1) What did I buy?
Alpa STC, IQ180, Rodi 40hr, 70hr, 100hr, Schneider sk150
2) Why did I buy?
I was shooting a 5DII as if it was a MF/LF system. Tripod, manual lenses (Canon 24/90ts, Zeiss 21/35. In 2011 I made the switch because 1) People were requesting larger prints, 2) I often crop to other ratios which cuts resolution, 4) 2-shot pano stitching would be simple 3) Canon seemed to be going nowhere, 4) I had a unique financial opportunity to jump onto the Phase train.
3) Do I like the stuff?
Very much. The technical camera fits my workflow well. I am not a big fan of setting up for multi-stitch shots. With this set up a 2-shot stitch is simple; no finding the nodal point, no rails, just slide and shoot, slide and shoot.
The only thing I miss is Canon’s fantastic live view.
4) Is it better than D800E/Sony A7r or whatever?
At base iso it is better than the a7r, especially wider than 35mm. The best wide angle I have for the a7r is the Zeiss 25 f/2 ZE. No comparison to the Rodi 40.
7) Is colour rendition better?
I have no idea.
Is aliasing an issue?
I can see it in some images at 100% on screen, but I’ve never had to remove something in a print, so no issue.
9) Do I use the stuff?
Yes, all the time.
10) If I do something important, will I use the MF system or resort to DSLR?
I don’t use a DSLR for anything anymore. I want to get an IR conversion done on my 5DII; that will get me using it again. Here comes my controversial statement. I think the DSLR days are numbered. 20 years from now a DSLR will be viewed as a temporary solution to two technical problems; 1) how to accurately see what is on the sensor in a pleasing way, and 2) fast, accurate autofocus tracking.
The a7r has essentially solved the first problem. I swear I often forget I am looking through an EVF.
11) What is the main advantage I see?
I’ll simply copy Torger: “Compositional freedom through tilt and shift, pleasing workflow.” I’ve said this before and I’m sure it sounds backwards to many: The workflow in the field feels so “unchained.” No viewfinder, no focus, no meter. Nothing telling me what to do.
12) What are the main disadvantages I see?
Cost and lack of live view.
13) Are the pictures using MF better?
I am convinced my images have improved artistically as well as technically. In an earlier post Eric said, “…except the fact I like shooting with the equipment.” Well gosh, I enjoy shooting with this equipment, and it shows in my images.
14) Are the MF pictures better "out of camera"?
This question implies on screen, not on paper since none of us print an OOC image. In some ways yes, in others no. I need to do an LCC for all the 40hr images, and some of the 70hr images. So from that standpoint the a7r images are better. At higher ISO the a7r images are better. However, at base ISO the IQ180 images obviously have more detail.
15) Is the aspect ratio better?
Yes I much prefer 4:3 even though I often crop to a different ratio. It just feels more versatile and useful.
16) Would I buy the MFD equipment again?
Absolutely! When Phase/Leaf/Hassy/Leica comes out with a 54x40 (or larger!) sensor with good live view I will upgrade in a heartbeat.
17) Do I regard it as a bad investment?
It's no more a financial investment than a car. It is an investment in my photography. There are many ways to accomplish some task. To produce large prints I could multi-stitch for more resolution. I could use my 5DII almost as if it was a technical camera, just don't look through the viewfinder, don't use metering, etc. But we have to decide individually what tool matches the way we like to shoot. It is hard to measure the value of a tool that works the way you want it to.
18) Do I enjoy it?
Hell yes. I don’t think this is a “nice to have” characteristic of camera systems. I think it is by far the most important because it shows in a photographer’s images. Even the best pros are affected by how they relate to their tools whether it is a hammer, camera or F1 race car.
19) Some of my photography involved travel by air. How do I handle it?
F-stop Loka holds everything. Alpa, back and lenses in the ICU. Above the ICU sits the a7r in an old Galen Rowell Photoflex chest pouch along with the Sony 35 f/2.8, Sony 55 f/1.8, Leica 90 f/2.
20) I will go on a workshop, what equipment will I take?
Both. I think that is the beauty of the tech camera plus a7r. I’ve got two systems that are very good at what they do, and in a pinch the a7r could be used as a backup with not much quality loss.
21) Can I see differences in printed images?
Yes in prints on paper 17x22 and larger.
22) Is MFD fun to use?
Yes, although so is the a7r for different reasons.
23) What bad habits have you picked up since shooting MFD?
I read forums too much and view prints too close.