Pages: [1] 2   Go Down

Author Topic: Low end MFD vs FF conundrum...  (Read 4715 times)

adam tracksler

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 87
Low end MFD vs FF conundrum...
« on: May 16, 2013, 10:13:26 am »

Im looking to upgrade my studio camera.

Im bouncing back and forth between MFD (Mamiya RZ67, Fuji GX680 or Hasselblad 500) with a lower end back (Lightphase or Kodak DCS, more than likely) and a Full Frame (Sony A850).

RIght now I am shooting with an M8, which is the bees knees, but not great for some of the work I'm doing (Product shots and food with some architecture thrown in).

Is it better to go with the MFD and a low end back (with possible high end back rental as needed) and get a solid system that can be upgraded? Knowing full well that the lower end back is inferior (maybe) with the FF solution.

Or is it better to get the FF SLR and have a ton of quality right away, but a workflow that is different than MF (not that its better or worse, but I tend to gravitate to the manual workflow), and being "locked in" to a system...

Is something like the Sigma DP2 a viable option (not like I need another fish in the kettle..)

I know this is the conundrum that tens of tens of photographers wrestle with.. I'd appreciate any thoughts, comments, concerns, comparisons.

//ad
« Last Edit: May 16, 2013, 10:15:32 am by adam tracksler »
Logged

TMARK

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1841
Re: Low end MFD vs FF conundrum...
« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2013, 10:51:45 am »

You have to use these cameras to know what works for you.  Too many variables.  In terms of IQ its a toss up.  All of teh cameras you mention are good enough for almost anything, so the prime consideration, as I see it, is uability, reliability and workflow.  Let that guide you and I think you will be just fine.
Logged

torger

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3265
Re: Low end MFD vs FF conundrum...
« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2013, 06:49:50 am »

If you want to complement for product, food and architecture I'd say that a MFD technical camera is preferable, then you get much more compositional power thanks to tilt and shift than you have with a rangefinder or SLR type of camera.

Problem is to get away real cheap with that though. A second hand Sinar 4x5" P2 and a sliding back, and then choose some analog lenses wisely you can get away cheap, but it will be some work to find the parts on eBay and/or forums. The widest decent analog lens is at 47mm, wider than that you need newer digital designs. In the studio for product and food you won't need wides, but for architecture you may.

Concerning digital back, if your looking at Lightphase I hope you mean Phase One H25 or H20. The others are just too old. Concerning the Kodak DCS Pro I'm a bit skeptical as it has 12 bit processing as far as I know, maybe it's image quality is not that pleasing with today's standards? In the studio with controlled lighting it probably does not matter, but in architecture it may be a problem if dynamic range is not that good.

Lightphase is tethered only of course, which may not be that great when on location.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 06:59:37 am by torger »
Logged

TMARK

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1841
Re: Low end MFD vs FF conundrum...
« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2013, 09:55:53 am »

If you want to complement for product, food and architecture I'd say that a MFD technical camera is preferable, then you get much more compositional power thanks to tilt and shift than you have with a rangefinder or SLR type of camera.

Problem is to get away real cheap with that though. A second hand Sinar 4x5" P2 and a sliding back, and then choose some analog lenses wisely you can get away cheap, but it will be some work to find the parts on eBay and/or forums. The widest decent analog lens is at 47mm, wider than that you need newer digital designs. In the studio for product and food you won't need wides, but for architecture you may.

Concerning digital back, if your looking at Lightphase I hope you mean Phase One H25 or H20. The others are just too old. Concerning the Kodak DCS Pro I'm a bit skeptical as it has 12 bit processing as far as I know, maybe it's image quality is not that pleasing with today's standards? In the studio with controlled lighting it probably does not matter, but in architecture it may be a problem if dynamic range is not that good.

Lightphase is tethered only of course, which may not be that great when on location.

The Sinar P1 and P2, unless they were recently refurbed by Sinar, don't have the tolerances for digital, at least in my experience.  Much too much slop in the gearing.
Logged

torger

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 3265
Re: Low end MFD vs FF conundrum...
« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2013, 10:09:33 am »

The Sinar P1 and P2, unless they were recently refurbed by Sinar, don't have the tolerances for digital, at least in my experience.  Much too much slop in the gearing.

I've tried this too (using a Sinar X), and I think for a 22 megapixel back and longer lenses you don't need to worry, especially food and product where you would use say a 120mm macro lens. Slight lack of parallelism will not be an issue there, for several reasons. 1) as the focal length is longer larger angles are required to make a difference 2) as we shoot at macro distance the DoF is short and a slight tilt/swing of it won't make a real difference, as long as objects are 3D (ie some of the object will be a bit out of focus anyway) 3) most likely some level of tilt and/or swing will be applied.

The difficult part is focusing a wide angle at a distance, as can be required with architecture. In that case gearing on both front and back can be a mess to avoid accidental tilts. The second hand Sinar X I've tried works good for 47mm and 22 megapixels but the gears where fine on that and you really need to be very very careful to set the standards parallel. Shooting tethered to be able to verify sharpness afterwards would be recommended. So yes, it's not an ideal solution for architecture, but if you want to get away cheap this is one of few ways to go.
Logged

lowep

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 567
    • http://sites.google.com/site/peterlowefoto/
Re: Low end MFD vs FF conundrum...
« Reply #5 on: May 17, 2013, 11:17:16 am »

have you thought about mamiya zd for the kind of work you have in mind?
Logged

FredBGG

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1630
Re: Low end MFD vs FF conundrum...
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2013, 03:33:16 pm »

A MF DSLR like the RZ or the Phase One cameras is not that great for table top still life in that you are very limited as far as
tilt shift lenses go and the live view is a joke.

Many photographers have gone from 30/40MP MF to 35mm high pixel count DSLR. ME included, though I still shoot a lot of larger MF film
that in my opinion with the very large capture area of 6x8 has a real MF to large format look.

The difference in IQ between entry level MFDB and the latest high end 35mm Dslr cameras is almost insignificant with
the newer DSLR having an edge on Dynamic range.

Here is a comparison between a Hasselblad HD3-39 and the Nikon d800. It's a crop from a wider horizontal head and sholders shot.



With quality so close functionality becomes more important.

Many Architectural photographers are using FF DSLR for many reasons. More Tilt shift lenses, more longer lenses for compressed
perspective and fast high quality Live view that is even wireless with inexpensive accessories.

The Camranger for example makes it far easier to move around the room and shift furniture for example and see it on a table without going back to the camera.
« Last Edit: May 17, 2013, 08:42:29 pm by FredBGG »
Logged

Gigi

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 524
    • some work
Re: Low end MFD vs FF conundrum...
« Reply #7 on: May 17, 2013, 11:45:01 pm »

At the risk of...., have been enjoying a Leaf 33 mb back, and won't look away. The colors are just too good.... and with the tech camera, you can get pretty much a great lens for <1$k, if you have a view camera to put it on. Of course, they aren't as portable, quick, etc., but the image quality....
Logged
Geoff

EricWHiss

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2613
    • Rolleiflex USA
Re: Low end MFD vs FF conundrum...
« Reply #8 on: May 18, 2013, 01:48:05 am »

The first thing you should do is figure out how much movement you will need for your product and architecture work and what range of lenses.  The RZ has a tilt shit adapter that you can mount most of the lenses on and do your product and food photography with, but it will have less tilt and movement than a more dedicated solution. It might be good enough but I never used one on my RZii so can't say.   Also for architecture you will likely not be able to get wide enough with the RZ lenses and or may have trouble focusing out to infinity with the them on the tilt shift adapter.     You might be able to accomplish what you want with a DSLR and one of their t/s lenses such as the canon 90mm TSE which is excellent but again the amount of movement is limited.  Same goes for using something like the Mirex adapter or Zoerk adapter - you can get a bit more movement than the canonikon lenses but maybe not enough.     You could employ one of the cambo X2 or Horseman View camera adapters with enlarging lenses which are very high quality and very inexpensive. 

If you need the movement, then none of the traditional MF platforms is going to be adequate except for the Fuji 680.   You can mount both DSLR's and Digital backs to all of the studio cameras such as the sinar, X-Act2, cambo, etc but the issue you'll find is that the DSLR's are hindered by two things - the deep mirror box which will often shadow the sensor with lots of movement and second the ability to employ wider optics since the flange to sensor is already 45+mm and you'll have an adapter and a bunch of other stuff like the shape of the body limiting how close you can mount it to the lensboard.   I've had my 5D2 and a friends D800E on both my cambo X-2 and Rollei X-Act2 and this seems to the issues that cropped up.  For tilt, and close up work with longer lenses this shouldn't be an issue DSLR's.  It's hard to beat a digital back on a tech or view camera in the studio though.  You'll have all the options available in movement and focal range.   For the architecture where you might not be able to tether to a laptop, the canon and a set of wide TSE ii lenses is pretty good, but the tech camera would give you more movement.  680 might work okay here too.   

That said, the color for food and product photography will be superior with a MFDB mounted to a view camera or something like the Fuji gx 680 which does have enough movement to work.   One drawback to MFDB's will be possible lens color casts which you can get with movements.  The older  backs didn't suffer as much from this since they had larger pixels, and it is easy to fix by shooting and applying a LCC white frame, however its another step in the workflow.   Fred will argue until he's made us all sick and then some, that DSLR's are better but since I've used both, my feeling is even the older MFDB backs can produce images with superior color out of the box and with more depth to them. The only food photographers I know personally use multishot backs on the Fuji 680.  Some of the older multishot backs are getting really cheap too.   A lot of architecture shooters are getting along great with the Canon since their 2nd generation wide T/S lenses are great, but many also use a digital back and a tech camera of some kind or another.   

btw - Fred has written that the live view on the MFDB is not great, but he's probably never shot one tethered to a laptop or desktop computer before.  The live view even on seriously old MFDB can be great when tethered.  Hasselblad/imacon backs have even audible feedback on the focus.  You select the point you want to focus on and adjust focus while listening to it tell you if you are getting sharper or not.   The live view on my Leaf is quite excellent.     

Where Fred and I agree is on the 680 which might suit you, but I think it only goes as wide as 50mm which might not be wide enough for architecture, but you can shift stitch with it I guess.  Much easier to stitch moving the sensor than moving the lens like on the fuji but it still works.

Logged
Rolleiflex USA

micek

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 66
Re: Low end MFD vs FF conundrum...
« Reply #9 on: May 18, 2013, 07:53:51 am »

Quote
The RZ has a tilt shit adapter 
Interesting. ;D
Logged

FredBGG

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1630
Re: Low end MFD vs FF conundrum...
« Reply #10 on: May 19, 2013, 03:24:08 am »


btw - Fred has written that the live view on the MFDB is not great, but he's probably never shot one tethered to a laptop or desktop computer before.  The live view even on seriously old MFDB can be great when tethered.  Hasselblad/imacon backs have even audible feedback on the focus.  You select the point you want to focus on and adjust focus while listening to it tell you if you are getting sharper or not.   The live view on my Leaf is quite excellent. 

I have used live view tethered. frame rate is horribly slow and colors are off. There is absolutely no exposure simulation and often ND filters are required
to use live view.

Canon or Nikon with an HDMI monitor blows away any live view a MFDB can do today.
Logged

FredBGG

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1630
Re: Low end MFD vs FF conundrum...
« Reply #11 on: May 19, 2013, 05:29:40 pm »

The RZ has a tilt shit adapter that you can mount most of the lenses on and do your product and food photography with, but it will have less tilt and movement than a more dedicated solution. It might be good enough but I never used one on my RZii so can't say.   Also for architecture you will likely not be able to get wide enough with the RZ lenses and or may have trouble focusing out to infinity with the them on the tilt shift adapter.

The RZ Tilt shift adapter is very limited. It takes away focusing range and will only focus at infinity with the two special short barrel versions of the 180mm and 75mm.
It only has one shift direction and one tilt direction.
Due to the reduction in focus range it is useless for architectural photography.
It is extrememly limited with wide angles.
None of the lenses are designed for tilt shift so edge quality is very limited.
Shift is mainly there to re center the lens once tilt is used.
To see what is going on with film you need the focusing screen back to see if you are vignetting.

Due to the very large crop factor with digital you can use a bit more shift or can tilt without having to use shift to correct for vignetting as soon.

For small closeup product photography it can be useful. The furthur away you get the more loimited it becomes.

Some more info:

Quote
Special lens intended for use with Mamiya's Tilt/Shift Adapter; It fits between the lens and the body and as such functions as a sort of extension tube; The Mamiya Tilt/Shift adapter is an accessory for the RZ67 system that adds upward/downward tilt and rise/fall to the cameras capability
Popular focal length for portraits and product shots
Standard RZ lenses will only work with this item in very close focusing situations
Mamiya offers two lenses that are specific to use with this adapter and can still be focused to infinity
They have a shorter barrel length and are simply, the 75mm f/4.5 and 180mm f/4.5 Short Barrel (SB) lenses
They can be used without the Tilt/Shift adapter as standard lenses but to regain the full focusing range, they should be used in combination with the accessory SB Auto Spacer, which is an extension tube of the same thickness as the Tilt/Shift Adapter

Logged

EricWHiss

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2613
    • Rolleiflex USA
Re: Low end MFD vs FF conundrum...
« Reply #12 on: May 20, 2013, 01:09:52 am »

The RZ Tilt shift adapter is very limited. It takes away focusing range and will only focus at infinity with the two special short barrel versions of the 180mm and 75mm.
It only has one shift direction and one tilt direction.
Due to the reduction in focus range it is useless for architectural photography.
It is extrememly limited with wide angles.
None of the lenses are designed for tilt shift so edge quality is very limited.
Shift is mainly there to re center the lens once tilt is used.
To see what is going on with film you need the focusing screen back to see if you are vignetting.

Due to the very large crop factor with digital you can use a bit more shift or can tilt without having to use shift to correct for vignetting as soon.

For small closeup product photography it can be useful. The furthur away you get the more loimited it becomes.

Some more info:



Glass half full Fred?  For use with a digital back there will be more movement possible since its smaller than full frame of 6x7 on the RZ, and as you may know the image circle will be larger when extended so more tilt will also be possible.  The OP stated product and food - so clearly the RZ t/s adapter could be a workable solution.  The RZ is found everywhere and easily serviced by many shops, whereas the fuji 680 is much more difficult to find parts lenses, and service.  Fuji is more expensive too.
Logged
Rolleiflex USA

EricWHiss

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2613
    • Rolleiflex USA
Re: Low end MFD vs FF conundrum...
« Reply #13 on: May 20, 2013, 01:24:22 am »

I have used live view tethered. frame rate is horribly slow and colors are off. There is absolutely no exposure simulation and often ND filters are required
to use live view.

Canon or Nikon with an HDMI monitor blows away any live view a MFDB can do today.

Fred, you're just arguing.  It sounds like you've gotten what you read about tethered live view with what you read about the live view on the IQ series backs too. If you got off your kite board and went down to Sammy's in your old benz and looked at them fine, but you don't know much until you've used them on real projects.   Most people who really have used the live view tethered will tell you it works great. No ND filters needed, no special tricks.   You can get nice live view tethered with the DSLR's too, but that takes nothing away from the fact that the older MF backs work fine. I use live view on my 2005 vintage CF 528 all the time tethered to Phocus and its great.  Newer stuff is even better.  And that old 528 will wipe the floor with the D800 when it comes to food and product work too.  If you had any experience with it all, you'd agree. 
Logged
Rolleiflex USA

HarperPhotos

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1309
    • http://www.harperphoto.com
Re: Low end MFD vs FF conundrum...
« Reply #14 on: May 20, 2013, 02:40:16 am »

Hi Eric,

I have kept out of your little bitch fight with Fred but I have to disagree with this comment totally.

“And that old 528 will wipe the floor with the D800 when it comes to food and product work too.”

Regards

Simon
Logged
Simon Harper
Harper Photographics Ltd
http://www.harperphoto.com
http://www.facebook.com/harper.photographics

Auckland, New Zealand

MrSmith

  • Guest
Re: Low end MFD vs FF conundrum...
« Reply #15 on: May 20, 2013, 03:56:15 am »

"I use live view on my 2005 vintage CF 528 all the time tethered to Phocus and its great"

Seriously? I have used the same back and live view is very poor, a smeary grainy black and white lo-res image with very slow refresh rate. "Great" is not how I would describe it.
Logged

ErikKaffehr

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 11288
    • Echophoto
Re: Low end MFD vs FF conundrum...
« Reply #16 on: May 20, 2013, 04:45:33 am »

Hi,

I guess, from the samples I have seen is that processing plays an important role. Color rendition may differ between different processors, and different optical paths need different sharpening. A smaller sensor with smaller pixels will have less contrast at the pixel level than a sensor with larger pixels, thus needing more and appropriate sharpening.

Simon is obviously very happy with D800/D800E and he is certainly doing studio work and food, or at least drink, photography. So he has been there and done that, too.

The samples of the small girl that Fred links to all the time is actually one of the few examples of reasonably well made tests where raw files have been posted. I am aware that some consider color rendition better on one or the other. Marc McCalmont has published good comparisons with Raw files, too and so did Tim Ashley.

Fred obviously feel that 36 MP DSLRs are holding their ground against MF DSLRs costing several times as much. That is obvously good for cost concious customers. A very good point.

Guy is a hard working pro, he obviously feels that MF DSLRs have benefits.

Regarding the Pentax, it seems that there are quite a few customers who are perfectly satisfied. I also feel that lenses are a question mark.

Best regards
Erik




Hi Eric,

I have kept out of your little bitch fight with Fred but I have to disagree with this comment totally.

“And that old 528 will wipe the floor with the D800 when it comes to food and product work too.”

Regards

Simon
Logged
Erik Kaffehr
 

bcooter

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 1516
Re: Low end MFD vs FF conundrum...
« Reply #17 on: May 20, 2013, 06:19:41 am »


Regarding the Pentax, it seems that there are quite a few customers who are perfectly satisfied. I also feel that lenses are a question mark.

Best regards
Erik





I wanted the Pentax so bad I could taste it and have tried it, great viewfinder, wonderful modern controls and lcd, produces beautiful jpegs, good raws, 800 iso for people photography is very clean.

The Legacy lenses are good, but a crap shoot, you have to test the them and find the right sample.  The new lenses look different, more modern and crisp with a harsher roll off from highlight to midtones, midtones to shadows.

The ball buster of the pentax is the speed of reviewing images, the way the buffer clears to review the images on camera and the ability to tether.  It's painfully slow if your working fast.

The new Pentax Lenses are expensive for a focal plane shutter camera.  Sharp but expensive and IMO not as pretty as the older lenses.

Actually, When you add it up, if you buy new lenses, when you compare the Pentax to the H5d40 (same sensor) you only save about 6 or 7 grand on the body, the rest is a wash, especially since there are tons of used blad lenses in circulation and all in all the new H5d is a very refined professional system that has a removable finder, a real software suite that tethers and has the same secret sauce in Lightroom for processing.

If the Pentax could tether and process faster, I'd buy it today.  Whether a camera line continues or not doesn't concern me, but then again I've used Contax for a decade.

IMO

BC
Logged

adam tracksler

  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 87
Re: Low end MFD vs FF conundrum...
« Reply #18 on: May 20, 2013, 06:24:43 am »

Low end digital is a fools errand, I'm finding out. I really want to figure out a way to make it work, but without getting in for 3k I'm essentially getting iq that I can get with a dslr. I appreciate the comments and help, but am going to wait a while before I jump into mf.
Logged

EricWHiss

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Offline Offline
  • Posts: 2613
    • Rolleiflex USA
Re: Low end MFD vs FF conundrum...
« Reply #19 on: May 20, 2013, 02:05:34 pm »

Hi Eric,

I have to disagree with this comment totally.

“And that old 528 will wipe the floor with the D800 when it comes to food and product work too.”

Regards

Simon

Hi Simon & Mr. Smith,
All I can tell you is that it absolutely will for product and food work which can be done at base ISO and often with mulitshot work. The 528 even beats my Aptus ii 12.   I've made many comparisons between the backs and also against the 5d2 and d800E.  I have no doubt of this.  I never said the D800 wasn't good, its excellent, but still its not at the level of what the 528 can produce.    If you have had occasion to really see what a multishot back can produce, its worth a look. Subtle things like finger prints and tonal variation in color are very well reproduced.  It's really an advantage for food work and also scientific and art reproduction.  I'm still often amazed at these 528 files.  I still use my 528 for art reproduction jobs, where picking up not just the detail but also the texture and strokes is important. 

Regarding the live view, if you had used this back with the live view on Flexcolor in the past, it is much improved with Phocus. I'm not making movies, just focusing.  It works great for me which I think is applicable for product and food and architecture type subjects that OP asked about. My newer leaf back is much better, but I am able to focus well with the older 528 in live view - and get my work done which to me is what matters. I never talked about is the best live view.    I never said it was perfect, but it does work.  No question you can do better on a DSLR, but I also wrote that too.  

E

« Last Edit: May 20, 2013, 02:25:05 pm by EricWHiss »
Logged
Rolleiflex USA
Pages: [1] 2   Go Up