Re: Medium format digital
To a great degree Neal's thoughts are smart. I could not afford a
medium format system while also knowing even better 'chips' are on
to cameras. The new Sony camera is nearly 25 mpxls and Canon has one
lurking in the dark background.
Since my gig is teaching, in speaking with the class the other day
(Beg Photo) it is necessary to introduce and compare the two systems
of film and digital
capture. Perhaps the following analogy is a wee bit offbeat (and I do
use digital capture a fair amount) but digital cameras are sort of
like the Toyota Camry:
efficient, clean and conservative. The Buick is like that as well:
fine instruments and dependable. Heck, I saw a Buick dealership in
Lhassa, Tibet last year.
The point Neal makes is that film holds variables. You can push it,
use b/w of various speeds, work with color negative or transparent
film also of various speeds. You can purchase a very fine scanner such
as a used Imacon or even the Nikon 9000 in the 3-5 $k range (my Imacon
cost $2k) and obtain one
heck of a good scan right at home. My Imacon does 4x5's as well.
I would wait a bit, take the extra money, put it in a nice 4-5% CD and
think about things or rent a camera and try it and see if it is what
you like. Some of the software is quirky. I believe the new Hasselblad
software to be quite good and provides fine tuning.
Again, Neal's points about the future should be well thought of.
On Sep 14, 2008, at 1:00 PM, Neal Wilson wrote:
Kind of in the same boat. Started using an 8x10 a few years ago
solely because I wanted to do Platinum/Palladium prints. As hard as
I tried I wasn't as fast or facile with the 8x10 as I was with my
Rolleiflexes and Hasselblads. I am going to sell the 8x10 gear now.
Made the decision to go with enlarged digital negatives (e.g. making
negatives on Pictorico OHP, printed on an inkjet printer, from a
file run through Photoshop).
Two sources for the digital files here: shoot digitally (I was
eyeballing a Canon 5D or also buying one of the many backs available
for my Hasselblad, and the dedicated Mamiya 645d system) or shoot on
MF film and scan.
My issues with Digital Capture: It just looks different than
film. And, for Hasselblad digital backs, you've got the crop factor
working against you, so it makes it very tough to do a wide angle
lens in the Hasselblad world. My 40mm lens essentially becomes a
60? The costs for the new MF digital systems is very high, too.
The H3DII kit starts at basically $25k with one lens. I will rent a
high end, full frame digital SLR to see what it does for me, but for
the time being:
Scanning Film: I found a place in NYC that allows you to rent time
by the hour on very high end film scanners. I'll be able to produce
files that are about 4000dpi at 16" square from my Hasselblad and
Rolleiflex negatives in 48bit RGB that will yield files of about
250MB. I figure if I can do a conservative 6 scans an hour that
will be roughly $10 per scan.
I think I've got about 25 or so negatives that I want to treat this
way right now. In a good year, I might get 15 or so images that
deserve to be enlarged and printed in platinum/palladium. So, for
me this looks to be much, much less expensive than buying a high end
MF digital back or slr.
Even if inexpensive digital scans aren't available in your area, a
very high quality scan like described is at most a $50 investment.
For the maybe 10 scans I might do in a year, that's still a fraction
of buying a camera that will be obsolete in a few years.
I am willing to bet that a full frame Hasselblad digital back is in
the future. If I can get it for a couple thousand dollars
eventually, I'd do that.
So, in your case, I'd look at the incredible deals to be had on all
MF film gear. I've seen beautiful RZs going for $750 with a couple
of lenses on eBay and Craigslist. I've seen the 'value' of my
Hasselblad system get cut in half in the last couple of years, and
frequently see 500cm bodies go for a couple hundred bucks. Lenses
are cheap too, about half of what they were a couple years ago.
And at the end of the day, if you're really happy using a Deardorff,
high quality drum scanning 4x5 film will yield gorgeous files that
you can print digitally in a lot of different ways, or create
enlarged digital negatives for alt work. And, as illustrated above,
you can buy a lot of high quality scans for the $25k+ entry price of
a new MF digital system. Good luck with whatever you do.
i'm EMAILING FOR THE GREATER GOOD
Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2008 14:16:11 -0500
Subject: Medium format digital
I'm looking to move from my 4x5 Deardorff to a medium format
digital system and am weighing the merits of Hasselblad vs. Mamiya
and their new digital cameras vs. putting a Leaf back onto one of
the older film style cameras (the Mamiya RZ67, the Hasselblad 501,
503, or possibly even the Hassy Flexback ).I currently don't have a
medium format camera aside from an old Rolle, so will have to
pretty much start from scratch. Has anyone in the group experience
or opinions on either of these? I'm wondering about sensor size in
respect to the internal image projection size, the resolution of
lenses made for digital imaging vs. those for film, costs of the
cameras as well as parts availability (lenses and such).
Predominantly, I'm an outdoor shooter currently working on a
project of documenting dolmens and stone circles in Northern Ireland.
I'd love to hear you all weigh in before I go out and make a wrong
Thanks in advance,
"I have discovered photography. Now I can kill myself. I have
nothing else to learn."
- Pablo Picasso