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Author Topic: Alpa field report  (Read 6188 times)

BernardLanguillier

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Alpa field report
« on: April 01, 2009, 10:26:57 pm »

Mark,

Thanks for the write up on the Alpa, an interesting read for sure.

In many cases I find it impossible to focus critically my D3x by eye/AF. Pixel level live view is the only option per my experience. The accuracy of focus would be my main concern with this camera.

It is such a pity that MFDB do not have a live view capability with pixel level check... that would make the Alpa so much more usable in the field.

Cheers,
Bernard

wtlloyd

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Alpa field report
« Reply #1 on: April 02, 2009, 12:54:26 am »

I am definitely getting me an Alpa. Adios! Canon.  

These new gears are gonna put my Oeuvre in orbit!
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BernardLanguillier

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Alpa field report
« Reply #2 on: April 02, 2009, 12:57:54 am »

Quote from: wtlloyd
I am definitely getting me an Alpa. Adios! Canon.

The thing is that, if you decide to go that route, Alpa is just one option among others including Cambo, Silvestri, Arca Swiss, Ebony,...

Cheers,
Bernard

John.Murray

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Alpa field report
« Reply #3 on: April 02, 2009, 01:03:13 am »

I'm fascinated by this review!

Over the next few years my wife and I plan several extended hiking trips in and around the Mount St. Helens / Mount Adams region as well as the South Olympics.  I'm not excited about the prospect of packing my Hasselblad (film). Of course a DSLR will be along, but I also enjoy the time spent contemplating, composing, and waiting for best light.

A 12tc along with used viewfinder (I saw a linhof on ebay for 350 - not sure if applicable) and a used back might just be the ticket . . .
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Ben Rubinstein

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Alpa field report
« Reply #4 on: April 02, 2009, 04:43:05 am »

Did fotoman ever bring out the digital equivelent of their cameras, i.e. one that could take a back? They said they would a while back.
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JohnBrew

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Alpa field report
« Reply #5 on: April 02, 2009, 08:33:39 am »

Quote from: pom
Did fotoman ever bring out the digital equivelent of their cameras, i.e. one that could take a back? They said they would a while back.

Not yet, but it is supposedly still in the works.

I felt the article somewhat misleading concerning the cost of getting going with an Alpa. Nowhere did the author mention the cost of the digital back in configuring the digital TC. When I researched buying an Alpa TC last year, the cost with a film back and one of the decent lenses would have run me around $8500. This price was from the West Coast distributor. The same configuration in a Fotoman 69 ended up costing me around $1600 (with a used lens). Still, even with a new lens, the Fotoman costs less than half the price of the Alpa.

HickersonJasonC

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Alpa field report
« Reply #6 on: April 02, 2009, 10:29:29 am »

Quote from: JohnBrew
Not yet, but it is supposedly still in the works.

I felt the article somewhat misleading concerning the cost of getting going with an Alpa. Nowhere did the author mention the cost of the digital back in configuring the digital TC. When I researched buying an Alpa TC last year, the cost with a film back and one of the decent lenses would have run me around $8500. This price was from the West Coast distributor. The same configuration in a Fotoman 69 ended up costing me around $1600 (with a used lens). Still, even with a new lens, the Fotoman costs less than half the price of the Alpa.


It seems to me that this is a numbers "trick" played by a lot of proponents of MF. Not only is the digital back not considered in cost, it is ignored in terms of weight of the system— a major selling point of the TC.

I have to admit I am drawn to the Alpa and similar cameras for their elegance and beauty. But I would be a lot more drawn if the Alpa included a light meter and a built-in rangefinder. Hey, I wouldn't turn down Aperture-priority+exposure compensation either. It seems to me that once you attach a $XX,000 digital back with a three-color histogram (not to mention that Mac Pro you're going to process these in using LR+PS), you've pretty much tossed out the "simplicity" of your Alpa. One could still "guess" at exposure if it gives the warm fuzzies .
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HickersonJasonC

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Alpa field report
« Reply #7 on: April 02, 2009, 10:35:01 am »

Quote from: HickersonJasonC
It seems to me that this is a numbers "trick" played by a lot of proponents of MF. Not only is the digital back not considered in cost, it is ignored in terms of weight of the system— a major selling point of the TC.

I have to admit I am drawn to the Alpa and similar cameras for their elegance and beauty. But I would be a lot more drawn if the Alpa included a light meter and a built-in rangefinder. Hey, I wouldn't turn down Aperture-priority+exposure compensation either. It seems to me that once you attach a $XX,000 digital back with a three-color histogram (not to mention that Mac Pro you're going to process these in using LR+PS), you've pretty much tossed out the "simplicity" of your Alpa. One could still "guess" at exposure if it gives the warm fuzzies .


Oh, and am I the only one here that noticed the dramatic rise in Alpa cameras posted in the For Sale section of the LL forums just a couple of months after the last Alpa article published here? Same thing happened with the Cambos. . .

I imagine there will be quite a few "gently used" offerings in about 90 days, if anyone is in the market  .
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Eric Myrvaagnes

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Alpa field report
« Reply #8 on: April 02, 2009, 11:19:34 am »

Reading this review brought back vivid memories of "back in the day" when someone would talk about Alpa. My heart would go pitter-pat, and I'd shake my head, knowing that I'll never have one of those. But I could still lust after it.

Same thing now: I can lust after it, but I'll never have one.

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Mort54

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Alpa field report
« Reply #9 on: April 02, 2009, 12:51:55 pm »

Like others, I find the TC intriguing, for all the reasons given by the author. I've long contemplated getting one for use with my P45+. BUT, and it's a big but, I worry about using a high rez back without a convenient way to do critical focussing. Why have a high rez back if you can't achieve critical focus - you'd be throwing away most of the benefits of the back. As Bernard suggested, this system would be in a whole other league if the back just had decent Live View that could be used for focussing. I've heard some say it can't be done on MFDB's, but I just don't accept that. Come on Phase One, you're giving us exceptional image quality, and we appreciate that. But it's high time you also gave us decent useability. You've made some decent moves toward that end recently, including better high ISO noise, and a better back wake-up solution. Again, very much appreciated. Now how about a decent LCD and Live View.
« Last Edit: April 02, 2009, 12:56:20 pm by Mort54 »
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hubell

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Alpa field report
« Reply #10 on: April 02, 2009, 01:19:33 pm »

I agree that the Alpas are beautifully engineered and built cameras and I would love to own one because it surely has the bling thing going in a big way, but every time I think about it, I just cannot see a positive tradeoff between using the Alpa with a digital back for landscape work and a Hasselblad, Mamiya or Contax. On the plus side with the Alpa, I could achieve a bit more resolution with the best Rodenstock and  Schneider digital lenses, though the degree to which this is observable in even large prints is probably debatable or irrelevant to the issue of whether the image is a powerful image. On the minus side, with the Alpa you cannot focus through the lens, so you are left with kludges like laser devices and the like. Oh, you can take the back off and focus through the ground glass? Very practical. Dust? Rain? Where do you put the back? Easy to see on the ground glass? Also, if you use Helicon Focus to bracket for focus, it's fairly easy to do the brackets focusing through the viewfinder. I cannot imagine pulling a digital back on and off 5 times to focus for my brackets. Composing? I had a Horseman SW612 with a 55mm Rodesnstock and found it VERY difficult to compose and to "see" using the non-optical Horseman viewfinder(or no viewfinder at all). With a "normal" focal length lens, this isn't much of an issue, but with very wide angle lenses and telephoto lenses, the lens significantly changes the look of the image.

Don Libby

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Alpa field report
« Reply #11 on: April 02, 2009, 01:20:48 pm »

I moved my primary landscape kit from a Phase One AFD to a Cambo RS about 6 months ago and am very pleased.

My thoughts were very much the same as Mark's regarding the lens quality.  I also enjoy the utter simplicity of setting up my RS, composing the shot, focusing then capturing the image.  I don't use a viewfinder, ground glass nor do I use a light meter instead I use the preview and histogram on my back to make certain I've captured the image as I wanted to.

Using a technical camera is to me an almost Zen thing.  This makes you slow down, visualize what you want, slow down and thing about your next step, slow down and think about the settings, focal and f/stop, slow down and remember to take the lens cap off and cock the shutter.  

I recently shot in the California Redwoods and was amazed at the number of images taken each day that I felt were worthwhile.

I now use my TC for well over 95% of my landscape work.





Cheers

Don

marcmccalmont

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Alpa field report
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2009, 02:57:50 pm »

Quote from: Iron Creek
I moved my primary landscape kit from a Phase One AFD to a Cambo RS about 6 months ago and am very pleased.

My thoughts were very much the same as Mark's regarding the lens quality.  I also enjoy the utter simplicity of setting up my RS, composing the shot, focusing then capturing the image.  I don't use a viewfinder, ground glass nor do I use a light meter instead I use the preview and histogram on my back to make certain I've captured the image as I wanted to.

Using a technical camera is to me an almost Zen thing.  This makes you slow down, visualize what you want, slow down and thing about your next step, slow down and think about the settings, focal and f/stop, slow down and remember to take the lens cap off and cock the shutter.  

I recently shot in the California Redwoods and was amazed at the number of images taken each day that I felt were worthwhile.

I now use my TC for well over 95% of my landscape work.





Cheers

Don

Don
Would you agree it is the lenses that make the difference or is it something else?
Marc
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Marc McCalmont

micek

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Alpa field report
« Reply #13 on: April 02, 2009, 05:19:00 pm »

I shoot with an Alpa swa (and an XY) + 24mm, 35mm and 47mm lenses. I shoot mostly architecture. With such wide angle lenses focusing is not a problem; it is basically a question of setting the lens at infinity and f11. More critical focusing (close ups, for instance) is easily achieved through the GG or on the back's screen (Aptus in my case). It really is not a problem.
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Mark D Segal

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Alpa field report
« Reply #14 on: April 02, 2009, 10:17:11 pm »

Mark - very good article. There's no question that for static image making this general approach is the logical step-up from DSLRs - even the best of them. And I remember Alpa from the 1950s. What gorgeous cameras. Of course as a teen-ager I could dream of owning one in those days, but I did travel Europe with a 4*5 Graflex, 2 1/4 * 3 1/4 roll-film back, ground-glass, focusing magnifier, light meter and tripod. Each shot required metering, focusing on the ground-glass, removing it, inserting the roll holder, removing the slide and snapping. It produced fine photographs in the chemical darkroom - sharpness and tonality beat anything I could do with my Contax 35mm. So yes, roll forward five decades and the only thing that's fundamentally changed for this kind of imaging is the bonus of digital quality and control.

The other Mark.  
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Don Libby

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Alpa field report
« Reply #15 on: April 05, 2009, 04:41:16 pm »

Quote from: marcmccalmont
Don
Would you agree it is the lenses that make the difference or is it something else?
Marc

Marc - Yes the lens makes a big difference as well as not having the mirror and other things standing inbetween.

Don
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