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Excellent image Mark, and thanks for the write up on the focus stacking, I have been wanting to figure out that technique for a while now but haven't gotten around to it.
I'm curious though, you do the focus stacking primarily so you can keep your lens at it's optimum aperture for sharpness, because you do very large prints. Correct? Is there a reason you don't shoot with a MF digital camera to get the resolution for those large prints? Financial reasons, or are the systems too cumbersome? Or does the larger sensor size/shallower DOF make getting everything in focus...Show more →
Thanks man! Those are some great questions!
I have shot with the MF digital backs 40-80MP (even the 200MP) more than a few times including for a week straight at Glacier. My feeling is this: in situations where everything is ideal (think large format film conditions) they soar! But, I rarely am in those conditions. I am often up to my chest in water, or repelling, in sandstorms, or in the down pouring rain, freezing conditions or whatever. IMO, that camera system does not do well in those conditions compared to DSLR. In fact even in ideal conditions I was amazed at how much problems the H-Blad systems had. Canon and Nikon has had many years and a huge budget to work out most of the kinks if you will. Also, who wants to drop a $20-30K system in the river or whatever? Or bang it up? Just that fact alone changes my entire approach to photography. The truth is, even if I had an unlimited budget (think, won the lottery) I am adamant, I would still be shooting with my DSLR about 80+% of the time.
Lastly, yes, I do this technique to make the enlargements much more detailed/better quality. If all one does is web shots, forget about it. Too much work. Today with the Nikon D800E (or even the Canon 5D Mark3 for that matter) using top lenses and top f/stops, the gap between MF Digital and the former is largely being closed (in the real world of enlargements) especially for someone who masters sharpening workflow in post production. I literally work on these files (everything from scanned 8x10 to MF digital to DSLR) almost all day long for both my gallery clients (doing their gallery work) or my own work and I believe DSLR has really come of age. Honestly, the last time I shot MF (as much as I loved the resolution of the files) it literally felt great to shoot with my DSLR again. I may be in the minority here, but those are my feelings on the subject.