a second Pentax is not the best way to go.
Pentax is a very limited system with few users and a limited growing path.
The most "live" system today is Phase One / Leaf.

How can it be cheaper to invest in Phase/Leaf when upgrades typically cost 2 or 3 times the price of a new 645D body?

Do you have sales figures to back up your comment regarding the number of Pentax users vs Leaf/Phase?

The 645D is claimed by Pentax to have been a screaming success and I am willing to believe them seing how many I see in Japan and on this forum. Besides, there is still an important existing user base of film Pentax bodies. Those guys still own lenses and are bound to invest in the 645Dxx at some point of time if they have not done so yet.

Besides, the price point of the 645D is such that a significant number of high end DSLR users will keep considering the 645D family, while we are not interested in Leaf/Phasone because their backs with significant values are 4 to 5 times more expensive.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: sbernthal on September 02, 2013, 05:33:30 AM
I am not aware of many professional photographers using Pentax. Perhaps there are, although I seriously doubt it.
As far as upgrade paths - you sell can get a module (back/body) on the second hand market and get another one also at the second hard market - that is significantly less expensive that doing it at the dealer's. You can always put it into warranty for $1000.
I have an Aptus II 10 that I bought second hand for $12000 and does 56MP. Sold the old one for $6500.
I can upgrade it at the dealer for about $14K to a new Credo 80 - top of the line.
I would say those are pretty good upgrade options, and doesn't seem to me 4 or 5 times more expensive than Pentax.
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: MrSmith on September 02, 2013, 06:10:39 AM
"The 645D is claimed by Pentax to have been a screaming success"

it would be even more of a success if there was a rock-solid and fast tethering option and well stocked rental in major cities. until that happens it will be a sideshow just like Leica and Rollei compared to phamiyablad which is a shame as it's a great camera.
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 02, 2013, 06:12:10 AM
I can upgrade it at the dealer for about $14K to a new Credo 80 - top of the line.
I would say those are pretty good upgrade options, and doesn't seem to me 4 or 5 times more expensive than Pentax.

I wrote:
- Upgrade: 2 or 3 times more expensive than new 645D (2 in your case),
- New: 4 or 5 times more expensive than new 645D which you managed to bring down to 19,500 US$ (5,000 US$ + 14,000 U$) which is a bit less than 3 times.

I am sure you understand that not everyone is interested in having to jungle between used and upgrades to get a camera that still costs the price of a car.  ;)

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: sbernthal on September 02, 2013, 06:16:59 AM
I upgraded from 40mp to 60mp for $6000.
If I want to upgrade again to 80mp, I can do it for new at $14 in a couple of years, or to another used for $6000-10000 depending on what I get.

Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 02, 2013, 06:46:21 AM
I upgraded from 40mp to 60mp for $6000.
If I want to upgrade again to 80mp, I can do it for new at $14 in a couple of years, or to another used for $6000-10000 depending on what I get.

Ok, I understand better now. You got a good deal, it is still around the same price as a new 645D, right?

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: sbernthal on September 02, 2013, 12:34:41 PM
Yes, but you get a much better system.
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: TMARK on September 02, 2013, 04:00:23 PM
I know several people who use or used the Pentax professionally. The ones who stopped using the Pentax did so due to buffer and tethering issues, went back to Canon or Nikon.  I would also point out that the DMF market is increasingly made up of enthusiasts, not commercial shooters.

I work for an agency.  I'm not an Art Buyer, AD or CD, but I work closely with them, and here is what I see:  I look at lots of files from lots of systems, mainly when they get back from the retoucher and copy is added. Proofs.  I can't tell the difference between any of them, for the most part.  Slight differences, sure, mainly due to a larger sensor or smaller sensor, or 2:3 versus 4:3.

Here is the dirty secret, from an agency point of view:  so long as it tethers well no one cares what camera is being used.  No one cares.  At all.  The IQ from any FF DSLR up to IQ280 is almost indistinguishable for (most) advertising.  Beauty is a notable exception, some very high end fashion as well.  What we look for is a look that matches the AD or CD's idea.  It can be general, with a specific shooter in mind, or it can be just a style.  We only hire people we know can execute whatever look we are after, usually represented by a mood board.  No one cares how they do it.  No one looks at a DMF camera and says:  "Look at that camera!  This guy must be a pro."  If we are paying $80,000 in fees and usage the shooter better be a pro, and believe me no one without significant experience and recommendations is EVER hired.  We trust who we hire to do their job as an independent contractor.  How s/he does it doesn't concern us.  What does concern us is that the camera tether.  Period. 

I like MF cameras.  I really like Leaf Aptus 75s files.  I regret selling mine.  I've handled the Pentax.  I like it.  I think it is a better camera than the Mamiya AFD3.  I think it is as good as the H, but you get a FP shutter so you can use whatever lens you want with an adapter. 

I am not aware of many professional photographers using Pentax. Perhaps there are, although I seriously doubt it.
As far as upgrade paths - you sell can get a module (back/body) on the second hand market and get another one also at the second hard market - that is significantly less expensive that doing it at the dealer's. You can always put it into warranty for $1000.
I have an Aptus II 10 that I bought second hand for $12000 and does 56MP. Sold the old one for $6500.
I can upgrade it at the dealer for about $14K to a new Credo 80 - top of the line.
I would say those are pretty good upgrade options, and doesn't seem to me 4 or 5 times more expensive than Pentax.
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 02, 2013, 06:19:24 PM
Yes, but you get a much better system.

You get a different system.

The Pentax will offer a more SLR experience with a wider range of usage thanks to its rugdness, better high ISO, stabilization,...

The Leaf will enable usage on view cameras, access to higher resolutions when everything else is done perfectly and a different set of lenses.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: telyt on September 02, 2013, 06:55:04 PM
I'd also consider getting a second body for $7K.

I would too.  I use a different camera system with similar repair turnaround.  3 to 4 months downtime will not do.  The system has been reliable but at times I do something stoopid and the camera or a lens has to go away for repair, or simple wear and tear makes a CLA prudent.  My backups were about $8k which is less than the $!0k you're looking at to switch systems.  Does that $10k include backup equipment?
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: alatreille on September 02, 2013, 07:50:55 PM

Yes, but you get a much better system.

This is debatable, perhaps a 'different' system...

Variety is the spice of life.....
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: bcroslin on September 02, 2013, 08:27:58 PM
I am not aware of many professional photographers using Pentax. Perhaps there are, although I seriously doubt it.

Funniest thing I've read all day....
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: bcooter on September 03, 2013, 09:26:18 AM
You get a different system.

The Pentax will offer a more SLR experience with a wider range of usage thanks to its rugdness, better high ISO, stabilization,...

snip


Bernard, I think your coming from a different experience of not having client's stand behind you or the monitor, then you have to tether.  I've known two photographers use the Pentax, one is exceptional and loves the camera, hates the lack of tethering and the slow buffer and as T mentions, nobody cares in commercial production as long as you tether.

You can get away with not tethering if you have an AD that you've worked with for a long time, or an AD that trusts what your doing.  We tether a lot (which was the deal killer of the Pentax for me), also one of the reasons I bought a 1dx because it's amazingly solid with ethernet tethering into dpp ( I mean a weeks shooting without a crash solid) and an ethernet cord goes a long way so you don't have to have the tech station 12ft from you.

Personally I'd rather shoot to cards and let the client review a body of 20, 30 images rather than frame by frame, but most ADs don't want to work that way and I think a lot of spontaneity gets lost when your roped to a machine.    Though a lot of commercial work will never be considered great, think about some of the great photos of the past, Annie's John and Yoko, Herb Ritt's Richard Gere photo that started his career (http://blogs.getty.edu/iris/files/2011/07/ritts_richard_gere.jpg)(http://theinterrobang.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/05/john-and-yoko.jpg)
I doubt if those images would have come from a committee standing at a computer station offering suggestions, but we live in a communal world.   For 10 years the catch phrase in our industry was "team", now it's "leader".   Don't know why, just know what I hear in meetings.

So maybe the Pentax non tethering is a better option.

IMO

BC
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 03, 2013, 09:31:54 AM
Bernard, I think your coming from a different experience of not having client's stand behind you or the monitor, then you have to tether.  

Correct.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: bcroslin on September 03, 2013, 10:14:36 AM
Regarding tethering with the Pentax: I'm tethering with an eyefi card to an iPad via wifi/ adhoc and it's absolutely no worse than tethering my P45+ to Capture 1 with a cable. I've done this for years with Canons. Simply hand the iPad to the AD and walk away. I can also just as easily set up the eyefi to connect wifi/ adhoc to a work station and setup Lightroom or Capture 1 to watch a hot folder. The range is EXACTLY the same: about 10-15ft. When there's a dog and pony show that needs to be produced so the client thinks I'm the real deal I'll hire a tech and rent an H5d or a Phase.

Now, I'm sure a IQ280 or 180 or whatever just blows my Pentax/ Canons away with IQ, dynamic range, sheer sexiness and the ability to make super models drool but my clients just don't care what's in my hands except that it works and delivers images they can use. The days of working photographers dropping $25k on a medium format system are over. It just doesn't make any sense with shrinking budgets and agencies that are going to take your fabulous 100 megapix image and resize it to 1600 px by 72 dpi for a web ad. I don't hate on anyone who drops that kind of cash on MFD but I do question their sanity - especially when I can rent a H5D with a few lenses for $600-$800/ day. Furthermore, like James mentioned, most of my friends doing high-end commercial work are shooting stills with Canons and then renting Red or Arri's for what the client really cares about: motion.

Anyway, back to the original subject of the thread: why not just buy a new 645D complete with new warranty and sell the old rig here or on eBay? You are not going to be any happier with a new Phase 1 or Hasselblad if you're already happy with the Pentax. If you're just itching for a new piece of gear and you've got money to burn go buy a new lens or something small that gives you the gratification and invest the money you'd drop on a Phase/ Hasselblad in your retirement account.
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: bcooter on September 03, 2013, 11:18:38 AM
The days of working photographers dropping $25k on a medium format system are over.

As much as I like the dealers and reps on this forum, I have to agree.   Everybody in our industry has taken a big hit, even the famous and if our numbers go down, our required volume goes up, something has got to give.

There just isn't any float anymore in a budget, regardless of what is perceived.  Actually, we keep hearing of zero inflation, but the stuff we buy that is non industry specific like travel, locations, permits a lot of equipment, has gone up dramatically in price.

Even if budgets return, I doubt if I'll ever buy another still camera again, solely on pixel count.   Motion, well that's a different animal and motion is going through the same thing today.

On the eye fi- I've got em' use em' and with a network they're fine as long as the camera produces a jpeg, though straight from camera to Pad it's kind of iffy.  I do like tethering to a pad though, because it makes it more the AD and me rather than the AD, me and 10 others.


IMO

BC
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: Doug Peterson on September 03, 2013, 12:08:11 PM
The days of working photographers dropping $25k on a medium format system are over.

Funny. Nobody told that to the working photographers who keep dropping $25k (and more) on medium format systems with us.
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: Doug Peterson on September 03, 2013, 12:15:09 PM
Regarding tethering with the Pentax: I'm tethering with an eyefi card to an iPad via wifi/ adhoc and it's absolutely no worse than tethering my P45+ to Capture 1 with a cable. I've done this for years with Canons. Simply hand the iPad to the AD and walk away. I can also just as easily set up the eyefi to connect wifi/ adhoc to a work station and setup Lightroom or Capture 1 to watch a hot folder. The range is EXACTLY the same: about 10-15ft. When there's a dog and pony show that needs to be produced so the client thinks I'm the real deal I'll hire a tech and rent an H5d or a Phase.

Range for firewire with a good cable and a back that allows powering from the battery in the back (e.g. P+ or IQ/IQ2 or Credo) is 33ft.

But more importantly some photographers need more out of tethering than simply seeing the in-camera JPG. It sounds like maybe you don't for your style of shoot and your clients.

For instance when you're shooting tethered you can style the image in real time beyond the very basic controls offered by in-camera JPGs (if any, depending on camera model). For instance shooting to a high contrast black and white with a strong highlight shoulder and 30 points of clarity and a half stop of vignetting (while of course the underlying raw file remains, ready to be processed to a color image or any other variation). Or using the Overlay tool to show the image in a layout in real time (including with or without a crop) in a way that is a bit more dynamic/slick/useful than printing out an acetate version of the layout and gaffe taping it to the front of an iPad.

You can also pull selects in a way that is an integrated part of the workflow. That is, if someone (AD/you/stylist/whomever) says "I like that image" the image can be tagged 4-stars and that selection carries through the rest of the workflow automatically (as opposed to manually scrubbing through the iPad and reconciling the images they've tagged there with the entirely-separately-handled raw files on the computer).

These aren't dog-and-pony for many photographers but a core part of their needs. If they aren't your needs, and the Pentax Eye-fi works for you that's great, but it doesn't necessarily carry over to the needs of other photographers.
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: Doug Peterson on September 03, 2013, 12:19:24 PM
On the eye fi- I've got em' use em' and with a network they're fine as long as the camera produces a jpeg, though straight from camera to Pad it's kind of iffy.  I do like tethering to a pad though, because it makes it more the AD and me rather than the AD, me and 10 others.

I've seen a trend lately of more photographers who set up the tethering station, use Capture Pilot to dial into it wirelessly, and then turn off the monitor of the tethering station.

The speed, workflow benefits, and power of tethering to a Mac Pro are there, but all mid-shoot image-review is entirely on the iPad.

I think (half jokingly) this trend is from folks seeing the IQ2 being used direct-to-iPad and wanting to have their older backs accomplish the same thing (but with a cable out the back to the computer as a required evil to get there since they don't have a IQ2).
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: bcroslin on September 03, 2013, 03:44:40 PM
Doug,

With all due respect you seem like a nice guy and you obviously know your products but you've got camera backs to move so I can't expect much more out of you than to dispute what I'm saying. I'm just one working photographer (albeit with a few successful friends) out here in the wilderness. I would LOVE to say budgets are bigger than ever and all of my clients think cost is no object but it just ain't the case. My clients don't give a crap what camera I'm shooting with as long as I produce images that move them. I know there's guys like Rankin, Nadav Kander and whoever is the hyphenated fashion photography team of the moment that agencies want to throw gobs of money at but by-and-large the photo industry is populated by folks that are looking for the most cost-effective tool to produce jobs with ever-shrinking budgets. Most of the high-end photographers I know don't even own gear - they rent everything. And if they do own a camera it's usually Canon or Nikon. What really makes my head spin is how many photographers I know making a living shooting with just their iPhones. Talk about ROI. One of my editorial clients wants me to take over their instagram feed for a week. It's going to be funny sizing 40 megapix images down to 2 megapix.

Also, everything you described with tethering via a 33 ft long cable can be done wirelessly with a work station and an adhoc network. I shot with a 5d MKII and a wifi grip for years and I could set up Canon's software to apply a recipe to every file that appeared magically on the monitor. It's nice the Capture One supports wifi now but I was doing it almost 3 years ago. I can even punch up jpgs that are wirelessly transmitted to my iPad. You're right about my needs - I try and keep the AD happy and that generally can be accomplished with an iPad, an eyefi card and Shuttersnitch. I've never a heard single complaint that I didn't hire a tech to drive a Mac tower with a 30 inch monitor. I frequently work on location with a smaller crew and because of that I can adapt to whatever the AD or CD throws at me. I know there's dudes out there that have to work in a studio with an entourage of techs, assistants and the entire rental house at their disposal but those guys days are numbered. Agencies just aren't spending that kind of cash on stills - it's all about motion now.

There's way too much navel gazing that goes on in these forums about megapixels, micro lenses, capture software, etc by people who don't seem to actually make a living working behind the camera. I check in here from time to time and find the same tired arguments and justifications for buying a $25k rig with some value-added something another and 24/7 support (never needed that with my Canons). I've owned a Valeo, Aptus, Mamiya and Phase backs and now I own the Pentax. I can assure you - the Pentax does the same thing those other backs did for a fraction of the cost (well, maybe not that POS mamiya). Furthermore, there's absolutely no justifiable reason for me to shoot with the Pentax over my 5D III. I'd even go so far as to say I can accomplish the same thing with the 60D I bought my daughter. It's all about client perception and managing their expectations. If my rental budget is $10k you can damn sure bet I'm going to rent a MFD, a work station and all the other accoutrements because I know the client is expecting the dog and pony show but I could produce the exact same job for $2k and if the client wasn't on set they wouldn't know the difference.
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: bcroslin on September 03, 2013, 03:47:02 PM
James,

There's a couple of things you can do to make the iPad adhoc network rock solid. Most of it has to do with the iPad itself. I'd be happy to send you an email with the info.

Bob
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: Doug Peterson on September 03, 2013, 04:04:52 PM
Also, everything you described with tethering via a 33 ft long cable can be done wirelessly with a work station and an adhoc network. I shot with a 5d MKII and a wifi grip for years and I could set up Canon's software to apply a recipe to every file that appeared magically on the monitor. It's nice the Capture One supports wifi now but I was doing it almost 3 years ago. I can even punch up jpgs that are wirelessly transmitted to my iPad. You're right about my needs - I try and keep the AD happy and that generally can be accomplished with an iPad, an eyefi card and Shuttersnitch. I've never a heard single complaint that I didn't hire a tech to drive a Mac tower with a 30 inch monitor. I frequently work on location with a smaller crew and because of that I can adapt to whatever the AD or CD throws at me. I know there's dudes out there that have to work in a studio with an entourage of techs, assistants and the entire rental house at their disposal but those guys days are numbered. Agencies just aren't spending that kind of cash on stills - it's all about motion now.

Thanks for the followup. I've worked with every model of Canon and Nikon's wireless grips/attachments. So I'm quite familiar with what you're refering to.

You can not do what I described wirelessly in a way that is fast.

Via wireless you can either send JPGs (saving raw to the card) which creates a broken workflow which needs to be reconciled after the raws are downloaded. Or you can send raws which is very slow (compared to cabled tethering and in the context of anyone shooting more than one image at a time).

Both of those options will be great for some kinds of photography and some photographers. Again it's quite clear that your methods have worked well for you, and I have no doubt you've made your clients happy. I am not in the business of telling someone else what they need, only helping them find ways to meet those needs. But I can tell you that for many of our clients there is a distinct need to at least have the option for a large tethering monitor and a tethering method which will keep up with fast paced shooting of large files with styling applied in real time, selects being pulled and processed on the spot, preliminary compositing/retouching done on set as needed, layout analysis (overlay) done throughout, and backups (including offsite backups) maintained in near real time.

But again, it sounds like the limitations of doing non native wifi (i.e. add on attachments or cards) are not a problem for you - which is great. Nobody wants to shoot with a cable; they only do it when the annoyance of the cable is superseded by the advantages. There is a reason why when you walk into Milk, Splashlight etc that most of their shoots include tethering (with a cable), and it's not just "dog and pony".
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: sbernthal on September 04, 2013, 12:11:03 PM
I am not aware of many professional photographers using Pentax. Perhaps there are, although I seriously doubt it.

Funniest thing I've read all day....

I'm glad I could amuse you.

However - in the 35mm segment Canon and Nikon dominate the market with no contest - since I don't think Pentax even has a full frame 35mm, I would be astonished if their share (of pros) is over 1%.

The the DMF market, Phase/Leaf and Hasselblad rule, and let's be generous and give Pentax 5% - I think it's much less than that.

I know quite a few professional photographers and not one Pentax user.

That is not to say that there's anything wrong with that camera, but it is not one of the major players in the pro market.
I'm pretty sure most of its buyers are amateurs who don't want to break the bank.
Many pros would insist on solid tethering, for that reason alone would not consider Pentax.
Also C1 support is a major point for a pro.
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: bcooter on September 04, 2013, 10:08:40 PM
snip
 There is a reason why when you walk into Milk, Splashlight etc that most of their shoots include tethering (with a cable), and it's not just "dog and pony".

Doug,

Earlier this year I explored a new medium format system, looked at everything, got some good quotes and to change my system would cost 30 grand minimum with three lenses.

Then the schedule became loaded and all of my projects just didn't allow the time and circumstance to use medium format, so I bought a 1dx.  

They required constant light (because of the motion content), quick life like situations, the ability to go from fast tether to fast cards and quick track focus.

They also required professional motion equipment that we've invested big in.

Now I've been through all the still studios you mentioned, shot in most and rarely do I see anyone that shoots with medium format actually own the whole system.  They or the publisher, client, agency, producer rents for them.  

I'm not saying medium format doesn't have a place, that would be too broad of a brush, but when I can buy two RED One's for the price of 1 medium format camera, I have to go with what our work requires and I don't think I'm alone at this.

Now if Phase had a camera like a more robust Canon 1dc, that shot 4k video, high rez stills, tethered through ethernet (have you tethered through ethernet yet? . . . it's amazingly reliable), I'd have opened my wallet.

And just a suggestion.  If phase one wants to make about 2 trillion more in earnings, make it so C1 will batch process and transcode prorezz video.   The only function they have to add is tracking and allow it to run to a dedicated graphic card.

Just a thought, but if phase does that one, my money is ready.

If Phase makes a 4k 1dc competitor* that shoots raw footage and stills, give me a call, but don't forget the software suite.

_____________________________________________________

Bob, I'll pop you a pm and would like your eye fi settings.  I also use shutter snitch and am curious about your setup.

______________________

Tmark,

I don't know who you are, but know you've been there and have done it and I assume done it well.

In regards to tethering, I agree, unless you've worked with an AD a long time and we have a mutual trust.  Then those AD's are happy to see a few frames and trust you, or the really good ones, don't care whats in the camera, they care what's happening on set.

We tether with stills, with motion, with hdmi monitors and to pads and I don't mind client comments, but know when a lot of people are in the room throwing expressions at the monitor it has an effect on the subject.

Given my choice, I'd much rather set the shot, shoot a few dozen frames and let the AD and if he/she wishes the clients view a series of images instead of one feeding through every 2 seconds.  That way they can see a body of work, or options rather than looking at them come through and only seeing the image they want, if only the hand was over 3" or the smile was a little less/more/wider/smaller.  Then the spontaneity gets lost.

The one upside of running so many cameras with motion and stills, nobody knows which monitor to look at anymore.

IMO

BC

*Actually there is a still and motion camera that gets close to competing with the 1dc and in a lot of ways offers more.  The Panasonic GH3.  72mbs intra video file, 16 mp (or 4k still file, touch screen autofocus, Multiple lens mounts, including PL adapters and metabones for speed.  All for the cost of $1,200.


Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: sbernthal on September 05, 2013, 09:52:34 AM
I work for an agency.  I'm not an Art Buyer, AD or CD, but I work closely with them, and here is what I see:  I look at lots of files from lots of systems, mainly when they get back from the retoucher and copy is added. Proofs.  I can't tell the difference between any of them, for the most part.  Slight differences, sure, mainly due to a larger sensor or smaller sensor, or 2:3 versus 4:3.

Here is the dirty secret, from an agency point of view:  so long as it tethers well no one cares what camera is being used.  No one cares.  At all.  The IQ from any FF DSLR up to IQ280 is almost indistinguishable for (most) advertising.  Beauty is a notable exception, some very high end fashion as well.  What we look for is a look that matches the AD or CD's idea.  It can be general, with a specific shooter in mind, or it can be just a style.  We only hire people we know can execute whatever look we are after, usually represented by a mood board.  No one cares how they do it.  No one looks at a DMF camera and says:  "Look at that camera!  This guy must be a pro."  If we are paying $80,000 in fees and usage the shooter better be a pro, and believe me no one without significant experience and recommendations is EVER hired.  We trust who we hire to do their job as an independent contractor.  How s/he does it doesn't concern us.  What does concern us is that the camera tether.  Period.  

I wanted to respond to this post before, but I was busy.
The industry has undergone many changes, and a very important one is that the ad agency paradigm is not the only game in town.
Using the internet, buyers and sellers find newer faster and cheaper way to find each other.
Ad agencies take obscene commissions, which I find many advertisers abhor.
Now they just don't have to pay it anymore, unless they want a traditional campaign.
Any producer of goods and services today requires photographs to market his wares over the internet.
That means the market is much bigger than it ever was.
It just doesn't go through the agencies anymore.

True that the agencies don't care much about tech quality - they are much more attuned to creativity.
They photoshop everything to death anyway, so that camera used is not critical.
But - my client, the industrial/commercial company, making its own materials using in house marcom and graphics, but hiring a professional photographer, because it just doesn't make sense to keep one in house - they do care about the files.
I've had the requirement made to me many times - they want "10,000 pixel files" - if they get only "8,000 pixel" files, they are disappointed.

As far as the difference between platforms being visible by "pixels peepers only":
It is very easy to post comparisons in situations where it is hard to tell the difference between platforms.
In most common cases, in files I see from my clients or marketing materials over the web, it is mostly very easy to see which picture is Canon, which is Nikon, and which is Leaf/Phase (I can't tell the difference between Leaf and Phase or Hass).
The color rendition is totally different, and the end result is worlds apart - especially for products.
The clients are clearly able to see it and some of them demand it.

Budgeting $3,000 a year for equipment upgrades is not unreasonable I think.

Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: TMARK on September 05, 2013, 10:02:27 AM
Cooter,

We commisioned Nadav Kander to shoot a print ad for a financial services company.  Shoot was tethered but only because we had a very specific layout and needed to match overlays.  It was actually a small group, with Nadav and the AD working very closely in a collaborative manner.  After the frame was dialed in, reviewing the screen stopped, but files were reviewed before sending the model away.  Then the next model would show up and stand on the T.

Yeah I've been there and still miss it some.  I could have kept it going but being honest with myself I didn't have the drive anymore, not with kids and not with the constant marketing.  I always marveled at your hustle Cooter.  That hustle is what it takes.  When I was approached to work on strategy, which we had done for an agency, I jumped at it:  direct deposit, health insurance, (some) smart people.  The downside is that the hours can be brutal, bureaucratic politics of big money can be obsene, and conference calls go on forever.  And I don't get to shoot for commerce anymore.

As an aside, and germain to the topic, I'm seriously considering the Pentax.  In some ways its a plastic lump like a Nikon/Canon, but the VF is impressive, as are the lenses.  400iso looks pretty fetching.  The files feel like M9 files, and I like that.  And its cheap(ish).  The AF seems to work very well, and the thing fits my hands.  Sure, I'd rather have a Hy6 with an Aptus II-7, but that is some pricey for non-professional work.  I'm also not convinced of teh viability of the V blads as a digital platform.  As much as I love the V, I don't think the tolerances are up to digital, and the mirror slaps too hard for ambient handheld at the relatively low ISO usable on the Leaf backs I like.  The RZ is just too big for how I work.  Since I don't need to tether, the Pentax may be my new baby.




I don't know who you are, but know you've been there and have done it and I assume done it well.

In regards to tethering, I agree, unless you've worked with an AD a long time and we have a mutual trust.  Then those AD's are happy to see a few frames and trust you, or the really good ones, don't care whats in the camera, they care what's happening on set.

We tether with stills, with motion, with hdmi monitors and to pads and I don't mind client comments, but know when a lot of people are in the room throwing expressions at the monitor it has an effect on the subject.

Given my choice, I'd much rather set the shot, shoot a few dozen frames and let the AD and if he/she wishes the clients view a series of images instead of one feeding through every 2 seconds.  That way they can see a body of work, or options rather than looking at them come through and only seeing the image they want, if only the hand was over 3" or the smile was a little less/more/wider/smaller.  Then the spontaneity gets lost.

The one upside of running so many cameras with motion and stills, nobody knows which monitor to look at anymore.

IMO

BC

*Actually there is a still and motion camera that gets close to competing with the 1dc and in a lot of ways offers more.  The Panasonic GH3.  72mbs intra video file, 16 mp (or 4k still file, touch screen autofocus, Multiple lens mounts, including PL adapters and metabones for speed.  All for the cost of $1,200.



Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: TMARK on September 05, 2013, 10:22:22 AM
Hey there, I don't think you work in the US, do you?  I say this because your description of your market is vastly different than what occurs here.  We also work by the hour, and take cuts on media buys, and have fee arrangements.  We don't work on commission like Willie Lohman. 

In the US your larger companies have internal marketing departments which are more and more professional, but they still have an AOR to do the heavy lifting of connecting with consumers.  For instance, there is a certain financial services companies that has a creative team that is composed of former ad agency people.  They are good, totally professional, but their reach is limited because they are the client, there is no one telling them their ideas don't work, are old, or cliches.  So what the internal team does is direct mail, in store displays, banner ads, and management of their outside agency(ies), which do the heavy lifting and overall strategy.

I do think you can sometimes tell the difference between large and smaller sensors.  Depends on the sophistication of the retouching, the subject matter, the light, working distances, etc.  The days of the 5d and 1ds2 and their flat files ended with the 5d2/ds3.  Color is different, sure, but not that much to really matter.  At least not enough to get in the way of communicating an idea, which is what we want.  That is whole point, though, right?  Visual commmunications conveying a message that sticks has little to do with seeing an erant nose hair on a model, or the color response of a CCD sensor, unless those visuals are part of the message.  The tech must serve the message, and different systems have different aesthetics.  An agency doesn't care how its acheived, as long as the images serve the idea.  And it must tether.

I wanted to respond to this post before, but I was busy.
The industry has undergone many changes, and a very important one is that the ad agency paradigm is not the only game in town.
Using the internet, buyers and sellers find newer faster and cheaper way to find each other.
Ad agencies take obscene commissions, which I find many advertisers abhor.
Now they just don't have to pay it anymore, unless they want a traditional campaign.
Any producer of goods and services today requires photographs to market his wares over the internet.
That means the market is much bigger than it ever was.
It just doesn't go through the agencies anymore.

True that the agencies don't care much about tech quality - they are much more attuned to creativity.
They photoshop everything to death anyway, so that camera used is not critical.
But - my client, the industrial/commercial company, making its own materials using in house marcom and graphics, but hiring a professional photographer, because it just doesn't make sense to keep one in house - they do care about the files.
I've had the requirement made to me many times - they want "10,000 pixel files" - if they get only "8,000 pixel" files, they are disappointed.

As far as the difference between platforms being visible by "pixels peepers only":
It is very easy to post comparisons in situations where it is hard to tell the difference between platforms.
In most common cases, in files I see from my clients or marketing materials over the web, it is mostly very easy to see which picture is Canon, which is Nikon, and which is Leaf/Phase (I can't tell the difference between Leaf and Phase or Hass).
The color rendition is totally different, and the end result is worlds apart - especially for products.
The clients are clearly able to see it and some of them demand it.

Budgeting $3,000 a year for equipment upgrades is not unreasonable I think.


Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: sbernthal on September 05, 2013, 10:47:20 AM
I am not in the US, and I have no idea how things work over there.
If you work at an agency, then you would normally know the business that comes through the agency, not necessarily aware of transactions that bypass you.
I'm talking about the thousands of manufacturers, importers, exporters, retailers and entrepreneurs - the language of budgets and shooting days is not the only language spoken.
Making catalogues of 100's of images can be very profitable for a photographer, and from the client's point of view does not require an ad agency at all. In that case - which is a very big case - image quality is pretty much everything.
It can be a company of 1-10 people who still sells its products in millions of dollars, but doesn't have the "direct mail, in store displays, banner ds" - that is the old paradigm, which IMO is going away.
Other companies are B2B companies, which don't need the fancy B2C approach, but still want to show their business clients respectable materials.
I've done work for agencies and for enterprises big and small - the prices when going through an agency are much higher, making the client purse ache, and giving the contractor and very nice payday, but few and far between, and requiring much schmoozing and hot air manufacturing not normally required at all when interacting directly with manufacturers.
I think that's why people are saying the budgets are shrinking - because businesses are less eager to pay the exorbitant prices of ad agency production. Those numbers can be really startling.

I apologize and I don't mean to be disparaging of the ad industry, but many today question the efficacy of traditional advertising.
Among them an Israeli a senior ad executive working in NY - Oren Frank - he still writes for Israeli newspapers, and write several pieces about this issue exactly.
TV ads, magazine ads, online banners - are they worth the price today?
Are they selling or just annoying the consumers? How easy is it for the consumer to bypass them completely?
There are other ways to provide consumers with the information they need to make purchasing decisions - i.e. to give them the information when they ask for it, rather than push it driven by media cost and availability of space.

As for image quality difference - sensor size is only a part of it - from the point of view of the things I care about, it manifests only in diffraction. The other major difference is color rendition - as the different companies have totally different color rendition programs.

You say "The tech must serve the message" - you're thinking about the one image, the ad agency thinking.
I'm thinking about all the images.
The one clever creative idea is what the ad agency is geared to, but is it the the most cost effective way to go for the client?
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: TMARK on September 05, 2013, 11:26:11 AM
This debate is going on here as well regarding the efficacy of of big agencies.  The effectiveness of an agency and its campaigns is determined by segment.  Packaged foods, paper goods, can all be handled by in house teams.  They are not, but they can be handled that way.  I mainly deal with financial services.  The problem with a service is that its value is perception.  You sell an idea, an attractive idea, personalize it so that a consumer at least looks at the company when buying coverage. You can take a no-name company and make it number one.  This is worth hundreds of millions in value add and its based on the creative idea and sound strategy. 

It sounds as if your niche, which is a good one, you have hard goods and B2B, you don't need the big creative idea, in essence you don't need to create the branding.  The target is buying out of set requirements and may have fewer choices.  You are essentially making the target aware of your features and that you exist.  Its just a different approach and can be done for less because the client isn't paying for strategy or creative.  No agency is really needed, just photos and a marketing department and a sales force.

After doing this for two years what I've come to realize is that "digital strategies" are a crap shoot.  The gamble on 'Big Data" and Facebook and social media is essentially a wash.  There are strategies that work in digital media.  I can't discuss them because they are propriatary, but they do work.  In any case, the agencies aren't going away but they will be doing business differently.  Now and increasingly in the future sale to consumers will depend on the creative idea and branding of products and services.  At present, only agencies (small and large, digital houses, etc) have this capacity.  Billing will likely change, but one thing fortune 500 companies like is certainty, and when you propose a compensation scheme wherein the agency shares in the increased revenue or success of a product due to the marketing, they get all weak in the knees and mad, and stop complaining about the media buy.

I am not in the US, and I have no idea how things work over there.
If you work at an agency, then you would normally know the business that comes through the agency, not necessarily aware of transactions that bypass you.
I'm talking about the thousands of manufacturers, importers, exporters, retailers and entrepreneurs - the language of budgets and shooting days is not the only language spoken.
Making catalogues of 100's of images can be very profitable for a photographer, and from the client's point of view does not require an ad agency at all. In that case - which is a very big case - image quality is pretty much everything.
It can be a company of 1-10 people who still sells its products in millions of dollars, but doesn't have the "direct mail, in store displays, banner ds" - that is the old paradigm, which IMO is going away.
Other companies are B2B companies, which don't need the fancy B2C approach, but still want to show their business clients respectable materials.
I've done work for agencies and for enterprises big and small - the prices when going through an agency are much higher, making the client purse ache, and giving the contractor and very nice payday, but few and far between, and requiring much schmoozing and hot air manufacturing not normally required at all when interacting directly with manufacturers.
I think that's why people are saying the budgets are shrinking - because businesses are less eager to pay the exorbitant prices of ad agency production. Those numbers can be really startling.

I apologize and I don't mean to be disparaging of the ad industry, but many today question the efficacy of traditional advertising.
Among them an Israeli a senior ad executive working in NY - Oren Frank - he still writes for Israeli newspapers, and write several pieces about this issue exactly.
TV ads, magazine ads, online banners - are they worth the price today?
Are they selling or just annoying the consumers? How easy is it for the consumer to bypass them completely?
There are other ways to provide consumers with the information they need to make purchasing decisions - i.e. to give them the information when they ask for it, rather than push it driven by media cost and availability of space.

As for image quality difference - sensor size is only a part of it - from the point of view of the things I care about, it manifests only in diffraction. The other major difference is color rendition - as the different companies have totally different color rendition programs.

You say "The tech must serve the message" - you're thinking about the one image, the ad agency thinking.
I'm thinking about all the images.
The one clever creative idea is what the ad agency is geared to, but is it the the most cost effective way to go for the client?
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: sbernthal on September 05, 2013, 11:41:31 AM
We will not settle this today.

As someone who comes from technology, I believe that big data is everything - not necessarily a good thing, but so powerful it's unavoidable.
Facebook is just one paradigm in this new field - not one that I like or invested in.
I believe much more in Google, and I'm sure we'll see new ones in the next few years.

Of course major companies still require traditional advertising campaigns which are the easiest way to total brand awareness.
In fashion catalogues we will continue to see shoots in remote destinations - but these budgets are 6 figures anyway, so I can't see how they would not use Phase, since we know that Phase has the best image quality (or at least that is the perception which is everything, right?)
When using talent presenters with 6-7 figure salaries, you would not use the best imaging device?

The large agencies have lots of money, and the fatcats who own them are used to see revenues pouring out of them at a certain rate.
They will make every effort to keep this cash cow producing - and I believe they will find a way.
But I don't think ad agencies are the best source for a photographer to get income.
A lot of the campaigns I worked for used very basic images from me - for which they paid way too much - and then did so much work on the image, that at the end it could have come out of an iPhone.
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: TMARK on September 05, 2013, 12:28:24 PM
The application of big data in service to advertising is in its infancy.  New tools are coming, new platforms, new paradigms.  One thing that is certain is that as of right now the tools for leveraging that data are clumsy and inelegant.  It will get more sophisticated, that is certain.


. . . I believe that big data is everything - not necessarily a good thing, but so powerful it's unavoidable.
Facebook is just one paradigm in this new field - not one that I like or invested in.
I believe much more in Google, and I'm sure we'll see new ones in the next few years.
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: JoeKitchen on September 05, 2013, 01:32:47 PM
I am sitting in a Starbucks in NYC, finalizing invoices and waiting for my 2:30 and cant but help put in two cents.  Before I add anything let me say that I am an architectural photographer who only shoots stills.  I say this because I can understand James' points.  Also, I am young, have no mortgage or children or any real responsibilities outside my of business, so my capital is more dispensable then others right now.  

I have been shooting MF for about 6 months and I find that the system is well worth it.  Not so much because the IQ of the final image is so much better, but because the ease of getting to that final high end quality is so much ... easier.  First the files are much better and can be pushed so much harder with better results.  In the past with Canon/Nikon files, I would often have to bracket, layer in PS, blend, pain the ass cutting out of windows, some more blending to make it look real, etc.  With the Phase files, I often get the image in a single capture.  My clients really do not notice this in the deliverables, but I do in time saved.  

Additionally, the lenses are that much better.  With the T/S lens of Canon, you get distortion (and not an easy barrel or pin cushion distortion, but more of a mustache).  The lenses I use now have no distortion; once again a time saver.  And for those of you counting the seconds of how long could it possibly take to remove distortion, think of this "buildings are not always built straight."  It was so annoying looking at an image and thinking "is that lens distortion or was the building not straight or both?"  

Additionally the lenses are super sharp (with the Tech Camera Lenses), beyond anything I have seen with Canon.  This requires much less sharpening in post, which never looks as good anyway.  Also, no aberrations to worry about.  

Last, the camera is much more intuitive to use with independent x and y movements.  And not to mention I can do true multiple exposures like with film, another time saver in post.  (Did I mention how much I hate sitting in front of a computer!)

So, yes I will agree that the final images delivered often do not look so much better that the client notices.  There are differences, none the less, for instance truly sharper images, and the color is ... well ... smoother (not sure how else to describe it), but nothing that jumps right out to a client.  But for me, the time saved is what makes the system better.  Not to mention I just feel more comfortable with a tech camera (this is truly personal, but it is an important thing to me).  

Also, and this does apply to every market, but there is the sex appeal of MF.  Since purchasing the system, I have gotten comments like "ohh, you use medium format," or "that is a truly beautiful camera," etc.  Now mind you none of these comments came from my bread and butter clients, they came from the high end NYC and DC firms whom I have worked with (or met with and wanted to know exactly what system I shoot with).  

For me, this make MF worth it.  With that said, I shoot one type of still photography, where I always have the lighting equipment and time for set up to make shooting at ISO 50 happen.  If my business model was more like James', I am not sure if it would have been worth the money.  
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: jani80 on September 05, 2013, 03:11:29 PM
I would like to thank everyone who has participated in this thread with good and interesting ideas.  I have come to a conclusion and that is to keep my Pentax 645D for now.

I had the opportunity to use the Phase One DF with P45+ back and the 80mm LS Schneider Kreuznach lens for two days. If my shooting would mostly be done in a studio I wouldn’t hesitate to buy the Phase One deal that I was given.

For my type of work I am better of with the Pentax. Maybe I invest in the lovely 90mm lens instead.

On the last night I had a little extra time and decided to do a side buy side evening/long exposure test shoot. Nothing fancy just a playful test. The only lens close to the Phase One 80mm was my old manual Pentax 75mm LS lens that I bought for 170 dollars. Had a little fun and experimented up to 8 minutes.

If you are interested and do not have anything useful to do and would like to play around with a few raw files maybe I can upload a dropbox link…maybe…

Best Regards
Jan
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: bcooter on September 05, 2013, 03:25:24 PM
The application of big data in service to advertising is in its infancy.  New tools are coming, new platforms, new paradigms.  One thing that is certain is that as of right now the tools for leveraging that data are clumsy and inelegant.  It will get more sophisticated, that is certain.


Were in to the catch phrase syndrom. Big Data, Social Media, Integrated Campaigns.  Those are all good phrases, but unless there is strategy behind the concept and execution, it's all just data, big or not and some  of it doesn't add to the user experience it detracts.

When I sit in on a creative conference and we begin devising "creative treatments"  I hear more about color or look or something which has little to do with the concept.  Concept in advertising is king, just like story in movies is king.

Or I should add targeted concept is king.   The landscape is littered by great ideas that don't relate to the user.  I once shot a nude male model for a golf campaign.  Pretty image, won awards, tanked in sales.

The AD's goal was to win an award, hang the client.  There has to be simple agendas and in all honesty, me, the agency, the concept isn't the star.  The product or service is.

If you have great concept with execution that matches you can play it anywhere, with the appropriate modifications that make it right for the medium.  Social media doesn't like too slick commercials, those are skipped over, though they play well in mass traditional media.

In regards to mood boards, agencies and creatives have to stop pulling mediocre stock.  I can't tell you how many times I see brigtht sunlit lifestyle models in a layout with a creative brief that reads, "real, down to earth, honest situations, to not look fabricated or staged."  The visuals are 180 from the words and the problem is they are shown to the client, bought in and nobody asks if the stock looking visuals are the plan, or the words are the goal.

In regards to social media, I've seen the metrics in depth 50 times.   Some social media works as stand alone, (a small percentage), most social media works when it's supported by traditional advertising, because  just sticking stuff up everywhere can hurt more than help, or better put sticking the wrong stuff up.

I agree we're going to see a big change in how we concept, design and craft an advertising message.  Technique is going to have to change and drastically speed up.

Google may end up owning the planet and they are already positioning themselves to be the AOR (in a sense), the production company and the media distributor because they have SEO covered.

How this plays out for traditional marketers we'll see, but in my view, if you don't adapt (and this means everyone in the food chain), you'll be left behind.

There was a period if I asked if a client wanted horizontal or vertical, to a layout or wild, stills, or motion the answer was yes, or worse stills but shoot a little b roll.

I don't understand b-roll if there is no a-roll and nothing you push the button on should be secondary.

To me the smaller agencies that have embraced technology get it.  The large agencies that are still into the shoot two images a day, are leaving money, effort and creativity on the table.

This makes for a long conversation, so I'll stop now, but basically the way advertising works is the same.  You get peoples attention, they try inquire about the product and/or service.  How that happens
is where things have changed.

In regards to cameras, nobody makes the camera I need.  I don't need a 645, don't even really care if it's full frame.  

I need a Canon 1dc, that shoot long form raw (not just a minute), shoots stills of 20 mpx or so, has moveable iso and a fast grading and transcoding suite that plays off a proprietary graphics card.

That camera I'd buy, buy now and it would last.  

Everything else is just single purpose expense.

P.S.  I'm bidding a gig now that has a still budget and the AD who is very forward thinking wants motion.  Either still or anamatics, but motion non the less.  They don't have the budget for full blown high 7 figures 30 second spots (don't need them), but need to do more than hang a still in the store lcd and on the web.    There are solutions, but not from old think.

IMO

BC


Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: Telecaster on September 05, 2013, 04:17:58 PM
As an aside, and germain to the topic, I'm seriously considering the Pentax.  In some ways its a plastic lump like a Nikon/Canon, but the VF is impressive, as are the lenses.  400iso looks pretty fetching.  The files feel like M9 files, and I like that.  And its cheap(ish).  The AF seems to work very well, and the thing fits my hands.

That pretty much covers it. I've shot handheld at ISO 800 quite a bit...looks fine & the texture maybe even suits a more spontaneous approach. I recommend getting one & having some fun.

-Dave-
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: TMARK on September 05, 2013, 04:28:11 PM
Cooter,

You got it.  Everything you do has to be in service to the material you are co-creating with the agency and even the client.  Check your ego at the door and be collaborative and understand the brief, even if the mood board consists of photos scanned from Real Simple and the brief is Gritty and Real.

Advertising still comes down to Art & Copy conveying a message that triggers an emotional response.  No consumer connects with BIG DATA.  Good will is not created with an algirhythm.  Something in the art and copy has to grab a consumer, set emotional hooks.  

Your approach of serving the message is the only approach that works.  

About smaller digital agencies and the crisis in the big agencies, I see all these small boutiques make a splash then are bought by Grays or McKann and simply ruined.  The agencies need to develope this level of talent in house by letting them breath, giving them space. 
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: sbernthal on September 05, 2013, 04:51:55 PM
Were in to the catch phrase syndrom. Big Data, Social Media, Integrated Campaigns.  Those are all good phrases, but unless there is strategy behind the concept and execution, it's all just data, big or not and some  of it doesn't add to the user experience it detracts.

Big data is not just a buzzword.
It's not about advertising.
Big data is about math and world domination.
It serves corporations in marketing - not in advertizing.
Maybe in big data in advertizing is in its infancy, but in corporate marketing it is already in full swing, and affecting all of you today.
I can see why you would be skeptic about big data in advertizing - it is not really a tool for advertising, it is a tool for corporations marketing that can allow them to bypass advertising.

http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=3324
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: TMARK on September 05, 2013, 08:01:25 PM
A quick reply because I don't have the time.

Big Data or not, corporations need agencies to build a campaign, convey a message, and most importantly build a brand.  Big Data offers a solution for the demise of mass media (TV and Radio) as the prime avenues to consumers.  Corporations need agencies for the same reason they need law firms:  outside businesses perform these services better than they can in house.  Marketing departments are gone, replaced with Brand Managers and Brand Stewards.  Internal marketing is limited to branding and managing outside agencies, just like teh general Counsel's office handles regulatory matters and manages outside law firms.  Corporations don't have the culture to have internal law firms or ad agencies that are any good.  They are effective at managing a brand, but not in creating a message that reaching a consumer, even when the corporation knows that teh consumer is looking to buy its product and can contact him/her directly.

What Cooter was writing about buss words is that Big Data is tossed around by people who don't have a conceptual handle on it, just like "digital strategy". 

Corporate marketing, at least for US based corporations, maybe English ones too, is dead.  Its branding now, its building good will and conveying a vibe as much as a message.  Corporations do a bad job at this for the most part, just like they fail at making ads or getting a message across, Big Data or not.  When I say Big Data is in its infancy in advertising, I mean the leveraging that data to reach consumers in a delicate and inobtrusive way.  The message is usually correct, the good will, if anyone will look at an ad or piece of branding, is good.  Its the delivery.  Every country is different but that's how it works here.  With teh exception of Disney and General Mills, corporations just can't do creative work, which is where the rubber hits the road.

In short, agencies aren't going anywhere, but they will be in a differenet form.  They will be around because corporations that are focused on making jet engines and locomotives and tractors or investment banking are not very good at non-core business functions, such as litigation and branding.  That they leave to experts.



Big data is not just a buzzword.
It's not about advertising.
Big data is about math and world domination.
It serves corporations in marketing - not in advertizing.
Maybe in big data in advertizing is in its infancy, but in corporate marketing it is already in full swing, and affecting all of you today.
I can see why you would be skeptic about big data in advertizing - it is not really a tool for advertising, it is a tool for corporations marketing that can allow them to bypass advertising.

http://knowledge.wharton.upenn.edu/article.cfm?articleid=3324
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: atlnq9 on September 06, 2013, 02:07:08 PM
I get a big chuckle out of this thread.  People dodging back and forth negatives about the other guys system and positives about their system.  I think you guys have missed a huge fact which somebody tried to point out a couple times.  These are two different systems.  It is like trying to compare a sports car to a SUV.  Each excel in different areas.

I think the original poster has made a fine decision to stick with the 645D.  It is the system he is use to and understands well and also understands the shortfalls already and how to work around them.

For me the Pentax 645D is perfect.  I do a lot of landscape photography (aerial and land based), wildlife environmental work, and travel/expedition.  This system doesn't do everything perfect but it does these roles far better than the Phase and Hassy jobs can do since it is more DSLR like, is weather sealed, doesn't have a removable back, and also the selection of lenses from 25mm to 600mm (or 800mm from the Pentax 67 system).  If I focused on other types of photography I would likely look at a different system.  I wouldn't use medium format at a soccer game and I wouldn't use a micro four thirds at a fasion shoot.

And as my last word I get a massive chuckle out of all the flaming about tethering and fashion shoots with art directors breathing down your back on a forum called Luminous Landscape.  Oh my.  Some people have too much time to search all the forums around...
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: MrSmith on September 06, 2013, 02:55:22 PM
" I wouldn't use a micro four thirds at a fasion shoot."

Cooter to the thread! Cooter to the thread!
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: JV on September 06, 2013, 03:21:16 PM
I wouldn't use a micro four thirds at a fasion shoot.

Not everybody seems to think so...:
http://jonathanposner.tumblr.com/post/40780795719/my-olympus-challenge-10
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: uaiomex on September 06, 2013, 09:01:00 PM
Well, I mainly agree with Posner but... image quality is the ultimate goal just imediately second after content. So, I doubt I'd sell my FF system for m4/3 for the convenience. After all, we are talking about work, aren't we? If I could afford DMF, I certainly use it for almost all the work meant to be published. Certainly for all fashion and beauty.
Eduardo

Not everybody seems to think so...:
http://jonathanposner.tumblr.com/post/40780795719/my-olympus-challenge-10
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: bcooter on September 06, 2013, 09:18:26 PM
Not everybody seems to think so...:
http://jonathanposner.tumblr.com/post/40780795719/my-olympus-challenge-10

Nice clean spread he did that featured olympus.  

I don't know the lighting, don't know the size of the production, or intent, or time, but personally, I'd have used a different camera.  If i'd have kept my 1ds 3s or probably a 5d2, or if enough light a p21+, or if 4/3 the pana gh3 with olympus primes.  

I think the olympus is just a damn hard camera to shoot.  It's seems counter intuitive to me and has those weird shades of green, that can be corrected in post, but they're always there.  The GH3 starts with brown, natural like skin tones that aren't global and are  nice and  clean and with smooth, not over sharp skin, with the oly primes very good detail and the gh3 is very intuitive, very quick, better viewfinder, though a 1ds3, 5d2 would have worked well and probably a lot easier, but once again that's not a critique, I just know if this was a mood board I'd probably go another direction and if it was static it could have easily used the contax/p21.

I am going to try the new olympus, but if the menu is as complicated as the OMD5 and the dials/buttons counter intuitive, I'll just stick with the Pana's for video and 4/3.    

Actually looking at the horizontals, and given my current frame of work, I could have shot them with the RED and put together a nice little motion piece, but please understand this is not a critique of the photography.

IMO

BC

Different Genre but this was shot pana 43, though also shot other cameras and threw the 43 in on a whim a while back and liked this pose.

(http://www.russellrutherfordgroup.com/43_yellow.jpg)
Title: Re: I want to change my Pentax 645D system!
Post by: atlnq9 on September 07, 2013, 01:38:06 AM
You guys need to go out and get a girlfriend, a wife, or just a whole new life if you will pick one random thing out of a post that wasn't part of the main context and run with it like that.  Seesh.