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Thread: New digital back: digital stitching vs. LF film photography w/ digital processing

  1. #1

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    New digital back: digital stitching vs. LF film photography w/ digital processing

    Just saw this "MF back" released for use on the Sony NEX -- looks like it contemplates mounting a MF lens onto the device, but it also appears mounted on a 4x5 back so imagine it is designed for use on a 4x5 camera as well. It seems there would be something like a 2.2x crop factor if using a 4x5 lens so maybe not ideal for the kinds of landscape and architecture shots amenable to stitching. Not sure how you compose either or how the mechanics of the shifting work (is it automatic and if so, how fast does it cycle through the shots?).

    http://www.photographybay.com/2013/0...y-nex-cameras/

    I know digital stitching methods aren't new, but the Sony NEX cameras bodies are tiny so it could be fairly convenient coupled with a good MF lens.

    Anyone have thoughts on pros/cons of using digital cameras to stitch together large photos vs. traditional LF photography with scanning and digital processing?

  2. #2

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    Re: New digital back: digital stitching vs. LF film photography w/ digital processin

    All these various stitching solutions for small format cameras feel like a lot of hard work to me. Realistically you could use it for little else than studio work. Surely weather and light conditions change enough that shooting 8 images to stitch together you're going to get 8 very different images.

  3. #3
    PhiloFarmer PhiloFarmer's Avatar
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    Re: New digital back: digital stitching vs. LF film photography w/ digital processin

    Stitching is like any other technique...it's a skill....like using camera movements...or a light meter. I use a professional lab in Salem, Oregon, USofA (PhotoVision) for digital refinements (including stitching) and work closely with them to create the effect I artistically envisioned (landscapes and studio). They use digital skills daily, like I use photographic skills. I couldn't do what they are able to do...and likewise for what I do. Together we're a team, and we've created large files (and prints) easily comparable to (dare I saw this....??) enlarged LF print quality...(and not just 4x5). Hassy-V / Sinar P-2 + Leaf Aptus-65 back. (I'm always dreaming-working on improvements......)

    It's teamwork that does it.....

  4. #4
    Format Omnivore Brian C. Miller's Avatar
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    Re: New digital back: digital stitching vs. LF film photography w/ digital processin

    Quote Originally Posted by altec2 View Post
    Anyone have thoughts on pros/cons of using digital cameras to stitch together large photos vs. traditional LF photography with scanning and digital processing?
    The product appears to be an X-Y table for shifting an APS-C camera to produce stitch segments. No, it's not automatic. You have to move it after each shot. It looks like it would fit on a Graflok back, but the article doesn't mention the extent of the movements or the opening. I'm guessing you don't have a full 4x5 opening on it, perhaps approximately 6x9 "panoramic."

    It's interesting that they compared the stitched setup to a Hasselblad H2 with a Phase One P45 back. The color aliasing in the sample is a bit frightful.

    Stitching has its problems, just like using a scanning back. The scene may limit you to film, or maybe you have enough time to do something useful.

    Quote Originally Posted by PhiloFarmer View Post
    ... we've created large files (and prints) easily comparable to (dare I saw this....??) enlarged LF print quality...(and not just 4x5). Hassy-V / Sinar P-2 + Leaf Aptus-65 back. (I'm always dreaming-working on improvements......)
    Are you using a Leaf Aptus back for your stitching? Are you swinging the camera or are you using an XY shift table? Are you using HDR?
    "It's the way to educate your eyes. Stare. Pry, listen, eavesdrop. Die knowing something. You are not here long." - Walker Evans

  5. #5
    Abuser of God's Sunlight
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    Re: New digital back: digital stitching vs. LF film photography w/ digital processin

    Technology could certainly take most of the skill out of stitching itself. It's the kind of thing that lends itself to automation. You still have the time issues that Brian mentions, which makes the technique only appropriate when nothing's moving.

    I'm curious to see what's possible with different multiple exposure algorithms, if they can be automated for simplicity and made to work quickly ... combinations of stitching, exposure blending, and focus stacking could make things interesting if the nuts and bolts of the process were made easy in the field.

  6. #6

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    Re: New digital back: digital stitching vs. LF film photography w/ digital processin

    Quote Originally Posted by welly View Post
    All these various stitching solutions for small format cameras feel like a lot of hard work to me.
    Hard work but a lot cheaper than a MF digital back! I wouldn't rule it out, looks like a good product to me.

    Looks like when used on a 4x5 you'd still use the built-it ground glass as the plane of focus will be behind the usual place, a bit like the 6x17 backs for 4x5, so it might limit you on very short lenses depending on the camera.

  7. #7
    PhiloFarmer PhiloFarmer's Avatar
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    Re: New digital back: digital stitching vs. LF film photography w/ digital processin

    Quote Originally Posted by Brian C. Miller View Post
    Are you using a Leaf Aptus back for your stitching? Are you swinging the camera or are you using an XY shift table? Are you using HDR?
    Yes, Leaf-Aptus...not swinging...use rise-fall + shift via an adapter plate a lot like the RhinoCam, as well as focus-stacking. HDR is like focus-stacking, only using exposure settings.....and doesn't involve any physical movements of the focus plane. I've used HDR separately.

  8. #8

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    Re: New digital back: digital stitching vs. LF film photography w/ digital processin

    I've been stitching landscapes photos for years. Like anything else, the first one you do is hard, then get's easier. Now it's a piece of cake. I have encountered very few situations in the field that would exclude stitching as an option.

  9. #9
    Drew Wiley
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    Re: New digital back: digital stitching vs. LF film photography w/ digital processin

    ... only excludes anything that moves ... which would rule out about 99% of my shots in this windy part of the world!

  10. #10

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    Re: New digital back: digital stitching vs. LF film photography w/ digital processin

    Oh yeah. You have that extremely rare phenomenon that doesn't exist in the rest of the world. Wind.

    I experienced wind once many years ago, and found that if the wind works for a single shot, it will work for stitching too. If i ever experiencea wind again in the remaining years of my life i will see if this is still true.


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