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JamesWood

Medium or Large Format UW?

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This topic seems to be a good place to ask if anyone has played with 645 or other medium or large format cameras, and their digital backs, for uw photography.

 

Just curious.

 

James

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Alex has used MF film underwater.

 

I doubt that anyone is doing digital MF. Are there any even digital MF cameras that work not connected to a laptop? Diving with a laptop could be fun though...

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I know that Zena Holloway has shot digital MF underwater. She shot the cover of UWP Magazine 26 that way. Here work is ALWAYS worth looking at.

 

I haved a Hasselblad 2 1/4 Inch square system. It is very nice, but I have to say that I believe that my Nikon D2X will produce better images in the real world.

http://www.amustard.com/?page=kit&ext=hass...ge=photo&size=s

 

Alex

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Zena now shoots with 1DS MkIIs!

 

Given all the problems (optical & mechanical, to say nothing of the cost) I can't see that there will be many people prepared to contemplate a digital medium format system for underwater use given the quality and versatility of 1DS and D2X systems.

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Hi James,

 

There have been a few medium format digital backs popping up on Ebay here and there. There are fully "self sufficient" backs now that have their own batteries and storage, and even LCD screens.

 

One reason I can see for going to MF is that they have 45 megapixel backs available...:-) If that's not some gear to lust after, I don't know what is.

 

Cheers

James

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45 MPixels - its a thought, but, I suspect that the reality is that you'd simply get more MBytes - not necessarily more information - on wide shots anyway, and I also suspect that aberrations towards the edges of macro would be significantly more evident!!!

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Don't have a clue about wide angle underwater, but in the studio, large format backs generate lots more information (not just bytes) than any SLR (Canon or Kodak full frame). If you look at the food magazines and such, almost all is shot on large format cameras with the same digital back that goes on the 6x6 cameras. Even the lower end 6x6 cameras generate much more info than any 35 mm does at least in the studio. Underwater it would be cool to try, but we already have too many pounds to carry.

Bill

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You get more info. I'm sure that is real - the cost is too - you don't want to know what those backs cost and then you have to figure out how to custom house the system. But what the heck, this forum is called gear lust and I thought I'd ask.

 

If I try MF it will be with film. I know, I know, back to the stone age. . . LOL

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I met a g uy a few years ago that built a very simple camera that had a film holder for 4 x 5 film. He shot available light B&W and the camera was loaded with only 2 negs back to back in a film holder. He would mount the camera (tripod or to a piece of wreckage), open the "shutter", and paint the area he was imageing with a video light. The exposures where measured in minutes not secounds. He would then close the shutter, flip the film holder in the camera and make a second exposure.

 

He did this for a book project he is working on. Whether it is worth the effort or not is hard to gauge.

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One choice is the Zillion housing for the Mamiya 645 AFD with the Sekor fisheye ULD 24 mm lens. http://www3.ocn.ne.jp/~zillions/645AFD/index.html Rumors of a Hasselblad H-1 housing from UK-Germany were also started several months ago. UK has built other MF housings in the past for film and digital.

 

Phil Rudin

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Really interesting article, Paul. Thanks for sharing it.

 

The images hardly make ou want to rush out and buy one though. :lol:

 

On a serious note - I think that the poor images show why there is more to getting good underwater pictures than megapixels. The photographer complains about his bulky and cumbersome rig - and as a reader you can't help thinking that he would have got better images with a D70 or 350D. Ergonomics and suitable lenses are as important as megapixels in producing high quality underwater images.

 

Also I am surprised that he is using the Ivanoff port with the 50mm - as this port is designed as a specific optical pair with the 38mm SWC body.

 

I think if I could ever pick up old phase one back cheeply I might enjoying playing with it on my Hasselblad in the housing.

 

Alex

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Fascinating! But WHY?

 

Looks like the law of diminishing returns to me - massive expense, an awkward, heavy, unwieldy system to use and many substantial optical constraints to boot. Whether the final images are SUSTANTIALLY better than those off a top dSLR is a tricky question. Given the limited lenses and potential viewfinder problems, I can't see many people ever going down this route - even if I had the money, I can't see being especially tempted.

 

Being totally honest, I think that the current state-of-the-art dSLRs are amazingly effective and usable tools, and even these push existing lenses to the extreme. Optics are undoubtedly the limiting factor underwater.

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I've been using the Haselblad SWC with the Ziess port made by Hugyfot for over 12 years. In the past year and a half I bought the Subal 1ds mark ii housing and love it. Although I still love my Hugyfot for my fineart work.

 

Ric Frazier 

underwater director / underwater photographer

 

www.frazierproductions.com

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I think if I could ever pick up old phase one back cheeply I might enjoying playing with it on my Hasselblad in the housing.

 

What? Doesn't your D2X record more pixels than an old Phase One? :lol::)

 

sorry... it had to be done... played with the new Hassy a couple weeks ago. Walked away wanting the D2X more than ever!

 

that said, I did see a 22mb (?) back for the Hassy priced at 6k. last years model. they are dropping fast!

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