Content is all about tonal information for me. If there is enough, then my images can do what they do. To get my "content" I have to have the right kind of equipment/workflow.
I don't think the digital equipment is there yet, but it is getting closer. I am also printing smaller these days. We'll see how that goes in the next year or two.
However, I will say I don't want to pay the kind of money the IQ180 costs, just to get the same place I am today - or a bit less quality. Even tho' I could get rid of the film developing and scanning steps - which would be welcome. It';s a lot of money. I think I will wait....
Museum Quality Drum Scanning and Printing
I thought the point of this thread was the question why should I not buy an IQ back, what the questioner forgets to mention is what sort of work he does, if it is high end advertising there is no Issue if you are not shooting digital you are unemployed, if you are making a living from print sales, and as far as I am aware very very few people do, then stick to film because there is no way you will cover the cost of all the digital stuff you will need to produce high end results. As to the film digital thing, it is a utter waste of time, the two are different and if you are going to print then it is almost impossible to tell what medium the image was taken on, the whole debate appears to be conducted by keen enthusiasts who appear to have got confused between images and resolution, in the main no one at the purchasing end gives a monkeys what anything was shot on all they care about is the result, so to get back to the original question, if you are happy with what you are producing and if your clients like the results and are content to cover the f&P costs then stick with it , but be aware that around the corner might well be somebody with the digital equipment that will allow them to offer a more cost effective solution to the one you provide.
Get it. And keep 4x5. Then you can hook it up to 4x5 and shoot technical camera digitally when you have to. And you can shoot film when back isn't working for whatever reason. I.e just think of it as roll film back. Without all the film scanning.
I've been comparing systems for a long time, mostly rooting against medium format digital because I can't afford it. But since I've started working mostly in color, I can't afford 4x5 anymore, so it's a matter of choosing poisons: too much money up front with digital, too much money per image with film.
I think most of the image quality debates are flawed. It's true that 4x5 film captures more fine detail than an IQ180 back, but you're never going to see that detail unless you print very, very large. At medium sizes, thanks to the quality of individual pixels (s/n ratio) the digital backs can equal or exceed the big film. At small sizes you'll never see a difference.
I think color looks great on the IQ backs, but I understand that the chlorophyl issue is real. Dynamic range is better than that of any transparency film, worse than that of any portrait-type negative film. But it's pretty good.
In the end, for my purposes, I don't think medium format digital is quite ready for prime time. Even if I had the money, the value seems dubious. And the working style seems clunky. If the prices come down by half, and the backs get a decent screen and live view, with software that helps you focus and expose, it will be a very different story. The lenses for MFD are already the best lenses in the world. The cameras look interesting (although it seems there's room for improvement there as well).
It will be an interesting few years. I'm excited that dslrs have edged up in quality to bridge the gaps between smaller and bigger formats. But I hope this doesn't put the squeeze on companies like Phase in a negative way ... stealing customers and forcing them into an even less favorable economy of scale.
get an 8x10
get real mofo!
through a glass darkly...
Everyones situation is a bit different. I am not too familiar with the available digital systems so have a few questions.
Will it work OK at 20 below zero? Will high humidity cause any problems? Will it work OK at 100 degree plus temperatures? How will it do for star trails and exposures of 20 minutes to a few hours? (battery life also?)
How will it do for Northern Lights and 30 second to 5 minute exposures?
As with pixelography in 35mm equivalent gear the quality can be excellent and for news and production work invaluable. But LF is generally more deliberate process. I know the image quality with these backs I have seen sure does look good. My main concern is the performance in more extremes as well as battery life.
I took my P45 and ALPA tech camera to Iceland in 2010, camped in the glaciers and had zero problems with capture or batteries (it was below freezing at times). I have photographed with the P45 here in Florida (my home state) in the summer where the temperature exceeded 100 degrees F. I have done long exposures up to 2 minutes without difficulties. There are different backs that will perform differently. I chose the P45 for its long exposure capabilities. Is a digital back better than film? No, it is simply a different tool. Would I recommend everybody go out and buy one if they shoot LF? No, because the price is too much if you are using it occasionally. I am happy with it, but it is not for everyone.