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Thread: Contax 645 + P65+: first pics

  1. #1
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    Contax 645 + P65+: first pics

    After collecting a 2nd. hand Contax 645 equipment over the past two years and initial tests with film (Fuji Provia + scan) and a borrowed Leaf Aptus-II 7 back I am now the lucky owner of a Phase One P65+ back with Contax mount. I had little time for testing due to too much work and rather bad weather conditions in Guangzhou (fog/smog for weeks ...) but this weekend spent some time playing with the cam/back combination.

    The Phase One P series back is very solid, fits excellent to the Contax cam body, the back always was perfectly recognized by the cam and switches on instantly. The menu access by the four buttons is quite fluently and to the main functions like ISO and is

    Of course the screen is small, the resolution by today's standard low (I assume 320x240 pixel), you can't rely on the color reproduction. The picture is shown rather quickly after the exposure. It works quite well to zoom in and check the focus point - which is essential because the auto focus of the Contax 645 is fine at shorter distances, good contrast and good lighting conditions but quite easily fails at longer distances (with 140mm and longer lenses) at darker lighting conditions.

    I like quite everything better at the Phase One back compared to the previously tested Leaf back: The P back itself and the card door feel less flimmsy, the large screen of the Leaf is no advantage because the resolution is not higher, I like the the lack of fan and fan noise, I found the Leaf touch panel to be no more intuitive or quicker than using the the P buttons, I like that the battery of the Phase does not stick out so far like the Leaf's (but you can use larger capacity batteries with the Leaf).

    The P65+ uses Dalsa sensors like Leaf, so picture quailty is excellent up to 4-8 seconds exposure time. At longer exposure times, the thousands of colored hot pixels are quite annoying if you open the file in ACR, you should use C1 which has an alorithm to calculate them out.

    I used mainly the Contax 140f2.8 which is a wonderful lens. Amazing sharp from f2.8 for portrait work with very nice bokeh, perfect sharpness up the corners of the 54x40 mm sensor at f8 (see crop of upper right corner of the door picture).

    Also the Distagon 35f3.5 works fine and does not show any corner color cast due to the retrofocus design and large distance between rear lens and sensor. I will show samples later.

    I also tested tethering with a firewire cable and C1 on a MacBook Pro which works perfectly.

    The picture quality opening the files on a large computer screen is really mind blowing. Colors and contrast are wonderful, the lack of AA-filter is a big plus too. And the Contax lenses hold up the 60 Megapixel resolution on full frame 645 (Until now I only tested the 35, 55 and 140. Later will report about the 80, 120M, 210 and 350).

    Christoph
    Last edited by chrismuc; 20th June 2013 at 00:27.

  2. #2
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    Re: Contax 645 + P65+: first pics

    i

    am

    so

    jealous!!

    how much did you pay for the back?

  3. #3
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    Re: Contax 645 + P65+: first pics

    Hi drevil,

    so you are from Hamburg/Beijing (North Germany/North China)?
    I'm from Munich/Guangzhou (South Germany/South China), that's funny:-)

    I heard it had snow again in Beijing this weekend, Guangzhou now is fine with a very sunny day today.

    I bought the back in Germany and payed EUR 10500. Low actuations, mint, very nice seller, met him personally and could test the back.

    Good luck to you to find something similar.

    Christoph

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    Re: Contax 645 + P65+: first pics

    Haha, guess i saw the same back on ebay, right?
    seems like it was a real steal!!! compared to the prices in the us.

    yes it was snowing saturday night quite heavy, friday it was 15 degrees celsius already


  5. #5
    nicemate
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    Re: Contax 645 + P65+: first pics

    Hello Chris!

    I am looking into buying a contax 645 and a p65 combination too!

    I have a couple questions for you, hope you don't mind!

    Is it possible to use the WLF together with the digital back?

    Are you satisfied with the back / camera combination, coming from film?

    best regards, pietro

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    Re: Contax 645 + P65+: first pics

    Ciao Pietro,

    great to see that you also want to get the Contax 645 experience.

    The WLF works as well as the prism finder with the digital back. I use it frequently since I bought it 2nd. hand.

    I did a direct comparison between film (Fuji Provia 100) and digital (Leaf II 7). Film does not come close to digital. Even the rather big 7 um pixels of the digital Leaf files are sharper and more noise free than a 6 um Imacon scan of the dia positive film.

    Most Contax glass is very suitable for the high resolution of the 6 um P65+ back (35 and 55 I mostly mostly use at f 11 for architecture, the 80 and 140 are sharp in the center area from f2.8, the 350 from f5.6; 45 and 210 are less impressive)

    Regards Christoph

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