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Phase One / Alpa A-Series Review

torger

Active member
Still interesting to see the impressions from someone from "outside", that is someone that isn't that into tech cam stuff.

It's hard to not see a point in that the combination of a fully mechanical camera with a super high tech live view digital back is a bit bizarre. It's a bit unfortunate that the tech cam companies are not large enough to make their own backs that could match in features and style. I think that the time when tech cameras was only professional tools to get best possible image quality and noone really cared how they looked or operated is about to fade away. What tech cams need to tackle the future is in addition to the excellent image quality attract on style and operation, and focus more on enthusiasts to compensate fading interest from professionals.
 

Hausen

Active member
Funny I have been doing my DD on this system. Alpa + IQ3 back. Think it hard to take seriously that you go on a shoot like that with ever having set the camera up before. It was funny though. I am hoping Phase One here in NZ might get around to demoing it for me. Then the hard part getting the wife to say yes.
 

dougpeterson

Workshop Member
Funny I have been doing my DD on this system. Alpa + IQ3 back. Think it hard to take seriously that you go on a shoot like that with ever having set the camera up before. It was funny though. I am hoping Phase One here in NZ might get around to demoing it for me. Then the hard part getting the wife to say yes.
If you have any trips to NYC or LA coming up you can also demo it then. We always have one in our demo inventory.

Here are two sort-of reviews that share some of our experience with the Phase One A Series - Sunny and Gloomy
 

stephengilbert

Active member
Great video. Who'd want a camera that didn't set exposure and focus for you?

If a chimp can't operate it, it's too complex. And this video suggests that a chimp wouldn't be able to.
 

torger

Active member
Great video. Who'd want a camera that didn't set exposure and focus for you?

If a chimp can't operate it, it's too complex. And this video suggests that a chimp wouldn't be able to.
I think one of the attraction of tech cams is actually the opposite, that they're very simple and traditional. Sure you need to expose manually, but there's no damn menu system and a zillion of distracting features. It's pure photography. Digital backs can ruin that feeling a fair bit.

Wouldn't it be cool if someone actually got around making a digital back without back screen, just like a drop-in film back. It wouldn't sell of course, like the Leica M without back screen, but as a statement from the manufacturer it's pretty strong.

But well, seriously live view is probably required these days. A sensor that actually supports the lenses 100% and a scaled down minimalistic design that blends into camera's look would be nice though.

These cameras look like they are built for decades of use, but sadly the madly rushing majority-focused digital back development has made them short-term.
 
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Pelorus

Member
Exposure setting is simple with a tech cam and digital back - it's hard to get it wrong. Focus is tougher but if you struggle a laser distance meter helps. Once you have it down pat it's the ultimate walk-around P&S.

You can probably put together an Alpa system cheaper than the A series and with movements. Albeit, you won't have the factory lens calibration, or whatever it is, in the back.
 

f8orbust

Active member
Great video. Who'd want a camera that didn't set exposure and focus for you?

If a chimp can't operate it, it's too complex. And this video suggests that a chimp wouldn't be able to.
It’s all relative.

Anyone shooting 8x10 would think a camera like the Alpa / Phase One A-Series is so foolproof it takes all the fun away.
 
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