Move to medium format

Discussion in 'Medium Format' started by pauloriskas, Sep 9, 2010.

  1. I started with a Canon AE and after that with a Canon Elan. Now i have a Canon 300 D (REbel XT) with a 18-55 Kit lens, a Canon 5D with a 24-105 L and a 50mm 1.4, and i have also a compact Fuji 30 D.
    As i'm on a budget, i'm thinking to sell the 5 D and the 50mm 1.4 and buy a Mamiya 654 Pro (the lens,maybe a 80mm 2.8) and a Epson 700V scanner to start my medium format adventure. I don't know if it is the wright way to do it. It's a bad move or not?
    I hope you can help me with your advice.....as always!
    Thanks.
     
  2. I wouldn't sell the 5D. I considered at some point selling my D300 and expensive 2.8 zoom for a hasselblad but I'm glad I didn't. I can use the D300 for a long time to come. You can get a nice TLR for pretty cheap. I'm constantly switching back and forth between MF film and my DSLR. Both are great but in different ways. I guess you would still have the Rebel, but I think you might regret it.
     
  3. Paulo,
    Can you tell us why you're switching from 35mm format to medium format? What is driving your decision? Different MF systems seem to work better with specific applications - studio, street photography, landscape, etc. - and there are many long time users of various brands, models, technologies, etc. in this community.
    For example, I added a Mamiya 6MF to my kit because I wanted to try the rangefinder focusing, get a bigger negative for landscapes, and discipline myself with fewer choices of lenses! I do have the Epson 700 scanner and am pleased with the digital results for both negatives and slides.
     
  4. Sure, the 645 is a great kit and the V700, while not as good as a Coolscan 9000, gets the job done. Bad move? That depends on what you want to get out of it and what you're going to shoot with it.
     
  5. Well,i'm not convinced with the B&W results with digital. I'm an all-purpose amateur. I like street photography, landscape, portrait, people expressions,animals,etc and i hate use the flash.
    I'm triyng to find a better picture quality than i have with 5D. It's possible?
     
  6. I wouldn't sell your digital either...you might need it at some point. I don't know what you could get for the 24-105 but I'd let that go before the body...
    You might check around at labs you like and find out about their scanning. I personally hate to scan so I'd rather pay to have things scanned when I develop them. Good luck :)
     
  7. You can get better B&W tone from film, but there are ways to improve your digital B&W in software as well. And medium format cameras are great for landscape and other still, deliberative types of shooting, but they're not as quick to use as digital and they're pretty big, so they're not as good in many street, candid and action (e.g. a lot of animal shooting) situations. I'd take it one step at a time - I wouldn't sell your Canon stuff quite yet because a 645 camera might not fill all those needs.
     
  8. The image you get with your Canon 5D will be better than the image you get with a MF camera and the V700. You'd have to get a Nikon Coolscan 9000 to get in the same ballpark.
     
  9. If you want to move up to medium format film, and I can't think of anyone who wouldn't, :), you will definitely need a negative scanner to digitize the images, unless you plan on printing the negatives the old fashioned way and then scanning the prints, which I still do quite a lot actually. Some people swear by the Epson V700 as a medium format scanner. I had one and I am here to tell you I am not one of them. I used a V700 for about a year and a half until I used a friend's Nikon Super Coolscan LS-8000. The Nikon absolutely blew the doors off the Epson. If you do not plan on printing your MF negatives any bigger than 8 x 10, 11 x 14 at the most, then you would probably be happy with it. I often enlarge my 500CM scans to 16 x 20 and even largetr, and I am here to tell you, at enlargments like that, the difference is marked. I would not unload all your digital stuff though. Digital certainly has its place, especially when it comes to convenience and its ability to preview images. Although it has come a long way in the past few years, it still has a way to go before it challenges MF film, especially black and white.
     
  10. If you are going to print digitally then don't bother and stay with the 5D. If you do it properly and do it yourself in a darkroom I would take any film camera over a digital. There is something about the digital look I don't quite agree with. Real FB prints are also much nicer than digi prints.
     
  11. I plan on printing the MF negatives 297 x 420mm (A4) and i can't spend more than Epson V700 cost.
     
  12. Real FB prints are also much nicer than digi prints.​
    Unqualified statements of that sort are simply ridiculous. Whether they are "nicer" or not for Chuk Tang is a question only Tang can answer, but generalizing it to a universal principle is either pure and simple trolling or a result of a confidence born of ignorance.
     
  13. Paulo, MF film is a lot of fun, the gear is great, and the prices are low. I've been using a couple of MF systems, including Mamiya Press at 6x9, with great lenses and a nice big negative. I've done side by side tests with my DSLRs.
    Here are some conclusions:
    - MF film certainly has a potential image quality advantage, but a) it will take good craft to get it, and b) it will take excellent scans.
    - I think my 6x9 scanned on a V500 (your V700 would be a bit better) is about equal to 35mm scanned on a 4000 ppi Nikon Coolscan which is about equal to good 12MPx DSLR. You're talking about 645 which is half the negative area. Others may feel differently, but this is where I come out.
    - In terms of image detail and resolution, you'll only see differences with very good craft, care, and equipment. In particular, only if shot from a tripod.
    - Film has a different look. Not better or worse... Just different.
    - Digital is very convenient. When I'm doing family pictures, I use my DSLR.
    Some months ago I started a thread here about "Why are you shooting MF film?" I expected people to say "Image quality." But, what was said most often was, "Because I love the camera." Here is the thread:
    http://www.photo.net/medium-format-photography-forum/00W6XX
    Given what you've said... I suggest keeping the Canon, buy a MF camera and a $200 scanner, and give it a try. You can buy better scans of your keepers and see how you like it. There are several threads here about the MF camera choice.
     
  14. To reinterate what almost everyone else has said:
    if you're looking for greater sharpness or finer grain then you'll be going backwards by switching from a 5D to any MF 645 film camera scanned on a flat bed. With 6x7you might get a little better at low ISOs but not at 400 and above (unless films have really improved since I last used them). The way I see it you have three different ways to improve your IQ:
    1. buy a high quality scanner or send out your 645 neg to be scanned professionally
    2. switch to 6x7, 6x9 or 4x5 for best quality and use a flat bed scanner
    3. buy the 5D II
     
  15. Selling a 5D to purchase a MF SLR? Seems like overkill to me? Last I looked 5D's cost a lot, and Mamiya's cost a a little. You can get an entry level Pentax, Bronica or Mamiya 645 kit for a song now days. I've seen them go for as little as $150.
     
  16. Unless you're a high-volume professional, there is no reason to go out and buy a Nikon scanner. Prices have shot so high that you're much better off to have a scanning service do it for you. An Epson is great for B&W to at least 10x10, though I haven't much liked color from it.
     
  17. I'd add a fourth to Mike's list: buy a medium-format camera and print optically. Don't dismiss this option-- if your motivation is to improve your black-and-white, this may give you a lot of bang for the buck. (In other words, I think part of what Chuk Tang said is right.) But you would need to improvise space for a darkroom, and there would be a learning curve.

    Medium-format cameras are undervalued now, and second-hand darkroom stuff is almost given away, so this could be a solution that doesn't require you to liquidate any of your current gear.

    Keep the 5D, no question. At this stage of history, film is a complement to digital photography, not a replacement.
     
  18. I think the definition of the word "nice" implies that what was said was an opinion?
    I also think it is reasonable to assume that since I said I find digi unagreeable in terms of look, I also don't like the prints from digital? I don't know about you but I like looking at photographs in a print and not as a bunch of pixels on a screen or some other medium.
    Anyway, I am open to your ideas and as such, I would like to ask you to recommend a system/paper/workflow, whatever, that you think is nicer than a real FB print done well.
     
  19. you will definitely need a negative scanner to digitize the images, unless you plan on printing the negatives the old fashioned way and then scanning the prints​
    Why would the prints need to be scanned? I consider a print to be the final product whichever way it is created.
     
  20. Save yourself some $$$ and buy the Canon Canoscan 9000F. Looks to have the same optical resolution of the V700 for less money. Honestly, I would flatbed scan for smaller prints/proofs, but send out for large prints.
    Oh, and keep the 5d. I would think you would want a good digital every now and then.
    Don't look for below 6x6 sized film negatives.
    Of course, these are my opinions, yours may vary.
     
  21. I've been in similar positions before myself, and the advise I've had from here is generally that if you're trying to do it on a budget, perhaps it isn't the best time. By that I mean, the initial outlay is only the start, film, processing, takes up a lot of money over time. If you're on a budget, you might find yourself frustrated that you can't always do what you want to, but that is just one side of it, if you have enough time and money in the long run then go for it.
    I would be with those that say 'don't sell your 5d'. It would be a waste, you can get great prints from that too.
     
  22. I recently invested in hasselblad V system to compliment my Nikon digital set-up. Id never consider only having a film workflow. for a start if your subject has any movement you want digital (unless you are looking for a soft focus effect). macro is a pain with MF so i still use the nikon for that. I dont even have a scanner... i pay for my film to be digitised (the cost of a Nikon9000 buys a LOT of scans)
    In short I find im using my MF for more 'considered' work. stuff I spend a lot of time thinking about. and yes just using the equipment is pleasing in itself. Having shot with only digital in my career I now find im totally in love with the look and quality of film. i guess if id started with film i might feel differently..
    .. dont sell the Canon ;)
     
  23. I plan on printing the MF negatives 297 x 420mm (A4) and i can't spend more than Epson V700 cost.
    I'm not at all sure you can substantially beat your 5D at A4 size regardless of scanner, and I'm not at all sure you can substantially beat your 5D with a V700, regardless of print size. In short, this is step sideways, not up, in picture quality, with a lot more hassle (buying film, getting it processed, and scanning it). But I should point out that 297 x 420mm is A3, not A4, which is 210 x 297mm, although for purposes of this question I doubt it makes much difference whether we're talking about A3 or A4.
    You can get better B&W tone from film . . . .
    Maybe you, Andrew, can get better tone from film--and frankly, maybe I can, too--but this is a weakness of our ability to do the converstion, not in the 5D. As long as you apply a custom curve to each color channel (R-G-B) during raw conversion, you can get whatever tone you want. Granted this requires some expertise. But there's a variety of software, and a variety of techniques using standard digital darkroom software, that can do a pretty good job.
    Real FB prints are also much nicer than digi prints.
    There are a number of places that will print digital files on silver-halide, fiber-based paper, the same paper you'd use in a wet darkroom. They are not cheap, but for a really special picture that you want to frame and put on your wall, the cost is not prohibitive. Also, there are fiber-based papers for inkjets, and whether really good inkjet prints are better than, equal to, worse than, or just different from silver-halide prints is a subjective question that depends a lot on who is making each and who is deciding which is better!
     
  24. 297 x 420mm is A3
    Good point, I missed that. I should mention that I've had loads of prints at A3 from my 12MP camera (APS-C, while yours has a much larger sensor) that have came out really well. No question over detail unless you sniff ;) and even then it all holds up really well. I've sold many of thse too, so it's not just 'my opinion'. I don't know exactly what you're after with this set up, but I would suggest giving your 5D 'another go' and, perhaps experimenting with different processing and printing methods.
     
  25. Well.....first i want to thanks all of you,for your friendly help and helpful advises.
    So i think i will do the following:
    1-I'll keep the 5D and try to process the raw files in a better way at Photoshop
    2-If i buy a MF it will be a Mamiya 456 1000 S (if possible,with prism an hand grip) with a 80mm lens or 55mm
    3-I will use it for landscapes,cityscapes and portrait. (B&W)
    4- I will pay for my film to be digitalized by a professional store,saving the scanner money
    5- I will print myself, no bigger than A4 and i'll use my photosmart7660 with the B&W ink
    Ps- Some one told me that i can use the Mamiya lens with Canon 5D buying a ring adaptator. It's an improvement or not
    Please fell free to give me your opinions about this.
    Thanks
     
  26. Ps- Some one told me that i can use the Mamiya lens with Canon 5D buying a ring adaptator. It's an improvement or not​
    Seeing as the flange distance is much greater with medium format cameras that have mirrors, I can't see any issues with using such a lens on your 5D with an adapter. I would ask fellow 5D users first though, as I know quite a few 'modified' lenses collide with the 5D mirror as the flange distance is amongst the shortest of any 35mm SLR mount.
     
  27. too many people believe that the answer to better image quality is in film...going from digital to medium format to increase image quality is rarely the answer...you're better off developing your skills, medium format won't do that for you...with that said, if you're really willing to put in the time, effort and expense of medium format including processing time and expense, and perhaps most importantly, getting a good scan if you plan on digitizing these images, then you should see a difference in image quality but you will probably need to drum scan or at least have a very good dedicated film scanner such as the Nikon 9000...i'm not wed to either digital or film but for my workflow, digital makes sense...if i had a quick turnraround lab and a drum scanner, perhaps i'd use my Mamiya 7II more often but for now my Canon 5D gets the bulk of the work and for good reason...
     
  28. You can get better B&W tone from film . . . . Maybe you, Andrew, can get better tone from film--and frankly, maybe I can, too--but this is a weakness of our ability to do the converstion, not in the 5D. As long as you apply a custom curve to each color channel (R-G-B) during raw conversion, you can get whatever tone you want. Granted this requires some expertise. But there's a variety of software, and a variety of techniques using standard digital darkroom software, that can do a pretty good job.
    I have to disagree with this.
    Ive used all variations of channel mixers to convert to B&W using digital - yes you get a better result than the rather harsh >convert to greyscale but to my eye its the tonal transition that cannot be replicated when using digital. film has better definition in the shadows, and more tolerance in the highlights.
    also i have to disagree that shooting MF film doesnt improve your photography - indeed taking any pictures will improve your skills but when its costing you X amount of dollars for every shot you will think more about the shot and composition and continual use of manual focus, possibly metering by hand, and using a WL viewfinder cannot help but improve your 'photographic brain' and techniques :)
     
  29. also i have to disagree that shooting MF film doesnt improve your photography - indeed taking any pictures will improve your skills but when its costing you X amount of dollars for every shot you will think more about the shot and composition and continual use of manual focus, possibly metering by hand, and using a WL viewfinder cannot help but improve your 'photographic brain' and techniques :)

    yes and no, although conventional knowledge has it that using film improves your "photographic eye", you still need to be invested in using those skills...yes, you can go out and take 1,000 pictures a day with digital but eventually if you're serious about refining your skills, it's important to consider what you're doing...but what I was trying to say is that switching to medium format to improve the quality of the image isn't a linear solution...if you want to improve your skills, think about what you're doing before, during and after the image is taken...it should not matter whether you are using film or digital although I do agree that it does appear that using film allows for a more thorough consideration of the image...the ease and convenience of use of digital camera's, with a person who is dedicated to creating an improved image, in my opinion, is better than converting to film, especially medium format, where the expense, time and scanning concerns of image quality come into play...
     
  30. So,now the debate is if medium format improve the quality over the digital.......
    So i should not move to medium format in a low budget,because my 5D can be equal or superior.
    Medium format to improve image quality,only with a dark room and doing it by the analogic way, if not, you must have the best scanner and the best printer to do it and maybe you pass the 5D performance.
     
  31. From an image quality perspective, I agree this is a bad idea. The 5D will produce much sharper prints (mostly because of the flatbed scanner). I don't think anything will look substantially better at 11X17 than what you get from a 5D. But I've also been unimpressed with B&W from digtital--too clean and low contrast and when you do a conversion by manipulating channels individually sometimes the bayer sensor artifacts start to show up or the noise gets weird. For color digital looks amazing, for black and white I think film has a nicer look.
    A move to medium format might be an aesthetic improvement for black and white (nice organic grain, different tonality) but it won't be a quantitative upgrade in quality unless you use a bigger negative , better scanner, or a real darkroom. The thing is that a good photo has very little to do with "image quality" once you reach "good enough"--and if film has the aesthetic you like, who cares if it's a little less sharp. (Well, 645 and a flatbed scanner would probably be a lot less sharp. With a Nikon 9000 it might be close.)
    If you like the look of black and white film, pick up a cheap, older medium format kit and a decent normal lens. There are older 645, 6X6, and 6X7 cameras available for very, very little money used. You can probably find someone with a Nikon 9000 to scan your images for relatively cheap.
     
  32. Hi David,
    Your thoughts interest me, and I largely agree with what you're saying. The way your approach things in photography will generally have a far greater impact on the end product, than with what you approach it with. Although I'm still in early days in photography (~4-5years since I picked up a camera) I've found digital has allowed me to adapt, experiment and importantly refine some of my skills over the last couple of years. I think it's hard to say exactly what impacts on that thing we call image quality, but I think knowing how your equipment handles different subjects and scenarios is pretty important in this area.
    One area that frustrates me with my APS-C SLR is how often I have to bracket and combine later to get an even exposure (without clipping). It's one of those areas of frustation that I've learnt to tackle and refine a technique that works best for me. I'm going to give 6x7 a try in hope that I can get 'more' from a single exposure - am I way off here? The character of film is an equally attractive element for myself, so either way I think the experiment will be useful and help give a different look to some series.
     
  33. Paulo- I just bought a Hasselblad like 2 weeks ago after shooting mostly digital for the past few years (5D and 5D mark ii). My pictures in MF are more beautiful to my eye- the colors- the softness- etc. I don't know if they are actually superior in any technical way, but I don't really care- they seem amazing to me in comparison. They seem special and unique somehow.
    Keep the 5D if you can but definitely try the MF as well- see what you think- see how you like the workflow etc :)
     
  34. Stacy- And how do you scan and print the negatives?
     
  35. I just have the lab scan them and the only prints I've seen are the 5x5 proofs so far...so...yes- still new to it all, but enjoying it very much. I actually shed a tear over these blues- silly :)
    00XG7g-279121584.jpg
     
  36. Maybe you, Andrew, can get better tone from film--and frankly, maybe I can, too--but this is a weakness of our ability to do the converstion, not in the 5D. As long as you apply a custom curve to each color channel (R-G-B) during raw conversion, you can get whatever tone you want. Granted this requires some expertise. But there's a variety of software, and a variety of techniques using standard digital darkroom software, that can do a pretty good job.​
    Oh, I can do digital B&W conversion. It's the digital technology that lags behind the film. You can't convert information your sensor didn't capture.
    But it's true that, while not as good as a really good B&W film process, digital B&W can still be very good.
     
  37. take a look at the top photo's in various categories on this site...the vast majority are digital and the images are top notch...these photographers have learned to use digital to its fullest extent...the few that still use film are often advanced enthusiasts with decent budgets or professionals who shoot film and send out to scan...Paulo wants to scan on a flatbed but as many have mentioned, flatbeds give only so so results...even my Nikon 9000 (a $2,000.00 machine) doesn't come close to a really good drum scan which is what would make the conversion for me more feasible...i just can't afford a drum scanner nor am I willing to pay the money to have my transparencies scanned that way...
    if you can afford the 645 and an Epson 700, go for it, and find out for yourself but I think you'll be disappointed with the results...better you get the 645 and have your negs scanned at first to see what you can do with them...better yet, see if you can borrow or rent a 645 system before spending the $$$
    another thought, find out who scans Stacy's film and go with them, the quality appears very good or maybe it's just the photographers skills...
     
  38. Ive used all variations of channel mixers to convert to B&W using digital - yes you get a better result than the rather harsh >convert to greyscale but to my eye its the tonal transition that cannot be replicated when using digital. film has better definition in the shadows, and more tolerance in the highlights.
    Using the channel mixer can certainly be helpful, but does not address the main issue, which is the response curve. Basically, film tends to have a "toe" and a "shoulder", where the shadows and highlights, respectively, roll off in an increasingly compressed way instead of clipping, and somewhat higher mid-tone contrast. But digital tends to have a straighter exposure-response function, and therefore getting results pleasing to our tastes often requires imposing something of an S-curve on it. I have no idea what "definition" in the shadows is, but tend to view very suspiciously subjective claims using ill- or non-defined terms. As for tolerance in the highlights, if you mean less tendency to blow out to pure white, in that regard I do agree with you, although making good use of film's ability to capture more highlight detail is often not an easy undertaking. So basically, to get the most out of digital, especially in B&W, you really need to use the curves tool, and the best work often involves using the curves tool independently on the R, G, and B channels.
    I've also been unimpressed with B&W from digtital--too clean and low contrast . . . .
    Well contrast is very easy to increase, or decrease, or increase in some parts and decrease in others, or whatever. If you rely on the straight-from-the-camera contrast, you will often be disappointed. As for too clean, well, then I guess 4x5 film is too clean, or for that matter medium format printed 11x14 or smaller? If you really want to add grain / noise (which IMO is only rarely a good idea), there are techniques to do so digitally.
    Last but not least, if you produce prints by scanning film, in all likelihood you will need to use the curves tool anyway to get the contrast / tonality you want. So whether you want to shoot digital, or shoot film and scan, it is part of the workflow. In a wet darkroom, you control contrast with variable contrast filter or graded paper (or other, more advanced techniques), but of course your control is less flexible, precise, or repeatable.
    00XG9E-279159584.jpg
     
  39. I'd get a Fuji 6x9, twice as much film area (and you can easily mask it out to 645) and incredible quality Fujinon lenses. the older gbl690 have interchangeable lenses.
     
  40. I don't just mean "clean" in terms of a lack of grain--a lot of black and white conversions look plasticky to me, particularly in skies and skintones. Maybe I only notice poor conversions; I'm sure there are plenty of good digital to black and white conversions that I just assumed were shot on film.
    All the same, a drum scan is a poor example of contrast; it's sent as flat as possible so you can sharpen and correct in post. It's meant as a representation of what's on the negative, not a representation of how a print should look. So because a scan is flat does not mean a print would be.
    I'm just rarely impressed with color-to-black and white conversions. The black and white fight scene in Kill Bill (kind of a weird thing to pick on, but it's what jumps out), which was shot on negative color film, looks very ugly to me, despite being shot by the great Robert Richardson. Good black and white shot with an appropriate color filter just looks better to me than conversions from color.
    I have no doubt one can get good black and white from digital, but when going for a certain classic look, it's a lot more intuitive to just shoot black and white with the appropriate film and filter than to shoot unfiltered digital (a red filter destroys resolution on a bayer sensor), carefully process in post, add fake grain, etc. Not to mention blue skies can blow out quite easily with digital as compared with red-filtered black and white, so then you have to underexpose, which makes noise and bayer interpolation artifacts just pop out at you if processed injudiciously. Maybe it's more an issue of where you want to put the extra effort: in shooting and filtering film correctly or processing carefully in photoshop. On one hand results are all that matter and I'm sure good digital black and white exists, on the other hand if you don't like the process, you won't get good results. So I still recommend trying medium format...but like, with a borrowed or affordable camera at first.
     
  41. IMHO forget going to medium format,if it means selling your Canon 5D. Medium format is really dirt cheap at this time. Film while used by many(myself included) is a dead end. Sorry. The fact is that processing is getting harder and harder to find. The scans I had done of my old Rollei TLR were good, but not great.( Hi rez scans.)
    If you are set on medium format look for the least expensive way in..a Holga, Yashica or even an old folder.Use it and compare. Then if you still thinking, go for a decent good TLR, Mamiya-C, Rollei and best a Pentax 645 or Mamiya 645. I would hold off on the scanner, for the moment.
    Like it or not, digital is here to stay. Make use of the technology. Film is way more beautiful as regards tonal scale, the look of actual grain. Unless you will print in a darkroom, making large prints, your Canon AE-1 will more than suffice...
     
  42. If you go MF, go full-frame, so u can think of Mamiya RB 67ProS, or even Hasselblad..If u do that, forget scaners, print your photos after choosing good ones from a contact copy..BR,vf
     
  43. I would definitely move to 6x7 instead of 645.
    The Coolscan would give you far superior results - especially when using films like Velvia and TMAX. Even when scanning regular color negatives the Coolscan is a class above the Epson (and obviously the DSLR as well).
    Here are direct tests for you:
    00XGT5-279509584.jpg
     
  44. And using an Epson V500 (The V700 is better though):
    00XGTC-279511684.jpg
     
  45. I think if one thing can be gleaned from that test it's this: do not use a less expensive scanner for critical work. I have seen lots of places that do affordable Nikon scans, so I'd send scans out or print optically. Just my opinion.
    While velvia on 6x7 may beat 12 megapixels (which it really should, given the huge surface area and slow film), the 5d is still the huge winner for low-light and handheld. Most 6x7 cameras prefer to be on tripods and like slow film and fast shutters. The 5D is a great general purpose camera. Medium format isn't general purpose anymore. Don't sell the 5D unless you really hate it and, in that case, keep the rebel, at least. If you're making money from either, do not sell!
    Unlike the film-bashers, I still think it's worth trying medium format if you feel drawn to it. I have nothing against 645 but wouldn't recommend it if you want to scan and print digitally. The negative is too small.
    My rz67 with a 110mm f2.8 lens was about $350. That's not unusually cheap for that camera, which is so overlooked...sometimes they can be found cheaper. If you like square format (the negative is a bit small if you crop), a Hasselblad with an 80mm f2.8 planar may be a bit pricier (okay, twice as much or more) but those are an absolute dream to operate and the lenses are wonderful. Or just borrow one. I was surprised to find my small town is full of medium format (and possibly large format) shooters. And I know two samples of an uncommon pre-AI Nikon lens live here...around 4,000 of these lenses were made and two live a couple miles apart in a town with a population of 5,000. Weird.
     
  46. Oh, and there are some nice TLRs out for super cheap. My only concern with one of those would be shutter accuracy.
     
  47. I disagree wholeheartedly that 6x4.5 is too small.
    It scans perfectly, providing enough good info for quality digital prints.
    Up to almost 60 MP worth of good info using that Nikon that "doesn't come close to a good drum scan".
     
  48. Paulo Riskas - if you're only printing A4 then you are not going to see an IQ improvement even if you do go 6x7 and get professional scans or print in the darkroom. I'm certainly not against buying, learning, and using film equipment, especially darkroom work with classic B&W films. But I wouldn't sell a 5D in order to do that with a 645 camera, or even a 6x7.
    Be patient, save some money, and add a MF film system to your setup. Don't cannibalize a 5D to do it.
     
  49. Ive used all variations of channel mixers to convert to B&W using digital - yes you get a better result than the rather harsh >convert to greyscale but to my eye its the tonal transition that cannot be replicated when using digital.​
    I figure that one reason why filtered B&W film looks different to BW-conversions from colour digital is that it matters when the filtration takes place. Filtering the image at the time of exposure means that light of certain wavelengths is excluded. A yellow filter, say, might cut off blue light below 480nm, while bluish light longer than 480nm is still recorded by the film. OTOH, if you take the image with a colour digital camera, once the exposure is made, you cannot tell which wavelengths contributed to the blue channel - blue is just blue. You can mix the channels later to de-emphasize the blue with respect to green and red, and this somewhat simulates the use of a yellow filter; but it is definitely not an accurate simulation because you cannot digitally cut out the photons from below 480nm and keep the ones from above 480nm! Your spectral control is limited to just three thick slabs of wavelength space: monolithic red, monolithic green, and monolithic blue.
    To improve matters, one could shoot the digital camera through the colour filter, but as M Dawg points out, you may then run into noise and bayer interpolation artifacts; and in any case, most people probably do their digital B&W conversions as a sort of afterthought, using full-spectrum colour images as the starting point (I'm as guilty of this as the next man!).
     
  50. Too little information. It all depends on what you shoot. There are images that can be accomplished with far less effort -if they can be accomplished at all- with a 35mm AF multi frames per second 21MP digital camera. Whenever I attempt sports with the 67 I always think how much easier it would be with a 1DsMKlll. But ease isn't always the most important consideration. Buy the equipment appropriate for the work you do.
    00XGj4-279791584.jpg
     
  51. I've been wondering about digi B+W conversion. As we all know, digi cameras (the mainstream Canikon etc ones) can only see in B+W. The colours are guessed. Its a very good guess but its still a guess. If you use the RGB layers and filter method, in PS when you see the RGB layers, are they the direct readouts from the corresponding RGB sensors from the RAW? Or does PS apply Bayer and then use the RGB channels from that? In any case the results will slightly differ from a film shot. Kodak should make B+W cameras again. And make them cheaper!
     
  52. I don't think your understanding of the way a Bayer sensor works is correct. Each raw file pixel is B&W (the pixels on the sensor itself have no way to differentiate color) but it's been filtered through a color filter in a Bayer grid so it's a B&W representing the value of light of the filter color - it's a green, red or blue channel. If you didn't apply the de-Bayering filter to interpret these values your image would be garbage, not a real B&W image. What any of the advanced digital color to B&W methods do is, interpret the raw file to an RGB color image, then do operations on that.
     
  53. Ray Butler - excellent post.
    Personally ive been processing digital captures for 10 years and working as a graphic designer and retoucher (in the UK) for nearly 15 years. Ive tried a lot of different ways to emulate film when converting to B&W. it doesnt matter what you do to your RAW file - if the data isnt there in the capture you wont be able to 'recreate' it using curves or channels. have to say your sample image seems quite blown out after you have used curves on it there...
    I also find there is a lot of difference between the US and UK market as to what a 'good' image is regarding colour and tone. Big S curves and saturated colours seem to go down very well stateside, whereas IMO a lot of euro shooters are getting into more subtle tonality and there seems to be a lot more nostalgia for film and its characteristics over here (except you stacey!)
    :)
     
  54. Daniel nails the answer to the OP's question, don't cannibalise your current system. It really is about output, if you are not printing large then you will see no difference in prints. I have a 6x4.5, 6x6 and 6x9 system, it does what it does very well, but I wouldn't be without my DSLR.
    With regards not being able to recreate B&W film and specifically colour filters used at the time of capture, well it depends on how pedantic you are, copy your colour capture, put a suitable colour filter layer on it flatten and then work that file gets you so close that 99.9% of people couldn't tell the difference, you are eliminating the unwanted wavelengths post capture.
     
  55. Dennis Williams, that's one impressive capture for a MF camera! Thanks!
     
  56. Ray Butler - excellent post.​
    Thank you kindly, Jonathan!
    Perhaps I should also emphasize, my remarks apply to all forms of capture - not just digital, but also colour film and B&W film, and to both analog prints from film and digital scans from film. Once wavelengths have been integrated into the spectral bandpass of a colour channel/film layer/silver grain, you cannot disentangle them afterwards by post-filtration of the film, or by manipulation of the digital file/scan. (If that were possible, then astronomers like myself would never use tedious spectrographs - we'd be able to extract all the information we need from quick broad-band images!)
    Scott maintains that
    you are eliminating the unwanted wavelengths post capture.​
    - but you are not, really - unless the "unwanted wavelengths" happen to neatly fill an entire colour channel and do not spill over partially into any other one! I do understand that playing with the R-G-B ratios and curves in post-processing can give very convincing results that will satisfy 99.9% of people, but we should not be in doubt as to the real difference between pre- and post-filtration.
     
  57. Andrew, I know how Bayer sensors work roughly and if you read my question again, you will find that I am asking whether the RGB layers you see in PS are direct readouts (with interpolation) from the corresponding sensor or are they just the RGB channels after Bayer interpolation has been performed. Obviously, reading your post, its the latter.
     
  58. Ray,
    I agree that in the most demanding of situations, where true wavelength responses are of critical importance (hence the 99.9% comment) then only a capture filter will do. However, in the case of "regular" digital colour, converted to B&W photography, I think the difference between a post filter process, as described, and the capture filter method, are so subtle as to be unrecognisable to almost anybody. Certainly in my fairly limited use of digital converted to B&W, and my lengthy use of darkroom B&W and shooting with filters, I have enjoyed the former, and the very selective control it has, far more.
    In essence, a true aficionado, with intimate knowledge, and the time it takes to acquire that knowledge, of the film and developing, and the printing paper, whether wet or digital, might pick up slight differences and nuances. The rest of us are far better off spending a few weekends and a couple of hundred dollars in prints to hone our skills to a level that most would be unable to differentiate. It is a miserable thought that the hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars I spent in darkrooms is effectively wasted, but that is the truth of it. I can produce indistinguishable results digitally to my, admittedly not prize winning, wet work.
    Take care, Scott.
     
  59. It is a miserable thought that the hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars I spent in darkrooms is effectively wasted,​
    Scott, please don't think like that! Your darkroom experience "then" may not have produced better results than digital prints "now", but you learned so much craft. Don't they say that the journey matters more than the destination? I admire and envy those who are accomplished in the wet darkroom.
     
  60. My best times doing photography were inside a dark room. The digital generation will never know the pleasure of making a photo from the beginning.... the creation of something yours.
     
  61. Sorry Ray, didn't mean it to sound bad. I'll never forget (I've still got it somewhere) that magical first test exposure. Six stripes of ever deeper black :).
     
  62. My best times doing photography were inside a dark room. The digital generation will never know the pleasure of making a photo from the beginning.... the creation of something yours.​
    Well, that's just one opinion I guess. Many would argue you have more control over the process with digital - to each there own :).
     
  63. Maybe it's true but i'm talking about pleasure and not about techniques.Just pleasure of a state of mind!
     
  64. You've convinced me, there is only one right answer ;P
     
  65. I did not read all the answers but want to ad something from my struggle with this question... I'd recommend to scan in the Epson to produce very good images with the help of Hamricks Vuescan and a double or triple pass setup. I sometime you find a shot that you'd like to print it large and have an outstanding photo, have the slide and or negative scanned in a high end service. This is a compromise solution for somebody looking for regular prints enlarged up to 15x20 ... Very special or larger prints? ... (here is where the specialized scanner service kicks in).
     

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