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View Full Version : Digital medium format vs. 5D?


Peter Mendelson
June 1st, 2007, 03:39 PM
I wasn't sure where to post this so I posted it here and in the medium format forum to get relevant answers...hope that's ok.

How good is this Mamiya setup compared to the Canon 5D plus L lenses?: http://tinyurl.com/2dlapr

If I sold my 5D plus my lenses (16-35, 24-105, 70-200, 100-400, 35L and 85L) and a few other accessories I would have enough for this system. Even though it has only one lens to start with, I imagine the quality would be fantastic! I am not a pro, but enjoy taking and printing landscape and travel photos. There is something appealing about having only one lens and learning to work with it. I could keep my Canon G7 for family snaps.

I am not ready just yet to jump ship, but I would like to find out more from folks familiar with digital medium format, which I assumed would be way out of my price range for years to come. Is even thinking about selling the Canon system and going with the Mamiya insane?

Thanks,

Peter

Klaus Esser
June 1st, 2007, 04:10 PM
I wasn't sure where to post this so I posted it here and in the medium format forum to get relevant answers...hope that's ok.

How good is this Mamiya setup compared to the Canon 5D plus L lenses?: http://tinyurl.com/2dlapr

If I sold my 5D plus my lenses (16-35, 24-105, 70-200, 100-400, 35L and 85L) and a few other accessories I would have enough for this system. Even though it has only one lens to start with, I imagine the quality would be fantastic! I am not a pro, but enjoy taking and printing landscape and travel photos. There is something appealing about having only one lens and learning to work with it. I could keep my Canon G7 for family snaps.

I am not ready just yet to jump ship, but I would like to find out more from folks familiar with digital medium format, which I assumed would be way out of my price range for years to come. Is even thinking about selling the Canon system and going with the Mamiya insane?

Thanks,

Peter

The answer is simple: itīs much better than the 5D.

best, Klaus

leonardobarreto.com
June 1st, 2007, 05:36 PM
I know that the 5D is full frame, but the other day a friend from my kids school showed me his Digital Rebel and I looked inside, there is a big difference from looking at a view finder in the Mamiya. But that is just a subjective anecdotal comment on the subject. The system that one uses should be the best for what one does, and everyone is different. Different assignments are best done with different equipment. In my case I have the P 25 but do my personal work with a camera from the 1940's that uses no batteries at all.

Mamiya optics is good, I don't know if better than Canon's, but probably there is a limit in what the optics of the later can resolve. I think that the ceiling has been reached with that model and the 16MP one. That may be the reason why they stopped the 1DsMk3..

But I think that my 80mm has a bit of barrel distortion and I wish it had none,

On the other side, they are affordable and plentiful. All of my 4 lenses I got used. same as the body., AND the digital back, (2 year second hand) everything works perfectly well.

There are many things to consider when shopping for camera system, if I was doing landscape I would shoot 4x5 or 8x10 film, a focusing glass is better to compose and you don't really need the reflex mechanism that demands retrofocus optics.

A digital back is a good alternative for landscape of non-mooving objects, or a 6x9 120 film set up is light and sharp.

In my case the digital back is a solution to my clients that want their artwork photographed at high res, 16bit, and receive their DVD's on the spot. And that it does with perfection.

Will Thompson
June 1st, 2007, 07:57 PM
So Leonardo, Where did this false rumor come from???

That may be the reason why they stopped the 1DsMk3..

Ray West
June 2nd, 2007, 03:33 AM
I couldn't find any information on the digital backs - not size, or price or anything, other than that they exist.

Any links?

Best wishes,

Ray

Bart_van_der_Wolf
June 2nd, 2007, 04:41 AM
So Leonardo, Where did this false rumor come from???

To me it doesn't make sense either. Canon is likely to sell many more (1D Mark III cameras to people that can't wait any longer and need the new features, and 1Ds Mark II to people that need the pixel size without interpolation. There is not much competition, so they can get some more return on investment. They most likely do have something ready, but there's some time (and they can learn from the 1D Mark III issues that may arise).

There will probably also be a compromise involved, smaller sensels are needed to increase resolution, but that also will reduce dynamic range. On the other hand, better utilization of the silicon real-estate will not help resolution but it will help dynamic range. Maybe there will be 2 choices available (higher res or higher DR)?

Maybe there will be a new >24x36mm camera system (including new lenses) in order to get both more resolution and dynamic range ...

Bart

JohanElzenga
June 2nd, 2007, 04:46 AM
I think that the ceiling has been reached with that model and the 16MP one. That may be the reason why they stopped the 1DsMk3..

First of all, you're quoting a rumour as if it's truth. Canon never said they stopped the development of the 1DsMkIII, and it's unlikely that they did. Either you are making this up yourself, or you are repeating something that someone else said who also doesn't know.

Secondly, you make the classic mistake thinking that a new camera should always have more pixels, or it's not worth it. Even if Canon decides that 16.7 Mpixels is what their lenses can outresolve, they could still make a 1DsMkIII with features like the dust cleaning system, more frames per second, live preview, etc. They could even increase the image quality significantly without increasing the number of pixels, by using a Foveon-type of 3x 16.7 Mpixels sensor. And they could build new lenses, that do have the resolving power they need for more pixels.

The 1Ds MkIII wil come one day, you can count on that.

Klaus Esser
June 2nd, 2007, 05:28 AM
First of all, you're quoting a rumour as if it's truth. Canon never said they stopped the development of the 1DsMkIII, and it's unlikely that they did. Either you are making this up yourself, or you are repeating something that someone else said who also doesn't know.

Secondly, you make the classic mistake thinking that a new camera should always have more pixels, or it's not worth it. Even if Canon decides that 16.7 Mpixels is what their lenses can outresolve, they could still make a 1DsMkIII with features like the dust cleaning system, more frames per second, live preview, etc. They could even increase the image quality significantly without increasing the number of pixels, by using a Foveon-type of 3x 16.7 Mpixels sensor. And they could build new lenses, that do have the resolving power they need for more pixels.

The 1Ds MkIII wil come one day, you can count on that.

John, you are speculating here! "They possibly could make" and so on.

Fact is: Canon IS INDEED interested to enter the professional market above 16MPx.
Fact is: the next step is at least 22MPx.
Fact is: you canīt pack 22MPx on a 35mm-sensor as the ff in the 1DsMkII is without losing dynamic and having a strong need for stronger noise-suppression.
Fact is: a stronger noise-supppression disturbes the advantage to have 22MPx.

Therefore i share Leoīs conclusion: i doubt, Canon comes with a 22MPs in an 1Ds Body.
They would have to go the way Mamiya went: to build a new body with MF lenses.

best, Klaus

Klaus Esser
June 2nd, 2007, 05:34 AM
I couldn't find any information on the digital backs - not size, or price or anything, other than that they exist.

Any links?

Best wishes,

Ray

Links to digital backs, market-leaders:

Hasselblad
Leaf
PhaseOne

look at calumet.

best, Klaus

Ray West
June 2nd, 2007, 06:26 AM
Hi Klaus,

Thanks for the reply.

The mamiya site Peter link to refers to a complete system for less than $10,000 . It implies it includes their own digital back. I can't find any info wrt. the back that is included - it communicates via a bespoke 2 way serial interface with the camera. I did a search or two on the mamiya site, and elsewhere, and found nothing. I am not sure if Peter selling the canon gear listed would get to much more than the $10,000, I'm not sure if he thinks that the digital back is a separate item.

Anyone found the specification on the mamiya specific back? Is it included in the $10.,000 price? Why can they be not completely 'upfront' with what they provide - bait and switch??? Or am I missing something obvious?

Best wishes,

Ray

Klaus Esser
June 2nd, 2007, 06:55 AM
Hi Klaus,

Thanks for the reply.

The mamiya site Peter link to refers to a complete system for less than $10,000 . It implies it includes their own digital back. I can't find any info wrt. the back that is included - it communicates via a bespoke 2 way serial interface with the camera. I did a search or two on the mamiya site, and elsewhere, and found nothing. I am not sure if Peter selling the canon gear listed would get to much more than the $10,000, I'm not sure if he thinks that the digital back is a separate item.

Anyone found the specification on the mamiya specific back? Is it included in the $10.,000 price? Why can they be not completely 'upfront' with what they provide - bait and switch??? Or am I missing something obvious?

Best wishes,

Ray

Hi Ray!

http://photoscala.de/node/478
http://www.mamiya.de/produkt_d/index.htm

Mamiya had the ZD as a complete camera and a back to fit several cameras. The complete camera is around 12000€ as i know, the back allone shouldnīt cost more . . but i donīt know wether they make it still.

best, Klaus

leonardobarreto.com
June 2nd, 2007, 07:12 AM
John, you are speculating here! "They possibly could make" and so on.

Fact is: Canon IS INDEED interested to enter the professional market above 16MPx.
Fact is: the next step is at least 22MPx.
Fact is: you canīt pack 22MPx on a 35mm-sensor as the ff in the 1DsMkII is without losing dynamic and having a strong need for stronger noise-suppression.
Fact is: a stronger noise-supppression disturbes the advantage to have 22MPx.

Therefore i share Leoīs conclusion: i doubt, Canon comes with a 22MPs in an 1Ds Body.
They would have to go the way Mamiya went: to build a new body with MF lenses.

best, Klaus

Klaus, I was about to say exactly that.
I also want to say that I have no information about a Canon 1sDMk3 -- nobody has -- but there was a huge expectation last fall for a "digital back killer from Canon", so, as Klaus said, you don't kill the digital backs with 16MP, you have to go above 22MPs.

Then there was no Canon with a higher than 16MP announced so I can assume that they may have run the numbers and simulations and realized that this was not viable yet.

Of course Canon is not going to open their secret plans to the press --and the makers of the digital backs that they want to kill --, so we can only speculate on why it is difficult for 35mm to outperform MF.

http://leonardobarreto.com/images/sensorsize.gif

This is the proportion of size difference from a FF 35mm and a MF sensor 48.9 x 36.7 mm. compared to 28.7 x 19.1 mm is a physical reality and, as Klaus said, if you put 22 millions of sensels or more there you are going to get problems with noise and dynamic range.

So, in other words, It is not a rumor but an assumption.

Ray West
June 2nd, 2007, 07:36 AM
Hi,

I found a more informative link -http://www.mobilemag.com/content/100/336/C3248/

the press release says the digital back is The Mamiya ZD and the Mamiya ZD Back come with a 36x48mm, 22 million-pixel CCD and generate stunning high resolution images with both rich and smooth tonal ranges. The 14 bit A/D (Analog to Digital) conversion records information as 12-bit per colour channel. The ASIC (Application Specific Integrated Circuit), which was developed exclusively for the Mamiya ZD and Mamiya ZD Back, processes in realtime, optimisation of image data from CCD. so its a mf cropped image, then. stuck for wa lenses. I think it is included in the $9999.99 price/kit (if it finally sells for that,) since the body and kit lens can't be anywhere near that price.

Still no hard facts wrt shots/sec, etc.

Best wishes,

Ray

leonardobarreto.com
June 2nd, 2007, 08:01 AM
Mamiya makes the ZD that is a camera with 22mp sensor (DALSA). This is not a back, but an integrated unit. The price is about 10k, but it is NOT distributed in the USA -I think- and the ZD back is not yet out for sale.

Before spending 10k on a ZD I would spend some time researching about the camera. Mamiya the company almost went down because of the weight of producing the ZD project, they where sold to a software company and seam to have survived but it is not --in my humble opinion-- a main stream digital back/camera maker.

To be on the safe side I would go for one of tree brands: Leaf, Imacon/Hasselblad and Phase One. If you want Mamiya as the camera system, then the options get reduced to Leaf and Phase One.

Leaf uses Dalsa sensors and Phase uses the Kodak ones. Leaf seams to be give more control while color profiling but the best software --considered the standard -- is Capture 1 from Phase.

The backs come in several sensor sizes and resolution, some have micro lenses and others don't. So some work better with wide angulars and others have more sensitivity. It is important to know what you want to get the equipment best suited for that. Before you just change from Velvia to Provia. Now you are stuck with one or the other and changing will cost you 10-30k.

The other thing to consider is that the Phase One backs are designed for a particular system and can't be changed afterwards. Also the Phase has a more robust casing and uses no fan. The Leaf comes with big lcd and a fan that brings air in to the insides of the back (not stating that this affects the back, but may be a factor to consider if doing landscapes in dusty locations)

Phase One has a particular way to maintain the sensor cool (temperature is a big factor in noise levels) by having the back on "stand by" and awaking it milliseconds before taking the exposure. This makes the backs save on battery power, and have very clean images.

One way to go is to get a used model. I had a good experience with Calumet NY, Irwin Miller 212 755 7912 (disclaimer: I have no association with him or the store and can only speak about personal experience)

Ray West
June 2nd, 2007, 09:16 AM
http://www.openphotographyforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3099

And this is the back, that comes with the body and the lens that is mentioned by Peter in here. http://tinyurl.com/2dlapr

the sums work out about right - system, - camera+lens+back for about $10k

Klaus Esser
June 2nd, 2007, 12:33 PM
http://www.openphotographyforums.com/forums/showthread.php?t=3099

And this is the back, that comes with the body and the lens that is mentioned by Peter in here. http://tinyurl.com/2dlapr

the sums work out about right - system, - camera+lens+back for about $10k


the back never was released to the market . . sorry.

Will Thompson
June 2nd, 2007, 01:46 PM
The 1Ds MkIII wil come one day, you can count on that.

Try a September announcement, same as the "S" and "SMKII"!

Bart_van_der_Wolf
June 2nd, 2007, 02:04 PM
Try a September announcement, same as the "S" and "SMKII"!

I'm not sure, but seem to remember that they were typically introduced at the Photokina (end of September), but that's going to take till next year before the next one.

Bart

leonardobarreto.com
June 2nd, 2007, 02:06 PM
1DsMk3 will undoubtedly come out one day, but the specifications of it are in doubt.

will they go the way of the diminishing sensel size?
will they find a way to make it 16bit color depth?
is the current lens system up to the tall order of a high power sensor?
will they have good high ISO performance with reduced sensel size?

there is no other alternative than sit and wait to find out.

In my opinion they should maintain the MP count and improve on the performance of the camera. After all journalists abandoned the Graflex that produced much more "resolution" than the Leica for practical reasons.

What they probably need is Nikon coming up with a ff 16mp competition to the 1dsmk2...

JohanElzenga
June 2nd, 2007, 04:12 PM
John, you are speculating here! "They possibly could make" and so on.

I'm not speculating. I'm just saying that it's possible to make an update of a camera without increasing the number of pixels. That's an obvious and simple fact, but one you seem to think is impossible somehow. Actually, Canon has done that before. The EOS-30D has the same number of pixels as the EOS-20D. In contrast to you, I'm not saying that Canon will do this. I'm not even saying that I think they will do it. I'm just saying they can do it.

Fact is: Canon IS INDEED interested to enter the professional market above 16MPx.

Possibly, but where's your proof of this 'fact'? If you don't have proof, it's just speculation.

Fact is: the next step is at least 22MPx.

Possibly, but where's your proof of this 'fact'? If you don't have proof, it's just speculation.

Therefore i share Leoīs conclusion: i doubt, Canon comes with a 22MPs in an 1Ds Body.
They would have to go the way Mamiya went: to build a new body with MF lenses.

And that's the definition of a speculation. You don't know anything at all, you just make a few assumptions first, followed by a wild guess about what Canon may or may not do to solve the 'problem' that you assume exists.

Just as a final clarification: I'm not saying Canon will not increase the number of pixels if they introduce a 1Ds MkIII. I'm not saying they will not enter the medium format market either. I'm just saying I don't know and you don't know either.

Ben Rubinstein
June 2nd, 2007, 04:27 PM
Keep in mind that you can buy manual focus mamiya lenses, many of them truly excellent for next to nothing on ebay and still use them with your ZD or whatever. It would cost very little to build up a good system. The 80mm does have some barrel distortion but very easily correctable using PS.

For all the discussion about noise, the smaller canon CMOS chips are much better for noise without using smoothing methods (at lower iso's <800 at least) than any medium format back available. The principle is sound but although the bigger pixels of the chip give far superior everything else, noise is one area where medium format backs and the mamiya back in particular still fall short.

Klaus Esser
June 2nd, 2007, 04:40 PM
"noise is one area where medium format backs and the mamiya back in particular still fall short."

keeping the 16bitRAW of the digital backs in mind, thatīs simply not the case. I canīt tell about the Mamiya-back (nobody can . . ), but i sure can tell about Leaf-Valeo and Aptus, Hasselblad/Imacon and several PhaseOne which i worked with: the noise is FAR better than with every Canon and Nikon i used (1Ds, 1DsMkII, 20D, 200D, D2x).
Whatīs no surprise regarded the rechnology of actual chips in those backs.

The Mamiya-back (Leo said ist already) has no 16bit-RAW and therefore wouldnīt reach the low noise-level of the more expensive backs.
There is a reason WHY rhey are so expensive . . ;-)

Ben Rubinstein
June 3rd, 2007, 02:59 AM
at what iso's?