New here and have a dilemma...

Discussion in 'Medium Format Cameras and Accessories' started by luvmydogs, Jul 20, 2004.

  1. luvmydogs

    luvmydogs Member

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    Hi,

    I am not sure where to post this question, but I am hoping to get some (objective) opinions from you guys, since you all seem to have so much more experience than I do.

    I currently have a full 35mm set up - both digital (Nikon D100) and film (F5). Since I've been digitizing most of my photos, the image quality from the D100 and the F5 is really quite similar (I can't tell, and in fact, often the D100 images look better printed than a scanned slide from my dedicated film scanner).

    So...my question is this...should I sell my F5 (along with several of my lenses) and get a MF setup? It seems easy at first, but my problem is that I have a lot of good glass that I'd be selling - my 17-35mm f/2.8, my 20-70 f/2.8, and my 85mm f/1.4, along with my F5. I'd be left with my D100, my 105 macro, the 50mm f/1.4 and my 80-200 f/2.8. I've been looking at the Hasselblad 501CW with a 80mm f/2.8 and A12 back, or something similar to that to replace my F5 and all the lenses I'd be selling.

    I'm just not sure what to do...with the F5 and the D100, I feel like I have two very similar systems, and the F5 doesn't seem to provide anything too much above and beyond my D100 (I don't shoot action so the speed of the F5 is not important to me). I do enjoy landscape and still life, and street photography (candids) though. So...is this a stupid question? Any opinions/suggestions would be appreciated!!
     
  2. bobfowler

    bobfowler Subscriber

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    Sure, the D100 is a nice camera (I can't believe I just typed that in an "all analog" forum), but...

    The first time you want the look of Tri-X in Rodinal, you'll be back in a store buying a film body when you discover that digital won't do it.

    Having said that, is keeping what you have and adding to the arsenal an financial option? Have you actually used a Hassey yet, or are you basing the decision on marketing information? If you haven't shot with one, I'd suggest a rental for a weekend and a couple of pro-packs of film. There are other MF fish in the sea...
     
  3. modafoto

    modafoto Subscriber

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    I think trading the F5 for a Hasselblad is a good thing when you have a nice DSLR. When shooting landscape and still life you will be very happy with the larger negative or positive you'll get. And the 6x6 negative will leave the D100 behind in detail and overall sharpness.
    Then you'll have two cams that will be usable for different things.

    Greetings Morten
     
  4. matt miller

    matt miller Subscriber

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    Have you thought about large format? For the most part, it's cheaper than Hassy, and better (IMO) for landscape & still life.
     
  5. luvmydogs

    luvmydogs Member

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    Matt and Bob...you are not making my dilemma any easier!!!! :smile: :smile:

    Let's just forget I said hasselblad. How about just trading in my F5 for a medium format? Knowing myself, LF won't do b/c I just won't want to take it out (too big).

    Bob, I figure I'd keep the 35 mm format in digital...I'd still have a great macro lens (105mm f/2.8), a 50mm f/1.4, and a good telephoto zoom (80-200mm f/2.8). I just can't see myself having and using the digital, the F5 and all the other lenses that I can sell, plus a MF camera. Though I will say that initially, the only lens that I will have on my MF camera will be a standard (cannot afford to buy more right away).

    Cheers
     
  6. wdemere

    wdemere Member

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    You might want to read the stuff at www.luminous-landscape.com if you haven't already.

    In particular the archive of Mike Johnston's articles. There is one in there on large format photography that is sort of apropos to your problem in a round-about sort of way:

    http://www.luminous-landscape.com/essays/LF-Con.htm

    In my opinion, there isn't much difference in sharpness or detail between medium format and digital, but that is obviously up for debate. Having already drunk the digital kool-aid I'm not sure you would get any benefits out of medium format. Large format might make more sense, but it all has to do with what you take pictures of, what processes you like to use, etc. Each format has its own strengths and weaknesses.
     
  7. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

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    I've been searching everywhere but I just can't find an 8 track to play my Johnny Cash tapes on.
     
  8. Shesh

    Shesh Member

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    What is the motivation behind going from 35mm to medium format with a film camera? If your usage for both formats are the same and you are satisfied with the results from F5, why do you want to change to MF?
     
  9. Leon

    Leon Member

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    I'd immediately sell the digi-monster and buy another film camera - preferably of a larger format.

    Not that helpful ... but what did you expect from a bunch of analogue nuts???
     
  10. Tom Duffy

    Tom Duffy Member

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    Same question as Shesh. What would you use the medium format for? Higher quality slides or something different like black and white, or have you decided that the F5 is now redundant and you want to expand your horizons? Maybe just sell the F5 equipment?
     
  11. jnanian

    jnanian Advertiser Advertiser

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    hi luvmydogs -

    i'd be in the camp that would say sell the 35mm go right to a large format camera. :smile: you can get a decent LF field camera ( speed / crown graphic ) for not too much $$ and a hand full of lenses for what you might pay for a good medium format set-up ...
     
  12. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    I think it is a mistake to equate MF and 35mm too much. They are pretty different and how you use them will be different.

    A few key points -

    MF maxes out at 1/500 usually. That is pretty slow for some work. BUT it flash synchs at all speeds. Great for studio work.

    MF handles VERY differently. This is not a "grab and go" camera.

    What I would do is this -

    Split the difference.

    Sell off the F5 body and maybe a lens or two.

    Buy an N80. Yes, buy a NEW or slightly USED N80. Why? Because it is cheap (last I checked around $400.00) and will take ALL your lenses and makes a GREAT backup for the D100. In fact they use the same body.

    Take the rest of your cash and........

    Don't buy a Hassy.

    I know, this may sound odd, but the Hassy system is expensive and you may not like MF when all is said and done.

    Take that cash and buy something else. Used.

    I suggest the Bronica ETR system.

    Bodies can be had cheaply, the lenses are VERY good, and are cheap. At KEH.com you can get a nice ETRs with a 75mm lens (this is a "normal" lens like a 50mm on 35mm), with a 120 back, a finder, and a Speedgrip for around $600.00. The nice thing about the Bronica system is that it is VERY compatible. Very few things to worry about compatibility-wise. I use one and it is VERY nice, VERY reliable, and VERY underrated.

    I mean, you could easily get $1,000ish for a lens or two and an F5 body (depending on condition....) and get an MF starter AND a good film back-up body for the D100.
     
  13. dr bob

    dr bob Member

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    LUVMYDOGS: Unless you are not expecting to go for traditional b&w, processing and developing yourself, and if you are completely happy with the digital then, by all means, sell the F5 and associated ancillaries. You will need the cash for updates, back-up storage devices, and a new camera when your digital a.) fails after the warrantee expires (you won't be able to get it fixed), or b.) you need to purchase the newest, up-to-date model.
     
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  15. philldresser

    philldresser Subscriber

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    If you are not considering the LF option I believe Robert Kennedy's advice is spot on. That is what I would do if I were going down that road.

    Phill
     
  16. luvmydogs

    luvmydogs Member

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    <sigh> this is hard.

    But thanks for everyone's input and suggestions. I did go visit one of the larger camera stores in the city here, and have basically also come to the conclusion that I am not going to buy a Hasselblad any time soon. My main concern is that the F5 does not do much that my D100 can't do, but since I do enjoy B&W and have started developing my own film, perhaps I should think about trading the F5 in for MF. But from what most people say here, it may be more worthwhile to take a look at LF. This just tells me one thing - I'll have to give more thought as to what kind of photography I want to do.

    Thanks for everyone's help.
     
  17. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    I would se if someone here in your area couldn't help out and spend a day shooting LF with you. You could see what it entails.

    LF is VERY different from....well....EVERYTHING. It is a quantum leap from 35mm.

    Then again, to cheaply get into LF, just buy and old Crown Graphic and a couple of film holders. $2-300 should easily do that, and have a good, cheap, intro LF.

    Plus those Graphics look REALLY cool....
     
  18. Andre R. de Avillez

    Andre R. de Avillez Member

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    Don't forget about a tripod... I bet my flimsy plastic one wouldn't hold a 4x5 for more than a few seconds before it snapped.
     
  19. kwmullet

    kwmullet Subscriber

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    My advice would be to just stick with what you have for the time being. The differences between DSLR and 35mm resolution might be slight , but there are huge differences in the capacity to record subtle tonal differences, especially as you get down toward the darker end of your tonal range. If you have to sell something to advance your photo pursuits, I'd say sell a lens or two to buy some darkroom equipment and spend the next year or so learning how to get the best black and white images you can out of your 35mm camera. I don't think you'll regret doing so, and you'll be better equipped at the end of that year to know into which basket you want to put your eggs.

    -KwM-
     
  20. Sean

    Sean Admin Staff Member Admin

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    I recently picked up a mint condition Mamiya 645 Super with metered finder, 120 back, 55mm, 80mm, and 150mm C lenses for $940US on ebay. I haven't used the kit yet so can not comment on it, but I hear great things about it..
     
  21. Aggie

    Aggie Member

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    Mamiya's are great cameras. I have two of them. Problem you may experience if you make the jump to LF without much experience of doing a lot of your won development and such is, it is a whole different way of photography. It is slower and more methodical. You ned to calculate out exposure. It is not as portable. I love it, but it is more of a love hate relationship. As for which camera to get rid of, I would sell the D100 and lens while the market will still pay you a decent amount for it. In a year or two it maynot be worth much. the F5 if you want to really have a kick, I would sell too. Get a smaller digigizmo that has some good optics and you will have around for 3 to 5 more years. Get a good Mf system and a tripod. Pentax makes a good 6x7 format camera with good lenses. With that size of negative, you will probably turn your back on digital for the forseeable future. Ebay has them a lot cheaper.

    In the end it comes down to what you shoot like. If it is on the move and speed you want, few medium formats have that capability. A rangefinder is smaller and has more portability in MF. The MF rangefinder has it's drawbacks if you like to shoot telephoto. It is all a matter of tradeoffs and what you want to do. Most important, I would get a good tripod and a light meter and learn to sue them. forget about the center weighted metering of the 35mm and see what you can do with experimenting with exposures. You just may find that your 35mm photography improves enough that you won't want the digigizmo any longer.

    This is all just the old redheads opinions.
     
  22. jd callow

    jd callow Moderator Staff Member Moderator

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    I deal with digital, 35mm, mf (film and digital) and large format everyday.

    Unless we're talking about a holga, there is a world of difference between digital and MF. If you are just talking about sharpness, breadth of colour, and latitude, film is far superior. If your talking about workflow, digital output, fast turn around and grainfree/pixel free smaller enlargements than digital is v good.

    No flame is intended, but I keep hearing this said (by people who bring in their files, and on the net) and it simply is fantasy.

    One thing that may lead people to believe this is when properly res'd up there is no grain minimal pixelation, but no *real* detail either.

    Sorry for the rant. Back on topic...

    35mm slr's do many things well and most everything at least ok. They are very versatile. You may wish to try a number of cameras with an eye toward specialization. RF's for street and travel, 2x3 horsman or similar for landscape and architectural or a box style slr for studio.

    If you just want to grab the camera and 'go' shoot handheld and not have a lot to carry A rangefinder or TLR may be the ticket.

    Just my 2¢
     
  23. luvmydogs

    luvmydogs Member

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    Dr. Bob: I am definitely not completely happy with digital...I have found that I really enjoy developing my B&W films.
     
  24. luvmydogs

    luvmydogs Member

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    Aggie, mrcallow, KwM, and the rest:

    Thanks again!!!! I truly appreciate you guys taking the time to respond. KwM - I am going to do what you suggested. I recently started shooting B&W, and found that it is, for me, an immensely gratifying and satisfying experience, and can't believe I waited so long to do it. Developing the negs myself was not only fun, but i found the process so rewarding. I think this is what originally started getting me thinking about MF...I didn't get nearly the same gratification using Photoshop! But what you said really makes sense - at this stage of my photography, what I use really has nothing to do with much...I will take what I have and try to improve as much as I can on shooting B&Ws, and in a few years, go from there.

    I really appreciate everyone's candidness and objectiveness. And yes, the next thing I'm going to have to buy is an enlarger...I guess I'll go to the darkroom forum to enquire about that. I'd love to do my own prints.
     
  25. Robert Kennedy

    Robert Kennedy Member

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    Callow -

    I recently had to do a large 20x30 color print for someone of a landscape. Cost was an issue, so digital output was the way to go.

    The camera used though was a Crown Graphic with an old 125mm lens and 4x5 Velvia 100.

    The guys at the lab could tell I didn't do digital because "digital breaks down at this size".
     
  26. Mateo

    Mateo Subscriber

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    I really appreciate everyone's candidness and objectiveness. And yes, the next thing I'm going to have to buy is an enlarger...I guess I'll go to the darkroom forum to enquire about that. I'd love to do my own prints.[/QUOTE]



    You might want to consider skipping the enlarger and get big camera and a vacuum easel. I wish I had started that way.