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Author Topic: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???  (Read 64806 times)

Chris Livsey

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #240 on: March 12, 2013, 02:36:08 PM »

FWIW, I noticed that for a given iso, aperture and speed, the H3D-31 pictures are a bit darker with less blown out highlights than the D800 pictures.

Not all apertures are created equal  ;D
Not all iso's are created equal  ;D
Speeds are, these days, usually equal or so close we can't tell ;D
Not all software treats files from different cameras equally ;D

I think " a bit' is pretty good actually given the variables.
 
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Chris Livsey

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FredBGG

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #241 on: March 12, 2013, 05:51:42 PM »

As I predicted, you found out that the two cameras give very similar results at the pixel level. This is no surprise: if you design the test so that:
-the subject has the same size per pixel
-the optics are used in a way to minimise aberrations
-processing is the same
-colours are matched and
-there is enough light and not too much dynamic range,
you will find out that all cameras give similar results at the pixel level. The simple reason is that the only difference would be the presence or absence of an anti-moiré low pass filter. The test is designed to make all other factors equal.

But what you don't see from the pictures is more important:
-the H3D has much better and much more accurate AF, I must use live view on the D800 to come close (this was a real surprise of mine)
-the Hasselblad lenses are much better and perfectly usable wide open. Nikon does not have a prime coming close to the Hasselblad 28mm (which has about a 21mm equivalent FOV on the H3D-31). The 12-24 is Nikon's best wide angle lens. The only alternative would be the Zeiss 21mm and the Hasselblad lens is still better and has AF. Lenses always have been small format's Achille's heel
-the H3D has much, much better colours out of the box, especially skin colours. Sure, I can spend an hour to tweak the Nikon's output to look better, but for a pro in fashion, the capability to output perfect skin colours without effort is invaluable.
-the H3D is much easier to shoot tethered, which is again invaluable for many pros (most of them shoot catalogues pictures)
-medium format will make limited depth of field look nicer, which is essential for portraits. The reasons here are complex, I may come back to that later
-and of course recent MF cameras have much higher resolution.

Sure, the D800 has other advantages. I am not listing them here not because I want to minimise them, but because we all know about them. The point is that your "test" does not show all the practical advantages that count to people who buy MF cameras, because of the way it is designed.

Regarding AF focus accuracy both cameras are just as accurate when used correctly, however the Hasselblad has the distinct disadvantage
of having only one focus point and does not have True focus like the H4D. As a result anytime you need to AF a feature that is not at the center of the frame
the Hasselblad is at a distinct disadvantage, especially when shooting wide open.

As far a s skin colors go I shoot both fashion and portraits. Both the Hasselblad and the Nikon produce great skin tones.
Any professional photographer will tell you that perfect skin tones are more about casting, makeup and how long the model partied the previous night.
The differences between modern sensors are totally insignificant in comparison.

See here:
http://www.luminous-landscape.com/forum/index.php?action=dlattach;topic=69391.0;attach=64261;image

However more dynamic range I find results in better black and white, especially for hair on brunettes or black hair.
Less muddiness into the deep blacks. However this is not as massive difference as both cameras do very well, with the D800 having the edge.

Tethering is just as easy with both cameras, but the Nikon has the advantage of a modern connection compared to hasselblad still having firewire.
On top of that the D800 in live view lets you monitor very very clean live view on an HDMI monitor.
Canon and Nikon offer wireless tethering while Hasselblad does not.
Regarding catalog..... from what I have seen most of it is shot with 35mm DSLRs
« Last Edit: March 12, 2013, 06:05:28 PM by FredBGG »
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jerome_m

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #242 on: March 13, 2013, 09:41:52 AM »

However more dynamic range I find results in better black and white, especially for hair on brunettes or black hair.
Less muddiness into the deep blacks. However this is not as massive difference as both cameras do very well, with the D800 having the edge.

Which Hasselblad model did you use for the B&W comparison?
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TMARK

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #243 on: March 13, 2013, 09:44:09 AM »

I used to shoot lots of cataogues.  I used a 5D, 1ds,ds2, for the smaller, volume images because focus is so critical when you have 400 items of clothing to photograph on moving models in one day.  The hero shots, like the covers and lifestyle scenes in studio or on location, were shot with MFD, mainly a Leaf back on an RZ.  That was a while ago, I remember renting a Valeo 17.  

I wouldn't feel the need, today, to shoot the hero shots with an MFD, unless I wanted to work with an MF camera, which has its benefits.  This is not a knock on MFD at all, its just that the quality of almost every modern camera's sensor is so good that the image quality of a camera is not the deciding factor in what to use on a job.  Usability, look, tetherability, weather sealed, etc are more important considerations than IQ for COMMERCIAL work.  Use what is appropriate to the job.

Regarding catalog..... from what I have seen most of it is shot with 35mm DSLRs
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TMARK

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #244 on: March 13, 2013, 10:03:25 AM »

The AF on MY D800e is spot on with all of my lenses.  I never use live view unless I'm using third party lenses with an adapter and am static, as the D800 focusing screen is not precise enough for precision manual focus.

The H3Ds I've used were accurate, no doubt, for static subjects.  I wouldn't say more acurate that the D800.  I also found the AF to be acurate on the mamiya AFd1 and 2, although slow.

My experience is that 35mm cameras, even the lowly 1ds and 5d, hit focus where I want it at a higehr rate than the AF MF cameras I've used professionaly (AFd 1,2, H1,2,3).  This means no focus edit, and less work for the tech reviewing the images as they come in, less time waiting for confirmation that we have the shot.  I haven't used a DF DF+ or H4 H5, or Hy6.  I mainly used manual focus because I could focus faster and just about as acurately as the MF AF cameras I've used.  And then there is the RZ, which is of course all manual, but with the waist level magnifier was perfect.

I'm of the mind that if you need fast AF, use the appropriate camera.  If you need the look of MF, use an MF camera.  If you need something small and unobtrusive, use a Leica or a Fuji.  If you shoot landscapes, use an MF or stitch, whatever works.
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telyt

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #245 on: March 13, 2013, 10:16:34 AM »

Perhaps my experience with usable focussing screens and well-corrected lenses makes me a dinosaur, but why does anyone need AF to photograph a flower or a tree?  Does anyone else feel that trying to out-smart an AF system to photograph a non-moving subject takes more effort than looking at the image and adjusting focus until it looks sharp?
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 10:32:44 AM by wildlightphoto »
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #246 on: March 13, 2013, 10:23:15 AM »

Hi my guess is that Fred mixes up things a bit. I'd suggest that darkness of hair is more of a rendition thing. I think DR is overexclaimd, mostly it is limited by lens and camera internal flare. I analyzed a lot of images using raw digger recently and has found one with DR in excess of 9 stops and it was a velvia dupe, with all surrounding light shielded in a dark room.

Best regards
Erik

Which Hasselblad model did you use for the B&W comparison?

TMARK

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #247 on: March 13, 2013, 10:54:06 AM »

Perhaps my experience with usable focussing screens and well-corrected lenses makes me a dinosaur, but why does anyone need AF to photograph a flower or a tree?  Does anyone else feel that trying to out-smart an AF system to photograph a non-moving subject takes more effort than looking at the image and adjusting focus until it looks sharp?

Exactly! 
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jerome_m

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #248 on: March 13, 2013, 11:01:22 AM »

The H3Ds I've used were accurate, no doubt, for static subjects.  I wouldn't say more acurate that the D800.

My experience with the AF of the D800 (phase AF, not live view) is that it is generally accurate and much faster than me. It works like magic to detect the subject out of its array of sensors, when that subject is a human. But, especially with fast lenses, it sometimes misses a little bit. The H3D surprised me as 100% consistent. Then there is also the saying you'll find on the forum that nothing less than live view will do if one needs accuracy and my real life observation that live view is not always possible in bright sunlight and that contrast detect AF (in live view then...) also sometimes misses. I am not saying that the H3D is superior, just observing that forum talk does not reflect my practice.

I'm of the mind that if you need fast AF, use the appropriate camera.  If you need the look of MF, use an MF camera.  If you need something small and unobtrusive, use a Leica or a Fuji.  If you shoot landscapes, use an MF or stitch, whatever works.

Words of wisdom to which I readily agree. I'll even add that for fast AF, the Hasselblad is not the appropriate camera at all. ;)
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Wayne Fox

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #249 on: March 13, 2013, 01:30:19 PM »

The AF on MY D800e is spot on with all of my lenses.

You are lucky.  That is pretty rare.

My 800e requires an adjustment of 8 for the 70-200, 4 for the 14-24.  on my 3 zeiss lenses, when the camera indicates they are in focus, they are in fact very close but I can get them sharper with 10x live view. I think I can actually dial in an offset for these lenses as well, but haven't tried it yet.  Even though the lens doesn't focus, the camera still provides feedback when it thinks the lens is sharp.

We calibrate 2 or 3 cameras a week with normally between 3 and 5 lenses each  Less than 10% require no adjustment.  Using FoCal, we also test for focus consistency, and haven't seen a lens yet without some variation. Personally for landscape, 10x liveview focus is the only thing I trust.
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TMARK

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #250 on: March 13, 2013, 02:37:02 PM »

You are lucky.  That is pretty rare.

My 800e requires an adjustment of 8 for the 70-200, 4 for the 14-24.  on my 3 zeiss lenses, when the camera indicates they are in focus, they are in fact very close but I can get them sharper with 10x live view. I think I can actually dial in an offset for these lenses as well, but haven't tried it yet.  Even though the lens doesn't focus, the camera still provides feedback when it thinks the lens is sharp.

We calibrate 2 or 3 cameras a week with normally between 3 and 5 lenses each  Less than 10% require no adjustment.  Using FoCal, we also test for focus consistency, and haven't seen a lens yet without some variation. Personally for landscape, 10x liveview focus is the only thing I trust.

I haven't needed to calibrate any of my lenses.  They are all on the money, even my 50 1.4 and 85 1.4, at 1.4.  I also use the 28 AI-s, 28 AF-d, 60 Micro D, and Hasselblad V 50 C, 80CF and 150CF.  These light up the indicator when in focus. 

I sat down with both of my D800s (one belongs to the office) and my "e" was a bit more acurate than the plain vanilla 800.  I have a Zeiss 35 F2 zf.2 on the way.  I will check acuracy when it shows up.

My "luck" might have to do with using older lenses.  I don't know but my 30 year old Nikkors light up the focus indicator and are spot on, even at 10x live view.  My newer but still 10 year old AF-d lenses work as above.  No adjustment needed. 

Of note, I had to calibrate all of my Canon lenses on the 5D2 and ds3.  Some needed enormous adjustments, some none at all.
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FredBGG

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #251 on: March 13, 2013, 02:41:33 PM »

Hi my guess is that Fred mixes up things a bit. I'd suggest that darkness of hair is more of a rendition thing. I think DR is overexclaimd, mostly it is limited by lens and camera internal flare. I analyzed a lot of images using raw digger recently and has found one with DR in excess of 9 stops and it was a velvia dupe, with all surrounding light shielded in a dark room.

Best regards
Erik


Not mixing things up at all. L'Oreal and Wella are clients and I shoot a lot of hair, so it's quite important to me.
I used to process black and white with a water bath process to get nicer shadows. Also I really like deep shadows in my work.
As I mentioned the d800 has a slight edge over MFD backs in detail in the deep shadows and has a cleaners fall off of detail into the blacks
and an anti alias filter also helps keep this smoother even at the cost of losing a wee bit of detail.

That said the MFD backs are very close in this area to the D800. My Canons however are worse in this area.

I have also found that the D800 has the cleanest blue channel in and near the blacks. Using the blue channel in black and white conversions
for hair can really bring out contrast in fine detail while somehow smoothing large area differences helping significantly when retouching hair
using large area high pass technique.
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Doug Peterson

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #252 on: March 13, 2013, 02:56:20 PM »

Fred: could you be more specific. WHICH medium format digital backs have you observed this with? The P25 you briefly owned? Other more recent digital backs? If so, could you share any files you've shot with these backs which illustrate this?

Rob C

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #253 on: March 13, 2013, 02:56:49 PM »

I haven't needed to calibrate any of my lenses.  They are all on the money, ... These light up the indicator when in focus. 

My "luck" might have to do with using older lenses.  I don't know but my 30 year old Nikkors light up the focus indicator and are spot on, even at 10x live view. 


My Nikkors are also all manual except one... never needed to adjust anything.

It's what I've been bitchin' about for ages: there used to be Final Inspection, once upon a time, and you expected and got quality... now, I'm amazed to see that people expect to return new lenses a couple of times: I find that attitude shocking, both from the manufacturer's angle and from the way the buyers accept it as normal.

Rob C

FredBGG

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #254 on: March 13, 2013, 03:02:30 PM »

My experience with the AF of the D800 (phase AF, not live view) is that it is generally accurate and much faster than me. It works like magic to detect the subject out of its array of sensors, when that subject is a human. But, especially with fast lenses, it sometimes misses a little bit. The H3D surprised me as 100% consistent. Then there is also the saying you'll find on the forum that nothing less than live view will do if one needs accuracy and my real life observation that live view is not always possible in bright sunlight and that contrast detect AF (in live view then...) also sometimes misses. I am not saying that the H3D is superior, just observing that forum talk does not reflect my practice.

Words of wisdom to which I readily agree. I'll even add that for fast AF, the Hasselblad is not the appropriate camera at all. ;)

Fast lenses with NF cameras with only center AF focus points have limited accuracy if the feature you want in focus is not in the center of the screen.
Full length fashion for example where you want the eyes in focus. It's better with the H4D and H5D, but still has it's limitations wide open with the fastest lenses.

Here is what the AF focus and recompose problem looks like. These were shot with the Phase One DF and 80mm lens.
There were shot on a tripod.

This is to show the extent of the recomposition that is actually not that extreme


Focus error with Focus and recompose.


And here is the same feature, but framed in the center of the screen.


The problem is not the lens being softer towards the edges. I did some focus bracketing and got results comparable to the center
as far as focus goes.

Nothing beats focusing without having to recompose.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 03:14:02 PM by FredBGG »
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FredBGG

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #255 on: March 13, 2013, 03:12:12 PM »

Fred: could you be more specific. WHICH medium format digital backs have you observed this with? The P25 you briefly owned? Other more recent digital backs? If so, could you share any files you've shot with these backs which illustrate this?

Don't get your kickers in a twist ;). The difference is very small. Both MFD and the D800, D600 (as well as the dinky little D7100) have excellent dynamic range.

That said MFD was getting better results in this areas than even the best Canons... even the P25 that you seem to want to attempt to discredit me with did a better job than newer Canons. The D800 changed all of that bringing high dynamic range to high end 35mm DSLRs


How briefly I owned the P25 has little to do with this and a lot to do with the DF being not up to the level of Phase One backs.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 03:19:55 PM by FredBGG »
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Doug Peterson

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #256 on: March 13, 2013, 03:18:19 PM »

Don't get your kickers in a twist ;). The difference is very small. Both MFD and the D800, D600 as well as the dinky little D7100 have excellent dynamic range.

My knickers are thoroughly untwisted.

I was just asking for clarity. "MFD" covers at least 100 makes/models of back; everything from a 6mp Lightphase from the 90s to an 80mp IQ180.

So you meant the P25 you shot showed less detail in the shadows then your D800. Thanks for the clarification.

FredBGG

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #257 on: March 13, 2013, 04:05:11 PM »

My knickers are thoroughly untwisted.

I was just asking for clarity. "MFD" covers at least 100 makes/models of back; everything from a 6mp Lightphase from the 90s to an 80mp IQ180.

So you meant the P25 you shot showed less detail in the shadows then your D800. Thanks for the clarification.

Nope I did not say that at all, but the D800 does have better shadows... and I had a P25+ with a claimed dynamic range of 12+.
The IQ180 according to phase one has a dynamic range of 12.5 so we are not talking about a massive difference.
In tests I did the detail in the blacks especially where there is little color is visibly better with the D800 putting the D800 right up there as far as this goes with the newer Phase One backs.
I have also found ... as have others.... that there is a bit more detail in the blacks with the D800.

http://www.circleofconfusion.ie/d800e-vs-phase-one-iq180/

In this test the D800 showed a bit more shadow detail...... and this test was done by an IQ180 owner.
A landscape photographer and instructor. I'm sure he has a good grasp on dynamic range being a landscape photographer.
The IQ180 is the newest MFB from Phase One.

From the article.
Quote
Not all of them weighted in favour of the medium format camera, though. For instance,
the D800E produced much more pleasing shadow areas on the prints of the photographs produced to test dynamic range.

Anyway let me repeat that the difference is not very big, but the important point is that you can now get great dynamic range without the heavy investment
in a medium format system and have this great dynamic range in an agile and fast system.

I live in Southern California and we get a load of crisp sunlight and I like to shoot on the beaches and in the deserts.
having great dynamic range is so helpful. Even more helpful is shooting fast exposure bracketing so as to be able to blend multiple frames
to blend scenes with say one model slightly in the shade and one model in more direct sunlight. or shooting a black and a white model in the same shot.
Fast frame rates coupled with the great dynamic range is very useful.

Even highlight recovery is bloody great with the D800. I often shoot on location which is an added cost to the cleint so it's important to bring back the elements of the background that are over exposed when using diffusion on the model.

Here is a quick test I did that shows just how much can be recovered.



Dynamic range:


Interesting if you take into account effective ISO.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 05:05:42 PM by FredBGG »
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jerome_m

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #258 on: March 13, 2013, 05:07:32 PM »

http://www.circleofconfusion.ie/d800e-vs-phase-one-iq180/

In this test the D800 showed a bit more shadow detail...... and this test was done by an IQ180 owner.
A landscape photographer and instructor. I'm sure he has a good grasp on dynamic range being a landscape photographer.

These are not my observations. For example, I photographed the interior of a church here at iso100 on the D800 and H3D-31 (I posted the pictures earlier):



To analyse the deepest shadows, I need to go back to the raw data files. There are three little paintings at the right of the column in the shade two thirds to the left. If I raise the shadows on the two raw files I can see the content of the pictures a bit better on the H3D-31, especially the one on the right. The colours are also more saturated on the H3D-31. Noise is a bit better on the D800, but can be reduced nicely on the H3D-31. Neither of these is great because the paintings were severely underexposed and the difference is not very large, but it is in favour of the H3D-31.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2013, 05:30:13 PM by jerome_m »
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telyt

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Re: DIGITAL Medium Format photography is almost as moribund???
« Reply #259 on: March 13, 2013, 06:02:13 PM »

It's what I've been bitchin' about for ages: there used to be Final Inspection, once upon a time, and you expected and got quality... now, I'm amazed to see that people expect to return new lenses a couple of times: I find that attitude shocking, both from the manufacturer's angle and from the way the buyers accept it as normal.

Agreed.  It seems now that features and initial price are all that matters to the majority of buyers.  The manufacturers are supplying what the buyers say they want.
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