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02-28-2019, 03:57 AM   #31
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
The why I posted here is about how practical medium format is in real life shooting, and when to stop look for larger format depending on what we want to photograph. I mean, if using a heavy tripod is the only way, perhaps we should be aware of it and think twice.
For film, with 50-400 ISO, I've found it is practical in most daylight applications where fps and fast shutter speeds are not essential. With digital giving us usable ISO 800-1600, it's even more practical handheld.

When I use a tripod for MF, I would have also done the same with FF/APS-C/35mm because I was using an ND filter and intentionally shooting long exposures for blur in clouds, water, trees, etc. My opinion is skewed because I only shoot smaller/lighter/faster primes, and may find practicality less true if I used a telephoto zoom.

Ergonomically, most MF are better suited for tripod mounted studio work. For me, however, because of the battery grip and smaller non-interchangeable backs and Keplerian finder, I can carry the 645 all day long. I couldn't say the same for a Bronica, Mamiya, Hasselblad, or even a 67.

02-28-2019, 08:30 AM   #32
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
The why I posted here is about how practical medium format is in real life shooting, and when to stop look for larger format depending on what we want to photograph. I mean, if using a heavy tripod is the only way, perhaps we should be aware of it and think twice.
From a purely practical perspective, fast medium format lenses usually have a maximum aperture around 2.8 with a few lenses coming in with larger apertures (2.4 on P67, 1.9 on Mamiya 645). Once you get outside the "normal lenses", some wides, and 150-165mm portrait lenses, max aperture drops to 3.5 or 4, and a longer focal lengths, 5.6 is pretty common, though Pentax did make a 80mm 2.8 that weighs 17kg. Based on that, and your own experience shooting how often do you shoot faster that those apertures for light gathering reasons (not for DoF reasons)? Like any other lenses, medium format lenses will perform differently at different apertures, but generally, I have found a lot of these lenses to be sharp wide open, or close to it.

At the other end of the spectrum, medium format film cameras usually have slower top shutter speeds (I haven't kept track of digital, so I don't know there.) Most of the leaf shutter cameras top out at 1/500 and focal plane shutter cameras top out at 1/1000. Both are very usable, but if I load 400 speed film in my Bronica, and shoot outdoors in the daylight here (land of over 300 cloudless days a year) sunny 16 gives me two exposure options on most of the bronica lenses: 1/500@16 or 1/250@22.

So practically, compared to to the later generation 35mm film cameras medium format is squeezed at both ends, and is more in need of selecting the appropriate film speed. That one of the reasons I like my Bronica, which uses Hasselblad-style removable film backs. If I don't finish my roll or 400 or 800 speed film and I want to shoot outdoors, I can pop on a back with 100 or 50 speed film without wasting the rest of the roll of 400. Its a shame that the Pentax medium format cameras never had something like that. I also find it useful for traveling so I can quickly switch between color and black and white.
02-28-2019, 09:40 AM   #33
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
So to keep equivalence of DoF, it looks like large format will almost always require using a tripod for shooting at 100 ISO, but 645 medium format would still be usable hand-help in a lot of cases.
User experience would suggest this is the case for all traditional medium formats (645, 6x6, 6x7, and even 6x9), assuming the camera is made for hand-held use. One might point out that the 1/focal shutter speed rule applies to large format as well as the miniature formats. If the camera is designed for hand-hold, "sunny 16" still works.

QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
So to keep equivalence of DoF, it looks like large format will almost always require using a tripod for shooting at 100 ISO
That is a reasonable assumption, thought I would be quick to point out that equivalence is seldom the goal. What is the saying, "Horses for courses"? One typically does not seek equivalence between Shetland Ponies and Belgium draft horses. The larger question might be why one would be interested in shooting large format (4x5" or larger) hand-held at 100 ISO when 400 ISO is so very usable quality-wise?

Much depends on the camera being used. My field camera is designed for field use on tripod only and it excels at that task. There are other 4x5 cameras that are designed to be used hand-held or on-tripod, as the subject and lighting dictate. (Do a Web image search for "handheld 4x5 camera". The variety of available cameras is fairly amazing.)

QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
The why I posted here is about how practical medium format is in real life shooting, and when to stop look for larger format depending on what we want to photograph. I mean, if using a heavy tripod is the only way, perhaps we should be aware of it and think twice.
ROFL...You maybe should have asked how many users on this subforum shoot hand-held and whether they are happy with their results. As for real-life shooting, supplemental light and/or camera support is stock-in-trade for many types of photography, regardless of format. The video below is classic. Note that the photographer is shooting with a Pentax 6x7. The session was for Vogue and included the cover, IIRC. Even with studio strobes, technique is everything to avoid ghosting.



Steve

Last edited by stevebrot; 02-28-2019 at 09:57 AM.
02-28-2019, 09:46 AM   #34
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
Having read somewhere that the 6 cm x 7 cm format was named "the ideal format", I would guess that 6 x 7 delivers high quality image but still being practical (that's my assumption..., I'm not sure about why 6x7 is called "ideal format").
It has been called "ideal" because the aspect ratio translates to an 8x10" enlargement with minimal crop.


Steve


Last edited by stevebrot; 02-28-2019 at 09:55 AM. Reason: word choice
02-28-2019, 09:56 AM   #35
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
The f number is a relative term: the ratio between the size of the aperture and the focal length, the f number was created to simplify the use of exposure metering independent from format. Although, for the same FoV , the lens focal length will be longer with the larger format, so f/5.6 on a longer FL will actually use a larger aperture diameter. So to keep equivalence
As I said, the link in the OP is about equivalence.
Thanks for the kindergarten lesson. I hope you were doing it for your benefit, not mine.

QuoteQuote:
of DoF, it looks like large format will almost always require using a tripod for shooting at 100 ISO, but 645 medium format would still be usable hand-help in a lot of cases. Having read somewhere that the 6 cm x 7 cm format was named "the ideal format", I would guess that 6 x 7 delivers high quality image but still being practical (that's my assumption..., I'm not sure about why 6x7 is called "ideal format").
It was called the ideal format because it enlarged to 8x10 with minimal cropping, unlike the more common at the time square format 6x6 cm that was essentially a 645 if one was making common print sizes.
QuoteQuote:

The why I posted here is about how practical medium format is in real life shooting, and when to stop look for larger format depending on what we want to photograph. I mean, if using a heavy tripod is the only way, perhaps we should be aware of it and think twice.
Everything in life is a compromise. If in your real life shooting you are willing to compromise quality, stay with 35mm. I found for field photography that 4x5 was the better choice, medium format was good for studio portraiture and 35mm was excellent for pictures of my cats.
What we should be thinking twice about is how much quality are we willing to give up for the sake of convenience.
02-28-2019, 09:58 AM   #36
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
It has been called "ideal" because the aspect ratio translates to an 8x10" enlargement with minimum crop.


Steve
Interesting that in the film days it was perhaps ideal because the medium which we viewed the images was typically on paper such as magazines. Now, computer screens are where we see much of our imagery. And that aspect is around 16:9. So today one could argue it's not the ideal aspect ratio anymore.
02-28-2019, 10:18 AM   #37
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
...
The why I posted here is about how practical medium format is in real life shooting...
I shoot a LOT of medium format film. More than my small format digital. It's practical enough for a lot of things. It's practicality all depends on a person's tolerance level of what becomes inconvenient and if they're so sensitive they need the touchy-feely aspect of a camera to give them inspiration to take pictures or not.
02-28-2019, 10:50 AM - 1 Like   #38
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As has been mentioned, the exposure/shutter/aperture/ISO rules are the same for smaller formats - you lose some, you win some. The smaller apertures, longer focal lengths, finer grain and narrower DoF of MF generally work themselves out similar to 35mm (there are some exceptions like the Mamiya 80/1.9 & P6x7 105/2.4).

The bigger difference is in your working methods. Medium format cameras come all types and sizes, but generally you're talking about a lot more weight & bulk - which probably means a new (and heavier) tripod, a bigger/beefier tripod head (especially if you need to turn the camera on it's side), a new (and bigger) bag, a new (possibly expensive) set of filters, perhaps a handheld meter, more (or more powerful) lights. Interchangeable backs are handy (but take up additional space) and detachable prisms can be fairly bulky. The cost of many of these rises exponentially once you get beyond the capacity of 'basic' 35mm styled accessories (if you have some 'pro' grade gear already it's a smaller jump).

This all adds up to more bulk & weight, not only to carry but also to manipulate when shooting: heavier to hold, often darker viewfinders, bellows corrections, more involvement (especially if a dark slide is in the mix) - not all of this is bad, helping to promote better working methods and more attention into the shot.

Medium format is hugely rewarding (film or digital) but it may need a different way of working (and mindset) to get the best out of it - this is more important than lens focal lengths & apertures. It doesn't work all the time for everybody, but when it does, it's magical.

02-28-2019, 11:07 AM   #39
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QuoteOriginally posted by johnha Quote
...
...about a lot more weight & bulk - which probably means a new (and heavier) tripod, a bigger/beefier tripod head (especially if you need to turn the camera on it's side)...
Tripods come in desktop, small, medium and large sizes. My digital gear with zooms weights a lot. More than some of my MF film gear. I use a medium tripod for all my medium format gear unless I have something like a medium format 300mm mounted of course. With my medium format range finder, I even use a small tripod. And if using these smaller tripods caused burry pictures, I wouldn't use them, period.
03-10-2019, 01:12 PM   #40
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if light gathering was a big problem most would never take it out of the studio. take it out and use it like any other camera. we can up the iso and with the Z, a lot and still with good iq. 75% of my work is with a monopod the rest with tripod or hand held. let's K.I.S.
03-10-2019, 11:45 PM   #41
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QuoteOriginally posted by bull drinkwater Quote
if light gathering was a big problem most would never take it out of the studio. take it out and use it like any other camera. we can up the iso and with the Z, a lot and still with good iq. 75% of my work is with a monopod the rest with tripod or hand held. let's K.I.S.
Sure, I see your point, it just confirm what I though: I came to conclude that the larger the format the more adequate it is for wider field of views, and the more often it requires using a tripod. It's good to understand what those system are best at , in order to make the right choices depending on what/how we intend to take photographs.
03-16-2019, 07:18 PM   #42
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The physics are the physics. So the issue becomes, like all photography, one of maximum aperture, shutter speed, and ISO. To me, a small difference between 35mm and MF digital. Especially, with the Z that you can st the ISO to 1600 without detriment. The article edges to large format where the parameters are more constraining due to maximum f.stops of 5.6, 6.3, or 8, depending on the lens and film speeds. Then you add portraiture, where slow shutter speeds become an issue. Recently, I invited my sisters over for a shoot. Ideally, I would have used my 4x5 and Rodenstock 240mm f.8. But, with natural light and Portra 160, it was a no go. I ended up using the Z, the 105mm f.2.4 67 at ISO 800.
03-16-2019, 10:27 PM   #43
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QuoteOriginally posted by biz-engineer Quote
I came to conclude that the larger the format the more adequate it is for wider field of views
That is the part I don't get. There is no particular positive relationship between wide FOV and larger format size.

That being said, wide angle work is expensive on medium format and a pain in the neck with a view camera. With many (most?) 4x5 view cameras, it is hard to attain infinity focus with focal lengths less than 90mm without a special recessed lens board and bag bellows and even then, the camera's movements are often unusable due to physical clearance issues. There are also issues of optical vignette (so-called cosine fourth vignette) at shorter focal lengths.* Longer focal lengths suitable for portraits are much easier to deal with unless the required extension is too long for the camera's design or bellows.


Steve

* Most large format lenses are of symmetrical design with the result that shorter focal length lenses are often quite close to the film surface when at infinity focus. The angular light fall-off can be severe such that lenses sometimes require a special radial gradient ND filter. Great fun, eh?

Last edited by stevebrot; 03-16-2019 at 10:36 PM.
03-17-2019, 08:01 AM   #44
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For even more fun, imagine the lens formula for a 35mm format, 35mm f/2 lens, scaled up by a factor of, say, 4, to have 4X the focal plane image size in each dimension and 4X the aperture diameter. (This means radii of curvature and spacings grow by 4X, but indices of refraction and coating formulae remain as they were. Back focus grows by 4X. Field of view remains the same.)

Such an f/2, 140mm lens would have 4 cubed (64X) the amount (and weight) of glass as the 35mm lens. Diffraction blur angle would be reduced by a factor of 4, but the lens aberration blur circle would grow by a factor of 4 for the same lens formula, so there wouldn't be much resolution advantage at low f/#, thereby defeating the advantage of large format. (This would depend on whether the 35mm lens design was merely adequate for the 35mm film, or better than needed.) For high f/# there would be reduced diffraction blur relative to the 35mm lens (4X in angular space), but then one might as well just build a high f/# lens and save a lot of glass.

Thus nature saved the backs of large format landscape photographers who climb mountains for images to die for.
03-18-2019, 12:13 AM   #45
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QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
That being said, wide angle work is expensive on medium format and a pain in the neck with a view camera. With many (most?) 4x5 view cameras, it is hard to attain infinity focus with focal lengths less than 90mm without a special recessed lens board and bag bellows and even then, the camera's movements are often unusable due to physical clearance issues. There are also issues of optical vignette (so-called cosine fourth vignette) at shorter focal lengths.* Longer focal lengths suitable for portraits are much easier to deal with unless the required extension is too long for the camera's design or bellows.
Thanks for sharing this practical aspect, I had no idea about that (learning here), I appreciate.

QuoteOriginally posted by stevebrot Quote
That is the part I don't get. There is no particular positive relationship between wide FOV and larger format size.
I've noticed that the hyper-focal distance increased roughly by the square of the focal length. In practice, we see that compact cameras can easily produce all in focus images while they struggle with making bokek. It becomes easier to produce decent amounts of out of focus with apsc or 24x36 cameras, while the lens aperture should be closed to get all in focus images. Now I assume that formats larger than 24x36 require even higher f numbers with increasing effects of diffraction. That leads me to think that if I want all in focus images without drop of resolution (diffraction), the larger the "sensor" the wider angle the lens should be [that was my point]. The other possibility to improve sharpness with larger format without stopping down the lens is to tilt the lens to reduce the gap between the plane of focus at the scene and the sensor plane (Scheimpflug principle, camera movements: what I learned).
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