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Author Topic: You can't do That with medium format  (Read 120952 times)

Ray

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Re: You can't do That with medium format
« Reply #60 on: October 11, 2010, 11:20:31 pm »

Hmmm. Ray is comparing a digital back at high ISO to a dSLR at low ISO. Reminds of debating whether Cassius Clay with a 200lb backpack and half a dozen shots of whiskey in him could still win against a fight again Mike Tyson in his prime. Normally I wouldn't bit at such a post, but...

Doug,
This is the precise problem I find with the attitude of many MFDB owners to their equipment, on this site. There seems to be a complete lack of concern about the relative merits of one piece of equipment as opposed to another under varying conditions.

There seems to be a very simplistic attitude that MFDBs are better at low ISO and DSLRs are better at high ISO, end of story. However, some of us more inquisitive types would like to know just how much better or how much worse, for very practical reasons.

For example, If I'm travelling with a P65+ and a 5D2, and I'm photographing some landscape with the P65+ because I want the best image quality, and the 5D2 is in the back of the car 100 metres away. I find that in order to get the interesting foreground in focus as well as the distant hills, I need to use F16 or F22 with the DB, and because there's a continual breeze, or maybe a moving boat on the lake between the Xantherias in the foreground and the hills in the background, I also need a fairly fast shutter speed which requires bumping up the ISO to 800 or even 1600.

Now, having read the MF forum on Luminous Landscape assiduously for the past few years, I'm fairly confident that the P65+ is not the right tool for these circumstances, and rush back to the car to grab my 5D2 before the lighting changes for the worse. I get the shot, but perhaps not the best shot I would have liked because the lighting has changed a bit and that boat on the lake has disappeared. I regret having left the 5D2 in the car, but 'them's the breaks'.

Quote
Based on working knowledge of both systems: a P65+ at max ISO for full resolution (ISO800) would be well outperformed by a D3X at ISO400 (which is one stop above it's base ISO) in terms of noise, usable/aesthetic dynamic range and color fidelity in hard areas (e.g. subtle shadow transitions, and continuous dark neutrals).

However the P65+ in Sensor+ Mode woud produce a very sharp 15 megapixel ISO1600 shot (3 stops above base) and would actually be a meaningful match. I've not done that specific matchup, but Steve did a 5DII@800 vs P40@ISO800 test either of our offices would gladly provide the gear to anyone who wants to do the test at our office.

Great! I now find from your link to Steve's 5D2/P40+ comparison at ISO 800 that even the the P40+ with substantly fewer pixels than the P65+ in binning mode (10mp v 15mp) has marginally better image quality than the 5D2 at ISO 800. Wow! That's something one really wants to know. Thanks Doug! If I'm ever in the situation I've described above, I can be quite confident there would be no need to rush back to the car to get my 5D2. I can continue using the P65+, even when binning to 15mp, and still get at least as good a result, and perhaps better, than the 5D2.

Now that's useful information to know. I'm a firm believer in the adage, 'Know thy equipment', so thanks Doug for bringing that comparison to my attention.

http://www.captureintegration.com/2010/03/30/phase-one-p40-versus-canon-5dmkii-iso-800/

Oops! There's something wrong here, Doug, isn't there? Having studied Steve's images I see huge discrepancies in the comparisons with regard to matching of FoV and DoF. Not only is the 5D2 shot considerably wider, both horizontally and vertically, but the perspective is also quite different. The F stops have not been adjusted for equal DoF and the claim by Steve that the P40+, at the same shutter speed, appears to be more sensitive at ISO 800 than the 5D2 seems plain weird, unless Steve used a wider aperture with the P40+ shot at the same shutter speed. Consider the right side (on the left of the image) of the subject's cheek. In the 5D2 shot it contains detail. In the P40+ shot there's a lack of detail. The trees outside are an even more obvious indication the Dof has not been matched.

God almighty! Why is it you MF guys are so willing to fudge the results of any comparisons. I don't think even Jeff Schewe would rise to your defense here.

Furthermore, if you are going to compare MFDB with 35mm, the issue is not a comparison at equal ISOs, but a comparison at equal DoF, equal shutter speed, and equal FoV (allowing for a slight discrepancy due to different aspect ratios). That's the meaningful comparison that is of practical value.

For everyone's information, here's a comparison of the relative ISO sensitivies of the P40+ compared with the 5D2, courtesy DXOmark. As you can see, the true ISO of the P40+ at the manufacturer's specified ISO 800 is actually only 375. Canon also appear to exaggerate, but not nearly as much as Phase One.


« Last Edit: October 11, 2010, 11:37:43 pm by Ray »
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BrendanStewart

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Re: You can't do That with medium format
« Reply #61 on: October 11, 2010, 11:34:12 pm »

Ray, so what exactly is the point of all this? We should all sell our MF gear because it doesn't compare to 35mm?

Ok so your D3X and 5DMKII is better. Go out and take some photos with it. Us idiots with useless MF gear will just hang out and continue to make no money with our gear and flush any remaing cash down the drain.  ::)

Btw, do you have a website? I'd love to see some work of yours and how you have reached a level in which this is so bothersome to you.
« Last Edit: October 11, 2010, 11:36:16 pm by BrendanStewart »
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Ray

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Re: You can't do That with medium format
« Reply #62 on: October 11, 2010, 11:52:03 pm »

Ray, so what exactly is the point of all this? We should all sell our MF gear because it doesn't compare to 35mm?

Ok so your D3X and 5DMKII is better. Go out and take some photos with it. Us idiots with useless MF gear will just hang out and continue to make no money with our gear and flush any remaing cash down the drain.  ::)

Btw, do you have a website? I'd love to see some work of yours and how you have reached a level in which this is so bothersome to you.

The point of all this is to understand more precisely where the strengths and weaknesses are in the equipment we use.

I've used MF film and I still have those cameras. I believe even the old Mamiya RB67 can be adapted to use DBs and I've briefly flirted with the idea of making use of that system with a DB, considering I already have a number of Mamiya lenses. But only briefly. It doesn't really make much sense. I think we must all have experienced the situation of buying gear because it seemed a good idea at the time, then we find that such gear is rarely used for a variety of practical reasons which we never fully considered at the time of purchase.

You seems to be falling into the simplistic trap of 'better or worse', period, whereas I'm trying to promulgate the idea of 'know thy equipment' for all possible applications.
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BrendanStewart

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Re: You can't do That with medium format
« Reply #63 on: October 11, 2010, 11:59:51 pm »


You seems to be falling into the simplistic trap of 'better or worse', period, whereas I'm trying to promulgate the idea of 'know thy equipment' for all possible applications.

Pity... that's a common misconception. Actually, you persist in repeatedly asking questions to answers that will not change. I think there is a loose definition of insanity mixed in there somewhere.  And btw, you completely avoided the:  "Btw, do you have a website? I'd love to see some work of yours and how you have reached a level in which this is so bothersome to you".  Which i'll take some creative forecasting to assume you'll do again.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2010, 12:05:11 am by BrendanStewart »
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Ray

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Re: You can't do That with medium format
« Reply #64 on: October 12, 2010, 12:34:22 am »

Pity... that's a common misconception. Actually, you persist in repeatedly asking questions to answers that will not change. I think there is a loose definition of insanity mixed in there somewhere.  And btw, you completely avoided the:  "Btw, do you have a website? I'd love to see some work of yours and how you have reached a level in which this is so bothersome to you".  Which i'll take some creative forecasting to assume you'll do again.

No, I don't have a website. It's probably why I have so many posts on this site. I don't even bother posting on other sites. This is the best, although I'm a bit dubious sometimes about the quality of the MF section  ;D .

I'm an amateur who photographs for the pleasure of it. I've thought many times of starting my own business, but I'm troubled by the fact that running a business takes time, and is time I would rather spend taking photos. I haven't yet met the right woman who will say, "Don't worry darling, I'll take care of all business matters. You just take the photos".

Perhaps when I'm old and frail and have no inclination to clamber up mountains in Nepal to catch the dawn over the Himalayas, I will take up the more sedate activity of displaying an selling my photos over the net.

I have some absurd notion that true success is doing a job that's so interesting you would do it even if no-one paid you to do it. I think I've acheived that status with my photography. I'm currently planning another trip to Nepal, but this time with a Canon 17mm TSE lens. I'll probably drop by in Cambodia during the same trip and take a few more shots of those marvelous ruins at Angkor Wat, but this time with better equipment and a learning experience from my past mistakes.

But I'm stil undecided whether to get a 5D2 or a 7D for this trip. I make all my camera gear purchases on the basis of extensive research into their capability and performance at all levels.

MFDB seems to be like a secret society, almost like the Free Masons, or a Country Women's Association where all males are banned. There are suggestions in this thread that one shouldn't comment on anything in this section of the forum unless one owns MFDB equipment, for example.

It seems strange to me that MFDB stuff is not examined and compared in more detail.
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Schewe

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Re: You can't do That with medium format
« Reply #65 on: October 12, 2010, 12:35:42 am »

The point of all this is to understand more precisely where the strengths and weaknesses are in the equipment we use.

Which is also the whole point of Jim's essay...that if you are willing to push the envelope, you can use MFDBs for more than what some people would expect...he doesn't say you have to...just that you can achieve better IQ and get better results if you don't see MFDB as a limitation. Which, after all the posts to this thread has become apparent...given the chance, I'll use medium format vs DSLR and I'll look more seriously at shooting more stuff with MFDB is possible. So, Jim Martin 1, Ray zero...sorry bud, you haven't moved me an inch.
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Ray

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Re: You can't do That with medium format
« Reply #66 on: October 12, 2010, 01:26:21 am »

Which is also the whole point of Jim's essay...that if you are willing to push the envelope, you can use MFDBs for more than what some people would expect...he doesn't say you have to...just that you can achieve better IQ and get better results if you don't see MFDB as a limitation. Which, after all the posts to this thread has become apparent...given the chance, I'll use medium format vs DSLR and I'll look more seriously at shooting more stuff with MFDB is possible. So, Jim Martin 1, Ray zero...sorry bud, you haven't moved me an inch.

Okay! You really should understand, Jeff, that I'm not about knocking or disparaging someone's efforts. Pushing the envelope is admirable. But pushing the envelope can apply to all formats, big and small. Push the envelope with MFDB and you may get results which are surprisingly good. Push the envelope with FF 35mm, perhaps in a different way because the strengths and weakness of the 35mm are different, and you may also get surprisingle good results. The same no doubt applies to P&S cameras. It doesn't alter the basic equation.

When attempting to push the envelope it's best to be prepared with knowledge of the precise characteristics of the system one is using and to understand in what way a particular result might have been better using a different format or system, pushing the envelope in a different way to take advantage of that system's strengths.

Why do you see this as a contest between me and Jim Martin?
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Dustbak

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Re: You can't do That with medium format
« Reply #67 on: October 12, 2010, 01:49:26 am »

The point of all this is to understand more precisely where the strengths and weaknesses are in the equipment we use.
....whereas I'm trying to promulgate the idea of 'know thy equipment' for all possible applications.

What do you mean? You don't use using medium format digital.

I think people, like myself, that do use medium format digital as well as DSLR do know the strengths and weaknesses of their equipment. Mostly through real world hand-on experience instead of arm-chair wisdom. Or if they don't, they quickly find out. There is a difference between reading about stuff and actually experiencing things yourself. You do really travel don't you, You don't watch the travel channel instead?

Holy cow, several years later you still have not used or even tried medium format digital Ray (even though more than once you got the offer to try)? You still don't do your own tests, insist others do them and always dismiss for whatever reason comparisons/tests that other people do? (admittedly sometimes your criticism in this area is justified).

You don't have to own or have to have used MFDB to talk about it but it surely adds to your credibility when talking about the strengths & weaknesses of it.

I agree with the article, there is more that can be done with MFDB than most people give it credit for but it doesn't come easy. Indeed pushing the envelope is something that is not dependant on any format. This article just happened to be about medium format and pushing the envelope...
« Last Edit: October 12, 2010, 02:01:37 am by Dustbak »
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Schewe

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Re: You can't do That with medium format
« Reply #68 on: October 12, 2010, 02:02:39 am »

Why do you see this as a contest between me and Jim Martin?

Mainly because of the OP where you said:

Quote
Let's have a look at the latest article in 'What's New' from James Martin.

This is an interesting description of the conflict between the seduction of a 'potentially more realistic image' and the practical realities of inflexibility and additional cost and weight of the MFDB system.

James Martin's title suggests that MFDB is more flexible than it's sometimes made out to be.

I would contest this view. I think there's no doubt that a larger sensor delivers better image quality, all else being equal. That's a given. But let's not kid ourselves as to its flexibility.

Jim's article did indeed suggest that MFDB is indeed more flexible that it's sometime made out to be. Your post contested this view. I disagree with YOUR view that MFDB isn't more flexible-if you are willing to put up with the difficulties involved. Which I am, BTW...and I've proven (at least to myself) that pushing the MFBB envelope can be well worth it if IQ is important to you. It is to me...
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Dale Allyn

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Re: You can't do That with medium format
« Reply #69 on: October 12, 2010, 03:52:21 am »

From my perspective, this post originates from a position fueled by passive-aggressive behavior, and in my opinion is disrespectful to photographers who don't agree with the position put forth by the O.P. Perhaps that's a fair type of response to Jim Martin's original post, if Jim's post is deemed as a challenge. I don't know.

As one who shoots medium format digital (and not high-end gear), as well as the usual suspects found in the typical well-stocked camera locker today (in my case: Canon), it seems odd to me that Ray would once again spend such an extensive amount of time to engage in such discussions under the guise of "learning". One has only to shoot a few samples of MFDB and lens combinations to decide if s/he is well served by the option of a photographic kit comprised of medium format gear. But Ray has repeatedly stated that he need not shoot MFD to understand it, since he has certain representatives such as DxO, etc. (never mind what you and your clients see). That's great, if one is comfortable with such a resource for what may be a subjective or artistic evaluation in the end. In my case, I shoot, I look, I decide. I'm not swayed by comments such as "you're biased because you want to justify your purchase" because I want the cheapest, lightest, quality kit for the work that I want to produce. Not to mention that I have a fairly strong science background and still think like a lab nerd.

I'm not sure why these discussions continue, but like the Canon 85mm f/1.2 L vs. 85mm f/1.8 discussions of yore, they draw many of us in like a 13-car-pile-up on the interstate.

Ray, you obviously love discussing this stuff, and I get that, but if you really want to understand you must shoot MFDB, with ice water in your veins (to remove emotional expectations), to understand what others are contributing to these discussions. Frankly, it's disrespectful to the community if you don't invest such efforts. And I must add that one outing with a MFD kit is not enough. There is a learning curve... to the kit, and to the software. That may be a check in the negative column for you, and that's okay, but it only carries value if it is properly evaluated.

I shoot MFD because I like the look of the files more. The difference is not subtle to me because the things that I appreciate are accentuated by MFD. This may not be the case for you, and that's great too. It's okay to disagree about the aesthetics. :)

I'm pretty sure that this community gets that you don't really think that MFD is for you – for reasons you know best. I doubt that anyone judges that negatively, and some may even be jealous of the financial benefits. But by the same token, it would be gracious if you would respectfully accept that those who have taken the time and invested the money to experience MFD, and who have decided that it fills a need of theirs, are making the choice from a position of knowledge of their own needs and preferences, and the ability to observe substantive differences which justify the considerable expense.

Ray, please don't respond to this in a manner in which you attempt to justify your implied position by railing against usability issues, low-light weaknesses, etc. Accomplished photographers know the the strengths and weaknesses of each piece of kit and adjust accordingly. We know when to grab the Canon or Nikon, and when to grab the Phase One or Hasselblad, etc.. There are lots of times when they overlap, and like Jim's article suggests, some overlapping opportunities may not be obvious.

You have asked this community several times to justify medium format digital camera equipment. Don't you think it's appropriate that you take the time to learn first-hand what may or may not be present in the MFDB experience? And even then, if your results differ from those stated by others, does it not make sense to humbly accept that each of us has different requirements and preferences?

 
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Nick Rains

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Re: You can't do That with medium format
« Reply #70 on: October 12, 2010, 04:13:31 am »

Wow, that's as even-handed and diplomatic a post as I have ever seen. Respect!

From my perspective, this post originates from a position fueled by passive-aggressive behavior, and in my opinion is disrespectful to photographers who don't agree with the position put forth by the O.P. Perhaps that's a fair type of response to Jim Martin's original post, if Jim's post is deemed as a challenge. I don't know.

As one who shoots medium format digital (and not high-end gear), as well as the usual suspects found in the typical well-stocked camera locker today (in my case: Canon), it seems odd to me that Ray would once again spend such an extensive amount of time to engage in such discussions under the guise of "learning". One has only to shoot a few samples of MFDB and lens combinations to decide if s/he is well served by the option of a photographic kit comprised of medium format gear. But Ray has repeatedly stated that he need not shoot MFD to understand it, since he has certain representatives such as DxO, etc. (never mind what you and your clients see). That's great, if one is comfortable with such a resource for what may be a subjective or artistic evaluation in the end. In my case, I shoot, I look, I decide. I'm not swayed by comments such as "you're biased because you want to justify your purchase" because I want the cheapest, lightest, quality kit for the work that I want to produce. Not to mention that I have a fairly strong science background and still think like a lab nerd.

I'm not sure why these discussions continue, but like the Canon 85mm f/1.2 L vs. 85mm f/1.8 discussions of yore, they draw many of us in like a 13-car-pile-up on the interstate.

Ray, you obviously love discussing this stuff, and I get that, but if you really want to understand you must shoot MFDB, with ice water in your veins (to remove emotional expectations), to understand what others are contributing to these discussions. Frankly, it's disrespectful to the community if you don't invest such efforts. And I must add that one outing with a MFD kit is not enough. There is a learning curve... to the kit, and to the software. That may be a check in the negative column for you, and that's okay, but it only carries value if it is properly evaluated.

I shoot MFD because I like the look of the files more. The difference is not subtle to me because the things that I appreciate are accentuated by MFD. This may not be the case for you, and that's great too. It's okay to disagree about the aesthetics. :)

I'm pretty sure that this community gets that you don't really think that MFD is for you – for reasons you know best. I doubt that anyone judges that negatively, and some may even be jealous of the financial benefits. But by the same token, it would be gracious if you would respectfully accept that those who have taken the time and invested the money to experience MFD, and who have decided that it fills a need of theirs, are making the choice from a position of knowledge of their own needs and preferences, and the ability to observe substantive differences which justify the considerable expense.

Ray, please don't respond to this in a manner in which you attempt to justify your implied position by railing against usability issues, low-light weaknesses, etc. Accomplished photographers know the the strengths and weaknesses of each piece of kit and adjust accordingly. We know when to grab the Canon or Nikon, and when to grab the Phase One or Hasselblad, etc.. There are lots of times when they overlap, and like Jim's article suggests, some overlapping opportunities may not be obvious.

You have asked this community several times to justify medium format digital camera equipment. Don't you think it's appropriate that you take the time to learn first-hand what may or may not be present in the MFDB experience? And even then, if your results differ from those stated by others, does it not make sense to humbly accept that each of us has different requirements and preferences?

 
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Nick Rains
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nass

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Re: You can't do That with medium format
« Reply #71 on: October 12, 2010, 04:26:12 am »

I guess I'm on the other side of the fence, I don't use medium format... but I wish I could.

As an aside, I don't remember the portability of equipment stopping our friend Ansel.
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Rob C

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Re: You can't do That with medium format
« Reply #72 on: October 12, 2010, 04:45:37 am »

I guess I'm on the other side of the fence, I don't use medium format... but I wish I could.

As an aside, I don't remember the portability of equipment stopping our friend Ansel.



That's far out: for what he did, what choice did he have? As an old man he used 'blads, but the work didn't seem to be the same... I also used 4x5 when an employee; never, in a month of Sundays, would I have used it when I went freelance: the work was entirely different, and that brings this straight back to horses for courses, which I believe is where Ray is actually standing, though it seems easy enough to spin the position around to taste.

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Nick Rains

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Re: You can't do That with medium format
« Reply #73 on: October 12, 2010, 05:11:51 am »

and that brings this straight back to horses for courses, which I believe is where Ray is actually standing, though it seems easy enough to spin the position around to taste.
Rob C

Not really, Ray just is being somewhat obtuse here. Horses for courses is a sensible approach but what the original article was all about, as pointed out by Jeff, is that sometimes you can use a racehorse to pull a cart or whatever.

For the 'ordinary' sure choose the obvious tool, or even for the professional who has a business to run, but pushing the limits in search of the ultimate IQ can also be a worthy goal.

I am very happy with my Canons, and they are my tools of choice for paying work, but when I want to pursue even higher IQ, for whatever reason, then there will be a price to pay, in money, convenience or some such.

No pain no gain, and I'm completely OK with that. If it was easy everyone would be doing it.
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Nick Rains
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kers

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Re: You can't do That with medium format
« Reply #74 on: October 12, 2010, 10:46:13 am »

- I shoot MFDB most of the time, The prints look almost 3D and my clients love it .......They love the results and it gets me work and referrals. Could i do it with a DSLR? maybe....

interesting to read this, Shooting a D3x myself i had this 3d feeling for the first time with the d3x in combination with the 85mm PCE at d=8

I think this 3d effect is the result of very good lenses that capture every nuance- so creating this effect.
Also the RAW-software is important- I find the nikon capture in this respect more 3D then Capture One ( not intensively tested).
Then you can make things look more 3d by applying some USM (10%, 50, 0) but that ruins information at the same time ( as does about everything in photoshop)
So what i would suggest is that MF is served with better - more expensive lenses - in relation to the overall higher cost of the whole MF system.
fortunately Canon as well as Nikon are starting to produce better and more expensive optics the last year or so. But i would like the lenses be more expensive and better still.
« Last Edit: October 12, 2010, 12:29:13 pm by kers »
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Rob C

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Re: You can't do That with medium format
« Reply #75 on: October 12, 2010, 11:42:17 am »

interesting to read this, Shooting a D3x myself i had this 3d feeling for the first time with the d3x in combination with the 85mm PCE at d=8

I think this 3d effect is the result of very good lenses that capture every nuance- so creating this effect.
Also the RAW-software is important- I find the nikon capture in this respect more 3D then capture pro ( not intensively tested).
Then you can make things look more 3d by applying some USM (10%, 50, 0) but that ruins information at the same time ( as does about everything in photoshop)
So what i would suggest is that MF is served with better - more expensive lenses - in relation to the overall higher cost of the whole MF system.
fortunately Canon as well as Nikon are starting to produce better and more expensive optics the last year or so. But i would like the lenses be more expensive and better still.


Not to stray too far off topic, Leica RF lenses used to be considered to give the 'look' of medium format film equivalent in the days of film; also, from first-hand experience of printing both, Leica glass did have a different look that Nikon and Hass never gave me. Trouble was, I couldn't live with RF because of the long lenses I needed and the fact that using 35mm format for pro work means you need to know all that the slide is going to contain, which is where the Nikon F came into its own and no RF camera did.

Rob C

Dick Roadnight

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Re: You can't do That with medium format
« Reply #76 on: October 12, 2010, 03:18:26 pm »

Who's student can own a MFD nowdays?
You might have thought that this would encourage aspiring photographers to work as assistants?
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fredjeang

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Re: You can't do That with medium format
« Reply #77 on: October 12, 2010, 04:43:14 pm »

You might have thought that this would encourage aspiring photographers to work as assistants?
No, I might have thought that this would encourage MF manufacturers to work for the younguest generation...
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Fritzer

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Re: You can't do That with medium format
« Reply #78 on: October 12, 2010, 05:46:00 pm »

May I suggest some sticky thread, where all the MFDB vs. 35mm topics get dumped into ?
It's always the same nonsense, going in circles, and has no relevance to pro photography .
I've never met a single pro who had to think about what system to us for even a split second; these uneducated amateur gear whores are just a waste of space .

No, I might have thought that this would encourage MF manufacturers to work for the younguest generation...

I'm sure reading your postings will encourage them to do just that .
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Nick Rains

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Re: You can't do That with medium format
« Reply #79 on: October 12, 2010, 06:54:24 pm »

fortunately Canon as well as Nikon are starting to produce better and more expensive optics the last year or so. But i would like the lenses be more expensive and better still.

Agree about wanting better lenses - not sure I want them to be more expensive!
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Nick Rains
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