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Thread: Phase One 645DF or Hasselblad H3DII-39 - body durability - travel photography

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    Phase One 645DF or Hasselblad H3DII-39 - body durability - travel photography

    I'm one step away from buying 645DF. (I'm newbie in MF).

    Could you advice me which body seems to be more durable (lenses as well) ? Phase One 645DF or Hasselblad H3DII-39 ?

    I know that both don't have sealings, and it's more common to use them in studio, than outdoor, but I have to choose.

    My needs:

    - strobes (645z have low flash sync speed, 1/125 sec :/)
    - outdoor (travel photography, small dust is common)
    - big sensor (645Z have only 44x33)

    thx
    Paul

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Phase One 645DF or Hasselblad H3DII-39 - body durability - travel photography

    Paul, I don't think you'll have a problem with either body with typical common sense usage and care. Camera bodies are a lot more weather resistant than people may think, regardless of the marketing verbage used.

    Phase will be releasing their new camera body soon---fingers-crossed it makes it to CI in Lake Tahoe 2015....

    Flash sync on H is limited to 1/800; Phase LS lenses go up to 1/1600. You'll still need to use lights with matching capabilities.

    I'd spend more time examining the features of the respective Phase and H systems (workflow, software, lenses, camera bodies, MFDB, etc) to make sure you are investing in a system that tickles your fancy most. Spending/investing a nominal amount more upfront for the system you really want/need can actually prove to save more in the long run...

    (hey, it's Dante's Forum...) Welcome to the fold.

    ken

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    Re: Phase One 645DF or Hasselblad H3DII-39 - body durability - travel photography

    Cross posted from LL...
    ---

    Notably the flash sync for LS lenses on a DF+ is 1/1600th, and the back (the most expensive part) is made to handle crazy abuse:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ytrsdSR_67Q
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qOemv9F_Ahw
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3J4BErvU-kg
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e0SljqdzCNQ

    Also the DF and DF+ are still "current" meaning service, support, and repairs are provided without limitation.

    Probably the least expensive way into a DF+ at this point is with the purchase of a Leaf Credo 40 bundle promo. For $13,995 you get a great, modern, high res, fast shooting back, an LS lens sycning at 1/1600th, and a DF+ body. That's $2500 for the body and lens.

    I'll leave it to end users to report on their reliability findings. Since I'm biased my answer between H and DF+ wouldn't mean much. I can say we found the DF to be of only okay reliability, especially after high shutter counts, while the DF+ on current firmware we have found to be quite reliable. Good thing too, since we have a half dozen in rental at any given time!
    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: Phase One 645DF or Hasselblad H3DII-39 - body durability - travel photography

    I will be more blunt and tell you to stay away from DF non +.
    DF+ that I have seems very solid and I trust it.
    Note that current Mamiya can be tethered via USB while H3D needs firewire which is a very difficult and limiting wire. Tethering is an advantage of MF you don't want to miss out on.

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    Senior Member kdphotography's Avatar
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    Re: Phase One 645DF or Hasselblad H3DII-39 - body durability - travel photography

    I've used the DF+ a few times and didn't find the differences to be worthwhile enough for me to open my wallet to upgrade my DF. My DF has been rock solid for me---particularly after making sure firmware was updated and using the new li-ion battery insert (Ejji or Phase). And frankly, this is the first time I've heard/read anything about the DF+ being more robust or more reliable than the DF.

    This isn't an all-new Phase body, right? Isn't this the same good ole DF+ that made everyone moan and groan because Phase wasn't quick enough on the draw to release an all-new wonder body? Some nice tweaks on the DF+ but not a new generation body release for sure.

    If you were talking H5X, I'd say from what I've read that venerable H offers a great alternative with a Phase MFDB.

    But if you're talking about saving money to stay with the DF, I really don't think that is a bad idea. LS lenses work just as well and with up 1/1600 flash sync. Just make sure firmware is current and that you opt for the Li-ion battery insert for the body. Word is that the all-new Phase body will probably be released in 3-4 months. I'd place bets that you can get a great deal on a DF then. Check the GetDPI buy/sell when I list my DF then...

    ken

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    Re: Phase One 645DF or Hasselblad H3DII-39 - body durability - travel photography

    I can't speak for the phase, but my h3dii-50 has taken a beating.

    It's been on the frozen great lakes with me in -30c temps(pre-windchill), At the other end of the spectrum, it has been to Barbados, Jamaica and the jungles of Mexico too, and the only issue was one of my contacts on a battery got some saltwater on them and corroded a little.

    It also took a three foot fall off my shoulder onto cement and popped apart like a F1 car hitting a wall. The back, viewfinder, and battery came right off. Only a few more scratches but still mechanically perfect.

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    Re: Phase One 645DF or Hasselblad H3DII-39 - body durability - travel photography

    Saw this on LL and almost posted there but decided to do it here instead.

    Years ago as I was at the Gates of Dante I was uncertain which system to buy, either a Hasselblad or Phase One (which at the time didn't have their own camera body). Certainly Hasselblad was much more well know to me by name while Phase wasn't. I decided to test them both and ended with Phase One/Mamiya.

    While the Hasselblad would have been more than okay for me it didn't feel right. I found I didn't like the feel of the camera nor did I like the controls. I equate it to trying a new food out only to not like the way it fells in my mouth. If the texture is off I won't like it; I felt the same when comparing the two cameras. The Hasselblad looks sexy however it just wasn't for me. So that's my full experience using Hasselblad.

    Returning back to your three needs:

    -strobes - can't help you there as I don't use them.
    -big sensor - depends on the back you get. I've shot with a P30+, P45+ P65 and now an IQ160 and loved every body and each cropped mode however there's no way I'd ever go backwards. This is based on personal preference only as well as printing.
    -outdoor - (I took this out of order as this will be the longer answer). In case you are unfamiliar, I am a landscape, nature and wildlife photographer. My main landscape system is a Cambo WRS technical camera attached to a IQ160. I use the WRS more than 80% for all my work. The nature, wildlife and some landscape work is also done with a Phase One DF with the IQ160. That's the beauty of the system; one digital back that is capable of being placed on multiple camera bodies. And just to set the record straight, I also shoot with a Sony A7r modified to capture infrared.

    So just how good is the system what doesn't have weather sealing? I live in the southwest desert region of the US and travel. I've shot in the surf off the California and Oregon coasts in the rain with no problems using both a Mamiya and Phase One body and digital backs. Likewise I've shot in the desert in blowing sand. I spend time in the Grand Canyon mainly in the winter where it snows, heavy mist, clouds, and blowing wind (sometime all at the same time) The temps here in the winter are typically 18 degrees (-7 Celsius). I also spend time in Jackson Hole Wyoming area shoot a combination of landscape and wildlife where the winter it can reach to zero and below (-17 Celsius) for days at a time. Then there's Death Valley and temperatures ranging from 120 degrees (48 Celsius) to a more moderate 25 degrees (-3 Celsius) and yes it does snow in the winter in Death Valley.

    So, based on personal experience using a Phase One digital back for over 8-years what I've learned is that I'll give out way before the equipment does.

    Take the time and look at the site. Look at the images in the medium format area and see where and how they were captured. You might want to look at our blog as well as there's a lot of images from locations above as well as others all taken throughout the course of a year. The worse the weather the better the images are. Blowing sand, snow, sleet, rain, fog, all help in getting a great image and you can't be concerned with your equipment. I know of one great photographer that recently went into the water to complete a shoot where he was standing knee deep in surf shoot handheld with a DF (or was it a DF+?).

    The best advise anyone can give you is to try the systems out before you buy. Also look for a good dealer that'll be with you as you learn the system and grow.

    Best of luck

    don
    Don Libby
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    Re: Phase One 645DF or Hasselblad H3DII-39 - body durability - travel photography

    Quote Originally Posted by kdphotography View Post
    I've used the DF+ a few times and didn't find the differences to be worthwhile enough for me to open my wallet to upgrade my DF. My DF has been rock solid for me---particularly after making sure firmware was updated and using the new li-ion battery insert (Ejji or Phase). And frankly, this is the first time I've heard/read anything about the DF+ being more robust or more reliable than the DF.

    This isn't an all-new Phase body, right? Isn't this the same good ole DF+ that made everyone moan and groan because Phase wasn't quick enough on the draw to release an all-new wonder body? Some nice tweaks on the DF+ but not a new generation body release for sure.

    If you were talking H5X, I'd say from what I've read that venerable H offers a great alternative with a Phase MFDB.

    But if you're talking about saving money to stay with the DF, I really don't think that is a bad idea. LS lenses work just as well and with up 1/1600 flash sync. Just make sure firmware is current and that you opt for the Li-ion battery insert for the body. Word is that the all-new Phase body will probably be released in 3-4 months. I'd place bets that you can get a great deal on a DF then. Check the GetDPI buy/sell when I list my DF then...

    ken

    Just to add to what Ken has said, I too decided to keep using the older DF over the DF+ as there was very little improvements that I could justify the cost of upgrade. Phase is rumored (for several years now) to be on the verge of releasing a new camera body to replace the DF/DF+. If, as rumors hold they actually release it next year then you will in all likelihood see a lot of older (and still good) DF and DF+ come on the market at a better price than being offered now
    Don Libby
    Iron Creek Photography
    Blog
    Tucson AZ

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    Re: Phase One 645DF or Hasselblad H3DII-39 - body durability - travel photography

    DF/DF+ difference is mainly stability, especially that of the mirror mechanism.
    It doesn't happen that often, but once is enough.
    Facing a non working body can be quite challenging for a pro as not everyone can enjoy immediate replacements.

    Also the DF has the battery drain bug which is very annoying and solved in DF+. I don't miss having to change the batteries every couple of days.

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    Re: Phase One 645DF or Hasselblad H3DII-39 - body durability - travel photography

    Not certain that the DF has that much of a battery drain bug as I have never experienced it. Then again I stopped using AA batteries just as soon as I replaced them with the EJJI battery pack in March 2012. The EJJI batteries last much longer than anything else I ever used and last much longer than the batteries in the digital back (at least twice or more). The DF+ offers the same type of battery as the EJJI.

    Don
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    Re: Phase One 645DF or Hasselblad H3DII-39 - body durability - travel photography

    I've used DF with EJJI and still had to charge a lot more than made sense.
    Not as bad as with AAs for sure, but still too much.
    With DF+ every few weeks which is what is supposed to be.

    Having used AFD II, III, DF and DF+, seems the DF was the least stable one.
    Also based on complaints heard on these forums.

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    Re: Phase One 645DF or Hasselblad H3DII-39 - body durability - travel photography

    I've been using iterations of the Mamiya/Phase body since its release with the first generation 645AF (is that about 15 yrs+?) and now currently on the Phase DF. I've used the 645AF, 645AFD, 645AFDII, Phase 645AF, and DF; I've owned the Kodak 645M, Phase P30, P45+, P65+, and IQ180. The latest Phase bodies were a bump up in build quality compared to previous Mamiya generation bodies. I've found the Phase DF to be a very reliable and stable platform.

    Battery drain was indeed an issue early on old generation bodies (remember that 1/2 battery sign meant you could just finish your roll of film?). The release of the Phase 645AF/Mamiya 645AFIII really addressed this shortcoming. It's been undetectable on the DF.

    I have not detected any battery drain with the Phase DF body. There were indeed power issues early on, causing frustrating lock-ups but these were addressed by various firmware updates and especially by shifting to Energizer lithium AAs---and finally with the release of the EJJI lithium body insert, which imho, put any sort of power issues to rest. If only the Phase MFDBs had the reserves of the EJJI/Phase lithium camera body battery!

    Again, there were early frustrations stemming from power issues, compounded by trying to find the right combination, or rather getting the right new set of firmware updates to work together---that meaning, new firmware in both the camera body and new firmware on the MFDB. This should be a non-issue now.

    The EJJI/Phase lithium insert has ridiculous amounts of reserve power. If your DF is requiring constant recharging, I think there is a larger individual camera issue that is not representative of the whole.

    The point being here for the OP is that I would not worry so much about differences between the DF and DF+. The largest difference (if it is to be noted) is slightly better AF and the ability to tweak the focus on the DF+. I did not find these additions to be worthwhile to upgrade my DF, particularly without a Phase One "trade-in/upgrade" incentive. Too little improvement for too much cash, even in Dante's Forum.

    The DF/DF+ is a stable platform albeit long in the tooth. Looking forward to the new Phase camera body in a few months!

    ken

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    Re: Phase One 645DF or Hasselblad H3DII-39 - body durability - travel photography

    When I say battery drain, I mean forgetting to turn the camera off and finding out the next day that you need to put new batteries.

    I've had 3-4 645AF and AFD III bodies, and they all had that problem.

    Regarding DF, I wouldn't swear on my life, but to the best of my recollection I've had some problems with it which were completely solved only with DF+.

    It's great to hear your DF was fine, but I'm not the only one who's had that problem:
    http://www.getdpi.com/forum/medium-f...ery-eater.html

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    Re: Phase One 645DF or Hasselblad H3DII-39 - body durability - travel photography

    Yes---you'll note from the link you posted, that issue is part of the early issue I referred to, supra. Opting for a DF+ would resolve any issues since it would obviously have the latest firmware.

    If the user forgets to turn off the camera on the DF, Custom Function 03 allows you to program the camera body power "sleep mode" similar to the DF+.

    ken

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    Re: Phase One 645DF or Hasselblad H3DII-39 - body durability - travel photography

    thx to all of you guys! Choice of mine is 645DF!

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