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Author Topic: Which Medium Format for an entry into MF world  (Read 3177 times)

msoomro

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Which Medium Format for an entry into MF world
« on: November 30, 2020, 02:16:23 pm »

My MF bug is surfacing again. I have been wanting to get into this for few years now but every time I want to, Nikon releases a new higher resolution DSLR and I buckle down. Whenever I see a MF image it just stands out for me. There is some magic in those files. 

 

Question to experienced MF follks.
If I want to get into MF world now, what body / lens would you recommend and Why :-) ?


My primary genre is landscape and nature.
I have been with D850 since it came out.
My preferred focal lengths are 14 mm - 100mm. More on the 14-50mm side
I extensively do focus and exposure blending and panoramic stacking


To get an idea about my my work, it  can be seen at My Portfolio
Thx
« Last Edit: November 30, 2020, 02:55:55 pm by msoomro »
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douglevy

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Re: Which Medium Format for an entry into MF world
« Reply #1 on: November 30, 2020, 02:57:32 pm »

Your website is down/not loading for me.

I shoot H5X and D850, with the IQ3100 back. At this point in time, I think a few things are true.

You haver to consider the Fuji system, bc of the cost and IQ, but for me, the lack of leaf shutters ruled it out, but it depends on how you work.

My clients 95% of the time can't tell the difference what camera I'm shooting on.

If you can afford a CMOS Phase setup, that's the way to go. I wouldn't consider an older CCD at this point. If I was starting from zero, there's a few choices:

The Phase/XF system, this would be my first choice if $ was no issue.
The Fuji System.
The hassy mirrorless and new 907 system.

You have to shoot them all though to see how they fit into your workflow and how you shoot. One thing I've learned about these cameras is except for super specific questions, you have to try them yourself.

msoomro

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Re: Which Medium Format for an entry into MF world
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2020, 03:20:05 pm »

Thanks douglevy .  That's a sound advice. I will see if I can find rentals locally..

The site loaded for me just fine form that link.  But here it is
http://IrfanSoomro.com


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BobShaw

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Re: Which Medium Format for an entry into MF world
« Reply #3 on: November 30, 2020, 05:12:04 pm »

I have been wanting to get into this for few years now but every time I want to, Nikon releases a new higher resolution DSLR and I buckle down. Whenever I see a MF image it just stands out for me. There is some magic in those files.
My preferred focal lengths are 14 mm - 100mm. More on the 14-50mm side 
My primary genre is landscape and nature.

Well I would say that a MF camera does not replace a DSLR. There are things that each does better.
For studio and landscape the medium format will give better results. If it moves, not so good.

Nature is a very broad term. So is 14-100mm.

All I can say is that since I got the X1D I have hardly used the Canon 50 MP. The quality is so much better on the Hasselblad and it is actually smaller and lighter, so I use it for travel too. However I did a shoot last week shooting dogs and it would have been useless. Things like auto focus will never be as good on a large sensor as a smaller sensor because of the physics, but most of my work is manual focus anyway.

Try some and see.
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nazdravanul

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Re: Which Medium Format for an entry into MF world
« Reply #4 on: November 30, 2020, 05:55:32 pm »

Save yourself a pile of money and frustration and get a Fuji GFX 100, a 23mm, 30mm and 63mm set of Fuji GF primes.
Start shooting and figure out the rest later.

The Phase XT and a pile of Rodenstock lenses are the only significantly better options. Are they 3x or 5x worth the money ?
I seriously doubt it. Spending that money, if you have it, on actual landscape photography explorations will yield a seriously more rewarding set of images than pissing it away on gear. My 2 cents.
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Mexecutioner

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Re: Which Medium Format for an entry into MF world
« Reply #5 on: November 30, 2020, 07:06:09 pm »

Here is my take, and yes, I know, it may not be the most reasonable or balanced approach. If you really want it, and you can afford it, then why not? If it brings you joy I'd say go for it. That's what I did and do not regret it.

As others suggested, try the systems first, to see which one you like better and suits your workflow better. You may find that the D850 is more than enough and true, that can save you some money. You may also find other tools you could fall in love with and make you happy. These gears are not inexpensive so try them and gather as many feedback from other users as you can.

If money is no issue and you just have to scratch that itch, then this is a wonderful time to live in with so many options, all with their own strengths and weaknesses.

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Ken Bennett

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Re: Which Medium Format for an entry into MF world
« Reply #6 on: November 30, 2020, 08:01:22 pm »

Save yourself a pile of money and frustration and get a Fuji GFX 100, a 23mm, 30mm and 63mm set of Fuji GF primes.
Start shooting and figure out the rest later.

I'd agree with this, though I'd get the 23, 32-64, and 100-200 as my landscape lenses. The other lens that gets a ton of use is the 110mm f/2 -- I shoot a lot of portraits. And the 45mm is sweeeeeet.

I also have a GFX 50s, and it's a very nice camera, but the GFX 100 is significantly better in handling, shooting, and usable resolution. The GFX 100 user interface is somewhat quirky, and very different from the other Fuji cameras, but I got used to it.

There are better MF digital systems, but not for the money IMHO.
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Doug Peterson

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Re: Which Medium Format for an entry into MF world
« Reply #7 on: November 30, 2020, 08:57:49 pm »

Thanks douglevy .  That's a sound advice. I will see if I can find rentals locally..

Glad to help with a Phase One rental from our LA office; shipped direct to your door, and we can count the rental toward purchase if you end up going that way.

Trying is definitely the best guide to knowing if a purchase is the right choice. But before you even get to trying it might make sense to check out some raws from different options and pricing for what each kit would come out to with lenses/accessories included, which we can share with you as well.

Gigi

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Re: Which Medium Format for an entry into MF world
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2020, 07:48:17 am »

At the risk of running against the current here, another opinion: that the medium format digital world has a fork in the road and you can/should decide which path you wish/need to take. One of them could be called "current" and involves a number of benefits that are similar to DSLR, but still different. The X1D, the Phase XF, and the Fujis are of that world. They are very fine solutions, and for many people, the right answer.

The other road is less current, but equally good. Its older gear, perhaps, certainly older approaches. . So its slower work, can be CCD (although live view with CMOS is nice!), tripod based largely. Its more akin IMHO to 4x5 view cameras, but now digital. It offers many benefits and pathways that are very different from the other solution - less about "a camera in hand" and more about the studied art.

The first path was the one I would have selected (coming into this some 10 years ago), but it is the second one that has given more satisfaction. The gear choices are less "critical" - that is, there are many many options and alternatives. But the overall sensibility is the pleasure of thinking and taking the photograph more akin to view camera than DSLR or rangefinder.
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Joe Towner

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Re: Which Medium Format for an entry into MF world
« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2020, 03:04:02 pm »

Hey Irfan, normally I'd say let's grab coffee, maybe we can figure something out.

The MF itch is real, and very dangerous (expensive). Dig into the file a bit & it's over. What is your normal editing setup like - have you worked with CaptureOne before?

Do you travel with a heavy pack or are you on the lighter side of things?  Have you dug into sample files - color is one of those personal opinion things.

The XF + IQ4 150mp is second to none, the speed with the GFX100 is awesome, the Hasselblad has colors that just draw in some people.  Some like the EVF's, some don't.  There is more to this than just the body & lens.

-Joe
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Conner999

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Re: Which Medium Format for an entry into MF world
« Reply #10 on: December 02, 2020, 07:37:34 am »

We use the H5D and GFX system together. Love the H5, but the GFX (50S in our case) is the best of both worlds and rapidly moving from 'backup' to primary camera.

One of the key factors is that you can use Hasselblad HC/D lenses on it effortlessly.  There's no AF, but you can chose to use the normal Fuji body shutter and 1/125 sync or even HSS or push a button and use the leaf shutter in the Hassy lens instead and get 1/800 sync. Want AF and lighter lenses, pop on a GF lens.

The feel in hand is not as nice as the H5 and it's just as awkward to pack due to the height/shape with grip and VF, but the ability to preview the ambient exposure in the VF and other benefits of mirrorless are very, very nice. The cost also doesn't hurt.

Do bare in the mind that used MF prices drop like a sack of rocks off a cliff and older-school and/or more costly systems are tougher to sell used vs. new mirrorless systems. The price difference between mirrored vs. mirrorless can also be used for lenses, trips, better lighting, this odd thing called 'savings', etc.

Good luck and try as many systems as you can.
« Last Edit: December 02, 2020, 09:07:54 am by Conner999 »
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BobShaw

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Re: Which Medium Format for an entry into MF world
« Reply #11 on: December 07, 2020, 10:20:23 pm »

bare in the mind that used MF prices drop like a sack of rocks off a cliff and older-school and/or more costly systems are tougher to sell used vs. new mirrorless systems.

I am not sure if that dramatic MF gear price drops from new is really true. Does it drop more compared to say cars, video games or even 35mm cameras?
I think the same rules apply.

If you are a first adopter bleeding edge sort of person you pay an arm and a leg to be the first. If you buy a year later once the first adopters have fixed all of the bugs and paid for the development then it is far cheaper.
I bought my X1D new from a dealer two years after it came out for half what it started at. They still sell on ebay now for the same price.

Some people are selling old medium format gear that they bought for $50,000 years ago and yes, it is not worth anything like that much, but that is because you can buy a new one for maybe $10,000.
A top end Canon or Nikon costs not much less.
The world has changed.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2020, 04:49:23 pm by BobShaw »
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Dave Gurtcheff

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Re: Which Medium Format for an entry into MF world
« Reply #12 on: December 25, 2020, 02:36:47 pm »

I had a similar dilemma a while back. I went to your web site and your work is fabulous....we have similar interests, I do landscape and seascape images (99% seascapes because of where we live). I have always used two formats: 35mm (film in the old days), and medium format (also film). Medium format digital was always beyond my budget (I am an 83 year old amateur), until the Pentax 645D was announced, which I bought. So I was back to two formats again. I also used at that time a Nikon D800e. At my age the weight of those two kits became an issue. I now use as my 35mm camera a Sony A7RIV, and my MF camera is a Fuji GFX 50R. I have always made big prints; 16"x20" when I had my darkroom, and now 20"x30" from 35mm full frame digital, and 24"x32" from MF files. In my darkroom days the MF prints were always better, and without hesitation, I can say that is still true today. You are correct: MF has a "look" to it, especially in big prints. For the Fuji I have 23mm, 50mm, 32~64mm and 100~200mm lenses. Without hesitation I can say these Fuji lenses are the sharpest  lenses I have ever owned. Going back to film days I used a Leica M2, with Leica lenses, a  Pentax SLR and Hasselblad 500C with Zeiss lenses, and later a Pentax 67 and 645. The Fuji lenses are superior IMHO. So, because of cost vs value, the Fuji MF system is the way to go in my opinion.
Dave in NJ
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Dave Gurtcheff

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Re: Which Medium Format for an entry into MF world
« Reply #13 on: December 25, 2020, 02:43:29 pm »

I had a similar dilemma a while back. I went to your web site and your work is fabulous....we have similar interests, I do landscape and seascape images (99% seascapes because of where we live). I have always used two formats: 35mm (film in the old days), and medium format (also film). Medium format digital was always beyond my budget (I am an 83 year old amateur), until the Pentax 645D was announced, which I bought. So I was back to two formats again. I also used at that time a Nikon D800e. At my age the weight of those two kits became an issue. I now use as my 35mm camera a Sony A7RIV, and my MF camera is a Fuji GFX 50R. I have always made big prints; 16"x20" when I had my darkroom, and now 20"x30" from 35mm full frame digital, and 24"x32" from MF files. In my darkroom days the MF prints were always better, and without hesitation, I can say that is still true today. You are correct: MF has a "look" to it, especially in big prints. For the Fuji I have 23mm, 50mm, 32~64mm and 100~200mm lenses. Without hesitation I can say these Fuji lenses are the sharpest  lenses I have ever owned. Going back to film days I used a Leica M2, with Leica lenses, a  Pentax SLR and Hasselblad 500C with Zeiss lenses, and later a Pentax 67 and 645. The Fuji lenses are superior IMHO. So, because of cost vs value, the Fuji MF system is the way to go in my opinion.
Dave in NJ

I also might add that I prefer the 4:3 format to the 3:2 format, another plus for me. Good luck in your pursuits, and stay safe.
Dave in NJ
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nkp

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Re: Which Medium Format for an entry into MF world
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2021, 12:38:29 pm »

Here's my experience . . .

I've always been into view camera photography for medium format roll film and 4x5/8x10 sheet film.  Along the way in this lifelong venture, I was lucky enough to pick up an Arca Swiss Metric, 6x9 camera for less than $7C.  I previously had a Classic F (non-Metric) camera, so I had a variety of Arca accessories and medium format lenses.

My digital system consisted of a 35mm SLR that I used primarily with perspective control (lenses with movements) lenses.  Being 35mm, it was of course 2x3, and I BLOODY WELL HATE this aspect ration compositionally and because, for me, it was such a waste of sensor real estate.  (I prefer the 3x4 or 4x5 aspect rations.) So, I was very susceptible the the digital MF bug.

I finally took the plunge about three years ago and purchased a used Phase One P45+ "H" adapter digital back for use with my MF film camera equipment.  ($5K from Digital Transitions.)  I wasn't wild about the "H" adapter on this back.  But the back was refurbished at the Phase One factory itself, and it had less than 2500 shutter clicks.  So for all practical purposes, it was a "new" back.

There were some additional purchases needed  to make this work.  I bought an Arca Swiss "N," "H" adapter and an "N" ground glass  for my Metric camera from Rod Kuklas.  I had both the 47mm and 58mm Super Angulon XL film lense, and a 75mm Super Angulon f5.6 lens, but needed something wider.  I snapped up a used Rodenstock 35mm f4.5 Apo Grandagon lens from BHPhotoVideo for $1K.  It's an amazing lens that actually covers 6x9 the 6x9 film format.  I've since updated my 100mm, 120mm, 150mm, and 180mm focal lengths to Apo Symmar lenses.

In this kit, it's fairly obvious that all my lenses are designed for film.  But with these and a few roll-film backs, I can readily photograph in color using the digital back or photograph in black and white using film.  This is optimum for me.  And I wonder, for my purposes, is there really that much difference between these and digital lenses?  (Open to feedback on this question.)  A professional, architectural photographer friend of mine did some captures together using the 35mm Apo Grandagon, and he saw very little chromatic aberration, and what little existed, was easily corrected. 

I like architectural, landscape, and fine art photography, and I don't think that I miss much not having a technical camera. My Arca Swiss Metric camera (with a ground glass) has plenty focusing precision for this kind of photography.  Even the Arca Swiss M2 camera designed for digital has the same focusing pitch as my camera.  Besides, I'm more of an enthusiast(ic), versus a professional, photographer.  At most, I enlarge to 16x20 photographs, and 39mp is sufficient resolution for that purpose.   Although I might admit to living a bit in a state of ignorance with my equipment, I'm none the less, a happy camper.
« Last Edit: November 03, 2021, 12:44:01 pm by nkp »
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