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Thread: Digital Back on Old Manual MF Bodies

  1. #1
    Gardenerbob
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    Question Digital Back on Old Manual MF Bodies

    I am moving my post from Large format to Medium Format with the hopes of gleaning some more infomation.
    Okay, I want to get a MF Digital Back (Leaf, at the moment). It seems that though the DB will work on my Ebony 4x5, the movements can't be calibrated easily to an exact enough point to make using it feasable.

    Would any of you MF DB users say that putting a DB on a Blad 500 cm or a Mamiya RB67 makes for a poor combination?
    Would it make more sense to upgrade bodies ( and, ughh, lenses) to use a Digital Back?


    I'd like to keep my old gear, but I realise the times they are a changin...
    Bob

  2. #2
    Senior Member stephengilbert's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Back on Old Manual MF Bodies

    You might want to check this thread: http://forum.getdpi.com/forum/showthread.php?t=24290

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    Senior Member yaya's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Back on Old Manual MF Bodies

    Quote Originally Posted by Gardenerbob View Post
    I am moving my post from Large format to Medium Format with the hopes of gleaning some more infomation.
    Okay, I want to get a MF Digital Back (Leaf, at the moment). It seems that though the DB will work on my Ebony 4x5, the movements can't be calibrated easily to an exact enough point to make using it feasable.

    Would any of you MF DB users say that putting a DB on a Blad 500 cm or a Mamiya RB67 makes for a poor combination?
    Would it make more sense to upgrade bodies ( and, ughh, lenses) to use a Digital Back?


    I'd like to keep my old gear, but I realise the times they are a changin...
    Bob
    The cost of trying the back on your Ebony will be a few $100 that you'll have to spend on an adapter. If it doesn't work then you can consider an upgrade. I think that only YOU will be able to tell if it works or not

    Regarding RB67 and 500 series Hassy: If you consider them as poor for film then they will be poor for digital but if they work for you now with film then they will definitely work with digital. The lenses might not be as sharp as some of the more modern designs and might have some CA issues but IMO they are far from being poor combos

    I know 2 photographers, both are at the top of the game in their respective countries, who are now moving to 80MP backs after testing them with all their old Zeiss V lenses. Admittedly they already use the camera with an old digital back so they knew what to expect.

    Best advice is to try it so that you can find out for yourself

    good luck and enjoy!

    yair
    Yair Shahar | Product Manager | Phase One | Mamiya Leaf
    e: [email protected] | m: +44(0)77 8992 8199 | yaya's blog

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    Re: Digital Back on Old Manual MF Bodies

    I hope to try those digital backs with my old MF film cameras, the dealers will give me only to test in the store and not far in real world, and even if they do they will not let me do that alone and have my free usage to have the test, quick test in short time will not make me to decide if that will be my best investment on the system or not, i have Hasselblad and tested it out for a while before i buy it completely and i can upgrade to any newer with full confident, but to test Phase One or Leica or Leaf or whatever then i need to have the back for about 2-5 days at least to test it on my different bodies then i can decide if it is worthy or not, but as long i am not a pro then i can't test any of those DB and then i only have to come here and look at reviews if i will take it or force myself to buy it whatever the reviews are.
    Tareq

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    Senior Member yaya's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Back on Old Manual MF Bodies

    There are quite a few dealers who can let you rent the equipment and then refund the rental fee or parts of it should you decide to buy it

    Yair
    Yair Shahar | Product Manager | Phase One | Mamiya Leaf
    e: [email protected] | m: +44(0)77 8992 8199 | yaya's blog

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    Super Duper
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    Re: Digital Back on Old Manual MF Bodies

    Quote Originally Posted by Gardenerbob View Post
    I am moving my post from Large format to Medium Format with the hopes of gleaning some more infomation.
    Okay, I want to get a MF Digital Back (Leaf, at the moment). It seems that though the DB will work on my Ebony 4x5, the movements can't be calibrated easily to an exact enough point to make using it feasable.

    Would any of you MF DB users say that putting a DB on a Blad 500 cm or a Mamiya RB67 makes for a poor combination?
    Would it make more sense to upgrade bodies ( and, ughh, lenses) to use a Digital Back?


    I'd like to keep my old gear, but I realise the times they are a changin...
    Bob
    Personally, I am a fan of combining a 33 meg Leaf Aptus 75 or 75S with a Mamiya RZ ... or what ever the name of that 33 meg back is today I had that combo for some time and feel it is just the right pixel pitch for a lot of the RZ lenses.

    There are so many options for the RZ that are reasonable in price that is makes working with it a great deal of fun. The only draw back is that the wide angle end is limited due to the crop factor (which if I'm not mistaken is 1.5X). The RZ Tilt/Shift adapter, while limited compared to full featured tech camera movements, is still relatively useful, and pretty easy to use. It can be used with the Short Barrel 75 and 180 lenses for infinity focus, or most any other RZ lens for closer work. My favorite RZ lens was the 210 APO.

    If thinking of the Hasselblad 500 series ... I'd look to the leaf backs with the internal rotating sensor, the V cameras don't have a rotating back like the RZ, and while you can get some DBs with adapters that allow manual rotation from landscape to portrait, it's a bit dangerous and a PITA due to the sync cord from V lens to the back.

    I'd do the RZPro-IID where I you. No sync cord and a rotating back.

    My 2

    -Marc

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    Workshop Member lance_schad's Avatar
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    Re: Digital Back on Old Manual MF Bodies

    Bob,

    I would have to agree that times are a changing, but we still have many customers using and purchasing the RZ and 500 series platform for their digital needs.

    The RZ especially is a great platform for the reasons he mentioned plus the ability when using the ProIID to use the Phase/Mamiya Mount DB on a 645DF/AF platform for the times when you need a focal plane shutter and or AF.

    The 500 series and its lenses still hold up very well with the newer generation of backs and are a solid choice as well.

    As mentioned the Leaf with the Rotating sensor in the Aptus II10/12 is great when using the 500 series, but one thing to note when using a PhaseOne on the 500 series has an advantage over the Leaf and Hasselblad. That is that the battery is located on the side of the digital back semi-internal. So this allows you to use the digital back on the full lines of the 5xx series and rotate it manually freely. Yes you still need a sync cable, yes it can be point of failure, but just cary a spare. This has been a tried and true solution for many years.

    On some models of the Leaf when used with the 55x series with the motor drive it does not fit with the battery installed on the bottom since it hangs down when in the horizontal position (yes the 'R' version with the rotating sensor makes this a mute point, but this is something to be aware that is often overlooked) I believe this is the same with Hasselblad CFV series, but they do have adapter that offsets the battery so it can be used. But on the Hasselblad CFV it is not able to rotated I believe(please correct me if I am wrong here).

    I agree with the previous posters you should try it out for yourself. Work with a reseller that will work with you to accommodate this. I cannot speak for the others resellers that are represented here, but we do offer the ability for our prospects to demo/rent the equipment prior to a purchase if requested. The most common way that is accomplished is that you need at least certificate of insurance to cover the value of the equipment.

    As Yair mentioned adapters to put a digital back on the Ebony start as low as about $600 for a simple Graflok Live View adapter(one is pictured below with an H-mount). This is a simple adapter that has a DB mount on it and you would utilize Live View to compose and focus, or if you have a V-Mount you can use a ground glass from a Flex or Arc-Body.

    Hope this provides a little more insight.

    L
    LANCE SCHAD - Digital Transitions - Phase One,Mamiya | Leaf,Arca-Swiss,Cambo, Profoto
    direct/cell:610-496-5586 office:877-367-8537x224
    http://www.digitaltransitions.com email:[email protected]

  8. #8
    Gardenerbob
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    Re: Digital Back on Old Manual MF Bodies

    Thanks for all the replies.
    As has been said before, I will have to try the DB and see for myself, I suppose.
    Alas, it is my busy season (Gardening), so time to play with a DB is limited.

    Bob

  9. #9
    Gardenerbob
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    Re: Digital Back on Old Manual MF Bodies

    Perhaps I should start a new thread, but if I am using the Digital Back for outdoor landscape photography, would you reccomend a Leaf or a Phase One Back.
    I recall seeing a review saying the Phase One had better visibility outdoors. Has Leaf addressed this? What models would you recommend?
    Bob

  10. #10
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    Re: Digital Back on Old Manual MF Bodies

    That's a pretty hard question as it's such an individual decision. IMO, plusses:
    Leaf:
    1. Rotating sensor - no need to take back off if you're on a fixed platform (e.g., does not apply to LF or something like the Flexbody).
    2. Bigger screen (probably not true for newer IQ; should research). Newer models have screens that, I hear, at 100% can be used for critical focus.
    3. Use a stencil to move around. Better than pushing buttons as smaller risk of camera framing being moved. This is a pretty minor point.
    4. If using via flash sync on LF, no "double touch" needed.
    Phase:
    1. No fan. Doesn't ingest anything from your environment.
    2. New IQ screen tough to beat, period. Wished I had one!
    3. Smaller than Leaf; no fan.
    4. Built like a brick. Had an old Leaf and, for example, sensor cover was plastic. Phase sensor cover metal with rubber around sensor to protect (little things like this count for me).

    Sensor size and pixel size matter. Differs by model. I wanted as close to FF as I could get with the $ I had. I like large pixel size, though may not matter as much with newer models.

    So like I said, a really individual choice heavily weighted by how you shoot and what you shoot with. Good luck.

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