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FORUMS Other Digital Cameras Medium Format Digital Cameras and Backs 
Thread started 28 Oct 2016 (Friday) 01:48
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Let's hear the downsides of older Phase One MF backs, from their owners.

 
quadwing
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Oct 28, 2016 01:48 |  #1

Hey POTN!

I'm thinking of building up, slowly but surely, a functional, yet older MF kit. Why? Affordability while still wanting the look.

I was looking at a Mamiya 645DF+ body, 80mm LS lens, and a P30+ or P45+ back. I understand that shooting MF will be different, however, I strongly feel the resulting images will be worth it.

With that said, let's hear the downsides and the realities behind it, from their owners. I'm not looking to have my mind changed, but rather, things to keep in mind.


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Oct 28, 2016 13:03 |  #2

If you purchase a body designed for film, and then add a digital back to it, it will not be integrated between the body and the back for shooting...somewhat awkward UI to coordinate back readiness for next shot vs. body readiness for next shot.

Better to buy a body that was designed to be used with a digital back from the outset.


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Foodguy
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Oct 30, 2016 12:09 |  #3

The biggest downside that I can think of and constantly run into is compatibility of older backs/software with current operating systems and newer software. At a minimum, if your backs and computers are in a 64 bit world you should be good for a long while. The big divide was older 32 bit hardware/software and newer 64 bit operating systems I think.

So far, I've been able to find work arounds with some help from the manufacturers and while not ideal, I'm still able to shoot with older hardware that continues to work well.


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puggle
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Nov 10, 2016 17:05 |  #4

Hi Quadwing,

I have a PhaseOne 645DF+ body (same as Mamiya), with a P30+ back, hopefully I can help.

My lenses: Mamiya 55mm f/2.8, Mamiya Sekor D 150mm f/2.8, and PhaseOne 80mm f/2.8.

Yes, It's still an outstanding system, despite it's age and absolutely love shooting with it. And, used p30+'s are still popular on the used market.

It will not replace my Canon DSLR gear, but it is a wonderful addition for studio work.

The downsides -

1) New lenses are a fortune. Buy used if you can.

2) When upgrading the firmware to the p30+ back to be compatible with the newer 645DF+ body, I was unable to update it myself because the connection from the P30+ to the computer requires firewire 400. My newer Mac does not support firewire. A thunderbolt - to - firewire adapter also did not work. The connection and the software are finicky. You also need to purchase CaptureOne Pro software to do the update, although this is not a negative. CaptureOne Pro is excellent for processing p30+ images.

This became a real pain. I tried using the firewire adapter to thunderbolt, but I the update failed. I thought I ruined my p30+ back, it would not startup and I got an error message. This could have been fatal, but I got lucky. I sent it in to a dealership (Capture Integration) in Atlanta GA, and they were able to resurrect it, and update the firmware successfully.

Since the p30+ back is ancient, from 2008, the LCD screen on the back is very poor in comparison with today's DSLR's. However, it's perfectly workable, and the histogram is useful.

3) Since I couldn't shoot teathered due to the firewire issue, I shoot to the CF card in camera and copy the images to my laptop. It's really not a big problem, but if you are doing work that requires your client to see the results instantly as you shoot, this could be a shortcoming for you.

If you are more saavy than I am with computers and software you might be able to figure out a teathered, firewire - thunderbolt connection that works.

4) As for image quality, there are some banding issues in the deep shadow areas, if you try opening the shadows up further in Lightroom or CaptureOne Pro, the banding can become quite prevalent. If you get your exposures and shadows right when shooting, the issue is minimized or nonexsitant.

5) Minor downside, the batteries don't last very long, have a few extras on hand. They are readily available and cost around $70.

30 megapixels or more common in current DSLR's and some are much greater resolution. Although, there may still be an advantage to the larger sensor, when it comes to depth-of-field and the array of amazing Mamiya, PhaseOne and Schnieder LS lenses that are available.

Is the IQ better than newer, high-megapixel cameras out today Like the Sony A7rII (I also own), or a Nikon D5, or D750 or Canon 5DIV or Canon DSR? No, the newer sensors and newer technology is better.

What I love:

There is no doubt a "Look" you get in images from the 645DF+, P30+ medium format that IMHO is gorgeous.

There is a visceral feel to using the 645DF+ that makes it a sheer joy to shoot with. You'll fall in love with the shutter sound.

Customers who see you using a high-end camera system that is not the same as everyone's "uncle Harry's" DSLR, gives you a perceived edge. I know, this sounds silly, but there's truth here. It will help differentiate you.

Good luck!

PS - I have not had any problems processing or opening native RAW files generated from the p30+, on my Macbook Pro or iMac. Keep your firmware up to date, and with CaptureOne Pro, you'll have no issues.


Puggle
---------
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quadwing
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Nov 10, 2016 21:32 |  #5

puggle wrote in post #18181146 (external link)
Hi Quadwing,

I have a PhaseOne 645DF+ body (same as Mamiya), with a P30+ back, hopefully I can help.

My lenses: Mamiya 55mm f/2.8, Mamiya Sekor D 150mm f/2.8, and PhaseOne 80mm f/2.8.

Yes, It's still an outstanding system, despite it's age and absolutely love shooting with it. And, used p30+'s are still popular on the used market.

It will not replace my Canon DSLR gear, but it is a wonderful addition for studio work.

The downsides -

1) New lenses are a fortune. Buy used if you can.

2) When upgrading the firmware to the p30+ back to be compatible with the newer 645DF+ body, I was unable to update it myself because the connection from the P30+ to the computer requires firewire 400. My newer Mac does not support firewire. A thunderbolt - to - firewire adapter also did not work. The connection and the software are finicky. You also need to purchase CaptureOne Pro software to do the update, although this is not a negative. CaptureOne Pro is excellent for processing p30+ images.

This became a real pain. I tried using the firewire adapter to thunderbolt, but I the update failed. I thought I ruined my p30+ back, it would not startup and I got an error message. This could have been fatal, but I got lucky. I sent it in to a dealership (Capture Integration) in Atlanta GA, and they were able to resurrect it, and update the firmware successfully.

Since the p30+ back is ancient, from 2008, the LCD screen on the back is very poor in comparison with today's DSLR's. However, it's perfectly workable, and the histogram is useful.

3) Since I couldn't shoot teathered due to the firewire issue, I shoot to the CF card in camera and copy the images to my laptop. It's really not a big problem, but if you are doing work that requires your client to see the results instantly as you shoot, this could be a shortcoming for you.

If you are more saavy than I am with computers and software you might be able to figure out a teathered, firewire - thunderbolt connection that works.

4) As for image quality, there are some banding issues in the deep shadow areas, if you try opening the shadows up further in Lightroom or CaptureOne Pro, the banding can become quite prevalent. If you get your exposures and shadows right when shooting, the issue is minimized or nonexsitant.

5) Minor downside, the batteries don't last very long, have a few extras on hand. They are readily available and cost around $70.

30 megapixels or more common in current DSLR's and some are much greater resolution. Although, there may still be an advantage to the larger sensor, when it comes to depth-of-field and the array of amazing Mamiya, PhaseOne and Schnieder LS lenses that are available.

Is the IQ better than newer, high-megapixel cameras out today Like the Sony A7rII (I also own), or a Nikon D5, or D750 or Canon 5DIV or Canon DSR? No, the newer sensors and newer technology is better.

What I love:

There is no doubt a "Look" you get in images from the 645DF+, P30+ medium format that IMHO is gorgeous.

There is a visceral feel to using the 645DF+ that makes it a sheer joy to shoot with. You'll fall in love with the shutter sound.

Customers who see you using a high-end camera system that is not the same as everyone's "uncle Harry's" DSLR, gives you a perceived edge. I know, this sounds silly, but there's truth here. It will help differentiate you.

Good luck!

PS - I have not had any problems processing or opening native RAW files generated from the p30+, on my Macbook Pro or iMac. Keep your firmware up to date, and with CaptureOne Pro, you'll have no issues.

puggle wrote in post #18181146 (external link)
Hi Quadwing,

I have a PhaseOne 645DF+ body (same as Mamiya), with a P30+ back, hopefully I can help.

My lenses: Mamiya 55mm f/2.8, Mamiya Sekor D 150mm f/2.8, and PhaseOne 80mm f/2.8.

Yes, It's still an outstanding system, despite it's age and absolutely love shooting with it. And, used p30+'s are still popular on the used market.

It will not replace my Canon DSLR gear, but it is a wonderful addition for studio work.

The downsides -

1) New lenses are a fortune. Buy used if you can.

2) When upgrading the firmware to the p30+ back to be compatible with the newer 645DF+ body, I was unable to update it myself because the connection from the P30+ to the computer requires firewire 400. My newer Mac does not support firewire. A thunderbolt - to - firewire adapter also did not work. The connection and the software are finicky. You also need to purchase CaptureOne Pro software to do the update, although this is not a negative. CaptureOne Pro is excellent for processing p30+ images.

This became a real pain. I tried using the firewire adapter to thunderbolt, but I the update failed. I thought I ruined my p30+ back, it would not startup and I got an error message. This could have been fatal, but I got lucky. I sent it in to a dealership (Capture Integration) in Atlanta GA, and they were able to resurrect it, and update the firmware successfully.

Since the p30+ back is ancient, from 2008, the LCD screen on the back is very poor in comparison with today's DSLR's. However, it's perfectly workable, and the histogram is useful.

3) Since I couldn't shoot teathered due to the firewire issue, I shoot to the CF card in camera and copy the images to my laptop. It's really not a big problem, but if you are doing work that requires your client to see the results instantly as you shoot, this could be a shortcoming for you.

If you are more saavy than I am with computers and software you might be able to figure out a teathered, firewire - thunderbolt connection that works.

4) As for image quality, there are some banding issues in the deep shadow areas, if you try opening the shadows up further in Lightroom or CaptureOne Pro, the banding can become quite prevalent. If you get your exposures and shadows right when shooting, the issue is minimized or nonexsitant.

5) Minor downside, the batteries don't last very long, have a few extras on hand. They are readily available and cost around $70.

30 megapixels or more common in current DSLR's and some are much greater resolution. Although, there may still be an advantage to the larger sensor, when it comes to depth-of-field and the array of amazing Mamiya, PhaseOne and Schnieder LS lenses that are available.

Is the IQ better than newer, high-megapixel cameras out today Like the Sony A7rII (I also own), or a Nikon D5, or D750 or Canon 5DIV or Canon DSR? No, the newer sensors and newer technology is better.

What I love:

There is no doubt a "Look" you get in images from the 645DF+, P30+ medium format that IMHO is gorgeous.

There is a visceral feel to using the 645DF+ that makes it a sheer joy to shoot with. You'll fall in love with the shutter sound.

Customers who see you using a high-end camera system that is not the same as everyone's "uncle Harry's" DSLR, gives you a perceived edge. I know, this sounds silly, but there's truth here. It will help differentiate you.

Good luck!

PS - I have not had any problems processing or opening native RAW files generated from the p30+, on my Macbook Pro or iMac. Keep your firmware up to date, and with CaptureOne Pro, you'll have no issues.

This is a perfect response. I was thinking about getting the exact body and back you mentioned, except with an 80mm f/2.8 lens instead. I'm more concerned with the look the camera can give me rather than the performance or quality; I feel the look makes up for it. It just doesn't match 35mm at any level.


Camera gear: Canon 5D Mark IV | Canon 24-70mm f/2.8L II | Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L II | Lights: Elinchrom Ranger RX Speed AS

  
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dmead516
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Dec 07, 2016 22:54 as a reply to  @ quadwing's post |  #6

I have an older Mamiya that has died, and was looking into one of the 645 AFD III or Phase One (same body) and was hoping to purchase one of these so I can use up my stash of 120 film still left over and one day go MF Digital. The issue I was having was "Am I really going to be able to blow $4k on a back in the future"? I found a 28 mp back on ebay for around $1600, which was doable. However, when I called Capture Integration, he informed me these were way past old (technology wise) and I need to look at spending around $4k on the back alone. All of the points mentioned above are valid.

Thanks for the info.


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hoppy65
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Jan 24, 2017 16:44 |  #7

puggle wrote in post #18181146 (external link)
2) When upgrading the firmware to the p30+ back to be compatible with the newer 645DF+ body, I was unable to update it myself because the connection from the P30+ to the computer requires firewire 400. My newer Mac does not support firewire. A thunderbolt - to - firewire adapter also did not work. The connection and the software are finicky. You also need to purchase CaptureOne Pro software to do the update, although this is not a negative. CaptureOne Pro is excellent for processing p30+ images.

I have a p40+ and can tether to my Mac via a FW/Thunderbolt, but only when when the "power source" is set to "battery". It will not work if it is set to "autodetect". Maybe the P30+ is the same.


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Let's hear the downsides of older Phase One MF backs, from their owners.
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