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09-04-2010, 04:45 AM   #1
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Can't afford the 645D, what is the alternative for landscape.

Ok! There can never be a true alternative to the MF in a FF, but that comparison tells what I am looking for in this alternative camera, and most importantly what I am not looking for.

Purposes for the camera : landscape

What I don't need: Fast AF, FPS, high iso performance.

What I do need: MP and resolution for large prints (30X20 and slightly large), excellent Dynamic range and exquiste tonality and most importanly a RAW file that is malleable and stands up to extreme manipulations.

Can't afford the 645D. so neither can I afford the 6k+ FF's either. So, I think the candidates that are left are the Canon 5Dii or Sony A850.

I am not planning to move on at all......The DA21 and the FA43 are never leaving me, and I am very content for now. This is just a thought experiment for me.

Will the 5Dii or A850 offer an advantge I am looking for in real life (not on paper, PLEASE!), and if so which one is better (Please try to give Sony a chance, and don't vote for popularity). OR do I have to go with either the D3X or 645D to get real life differences for things that matter to me?

Last edited by pcarfan; 09-04-2010 at 04:59 AM.
09-04-2010, 05:45 AM - 1 Like   #2
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nikon D3X is overpriced in my opinion, I own a D3 and I am content to use it as My high ISO camera. The Canon 1DsMKIII with the Canon TS-E 45mm f/2.8 is my landscape camera of choice. However, I still use 8X10 format which blasts the canon clean out of the water at 30"X40". though, it is important to note the lenses I use for LF are diffraction limited and in conjunction with my favourite film Kodak Tech-Pan 25 or T-Max 100 which are very high resolution film and my 4Kg tripod and my LF technique. The results do come at the significant cost of effort on my part, but I think the Image quality of 8X10 will never be surpassed within the next 10 years.

In the end, nothing can replace the effect using a larger film/sensor will have on the final Image and the differences in tonal rendition, micro-contrast, resolution are things unique to each camera format.

I think the sony A850 would be a good alternative for the price. As far as I know the 5D uses the same sensor as the canon 1 series bodies, and frankly the canon DLSRs have been ticking me off lately due to the fact that there is chrominance noise present at base ISO and the whole banding conundrum. Canon lenses are good, but I think they have lost the plot with their sensors. Sony, as they always have been are pretty good. The Kodak sensor in the 645D is an unknown quantity as far as i'm concerned.I have only seen it's JPG output - as outstanding as it is don't get me wrong but JPG can only tell you so much about what is really going on at the sensor level.

the only issue I can see with going with sony is the issue of lenses. Certain Minolta Rokkor are renowned for their exquisite performance However such lenses are likely to be discontinued and will most likely command high prices on the second hand market.

Last edited by Digitalis; 09-04-2010 at 07:52 AM.
09-04-2010, 07:33 AM   #3
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Personally I'd get the A850.

The Luminous Landscape has written extensively on the A900/A850. Lot's of great information from a landscape shooter point-of-view:
Sony Alpha 850 Review
09-04-2010, 08:04 AM   #4
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A Sony A850 would be the cheapest route there, although the Canon 5D Mark II gives you the option of using those nice Canon tilt shift primes.

Have you considered film as an option? You could build up your future 645D system by buying a film 645 or 67ii system and a good scanner for half the price of full frame digital.

09-04-2010, 08:40 AM   #5
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I would also recommend the A850. The 5D II is a great camera with many positive qualities, but it does suffer from banding which normally is a non-issue but since you mention that you want to abuse the raw file pretty heavily I would consider that a potential red flag.

If you can live with slightly lower resolution and don't mind the weight, consider a 1Ds Mark II (16.6 MP, full frame). It is an older camera now, but still cranks out incredible files and you can manipulate the hell out of them without things getting ugly. I have pulled ISO 800 shots up three stops with no real issues (though I would not make a 20x30 from the result, I did print some 11x14 that looked excellent from it).

Or you could go serious old school and get a Kodak SLR/c
09-04-2010, 08:53 AM   #6
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and working on your skills with stitching pictures does that help?
09-04-2010, 09:03 AM   #7
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645D seems to be the only viable option tbh.
The rest of the choices are simply to close to justify in terms of resolution and IQ
09-04-2010, 09:08 AM   #8
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The Pentax LX or K2 and a good film scanner!

The LX and K2 have extra large mirrors so you avoid a partial viewfinder blackout at extreme focal lengths. If that doesn't matter to you, then almost any Pentax film camera will do.

You can also go MF quite inexpensively with a 645 and a film scanner.

09-04-2010, 09:20 AM   #9

QuoteOriginally posted by pcarfan Quote
So, I think the candidates that are left are the Canon 5Dii or Sony A850.
One point worth considering is that AFAIK, the Sony can easily use all M42 lenses with the adapter while you'd get mirror problems using certain M42 lenses on a Canon 5D unless you pay extra to modify the mirror.
09-04-2010, 09:46 AM   #10
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I think I'd most prefer to use medium-format film for landscape. Of course, B&W is my medium of choice, even if there's just something about a big color neg.
A 6x7 would be pretty nice, or an old 6x9 folder.

Maybe a 4x5 field camera. (I've long wanted to convert like a Speed Graphic for the purpose, for the project's sake if nothing else. )

I don't see the speed of digital providing me with much advantage, at least not the way I do landscape, though fatigue is a factor, as well as my tendency to chase fleeting light rather than set up and wait, so keeping set-up time reasonable is of importance to me.

I'd consider film, though. It's still very suited to the task, and can really bring character to things. If you hope to one day get a 645D, you could start with a film 645: while it wouldn't be my first choice for the task of itself, it's still a substantial negative and the optics are great. (Me, I'd probably rather combine a 67II with some of the older 6x7 glass, and worry not about digital, but that's me. My digital skillset is really nothing to write home about, at least as yet, anyway, so it'd be a clearer choice for me than it might be for you.)

And, as for the money, you could make a *lot* of images on film, getting primo results, before you caught up to the entry cost on a FF or MF digital body.
09-04-2010, 10:52 AM   #11
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I can't comment on the film domain, but if you want to stay digital and go for landscaping without blowing too much cash, I'd be looking at a Canon 5D Mk2 with a Carl Zeiss Distagon 21mm f/2.8 or a Canon TS-E 17mm f/4. Both lenses are awesomely sharp primes on full frame to make the most of those megapixels. The Nikon D3X would give you more resolution, but it's about 4 times the price for the body alone so it will blow the bank account easily. However, if you have the cash then why not.

The Sony A850 would be the cheapest body option, but I think i'd miss the lack of live view since I exclusively use manual focus with live view for all of my landscape shots to make sure the focus is precise. As far as I'm aware, there is no Distagon in a Sony mount which is a shame.

Edit: I've just read that the TS-E 17mm can't use filters, so the TS-E 24mm could be a better option.

Last edited by Big G; 09-04-2010 at 11:05 AM.
09-04-2010, 01:49 PM   #12

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Get a Pentax 67 with Epson V700 scanner.

Pentax 67 II Film Camera Sample Photos and Specifications
09-04-2010, 07:52 PM   #13
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"Get a Pentax 67 with Epson V700 scanner."

if I was starting afresh that is exactly what I would do. Though I would go for the 67II, 55mm f/4 75mm f/2.8 [AL] 150mm f/2.8 300mm f/4 those would be my lens selection of choice. and one day when you can afford a 645D you could get a 67>645 adapter and you can still enjoy your 67 lenses.
09-04-2010, 08:11 PM   #14
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Perhaps this eekBay auction may hold some promise for you Sanjeevan...
Pentax 645D Digital SLR Camera - eBay, Digital SLR, Digital Cameras, Cameras. (end time 07-Sep-10 01:29:38 AEST)

Currently at a measly AU$305 with a day and a half to go, it's suspiciously brewing to be a hold-your-breath auction... but even more suspiciously I could not get an answer from the new eBay seller as to whether the camera's legit or if it indeed fully-functional, which is not clear from the one-line description (even if in excellent condition with warranty to go - wherever it is valid)...

See if you get any luck...
09-06-2010, 09:52 AM   #15
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QuoteOriginally posted by Ole Quote
The Pentax LX or K2 and a good film scanner!

The LX and K2 have extra large mirrors so you avoid a partial viewfinder blackout at extreme focal lengths. If that doesn't matter to you, then almost any Pentax film camera will do.
I've read the sentence many times and even tried to Google it but I can't figure out what is this partial viewfinder blackout at extreme focal lengths, why big mirrors avoid it and what does it have something to do with MF landscape photography? And how come any Pentax film camera can replace a MF camera? I'm really clueless and curiosity is killing me.

Last edited by sajah; 09-06-2010 at 10:23 AM.

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