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Author Topic: Best digital back for my Hasselblad 500 c/m for tethered use only.  (Read 4727 times)
nkrax
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« on: November 14, 2012, 08:29:55 PM »
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Hey all. I'm completely new to the forum and have been poking around for the last hour or so. It seems there are some very knowledgeable folks here...looks like i'm in the right place!

So I own a Hasselblad 500 c/m and have been itching to get it into my studio to shoot tethered with a digital back. I would be shooting to an iMac with Capture 1 pro. The most important thing for me is IQ. I shoot tabletop product and use strobes/pocket wizards. I've been looking at a couple Phase backs...p21+ and P25. I'm open to other backs, but don't want to break the bank. I feel like the CFV's are a little out of reach for me.

I'm a little concerned about the workflow of a setup like this. I've never shot digitally with an old camera like this, and I understand that it can have it's issues. Focus is one issue, but since I shoot product, I feel it would be a non issue for me. If it's not in focus, refocus and shoot again, right? I also understand that you can't shoot from the computer. Do most of you use a cable release? The reality is that if this system doesn't work well for me workflow wise I will have to move on to something more "new" like an H4D.

Any thoughts or concerns would be greatly appreciated.

Best,
nate
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FredBGG
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« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2012, 08:46:19 PM »
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If you are going to get a digital back for table top still life you should consider a Fuji gx680. The tilt and shift functions are just
so usefull for still life. Also you can get adapter plates for the 680 for all the digital backs so you would not be locked into
Hasselblad V cameras. For example you could use Hasselblad H backs or Phase One backs with Mamiya mount and have the possibility
of buying an H body or a Phase/Mamiya DF+ and use it with your P25+

The old Hasselblad V cameras are good cameras, but you might not want to get locked into them.

Kapture Group also makes a stitch back for the 680 that lets you get almost 44 MP with a two shot with the inexpensive p25.
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benmar
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« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2012, 09:12:38 PM »
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I shot for 6 years with 500CMs and Phase One H20s and H25s and it all worked great. Yes, I used a cable release. Fuji 680 is a great camera too but since you already have the 500CM I don't see any big problem with going that route.
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2012, 09:37:26 PM »
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With most Hasselblad 500 series bodies you cannot shoot from the keyboard. With a Hasselblad 555ELD body and the appropriate cable you can shoot from the keyboard. Using a cable release is a fine alternative; though triggering from the computer is a nice feature.

More modern bodies (like the Mamiya AFD2, Phase One DF, etc) would allow you to adjust shutter speed and aperture from Capture One, which makes the ability to trigger the camera from the computer much more useful. If you use Profoto Air lights with the USB plugin for Capture One you can also adjust your lighting from Capture One which leads to some real productivity gains when fine tuning lighting.

Focus with medium format is not as fully featured as with dSLRs. But in my opinion tabletop product photography does not provide much of a challenge. This is of course assuming you're on a tripod and the product is stationary. In addition to focusing through the viewfinder you can use the Live View feature - it's not the Video-like live view of a Canon/Nikon but for tabletop it's very functional to set focus or provide a 3rd party the ability to review details/composition (e.g. a stylist). With FW and a fast HD you'll also find the capture-to-100% review time is very good and between it and Focus Mask in Capture One product photography focusing will not be a problem.

The Fuji 680 III is not in wide use today. However, for product photography it's built in movements do offer some obvious benefits. You may wish to explore your 500 series options first as they present the most direct path with the least cabling/complications. The great thing about medium format is that the investment/quality comes from the digital back, which can then be placed on a variety of bodies/platforms for different applications. A V-mount back could be used on a Fuji 680, Hasselblad 503, Hasselblad 555ELD, Mamiya RZ Pro II, tech camera, and view camera.

You may also want to look at more modern platforms like the Phase One DF or Hasselblad H before committing to a particular platform.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2012, 09:45:56 PM by Doug Peterson » Logged

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yaya
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« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2012, 02:21:07 AM »
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Hey all. I'm completely new to the forum and have been poking around for the last hour or so. It seems there are some very knowledgeable folks here...looks like i'm in the right place!

So I own a Hasselblad 500 c/m and have been itching to get it into my studio to shoot tethered with a digital back. I would be shooting to an iMac with Capture 1 pro. The most important thing for me is IQ. I shoot tabletop product and use strobes/pocket wizards. I've been looking at a couple Phase backs...p21+ and P25. I'm open to other backs, but don't want to break the bank. I feel like the CFV's are a little out of reach for me.

I'm a little concerned about the workflow of a setup like this. I've never shot digitally with an old camera like this, and I understand that it can have it's issues. Focus is one issue, but since I shoot product, I feel it would be a non issue for me. If it's not in focus, refocus and shoot again, right? I also understand that you can't shoot from the computer. Do most of you use a cable release? The reality is that if this system doesn't work well for me workflow wise I will have to move on to something more "new" like an H4D.

Any thoughts or concerns would be greatly appreciated.

Best,
nate


Welcome on board Nate!

Cutting straight to the chase I would suggest, if money permits, that you look at a new Aptus-II 5 and if it doesn't then an Aptus 22.

A new back comes with 1 yr manufacturer warranty and all the accessories.

Both backs will offer you Live View in tethered mode that is better than most if not all other backs, so when careful, selective focus is required (often the case with table top work) then you can rely on your iMac's screen for that.

Both backs go to as low as 25 iso which is a bonus in the studio and both work well with Capture One. Also if at any point you decide to add a view camera for full movements they will play nicely with that as well and will only require a sync cable from the lens to the back.

If you decide to extend you 500 series kit and add a motor driven body such as EL, ELX, ELD or 503 with a winder you will be able to trigger them from the computer (with a control cable that goes from the back to the motor, not needed on the ELD)

Couple of notes:
1. With an iMac you will likely need a powered repeater to ensure that enough power comes out of the Firewire cable
2. For an Aptus 22 you will need Capture One PRO (the II-5 will run in DB mode which is free)

You can find your local Mamiya Leaf dealer here

Enjoy the journey and feel free to ask as many questions as you want!

Yair
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FredBGG
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« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2012, 03:34:38 AM »
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The Fuji 680 III is not in wide use today. However, for product photography it's built in movements do offer some obvious benefits. You may wish to explore your 500 series options first as they present the most direct path with the least cabling/complications. The great thing about medium format is that the investment/quality comes from the digital back, which can then be placed on a variety of bodies/platforms for different applications. A V-mount back could be used on a Fuji 680, Hasselblad 503, Hasselblad 555ELD, Mamiya RZ Pro II, tech camera, and view camera.


My point is that  a V-back will not let him use a 645 camera that is still in production today.
Using an older out of production camera with a digital back will mean the back is the large investment. The price of the camera system is much lower.
If he is going to tie up $4,000 to 5,000 in a back it would be a good idea to get a back mount that offers him more flexibility.
Also regarding the Fuji 680 there is no advantage to using a III vs the first edition. Actually I find the first edition to have better focusing rails and knobs.
I have both versions.
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nkrax
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« Reply #6 on: November 15, 2012, 07:28:20 AM »
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Wow. These are some amazing replies! I woke up this morning to check the forum and found all of this great content. Thanks to everyone who took time to reply. I have found a home for all my newbie medium format questions!

I must say that I really do want to use my 500. It's just so beautiful and fun to shoot. Therefore, I will be looking for a V back. I also think it is pretty important for me to search for a back with the live preview function. If i'm not mistaken, the older Phase P backs don't go live but the "+" versions do.

I use Profoto lights but not the air versions. Shooting from the keyboard is nice but not a deal breaker. Also, I would always be on a tripod with stationary product. Wow, Leaf goes down to ISO 25? Is there a huge difference between 100 to 50 and then 50 to 25? What about 100 to 25? Will I need a dozen more lights at ISO 25? Smiley

I will say that I am on eBay right now looking for backs but understand that there are some concerns there. I want to take my time and get the perfect back for my needs. Maybe I will keep checking back here and on the sale board to see what's going on.


 
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #7 on: November 15, 2012, 08:19:46 AM »
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I must say that I really do want to use my 500. It's just so beautiful and fun to shoot. Therefore, I will be looking for a V back. I also think it is pretty important for me to search for a back with the live preview function. If i'm not mistaken, the older Phase P backs don't go live but the "+" versions do.

Correct; Most P series did not have live view (a few P45 non plus units were produced that had live view, but they are the exception). The P+ all do have live view.

I use Profoto lights but not the air versions. Shooting from the keyboard is nice but not a deal breaker. Also, I would always be on a tripod with stationary product. Wow, Leaf goes down to ISO 25? Is there a huge difference between 100 to 50 and then 50 to 25? What about 100 to 25? Will I need a dozen more lights at ISO 25? Smiley

Quality at given ISOs is something really better answered by working with someone who can provide you raw files or even better let you capture some raw files for your own evaluation on relevant subject matter. One man's "little bit of grain" is another man's "noisy as hell". It also matters a lot the subject and lighting style used: a high-key image at high ISO taken in studio strobes will not bare much resemblance to a low-key image at high ISO taken under grungy street lamps.  In general it's hard to be disappointed with ISO100 on any digital back. BUT in studio you're going to want to use the lowest ISO you can without compromising your workflow; it just makes sense especially as you said you were very concerned about image quality.
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Doug Peterson
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« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2012, 08:27:43 AM »
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My point is that  a V-back will not let him use a 645 camera that is still in production today.
Using an older out of production camera with a digital back will mean the back is the large investment. The price of the camera system is much lower.
If he is going to tie up $4,000 to 5,000 in a back it would be a good idea to get a back mount that offers him more flexibility.
Also regarding the Fuji 680 there is no advantage to using a III vs the first edition. Actually I find the first edition to have better focusing rails and knobs.
I have both versions.

You definitely know the Fuji better than I do; I generally have recommended the III in so far as it's more likely to be in good condition. Of course this is no guarantee in the same way that you can find cars from 1990 in better condition and with lower mileage than a 2011 car. I'll take your comment into advisement though when the Fuji comes up in discussion. Thanks for the info!

I agree with you that in general the M or H mount is a back which represents a better investment. This is why I said "You may also want to look at more modern platforms like the Phase One DF or Hasselblad H before committing to a particular platform." But there are exceptions; some people connect strongly to their 500 series body, and while I still think they should look/touch/test-shoot with a few systems before they commit - if they love the 500 then that is exactly what they should use.

When I say "committing to a particular platform" I'm referencing that I notice photographers often fixate entirely on the hard-cost of picking a system as measured in dollars. In actuality if you are making any money at all then you should also consider the flexibility/advantages/disadvantages the system will provide you commercially as well as the often neglected element of your own time. Learning a system, not just where the buttons and knobs are, but learning a system so well that it becomes an extension of your desire... that takes a lot of time. If you saved a thousand bucks, and then spent a year struggling to make the system sing, only to then have to switch to another system and spend months learning this new system, which is the greater shame - the money you lost in switching systems or the time you wasted on a system that didn't work for you??
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« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2012, 12:20:35 PM »
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With a Hasselblad 555ELD body and the appropriate cable you can shoot from the keyboard.

This is also true with Hasselblad/Imacon backs with cable to the motor drive and EL, ELM, ELX, CW, so may also be work with Phase etc.
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FredBGG
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« Reply #10 on: November 16, 2012, 10:38:11 PM »
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Wow. These are some amazing replies! I woke up this morning to check the forum and found all of this great content. Thanks to everyone who took time to reply. I have found a home for all my newbie medium format questions!

I must say that I really do want to use my 500. It's just so beautiful and fun to shoot. Therefore, I will be looking for a V back. I also think it is pretty important for me to search for a back with the live preview function. If i'm not mistaken, the older Phase P backs don't go live but the "+" versions do.

I use Profoto lights but not the air versions. Shooting from the keyboard is nice but not a deal breaker. Also, I would always be on a tripod with stationary product. Wow, Leaf goes down to ISO 25? Is there a huge difference between 100 to 50 and then 50 to 25? What about 100 to 25? Will I need a dozen more lights at ISO 25? Smiley

I will say that I am on eBay right now looking for backs but understand that there are some concerns there. I want to take my time and get the perfect back for my needs. Maybe I will keep checking back here and on the sale board to see what's going on.


  

IF you do mainly still product shots you might want to look into getting a cheap 4x5 and then adding the Kapture group stitch back.
With this you can turn your 22 MP back into a 63.5 MP camera.... and for pennies. Use the Hasselblad for most of your work and the 4x5 for perspective correction, tilt shift
and image quality as good as and at times better than a 60MP back Wink
« Last Edit: November 17, 2012, 12:48:17 PM by FredBGG » Logged
BobDavid
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« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2012, 08:41:38 AM »
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Having used a Hassey CF39 MS on an H2f for years, I would not hesitate to look into the Nikon D800e. I suspect this comment will generate some controversy, but before plunging into medium format, I'd suggest renting the Nikon. There are ways beyound Tilt-shift lenses to deal with tabletop scenarios, such as offerings by Cambo, and other manufacturers. The one absolute advantage medium format has is color accuracy for reproduction work. A 35mm camera cannot come close. But for "pleasing" color and lots of resolution, a leading edge 35mm cameras are fine. It's also very easy and cheap to rent Nikon lenses.
« Last Edit: November 17, 2012, 08:46:12 AM by BobDavid » Logged
archivue
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« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2012, 03:23:49 AM »
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"Cutting straight to the chase I would suggest, if money permits, that you look at a new Aptus-II 5 and if it doesn't then an Aptus 22."

+1

but at 100 iso, i prefer the DM33 or Aptus 75 files over the aptus 22 !

Stitching with a digital back on a regular 4X5 isn't easy... for example, it's nearly impossible to have the lens and the MFDB 100%  // with even a sinar  P2 !

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« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2012, 04:25:53 AM »
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Hi Nate

I am new on here but joined up to respond to your question. I use a Hasselblad 555eld for (mainly) tethered studio work and a Hasselblad 503cw for untethered travel/location work (also a Nikon D3). I purchased a used PhaseOne P20 back about 5 years ago and have had great success with it, like the square format and have had no problems using it in the field. If you can get hold of one I recommend them. I regularly create 3 part stitched images with final sizes at 8-bit around 120mb.
rgds

Malc
« Last Edit: November 19, 2012, 04:29:59 AM by par » Logged
henrikfoto
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« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2012, 01:53:44 PM »
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Hi Nate!

If you will only shoot tethered and with a Hasselblad 503cw you shouldn´t waste your money on any back with a screen.
The best back for you will be a Phase one H20 or H25. They are very cheap used now, and will give you a fantastic picture
quality with the new Captureshop 7.

Any smaller pixels than this will only cause problems with the 503.
And the screens on the later models will double the price for the back and absolutely not a better IQ.

Henrik
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nkrax
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« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2012, 03:18:05 PM »
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Again, all, thank you for your responses. This is a big help.

@Henrick, I like how you are thinking. You are correct...I do not need a screen on the back. But, and correct me if i'm wrong, I would really like to have live preview and believe all of the live preview backs have screens on the backs.
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henrikfoto
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« Reply #16 on: November 19, 2012, 04:28:08 PM »
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Both the Sinarbacks (The best is the 54H) and all Leaf backs have live preview tethered.
The best is the Sinarbacks with an LC-shutter.

The only backs with live preview on the back directly are the new IQ-backs. And that is not
even close to what you get tethered with the Sinarback.

With the Sinarback 54H you even get multishot which is perfect for not moving subjects.
In one shot it is the same as the H25, and in multishot it is even better than the newest backs
made today.

Henrik
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