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Thread: Hasselblad and digital backs

  1. #1
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    Hasselblad and digital backs

    Forgive me if this is old hat to you guys but it’s all new and mystifying to me.

    I’m just a hobbyist photographer and have a Hasselblad 500CM and a 500 EL/M. I'm considering a digital back to fit on either/both of them as here in Thailand shooting and developing film is difficult. As a retired pensioner finances dictate something around 12-16 megapixel and probably Phase One. I’m also looking at the Kodak DCS backs, both currently available on Ebay.

    But this is where I get lost in this modern digital age!

    Are these earlier backs tethered only or can they be used in the field?

    Is it simply a case of bolting them on the camera, coupled with the appropriate sync cables, and off you go?

    Where are the images stored?

    How are the images retrieved?

    What about synch cables for various lenses viz old style Compur and later CF. I have 50, 80 and 100 Compur’s and a 60 CF - is a dedicated cable needed for each?

    In other words - how does it all work?

    A bewildered old man would appreciate your guidance


    Thanks

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    Re: Hasselblad and digital backs

    It varies from back to back. Generally the backs with screens can be fitted with a battery and used portably without a computer, whereas those without a screen are meant only for tethering. I believe the Kodak DCS Pro backs can be used portably.

    Most digital backs can fit just one type of camera, although some can have the mount changed at the factory, usually at great cost. The Sinar backs have removable adapters, and can be changed by the user.

    Most (all?) portable digital backs take CF cards, which can then be read from the computer, where the images are further processed. Only the most modern backs use formats like DNG, so usually you have to at least use the provided program to convert the images to a more common format, before further processing. For some very old backs, you need an older computer with an older O/S to run the required program.

    All backs used on the Hasselblad V cameras require a sync cable. The motorized cameras have a little more flexibility, in that if used tethered, you can release from the computer with an extra cable. I think.

    I don't know much about the cabling, so perhaps someone else can chime in here.
    Last edited by carstenw; 21st December 2008 at 02:45.
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    Re: Hasselblad and digital backs

    the most direct solution for the 500 CM is the hasselblad CFV back. it takes compact flash cards, can be tethered to your Mac via cable or run without, requires a sync cable from the lens to the back, produces proprietary blad raw files that have to be read by blad software. software is free from hassey when you register your back.
    there is no live view, so operating tehered works fine, it is only able to view the shot you took, however. tethering to the mac does provide power to the back, so in that case, no battery is required.

    there other makes of back (phase 20, for example, sq format), but in addition to a cable, they will probably require a second shutter release action, the first to wake the back, the second to take the shot.

    the most seamless and versatile blad V operation is with the 205 body and CFV: you can use the focal plane shutter and FE lenses or CF lenses and the in-the-lens leaf shutter. with either, there is no cable required.

    in terms of image quality, the 16M CFV and the 16M Phase 20 are fine indeed. bear in mind they are both 1.5 crop, which means your widest field of view will be limited to a cropped 40mm (maybe 38) which is about the same as a 60mm for 2-1/4 film

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    Re: Hasselblad and digital backs

    Thank you both very much for this information. I am most appreciative of your input.

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    Re: Hasselblad and digital backs

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    the most direct solution for the 500 CM is the hasselblad CFV back. it takes compact flash cards, can be tethered to your Mac via cable or run without, requires a sync cable from the lens to the back, produces proprietary blad raw files that have to be read by blad software. software is free from hassey when you register your back.
    there is no live view, so operating tehered works fine, it is only able to view the shot you took, however. tethering to the mac does provide power to the back, so in that case, no battery is required.

    there other makes of back (phase 20, for example, sq format), but in addition to a cable, they will probably require a second shutter release action, the first to wake the back, the second to take the shot.

    the most seamless and versatile blad V operation is with the 205 body and CFV: you can use the focal plane shutter and FE lenses or CF lenses and the in-the-lens leaf shutter. with either, there is no cable required.

    in terms of image quality, the 16M CFV and the 16M Phase 20 are fine indeed. bear in mind they are both 1.5 crop, which means your widest field of view will be limited to a cropped 40mm (maybe 38) which is about the same as a 60mm for 2-1/4 film
    Not quite correct.

    The Hasselblad CFV back does NOT require a sync cable from lens to back for normal use on a 500CM ... you simply set the menu for 500 cameras and shoot away. It is the ONLY back that does NOT require a sync cord from the C, CF, CFi or CFE lens to the digital back.

    There are two versions of the CFV ... CFV, and CFV-II. There is very little difference in real Image Quality between the two. Both use commonly found Sony Lithium camcorder batteries.

    RE: the Kodak Probacks ... All ProBacks were also 16 meg Square sensors and shot to a CF card. The original ProBack was limited to use on a 555ELD, and could be adapted to other cameras like a Mamiya RZ with a very expensive adapter. It was limited to ISO 100 and required a huge Quantum battery tethered for power. It cannot be used on a 500CM or 503CW.

    The later ProBack Plus could be used on a C, CM, and 503CW camera as well as a number of other cameras using a system of ES cables and specific interface modifications.

    The Kodak ProBack H (Hasselblad 645), M (Mamiya 645) and C (Contax 645) are proprietary mounts specifically for each of those cameras. They CANNOT be used on a 500CM. These backs get their power from a proprietary clip on battery that has become scarce and extremely difficult to find.

  6. #6
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    Re: Hasselblad and digital backs

    "there is no live view, so operating tehered works fine, it is only able to view the shot you took"
    *********
    There is "live view" when shooting tethered..Flexcolor and Phocus. The 503 CW winder will also interface with the CVF.

    Steve

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    Re: Hasselblad and digital backs

    marc:

    your compendium of know-how is amazing. thanks for the corrections

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    Re: Hasselblad and digital backs

    Quote Originally Posted by jlm View Post
    there other makes of back (phase 20, for example, sq format), but in addition to a cable, they will probably require a second shutter release action, the first to wake the back, the second to take the shot.
    The Phase P20 (or P21, 25, 30, 45, 60) does not require a second shutter release action on a 500 series body. The metal pal pin which pops out during the exposure is used to trigger the first needed pulse (usually provided electronically by more modern bodies). There is a sync cable that needs to go from the lens sync port to the digital back.

    In general I would say you should start your search by answering these three questions:
    1) Will I ever want more? (if so then research trade-in value, upgrade programs etc; Hasselblad recently discontinued most of their trade-in programs)
    2) Do I want to shoot square or can I shoot rectangular and crop to a square when desired? (there are very few square-chip backs; many more possibilities if you can accept a rectangle)
    3) Do I want to go it alone? (there ARE for sure Pro Back users, but there is just much less of a community than for Phase One or Hasselblad. )

    Of course there are dozens of other questions to ask, but these three will have the greatest impact one what backs you look at.

    Good luck! Welcome to the inferno.

    Doug Peterson, Head of Technical Services
    Capture Integration, Phase One & Canon Dealer | Personal Portfolio

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    Re: Hasselblad and digital backs

    Quote Originally Posted by fotografz View Post
    RE: the Kodak Probacks ... All ProBacks were also 16 meg Square sensors and shot to a CF card....
    The Kodak ProBack H (Hasselblad 645), M (Mamiya 645) and C (Contax 645) are proprietary mounts specifically for each of those cameras. They CANNOT be used on a 500CM. These backs get their power from a proprietary clip on battery that has become scarce and extremely difficult to find.

    I enjoyed the square crop of my Proback 645M. I found that the Proback seemed to "prefer" Microdrives over CF cards.... They just seemed to work better.

    There is a power cord available that allows the Quantum Turbo battery et al. to power the Kodak Proback....

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    Re: Hasselblad and digital backs

    You've all been so helpful and I'm a lot wiser now.

    Thank you all so very much.

    May I wish you and all the forums members a very happy festive season.

    Thanks again.

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    Re: Hasselblad and digital backs

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    I enjoyed the square crop of my Proback 645M. I found that the Proback seemed to "prefer" Microdrives over CF cards.... They just seemed to work better.

    There is a power cord available that allows the Quantum Turbo battery et al. to power the Kodak Proback....
    Is that Quantum connection true for the Proback 645s? Because it is the batteries for the 645 backs that have become scarce, and a Quantum, while cumbersome would solve that scarcity issue for owners of ProBack 645 backs.

    The Original ProBack and ProBack Plus were always powered by a Quantum battery and never accepted a more mobile clip on battery.

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