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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre General Photography Talk 
Thread started 30 Oct 2007 (Tuesday) 10:24
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Medium Format with Digital Back

 
Karl ­ C
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Oct 30, 2007 10:24 |  #1

Recent posts about film and non-35mm cameras have piqued my curiosity.

In the $2-5k range, which MF with digital back is good?

Of course, if money wasn't a concern, which would be best?


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cskn0125
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Oct 30, 2007 11:49 |  #2

$2K for a MF with Digital back? Doubtful.

Mamiya 645ZD....$9K


Most/more expensive... Hasselblad H2D/H3D...$31K


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René ­ Damkot
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Oct 30, 2007 12:49 |  #3

Karl C wrote in post #4218356 (external link)
In the $2-5k range, which MF with digital back is good?

I'd think you'ld be lucky to find a decent used one for that price...


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DrPablo
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Oct 30, 2007 14:32 as a reply to  @ René Damkot's post |  #4

Karl,

Just shoot film and get a scanner. Far cheaper and in many ways better. Even a $350 Epson 4990 or Microtek i800 would do really well, especially with negatives and with B&W. Slide film has a much bigger density range, so it can be a challenge to scan some slides. For $1000 you could get an outstanding scanner, including some dedicated MF/35mm film scanners.

As for the 'best' options for digital MF backs, they cost over $30,000 and their sensors are only 2/3 the size of even the smallest recognized MF formats. You could forget about wide angle photography with that crop factor, especially if your wide lenses are in the 40-60mm range (as is true for most MF wides). It's just such a liability and I don't think it's that desirable. Some day if there is a real 6x6cm digital back I can use on my Hasselblad, and it costs under $10,000, then I might consider it. But I'm not paying $30k for a back that is 2/3 the size of 645 cameras.


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Film gear: Agfa 8x10, Cambo 4x5, Noblex 150, Hasselblad 500 C/M

  
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breal101
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Oct 30, 2007 15:26 |  #5

DrPablo, you may want to sit down because I am going to agree with you.:) The H3 does offer a 28mm f4 for just under $4000, but it only works on the H3, I didn't do any calculations but it is listed as UWA, a bit of a stretch IMO . The H3 weighs almost 5 pounds with an 80mm lens. The 80 is by far the light lens in the Hassy system. The crop factor alone would make me unhappy.


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spcalan
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Oct 30, 2007 16:05 |  #6

Please explain why medium formats cameras are so expensive?
I assume the "negative" is bigger than a 35mm?
I may be way off


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Karl ­ C
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Oct 30, 2007 16:06 as a reply to  @ breal101's post |  #7

Thanks for the info, Paul. My OP was more of a wishful thinking type of thing. I've read many a review regarding scanners but they were hit and miss.


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DrPablo
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Oct 30, 2007 17:33 |  #8

Alan,

Are you referring to MF cameras in general, or specifically to digital MF cameras? The largest digital MF sensors are roughly 36x48mm and 39 megapixels, as opposed to 24x36 and 21 megapixels for the largest 35mm digitals. So you have double the recording area and nearly double the megapixels. They're also marketed towards an extremely high end of commercial photography -- namely, elite magazines, high end fashion shooters, product shooters, and camera stores that will rent or lease them.

I think it's overkill for what they are. The joy of shooting MF and LF is that you have an entirely different optical relationship with your sensor/film, lens, ande subject when you shoot larger formats; but the digital MF options are just so close to 35mm that I don't think you ever could really get a medium format experience. It gains you resolution, but that's about all -- and it's extremely uncommon that that much resolution is needed.

breal101 wrote in post #4220121 (external link)
DrPablo, you may want to sit down because I am going to agree with you.:)

I sense a new beginning in our relationship ;)


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Film gear: Agfa 8x10, Cambo 4x5, Noblex 150, Hasselblad 500 C/M

  
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Wilt
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Oct 31, 2007 00:13 |  #9

AT $2-5k, none of them are good...because none of them exist!

As Dr. Pablo implied, a lot of the medium format experience is not resolution, but in the tonality of photos...and increasing pixel count does nothing for image tonality. You have have not only store more bits per pixel, but you also have to be able to capture more bits per pixel, and current sensor technology is limited in that regard (and today's monitors are total cripples in that regard!)


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Karl ­ C
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Oct 31, 2007 07:24 |  #10

Wilt wrote in post #4223339 (external link)
AT $2-5k, none of them are good...because none of them exist!

As Dr. Pablo implied, a lot of the medium format experience is not resolution, but in the tonality of photos...and increasing pixel count does nothing for image tonality. You have have not only store more bits per pixel, but you also have to be able to capture more bits per pixel, and current sensor technology is limited in that regard (and today's monitors are total cripples in that regard!)

Thanks, Wilt. I'm slowly learning about MF and was curious how digital MF's rated against traditional film MF's.


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Croasdail
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Oct 31, 2007 08:07 |  #11

I think it's overkill for what they are. The joy of shooting MF and LF is that you have an entirely different optical relationship with your sensor/film, lens, and subject when you shoot larger formats; but the digital MF options are just so close to 35mm that I don't think you ever could really get a medium format experience. It gains you resolution, but that's about all -- and it's extremely uncommon that that much resolution is needed.

Your statement leads one to beleive you have never shot a 39mpx hassey. Just in color depth and luminance captured alone over what the current flock of 35mm digitals based produce - the difference is very visible and tangible. Hard to miss even by the most novice shooter. There is a lot more detail captured then just how many pixels there are. It's like the difference of going to church in a small country church versus a grand european cathedral... same intent, same purpose, much different experience.

Maybe it isn't the purist medium format experience. What it is, is actually a whole new experience which doesn't rely on another to justify it's value. I shot film for 35 years. Loved every minute of it. I have been shooting digital now 3. Neither is dependent on the other. The constant references back to film are irrelevant. In the end, there is a marked difference between shooting MF digital and 35 mm digital. For studio level work, or large format prints, the MF digitals do wonders - because of the systems - capture, lens, format, optical relationship. Different then film, but no less a different experience from 35 mm film and digital.


Mark
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DrPablo
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Oct 31, 2007 08:28 |  #12

I haven't used the H3D, you're correct. But I routinely use a Hasselblad 500 c/m, and even then I feel like it's optically a lot closer to 35mm than it is to large format. The H3D has less than half the recording area and a 1.4x crop factor compared with a 6x6 Hassy (or Bronica or Mamiya or whatever). So my argument is about the optics of shooting larger formats, not about the sensor itself.


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Film gear: Agfa 8x10, Cambo 4x5, Noblex 150, Hasselblad 500 C/M

  
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Croasdail
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Oct 31, 2007 08:40 |  #13

Agreed. I just worry about comparisons to other formats and capture techniques. Each unto it's own has it's value. It is human nature to want to compare one to another to provide some basis for reference. But shooting a MF camera for someone who has used both a view camera and a 35 mm is a totally different experience then to someone who has only shot 35 mm before.

Even shooting digital MF is a different experience and takes different technique then one would use with a film MF. It just sees light different. The work flow is different. You don't use Polaroid's anymore to name one slight difference. It allows you to be more experimental. Things you would hesitate to do with film backs.

I am not discounting your comments at all...but that because of the type of photography you do, you are approaching this entirely differently then many on this forum would. Not wrong, not right... just different - as it should be. I would be horrible if we all approached photography the same.


Mark
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Medium Format with Digital Back
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