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Thread: P65+ or Aptus II-12

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    Senior Member Jamgolf's Avatar
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    P65+ or Aptus II-12

    I am requesting advice regarding choice of a digital back. I am considering P65+ and Aptus II-12.
    (IQXXX backs are not in my budget and lower MP backs do not interest me)

    I intend to use this back with a technical camera (AS Factum or Cambo RC-400) with Rodenstock 32mm Digaron, mostly for landscape work. My prime concern is image quality to be far superior to Pentax 645D.

    Here is what I have learned from my research so far:

    Aptus II-12
    + 80MP is definitely a plus.
    + Ability to check focus via 100% preview
    + Image Quality (from what I have seen on flickr or 500px)
    ? Has a cooling fan instead of heat sink
    ? Reliability
    ? Some stories of troubled customer support & repairs
    ? subpar LCD screen
    - Cost compared to P65+
    - Slow user interface

    P65+
    + Cost compared to Aptus II-12
    + DXO Mark gives it high score for color depth
    + better customer support from PhaseOne
    + Image quality based on what I see on flickr and 500px
    ? Wonder if 60MP is significant compared to a 40MP file
    - Inability to check focus via 100% preview (is this really true)

    I would love to hear from owners of these backs as well as other insightful members which one they would pick and why.

    Thanks so much for your time.
    Cheers!

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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    An 80MP sensor is an increase in resolution of 40% over a 40MP sensor. A 60MP sensor is an increase of 22.5% over a 40MP sensor. The difference between a P65+ and 645Z is less than 10% in resolution.

    For everything else, if you shoot at base ISO of 50 with the P65+, then you have a bit more quality than a 645D. If not, then the cameras are close. Compared with a 645Z, I imagine the 645Z will be better.

    Given the experience of members here, a 60MP back is far more forgiving in regards to lens cast than a 80MP which seems hard to find good matching optics. If you have a nice set of optics, then it is a bit of a wash, beyond the difference in specific models. Only a 15% difference in resolution between 60MP and 80MP. The p65+ seems to have a fairly universally good reputation, at least from comments at GetDPI.
    Will

    http://www.hakusancreation.com
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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamgolf View Post
    I am requesting advice regarding choice of a digital back. I am considering P65+ and Aptus II-12.
    (IQXXX backs are not in my budget and lower MP backs do not interest me)

    I intend to use this back with a technical camera (AS Factum or Cambo RC-400) with Rodenstock 32mm Digaron, mostly for landscape work. My prime concern is image quality to be far superior to Pentax 645D.

    Here is what I have learned from my research so far:

    Aptus II-12
    + 80MP is definitely a plus.
    + Ability to check focus via 100% preview
    + Image Quality (from what I have seen on flickr or 500px)
    ? Has a cooling fan instead of heat sink
    ? Reliability
    ? Some stories of troubled customer support & repairs
    ? subpar LCD screen
    - Cost compared to P65+
    - Slow user interface

    P65+
    + Cost compared to Aptus II-12
    + DXO Mark gives it high score for color depth
    + better customer support from PhaseOne
    + Image quality based on what I see on flickr and 500px
    ? Wonder if 60MP is significant compared to a 40MP file
    - Inability to check focus via 100% preview (is this really true)

    I would love to hear from owners of these backs as well as other insightful members which one they would pick and why.

    Thanks so much for your time.
    Cheers!
    I think you're getting a bit deep in specifications, and not deep enough in hands on experience.

    These two backs are very different to work with. We're a Phase One and Mamiya Leaf dealer in Texas and would be glad to get you hands on time so you can see what the realities are of working with each.

    But specific to your questions:
    - Correct, the P65+ cannot show a very useful focus-checking view. The Aptus II can, but is very slow to render it or move around the image.
    - primary support for either back is not provided by Phase One or Mamiya Leaf, but rather through your dealer. We are a dealer for both (as well as for Arca and Cambo) and would support either Leaf or Phase equally.
    - Aptus II 12 LCD is "subpar" but so is the P65+.
    - I would not use DXO as a benchmark for color. I'd strongly encourage you to look at raw files from each (we can provide) or shoot your own raw files (we can help set that up).

    We have a list of lens compatibility for 60mp vs 80mp here under Tech Camera Overview.

    I know you say you are not interested in IQ/Credo or lower res back, but a back like a Credo 40 on a tech cam can also significantly outperform a Pentax 645D in two ways:
    - significantly sharper wide angle lenses
    - option to move the back within the image circle to do a stitch without rotation (two 40mp frames is about 70mp after overlap is accounted for)

    I think it's worth your while to consider that as an option as well before you go too far down any route. It has a far far better LCD than either 65+ or Aptus II, and offers fast 100% view. Under the current Leaf Credo 40 promo that is a $11,495 back.
    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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    Senior Member Jamgolf's Avatar
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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    Shashin (Will):

    Thanks for your input . I appreciate it.
    I have thought about 645Z but I have reviewed my images from the past few years and I would really like to have the ability to tilt for depth of field and sharpness if I had a mulligan and could have those moments once again.

    So in a way that crisp end to end image sharpness and quality is probably more important to me than just the resolution.
    Last edited by Jamgolf; 12th November 2014 at 06:38.
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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    Doug:

    Thanks for your advice.
    Hands on experience is obviously great. Holding these backs in hands and being able to take some test shots would be certainly very helpful. I will take you up on your offer to check out these backs for sure. We have infact communicated recently.

    But there is some insight that only comes from field use and that is also what I am after. For instance when I review my past images I find that Leica M9 gave me many characterful images and if someone asked me I would recommed it whole heartedly. A ZF.2 Zeiss 21mm distagon is another piece of equipment that I would recommend. And I could back up such recommendations by sharing images/results.


    I once asked a lady in an office parking lot how she liked her Land Rover LR3. She was so passionate and talked to me for 30 minutes and even gave me her business card. I bought a Land Rover shortly thereafter and have been extremely happy. When you buy something and it serves you well - you are passionate about it and you want to tell others about it. When something is just not that great then such passion is absent.

    I am hoping to find somewhat similar advice regarding the choice of a digital back.

    Cheers!

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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    Hi, I had a 645D for a few months and after that I got a Phase IQ160 and Arca Swiss RM3Di w/ a 40mm HR-W lens.

    First off. The IQ160 combined with the 40mm Rodenstock lens absolutely obliterates the 645D in regards to image quality. The IQ160 has more dynamic range (significant) and the acuity and edge to edge sharpness (even when shifted) of the 40mm HR-W lens is just in another universe of quality compared to any SLR lens.

    So when people talk about Cameras/Sensors in isolation it is just one part of the equation because most people I know use their cameras with lenses. And lenses have a significant effect in image quality.

    Tech wide angle lenses are just vastly superior (combined with the right sensors) to any SLR wide angle lens. It is just the way it is. Many backs allow you to use those lenses to their maximum ability. That is something that needs to be taken into consideration.

    If I were on a budget I would at least get a PhaseOne IQ140. The IQ Chassis is just a superb design and vastly superior to any previous Back design. The screen, menus, speed and usability makes it a joy to work with.
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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamgolf View Post
    Hands on experience is obviously great. Holding these backs in hands and being able to take some test shots would be certainly very helpful. I will take you up on your offer to check out these backs for sure. We have in fact communicated recently.

    But there is some insight that only comes from field use and that is also what I am after. [...] When you buy something and it serves you well - you are passionate about it and you want to tell others about it. When something is just not that great then such passion is absent.

    I am hoping to find somewhat similar advice regarding the choice of a digital back.
    That's fair. Hopefully some people will kick in their answers. I think you'll find significantly more P+ owners here than Aptus II owners, so bear in mind the sample is not necessarily 50/50 and therefore if you hear more feedback from P1 owners it doesn't mean the percentage of Aptus II owners that are happy is lower. Though perhaps that fact, in of itself, means something.

    You can also find a lot of opinions in the previous few years of posts. Generally speaking when reading this forum for opinions on the P65+ you'll read very few negatives about the image quality or durability, and very few good opinions on the LCD .

    By the way you say we've been in touch recently, what's your real name? As I don't recognize you by screen name and I speak with a lot of people per week, even if I break it down by state (especially since we have a lot of clients in TX). If you'd rather stay internet-anonymous feel free to shoot me an email so I know who is who.
    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: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    Thanks Ken. I know you used to own a 645d I almost bought your 35mm many months ago

    So both you and Doug really think the usability on older backs is so far behind the Credo or IQ line that even a Credo 40 or IQ140 would be a better option compared to P65+ Or Aptus II-12.

    I sincerely appreciate the advice and will think it over. A 40MP back with the tilt ability and superior lenses do the trick. But 60 & 80 MP backs are tempting, since they are basically similar/same sensors as the newer backs, sans the usability.

    Thanks again.

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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamgolf View Post
    Thanks Ken. I know you used to own a 645d I almost bought your 35mm many months ago

    So both you and Doug really think the usability on older backs is so far behind the Credo or IQ line that even a Credo 40 or IQ140 would be a better option compared to P65+ Or Aptus II-12.

    I sincerely appreciate the advice and will think it over. A 40MP back with the tilt ability and superior lenses do the trick. But 60 & 80 MP backs are tempting, since they are basically similar/same sensors as the newer backs, sans the usability.

    Thanks again.
    The older backs are a compromise. They will feel dated. The screen is not good enough to really judge critical sharpness at 100% out in the field without access to a computer. Image quality wise the older backs are superb. But to get that quality is just not as easy as with an IQ or Credo back when working untethered. In the studio I would not mind using either of the backs you mentioned but I don't think that is your intended use from what you mentioned.
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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamgolf View Post
    Thanks Ken. I know you used to own a 645d I almost bought your 35mm many months ago

    So both you and Doug really think the usability on older backs is so far behind the Credo or IQ line that even a Credo 40 or IQ140 would be a better option compared to P65+ Or Aptus II-12.

    I sincerely appreciate the advice and will think it over. A 40MP back with the tilt ability and superior lenses do the trick. But 60 & 80 MP backs are tempting, since they are basically similar/same sensors as the newer backs, sans the usability.

    Thanks again.
    The P65+ and IQ160 share the same chip. The IQ160 has the more much more modern IQ interface. However, color, DR, noise, etc. will be the same or very very close.

    The one thing to consider on the credo 40 or 140, is that both chips are 1:3 crop so you will have a considerable loss of use of wide angle glass, you mentioned purchase of a 32HR, so that lens will be effectively 30% less on the 40MP backs. On the flip side, you can shift the 40MP backs a bit more, but I don't believe enough to make up 30%.

    The 50MP backs also share the same 1:3 crop, but of course have the much better DR, due to CMOS design.

    I agree with Ken, that the the older back will feel dated, and the screen on the back is not worth much more than setup steps. The sad thing is that the P65+ will not take USB as it would be a great back to tether in the field to a Surface Pro type setup. The firewire connection allows it to work tethered to a laptop, but the Surface is much easier to work with in the field.

    The ideal soluton may be the Hasselblad 50c, the version that is supposedly in the 10K range in Japan and 14K in US. This is the same chip as the IQ150/250 Credo 50, but of course it will need Hasselblad software and I don't think C1 will be an option. Many are talking about the use of this back on tech cameras, however I am not sure how the LCC process works in Phocus software. Never tried it.

    If the price point of the IQ160 comes down or you can find a good deal on a used 160, that would be a great option. It's basically a iso 50 back, with a possible push to iso 100/200 if you have good light. but does have sensor plus as a last resort for low light fast shutter needs. Phase One may have some deals in December, as that is month I have seen deals in the past.

    I am in Arkansas, if you ever get headed this way, give me a call, and we can meet up. I can show you the IQ260 and rm3di, but don't have the 32 HR-W.

    Paul
    Paul Caldwell
    [email protected]
    www.photosofarkansas.com
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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    Paul

    Thanks so much for your advice. As I read the comments here I am beginning to think that I need to take a bit more long term approach and be patient and get an IQ160 or Credo 60 when I have the funds. Unfortunately patience is not my forte

    Thanks for your offer to show me your IQ260 and RM3di. Thats basically what I need.
    What are your primary lenses with this setup?

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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamgolf View Post
    Paul

    Thanks so much for your advice. As I read the comments here I am beginning to think that I need to take a bit more long term approach and be patient and get an IQ160 or Credo 60 when I have the funds. Unfortunately patience is not my forte

    Thanks for your offer to show me your IQ260 and RM3di. Thats basically what I need.
    What are your primary lenses with this setup?
    Currently I have the following:

    Rodenstock 28 HR, 40 HR-W, and 90 HR

    Schneider 60XL, and 120 APO.

    The 28, 40 and 60 go everywhere, on all trips. The 120 I purchased in advance of returning to the west maybe next year, didn't make it this year again, and the 90, I had high hopes for but it's a problematic lens with flare, even with a hood. I had hoped that Schneider would bring the 100mm to market, but so far it has not happened.

    28mm is a 70mm image circle, and on the 60MP backs, about 6mm of shift max is all it can make. (on the 40 and 50MP backs, you should expect more like 8 to 9mm of shift).

    The 40mm as Ken R said, is a dream, just an amazing optic. It's much lighter than the 32mm and can be used without a CF, however in low light I still use a Heliopan CF for it. 90mm Image circle, and 15mm of shift is easy, 18mm to 20 is possible, but for the disk Rodenstock places inside the lens to show you the limit of the image circle (dumb idea)

    The 60XL is also an amazing optic, and 120mm IC, I have shifted it to 25mm on the rm3di (have to rotate the tech camera 90 to use the rise and fall as shift) so you have to be careful against vibrations. I use the CF on this lens all the time. 60 XL is tiny light and one great lens.

    I have the much older 90mm HR, there are at least 2 newer versions, 90mm HR-W blue band, and HR-SW (may this name wrong) but it's the yellow band. It does need a back extension to use. The 90 I have is the pink band. Both the pink and blue are problematic for flare. Flare is more of a ghosting and can show up even on overcast days, it's very strange and can be very hard to work through.

    I have only tested the 120 APO. Great lens, light as all the Schneiders are but also needs the back extension.

    I love the Arca setup, but each of the companies have their strengths/weaknesses (Alpa, Arca, and Cambo).

    Paul
    Paul Caldwell
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    www.photosofarkansas.com
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    Senior Member Jamgolf's Avatar
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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    Paul

    Thanks for sharing the details and your impressions of these lenses.
    Very helpful.

    Cheers!

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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    I have a really rookie/newbee question...

    I see a Credo 60 on ebay that says "for hasselblad H cameras".
    Can such a back be used with a tech camera?
    Would that just mean getting a tech camera that has a Hasselblad H plate/mount/adapter?

    I apologize for asking such a silly question. Just want to be sure I understand can or can't be used.

    Thanks you!
    Last edited by Jamgolf; 12th November 2014 at 18:02.

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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    A credo 60 for h mount would simply require an h adapter plate for a tech cam.

    Generally I think it's a bad approach to look for "deals" and then see if they fit your needs.

    Determine your needs, then look for a deal.

    For instance you may want an SLR (hassy h1, h5x, phase df+ etc) at some point, and you should pick a back now based on what SLR that would be.

    Also h mount adapters for some tech cameras are more expensive than m. The difference isn't huge but should be factored in.
    Doug Peterson , Digital Transitions | Email
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    Office: 877.367.8537. Cell: 740.707.2183
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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    Thanks Doug.

    Your point about looking for deals is valid and noted

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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    I think waiting for what you really want is the right way to go. Selling and re-buying is an expensive proposition with this stuff.

    Having said this, the P65+ still gives you more options for upgrades with Phase rather than the Aptus 12. Moreover, Phase has always been most generous on upgrade pricing on this back, even with the latest 6K one.

    I had the Aptus 12 for a while and now have the IQ. The interface on the IQ is light years ahead, the battery is nicely contained inside, and focus peaking is a a god send with tech cam use.

    If you want to compare samples between the IQ and Leaf, send me a PM. Also, best to find a dealer close to you if possible.

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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    Quote Originally Posted by jagsiva View Post
    I think waiting for what you really want is the right way to go. Selling and re-buying is an expensive proposition with this stuff.

    Having said this, the P65+ still gives you more options for upgrades with Phase rather than the Aptus 12. Moreover, Phase has always been most generous on upgrade pricing on this back, even with the latest 6K one.

    I had the Aptus 12 for a while and now have the IQ. The interface on the IQ is light years ahead, the battery is nicely contained inside, and focus peaking is a a god send with tech cam use.

    If you want to compare samples between the IQ and Leaf, send me a PM. Also, best to find a dealer close to you if possible.
    Thats very solid advice and I appreciate it.
    I totally agree about the selling/buying being a losing proposition. On the other hand, I am sure you will agree that wants and needs are different things. None of these options is a need for me, since I am just a hobbyist and one on a budget at that.

    So I am just trying to get the best quality+value combination. The reason I started researching and asking about the Aptus 12 is because on paper it is the same sensor as the much more expensive backs and buying it used would meet my quality+value criteria. But if the usability is soo poor that prior owners such as yourself are not enthusiastic about it and do no recommend it then I ought to take that at face value and look for the next best thing - perhaps a Credo 60.

    Sounds like you are much happier with the IQ160 but were you generally satisfied with Aptus or did you always feel that the back was limiting you & preventing you from getting the best results due to its clunky user interface?

    I'll send you a PM for image samples from IQ and leaf. That would be very helpful.

    Thanks again.

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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    I've has Aptus 12 and Credo 80.
    Of course the Credo is MUCH nicer.
    But to say that it's either Credo or nothing, I think is exaggerated.
    The older back are a compromise in usability, but still you will be able to operate them and get the results you need.
    Their operation is not that bad and kinda fun if you're into that kind of stuff.
    The results from Aptus 12/P65 are not very different from the current backs.
    The price is very different.
    If you can't afford the latest, you can be very happy with the last generation.
    That's what I did for many years until I could afford the latest.
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    Senior Member Jamgolf's Avatar
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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    I just wanted to mention (for benefit of someone in my position in the future) that I had an online demo session with Doug earlier today and I think it was extremely helpful to see different backs being used and ask questions about their various usability aspects and observe it live. Awesome.

    Kudos to Digital Transitions for offering this service.
    Thank you Doug.
    Last edited by Jamgolf; 14th November 2014 at 16:58.
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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    To bring closure to this thread I wanted to mention that after looking at P65+, Aptus II 10, IQ1xx and Credo backs and then seeking pricing for each, given my quality+value criteria, I am getting a pre-owned Credo 60 via a partial-trade of equipment with another photographer.

    Thank you very much to everyone for their comments here in this thread as well as via private messages. I am impressed by everyone's helpfulness demonstrated here.

    This is a great forum indeed.

    Thank you !

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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    the aptus 12 if you like the leaf look, and fo rme the rotating sensor is a deal clincher in itself. hard to change the back or rotate the camera when you are in the field

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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    Quote Originally Posted by mmbma View Post
    the aptus 12 if you like the leaf look, and fo rme the rotating sensor is a deal clincher in itself. hard to change the back or rotate the camera when you are in the field
    It's not hard to do - it's just sphincter clinching .... (And there are folks here who have seen me ALMOST drop my IQ260 while doing it at Bass Harbour)
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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

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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    "It's not hard to do - it's just sphincter clinching......"
    *****
    I dropped a CFV at Horseshoe Bend and caught it on top of my right foot as the back was going over the edge. I much more careful now!!

    Steve
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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    Been there - done it ... Thank God for the tight fit of the phase one sync cable!!!
    Remember: adventure before dementia!

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

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    Senior Member Jamgolf's Avatar
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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    Quote Originally Posted by SHV View Post
    "It's not hard to do - it's just sphincter clinching......"
    *****
    I dropped a CFV at Horseshoe Bend and caught it on top of my right foot as the back was going over the edge. I much more careful now!!

    Steve
    Oh my ... I can't even imagine.
    You'd want to save the back but not kill yourself in the process.
    Glad that it worked out but too close for comfort.
    I would probably just let it go and retire from photography

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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    Quote Originally Posted by mmbma View Post
    the aptus 12 if you like the leaf look, and fo rme the rotating sensor is a deal clincher in itself. hard to change the back or rotate the camera when you are in the field
    It's interesting what catches your attention. When I demoed the Arca I saw how easily the back locked with the single attachment point and the fact that it enables you to rotate the back with one hand. Release with left rotate with right and once back in place the Arca lock snaps back without any assistance.

    As a shooter who rotates about 50 % of my shots this feature made a huge impression on me.

    Paul

  28. #28
    Senior Member danlindberg's Avatar
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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    Quote Originally Posted by Jamgolf View Post
    I am getting a pre-owned Credo 60
    Congrats! I have had mine two years and I still love it! It works perfect and the files it produces are amazing. Even now with new types of backs out I would not change even if it was free of charge. For my style and kind of shooting it still is the best back for me.
    Enjoy!!
    Alpa FPS MAX TC | Alpagon 32Hr | Helvetar 75 | Schneider 120N | Leaf Aptus II 5 Leaf Credo 60 | www.danlindberg.com
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  29. #29
    Senior Member Jamgolf's Avatar
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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    Quote Originally Posted by danlindberg View Post
    Congrats! I have had mine two years and I still love it! It works perfect and the files it produces are amazing. Even now with new types of backs out I would not change even if it was free of charge. For my style and kind of shooting it still is the best back for me.
    Enjoy!!
    Thanks Dan. Coming from you, about this choice, it means a lot.
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    Subscriber & Workshop Member GrahamWelland's Avatar
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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post
    It's interesting what catches your attention. When I demoed the Arca I saw how easily the back locked with the single attachment point and the fact that it enables you to rotate the back with one hand. Release with left rotate with right and once back in place the Arca lock snaps back without any assistance.

    As a shooter who rotates about 50 % of my shots this feature made a huge impression on me.

    Paul
    You mean that you don't get a buzz from the abject terror whenever you remove your $37k MFDB and rotate it while standing on a rock by a raging surf? Pah!

    Remember: adventure before dementia!

    As Oscar Wilde said, "my tastes are simple, I only like the best"
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    Senior Member Jamgolf's Avatar
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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    I'm receiving my Credo 60 tonight but do not have a camera to test it yet.
    Is there anything that I can check in the absence of a camera body?

    Can I turn it on?
    Inspect the sensor etc.?

    Thanks

  32. #32
    Senior Member Pemihan's Avatar
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    Re: P65+ or Aptus II-12

    Yes you can definitely turn it on and go through the menus and such. And of course check the sensor.

    You could also hurry up and build a pin hole camera :-)
    But then again you need something to trigger the back..

    Peter
    Peter
    My website
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