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Author Topic: 1-Ds Mark2 or MFDB for commercial photography?  (Read 3306 times)


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1-Ds Mark2 or MFDB for commercial photography?
« on: November 22, 2006, 05:53:03 PM »

Hi there,

someone suggested me this site. I need help from someone experienced in 35mm and MFDB, while I'm getting confused with digital.

I was very happily using medium format film cameras (RZ II and Pentax 67&67II) and my 4x5 Linfhof Technika for more than 10 years. Last October I bought 1Ds Mark 2. Usualy I work tethered to my mac book pro. And since than I rarely shoot any film besides some 4x5 mainly for my own project. But commercially everything I did was mostly shot with Canon.

Besides small viewfinder that makes really hard to focus, and as I see I can not always relay on auto focus, I'm quite happy with the files canon delivers, although something always make me not completely happy. Also there were times when client asked me why I'm not using a digital back. I know that I can't answer them that probably they would never see the difference at all. But what can I do, I'm always thinking of investing in digital back (22 or 39MP) Besides the really high price which feels kind of unreasonable to afford my main argument is: How big is the difference between dsmk2 and digital back in images when you look at your finished image - full page or double spread ad in magazine, or billboard...While for my personal art work I don't have the smallest intention not to work on 4x5 film. So my question is: "Would you tell the difference between images in their final commercial use as a print ads. As I'm sure the difference exist when looked on the monitor or photographic print.

Also I did 2 campaigns for cosmetics and shoot with 1ds Mk2 and 135mm  L lens, everything I also shoot on 4x5 but in the end client decided to go with dsMk2 files. But I must admit that the skin tones really looked great on Canon files. And strangely people were sure everything was shot on 4x5 film. Here I need to say that I have a good team of retouchers that always make a really good job. Also when I asked them about the difference, they said that it's not that big and that it's always the question weather the quality improvement over 1dsmk2 make sense in decreased flexibility, much higher cost... The problems that I'm sometimes having is using the same image for print ad and billboard. While the retouching is quite expensive client usally wants just one image. So this means that print ad is made out of just a small part of the 35mm file. Hmmmm...

I have read what people here are saying about investing in MFDB, and I agree in some way. But in the other It makes me mad that as a photographer I need to be such a technique freak and to constantly invest money in equipment.  However I have always liked to invest in lights though. What client are paying me for is the distinctive quality of my work which is not so technically connected but has other pictorial quality. But in some way it has become one with use of Linhof and Pentax and RZ. 1DsMk2 brought freshens, youthesness and almost non conformism in my style and it has evoked such a nice memories on my starting years in photography when I loved to use FM2 with 24mm and 105mm...

Also if anybody has any references using 85mm 1,2. would be a big help while if I will decide to stay with Canon I'll buy the lens.

I will be very grateful for any suggestions. As you see the digital besides of the benefits that brought to me also made me quite confused and nervous.

Thanks a lot!



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1-Ds Mark2 or MFDB for commercial photography?
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2006, 01:08:12 AM »

to give short answer to long question:
no problem to deliver prof. hiend results with a camera as the1ds2, if you know
1.: to use it and
2.: to  work with the digital files on a high level.

ofcourse mf can have its advantages, but only if point 1+2 is given also,- and it does not mean that you cannot make excellent work with other gear also......
« Last Edit: November 23, 2006, 01:09:11 AM by rehnniar »
rainer viertlböck
architecture photographer
munich / germany


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1-Ds Mark2 or MFDB for commercial photography?
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2006, 01:21:51 AM »

the ds1MII is a great camera I have shot over 200.000 images with it in the last 2 years.

What I don't like is the 35mm format compaired to the MF. And if you are using a 4x5 or 6x7 you know that focussing on a full body shot is almost impossible and if you blow up a full body shot you will be losing detail very fast.

I did a test with a Leaf digital back (Aptus 65) and my ds1mkII and the full body shot was so much clearing (detail in face and fabric of clothing) with the Leaf than with the Canon. Really night and day.

I have had several large billboards up (shot with the canon) and I don't think anyone would be able to tell the difference between the Leaf or the canon if not able to view the images side by side.

File handling and retouching are very important...and if done right the difference is minimal...BUT when I retouch a Leaf file I have more detail (skin, fabric) to work with and the result looks better in the end than with a Canon file...and that is the difference of I guess the 16bit files.....more detail in the shadows and highlights!

I "upgraded" to the MFDB fom the canon (but will still be using the canon as a backup and for projects that need speed and as a backup) because I shot the camera's side by side and saw the difference which was big enough to make me understand that to play in the professional arena you got to have the best of the best...and in the digital world your great artistic vision is not enough any longer! Which is a shame....but the way the world works!
« Last Edit: November 23, 2006, 01:25:04 AM by nicolaasdb »


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1-Ds Mark2 or MFDB for commercial photography?
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2006, 02:33:53 AM »

Hi Tomo...

I come to pass for the same process that your, I purchased the mk2 and a 5D from canon, and I am wait that  the market be clarified of MFD.

For commercial work, I use the canon in location, the results are the same or better than with my hasselblad, so I have determined to sell my hass and to substitute it for canon.

In the other hand, my work in 4x5 is not sustituble with canon, and I need a 39 MFD to obtain an equal or upper quality. But expecting a good moment for the purchase (hy6 commercialization),  I work, with canon with an adaptor for sinar (100 $ from china) with really GREAT resuts, and the multi shot capabilities  to obtain 24 MP with the 5D, or 32 MP with the mk2 with two shots.
Francesc Costa


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1-Ds Mark2 or MFDB for commercial photography?
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2006, 03:16:33 AM »

I will be very grateful for any suggestions.

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Firstly a ford mondeo cost £15k? and BMW 750 costs £80k? - both can get four passengers safely up to the speed limit

Price increases exponentially with a linear quality increase : backs dont offer good 'value'

16MP is good for DPS in a magazine - so I dont think you need more MP


Costs are not so bad in terms of a business tool over 3/5 years

A big camera like a hassy H1 is lovely to look through

The larger chip gives less depth of field which many love

MF lenses can have great character/bokeh

Leaf shutter lenses offer high flash synch speed

MF backs offer 25 or 50 ISO

Using a 'proper camera' can look right in front of clients - as can gumming up thier machines with pixel peepable files

Depending on exposure conditions a 16bit file can be much more flexible in post production and cropable

(now most pros dont crop  due to shooting error but sometimes clients need square or postbox shaped files)

'Tethered only' backs like the H25 offer best value to quality and are likely to be practical if you have a DS2 to fall back on

It is really a personal choice

I was won over by the Narrow DOF, High Synch speeds and the 'viewing pleasure'

Having just bought a D200 for fast handheld work the step back is a huge shock in terms of the file and the DOF and the 'viewing pleasure'

The D200 will probably look 'fine' in a magazine

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