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Thread: Phase 645DF and P40+ Kit Experience Report

  1. #1
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    Phase 645DF and P40+ Kit Experience Report

    I am the owner of a Phase One 645DF, the 80 f2.8 D lens, a 120 f4 D Macro, and a P40+ back. I have the 45 f2.8 D on order. I thought it might be of use to someone out in the getdpi community if I briefly summarized my thoughts and experiences on this kit for the month or so that Iíve now had it.

    Previously, I had the P30+ on a Contax 645 with the 45, 80, 120 makro, and the 140. As my P30+ was nearing the end of its value-added warranty period, I decided to take a look at my needs and give some thought about whether to stay with what I had ďtill the wheels came offĒ or move to another system.

    While I really liked my Contax and P30+ kit and its many ďcreature comfortsĒ (it really is a wonderful photographerís camera that manages to do so many things really well), I ultimately decided to move to the new Phase 645DF and P40+ kit. After an obsessive degree of deliberation, it just seemed to me to make the most sense to move to the new system. The recent pricing structure of the new kit was the final factor in making the move.

    I am especially grateful for Guyís help and encouragement through the helpful and insightful questions and perspective he provided me throughout this process. I am also happy about being able to work with Steve Hendrix at Capture Integration. He has been a terrific and accessible resource throughout this move. I know that this community has made the point many times about how important it is to work with someone who is trustworthy and reliable and who is willing to be way more than a ďvendor.Ē Steve is that kind of person, and I would recommend him to anyone who wants a first-class experience in a process like this. He is a very trustworthy person. I have also traded many emails with Jack who continues to be extremely generous and patient about sharing his tremendous knowledge.

    Letís put it this way: I am completely satisfied with my decision to move to this new system.

    DF Body: I am learning to appreciate the DF body and itís layout of controls. I liked very much how many settings a person can make on the Contax body without having to enter a menu structure to find it; I learned I could use it without looking away from the viewfinder. In my experience, the DF body feels more like a Canon 1 series body, just bulkier. Itíll take some time to get used to, but Iím sure I will. For example, I didnít know how Iíd like the exposure compensation button, but Iím starting to like it, because it has a little tactile click when you press it down which means that I can start turning the little wheel to change compensation. I also feel like Iím no longer missing anything in how quickly and accurately the camera focuses. Iíve learned very quickly that I can trust this new auto-focus, itís fast enough for me and what I shoot. I also feel like it has better mirror-related camera shake. Happily, Iím already getting more keepers. It sounds to me like the camera is louder than the Contax, but not by much. It sounds to me a little like nearly the same volume as a Hasselblad 503 series camera. I also like the accuracy of the light meter in the DF body. For me, itís more accurate than the Contax, this is a pleasant surprise to me. Also, battery usage is also superior to what I had. I wish the buttons on the DF camera were just a tad bigger, but maybe that will come in time with newer bodies. No, the body doesnít look or feel quite as much like an impervious tank like the Contax, but I also donít plan on beating up the camera either.

    Lenses: I am pleased to be able to report that I am missing nothing about moving away from my Contax lenses, something about which I was really rather worried. It turned out to be needless worry. While I havenít had much time yet to test for the background out-of-focus look of the new lenses, I have had some time to just be knocked out by how sharp these lenses are. I am also very happy with the uniform sharpness in the corners. I didnít realize how much better the corners could be until I started working with my new 80 D and 120 D. I am very hopeful that the 45 D turns out to be as good. Iíve had some CA with the 80 D when used wide open or nearly-wide open, but Iím learning how to deal with that too. I had CA with my Contax 80 and 140, too. The 120 D has been the greatest surprise for me, just an all around super lens. Again, Iím not sure yet about the background out of focus areas because the Contax lenses are so great with this aspect, but how knows, Iím ready to be surprised on this too. I use macro lenses for a lot of the work I do, and I was most worried about moving away from the Contax 120, which was one of my primary reasons to get into the Contax system, but, as Iíve said, my worry is gone. Completely.

    P40+: I thought the P30+ was just great. And, frankly, I expected the P40+ to be better. And it has not disappointed me in the least: it has more accurate color, gives more detail, shows less noise, and the files it produces when used with C1 are beautiful. There is a slightly different look to the overall file as compared to the P30+, and to my eyes, the color and shadow gradation just looks more natural and ďreal.Ē

    I know as soon as I post this, I'm sure Iíll think of other things I should have added, but for now this is it. I really like this kit, I canít wait to use it when Winter is finally over. I am not necessarily a guy who has to have the newest and greatest, and I want to know how something is really genuinely better than the former models, but I must say, Iím really very happy I made this choice. This new kit has been a terrific and welcome surprise.

  2. #2
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    Bill Caulfeild-Browne's Avatar
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    Re: Phase 645DF and P40+ Kit Experience Report

    Congratulations, Ray! Nice report.
    I love my DF with P1 back too.
    Bill

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    Senior Member etrump's Avatar
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    Re: Phase 645DF and P40+ Kit Experience Report

    Thanks for taking the time to post your thoughts Ray. I switched from the P30+ to P65+ and am noticing a more natural look to color and shadows as well.

    Glad your enjoying your new kit.

    Ed

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    Re: Phase 645DF and P40+ Kit Experience Report

    Thanks Bill and Ed, these rigs are just so nice. It sure is no longer the camera's "fault" if a photo doesn't work! Ray

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Phase 645DF and P40+ Kit Experience Report

    Ray nice report . I know you and I went through this discussion at great length and many PM's , e-mails and such and I know i twisted your arm some knowing this would fit you to a T given what you are doing and direction you where going. I have to say reading this pleases me a great deal. No pat on the back for me but when I help someone like this , there is nothing better said than that you are completely satisfied. Certainly makes me feel good about myself. LOL

    All the best and I loved the cheese selection you sent me and my family. Totally uncalled for but we loved it.Thanks
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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    Re: Phase 645DF and P40+ Kit Experience Report

    Thanks for your generous thoughts, Guy, much appreciated. And, glad you and your family liked the cheese too!

    As we all know, investments like this are very significant. And it's not just about the sizable financial investment, it's also about the learning curve, and being OK with asking others for help and wisdom. It's also about learning how to maximize what you get from these fine tools. For me, anyway, it's mostly about discipline. I've had to force my learning curve farther having used MF almost exclusively for about the last 18 months. I'm convinced my work is much better for it. One of the observations that I read on this forum for the first time was the one about how one measure of good equipment is when it doesn't get in the way. I'm very certain that this kit will meet that tall standard.

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    Member Harry's Avatar
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    Re: Phase 645DF and P40+ Kit Experience Report

    Good to hear.
    I just ordered the same setup from Steve. Should get it next week

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    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Phase 645DF and P40+ Kit Experience Report

    Congrats Harry and welcome to the forum. Look forward to hearing your impressions when your ship comes in.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

  9. #9
    Member Harry's Avatar
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    Re: Phase 645DF and P40+ Kit Experience Report

    Quote Originally Posted by Guy Mancuso View Post
    Congrats Harry and welcome to the forum. Look forward to hearing your impressions when your ship comes in.
    Thanks Guy,

    Been lurking the forum for a few months. Had a P21+ with an AFD, but it was too close in IQ to my D3X to make it useful. The AFD is pretty useless for my stuff. The P40+ and DF should get me to where I want to be in IQ and ease of use.

  10. #10
    Administrator, Instructor Guy Mancuso's Avatar
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    Re: Phase 645DF and P40+ Kit Experience Report

    Be surprised but you may not need the D3x either since the P40+ is pretty dang fast. Obviously depending on what you do but the DF and 40 will get you some pretty good shooting speed and higher ISO. But it also serves as a good backup as well. Obviously this all depends on what you shoot for sure.
    Photography is all about experimentation and without it you will never learn art.

    www.guymancusophotography.com

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