MF a dying breed?

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by gr82bart, Mar 1, 2003.

  1. gr82bart

    gr82bart Subscriber

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    This is a great site I came across.

    I have been a 35mm user since my first camera - a Pentax ME given to me for my 12th birthday. Many cameras later; last year I bought my first Hassey - a yellow 503CW. WOW! What a gorgeous camera. I haven't been able to put this feat of engineering down.

    I find it forces me to go through the process of taking a picture - letting the creative juices flow - so to speak. I am discovering that this act appeals to me greatly.

    So where am I going with this?

    I feel the medium format is a dying breed, despite my personal rejuvenation. Everyone is going digital (for the worse in my opinion) and even Hassey went that way with their new H1. Unfortunately, the only saving grace for the medium format may be significantly less expensive digital backs. Currently at the $12-$20k range and at only 6 mpixels they are priced in the stupid area. If MF digital backs were less expensive, I think more people will go MF and in turn the format itself will live.

    What do you all think?
     
  2. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    Medium format is not dying. Don't believe all the hype. Not everyone is going digital. If anything, many people are going back to film because they know what looks good, and got a huge letdown when they jumped to digital. Don't believe the jacked up tests in the magazines either. Sure if you shoot a picture and then scan/print in on junk "consumer grade" equipment, then digital looks better. That's just what they do, to skew the results in favor of their advertisers and sponsors. Film is cheaper to shoot and print and looks better. If you want different "response curves" use a different film. Even professionals are starting to realize digital is not the gravy train they envisioned. Instead of taking pictures and dropping the film off at their lab. they are up in the wee hours of the morning Photoshopping, and not getting paid for that time - time they might have been shooting other projects. Medium format, small format, and large format don't need digital to survive. The bottom line is, why spend as you say, stupid money for a bad to mediocre picture, when an entire roll of film still only costs chump change and gives better, more flexible results??? The other thing to worry about is, after you pay the huge prices to get in, you can expect to pay that and more every few years, thanks to planned obsolescence.
     
  3. Les McLean

    Les McLean Subscriber

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    I don't think that MF is dying but I don't totally agree with Steve's view re: the jacked up tests in the magazines. Yes it does happen but not all reports are untruthful.I have just returned home after working for Ilford at Focus the UK Photoshow demonstrating digital and printing on their new range of papers. The results are stunning and I don't use the top end scanners and other kit although I do have access to it if I want it. I scanned 35mm, MF and LF negatives on a moderately priced Linoscan flatbed scanner. The show was just about totally digital and yes, there is always a lot of hype, for example Canon and their S9000 printer. The prints look good initially but are likely to fade within weeks unless you use Canon paper. I used the S9000 for the show and tested the inks using Ilford paper at the beginning of January, the black and white print faded in 6 days and Canon where really not interested when I spoke to their technical people at the show. That is certainly the down side of digital.

    On the other hand I have recently been given a Canon D60 by a client who has purchased the D1S and have made excellent 20" x 24" digital prints on Fuji paper using the Epson 7600. The prints from the D1S are amazing, I have not yet made any larger than 20 x 24 but it's clear that they will go bigger.

    Until 2 years ago I felt the same as Steve but have to say that the progress made in the digital field since then has changed my mind. I have no intention of giving up the darkroom for I love the process and believe that a silver print is still far better than a digital print but, the digital process does offer different tools and materials to the image maker.

    I also had a long talk with the Marketing Director of Kodak UK who told me that black and white sales are increasing. Interesting times and perhaps we are about to have the best of both worlds.
     
  4. docholliday

    docholliday Member

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    MF ain't dyin'! Magazines print whatever garbage is going to pay them the most. You almost never hear a magazine say that "So and so gave us this camera to test and ... we'd like to say that it's a piece of sh*t..." Many of the "reviewers" have to sign an agreement that says that they'll print *at least* a neutral comment about a product before they can get it...

    So many people are not willing to enhance or further their education, but rather find a simpler solution..."photoshop can fix it all...". With that same comment, that explains a lot of things...like the wedding hacks I mentioned in another thread.

    MF and film in general, require the user to slow down and learn a bit. It also requires that one's discipline in their craft be honed, LF even more. With digital, all one has to do is pick up "Photoshop in 24 hours" and they think they can be just as good as the guy who spent years learning how his film behaves, the quality and "defects" of his lenses, darkroom tricks.

    I'm not gonna get too deep into this, but as with anything..."to find the root of any evil (not saying that digital is evil), just follow the money". The money comes a lot from the consumer, so for magazines to make money and get readers, they have to show what the consumers want to hear...digital.

    It's like that idiot Reichmann. He's overhyping the digital thing "digital was more sharp and blah, blah, blah than a 6x7 chrome..." Ok. Whatever. If all the digital users jumped from a bridge, he'd be the second in line...
     
  5. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (docholliday @ Mar 1 2003, 03:57 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> MF ain't dyin'! Magazines print whatever garbage is going to pay them the most. You almost never hear a magazine say that &quot;So and so gave us this camera to test and ... we'd like to say that it's a piece of sh*t...&quot; Many of the &quot;reviewers&quot; have to sign an agreement that says that they'll print *at least* a neutral comment about a product before they can get it...

    So many people are not willing to enhance or further their education, but rather find a simpler solution...&quot;photoshop can fix it all...&quot;. With that same comment, that explains a lot of things...like the wedding hacks I mentioned in another thread.

    MF and film in general, require the user to slow down and learn a bit. It also requires that one's discipline in their craft be honed, LF even more. With digital, all one has to do is pick up &quot;Photoshop in 24 hours&quot; and they think they can be just as good as the guy who spent years learning how his film behaves, the quality and &quot;defects&quot; of his lenses, darkroom tricks.

    I'm not gonna get too deep into this, but as with anything...&quot;to find the root of any evil (not saying that digital is evil), just follow the money&quot;. The money comes a lot from the consumer, so for magazines to make money and get readers, they have to show what the consumers want to hear...digital.

    It's like that idiot Reichmann. He's overhyping the digital thing &quot;digital was more sharp and blah, blah, blah than a 6x7 chrome...&quot; Ok. Whatever. If all the digital users jumped from a bridge, he'd be the second in line... </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Wouldn't it be neat if you found a magazine that did say...this product is crap!?

    So who do you think would be first in line to jump?[​IMG]
     
  6. Thilo Schmid

    Thilo Schmid Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (gr82bart @ Mar 1 2003, 06:02 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>Everyone is going digital </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    I beg to differ. Not everybody is going digital. The Pros are going digital, because it offers significant advantages for their daily business. They have specific requirements and emphases that differ from that of an amateur. The main difference is: they don't have time. They buy time with money. The amateur can save money by investing more time (and usually does). Moreover, the amateur has usually a higher quality claim than the customers of the Pro.

    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (gr82bart @ Mar 1 2003, 06:02 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> Unfortunately, the only saving grace for the medium format may be significantly less expensive digital backs. Currently at the $12-$20k range and at only 6 mpixels they are&nbsp; priced in the stupid area. If MF digital backs were less expensive, I think more people will go MF and in turn the format itself will live.</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>

    Things look different for the amateur. He now gets stunning technical picture quality for a fraction of the (original) price. The MF second hand market is today better than ever. Even if digital backs get cheaper by an order of magnitude (and reach true 6x7), it is still just an alternative for someone who doesn't shot a 1000 rolls a year and not a must. Moreover, the depreciation of a second hand MF gear is for sure less than that of a comparable digital one.

    And last but not least: all good things will have a revival some day.
     
  7. Thilo Schmid

    Thilo Schmid Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (docholliday @ Mar 1 2003, 10:57 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> It's like that idiot Reichmann. He's overhyping the digital thing &quot;digital was more sharp and blah, blah, blah than a 6x7 chrome...&quot;
    </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    I don't think he is an idiot. He is on the contrary a clever businessman. He is currently selling his own digital learning process.
     
  8. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    "Wouldn't it be neat if you found a magazine that did say...this product is crap!?"

    Now that would be a refreshing change. I am just so tired of this "film is dead' everywhere I turn. People, all of you, this is a place to hang out, have fun, and talk about film and such. It is not to convince us that we have to repent and convert, just so Madison Avenue suits can line their pockets every so often at our expense, to replace what was the newest greatest best just last year, at $20K a pop. I don't want to play that game and will quit photography completely first. Some of us came here to get away from "digitalitis" and all its Resistance Is Futile arguments. I've made my own comparisons between traditional and digital prints of many sizes, and digital doesn't do it for me. It's pixelated, posterized, aliased, jaggied, oversaturated, overmanipulated, and I just don't like it. It looks fake. Too many of the "art" pictures used to promote it are just garbage. The sensors are by and large, very poor. No dynamic range, too small, too noisy, blown out highlights, too little latitude, etc etc etc. Even if I liked it, it is far too expensive for what it is worth to me. For the price of the better backs (Leaf, etc), I can buy a gang of Deardorffs and more film than I could live to use up. Maybe I speak for others, maybe I don't, I don't really care. I didn't start out anti-digital. But getting the same message over and over, at every turn, and sometimes being talked down to by someone who started last month and is helpless without auto-everything made me that way. As far as Reichman, he takes lots of pictures and probably makes good money; there's nothing wrong with that. But come on, how objective are you going to be when all that free equipment is supplied by your sponsor / employer? You can't say it isn't as good/better than, or you get fired. Other than a few pictures, his site is really just a multipage Canon advertisement. If the equipment is so great, why on earth does he keep changing and replacing it? Oh. I forgot. It's because he doesn't have to pay for any of it himself. Sorry about the sarcastic tone, but I came here to get away from digital.
     
  9. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  10. Ed Sukach

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    I really doubt that medium format is dead... but, if anyone should want to "knuckle under" to the latest hype, I am always ready to accept free donations. If someone has an extra Hasselblad Arc Body or two that they don't want cluttering up their studio... or extension tubes, bellows - Softar filters....

    What has been going on in the Commercial studios, with the exception of some of the "captive - Funding Unlimited" areas is "Capture on film, scan to digital ... and go on from there.

    The COST of digital backs, humungously LARGE PCs with tons of RAM, excruciatingly expensive printers -- is a tremendously important factor, especially considering the fact that all of it will probably follow the pattern of the usual PC - they will be obsolete before you can push the shopping cart out of the door.

    I use Hasselblads - not for the"snottiness" value, but simply for the fact that Hasselblad has, and if they have any sense they will continue to, avoid making their equipmet with the idea of planned obsolence. Hasselblad lenses made in the `60's will WORK on the cameras made today.

    Digital Back technology has improved. The lastest ad I got in the mail described a whiz-bang back capable of capturing 104 Megabyte (no typo - 104MB) files. Those files will, no doubt, be capable of producing images with quality comparable to what I can do with the 'Blad, film and my Omega D5500 Enlarger. Unless I am 'way off on my math, the average CD-R disk can save ~ 700MB. That means ~ 6 whiz-bang images per CD. I save twelve images on one roll of 120 film.

    Add to that one anomally I am experiencing here - so far I have LOST all the images I have written to two CD-R , and one CD-RW disks. I have tried *everything* here to restore these images with NO success. My next shot would be to send the screwed-up CDs to a commercail restoration lab - for $90 each - which just won't happen.

    So ... I'll continue to "limp" along with outmoded technology. [Sacastic Key ON] Yeh - outmoded.

    Someday - when I win one of those $200 million lotteries, I'll build a Studio/ Teaching Facility with dualism - both Film Cameras and Chemical Processors - and Digital Cameras and Great Big Whumping computers.

    When I do, I will not expect the vision and skills needed to produce really Fine Art, or "Fine" images of any stripe, to be one whit different in either area.

    My opinions - your mileage may vary.
     
  11. fparnold

    fparnold Member

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    Is it possible that the commercial aspects of MF are why we always hear these "MF is dead/dying/pining for the fjords questions? One (at least all one of me) tends to conjure up images of landscape and architecture done with LF, news/photojournalism with 35mm, and school portraits, weddings, etc., with MF. It's a solid, bread-and-butter business piece of eqiupment, which doesn't have the sex appeal of ULF, or instant recognition of 35. It's invisibility is a sign of its success. Just curious, as I know that when I haul my Bender out, that people stop to look at it, ask to feel the wood, treat it a little more carefully at the airport; it comes with some sort of popular instant cred. On the other hand, it could be a mixture of LF people too kind to ask " you shoot with *that*" and midwestern cherry-wood worshipers. In the case of MF, I've had a Mamiya TLR on campus, and in the same areas, and people presume I'm photographing for the campus. There's more of an 'Oh' reaction, and then they stay out of the way of the camera. Much less curiosity, for a not much less exotic looking piece of eqiupment.

    On a personal note, I like the format, the choice of film, and the portability, but it's not much less bulky than the 4x5, and as there are no movements, quite often just not versatile enough for the weight involved.
     
  12. docholliday

    docholliday Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Jorge @ Mar 1 2003, 01:07 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (jorge @ Mar 1 2003, 03:57 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> MF ain't dyin'! So who do you think would be first in line to jump?[​IMG]</td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'> </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    I think the editor of the magazine would be the first to jump (in a speedy attempt to avoid the backlash and death sentence they were about to receive)! Jump to their death at least...
     
  13. Jorge

    Jorge Inactive

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    What I really found sad is that Hasselblad knuckled under and went to 645 and a "digital" ready camera. They were one of the last few companies or shall I say divisions of a company, which took pride in their work and produced outstanding gear that was just what the photographer needed, no more, no less.....and by photographer I mean those who knew what they were doing. Sure, some doctors and lawyers bought them for the status, but then doctors and lawyers are not known for being stupid...no?

    Was it expesive, sure....but every time I take it out and take some pics with it, I am amazed at the quality of the pictures. How many digiratis can say that about their digigizmo?

    Use expertly and with restraint digital can be beautiful...different than wet prints, but beuatiful none the less. Sadly all the choices PS offers I guess makes people want and have to use them, PS should put a banner on their boxes that reads.."less is more"....

    In any case, There are many of us out there who use MF and buy film and I dont think it will die any time soon.
     
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  15. bmac

    bmac Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (Jorge @ Mar 2 2003, 08:09 AM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> What I really found sad is that Hasselblad knuckled under and went to 645 and a &quot;digital&quot; ready camera. . </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    I don't think this is a big deal. It isn't like they said they were going to abandon the 6x6 format... It is just a company trying to have a wide pproduct line, and is actually healthy in the long run.
     
  16. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    I think it says something that this is the second thread in the last couple of weeks that has turned into a digital versus analog debate.

    Seems like whatever's easier wins, and the loser sometimes...but rarely...goes away. Planes beat trains but trains still roll, although as a little more than a novelty. TV beat radio, FM beat AM, CD's beat vinyl (maybe one of the closest analogies to what we face).

    In all of the above examples, the "losing" medium is now the novelty, and more expensive. It is FAR more expensive to take a train from LA to Seattle than to fly. An AM radio of the quality that was standard thirty years ago is now several hundred dollars. And I saw a turntable at Tower Records the other day for 329. Remember when they were 99, even for direct drive?

    It just seems like that's the pattern in our culture: ease beats quality, and whatever's easiest wins. What is harder and of more quality remains, but at a high price and more of a special value.

    Just thinking.

    dgh
     
  17. Robert

    Robert Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (David Hall @ Mar 2 2003, 10:33 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>

    Seems like whatever's easier wins, and the loser sometimes...but rarely...goes away. Planes beat trains but trains still roll, although as a little more than a novelty. TV beat radio, FM beat AM, CD's beat vinyl (maybe one of the closest analogies to what we face).

    In all of the above examples, the &quot;losing&quot; medium is now the novelty, and more expensive. It is FAR more expensive to take a train from LA to Seattle than to fly. An AM radio of the quality that was standard thirty years ago is now several hundred dollars. And I saw a turntable at Tower Records the other day for 329. Remember when they were 99, even for direct drive?
    </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    I'd argue that in most of those cases it became use the right tool for jobs. Trains aren't gone. They carry tonnes of goods every day. Even in the passenger mode outside of North America they haul people. With almost all those things on your list people went with the strong suits. TV is great but kind of hard while driving on the highway. FM may sound better but if all you're getting is the weather and traffic does it matter?

    Passenger trains still work quite well in some parts of North America. Be it subways or other shorter commuter trains. I wouldn't want to take the train cross country if I was in a hurry but if I had 200 tonnes of hypo to ship I wouldn't want to deal with the airlines either.
     
  18. docholliday

    docholliday Member

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    ...for those who want the "right tool" for the job in digital...use the Betterlight Super 10K-2, at 852MB per file, this "tool" is the perfect back for 4x5 and hasselblad. At $25,000, it's kinda expensive...

    Look at this: http://www.betterlight.com/pages/super_specs.html

    I hate people who tell me that 14MP is the highest that ANYTHING can be right now. Scanning or one-shot or three-shot or 16-shots.

    In case anybody else has heard this garbage. This is the back that makes the arguement end quickly. It's a scanning back, but somewhere on the Betterlight website, there is a huge image of the Paris hotel in Las Vegas they shot. It's just a huge file...
     
  19. Ed Sukach

    Ed Sukach Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (docholliday @ Mar 2 2003, 10:23 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'>...for those who want the "right tool" for the job in digital...use the Betterlight Super 10K-2, at 852MB per file, this "tool" is the perfect back for 4x5 and hasselblad. At $25,000, it's kinda expensive...

    </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Interesting.

    This illustrates what I've been saying about storage.

    Their "Highest Resolution - Enhanced" image contains 852MB. These puppies come with built-in 9GB memory. That means the internal memory can hold 10 images - each of which is too large to fit on a single CD . Uh ... so where DOES one store them afterwards...?
    And ... to get to 852MB requires a capture time (not exposure) of 335 seconds. That is 5 minutes and a half while the internal "PC" setup chugs along. I get antsy waiting for 30 seconds while the Polariod develops...
     
  20. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    And at $25k, it is a bit pricey!

    I mean who wants to come home and say "Honey, instead of buying that new house, why don't we take the down-payment money and spend it on this?"

    O.k. people who REALLY want to piss off their spouses might say that.... [​IMG]
     
  21. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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  22. SteveGangi

    SteveGangi Member

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    Don't you also need a special lens in a special electronic shutter too?
     
  23. G O&#39;Connor

    G O&#39;Connor Member

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    As long as they are still available (which they always will be), and you like yours, why worry? Now with digital you can get some great MF systems real cheap. Check E-Bay and see the prices.
     
  24. David Hall

    David Hall Member

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    I don't think anyone should pay attention to price. I just replaced a $600 first generation DVD with a $69 DVD from Target. That's a 1:10 price differential in just a few years.

    It is very easy to say "Well at $25-thousand dollars, this technology will not really have an impact". It will be $10-thousand next year, and $5-thousand the following year, and $1000 the year that a $25,000 single shot, high-speed 4x5 digital back is introduced, which is just four years before it comes down to $1000, which will be the same year that the 8x10 back....

    And on and on, faster and faster every year. Don't be fooled by high prices.

    dgh
     
  25. bmac

    bmac Member

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    </span><table border='0' align='center' width='95%' cellpadding='3' cellspacing='1'><tr><td>QUOTE (David Hall @ Mar 3 2003, 03:20 PM)</td></tr><tr><td id='QUOTE'> I don't think anyone should pay attention to price. I just replaced a $600 first generation DVD with a $69 DVD from Target. That's a 1:10 price differential in just a few years.

    It is very easy to say &quot;Well at $25-thousand dollars, this technology will not really have an impact&quot;. It will be $10-thousand next year, and $5-thousand the following year, and $1000 the year that a $25,000 single shot, high-speed 4x5 digital back is introduced, which is just four years before it comes down to $1000, which will be the same year that the 8x10 back....

    And on and on, faster and faster every year. Don't be fooled by high prices.

    dgh </td></tr></table><span class='postcolor'>
    Hey you... quit makin' sense!
     
  26. Robert

    Robert Member

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    So how many 4x5 backs will your local mall sell?-)) Never mind things like consumer DVD players. The volume isn't just different it's massively different.