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Author Topic: FredBGG is right but it's now time to discuss the usability of the Credo backs  (Read 1646 times)
rogerxnz
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« on: December 14, 2012, 02:21:23 PM »
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FredBGG is right. Mamiya/Leaf/Phase 1 are at fault for advertising their new backs as if they have USB 3 when they don't. The thread would have been a very short one if it were not for zealots who tried to explain away that reality by imposing ridiculous obligations on would-be purchasers to check with dealers and others. Why stop at checking that "fact"? Next they will be saying purchasers should count the pixels to make sure they have the correct number.

The thread would not have even begun if Mamiya/Leaf/Phase 1's advertising had said that they were working on adding USB 3 connectivity in the future. They should be changing their material now because the long lack of USB 3 has become a joke on them and they need to do something honest to regain reputation, in my opinion.

Having got those comments off my mind, I would like to discuss my concerns over the design and implementation of the Credo backs.

My first concern is that there still is no manual. There are options I would like to able to look up a manual to get guidance on. For example, I don't know how to bring up the full-screen level tool without going to image view, selecting an image and double-tapping the mini level to bring up the full screen level tool. There must be a direct way to do this. Otherwise, the inability to go directly to the level tool is another concern of mine!

Next, I am not impressed by the easily-moved safety catch that is supposed to prevent the back detaching accidentally from the body. It should click into place and stay there but it moves too freely in my opinion. Also, there is no such catch when the back is in portrait orientation.

After that, there is the on/off-button. I think it is too easily turned on (the slightest touch is enough) and I often find the battery flat when I get to use the back because it has turned itself on in my pack.

Next, I refer to the lack of a rear screen cover and a case to transport the back in. The former is essential in my opinion. I did not remove the plastic film that was on my screen when supplied and it has acquired a deep scratch extending across the screen. I am too scared to lift the film to see if the screen has been damaged. A cover similar to what is supplied with the Aptus backs would remove this worry.

A purpose-built case might have some capacity/design to protect the on-button from being accidentally pushed.

Next, is the inability to set owner details and copyright info on the back itself, as there is with the Aptus backs. This means that, if anyone "picks up" your back, you cannot prove that it is yours. I know the info on the Aptus backs can be deleted or replaced but it takes time and knowledge to do so. With the Credo, once the CF card is removed the back is indistinguishable from any other and retains no details of the owner.

The design of the CF card slot is another area of frustration to me. As you know, one of the square sides/faces of a CF card is smooth and the other square face has a little lip around it which provides something to get a grip on when removing the card. So why did the designers orientate the slot so the lip is so close to the hinge of the slot door that you can only access the lip if you use a lever, such as, a toothpick or a screwdriver to get under it? If the card was orientated the other way, it would be extremely easy to grip it with your fingers. That would avoid the hassle that frequently happens when the eject mechanism only moves the card up by 6mm and I have to turn the back over so the card can be shaken out or find a twig to get card out.

Next is the lack of file name customisation and the way the shots are numbered when using the back to review them. There are no options, as there are with the Aptus backs, to set a base file name to reference the job in some way, such as, "Bob & Muriel's wedding 2012".

Every file is numbered from the day you start using the back to the day it stops working as "CFXXXXXX.IIQ" where XXXXXX is the sequential number of the shot.

But, when you look at files on the back to review them, they are shown as "X/Y with X being the shot's rank by time in the shots on the card at the time and Y is the number of shots on the card at the time. As you delete shots from the card, both numbers can change. So, if you like a particular shot, you don't know which one it is because "4/54" does not tell you the file name of the shot, only that it is the fourth oldest shot on the card at the time. If you delete, say the first shot, what was 4/54 will become 3/53. There is no useful way to review shots by their own file number. There is an option to show the shots with their own file number but using that option obscures the shot with a large panel in the centre of the image which also shows other file info. You cannot swap easily from the review view showing X/Y to the view showing the real file number.

Lastly, I am struggling to feel comfortable with the computer software supplied, Capture One 6. I am confused by all the options regarding input and output folders when all I want to do is have a look at my files. I understand Capture One has the ability to easily make adjustments to selected areas of an image but I am not sure if you can go back and refine the area initially selected for adjustment, as you can, using masks in Photoshop. I think I may prefer to use Adobe Camera Raw and Photoshop but I will download Capture One 7 and try to get the hang of it.

Despite the above, here are some good points with the back! I assume all the massive number of pixels are actually there. When I get a sharply focused image, the detail is great. My lenses are all manual focus and I have found focusing difficult. My old eyes could be a part of that problem. The high resolution screen is a delight to use and I appreciate the way you can zoom into a part of an image and flick through all your other images of the same scene all zoomed in to the same degree at the same spot. This makes it easy to compare the shots. If you leave the image zoomed in when you take the next shot, the new shot comes up zoomed in to the same spot.

The Credo is faster to use than the Aptus backs I have owned (17, 22 and 75).

To those who got rid of their Flexbodies, you made a big mistake! With Live View on a Flexbody, you don't need to use an optical viewfinder to compose your pictures. You can leave the back on the Flexbody all the time and, when you want to focus, you zoom in, in LiveView, to 100% and do it. Sometimes, in bright sunshine, some of the panels of the sensor go black or white and LiveView is unusable in those panels. I understand that using a neutral density filter to "cool" the exposure will fix the problem but I have not got an ND filter for my wide angle lens yet.

So, I am sure the quality is there but it is taking time to "bond" with my Credo. I understand the Credo range is cheaper than Phase One's equivalent IQ backs but I do not know if the IQ backs have the same issues as the Credos. I am grateful that there is a range of backs which are more affordable than the IQs.

I would be interested in other's experiences with Credo backs and whether the issues I have noted also apply to the IQ backs.
Roger
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 11:42:28 PM by rogerxnz » Logged

Roger Hayman
Wellington, New Zealand
Doug Peterson
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« Reply #1 on: December 14, 2012, 03:26:22 PM »
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My first concern is that there still is no manual. There are options I would like to able to look up a manual to get guidance on. For example, I don't know how to bring up the full-screen level tool without going to image view, selecting an image and double-tapping the mini level to bring up the full screen level tool. There must be a direct way to do this. Otherwise, the inability to go directly to the level tool is another concern of mine!

You can not jump directly to the level. I'd love to see this implemented as a push-and-hold. E.g. push and hold the bottom right button and up pops the level.

That said the level can be set to both graphical (sexy in the marketing sense) and "values" which provide a very useful numerical readout. Best level I've seen, especially when combined with the Arca Swiss cube or other geared head it makes it wicked easy to get to 0.0 tilt and 0.0 rotation (same as in IQ).

After that, there is the on/off-button. I think it is too easily turned on (the slightest touch is enough) and I often find the battery flat when I get to use the back because it has turned itself on in my pack.

For better or worse I generally I recommend ejecting the battery for transport.

Next, I refer to the lack of a rear screen cover and a case to transport the back in.

Screenpatronus.com for good touchscreen covers.

The Credo and IQ have been out for a while now and I don't have any customers who have made a significant scratch in their glass. So I'm guessing yours is just on the shipping-protection-plastic. Still, an optional cover that fits over the entire back could be nice for backpacking or the like. For all of our rentals we simply use a lens wrap and haven't had any scratches throughout hundreds of rentals, nor have any of the rental houses (that are our customers) sent any in for scratch repairs. I'm not saying it's impossible; I'm sure it's possible with a hard enough pressure and a sharp enough edge, but, like the Gorilla Glass on the iPhone it's much tougher than you'd think.

Including a bag or case to me is a mixed bag (pun intended).

On one hand "this costs a lot of money why don't they throgh in a case." On the other hand nothing is free so including anything means raising the cost of good which means increasing the retail price or sacrificing elsewhere. Given that 99% of photographers looking at a digital back already have a case/bag (or a dozen) I think it's a bit presumptuous for a manufacturer to say "this is the style of bag/case that we think will be best for all users" when in fact some users will want a small backpack, others a shipping hard case, and still others a satchel or other kind of bag.

On the other hand I like the rolling airline case provided by Phase with the IQ. You can buy those from any phase dealer (or any other good bag/case). It makes for a nice presentation and makes you feel good just having spent a lot on a camera system.

As a point of comparison Arca Swiss used to only sell their Cube head (nearly $2k) in a leather pouch. They figured that someone spending far more than $1k on a tripod head would want a nice presentation. Turns out that most people didn't use it, wanted to select their own wrap/bag/case/manner-of-transport. So they took it out and lowered the price a few hundred at the same time and I've never seen someone complain they didn't get the leather pouch.

One of the reasons that the Credo is lower priced than the cousin IQ series are reasons like this. So bare that in mind when you praise that you're glad to have a series available which has a lower list price than the IQ.

Next, is the inability to set owner details and copyright info on the back itself, as there is with the Aptus backs. This means that, if anyone "picks up" your back, you cannot prove that it is yours. I know the info on the Aptus backs can be deleted or replaced but it takes time and knowledge to do so. With the Credo, once the CF card is removed the back is indistinguishable from any other and retains no details of the owner.

You can add a custom splash screen with your name/info or use any of the many great gear tags out there to label yours.

Adding metadata in back would be nice, especially for tech camera users. I know many users have requested this and they understand it would be useful, so maybe it will be added at some point via firmware.

Next is the lack of file name customisation and the way the shots are numbered when using the back to review them. There are no options, as there are with the Aptus backs, to set a base file name to reference the job in some way, such as, "Bob & Muriel's wedding 2012".

Agreed. That would be a nice feature.


But, when you look at files on the back to review them, they are shown as "X/Y with X being the shot's rank by time in the shots on the card at the time and Y is the number of shots on the card at the time. As you delete shots from the card, both numbers can change. So, if you like a particular shot, you don't know which one it is because "4/54" does not tell you the file name of the shot, only that it is the fourth oldest shot on the card at the time. If you delete, say the first shot, what was 4/54 will become 3/53. There is no useful way to review shots by their own file number. There is an option to show the shots with their own file number but using that option obscures the shot with a large panel in the centre of the image which also shows other file info. You cannot swap easily from the review view showing X/Y to the view showing the real file number.

You can however rate the image 1-5 stars and assign a color tag which is a MUCH better way IMO to edit in the back. These tags/stars show up in Capture One without having to keep track of file names in the field.

Lastly, I am struggling to feel comfortable with the computer software supplied, Capture One 6. I am confused by all the options regarding input and output folders when all I want to do is have a look at my files. I understand Capture One has the ability to easily make adjustments to selected areas of an image but I am not sure if you can go back and refine the area initially selected for adjustment, as you can, using masks in Photoshop.

Yep, you can go back and make adjustments to the local mask. I suggest the online videos (free), user manual (free), user to user forum (free), a post here (free), or capture one classes like our webinars and full-day in person courses ($). Like any new piece of software in your arsenal you're going to find it confusing at first, but with time and/or training you'll figure it out. It's really great software.
[/quote]

Most of these questions/concerns are things that most buyers would review with their dealer. Some of them are valid criticism / useful suggestions for changes to the UI. Some of them are just misunderstandings, and the software is entirely about education (on your own, or through classes).

I hope that with some more usage you'll find, like I do, that comparing the workflow-speed/quality of the interface of the Credo, despite missing some small but useful features from the Aptus II, is lightyears ahead of previous leaf backs.  

It's hard to tell from the written world. Do I sense some resentment/anger? Did you buy from somewhere where you were able to use the back extensively before purchasing it? Did you buy from somewhere where all of your questions can be answered immediately and completely?
« Last Edit: December 14, 2012, 03:33:01 PM by Doug Peterson » Logged

DOUG PETERSON (dep@digitaltransitions.com), Digital Transitions
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kdphotography
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« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2012, 04:20:43 PM »
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....

As a point of comparison Arca Swiss used to only sell their Cube head (nearly $2k) in a leather pouch. They figured that someone spending far more than $1k on a tripod head would want a nice presentation. Turns out that most people didn't use it, wanted to select their own wrap/bag/case/manner-of-transport. So they took it out and lowered the price a few hundred at the same time and I've never seen someone complain they didn't get the leather pouch.


Whoa there, Doug.  I have the Anniversary edition Arca Swiss Cube, no leather case, but it did come with one damned nice corrugated cardboard box.  I'm sure I still have it around the studio somewhere...  Wanna trade for your leather case?   Grin
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Brian Hirschfeld
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« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2012, 08:04:57 PM »
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at-leastnever have scratched my IQ180, nor been terribly worried about scratching it...when traveling (international, or at-least on a plane, I put it in the velcro covers provided with it, and it works just fine. If I ever can stomach to punch out more of those pelican case things, I doubt I would worry about the wraps) and if I am going someplace local (i.e in my car), I just put it in the wraps in my Billingham 555 and it's all good....
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rogerxnz
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« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2012, 04:24:18 AM »
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Thank you for your comments and support, Doug.

You asked if I had any anger or resentment and had no opportunity to find the matters I commented on before buying.

I don't have any anger/resentment. I am sure the Credo is an improvement from my Aptus 75. When all goes well, it's a dream. It's just a shame, IMHO, that there are the areas I mention where the Credo is not as good as it could be.

I think it would take a few quite a few weeks of use before one realized many of the issues I raised. So, limited testing on my part is not the problem. I guess I'm calling for better product testing with users.

I will investigate splash screens. Sounds good. I guess the details are in the manual!
Roger
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Roger Hayman
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rogerxnz
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« Reply #5 on: December 16, 2012, 01:22:46 AM »
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Referring to Doug Peterson's reply again, how does a user change the splash screen to add their own details?

Also, I agree with his comments regarding a case. As I did mention, I was only interested in a case if it was somehow designed to protect the on/off switch and prevent the back from switching on accidentally.
Roger
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Roger Hayman
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Graham Welland
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« Reply #6 on: December 16, 2012, 03:41:44 AM »
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Being an owner of the Aptus 65, Phase One P25+ and IQ 160 I have to say that I do have some sympathy for Roger's comments.

1) The file numbering with the Phase One backs is a potential problem because if you have more than one back there is the very real opportunity (and certainty) of file names colliding. It's happened to me since my P25+ and IQ have caught up with each other in terms of image numbers so it isn't a simple case of looking at the filenames to determine which come from which back. This is a dumb situation and Doug already knows how happy I am about that. I really cannot fathom why Phase One could not provide for a unique filename prefix selectable by the customer - heck my Nikon's have had that capability since at least 1999.

2) The Aptus case and screen protector seem like a good idea but in reality I found them both to be pretty useless. You can't use an Aptus with the hard cover on it nor did the Aptus fit in the case with a battery on it (or practically even stored with it). I much prefer just sticking a ScreenPatronus cover on the backs since they're effectively free and protect the LCD pretty well. It would be nice to have a custom cover for the body to avoid nicks and scratches though. Arguably the Leaf style of case would work better with the Credo and Phase Backs because the battery doesn't really protrude off the bottom or side of the back.

3) I do agree about the CF card assembly with the Phase One/Credo body. It's surprisingly difficult to eject the card sometimes, particularly if you have well groomed finger nails. I often find myself resorting to pressing the eject button and hoping that it'll have enough momentum to eject the card far enough so that I can get a grop on the edges or lip. I'm not always successful. It's a shamefully bad design overall and should be easier to use.

4) Ditto the re-insertion of the CF card if the release button is already out. I'll often put the card in and then find that I have to eject and press in the eject button before re-inserting the card because the cover won't close. Again, bad design.

5) Reset of the level to factory configuration. If you've ever set the levels in the field and found that they weren't accurate (because every damn tripod and bubble level is off one way or the other), then there's no way to reset the back back to the factory settings which we'd assume would have been perfectly in sync with the sensor (nope ...).

With these points said, I must admit that I love my IQ back with a passion. It really is fabulous. However the above are a number of the frustrations I live with.

I also really really like the Arca Swiss Cube too. That said, Arca Swiss also seem to be unable to mount levels in their heads any better than any other manufacturer so that they are 100% plumb and level. Nope. Nor can Phase One, Alpa nor any other tripod or head manufacturer. I simply cannot get any combination of gear to 100% align with each other and so just have to pick one level and stick with it. You'd think that all these folks and/or the back/DSLR manufacturers would be able to set their gear and sensors in perfect alignment but I've yet to get a setup that is 100%.

/rant off
« Last Edit: December 16, 2012, 10:05:12 AM by Graham Welland » Logged

Graham
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« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2012, 01:48:07 PM »
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@ Graham
One thing I find a bit off on the IQ backs is that the same screen button is used in two clicks to confirm CF card formatting.
I always think it is better that the final confirmation should require moving your finger to a second button or click area. it is rather easy
to click twice. Is it still like that?
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rogerxnz
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« Reply #8 on: December 19, 2012, 02:15:01 PM »
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I have been advised that it is not possible to change the splash screen on the Credo backs and it is only possible to do this on the IQ backs from Phase One. This means there is no way to satisfactorily customize or stamp your ownership on a Credo unless you engrave your details somewhere.

Not good enough in my opinion and I consider it would not cost anything to give Credo owners the ability to customise splash screens.
Roger
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Roger Hayman
Wellington, New Zealand
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