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Old Mar 12, 2003, 2:05 PM   #1
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Default S2 Pro or Mamiya 654E

Which one will produce better quality for large prints?
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Old Mar 18, 2003, 6:42 PM   #2
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I don't think Steve will dis-approve if I say go to dpreview.com and check the forums there also.

I'm biased and don't know anything about the other camera.
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Old Mar 18, 2003, 7:53 PM   #3
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Are you comparing a 645 film against a dSLR, or are you adding a digital back to the Mamiya which will really skew the price one way?

FYI: http://www.pmai.org/pressrelease/releases.asp?id=13449
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Old Mar 20, 2003, 11:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NHL
Are you comparing a 645 film against a dSLR, or are you adding a digital back to the Mamiya which will really skew the price one way?

FYI: http://www.pmai.org/pressrelease/releases.asp?id=13449
No, I had the oportunity to purchase the Mamiya for a couple hundred dollars. The 645E does not accept a digital back according to the Mamiya website. Anyway, I already have the S2 Pro and was wondering if I should even bother with the 645...the quality I get with the S2 pro is awesome, but I had always heard that not many formats could compare to medium format.
I guess I should have given more detail in the original posting.
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Old Apr 12, 2003, 5:31 PM   #5
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Well, there two sides of the same coin. I have a Hasselblad medium format camera (it's been over 6 years) I obviously have 35mm gear and I am planning on buying an S2 dSLR. The thing is that everything depends on the type of photographs you take. Here are some thoughts concerning the cameras you mentioned (the Mamiya without digital back):

- The best absolute quality is shooting slide film on a medium format camera (big film=big resolution) BUT... if you ever want to make use of your slides, you need to scan them. The best scanners are in the range of $3000-$10000... This quality comes at a price, no doubt. You are also pushed towards taking fewer pictures. Every film holds 16 frames, and every film costs. So if you make yourself a plan to shoot 300 frames, you have to calculate very carefully. Medium format is great for top shelf proffesionals and during sessions where money is no object. It is also good if you shoot in a careful manner (first think then shoot). Digital cameras let you first shoot and then think that you must have made at least a few good shots out of the hundreds taken... that's a totally different approach.

- Digital SLRs are awesome if you plan to take a lot of pictures for yourself. The more the better. If you compare this with a film camera then you realize that the costs of films+developing+scanning are returned after a few months owning a DSLR. You also have great freedom. Pop in a 512MB or 1GB card and go! When I shot with medium format, I change films every 12 frames, which is definitely not for outdoor trips or for dynamic sessions.

- Forget about film cameras and scanning NEGATIVES. Negative films come as cheap as $2 or ax expensive as $6. No matter which one you choose, you will always have grain/moire during scans. This is due to the construction of a negative film and also due to the construction of scanners. No matter what filters you use, you always get coloured grain with negatives, which is awful (unless you love grain and want to have it always).

- You can put slides into a 35mm camera, but then you also need to buy a scanner and (in my opinion) the quality od DSLRs eceeds that of the 35mm+scan combination. Just forget about 35mm cameras.

The conclusion is:

If you want to play with traditional photogaphy (which is marvelous and relaxing) go for the medium format.
If you shoot for professional reasons, then a medium format camera is a measure of prestige. Avedon has one, Leibovitz has one, Herb Ritts had one, Paolo Roversi has one etc...

If the above-mentioned situations do not apply to you, just go for the S2 and spend the additional cash on lenses and polish your skills. Te S2 will give you absolutely fantastic results.
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Old Apr 12, 2003, 9:37 PM   #6
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Mike,

I want to thank you for taking the time to go into such detail in your explanation and in depth comparison. I made the decision a couple of weeks ago to go ahead and buy the Mamiya. Got a killer deal on it, shot a couple rolls of color and a couple rolls of B&W. Went through that age old process of development & print and after all that, indeed, I found myself asking why.

I have been an avid photographer for 20 years, (most of my life), but for the last 6 or so, I've shot almost exclusively digital. First the original Dimage, (quite horific images but hooked me on digital for ever), then a 3.4mp Casio, (truely fell in love with digital), then my first Nikon, the 950. I've had the 990 for about three years now and moved up to the S2 the day it hit the market. My 35mm gear, (what I could not use with my S2), left my life through Ebay last month. I figured if I didn't get rid of it right away, it's only value would soon be sentimental. I just do not see any future for 35mm at all.

I AM extremely interested in selling my work. However, having jumped into the digital world with both feet, I can not yet justify the expense of a "good" medium format. I also don't think I can afford the cost of the processing with the shear number of images I take. I think that alone sold me on digital. Before, I was extremely limited to the amount of shots I could take. As you mentioned, with digital, I am free to shoot thousands per month, and I do.

Lastly, even if I was able to convince the wife that I need a medium format to succeed, I would miss the ease of digital and would be hell bent for a $30,000 digital back to kick the quality into professional form. That's the H-25 back available this June (22Mp).

So for now, I will enjoy the S2 for my personal picture experiences and sharpen my skills for the future when maybe I'll be able to afford the digital back, which at this point, seems to be the most expensive piece of the setup.

I still plan to sell my work but what I've learned is that the largest size I can offer to the commercial industry is 8X10. Prints can be much larger but the commercial industry standards are such that 8X10 is my limit.

Again, thanks for the great information. You've confirmed most of what I had understood to be true.
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Old Apr 13, 2003, 4:50 AM   #7
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Digital is definitely the way to go. I would suggest keeping the medium format camera, however. I am a person who makes decisions based on observation, so I am neither a 'member' of the 'film camp' nor 'digital camp' (there is this digital vs. film war, you know...). My findings are based on personal experience and tangible results.

35mm is crap, low resolution and grainy- let's leave it for good.

Digital is awesome, flawless, noiseless, clean and easy make.

sometimes you are tired of this 'perfection' and you want to take a couple of pictures that will have bigger sentimental value. This is when medium format will be needed. There is no doubt that when shooting digital you are not as dedicated to the pictures as with film cameras. You shoot, see the picture on the LCD, delete it or accept it and go on... With film cameras you really have to be concentrated because you take fewer shots. So every frame presents more value to you.
Digital is like going to the supermarket and buying some fish, whereas film shooting is like going fishing yourself. You dedicate more time, you need to concentrate more and you never know what you will get.
I think that shooting film from time to time is a good therapy. Digital photographers tend to become lazy and when something bothers them (background, colors or some parts of the picture) they just think 'the hell with that, I will shoot and photochop at home... nobody will notice.

If you shoot film you actually force yourself to think, to recompose and to expose in such a way that the source (negative or slide) is as good as it gets. This is why medium format is also fantastic.

The setup that I use is a Hasselblad and an Epson 2450 scanner so I get really good scans at a decent price (I guess the epson costs around $350 or less). So for those of you who have a camera, a scanner comes relatively cheap, and those who have a scanner should buy a medium format camera in the $300 price range. You don't need top of the shelf equipment for that kind of leisure shooting. If you do serious work take the digital camera, though.


Ooops, I've just read the text above and I've realized that I'm having trouble verbalizing my thoughts today, but I'll post it anyway
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