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04-03-2012, 04:06 PM   #1
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Please convince me to go 67...

So right now I use a K5. I use it for a lot of things, but when I'm doing landscapes I sometimes find the detail lacking. In some cases I'm able to stich together a lot of images with fantastic results... but it's somewhat tedious and very hit/miss in terms of getting everything perfect; and really can't be used at all for seascapes and other pictures of things that move.

I've considered purchasing a 645 or a 67 (various types of both as they come up for sale) for a bit more detail, but I wanted to listen to those who've used it and their opinions on the results compared to both 'lesser' formats like k5 both stiched and unstiched, and 'greater' formats like 4x5, etc. I'm not a big fan of film grain, I'm just looking for good detail.

Thanks!

04-03-2012, 10:27 PM   #2
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Don't do it. Medium format is a gateway drug. First its 6x4.5 then you'll want 6x7 & 6x6. Next thing you know you've got a Linhof in your shopping cart at B&H. But that won't be big enough either. Nope, sooner than later you'll be converting a box truck into a wet plate camera...

Seriously though, I am in love with medium format. I am using my 645 more and more, to the point that it is what I mentally reach for first. The K20D is my fallback, or camera of convenience.
The larger image plane creates a greater sense of depth in all your photos, and I think it is that perceptual difference more than raw resolution, is what you really sense with medium format and larger formats.
04-04-2012, 08:09 AM   #3
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Your post brings a whole host of things to mind, along with a number of questions.....

What lenses are you using? I ask this because, I have (or am) traveling down a similar path with no conclusion or destination as of yet. I like wide angle, landscapes - and really enjoy the additional detail. I have stitched, and in a number of situations, have not obtained the desired results. What I have found is that lenses certainly are a key component in all of this. I have this one test spot near the house that I experiment with - trying to catch a certain look at sunset - with mixed results - using both wide and stitching, along with bracketing and stacking, separately and together.
  • DA 10-17 - I really like this lens. Its certainly wide enough, and I can frame to minimize the distortion. The contrast and colors it produces are fantastic. However with the wide field of view on the sensor, you loose detail, as each individual pixel has to cover a wider field of view.
  • DA 12-24 - One of my most favorite lenses. Its field of view is great and I have done a lot of stitching with it. Its contrast and colors when compared to the 10-17 can be lacking in certain cases, and I don't know why. This said, with a smaller field of view, the detail certainly increases.
  • DA 16-45 - I have not shot with this in a while, since I need to send it in to get the focus gears repaired. But with its even narrower field of view the detail increases even more. It has wonderful contrast and colors with it and the zoom range for me certainly adds to its flexibility. Since it needs repair, and with the acquisition of the 31 and 28, I do find that I have not been really missing it though - come to think of it.
  • FA 31 Ltd and Carl Zeiss 28/2.8 Distagon - I'll group theses two lenses together, because in terms of landscapes and detail, still using something reasonably wide, neither of these lenses can be beat. Their optical qualities are captured by the sensor, and the amount of detail is beyond question. Their color and contrast are extraordinary, although each has its own character, they are both equally great in slightly different directions. I do have to point out there is some inequity here in comparing a couple of fantastic primes against zooms - and their respective focal lengths just amplifies the differences in this respect.
Now obviously its impossible to capture the field of view of the 10-17, with the detail of the 31, in a single image on any ASP-c sensor. Stitching is certainly possible, and your ability to capture a landscape is certainly enhanced by good mechanical support (tripod, head - ability to setup and pan level). Increased focal length does enhance the ability to capture detail, just through the reduction of field of view as the scene is projected on the fixed sized sensor. Stitching helps get around this limitation. However, let's not forget the capabilities of the stitching software, along with the lighting conditions and composition in aiding the post production software to stitch correctly and accurately (i.e., it can be difficult to stitch landscape compositions at night). There are a lot of factors at play here - mainly limited by the sensor's size.

There is the obvious difference between film and digital. Digital is certainly easier to work with, however there is the definitely the limitations of sensor size as opposed to film. Larger sensors - film does have its advantages.

Larger format cameras - larger size, larger glass, etc., were all developed just for this purpose. Its a trade off of the various compromises that photography is filled with.

For me, the K5 is the right size, and I was able to get it at a reasonable price. I am not going to switch makes and start over, so for me Pentax is it (and I am not sorry in the least about my selection). The most I can go is full frame, but I have not specifically looked for FF lenses. Film has additional costs in both time and funds, plus I like the immediacy of digital.

I once read a post here (at least I think that it was here), that the person wound up next to an older film photographer with a large view camera. They were both shooting the same scene. It took the film guy 10 minutes to setup and frame the scene, checking everything twice in a very methodical way. Waiting for the right moment, and then finally taking the image. The poster burned through a number of images, When the film guy was packing up, they were talking and the film guy said something to the effect, that yes, he needs to take his time and check everything since it costs him $15 an image and he needs to get it right the first time.

04-04-2012, 08:38 AM   #4
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A medium format film camera doesn't sound like the camera for you. You need a good scanner to get a good digital file and its a lot of work if you do it yourself. It is not point-n-shoot like your digital and there is a learning curve to getting good film shots. Why not just get a 645D or D800 if detail and its sterile look you like is your goal.


Last edited by tuco; 04-04-2012 at 09:23 AM.
04-04-2012, 08:54 AM   #5
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You need a full frame digital camera, or, if you can afford it, a 645D.

Using the 6X7, I used to get half a dozen really good images from a day of shooting, if I was lucky and focused. With the k-5, I may get two or three dozen good images in a day. The flexibility of digital is impressive. Film, processing, and a good scanner are also quite expensive.

Some folks enjoy the film process. If you have no special feel for it, leave it alone.
04-04-2012, 09:20 AM   #6
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Something I miss with digital is fine detail....
I used a 6x7 for many years, as well as 4x5. On optical prints of ~11x14, there really isn't much to say between the 2 formats for fine detail. The 6x7 format isn't being pushed past it's boundaries, and the 4x5 isn't printing large enough yet to show off it's advantages.
At 16x20, the 4x5 is showing an advantage for detail and grain.
However, for landscapes, the 6x7 has problems with depth of field that the 4x5 doesn't have. Shots that were routine with 4x5 were impossible with the 6x7 because it's impossible to secure sufficient depth of field with the 6x7. It's something to be aware of. If your shooting is always vista type scenic, the 6x7 is fine, but if you really need near/far DOF, the 6x7 isn't the best. I never did get into scanning film. I stayed with optical printing, so if you plan on scanning, there may be factors which will cause you to rethink one format over another.
If you want a nice 6x7 system, I have one that is languishing in my storage, and is looking for a new home.
04-04-2012, 09:24 AM   #7
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I shoot both 4X5 and medium format (6X6). Most of my film shooting is black and white which I process and print in a darkroom. If you are shooting colour film to scan I would agree with Civietti in that if grain or film are not special to you there are other alternatives that might be much better suited to you and your style. I do have a Nikon scanner for my medium format film but still the majority of my film is B&W and the majority of my colour is digital.

Depending on where you live you might be able to rent a medium format camera (film or digital) for a weekend which is usually the same rental cost as one day during the week. You might find working MF is for you or you might be totally frustrated. Myself I will not give up my Hasselblad regardless how good digital gets as there is so much enjoyment in shooting it and the entire wet processing route. But I borrowed one before I bought and once I used it I was hooked. Had used TLR and LF prior to that but there is the one system or format that sometimes just feels right.
04-04-2012, 09:32 AM   #8
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Yes, B&W is different. Film B&W remains quite attractive. The zone system still rocks.

04-04-2012, 09:39 AM   #9
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Actually, you can focus stack with the figital work flow and a 6x7 film format just like everyone does with digital cameras and landscapes to take care of the DOF issue.
04-04-2012, 02:50 PM   #10
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The Pentax 67 should be able to outperform your K5, given that it is 16MP. If used with fine grain film (RMS 8) and the best lenses in the lens lineup, the P67 can make sharp prints at 24 x 30 inch size. In an attempt to extract the detail/color off the slide with a scanner, it can degrade what was there, unless you use a pro level machine (Hasselblad X5 etc). Optical enlargements do very well with slide film. There are some super fine grained print films as well.

If you need a much bigger difference than what the 67 can give you, a 4x5 could be the answer. The 645D is fine if you want to spend lots of cash.

Last edited by desertscape; 04-04-2012 at 04:46 PM.
04-04-2012, 04:14 PM   #11
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
Actually, you can focus stack with the figital work flow and a 6x7 film format just like everyone does with digital cameras and landscapes to take care of the DOF issue.
Everyone? That's a big word.

Focus stacking is not really a good answer, and will only work with some scenes.
04-04-2012, 05:30 PM   #12
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QuoteOriginally posted by Wheatfield Quote
Everyone? That's a big word.

Focus stacking is not really a good answer, and will only work with some scenes.
I agree. But I'd put up money that a majority those awesome landscape shots you see from medium format digital (and many FF) cameras from high-end photographers which include incredibly sharp near objects to far with wild colors are focus stacked and exposure blended. It is the one-two punch of landscape photography today it seems.

Last edited by tuco; 04-04-2012 at 05:39 PM.
04-04-2012, 07:15 PM   #13
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I got the 6x7 (film) bug and have ended up with three Asahi Pentax 6x7 bodies and several lenses.

Some observations:

Fun? Yes!

But:

Rather heavy (and expensive).

When using Medium Format (vis a vis 35mm) the lenses are not only twice as big but also twice as long (so, 50mm for 135 format becomes a 100mm lens, therefore, telephoto quickly becomes impractical.) Similarly, the large size of the "receptor" makes macro problematic and, in the case of the Asahi 6x7, the available "Macro" lens only goes down to 1:3 ration of reproduction.

That said, its is great fun to use, and the results can be very satisfying.
04-04-2012, 07:30 PM   #14
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QuoteOriginally posted by interested_observer Quote
Your post brings a whole host of things to mind, along with a number of questions.....

What lenses are you using?
I would use the 67, most likely, as a 15mm limited replacement (including crops of the 15mm, it doesn't have to be the exact equivalent focal length). If I had to pick my favorite lens, it's the 15. If I go walking with two lenses, they're usually the 15 and the 40.

Thanks for your other comments. Actually, thanks to everyone for their comments. I'm at a bit of a crossroads, that's for sure.
04-04-2012, 07:33 PM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by tuco Quote
A medium format film camera doesn't sound like the camera for you. You need a good scanner to get a good digital file and its a lot of work if you do it yourself. It is not point-n-shoot like your digital and there is a learning curve to getting good film shots. Why not just get a 645D or D800 if detail and its sterile look you like is your goal.
I don't have a problem getting a scanner (actually already have one, but don't have a fantastic one) or sending them out to be scanned. FWIW I shoot my K5 in full manual mode about 20-40% of the time and in TAv/AF mode the rest of the time, so I won't be starting from square one. In fact for 100% of the pictures I'd be using the 67 for, I currently am shooting 100% manually.

I'd like a 645D but I just can't justify putting that much money into a body when pentax doesn't have that great of a legacy of digital support/continuity.
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