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Thread: Medium format digital backs for black and white work

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    Medium format digital backs for black and white work

    Of all the medium format digital backs currently in use is there one back or sensor in particular that stands out for black and white landscape work, especially with wide angle lenses?

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    Senior Member Stefan Steib's Avatar
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    Re: Medium format digital backs for black and white work

    There is the outstanding Achromatic + now sold directly through Phase One channel.
    I had a sample of this in the ER (extended range Infrared and UV version) for about a month and it is amazing, As close as you can get to BW film today. essentially the same chip as the P45+ but without Bayer Scheme filters and the Bluegreen Filter removed. But it comes at a cost. An Article about it is here ;

    http://luminous-landscape.com/review...hromatic.shtml

    the Website run by Bear Imaging in California ( Jim Taskett who is the man behind that) is here:

    http://www.achromaticplus.com/Achrom...hromatic+.html

    Take a look - it´s really really good. Wish I had some grands left to buy it
    immediately.

    Greetings from Munich
    Stefan
    because photography is more than technology - and " as we have done this all the time "
    facebook:hcam.de - www.hcam.de - www.hartblei.de

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    Senior Member Graham Mitchell's Avatar
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    Re: Medium format digital backs for black and white work

    There are two things to consider:

    1) Colour backs give you the flexibility in post to select different colour conversions. This is a huge plus, in my opinion. You can achieve this to a very limited degree with a monochromatic back if you shoot through colour filters.

    2) Resolution: the bayer filter on a typical digital back means that only 1/4 of the red and blue pixels, and 1/2 of the green pixels, are uninterpolated. The resulting file is not as detailed as a monochromatic back of the same pixel count would be. I would expect a 40MP mono back to keep up with a 60MP colour back. If the highest resolution mono back is 39MP then the 80MP colour backs should have the edge.

    A scanning back like the Seitz Roundshot has uninterpolated colour, so you get the best of both worlds (in other words you get the same detail as a dedicated 160MP mono back but with colour conversion control as well). It is also higher in resolution than any one shot back. If your subjects are slow moving or still then this would be worth a look.

    How much resolution and dynamic range do you really need?

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    Senior Member Stefan Steib's Avatar
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    Re: Medium format digital backs for black and white work

    Graham

    you are right. scanning backs do have some advantages, resolution is the one, sensor size the other. So this is quite nice on the first look. The question is if it is practical. The long exposure times (2 sec/3sec), the lacking finder ,the levelling -both in case of the Roundshot see specs here:

    http://www.roundshot.ch/xml_1/internet/de/application/d438/d853/f1021.cfm
    http://www.roundshot.ch/xml_1/intern.../d925/f933.cfm

    and the high prices as well as the handling (always tethered so you have to set up Laptop as well before you shoot - I used a dicomed scanback for several years so I know what a pest this can be...)
    I would say this all defines scanning backs as stationary solutions in most of the cases. The roundshot is a very specialised exception, but who needs 360 degr. pano´s all the time ?

    Greetings from Munich
    Stefan
    Last edited by Stefan Steib; 11th October 2011 at 23:38.
    because photography is more than technology - and " as we have done this all the time "
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    Re: Medium format digital backs for black and white work

    Quote Originally Posted by Stefan Steib View Post
    The long exposure times (2 sec/3sec)...
    And also the short maximum exposure length: 1/8th of a second for the Betterlight backs and ~10 seconds for the Roundshot D3. I could live with the long length of the scans, but not the short "shutter-speed" limit...

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Medium format digital backs for black and white work

    As I've moved to new backs with finer and finer pixel pitches, tonality and smoothness seems to increase in proportion. Below was one of the first images from my IQ180, and the tonality in a large print on fiber-base paper is exquisite. It's not yet silver, but it is the closest thing I've seen and has the soft glow. We're *almost* matching silver. Of course it's difficult to show in a web jpeg :


    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Senior Member Stefan Steib's Avatar
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    Re: Medium format digital backs for black and white work

    You are right Jack- this is close. And further- I always wonder how many people who are talking about the quality of large Baryt prints have ever tried to make one larger than 30x40cm. Which is a task to be mastered.....

    Whereas printing a 1x2 m BW in a stunning quality on a highend plotter from an 80Mpix file is comparably easy.

    Greetings from Munich
    Stefan
    because photography is more than technology - and " as we have done this all the time "
    facebook:hcam.de - www.hcam.de - www.hartblei.de

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    Re: Medium format digital backs for black and white work

    Quote Originally Posted by Stefan Steib View Post
    You are right Jack- this is close. And further- I always wonder how many people who are talking about the quality of large Baryt prints have ever tried to make one larger than 30x40cm. Which is a task to be mastered.....

    Whereas printing a 1x2 m BW in a stunning quality on a highend plotter from an 80Mpix file is comparably easy.

    Greetings from Munich
    Stefan
    Hahaha , stunning quality .

    I wish I could finally print images with a real black .
    I mean , a real black . Then we come near to stunning .
    With my densitometer I can measure 3-5 on a silver print , but never reached that value on a digital print .
    Regards . Jürgen .
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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    Senior Member Stefan Steib's Avatar
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    Re: Medium format digital backs for black and white work

    Hi Jürgen

    Maybe a good Oriental print the size of A3 with all tricks(two baths, warm water and a good and experienced baryt operator)made from an 8x10" on a Condensor Teufel or Durst will still be making me smile.

    But who is still doing this ?

    Did you already try e.g. Tecco´s BTG300 Baryt Glossy ?
    This is very, very close -and- if you see a print of this paper in 1x2 meters I´m sure you will forget about the past, especially when you can still pay it without going bankrupt.

    Greetings from Munich
    Stefan
    because photography is more than technology - and " as we have done this all the time "
    facebook:hcam.de - www.hcam.de - www.hartblei.de

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    Sr. Administrator Jack's Avatar
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    Re: Medium format digital backs for black and white work

    Quote Originally Posted by Stefan Steib View Post
    You are right Jack- this is close. And further- I always wonder how many people who are talking about the quality of large Baryt prints have ever tried to make one larger than 30x40cm. Which is a task to be mastered.....

    Whereas printing a 1x2 m BW in a stunning quality on a highend plotter from an 80Mpix file is comparably easy.

    Greetings from Munich
    Stefan
    Stefan,

    This is an important point, thanks for bringing it up -- how many folks regularly printed any 1 m traditional prints? Not many, the task was supremely difficult.
    ~~~

    Jurgen,

    As re silver blacks, a friend of mine likes to have his digital printed on a commercial light-jet printer as it uses traditional wet process silver paper. I have not tried it with B&W yet, but might be worth checking into. He claims it generates deeper blacks.
    Jack
    home: www.getdpi.com

    "Perfection is not attainable. But if we chase perfection, we can catch excellence."

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    Re: Medium format digital backs for black and white work

    i used to get away with 4x5 printed to 16x20, Zone VI cold light in a tweaked Besseler with a 150mm Schneider enlarging lens. when i compare the extremes we go to with MFDB for focus, vibration control, back alignment, etc., B/W printing was so forgiving within it's own limitations, like enlarger alignment, vibration, yet another lens path with flare, focus, lens abberations, negative flatness in the carrier, light source...

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    Senior Member Stefan Steib's Avatar
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    Re: Medium format digital backs for black and white work

    Hi Jack

    we had labs/studios here in Munich that were using Durst Lambda´s printing with a laser on Photopaper. But as the people from Munich (and Southern Germany) know the largest and best one - Reger Studios -(where I happend to work 30 years ago in the studio) has closed down 4 years ago, the customers were deciding if they liked the Lamda Prints (which were really good actually, but expensive) or if they go with the cheaper plotter stuff.
    Quality lost - and 4 years ago neither the paper nor the printers were as advanced as they are today.

    So............ che sara, sara..........:-(

    Greetings from Munich
    Stefan

    PS.: just checked on the durst website - Lambda is discontinued- they make only Inkjets now........
    because photography is more than technology - and " as we have done this all the time "
    facebook:hcam.de - www.hcam.de - www.hartblei.de

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