Poll

Why are you using or wanting medium format

I need the megapixels because I print large
- 19 (8.7%)
There is a quality to MFD files that smaller formats can't match
- 48 (21.9%)
I enjoy a more deliberate workflow
- 30 (13.7%)
MFD offers a great combination of image quality and lenses
- 50 (22.8%)
I am using a technical camera with tilts and movements
- 25 (11.4%)
I just love medium format
- 37 (16.9%)
I want to impress my customers
- 10 (4.6%)

Total Members Voted: 73


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Author Topic: Why medium format?  (Read 4380 times)

ErikKaffehr

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Why medium format?
« on: February 03, 2016, 06:47:43 pm »

Hi,

I am asking myself about the position of MFD. Photographic technology is a fluid field. The poll is single choice but you can give five votes per user.

Personally, I started out with MFD using a Hasselblad V and a P45+ back and one of the reasons I went into MFD was to find out more about the technology. My plan was to start with a Hasselblad camera (555/ELD) and than upgrade to a technical camera this year.

But, I feel the landscape has shifted a bit. To be truly useful, I would say that technical cameras need live view, with magnified LV for accurate focusing and peaking to find optimal tilt. So, I went with the Sony A7rII and a Canon 24/3.5 combined with HCam.de's HC Master TSII instead. That camera offers +/- 15 mm movement and 10 degrees of tilt with the A7rII.

I am extremely happy with this combination, although it has some down sides. The HCam Master TS can use all my Hasselblad lenses and gives like up to +/- 12 mm of shift with the V-series lenses. It also works with Canon and Nikon lenses. I use it with my Canon 16-35/4 LII and it gives a decent amount of shift at 20mm and up. Some shift is available at 16 mm, too. Buying into the 11-24/4 would have been smarter, I guess.

In the 2.5 years I had the Hasselblad ELD/555 it was my most used camera, due to the latest plaything syndrome. I really liked to shoot with that gear. The main motivation may be that I really enjoy the slower workflow. What I have seen is that I have done a lot more stitching with the Hassy/P45+ than ever before. I also got more careful with processing.

The downside was that my images lost a bit of spontaneity. I mostly shoot with a tripod, but with the Sonys I can always release the camera from the tripod and shoot some action.

Now, the A7rII does all thing I wanted, with tilt and shift and image quality matching the P45+ (*), so I think the P45+ will see little use, but I will still take it on one or another walk.

Best regards
Erik

(*) On the image quality thing: I have just a few comparisons between the A7rII and the P45+. I would say that sharpness is in the same ballpark, with the Sony having a "pixel peeping" advantage with the best lenses I have on both systems. The Sony A7rII probably wins in DR, but that has seldom been an issue for me. 
« Last Edit: February 03, 2016, 07:06:53 pm by ErikKaffehr »
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Why medium format?
« Reply #1 on: February 03, 2016, 06:56:32 pm »

I believe you missed the most important reason, which is the look of the lenses.

Cheers,
Bernard

ErikKaffehr

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Re: Why medium format?
« Reply #2 on: February 03, 2016, 07:08:20 pm »

Hi Bernard,

The fourth option is intended to cover that aspect.

Best regards
Erik

I believe you missed the most important reason, which is the look of the lenses.

Cheers,
Bernard
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Why medium format?
« Reply #3 on: February 03, 2016, 08:56:26 pm »

The fourth option is intended to cover that aspect.

Thanks for modifying the wording.

Cheers,
Bernard

ErikKaffehr

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Re: Why medium format?
« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2016, 01:19:40 am »

Hi Bernard,

I did not :-)

The look of the lenses is an interesting issue, I would possibly added it but I cannot modify the poll, AFAIK.

Best regards
Erik

Thanks for modifying the wording.

Cheers,
Bernard
« Last Edit: February 04, 2016, 01:22:44 am by ErikKaffehr »
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torger

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Re: Why medium format?
« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2016, 03:26:47 am »

The majority of MFD users are still professional photographers, and it's there you find what the manufacturers design for. And once you've started with a system you won't easily change, the question "why?" becomes "why not?". Frequent gear switchers is a minority, but frequently seen on the forums.

I think it's about how well the system fits to perform certain professional tasks, like product, fashion, reproduction etc. Leaf shutters were an important factor at least before, I guess it still is.

I think the key aspect that anyone starts with MFD is image quality though, which is very subjective and is a complex package with several contributing factors. The raw software and color profiles are very important factors in this package, as well as the lenses.

My own reason to use MFD is so niche and narrow that it's not meaningful to consider by the manufacturers, which indeed has been clearly shown as the system I'm using is fading away. I wanted a digital field camera to replicate the large format experience without having to mess with film. I appreciate the symmetric lenses which is an excellent tradeoff between quality and complexity/lightness, and I like the foggy bokeh. The low weight and small size of lenses matters to me quite a bit as I hike with the gear. There's simply no other combination on the market today that allows the same type of flexibility/quality/weight combination that I have now with the Linhof Techno and Schneider Digitars. Nowadays sensors don't support this lens type and Schneider is stopping manufacturing. If an MFD back comes in the future which makes it possible to use my "historic" camera I may continue for a long time into the future. I may also use legacy MFD backs for a long time.

I'm not so fond of the electronics- and post-processing heavy way of shooting, but being romantic about primitive mechanical gear is not something manufacturers can afford in the longer term I think. Even Alpa has stopped being "simple".

I think the future is bright for MFD, interest in high resolution photography hasn't really reduced, but rather the opposite. As long as MFD maintains the highest pixel count and best resolving power, they're fine. The old-school low tech way to shoot and especially the "large format style" does not seem to have a bright future though and it saddens me a bit.
« Last Edit: February 04, 2016, 03:34:15 am by torger »
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Ken R

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Re: Why medium format?
« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2016, 09:09:52 am »

Don't forget the large optical viewfinder, the awesome tethering performance along with the software integration and other features that make collaborative/supervised work much better.
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Theodoros

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Re: Why medium format?
« Reply #7 on: February 04, 2016, 09:48:55 am »

I was surprised to notice that the poll only adds to about 120%.... This means that most people have voted for one of the reasons only... I was expecting that usually people would have more than one reason out of the poll as to use MF...
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torger

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Re: Why medium format?
« Reply #8 on: February 04, 2016, 09:57:57 am »

I was surprised to notice that the poll only adds to about 120%.... This means that most people have voted for one of the reasons only... I was expecting that usually people would have more than one reason out of the poll as to use MF...

Previously I "needed" the megapixels to print large, but now the smaller formats has such high resolution that I don't find that as relevant any longer. So for me it's the tilt and shift on a wide range of portable lenses. Using something different and less electronic has some attraction too in my world, and at least previously I liked the slow development cycle, that you could use gear for a long time and not see it become obsolete and unsupported. I don't really like changing gear more than necessary.
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Dshelly

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Re: Why medium format?
« Reply #9 on: February 04, 2016, 11:00:48 am »

I rarely print my photos. My use of MFD is based on the demands of my clients, who repurpose the photos for billboards, building sides, bus sides, etc. Sometimes clients inform me that the images will be used strictly for internet marketing, in which case I use my Canon 5D3.
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TonyVentourisPhotography

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Re: Why medium format?
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2016, 12:25:54 pm »

I use MF because the quality I get with the tech cameras beats the 35mm options.  Plus I get much more movement.  Another big reason is for the leaf shutter sync speeds.  1/250 seems positively slow after syncing at 1/800+ if you actually use that feature regularly.  Can't do that with 35mm.  Hypersync and all that with speedlights just is not the same. 
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Why medium format?
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2016, 04:52:43 pm »

Hi,

For me it was much of curiosity, but I also felt that 24 MP on 24x36 was optimal for my largest print sizes around 30"x40".

I also like the slow workflow. I have an old Hasselblad V system and a P45+ back. The V-system is very affordable.

On the other hand, 24x36 mm has developed a lot in the last two years and there are great lenses coming from Sigma and Zeiss, but also Canon and Nikon. So I guess that best 24x36 with the best lenses can give low end MFD a run for the money.

A major factor that I climbed on the MFD train was that I was interested on using the back on technical cameras, but now I think I will do tilt/shift stuff with my Sony A7rII and TS adapters. Not the functionality of a technical camera but I can put that TS-adapter in my pocket.

So, now I am essentially climbing of that MFD train, although I keep the stuff.

Best regards
Erik

I use MF because the quality I get with the tech cameras beats the 35mm options.  Plus I get much more movement.  Another big reason is for the leaf shutter sync speeds.  1/250 seems positively slow after syncing at 1/800+ if you actually use that feature regularly.  Can't do that with 35mm.  Hypersync and all that with speedlights just is not the same.
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minicoop1985

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Re: Why medium format?
« Reply #12 on: February 05, 2016, 10:16:00 am »

I've been a medium format junkie ever since I first tried a Hasselblad (an old 1600f). There's that inherent large sensor/negative look that can't be replicated with 35mm. And the insane level of detail... I use a 6D and 100mm macro L at work, and it doesn't TOUCH what my Mamiya is capable of.
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landscapephoto

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Re: Why medium format?
« Reply #13 on: February 05, 2016, 01:12:53 pm »

I use MF because of the lenses, resolution and rendering.

I also use MF because I do not want an EVF and prefer the large ground glass.
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Ken R

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Re: Why medium format?
« Reply #14 on: February 05, 2016, 01:48:53 pm »

Conclusion from this poll? Very very few buy MFD to impress...
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Why medium format?
« Reply #15 on: February 05, 2016, 01:50:47 pm »

Regarding image quality, I would say that my "high end" 24x36 (Sony A7rII) mm is ahead of my low end MFD (Hasselblad 555/ELD and P45+) kit, at least in practical use with the best lenses I have: http://forum.luminous-landscape.com/index.php?topic=107680.0

The Hasselblad 555/ELD I have has a decent optical viewfinder that works well in bright light but the EVF on the Sony A7rII is way better in dark places. Magnified live view allows pin point accurate manual focus, that I cannot really match even using a 3X monocular on the 555/ELD.

In a way the A7rII removes the challenge. Set up tripod, compose, focus accurately, shoot, check histogram and you are done. I enjoy working with MF but the A7rII is faster, more accurate and more reliable,

I have no doubt that high end MFD delivers superior results, but it would be way beyond my budget.

Best regards
Erik

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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Why medium format?
« Reply #16 on: February 05, 2016, 02:00:32 pm »

Hi Ken,

Yes, I have noted that. It also seems that image quality and lens quality are dominant.

When I looked at Digital Transitions test I have noted that choosing a standard lens for 24x36 mm is no easy decision. You have an affordable f/1.8 lens, a mediocre f/1.4 lens and a high end f/1.2 lens. What is missing is a high performing medium aperture lens.

Best regards
Erik



Conclusion from this poll? Very very few buy MFD to impress...
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ctz

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Re: Why medium format?
« Reply #17 on: February 05, 2016, 02:31:12 pm »

Conclusion from this poll? Very very few buy MFD to impress...

...or very few dare to admit that  8)
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Ken R

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Re: Why medium format?
« Reply #18 on: February 05, 2016, 03:42:25 pm »

Hi Ken,

Yes, I have noted that. It also seems that image quality and lens quality are dominant.

When I looked at Digital Transitions test I have noted that choosing a standard lens for 24x36 mm is no easy decision. You have an affordable f/1.8 lens, a mediocre f/1.4 lens and a high end f/1.2 lens. What is missing is a high performing medium aperture lens.

Best regards
Erik

For high quality glass throughout the focal length range its best to look at the Leica M and S line. The Canon and Nikon lines have a LOT of choices but they are all over the place in terms of quality. Only the super teles are consistently solid.

The Hasselblad H line is pretty consistent as well and the PhaseOne line is getting there with the blue band lenses.
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HSakols

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Re: Why medium format?
« Reply #19 on: February 05, 2016, 03:50:10 pm »

I bought a Mamiya C220 and fell in love with the square.  I was amazed when I started projecting my color transparencies.
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