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Old Jan 7, 2007, 10:51 PM   #1
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Hi once again.

I need some help.

Years ago I had two medium format systems, a Hasselblad, and a Mamiya 6. Both with the same lenses, 50, 80, 150. I shot only b&w and did my own film and printing. I gave it up, got married and now have the bug again.

I recently purchased a Sony Alpha, along with a Tamron 28-75 2.8, a Sony 11-18, and a Sony 18-200.

I have yet to produce an image that is close in sharpness and tonal quality of my old film cameras.

I know that the Alpha is an "entry" level dslr. I also realize that Sony will be releasing a more "pro" camera soon, along with some better lenses.

My question to all of you that have produced some beautiful images here, is this: should I just bail on the Sony and pick up a Canon or Nikon?

Or, should I hold on and see what Sony comes up with?

I know this is hard to answer. People get attached to their systems and sometimes have a hard time recommending something different than they have, but I really need some advice here. I've got the photo bug bad again and just can't get a good exposure.

thanks in advance,

aka jzzmusician
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Old Jan 8, 2007, 2:12 AM   #2
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A lot can be done to improve digital images with post processing, and many of the images you admire are probably expertly post processed. The Alpha is a good camera and you aren't likely to do much better with a Canon or Nikon unless you are considering something like a Canon EOS-1Ds Mark II. The Alpha evidently isn't the very best at high ISO, but otherwise the images should be pretty good by digital standards.

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Old Jan 8, 2007, 2:17 AM   #3
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Here's a good place to start.


And http://www.luminous-landscape.com has a lot of articles that will be very useful to you.

In terms of quality you should be thinking that the 10Mp DSLR cameras will be of approximately similar quality to modern 35mm film, not MF.

To approach MF film you will need to move up to the Canon 5D/1Ds, Nikon D2X or Leica M8.

As a purely speculative matter Sony may be working on a larger (35mm) sensor but there have been no announcements. At the high end of the market Canon dominates and Nikon have just the one camera in play. Most commentators are expecting some big new announcements from Canon real soon now.
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Old Jan 8, 2007, 6:19 AM   #4
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Pentax 645D is somewhere on the way...
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Old Jan 24, 2007, 3:53 PM   #5
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I think part of your disatisfaction with the Sony may be because you're using zoom lenses on the Sony vs. fixed focal length lenses on your medium format cameras of yore. You might want to try to borrow a couple of fixed focal length lenses for comparison.

The old medium format cameras were often not as sharp a they were touted to be because of the problem of holding the film consistantly flat in the film plane. In my film days I could produce sharper 16x20 prints using Olympus PenFTs with Kodachrome 25 than with my Mamiya C330s with Kodacolor 80.
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Old Jan 24, 2007, 4:02 PM   #6
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If you could reach for the sky, buy or even hire phase one

digital backs for your hasselblad or mamiya, they go up to about

30 mega pixels. You should really get a good photo with something

likethat. lol

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Old Jan 24, 2007, 9:57 PM   #7
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I agree that least part of your problem is in the lens. At least try the Minolta 50mm f/1.7 (about $100US used - Sony is coming out with their version for two or three times that price.)

As mentioned, the other issue is editing - the digital darkroom. I'd bet you would agree that a good chunk of the "goodness" of your B/W medium format pictures was due to your darkroom work. The same is true with digital, but you do it on a computer instead of working with chemicals in the dark.

So I'd suggest keeping the Sony until you figure out how to use a good editor - likely at least six months to two years. And get at least on fairly high rated lens for it. Also keep it untill you figure out how to use the Sony. The histogram and preview with blinking blown and blocked areas will guide you to good exposure - pretty sure the same will be true of any other dSLR.
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