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Thread: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

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    The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    So in recent weeks, a rather nice condition Hasselblad 500CM system (body, back, two finders, 80 and 150mm lenses, tripod mount, filters, etc etc) has appeared on my doorstep—and for not a lot of money, thankfully. Adding it to the SWC kit I acquired last year, I have just about everything I'd need for 6x6 film shooting.

    But it begs the question of a digital back. I cannot afford one at the moment, but I'm curious. Should I consider a Hasselblad CFV-16, CFV-39? What others (in a "reasonable" price range) would be interesting to look at? What do I need to know before getting involved with this level of Hasselmadness?

    I should probably just grab a Polaroid 100 back, a few packs of Fuji instant film, and be happy with that. Hasselblad up front, and instant prints at the back ... yeah. ;-)

    Godfrey

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Phase p25+ in a V mount is a nice back. If you what square, the CFV-16 (II) and the corresponding Phase One back would be the about the only choices. Both Phase and Leaf made backs with a V mount.

    Everything in MFD has a reasonable price. Sometimes it is reasonable for the buyer, and sometimes reasonable for the seller.
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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    The only thing that bugs me with the digital option on the V-series is that the back doesn't rotate, and the square sensors are kinda smallish.

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    You can mount the p25+ back horizontally or vertically.

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Quote Originally Posted by Shashin View Post
    You can mount the p25+ back horizontally or vertically.
    Sure, that's doable if you are shooting mostly stationary, not really an option for more dynamic photography. I wish there was an option for a rotating sensor, like the Hy6. Or even better, a 6x6 sensor

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    long story...i hated the rectangular format with the blad CV39 (was too stingy to just crop sq, but in retrospect, that is the way to go), loved the CV16, but hated the crop and loss of wide angle, which really impacts the swc.

    ended up going another route for MF digital and will shoot film and scan using the 503 and SWC

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    long story...i hated the rectangular format with the blad CV39 (was too stingy to just crop sq, but in retrospect, that is the way to go), loved the CV16, but hated the crop and loss of wide angle, which really impacts the swc.

    ended up going another route for MF digital and will shoot film and scan using the 503 and SWC
    Honestly, with the quality of today's films like the new Portra that's hardly a concession. In fact, when I see the results I sometimes wonder why I'd want to shoot digital at all.

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Thanks for the pointers.

    Yes, I'd prefer a square sensor, and no, I'm not ready to spend what I see as prices at present. I'll shoot film and scan for the foreseeable future. :-)

    Godfrey

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    just to put a fly in the ointment hasselblad has a deal on their X1 scanner till end of May for 10k, a few thousand off retail.

    shoot film and scan...

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Quote Originally Posted by robertwright View Post
    just to put a fly in the ointment hasselblad has a deal on their X1 scanner till end of May for 10k, a few thousand off retail.

    shoot film and scan...
    LOL! If I could afford that, I could afford one of several available digital backs.

    I have a Nikon Super Coolscan 9000 ED now. It will have to do. ;-)

    G

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Just one other thought while you save your pennies, I believe the Phase and Leaf backs require a wake-up cable where the Hasselblad backs do not. It is something to check at any rate.

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Another fly in the ointment - digital backs require more precise focusing, and also are very sensitive to shake. So that handheld wide open shot at 1/30 becomes more difficult. If you work off a tripod and are willing to shoot with DOF, its less of an issue. But it is one of the reasons that the migration from handheld MF shooting (say with 'blad) to the digital era was more difficult than first considered.

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Quote Originally Posted by Mammy645 View Post
    The only thing that bugs me with the digital option on the V-series is that the back doesn't rotate, and the square sensors are kinda smallish.
    The Leaf Aptus II 10R and Leaf Aptus II 12R are available in a V mount with internally rotating sensor.

    Bit out of the OP's price range, but thought I'd point you that way since you mentioned it.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    So in recent weeks, a rather nice condition Hasselblad 500CM system (body, back, two finders, 80 and 150mm lenses, tripod mount, filters, etc etc) has appeared on my doorstep—and for not a lot of money, thankfully. Adding it to the SWC kit I acquired last year, I have just about everything I'd need for 6x6 film shooting.

    But it begs the question of a digital back. I cannot afford one at the moment, but I'm curious. Should I consider a Hasselblad CFV-16, CFV-39? What others (in a "reasonable" price range) would be interesting to look at? What do I need to know before getting involved with this level of Hasselmadness?

    I should probably just grab a Polaroid 100 back, a few packs of Fuji instant film, and be happy with that. Hasselblad up front, and instant prints at the back ... yeah. ;-)

    Godfrey
    Some backs that might be in your price range:
    P25, P25+, Aptus II 5, P45, P45+

    All can rotate to vertical or horizontal, are near full frame (1.1 crop) and have full software/firmware/hardware support.

    We only have one pre-owned P45+V right now. But inventory changes by the day, especially around the time of major product launches (like the IQ2 shipping here in a month or two).

    A good strategy is to contact a dealer or two and let them know what you're looking for, and ask them to contact you if/when they have something coming in that might suit you.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    I've been thinking of going the same way. I would love to get back to squares. Apart from availability I wonder about the longevity of the old backs, and repair costs.
    Cheers,
    Jeff
    www.jeff-grant.com

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    A good strategy is to contact a dealer or two and let them know what you're looking for, and ask them to contact you if/when they have something coming in that might suit you.


    I can personally vouch for this. Whist DT haven't managed to sell me anything, yet, this strategy has worked for me with my other two dealers. You'll be amazed at what they find or get on trade ... (in my case TWO basically as-new P25+'s).
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Quote Originally Posted by Geoff View Post
    Another fly in the ointment - digital backs require more precise focusing, and also are very sensitive to shake. So that handheld wide open shot at 1/30 becomes more difficult. If you work off a tripod and are willing to shoot with DOF, its less of an issue. But it is one of the reasons that the migration from handheld MF shooting (say with 'blad) to the digital era was more difficult than first considered.
    Don't know why this is a "fly in the ointment." This is the third time I've owned a Hasselblad system.

    I've always considered shooting with Hasselblads, particularly the SLRs but including the SWC, a tripod effort with time spent in critical focus adjustment and careful setting of DoF. Only rarely shoot with them hand-held, and when doing so usually keep the exposure times short (1/60 s minimum with an 80mm lens). That's why one of the very first accessories I ordered for both the SWC and the 500CM was the appropriate camera plate for my tripod QR clamp. I fit it and never remove it. ;-)

    For handheld medium format work, a classic folder or a Rolleiflex TLR are far better choices than a Hassy 500, IME.

    G

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    Some backs that might be in your price range:
    P25, P25+, Aptus II 5, P45, P45+

    All can rotate to vertical or horizontal, are near full frame (1.1 crop) and have full software/firmware/hardware support.

    We only have one pre-owned P45+V right now. But inventory changes by the day, especially around the time of major product launches (like the IQ2 shipping here in a month or two).

    A good strategy is to contact a dealer or two and let them know what you're looking for, and ask them to contact you if/when they have something coming in that might suit you.
    Thanks, Doug.

    Have to say that I'm not really in the market for a digital back yet at all, the prices for nearly any of them are way more than I'm interested in spending at the moment. I might want to rent one if a particular project comes up for which it will be the right thing. :-)

    G

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    Don't know why this is a "fly in the ointment." This is the third time I've owned a Hasselblad system.

    I've always considered shooting with Hasselblads, particularly the SLRs but including the SWC, a tripod effort with time spent in critical focus adjustment and careful setting of DoF. Only rarely shoot with them hand-held, and when doing so usually keep the exposure times short (1/60 s minimum with an 80mm lens). That's why one of the very first accessories I ordered for both the SWC and the 500CM was the appropriate camera plate for my tripod QR clamp. I fit it and never remove it. ;-)

    For handheld medium format work, a classic folder or a Rolleiflex TLR are far better choices than a Hassy 500, IME.

    G
    That's funny, I use mine almost exclusively handheld for documentary/street photography. Flickr: Hassy501CM's Photostream

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Quote Originally Posted by Mammy645 View Post
    That's funny, I use mine almost exclusively handheld for documentary/street photography. Flickr: Hassy501CM's Photostream
    Nice set!

    I'll do some handheld work with mine too, but what I'm usually after with Hasselblad is photos which exploit the resolving power of the lenses and format, which for me requires a tripod. I tend to want something smaller, quieter, maybe faster for this kind of street work most of the time.

    (Hmm. The 500CM would be a lot faster with one of the rapid wind cranks on it. I just have the standard wind knob for this one right now...)

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Quote Originally Posted by Mammy645 View Post
    The only thing that bugs me with the digital option on the V-series is that the back doesn't rotate, and the square sensors are kinda smallish.
    if you also working with 90 degree viewfinder, the Smart Flex L-Plate may
    be help some. it keep the compose when rotate.

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    Thumbs up Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    I use a CFV-39 with a 555ELD body, and I love it.

    I use the long right-angle finder, so I'm behind the camera rather than above it.
    This makes it quite easy to switch from landscape to portrait when desired.

    - Leigh

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Godfrey, for a while, I had a P25+ and I used it with my SWC and it worked great. I since sold it to pay bills though. Expect to pay ~$5000+ for that sort of back. The crop factor over the "full frame" 645 is only 1.1 so you are not really losing much. Personally, I think the ~25MP is at the sweet spot for the Hassy since any higher, and you might be pushing the limit of those Zeiss lens. Nice fat pixels and if you put it on a tripod, the result would be excellent.

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    it just seems like such a waste to crop what that 38 biogon can do on 6x6

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    it just seems like such a waste to crop what that 38 biogon can do on 6x6
    I do kinda agree with that, but there are times when having the digital back in addition to film has an advantage.

    It's a great thought exercise, even if I never buy, but right now the notion of getting the latest CFV-50 for the 500CM and SWC is a fine fantasy. I would never say never, but let's face it: $17000, or $13000 for a well priced used one, would buy a LOT of film and processing, and I already have the Coolscan 9000 ...

    G

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    I had been through this. I would go for a CFV back directly. Any other back you would end up longing for the aesthetics. I had a CF39 then an aptus, finally traded them for a CFV39. You can hunt one down these day for around 7K now, not too much more

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Quote Originally Posted by mmbma View Post
    I had been through this. I would go for a CFV back directly. Any other back you would end up longing for the aesthetics. I had a CF39 then an aptus, finally traded them for a CFV39. You can hunt one down these day for around 7K now, not too much more
    That is where my thinking has gone now, but I haven't seen anything in a CFV-39 back yet for under about $10K. At $7K or thereabouts, it becomes the question "Which do I want more: the Leica M or the digital back for the Hasselblad?" Either way, that decision is some time in 2014 at earliest for me.

    (Thankfully. It means I'm best off just getting on with making photographs and save my money. ;-)

    G

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    That is where my thinking has gone now, but I haven't seen anything in a CFV-39 back yet for under about $10K. At $7K or thereabouts, it becomes the question "Which do I want more: the Leica M or the digital back for the Hasselblad?" Either way, that decision is some time in 2014 at earliest for me.

    (Thankfully. It means I'm best off just getting on with making photographs and save my money. ;-)

    G
    I am currently using a P45 (CFV-39 equivalent) with my 503.
    So long as you are working off a tripod with care, and using the better performing V lenses, it is an excellent rig.

    Maybe not that fast to work with, but the results first rate.....large files with lots of detail, that print superbly

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    it just seems like such a waste to crop what that 38 biogon can do on 6x6
    Agreed, but Godfrey can continue to shoot film with his SWC, which is what I would do (if I owned one).

    I would only use the digital back on a standard 'Blad. So it's just a question of square sensor (1.5x crop factor) or rectangular sensor (1.1 to 1.3x crop factor), number of megapixels, Hasselblad vs Phase, Leaf etc and of course, the price.

    Oh yeah...one other choice to be made..."fat pixels" vs everything else.

    Gary

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    The cheapest way to go is probably an old Imacon 132c, if you can find one. You will have to put up with carrying a harddrive around, and a couple of cables. But it gives very fine 22mpix images. Tripod is very recommended. Gives nice results on the SWC as well.
    Leica Monochrom, Olympus EM-5, Ricoh GR

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Maybe a slightly different question. How are the lenses on the V system, considering a full frame 60 Mpix back ?
    Is the main problem accurate focusing (which could be solved with live view focusing on a tripod), or are the lenses simply not sharp enough ? I am especially interested in Landscapes (so f/11 would be fine), and the lack of something wider than 40mm is a bit disturbing, but a V system could be a "cheap" introduction to MFDBs - before going to a tech cam.

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    The V-system lenses are uniformly excellent. I have most of them (lacking the 60mm and the 135mm bellows lens).

    I used to shoot Agfapan 25, and those were as sharp as you could imagine.

    I very much doubt the digital backs would exceed the resolution of that film.
    The back manufacturers want you to think so, so you'll buy their stuff.

    - Leigh

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Leigh: a 60mp back will easily produce more on-print detail than your 6x6 Agfa 25. Comparing final-print detail compared to a very well exposed, carefully scanned, perfectly focused fine-grain 8x10 inch piece of film is still a relevant debate. But resolution vs 6x6 film was settled long ago. That's not to say that [Film vs Digital] is settled - they are tools, and as such have different pros/cons; neither is "better" overall, just very different. BUT the resolution thing is empirical and easily demonstrated. If you'd ever like to try a digital back to see this for yourself we'd be glad to help; I VASTLY prefer to have someone do this test themselves then to talk back and forth about numbers or use previous tests, but here is a 32mm HR lens with an IQ160 (60mp back) for you to download and print as big as you want and compare to any large prints you did back in the day on Agfa 25:
    28mm & 32mm Lens Comparison - DT Blog

    Regarding Hassy lenses: they were best-in-class, but their class was [lenses designed for film]. You'll find they still draw beautiful images, and still focus with wonderful manual mechanics (as compared to say the Canon 85/1.2 which is on a delayed fly-by-wire focus system even when manually focusing). And for several of the lenses, like the 120 Macro, that the resolution is excellent even for 60mp or 80mp.

    But you will find, compared to modern lenses, that they have more chromatic aberration, lack bite (which you may like or dislike depending on your aesthetic) and that the wide angles don't hold up at the edges for work like landscape where edge-sharpness is traditionally considered important.

    If you compare the Hassy SLR wide-angle options to other modern medium format wide angle options you'll usually lose, but not by so much that it couldn't be justified based on the very low cost of entry. If you get the Hassy pancake body with the 38 Biogon you'll likely be very pleased relative to most modern SLR wides.

    BUT you know at the end of the day what you want is a tech camera . Those wide angles will beat anything you've ever seen.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183
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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Of course, I know I want a tech camera :-)
    But they don't seem like an off-the shelf deal, and having a digital back doing nothing for a couple of months, waiting for the tech cam to arrive, sounds like an awful waste.
    Thanks for the info !

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Quote Originally Posted by miska View Post
    Of course, I know I want a tech camera :-)
    But they don't seem like an off-the shelf deal, and having a digital back doing nothing for a couple of months, waiting for the tech cam to arrive, sounds like an awful waste.
    Thanks for the info !
    Indeed, though as a large dealer of Cambo and Arca we have complete systems (body+adapter+lens+viewfinder) on the shelf ready to ship today for most of the Cambo and Arca bodies.

    But we definitely don't have every lens on the shelf. Usually those lenses come fairly fast, but for sure they can take a month or two if you're unlucky.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
    Dealer for: Phase One, Mamiya Leaf, Arca-Swiss, Cambo, Eizo, Profoto
    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183

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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    That's a pretty amazing amount of detail with the 32HR. God, I need an IQ!

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    Leigh: a 60mp back will easily produce more on-print detail than your 6x6 Agfa 25. Comparing final-print detail compared to a very well exposed, carefully scanned, perfectly focused fine-grain 8x10 inch piece of film is still a relevant debate. But resolution vs 6x6 film was settled long ago. That's not to say that [Film vs Digital] is settled - they are tools, and as such have different pros/cons; neither is "better" overall, just very different. BUT the resolution thing is empirical and easily demonstrated. If you'd ever like to try a digital back to see this for yourself we'd be glad to help; I VASTLY prefer to have someone do this test themselves then to talk back and forth about numbers or use previous tests, but here is a 32mm HR lens with an IQ160 (60mp back) for you to download and print as big as you want and compare to any large prints you did back in the day on Agfa 25:
    28mm & 32mm Lens Comparison - DT Blog

    Regarding Hassy lenses: they were best-in-class, but their class was [lenses designed for film]. You'll find they still draw beautiful images, and still focus with wonderful manual mechanics (as compared to say the Canon 85/1.2 which is on a delayed fly-by-wire focus system even when manually focusing). And for several of the lenses, like the 120 Macro, that the resolution is excellent even for 60mp or 80mp.

    But you will find, compared to modern lenses, that they have more chromatic aberration, lack bite (which you may like or dislike depending on your aesthetic) and that the wide angles don't hold up at the edges for work like landscape where edge-sharpness is traditionally considered important.

    If you compare the Hassy SLR wide-angle options to other modern medium format wide angle options you'll usually lose, but not by so much that it couldn't be justified based on the very low cost of entry. If you get the Hassy pancake body with the 38 Biogon you'll likely be very pleased relative to most modern SLR wides.

    BUT you know at the end of the day what you want is a tech camera . Those wide angles will beat anything you've ever seen.

  37. #37
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    Re: The Slippery Slope - Hasselblad V digital back options

    Quote Originally Posted by Godfrey View Post
    That is where my thinking has gone now, but I haven't seen anything in a CFV-39 back yet for under about $10K. At $7K or thereabouts, it becomes the question "Which do I want more: the Leica M or the digital back for the Hasselblad?" Either way, that decision is some time in 2014 at earliest for me.

    (Thankfully. It means I'm best off just getting on with making photographs and save my money. ;-)

    G
    Godfrey,
    If you ever want to get together to put my IQ 160 on your Hassy let me know.
    Bob

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