"Time to Nut up or Shut up".
I'll begin this with sorry for the long ramble.
Yesterday, had a semi low pressured shoot, both interior location then beach location.
For whatever reason I thought I shoot it with the Contax and Phase rather than the Canons and Nikons.
I haven't really touched the Contax in 9 months, except to shoot an image, then say to heck with it and shoot the Canons, so not to be tempted I didn't even bring the Canons as backup.
Also I wanted to shoot low horizontal so the waist level finder is much easier on me and the subject so after a day I have a few notes, let me look . . . I wrote them somewhere on an old kodak film box . . . ok found them.Note to Phase.
Get rid of those four "soft" buttons, either that or give us a way to lock them out. It took me a few minutes to "remember" what they all did, but shooting low, knees in the sand on the beach and placing the camera in my lap always turned something on like the histogram or some grayed out stuff telling me about the file. Speaking of 4 buttons, who thought up the zoom in feature to check focus. OK I know the lcd is limited in use, I know it's small, but its like playing a pong game with a grand theft auto controller trying to figure out how to move that little cursor around to check focus.
Somebody please loan Phase a 5d2 to see that focus check button on the back. Two clicks, boom-boom, one move and you can see everything. It's so easy it's crazy easy.Note to Contax (or whoever owns Contax).
I forgot what a great camera the Contax is and the lovely noise it makes when you use the waist level finder. It just smooth, click, smooth, click.
The lenses are super sharp without a bunch of mumbo jumbo software correction features and the camera is so rock solid is nuts. I know somebody smart probably looked at the medium format market and thought uh-uh, we ain't going down that road anymore, but come on, if Phase can spend the money to resurrect the plastic Mamiya, if anyone could contemplate saving the half built HY6, then there had to be some market for the Contax. Waist level finder, right angle grip, smooth as buttah shutter and mirror. Who the hell let that camera disappear?Note to Phase One Software guys.
An assistant did me a "favor" and tethered me to version 4. I haven't tethered to version 4 ever except an early test when it came out and realized I wasn't going to beta test this thing until it got to version 5 point 7 something but yesterday I looked at the computer and instead of that familiar no nonsense white screen I saw that grey thing that has 24 tabs and thought well since it's running I'd give it a try and every-time I changed lenses, it would disconnect the camera. I bought Phase for the stability of the software and tethering and though I gotta admit I'm not a version 4 expert, just changing lenses shouldn't shut it down.
Last night when I processed the files, I thought ok I'd try version 4, but they just looked prettier, (I know that covers a lot of territory) in 3.78 so I used what I know, life was easy and I made the deadline.
Once again, somebody please loan phase a Canon with that EOS utility disk. I know it's dumb tethering software but anyone that owns an Iphone can learn to work it in about 3 minutes. Version 4 must take a class to really learn it . . . a very long class.Note to anyone buying a medium format back.
Buy the p21+ and old Aptus 22, the Hasselblad p21 version (whatever that is) and some stickers that say P900, or Aptus 656 and stop worrying about spending twenty gazillion dollars. That back shoots a beautiful file, is detailed and unless you spend years with your nose on a 30" screen it shoots really pretty, really film-like (i know that also covers a lot of territory).
In fact spend another $100 on one of those dog shock collars. Every-time you think about "upgrading" just hit the button and knock yourself to the floor.
Since most people reading this are photographers it will take a year or so of shock training to understand you don't really need 8 billion pixels and have to sell the car just to own a medium format back that works. Nobody will know the difference and you'll have a lot more time to shoot rather than learn a bunch of stuff you don't need to learn anyway.Note to self.
Shoot more with the P21+ and sell the p30+. The difference is just night and day when shooting. The p21+ just shoots when you press the button, the p30+ you shoot and count 1 thousand one one thou...click,
Put a spam blocker that stops all Calumet and Phase offers. Don't temp myself to buy anything other than more batteries for the contax.Last note to Phase.
How about a firmware upgrade to give us a black and white option on the lcd? I know the lcd sucks, I know it's hard to tell it's color anyway, but yesterday the AD wanted to see the shot in black and white and I had to say naw there's no black and white function on here. but don't worry I'll do it when I process. Every camera on the planet has a black and white function.
Please throw away that paper mask that comes with the back. If you put it where it belongs (under the ground glass) everything is back focused. If you put it on top, it bows and of course doesn't give exact framing. Come one guys, stop being cheap, at least put Bill Maxwells phone number in the Phase One box so you can get the cropping without having to jury rig black photo tape.
Now please, please don't get rid of version 3. I know it's old, I know it's got a white background and the type design came from a ms-dos word processor, but it works and if it does crash when you shoot 500 files to a folder at least it starts back up fast and doesn't lose anything.
Version 4 is so heavy so many tabs nobody has time for it under even a light pressured project. Note to all camera makers.
Go to Samy's with a wobbly TV tray under your arm. Sit it up and put every camera on the tray and shoot a frame. Watch the TV tray jump. Then do this with the Contax and notice how smooth it is.
Then try to change the Fstop and shutter on every camera made and realize some knobs goes one way, another wheel the other, then try the contax. It's got a real shutter dial with numbers a real F stop ring on the lens (also with numbers).
That's the goal.Second note to self.
Do not buy any more cameras. What I own works, stop messing around. Go to the Pit Bull shop in East LA and buy that shock collar.
Spend more time using what I got, what I know and less time in front of the computer learning something that doesn't really change anything.
Since medium format wants to live in the film era of cameras, then fine, I'll just treat it like a film camera.
Shoot more with the p21+.