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Author Topic: Going from APS-C to MFD and back to 24x36, some reflections on some systems  (Read 1605 times)

ErikKaffehr

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Hi,

I am a Minolta/Sony shooter. I started with Minolta, back in 1970 followed the Minolta mount over to Sony. For a while I have been shooting Pentax 67 on film. In recent years I also regularly used a Hasselblad 555/ELD with a P45+ and something like six lenses I had and still have of my own.

Recently I switched over to Sony A7?2 with Canon and Contax lenses. This is a short wrap of that experience.

The first observation is tat many of my best images were shot on early digital equipment, like the Sony A700. That camera was good enough for really good A2-size prints. At that time i did a lot of travel to the US, visiting places like Yellowstone and Grand Teton NP. Decent equipment and great subjects left me with a lot of very good pictures.

The next step was the Sony A900. A very nice camera, with mirror vibrations like a small scale earth quake. The A900 was great, but lacked one important feature, magnified live view for accurate focusing. Albeit missing live view for focusing, that camera gave me quite a few very nice pictures.

So, I bought the Alpha 55, and the Alpha 77. Neither camera was 'pro level' but both gave me some good images, making it to both exhibition and the wall.

Next up was the Alpha 99. It gave me live and full frame. The A900 went into full retirement. By all means the Alpha 99 is a very nice camera.

I had some interest in medium format meanwhile. On one hand I know both some math and some physics and much of the claims for MFD made little sense to me. On the other hand I was never so happy about development of the Sony system, no clear road maps and sort of overpriced and underperforming. So now and than I considered switching systems. Clearly a 10 k$ switch. I also felt that 10k$US was sort of a reasonably entry in MFD, so when I found a P45+ at 9900 $US I jumped on the MFD train. That mean buying a new system and lenses, too.

I settled on a Hasselblad 555/ELD and some lenses, starting out with Distagon 50/4 CF FLE, Planar 80/2.8 CFE, Macro Planar 120/4 CF and Sonnar 150/4 CF. The Sonnar 150/4CF was great. The other lenses were, well OK.

I clearly needed to work on my focusing technique. What worked best for me was to use a Zeiss Victory 3X monucular with a PM5 viewfinder giving 9X magnification in total. I also asked my optician to make a special eyepice for my vision. That gave great vision bit did not play well with the Zeiss 3X monocular.

One thing I found that the lenses I had often didn't match my compositional needs. A way around it was to stitch images. I have done more stitching on MFD than ever.

After some time of shooting I realised that none of my MFD images made it to the wall. How come, I don't know... But choice of subjects may be a part. The MFD shots were a bit static and boring.

My plan in MFD called for a technical camera, 18 months after initial investment. The camera I had on mind was the HCam B1. That camera would take Canon TSE lenses and offer full integration. But, after 18 months I felt that the MFD route may be to restricted for my wants and needs.

The Sony A7/A7r came around at that time. Companies like HCam.de were eager to offer solutions for the A7r. But, I had some reservations about the A7r. Just 24 MP, no EFCS and no on sensor PDAF. The A99 had both those features, no way I would buy a camera locking both. Adding to that the Hasselblad 555/ELD P45+ combo still drained my economy.

After two years of wait, Sony relased the A7rII. That was the camera I was waiting for. Put an order on A7rII with a Metabones, canon 24/3.5 TSE LII and a Batis 90/1.8. later I switched the Batis to a Sony 90/2.8G.

Now, I have a Sony A7rII with a Sony A7II as a backup. Lens line is: Canon 16-35/4L which is a extremely good lens. I also have the Canon 24/3.5 TSE LII, initially I felt it was weak, but now I feel it serves me well.

For practical reasons, I also got the Canon 24-105/4L. It has some kinks but works mostly very well.

For work including the Scheimpflug effect I got a HCam Master TS. That adapter allows for +/- 15 mm of shift and about 11 degrees of tilt. The problem with the Canon lenses is that they lack manual aperture control. So i decided on some Contax zooms for the Ysahica/Contax systems. The two I have are the 28-85/3.3-4 version and the 35-135/3.3-4.5 version.  Both are great but the 28-85/3.3-4 is more practical.

So, where do I feel now? The A7rII does a great service and works great with the Canon lenses. The Sony lenses are sort of a mix. Sometimes very good, sometimes not good at all.

The Contax lenses are not perfect but pretty impressive over all.

The Distagons on the Hasselblad are not that great. Would I give marks:

Hasselblad Sonnar: 5-
Hasselblad Planar: 3-5. Macro Planar 124/4: having grade 3 and Planar 100/3.5 having grade 5.
Hasselblad Distagon: 3-, not so great…

Best regards
Erik




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Sean H

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Re: Going from APS-C to MFD and back to 24x36, some reflections on some systems
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2016, 03:00:24 pm »

Hi Erik, this is a very interesting journey; thanks for sharing.

You wrote about focussing, lenses, camera bodies and so on. How did you feel about the colour captured by the various cameras sensors? Were you happy with the results? Did you notice any difference between the MFD and Sony A7rII? (I presume that the same software (C1) was used to develop the RAW files from both the P45+ and the A7rII?). I asked about the Sony in particular because another member here, whose name escapes me at the moment, has posted that he was not entirely happy with the colour captured by that model so and he has left the A7rII and gone to Pentax MFD I think.

Thanks,

Sean
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David Watson

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Re: Going from APS-C to MFD and back to 24x36, some reflections on some systems
« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2016, 03:26:10 pm »

Hello Erik

Thank you for an interesting and slightly off-beat post.  Oscillation is a well know characteristic amongst my photographer friends.  Generally we are MF or 5 x 4 shooters who are tempted into the world of smaller formats by the idea that they are smaller, lighter and easier to carry (all true) and that they take wonderful photographs (LOL).

I oscillate between an MFD system and something small like an iPhone or a Sony.  My problem is that I never take the darn MFD with me anywhere so I have to "consciously" plan to do something in order to use it.  I do take my iPhone and mostly my little Sony kit with me in the car on the basis that if I don't have a camera I cannot take a photograph - ha ha!

However when it comes to considered photography for a purpose (sometimes fee paying and sometimes not) it is always the slow and methodical MF route I take. 

Oh and the other thing about these nice handy little Sony's etc is that the buttons and controls are so small that an old codger (like me) finds it all too fiddly particularly in the cold days of winter.  I have an iPhone 7 coming and I am hoping that I can simply tell SIRI to go and get me some nice people shots on holiday while I sit in the bar and enjoy a noggin or two.  However I understand that Apple have not been able to put wheels or rotors on the 7 due to the need to waterproof it.  Well you cannot have everything I suppose.

 
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Going from APS-C to MFD and back to 24x36, some reflections on some systems
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2016, 03:30:21 pm »

Hi Sean,

My posting lacks images, hopefully I can add some in the future.

Regarding colours I cannot really say. i have actually used both C1 and LR in my testing, but C1 does not work for me, I just get crappy results.

So my comparisons are mostly Lightroom using my own profiles. That clearly needs to be taken into account.

On the other hand, please keep in mind that I coming from the engineering/scientific community. We try to lock down as much as possible  and focus on the differences. Have you worked like 35 years in science it is a bit hard to witch of that analytic thinking, especially if you happen to be a strong proponent of scientific method.

Getting back to C1, I don't get the results I want. The differences are often subtle, but some times quite severe. LR is a bit conservative and Capture One is often going over the edge.

Subjects may play a role. I am mostly a landscape shooter…

Again, I hope I can get some samples to post in a few days!

Best regards
Erik

Hi Erik, this is a very interesting journey; thanks for sharing.

You wrote about focussing, lenses, camera bodies and so on. How did you feel about the colour captured by the various cameras sensors? Were you happy with the results? Did you notice any difference between the MFD and Sony A7rII? (I presume that the same software (C1) was used to develop the RAW files from both the P45+ and the A7rII?). I asked about the Sony in particular because another member here, whose name escapes me at the moment, has posted that he was not entirely happy with the colour captured by that model so and he has left the A7rII and gone to Pentax MFD I think.

Thanks,

Sean
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