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Thread: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

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    Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Hi, first post here, though Iíve been lurking for a while.

    So, Iím after some advice re purchasing a used digital back for a tech cam, Cambo WRS 1200 with Rodenstock Sinaron digital 55mm, f4.5.

    Iíve used 5x4 cameras, and also use a Fuji GFX50r, but have never used a tech cam with a dB before.

    A few notes about how Iíll be shooting:
    99.9% of my shooting will be outdoors using daylight.
    I will be using shifts (maximum of 25mm rear fall) so minimal colour casts would be appreciated. Iíll also be stitching 2/3 images on occasion.
    Re focusing, I donít have any strong preference between ground glass vs focus peaking on LCD, so CMOS or CCD.
    I wonít be using any lenses wider than my current 55mm Rodenstock, and Iím happy with the effective focal length of the 55mm regardless of whether the sensor size is 33x44 or 40x54 (effective focal lengths of circa 44mm and 35mm respectively).
    50mp is enough for the size Iím printing at the moment, but more would be appreciated.

    Digital backs are uncharted territory for me at the moment and I know thereís probably a whole load of things I havenít even considered yet.

    Any advice to help me avoid making an expensive mistake would be very much appreciated.

    Cheers! 👍🏼
    Ed.

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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Quote Originally Posted by EdintheClouds View Post
    Hi, first post here, though I’ve been lurking for a while.

    So, I’m after some advice re purchasing a used digital back for a tech cam, Cambo WRS 1200 with Rodenstock Sinaron digital 55mm, f4.5.

    I’ve used 5x4 cameras, and also use a Fuji GFX50r, but have never used a tech cam with a dB before.

    A few notes about how I’ll be shooting:
    99.9% of my shooting will be outdoors using daylight.
    I will be using shifts (maximum of 25mm rear fall) so minimal colour casts would be appreciated. I’ll also be stitching 2/3 images on occasion.
    Re focusing, I don’t have any strong preference between ground glass vs focus peaking on LCD, so CMOS or CCD.
    I won’t be using any lenses wider than my current 55mm Rodenstock, and I’m happy with the effective focal length of the 55mm regardless of whether the sensor size is 33x44 or 40x54 (effective focal lengths of circa 44mm and 35mm respectively).
    50mp is enough for the size I’m printing at the moment, but more would be appreciated.

    Digital backs are uncharted territory for me at the moment and I know there’s probably a whole load of things I haven’t even considered yet.

    Any advice to help me avoid making an expensive mistake would be very much appreciated.

    Cheers! ����
    Ed.
    First, before any advice, let me welcome you both to this forum community, and to the world of DB+Tech Cam. Technical cameras, in addition to being a big part of my job, are a big hobby and personal interest for me.

    Now onto advice... We could (and hopefully will) fill many pages with the various pros, cons, capabilities, limitations, and quality of various backs. But you don't mention the single most important factor in making this choice: budget. That should both be "immediate budget" and "longterm budget"

    For example, if you have the budget for it the Phase One IQ4 150mp is, without any question, the best possible digital back for a tech camera (it's resolution is probably the 4th or 5th reason for this by the way; it's not really about the pixel count, though it is a benefit).

    "long term budget" also matters here because if you expect that you will build a system over many years you may make different choices than if you intend the initial purchase to be your final say. For example the new Phase One XT, and the X-Shutter system that is replacing Copal shutters are both IQ4-only and the XT is largely inter-compatible with the Cambo system.

    But if that's not in the budget then all of that is irrelevant to you. Something can be "worth every penny" and still a poor fit, because you don't have that many pennies to spend on it.

    As you say, it's easy to make expensive mistakes when entering an entirely new world of equipment. For example you say "Re focusing, I don’t have any strong preference between ground glass vs focus peaking on LCD, so CMOS or CCD." but it's unclear on what information or experience this assertion is based. Have you previously used a CCD back and ground glass to focus a tech camera in the situations that you shoot in? Have you been able to compare and contrast that experience with CMOS focusing? I'm not saying I'm sure you won't be okay with it; quite the contrary – you may really enjoy it – for some users there is a certain "zen" to using either ground glass or non-visual focusing (e.g. the Arca Swiss helical-preset method of focus). But for some users it's like rolling heavy luggage uphill after a long trip: possible but painful. It also depends a lot on which tech camera you will be getting; some are better suited to ground glass or non-visual focusing than others, and one system may mesh with any given user more than another.

    That, and a dozen other choices is why I'd strongly suggest that, in addition to seeking advice from the community here, you engage with a knowledgable dealer. Sometimes those new to the market will expect that if they are buying used they are limited to buying from another user, but we (Digital Transitions) are deeply involved in the pre-owned, used, and refurbished markets for back and are very deeply knowledgable about tech cameras. We keep some of our older generation equipment listed here and some of our more recent generation equipment listed here. But we rarely have all our current inventory listed at any given time (that's especially true for our inventory of used tech camera equipment, almost none of which is listed online), and we almost always have units that we are expecting in on a short timeline (e.g. a company is upgrading their studio camera at the start of a new quarter, and we know the make/model/shot-count/condition of their current back, but don't yet technically have it in our inventory). So it's always best to reach out to us by phone or email.
    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: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Thanks Doug, appreciated.

    Budget: up to circa UK£7.5k for a used back, so not iq4 territory.

    Focusing: Iíve used ground glass screens extensively in the past on 6x7 and 5x4, but not had the opportunity to use a gg on a digital tech cam yet. The nearest dealer is over 150 miles away, so not convenient to drop in for a demo. Whether CCD or CMOS I would of course insist on using and making sure Iím happy with the focusing method before use. Non-visual focusing is out of the question for me though.

    Let me know if thereís other vital info Iíve overlooked.

    Many thanks.

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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    I know you said that non-visual focusing is out for you, but are you aware of Alpa's HPF rings? They have extremely detailed distance markings; coupled with a distometer like the Leica Disto D5, they make for very accurate focusing. They can be used on Cambo lenses, if I'm not mistaken (you can research online). That's how I focus my Alpa lenses (with CCD back), and it's much easier, faster and more accurate than gg focusing.

    If you end up going that route, I'm happy to answer questions about dialing them in for perfect accuracy.

    ethan
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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Doug has very well addressed the considerations needed for choosing a digital back/technical camera system, and DT would be an excellent source for the advice and testing required to get you to the suitable conclusion.

    If you are UK based (which Iím assuming based on your budget) then feel free to reach out for any such advice and testing. We (Teamwork) are the partner for Phase One on this side of the pond, alongside Cambo on the technical camera side of things.

    I share the passion for these systems - outside of spending my working life facilitating them for others - and would be more than happy to chat through the various benefits/drawbacks of the different options, and demonstrate in the flesh, the practical use to you.
    Al Simmons
    Email: [email protected]
    Instagram: @teamwork_photo / @alvin_simonides
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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Thanks Ethan, I had no idea such things existed. Iíll go and educate myself about the Alpa system.

    Quote Originally Posted by epforever View Post
    I know you said that non-visual focusing is out for you, but are you aware of Alpa's HPF rings? They have extremely detailed distance markings; coupled with a distometer like the Leica Disto D5, they make for very accurate focusing. They can be used on Cambo lenses, if I'm not mistaken (you can research online). That's how I focus my Alpa lenses (with CCD back), and it's much easier, faster and more accurate than gg focusing.

    If you end up going that route, I'm happy to answer questions about dialing them in for perfect accuracy.

    ethan

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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Hi Al, correct, UK based, but Yorkshire is a long way from London. Iíll be down that way sometime in February and will stop by. I have your used gear page bookmarked.

    Quote Originally Posted by ASTeamwork View Post
    If you are UK based (which Iím assuming based on your budget) then feel free to reach out for any such advice and testing. We (Teamwork) are the partner for Phase One on this side of the pond, alongside Cambo on the technical camera side of things.

    I share the passion for these systems - outside of spending my working life facilitating them for others - and would be more than happy to chat through the various benefits/drawbacks of the different options, and demonstrate in the flesh, the practical use to you.

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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Plus one for Ethan's comment below. If you had told me before I purchased that I'd feel comfortable with that mode I would have not believed you. Now, having moved to a CMOS back with great live view, I still use the measure and set method. I works perfectly.

    As for backs, I started with a CCD back (for sale on the forums at the moment) and happily used that for several years, then when the opportunity arose I moved to a CMOS back - I had some lower light goals that suggested a CMOS back.

    Without a grand budget, for me, it has always been about finding a path forward that allows me to take photographs. I now use both an Alpa and a Fuji 50R. They fulfil different purposes but for ultimate image quality the tech cam is always it - even with a 33MP back.

    Have fun!!

    Quote Originally Posted by epforever View Post
    I know you said that non-visual focusing is out for you, but are you aware of Alpa's HPF rings? They have extremely detailed distance markings; coupled with a distometer like the Leica Disto D5, they make for very accurate focusing. They can be used on Cambo lenses, if I'm not mistaken (you can research online). That's how I focus my Alpa lenses (with CCD back), and it's much easier, faster and more accurate than gg focusing.

    If you end up going that route, I'm happy to answer questions about dialing them in for perfect accuracy.

    ethan
    Instagram
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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Ed,
    I have an Arca Swiss M-Line2 and seven lenses one of which is the Rodenstock 55mm, which has a very large image circle of 125mm. The problem with the lens is that as you approach the edge of the image circle resolution becomes quite smeary.
    I have used two backs, a P40+ (similar to IQ1 40MP) for about seven years and an IQ1 60MP for the past four years. Both are excellent for stitching with the 55mm lens up to 30mm in any direction or more, with the caveat that image quality near the edge of the circle begins to fall off significantly. The 40MP backs (in 33 x 44 form factor) will keep you farther away from the edge of the lens circle closer to the sweet spot of the lens and therefore yield somewhat sharper results overall (meaning you approach the image circle edge less frequently). However, all things being equal your 55 mm lens will give you a narrower reproduction of the field of view with this back than with the IQ1 60MP back, which has a larger sensor (54mm x 40mm) and therefore records more of the image circle. The IQ1 60MP is still available as a refurbished back, is fairly modestly priced, possibly within your budget, and works very well with the 55mm Rodenstock, as do the 40MP backs, which are even less expensive. Both backs require LCCs when doing extensive stitching, but the LCCs clean up the files nicely except right at the edge of the image circle.
    I shoot a lot of images of architecture, stitching widely. The 40MP backs are somewhat easier to use for wide stitching than the IQ1 60MP (not the 260 which does not stitch as well on technical cameras) but both will work well within their respective parameters.
    Good Luck.
    David Kaufman
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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Quote Originally Posted by EdintheClouds View Post
    Thanks Ethan, I had no idea such things existed. I’ll go and educate myself about the Alpa system.
    Indeed, and the Arca Swiss focus system is several times more precise than the Alpa HPF Rings (that can be used with Alpa or Cambo). In addition there are other non-visual ways to focus such as laser distometers, visual distance finders, hyperfocal and pseudo-hyperfocal presets, iterative-focusmask-after-capture and more.

    I'm not saying non-visual focusing will definitely work for you. I'm just saying that you should start your search with few assumptions about what you need and what tools will meet those needs. You should try non-visual focusing (with an expert on the topic) at least once before you dismiss it as an option.

    If non-visual focusing works for you it will save you the cost of a ground glass or sliding ground glass and put you in a different workflow.

    Al (Teamwork) is a good guy and knowledgable. You'll be in good hands if you give him your time and trust.
    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: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Thanks David, thatís good to keep in mind. Iíd guessed that I wouldnít be able to add 25mm rear fall, 20mm l/r shift, keep away from the edges of the image circle and get good results, particularly with a larger sensor. Itís rare Iíd ever feel the need to do that anyway and am happy to live within those ďlimitationsĒ.

    Why doesnít the IQ260 work as well for stitching as some other backs?

    Quote Originally Posted by David Kaufman View Post
    Ed,
    I have an Arca Swiss M-Line2 and seven lenses one of which is the Rodenstock 55mm, which has a very large image circle of 125mm. The problem with the lens is that as you approach the edge of the image circle resolution becomes quite smeary.
    I have used two backs, a P40+ (similar to IQ1 40MP) for about seven years and an IQ1 60MP for the past four years. Both are excellent for stitching with the 55mm lens up to 30mm in any direction or more, with the caveat that image quality near the edge of the circle begins to fall off significantly. The 40MP backs (in 33 x 44 form factor) will keep you farther away from the edge of the lens circle closer to the sweet spot of the lens and therefore yield somewhat sharper results overall (meaning you approach the image circle edge less frequently). However, all things being equal your 55 mm lens will give you a narrower reproduction of the field of view with this back than with the IQ1 60MP back, which has a larger sensor (54mm x 40mm) and therefore records more of the image circle. The IQ1 60MP is still available as a refurbished back, is fairly modestly priced, possibly within your budget, and works very well with the 55mm Rodenstock, as do the 40MP backs, which are even less expensive. Both backs require LCCs when doing extensive stitching, but the LCCs clean up the files nicely except right at the edge of the image circle.
    I shoot a lot of images of architecture, stitching widely. The 40MP backs are somewhat easier to use for wide stitching than the IQ1 60MP (not the 260 which does not stitch as well on technical cameras) but both will work well within their respective parameters.
    Good Luck.
    David Kaufman

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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Thanks again Doug, Iíve parked my assumptions re non-visual focusing.

    I think probably the accuracy of the Arca focusing system over and above the Alpa upfront rings would be wasted on me, most things I need in focus are 5m to 50m from camera and I tend to work mostly at f11, so Iím never going to have a need for accurate shallow dof that a tabletop product photographer would have.

    In the past Iíve used hyperfocal focusing extensively with great results on an old Pentax 67, which I enjoyed a lot, so accurate hyperfocal scales would be a big plus. The Pentax was such fun to use that I didnít think of it as non-visual focusing, which sounds the opposite of fun! :-)

    Quote Originally Posted by dougpeterson View Post
    Indeed, and the Arca Swiss focus system is several times more precise than the Alpa HPF Rings (that can be used with Alpa or Cambo). In addition there are other non-visual ways to focus such as laser distometers, visual distance finders, hyperfocal and pseudo-hyperfocal presets, iterative-focusmask-after-capture and more.

    I'm not saying non-visual focusing will definitely work for you. I'm just saying that you should start your search with few assumptions about what you need and what tools will meet those needs. You should try non-visual focusing (with an expert on the topic) at least once before you dismiss it as an option.

    If non-visual focusing works for you it will save you the cost of a ground glass or sliding ground glass and put you in a different workflow.

    Al (Teamwork) is a good guy and knowledgable. You'll be in good hands if you give him your time and trust.

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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Just to add to this.... seems like there are a few thresholds you might wish to consider:

    - CCD vs. CMOS
    - crop vs. "full frame" sensor
    - age of the back - do you care? Pros and cons to this.
    - how the system fits/feels to you
    - impact of any decision on systems, w commitment to their lens mounts (assuming you rule out the Techno, which uses easy lens boards.
    - what software you may use (Hassy backs can't use C1)
    - level of risk you wish (if you get it wrong, how easy to get out).

    There is plenty of discussion on the forum about most of these, but perhaps its helpful to see it all at once. Many of us shuffled through a few versions and different combinations of this until we found something that we're each comfortable with. The answers are, not surprisingly, a rather personal fit.
    www.gigi-photos.com
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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Quote Originally Posted by EdintheClouds View Post
    Hi Al, correct, UK based, but Yorkshire is a long way from London. Iíll be down that way sometime in February and will stop by. I have your used gear page bookmarked.
    Iím quite often in the north (originally from Skipton, so relish any opportunity to get back), so I can let you next time Iím that way, and we can meet up and chat further if you wish. Email in my signature if you want to have more of a conversation.

    A
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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Quote Originally Posted by EdintheClouds View Post
    Thanks David, thatís good to keep in mind. Iíd guessed that I wouldnít be able to add 25mm rear fall, 20mm l/r shift, keep away from the edges of the image circle and get good results, particularly with a larger sensor. Itís rare Iíd ever feel the need to do that anyway and am happy to live within those ďlimitationsĒ.

    Why doesnít the IQ260 work as well for stitching as some other backs?
    Hi Ed,
    The 260 and the larger sensors, the 80 and the 100, don't play as nicely with wide angle lenses especially. (The 55mm is not quite wide angle and I am not sure how it plays with other sensors and there is no data published online about it because it was part of an earlier line of Rodenstock lenses.) The higher megapixel backs are quite restricted as to stitching ability because the colour diffraction as you shift is much greater with those backs and wide angle lenses than with the 60 or 40 megapixel backs, and doesn't correct very well even with LCCs. The exception is the newest IQ4 150 back which plays very nicely with wide angle lenses, better than any other back in fact, but it is super expensive. As for the 40 and 60 MP backs, both can be shifted more than 30 mm each way horizontally and the image raised at the same time 15 mm and the image will only be reaching the image circle of the 55mm lens in the upper left and right corners. So if you are shooting a scene with some sky, either landscape, or over architecture, you can shift extensively and use fall or rise both at the same time. The 60MP back, the IQ1 60, has the larger sensor and records more of the image circle so you have a more wide angle result from the 55mm lens.
    Until the IQ4 150 came along, the 40 and 60 MP IQ1 CCD backs were still the best solution for architecture with significant camera movements. For work on a tripod, the IQ1 at 50 ISO gives stellar results even up to 30 or 45 seconds exposure. ISO 100 is a bit less noise friendly but useable.
    I focus my Arca Swiss MLine 2 through the ground glass with a 10x loupe, but focus accuracy is fairly easy to assess from the IQ1 60MP LCD screen. Best way to use the screen is with a 3 inch LCD viewer of the type used for videography with DSLRs, which blocks exterior light and magnifies the screen. So I carry both a loupe for the groundglass and a Hoodman viewer for the screen, It's slow photography but great.
    Best,
    David Kaufman
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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Dante strikes again
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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Ed - is there any reason why you are not considering using a GFX on a view camera and only looking at digital backs?

    Kind regards,


    Gerald.
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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    As far as I'm aware the IQ 160 / Credo 60 and IQ 260 have exactly the same response to wides on a technical camera. The IQ 260 is based on the same architecture, is it not?

    I use a Credo 60 on a Linhof Techno and love it (I've sent my kit off for servicing to solve a a focus shift problem, but it's given me flawless service for 7 years until now.) I also use a RS 55mm APO-SD as my primary lens and can confirm the above – it's an excellent lens with quite visible sharpness falloff past around 20mm shift. I routinely drop the back by 12mm AND shift left / right 17mm to make panoramic stitches. Pretty good BUT IMO you MUST use a CF for that much shift otherwise the noise increase after LCC to correct the quite extreme falloff is very damaging to image detail. My RS 70mm HR-W is MUCH better in this regard and doesn't require the CF, but is obviously a tighter FOV.

    I'm one of the people who would hate to 'guess' composition and tweak after taking a photo or series of photos (with a CCD back that has awful live-view,) and much prefer the GG focusing of the Techno in this instance – even if focusing is a bit more difficult in some situations with the GG. To be honest though, I've done a lot of tests and with the bright Linhof GG I practically never miss focus, even when using f5.6-8. Like you however, I'm 99% at f11 at middle distances, so no issue either way.

    To be honest, if I were in your position and wetting my feet now, I'd think seriously about waiting for the new Hasselblad V digital back and pairing it with a Cambo Actus. I love my Techno – mostly for idiosyncratic reasons plus I like using it to shoot film – and like it, the Actus uses cheaper lens boards that'll save you money on the helical mounts needed for the WRS / Alpa / Arca Rm3 systems. The live view of the CMOS makes the Techno / Actus quite attractive for people allergic to the GG experience.

    I'd also highly recommend Linhof & Studio UK as an amazing source for not only Linhof, but also Alpa, Cambo, Silvestri and Hasselblad digital equipment. I've had what I can only describe as amazing service and support from Linhof & Studio, even though I live all the way across the world in the South Pacific.

    Good luck!
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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Cheers Al, Iíll drop you a line when I have more of an idea of what Iím aiming at. Expect it to take a couple of months.

    Quote Originally Posted by ASTeamwork View Post
    Iím quite often in the north (originally from Skipton, so relish any opportunity to get back), so I can let you next time Iím that way, and we can meet up and chat further if you wish. Email in my signature if you want to have more of a conversation.

    A

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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Thanks y’all for your contributions and questions, very helpful.

    So, at the moment I’m leaning towards CMOS over CCD, primarily as it provides another focusing aid and easy composing method, thus the need for gg would go, and I get to compose the image the right way up. :-) I do find composing on a gg “distances” me from the scene a bit, makes the scene almost abstract, and I think I compose better images like that. Will give it more thought.

    I did some research into the Actus: the form factor of the system doesn’t lend itself to how I use it. I often walk 6 - 10 miles in a day carrying kit, and though the Actus is pretty small and light the WRS1200 works better for me for this kind of use. I read in a few places that the focal length I’ll be using the Actus doesn’t offer much movement due to the sensor being burried quite deeply inside the camera body, the Hasselblad X1D seems better in this respect. Plus the WRS gives me more assurance that the front/back standards are parallel. Plus I got a really good deal on the Cambo WRS1200, it’s just the right tool for the intended use.

    As I seem to be leaning more towards CMOS that pushes the larger sensor backs out of the picture.

    So, the shortlist at the moment seems to be:
    IQ1/2/3 50
    Upcoming Hasselblad CFVII 50c

    Is there any reason/s why any of the IQ1, 2, or 3 50 should be either ruled out or given particular preference?
    The Hasselblad looks like it could be a winner, but nobody knows yet, and it might take HB another year+ to get the firmware up to potential. We’ll see.

    Software wise I’m happy to use C1 or Phocus, I really only use the raw converter for white balance and fine tuning exposure if necessary, everything else happens in Photoshop.

    Are there any advantages to the CCD backs like IQ1/2 60 which I’ve overlooked and should reconsider?

    Thanks for your help everyone, this is all very much appreciated. :-)
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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Quote Originally Posted by EdintheClouds View Post

    So, the shortlist at the moment seems to be:
    IQ1/2/3 50
    Upcoming Hasselblad CFVII 50c

    Is there any reason/s why any of the IQ1, 2, or 3 50 should be either ruled out or given particular preference?
    The Hasselblad looks like it could be a winner, but nobody knows yet, and it might take HB another year+ to get the firmware up to potential. We’ll see.

    Are there any advantages to the CCD backs like IQ1/2 60 which I’ve overlooked and should reconsider?
    If you’re not using on the Phase One XF, you won’t see any advantages in going for the IQ3 over the IQ2. The IQ2 has the WiFi module for use with Capture Pilot which could be very useful. It also has IMO a very useful Exposure Zone tool in the preview, which means you can gauge your RAW exposure in the field. The IQ1 has neither the WiFi module, or this Zone Tool. It would be useful to see these in practice to evaluate whether you would find these tools useful, but I’m tempted at this point to say that you would.

    The advantage of the CCD backs over the 50MP, as I see it, would be the 16-bit colour (as opposed to 14-bit) and the full frame sensor to get more scope from your lenses. This full frame sensor, as discussed elsewhere, could be considered a disadvantage when thinking about working around the image circles of your lenses, but again it would be good to see both side by side in practice, in your working environment/method to decide what is more beneficial.

    As well as this I definitely think you need to see the difference in live view between CCD and CMOS in the flesh, to judge how useful, or unimportant, this is to you.

    A
    Al Simmons
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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Given that list, don't rule out the Leaf Credo 50 as a candidate. You won't get WiFi etc but it's a nice back to use and more cost effective than its P1 cousins.

    As for HB...contentious though this may be and as a previous HB user...I get a sense of a doomed future and a repeated failure to deliver. Wait at your peril...<don flak jacket and helmet>

    Quote Originally Posted by EdintheClouds View Post
    [snip]

    As I seem to be leaning more towards CMOS that pushes the larger sensor backs out of the picture.

    So, the shortlist at the moment seems to be:
    IQ1/2/3 50
    Upcoming Hasselblad CFVII 50c

    Is there any reason/s why any of the IQ1, 2, or 3 50 should be either ruled out or given particular preference?
    The Hasselblad looks like it could be a winner, but nobody knows yet, and it might take HB another year+ to get the firmware up to potential. Weíll see.

    Software wise Iím happy to use C1 or Phocus, I really only use the raw converter for white balance and fine tuning exposure if necessary, everything else happens in Photoshop.

    Are there any advantages to the CCD backs like IQ1/2 60 which Iíve overlooked and should reconsider?

    Thanks for your help everyone, this is all very much appreciated. :-)
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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    how I use it. I often walk 6 - 10 miles in a day carrying kit, and though the Actus is pretty small and light the WRS1200 works better for me for this kind of use. I read in a few places that the focal length Iíll be using the Actus doesnít offer much movement due to the sensor being burried quite deeply inside the camera body,
    Are you sure thatís not referring to use with mirrorless bodies? There is no Ďbodyí just a frame for the digital back.
    They are just tools for a job.

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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    CCD vs CMOS for tech camera, the Live View on the CMOS IMO is a total game changer for tech cameras. The 50MP back has a wonderful Live View and makes manually focusing both near and far object easy. The Phase solution has no peaking, the later versions of the Hasselblad, CFV II 50c I believe do, since Hasselblad added peaking to the X1D. The previous point of 16 bit advantage of the CCD backs, I feel is baseless. Sure the CCD backs have a "16 bit readout" but it's shown over and over that the last 2 bits, add nothing to the file and are basically nose. Just google this, and you will find plenty of debates, and info this dating back to 2011.

    The CMOS 50Mp backs, all use the same chip, the 50MP Sony. However not all companies get the same capabilities out of it. All of them have the same crop factor about 30 percent over the "full frame" CCD and CMOS backs. Your 55mm lens will frame more like a 72mm lens, (believe I have the crop factor figured correctly). There will be considerable color cast on shifts but the LCC process in C1 can resolve most of it. Not sure how well the Phocus solution works assume similar.

    If you are liking the 50MP, I would consider the following: CFV II 50c Hasselblad, Phase One IQ250 (350 if you can find a deal on one). The 50c has a tilting LCD, with touch which is something I would have loved to see on the IQ3 and 4, but Phase has yet to develop anything beyond the basic layout of the IQ1 backs. The 50c should also have an e shutter, which is a huge advantage for a tech camera as you are no longer limited to a copal or other shutter. The 50c is listed at 7.4K with the 907 faceplate that allows use of the X1D glass, I am sure there is a way to mount just the 50c to a tech camera. You can kill the dark frame on longer exposures also. The tilting screen option just adds so much more capability in scene setup, i.e. low to the ground camera setup can be hard to get your eye to the LCD on a P1 back, and being able to tilt the screen can aid with Live View and Image preview by helping to remove sun glare.

    IQ250, old but still an excellent back, however I am sure that most you find will have a lot of actuations on them. One of the cleanest backs I ever used. It has wifi, which would allow you to use Capture Pilot to assist with focus and other image capture related issues. It will easily mount to any tech camera, and allows you a very good Live View for focus. The back will run for quite a while on one battery and the zoom to 100% to check focus on the LCD of the back is excellent. Still have a mandatory dark frame on exposures 1 second or longer. This can become quite troublesome in low light scenes especially where you are attempting to shoot a bracketed exposure as the back will shoot the dark frame before it frees up the back for the next shot, i.e. 15 second exposure and 15 sec dark frame.

    The IQ350, adds a few newer features, but still no e shutter, which is a shame as all the other manufactures using this chip figured out a way to use the e shutter. ,

    The IQ150, has the same image quality of the 250/350, albeit with less features, like no wifi.

    CCD backs, IQ160, (stay away from the IQ260 as it adds really nothing over over the IQ160 at least in image quality and the 1hour exposures are IMO less than stellar). IQ180/280 are still great tools, give you a 20MP sensor plus image when you need higher ISO, past 400. No Live View, and it makes the use a tech camera difficult in the field for critical focus. Color is great and if can stay at base ISO, then image quality will be excellent, but for me the advantages of CMOS make it a better solution for a tech camera.

    Hopefully you can work with a dealer and try out several of the afore mentioned backs with your lenses.

    Paul C
    Paul Caldwell
    [email protected]
    www.photosofarkansas.com
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  25. #25
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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Didn't see any comments about the achro backs from P1. So I'll add in my opinion - since that's about the only thing that's cheap when buying into this hobby.

    I bought a used (from dealer) IQ260 Achromatic CCD. Long exposure limited to 2 minutes and no live view. My next choice was the IQ3100 Achromatic that was twice the price. So I went for the 260A since I didn't need the extra pixels for printing. And given the cost difference, I could easily take a shot, zone focus and check focus masking on the shot I just took. Slower workflow, but if I wanted fast, then I'd stick with my Sony A7 series.

    You can see examples of camera setup, images and printing with a K6 custom printing workflow.

    https://www.instagram.com/jeff_kew/
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    Thumbs up Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Thanks everyone, thatís really helped me narrow down the shortlist and exclude unsuitable backs.

    Much appreciated.

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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Quote Originally Posted by Paul2660 View Post


    The IQ350, adds a few newer features, but still no e shutter, which is a shame as all the other manufactures using this chip figured out a way to use the e shutter. ,


    Paul C
    Less about Phase One not being able to figure it out, and more about Phase One abandoning users in the hope they will jump up to an IQ4x

    They deliberately chose not to keep value in the IQ3 50 by not implementing the ES software

  28. #28
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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    They deliberately chose not to keep value in the IQ3 50 by not implementing the ES software
    Iím surprised some clever person hasnít done a Ďmagic lanterní and hacked the firmware to unlock all the features P1 have blocked.
    They are just tools for a job.

  29. #29
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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    I'd also highly recommend Linhof & Studio UK as an amazing source for not only Linhof, but also Alpa, Cambo, Silvestri and Hasselblad digital equipment. I've had what I can only describe as amazing service and support from Linhof & Studio, even though I live all the way across the world in the South Pacific.
    I have to second this although I live only across the Atlantic in Florida. Paula, proprietor of linhofstudio.com, is an exceptional competent and professional person.
    She also has a mechanic who did some quite tricky custom jobs for me.
    Last edited by TheDude; 2 Days Ago at 05:38.
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  30. #30
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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Quote Originally Posted by tjv View Post
    if I were in your position and wetting my feet now, I'd think seriously about waiting for the new Hasselblad V digital back and pairing it with a Cambo Actus. I love my Techno Ė mostly for idiosyncratic reasons
    I think, this is an excellent recommendation.

    I use a Linhof Techno in combination with the Hasselblad CVF-50c (Mark I) digital back. The only real drawback of the Techno is that it is rather heavy (and expensive).
    I expect the Mark II of the CVF-50c to have a much better live-view and also electronic shutter.
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  31. #31
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    Re: Help me choose a digital back for a tech cam

    Hey Ed, I'm in Norfolk.
    I have a WRS1250, a Phase IQ260, with a Schneider 60XL and Rodenstock 40 and 28 lenses. You are welcome to come down and try it out, get a feel for how it might work for you. If you have your 55 on a Cambo mount, you can see how it would work with stitching on the IQ260. I've had excellent results with maximum fall/shift (ie. 25mm fall, 20 shift L/R) using the 60XL which has a 125mm image circle.
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