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Author Topic: Request for advice getting started in digital medium format  (Read 25984 times)

Ken R

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Re: Request for advice getting started in digital medium format
« Reply #40 on: October 15, 2014, 05:55:55 pm »

Yes, can't stress enough that working with a dealer is essential IMHO when buying into Medium Format Digital. I use Digital Transitions (NYC). They have a lot's of experience with a very wide range of systems and lens and back combinations so they can answer your questions, provide a demo and once you buy they have really good service and support.
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synn

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Re: Request for advice getting started in digital medium format
« Reply #41 on: October 15, 2014, 10:04:07 pm »

I agree with Paul and Ken. I've worked on a few files from the P45+ and the files I get from the Credo 40 are much better. In terms of color reproduction, details and dynamic range. Also, ebay bargain hunting is great if you're experienced, but for someone starting out in the world of MF, going through a good dealer is the way to go.

The only calling card (ANd I must admit, it's one hell of a calling card) that the P45+ has is the 1 hour exposure, but as Paul says, the dark frame subtraction cannot be switched off (Unlike in your Nikon where it's optional).

I like long exposure work too and I wish the Credo had 4-5 minutes worth of long exposure capability, but 1 min does work for water, clouds etc. For anything more, I use the D800. Like I said before, these are all tools; one just uses the most appropriate one for the job.
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torger

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Re: Request for advice getting started in digital medium format
« Reply #42 on: October 16, 2014, 02:37:17 am »

Do look at P45+ results. As I said earlier there's a lot of subjectivity on what aspects that are important and what you actually see in terms of color. I'm not too worried about dynamic range, but if you are you should probably go Sony CMOS in a Nikon or Sony and stay away from the MF camp for a while, unless the Pentax 645Z lens range suits you. Even the Dalsa sensors don't reach the dynamic range of the Sony.

The P45+ has not always been bad, in fact it was once excellent and the flagship model. Much of Joe Cornish work is shot an a P45+ by the way. It's results has not changed of course, but the competition have.

I think there can be a lot of anxiety in the MF camp to "keep the distance from the 135 crowd" rather than looking at the absolute results. If you intend to buy on a budget you must primarily look into the results and see if you like them and if it suits your needs. There are better things out there, but the thing should match the camera and lens range you want to use too.

Compared to the current competition the weak points of the P45+ is dynamic range, higher ISOs and to some extent color separation. Watch those aspects when you evaluate.

The strong points of the P45+ is that it's from a very reliable series, it has long exposure capability, it works with any tech lens without shift limitations, and as I've said I think that he 49x37mm crop size is actually better balanced for full-frame for tech lenses (when digital lens range started out there where no full-frame sensors). If you want to compete on DxOmark with your unit you'll lose though.

From my point of view the largest weakness of the P45+ is not about technical performance, but about price. It's an expensive back due to the long exposure capability. If you manage to find one you can likely get a 50 megapixel Hasselblad CFV-50 to the same or even lower price. The need for long exposure capability narrows your options tremendously though.

I have extremely bad experience from using dealers. In Europe you often find that they have inflated prices, don't know much about tech cameras, don't have good service, and might not even exist in your own country. So when you use a dealer it must be a tech camera specialist, and also one that is used to dealing with budget-conscious amateurs which is far from everyone. I can assure you that despite I have not handled as many backs in person I've looked at a lot of files, written raw software and flatfield algorithms, and I know more about tech cam compatibility than most. Using forums like this is excellent for a second opinion.

That said I'm very pleased with Linhof Studio in the UK, of perhaps five-six dealers I've been in contact with across Europe it's the only one that I feel live up to the hype, they have good tech cam experience and they should also be used to dealing with amateurs. I have not bought a complete system from them though. I'm sure the mentioned US dealers are good too, but I guess you're not in the US.

The suggested Credo 40 is a very fine back and it does perform better than the P45+ in the aspects mentioned, but it limits wide angle options a bit if you like large shifts (to the more expensive ones) and I think the drop from 49x37 to 44x33 is a significant one. You could look into an Aptus-II 8, the same sensor, it should be cheaper. There's also the P40+ with the same sensor. There's a lot of money to save on the choice of digital back.

Personally I don't think it's a great time to spend a lot of money on a digital back if you're on a budget, lots of things is happening now in the market. Get the camera you want and start off cheap on back (but still with adequate quality of course) is what I would recommend.

If you tell us your budget it would be easier to suggest... some people are suggesting digital backs here that cost more than my whole system.
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BernardLanguillier

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Re: Request for advice getting started in digital medium format
« Reply #43 on: October 16, 2014, 02:43:08 am »

A few thoughts on the P45+, I owned one and shot it for over 3.5 years

The P45+ is a very old CCD design, it's 39MP and really not much good past iso 200 and in most cases iso 200 is push and pretty noisy.

The P45+ is very very unforgiving with highlights, so you will need to expose to the left to keep your highlights from blowing out, and trust me they will blow 100%

Your shadow recovery on the P45+ is limited, as most times areas in shadow are mushy and not very well detailed.  This is true unless you totally expose for shadows, and of course blow out your highlights, so bracketing is an important consideration for a lot of outdoor shooting

Paul,

Isn't that the same back Mark told us a few years ago had 6 stops more DR than top DSLRs? ;)

To be fair, he was perhaps talking about the P65+...

Irony aside, I am really a bit surprised by your comments about highlights blowing that easily. It was my understanding that Phaseone typically built a 2 stops under-exposure into their base ISO calibration to give the illusion of possible highlight recovery in post.

Cheers,
Bernard

synn

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Re: Request for advice getting started in digital medium format
« Reply #44 on: October 16, 2014, 02:50:24 am »

By all means, try working on a file from a DSLR of the same vintage as the P45+ and see how it goes.
I might have some D80 files lying around if you cant find any.
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torger

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Re: Request for advice getting started in digital medium format
« Reply #45 on: October 16, 2014, 03:06:34 am »

Irony aside, I am really a bit surprised by your comments about highlights blowing that easily. It was my understanding that Phaseone typically built a 2 stops under-exposure into their base ISO calibration to give the illusion of possible highlight recovery in post.

I think Paul is talking about back handling, ie how the histogram shows. At the raw level all backs behave in the same way a simple linear filling of a channel and than clip straight off (non-linear highlight response is indeed coming to sensors, but it's not in our cameras yet).

Most highlight "blinkies" show blinking a bit early, for example based on a calculated luminance for the set white balance, rather than show exact raw clipping. The P45+ has more than one stop more sensitive green channel  than the red in daylight, while the Dalsas have more balanced RGB sensitivity in daylight (which also counts for the older 7.2um Dalsa I'm using). Maybe this difference make the P45+ show blinkies later than the Dalsa backs? An ideally exposed red channel will likely mean a clipped green channel on the P45+, while the "daylight-balanced" Dalsa can expose all channels well (simplified of course, depends on what colors you have in the scene etc).

This difference in relative sensitivity might also affect how highlight reconstruction works in Capture One, I don't know. I'm sure Pauls observations are valid, he has a lot of experience with this product and others, but he's talking about handling in the Capture One workflow rather than what's exactly happening on the raw level.

Just having more noisy shadows could also make it appear that you have less highlights as you'd want to expose further to the right.

I think it's okay to use the "noisy" sensors, but be aware that 1) I use grad filters and 2) I have a shooting style which prefer softer light conditions and often not any visible sky at all and 3) my post-processing style is such that I don't push shadows that much.

It's also important to learn by testing how the highlight blinkies and histogram works. I know I can push a little past the blinkies on my Aptus and still not clip. Rather than a white-balance dependent luminance level I'd prefer to have true raw blinkies with red=all channels clipped, orange=two channels clipped and yellow=one channel clipped, but I guess manufacturers consider that to be too user-unfriendly...
« Last Edit: October 16, 2014, 03:11:17 am by torger »
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Wolven

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Re: Request for advice getting started in digital medium format
« Reply #46 on: October 16, 2014, 04:01:34 am »

Thank you kindly for suggesting alternatives Ken. Unfortunately the IQ140 and the Credo 40 are certainly way out of my budget.

I certainly hear your point about the crappy LCD on the P+ backs but the price point is in a sweet spot for me and hence too hard to ignore.

It also means that I can spend a bit more on the lens.

I'm of the school of thought in full frame that lenses are where one should focus on spending rather than on the bodies / sensor. Is that line of thinking still relevant in Medium format?

Currently I have got the Linhof Techno at the top of the Camera shortlist and I'll do some more homework on the RM3Di as it has had a few mentions so far already.

Cheers.

Wow, so many replies and info posted!

From reading everything including what the OP has said I would recommend a Arca Swiss RM3Di, a Schneider 35mm Digitar lens (If you can afford a Rodenstock HR-W then that) and a PhaseOne IQ140 or Credo 40 back. (If you can afford a Credo 60 or IQ160 then that)

With the RM3Di you have tilt (or Swing, not both at the same time) with every lens you mount. You also have Back fall/rise and shift (can be combined) with any back.

No need to use adapter / accessories or special tilt/swing lens mounts. Very clean, simple and effective system.

Also the focusing ring is in the body so you can calibrate for infinity for every lens you mount. Just make a few test shots and write down the number. The only issue that the focusing scale on the focusing ring on the body is not in feet or meters it is a generic number scale from 0. With my lenses infinity is generally around 4. Each lens then comes with a distance scale cheat sheet with corresponding numbers. To focus you determine your distance to subject or desired focus point look the matching focus ring number to the distance on the cheat sheet, add your infinity number and then set to the corresponding number (of the sum). Sounds complicated but it isnt. And it is very very precise.

With the PhaseOne IQ backs you can also use focus mask to determine if the image is in perfect focus (and see how focus falls off).

I have used this system for more than a year and the results have been superb.

Keep in mind that with tech lenses and digital backs you need to take an LCC shot (by putting a white translucent plexi 4x4" piece infront of the lens tight and taking a shot) after you make back or lens movements. That part is a pain but you get used to it and no tech camera setup is exempt from it. SLR lenses do not require it though.

Anything less** than the setup I suggested and you might as well use a D810. I would also suggest a D810 instead of a 645Z because the Nikon has a MUCH wider range of lenses available including the tilt shift PC-E lenses. The 645Z has no wide angle tilt shift lenses available. None. Also not all lenses available for the 645z are great. Use a so so lens with the 645z and you might as well be shooting with a lower MP camera. Same thing applies to the Nikon of course but with the Nikon there are EXCELLENT lenses available in the entire focal length range. From extreme wide angle to super tele and everything in between.

With tech cameras focal length availability is limited also but most lenses are much higher quality than SLR lenses and most have large image circles that allow you stitch easily. 

**I am not recommending a PhaseOne P+ back (or Leaf Aptus or Hasselblad back) not because they cant produce high quality results, they sure can! but the crappy lcd screen does not make for a nice untethered shooting experience.
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Wolven

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Re: Request for advice getting started in digital medium format
« Reply #47 on: October 16, 2014, 04:04:50 am »

Thanks again Erik. I have read up on the A7R and regard it highly as well. If I were starting out from scratch, I would certainly go the Sony route as it gives you the option of using Canon, Nikon, Sony and Carl Zeiss branded lenses.

As mentioned in the first post, I won't be doing "serious" work as this is currently a passion driven exploration of new territory.

Hi,

A very good posting with lots of info! Thanks a lot!

I would mention the A7/A7r as an alternative to the Nikon, lots of options to use almost any lens. The downside may be that the A7r is a first generation camera with some issues, like the famous shutter vibration.

The other thing, about shooting experience on the P45+ and similar backs, I would say that Ken has a very good point. The P45+ screen is quite OK for histograms and blinkies, but not much else. It is sort of OK for slow and deliberate work, but I guess I share Ken's reservations regarding serious work.

Best regards
Erik



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Wolven

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Re: Request for advice getting started in digital medium format
« Reply #48 on: October 16, 2014, 04:19:28 am »

I should have mentioned this earlier but I'm located in Sydney, Australia.

I have asked around and found some good dealers locally to touch base with. There is a dedicated technical camera dealer who doesn't sell digital backs and another who sells digital backs and is phase one approved. I have reached out to both of them and they have been nothing but helpful so far.

I have replied to your other points in line in a different colour. Cheers.

First and foremost, if you are getting into MF for the first time, find a dealer, and setup a time to shoot with the gear.  MF is much smaller user circle and dealers are critical in the repair and support of the product.  

A few thoughts on the P45+, I owned one and shot it for over 3.5 years

The P45+ is a very old CCD design, it's 39MP and really not much good past iso 200 and in most cases iso 200 is push and pretty noisy.

I shoot mostly at base ISO and incorporate long exposure quite a bit in my photography so higher ISOs aren't too much of a worry hopefully in the future

The P45+ is very very unforgiving with highlights, so you will need to expose to the left to keep your highlights from blowing out, and trust me they will blow 100%

Your shadow recovery on the P45+ is limited, as most times areas in shadow are mushy and not very well detailed.  This is true unless you totally expose for shadows, and of course blow out your highlights, so bracketing is an important consideration for a lot of outdoor shooting

These two points are new to me and I'm looking at them in context of the rest of the other posts further down about shadow and highlight as well

The P45+ will shoot up to 1 hour, however the ambient temp has to be at 69 degrees F or lower, and when it shoots for 1 hour, it has to take a mandatory dark frame exposure immediately afterwards.  In fact all Phase One backs from 1 second out do this, even the IQ250 CMOS.

The LCD on the P45+ is very low resolution and will not offer you much useful feedback in the field in regards to focus checking, as when zooming into 100%, you still can't tell much.  And the time it takes to zoom into 100% is considerable, lots of button pushing and moving the screen around.

I'm after long exposures of around 5 to 10 mins maximum and not much longer than that so that should be ok. I'll have to restrict LE usage during our summers. Things can get up to 40 deg C (104F) around here quite often

There is no USB connectivity for the P45+ only firewire as is true will all P+ backs, so in field tethering has to be done with a full sized laptop.

What about using some of the external monitors like Atomos Ninja? Would the firewire connection work there?

The P45+ chip is a 1:1 crop, so you won't get a 100% view only 90%, most times not that important but can impact wide angle lenses.

Make sure your P45+ has the latest firmware that Phase One released, and that it's certified to get to 1 hour exposures.  There are possibly still some P45+ backs out there that can't unless Phase One alters their controller card.  I know all about this mine needed this.  

If you use a tech camera, then the P45+ will be a bit more forgiving on shifts as it has no micro lenses and no build in readouts.  The chip appears as one large chip, not a segmented chip, so no tiling will occur.  

If you purchase a P45+, I would purchase it from a dealer and see about a warranty, no P45+ out there should be under any Phase One warranty or Value add, as the Value add's for the P45+ were only 3 years.  If you have to send this back in for repair, trust me, you want to be working with a dealer, not Phase One directly.

If you use your D600 for long exposures, from 1 sec to 1 hour image quality will exceed anything you will get from the P45+.  The P45+ is good and for it's time was amazing, but when it was current, there were no CMOS cameras at 20MP and none CMOS cameras that were out really could come close to the p45+, but that was 6 years ago, almost 7, and CMOS has come a long way.

It's good that you are interested in MF, but I strongly would recommend not spend the 8 or 9K on the P45+, instead, look at the IQ140 or Credo 40.  There have been excellent deals on the IQ140 and Credo 40.  This is the same resolution as the P45+, but a Dalsa chip, which is much more forgiving with highlights, much more.  

Take some time and contact a dealer and see if you can setup a time to stop by and demo some of this gear, as getting your hands on it will help a lot.

Paul

That was an excellent post. Would all these observations apply to the P25+ back as well?
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torger

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Re: Request for advice getting started in digital medium format
« Reply #49 on: October 16, 2014, 04:22:50 am »

I'm of the school of thought in full frame that lenses are where one should focus on spending rather than on the bodies / sensor. Is that line of thinking still relevant in Medium format?

The idea of that is that lenses keep valid for many generations and keep their value, while bodies/sensor lose their value fast and new products appear more often.

This is also true in MF, but in tech cameras when we have the sensor+lens combination issue it's a bit more complicated. If you choose the SK28/SK35 + P45+ combo now, and then upgrade to a IQ160 later it's likely you want to sell the SK28 and SK35 and instead buy Rodenstock Digaron-W 40 and 32 due to better compatibility (ie less color cast) with that sensor.

Even if that may happen it can be a better upgrade plan to actually buy lenses you know you may want to replace in a few years. More than buying things that you think will not lose much value in percent the key when it comes to save money is to avoid buy expensive things. A $35k high end back that loses 20% in value sets you back more than my $4.5k back losing 100% in value (and neither my Aptus or a P45+ will not lose 100% in value yet for a number of years).

There is a possibility that in a few years when you want to upgrade your system, CMOS is the new ruler in MF and they solved the color cast problem not by sensor design but by coming out with yet a new set of wide angles, meaning that the Digaron-W's are at the same position as the SK's are today. Another possibility is that new sensors come out that have good crosstalk suppression which again raises the interest in the SK symmetrical designs. It's hard to predict the future, and the safest bet if you care about budget is to not buy too expensive stuff in the first place.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2014, 04:25:23 am by torger »
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Wolven

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Re: Request for advice getting started in digital medium format
« Reply #50 on: October 16, 2014, 04:33:01 am »

Hi Torger,

Once again, your advise is very comprehensive. The more I read about it, the more I'm leaning towards a P25+ back due to cost constraints.

I'm in Sydney Australia and to answer your questions, my budget is around 12k USD over a period of 3 - 4 months. I imagine if I get a P25+ for a nominal rate and then get a good lens + technical camera,  I should be laughing.

Can you please provide your thoughts on the P25+? Here is a brochure I found for the 25+ back http://www.captureintegration.com/download/p25plus_datasheet.pdf

Here is the brochure for the P45+ http://www.captureintegration.com/download/p45plus_datasheet.pdf As established before, I'm not after the resolution nor am I perplexed about the poor LCD screen. At least on paper the P25+ seems to tick my boxes.

Other replies below inline in red.

Cheers and thanks!

One thing to keep in mind with the tech camera route is that you're looking at longer shutter speeds, especially for wides. Not only are you shooting at ISO50 with a small aperture like f/11 or even f/16, you also will be having a center filter. With the SK35 in nice soft landscape light I often have shutter speeds of 1 - 4 seconds. If you're used to shooting large format film this is no strange, but if you come from a small digital format this might feel limiting. In semi-windy weather it can indeed be a bit frustrating, when things seem to be still in 1/4 second but not for 2 seconds which you might need for the shot.

I have read about the use of center filter in a few articles online so that is something I'm expecting to face

Do look at P45+ results. As I said earlier there's a lot of subjectivity on what aspects that are important and what you actually see in terms of color. I'm not too worried about dynamic range, but if you are you should probably go Sony CMOS in a Nikon or Sony and stay away from the MF camp for a while, unless the Pentax 645Z lens range suits you. Even the Dalsa sensors don't reach the dynamic range of the Sony.

The P45+ has not always been bad, in fact it was once excellent and the flagship model. Much of Joe Cornish work is shot an a P45+ by the way. It's results has not changed of course, but the competition have.

I'm not terribly fussed about the dynamic range of the medium format back. If it comes down to that, I'll end up selling my D600 and replacing it with a newer model from the Sony A7R line. So that is not of concern at the moment

I think there can be a lot of anxiety in the MF camp to "keep the distance from the 135 crowd" rather than looking at the absolute results. If you intend to buy on a budget you must primarily look into the results and see if you like them and if it suits your needs. There are better things out there, but the thing should match the camera and lens range you want to use too.

Compared to the current competition the weak points of the P45+ is dynamic range, higher ISOs and to some extent color separation. Watch those aspects when you evaluate.

The strong points of the P45+ is that it's from a very reliable series, it has long exposure capability, it works with any tech lens without shift limitations, and as I've said I think that he 49x37mm crop size is actually better balanced for full-frame for tech lenses (when digital lens range started out there where no full-frame sensors). If you want to compete on DxOmark with your unit you'll lose though.

From my point of view the largest weakness of the P45+ is not about technical performance, but about price. It's an expensive back due to the long exposure capability. If you manage to find one you can likely get a 50 megapixel Hasselblad CFV-50 to the same or even lower price. The need for long exposure capability narrows your options tremendously though.

You are right, it is still very pricey at this time. But as per my earlier link to the P25+ brochure, it is also (in theory) capable of doing 1 hour long exposures although I'm not looking at anything that long

I have extremely bad experience from using dealers. In Europe you often find that they have inflated prices, don't know much about tech cameras, don't have good service, and might not even exist in your own country. So when you use a dealer it must be a tech camera specialist, and also one that is used to dealing with budget-conscious amateurs which is far from everyone. I can assure you that despite I have not handled as many backs in person I've looked at a lot of files, written raw software and flatfield algorithms, and I know more about tech cam compatibility than most. Using forums like this is excellent for a second opinion.

That said I'm very pleased with Linhof Studio in the UK, of perhaps five-six dealers I've been in contact with across Europe it's the only one that I feel live up to the hype, they have good tech cam experience and they should also be used to dealing with amateurs. I have not bought a complete system from them though. I'm sure the mentioned US dealers are good too, but I guess you're not in the US.

The suggested Credo 40 is a very fine back and it does perform better than the P45+ in the aspects mentioned, but it limits wide angle options a bit if you like large shifts (to the more expensive ones) and I think the drop from 49x37 to 44x33 is a significant one. You could look into an Aptus-II 8, the same sensor, it should be cheaper. There's also the P40+ with the same sensor. There's a lot of money to save on the choice of digital back.

Personally I don't think it's a great time to spend a lot of money on a digital back if you're on a budget, lots of things is happening now in the market. Get the camera you want and start off cheap on back (but still with adequate quality of course) is what I would recommend.

Once again a tick box for the P25+ back

If you tell us your budget it would be easier to suggest... some people are suggesting digital backs here that cost more than my whole system.

I think Paul is talking about back handling, ie how the histogram shows. At the raw level all backs behave in the same way a simple linear filling of a channel and than clip straight off (non-linear highlight response is indeed coming to sensors, but it's not in our cameras yet).

Most highlight "blinkies" show blinking a bit early, for example based on a calculated luminance for the set white balance, rather than show exact raw clipping. The P45+ has more than one stop more sensitive green channel  than the red in daylight, while the Dalsas have more balanced RGB sensitivity in daylight (which also counts for the older 7.2um Dalsa I'm using). Maybe this difference make the P45+ show blinkies later than the Dalsa backs? An ideally exposed red channel will likely mean a clipped green channel on the P45+, while the "daylight-balanced" Dalsa can expose all channels well (simplified of course, depends on what colors you have in the scene etc).

This difference in relative sensitivity might also affect how highlight reconstruction works in Capture One, I don't know. I'm sure Pauls observations are valid, he has a lot of experience with this product and others, but he's talking about handling in the Capture One workflow rather than what's exactly happening on the raw level.

Just having more noisy shadows could also make it appear that you have less highlights as you'd want to expose further to the right.

I think it's okay to use the "noisy" sensors, but be aware that 1) I use grad filters and 2) I have a shooting style which prefer softer light conditions and often not any visible sky at all and 3) my post-processing style is such that I don't push shadows that much.

It's also important to learn by testing how the highlight blinkies and histogram works. I know I can push a little past the blinkies on my Aptus and still not clip. Rather than a white-balance dependent luminance level I'd prefer to have true raw blinkies with red=all channels clipped, orange=two channels clipped and yellow=one channel clipped, but I guess manufacturers consider that to be too user-unfriendly...

I use grad filters too. Would the Lee system easily translate to either the SK or Rodenstock lenses?
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torger

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Re: Request for advice getting started in digital medium format
« Reply #51 on: October 16, 2014, 04:42:54 am »

Lee grads play well with the SK and Rodenstocks. In my Linhof Techno review page you see I actually use the smaller Lee Seven5 system (as the lenses generally have small filter threads), I've also written down the limits in terms of wide angle compatibility of that.

I've not shot with a P25+ but with a Hasselblad CF-22 which has the same sensor and thus similar image quality parameters, minus the long exposure though. When you pixel peep the "quality of pixels" will be about the same as P45+. Both have Kodak sensors with similar pixel design (I think... I shall see if I can find more detailed info).

22 megapixels have both advantages and disadvantages. You'll be less nervous about focusing precision, and you can stop down to f/16 and it won't look less sharp than f/11. The main disadvantage is that it's only 22 megapixels in terms of resolving power, if that is a serious limitation to you or not is up to you to decide.

It's also more aliasing prone due to its large pixel size, but it's survivable. I'll send you an example from a Hasselblad CF-22 shot made on my Techno. It does not translate exactly to a P25+ processed in Capture One but you should get an idea of how sharp it looks etc.

At a $12k budget I think you should certainly try to go for a P25+ or other low cost back. If you didn't need the long exposure you would have more to choose from and even cheaper 22 megapixel options. I think my 33 megapixel Aptus 75 actually often sells for less than a P25+ by the way.

If you are more like me focused on the joy of using a technical camera with movements etc than having the absolutely latest in resolving power and dynamic range you will get much more joy by spending money on the tech cam system you like the handling of and buying a real cheap back and have fun with that and possibly upgrade later on when you've forgot how much you spent in your initial investment :)
« Last Edit: October 16, 2014, 04:47:16 am by torger »
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Request for advice getting started in digital medium format
« Reply #52 on: October 16, 2014, 04:53:56 am »

Hi,

I just own the P45+ back. It is interesting that "Synn" finds that his Credo 40 is superior in all aspects, but it is not really a surprise. The Credo has a much more modern DALSA sensor while the P45+ has an older Kodak sensor.

I would say that Paul may be a bit to hard on the P45+, it can make some excellent images, but I would say that Paul is very much right that the later and more expensive sensors are more useful. Paul may also feel that the P45+ represent poor value compared to 36MP DSLRs. I have never had owned a 36 MP DSLR, but I have every reason to believe that is the case.

On the other hand, Anders Torger is also right in that the P45+ is a good choice for technical cameras.

I have posted some samples from my P45+ here: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Articles/Shoots/BernardSamples/

Best regards
Erik



That was an excellent post. Would all these observations apply to the P25+ back as well?
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Ken R

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Re: Request for advice getting started in digital medium format
« Reply #53 on: October 16, 2014, 07:39:48 am »

Wolven:

Since your budget is $12k I would advice you to steer away from a tech camera Medium Format Digital system. $12k is enough for a good body and one or two lenses but not enough when you add a good digital back. Yes, you might have enough for a System with an older P+ or Leaf back but it will have compromises that I don't think are worth having to endure when there are excellent cameras like the D810 (or A7R or 645z) readily available.

With a $12k tech camera system you will gain the ability to shift/tilt quite a bit, the awesome lens quality and of course the experience of working with such a system plus the possibility of upgrading components in the future. But keep in mind that you will most likely not gain image quality over a D810/A7R and most likely loose some.
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ErikKaffehr

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Re: Request for advice getting started in digital medium format
« Reply #54 on: October 16, 2014, 08:03:46 am »

Hi,

You can use T&S on Sony A7r. The D810 is not so flexible in that sense.





Best regards
Erik

Wolven:

Since your budget is $12k I would advice you to steer away from a tech camera Medium Format Digital system. $12k is enough for a good body and one or two lenses but not enough when you add a good digital back. Yes, you might have enough for a System with an older P+ or Leaf back but it will have compromises that I don't think are worth having to endure when there are excellent cameras like the D810 (or A7R or 645z) readily available.

With a $12k tech camera system you will gain the ability to shift/tilt quite a bit, the awesome lens quality and of course the experience of working with such a system plus the possibility of upgrading components in the future. But keep in mind that you will most likely not gain image quality over a D810/A7R and most likely loose some.
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eronald

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Re: Request for advice getting started in digital medium format
« Reply #55 on: October 16, 2014, 08:16:37 am »

Wolven,

 There is something to what Ken says. Backs were always expensive, and with your budget you will get an older back, which dSLR tech has caught up with. So you may not gain a lot because probably what can be done with a P25 can also be done at least as well with a Sony.

 On the other side, you can certainly get a decent tech camera and lens, a cheap old back, and wait a couple of years to upgrade the back if you think this working style really will suit you in the future.

 My own feeling is that good tech is fun to have, but these days work can be done with fairly cheap equipment if one is motivated. In particular, I think liveview and remote viewing via iPad is simplifying working methods a lot.

Edmund


Wolven:

Since your budget is $12k I would advice you to steer away from a tech camera Medium Format Digital system. $12k is enough for a good body and one or two lenses but not enough when you add a good digital back. Yes, you might have enough for a System with an older P+ or Leaf back but it will have compromises that I don't think are worth having to endure when there are excellent cameras like the D810 (or A7R or 645z) readily available.

With a $12k tech camera system you will gain the ability to shift/tilt quite a bit, the awesome lens quality and of course the experience of working with such a system plus the possibility of upgrading components in the future. But keep in mind that you will most likely not gain image quality over a D810/A7R and most likely loose some.
« Last Edit: October 16, 2014, 08:19:28 am by eronald »
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torger

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Re: Request for advice getting started in digital medium format
« Reply #56 on: October 16, 2014, 08:20:59 am »

$12k is indeed a bit on the low side, you may need to buy all components second hand for that.

It's not impossible though. Start off with an SK47XL, wait with the SK35 until later. Really think long and hard if you really need the SK28, which while cheaper than many of the Rodenstock wides still is an expensive lens. I don't have the SK28 myself, and if you look at traditional large format work they don't go that wide as those lenses did not really exist. If you go with the 22 megapixel back you can probably get away with the old-school Rodenstock Sironar Digital 35mm. I had that first but sold it in favor of the SK35 which is sharper.

A second hand 4x5" Sinar X is probably the cheapest you can get while still have some usability left (high quality geared movements is important), and find some old-school Digital Arts sliding back for that. I would not recommend it though, it's very bulky to carry. A friend of mine have such a system with a 22 megapixel back and I think the total with a couple of lenses was like $4k. It works, but it doesn't see outside that much due to the bulkiness.

Of practical and current cameras I think Silvestri is the cheapest you can get. The new Arca-Swiss F-Universalis is however cheap too, I haven't really studied which get you the most economical system. Arca-Swiss MF-two is somewhere inbetween.

The Linhof Techno is unfortunately not a cheap camera. I bought my Techno second hand with sliding back and  three lenses (the Rodenstock Sironar Digital 35, SK47XL and SK90 I think it was) for about $12k, but then I needed to add a digital back on top. Every little Linhof-branded accessory to the Techno costs a fortune, the sliding back is painfully expensive. You can get a Silvestri sliding back for it though, I'm not sure how good that ground glass is though compared to Linhof's own.

If I was on a tighter budget and I was buying a system all over again I'd probably go for the Arca-Swiss MF-two or the F-Universalis. The F-Universalis is so new so I don't really know what the differences are from the MF-two. If I lose some geared movements with the F-Universalis I'd probably go for the MF-two. With a larger budget, I'd get the Techno, the reason being it's better portability.

Attaching a photo of my own system, it has seven lenses from 35 to 180mm packed in a single F-stop XL ICU. Few tech systems are this portable. Few choose to have as many lenses as I have though.
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Gigi

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Re: Request for advice getting started in digital medium format
« Reply #57 on: October 16, 2014, 08:22:23 am »

You've gotten some very good and very specific advice. So here's some more - .02$ worth from a more relaxed vantage point: I've been shooting for some years with a Leaf Aptus II back, 33 mp, and very happy with it. It has enough resolution to do whatever is needed, smaller files so that the time to check focus isn't so long, full 100% viewing to check focus (very nice), and the colors/highlights are just lovely. Can't imagine a nicer place to be, although it isn't cutting edge, it works very nicely.

The recommendation I'd offer would be to get a Cambo WRS, a lens, and a back. If you get something like the back above, you can happily shoot with the last generation of lenses (such as the 47, Apo Sironar 55, etc.) and be quite happy. They aren't so expensive, and maybe not 20mm shifters, but pretty much up to 15mm. If you want to go more extreme, the 35XL isn't so beloved anymore by the "bleeding edge" guys, so you can get that for less $$, and with some care, get some shift out of it. But maybe the 43 would be better. With shifting you can make these lenses do all sorts of things, and with a pancake camera, the stitching is rather straightforward.

The Cambo is very good value for the $, a simpler and honest camera. With the movements in 2 directions, you can get enormous real estate out of your lens. Rather than going for "the best" or "the right", try getting into the swimming pool and see how you feel about the water. You could get into this system for your budget.

This way of shooting is a very different experience, more thoughtful and contemplative, and the results are quite different. Hard to assess from a distance. It is only suggested if you are looking for some variant of the view camera experience, but in digital. If you want something faster, or not tripod based, that's a totally different line of thought.
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Wolven

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Re: Request for advice getting started in digital medium format
« Reply #58 on: October 16, 2014, 08:23:30 am »

Thanks for that Torger. From the samples you had sent me I am quite convinced that a 22 MPx back would be sufficient for my needs. After reading through all the great advice here, the idea has solidified in my head about getting into medium format with a cheap back and a good technical camera and lens setup.

Please let me know if you are able to find any other peculiarities with the P25+ back.

Lee grads play well with the SK and Rodenstocks. In my Linhof Techno review page you see I actually use the smaller Lee Seven5 system (as the lenses generally have small filter threads), I've also written down the limits in terms of wide angle compatibility of that.

I've not shot with a P25+ but with a Hasselblad CF-22 which has the same sensor and thus similar image quality parameters, minus the long exposure though. When you pixel peep the "quality of pixels" will be about the same as P45+. Both have Kodak sensors with similar pixel design (I think... I shall see if I can find more detailed info).

22 megapixels have both advantages and disadvantages. You'll be less nervous about focusing precision, and you can stop down to f/16 and it won't look less sharp than f/11. The main disadvantage is that it's only 22 megapixels in terms of resolving power, if that is a serious limitation to you or not is up to you to decide.

It's also more aliasing prone due to its large pixel size, but it's survivable. I'll send you an example from a Hasselblad CF-22 shot made on my Techno. It does not translate exactly to a P25+ processed in Capture One but you should get an idea of how sharp it looks etc.

At a $12k budget I think you should certainly try to go for a P25+ or other low cost back. If you didn't need the long exposure you would have more to choose from and even cheaper 22 megapixel options. I think my 33 megapixel Aptus 75 actually often sells for less than a P25+ by the way.

If you are more like me focused on the joy of using a technical camera with movements etc than having the absolutely latest in resolving power and dynamic range you will get much more joy by spending money on the tech cam system you like the handling of and buying a real cheap back and have fun with that and possibly upgrade later on when you've forgot how much you spent in your initial investment :)
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Wolven

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Re: Request for advice getting started in digital medium format
« Reply #59 on: October 16, 2014, 08:25:25 am »

Many thanks for the samples. You gotta love those Zeiss lenses for architecture photography!

Hi,

I just own the P45+ back. It is interesting that "Synn" finds that his Credo 40 is superior in all aspects, but it is not really a surprise. The Credo has a much more modern DALSA sensor while the P45+ has an older Kodak sensor.

I would say that Paul may be a bit to hard on the P45+, it can make some excellent images, but I would say that Paul is very much right that the later and more expensive sensors are more useful. Paul may also feel that the P45+ represent poor value compared to 36MP DSLRs. I have never had owned a 36 MP DSLR, but I have every reason to believe that is the case.

On the other hand, Anders Torger is also right in that the P45+ is a good choice for technical cameras.

I have posted some samples from my P45+ here: http://echophoto.dnsalias.net/ekr/Articles/Shoots/BernardSamples/

Best regards
Erik

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