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03-13-2018, 02:01 PM - 1 Like   #16
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I think the 645D is relatively affordable these days, depending on what you can spend. It was cheap compared to Phase and Hasselblad when it came out and now it's like 1/4 of that price. A good value, IMO. Legacy lenses are pretty inexpensive too.
You could probably put a 645D kit together now for less than a typical K-1 kit.

03-13-2018, 02:19 PM - 1 Like   #17
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QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
Is FF even affordable for the average photographer? Larger sensor, larger files, more powerful processor, larger buffer, more battery power, bigger lenses, and then for post-processing with bigger files you need higher end computing hardware. .
It is not affordable for me. I wish I could afford a K1 right now but it ain’t happening until the kids get out of school.
03-13-2018, 02:34 PM - 1 Like   #18
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In casual testing I've found that using a decent dslr with a good macro lens and decent technique to digitise medium format film - the results out performed what I could get from an Imacon.

Having said that, you can make stupidly big prints from imacon files, so to me at least it's kinda academic - I don't have access to any printers larger than 40" wide.
03-13-2018, 02:35 PM - 1 Like   #19
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr Bassie Quote
It is not affordable for me. I wish I could afford a K1 right now but it ain’t happening until the kids get out of school.
The way I got into my 645D was I bought a film 645 to start a lens kit and then down the road a year or two I had saved enough for a 645D body. I already had some lenses (all old primes) to get me started by then.

But yeah, don't get into stuff you can't afford!

03-13-2018, 02:39 PM - 1 Like   #20
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QuoteOriginally posted by mattb123 Quote
The way I got into my 645D was I bought a film 645 to start a lens kit and then down the road a year or two I had saved enough for a 645D body. I already had some lenses (all old primes) to get me started by then.

But yeah, don't get into stuff you can't afford!
I’ve got a 645 and a couple of lenses already. Maybe I should just take the plunge!
03-13-2018, 02:40 PM - 2 Likes   #21
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
I never developed film myself and I'm not aware of film processing being easily available. Are there some in depth articles and / or books to help build a MF film workflow without too many problems?
Processing B+W film isn't difficult at home, unless you're doing zone system (and with that, you'd only be doing the film half. You have to shift gears to do post to mimic zone system). Then it's scanning (which is its own thing). It's time consuming, but not horrendous. Color is more complicated. MF is about the same as 35, just different tanks. So, any B+W film processing guide will do for basics. Then there's the niceties, but there always are. I recommend trying it first at some local school, coop, artists' space, etc.
03-13-2018, 02:40 PM - 1 Like   #22
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QuoteOriginally posted by Mr Bassie Quote
I’ve got a 645 and a couple of lenses already. Maybe I should just take the plunge!
Worked for me!
03-13-2018, 02:43 PM - 2 Likes   #23
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QuoteOriginally posted by rdenney Quote
Rick “recalling that 120 roll film was the most expensive film option, per square inch, of all the formats” Denney
Tex, "who recalls 4x5 was", disagrees!

---------- Post added 03-13-18 at 05:46 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by CDW Quote
A used medium format film camera and film/processing may be initially much cheaper than digital medium format but the costs will quickly add up when high resolution film scans are added to the mix. Flat bed scans will not cut it if you're trying to maximize resolution that medium format film is capable of delivering. You will want drum scans or at the very least scans from a Hasselblad/Imacon type of scanner.

Pentax 645 lenses are once again very cheap on the used market. A Pentax 645D is about $2K used, delivers excellent color and ISO performance is very good even at ISO 800 and acceptable at 1600. That would be my choice of the route to take if I planned to get into medium format again, which I don't.
Disagree with the first bit (it depends what you're looking for...), agree with the second.

---------- Post added 03-13-18 at 05:52 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by rdenney Quote
The point of larger formats is two-fold: 1.) to avoid losing the illusion of endless detail even when closely inspecting larger prints, and 2.) to attain a spacious and smooth rendering resulting from larger pixels or square millimeters of film.

Putting 120 roll film in a flatbed scanner gives up the former, at least. My V750 (which I use for sheet film) is capable of about 2000 sip of real resolution. On a 645 frame, that scanner provides about 14 megapixels, at the outside of that scanner’s capability (meaning: at low MTF). In practice, it won’t match my 13mp Canon 5D.

But putting it in my Nikon film scanner doubles the real linear resolution, giving me 50-60 MP. A native digital camera at that resolution will still beat it handily. How long has it been since that scanner was made?

I need 6x7 in film to start to compete. 4x5 still shows a detail advantage.

But no color film can match the shadow handling and dynamic range of current sensors.

I suspect a 645D and some old lenses is still the cheapest way to get practical medium-format digital with enough of an advantage to be better than (most) 24x36.

Rick “film is hard to sustain and getting harder, except for those of us not counting the cost” Denney
Ah. Well, with this I agree. But in film days I mostly shot 6cmx9cm and 4x5 in. I had the 645N and some lenses because I got a great deal on them, and the N was my gateway drug to the Z. And, like Matt out in beautiful Colorado, it was because I had those lenses that the Z wound up being weirdly more affordable than a total FF kit (at the time. That's changed with the K1...).

03-13-2018, 03:46 PM - 3 Likes   #24
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QuoteOriginally posted by Adam Quote
Follow up question: is it necessary for MF to be accessible, given the performance of digital FF vs 35mm film?
Yes, definitely, as an alternative to digital. MF digital is definitely not accessible, affordable or understandable to everybody, and that is one major reason there is an observed shift in people coming from digital FF to medium format analogue (especially people who have a solid foundation grounding in analogue photography from long ago when the jumped to digital from film), for the simple fact it is affordable and they are not slaves to constant upgrades and technology where cameras do all the thinking for them.

There is a separate, resurgent following in 35mm film, but people are finding there is less of a variety of film available now than in years past, especially E6. Kodak has raised eyebrows by reintroducing TMax P3200 (even though Ilford's Delta P3200 has been around longer and is more flexible), and the reappearance of this particular film is widely interpreted as being a convenient byproduct of the re-engineered Ektachrome emulsion. Let's see what pops around the corner in the future...

Last edited by Silent Street; 03-13-2018 at 04:13 PM.
03-13-2018, 04:25 PM   #25
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QuoteOriginally posted by Silent Street Quote
Yes, definitely, as an alternative to digital. MF digital is definitely not accessible, affordable or understandable to everybody, and that is one major reason there is an observed shift in people coming from digital FF to medium format analogue (especially people who have a solid foundation grounding in analogue photography from long ago when the jumped to digital from film), for the simple fact it is affordable and they are not slaves to constant upgrades and technology where cameras do all the thinking for them.

There is a separate, resurgent following in 35mm film, but people are finding there is less of a variety of film available now than in years past, especially E6. Kodak has raised eyebrows by reintroducing TMax P3200 (even though Ilford's Delta P3200 has been around longer and is more flexible), and the reappearance of this particular film is widely interpreted as being a convenient byproduct of the re-engineered Ektachrome emulsion. Let's see what pops around the corner in the future...
To clarify, I was referring to digital MF. I would consider film MF to already be more than accessible, but 645 kits costing just a couple hundred collars.

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03-13-2018, 06:15 PM - 1 Like   #26
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
I never developed film myself and I'm not aware of film processing being easily available.
I've got one photo store within 10 minutes of my house that will develop, scan, and print, and another smaller one that will gladly send your film to be developed and scanned by some other store. Of course, I live in North Jersey, and the first photo store in question is Unique Photo... but there's also plenty of mail-order labs like The FIND Lab and The Darkroom.

QuoteOriginally posted by Alex645 Quote
Is FF even affordable for the average photographer? Larger sensor, larger files, more powerful processor, larger buffer, more battery power, bigger lenses, and then for post-processing with bigger files you need higher end computing hardware.
Which is why I bought a 12 MP Canon 5D for $300 and put slow but high-quality lenses on it.
03-13-2018, 07:09 PM - 1 Like   #27
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I will be buying MF FF whenever the price drops to 5K. I may have to wait for another 5years, I will wait. Buying two FF cameras in a span of 5 years roughly costs 5k. So my approach is resist the incremental upgrades, and save for the big one. That is why I am not buying 645D even though it is cheap. Price of electronics comes down so I expect sensor prices to come down.
03-13-2018, 08:57 PM - 1 Like   #28
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"I need 6x7 in film to start to compete. 4x5 still shows a detail advantage."

For the vast majority of purposes, even extremely large prints up to 1 metre across, 6x7 is fine.
"Detail advantage"?? This is a eons-long furphy. There is miniscule difference between 6x7 and 4x5 (and even then, LF requires additional metrics to bring out the very best e.g. deep Av values, movements and corrections etc.), but more subtantive difference in detail from larger sizes of 8x10 where things get very serious (and unwieldly...). I do have an Ebony SV45Ti and 3 top-drawer S-K lenses (all up about $11,000 for the kit) but it was not bought for resolution nor detail, but in addition to teaching advanced LF practice, to keep my own early photographic grounding active and polished across all formats, not just roll film.
03-13-2018, 10:16 PM   #29
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Medium format and the masses

“Fine” is not what I seek. I can see the difference between 4x5 shot at f/11 versus f/22 versus f/45 printed to only 16x20. I’m trying to preserve the illusion of infinite detail in the print. It’s a demanding standard, and I often don’t achieve it, but I want to invite the viewer to come close without punishing him for doing so. I’m not that much of a believer in “proper viewing distance”.

The main advantage 6x7 has for me is that it will fit in my Nikon scanner, while 4x5 won’t. That evens it up. But I know what I see even with a 4x loupe, and I know what I see up close to prints.

Rick “who prefers to print at 720 pixels/inch, but is scanner-limited to about 500 printed to 16x20” Denney

---------- Post added 03-13-18 at 10:47 PM ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by texandrews Quote
Tex, "who recalls 4x5 was", disagrees!
...
Ah. Well, with this I agree. But in film days I mostly shot 6cmx9cm and 4x5 in. I had the 645N and some lenses because I got a great deal on them, and the N was my gateway drug to the Z. And, like Matt out in beautiful Colorado, it was because I had those lenses that the Z wound up being weirdly more affordable than a total FF kit (at the time. That's changed with the K1...).


I had a 645N before there was such a thing as digital medium format. And I still use my 67. But film is too slow and too narrow to permit long lenses with the tripods I can get on a plane (including my Gitzo 3532). I don’t do much black and white. I have had trouble with even the 200 on a medium tripod. At ISO 100, I am shooting at 1/30 on a cloudy day at f/16, and I’d prefer to be at f/22. That is in the danger zone for a long lens. With the 645z, I can easily be at 1/1000, and will have another three stops of floor room in the shadows compared even to negative film. That is an enormous difference for travel photography that requires air travel, when I can’t bring my biggest tripods.

When I’m working out of my car trunk, I can use the big stuff. More and more, I’ll be using film only when at home or traveling by car.

As to cost, I don’t remember the source of the claim and I certainly paid a lot for the quickloads in my freezer. But part of it was the efficiency afforded by sheet film—never any wasted shots to get a roll out of the camera.

Rick “larger formats are less demanding of lenses, which makes the biggest difference in kit cost” Denney
03-13-2018, 11:43 PM   #30
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QuoteOriginally posted by texandrews Quote
Processing B+W film isn't difficult at home, unless you're doing zone system (and with that, you'd only be doing the film half. You have to shift gears to do post to mimic zone system). Then it's scanning (which is its own thing). It's time consuming, but not horrendous. Color is more complicated. MF is about the same as 35, just different tanks. So, any B+W film processing guide will do for basics. Then there's the niceties, but there always are. I recommend trying it first at some local school, coop, artists' space, etc.
Thanks a lot for providing some directions.

---------- Post added 14-03-18 at 07:49 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by Scintilla Quote
I've got one photo store within 10 minutes of my house that will develop, scan, and print, and another smaller one that will gladly send your film to be developed and scanned by some other store. Of course, I live in North Jersey, and the first photo store in question is Unique Photo... but there's also plenty of mail-order labs like The FIND Lab and The Darkroom.
That's in the US, definitely I've got to do some research in my region.... humm Yes, in Germany, they exist!

Last edited by biz-engineer; 03-13-2018 at 11:49 PM.
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