Equipment Purchase

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by arigram, Oct 30, 2004.

  1. arigram

    arigram Member

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    I am very lucky that I will be involved in a huge project by the University of Crete and the local Museum of Nature to collect information regarding the fauna of the Peloponnese (south mainland Greece). It is a place of extremes, from high mountains to sandy beaches and lots inbetween. The project involves scientists, computer engineers and all kinds of different teams from data collecting to map and database making. They will also release books and guides.
    I will be shooting mostly landscapes, a subject I am not very experienced with but confindent I will succeed.
    The main reason I am involved apart from the exhitement of the whole project (that is set to last a couple years), is that the EU is financing it, including the purchase of equipment and that gives me the opportunity to make a Hasselblad system that would take me years with my current paycheck.

    I will be taking my 501CM with 80mm Plannar lens and Manfrotto 055B Tripod with the three arms head.
    The equipment I think of purchasing are (and keeping for myself later):
    - 50mm Distagon lens.
    - 180mm Sonnar lens.
    - Individual shades (I thought that the pro shade is too must hassle).
    - Spotmeter. Probably the Gossen Starlite.
    - A second A12 back.
    - PolaPlus back.
    - 16mm extension tube (for portraits with the 180).
    - Lowepro Nature Trekker AW II.

    They will probably want color, so I'll use Fuji Velvia 50 and Ilford Pan F+ for my personal BW shots.

    Any comments?
     
  2. BWGirl

    BWGirl Member

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    I don't know if you have any way to do this, but if you do, try different camera backpacks on before you buy one. I did, and found I liked the Tamrac Expedition better for fit. So that is one thing. Another is if you do not have one of those goofy looking photographer's vests.... get one! I have one and wore it when I went on my waterfall trip. The thing was invaluable! :D

    Another thing to think about... weight counts! Every ounce in that pack is one you must carry. If you are the rugged, hiking, outdoors-y type...no problem, but if you are not...find ways to reduce what you are carrying & once you get all the things you are taking, pack it up & carry it around. Make sure straps and hip belt are properly adjusted & that you can carry everything you want to bring! I had to leave my Manfrotto/Bogen home & take a lighter weight tripod to keep from falling over like a turtle! haha :D
    That's it for my advice!
     
  3. Mongo

    Mongo Member

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    If you haven't already, I would recommed asking what the color shots will be used for. If they want accurate color, Velvia probably isn't the right film. Don't get me wrong; when I shoot slides, Velvia 50 is all that I shoot. I love the intense colors it provides. But to my eye the color rendition of the film isn't very accurate.

    I second the idea that a photographer's vest is a good investment. It's amazing how much easier life is when you can keep so many things at the ready.

    I have the Lowepro Nature Trekker AW II backpack, and I love it because it can be adjusted for my height (6'7") and it holds an amazing amount of stuff...but it may not be the right pack for you. Try a few on for size if you can.

    Make sure you have a couple of cable releases with you (if you only take one, it's guaranteed to go bad at the worst possible time). Also, you didn't mention anything about filters...a good filter system that includes a high quality polarizer, a graduated ND, a few ND's, and a set of B&W filters would probably come in handy.
     
  4. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I would probably recommend Provia for the better color neutrality, great fine grained film with a more natural color rendition, plus the extra stop of being iso 100 can help in a lot of different situation. Velvia is the main film that I shoot, but have done many projects of the nature your going to do and found that for guide books and other stuff the provia is a better film.

    Most of all have fun.

    Dave Parker
    Ground Glass Specialties
    Satin Snow(TM) Ground Glass
     
  5. Fintan

    Fintan Member

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    you really need to try several films and do your own testing.

    as for the gear....

    - 50mm Distagon lens.
    good choice, i use the 40mm for extra wide, filters are a headache though

    - 180mm Sonnar lens.
    good lens but not sure why you need it

    - Individual shades (I thought that the pro shade is too must hassle).
    agree

    - Spotmeter. Probably the Gossen Starlite.
    i would go with a sekonic 608 personally so you can use it in studio etc in future

    - A second A12 back.
    agree

    - PolaPlus back.
    agree

    - 16mm extension tube (for portraits with the 180).
    too tight for portraits imho

    - Lowepro Nature Trekker AW II.
    good choice

    will you be doing macro? why not buy the 120 mackro/planar, its great. good for portraits too.

    a prism would be very useful also.
     
  6. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    Something for your photographers vest that sounds silly until you use it then you will wonder how you ever got along with out it. Fly fishermen use these. They are small little button like things that pin on the vest. they have a retractable line on it that clips onto what ever item you wan to hook to it. Gordon Hutchings hooks his viewing filter and spot meters to his. that way he doesn't lose them, or have them fall on the ground. I found my viewing loupe is a great one to hang onto the vest this way. I am forever nearly droping it. When not in use, the items can fit into one of the vest pockets.

    I wopuld also second the macro lens idea. You definately will need it.

    I helped a guy many years ago who had a hassy do some out door work. as fast as i was at loading backs, he was faster at taking pictures. He had 4 backs. That way if I was not around, he had several to use before he started yelling for me to find him.
     
  7. gr82bart

    gr82bart Member

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    Arigram,

    I have to second Fintan's choices:

    Especially the 120 Macro over the 180mm, unless you need the 180 for a specific reason.

    Art.
     
  8. Tom Hoskinson

    Tom Hoskinson Member

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    Arigram,
    I also agree with Fintan's choices.

    I own a Hassleblad, a 120 Makro Planar, an 80mm, 50 mm and a 40mm plus several A12 backs. I use the Hassleblad compendium lens shade. For macro photography I recommend that you also consider a "chimney finder" with a focusing magnifier lens. Hassleblad makes a good one and the Ukrainian Arsat (or Kiev) chimney finder is also a good one.

    I now use Efke 100 in preference to Ilford Pan F+ for my B&W nature photography.
     
  9. rjr

    rjr Member

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    Grrr. Once again.. I deleted my response before I finished it. :-(

    One by one.

    Ari, you have a long list, but don´t forget the most simple item needed - the take up-spool. It happened to me that I grabbed a camera and a single film and left only to notice there is no spool in the camera... in 20km distance. Drove home, willing to make that photo... grabbed a spool, went to the toilet, left... arrived... loaded the fi^^^where is that spool???? Ah home. Again. :-(

    Since then there is an empty one in my car, in my jackets and coats, any camera and travel bag, just everywhere.

    Fintan,

    in the recent months I started appreciating longer focal lengths with landscape/nature/Architectural and industrial photography - especially my new Sonnar 2,8/180 for Pentacon Six. Cute one, sharp, just excellent!

    Until half a year ago "wide" was my credo - 30mm fisheye, 55mm shift, the 50m Flektogon, I rarely ever touched anything longer... partially due to a mechanical problem of my 2,8/120 Biometar... but also because I never learned to view a scene in an abstractive way, in details and structures, beyond the totale view.

    Now these things what I appreciate the most in "my work"... :smile:

    Tom, that chimney finder is high on my wish list - and the magazine groundglass is wonderful in cramped interiours....

    And I agree on your Efke suggestion - haven´t used the R100 (only KB100), but the R50 reacts with an individual tonal response. Especially with green, which will probably work out very nice in the Peloponese landscape - dry, blank and eroded hills and valleys, scattered with deep green woods... sounds perfect for the Efke.

    Ari, again, get used to the gear and film material. If you feel uncomfortable with it - don´t hesitate and go back to your old stuff and finish the job with that.

    Cretes landscape has a similar variability in the landscape as the greek mainland, similar scenes and nature, so you should be able to get used to it, to develop your eye for it at home.

    You forgot something on your list - a donkey for carrying the gear. Honestly, you are loading very much in your backpack and depending on the infrastructure it will be a very exhausting job. So "training at home" will allow you to sort things out, to form your taste and define and follow your daily mood -"Is this a Sonnar day?"- leaving unneeded stuff in the basecamp or hotel.

    Keep us posted on progress! Please! And have fun! ;-)
     
  10. Helen B

    Helen B Member

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    How much do you know about the purposes your images will be used for, and what the final format(s) will be? It's difficult to give advice if you don't know what the client wants. How much of the final work will be processed or presented digitally, for instance? What are the archive requirements? Is medium format the right choice?

    Best,
    Helen
     
  11. arigram

    arigram Member

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    Thank you all for the wonderful support and advice!
    I have only been given sketchy information regarding the project but I do know that is divided in phases which start from base data collecting to putting together a whole database. Let's say the project covers -everything- that you can possibly think about a piece of land. Maps, insects, soil, plants, tress, animals and of course general views. It is scientific based but things, such as photos will be also used for publishing coffee table books and guides.
    I don't know what I am to do in detail. I would have liked to shy away from macro work as I have never in my life shot a flower or insect (and never did look at those kind of photos in internet galleries) and concentrate on landscapes.

    All the photos will end up digital in the end.
    So, why I don't use a digital camera?

    a) Cause I don't have one
    b) Cause I don't want to spend the budget on one (that I will throw away later)
    c) Cause I do have a camera system that will give higher quality photos
    d) Cause like I said I am doing this because I will get to keep the equipment I get and
    that's the only way I can afford Hasselblad gear

    Going back to d) the choice of 180 and 17 extension was so I could shoot portraits
    later on (for myself).
    You say to go with the macro-plannar instead?
    Is the quality good for non macro work? Portraits and landscape?
    Should I get a bellows as well? (then I might as well shoot the damn flowers)
    Ok, about the color. I haven't shot color in a while, but my eye and artistic sense is
    very well trained in color so no worries there.

    Regarding the vest, I have one left over from the Olympic Games. Unfortunately I only got permission for the cretan stadium, so it was only football, which is quite boring photographically. I did my best and all the photos look like... football photos.
    But I did get to keep the vest which is a very cool souvenir.
    I might buy a new one. First, it is kinda bluish and has that huge PHOTO in the back which would make me look double silly trotting around the landscape. And I am also
    worried that is not very well made, you know, just to last through the Games.

    For the backpacks I will have to travel to Athens and even there I am not very convinced that it will be easy to just look around and try them out.
    Mail ordering would have been much easier, but I guess you can never be sure you
    buy the right thing that way.

    About the filters, I have them in my mind and will get the highest quality I can find.
    I have some SMC and MC Hoya/Calumet already.

    Thanks again and I will keep thinking and changing my mind.
    (just hope I get the stuff soon so I can play with them before)
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2004
  12. gr82bart

    gr82bart Member

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    Hi Ari,

    My ex is an archeologist - egyptologist - more specifically, not exactly the same, but similar in that what she needs recorded has a similar process. Anyway, when she goes on a dig, she has a Hassey 503CW and always brings: 50mm CFi, 80mm CFi, 120mm CFi, a Sekonic 508, at least 4 backs of 3 different colours (the colours tell her what film she has inside), PME 45, two Dynalite heads and stands with a couple JackRabbit portable batteries, Proshade 6093T, a very sturdy and heavy Manfrotto tripod with a high end head - I don't know the model number, a LowePro backback, many filters (she often brings several cheap UV filters for each lens since the filters get pretty scratched up in the sand, the shade doesn't really protect the lens and she'll put a UV filter in front of a polarizer to save the latter), plenty of cleaning kits, and she uses Kodak EktaChrome and Agfa Scala films because she needs slides for the university.

    I have a 120macro myself and I use it for portraiture a lot. In fact the reason why I bought it was that, when I need to, I could use it for macro photography as well. I haven't used it for that yet!.

    Regards, Art.