Luminous Landscape Forum

Equipment & Techniques => Cameras, Lenses and Shooting gear => Topic started by: Craig Arnold on September 24, 2007, 03:31:28 pm

Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: Craig Arnold on September 24, 2007, 03:31:28 pm
I made the mistake at the weekend of wandering into Jacobs and having a look at the Mamiya 7ii.

It felt fantastic (quirky in a very appealing way) and I immediately fell in love with it. It felt great; light despite being large with a fantastic viewfinder - I found it much easier to use with my spectacles on that the Leica and better than the 5D. It fit my hands just great. I liked the way it looked too. And the shutter was so soft I could hardly hear it at all, much softer (if you can believe it) than the Leica. There was a real "ooh" factor. I didn't want to give it back to the shop assistant.

A few months ago I was all prepared to go for a Leica M8 and found that I just couldn't like it (despite admiring it very much), so ended up with the 5D instead.

I have found myself more and more using just the 50mm f1.4 with the 5D and sometimes switching to MF (but using the AF confirmation lights) as with wide apertures and off-centre composition I find the AF not as useful as it usually is.

The Mamiya is a fraction of the price of the Leica, the lenses are apparently fantastic, and image quality must surely be better (than the Leica) with the large 6x7 negative coupled with these great lenses. Now I am under no illusions about the build quality of the Mamiya v the Leica. I would expect a Leica M7 to last for a lifetime, and would not expect that of the Mamiya, but the thing is that it is very affordable. The 80mm "kit" lens with its field of view equivalent to 39mm on 35mm seems ideal, as I find the 50 a bit tight and 35 a smidgen wide. Of course I might be tempted to add a couple of extra lenses later, but don't anticipate really wanting one for a while.

But I do love digital and have no access to a darkroom. So I would be sending my film off for development and possibly a low-res scan at the same time. I could stretch to purchasing a Canon 8800 scanner which is very reasonably priced. I have no illusion that it would be as good as an Imacon or heaven forbid a drum scan. But do you think I would still be likely to get similar or possibly even higher quality than the 5D?

For my (everyday) needs the quality of the 5D is more than sufficient. And if I do need a really good print for a competition or special occasion I could always send in the neg for a high-res drum scan. My print volumes are low (I am just an amateur) so for prints larger than A4 I get them done at a shop rather than at home. I don't think that a medium-format digital back is likely to ever be in my future, nor a camera like the 1DsMkIII.

Of course I will be using it to complement my 5D, and so wouldn't need to use high ISO film unless I wanted to for effect.

As my photography has improved I find myself now taking fewer and better pictures, and the frame counter on the 5D is ticking over far more slowly than it used to for the first couple of years of DSLR use when I had the 20D.

I have this romantic notion that the Mamiya would quickly supplant the 5D + 50mm as my portrait/documentary setup.

I am not asking for anything so sensible as a solution to my muddle, but if you have any experiences to share I should love to read about them.
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: Quentin on September 24, 2007, 06:27:06 pm
Quote
I made the mistake at the weekend of wandering into Jacobs and having a look at the Mamiya 7ii.

It felt fantastic (quirky in a very appealing way) and I immediately fell in love with it. It felt great; light despite being large with a fantastic viewfinder - I found it much easier to use with my spectacles on that the Leica and better than the 5D. It fit my hands just great. I liked the way it looked too. And the shutter was so soft I could hardly hear it at all, much softer (if you can believe it) than the Leica. There was a real "ooh" factor. I didn't want to give it back to the shop assistant.

A few months ago I was all prepared to go for a Leica M8 and found that I just couldn't like it (despite admiring it very much), so ended up with the 5D instead.

I have found myself more and more using just the 50mm f1.4 with the 5D and sometimes switching to MF (but using the AF confirmation lights) as with wide apertures and off-centre composition I find the AF not as useful as it usually is.

The Mamiya is a fraction of the price of the Leica, the lenses are apparently fantastic, and image quality must surely be better (than the Leica) with the large 6x7 negative coupled with these great lenses. Now I am under no illusions about the build quality of the Mamiya v the Leica. I would expect a Leica M7 to last for a lifetime, and would not expect that of the Mamiya, but the thing is that it is very affordable. The 80mm "kit" lens with its field of view equivalent to 39mm on 35mm seems ideal, as I find the 50 a bit tight and 35 a smidgen wide. Of course I might be tempted to add a couple of extra lenses later, but don't anticipate really wanting one for a while.

But I do love digital and have no access to a darkroom. So I would be sending my film off for development and possibly a low-res scan at the same time. I could stretch to purchasing a Canon 8800 scanner which is very reasonably priced. I have no illusion that it would be as good as an Imacon or heaven forbid a drum scan. But do you think I would still be likely to get similar or possibly even higher quality than the 5D?

For my (everyday) needs the quality of the 5D is more than sufficient. And if I do need a really good print for a competition or special occasion I could always send in the neg for a high-res drum scan. My print volumes are low (I am just an amateur) so for prints larger than A4 I get them done at a shop rather than at home. I don't think that a medium-format digital back is likely to ever be in my future, nor a camera like the 1DsMkIII.

Of course I will be using it to complement my 5D, and so wouldn't need to use high ISO film unless I wanted to for effect.

As my photography has improved I find myself now taking fewer and better pictures, and the frame counter on the 5D is ticking over far more slowly than it used to for the first couple of years of DSLR use when I had the 20D.

I have this romantic notion that the Mamiya would quickly supplant the 5D + 50mm as my portrait/documentary setup.

I am not asking for anything so sensible as a solution to my muddle, but if you have any experiences to share I should love to read about them.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=141620\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

I used to own a Mamiya 7II with the 65mm lens.  I ended up buying the other lenses.   Great camera, and with the film flatness and lack of vibration, the 6x7 transparencies approached 4x5 film in terms of quality.  Problem is its film - so that means you need a decent scanner, so the overall package cost goes up even before you factor in development costs.

Now I have sold the 7II and shoot mainly digital, also with a Mamiya, but a now a ZD.  The ZD is a lot more convenient and offers similar quality to drum scanned 67 transparency film from the 7II, but with better dynamic range, instant preview, and all the plusses of Photoshop.  

So I'd stick with the 5D...

Quentin
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: pobrien3 on September 24, 2007, 09:15:38 pm
I have the Mamiya 7II with all available lenses, and can confirm that the handling is terrific, the lenses gorgeous (personal favourite is the 43mm), though the longer lenses (esp 150mm) have a close focus which is too far away to use as a decent portrait lens for my taste: needs a lot of cropping, so you lose some of that nice big tranny.  The transparencies are indeed beautiful: nothing like putting them on a lightbox with a loupe and marvelling at the vibrancy and clarity.  I wasn't planning to buy a family hierloom so was perfectly happy to choose the Mamiya over the Leica, and it gave me excellent service and performance.  However it now sits in my 'unused gear' coffer (or perhaps that should be coffin), where it's remained unused for the last couple of years.

The problem is, as Quentin so rightly said, scanning.  Indeed it's the entire analogue-to-digital workflow.  To get the best from the trannies you need a very good 6x7 scanner, and my Nikon 8000ED was never quite good enough.  One quickly discovers that scanning is an entire art form and new skill to master, and the resultant files are very large.  Better make sure your computer has tons of memory and fast CPU.  Unless of course you opt for a whole non-digital workflow, but that's getting more difficult to do in this digital age.  The camera is also of course completely manual (the internal metering is simplistic and not really much use), but you indicate you're comfortable with that.

If you're printing large at exhibition quality, then you have little choice but to drum scan. If you leave most or all of that process from drum to print in the hands of a third party, then you're losing out.  I found that even some of the most reputable London pro labs were returning crap scans and prints, and don't get me started on the quality in Hong Kong...!

IMHO, I'd have to say that for printing up to A3 then I'd go for the 5D every time.  I have performed side-by-side comparisons of prints from 1DsII files and 6x7 drum scans, and when I examine them closely I can see the superiority of the 6x7, but on showing them to friends and family, all they noticed were some differences in colour (never get the two to match perfectly).  At that size your 5D files should be as capable as the 1DsII files of producing a similar quality A3 print.  When I print at A3 from a 6x7 scanned (by me) with the Nikon, the dynamic range is noticeably worse and the 1DsII file is superior.  That could probably be improved though if I became more proficient at scanning and spent a lot longer on each tranny...

I have a pile of 6x7 trannies that I keep meaning to get around to scanning, but never do.  It's just too daunting to scan even one of them.  After I bought the 1DsII I discovered I could never return to analogue photography, and the files you get from the 5D should rival mine - in fact better in some cases.

Peter
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: image66 on September 24, 2007, 10:01:02 pm
My recommendation is to shoot the Kodak Portra films instead of transparencies. The cost of both film and processing is much less than the transparancy film and the dynamic range is so much greater.

My experience with the NEW Portra films is extremely positive--I've almost completely converted over to it, except for a handfull of Velvia rolls left in the fridge. Once those are gone, that's it for trannies.

Scanning is a breeze. Get yourself one of the newer, higher-end flatbeds.

A good 6x7 on Portra 160VC is going to give you image results the 5D couldn't even dream of.
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 24, 2007, 11:38:29 pm
Quote
My experience with the NEW Portra films is extremely positive--I've almost completely converted over to it, except for a handfull of Velvia rolls left in the fridge. Once those are gone, that's it for trannies.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=141677\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Agreed.

For those willing to stay on the slide side of things, Velvia is clearly by far the worst solution when scanning is part of the equation. Provia 100F is a much better option.

Regards,
Bernard
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: pobrien3 on September 25, 2007, 12:50:32 am
I never really got on with Velvia, and found the Portra too muted and low in contrast.  Provia 100F was my favourite, and scanned more easily than Velvia.
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: phila on September 25, 2007, 03:50:05 am
One thing not mentioned so far is the sheer time it takes to "work up" a decent sized 6x7 scan. I've done many hundreds from my library of RB67 trannies and if I never have to spend hours getting rid of dust, reducing the grain etc etc again I'll be very happy.

5D definitely!
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: roskav on September 25, 2007, 05:03:40 am
I'd say you could pick up a good 2nd hand Imacon/Hasselblad scanner for a lot less than you would have two years ago... mine is here sitting on the desk .. only being used for film from my Noblex.. and I just finished paying for it too!...  I know several photographers still using MF Film ... and I would say that using the mamiya could only compare to using another MF system.... so if I was on a trip without recourse to electric power .. or just wanted to do some street photography ... and had a good scanner handy .. I would consider the Mamiya ... mind you .. my Fuji GW690III has remained unused for quite a bit now... just doesn't make sense for me to use film commercially ....(BTW never really liked Provia for scanning... Kodak e100G was twice as good in resolution terms)

R
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 25, 2007, 05:58:46 am
Quote
I'd say you could pick up a good 2nd hand Imacon/Hasselblad scanner for a lot less than you would have two years ago... mine is here sitting on the desk .. only being used for film from my Noblex..
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=141712\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

That's what I have been using as well, but I just hate the time I waste cleaning up the dust from these images.

Cheers,
Bernard
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: Craig Arnold on September 25, 2007, 06:06:51 pm
So it seems the majority opinion is that scanning is a PITA.

*Sigh* - I know that is bound to be right, far more sensible just concentrating on the 5D.

But it's just a hobby for me after all, and the aim is to have fun taking the pictures too, it's not just about image quality.

I have decided to get a cheap scanner - the new Canon 8800F looks like it might be OK. I've no doubt it won't have the same quality as the stuff you folks use, but I do have a ton of old 35mm negs and some from my Holga which need scanning.

That's a cheap way to test whether the scanning business will drive me nuts or not I guess. If I hate it I can always put it on ebay after scanning some of my 35s.

If I think I can live with it for low volumes then I may re-visit the notion in a couple of months.

Thanks for all the input.  
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: mcfoto on September 25, 2007, 07:02:32 pm
Hi
Speaking of the Nobelux I just scanned about 60 images on the Epson V700 scanner. Very impressed with the quality, used Kodax 400 neg. I still have to edit my ZD shots but from what I have viewed the digital quality is way better. The real problem with scans is file size. A Nobelux 3200 dpi @ 48 bit is 173 megs.
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: Quentin on September 25, 2007, 07:30:21 pm
As the owner of a drum scanner and founder of the ScanHi-End yahoo scanning group, I guess I ought to be more positive (no pun intended   ) about film, but the fact is modern high resolution digital capture does have many advantages.  4x5 and 8x10 film, preferably Provia as Bernard has mentioned, will still outresolve the highest resolution digital backs, and there is a look to LF film that is unique.  You can buy a decent drum scanner in working order for not very much money and that would work well with a Mamiya 7II.  

But the fact is since I purchased the ZD, I think the drum scanner has only been switched on once.

Hmmm.  Must dust down the 8x10 again

Quentin
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 25, 2007, 08:17:23 pm
Quote
Hi
Speaking of the Nobelux I just scanned about 60 images on the Epson V700 scanner. Very impressed with the quality, used Kodax 400 neg. [a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=141833\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Denis,

I have considering a Nobelux for some time but sort of hesitated because of:

1. The price,
2. The rumoured problems when a strong light source is part of the frame,
3. The anticipated learning curve before getting good results.

If I may ask,

- What is your take on the Nobelux?
- Do you use the 150?
- Have you benchmarked it against stitching?

Thank you in advance,

Regards,
Bernard
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: mcfoto on September 25, 2007, 08:33:08 pm
Quote
Denis,

I have considering a Nobelux for some time but sort of hesitated because of:

1. The price,
2. The rumoured problems when a strong light source is part of the frame,
3. The anticipated learning curve before getting good results.

If I may ask,

- What is your take on the Nobelux?
- Do you use the 150?
- Have you benchmarked it against stitching?

Thank you in advance,

Regards,
Bernard
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=141847\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Hi
I have the 135U model 35 mm & a Widelux 35 mm. I shot a lot of images at APEC here in Sydney used both the ZD & Nobelux. I don't think stitching is the same especially when people are involved. Quality wise the ZD is far superior but the Nobelux has a very good lens. I wish they would make an affordable 35 digital panoramic camera. I love the Widelux but it needs repair & have owned it for 20 years. With this scanner I might shoot some film every now & again. It just has a different look. For street work the ZD camera was brilliant because it is so light weight.
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: BernardLanguillier on September 26, 2007, 05:34:43 am
Quote
Hi
I have the 135U model 35 mm & a Widelux 35 mm. I shot a lot of images at APEC here in Sydney used both the ZD & Nobelux. I don't think stitching is the same especially when people are involved. Quality wise the ZD is far superior but the Nobelux has a very good lens. I wish they would make an affordable 35 digital panoramic camera. I love the Widelux but it needs repair & have owned it for 20 years. With this scanner I might shoot some film every now & again. It just has a different look. For street work the ZD camera was brilliant because it is so light weight.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=141852\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Thanks a lot Denis.

Regards,
Bernard
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: roskav on September 26, 2007, 06:55:01 am
Hi Bernard I use the 150ux with slow speed module and panolux meter... some trouble with the panolux but the guys in Dresden are very helpful and will sort it out as soon as I get a test set of images to them.  The lens is so sharp .. it really beats a lot of my large format lenses for detail.  It is really nice for wide landscapes but you need to print big to get advatage from all the little things that it picks up ... not so good for interiors because of the distortion ... but good when you crop out the bottom and top of the shot.. It's really great to have a shot all in one viewfinder when you are out and about .... beats stitching in that respect.... some shots here.

You'll notice a fence going across the bottom of a seascape shot .. I was standing in a circular enclosure.  The one of the warehouse is warped in PS .. not very successful.

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chment]
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: spotmeter on September 27, 2007, 12:18:23 am
I have had my Mamiya 7II for many years.  I also have the 5D, Fuji GX617, and a Linhof 4X5.  For some reason, my best pictures have been taken with the Mamiya. I really don't know why.

The build of the camera is terrific. It feels really comfortable to use. The lenses are fantastically sharp. I have a 12' X 14' print in my living room that was made from a Mamiya tranny. It is very sharp.

If you like the camera, buy it. If you take an occasional great photo you can pay for a professional scan--they are not that expensive.  

You can also buy a Mamiya Cabin 6X7 projector and mount your good trannies for projection. When you are looking at Mamiya trannies on a  6' X 7' screen in a darkened room--well that's a magical experience.
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: pobrien3 on September 27, 2007, 05:54:41 am
Quote
...When you are looking at Mamiya trannies on a  6' X 7' screen in a darkened room--well that's a magical experience.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=142140\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Agree absolutely: If ever that quality could be represented in a print... Nirvana!
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: colinb on September 27, 2007, 05:55:56 am
So this is ever so slightly off topic. But possibly relevant. On Sunday I went to an exhibition of William Eggleston's prints here in Edinburgh. They are large prints, made from 5x7 negatives in the '70s and recently printed. They took my breath away. I wonder how long it will be before I, as an amateur, can afford a digital camera that can capture that kind of detail.


What impressed me most was the apparent three dimensionality of the prints. The subjects are a mixture of portraits and random bits of environment. In the portraits, which looked perhaps a little bigger than life-size, every nuance of facial feature, every thread of fabric was pin sharp. Almost too sharp. One guy has a very unpleasant looking pimple on the corner of his mouth. This being large-format, you have the usual business of the very shallow plane of focus. Eggleston uses this to good effect. You could imagine brushing your fingers through the hair of some of the subjects. You could imagine them slapping you for doing so!

For a while I thought about rushing home and digging out my 4x5. Two things stopped me. First, I was never anything like as good as Eggleston [you probably knew that already]. Two, I really don't want to get into the business of scanning, spotting, and filing sheets of film. So I'll have to settle for mediocrity until the technology and my abilities improve to the point that digital can grab my eyes the way the best of film work does.

Here's a link about the exhibition.

http://www.24hourmuseum.org.uk/exh_gfx_en/ART49605.html (http://www.24hourmuseum.org.uk/exh_gfx_en/ART49605.html)
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: Rob C on September 27, 2007, 11:07:58 am
I am still working on both transparencies (Kodachrome, shot many years ago) and digital capture via D200.

Yes, they are very different, to my eyes at least, but whilst I still have a film camera and a freezer drawer pregnant with materials, the simple hassle of spotting my scanned pics is just too daunting nowadays. The other huge problem is processing, where not all labs are created equal, and even the good ones can vary in output. Further, whilst colour transparencies and the E6 system are all well-known and can generally be monitored well enough by the labs, processing b/w film seems to be far more doubtful - possibly because the exposure of that material is so much more a matter of personal interpretation and one film with one developer, learned at home or in your own business, becomes a technique which no outside lab can handle in the same way.

I have also learned one of the newer bad habits that comes with the digital age: impatience. I have also lost a lot of my ability to use an incident light meter as well as I used to when no alternative was available; the matrix system in the D200 is just so good that I needle match all the time and never bother looking at the rear screen until I get home, and then only in order to wipe out the trash.

I looked at the Mamiya 7 a few times, thinking the Leica thoughts, only larger, but the same argument that kept an M3, 6 or 7 and myself apart still applied: non-reflex focussing is a step too far, possibly because I started off with a modest but to me, at the time, expensive Voigtlander Vito B which eventually carried a rangefinder in the shoe... The Exakta that replaced it made slr viewing irreplaceable, particularly as I became very fond of the 135mm focal length for much of my work. The Nikons that replaced that machine were so good - I used to imagine that had Nikon made a version of 6x7 then it would have been mine - sadly, it turned out to be a Pentax 67 that caught me, but thats another tale.

Starting from scratch, it would have to be digital capture now.

Rob C
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: phila on September 28, 2007, 07:08:30 am
Quote
So it seems the majority opinion is that scanning is a PITA.

*Sigh* - I know that is bound to be right, far more sensible just concentrating on the 5D.

I have decided to get a cheap scanner - the new Canon 8800F looks like it might be OK.
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=141824\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Actually it might be worthwhile waiting for Epson to update their 700 range with LED illumination, as is surely due soon.
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: brucepercy1 on September 28, 2007, 11:34:02 am
Hi There,

All my images for the past six years were taken on a Mamiya 7II with the 80, 50 and 150 lenses, scanned on a Nikon 8000 Scanner.

I'm not an advocate of digital over film. They look and feel completely different.

I personally think the Mamiya 7 is one of the best cameras around. The lenses are superb and I've used it to so some portraiture too - something most people think is an unsuitable venture for such a camera. It's light, got the highest image quality ratio vs weight/compactness (no bigger than a 1DSm2).

Last year, I bought a 5D, feeling rather wary of embracing digital. But I've found (for my own personal work), that the Mamiya was staying in the bag. For me it was the following reasons:

1) Lack of close focussing
2) Lack of decent telephoto support
3) slow lenses

I love film. I really do, and I would encourage you to go the Mamiya 7 route if this is where your heart is leaning. You have to go with what you 'feel' is right for you.

In terms of Mamiya 7 vs 5D, it's like comparing apples to oranges. The mamiya will produce images with a look and feel you won't get from a digital camera. And likewise the other way round too.

If it's convenience you are after, then digital wins, but if you want very large images comparable to LF work, then the Mamiya is it. Optically, the lenses are superb. I just found that most of my work was publication based, and I wanted to simplify my system down to something more compact, with a greater range of lenses. It's taken me a year to get to the point where I'm getting the colours and tones I liked so much about my Mamiya.

So, basically, if you fancy the Mamiya, and you're not worried about the extra costs and time, then go for it. It's a superb machine.
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: nik on September 28, 2007, 02:06:57 pm
If you have the option of renting this camera, do it. If not, ask the store for a trial run. Shoot side by side with your 5D, get scans made (either rent an imacon or get 3 or 4 drum scan done) and then GET GOOD PRINTS MADE AND COMPARE. Put all digital files on 1 page and all the scanned images on another to save cost if neccessary, just get a decent size print done. Don't compare onscreen, you will not get the full experience of the differences between these 2 different camera systems as easily as from a good print.

This is what I did with my canon 30D and then sold it due to the results!

I mostly shoot medium format neg film (portra 160NC, Agfapan APX 100, fuji reala 100) and rent an imacon 848 scanner (they are common). Yes, removing spots and dust is a pain, but the results and speed of this scanner are very good. There is effective dust and scratch removal in the imacon software. Not as good as a wet mounted scan from a drum scanner but you've got a lot more to deal with in terms of the process if you go the drum route. I've been wrestling with getting a cheap drum scanner, I've yet to make a decision.
Getting a crap scanner for such a superb camera will only frustrate you and cripple the full potential of this great camera. I've got an epson 4990 for contact sheets only.

I'm guessing you're in the UK, if so, get to calumet, I used to use their imacon at their London Euston branch.

-Nik


Quote
I made the mistake at the weekend of wandering into Jacobs and having a look at the Mamiya 7ii.

It felt fantastic (quirky in a very appealing way) and I immediately fell in love with it. It felt great; light despite being large with a fantastic viewfinder - I found it much easier to use with my spectacles on that the Leica and better than the 5D. It fit my hands just great. I liked the way it looked too. And the shutter was so soft I could hardly hear it at all, much softer (if you can believe it) than the Leica. There was a real "ooh" factor. I didn't want to give it back to the shop assistant.

A few months ago I was all prepared to go for a Leica M8 and found that I just couldn't like it (despite admiring it very much), so ended up with the 5D instead.

I have found myself more and more using just the 50mm f1.4 with the 5D and sometimes switching to MF (but using the AF confirmation lights) as with wide apertures and off-centre composition I find the AF not as useful as it usually is.

The Mamiya is a fraction of the price of the Leica, the lenses are apparently fantastic, and image quality must surely be better (than the Leica) with the large 6x7 negative coupled with these great lenses. Now I am under no illusions about the build quality of the Mamiya v the Leica. I would expect a Leica M7 to last for a lifetime, and would not expect that of the Mamiya, but the thing is that it is very affordable. The 80mm "kit" lens with its field of view equivalent to 39mm on 35mm seems ideal, as I find the 50 a bit tight and 35 a smidgen wide. Of course I might be tempted to add a couple of extra lenses later, but don't anticipate really wanting one for a while.

But I do love digital and have no access to a darkroom. So I would be sending my film off for development and possibly a low-res scan at the same time. I could stretch to purchasing a Canon 8800 scanner which is very reasonably priced. I have no illusion that it would be as good as an Imacon or heaven forbid a drum scan. But do you think I would still be likely to get similar or possibly even higher quality than the 5D?

For my (everyday) needs the quality of the 5D is more than sufficient. And if I do need a really good print for a competition or special occasion I could always send in the neg for a high-res drum scan. My print volumes are low (I am just an amateur) so for prints larger than A4 I get them done at a shop rather than at home. I don't think that a medium-format digital back is likely to ever be in my future, nor a camera like the 1DsMkIII.

Of course I will be using it to complement my 5D, and so wouldn't need to use high ISO film unless I wanted to for effect.

As my photography has improved I find myself now taking fewer and better pictures, and the frame counter on the 5D is ticking over far more slowly than it used to for the first couple of years of DSLR use when I had the 20D.

I have this romantic notion that the Mamiya would quickly supplant the 5D + 50mm as my portrait/documentary setup.

I am not asking for anything so sensible as a solution to my muddle, but if you have any experiences to share I should love to read about them.
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Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: spotmeter on September 28, 2007, 03:13:55 pm
Another solution to your dilemma is the Fuji 6X9 rangefinder. If you want lots of saturated color, light weight, and a very sharp lens, this could fit the bill.  It is the same aspect ratio as your Canon and you could do inexpensive scans on a desktop scanner and send the good ones out for a drum or Imacon scan.

There are two models, one with a normal lens and another with a wide angle. I prefer the normal.

I have this camera and have done some spectacular landscapes with it.  I mount it on a tripod and use a cable release. You need to add an empty filter ring to the front of the lens in order to easily screw in and out any filters.  It has a quirky retractable lens hood.

The Fuji lenses are terrific. I have their GX617, but that is much heavier.  The 6X9 you can sling over your shoulder and, with high speed film, use it for snaps in the city.
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: Craig Arnold on September 29, 2007, 01:17:55 pm
Thanks for all the replies.

Renting the camera for a weekend is probably a very good idea. I'm in London so it should be easy enough to manage. After putting through a few rolls I will have a much better idea whether it's just fanciful or whether I really will form a long-term relationship with it.

I will very likely purchase the new Canon 8800F LED scanner. Of course the quality will be lower, but I'm sure with the 6x7 neg it will be good enough for A4 or A3 prints and the potential is in the neg for a drum scan if I do take a shot that proves worthy of a competition or a some large prints.

The price of the Mamiya 7II with 80 f4 is only around 1150 pounds from Jacobs, and cheaper if I get it off ebay. That is near enough the same price as a 35mm or 50mm L for the 5D. Of course there are film costs, but I will only be using it for low-volume purposes, I will still have the 5D after all.

Also I suppose that if I did fall out-of-love with it, I will probably be able to recoup 50-75% of its value by selling it.  

One thing that seems clear is that the vast majority of those who have used the Mamiya don't have a bad word to say about it.
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: nik on September 30, 2007, 09:55:33 am
You could also try the guys at teamwork ( I recall paul & steve) super nice guys, friendly and without any attitude. They rent gear as well as sell new/secondhand. I rented quite a bit from them last year, including the ZD. I think it's teamworkphoto-dot-com.

-N

Quote
Thanks for all the replies.

Renting the camera for a weekend is probably a very good idea. I'm in London so it should be easy enough to manage.

The price of the Mamiya 7II with 80 f4 is only around 1150 pounds from Jacobs, and cheaper if I get it off ebay.
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Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: Let Biogons be Biogons on September 30, 2007, 08:14:33 pm
I have both the Mamiya 7II and 3 lenses as well as a Canon 5D, so I feel qualified to comment.

On subjects that are appropriate for the Mamiya 7II, it is far and away better than the 5D.  (that is, scanned at 4000 dpi, on a Nikon 8000 scanner -- a drum scan is better, but raises your costs significantly).  No contest.  Clearly, the 7II has limitations, and they have been pretty well covered in the above discussion.  The 5D is faster, has faster lenses, has low marginal costs, good high ISO quality, and is quicker to the final image.  

However, if what you are doing is about quality and not about speed, or specialty lenses, the Mamiya 7II is outstanding and is the hands down choice.  If you are taking your time, and don't need to rapid fire 100 images, use the Mamiya 7II. It great for landscape, cityscape & architecture (when you don't need shift/rise) and even street photography (with high speed B&W film).    It's fine for portraits, but won't give you a tight head and shoulders images.  But there is a lot of film real estate, so you can crop.  It's great for infrared film, too.

The only thing that will touch it is a good MF back.  I can churn through a lot of film processing before I get anywhere near the cost of a MF back.  The 7II is paid for. I have a fridge full of film, and I don't really use a lot of it.  For me, it's cheaper than buying a MF.

Velvia 50 is OK.  However, I have to say that I have had great results with Velvia 100F.  Astia 100F is excellent as well. (Provia 100F doesn't really do it for me).  The current Kodak films, E100G and E100GX are excellent as well and scan great (and have had great results in the past with E100SW as well).  With current generation 100 ISO slide film, it's hard to find grain even when scanned at 4000 dpi.   For faster film, Kodak 400UC (negative film) is really pretty good.  I've heard good things about the recent Fuji Provia 400X, but haven't tried it yet.  And you can still use B&W film for some of the texture and feel that digital can't match.  And I still have a stash of the discontinued Konica 750IR.

One of the less-oft mention downsides is that a scanned 6x7 slide at 4000 dpi produces a 500+MB file.  Even with 4GB of memory, a 64 bit OS, and dual core processor, working with the files in PS is slow.
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: Rob C on October 01, 2007, 12:35:26 pm
Yes, I expect that huge files will slow down the PS functions more than somewhat. But then again, if quality is really the way one wants to go, then there are few options that I can think of which can get around that. It must be better to have original information on a file than having to enlarge it via interpolation to reach the same mammoth print.

Of course, if huge prints are not really expected, then the need for large films or sensors is largely in the imagination, in which case, Id suggest opting for comfort and digital capture.

No point in making life more expensive or complicated than it need be!

Rob C
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: Let Biogons be Biogons on October 01, 2007, 02:51:34 pm
Quote
Yes, I expect that huge files will slow down the PS functions more than somewhat. But then again, if quality is really the way one wants to go, then there are few options that I can think of which can get around that. It must be better to have original information on a file than having to enlarge it via interpolation to reach the same mammoth print.
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It is indeed -- at least in my experience.

Quote
Of course, if huge prints are not really expected, then the need for large films or sensors is largely in the imagination, in which case, Id suggest opting for comfort and digital capture.
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I just looked at a number of different prints in a B&W digital print exchange.  All the images were printed on 8.5x11 paper.  The sources used were both digital and scanned film.  The prints that really stood out from the others were those that started from a scan of a large piece of film.  It was an obvious and clear-cut superiority.  From what I have seen, it is NOT in the imagination.
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: gingerbaker on October 02, 2007, 02:56:24 pm
Quote
A good 6x7 on Portra 160VC is going to give you image results the 5D couldn't even dream of.
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Don't forget that it is not a difficult thing to stitch many successive shots of a scene using a DSLR.  Once you have, say, 6 shots occupying the original FOV of the scene, the 5D should be easily capable of out resolving 6 x 7 film.

I have seen a photo on the web which was a pastiche of 250 (!) shots from, I think, a DSLR.  That resulting file could be printed at 10 feet square if one wanted, and still be razor sharp.

Nowadays, there are inexpensive programs available so one does not even need to use a tripod to stitch photos together.

So, what is easier - buying, storing, using large film, sending it off for processing, printing, and possibly even scanning it, etc.

Or putting your camera on multishot, hitting the trigger, and taking multiple shots for about 1 second.  Selecting them in a stand-alone program, and sitting back as it makes a 100 MB image for you.  You could even upload it to Costco.com, have a 36" print mailed to your door for something like $10 or $20.  

Digital has its advantages, and not too many detriments, if one learns how to get around them.  Not too hard to equal the dynamic range of film - blend some exposures. You can even blend images with different focus points a/or apertures easily - see Sean McHughs amazing work along these lines ( [a href=\"http://www.pbase.com/compuminus/cambridge)]http://www.pbase.com/compuminus/cambridge)[/url]
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: Craig Arnold on October 02, 2007, 03:19:19 pm
My chief concern is not about the maximum possible image quality of 5D v 6x7 as such.

My interest in the Mamiya was far more to do with the experience and fun of using a rangefinder as compared to an SLR, having it as an extra option for when the mood takes me rather than as a replacement for the 5D.

I like my 5D very much and plan on keeping it. :-)

The image quality question was really this: if I use a modest scanner (<500) will I be likely to get  similar quality to my 5D. It is perhaps the kind of question that has too many variables implied to get a sensible answer.

But as a working test I might get the scanner first and extrapolate from the quality I am able to extract from my 35mm negs.

At any rate the replies have been very helpful and interesting and I thank you all.
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: sevenjohn on October 05, 2008, 06:25:12 am
I just came across this thread.  I'm in a very similar situation, using a nikon D200 as my primary camera.  I dug out my rolleiflex 3.5 and shot some portra 400nc on it.  I never had a scanner for mf negs and so to test the workflow i scanned in half frames on my 35mm flatbed.  
    The images certainly have a look that i've never encountered with my D200 files.  Using square format and a seperate lightmeter, the whole shooting scenario is vastly different and for me seems to contribute to a more contemplative shooting style.  With that in mind I have decided to get a canon8800f scanner,  It's the cheapest option for mf scans.  Like the OP I don't really care if the quality with such a scanner is inferior to my D200, all I would like is to be able to produce 16" square prints that are of acceptable quality.  I'm sure the tedious workflow will kick in, but if the magic that's in the negs can survive a cheap scanner withoutt loosing too much the i'll be happy.     John
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: Craig Arnold on October 06, 2008, 03:55:32 am
As this thread has been resurrected I can give an update as to progress...

Had a good look through Salgado's Africa (which I received as a present) and realised that shooting 35mm is not really that much of a limitation.

Ruled out the M8 on grounds of its cost, the difficulty of using the viewfinder with spectacles, and the crop factor.

Ruled out the Mamiya 7II on the grounds that I would have to develop the film myself because there is no-where nearby in my part of London that I could find that would do it for me at a reasonable cost. Online services are expensive too in the UK; the market seems to be shrinking to high-quality and cost required by professionals. For hobbyists it's looking like it is back to DIY as far as film is concerned.

So I went for a new Zeiss Ikon + 50mm Planar f2 + Nikon Coolscan V.

Mostly shooting Ilford XP2 and Kodak BW400CN which I get processed and (low res) scanned near my house then use the Coolscan for the ones I want to work on.

With those films I reckon I'm getting roughly 6-8Mp of usable info, even though the files come in at 20Mp at 4000dpi. I hope to start developing my own BW soon though with some finer grained film.

I'm having fun with it and probably am using my ZI and 5D equally, though pretty much using the ZI exclusively for BW.  

I would love to see a digital FF Ikon and am hoping that the A900 sensor might make its way into one at some point. I would happily give up my 5D in such a scenario as the RF experience is everything I had hoped it would be and the viewfinder on the ZI is simply magnificent. I also enjoy having a camera that is much smaller and lighter than the 5D.

Although I lust after new equipment, as we all do, in moments of sanity (such as when looking at my credit card bill) I am reminded that my equipment is not currently a limiting factor in my photography.

My ZI will last me until a digital version comes along (if ever) and my 5D will last me until it breaks, at that point I shall get the latest "mark" of its line. That may be II but hopefully will be later, the arrival of the Mk II however has prompted me to start contributing a monthly amount into my photography fund again.
Title: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: sojournerphoto on October 06, 2008, 11:54:45 am
Quote from: peripatetic
As this thread has been resurrected I can give an update as to progress...

Had a good look through Salgado's Africa (which I received as a present) and realised that shooting 35mm is not really that much of a limitation.

Ruled out the M8 on grounds of its cost, the difficulty of using the viewfinder with spectacles, and the crop factor.

Ruled out the Mamiya 7II on the grounds that I would have to develop the film myself because there is no-where nearby in my part of London that I could find that would do it for me at a reasonable cost. Online services are expensive too in the UK; the market seems to be shrinking to high-quality and cost required by professionals. For hobbyists it's looking like it is back to DIY as far as film is concerned.

So I went for a new Zeiss Ikon + 50mm Planar f2 + Nikon Coolscan V.

Mostly shooting Ilford XP2 and Kodak BW400CN which I get processed and (low res) scanned near my house then use the Coolscan for the ones I want to work on.

With those films I reckon I'm getting roughly 6-8Mp of usable info, even though the files come in at 20Mp at 4000dpi. I hope to start developing my own BW soon though with some finer grained film.

I'm having fun with it and probably am using my ZI and 5D equally, though pretty much using the ZI exclusively for BW.  

I would love to see a digital FF Ikon and am hoping that the A900 sensor might make its way into one at some point. I would happily give up my 5D in such a scenario as the RF experience is everything I had hoped it would be and the viewfinder on the ZI is simply magnificent. I also enjoy having a camera that is much smaller and lighter than the 5D.

Although I lust after new equipment, as we all do, in moments of sanity (such as when looking at my credit card bill) I am reminded that my equipment is not currently a limiting factor in my photography.

My ZI will last me until a digital version comes along (if ever) and my 5D will last me until it breaks, at that point I shall get the latest "mark" of its line. That may be II but hopefully will be later, the arrival of the Mk II however has prompted me to start contributing a monthly amount into my photography fund again.


I just saw this and thought I'd add in my own experience. Having had a 5D for a couple of yeasr and added a 1Ds3, which has to all intents and purposes replaced the 5D, I recently purchased a Zeiss Ikon and C Sonnar 50 1.5. I too shoot mostly Black and White - largely FP4 and HP5 to date - and scan in a Nikon 5000 with roll film adaptor (acquired second hand). This doesn't get near the absolute image quality of the digital kit, but is able to make nice small to medium prints and I thoroughly enjoy shooting with it.

Like you I couldn't get on with the M8 and my glasses, but the Ikon's vf is excellent. I hope that they do one day produce a 20+Mp digital version, but meanwhile I'm just enjoying using two of the best, albeit very different, cameras I've ever had the priviledge of owning.

The 5D and 70-300 DO is for sale as I don't use them much, but if no one buys them that's not too great a loss. The 1Ds3 may be changed for a later 1Ds..., but there's no rush and the Ikon is secure unless a digi version appears.

Mike
Title: Re: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: southtexasshooter on July 29, 2012, 12:43:47 am
Ask a monkey how to fly to the moon and he'll jump up and down flailing about!  There are FEW circumstances where one could even begin to compare the Mamiya 7ii to a Canon 5D.  The Canon is great for weddings, general photography, it excels at indoor shots where light is evenly controlled however landscapes... NO!  Amateurs will tell you it dominates landscapes.  It does not!  I've owned the 5DII with a 24mm TSE II lens and 50mm 1.4 lens.  I've also owned a Hasselblad H2 with both film and P30 digital back and a Fuji GSW690III.  I'm now buying the Fuji GX617 for pano work in California.

If you are going to shoot weddings, portraits, models, runway, sports photography, photo journalism... buy a Canon or a Nikon.  If you need to shoot commercially for cars, modeling shoots that pay well, architecture, etc then get MF or bigger, preferably digital or digital back 30MP+.  If you want to shoot landscapes to show off to your Facebook friends... buy anything!  If you want to sell your prints (I'm talking 30x50 or 40x60 or larger... 16x20 is not a print people, that's a proof!), if you want to sell gallery work you better either have a high-end digital camera like the Pentax 645D, Hasselblad H series, Mamiya 645D or any number of Fuji, Mamiya or Hassy film cameras that can shoot 6x7 or larger sized positives or negatives; or go big like a Walker Titan 4x5 or 5x7 with a Schneider lens (Mike Walker makes great field cameras).

For the guy that thinks Velvia is the worst... tell that to Peter Lik!  He's only made a little over $60,000,000 selling prints from Velvia film, yeah that's Million with a capital M.  If Velvia sucks then the people forking over thousands for those prints can't tell the difference when standing in a gallery.

I sold my 5DII for several reasons.  1) I don't do weddings, sporting events, portraits, runway or photo journalism.  2) Compared to my H2 with a Phase One digital back the Canon was lighter.  That was the ONLY advantage it had over my Hasselblad.  THE ONLY ADVANTAGE.  And 3) the MF film I've shot on Velvia 50 and 100 and Kodak E100 BLOWS THE DOORS OFF MY CANON!  Like comparing a Yugo to a Saturn 5 rocket!

Digital has come a long way but I find it hypocritical that people put down film with so many famous pictures in the Library of Congress, the White House, most Casinos, high-end hotels, palaces, etc were all shot on film!  Ansel Adams, Elliot Porter, Julius Shulman, Peter Lik... these are people that have had their work reviewed and praised at the highest levels and all shot on MF or LF film.  Sure Lik is going digital but go to one of his galleries and ask them where their biggest sales come from... It's film... panoramic... and shot mostly using Velvia and a Linhof 617 camera!  His other digital works shot using a Mamiya 645D sell but not as well as his film work.

The thing I find so funny is when people try to compare 6x7 to 617 or 35mm to 4x5.  4x5 film, drum scanned at 3000 DPI is the equivalent of a 200 Megapixel image!  Let's see Nikon's 800E produce something with that level of detail... hmmm?  NO!  Not yet and not at the price that camera sells for.

Sure scans are expensive, because if you have a quality composition and know how to work the equipment, scans are worth it!  A $100 scan can make you thousands $$$$ if it's worthy composition and rendered correctly.  So... decide what it is you want the equipment for but please, don't compare apples to a fruit cake!
Title: Re: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: southtexasshooter on July 29, 2012, 12:55:02 am
I'll say this one last thing: regarding the "stitching" digital shots, yes you can do that (most of us have) for some things... not all!  When looking at moving clouds, water, blowing trees, leaves, grass, etc. stitching is not as easy as you might think.  Secondly, the camera must be turned in a semi-circular fashion using a nodel-slide-shift adapter OR a Tilt-Shift lens, either of which still distorts the image and affects final quality.  When you bend images then attempt to flatten them later, that's where the details become complex.  Using a 617 film camera with a 90 or 105mm lens compensates for this and thus does in one shot what a 35mm camera would need 5-7 shots to accomplish.  That lag time between shots (changes in light, clouds, wind) coupled with the requirement of turning the camera distorts the image quality.

I've seen some cool stitched shots but not one I'd pay $$$$ for.
Title: Re: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: uaiomex on July 29, 2012, 03:04:30 pm
I've been waiting for ages for Epson to!  >:(
Eduardo
Actually it might be worthwhile waiting for Epson to update their 700 range with LED illumination, as is surely due soon.
Title: Re: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: AJSJones on July 29, 2012, 05:13:25 pm
I'll say this one last thing: regarding the "stitching" digital shots, yes you can do that (most of us have) for some things... not all!  When looking at moving clouds, water, blowing trees, leaves, grass, etc. stitching is not as easy as you might think.  Secondly, the camera must be turned in a semi-circular fashion using a nodel-slide-shift adapter OR a Tilt-Shift lens, either of which still distorts the image and affects final quality.  When you bend images then attempt to flatten them later, that's where the details become complex.  Using a 617 film camera with a 90 or 105mm lens compensates for this and thus does in one shot what a 35mm camera would need 5-7 shots to accomplish.  That lag time between shots (changes in light, clouds, wind) coupled with the requirement of turning the camera distorts the image quality.

I've seen some cool stitched shots but not one I'd pay $$$$ for.

Swings and roundabouts, no? 

*IF* you want to make very large detailed prints (the scenario you seem focused on), you obviously need to acquire a lot of data. Getting it all in one exposure is ideal.  However, many of the 4x5 shots I took, I had to wait quite a long time for "just the right moment" (usually breezes) and sometimes it never came - golden light, deep DoF means stopping down means long exposure with good (i.e slow) film - moving leaves trees etc : just the same problem as stitching.  That would also apply to a 617 format.  Different sets of compromises involved but using the right tool for the job at hand is always the goal - as you said in the earlier post.  There are obviously times when stitching isn't going to work, too.  Just wanted to note that flat-stitching with TS lenses (like back-cross on a view camera) causes zero distortion and is used by many to increase "megapixels captured" to allow increase print size.
Title: Re: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: kers on July 29, 2012, 05:55:55 pm
I have scanned a lot of slides in the past ; 35mm 6x7 ( mamiya7) and 4x5inch.
What i liked best were the 4x5 scans because they had relatively less dust than the others.
Getting the colours right was one problem (even more with color negative) ; the dynamic range was limited.. but if all went well you had a good result after say 2 ( or more) hours of work on the dust and the color..
What i know is - you need a really good scanner to do slides ; a dedicated slide scanner and even one of the best to get all the information out of the slide. Working two hours on a bad scan is not very rewarding.
I am very glad i am past all this. I have now a d800E with some good lenses and the quality probably not as good as 4x5 in terms of resolution, but way better in terms of dynamic range, way better in getting the colors right.
I get this much cleaner digital image with zero effort and if i stitch two files i am at 4x5 resolution. And it costs me nothing and i can control my shots on the fly.

What is really too bad is that there is no solution to put a digital back on the mamiya7 because it is a great camera-lens system.
Title: Re: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: southtexasshooter on July 29, 2012, 09:48:56 pm
AJ: I've owned Tilt Shift lens and when shifted a maximum on the Canon TSE II there IS both distortion and light fall off.  The average person wouldn't notice but but it's there.  These lenses are great and I've used them to make some huge files.  Again, it all depends on what specifically he plans to focus on for composition.  For some people, a good DSLR and a TSE lens is the right combination.
Title: Re: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: AJSJones on July 29, 2012, 10:59:04 pm
AJ: I've owned Tilt Shift lens and when shifted a maximum on the Canon TSE II there IS both distortion and light fall off.  The average person wouldn't notice but but it's there.  These lenses are great and I've used them to make some huge files.  Again, it all depends on what specifically he plans to focus on for composition.  For some people, a good DSLR and a TSE lens is the right combination.
So, those who know, don't shift the whole available extent! With the TSE 1 I didn't use the red zone much for that reason.  For the 17 and 24 TSE2, even full shift does not produce major issues - detectable, possibly; big problem, not.  All lenses show some imperfections away from the optical axis and the further you go, the worse it gets :) even in lenses available on 617 or 8x10 format.  Light falloff is manageable in both cases in post, whether digital or analog.  But you are right, each person will usually choose the right combination for their individual needs, once they know what those are and what's available to meet them within their budget :D.   Once you factor in the differences in capability between digital sensors and analogue sensors, your main point that  "the bigger the capture area the better" still holds :)
Title: Re: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: Codger on July 30, 2012, 02:36:09 am
Horses for courses.  Most of us fantasize about owning ONE camera to do everything -- one which is inexpensive, light, compact, intuitive to use, and all the lenses are pro-grade and fast.  I haven't found it yet.  If you specialize in one or two types of work you can meet your needs pretty easily, but the range of work some of us aspire to do results in wrestling with work-arounds or concessions to producing less than fine work if we're limited to just one platform.  I've used Pentax 67 gear for more than a dozen years.  I love the look of my huge prints and suspect they'll only come from the eight to ten high-quality drum scans (400 MB) I average getting per year.  I wish I could say I NEEDED 30 or 50 scans, but the fact is, I'm making big prints to sell and I don't shoot 30+ great shots in a year.  A hundred pretty good shots?  Sure, but those aren't really flawless, and end up diluting the public's impressions that, "Gee, EVERYthing you do is so GREAT!"  I suggest, if you're being lured by better image quality in very large prints, that you cautiously wade into a 6x7 film platform.  Don't figure on stitching a bunch of little digital files together and telling yourself it's equivalent to good medium format output because in nine out of ten cases, it won't be.  When gallery visitors ask why I don't use some modern Canikon with lots of megapixels I tell them those cameras are very attractive, for a variety of reasons.  They're sort of the sports cars of cameradom: stylish, quick, maneuverable and fun to drive.  However, if I'm going to be "moving" a lot of earth (landscapes), a dump truck makes more sense for what I do.  It has a bigger payload and takes fewer trips to get the job done.  For a few years I've watched the developments in digital systems and I know the big sensors from Hassy and Phase can yield impressive results in single shot work . . . but at a very high price, comparatively speaking.  The Leica S2 is an appealing 'tweener, but the cost is not reasonable for me.  So, I'll stick with MF film (Provia) for my work, pack my handy 8MP cellphone with me, and keep life simple for another year/Photokina or two and see what happens.
Title: Re: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: southtexasshooter on July 30, 2012, 12:26:50 pm
Codger, nicely put!  Julius Shulman was the most famous architectural photographer of our time and he was known as "one-shot Shulman" for that same reason.  Julius believed that a great photographer knows how to read light properly and takes the equipment that is most suitable for the situation.  In his case, he predominantly shot 4x5 field cameras for over 77 years.  His signed books are now selling for $$$.  One comparison I see some trying to make here is that if you have a full-frame DSLR and a Tilt Shift lens then you are at 4x5 size and quality.  That's simply not true for what should be obvious reasons!  A full-frame sensor (roughly 24x36mm = 86.4CM) a tilt-shift lens allows you to double that area or as AJ put it you're not really supposed to go maximum shift for distortion and light fall-off reasons so let's say for arguments sake x 1.8 which gives you an area equivalent to 155.52 centimeters of view area.  The larger the image plane the greater surface area to capture more detail.  More MP doesn't always mean "better quality", if that were true Nikon's D3200 would be significantly better than the Canon 5D MK II, but it's not!  Packing more megapixels into a smaller sensor invariably ends in more detail yes yet the noise is more difficult to control as is the sharpness, due to the smaller size of the image plane.

Regarding the 4x5 view camera which is 96mm x 120mm that is approximately 13 times larger than a FF digital sensor which equates to 11,520 CM vs the 155.52 CM you get from shifting a $2000 lens on a Canon or Nikon.  Were you to then take your 'correctly' shot 4x5 image and put that on a drum scanner and scan at 3000 DPI or higher, you will see why people like Mr. Shulman have many books and accolades after his name while countless thousands of digital shooters do not!  The same holds true for your Mamiya 7ii scans, if they are scanned correctly on a drum scanner (and please don't say EPSON 700 or 750 again, that's comparing a Yugo to a Saturn 5 rocket again... aaahhhh), the drum scanner will bring out more detail, better sharpness and more contrast.  Then take your digitized film image and put that in Photoshop and do a final rendered comparison of that vs. a digital negative or finalized RAW file.  The digital negative of course would have to be up-resd and cropped substantially to match the size of a 6x7, 6x9 or 4x5 image and that would be where the argument ends.  I've seen many taking cheap, low resolution scans of a 6x7 slide and then comparing that to a DNG or RAW file.  That's like me running against you in a race, where my windshield is clean and your's is full of mud.  Don't lie!  THAT was what Ansel meant.  If you simply tell the truth and scan MF or LF film at it's proper resolution (meaning the very best and truest resolution) the detail will astonish you.
Title: Re: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: theguywitha645d on July 30, 2012, 12:53:06 pm
The Mamiya 6 is one of my favorite cameras. Fun to shoot and amazing images. A little over a year ago, I left film because very impractical for me and I moved over to the dark side.

I replaced my film cameras with a Pentax 645D. It is really an amazing camera. I have done a ton of work with it. I have a fine set of lenses, which were readily available and reasonable. The camera is a pleasure to use--big bright viewfinder and lots of ways to customize and control the camera, good ISO performance, and unlimited exposure length. The double tripod socket is really nice to have. The files are really nice, not only in terms of resolution, but also color. And it is 4:3. Having the ability to stitch meant I did not have to carry separate normal and panoramic film cameras.

This summer I had a book of 87 photographs taken with the camera published.

Perhaps a 645D would be a better move from a 5D than a Mamiya 7.
Title: Re: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: southtexasshooter on July 30, 2012, 12:58:49 pm
I'd love to hear more about your experiences with the Pentax 645D.  It looks like an amazing camera, it's just so new not many people have feedback on it yet.  How much was that one $10,000?  I may see if I can rent that at Samy's in LA when I'm out in California next month.
Title: Re: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: theguywitha645d on July 30, 2012, 01:48:36 pm
There is quite a lot on the 645D now. You can do some searching with Google. You can also check the Pentax Forums and GetDPI. There are also posts on opinions about the Pentax lenses on the 645D.

It is sort of hard to know where to start. In some regards, the camera just works. It is comfortable to hold and shoot and there are no quirks.

I have a 35mm and 120mm Macro manual focus lenses and 55mm and 300mm AF lenses. The 9-point AF is very good and you can fine turn individual lenses in the menus--this is not a normal feature in MFD. I find MF is easy because of the viewfinder size. I changed the original screen with a gridded screen, which I find very nice for panos. There is also an electronic level where a horizon indicator in the the viewfinder as well as the level display on the monitor.

I also have an IR remote used for bulb exposures and a right-angle finder for when the camera is in awkward position.

The biggest complaint is the write times. Coming from film, it is a whole bunch faster than Polaroids. It is a bit of a pain, but you work around it--I usually take a frame for exposure and then just shoot--I do a lot of handholding (the mirror is really well dampened). When you do a 6-frame pano, it takes a while to get a preview--smaller DSLRs will be faster.

I am mostly using this in the field and have been impressed with the results even when in really contrasty scenes. I really the color of the Pentax. I believe Image Resource has a review and was also impressed by the accuracy of the Pentax colors. I have also used the camera in the studio for portraits and it worked well.

If you are doing long exposure, Pentax will start a dark frame after 30 seconds and you cannot turn off. I think I have found a work around and one that might get better results--the 645D can do multiple exposures, not the combining trick in playback, but actual multiple exposure that shot and combined in camera and in RAW. I should be able to do a 4.5 minute exposure with this feature. Still, I have made five-minute exposures very easily and I know of other going far longer.

I also like how you can setup the SD cards as a RAID array where one card is a mirror copy of the other. If one card is corrupt, the other card will have the data.

Battery life is great. I have spent 6 hours in -10C weather and one battery was all I needed and was not exhausted. The LCD display was sluggish, but the camera just kept going. In normal temps, a battery goes for a very long time. I do have a spare.

But I certainly recommend taking it for a test drive. It is worth considering, even if you don't end up with one. It is a fine camera, but one among many.

BTW, I was shooting a Phase One P25+ in the studio on a Linhof previously. When I was looking for another MFD camera for the field, I was first considering a Phase camera. I stumble across the Pentax when I was doing my research. I am really glad I went with the Pentax over a similarly priced Phase system just in terms of usability and functionality. And weatherproofing was just the icing on the cake. However, YMMV on that.

Yes, a body is $10k and I spent another $3K or so on lenses and accessories.
Title: Re: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: AJSJones on July 30, 2012, 02:40:15 pm
Codger, nicely put!  Julius Shulman was the most famous architectural photographer of our time and he was known as "one-shot Shulman" for that same reason.  Julius believed that a great photographer knows how to read light properly and takes the equipment that is most suitable for the situation.  In his case, he predominantly shot 4x5 field cameras for over 77 years.  His signed books are now selling for $$$.  One comparison I see some trying to make here is that if you have a full-frame DSLR and a Tilt Shift lens then you are at 4x5 size and quality.  That's simply not true for what should be obvious reasons!  A full-frame sensor (roughly 24x36mm = 86.4CM) a tilt-shift lens allows you to double that area or as AJ put it you're not really supposed to go maximum shift for distortion and light fall-off reasons so let's say for arguments sake x 1.8 which gives you an area equivalent to 155.52 centimeters of view area.  The larger the image plane the greater surface area to capture more detail.  More MP doesn't always mean "better quality", if that were true Nikon's D3200 would be significantly better than the Canon 5D MK II, but it's not!  Packing more megapixels into a smaller sensor invariably ends in more detail yes yet the noise is more difficult to control as is the sharpness, due to the smaller size of the image plane.

Regarding the 4x5 view camera which is 96mm x 120mm that is approximately 13 times larger than a FF digital sensor which equates to 11,520 CM vs the 155.52 CM you get from shifting a $2000 lens on a Canon or Nikon.  Were you to then take your 'correctly' shot 4x5 image and put that on a drum scanner and scan at 3000 DPI or higher, you will see why people like Mr. Shulman have many books and accolades after his name while countless thousands of digital shooters do not!  The same holds true for your Mamiya 7ii scans, if they are scanned correctly on a drum scanner (and please don't say EPSON 700 or 750 again, that's comparing a Yugo to a Saturn 5 rocket again... aaahhhh), the drum scanner will bring out more detail, better sharpness and more contrast.  Then take your digitized film image and put that in Photoshop and do a final rendered comparison of that vs. a digital negative or finalized RAW file.  The digital negative of course would have to be up-resd and cropped substantially to match the size of a 6x7, 6x9 or 4x5 image and that would be where the argument ends.  I've seen many taking cheap, low resolution scans of a 6x7 slide and then comparing that to a DNG or RAW file.  That's like me running against you in a race, where my windshield is clean and your's is full of mud.  Don't lie!  THAT was what Ansel meant.  If you simply tell the truth and scan MF or LF film at it's proper resolution (meaning the very best and truest resolution) the detail will astonish you.


I do believe they call this "preaching to choir"!!!
Title: Re: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: southtexasshooter on July 30, 2012, 03:34:59 pm
What preaching?  The guy was asking if scanned film was better than a DSLR.  Clearly he doesn't understand the difference as many people that comment on these forums don't.
Title: Re: Mamiya 7ii + Scanner v Canon 5D
Post by: AJSJones on July 30, 2012, 08:20:09 pm
What preaching?  The guy was asking if scanned film was better than a DSLR.  Clearly he doesn't understand the difference as many people that comment on these forums don't.

The point is that such a comparison means many different things to different people.  It was pointed out early in the thread that up to a certain print size, they can produce comparable results (some scanned film and some DSLR - not, as you seem to be implying is being asserted that DSLRs always equal all scanned film ? :D )

Quote
*IF* you want to make very large detailed prints
..... is one scenario, then there are no (commercially available) digital sensors that approach a good drumscan of a much larger piece of good film (e.g. an 8x10 sheet of Velvia or ProviaF).  I don't think anyone here disputes that.  That was the context of  the "preaching to the choir" comment.    Conversely, a recent high MP MF sensor will fare much better than a drumscan of a small piece of good film - modern digital MF is now better than 35mm scanned.  Those might be considered the extremes in the world of film to digital comparison - at least in terms of people agreeing with them - it's the areas in between that are murky :D :-  Every other comparison needs very detailed description of the situation goals compromises print sizes portability cost etc against which to interpret any conclusions based on them.

Quote
I've seen many taking cheap, low resolution scans of a 6x7 slide and then comparing that to a DNG or RAW file.  That's like me running against you in a race, where my windshield is clean and your's is full of mud.  Don't lie!  THAT was what Ansel meant.  If you simply tell the truth and scan MF or LF film at it's proper resolution (meaning the very best and truest resolution) the detail will astonish you.
  The bold there is fire and brimstone kind of talk which brought the "preaching" word to my mind.  I would be surprised if someone said "scanned 6x7 is always worse than XYZ"  They probably did the test to find out how the two compared*.  Up to a certain print size or with an affordable scanning solution for the person doing the comparison, they can come to conclusions for their own situation - they're not lying, they are presenting their assessment for their needs.  You're right - I've been astonished at some scans of my 4x5 Provia trannies - I've also recently been astonished at the detail in a 9 image x 16MP handheld stitch (of a fairly stationary scene with good light) from a Summilux f/1.4 (on a MFT I had in my pocket no less!) printed at 24x30 :D


*Now, if they rigged  :'( the comparison to make a point or to mislead someone for fame or monetary gain, then yes, by all means, to the fire and brimstone with them :D